Sonic #37 Has a New Cover and Release Date

Sonic comic writer and artist Evan Stanley has just revealed her alternate cover for IDW’s Issue #37, which depicts Tangle and Belle running headlong into some new adventure, while the blue blur, Amy and Tails look at… something, with expressions of mild trepidation. Check it out below:

Continue reading Sonic #37 Has a New Cover and Release Date

Adobe Flash Dies January 12, Taking Many Sonic Games With it, Some Are Already Trying to Preserve Them

On January 12, Adobe will be killing Flash Player after more than two decades of support, when they officially begin to prevent the player from running anything. When this happens, hundreds of Sonic animations and video games will become inoperable in their original form, including more than a dozen official games from SEGA itself.

Continue reading Adobe Flash Dies January 12, Taking Many Sonic Games With it, Some Are Already Trying to Preserve Them

Scott Pilgrim vs The World’s Physical Packaging Cover Art Looks Familiar

Scott Pilgrim isn’t exactly unfamiliar with referencing numerous game franchises, so it isn’t all that surprising that the just-revealed physical edition from Limited Run has a few. The game’s cover art features Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers performing a pose that will be very familiar to Sonic fans. Check them out in the images below!

Scott Pilgrim’s reversible cover combines posing from the original Sonic Adventure with aesthetics from the Japanese Sonic box art.

As the images say, the games will be available to pre-order from Limited Run on January 15.

Ian Flynn Confirms Sonic Netflix Not Based on IDW

Nearly a month after its (now deleted) announcement, we still don’t know much about the Sonic Netflix series. Technically, it hasn’t even been officially announced! Nevertheless, we now at least know one thing it won’t be: an adaptation of the IDW Sonic comic series.

Continue reading Ian Flynn Confirms Sonic Netflix Not Based on IDW

Sonic 1 Prototype Now Available to Play for the First Time

Sonic fans will be able to play an actual Sonic 1 prototype for first time ever, courtesy of video game preservation and archivist group Hidden Palace. Hidden Palace, which held a month devoted to Sonic prototypes last year and released three more Sonic prototypes just yesterday, debuted the prototype on the Twitch account hours ago.

Continue reading Sonic 1 Prototype Now Available to Play for the First Time

Prototypes for Four Sonic Games, Including SA2 & Sonic 1, Released

Hidden Palace, a video game preservation and archival group, has released prototypes for Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Spinball, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and Sonic 1 to the public. These prototypes show what these games were like months before they were completed and released. This gives us insight into the game’s development, often featuring content that was cut or altered in the final release.

Continue reading Prototypes for Four Sonic Games, Including SA2 & Sonic 1, Released

Eggman Haunted by the Ghosts of Sonic Characters in New Sonic Holiday Short

SEGA has released a new Sonic holiday short on the Sonic youtube channel, “An Eggman Carol.” It’s a spoof of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” of course, starring Eggman in place of Scrooge. A narrator tells the story alongside a series of still images. Check it out below!

Continue reading Eggman Haunted by the Ghosts of Sonic Characters in New Sonic Holiday Short

RUMOR: Knuckles Might Be Digging His Way into the Next Sonic Movie

If a new rumor is to be believed, Knuckles the Echidna might be appearing in the Sonic 2 movie. The role will apparently be rather prominent, not something akin to the Tails cameo the last movie had. Knuckles will also share traits with his video game incarnation, including his ability to glide and climb. He will also be serious, but gullible, which…certainly is an accurate description of Knuckles.

Continue reading RUMOR: Knuckles Might Be Digging His Way into the Next Sonic Movie

Sonic Adventure 2 Demo Tracks Uploaded to YouTube

SEGA’s been giving us some interesting glimpses at old, lost Sonic and SEGA things during their 60th anniversary celebration, from never-before-seen Sonic Adventure concept art to a neat SEGA Nomad prototype. Now, they’ve posted some early demo tracks from Sonic Adventure 2 on the Sonic youtube! Check them out below:

Continue reading Sonic Adventure 2 Demo Tracks Uploaded to YouTube

Community Spotlight: Animator Flawlessly Recreates Sonic Movie Scene in Style of Old Sonic Cartoon

Ever wonder what it would be like if, instead of being live action, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog was just an extended episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog? No? Well too bad, animator and Youtuber FlippinDingDong clearly did, and the result is great:

Not only is the animation spot on, to the point that I briefly thought this was just a dub of a scene from the show, but the voice acting is also a superb imitation of Long John Baldry’s performance. Got to love how he rolls those Rs!

