“Yardley Working!”: The Sonic Fan Art/Writing Contest

Hey folks!!

Well, there’s no Sonic Eggs comic this week, but Kichi is working hard on them as we speak. This week, you’re getting something better….

Yardley art

Tracy Yardley art!! It’s time for you to show off your creativity and sense of humor. Sonic style!!

We got three separate contests for three pieces of art. Let’s look at the categories.

Category 1 – Shades Fanart

Winning Page = Page 13 “The Hedgehog’s new clothes”

Draw me your funniest art of our resident sissy clone to win this page of Shades in his Sunday best.

Category 2 – “Two for one” Funny fanart

Winning page(s) = Page 11 “Ms. Manners”

Although this was only one comic strip, it was on two pages so the winner is getting two pages of art!! Just draw me a very humorous piece of Sonic art. Keep it funny, but also, KEEP IT CLEAN!

Category 3 – “Writers deserve love too.”

Winning page = Page 14 “Playing God and Playing Favorites” and a bonus secret prize.

For this page you can do two things. Either write me a funny short story containing 300 words or less, or make a funny comic strip. Either one can win! If a friend does the art, you must share one of the prizes with him. (It will be mailed to one address though.)

RULES – Contest is open to U.S., UK and any country where it’s allowed. Winners will receive their art page in a plastic sleeve for extra protection and it makes it easy for posting on a wall. Only one entry per person for all three categories. That means if you go for the Shades art, you cannot enter for the other art.

Winners will be PM’ed and shown here on the front page you must enter by 10/15/10 and I will decide the winners the following week. Winners will be decided not only on skill, but humor and creativity. So you can draw like a toddler but if it makes me laugh, that counts.

Entries must be posted in the categories shown in Sonic Showcase here on SSMB, or on Sonic Eggs Universe forum. at Emerald Coast Comics.

So do your best and have fun!!

….And yes, I’m keeping the other pages so nyaah!! XD

SOA’s Ratcliffe Reveals True Cause of Sonic 4 Delay

From TSSZNews comes a surprising report that seems to finally clarify the delay on Sonic 4. It appears that a focus groups negative reaction to the game was the main cause of the delay. Not due to the iPhone or negative reaction to leaked videos apparently.

“We weren’t ready, in any shape or form, to reveal what was in the game. It shouldn’t have been out there in the public domain.” Says Ratcliff.

Source.

What do you think? Is this the main case of the delay, or do you think it was a number of factors? Sound off on our comments and forums.

Wisps Are Away!!

UPDATE: Good news!! Everyone on my side of the contest has officially been taken care of!! Everyone PM’ed me their address in time and I sent off all my Wisps to the Australia residents as well.

In fact, I sent off Wisps to EVERYONE who PM’ed me! I had to even give out one of my own. (I still have one left for my own.) So everyone who PM’ed me was a winner! Man, I’m broke. XD

Yes, folks!! After taking way too dang long to get going, I finally sent out the Wisps for the U.S. residents!

Get stuffed.

Gee, when Eggman told them to “Get Stuffed,” he wasn’t kidding!

Stay tuned for ANOTHER contest to be held after the last Tracy Yardley Sonic Eggs page goes up. This one is no giveaway. You’ll have to work for it.

Tracy Yardley Does Sonic Eggs, Part 4

Hey folks, Jason here.

Normally, I leave Nuckles87 to post these pages up on the Community Blog. But since he’s at PAX right now, I thought I’d handle it myself.

I gotta say, I’ve been dying to show you this page. When me and Nux were originally only going to commission one page, we wanted this to be the one. After all, it’s not often you get get humiliate Shadow this much. Poor Shades, he just had to succumb to Cream’s hidden power. The power known as the “sad, soulful eyes” routine. Her and Charlie Dog from Looney Tunes can go together and make a mint.

Big thanks to Ben Hunzeker for returning to color one more page. What an awesome job he did too. Even better than what he did on page 10 IMO. Yardley did an incredible job as always. Thanks once again to Q for letters.

Sonic Eggs is an Emerald Coast Comics series and performed in front of a live studio audience.

Page 13.

Rumor: Phantasy Star Online 2 Domain Registered

PSO Dreamcast

According to segabits.com, it seems some folks have figured out that the domain name of PSO2.jp has been registered. While there’s no confirmation as of yet, there have been some rumors going around about a sequel to Sonic Team’s Dreamcast original for quite some time.

Phantasy Star Online will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year.

[via SEGAbits]

Review: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing R.C. Car

Hey, folks! While all you lucky Brits are checking out Summer of Sonic, I was checking out the newest Sonic toy from Toys ‘R’ Us. the Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing R.C. Car!

The car comes from NKOK Toys, a company based in The City of Industry.  That’s only 5-6 miles from my house!!

