Alec’s been touching his shiny thing all week, playing games and trying out all the latest apps. However, with all things ‘latest’, Apple love their retros. This week we’re bringing you a Sega-fest as they celebrate Sonic’s 19th anniversary. We’re reviewing classics-turned-touch-’em-up ‘Streets of Rage’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, both of which have recently had a price drop. But is the drop worth the wait?
Streets of Rage / 59p
Way back many centuries ago not long before gaming began, there lived a console that was Sega’s and on this console was a beat ‘em up. This Beat ‘em up was entitled Streets of Rage and… enough with the history lesson! Streets of Rage was indeed a Sega Mega Drive game but it’s now also an iPod and iPhone app and was released in the latter months of last year. But more importantly it has reappeared on the ‘Top 25 apps’ in the Apps Store due to Sega’s Sonic Birthday promo and thus has had a price drop to 59p, and for an old classic who can say no?
The idea of the game is the same as when it was on Mega Drive, the ‘city’ has become over run by a crime syndicate and you take on the role of three cops, who have decided to put down their badges and clean up the streets in their own vigilante style.
There is a choice between which of the three characters you wish to use – each having different abilities to the others, for example the female officer, Blaze, is faster and more agile than that of the two male characters. You are then placed on a scrolling map, where each level is sectioned up in to small areas. To proceed to the next area you need to defeat all enemies within that area. At the end of each level there is a boss to defeat to move on to the next level and so on.
As you move through the level there are various pick-ups to collect. These range from food-based items like Apples or chunks of meat that restore your health to poles and knifes that you can use to attack enemies. Each of these pick-ups are hidden either in telephone booths or in the case of weapons these can be gained from knocking them out of the hands of enemies.
With the game now on iPod Touch / iPhone and the lack of controller buttons, you would have thought that Sega would have adapted the game to work with a touchscreen movement i.e you just tapping the enemy to punch and press and hold for movement, but no, Sega has imported the old Sega Mega Drive control pad buttons and directional unit onto the iPod and iPhone screen. This addition leads to a very cluttered screen and some annoying mishaps with the buttons. Being a touchscreen the buttons are hyper sensitive and can easily be triggered via a simple brush of the finger, but on the flip side there is a bigger problem in that the direction unit isn’t as responsive as you actually wish it to be. At times it will not read your press leaving you to stand there and not do anything while the timer ticks away and other times you will be tapping one direction and for some reason the unit will pick up you pressing in the completely opposite way. Granted that error has saved me more than once from being hit in the back but it’s still annoying.
The touch controls inhibit what is a very good port with the style of the game looking fresh and new on the iPhone and iPod screen, it isn’t in higher resolution for the new iPhone 4 screen, but still nice and clear. There’s nothing like some old school action, but there are times when new IPs just can’t stand up to old school gaming. AH.
Sonic the Hedgehog / £2.39
Again as part of Sega’s Sonic Birthday promo, the first Sonic the Hedgehog game has now been reduced to £2.39, which isn’t that cheap all things considered but it is Sonic’s birthday so he does need some money for his presents. Again this game has been moved back onto the Store’s ‘Top 25’ due to the price drop but is it a good bargain?
Sonic 1 is the classic side scrolling adventure where you as a little blue hedgehog have to save your fluffy friends from the evil clutches of Doctor Robotnik. To do this you need to move through a selection of levels racing over spikes, gaps and looping round loop-la-loops, collecting gold rings and smashing Robotnik’s robots that hold your friends captive inside.
Sonic has been given a fresh lick of paint with this revamped outing, giving you a fresh look at the old hog. The graphics are crystal clear and sharp, the surrounding environment to Sonic looks as good it did on the original system, if not better. Sonic himself fairs just as well and comes off with a glossy new coat.
Sonic is something of a mystery. He only works in this 2D side-scrolling adventure format and not at all in 3D. So it’s great when we have a revamp of the older games appear. This is especially true with regards to the original Sonic game. Sonic 1 on iPhone and iPod touch works in a similar way to that of Streets of Rage, you have the directional unit but this time just the A button from the Sega Mega Drive’s controller on the screen making it very clumsy. The controls of the game are very unresponsive at times not reading your inputs at all and at times jumping when you only placed your finger near the button. Unfortunately there is no way of removing this problem or at least lessening it as the button sensitivity, something of an oversight on Sega’s part. The only way I found to override this problem is to use the pad in the middle instead of the side of it.
Sonic looks like a winner for what you get, although the price is a bit steep with regards to the age of the game. The only problem is that the controls can be a bit of a problem, but as long you keep in mind where to place your fingers it’s not too much of a problem. Playing old games on new platforms feels strange but in a very good way, there is nothing like nostalgia and especially for great games like Sonic. AH.
* Prices correct as of 27th June 2010.