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Mixed or average reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 83
  2. Negative: 26 out of 83

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  1. Oct 14, 2010
    It's really easy for people to immediately dismiss Sonic The Hedgehog 4. It, at first, looks like a cheap attempt by Sega to cash in on nostalgia-charmed Sonic fans under the guise of a reboot. That first impression being strengthened particularly by the fact that they've done with before with 2006's "Sonic The Hedgehog" and the popular opinion of Sonic as a franchise has exponentially worsened after "Sonic Adventure 2". Even the more appreciated 2D handheld games have been maligned by hardcore fans for lacking in terms of level design and actually well designed platform segments. So "Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1" has quite a lot to prove by just being a Sonic game, let alone baring direct ties to the beloved original trilogy of classic Genesis titles.

    Here's the cool thing, the game is great. The first thing it's easy to see that the new installment of Sonic gets right is possibly the most important to the franchise, level design. The multi-tier'd levels, containing several levels of intertwined verticality with alternate paths, containing hidden items, or speed benefits are back in full effect. Gone are the bottomless pits and poorly placed enemy's that don't give you enough time to react of the Sonic Advanced series. Each level in Sonic 4 has been painstakingly crafted in expert detail and then some; with nice little touches like the flying cards in the second act of the casino zone. I've heard people argue that the control's are bad, these people are wrong, flat out. One common point in this side of the argument is that sonic controls too slow. I can only imagine that this is coming from the somewhat prolonged time it takes Sonic to reach top speed. This point is wrong for three reasons: 1. You can tap "A" or "B" twice at all times to get a quick run, reaching top speed within fractions of a second. 2. Sonic's momentary slow pace isn't new to the series it's been there since the first game, for a very important reason. 3. The important reason being, you need that slow starting speed for the more intense platforming segments in the game to be playable. On some of the more skill-based alternate path's the platforming can get pretty intense. Imagine trying to make those precise jumps while Sonic is immediately sliding all over the place at top speed! It'd be impossible. The other common point is that the, newly added, homing attack ruins the challenge of the enemy's. Which were never challenging to begin with, since enemies in Sonic game's never really amount to more than obstacles to be rolled on or jumped over.

    The reality of "Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1", is that it's the best Sonic game in a long time. Not only that, but it can stand proud next to the best games the Series has to offer. Aside from nailing the level design and controls, it also has great music and terrific looking backgrounds. People will dismiss Sonic 4 because it's not cool to like modern Sonic games. However, those people will be missing out on one of the most stunning return's to form the gaming world has ever seen.
  2. Oct 13, 2010
    Do not listen to G_homes review. He obviously does not remember that the classic Sonic titles were not all about speed, but rather, momentum. Sonic is appropriately fast in this title (He is the same speed as he was in the original Sonic the Hedgehog), and for the first time in ages, a Sonic game actually has complex, branching level design (You--get this--don't just "press right" to win!). This game is, by and large, incredible. The level design is top-notch, the Sonic 1-esque special stages are challenging, and it's a blast to play. I do have a few nitpicks with the game; mainly, the controls are not as tight as in the classic Sonic games, extra lives are too easily come by, and I dislike how the game requires you to use the homing attack in certain situations, but again, these are all minor, minor issues, and the good far outweighs the bad.