The car is nicely detailed and nothing is left out, from fake glass over the headlights and windshield to the speedometer on the dash panel.  It’s a good size, too. I’d say around 30% larger than the Jazwares Sonic car.  The car itself goes at a good clip down the driveway.  With the right skills, you can make it do skids.  There’s a Knuckles R.C. car as well, but he’s a bit more rare.  Also, the price can’t be beat at only $19.99!

There are some small downsides, though. It’s takes a whopping 6 AA batteries to run, but that’s standard for most R.C. cars out there.  There is not much to the remote control either.  It’s shaped like a tiny Playstation controller. It has two D-Pads on either side, one for going forward/backwards and the other for turning. No analog for this one.

Overall, I think it’s a quality R.C. car for such a cheap price and it’s well worth your money, especially if you’re a Sonic fan.

Enough of that though, you want to see it in action!  Sorry for my cruddy looking garage.  Also, it should be noted I had to hold both the remote and the camera in one hand for a short time.

Enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML1heLwB9L8[/youtube]

The “Wisp Me Away” Giveaway! [N.A./AUS WINNERS ANNOUNCED]

The American/Canadian winners are here!! Thanks to all who participated. I’ll be sending out the Wisps near the end of the month.

Remember, this does not include the European winners yet!! Dreadknux will be taking care of that.

The winners are:

Sonikku08
Mushroom64
Troy
chaoscontrol14
R@qH1eL
SuperEV133
The Waffle Factory
Future
PSI Wind FTW
Indigo Rush
Hello. Look at my sig
SonikkuForever
Azukara
Andy1123
ReddRicochet
SuperCookie (Awesome Nick!!)
BlueBlueChrome
Sallygirl
Calypso
Ovarloard
Jeffery the NinjaPirate
Tailikku
strickerx5
Gamer18
Doctor Eggman
Mykonos
starforce
ZeroStar
GameboyHero
Chavis the Wolf
Hazard777
Edge
tjthefox
Brianzilla2004
Sapphire
F. Lobot
Trainer Rachel
HighCaliburFun
timmyboyblue
Golden~Hedgy
dirupti
Chan Kaylore
Cola
SuperScourge12
Lanmanna
Hypersoni
Vocaloidfan2525
Blue Hedgehog
Nickno
PRiNCE

For those who just missed out, better luck next time!! This won’t be the last time I do something like this for sure!!

Hello, faithful Sonic Stadium fans. Have we got a treat for you! During E3, Sonic Colors was shown to the world for the first time. During that time, Sonic freed tons and tons of Wisps away from the capture of Dr. Eggman.

Helllp!

A few too many. That’s where you come in! As a reward to our readers, you can adopt one of these little guys and give them a home. They don’t need fancy diets. They don’t make messes. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re not even alive.

Wisps.

Look at ’em. Soulless monsters the size of your thumb.

So, how do you pick one of these up? Simple! Just use your SSMB account to PM either JasonTheJackass if you are in the USA, Canada or Australia or Dreadknux if you live in the U.K. and Europe. Give us your mailing address and tell us why you are excited about Sonic Colors. The best entries will be posted in another blog later on.

Reply as soon as possible. The amount of Wisps available are split 50/50. That means there’s 50 for the U.K./Europe and 50 for USA/Canada/Australia. We are not responsible for any Wisps possibly lost in the mail. Only one Wisp and one entry per person.

Interview: Ken Penders

At the San Diego Comic Con in aisle 3900, across from Konami’s booth, lies Floating Island Productions. There, the head of the production company and former writer of the Archie Sonic series, Ken Penders, sits.  He is drawing a commissioned art piece of Captain America for a fan, the occasional ping-pong ball flying in from the booth next door.  To the left of his booth, a preview is shown for his upcoming internet show, “The Republic.”  The rest of his booth shows his past history with the blue hedgehog. Boxes of Sonic comics can be seen, while piles of original cover art lie at the front center of his table.

What you won’t find is the promotional poster for the upcoming Echidna book, a book involving Locke, Julie-Su and other characters related to Knuckles. “With what’s going on at the moment, I decided it would be best to leave them behind.” Chalk one up to common sense.

Ken Penders is a hard man to peg. When you meet him in person, he’s always friendly and outgoing.  Though I’m not too happy with some of the things he has said and done this year, I have a hard time being mad at him. I still see the man who greatly helped develop what Sonic and Knuckles’ world has become today.  The man who signed at my store, who loved the job he lost and is very optimistic about his future endeavors. The man who recently lost someone near and dear to him.

There is another side to Penders, however.  A side that seems self-absorbed.  A man who doesn’t seem to want to share, like a child playing in his own corner of the sandbox. He himself says he never read any of Ian’s work and only read the other writers’ works when it might affect one of his stories.  Penders only seems to care about Penders’ world.

