On one of my trips to visit my brother in Ithaca, NY, we ran into one of his friends from the nearby town of Auburn.This friend told us of a game they liked to play back home, known as “junk tossing”.The way it works is that the players climb up to the roof of a barn, and then attempt to throw one another off of the barn onto a pile of junk.The “junk pile” generally consists of scrap metal, broken boards, plant trimmings, and whatever else happened to be laying around.It didn’t really matter if the stuff in the pile was sharp, or hard, or even coated in toxic chemicals – the only real safety concern when making up the junk pile was that it be tall enough to effectively break a fall from the roof.The winner of the game is whoever doesn’t land in the pile of junk (although this can be a bit misleading, as the rules are somewhat unclear about what happens if a contestant is thrown off the roof, but misses the pile of junk – we asked about this and the answer we got is such an event generally ends in a trip to the hospital).Of course, the whole thing has kind of a battle royale aspect to it, so it’s fully expected that throwees will climb back onto the roof and continue playing.And to add a little more drama to the event, bees like to build their nests in the junk pile, so people who get thrown onto the pile are generally treated to a bunch of stings as they make their way back up.Needless to say, Auburn sounds like pretty much the best town in the universe, though not all of us agreed.Another friend who overheard this story reacted by calling him an “absolute freak,” and asking “What do you do when you go to other towns? Do you walk around thinking ‘Where are the piles of junk?’ and ‘Why aren’t I being stung by bees?’”
The reason I bring all this up is because Sonic 3D Blast basically takes everything that made the previous Sonic games good and throws it off the roof of a barn onto a big pile of junk, filled with jagged metal and angry bees.Then it lights the pile of junk on fire.And then it throws some spoiled milk on top of that, just so that the big pile of flaming junk and bees smells really bad, too. Making this list forced us to make some pretty hard decisions, but believe me when I tell you that this wasn’t one of them.
In 3D, Sonic kinda just looks like an uninteresting Christmas ornament.
There really seems to have been a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the developers as to why people liked the Sonic games in the first place.It had a lot more to do with the actual game than its star character – despite what you may have heard, gamers aren’t inherently fascinated by punk-ass rodents that can run fast. But the games were straightforward, fast-paced, and had well-designed, sprawling levels with multiple routes, which turned out to be a pretty reliable recipe for fun. You didn’t have to think much about it – just jump in, start running, and enjoy.
Sonic 3D Blast has none of those things going for it.The isometric view makes lining up jumps and traveling through the levels an awkward process, which is frustrating and time consuming.The “escort mission” style of the gameplay puts a bigger emphasis on exploration than action and slows things down even further. At its worst, it’s a pain in the ass, and even at its best, it’s still boring.
Control: Sonic finally lives up to the reputation of having an attitude problem by thoroughly ignoring just about everything you tell him to do.
Graphics: Bring Sonic into the third dimension really helps showcase what a surreal and terrifying world he lives in, so as long as the game was going for kind of a horror angle, it totally nailed it.
Sound: Kind of hard to screw up the audio in a game with music and sound effects as iconic as Sonic’s, but the game deserves credit for trying anyway.
Final Verdict: What ultimately puts this game so high on the list is that it’s hard to imagine any way that it could possibly get any better.If Super High Impact had better control, it would still suck, but not quite as badly as it does.If the fighting in Shaq Fu was better, people might overlook how silly its story is. Sonic 3D Blast can’t be fixed like that because the flaws run too deep – its entire design is broken and ill-conceived. The only way to “fix” it would be to throw it out and start over.