Sonic Rush

  • Original Platform: DS
  • Where to get: Second hand

The birth of the “boost” gameplay in Sonic games. The big addition to Sonic Rush was the boost and trick system. You gain boost power by destroying enemies and performing tricks after jumping from springs. This makes Sonic Rush an incredibly fast, which feels amazing when it goes smoothly, but unfortunately has its own share of problems.

As this is a DS game, it uses both screens, with Sonic moving between them as though it’s one giant screen. This allows for more vertical movement, which does look great, but also has the side effect on how short the screen is from left to right, which is a major problem when combined with the boost as you have no idea what is coming up until it is too late. And Sonic Rush loves to abuse this flaw with traps, enemies, obstacles and pits. There’s one moment in particular where there’s a long, fast section followed by a “crusher” and a wall. Unless you already know it’s there, you will be crushed and will die.

Get a game over in Sonic Rush and you’ll have to start the act from the beginning, so these unfair traps will lead to a lot of repeating levels, unless you choose to repeat the first few levels to grind lives – it’s an added unnecessary frustration. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to the boss battles, so you can restart there if you run out of lives.

The bosses in Rush are some of the worst in the franchise. There’s a lot of waiting around for the boss to do something, where they will conduct attacks – some of which takes ages to happen. Some attacks will leave the boss vulnerable for one hit, others will not. And you need 8 hits (although this is reduced to 6 if you select easy mode, which I highly recommend as this is the only change that happens when you select easy). The boss fights take ages due to this, and some attacks can be instant deaths, so you have to start from the beginning. Sonic Rush also introduces a slight change to the rings system of Sonic which becomes very clear with the bosses: the more you get hit, the further your rings will fly, making it harder to collect them.The Casino Night boss is the only fun boss, as it has a spring on it where you can do a carefully timed jump to hit the boss as an optional extra way to cause damage.

While this write-up has been fairly negative, Sonic Rush is still incredibly good fun, combining tricks and boosting works well when it goes smoothly, and I really like the little second jump Sonic can do to reach better routes. The music is also wonderful. I can’t tell what is being sang in some of them, but it’s all incredibly catchy and it will be stuck in your head for days after playing it.

Sonic Rush is more flawed than I originally remember, but there’s still a fun Sonic experience here. I think a modern port would do wonders for it, expanding the screen sideways (but keeping the vertical view as high) would make obstacles far less annoying, and possibly some improvements to the bosses.

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