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Looking Ahead at Sonic 4: Episode 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 marked the return of the iconic blue hedgehog to his retro roots. Sega entrusted the project to the famed Sonic Team alongside the Osaka-based Dimps, and the result was a Sonic game that finally lives up to the standards of its Genesis predecessors. Sure, it's a little on the easy side, and it could definitely have more levels, but Sonic 4: Episode 1 provides fast-paced, thrilling gameplay, which many thought would never be a part of a Sonic game again.
Still, even with all its bells and whistles, Sonic 4: Episode 1 feels more like a Sonic 2 sequel than a follow-up to Sonic & Knuckles. What can the devs do to make sure that Episode 2 of this Sonic revival excels and surpasses expectations? What features and gameplay elements do the folks over at Sega need to include in the second chapter of Sonic 4?
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Badniks are a staple of the Sonic franchise. Dr. Eggman’s robotic minions have one purpose: make the blue blur’s life miserable. These creatures usually aren’t very difficult to deal with, but they do travel in large numbers. Though Badniks are encountered frequently throughout Sonic 4, it seems like some stages don’t feature a large number of robots. By that same token, there isn’t a whole lot of variety to the Badniks you encounter. Here’s hoping Sonic 4: Episode 2 features both a larger number of enemies per level as well as a little more variety.
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Larger Number of Pitfalls
A common element in platformers is the ever-haunting pitfall. These chasms cause frustration within players when they repeatedly fall off the same ledge, but they also allow you to feel a great sense of accomplishment when you finally manage to make it over that large gap. Sonic 4 has a few pitfalls, but abyssal death is nowhere near as common in this game as it was in Sonic & Knuckles. Due to that fact, a bit of suspense is missing from the experience. Sure, it’s annoying falling into chasms, but it’s also pretty cool when you land on a ledge and realize that you just escaped an untimely death by a mere hair.
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Ring Collection/Blue Sphere Special Stages
Remember the Special Stages in Sonic 2? Running forward and collecting a set amount of rings was always pretty fun. What about the popular Blue Sphere levels? Hitting all the Blue Spheres certainly required skill and precision. Hopefully we see the return of one or both of these Special Stages in Episode 2. The crazy kaleidoscope levels are pretty awesome too, though. Maybe Sega should include all three of these in the next game.
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What Do You Want to See in Sonic 4: Episode 2?
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is just the first step in rebuilding the spiny blue hero’s reputation. So far, Sega has done a good job, and it certainly seems like they’ll continue doing so as this project moves forward. What should Sonic Team and Dimps incorporate into the next chapter of Sonic 4? We’ve barely scratched the surface here. Check out the next entry in this three-part series to see what other gameplay elements Episode 2 should feature when it launches.