SAGE 2002 Preview: ShenSonic

One of the most ambitious titles on show at SAGE, this. Promising a 2D version world of Shenmue, but with Sonic at the forefront rather than Ryo Hazuki. It’s certainly an interesting project, and the Sonic Fan Club checks on its progress…

Developed by SimSonic, from Magitek Software, this game is looking pretty sweet indeed. This is going to be a massive undertaking to develop and complete this game, no doubt about it. And because of that, it should be a fan game that doesn’t go unnoticed. Come on! Sonic as Ryo Hazuki! Who could have thunk it??

The graphics are great, with impressive use of the Sonic Crackers sprites and a hilarious Robotnik version of Lan Di (you gotta see him run. Wheeee!). Much of the Shenmue world has been recreated as best as possible in 2D, however not all the aspects or dialogue of the Dreamcast game has made the transition into ShenSonic. This may be because they’d make the game too boring, or maybe it merely couldn’t be done. This is understandable at the moment, it is the first 2D RPG of its kind after all.

The demo is pretty expansive, and lasts until you get to “that nightclub where you throw that guy over the top of the bar”. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen or played Shenmue. So, it’s a big demo, and the controls are simple to get to grips with. The ‘Shift’ key is your action button, and ‘CTRL’ is your ‘Y Menu’ from Shenmue. Some events require use of other letters on the keyboard though – in the fights you come across, for example.

Just like in Shenmue, there’s more to it then just fannying about the town (although you could do this to your heart’s content if you really wanted to in the Dreamcast original). There are QTE fights, the YOU Arcade, as well as other little bits like collectible cassettes that you can buy in Tomato, and Gumball machines containing Sonic game boxes. A very cool break from all that super-sleuthing you gotta do in the main game.

There are a few things which would be nice to be sort out before its final release. A terrible glitch bug is apparent in the demo. When in the YOU Arcade, if you switch to your menu to see how many Gumballs you have, then come back out, you find yourself past a wall at your house – which is pretty aggravating.

Also, it would be great to have the ability to skip text – you won’t believe how bored we got trying to wait ten minutes for one text block to disappear; you cannot move while someone is talking. An ‘Escape Conversation’ button would be nice too. Finally, it’s be great to have a kind of ‘Notebook’ (ala Shenmue), where findings or info can be stored, so that you do not forget where to go next.

These things need to be sorted if ShenSonic is to be extremely enjoyable. At the moment, you’ll find yourself falling asleep at the speed of the text boxes… we persevered though, and found an admirable game in development.

Playtest Results

We Like:

  • Just like Shenmue
  • Lots to do
  • Expansive world

Worth Considering:

  • Unforgivable glitches
  • Pleeeeease let us skip the dialogue!
  • Information save feature that one can refer to?

Published by

Dreadknux

Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.