SAGE 8 appears just in time for the Spring Season, and much talk has been discussed about the March show of the Sonic Amateur Games Expo being canned in favour of the Autumn section of the show, the latter of which being traditionally more popular. But now that SAGE 7 helped make the event interesting again (not to mention TSS’ exclusive coverage), SAGE 8 has literally blown us away! 68 registered booths for the March event, with the website taking a more classic look – seems like there’s life left in the old donkey after all.
Words by Svend Joscelyne and Cyberblade
Chao Online – Marc Gordon
Chao Online is an advanced version of the Tiny Chao Gardens you find on Sonic Advance, Sonic Pinball Party et al. Essentially, it brings all the features from the 3D games, like Chao Karate, Racing, Chao Adventure… into a fully online title! This sounds like a very interesting concept, and since Chao are pretty much a broken commodity on Sonic games, despite the rather large fanbase for them, Chao Online could be just the community get-together we could wish for.
Sonic: Project Mettrix – Organised Chaos
If you’ve never heard of “Project Mettrix”, then prepare to be amazed. It’s a Sonic fangame, but the quality is such that you’d think it was “Sonic 3 & Knuckles 2”! The engine is perfected and last SAGE there was a playable demo that stunned the world. This SAGE unfortunately the only thing that’s new is a new engine. But, more exciting than it appears, this engine is much more advanced than the last one, so when they return next time expect to see some, as some delinquents would call, 1337n3$$.
Sonic the Fighters II – Shadow Team
Sonic the Fighters 2 is the latest major title from Shadow Team, a fangame development ‘studio’ that’s deeply linked with The Sonic Stadium. In STF2 you take control of many of your favourite Sonic characters and duke it out with others to beat them and progress – your aim? To defeat Quicksilver, a robot formed from a nasty experiment from Eggman involving Metal Sonic and Shadow. Multi-player modes are confirmed, with dedicated 2-Player and 4-Player party modes planned. The first demo was launched at SAGE 8, and most people who have played it seemed to love it, which is cool. Shadow Team’s booth also consisted of ‘Sonic Ultimate’, the major project from a new arm of Shadow Team, Cyberblade Productions. Sonic Ultimate is a platforming Sonic game with back-to-the-roots action, and it’s coming along great. We’ll be back for SAGE 9, so look out for us there!
Dimension Warped – Intelligence Squared
Could this be the first true 3D Sonic the Hedgehog fangame? Time will tell, but Dimension Warped is currently impressing all and sundry at SAGE, even with limited information and nothing but concepts and CG art in the way of images. The promise is riding heavy on this, and hopefully the promise will be fulfilled: A custom level editor, 2 player co-operative mode and even customizeable characters are slated for addition, the latter most likely coming along as some kind of patch soon after the actual game is finished. The concept arts and models of Sonic, Shadow and company look great, with a cel-shaded twist to them. Keep a fat eye on this one.
Retro Sonic – Taxman
The last time we saw Retro Sonic, we were blown away. Much akin to Sonic Mettrix, this is a Sonic game that we last saw in 2002 that is being made in C++ programming. The developer, Taxman, is incredibly talented and the demo we played made our jaws drop. The appearance of Retro Sonic at SAGE 8 brings nothing but more surprise, as Taxman announces he’s to completely re-write the engine for the game to include a multi-player option, larger levels, accurately programmed shields and other gameplay elements and even a better special stage. Even more breathtaking is that Taxman is also in development with the ‘Retro Sonic Development Kit’, which when finished, will allow your average joe to make a complex new or even recreate original Sonic the Hedgehog zones. When Retro Sonic is finished you’ll be packing your pants to see it, just like we are right now… Maybe we shouldn’t have said that.