Sonic Rush Adventure First Look

The blindingly fast 2D action continues as Sega's feisty hedgehog hits the Nintendo DS in a new sequel.

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It will be a sad day when new handheld game systems are able to match the 3D graphics capabilities of the big-boy consoles. Then we might not see anymore side-scrolling 2D nostalgia trips, such as Sonic Rush Adventure, a follow-up to 2005's Sonic Rush, which is currently barreling toward the Nintendo DS. Rush Adventure is set in a tropical island chain and will see Sonic blazing trails from left to right as he traverses all kinds of brightly colored environments, only some of which appear to actually have a tropical theme to them. The game will pit Sonic and friends against a nefarious dude named Captain Whisker, who we didn't see firsthand but sounds to be of the decidedly piratical sort.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

The game is played entirely in 2D in typical Sonic fashion, but Sonic and team will employ the DS' modest 3D capabilities to pull off some nifty effects during most levels. One section had Sonic grabbing onto a swinging hook that would swing toward the camera as it brought him up to the next-highest platform. Another area featured pistons that Sonic had to avoid; getting hit by one would launch him abruptly toward the camera, almost as if he was going to slam into it. Mostly, though, this looks like typical Sonic gameplay that's been satisfying platforming fans for nearly two decades now.

However, there will be a few additions to the gameplay. Sonic will have four tricks he can perform in midair that you'll access with the touch screen, and each time you perform one of these tricks, you'll help build up a tension meter. Once that meter is full, you can use it to perform a speed burst that ought to come in handy in various situations. The hang glider that made an appearance in Sonic Rush is back, only this time you'll be able to exercise a level of control over its flight. And finally, Sonic will have access to five boats of varying types that he can use to travel from one island to the next. You'll see an overhead map of all the islands you've discovered so far, and you'll plot your course from one island to the next by drawing a line on the map with the stylus. Then, once you're following that general course, you'll use the stylus to move your boat left or right during a third-person action stage in which you'll hit ramps and pick up rings. The island chain will even feature some hidden islands that you'll end up discovering as you sail from one known island to the next.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Sega's literature also says Sonic Rush Adventure will include a multiplayer mode composed of "wireless racing and mission-based battles" that will work via either local wireless or Internet play, though we didn't get to see those in action. But even without multiplayer, Rush Adventure is looking like a solid new entry in the 2D Sonic series, and while the DS hardware is still kicking, we'll gladly take as many of those as we can get.

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