    I almost cried after I played through a few of the levels. Sega finally listened, and gave us fans what we wanted. The Sonic I remember from so many afternoons as a child is finally back.
  3. Oct 15, 2010
    For a game trying to throw it back to the Genesis days it fails to nail many of the things that made that game great. The clunky controls and physics fail to convince me I'm playing a Sonic game or a Mario game for that matter.
  4. Oct 15, 2010
    A really fun game, Sonic 4 isn't quite the return to the roots many where hoping for, but it's certainly a return to form for the hedgehog. Not for everyone, but once you get used to how everything works you'll find a great platformer underneath.
  5. Oct 16, 2010
    sonic 4 is the bomb/ it;s funny how some reviews **** about it being a rehash & blah blash blah. but thats what made sonic good in the first place!. this game is fun/ the music is good/ and i haven't smile playing a game in a long while and sonic 4 gave me joy. the game is such a tease with only 4 worlds/ but that only make us want more 2d sonic games.
  6. Oct 16, 2010
    Ah nostalgia, always good to go back to the basics. The homing attack adds more utility to sonic himself. At times it can feel a little slow (starting off a run) and the last boss will spend a long time on my personal hatred wall but it all added to the fun. Best game since the adventure duo
  7. Dec 17, 2010
    In short sonic the hedgehog 4 is AMAZING! Now I'm a big fan of sonic and has been playing since the genesis era and, like alot of you, I don't like the 3d rock styled crap. But sonic 4 isn't just another one of Segas marketing gimmicks. Its got great multypath levels (although a little on the easy side at certain points), a great catchy soundtrack and a cool homing attack which works great and is only dissed by Segas fan boys because they can't accept change (as if they want it to fail). The only thing I would say is wrong is the physics (which aren't as bad as others have suggested) but is something I'm sure will be fixed in ep2 and shouldn't put you of buying it. overall its a great game and is good to see sonic back on form! Expand
  8. Dec 21, 2010
    It's a good remember of these classical sonic, I feel like playing Sonic and Sonic 2.