YouTube isn’t exactly the friendliest place for animators these days, so be sure to head over there to give this video a comment and a like to help it with the algorithm! Definitely deserves it in my opinion.

Sonic Moves More Than 1 Billion Games

According to SEGA’s latest annual report, Sonic has now moved roughly 1.14 billion games. That’s a 200 million unit increase since 2018, demonstrating that the blue blur still hasn’t slowed down despite the lack of games.

Continue reading Sonic Moves More Than 1 Billion Games

SEGA 60 Kicks Off Week of Content With Wallpapers, Avatars,

SEGA’s 60th anniversary website is having a weeklong celebration of Sonic this week, and they’re starting things off with some Sonic avatars and wallpapers. The wallpapers utilize the 30th anniversary render released earlier this year, while the avatars use Sonic Mania stock art. To download them, you can either sign up over 60th anniversary website (which nets you a free copy of NiGHTS for Steam), or check them out below:

Continue reading SEGA 60 Kicks Off Week of Content With Wallpapers, Avatars,

Sonic Gets a Brief Reference in the Ready Player Two Novel

A few years ago, Sonic popped up in the movie adaptation of Ernest Cline’s pop culture-laden novel, Ready Player One. The book’s sequel, Ready Player Two, came out recently, and people on Twitter have spent much of the previous few days posting excerpts from it and absolutely tearing it apart.

Continue reading Sonic Gets a Brief Reference in the Ready Player Two Novel

New Sonic Channel Art Shows What Blaze Does in Her Downtime

Ever wonder what Blaze the Cat gets up to when she isn’t searching for the sol emeralds or going on high seas adventures? Well, the Japanese Sonic 20th Twitter account and Sonic Channel gave us a look and it’s…paperwork and tea, apparently!

Continue reading New Sonic Channel Art Shows What Blaze Does in Her Downtime

SEGA Shop Brings Holiday Cheer With Festive New Sonic Merch

With Halloween behind us, the holidays are fast approaching, and you know what that means: it’s time for holiday merchandise! This year, the SEGA Shop has some new, festive Sonic and SEGA merch to sell you.

Continue reading SEGA Shop Brings Holiday Cheer With Festive New Sonic Merch

SHC 2020: Pantufa the Cat Spins & Twirls His Way Through a Surprisingly Original ROM Hack

If I wasn’t playing Pantufa during something called “Sonic Hacking Contest,” it being a hack would have never crossed my mind. A homage, or a Freedom Planet-esque Sonic-like? Sure! But a ROM hack? Heck no! That should speak to the kind of experience Pantufa has in store for you: certainly something with lots of Sonic elements, but a surprisingly original experience in its own right.

How original? Well, for starters, Pantufa simply feels different from a classic Sonic character. He is a bit heavier, a bit slower, and when he jumps, there’s a moment before the character curls into a ball that leaves him vulnerable to enemies. Said enemies don’t provide the kind of bounce you’d expect from a Sonic game when you jump on them. Pantufa also has a slight double jump, which is effective for getting a little bit of additional height or maneuverability, without feeling overpowering or negating some of the more difficult platforming design. The physics feel like they come out of a Sonic game, but the way the character interacts with them changes things enough that it often feels like a very different game. These differences extend to how health and power-ups work, too.

Instead of rings, Pantufa has three hit points, and while the game does still have shields, these shields are now stackable.  The game does have a few other power-ups that work as expected, including speed shoes and invincibility. These power ups can still be found in item monitors, but they can also be found in breakable Super Mario Bros-esque bricks and item blocks in the first stage, because why not? I’ve played plenty of Sonic hacks that introduce new characters and moves, but I don’t think I’ve ever played one that practically built a new game. Yet somehow, Pantufa manages that.

The level design can also feel pretty different from a classic Sonic game, particularly the opening level. This build of Pantufa has three levels, and they each show off fairly different kinds of level design. The first level, Pipes of Green, is expansive and explorative, and while it’s certainly possible to just run from the beginning to the end, you’ll be missing a lot if you do. Here, the standard way to move through the stage is to take a path through an underground area at the midway point, before emerging back on the surface, where you need to hit a green switch to activate some platforms to progress to the end. 

