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September 30 2010
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
14/10/2010SegaSegaDimps/Sonic Team
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Sonic bounces off one of the springs...
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Sonic crashes through a wall in Sonic 4!

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Sonic 4 will be on PS3 in 2010!
As a console gamer there is nothing more exciting then buying a new system and getting it home to see what it could do. Back in early 1989 I purchased an imported Japanese Sega MegaDrive which, given that the Internet didn't even exist, was an expense that someone 13 years of age shouldn't have to bear. To be honest I can't really remember which game I purchased with the system. It took another two years before Sega got a game, and as a result, a mascot that remains just as loved now, some 20 years later, then it did back then. That was, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog.

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Collecting 10 rings and targeting an enemy!
Sonic the Hedgehog was a 2D side-scrolling platformer which ran at a blistering pace and offered something every bit as exciting as Nintendo's Mario titles. Several sequels followed and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 would become the Megadrive's highest selling game with 6 million units sold. In recent years we have seen the character appear in hundreds of games, but the majority of recent 'key' titles have been 3D and remained so despite cries from gamers for a return to the franchises' 2D roots. And here we are... Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is in 2D, and looks bloody sensational too...

Originally known as Project Needlemouse this game is actually being co-developed by Dimps (who developed Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush) with some input from Sonic Team, but not series/Sonic creator Yuji Naka who has moved on to create a new development studio called Prope. The title will be downloadable only through the Playstation Store (or Nintendo WiiWare or 360 XBLA) and it's one of the first Triple-A titles on PS3 to be digital download only. The game will include a mixture of traditional side-scrolling platform levels, and of course Sonic will tear through these levels at blistering speed and use the Spin Dash move as well as using Homing Attacks on enemies. Special stages too will make a return in this sequel and it is believed that rather then rotate the world with the analogue stick you will be able to use the Dual Shock 3's tilt sensing controls.

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Sonic's 1080p visuals are gorgeous.
In terms of playable characters this game includes the following list: Sonic. Yep, that's it. Finally Sega have listened and learned that we don't really give a shit about many of the other characters in the universe. We love Sonic, and Sonic is what we'll get to play with. Huzzah!

Some other tidbits worth noting. The games levels will all be separately selectable from the main menu allowing you to go back and replay your favourite sections while the main villain returns, that being Dr. Eggman. Sega recently delayed the game from May 2010 to late 2010 to improve some aspects such as tuning down the 'floatiness' of the main character and to make the levels more free flowing.

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Sonic 4 is bright and colourful.
Visually Sonic 4 looks superb and will include 1080p visuals on the PS3. With these HD visuals the game looks super slick as you can see in the surrounding screenshots. What you can't see here is that the game runs at a blistering fast pace, we expect a 60fps frame rate, however this has not been confirmed.

We have to say that we haven't been this excited about a Sonic game since, well, probably one of the original MegaDrive titles back in the 16-bit era. Sure we've had some fun moments here and there in various titles, but nothing compares to the speed and fun from true side-scrolling version. Given that the full title is Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 we expect this to be the first in a series, but the good news is that being a downloadable title we also expect the game to be released at a cheaper price (then full retail titles). Expect the game to hit PSN in Mid-October 2010.