|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sonic Team||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Sonic has been with us for about 16 years now, and in those 16 years he has had his ups and downs. Some would say that the life of Sonic and his pals is close to being over, but with this latest edition into the hedgehog's mythos - I say he just got an extra man. Everyone knows that Sega has been looking for that one thing to spark the interests of Sonic fans again. Thank you, Wii, for providing that spark. Now you will be able to immerse yourself into the world of Sonic like never before. However, you might want to bring your gym shorts along for this.
Our story begins with Sonic napping in a library. I know that does not seem like his character, but just go with it. Shahra the Ring Genie, the central character of the story, wakes him and tells him of Erazor Djinn, the main bad guy of this installment. Erazor Djinn is sucking all of the power from the Arabian Knights book causing the pages to disappear. Shahra further tells Sonic that if he is not stopped, his power will be unleashed onto the real world unless a "blue hedgehog," according to legend, can stop him. Shahra grants Sonic the ability to travel into the book's world using a special ring. Armed with his signature speed, Sonic takes part in an epic quest to save the missing pages and set the world of the Arabian Nights tales back in order.
After Sonic travels inside the Arabian Nights book, Erazor approaches Sonic and he is shot in the chest with a fire arrow, which is harsh enough, but it is also slowing burning out, like a fuse. Erazor then tells Sonic that he will remove the arrow if he will help him collect the seven Secret Rings scattered throughout the worlds in the book. Failure to do so, (no comma, add "will cause") Sonic will "forfeit" his life by failing to stop the fire from burning out. With his life on the line, Sonic heads off to locate these "Secret Rings" for Erazor and Shahra decides to go along on Sonic's journey, feeling guilty for getting him involved. Therefore, Sonic sets off into the Arabian Nights world with goals of locating the seven Secret Rings. Along the way, Sonic will uncover the truth behind Erazor and the real danger the Arabian Nights world face and, ultimately, Sonic's world as well.
In Sonic and the Secret Rings, you will have two different ways to play - Adventure, which is the single player story mode, and Party Mode, which allows up to four additional people to join in on the crazy antics of the blue hedgehog and friends. You will be able to choose from Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Shadow, Cream, Silver, and Blaze. Shadow, Cream, Silver, and Blaze are unlockable through the Special Book mode of the game. Through the Special Book mode, you can unlock 225 bonuses by completing certain requirements in this book that contains pages upon pages of unlockables. Aside from the unlockable characters, the Special Book also enables you to unlock movies of the making of the game, cutscenes, video interviews, concept art, music from the game, and even new secret modes! Players will also have to locate hidden gold and silver medals scattered throughout each of the stages. The Gold and Silver medals can then be used to unlock bonuses and other specials from the Special Book. Your points earned in Party Mode can purchase magic carpets from the World Bazaar and they can be traded in for specific unlockables that can be used in Party Mode. Such unlockables include new mini-games, new boards, and a new mode, to name a few.
If you are expecting to leave a fiery blue streak right from the get go, you will be disappointed. Sega has incorporated an element some would consider horribly wrong for the series. You will be able to use a character-building element that will energize the player to continuously play in order to make Sonic faster, and eventually better all the way around. This element could have fallen flat to gamers, but here how it works. Not only does it increase the player control over Sonic like never before, but it also opens a path to a new venue for Sega to explore with future Sonic installments.
Graphically speaking, Sonic and the Secret Rings is probably the best-looking title in the series. I know that maybe an unfair statement to his 2D days, but that is not what I was referencing. The Secret Rings does not hold anything back as far as the cosmetics of the game. Sonic has never looked this smooth and the sleek updated designs don't just stop with Sonic; everyone has received a nice touch up, including the levels of the game. Like most of the previous Sonic titles, the vibrant color schemes are present and this title expunges all of the detailed vigor into your retinas. Sega has really raised the bar on their flagship character. While the music and the voice acting are very much similar to the other titles, this would not be a fault. The over the top acting and the music, downright annoying at times, is what makes Sonic, well, Sonic. Therefore, if you have been a fan of the blue hedgehog this long, you can deal with it. After all, that is why the television has a mute button.