However, if you explore the level a bit and pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll find that there is a little more to it. For one, there’s an entire path that lets you bypass the underground area, that you can only reach by activating some invisible blocks (by jumping into them, Super Mario Bros style). If you miss these blocks and run through the underground area, you’ll still be able to reach this path by backtracking after hitting the green switch and jumping onto a newly activated green platform that takes you up to this area. If you backtrack through the upper path as well, you’ll reach more green platforms, which can now take you to some hidden shield power-ups. Is all this exploration and backtracking necessary? Not really. But it’s fun, and it’s something the game is actually designed to accommodate, unlike the any of Sonic’s 16-bit titles.

On the much more linear side of things is the demo’s second stage, Mount Fade, which is a simple linear platforming level. It’s fun to run through, with lots of places that utilize the classic Sonic rolling mechanics, and it also has a great visual style. It takes place on a snowy mountain and tries hard to evoke a wintery feeling, with pine trees, snowmen, and gigantic candles that go out as you pass them. It’s an impressive use of the Genesis’s limited color palette to create some gorgeous spritework.

The final stage, Shandon Hill, is easily the most “Sonic-like” of the three stages. It’s speedy, has loads of places where the character can actually cut loose and run, and there’s even a momentum gimmick: flexible palm trees that can send the Pantufa soaring through the air at high speeds. These trees offer a great way gain enough momentum to speed through the stage’s more complex, curvy geometry, allowing Pantufa to speed up walls and on ceilings. Much like the first level, Shandon Hill is somewhat expansive, but has a much greater focus on speed and momentum then platforming, and it’s not hard to beat it in less than a minute. The way the palm trees can toss Pantufa around really open up the stage, though, and there are upper paths you can only reach by hitting them in the right pattern. Much like Mount Fade, Shandon Hill also looks great. The level has a gorgeous neon color palette that kind of evokes the 80s neon aesthetic.

On top of the demos for this hack, Pantufa the Cat: Extended Edition also contains the entirety of the character’s previous 2011 ROM hack, called “Classic Mode” on the main menu. There is also an additional hack that utilizes much of that game’s assets, called Classic DX. While neither of these hacks are as polished or as nice looking as the new one, and feel a bit more like Sonic 1 hacks, they are still worth playing in their own right.

So Pantufa the Cat: Extended Edition by VAdePEGA is a definite recommendation from me. Check it out on the Sonic Hacking Contest website, here!

The Opening Cutscene for Balan Wonderworld is Out, and it’s a Trip

Square Enix released Balan Wonderworld’s opening CG movie today, and it is certainly…something. Check it out below:

Although the game play is clearly distinct from Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima’s past work, Balan has definitely been giving off some major NiGHTS into Dreams vibes, and this opening just adds to that.

Balan Wonderworld is currently set to launch on Switch, Xbox One, PS5 and PS4 next March. Stay tuned to SonicStadium for further coverage!

SEGA Celebrates 60 Years With 60 Days of Discounts, Free Games, Competitions, and More!

SEGA’s 60 years old this year, in case you weren’t aware! SEGA’s been celebrating this with all sorts stuff, including their current Steam sale and Sonic 2 giveaway. But they aren’t stopping there: starting today, SEGA is running a 60 day long celebration. During this celebration, they will be:

  • Releasing four free retro-inspired mini games.
  • Discounting more of their games.
  • Running giveaways and Competitions
  • Putting out exclusive interviews

And “more” according to their tweet announcing this whole thing. As of today, SEGA is giving away free Steam copies of the Sonic Team classic NiGHTS into Dreams to anyone that signs up at their 60th anniversary website, here.

The website will provide free wallpapers, avatars and early notification of prize giveaways to anyone who signs up. If you want the free NiGHTS code, don’t dawdle, because they will only be provided for ”as long as codes last.”

The four free mini games, which will only be available for a limited time, include a prototype for a proposed new Golden Axe game made by the now-shuttered SEGA Australia, a Yakuza/Streets of Rage mash-up, a Fantasy Zone-inspired Endless Space game, and a retro tank battle take on SEGA’s Company of Heroes franchise. Click the links I embedded in each to go to their Steam pages. These games will be released daily starting October 15 and will only be available until October 19, 10 AM PST. So, again, if you want these don’t wait.

