User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 86
  2. Negative: 27 out of 86

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  1. Apr 26, 2013
    While the game isn't horrible as Sonic 2006, it's also not that good. After seeing so many 3D Sonic games that were bad, and seeing the announcement of this one, i was like:"Oh, Sonic is going back to 2D world. Well, atleast they can't messed that one up".And then comes the disappointment.The game dosen't have that same quality as Sega mega drive ones had.1st off, the physics in this game are horrible. You don't have the control of Sonic like you are supposed to have. It dosen't make momemtum that you would expect, and it may screw you up.The level desing in this game is quite poor. It's basically bad immitation of 3D Sonic levels. Linear paths, annoying spams of boosters and springs that aren't necessary, and there is bearly any hidden paths. The soundtrack in this game is also bad. It dosen't have that same taste like it had in 1st 3 games.It's repetitive and boring. There isn't much to it, only 4 zones, and final boss fight and you are done. As i said, this isn't Sonic 2006 bad, but these are the things that you won't like.It is playable, and maybe non Sonic fan might find this game enjoyable. But for a Sonic fan, it's really not that good. Expand
  2. 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.
  3. Jun 11, 2012
    Sonic 4 is quite an engaging game on it's first play-through. Despite the odd momentum physics, the game plays well and has some solid, thoughtful platforming. The re-use of zone themes and boss types plays to nostalgia well, but the lack of completely new content ultimately hurts the re-playability of the title. It also must be noted that the stage design and graphical style both feel bit too sterile. Sonic 4 is solid, but definitely missing the X-factor. Expand
  4. 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
  5. Mar 2, 2012
    Remember the good old days? Remember the fun we had exploring every nook and cranny of Sonic 3 & Knuckles? Remember how the levels were extremely well designed and complimented the physics and momentum that Sonic posessed? And then remember how Sonic gradually went from hero to zero in the wake of his 3D outings? 16 years later, SEGA wanted to say sorry, and attempt (keyword: ATTEMPT) to revive a dying franchise. They create "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I". So... does it actually live uo to it's namesake? Answer: no. While on it's own it may be a relatively fun experience, it pains me to say that SEGA have lied to us once again and this game does not deserve such a pompous title as "Sonic the Hedgehog 4". Let's dig in. The graphics in this game look... odd. It's not godawful, but the art direction is pretty bad, with clashing art styles and textures that make the game look like a plastic mess. However, the game benefits from being HD and makes the experience at the very least look clean and pristine, regardless of the overall aesthetics. Sound is also a mixed bag. Sound effects from the original Sonic games return, and ooze nostalgia all over the place. But the music just sounds like a choir of dying cats. The tunes in themselves are pretty catchy, but they're ruined by the horrible instruments used. That said, I can't help but hum now and then when playing this title. So, with the presentation being rather mixed, let's dig into the gameplay. Funnily enough, the gameplay is a mixed bag as well. The way Sonic feels (the "physics, I will call them) is not very good at all. There's little to no momentum here, and Sonic does things which he souldn't be able to. For example, he can walk up walls with little effort and rolling down a hill does nothing to increase your momentum. His default speed also feels very sluggish and I find myself using the spindash all the time just to get anywhere quickly. It just doesn't feel right and I keep wondering why SEGA would sell the game in a state like this. Moving on to the level design, now. It's... actually not that bad. There's a nice ammount of platforming and exploration, although it could do with some more multiple routes. But what makes the level design feel MUCH worse is the constant use of speed boosters and springs. In the classics, they're there to compliment the level design and are used SPARINGLY. In this game, they are EVERYWHERE! There's no point in having them here and it just removes interaction from the player, making the game feel automated and much less fun because of it. What's more, SEGA decided that they should place the HOMING ATTACK in the game. This move is POINTLESS! It's fine in 3D games, because it helps you attack enemies (which is quite hard in 3D). But in this game, there is no use to it apart from spamming it over and over and over and over again through chains of enemies just to get multiple routes. It's annoying, boring and it's NOT NEEDED. On a different side of the tin, Sonic 4 claims to have "new levels". What p*sses me off is that they're just rehashes of levels from Sonic 1 and 2! And so are the enemies, bosses and level gimmicks. OK, so I've probably given you the impression that Sonic 4 is a bad game. But, let me spill the beans: it IS fun. I did have fun playing it on my first run. The only problem is that all of the issues I listed totally destroy the game's replay value. I barely touch this game anymore and go and play brilliant games such as Sonic Generations and the classics instead. So, with all that said, go and buy the game if you want to check it out. Just be warned that it can't sustain itself after a full playthrough. It's dissapointing that SEGA bothered to call this game "Sonic 4" and it doesn't compare to the classics whatsoever. I give the game a 5/10. Expand
  6. 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!
  7. 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
  8. Jul 4, 2011
    The way sonic moves and is affected (or not) by physics is weird, unintuitive, clunky, and results in a world that feels very lifeless. The lack of any real animated visuals doesn't help either.
  9. Apr 20, 2011
    Ugh! A dissappointing title. Sonic handles just like he did in Sonic Advance 2, except worse due to a complete lack of horizontal momentum. The stages flop back and forth between linear/fast and slow/platforming, absolutely flow-breaking. However, the worst part are the abundance of speed boosters. They constantly speed you forward, making the game play itself. I had fun the first time I played it despite the bad controls...but then it just turned into a piling fest of mediocrity. You can critisize the Sonic Rush games and the Sonic Unleashed daytime stages for being linear and speed-obsessed, but at least I felt like I was playing a video game.'s like watching a movie. None of these stages have a lot of replay value, not to mention that they're all complete re-hashes of previous stages in the classic games. The enemies and bosses are re-hashes, including the final boss. Sorry, but this is NOT the retro throwback I had been anticipating. In fact, there's even a petition that resulted from this kind of rubbish:

