Sonic CulT // Sonic - 16 bit era // Sonic 3D Blast // General Information

Overview

Sonic 3D Blast

Also on: Saturn, PC

In 1996, the term '16-bit' was very quickly becoming obsolete. Flat, 2D graphics were quickly being replaced with textured polygons. Sony entered the video game market with it's true 32-bit Playstation, while Nintendo surprised everyone by skipping immediately over to its much-rumored Ultra 64. Sega brought out the Saturn after its failed attempt to market the 32X as viable contender in the new polygonal market. And where was Sega's flagship franchise throughout all this? On the cutting edge of the third dimension, of course!

Well, sort of. Sega commisioned Traveller's Tales, who had perviously done such games as Toy Story and Mickey Mania, to create a 3D Sonic game for the Genesis. What resulted was Sonic 3D Blast (or Sonic 3D: Flickie's Island as it is called in Europe), a prerendered, 3/4th view Sonic game that more or less kept the classic gameplay of collect rings, destroy robots, and put the hurt on Eggman. A couple twists were added, however. Flickies, which had original appeared in the 1984 Sega arcade game "Flicky," appear in the game as the animals captive inside the robots. To advance to the next part of the level, five of them must be collected. The special stages were graphically decent, paralax scrolling ring-collecting fare, but nothing to be very excited about.

With the absence of X-treme, which was to be Sonic's big appearance on the Saturn, Sega needed their mascot on their new system. After some convincing, Traveller's Tales agreed to port the game to Saturn with graphical improvements. In addition, it was given a new soundtrack by Richard Jacques, who went on to do the music for the ill-fated Sonic R, as well as a reworked special stage. While the main game remained in the form of prerendered sprites (albeit improved from the Genesis version), the special stage was given a full polygonal makeover. Designed in the style of the classic Sonic 2 half-pipe but imrpoved with springs, gaps, and other new bits, the special stage was actually much better than the main game.

Truth be told, Sonic 3D Blast on either platform was pretty terrible. The psuedo-3D made control difficult and the boxed-in level design made speedy gameplay impossible. While it was technically impressive for the Genesis ( complete with an opening 'movie'), the game was met with bad reviews and low sales. The Saturn version was later ported to the PC with yet another redesigned special stage. It can now be found in most PC game bargain bins for a few dollars, right next to the PC versions of Sonic CD, Sonic & Knuckles Collection, and Sonic R.

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