SEGA will surely be doing lots of Sonic and Sonic Team related things during this, so stay tuned for all that!

New Sonic Movie Concept Art Gives Us a New Look at Longclaw and Cut Lizard Villain

Unused concept art can often give us interesting glimpses into what could have been. New concept art for the Sonic movie by artist Bayard Wu shows a variety of alternate takes for Sonic’s surrogate mom, Longclaw, as well as alternative designs for the film’s cut lizard villain. According to Wu, the lizard’s name was “Rava.” We reported on Rava earlier this year, when concept art done by other artists was released.

Check out Wu’s art, which he released on his Artstation page, below:

IDW Reveals Sonic Comics with Convention Exclusive Covers, on Sale Now

Convention exclusive merchandise has existed for a long time, and this year’s no different, with IDW selling two convention-exclusive editions of the latest Sonic comics during this year’s New York Comic Con. IDW is selling editions of both Sonic the Hedgehog #33 and Sonic: Bad Guys #1 with convention-exclusive covers for $10 each on their NYCC store.

Check out the covers below:

If these comics seem expensive to you…well that’s because they are, but it’s pretty typical for convention-exclusive stuff to be sold at a premium, so there isn’t anything particularly unusual about the price. These convention-exclusive editions will only be available for a limited time, so if you want them you might want to act fast.

IDW will be holding an online NYCC panel tomorrow. Be sure to check out Sonic Stadium for coverage!

SEGA Looking at Miniaturizing More Consoles

If a Game Gear that fits in the palm of your hand isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, because it looks like more SEGA mini consoles are on the horizon! Yosuke Okunari, SEGA’s Classic Hardware Producer, talked to Famitsu about what could be next. While he wouldn’t name anything in particular, he said anything anyone has imagined (or not imagined) is being considered.

He also said that unlike the Game Gear Micros, which were made for the Japanese market, the next project should be global in scope. Though due to the size and expense of such a project, it likely won’t be available for at least two years, so don’t expect anything in 2021. He then went on to say that for the next project, they will be considering something like the Mega Drive Mini (so not like the Game Gear Micro or Astro City Mini), and any console from the SG-1000 to SEGA Dreamcast could be chosen.

So, what sort of mini console would you like to see? A Master System? A Saturn? Let us know in the comments below!

Via Siliconera & Sephazon on Twitter

SEGA CCO Talks Utilizing New Gameplay Styles for Sonic

During a Tokyo Game Show Stream, SEGA Chief Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi said a few things about the future of the Sonic franchise. First, he confirmed the obvious: that we’ll continue to get mainline Sonic titles, as well as spin-offs like Team Sonic Racing, in the future. He then went on to talk about recent trends like online gaming, and went on to say that he hopes we’ll look forward to “recent, new gameplay styles in future Sonic games.”

At the moment, we don’t really know what any of that means, aside from the possibility that they are exploring bringing Sonic to other genres that are popular right now. This isn’t the first time someone at SEGA expressed an interest in bringing Sonic into new genres, as Takashi Iizuka said something similar last year. Regarding e-sports specifically, Iizuka did not think the Sonic franchise was suitable for it.

The stream was translated by Twitter user @inazumag11 for Sam Procrastinates. For the original Twitter thread and a clip of the TGS stream, go here.

As we approach Sonic’s 30th anniversary, we should start to get much more concrete info on what SEGA has planned. Stay tuned to Sonic Stadium for all the latest!

TSS SAGE 2020 Roundtable: Some Other Games We Played

As we wrap up our coverage of this year’s SAGE, we’ve still barely scratched the surface of everything available. So as a send off, we’ve decided to do a round-up of all the other games we played that, for one reason or another, couldn’t get their own articles. Check out what other games caught our attention below!

Continue reading TSS SAGE 2020 Roundtable: Some Other Games We Played

Funko Reveals Some of its Sonic 30th Anniversary Pop! Figures

Funko has given us our first look at what they have in store for Sonic’s anniversary next year: new Silver and classic Sonic figurines. The regular versions of these figurines will be available exclusively at FYE for $12 each. Meanwhile, special editions of these figures are exclusive to two other retailers: the “flocked” (or fuzzy) version of Classic Sonic will be sold exclusively at Funko’s own online store, while the Glow in the Dark version of Silver will only be found at Hot Topic.

