Sonic Rush!

With Sonic making a somewhat triumphant return to 2D gaming on the Gameboy Advance it was only a matter of time since the release of the Nintendo DS that Sega's mascot would embrace the new dual-screen hardware.

Sonic Rush was developed by Dimps who had produced the Advance games under the supervision of Sonic Team.

Scoring rave reviews and positive reaction from gamers alike earning 90%+ scores it is heralded as a return to form for Sonic-gaming with some claiming it to be the best Sonic game ever!

Sonic Rush Case Sonic Rush Case

Double the screens...Double the excitement "One screen's just not enough for Sonic the Hedgehog as he rushes, races and dashes between BOTH screens with dizzying dives, near vertical curves, extreme jumps and brain-twisting loops over 14 massive levels! Prepare for a whole new dual screen experience, it's a real Sonic rush to the head!"

STORY

An encounter with Dr Eggman which leaves him hastily retreating leaves behind a mysterious emerald, very similar to a Chaos Emerald. As Sonic goes to check it out it is promptly whisked from under his nose. A figure of a lady then quickly vanishes.

GAMEPLAY

Rush returns to the roots that made Sonic gameplay so bloody good and multiplies the coolness factor with a punch in speed (as the title implies) and abilities for the current generation. All the other usual Sonic gameplay rules apply.

When playing normal levels both screens are utilised for action. This can be odd at first but easily adapted to. The bottom screen is also utilised at times for characters and the game's story.

Leaf Storm water Palace Mirage Road

Leaf Storm

Water Palace

Mirage Road

Rush introduces a new character Blaze; the fiery guardian of the Sol Emeralds. She is in hot pursuit of Dr Eggman who has captured them. She is playable after clearing all 3 acts of Zone 1 (Leaf Storm) with Sonic.

Sonic and Blaze

Changes in the gameplay between the two characters are slight along with a minor remix to the games music.

Other characters returning are Tails, Cream, Amy and Knuckles and naturally Eggman who also has a mysterious doppelganger in the form of Eggman-Nega.

Tension Gauge

New to the traditional game play is the Tension Gauge and Tricks. The Tension Gauge is a repository of energy used for Super Boosts of speed. The gauge charges when a trick is executed or an enemy is defeated to a maximum limit of 300% at which a jingle will play. It drops over time or when you take a hit.

Tricks are a cool twist on the traditional style of play. At critical points such as grinding or rebounding off a spring you can execute actions (stunts) that earn points. For examples Sonic can perform Hop Jumps and Blaze can perform Axel Tornados though each has several. The points you earn from doing the same trick will decrease until you earn nothing.

At the end of each act you will be given a ranking between S (best) or A-C (worst) based upon Time Score, Tricks Bonus, Ring Bonus and Speed. Your progress through the game is automatically saved.

A very basic 2 player mode is also available.

Graphically the game is an advancement on the quality of visuals seen in Sonic Advance. Sonic and Blaze are rendered as polygons against the colourful and detailed scenery and boss fights happen in funky 3D arenas. The themes and styles are pretty classic for the series and it all moves along pretty flawlessly at speed.

Leaf Storm Boss (Killing Hit!)

Rush goes with a change in the style of music which fits extremely well with the style and action. See below for some soundtrack info.

The game does represent a challenge comparable to the Advance series of games and that is certainly a step up for those used to playing the original 16-Bit games.

Rewards for completing the game are unlockable Time Attack and Sound Test Options which become available once the game has been completed with a character. Not all songs will be unlocked however. For the full content you must complete the game with all the Chaos Emeralds and have defeated the last boss.

The controls system is simple enough and the responsiveness is excellent.

The D-pad LEFT and RIGHT are run. UP and DOWN scroll the screen for a short section depending on which screen your character is in.

Buttons A or B are jump. Sonic has his usual jump whilst Blaze performs an Axel jump.

Buttons X or Y are Boost. This is a burst of speed and is only available while there is charge in the Tension Gauge. When Sonic is on the ground this will give a Super Boost or a Fire Boost for Blaze

Holding DOWN and pressing Button A or B (jump) will give Sonic the classic Spin Dash. Blaze will perform a Burst Dash where she spins and blasts enemies in her path.

Jumping and pressing the R Bumper in mid-air will produce a Jump Dash for Sonic where he. Blaze will perform a Burst Hover. This is only available while there is charge in the Tension Gauge.

START pauses the game.

On the top screen will be your time, amount of rings, number of lives and the Tension Gauge.

All the usual Sonic items (ring monitors, speed boots and shields etc) are in each level with a few additions that top-up the tension gauge or restore it to maximum. There is also the entrances to the Special Stages in the form of Spatial Generators.

5 Rings Bonus - 5 ring bonus.
Random Rings Bonus - a random amount of rings out of 1,5,10,30 or 50.
Barrier - protects from a single hit
Magnetic Barrier - protects from a single hit and magnetically attracts nearby rings.
Floating Item Box - Touch to receive a random item.
Invincible - Will make Sonic or Blaze invincible for a short period of time.
Tension Bonus - Will increase the tension bar by 1 bar.
Max Tension Bonus - Will instantly fill the tension bar to maximum.
1-UP - An extra life
Checkpoints - act as restart points should you die.
Spatial Generators - are entrances to the Special Stage.

All the usual dangers are about. Aside from Eggman's robots (of which there will be plenty this time) will be spikes, plenty of bottomless pits (one of the few complaints about the game), showers of boulders and the need to find air when underwater. Some sections will close you in until you have defeated a specified number of enemies.

A new danger will be Eggman's balls which are dropped behind you on a slope. You will need plenty of boost in order to get away outrun the danger.

