Sonic Rush!

With Sonic making a fairly triumphant return to 2D gaming on the Gameboy Advance it was only a matter of time since the release of the Nintendo DS that SEGAs mascot would embrace the new dual-screen hardware.

Sonic Rush (Rush) was developed by Dimps having previously produced the Sonic Advance series of games under the supervision of Sonic Team.

Scoring rave reviews and positive reaction from gamers alike earning 90%+ scores it is heralded as a return to form for Sonic-gaming with some claiming it to be the best Sonic game ever! It also introduced a new character: Blaze the Cat to the franchise.

Sonic Rush Case (European)

Double the screens...Double the excitement "One screen's just not enough for Sonic the Hedgehog as he rushes, races and dashes between BOTH screens with dizzying dives, near vertical curves, extreme jumps and brain-twisting loops over 14 massive levels! Prepare for a whole new dual screen experience, it's a real Sonic rush to the head!"


An encounter with Dr Eggman leaves him hastily retreating leaves behind a mysterious emerald very similar to a Chaos Emerald. As Sonic goes to check it out, it is promptly whisked from under his nose. A figure of a lady appears and then quickly vanishes.


Rush returns to the roots that made Sonic gameplay so bloody good and multiplies the coolness factor with a punch in speed (as the title implies) and abilities for the current generation. All the other usual Sonic gameplay rules apply.

When playing normal levels both screens are utilised for action. This can be odd at first but easily adapted to. The bottom screen is also utilised at times for characters and the game's story.

VideoGameplay Videos

Rush introduces a new character Blaze; the fiery guardian of the Sol Emeralds. She is in hot pursuit of Dr Eggman who has captured them. She is playable after clearing all 3 acts of Zone 1 (Leaf Storm) with Sonic.

Sonic and Blaze

Changes in the gameplay between the two characters are slight essentially having the same moves along with a minor remix to the games music.

Other characters returning are Tails, Cream, Amy and Knuckles and naturally Eggman who also has a mysterious doppelganger in the form of Eggman-Nega.

New to the traditional gameplay is the Tension Gauge and Tricks. The Tension Gauge is a repository of energy used for Super Boosts of speed. The gauge charges when a trick is executed or an enemy is defeated to a maximum limit of 300% at which a jingle will play. It drops over time or when taking a hit.

Tension Gauge

Tension Gauge

Tricks are a cool twist on the traditional style of play. At critical points such as grinding or rebounding off a spring allows executing actions (stunts) that earn points. For examples Sonic can perform Hop Jumps and Blaze can perform Axel Tornados though each has several steps when repeating the action. The points earned from doing the same trick will decrease until earning nothing.

At the end of each act a ranking is given between S (best) or A-C (worst) based upon Time Score, Tricks Bonus, Ring Bonus and Speed. Progress through the game is automatically saved.

A very basic 2 player mode is also available.

Graphically the game is an advancement on the quality of visuals seen in Sonic Advance. Sonic and Blaze are rendered as polygons against the colourful and detailed scenery and boss fights happen in funky 3D arenas. The themes and styles are pretty classic for the series and it all moves along pretty flawlessly at speed.

Rush goes with a change in the style of music that fits extremely well with the themes and action. See below for some soundtrack info.

The game does represent a challenge comparable to the Sonic Advance series of games and is certainly a step up for those used to playing the original 16-Bit games.

Rewards for completing the game are unlockable Time Attack and Sound Test Options which become available once the game has been completed with a character. Not all songs will be unlocked however. For the full content game must be completed with all the Chaos Emeralds and have defeated the last boss.

The controls system is simple enough and the responsiveness is excellent.

The D-pad LEFT and RIGHT are run. UP and DOWN scroll the screen for a short section depending on which screen your character is in.

Buttons A or B are jump. Sonic has his usual leap and then jump depending on the press whilst Blaze performs Axel leaps and jumps with flames.

Buttons X or Y are Boost. This is a burst of speed and is only available whilst there is charge in the Tension Gauge. When Sonic is on the ground this will give a Super Boost or a Fire Boost for Blaze.

Holding DOWN and pressing Button A or B (jump) will give Sonic the classic Spin Dash. Blaze will perform a Burst Dash where she spins and blasts enemies in her path.

R-Bumper is for Tricks that help to re-fill the Tension Gauge.

When in the air will produce a Jump Dash in the direction Sonic or Blaze is facing.

For Blaze this can be held down for a Burst Hover. These are useful for clearing large gaps or hitting enemies in the air. Any speed is maintained.

Whilst grinding begins a sequence of Tricks and scoring when pressed repeatedly earning more Tension.

START pauses the game and displays options.

