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Sonic Generations: The best of Sonic in one package?

Good game, good game...

Sonic Generations smacks of Sega trying to have their cake and eat it.

Two different takes on the same stages, one offering the purer platform pleasures associated with tubby old (sorry, classic) Sonic and the other packed with grind rails, dash attacks and camera swoops for the skinny modern jerk we've come to know and hate. Fortunately, early taste tests suggest it's a cake that's worth scoffing - a platforming pavlova, if you will.

If Wii's Sonic Colours and Sonic 4 proved that the spiny speedster was starting to get his act together, Generations looks like another big step towards rehabilitation.

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We're confident Sonic Team have picked the right team for the job - Dimps did sterling work on DS game Sonic Rush and its sequel, even if the handheld version of Colours was too fast for us mere mortals to keep up with.

MAKING THE BEST OF IT
Better still, almost all the levels in the 3DS game are exclusive. Green Hill Zone is the one area shared with the Other Formats take - Sonic 2's Casino Night Zone, Mushroom Hill from Sonic And Knuckles and Sonic Adventure's Emerald Coast are only present in the portable game.

For our money it's a superior selection of stages, not least because Dimps are sensibly keeping it as a side-scroller, unlike the console version.

That's not to say that there's no 3D trickery, of course. The demo on show at GamesCom and PAX revealed sequences where Sonic bounces between the background and foreground, a truly dazzling effect in 3D.

With the 3DS capturing (almost) all the graphical detail of the HD editions, that extra depth adds some much-needed clarity to a game that, at times, is busier than deadline day.

Closing with a boss battle against Robotnik's spiked craft from the end of Sonic 3 - albeit with aggressive new attack patterns - it's clear from the demo that Generations is positioning itself as a 'greatest hits' package.

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With the hog's best bits looking better than ever, and no irritating 'friends' to spoil the party, it seems Sega might just make us love Sonic again. Didn't they do well?

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