In a moment of idle internet browsing I found myself on an excellent website which contained a whole host of emulations for games on consoles which are no longer in production. This site contained a game which I have not thought about for years but was one of the earliest games I remember playing: Sonic 3D: Flickies Island. This was a truly great Sonic game, and hovered up a considerable amount of hours until I got my first console platform (but how many other demands are there on a 6 year old’s time anyway?) Now, I know what many of you may be thinking: “A good Sonic game with 3D in the title? Surely Not!” Of course there is a good reason for reacting in this way. In the last decade there have been several attempts at making a Sonic 3D game, particularly in the Gamecube era. They have almost all been terrible. They had an air about them which could only be described as soulless; the games were lacking in any of the charm which their 2D predecessors had in abundance. The game-play felt boring, and for some reason they started trying to come up with detailed plots for Sonic’s adventures. Worst of all, they gave Sonic a voice (and his supporting cast) which was usually horribly annoying. The ‘scripts’ and ‘dialogue’ between the characters was painful to listen to and just made you feel embarrassed to be playing the game at all. It is for these reasons that many Sonic fans will tell you that the only good Sonic games were in 2D. I think that Flickies Island may be an exception to this rule, however. First of all the ‘plot’ to the game is explained in 3 sentences at the start of the game. There is no unnecessary attempt to tack on a story to make the game seem more important than it is. Secondly, Sonic is blessedly silent throughout. No terrible synthetic American accent here. More importantly, the level design is great, with a huge variety of levels which all encourage exploration and which are lovely to look at. The game moves through from levels with lurid primary colours which we all love to grimy castles and snowy tundras. Similarly, the audio effects are great. The music for each level is expertly done and always sets the right tone for that particular stage. The music is uplifting and the sound effects for Sonic’s running and spin attacks are great (not to mention the absurdly cheerful jangle upon picking up rings to further Sonic’s capitalist endeavors.) The boss battles are well design and challenging, including giant animated statues and some devilish tricks from Dr. Robotnik. Simply, put then this game is a decent effort at capturing the speed and collecting fun of Sonic titles of old without the overwhelming cheese and soullessness of more modern attempts. This game came out on PC and Sega Master System but can also be found on some sites to play as a flash game. Be warned however, without a joystick or similar the 8 directional movement is difficult to control with 4 directional arrow keys. Still, if you have a few spare moments it’s well worth a look.