Sonic the Hedgehog 4
"What a waste of time Sonic 4 was. A cheap, nostalgia-made phone game in disguise as a sequel to the classics that overstayed its welcome!"— Characters In-Depth, Top 10 Worst Colors Era Moments
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is an episodic platform game co-developed by Dimps and Sonic Team, and published by Sega. It was the official sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, until Sonic Mania came out, and made Sonic 4 non-canon, and like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, being divided into two episodes.
- The physics are abysmal, since you can get stuck on walls like Spiderman, you completely lose momentum when jumping after a Spindash and you only get slower when you roll into a ball, even when going downhill. This is due to the fact it uses the Sonic Rush engine, which is not capable of non-boost gameplay.
- Forgettable and easy level design. The worst part is that the game sometimes plays itself, with lots of speed boosters and springs everywhere for no reason, even when it's something as basic as running to the right
- Absolutely horrendous and ear-bleeding music that tries hard to replicate the Genesis-style soundtrack, but fails miserably. You have to realize that the soundtrack was composed by long-time Sonic composer Jun Senoue, the same composer that created the soundtracks for Sonic games since Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Even the soundtrack for Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood sounds much better than this.
- The percussion sounds like gunshots or exploding balloons, which sounds dreadful for the most part, it has also been reused from Sonic 2.
- The synthesizers in some of the soundtracks "sound like electronic cats and ducks being killed" (if that's the case for Oil Desert Act 2). They could've used natural instruments, but they were just too lazy.
- Super Sonic's theme sounds like a lazy rip-off of Super Sonic's theme from Sonic 2.
- Episode 2's soundtrack sounds more like the Genesis games, but it's even more ear-grating, with the grungy airhorn-like synth trumpets, and fart-like synthesizers.
- The final boss' main theme is an infinite loop, it lasts for 15 seconds and keeps repeating itself, not to mention is a poor rip-off of the Sonic 2 final boss.
- Barely any hidden areas or secrets, the level design just consists of autopilot sections, linear straightforward pathways, and dull platforming with constant use of Homing Attack chains, just like recent games of the series.
- The Homing Attack is pointless since the only reason why it was added in the 3D games (starting with Sonic Adventure) was that defeating enemies by jumping into them was much harder in a 3D space, yet this game is in 2D, so there's no point.
- This game started SEGA's terrible habit of nostalgia pandering: Both episodes reuse level themes and parts of their names from the Genesis titles, which is extremely lazy and unoriginal. (Green Hill being Splash Hill, and Sky Chase being Sky Fortress)
- Episode I has nothing but the bosses from the older titles but with pinch modes!
- Before the final boss, like in Sonic Advance 2, you must fight all of these bosses again in a tedious boss rush.
- Very short: both episodes can be completed in roughly an hour. This is mostly because of the easy level design and fewer stages from the previous games.
- The episodic format not only makes the development more complicated, but it's also a pointless addition, not to mention that plans for a third episode have so far been abandoned.
- The Special Stages are mediocre. Episode I has easy Special Stages that are really tedious and are recycled from Sonic 1. Episode II's Special Stages recycle the halfpipe structure from Sonic 2, and are incredibly difficult, especially the seventh Special Stage. Not helping is that the halfpipe structure was overused in several Sonic games before it.
- Adding on to the special stages, in the Wii version of Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I, you control the special stage by tilting the Wii remote similar to tilting the iOS or Android to control the special stages.
- Also, you access the Special Stages in the exact same way as Sonic 1 and Sonic CD, which is collecting fifty rings and heading to the Goal.
- Absolutely HIDEOUS graphics that look like something out of a generic mobile game, the 2D sprites look very plastic-like and the 3D models look like PS1-levels of low-poliness except for Sonic, who looks very out of place. The game also has a very dumb Environment-Sonic illumination contrast except for, ironically, the mobile version, not to mention Sonic has cel-shading and bloom all over the place.
- The Wii version, while fixing the issue of Cel-Shading in the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 ports of the game, lacks things the HD versions had, for example, the music is MIDI based, which makes the music worse than it needs to, Sonic Doesn't move his mouth at all, and even worse, the game's resolution doesn't change when played on a Widescreen tv.
- The Ouya version has even worse graphics than the Wii version and contains frame rate drops.
- The mobile (iOS, Android) port is terrible, for example, some sounds are low pitched, like the ring sound effect is similar to Sonic Adventure, even worse, Sonic lacks model lighting!
- There is no sense of Sonic's iconic speed in this game, as he is INCREDIBLY SLUGGISH, taking more than 7 seconds to pick up speed, and the Spin Dash is incredibly underpowered, which is RIDICULOUS, as this was supposed to capture the spirit of the classics, but fails, as Sonic was much faster in the Genesis games than in this game.