Although he does not want to bring up the current copyright case, he did have this to say:

“I just want to let you and everyone know, these copyrights are official. I own these stories and characters. The U.S. Government recognizes it as such… Whatever some of the fans have been saying on the forums, they don’t know everything. They are misinformed on some things. That goes for what Ian posted as well.”

I decided to push the subject a bit and asked if he had signed a “Work for Hire” contract while at Archie. “No comment” was his reply.

Here is the 3-part interview. Sorry for the poor audio. It’s actually much better than what we had for the Aaron Webber interview (which was so horrible that it ended up as a transcript), but the background noise is still pretty bad.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw0L3e7EUmk&feature=channel[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWQgy9Q9QVY[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVchbfzNGX8&feature=related[/youtube]

Although I gave Penders ample time to talk about his future projects, I was surprised at just how much he wanted to focus the conversation on Sonic and Knuckles. You can tell he truly loved that world with a passion and was hurt to be taken from it. It even shows in the title of his production company. No one can read “Floating Island Productions” and not think of Knuckles’ home.

Off camera, Penders had this to say

“I hope that in the end, we can come to an agreement that will be beneficial for both myself, Archie Comics and Sonic fans.”

Let’s hope so.

(P.S. I honestly do like Ron Lim’s work on Silver Surfer and X-Men 2099. I just think his art on Sonic is horrible.)

Sonic Fans @ Comic Con

Hey, folks! I just got back from the San Diego Comic-Con!  I got to see lots of cool comic and movie related stuff and played tons of games. Sadly, Sega had no booth this year. Outside of a small presence at the Marvel booth, where they showed off Thor (which I’ll have an interview up at SegaBits on Sunday or Monday), there was no real Sega or Sonic happenings.

However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a presence of Sonic at the show. Lots of retailers had Sonic merchandise on the floor and there were quite a few Sonic fans out there. Not just a guy in a Sonic T-Shirt, but some hardcore Sonic fan boys and girls. Take a look!

Sonic and Me

Here’s a fan in Sonic cosplay and some incredibly stupid-looking dork in a cardboard Galactus hat!  Oh wait… that’s me!  That’s the beauty of Comic Con, though. You can dress as silly as you want and you’re one of the crowd.

Sonic fangals

Here’s two fangals. What you don’t see is that the girl with the Shadow hat also has a Shadow bag slung over her. Think she’s the top fan at the show? Check out this guy…

Sonic Yo!

BAM! This guy has got on a Sonic cap, Sonic t-shirt, Sonic jacket AND a Sonic buckle! Not only that, he still manages to do it with some style! That’s one cool fan.

As for me?  I went on to fight Darth Vader after winning the WWE championship.

Mega dork.

Sonic comics come to Toys R’ Us

In a press release made yesterday, Archie Comics have struck a deal with Toys R’ Us to bring their comics into their stores across the U.S. The regular Archie comic, along with Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic Universe will be available along with a new magazine called “Life with Archie”. The magazine will contain two alternate universe comics that deal with Archie’s married life with Betty in one story and Veronica in the other. It will also include articles aimed at the tween set.

This is great news for Sonic fans who might have a hard time finding a local comic store nearby. This also helps give the Sonic comics a much wider audience and is bound to help increase sales.

The comics start selling in August. Sorry UK fans, this deal is United States only.

Press release can be found here.

Sonic Colors: Official Japanese site goes live!

Sega of Japan has put up their official Sonic Colors website. Not much is included at this time other than the same sceenshots and trailer we’ve already seen, but was is new, is an all new orchestral theme. I believe this is likely to be the main menu theme but I’m not sure.

You can check it out here.

Those of you who can’t wait can check out this youtube video by Soniman032

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S0hRzadbn8&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

E3 2010: Eyes on Sonic 4 for iPhone UPDATED

I found a new video with Sonic’s idle animation and a nice video coutrtesy of slidetoplay.com

Around the Sonic 4 area of the Sega booth, we found a Sega rep showing off the iPhone version of Sonic 4. The first thing he showed us was Splash Hill: Act 3 in virtual D-Pad mode.  He says this particular D-pad works much better and is more advanced than the one used in Sonic 1 & 2. It apparently doesn’t have any kind of “Slip-off” if your fingers slide away from the D-Pad area. The virtual jump button was on the bottom right of the screen and performed like it should. It looked like it would play pretty much the same as the console versions in this form.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm0CCq_ZGTQ[/youtube]

The other control form he showed us was a much more arcade-like “Tilt Mode.”   In Act 2, he controlled Sonic by tilting the iPhone left and right and made him come to a complete stop by having it level. Also, you make Sonic jump by tapping anywhere on the screen. This motion control also makes it a different experience on certain obstacles. For example, when he got to the jungle vines, he had to swing the iPhone back and forth for momentum on the vine before jumping off. One thing I found very odd, however, was the way to perform the spin dash. Simply put, you tap Sonic himself. This means you have to tilt with one hand and tap him with your finger completely blocking your view.  Hopefully, they change this function for the final version.

