|PS3 / XBOX 360||USA|
By Spencer . March 13, 2012 . 2:34pm
As a kid, I always thought Tails was more powerful than Sonic. When the two-tailed fox was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 he was immortal. Even after touching Dr. Eggman’s toxic blue gunk, Tails just falls off the screen for a few seconds and flies back good as new. Tails was the ultimate sidekick back then and he’s even more useful in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II.
I got to spin dash through White Park Zone, the second area of the game that looks like an amusement park covered in snow. While Sonic was solo in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, Tails loyally follows Sonic around in this game. In the Sonic-verse, this game takes place after the events of Sonic CD and will explain what happened to Metal Sonic.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II uses a new physics system and graphics engine. Sonic felt more nimble than the previous game, but he still isn’t as fast as Blast Processing powered Sonic from the Genesis days. On the plus side, White Park Zone felt like a classic Sonic level. A Sega employee explained, levels are designed where the bottom path is the fastest route, but the higher routes have more to see. I decided to race through the stage and used the new combination techniques. Press X (on the Xbox 360 controller) and after a hi-five Sonic and Tails will roll up in a ball and spin dash together. The level was designed with specific parts where you have to use this move to break through walls and carve a path in snow filled areas.
See that hole? Tails can save you from falling in it. If you use the combo technique in mid-air Tails can swoop in and pick Sonic up. While you can’t fly through a stage, Tails has enough air time to rescue Sonic from a bottomless pit. Pressing A raises Tails’ altitude, but you can only do this three or four times before Tails gets tired and drops Sonic. I kind of felt like Tails was like an on call "Super Guide" since he can rescue Sonic plus help him reach higher ground, which like past Sonic games have more to see. Some levels will have parts you can only reach by having Tails fly around with Sonic too. White Park Zone ended with a snowboarding scene and a familiar spinning sign. Special zones weren’t implemented so even though I got 50 rings I didn’t see a giant ring to jump into. I was told they’re going to be like Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s tube levels, but this time Tails won’t lose as many rings.
The demo build also had Sylvania Castle, which looks like a more lush Green Hill Zone with ruins. It certainly captured the feel of the Sonic from yesteryear. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II will have three acts with three zones each and a boss plus a final act (I couldn’t get Sega to say how many zones that will have). Sega plans to release Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade this spring. PC, Android, Windows Mobile, and iOS devices will also get a version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, but the title will not come to WiiWare. A Sega representative said the game is too big for Nintendo’s downloadable service, but didn’t rule out a Wii U Ware version.