When Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was being developed, the people at Sonic Team were planning to have a port of the game for the Nintendo Revolution (aka the Wii). But due to not having enough time to achieve that, they instead decided to split the development team so one could work on an entirely new game for the console. At E3 2006, Sonic Wild Fire was announced. Later in August, however, the name was changed to Sonic and the Secret Rings and was released for the Nintendo Wii on Feb. 20, 2007. So, is the game a wish come true? Or a dead RINGer?
Our tale begins with our beloved hedgehog taking a nap after reading a bit of the Arabian Nights. His rest is disturbed by Shahra, a genie from the Arabian Nights. She tells him that the Erazor Djinn is erasing the pages of the book in order to absorb the power of the book and escape to the real world. Sonic agrees to help and Shahra takes the hedgehog into the world of the Arabian Nights.
Once they are inside the book, they meet the Erazor Djinn who is looking for the seven World Rings. He then shoots an arrow fire at Sonic and tells him that if he doesn’t find the world rings before the fire on his chest goes out, he will die. So our blue hedgehog and Shahra have to explore the world of the Arabian Nights in search of the World Rings and find a way to stop the Erazor Djinn.
As you explore the book, you will encounter characters from the Arabian Nights who look strikingly similar to the characters of Sonic’s world like Eggman, Knuckles, and Tails. I wish we got to see more original characters like Shahra and the Erazor Djinn. Besides those two, there was only one other prominent character in the game that wasn’t based on a character from Sonic’s world.
Overall, the story is fine. I don’t have many thoughts on it. I wish we got to explore more of the Arabian Nights. Another problem was that we should’ve seen more of these characters. For example, there is this strange relationship Shahrah has with the Erazor Djinn that is never talked about. I give it a solid B.
The levels seem a bit repetitive. There are eight worlds and most have the same type of levels. Most levels have one level where you must reach the goal. These are usually related to the story. There are many other levels in each world but they are usually the same missions but in different locations. There are the “destroy all enemies,” “collect a certain amount of rings,” “race to the finish” and other missions similar to that. In order to progress through the game and collect the world rings, you need to do these side missions.
Controlling Sonic can be a pain on occasion. Unlike other Sonic games, you are constantly moving forward and the camera only looks forward. If you want to go backward, you have to tilt the Wii Remote towards you to make Sonic walk backward instead of Sonic turning to the direction you want me to go. This makes backtracking through the level very difficult and collecting collectibles even harder. In order to move Sonic left and right, you must tilt the remote left or right depending on how you want it and it seems a little slow in my opinion. The one part of the controls I hate the most is the homing attack. When you are in the air and see an enemy, you can attack it by pushing the Wii Remote forward. This will sometimes not register and will occasionally lead to your death when homing attacks are necessary.
There are also two new abilities you can use as Sonic: Speed Break and Time Break. As you collect Soul Energy, your Soul Gauge will increase which will allow you to use these abilities. Speed Break makes you go extremely fast for a short time and Time Break slows down time for a short time. These are usually not necessary but make certain parts of a level easier.
And then there is the party mode…
Alright, I honestly have barely played the party mode (my younger siblings left once they tried it) but all I will say is that motion controls and Mario Party-like minigames don’t mix well together as they will occasionally not register.
Overall, the gameplay can be fun but also a pain thanks to the game’s motion controls and how repetitive it is (seems to be a theme for Wii games). I give it a B-.
The soundtrack is pretty good. It has songs like “Let the Speed Mend It,” “Unawakening Float,” “Worth a Chance,” etc. My one problem with this soundtrack is its main theme “Seven Rings in Hand.” It’s a good song, but it’s so overused. You hear it when you start the game, in one of the CGI cutscenes, when you fail or clear a level, and when you select the level. It makes the song a little underwhelming when you hear it as the song for the final boss. I give the soundtrack an A.
To conclude, this game is meh for me. Which is quite sad since I love the idea of exploring the Arabian Nights as Sonic. I wish we saw more characters and the game would’ve been better if it didn’t have motion controls. I give Sonic and the Secret Rings a 7/10.
At a Glance: Sonic and the Secret Rings
Summary: Collect the seven World Rings and defeat the Erazor Djinn to save the world of the Arabian Nights.
Rated: E for Everyone: Cartoon Violence
Price: $4.99 (Gamestop)
Release Date: Feb. 20, 2007.