Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 zips to XBLA this week

Xbox Live Update: Sega's 2D blue blur revival available this week alongside Games on Demand release of Gears of War 2; Alan Wake "The Writer" DLC, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II demo now out.

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No Caption Provided It's a busy week on Xbox Live, as everything from a blue hedgehog to a flashlight-toting mystery solver makes its way to Microsoft's virtual storefront this week.

Leading the pack is Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (1,200 MS points, or $15). The title is due out on Wednesday and casts players as the legendary blue blur, zipping, zooming, and collecting coins around all-new 2D environments. The title picks up right where Sonic and Knuckles left off and tasks players with defeating Dr. Eggman's most devious schemes. The title was first announced in 2009 as Project Needlemouse and was scheduled to arrive this summer before suffering a delay.

Sonic is now an HD hedgehog.
Sonic is now an HD hedgehog.

Switching to the Games on Demand hub, Epic Games' popular shooter Gears of War 2 will be available as a full-game download on Wednesday. Microsoft did not announce a price point for Gears of War 2. The title follows a band of soldiers fighting against a massive invasion by the underground dwellers known as the Locust.

The title also boasts a multiplayer component where players can fight against each other in a number of game modes on numerous maps. For these players Microsoft is offering the All Fronts downloadable content pack--which contains all previously released DLC packs--for 400 MS points or $5.

Gamers looking to add to their existing games can download new content for Remedy Games' mystery action title Alan Wake today. Available to download now is The Writer (560 MS points, or $7). The content is a new mission pack that thrusts Wake into new nightmarish scenarios. It follows July's The Signal and is the final mission pack coming to the game.

On the demo front, Microsoft added a sampler for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II today. The trial gives players a first look at the next chapter in the franchise. Specifically, the demo casts players as Starkiller and lets them try their hand at his new dual-lightsaber attacks. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II hits shelves on October 26. The original Force Unleashed sold more than 7 million units.

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