Level Select Thursdays: Emerald Coast

emeraldcoast

When you think of Sonic The Hedgehog, what do you think? You think about going faster faster faster and faster. Sonic since 1991 has become one of the most iconic characters in not only the world of video games, but pop culture itself. However after Sonic 3 and Knuckles, the blue blur himself struggled. With no big 3D game on the struggling Sega Saturn (outside of Sonic R and we don’t talk about that) there was a gap. Sonic’s rival Mario had already successfully made a huge leap into the 3D world with Mario 64. Now all eyes were on Sonic and fans had to wait till 1998 to understand what it means to go fast in 3D.

I have to first mention the music for this stage, while it isn’t the most memorable for 3D Sonic games or Sonic games in general, any person who played Emerald Coast back in either 1998 or the game cube version in the early 2000’s then you know the pleasant sound that this stage brings. It’s a weird combination of the calmness that the seaside can bring but it has the pumping action beats that Sonic will be known for not only in this game but his later 3D installments.

The level design by Sonic team is just amazing, they actually made a 2D sonic level and successfully brought it to a 3D plane. It’s not just the loops or the rings or even the enemy placements. It’s all starts with the colors. Everything pops off the screen and the stage feels like a Sonic stage  brought into the third dimension should feel.  Add the great little whale chase sequence that occurs halfway through the stage and it gives the player a small taste on what to expect later on in the game.

Sonic controls beautifully here, he doesn’t feel slow or unstable to control at most points. The spin dash works extremely well and it’s usefully if you’re trying to beat the stage in under a certain time, that is if you know how to handle it. Running alongside walls feels a bit wonky as you might have to time it perfectly in order to continue to maintain the momentum gained from anything previous. Only proof that while this level and overall game is amazing, it’s not exactly perfect. Luckily they perfected 3D Sonic games later on.

While this level is just awesome and was an eye opener for 1998, there are some problems with it. Now none of these problems are graphical as the game still looks great and seems to stand the test of time, but there are some camera issues which can lead you to your death. There were points that I even glitched right through the ground and drowned to death. Nothing game breaking, and it’s an early Dream Cast game so I can forgive it but this  can and most likely will likely happen to any player.

I encourage any fan of Sonic who hasn’t played this game to open your wallets. Now unless you own a dreamcast, the version you will be playing will be the Game Cube version, but it’s nothing to worry about. Go out and experience this game already.

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Posted on October 3, 2013, in Level Select Thursdays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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