Sonic’s transition from lovable 2D console mascot to sarky 3D speedster has been far from smooth, as I’m sure you’re well aware. While there have been some additions to the Blue Blur’s back catalogue that his rabid fan base has enjoyed in recent years like Sonic Generations, the majority have been less than inspiring. This year, Sega is looking to make everyone that loves the chili dog eating rodent happy with the more modern-feeling Sonic Forces, and the game that would’ve launched on the Mega Drive 5 in 2002, Sonic Mania.
I’m one of those that grew up on the Mega Drive titles, so Sonic Mania naturally resonates with me. The original quadrilogy was terrific at the time, introducing new elements to the series up until it’s finale Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Many of these return in Mania, like the item boxes that give you elemental shields. Upon starting the newly refurbished Green Hill Zone, I couldn’t help but smile as I was transported back to a simpler time when the hardest decision in my life was whether to have Coco Pops or Frosties for breakfast. This is the direct sequel to Sonic & Knuckles that fans have wanted since 1994. Honestly, it’s probably better than what you’ve envisioned in your head.
As Sonic is racing through the Chemical Plant Zone, you hear a fuller version of the instantly recognisable tune, and watch on as his spines blow in the wind. The sprites of the titular ‘hog, Knuckles, and Tails, look terrific, as do the 16-bit-esque backdrops. On top of the already mentioned classic zones, I got to play a bit of the new Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon zones, too, which fit right in with the modified Genesis stages.
Source: Video Gamer