“None of us want more of the same. None of us”
No one outside the walls of Sega can know for sure what’s to come in the episodic Sonic the Hedgehog 4. But one fan has issued a pre-emptive strike of sorts, compelling others not to purchase any more episodes through a petition unless core concerns from Episode I are tackled.
“You failed to make the sequel Sonic fans have wanted,” says the petition’s creator Orlando Lewis in his open letter. “You disappointed your retro crowd and you disappointed the younger crowd as well.”
As has been a constant ever since the leaks a year ago, physics are a key part of the argument:
If there’s any one specific problem that’s the number one concern in Sonic 4, it is definitely the physics. In the classic Sonic games, the physics engine was all about the sense of momentum. Running down slopes would help Sonic to accelerate, and running up a slope would cause Sonic to slow down a little. The steeper the slope, the more pronounced the effect, and rolling in to Sonic’s trademark “spinball” form would only increase his slope sensitivity. A well-timed spin would allow Sonic to blow through levels at far faster speeds than he could ever achieve by running on foot. It was a marvelous physics engine emphasized flow and momentum. It was the physics engine that made Sonic the Hedgehog more unique than any other generic platformer during the 90s.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 does NONE of these things. For one thing, Sonic is incredibly stiff and his acceleration is rather sluggish. But then again, all you need is a minuscule amount of speed to go up tall 90 degree walls while Sonic’s still in his walking animation. Rolling in Sonic’s spinball form is next to useless outside of scripted scenes where one of every hundredth speed booster force you in the spinball form. Plus, Sonic loses all horizontal momentum if you let go of the D-Pad/Analog stick. There are times where if the player wants to spindash off of a ledge, he will shoot off but stop and fall straight down unless he’s constantly holding forward (whereas the classic games’ physics engine lets your momentum continue regardless of directional input). Simply doing any type of platforming challenge feels incredibly awkward and clunky beyond belief.
The petition asks the undersigned to “refuse to purchase any future episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4” until improvements are made. You can interpret the 4 total signatures to that cause any way you’d like.