This year in the Nintendo Wii booth, Sega had a demo of its flagship franchise available for all to enjoy. Unlike the PS3 Sonic game, This year in the Nintendo Wii booth, Sega had a demo of its flagship franchise available for all to enjoy. Unlike the PS3 Sonic game, Sonic: Wild Fire was not only a surprisingly enjoyable demo; it was one of my favorite titles at E3. Somehow Sega has seemingly rediscovered Sonic the Hedgehog's roots and has the beginnings of a solid game...a rare feat for a 3D Sonic title.

Sonic: Wild Fire is Sonic's first solo adventure since the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis. In typical Sonic fashion, the story is not this game's strong suit. Briefly though, the story goes down like this: Sonic was reading the classic tale Arabian Nights and fell asleep (I guess it was late). When he awoke, he found that the last few pages of the book were missing. So, without considering any other options, Sonic decides to go out and retrieve the missing pages (supposedly by recreating them...we're still confused by the story). He does this just as he always has: by killing robots and running fast. The game is set in Arabian environments as a tie-in to the story Sonic was reading. The title of game is not final either, though I hope they decide to keep it, since I've grown rather attached to the title.

Supposedly developed by a top tier team at Sega, headed by Sonic creator Yuji Naka himself, Wild Fire is a Wii exclusive title due out sometime in 2007. Completely different than its PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 counterpart, the game uses the Wii Remote in some fun and unique ways.

Designed to be easy to pick up and play, but still fun and challenging, Wild Fire is played solely with the Remote. On top of that, you only need one button to play it. And no, I'm not joking. Sega seems to really understand the philosophy behind the Wii.

Wild Fire follows a different game design philosophy than any other Sonic game has. It's really quite a simple change, too, but it affects the gameplay more than you'd guess. Instead of pressing a button or moving a control stick to make Sonic run, he runs on his own. By default he will run at a very high speed on a linear path-based level. It's your job to destroy, dodge, and steer Sonic safely through to the end of each level. Your goal is to get to the end of the level as fast and efficiently as you can. It's funny how such a small change in control can lead to a game that follows the philosophy of Sonic better than Sega itself has been able to since the close of the Genesis days. Sonic is about speed and efficiency. Unlike the PS3/360 "next-gen" Sonic games, Wild Fire delivers.

The consistent speed of the game is also reminiscent of the Hedgehog's 2D roots. Everything is fast...very fast. If you can get Sonic going full speed, everything gets very frantic and almost out of your control, but not quite. At high speeds, you barely have enough time to react to obstacles in your path, let alone enjoy the beautiful Arabian scenery. While playing we had a rushed feeling -- a sensation that Sonic was just hurtling himself through the level with reckless abandon. The demo exuded an overall sense of exhilaration. It felt a lot like the Sonic games of old, where you'd make your way through a level as fast as possible, reacting at the last possible moment to avoid an obstacle or enemy.