    The point is: Don't waste your time buying this game. For the same fifteen dollars you could spend on this game, you can buy something like Megaman 9/10, or better yet, Sonic 2, 3, and Knuckles; The entire Lock-On Trilogy, with Sonic 3&Knuckles being one of the best platformers of all time. Or certainly better than this smoldering mediocre sandwich.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. Nov 25, 2010
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a solid follow up worthy of its title. Purists looking for a an exact recreation of the genesis days stay away as you will be disappointed. Those looking for a fun 2D sonic game will find their 15 dollars well spent. Sega and Dimps stick to the same basic formula as its predecessors, moving sonic from left to right as fast as he can through several acts, zones and boss stages. Sonic's arsenal hasn't changed much other than the addition of a homing attack which allows sonic to rapidly move from enemy to enemy. While Sonic doesn't feel as fast as compared to his more recent outings, the platforming is the best Sonic has seen, since the genesis days. The storyline is kept basic, there are no sonic friends to be found in this game (thank goodness). Specials stages are challenging and rewarding to those who want to hunt for all the emeralds. Time and score attack mode add replay people for those addicted to shaving seconds off their time or going for the high score.

    One gripe I do have is the lack of innovation in the the zones and acts, as all of them including the boss stages are essentially a rehash with a spin on former zones/bosses from former games. Hopefully this first episode is just a nod to the old games and this isn't repeated in the next episode.

