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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sonic 3D Blast

This article is about the Sega Genesis/Sega Saturn/PC game. For the Game Gear game, see Sonic Blast.
Sonic 3D Blast (alternatively Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island, or according to the minimized PC version, Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies' Island) is a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that appeared in several different platforms. The game was developed by Traveller's Tales instead of the traditional developer Sonic Team.

The game was released in Europe for the Sega Mega Drive in November 1996. The Sega Genesis version was released in North America later that month. The game was released on the Sega Saturn in North America in the very same month to make up for the cancellation of Sonic X-treme (which had been intended as the Saturn's killer app for the 1996 holiday season); the game was literally ported in a month with FMVs, highly spruced up graphics (including an all 3D special stage, considered by many fans to be the best special stage in the series) and an entirely new, Red Book audio soundtrack by Richard Jacques (who would later also produce the soundtrack for Sonic R). It was then released in Europe for the Saturn in February 1997. The Saturn version of the game was released for the PC in North America in September 1997, with the videos and soundtrack intact, as well as the notable addition of a save feature, but lacking some of the Saturn's effects (like the fog in Rusty Ruins) and a dumbed-down special stage, using sprites from the Genesis version but with the basic concept of the Saturn version. The PC version came to Europe on September 25, 1997. Finally, the game came out for the Saturn in Japan on October 14, 1999 (the same date that Sonic Adventure International was released in Japan).

The game places Sonic in an isometric projection view in a de facto 2D environment. He must collect Flickies and bring them to the big warp ring in order to advance in a zone. Each zone consists of 3 acts. There are 10 or 15 Flickies to rescue in Acts 1 and 2 (barring Panic Puppet). In Act 3 of each zone, you face Dr. Eggman in one of his machines.

The ROM used on both sides of the pond is exactly the same. The title differs depending on which country the game is in. In North America, the title is Sonic 3D Blast. In Europe, the title is Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island. The European title was used in Japan. The PC version, if minimized (for instance, if a user Alt+Tabs), uses a combination of both names, though the combined name is rarely used, with people generally favoring one region's name over the other.


Zones
Green Grove Zone
Rusty Ruin Zone
Spring Stadium Zone
Diamond Dust Zone
Volcano Valley Zone
Gene Gadget Zone
Panic Puppet Zone
The Final Fight

Criticisms
Upon its release, Sonic 3D Blast was largely a commercial failure and is considered by Sonic fans and Sega fans in general to have been partly responsible for the poor performance of the Saturn in Western markets compared to the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. For many fans today, it continues to serve as a grim reminder of Sonic's darkest era.
This game is often criticized for not being true to the core Sonic games, due to its lack of speed and rather clumsy controls (problems mostly caused by its isometric format). One high note is that the music (mostly the Saturn version) is considered to be some of the best Sonic music, and several tracks from the Genesis version were remixed in Sonic Adventure.

12:19 PM

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