When I sat down to play Sonic Rivals next to the subway area of the PSP section at E3, I didn't know what to expect. I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Sonic anymore, to be honest, so with the presence of Shadow in the game, to say I was a bit put off is a big understatement. However, I decided to give it a whirl, and immediately after I was glad I did.
Sonic Rivals is a homage to the grassroots Sonic of old; it is a mixture of 2D side-scrolling action that takes place in 3D rendered environments. Essentially, the goal of the game, from what little I could gleam from the single level that was playable in the E3 demo build, was to defeat your opponent in a race from Point A to Point B, with your opponent being Shadow and the player taking up control of Sonic. It felt like the old Sonic, however the inclusion of what appeared to be small vaulting pads brought the game to a halt.
These pads, which were small and brown, yet noticeable enough on the map, upon being touched would cause Sonic to do a front somersault over them. In timing your pressing of the X button while he slowly vaults, you can shoot Sonic in any direction, with the ultimate goal of sending him down an alternate, and hopefully faster, path. On my second play through of the demo, I nearly avoided every one of these and kept the speed going, however I was bested by Shadow and realized that however mismatched I felt their inclusion was, these pads were neccesary in order to succeed. Without these pads' presence, however, the game played exactly like the Sonic titles of old.
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