    All in all, while one can find nitpicks in the physics or whatever they feel is not accurately carried over from the genesis days, Sonic 4 is a fun, fast, 2D platformer and huge step in the right direction for the Sonic franchise and brand.
  13. 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
  14. Oct 25, 2010
    Sonic 4's soundtrack, graphics, animation, controls, and level design all have a strangely amateurish quality when compared to the first three games. It feels like playing a Flash game on Newgrounds and Sega should be utterly ashamed for giving this the title "Sonic 4". The controls alone are enough to destroy the game; Sonic feels like he's sliding on soap when he runs and floating on the moon when he jumps. The enemy targeting system is novel but where's the amazing Sonic artwork and music that made the franchise such a massive hit? Where are the 2010-caliber innovations like online multiplayer co-op? Or any sort of multiplayer at all? Where's Tails, or all the classic enemies we've grown to love? Lock-on technology? Traveling through time? Incredible bonus areas? All the characters in this game look like 3D animated cartoon zombies which is fitting because Sega just drove the final nail into Sonic's coffin. Expand
  15. 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. Collapse
  16. Oct 21, 2010
    Not awful just good. But is good acceptable? Surly the least we could expect was gameplay to match the standard of the 16-Bit originals with better graphics and perhaps some new ideas? But Sega couldn't even give us that (well, apart from better graphics). I've read most of the other user comments and agree with complaints and the psysics. While none of the little gameplay faults are deal breakers on their own, together they make for a more sluggish, less fluid experience then the originals. Sega would have been better just keeping the gameplay as it was.
    The other problem is the complete lack of new ideas. All levels are rehashes of old Sonic levels with the same baddies and slightly different layouts. The level design is actually very good but after 16 years you would think Sega would at least have some new level ideas.
    I will stress again it is pretty good and there is the potentia at last for Sonic to be truly great again so lets hope Sega listens to the fans properly this time and makes the neccessary changes for Episode 2.
  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. Oct 19, 2010
    They had an opportunity to make a true sequel to Sonic 3, but only managed to clone the gameboy engine and slap on unoriginal sonic 2 graphics. There was no effort to make an original sonic game here. Worse, Sonic doesn't handle like the superior genesis games. Even Sonic 1 is more fun. Sega tricked us.
  19. Oct 18, 2010
    Sonic 4 is a great error. There is more to do real benchmarking and reviews on youtube, phisics are bad, boring music, recycling levels and very few ideas. If we look at Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles see that there is a positive progression. Great levels, great difficulty, secrets ... all that is lost completely. Sonic 4 is a remix of the classics without any funding as a continuation of a legendary saga. A Sonic 4 is not as bright as Sonic 2D platform deserves nothing. Bad, bad, bad, VERY BAD Sega.

    Autotarget + wrong phisics + no new ideas for a new sonic = Fail

    Mediocre for a game with a name like Sonic 4.
  20. Oct 18, 2010
    I had high hopes, bought the game and seemed like all the nitpicking and whining alot of fans had been shouting was true from the beginning.

    I am so dissapointed and feel ripped off big time. People that like this game have no taste in quality and I believe are mostly fanboys. Sonicteam needs to stop listening to them fanboys because they are one of the reasons why sonicteam doesn't get
    encouraged to put effort in their games. This game deserves all the negativity it's getting and I hope less people will make the same mistake as I have.

    This game **** sucks.
  21. Oct 18, 2010
    I had high hopes, bought the game and seemed like all the nitpicking and whining alot of fans had been shouting was true from the beginning.

    I am so dissapointed and feel ripped off big time. People that like this game have no taste in quality and I believe are mostly fanboys. Sonicteam needs to stop listening to them fanboys because they are one of the reasons why sonicteam doesn't get
    encouraged to put effort in their games. This game deserves all the negativity it's getting and I hope less people will make the same mistake as I have.

    This game sucks.
  22. 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
  23. Oct 17, 2010
    Just wow...Yes its a good sonic game for years a beloved legend butchered by SEGA. But this doesn't deserve the title of Sonic 4. Clunky controls, Sonic moves wierd and not natural the dumb spastic look when he jumps into the air and starts floating. Once again Sega deliver somthing dreadful. Do yourself a favour and go and play Sonic 1 Sonic 2 Sonic 3 Sonic & Knuckles then come back to this dissapointment. Well short and brings back SOME memories while it lasts.

    but the irony
    look at the below video why does a fan made game look better then sonic 4?!
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. Oct 15, 2010
    What's that saying? "Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. Fool me fifteen more times; and I'm a damn idiot." I really thought Sega had finally listened by making another 2D Sonic, but boy was I wrong. What's the main thing everyone knows about Sonic? He's fast. Really, really fast. Yet, somehow the controls in this game are so bad, and Sonic moves so sluggishly that it's an insult to the old 2D Sonic games. It's like Sega decided to replace your dear old grandmother with a robot, and instead of her making you cookies and giving you hugs, she hands you fake plastic food and squeezes you till your organs explode.

