For the curiously blue hedgehog's 20th birthday, SEGA is rolling out the red carpet in Sonic Generations, with two different iterations being released for the 3DS and consoles next month. The handheld version was on hand at Comic Con, showing four levels and a boss in all of Sonic's 2.5D wonder, and it felt good to have the classic Sonic feel back in my hands.
The console version may have a play style similar to that of Sonic Unleashed, with a 2D/3D mix, but the 3DS Generations is strictly 2D. The demo (grab the console one now on XBLA or PSN) featured the remade zones of Green and Mushroom Hill, as well as a boss known as Big Arm. Sonic's sense of speed, as it was in Sonic Colors DS, remains true and he moves lightning fast, a much better formula than the slower feeling 3D iterations. The beautifully remade zones fly by, highlighting the level of detail each stage has gotten, losing none of their flare or originality. The same graphical makeover befits Sonic and his enemies very well, and they've never looked better against the 2D backdrops.
Generations plays very similarly to the Sonic Rush series, utilizing the same Tension Gauge that builds and allows Sonic to boost forwards at blazing speeds, surrounded by a blue aura that defeats all in his path. It's fun, fast, and fits the Sonic style to a tee, where rings are both health and points, and includes classic power ups like invincibility and sprint shoes, which definitely last longer now. No fancy tricks or swords, just sheer, fast-paced, erratic side-scrolling entertainment to keep the fingers moving.
The boss fight was definitely a major improvement over the Dr. Robotnik flying, 3-hit-ships. Big Arm provided a great challenge that required all of Sonic's abilities to defeat. He threw a variety of attacks, and it took a couple of attempts to defeat him, mostly due to the fact that he took quite a few hits to take down. Big Arm may not carry the same quirks as Robotnik does, but he sure was a bunch more fun to fight.
Though it looks like the 3DS version will be the better of the two, if you grab the PSN or XBLA demo you'll get a grasp on how the game will feel. If you were a fan of Sonic Colors on the DS, or the Sonic Rush series, Genertions can't be more highly recommended and will take the series to new heights. Be sure to grab your white and reds and start collecting rings on November 1st.