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The series continues, but, like players, producers must also find a strategic balance (i.e. minimize the story/role playing elements).

Nintendo DS Review: Sonic Rush Adventure

Sonic Rush Adventure puts the blue-haired Sonic the Hedgehog, Blaze the Cat, Miles “Tails” Prower and Marine the Raccoon in battle against the antagonist pirate Captain Whisker and Johnny. High-speed action fans and role players (dialogue scenes can be skipped thankfully) can enjoy plenty through seven levels of extreme sports-themed action including a snowboarding avalanche (ala the XXX movie). The varied levels are fun though you won’t catch everything the first time through.

A good balance of patience (e.g. waiting for the hooks to launch you) and speed can get you through most 2D/3D mixed levels. New players to the series must know that pushing the direction arrows won’t always speed characters through levels. Strategy and technique becomes essential as most players will discover they must repeat the levels at some point while reaching save checkpoints. Players don’t need scuba gear to stay underwater longer, but long falls deep in the water will prompt restarts. Above in the air up there, the double-jump becomes more important (Up + R) as the levels progress. Springboard mushrooms give bonuses when you continuously twist and jump. They're also great if you need a break (players should definitely heed that motion/vertigo warning on this title).

Most levels have two stages then the boss fight. These 3D boss fights let you implement your cumulative skills plus some trial and error challenges. Many of the levels also have 3D elements including bouncers and levers that carry through the environment. Players can access different stages later (use the Y button) if they can’t complete all three at a time. Find other options including multiplayer/online, in the back right of Marine’s House with “Setter” (e.g. player name change, boss difficulty, time limit, clear data). The tutorials work well but most of the learning comes from replaying the levels and discovering/overcoming trouble spots.

Besides the usual ring-grabbing runs, producers incorporate storylines and dialogue cutscenes. These minor enhancers can slow down the fast-paced action at times, especially for older players. The driving music doesn't really make the dialogue exciting either as the temptation to skip it becomes greater and greater. Would recommend scrolling through only if you're fingers or eyes need a rest. Mapping out your course utilizes some pinpoint-stylus work. Just avoid the pink areas and exercise some patience. On the positive side, the action is doubled as Sonic gets some nifty vehicles for island-hopping including a submarine, hovercraft, and water bike, which is the first vehicle acquired (too bad it doesn't shoot like the others). Collect metals to upgrade to the next vehicle. The various marine attacks also create a lot of rapid-fire rampages on the sea where players achieve special bonuses. Players can even take to the air in hang gliding.

Wireless single-card download play (against someone who doesn’t have the game) and multi-card play (someone who does have the game) expand the game greatly (again see the Setter character in the back of the main island house). Players also get online play through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. Other notable extras include four different types of mini-games; a bonus set of chaos emeralds (seven total); an additional character to use (Blaze from the first Sonic Rush) as well an optional Mission system to unlock little extras like a statue or a dinosaur on the in-game island. The series continues, but, like players, producers must also find a strategic balance. Next time, minimize the story/role playing aspects because you’ve got solid gameplay here.


Sonic Rush Adventure is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoonish Violence.

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