    Don't get me wrong, the game is beautiful, and the level design seems pretty great, but a lethargic, poorly-controllable Sonic ruins the whole thing.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Oct 14, 2010
    I am an avid fan of the Sonic series. It was revolutionary, and propelled the Sega Genesis into the forefront of gaming. This, sadly, is NOT a return to fame on the franchise, but really a mess. If this was a indie game remaking Sonic 2, I would still be disappointed. Graphically it's relatively crisp, which isn't all that hard to do on 720+ graphics capable gaming consoles. Beyond that, character movement and overall look is extremely disappointing. Honestly I wish they had spent more time on it. And $15 for "episode 1" seems like a stretch. Expand
  31. 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
  32. Oct 14, 2010
    As a person who has played the the early sonic games, at first I found the gameplay to feel a little strange and wasn't sure I liked it. But I stuck with it and got the hang of the new mechanic which lets you "fire" in a certain direction it became more fun. While the game wasn't as short as I thought it was, it isn't a massively long game but for £10 I think its worth it.

    The bosses are reminiscent of the ones from the original Sonic, with some differences. The general levels have had some nice features similar to the originals such as running on the cogs on Metropolis. There are also some new ones such as balancing on a rolling boulder. The game plays well, though there are a few bits which cause a considerable amount of frustration. Like the original, the developers like to put enemies in the most ridiculous places, to the point that every now and then you couldn't possibly have prevented you from hitting it unless you'd either memorized the map or were going incredibly slowly, which as you probably know isn't really what Sonic is about.

    The levels have an air about them that is similar to the original game. For example the first act is similar in theme to Emerald Hill/Green Hill/Whatever you know it is, 2nd is similar to casino zone, and so on.

    The music is fairly good, it sounds similar to some of the earlier games like sonic 3, but doesn't match up to the originals. Over all i'm glad that I purchased this game, as there is plenty of replayability in it, the gameplay is good and the changes they have made don't deter from the experience you would expect. I still hate casino zone.
  33. Oct 14, 2010
    I'll start off by saying that this is not the "Sonic sequel 16 years in the making" SEGA have been playing it up as. Essentially what you are getting here is 4 Zones of throwbacks to levels from Sonic 1 and 2, as well as some of the most blatant reuse of material I have ever seen in a game. You get to the end of each Zone, and find that every boss is from Sonic 1 and 2, all nearly identical to their Genesis versions except for one or two new tricks. This recycling of old material doesn't stop there however. You'll start to notice as you play through the levels that numerous sections are carbon-copies of parts of the first 2 games. This goes on so much that the game stops feeling like an homage and becomes more like a rehash of old designs. This becomes borderline ridiculous towards the end where you fight every boss in the game again with no changes, equating to what would be the "Boss Rush" mode in other games. Aside from that, the gameplay for the most part is classic Sonic, albeit a very brief reunion. The Acts and boss encounters seem just far to short compared to the Genesis games, with your first run-through of the game lasting no more than 1.5 hours if you don't get stuck on the ridiculously cheap final boss. The music in general is disappointing, achieving nowhere near the quality Sonic soundtracks have always had. It is unlikely you will remember any of the BGM after a week. The controls are fine for the most part but they seem to fail you at the worst possible times, especially for the final boss where using the homing attack will send you flying halfway across the room if you hit the boss, limiting you to 4 chances to hit it every minute which can get annoying very quickly. This game doesn't even come close to achieving the quality on the Genesis Sonic games, with even Sonic Rush for the Nintendo DS proving a much better game. While that game returned to the balanced 2D playability of the earlier games, it also added new twists such as boost and a different playable character. Sonic 4 on the other hand, just feels like SEGA's quick and lazy attempt to return the series' roots by throwing a rehashed remix of a small selection of stages and bosses from Sonic 1 & 2 at us, without bringing in anything to truly make this a new experience and be a proper sequel game. Sonic 4 is a massive disappointment and I would only recommend it if you are feeling very desperate now for the series to play like the old games just one more time. Otherwise, just buy one of the numerous re-releases of Sonic 1 or 2, and perhaps 3 & Knuckles as well since Episode 2 is very likely to be this treatment given to those two games as well when the time comes. Expand
  34. 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
  35. Oct 14, 2010
    Absolutely awful. Seriously. I was so excited for Sonic 4, downloaded it, and was frustrated by the middle of the 1st level. The homing mechanic is more aggravating than helpful, and the physics feel NOTHING like the original Sonic games. If you don't believe me, watch this video. The footage speaks for itsself. The only thing they got right is the graphics are pretty, and the music is decent, which is why I gave them a 2. Expand
  36. Oct 14, 2010
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4 - Episode 1 is good, no actually its great. But what you undoubtedly will find is the "fans" complaining, when you press start for the first time you have to remember that this is the evolution of the classic series. If you yearn for a pixel perfect copy of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, then go and buy that game, go emulate it, go get a fan made remake with new levels, those of you who want a New Sonic experience - continue on.

