"Sonic the Hedgehog" gets a next-gen overhaul with new versions of the classic platformer for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

A lot has changed in the 15 years since the blue critter with an insatiable need for speed first arrived on the Sega Genesis console. Sadly, most of it has been for the worse.

That downward trend continues with this new version's poor controls, so-so graphics and wonky camera angles. Unless you're a hardcore fan of all things Sonic, the overall experience is too frustrating to bother with.

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One of the hallmarks of the original was the incredible sense of speed as Sonic ran, jumped and spun around loops, tunnels and robotic enemies.

It was a simple yet alluring experience, one that in its day was among the first to regularly tear me away from Nintendo's "Super Mario Bros."

So Sega, what happened? This rated E10+, $59.99 remake fails at that simple pleasure.

When you finally do get that sensation of traveling faster than the speed of sound, it's ruined by some inexplicable obstacle, like shallow water (which is apparently all it takes to send Sonic to his doom).

There's an expanded cast of characters in the "Sonic" universe, from old blue streak himself to pals like Tails and persistent nemesis Dr. Eggman.

There are also several "Sonic" variants you gain access to as you progress, including Shadow and the new futuristic Silver Sonic, each with unique abilities.

I couldn't just start the game dashing around and collecting golden rings. Instead, I was plopped in the middle of some lame city, performing boring missions for human residents instead of doing what Sonic used to do best.

The most serious issues were the level designs and camera controls.

Unlike the old two-dimensional game, it's really hard in this 3D version to tell where you're supposed to go.

The problem is compounded by a camera angle that doesn't do a very good job of showing your surroundings. Get ready for lots of wasted time just figuring out which way is forward.

Graphically, "Sonic" looked great in high-definition. But I did experience some odd visual glitches where I got stuck in a location and the entire screen would maddeningly shake around for a few seconds.

The only thing that buoyed the deep-seated "Sonic" depression brought on by this new game was to dust off my old Genesis console and play the original. After all these years, it remains a surprisingly tactile, fast-paced experience.

Just don't be deceived by this new game. "Sonic" is NOT back for the next-gen platforms — at least not in the way I and many other fans will want to remember.

One and a half stars out of four.