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Sonic Colours Wii is bursting with single minded enthusiasm for its concept. Although it can appear haphazard and unfair, spend enough time playing and you will find a world where every piece matters.
There have been a lot of Sonic games released recently. While Sonic 4 took us back to the original's 2D graphical style, Sonic Colours ploughs merrily on with the 3D incarnation - or at least a version that switches between 2D and 3D.
The first time I saw Sonic fly past the screen and heard the iconic Sega chimed-chant was magical. The arrival of Sonic brought with him the reinvention of the Megadrive. It seemed that this Mario beater could carry Sega's world on his shoulders.
A lot has happened since then. And having been the perfect foil to Mario in the 90's, Sonic is only just coming to terms with what it means to be an iconic videogame character now the world has moved on.
Sonic Colours offers more hope than previous, more backwards looking, incarnations. It is ambitious, impressive and even fresh at times. When it holds back from the gimmicks and offers well judged refinements to the game play that epitomised Sega's reaction based approach to gaming there is a real sense of joy.
You can control Sonic across the varying dimensional platforms with the Wii-mote, Nun-chuck or even the Classic and Gamecube Controllers. Although the 2D sections work fine on the D-pad, I found myself reaching for the analogue nature of the Nun-chuck to hit the exact angles I wanted in the 3d worlds.
Sonic Colours is, of course, played at breakneck speed.
Sonic Colours is, of course, played at breakneck speed. You need to keep your observational wits about you if you are to complete a level in the first sitting. Quick reactions help too, but until you get a feel for the way it's all laid out it is quite hard going.
This is where Sonic Colours works best. In the same way that playing Mario Galaxy's various worlds is an exercise in learning how Nintendo's designers think - a kind of mental sparing - playing Sonic Colours took me back to the original Megadrive game. The more you play it the better you understand how the different elements fit together, and perhaps more importantly the sort of mind that lies behind the overall design.
Some might find the difficulty a little uneven, and certainly my kids didn't have the patience for this sort of learning curve. Sure, it took me a long night to get to grips with it, but once I had there was a real sense of achievement.
While Sonic Colours doesn't always get it right it has an exuberance reminiscent of the original.
Elements that had seemed random and unfair before now made more sense as I had got inside the mind of the game. It's this sort of confidence that you need as a player to take the risks needed to reach hidden platforms and power ups.
While Sonic Colours doesn't always get it right - offering a few too many new ideas - it has an exuberance reminiscent of the original. It's here, rather than in the workmanlike re-releases and retro remakes that Sega will find the vibrancy they need to push Sonic forward.
While my kids are spending more time with Sonic Colours DS and it's slightly slower pace and more tactile controls - on the Wii the game really clicked for me.
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