    This will please those fans who wanted some new life breathed into a classic concept, not those fans that wanted Sonic 2 in HD - search google, there's plenty of them. Now, Sonic controls alot like he does in Sonic the Hedgehog 1 on the MegaDrive / Genesis, the level hark back to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the gameplay bounces you around alot like Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Rush combined. At times it feels hectic and for those Sonic purists, there will be plenty of times you feel like tearing your hair out and crying because you have no cartridge to throw at a wall! The levels are no longer as linear as they used to be and theres plenty to do and find even on your 4th / 5th playthrough, even collecting the emeralds is made alot more fun. No longer can you keep reloading the first level to get into the warp rings easily, each level is designated one chaos emerald and you must playthrough atleast 7 levels to get them all. Perfect.

    I have but 2 gripes, the special stages felt too loose, Sonic bounces around in them like he's eager to hit any "goal" or in this case "!" block as quickly as possible, this isn't helped by the kaleidoscope background which is at the same time similar and very different to the original special stages feel. My second gripe is the reusing of old bosses, sure they are given a whole new element towards the end of the fight that feels refreshingly different, but they are still the same. The music is awesome, so are the sound effects, those tinny sounding springs and explosions are replaced by crisp new effects that couldn't be more similar. Now, this isn't the perfect Sonic game everyone had hoped for, even myself. But it's a long way to taking the series back to where it should be. Don't pan this game instantly because you feel its not a copy and paste MegaDrive / Genesis classic, SEGA may decide to listen to their fans a second time and give up on 2.5D Sonic altogether!

    But remember this, even the Moon can seem disappointing when you expected the Stars. It's not as perfect as you might have imagined, but it's a damn good game. Worthy of any True Sonic the Hedgehog fan.
  37. Oct 14, 2010
    After about a year of raging from fans in the Sonic scene, Sonic 4 is actually really quite good. The level design is brilliant, some of the level gimmicks are truly inspired (though others are quite strange and unnecessary, such as the strange screen spinning sections in Lost Labyrinth, or the odd seesaws in Mad Gear Zone), and the graphics are very pretty. The music uses a very ugly lead-synth that may irritate, but if you can look past it you'll get some pretty catchy tunes. The only real problem is the awful physics that play little like the original's; momentum is completely gone the second you let go of the D-Pad, which makes certain platforming sections frustrating and obscure. Nevertheless, Sega did a suprisingly good job on Sonic 4. Here's hoping Episode 2 is even better. Expand
  38. 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.
  39. Oct 13, 2010
    Sega managed to almost make me cry - with sadness. I've been longing for a real 2D Sonic since Sonic & Knuckles came out. I even had a name for it: "Sonic 4". Well, years later they came up with Sonic 4. Let me break it down here: Sound FX: 10/10. They are the actual Genesis-Era blips. Music: 10/10. Superb work, kept the spirit of the original catchy songs. Level Design: 10/10. It really feels like a Sonic level, after all this years. Graphics: 5/10. Level graphics are good, but Sonic's model looks dumb, and didn't quite match the games graphic style. 2.5D didn't do the trick, this time. Finally, Controls: 0/10. It's just wrong. There is no inertia, especially when jumping. It doesn't control like Sonic. In fact, it doesn't control like anything I ever played. You release the D-Pad, Sonic stops. Like Pitfall. Nothing should control like Pitfall in 2010, let alone a game in a franchise know for its high quality gameplay.
    I really hope Sega fix that. I could also ask for some vintage skins for Sonic's model, but that would be just a fluff. The important thing here is the controls, and Sega managed to destroy the whole thing with a few lines of code.
    Score: (10+10+10+5+0) / 5 = 7
    7 * how bad the controls are = 2
  40. Oct 13, 2010
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I fails miserably to live up to his predecessors, and even worse, fails miserably as a game itself.