On the top screen will be: time elapsed, amount of rings, number of lives and the Tension Gauge.

All the usual Sonic items (ring monitors, speed boots and shields etc) are in each level with a few additions that top-up the Tension Gauge or restore it to maximum. There are also the entrances to the Special Stages in the form of Spatial Generators.

5 Rings Bonus - 5 ring bonus.
Random Rings Bonus - a random amount of rings out of 1,5,10,30 or 50.
Barrier - protects from a single hit
Magnetic Barrier - protects from a single hit and magnetically attracts nearby rings.
Floating Item Box - Touch to receive a random item.
Invincible - Will make Sonic or Blaze invincible for a short period of time.
Tension Bonus - Will increase the tension bar by 1 bar.
Max Tension Bonus - Will instantly fill the tension bar to maximum.
1-UP - An extra life
Checkpoints - act as restart points should you die.
Spatial Generators - are entrances to the Special Stage.

All the usual dangers are about. Aside from Eggman’s robots (of which there will be plenty this time) will be spikes, plenty of bottomless pits (one of the few complaints about the game), showers of boulders and the need to find air when underwater. Some smaller sections seal until having defeated a specified number of enemies.

A new danger will be Eggman's giant balls which are dropped behind nearing a steep slope. Plenty of boost is needed in order to get away outrun the danger.

When taking a hit rings will scatter across the screen as with all the Sonic games, however, the more you get hit the further and higher your rings will fly thus making them harder to retrieve.

Gimmicks inside the levels will include giant loops that span 2 screens, bungee ropes, parachutes and hang gliders to name but a few.

World MapWorld Map

Sonic Rush World Map

All scores and rankings are automatically saved and Rush allows the replaying of levels for improving scores or more opportunities for replaying the Special Stages.

A zone map allows selection of which zones to replay out of those zones already completed. The highest ranking is saved.


Special Stages are entered via Spatial Generators that are scattered throughout each act somewhat hidden and only Sonic can enter them. There is usually more than one entrance per act. The same Special Stage is available in each zone. There are 7 in total (1 per zone).

Spatial Generator

Spatial Generator

Sonic Rush Special StageSonic Rush Special Stage

To use them, jump and grab onto and then hold X or Y and speed boost around it. With enough power in the Tension Gauge a dimensional distortion will form.

Special Stages should be familiar to Sonic gamers as they are essentially a new version of the half-pipe from Sonic 2 and are played on the touch screen using the stylus. Sonic moves as drawing is done. The top screen will display progress.

The goal is to collect a specified amount of rings before a checkpoint. This value increases as you progress. Failure to get the specified amount of rings means ejection. Mines along the way will make you either miss rings or lose some by taking a hit. Later courses will have enemies that will attack. They can be defeated by double touching them with the stylus. Some enemies will need more than 1 hit and a ring is earned for each enemy destroyed. Obviously destroying enemies may detract from collecting rings passing by.

A trick spring will launch Sonic into the air. Numbered spots will appear at positions on the touch screen with a very limited amount of time shown by a depleting gauge to touch these in ascending order. Being successful will reward a bonus amount of rings.

Upon completing a Special Stage, Sonic is rewarded with a Chaos Emerald and bonus points.

Chaos Emerald!

Unlike previous games, getting all of the Chaos Emeralds does not give Sonic his usual Super Sonic upgrade. Rather it allows access the very final last battle in the game.

The Sol Emeralds are the counterpart from Blazes world. Rather than collecting them in a Special Stage they are retrieved after each boss fight.

2 Player Games

Rush uses single card and multi-card wireless play. The game is basically a race between Sonic and Blaze through zones/acts that have already been completed by either player. No boss fights can be selected. The winner is the first to complete the act. The battle will end in a draw if neither finishes before the time limit.

In a battle, the bottom screen will show your characters position in the act relative to your opponent.

Dying means restarting the act. Players can obstruct each other through use of the items that populate the act. These are:

Random Rings Bonuses - rings 1, 5, 10, 30 or 50.
Slow - slows down your opponent.
Max Tension Bonus - maxes out your Tension Gauge and your opponents is depleted.
Confusion - you opponent is out of control for a short period.
Attract - Bring your opponent to the area you currently are.


There are very few options to adjust:

Player Data - View records of performances of in Battle Play and Time Attack.
Difficulty - Toggle between Easy and Normal.
Time Limit - Toggle the 10 minute time limit for completing an act on or off.
Sound Test - Listen to the music and sound effects in the game. This only becomes available after completing the game with either character.
Delete Save Data - Delete all player data.
Download Demo - Allows for friends to download a demo of the game for play on their DS.


