Saturday 1 June 2019

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble (Sega Game Gear review)

Developer: Aspect
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1994

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble is a platformer that's exclusive to the Sega Game Gear.

There's six Zones (with three acts each) and your objective is to find the Chaos Emeralds and stop Dr. Robotnik from launching his new destructive weapon. Sonic and Tails are playable, with the former having a Strike Dash that makes him invulnerable for a brief moment, and the latter being able to fly short distances. The level design features scaled down ideas from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994, Mega Drive), but overall it's bland and repetitive. Robotnik Winter is basically IceCap Zone with snowboard in tow, and Great Turquoise Zone resembles the tropical paradise of Angel Island Zone; unfortunately, all are much less interesting and their greatly reduced scope fails to provide any excitement due to the lack of engaging gameplay ideas. The action runs at a respectable speed with only minor slowdown, but a huge part of this is the lack of enemies; in almost every level you'll struggle to locate even a handful of opponents, the end result being that the otherwise beautiful environments feel rather lifeless. What follows is an adventure that barely challenges the player and each Zone feels like a complete breeze; in fact, the sole difficulty is trying to control Sonic's floaty jumps, which can lead to unwanted forward momentum. Most of the bosses have good concepts, but the execution is poor. For example, Sunset Park Zone's finale suddenly and excitingly sees you transition to a battle aboard a moving train; however, you'll face the same enemy patterns ad nauseam until the idea falls flat on its face. On a plus note, the sprite work and Sonic's idle animations are superb, as are the bright, colourful graphics.

Sonic Triple Trouble is hard to recommend to anyone except series veterans, as it does so many things halfheartedly that all you're left with is a shallow, uninspired platformer. It's a shame, as the amazing graphics and environments are severely neutered by mundane level design and the absence of any real challenge.

Random trivia: In 2009, an unofficial port was released on the Sega Master System.

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