    First let's talk about the clunky controls, you feel like you're controlling Sonic in the moon, the jump is so light that it becomes awkward to control, the Homing Attack, which is a ability that doesn't go well in a 2D game and only serves to take out the
    challenge making it too easy, is not optional and it is practically shoved down on the player's throat, you can't pass a level without using it, you depend on it to proceed through any level without being hit by a enemy attack, to make matters worse, there are times that the Homing Attack doesn't respond in the right moment, making you miss the enemy and Sonic doing an aerial dash straight in a enemy's direction making you lose rings.

    The awful level design also doesn't help, there are loads of boost pads spread through the levels, you barely control Sonic and the game plays itself, full automation.

    Now the worst thing about this abomination of a game are the physics, you can't have a momentum based gameplay in a Sonic Game if the physics are broken, you can easily make Sonic walk up a hill, walk through a loop or stand on a slope without falling, this is just ridiculous.

    The bosses are the same as the genesis games with a pinch mode, that is stupid idea by itself, but then, the Homing Attack just make the bosses as easy as chewing water.

    The music just try to be nostalgic, but it gets repetitive and annoying because they use the same instruments over and over

    Overall, this game is a complete disgrace to the genesis legacy, it sucks, don't waste your time with this thing like i did.
  41. Oct 13, 2010
    This is easily a personal 'Worst Sonic game of all time'. The way I can best describe it is as follows.

    To begin with, Sonic is controlled like a cinder block covered in melting tar. He seems to accelerate as though he completely forgot how to walk, let alone run. The physics are the fundamental part of any good Sonic game. Here, you can walk on curves that he can probably touch with his
    hands, rolling doesn't give you any speed boost down a hill, and jumping in the air at speed just feels completely off. Second, the level design itself. The levels are adequatly designed for the most part, but then some absolute blunders make you wonder what they were thinking while making them. They all have some incredibly huge danger preceding the finishing post, more often than not stripping you of your rings to enter the special stages. That is actually a blessing, the special stages in Sonic 4 Episode 1 are the most frustrating ones in a Sonic game to date. You do not control Sonic, you control the stage itself, with extremely badly placed objects constantly throwing you into 'GOAL' blocks. Super Sonic cannot be worth this much anger.

    The music is composed of what seems to be the exact same synths over and over again, and not even the melodies are memorable. On a personal note, I am a huge fan of Sonic. I have studied the original games and understand what makes them so good, so memorable today. If you are the same, or have never played a new Sonic game after Sonic 3 and Knuckles, do not waste your time with this. The things that made the originals so great is not present in this game, and SEGA are clearly using the name for profit alone. I just wish the Playstation Network allowed for refunds.
  42. Oct 13, 2010
    Here's the unbiased truth about Sonic 4, coming from a Sonic fans that will acknowledge the highs and lows of the series, and knows what makes a Sonic game fun. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 indeed returns to its platforming roots on consoles. I say 'on consoles' because if you haven't lived under a rock for the last decade, Sonic has made many 2d appearances on handheld systems. Good ones I might add. Sonic 4, however, has a few things going for it that they don't. For one it's a very well constructed game. The production qualities, graphics, music, and references to the old games ooze nostalgia. So rest easy, this feels like a Sonic game. Acts are divided in 3s, each with unique gimmicks, and you must collect rings and go through loopdy loops to reach the goal. Collecting the chaos emeralds unlocks super sonic, and getting the emeralds are a challenge.