One last thing to report on is the graphics. Currently, the game runs at 30fps. That’s half of what the 360 and Wii versions run.  It’s a smaller, less powerful system, so that’s to be expected. One thing I really like is when Sonic runs on loop-de-loops. The entire screen loops around with him. This feature would be dizzying on a larger console version, but here, it looks cool.  One awesome thing that he showed us (that wasn’t shown to many people on the floor) was Sonic’s exclusive idle animation. When bored, Sonic whips out an iPod and holds it to his ear, tapping his foot and snapping his fingers to the music.  Talk about your “Sonic Jam”.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffIWniPnPdM&feature=related[/youtube]

The iPhone version of Sonic 4 looks like it will offer a unique experience that will help separate it from its console brethren. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, check it out when it arrives this fall.

Thanks to Reno4 and slidetoplay.com for the youtube videos.

E3 2010 Interview: Sonic Free Riders

On Thursday, we did an interview with the project manager on Sonic Free Riders, David Allen. It’s a short interview, but it may give you some insight on the game.

My main question to ask on this, is this an all new Riders game, or is this a Kinect adaption of a previous Riders title?

There are some elements and some stages from the previous games, but obviously, controlling the game and some of the content is different.

What’s the newest additions to this game besides the control scheme?

That’s a very good question. I don’t think I can answer that right now unfortunately.

Will there be any new characters in this game that haven’t been in previous Riders games?

Only the same characters from the previous games.

Are the mechanics similar to the previous games or all they all new?

It does take elements from both of them of course, but with the Kinect, it’s a completely different ballgame.

When’s the game due out??

We haven’t set a date yet, but it will be in time for Holiday 2010.

That makes four Sonic games for this Christmas.

(Laughs) We’re keeping real busy, yea. Busy year. We haven’t set a date because we had to wait for Microsoft to settle their dates out for Kinect.

How long has this game been in production?

I don’t know the answer to that unfortunately, because I’m new to this project and have only been on it for two weeks.

Will the game have online multiplayer?

It will have multiplayer yes. I can’t say how many it will accommodate right now.

Will it be a retail release?

Yes, it will be a packaged product.

Okay guys, I’m officially confused. Wasn’t it announced as an Arcade title? I wonder which it is?

E3: Yesterday, I rode on top of Takashi Iizuka!

Near the beginning of E3 on Thursday, me and Alex went to the Nintendo booth to play Zelda, Unfortunately, the lines for the game are 90 minutes long!! Luckily, Metroid other M was not as bad. Alex played that for awhile, so I headed over to play Donkey Kong Country Returns. A game opened up and I grabbed a Wiimote and Nunchuck. Another gentleman picked up the second controller. It was Takashi Iizuka. The head of Sonic Team whom I just interviewed days before. Though I doubt he recognized me now. I didn’t gush or talk Sonic with him. I just played the game with him.

The game starts in DK and Diddy Kongs house. You shake the Wiimote and Nunchuck like crazy to bust open the house and make your way down. Iizuka was Donkey Kong. I was Diddy. We made our way down the jungle area stomping on bird enemies when I found a cool new maneuver where Diddy can hop up on Donkey Kong and become one fighting team together. When Iizuka jumped, I could use Diddy’s hover rockets to slow DK’s decent making it easier to land. Also, shaking the Wiimote lets Diddy shoot bannas from his bananna gun while still riding on top of DK. “Oh, you’re on me?” Said Iizuka. “Ummm…yea.” I said as I figured out how to get off of him before it got to be a little bit awkward.

At one point, Iizuka’s DK died and I had to help smash him out of a barrel. Another trademark from the older games. The backgrounds are beautiful and ended up being totally interactive. Both me and Iizuka stupidly pass by a stomping area and jump off a cliff to the left. He almost did it again, but I realized our mistake. “This way.” I tell Iizuka and he follows me to a gold area you need to stomp on to bring up a new area up in the background. You do this by constantly shaking the Wiimote and Nunchuck to smash the ground. Then, we both took a barrel and got shot over into the background to fight some more enemies. Soon after, we reached the end, and I told him “Thank you.”

The game was great and a lot of fun. I can’t wait to play more of it this holiday season. Still though, I wonder if Iizuka will get any ideas from this for his next Sonic game? A Sonic/Tails co-op adventure perhaps?

E3 2010 Interview: Aaron Webber

NOTE: We have this in video form, but the audio is so poor and hard to hear due to the loudness that is E3, (I was yelling too!) that we’re just gonna have to transcribe it. I may still put up the video later if we can clean up the audio. By the way, I wanna say that Aaron couldn’t have been a nicer guy. He puts up with a lot of heat on the forums, but always comes off very classy. Also, you can thank Nuckles87 for the Mine Kart question.

