While SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog series pulled in monstrous sales on the Mega Drive/Genesis, many gamers aren't aware that Sonic also enjoyed a number of releases on the Master System and Game Gear. Sonic Triple Trouble is the follow-up to Sonic Chaos and while the game still suffered from the hardware limitations of the Game Gear's 8-bit processor, it was definitely a step in the right direction and probably the closest thing gamers could get to the overall style of play of the 16-bit titles on a handheld. Now SEGA wants to give the game a second chance with its release on the 3DS eShop, but with its slower pace and extremely tame difficulty, it's not likely to appeal to everyone.
To mix things up, there are a host of platform helpers that range from springs that will catapult Sonic high into the air, to platform sections that Sonic can break through in order to reach hidden areas. As the action's a little slower than in 16-bit, there's a bit more emphasis on exploration than you'd associate with the more speedy Sonic titles on the Mega Drive.
The level designs are solid enough, but the aforementioned lack of zip does tend to bog the experience down at times. The inclusion of Tails and his hovering ability offers up some variety, but the extremely easy difficulty offers little challenge to seasoned Sonic fans and brings the adventure to a close far too quickly. SEGA made a good attempt at capturing the home console Sonic experience, but perhaps it would have been better trying something a bit different and more befitting the hardware capabilities.
The developers at Aspect were obviously more comfortable with the visual capabilities of the Game Gear this time around and the details in the surroundings and enemies are quite a bit more detailed. There's a bit of slowdown at certain intervals when the action becomes intense, but it's certainly not anything overly annoying. The musical score has that Sonic catchiness to it and there are some very solid tunes to enjoy throughout your adventure; even the classic Sonic sound effects ring out as true as they do on their console counterparts.
It's easy to pick on Triple Trouble for its shortcomings when compared to the console Sonic titles, but even as a Game Gear release, the game still has its share of faults. The adventure itself is quite enjoyable and there are some solid level designs, but the lack of challenge and sluggish pacing end up bringing the overall experience down a few notches. Fans of Sonic will likely get their money's worth with the eShop release, but you'll enjoy the game far more if you can keep your expectations at a realistic level.