My first chance to play around with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood left me more than a little impressed.
While we didn’t get a walk through of the game’s storyline, we were given a chance to mess around with a chunk of the game.
The DS title shows the action of the game on the bottom, touch screen, while the top screen is taken up by a large colorful map of the section of the world you are currently exploring.
The game has you playing a team of Sonic characters, selected among 11 playable in the game.
Typically while playing only one of your team is shown on the screen and controllable, but you can switch between them by tapping on their icons. Each character has different abilities, which can be used by tapping icons that pop up at times while wandering the map.
For instance, only Big the Cat was able to make his way through a dense fog of clouds in portions of the map I was on, while a wing icon showed me that I could use Tails’ flying ability.
The fighting segments of the game did a nice job of capturing the essence of typical role-playing and adding enough to make it exciting. While you still select who you are attacking and how you are attacking them in a turn-based setting, once the attacks start some require the gamer to rhythmically tap the screen or drag the stylus in particular places, ala Elite Beat Agents, to succeed.
Fleeing an encounter is also very hands on, as you have to keep an eye on your entire team and tap different members to get them to jump over obstacles as you run from the bad guys in a sort of mini-game.
Despite being on the compact DS, the game seemed to pack most of the features one would expect to find in a role-playing game including lots of wandering, dialog trees, puzzles, leveling up and even an equipable pet of sorts.
Over the years I’ve found myself losing interest in role-playing games, but this slight blending of genres, a move that gets more involved in the process and makes the title feel slightly more like an action game, has me thinking that this would be a great game to take with me on a trip.