- Out of all the zones they had to reuse, they picked Labyrinth Zone and Metropolis Zone, the two most hated zones in the first two Classic Sonic games.
- Not only, are the bosses rehashed from the Genesis Sonic games, they also suffer from issues, two examples being:
- One of the bosses has Sonic run in a Sonic Advance 2-style boss fight vs. Dr. Eggman on a flying vehicle. The problem with this stage is the background, which consists of orange panels with thin silver pillars, which can be hard to look at and would also cause seizures due to it constantly moving with Sonic and the camera. Later in the boss fight the pillars start moving up to reveal a silver cage background.
- There's a horrible 24-hit slog of a final boss, which is just the Death Egg Robot, again, but even worse.
- Thanks to Nintendo's decision of adding a 40 MB limit size on WiiWare, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I had to have audio compressed and some downgrades from the other ports, and Episode II wasn't even released for the Wii due to said limitations.
- Lost Labyrinth Act 2: no illumination while solving trial-and-error puzzles in a Sonic game, who thought that was a good idea?
- The story is a don't show-don't tell, therefore you're forced to read the digital manual, 2D is not an excuse, 3K did this way better.
- While there are Red Star Rings like in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, collecting all of them does absolutely nothing except for giving you an achievement.
- Episode Metal, the bonus episode you get if you own both episodes, is a lazy excuse for paid DLC. All it is basically is a few levels from Episode I made to be harder with more Badniks, bottomless pits and spikes but you play as Metal Sonic who is just a Sonic reskin. Also, this is just an excuse to tie the game into the events of Sonic CD, which was only there because the Sonic CD remake was released a year before.
- And speaking of Sonic CD, Amy Rose isn't mentioned, and doesn't even make a cameo appearance in Episode II.
- Cliffhanger: The "good" ending when you get all the Chaos Emeralds is just the screen panning onto a picture of the world, and then "Presented by Sega" before abruptly cutting back to the main menu after the end credits, ending Sonic 4 on a sour note, with the Death Egg Mk. II still standing and Little Planet still being trapped inside. While the third episode was cancelled, they could've added a small cutscene closing out the games.
- Episode II cannot be locked on to Episode I properly to have both Sonic & Tails playable in the latter's stages.
- Recently, an update for the Android version was made for Episode Metal, which completely ruins act 3 of Electric Road due to the background accidentally being removed, causing, this.
- Super Sonic makes his first playable appearance in levels in years, and he is still broken fun to play as.
- The game does have some nice callbacks to the original Sega Genesis/Mega Drive games.
- The composition for most of the tracks (and some tracks in general) are decent, such as Lost Labyrinth Act 2, Sky Fortress Act 2, Splash Hill Zone Act 3, or the Metal Sonic boss theme, but the unusual synth notes are sloppy.
- Smooth controls.
- Some of the Badniks, old and new, are well designed.
- The Special Stages in Episode I are easier to control than the stages in Sonic 1, as now you can control the screen instead of Sonic while the level is moved automatically.
- The bosses' pinch mode do make them a bit harder.
- Episode II made some big improvements, like the addition of Tails, the attempt of creating new zones by mixing two zones together (ex.: Sylvania Castle, which resembles both Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2 and Marble Garden from Sonic 3) and improved graphics and physics from Episode I.
- The bosses are somewhat original, especially the final boss.
- It is free to play on Google Play as of 2018, it also features Episode Metal as an in-game bonus for owning Episode I as well, quite lengthening the game.
Sonic The Hedgehog 4 received mixed to positive reviews from critics, but received mixed to negative reviews by fans alike for its weak graphics, poor soundtrack, and terrible physics.
- There was an unused "To be continued" that can be seen in the ending of Episode II after getting all seven Chaos Emeralds, this hints that the developers were intended on making an Episode III. However, Iizuka has said that Sega was not planning on releasing further episodes of Sonic 4. Later, in 2015, it was revealed that Sonic 4 was originally conceptualized as a trilogy, but it was considered a duology because plans to develop Episode III were abandoned for undisclosed reasons.
- It spawned the "Splash Hill Goes with Everything" meme.
- The boss theme for Episode 1 was taken from two early prototypes of Sonic 3D Blast, which were replaced due to Jon Burton not liking them; hilariously, demo tapes refer to it as "Eggman's Gay Circus" (gay, here meaning happy).
- Episode II wasn't released on the Wii due to the game being larger than the required digital file size by Nintendo for Wii games at the time.