Hello folks, I’m here at Alton Towers. (Points to Sonic 4 backdrop) Just kidding! We’re at the Sonic 4 area here at the Sega booth. With me is Sega Rep, Aaron Webber. Who many of you may know as RubyEclipse. Aaron, how’s it going today?

Aaron – Pretty well. It’s been a really busy day as it was yesterday with a lot of people playing Sonic 4. It’s great though because for many, it’s their first time getting their hands on it.

Now, Sonic 4 has been a controversial game with many people loving it or loathing it on some forums. There does seem to have been some improvements on the physics I myself, have been enjoyed what I played so far and it is up for IGN’s nomination for best platformer at E3. Can you tell me what kind of improvements they’ll be making to this game?

Aaron – It’s actually much more than just physics. There’s a lot we haven’t announced yet or talked about as far as changes we are making to this game. We’ll be revealing some of those soon, but I just want to say that physics will be just a small piece of it. Now, with regard to your comment about the fans, I think there’s truth that no matter what kind of Sonic game we make, no matter what it entails, no matter what it’s expected to be, they’ll be people who love it and they’ll be people who hate it. No matter what kind of game you make, there will always be people in that spectrum and you have to accept and understand that.

We understand that no matter what we do, no matter what improvements we make they’ll still be people out there that are like “You know what? Those eyes are not black, ergo it’s not cool with me” The physics might be perfect. The game might be feeling like classic Sonic. But because the eyes are different, they might feel it’s different. We understand that people will always have difference of opinions, but when it comes down to it, they don’t say those things because they’re angry or negative people, but the reason they are so passionate is because they really love Sonic and the franchise and they love the memories and nostalgia they had growing up with the Genesis games. I think that’s the reason why they are so passionate whether they are for it or against it. So, regardless where they sit on that spectrum, if it’s because of that passion, then it’s very respectful.

Is there anything you can currently tell us about what to expect in Episode 2?

Aaron – We haven’t officially announced episode 2 at this point, so I can’t really talk about a game we haven’t announced yet. We did call it episode one for a reason though, so there is more we’ll be able to talk about Sonic 4 in the future.

Is there anything you can tell us about the exclusive iPhone levels coming out?

Aaron – The iPhone levels are definitely designed to take advantage of the accelerometer and motion controls. I know a lot of stuff’s been out there, (in regards to leaked videos) I know a lot of people have seen some stuff, but it’s not the final version of the game. So I think in many ways, having Sonic 4 at E3 is a good chance for us to let them know that just because you saw something that you think is final doesn’t mean it’s final. Somethings that are touchy on console controls work much better on a motion control setting.

When I first saw Sonic 4 in motion, I thought it would make a great portable game myself. But as far as leaked videos go, from my own experience, it’s one thing to see it. It’s another thing to actually sit down and play it. It’s a much better game than they might expect. Is there anything you can tell us about the controversial Mine Kart level?

Aaron – (Laughs) That level I know was very controversial when it got out there. One was probably because of the design of the level and two because it was actually unfinished. So people might look at it and say “this isn’t what we were expecting”. It’s kind of like, when you look at a building being built. You don’t look at the framing and say “Well, where’s the air conditioning?” That was something people were obviously frustrated about because they saw what was not completed and they judged it based on that.

That’s kinda how I felt about Casino zone act 2. It’s obviously unfinished and feels like it’s there as possibly a placement holder.

Aaron – In many cases, it’s things that we test out. So at times it’s like “How would this play on a console? How would this feel?” and in many cases we got some fantastic feedback. In many ways, regardless of what some guy on a forum might have said, regardless of how controversial things may have been, that any change we make because of that is for the better.

Thanks so much for your time.

Aaron – You’re welcome.

E3 2010 Preview: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

I sat down did a second playthrough today, and have changed my feeling a bit towards the game. I think you’ll be happier with the results. Before, my playtime was a bit sparse and affected how I felt about the game. You may be happier with what I have to say.

Well, there’s been enough of my praise of Sonic Colors. It’s time to get hands on one of the most controversial Sonic games yet…. Sonic 4. I’ve had my chance to get a hold of both the Wii and 360 versions of this game. While it’s pretty fun, it’s not quite a perfect game.

While the physics are being improved, there’s still a little ways to go. The controls tend to feel a little bit stiff. Mostly due to the slow nature in which Sonic builds up speed. It really takes him a while to get going. When he does get up to speed, things start to roll more smoothly and the game has a nice brisk pace. But still, he feels a bit off. Not quite that natural flow. However once you get used to it (which will take a few levels), it will start to feel better. Also, there’s that odd spin when he jumps in the air. Why that animation and not the same one used for spin dash like the older games? It looks odd compared to the classic games. What surprised me is that the controls felt a little better on the Wii version. I don’t know if it’s the D-Pad or the fact that I was playing the fast-paced Act 3 on it, but the Wii Sonic just seemed to feel more fluid. It might be me getting more used to the controls.