According to the 30th anniversary merchandise announcement last week, we have much more, including a Tails figure, in store.

Check out all four figures below:

SAGE 2020: Virtua Sonic Lets You See What it’s Like to be in Sonic’s Shoes…if He Could Get Motion Sickness

This year’s SAGE has been filled to the brim with quality, creative, and odd games. Fewer, however, so perfectly represent all three of these qualities like Virtua Sonic does. “Virtual reality Sonic” sounds like an awful idea on paper. VR games in general tend to struggle with allowing for movement without giving the user motion sickness, so how is a game about a high speed hedgehog that constantly spins around supposed to do it? Well, I don’t know…but somehow, Virtua Sonic isn’t the vomit-inducing VR experience I was expecting, and on top of that it’s…actually a surprisingly decent Sonic game!

First, it’s important that I talk about my own tolerance for VR, and my current set-up before I go on. Experiences like this are certainly not for everyone. I’ve been exposed to VR gaming for roughly four years now, starting with the HTC Vive back in 2016. Like a lot of people, I’m able to handle room scale VR (where you physically walk around a virtual space) for long stretches. Also like most people, standing VR games (where movement is handled via a controller while you just stand or sit) does make me sick, and my tolerance level for these games used to be 10-20 minutes, but that has marginally improved.

If you can’t handle these kinds of VR experiences, Virtua Sonic is not for you. That said, Virtua Sonic is actually one of the better standing VR experiences I’ve had. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the game design or my own tolerance, but I was able to play for 20 minutes before I started to feel sick, and I was able to play it for 40 minutes without having to put it down. Not bad! I played the entire thing on an Oculus Quest, connected to my computer via its Oculus Link feature. Oculus Link can be a bit jittery, and this occasionally got in the way of the experience, but I won’t be noting those aspects of the experience here, as that has nothing to do with the game.

Virtua Sonic plays surprisingly well and it is…mostly intuitive. You move by holding down buttons on the motion controllers and pumping them up and down like you’re “running,” and jumping is done by holding down the triggers and thrusting a controller down. Aside from running and jumping, all of Sonic’s moves are here, from the homing attack, to the light speed dash, stomp, spindash, and roll.

All of these moves are handled via a combination of motion controls and button presses. None of these moves are as intuitive to pull off as they are in the official games, but I eventually got used to them. That said, I did run into some problems. For one, the jumping controls just don’t feel natural in this game.

You jump by holding the triggers and thrusting a controller down, which just kept conflicting with what my brain wanted to do. I wanted to thrust the controller up, in the direction I wanted to move. I’m not sure if it would have interfered with other parts of the controls, but it took me until my third play session with the game to finally get used to it. The stomp, likewise, feels unnatural: you do it by raising your hands after a jump. Again, thrusting my arms down would feel more natural for a downward stomping motion.

But once I got used to everything, playing through the game actually felt pretty good. Like, way better than I ever would have expected a VR Sonic game to feel! Homing in on enemies, rolling, spin dashing, and light speed dashing all felt supremely satisfying. There’s even a move in the game where you basically need to “Naruto run” once you achieve a high enough speed. This allows you to retain your momentum and pull off all sorts of neat tricks like running on water or along walls. I admit, this could make me feel pretty goofy, but actually replicating Sonic’s running stance to run along a waterfall is also probably one of the most satisfying moments I’ve had in VR.

You’re going to need to master these moves to get through the demo. Aside from the tutorial stage, which is pretty linear and basic in its design, Virtua Sonic sports one full level and boss fight, and that level, Sakura Sanctuary, is big. It’s got multiple paths to to run through, and it gets increasingly large and expansive as it continues. It features design sensibilities similar to the superb Sonic GT, which isn’t surprising, since it’s based on the same tech as GT. The boss battle’s also pretty fun: you’ve got to chase down a big robot, using the physics and your moves to keep pace with it and bring it down.

It isn’t all roses, though, as the levels do have a few rough edges. In the tutorial stage, the hill that’s supposed to teach players how to jump is just a little too high, and I found myself consistently struggling to successfully scale it. There’s also an incline towards the end of Sakura Sanctuary that’s nearly impossible to get up consistently. Even spin dashing didn’t seem to work! These are small issues, but ones I found detrimental to the overall experience.

