Hey guys back with another round of the Modern Gamer. Hehe, so this is where old school meets new school in Sonic Mania. Now just a little about my background in gaming to when I was a kid. I discovered games back when the console wars were going between Sega, Nintendo, and PlayStation. Before Square Enix was a thing, and they were just two separate companies Squaresoft and Enix. Atari was already outdated. Crazy, right?
Let’s get into the story of Sonic Mania. This is taking place after Sonic 3. We see Sonic and Tails heading to Angel Island in their plane investigating a powerful energy signal. Robotnik finds out about it and sends his egg robots, called the Heavies, to see what it is too. They both discover that the signal is coming from the phantom ruby which is from Sonic CD. Robotnik and his minions get there first, of course, you’re transported to the first level of the game, with the objective of getting all seven chaos emeralds and beating Robotnik and his goons.
When I turned on the game, I had no idea what it was, other than thinking, ‘ok this must be all the first three main games again. I can dig that, no big deal.’ No, I was wrong, which was a pleasant surprise. Sonic Mania is an all-new game with a lot of nostalgia.
Examples like Green Hill Zone comes from Sonic 1 but has expanded, same with the Chemical Plant Zone and Oil Ocean Zone which were part of Sonic 2, and the Flying Battery Zone, Lava Reef Zones are from Sonic 3. Now there are some others that are from Sonic CD, (which sadly I didn’t get to play when I was a kid) as well as new zones made especially for Sonic Mania.
Another thing I really like is that they kept saving slots for each of your games. You have enough to play Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles by themselves or Sonic and Tails. If you get the Sonic Mania Plus DLC, there are more characters you can play and more zones.
How’s the play? It’s fantastic! All you could ever want in a Sonic game. Collect rings, pop off the baddies, and get some chaos emeralds while you’re at it. Sounds straight forward right? Kinda. There’s a lot of unlockable content. The more you unlock, the more stuff you get. Like being able to choose how you play. That’s right, you can choose to play through all the zones with Sonic Mania moves, Sonic CD moves, Sonic 3 moves or Sonic 2 moves. All of which is nice cause Sonic mania plays like Sonic 1 with the ability to handle sonic three box powers.
Chaos Emeralds have gotten a bit trickier to get. First, you have to find the hidden big rings. Which there are plenty in the first few zones if you look close enough. Green Hill Zones has at least for that I can think of right now (that’s all the hints you get). Just make sure you comb through the first level.
When you do find the giant ring, you have to chase a bot that’s holding an emerald around a track. Here’s the kicker, the more rings you collect the more time you get. So you have to collect as many as possible in the first lap. If you hit something, you’re ring drops and so does your time. You also get faster the more laps you make. There are speed boosters and ring boxes to help you. But it’s all about how well you know the track, and how many shortcuts you can take. Don’t worry if you can’t get them all on the first try. You can always finish the last stage and then farm the rest of the chaos emeralds.
There is another zone that’s reminiscent of the old Sonic 3 chaos emerald zone. Instead of collecting emeralds, you’re collecting rings and making sure every one of those spheres turn red. If you were good at playing the old Sonic 3 or Sonic and Knuckles, it’ll be easy to figure out the various stages and how to conquer them as you play this amazingly fast game.
Sonic Mania is a lot of fun to play and a great way to pass the time, especially if you’re into unlocking all the secrets of a game. There are plenty here.