    It's easier and shorter, casual gamers can play Sonic 4 Ep. 1 without problems.
  9. Nov 25, 2011
    A great game that should of been made years ago. It has it own unique physics problems but it has amazing graphics, okay music, cool bosses, and overall its a really good game. Of course people are going to judge it anyways but the game dosent suck!
  10. May 19, 2012
    This game was not perfect, but It is still great sonic fun. People are too critical, sonic is a very hard game to make you have to make very long stages since sonic moves through them so quickly and still keep them enjoyable. The physics just don't bother me, If you play a sonic game how it's meant to be by racing through the levels quickly you won't have time to notice imperfections in physics. I agree the magic of the original sonic games still isn't here but It's a damn good effort and I will always welcome more games like this over 3d sonic adventures. Please give me more 2d sonic games and more chances to earn chaos emeralds! Expand
  11. Oct 23, 2010
    This game is a lot of fun. Does it play exactly like the old games? No. Does it matter? Unless you're too anal about the changes to enjoy it for what it is, perhaps... But this is honestly the best Sonic I've played. It's not really all that shocking over how many people are upset over the game considering how long it's been since there's been a real 2d game. The kids have grown up, and like most people who age they lose their ability to adapt to change. Ok, so about the game.. the controls are somewhat different, but they're NOT bad, just different. The game is a hell of a lot of fun, especially once you unlock Super Sonic. My only complaint is that it's too short, but considering it's only 10 bucks it is WELL worth the price. Also, there's going to be an Episode II... sweeeeeet. Expand
  12. Nov 4, 2010
    Uh uh NO!!!!!!!!!! DONT trash sonic.... listen dislike bs like everybody else...I AM HATEFUL. BASED ON REVIEWS ...i didnt get sonic floaty graphics WTF!!! GAME U PLAYIN!!!! LETS b honest SONIC is mario ripped off... BUT I GOT MY OWN MIND .... SONIC 4 is nice... dat ni** a nice... I have enjoyed it... i dont even no wot game u guys playin....ITS DA NICEST 2d sonic....SERIOUSLY! DONT HATE cause it didnt get made ur way... i dont get it...i didntbuy this game bcuz of reviews... YOU JERKS MISLED ME SONIC4 I LIKE.... IMA OLD SKOOL GAMER.... da physics da gameplay? wot game u playing... SONIC FANBOYS LISTEN,,,, JUST GET DA GAME...THEY WRONG...they hating 4 sum reason Expand
  13. Oct 14, 2010
    What's with all the hate for this game? I have replayed the Mega Drive classics many times over and Sonic 4 isn't much worse. Sure, maybe it's not quite as great, but it comes pretty damn close. I have no problem with the physics or the homing attack. It's not the same, but it does feel a lot like you're playing the Mega Drive games. The biggest difference, which I noticed as soon as I started playing, was that if you let go of the D-pad in mid-air after jumping, you fall straight down. But after that it never effected me. I never stopped holding down the D-pad in mid-air, and it felt normal. In fact, in a couple of places this feature comes in handy (like when doing speed-runs or precise platforming). So to me it played a lot like the Mega Drive games, but with a homing attack (which I really like BTW). The visuals, aside from being 2.5D HD, are very reminicent of the old games (Sonic's spines aside, but if you really care, get a life), the music is just like the Mega Drive games, and the sound effects are too. Sonic has returned... But I do have a slight niggle. This thing is 1200 MS points. A tad much for the ammount of content, but I feel it was worth it. If you've never played a 2D Sonic game, go play Sonic 2. If you like it, get the others and this. I feel it is a worthy entry to the series. Final verdict: 87% Expand
  14. Oct 14, 2010
    Well, Sega sure took its sweet time in listening, but finally, FINALLY, they did. Going back to Sonic's roots and delivering Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sega looked at how the original games are considered classics in their own right and produced this gem. The levels themselves are slightly different versions of the first two games (E.g: Splash Hill Zone is Green Hill Zone, Mad Gear Zone is Metropolis Zone) and the bosses are how you remember them (Green Hill Boss, Casino Night Zone boss) except now they also act different to how you remember. Don't let it fool you though, its not like the levels are simply the originals upgraded into HD in order to make a quick bit of cash, as the way they are designed, along with the size of each level, shows that a lot of time and effort went into creating them, while also keeping the nostalgia for those of us who grew up with the Mega Drive. The badniks themselves are originals (like the Motobug from Green Hill returns in Splash Hill) which also makes it cool. From the moment you start the game up though, even the most stubborn fanboy can't fail to crack a smile at the way Sonic runs across the Sega logo while you hear it being famously spoke. However, there are also problems. I'm not going to rant on about how you have to keep the analogue stick held down to keep him moving in mid air or rolling (as I have always held the D-pad down anyway, so its not an issue for me), because those are just enraged fanboy nitpicks (I mean, who complains about eye colour, or height, or physics if they aren't a whiny fanboy? Just play the Goddamn game already!) . If the camera was zoomed out just a bit I would prefer it, but its no biggie as it is anyway. The difficulty though, is easy. Not hard in the slightest except for the final boss which is tough (nowhere near as hard as some reviewers have made out though), but not frustratingly hard. As its episode 1 though I expect that they will probably improve the difficulty for episode 2 (I hope). At £9.99 I felt that I got value for money and the replay value is brilliant as far as i'm concerned. Going back to collect a Chaos Emerald (Special Stages are brilliant, BTW), or improve my score or time just feels so great. The graphics are fantastic and i'm glad that Sega has finally released a Sonic game that I can enjoy. That I am glad I spent money on. And that is the reason why I have to say the following - See Sega, was that so hard? Expand
  15. Oct 14, 2010
    Having waited for a decent Sonic game since Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast, this game goes back to its roots, and brings back all of the elements which made the sonic series good. No gimmicks, no unnecessary fillers, just fast paced platforming joy, taking possibly the best bits from the classic games, like the bosses, baddies and everything in between. Although the game may be short it offers a lot of replay value, and to those interested the incentive of achievements/trophies. Presentation:

    Put simply, the intention was to present this game like it was a continuation of the series, and it certainly delivers. In this day and age it would have been wrong to stick with the 16-bit look and, even though the characters are the "new look" ones, they blend in well with the level design. Going with the "2.5D" look makes the classic Sonic game suitable for the present day. Gameplay:

    Like mentioned before, the gameplay is simple, but is fun, like it always was back on the MegaDrive, whilst also progressing in difficulty throughout the game, even though it's not really that difficult to complete, discounting the final boss, which is, for some reason, really hard. The addition of the homing attack may not be to everyone's taste, but it somehow shows a progression of the "original" series. Graphics:

    Playing the game in 1080p, whether you're on PS3 or XBox does do the visuals justice. Even in lower resolutions it still looks fantastic, whilst reminiscent of the classics. It may not be the flashiest looking game out there, but the colours are so vibrant and, whilst being a fast paced game in parts, are smooth. Even the character animations are smooth and sleek.

