While Generations HD takes a step forward, the 3DS version takes two steps back

User Rating: 6.5 | Sonic Generations 3DS
It's funny. For the last decade, Sonic was struggling to find himself on the console versions. Every major 3D Sonic release got panned and fans declared that Sega couldn't do anything right. Meanwhile, at the same time, Dimps kept making hits with the handheld titles such as the Advance trilogy and Rush duo. Years later, the roles have switched. Both versions of Sonic Colors were BOTH received well and now, Generations on the 360, PS3 and PC managed to finally give us a solid 3D Sonic title. However, while Generations HD is a step forward, the 3DS version, once again created by Dimps, is a step backwards.

The story hasn't changed at all from the console game, but the only major differences are 1) Sonic friends are all absent this time except for Tails and 2) there are no cutscenes, just text boxes. Basically, Sonic and Tails are getting ready for his birthday party when suddenly, a mysterious creature called the Time Eater captures Tails and swallows the world around him. Sonic wakes up in a white void and now, with the help of his past self, he must run through these familiar levels and restore time back to normal. If you played the console version, you might just skip most of the story since it's the exact same thing but toned down.

Much like its older brother, you are given two different Sonics to play with, each with their own unique gameplay style. First up is Classic Sonic, who represents the old Sonic games on the Genesis in both gameplay and design. I must admit, he does play more like classic Sonic than the 360 version. The physics are much closer to the real thing and both the jumping and rolling feel better. We finally have a replica of the classic games......until they gave him the homing attack. I'm not usually one to rage at small things like this but giving classic Sonic homing attack is just unnecessary, and it isn't needed here either. Other than that, Classic Sonic actually plays decently.

The other gameplay this game offers is Modern Sonic. Seeing as how this is the hand held version, it would be more appropriate that he plays more like the Rush games, of course (as opposed to Unleashed/Colors gameplay on the console). Much like the Rush games (and Colors DS), you can use the boost to blast your way through the stage as well as homing attack and stomp. There isn't really a whole lore more to say, it's just Sonic Rush again without anything new added, and inferior level design.

Besides the two gameplay styles that define Sonic the Hedgehog for the past 20 years, the levels also consist of stages from past Sonic games. The 3DS follows this same trend. In fact, the one reason to buy this one is because the level selection is actually different from the console counterpart. Both versions include Green Hill Zone but this time you get Casino Night (Sonic 2), Mushroom Hill (Sonic & Knuckles), Emerald Coast (Sonic Adventure), Radical Highway (Adventure 2), Water Palace (Rush) and Tropical Resort (Colors) instead. While none of these stages are bad by any means, there are a few problems. First off, if you noticed, there are less stages than the other version (which had 9). This version could have handled more than that, and the game feels shorter overall (and Green Hill can be beaten within a minute each). Why not include levels from the Advance trilogy or Rush Adventure? My other problem is the amount of copy/paste level design. What made the level design good on the 360/PS3 version is that each stage felt like a reimagined version of an existing level. On the 3DS version, the classic stages for classic Sonic are all practically the same exact levels from their respective games. Likewise, Water Palace and Tropical Resort feel very similar to the Rush and Colors counterparts. The rest of the levels are a little more original but nothing truly that noteworthy. Just decent levels to kill some time in on the go.

Completing both acts of each stage will unlock a special stage, which is a throwback to the special stages in Sonic Heroes.....only with better controls and no teammates following you. The goal is to run down a long pipe and chase after an emerald as fast as you can while dodging obstacles like bombs. You can also run into these bubble.....things and refill your boost meter. Like I said, thanks to better controls, these stages play much better than what Heroes had. Not to mention getting to them isn't as much of a hassle.

The bosses on the other hand are better than the console version. The problem with the bosses before were they were over too quickly and didn't quite take as much imagination. The bosses in this game, on the other hand, are much more fun and they actually take more than 4 hits. Not to mention, the Time Eater fight in this game is actually fun (unlike that terrible fight in the other version). I think the one that took the least amount of creativity is the Biolizard, which is almost exactly like the one in Adventure 2 but with a better camera angle. He's still decent though, as are the Big Arm robot (Sonic 3) and the Egg Emperor (Sonic Heroes). Dimps have always been good at boss fights so it's no surprise that they did a good job here...........

As long as we're not talking about the rival fights, which unfortunately aren't good. The rivals are the same three that you fought before (Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver) but they share one major flaw; they are all exactly the same. They basically play like Sonic Rivals only less fun. The goal in all 3 is to beat them to the end while dodging their attacks, like Metal Sonic's static, Shadow's chaos spear and cheating Silver's teleportation. The console had decent rival fights but here, it seems as though there was no effort, at least not as much as the boss fights.

As for other modes, there are missions to accomplish just like the 360/PS3 version. However, these also show a lack of effort. They're basically the typical missions like finishing the stage in a given amount of time, destroying a number of enemies, etc. Needless to say the mission variety is lacking compared to every other copy. Unlike the others though, the 3DS has a multiplayer mode that is.....ok. How it works is you enter a matchmaking playlist with one other player. Both of you pick either classic or modern Sonic and a stage. The game randomly picks one of the two selected Sonics and stages, assuming you both chose different things, and you pretty much just have to beat your opponent to the finish line. Wifi multiplayer is nice addition and the multiplayer can occasionally be fun...except for the speed traps. If you get caught in one of these, it traps you until you tap a button repeatably to get out. Multiplayer is ok overall though, and it isn't too difficult to find people.....for now.

Sonic Generations on the 360 and PS3 was a surprise and was good enough to be considered one of the best. It's a shame to see that Dimps didn't put as much love into the 3DS version like the other one, or the Rush games for that matter. While not a bad game by any means, the 3DS version just feels bare bones, whether you compare it to the HD one or not. I will say that for a game that was rushed, it does have its share of fun every now and again, but there isn't enough here to warrant a full price when you have better options for Sonic games and platformers on the system. I would recommend it to the hardcore Sonic fan that wants to play every stage in both Generations games. However, if you have access to a 360, PS3, or a decent gaming quality PC, you might be happier with that version instead.