Sonic The Hedgehog has been around since 1991. He’s ultra-fast, has a lot of attitude and a big, big heart. Sonic has had his ups and downs when it comes to starring in decent games. Sometimes, as in Sonic Rush Adventure (DS), he’s speedy and on target. At other times, he’s just so-so. Now he’s back in Sonic and the Black Knight, which is supposed to be something like Sonic meets The Legend of Zelda.
|SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT
Sega for Wii
Replay Value: 7.0
Overall Score: 7.0
Pros: Very impressive graphics, signature super-fast Sonic play, nice acting.
Cons: Nunchuk control is slow. Wii-mote control is imprecise. Needs more variety in gameplay.
MARVELOUS MERLINA MOVIE
The game starts out with an amazing movie that’s funny, dramatic and sets up what looks like a thrilling adventure. A wizard named Merlina calls Sonic from way up in the skies. He falls down through a cloud, down, down to earth with two chili dogs in his hands. And he won’t help anyone until he finishes his meal!
Unfortunately, the artwork and acting is the best thing about Black Knight. After the movies, you’ll see nice touches in the levels, such as frogs that hop out of Sonic’s way and castle walls that Sonic bounces off of like a pinball. And the voice acting for Merlina makes you think the story is original, even though it’s a retelling of the King Arthur story with role-playing game elements thrown in.
As the story unfolds, Merlina tells you that the once noble Arthur is now corrupt and Sonic must stop this arrogant king.
You go along really fast with a decent tutorial. You’ll use the nunchuk to move around and the Z button to block and knock minor monsters out of the way, like fat boars. Press the Wii-mote’s ‘A’ button once and Sonic jumps up. Press it twice and he speeds powerfully forward.
Move the Wii-mote in a slicing, slashing motion to use his sword (although the prompt on screen suggests that you move it up and down). Caliburn, the sword, also talks and calls Sonic “Knave The Hedgehog.” (Sonic hates this. )
The first levels in Black Knight are kind of cool. You collect rings by moving through fairies that look like fireflies. Along the way, you’ll collect items and powerups in the role-playing portion of the game. You’re also timed in the levels. The faster you collect the rings and hit targets, the better your score will be.
But here’s the problem with Sonic and the Black Knight: the controls. You just can’t be precise. For instance, the nunchuk’s stick doesn’t move the famous blue animal right or left quickly enough. That means you’ll miss picking up rings and miss hitting targets. You’ll want to go back to get them all, which adds tons of time to complete the level.
The Wii-mote can be wonky, too. Early on, you have a duel with the Black Knight in which you have to time your hit exactly to when he begins to hit you with his blade. There’s one moment in which your hit doesn’t work because you’re supposed to increase the speed of your slash. But nothing in the tutorial informs you of the speed differences. You might have to go back three or four times to complete what should be an easy early level feat. Plus, the boss takes back too many of the rings you’ve collected each time he hits you.
In the fight with the huge boss dragon, it takes way too long to hop on the dragon’s head to chop off his horn. You have to move way back, double tap the A button and then maybe you’ll get close enough to the top of his head to swing your sword.
A FEW FINAL WORDS
Sonic slides up, down and all around this medieval world with supersonic speed, but you really can’t control him. It’s done for you much of the time. Sonic will climb walls, and you can save him from falling off a ledge by shaking the remote. Also, you’ll speed along in a fair number of cool vehicles like horse-drawn wagons.
You’ll collect a lot of items such as armor and flowers, which appear at the end of each level. Use these when other characters become playable toward the middle of the game. But it doesn’t seem like equipping your hero with this stuff makes much difference in how the game plays.
It takes about 10 to 12 hours to play Sonic and the Black Knight. You can go back to each level to better your score, which adds a fair amount of replay value. Plus, you can play any of 10 games such as Ring Battle and Battle Phantoms in the multiplayer mode, which allows up to three of your buds to join in. There’s no online play, however.
As Sonic and the Black Knight stands, it’s just a decent game. Sega should have made the controls more precise. They should have given you a careful and complete tutorial. And they should have mixed up the gameplay some more, too.
If you’re on the fence about Black Knight, do yourself a favor and rent it first. Better yet, try Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (Xbox 360, PS3), a collection of 40 old-school games that includes six early Sonic games at a nice price.