    Sound and Music

    If the visuals don't make it look like the next game in the series, the sounds will. All of the sounds are replications of those used in the original games, which adds to the nostalgic feel. Even the music, composed by Jun Senoue, makes the game sound like games of yesteryear, whist at the same time feeling fresh, and also adding to the gaming atmosphere. Overall

    If you have the money to buy it, you must download it. It is such a refreshment of the franchise, which has been badly needed. It may not be the best game in the series, although it is only the first episode of possibly many, it is worthy of the title "Sonic 4". One word of warning though, if you're not familiar with the older titles, you may feel a bit lost with the concept, unless you were a fan of Sonic Rush, which was the closest SEGA came to going back to the classics, yet still not hitting the nail on the head. However if you're, like me, a huge fan of the classics, you will enjoy this game greatly and will appreciate the 16 year wait.
  16. Oct 17, 2010
    Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a great game. I'm glad that the game goes back to Sonic's roots. It plays almost like the classics and yes I said almost because the physics are a little different. Now different doesn't mean it's bad. It is a little weird to see Sonic sometimes walking on a slope and gravity can be on the floaty side. But even still It doesn't break the game at all. Infact it makes SuperSonic much more controlable than the Genesis games. Physics aside. The controls of the game are spot on. It's pretty much as you remembered it on the Genesis. The Spindash is useful once again and the homing attack is a welcomed addition to the 2D gameplay. Episode 1 only contains 4 zones with 3 acts each along with a boss act. Now that may sound short, But considering the amount of acts per zones and the length that some require. Episode 1 can arguably be the same length as Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Alone). All the levels are based on zones from Sonic 1 & 2 with elements from Sonic 3. Splash Hill Zone is basicly Green Hill Zone with swinging ropes and a beautful sunset Act 3. Casino Street Zone is Casino Night Zone but more casino themed with slots in Act 1, Cards in Act 2, & Sonic 3's cannons in Act 3. Lost Labyrinth Zone is well the name speaks for itself but not as dangerous as the original with a unique act 2 with a torch and mine carts. Mad Gears Zone! Metropolis Zone anyone?. And finally Egg Station Zone which is an boss rush version of Death Egg Zone and that pretty much it. Graphicly, Sonic 4 is a very pretty game. All the enviroments look great and nostalgic. Same goes for the sound effects. 16 bit sounds never get old. The soundtrack is also pretty good. Most of the music fit the levels and some jingles are remixes from Sonic 1 and 3. But clearly some tracks are better than others. As with all 2D Sonic titles. The Chaos Emeralds are hidden inside special stages and once you collect them all. Super Sonic can be played in all levels which I am very happy to see coming back. Episode 1 is a great game as well as a nostalgic one. But I do think Sega went too far on nostalgia. I mean a nostalgia game is nice and it's about the right time for one, But in Episode 1 Nostalgia is all it is. Hardly any original content whats so ever. I had the same kind of issue with New Super Mario Bros Wii. last year. Going back to the roots of a franchise doesn't mean to rehash everything. Now the new twists and turns on the levels and bosses are creative but alot of them we have already seen in previous handheld titles. Time Attack is a nice feature and completing for best time and score on the leaderboards are cool. Theirs not much else to say about this game since this is only Episode 1. We only have a taste of what Sonic The Hedgehog 4 will be. Overall this is a great game but it's not by all means perfect. The physics are noticably different,The great overuse of nostalgia. Also Episode 1 lacks Tails and Knuckles. Come on Sega, I miss those guys. It's been almost 5 years since Sonic 06. No more Sonic solo games. We need them back. But with those flaws and nickpicks aside it's a great game and worthy of the name Sonic 4. And it's only the beginning... Expand
  17. Oct 20, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 manages to captivate tha feeling and type of game of the past Mega Drive 16 bit era. The game is the first one after Sonic and Knuckles to actually remind us that "sonic-ing" does not mean mindless running but a combination of running and stopping to do sone accurate jumping or clever platforming. These are elements that are found in the new sonic game. I love the music in some -but not all- levels. The soundtrack of the first level is very unique and within the spirit of sonic music. I also like the labyrinth zone music and oh- the bosses rhythm!