Now comes the part everyone dreads…the Homing Attack! This particular move is both a blessing and a curse. When designed properly in a level (Act 3), it helps keep the momentum going and works well. However, in some cases (especially Act 2) it gets over-used and you’re having to do the homing attack every two seconds. C’mon Sega! I don’t mind the move, but lets not over do it! That said, it does not make the game play insta-win, but mainly is used to find branching paths by hitting Badnik bridges. There are times when it has to be used due to Sonic’s odd open-armed flail after going straight up from a ramp. Otherwise, he’s somewhat exposed to attack. That said, I did manage to finish the first two levels without doing a single homing attack. It’s not totally optional, as it’s hard not to do in act 3, but it shows it can be done. Also, Eggman is pretty easy to beat with or without the homing attack.

Now, onto a more positive outlook. The game is still fun to play and, despite the new controls, it oddly does have an old-school feel to it. I was surprised to hear that other people I talked to felt the same way. I think this is mainly due to the levels themselves. They are larger than you may have seen in leaked videos and have several branching paths. At least as large as the first Zone levels in Sonic’s 1 and 2 helping give the levels a bit of exploration if you don’t want to rush through. Thankfully the Badniks are still a small threat and help provide challenge in the levels. One particular green Badnik I hadn’t seen before turns into a missile and shoots itself in your direction. Outside of Bubbles being used as a bridge, most of them can give you a little challenge. Which is always a good thing. The graphics look very sharp and colorful on the 360. Despite all the “hardcore” fans groaning about it not having a 16-bit look, I like Sonic’s shell-shaded, green-eyed look. The Wii version is not bad either. Although it’s resolution is knocked down a bit and the colors are a little muted, it keeps the same fast 60fps pace as the 360 version. Heck maybe the gamers yearning for a more classic look will want the Wii version just for that. Makes it more “retro”. (Just kidding folks)

By the way. when they say “momentum based gameplay”, I see what they mean now. Much like the older games, if you want to explore the level and find hidden areas, you can. However, if you want to do a speed run through the level, the homing attack actually helps give you an advantage to help maintain your speed.

Sonic 4 has that old-school look, a little bit of the old-school charm, but not quite the old-school feel…yet. Outside of the over use of homing attack, the levels themselves seem well designed and the game can be pretty fun at times. If they can get the physics perfect, this will go from a very fun downloadable game, to a must-have. Also, it must be said that this is a game you can’t truly judge unless you play it yourself. Videos do not tell the whole picture until you have it in your hand. Also those expecting it to be a true predecessor to Sonic 3? Get real. It’s a downloadable Arcade title and has the feel of one. If anything, it’s closer to Sonic 1 or 2 in it’s level design. It’s paying homage to the classic games while still offering something new and that’s not a bad thing.

If you buy one Sonic game this year….make it Colors. (LOL! Sorry, but it’s true.) However, make your second choice Sonic 4. It’s not perfect, but it’s still fun.

E3 2010: Sonic Colours Second Opinion

As far as the Wii version goes, take what Alex said and slap that on here. I can’t be more excited for this game. It’s like Unleashed 360/PS3 version, but only the daytime stages, improved controls, surreal worlds and new powers. The game is all about fun. No serious overtones in any way. Even the score and grade tally at the end of a level has game play to it! You can jump through the point numbers, your grade letter and even run on top of them. Doing so can lead to extra one-ups before Sonic finally strikes a pose. Ingenious!!

Really the only, and I mean ONLY complaint I have on this game so far, is that the four levels and one boss were actually pretty easy to get through. Whether this was because it was designed more with kids in mind than other Sonic games, or if it’s just the first few levels easing you in remain to be seen.

Outside of that Alex’s views pretty much mirror my own. Instead let’s focus on the DS version.

I played two levels, both based on Sweet Mountain. For those expecting the game to be identical to Rush may find there are some differences. This is more or less a 2-D adaption of the Wii game using Rush’s game style. The controls however, offer some new twists. The speed gauge is there, but you no longer fill it up doing tricks in mid-air, but from attacking enemies and rescuing Wisps. Sonic’s homing attack from Sonic 4 is here. You can home in on springs to shoot through the air. You also have a few new moves, such as a wall jump and a Mario-Style ground pound that’s great for pounding onto Jello and shooting further into the air.