Each zone has 3 acts; with 2 normal levels and a boss act on the 3rd. The order they are played varies very slightly between Sonic and Blaze.

Boss acts are played only on the top screen in 3D arenas and no speed boosts or tricks can be performed. The bottom screen displays the number of hits required to defeat him and audio encouragement from your supporting character be that Tails for Sonic or Cream for Blaze.

The Extra Zone (selectable from the character select screen) is available after collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds and Sol Emeralds (14 in total) and completing both Final Zone bosses. Both Super Sonic and Burning Blaze are played.

The zone starts with Sonic flying through an asteroid field (like The Doomsday Zone in Sonic and Knuckles) with the ring count constantly dropping to catch up with Eggman in one of his more advanced machines – The Egg Salamander. After a few hits Eggman retreats into a station and then Eggman Nega will emerge from the bottom in his Egg Salamander where Burning Blaze follows suit and fights him. This repeats until both are defeated.

Sonic's Route

Leaf Storm
Water Palace
Mirage Road
Night Carnival
Huge Crisis
Altitude Limit
Dead Line
Final Zone
Extra Zone

Blaze's Route

Night Carnival
Leaf Storm
Mirage Road
Water Palace
Altitude Limit
Huge Crisis
Dead Line
Final Zone
Extra Zone

Sonic's Route

Zone 1 - Leaf Storm

Leaf Storm Act 1 (Sonic) Leaf Storm Act 2 (Sonic) Leaf Storm Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 2 - Water Palace

Water Palace Act 1 (Sonic) Water Palace Act 2 (Sonic) Water Palace Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 3 Mirage Road

Mirage Road Act 1 (Sonic) Mirage Road Act 2 (Sonic) Mirage Road Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 4 - Night Carnival

Night Carnival Act 1 (Sonic) Night Carnival Act 2 (Sonic) Night Carnival Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 5 - Huge Crisis

Huge Crisis Act 1 (Sonic) Huge Crisis Act 2 (Sonic) Huge Crisis Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 6 - Altitude Limit

Altitude Limit Act 1 (Sonic) Altitude Limit Act 2 (Sonic) Altitude Limit Act 3 (Sonic)

Zone 7 - Dead Line

Dead Line Act 1 (Sonic) Dead Line Act 2 (Sonic) Dead Line Act 3 (Sonic)

Final Zone - Unknown

Unknown (Sonic) Unknown (Sonic) Unknown (Sonic)

Blaze's Route

Zone 1 - Night Carnival

Night Carnival Act 1 (Blaze) Night Carnival Act 2 (Blaze) Night Carnival Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 2 - Leaf Storm

Leaf Storm Act 1 (Blaze) Leaf Storm Act 2 (Blaze) Leaf Storm Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 3 Mirage Road

Mirage Road Act 1 (Blaze) Mirage Road Act 2 (Blaze) Mirage Road Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 4 - Water Palace

Water Palace Act 1 (Blaze) Water Palace Act 2 (Blaze) Water Palace Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 5 - Altitude Limit

Altitude Limit Act 1 (Blaze) Altitude Limit Act 2 (Blaze) Altitude Limit Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 6 - Huge Crisis

Huge Crisis Act 1 (Blaze) Huge Crisis Act 2 (Blaze) Huge Crisis Act 3 (Blaze)

Zone 7 - Dead Line

Dead Line Act 1 (Blaze) Dead Line Act 2 (Blaze) Dead Line Act 3 (Blaze)

Final Zone - Unknown

Unknown (Blaze) Unknown (Blaze) Unknown (Blaze)

Extra Zone - Sonic and Blaze Vs Eggman and Eggman Nega

Extra Zone (Sonic and Blaze) Extra Zone (Sonic) Extra Zone (Blaze)

Also on the map are Tails' Workshop and Creams House both of which are inaccessible. Perhaps a part cut from the final version?


The soundtrack to Rush comes from the acclaimed artist Hideki Naganuma and Teruhiko Naka who's previous work is well known to SEGA fans. He is known mostly for the soundtrack to Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future.

The official soundtrack to the game entitled Original Groove Rush includes 45 tracks of the music in the game including 7 remakes of the DS tracks. It was released in November 2005.

Original Groove Rush
Original Groove Rush

The following sample is a medley from the first seven tracks in the game released as preview media before the games launch.(MP3 Format)

Sonic Rush Soundtrack


The game is playable on a few DS emulators such as DeSmuME.



Sonic Rush (Games of the Month Archive)


Official Website (Now Offline)

A page offering some screenshots, movies and desktop images.

Sonic Rush at Sonic World

A brilliant page with lots of media including some pre-release content.

Review at IGN

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