Every SAGE I look forward to Fusion, its always a nice mix of decent graphics, solid engine, and fast pace game play with interesting gimmicks. Unfortunately this year I have to say I am a little let down.
First though will start with the positive the presentation is great. The menus look good the in game and animated cut scenes look amazing. The engine too was solid as ever though Sonic's jump did seem a bit low to me, Knuckles jump seemed fine.
This is when I have to get ugly, but realize I only do so because I know you can do better I've seen it many times in SAGEs past. First I'll talk about Sonic's stage. The graphics they don't mesh well the the sprite, more than that they are rather uninteresting. There's a couple flowers, a palmtree here and there and lots of brown dirt. The background also has a lot of brown in it doesn't really match the 3D tiles. The brown would probably be less of a problem if the check pattern colors contrasted each other more. Right now they just look... brown.
Beyond the graphics the level is rather boring the only gimmick is saw was that pushable vine thing and 1 grind post. This is a current gen style game and I'm not expecting tons of gimmicks like Genesis games. But something needs to be done to break up the spring, run, zoom tube pattern here. In the Rush games there lots of grind posts and constantly being launched into the air and there are gimmicks too even if the Rush gimmicks don't require you to do much they are at least visually stimulating. For that matter since it looks like you are going for a Sonic Adventure feel Emerald Coast had beaches, to green style level, the whale, the jump panels. You just need something so that the level doesn't feel as if its repeating itself over and over again.
Now to Knuckles the good news is the graphics are much better than Sonic's level the whole level feels nice the water breaks up the stage nicely and I don't feel as if I'm playing the same part over and over again. Gameplay wise Knuckles level has its own set of issues. First there are parts underwater where you have to climb and since your glide underwater doesn't protect you against enemies you are venerable almost all the time. So it leads to a situation where you have to climb up a wall only to be attacked by a badnik and you have no way to defend yourself. Even worse since the badnik won't chase you most of the time you have to try and try again. I climbed one wall 5 times and lost rings every time trying to get the badnik to come down after me so that I could jump or punch him. From his original position the badnik was just about invulnerable and I could not progress through the stage because of this. The level design of Knuckles stage is nice. Like I said the water breaks up the level a bit and the swings and branches are nice gimmick touches. But at the same time it felt incomplete I had arrows pointing me to places that I couldn't seem to reach and believe me I tried. Maybe the level is just really tricky but I was never able to get all three emeralds no matter how much I climbed and looked for alternative paths.
If this had been the first time I saw Fusion at SAGE I probably could have forgiven some of its flaws. But to watch it go from what it was in years past to this was quite disappointing.
This post has been edited by Overbound: 10 August 2010 - 03:14 AM