When you take a hit rings will scatter across the screen as with all the Sonic games, however, the more you get hit the further and higher your rings will fly thus making them harder to retrieve.

Gimmicks inside the levels will include giant loops that span 2 screens, bungee ropes, parachutes and hang gliders to name but a few.

All scores and rankings are automatically saved and Rush allows the replaying of levels for improving scores or more opportunities for replaying the Special Stages.

A zone map allows you to select which zones to replay. You can only replay those zones which have already been completed. Your highest ranking will be saved.

SPECIAL STAGES

Sonic Rush Special Stage

Special Stages are entered via Generators that are scattered throughout each act and only Sonic can enter them. There is usually more than 1 entrance per act. You can only play the same stage however. There are 7 special stages in total (1 per zone).

To use them, jump and grab onto and then hold X or Y and speed boost around it. With enough power in the tension meter a dimensional distortion will form.

Essentially they a new version of the half-pipe from Sonic 2 and are played on the touch screen using the stylus. Sonic moves as you draw. The top screen will display progress.

Your goal is to collect a specified amount of rings before a checkpoint. This value increases as you progress. Failure to get the specified amount of rings means ejection. Mines along the way will make you either miss rings or loose some by taking a hit. Later courses will have enemies that will attack. They can be defeated by double touching them with the stylus. Some enemies will need more than 1 hit and a ring is earned for each enemy destroyed. Obviously destroying enemies may detract from collecting rings passing by.

A trick spring will launch Sonic into the air. Numbers will appear at positions on the touch screen. You have a very limited amount of time shown by a depleting gauge to touch these in ascending order. Your reward will be a bonus amount of rings depending on your performance.

Upon completing a special stage Sonic is rewarded with a Chaos Emerald and bonus points.

2 Player Games

Rush uses single card and multi-card wireless play. The game is basically a race between Sonic and Blaze through levels that have already been completed by either player. No boss fights can be selected. The winner is the first to complete the act. The battle will end in a draw if neither finishes before the time limit.

In a battle, the bottom screen will show your relative positions in the act.

If you should die you will restart the entire level. Players can obstruct each other through use of the items that populate the act. These are:

Random Rings Bonuses - rings 1, 5, 10, 30 or 50.
Slow - slows down your opponent.
Max Tension Bonus - maxes out your Tension Gauge and your opponents is depleted.
Confusion - you opponent is out of control for a short period.
Attract - Bring your opponent to the area you currently are.

GAME OPTIONS

There are very few options to adjust:

Player Data - View records of performances of in Battle Play and Time Attack.
Difficulty - Toggle between Easy and Normal.
Time Limit - Toggle the 10 minute time limit for completing an act on or off.
Sound Test - Listen to the music and sound effects in the game. This only becomes available after completing the game with either character.
Delete Save Data - Delete all player data.
Download Demo - Allows for friends to download a demo of the game for play on their DS.

LEVELS

There are two different routes through the game depending on which character you play. Each zone has 3 acts; with 2 normal levels and a boss act on the 3rd.

Boss acts are played only on the top screen and no speed boosts or tricks can be performed. As the fight happens Tails encourages you via the bottom screen and the number of his needed to defeat Eggman is displayed.

The Extra Zone (selectable from the character select screen) is available after collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds and Sol Emeralds (14 in total), completing Blaze's zone bosses and completing both final bosses. You can play as either Super Sonic or Burning Blaze. The zone starts with Sonic flying through an asteroid field (like The Doomsday in Sonic and Knuckles) and catching up with Eggman in one of his more advanced machines. Your ring count depletes constantly but there are always rings about to collect.

Once defeated Eggman retreats into a space station where Eggman Nega will come out on the bottom screen and battle Burning Blaze. This continues until both are defeated.

Sonic's Route

Leaf Storm
Water Palace
Mirage Road
Night Carnival
Huge Crisis
Altitude Limit
Dead Line
Final Zone
Extra Zone

Blaze's Route

Night Carnival
Leaf Storm
Mirage Road
Water Palace
Altitude Limit
Huge Crisis
Dead Line
Final Zone
Extra Zone

The screenshots will be available as soon as a fully working DS emulator becomes available!

CHEATS AND TIPS

Unlocking X-Zone

By completing Extra Zone in Time Attack you records will be wiped but Acts 1-4 of X-Zone will be unlocked and playable with Sonic or Blaze.

Getting S-Ranks

It is possible to obtain S Ranks by maxing out the Trick Score (20,000 points). When you find a rail keep grinding back and forth and executing tricks. The score does not decrease like with other tricks.

Now try to die without touching any restart markers. When you restart the stage (preferably at the beginning of the level) just blast through as fast as possible.

SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack to Sonic Rush comes from the acclaimed artist Hideki Naganuma and Teruhiko Naka who's previous work is well known to Sega fans. He is known mostly for the soundtrack to Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future.

The official soundtrack to the game entitled Original Groove Rush includes 45 tracks of the music in the game including 7 remakes of the DS tracks. It was released in November 2005.

Original Groove Rush
Original Groove Rush

The following sample is from the first seven tracks in the game. (MP3 Format)

Sonic Rush Soundtrack

LINKS

Official Website

A page offering some screenshots, movies and desktop images.

http://www.sonic-rush.net/en/index.html

Sonic Rush at Sonic World

A brilliant page with lots of media including some pre-release content.

http://www.sonicworld.net/site/games/ds/rush/

Review at IGN

http://uk.ds.ign.com/articles/666/666139p1.html

EMULATION

It is not currently possible to play Sonic Rush to any satisfaction with an emulator. A good DS emulator is still a while off at the time of writing.

MISC INFO

Related:

Sonic Rush (Games of the Month Archive)

Sonic Index

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