The only Wisp power in the demo was a fireball power that allowed Sonic to do constant mid-air jumps or hold B down for a short burst. It also ignites Jelly Bean rockets to ride and bursts you into new areas. The music itself seems to be once again, inspired by Hideki Naganuma’s music from Sonic Rush 1. The first level sounds very close to “Right There, Right On!” With a loud show floor like E3, I used my headphones to hear the music. Speaking of, we may record the music on our new recorder straight off the DS!! Sega permitting. So stay tuned for that.

With the demo I played, it’s too early to tell if this will be another Sonic Rush, or a lesser Rush Adventure, but it was pretty fun. Also, your love/hate of Sonic 4 may affect your judgment on this game. Both the DS and Wii versions come out this Holiday season. I can’t wait for both of them!!

E3 2010 Q&A: Takashi Iizuka on Sonic Colors

Two fat, sweaty men got to talk to the head of Sonic Team.

Although we were running very late and exhausted (fat men were not meant to run!), we got a chance to interview Sonic Team’s head guy, Takashi Iizuka. We once again apologize to Sega for our lateness. Dang traffic.

The interview was focused solely on Sonic Colors for the Wii. He played two levels for us. One from Tropical Resort and another from Sweet Mountain. At the end of his game session, it was time for questions.  We were short on time, so we were only able to get a few questions in.

SS – Is this game made with just children in mind, or more for a general audience?

Iizuka – Of course, we are putting in kid friendly elements, but it’s not just for kids. The are some challenging elements put in as well.

SS – Who are the music composers for the Wii and DS versions?

Iizuka –  There’s not one composer. It’s the Sega Sound Team. It’s pretty much the same people who worked on Sonic Unleashed.

SS – What was the inspiration behind this game?

Iizuka – First we wanted to work with what was successful in the past. Like Sonic Unleashed’s daytime game play and add the Wisp Color powers to give it more variety.

SS – What was the decision behind making this Wii/DS exclusive?

Iizuka – It’s difficult to get into details. We basically used Sonic Rush and Sonic Unleashed Wii as models for the game play.

SS – What is the length of the game, in hours?

Iizuka – The game’s still in development, but in previous Sonic games, there would be an act 1 and act 2 of a zone. In this case,  for each of these worlds there are several stages. Also, once you get more color powers from other worlds, you can go back to older levels and find new paths to access. It also depends on how dedicated you are to finding all the items in the game.

SS – Is this game made from the ground up, or does it use any previous assets?

Iizuka –  Completely new as far as art and engine. Obviously, the game play is inspired by Sonic Unleashed.

SS – When is the game due?

Iizuka – This holiday season.

SS – What is the little Robotnik ship flying around the planets?

Iizuka – (Laughs) Sorry, we can’t talk about that yet.

SS – Last question,  any chance of a new NiGHTS or Burning Rangers game?

Iizuka – (Laughs) We can’t talk about that right now.

SS – Thank you so much for your time. .

Iizuka – You’re welcome.

Monday @ E3!! Under construction.

Sorry folks, if you’re looking for Sonic news, move on.

I picked up Alex around 1 PM, and we head straight for the Convention Center. He had a little trouble getiing his. Badge. I guess the printed invite and page proof wasn’t quite enough, but in the end, they decided to let him pass. Not me though. Alex had to pay $500 to get me in!! I owe him big time. Lunch and parking is on me all week.

In the meantime, wee looked around the empty lobbies. Banners were up and everything is still under construction. I did manage to get some pics though. Here’s a look at a more empty E3…

The front

Car

APB

FF

EM1

EM2

EM3

sony

Tron

Yes, he made me make him a sign to pick him up at the airport.
Looking like a dork.

RETRO REVIEW: SONIC 3-D BLAST (SATURN)

Is this game as dull as you remembered? Or did circumstances surrounding it give it a bad rap?

Review by: Jason Berry

I’ve recently been on a bit of a retro gaming kick as of late. I’ve just had the urge to play some of the games I loved in the past that I can’t find on recent collections or on Virtual Console. I’ve recently picked myself up a model 2 Genesis with a Model 2 Sega CD. Also, I managed to pick up a Sega Saturn for $30 American and a few games. One of those being Sonic 3-D Blast. Now, many of you may only know Sonic 3-D Blast through the Genesis version which you either played back in the day or on the Mega Collection. If that’s the case, then sadly, you’ve been playing the far inferior version. Yes, the level design is the same, but Graphics and sound can make a big difference in your enjoyment of a game.

Sonic 3-D Blast was originally intended to be a Genesis only game developed by Traveler’s Tales with some help from Sega of Japan. However, the Saturn was suffering not only in sales, but from a complete lack of any Sonic titles. Sonic Extreme was in development Hell at the time and would not make Christmas release. (Then again, it would not make ANY release as it was cancelled shortly afterwards.) In seven weeks, Sega managed to port the game over to Saturn, polish up the graphics, change the music from Jun Senoue’s tunes to new,  jazzy ones by Richard Jaques and add what is arguably one of the best bonus stages in Sonic history.  That’s quite a feat for a seven week port!