    The graphics of Sonic 4 have kept the spirit of the series and they do not try to do something "new". This is a good thing. They manage tyo captivate the classic artwork wothout exaggerations (that can be found in some soniv fan games). The graphics are hi-def colorful, clear, detailed, with some wellcoming sparse 3d use (see cards in Casino Zone) that is just enough and should not be overused.
    Sonic sprite is similar to the old good sonic. It is neither too childish (sonic advance) nor too angry. Personally I very much like the fast running effect of his legs and the faithful upgrade of the "almost falling", "look up-down" and die animations. Regarding the gameplay I would like to distinctly refer to the following parameters
    Controls: sonic accelerates slowly, this is not a problem. in fact I find it helpful when i want to make more accurate moves in platforming bits of the game. Once sonic starts running fast the experience is faithful to the classic sonic series. Sonic is not slow. Instead he is more controllable and it is a pitty that many reviewers disagree with this point. When running forward button should constantly be pressed and this is neither good nor bad. Actually I was used in holding forward button all time when sonic runs, so when I firstly played the game, I didn't even notice this issue. Finally the dash attack is a very welcome addition but what could be exluded is the supported forward moving while on air.

    Level design: the levels are finally what I would like to see in a 2d sonic. Not too fast not to cumbersome. They are also multipath and this add replay value to the game. What I certainly didn't like is the free level selection. The surprise "what's next" feeling is not there in sonic 4.

    Difficulty: way too easy. No reason for sooo many lives. Didn't SEGA notice this before the release. The replay of early levels 5-6 times is enough to collect 30 extra lives! The result is that the game can be completed in few hours. There are some tricky bits in some levels. They are so fun that I would certainly replay them from scratch once the Game Over appers. The final boss is tricky. But not so tricky if you get there with 30 extra lives. Other than this, it is a very fun final boss.

    To conclude, the game is a very good sequel to sonic and knuckles, and I consider it as an actual sequel. I would like to see the forthcoming episodes and I really want to see a retail edition with the whole game in the end, at a reasonable price! If I was to give detailed rankings to the game, the scores would be as follows:
    Graphics 8.5
    Sound 8
    Gameplay 9
    Replay Value 8
    Score 9

    If you have any questions regarding this review, you can email me at
  18. Nov 10, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It took 16 years to get a true sequel but the wait was certainly worth it. Although admittedly short the game is easily worth the the £6.29 that I paid for it on PSN, the feeling of nostalgia is justifies that alone. The game feels fluid, in part thanks to the addition of the homing attack. And while it didn't take me long to clear the 4 stages (each contain 4 acts + the final boss zone) the prospect of more with episode 2 makes up for this fact. Not all is perfect though, acceleration often feels slow and the music isn't really as memorable as previous Sonic games. However, neither of these points ruined the experience. If you have been with Sonic since the early days chances are you like this, each act is inspired by the old games (the third act is directly taken from an old Sonic game) easily worth a look! Expand
  19. Jan 31, 2013
    i bought this game for 10 dollars and it was well worth it. it was a 2d sidescroller that really took me back to the past to when i played sonic advance 3. (first sonic game i played) before i knew about the game i thought "why not use the homing attack in 2d games?" and boom. its actsactey what they do. in my opinion, this game couldent have been much better.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 51
  2. Negative: 4 out of 51
  1. But for every archaic design choice that's needlessly re-trodden for the sake of sticking to 'the blueprint', Sonic 4 introduces other new features that help to replace the nostalgia with a bit more substance. Just the simple ability to quick-jump to any zone, act or special stage in any order (and to compete with your mates scores and times) makes this instantly better than its predecessors. Long-suffering Sonic fans rejoice; the magic is back. [February 2011 p80]
  2. Jan 15, 2011
    Sonic 4 is a good first episode.
  3. Jan 13, 2011
    Dimps Corporation had the not-so-easy task to release a sequel without making a remake out of it, keeping it trustful to the original game design while adding new features. As a result, Sonic 4 has its ups and downs and does not stand the top quality of the Mega Drive age Sonic. Nevertheless, Sonic 4: Episode 1 is much more "Sonic" than the latest entries in the franchise, a must-have for the hedgehog's fans and all those unlucky players who never ran in those fancy red shoes.