Sonic spin-offs show up in stores

Sega's Shadow the Hedgehog hits home consoles, while Sonic Rush gets touchy-feely on the DS.

It's a two-pronged, hedgehog-helmed assault on stores today as Sega has announced the release of Sonic Rush on the Nintendo DS and Shadow the Hedgehog on the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox.

Sonic Rush, starring the original sneaker-sporting speedster, is sharply reminiscent of the side-scrolling action of Sonic games past, but it also makes use of the DS's unique hardware.

"Sonic Rush combines the gameplay finesse and level design of the classic 2D Sonic titles with fully 3D character models, bosses, and effects," said Sega of America vice president of marketing Scott A. Steinberg. "The dual screen playfield on the Nintendo DS makes it easier than ever to follow the action, and the stylus works perfectly with the traditional chaos emerald minigames."

When word spreads of a powerful collection of stones called sol emeralds, Sonic teams up with newcomer Blaze the Cat in order to secure the emeralds and prevent them from being used for evil. Sonic and Blaze take divergent paths through the game, which gives players different storylines to follow. Sega also included a two-player battle mode and unlockable secrets.

Over on the home consoles, Sonic's enigmatic counterpart Shadow the Hedgehog gets not only a game of his own, but gats as well. For the first time in a game set in the Sonic universe, players will be able to wield an array of weapons and choose whether to fight for good or evil.

An alien force is attacking the planet, and Shadow is on the hunt for the chaos emeralds that will bring the conflict to an end one way or another. It's up to players to decide which side Shadow will help as he bounces and blasts his way through a branching story mode with competitive two-player action and cameos from several Sonic mainstays.

Shadow the Hedgehog is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older and retails for $49.95. Sonic Rush is rated E for Everyone and retails for $34.95. For more on Sonic Rush, check out GameSpot's full review, or get the latest on Shadow with GameSpot's feature preview of the game.

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