In Sonic 3-D Blast, Sonic goes to Flicky Island to visit his bird buddies. But once again, those Tweety Bird wannabes have been turned into Badniks by Dr. Robotnik. He wants to use their special dimensional warp rings to help him find the Chaos Emeralds. It’s up to Sonic to free the Flickies and stop Dr. Robotnik before it’s too late.  The graphics are made of CG Rendered sprites similar to Donkey Kong Country and other games of that era.  In the game, Sonic roams around seven different lands jumping on Badniks to free the Flickies while dodging lasers, traps and spikes.

Probably the best thing about 3-D Blast that stands out from its Genesis version is the music. Richard Jaques compositions are wonderful and is easily in my top 5 Sonic soundtracks of all time. Of course, Jaques gets a big advantage here, as Jun was stuck composing with the Genesis sound chip. The graphics are much more colorful and clean compared to the Genesis version and on certain levels, have some cool effects like fog. There are some cool power-ups scatted throughout the game. Mostly in the from of shields similar to ones you got in Sonic 3. A standard shield that lets you take one hit, a fire shield that of course, protects you from fire and a gold shield that gives you a homing attack. Yes, even in the first “technically 3-D” Sonic game, he’s got a homing attack. Also, there’s a nice feeling of exploration to it. The levels are laid out as a sort of large, isometric maze. Your constantly wandering around for Flicky’s to free, shields to find and rings to collect. It’s the latter part that’s important. Hidden in the levels, you will find Tails and Knuckles just standing around looking bored. (Tails even yawns.) Give them 50 rings, and they will send you to what is absolutely the best part of the game, the Saturn exclusive Bonus Stage!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wbcuAKgAHg[/youtube]

For me, these stages alone are worth the price of admission. The music is one of the most funky tunes I’ve heard in a Sonic game and the levels play like a slightly improved version of the Sonic 2 Bonus Stage. No Tails to steal your rings, it’s a bit easier (AKA less frustrating) and the ability to roll or jump higher adds a new twist. It’s because of these bonus stages that I’m more cautious during the game. It sucks to have over 50 rings just to get hit by a Badnik or get knocked into a trap. This also helps bring me to my complaints about the game.

The main problem I have is with the controls. They’re not horrible, but just imprecise enough to be annoying. The game takes place on an isometric field giving the game a “psuedo 3-D” look to it. This allows Sonic to go in any direction, but it also kills any sense of speed. You’re constantly being careful of how fast you go so you don’t run into anything. I’m taking it slow in a Sonic game! With the clunky controls on the D-Pad, it’s too easy to run too fast and go right into an enemy or go bouncing of the walls into a trap. If you have a 3-D pad on your Saturn, I’d highly recommend it. Occasionally, you’ll get an imprecise attack that will knock out all of your rings and send your Flicky’s running from you. You’d think your fine, feathered freinds would come running back to their savior. But no, they go scattering and you gotta go pick their sorry butts back up even when they’re flying around a pool of lava. Also, the animation on Sonic is way off when he runs. Almost as if he’s sliding (which makes sense on the ice level) or he’s pinching a loaf the whole time (Sorry to give you mental image). Besides that, Sonic has lost his sense of speed. Only in the bonus stages does Sonic run  fast. For the rest of the game he’s barely doing a jog. Furthermore, the game just doesn’t feel like a “Sonic” game. With Sonic’s speed gone, you could swap Sonic with anyone from the Mario cast, or even Crash Bandicoot and the game would feel no different. Lastly, they left out the important save feature. Something that was prominent even in the Sega CD era! If you want to go back to where you left off, you have to use a cheat code. There’s no excuse for any game during that time not to have a save state.

Overall, I enjoyed this game much more than I remembered. It’s definitely not the best Sonic game by any stretch, but I think it gets a bit of a bad rap due to it  being a poor replacement for Sonic Extreme and  having a much weaker Genesis version out at the same time. However, I played it for 4 hours during my first play though and found myself enjoying it quite a bit. If the Genesis version is the only one you’ve played, you haven’t played the REAL Sonic 3-D Blast.

OVERALL: 7/10

DID YOU KNOW?
The warp rings seen in 3-D Blast are used often in current Sonic comic storylines. Especially by Dr. Finitivus.

An unused Dr. Robotnik tune by Jun Senoue on the Genesis version of 3-D Blast is being used for the first time as boss music in Sonic 4.

The music in the first level of Rusty Ruins was remixed and re-used in Sonic Adventure?

By the way, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jason Berry. Some of you may know me as JasontheJackass on the forums. I’m also the writer of the Sonic X parody comic, Sonic Eggs and the newest staff member here at Sonic Stadium.