    This game isn't perfect though, it does have some flaws, but if you're not too nit-picky they can be overlooked. For one the physics are a little different from the original. Not in a bad way, some changes are necessary so sonic can run vertically and upside down on walls. Those kind of changes I welcome, they don't impact the game in a negative way; the problem is it looks odd because his walking animation lasts too long. One thing that is different is momentum. It's in the game, but isn't as apparent. Lauching from a spindash in the older games could be performed if you immediately jump after a dash. In this game you can still sorta do that, but not without holding the dpad. That's really not a big problem because of the homing attack, which essentially replaces the spin dash launch, allowing you to chain attacks. This leads me to believe some changes to the physics were intended. I feel this is most apparent in speed runs, when you're able to pull off amazing times on the leaderboards (yes there are leaderboards in Sonic 4).

    But I'd say the length is the biggest downer, I could've really used 1 more zone. The game can be beaten in an hour and a half, possibly 2 and a half if you're emerald hunting. But that's to be expected because of the whole episode thing. It's worth the money though ($15 isn't much really), it's just kind of teases you. It's about the same length as Sonic 3 alone, but leaderboards are a bonus to playability.

    This is a worthy throwback to the classics, but if you want something a little more "genuine" to the originals the Sonic Advanced series would do you more justice. SO when people use the 16 years excuse to their disappointment it really shows they have no clue what even happens with the franchise anymore. This is a worthy Sonic game to add to your collection, it sure has outstanding fan service, but if you can't accept change to the formula you should really look at Sonic Advanced, which plays much more like the original.

    I hope this review helps you get the big picture: that's Sonic 4 for ya. Great game, just not the amazing sequel it was made out to be. It's more like the 'New Super Mario Bros' of the series.
  43. Oct 13, 2010
    Well, well, well here we are 16 years later. What a disappointment. I am saddened playing this game. I understand they have to use Porcupine Sonic, by why are they using Sonic Rush type physics rather than building on the Classic physics. The physics in this game are awful. Maybe they should set the next Sonic game on the moon because Sonic plays like a brick.

    People are saying that this
    is the best Sonic game in years and it is. But that really isn't saying much.

    The modern fanbase will lap this up - but they will buy anything Sega produces. Which is why the Sonic games are in such a mess - point proven.

    All eyes are on Episode 2, hopefully with some new ideas???

    I would have enjoyed this game more if it wasn't called Sonic 4. But we know Sega like milking the most popular Sonic series.

    I'm off to play Sonic3Knuckles.......maybe todays Sonic Team should play it too.
  44. 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.
  45. Oct 12, 2010
    It's been nearly two decades since Sega decided to create a side-scroller for Sonic on consoles, and sadly, they did not deliver. Being a long time Sonic fan, I was giddy at the fact that Sega was bringing Sonic back to its classic 2-d gameplay style. That being said, I was constantly waiting for PSN to update, and when it was in, I did not hesitate to purchase it. Now I realize how bad of a decision it was of me to do that. Sonic 4 may look like its predecessors; however, it is far from it. For starters, Sonic himself is very sluggish. As you progress through the first act, you will notice that Sonic 4 differs greatly from the previous versions, mainly because Sonic is incredibly slow, which impacts the game significantly. The levels alone are stunning; however, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Though the visual presentation may be enough to sell you the game, the level designs are a setback, and at times you're finding yourself asking "how was I expected to know that?" All in all, this game does not feel like Sonic at all, and fans of the series will be incredibly disappointed with their purchase. Before you decide to lay down $15 on the game, be sure to play the demo of the game before hand, because if I had the chance, I would refund the game instantly. Expand
  46. 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. Collapse

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.