The game’s short, but it’s a complete package all the same. It tells a simple, complete story with good writing and solid voice work. Sakura Sanctuary and the tutorial stage are both gorgeous, and the selection of music (which includes a nice little track from NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams) works well with the levels. Once you beat the game you can play through both levels and the boss battle in Time Attack mode, which adds a bit of replay value.

I hope we get more projects like this. During an event that was full of surprises, Virtua Sonic may be the biggest of the lot. If you’ve got a VR set up and your stomach can take it, check it out! You wont be disappointed.

Balan Wonderworld Gets March 2021 Release Date

Today’s Nintendo Direct gave us some new info on Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima’s upcoming game, Balan Wonderworld. The game will be launching on March 26, 2021, and will include 12 worlds, each with their own boss fight. You progress through the game by collecting hidden trophies, which you can do with a friend through the game’s co-op mode.

You can check out the game’s new trailer for its Nintendo Switch version below:

SAGE 2020: Sally and the Freedom Fighters Live On in These Fan Games

My first Sonic thing ever was an issue of the Archie comic. Between that and the SatAm cartoon, the American characters were just as “Sonic” to me as Tails or Knuckles, and I had always wanted to see them appear as a major part of the games. Unfortunately, media synergy wasn’t really a thing back in the 90s, so the Freedom Fighters largely remained exclusive to spin-off media.

Fan games have occasionally given me the chance to see how Sonic’s American canon could work in the games. This year’s SAGE has two such examples, both inspired by SatAm. One is a typical Sonic platformer, and the other is a surprisingly well done RPG.

Continue reading SAGE 2020: Sally and the Freedom Fighters Live On in These Fan Games

Find Tikal’s Lost Chao in New, Fan-made Sonic Adventure Dreamcast DLC

The Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure has received its first brand new downloadable content in nearly twenty years, thanks to the efforts of the Dreamcast community. This new DLC, called “Tikal’s Challenge,” has players traveling back to the past as Sonic to find five chao lost in the ancient echidna city. They’re tasked with finding the chao as quickly as possible, and bringing them to the Master Emerald shrine.

Continue reading Find Tikal’s Lost Chao in New, Fan-made Sonic Adventure Dreamcast DLC

SAGE 2020: Sonic GT Brings a New Twist to 3D Sonic

I’ve been playing Sonic fan games since the early 2000s, occasionally loading them up on my PC whenever something looked interesting. I’ve had loads of fun with these games, but while the scene has been producing impressive 2D games for decades, 3D fan games have typically been rougher, less complete experiences. That is until now: Sonic GT, developed by NotSoGreedy, is the most fun and impressive 3D Sonic fan game I have ever played, if not one of the best fan games, period. What’s more, this isn’t a demo, but a complete, finished project!

The core to that fun is how Sonic GT handles movement and level design. While official 3D Sonic games are typically about moving through fairly linear levels and getting the highest scores and lowest times possible, Sonic GT is all about having you move through massive 3D worlds and letting you find your own way. In Sonic GT, there is no ideal path, just worlds full of springs, rails, enemies, ramps and slopes.

No single area has just one path through it.

You can be running across a bridge one moment, then leaping over to a nearby rail the next. You can hit a slope with enough momentum to send yourself flying high enough to reach a new area you weren’t even planning on going to seconds before. You can botch a jump, and instead of falling to your death you’ll find yourself in a less convenient area instead. Sonic GT is all about those moment-to-moment decisions, and letting you constantly find new ways to move through a stage, sometimes by choice, and sometimes by accident.

Sonic GT accomplishes this by borrowing mechanics from a variety of different Sonic games. The momentum-centric platforming and expansive level design is drawn from the classic games, but almost everything else feels more like a fusion of Adventure and Boost era mechanics. While the game doesn’t include an option to boost, characters still feels very zippy, with a fast running speed, a homing attack with a massive range, and a targeting reticule. The game even borrows the surface gripping mechanics from Unleashed, allowing characters to grab onto sheer walls and jump off them. With enough speed, the characters will even run along these walls instead, similar to the parkour from Lost World.

You can do tricks too.

The lack of boost not only accommodates the momentum mechanics, but also gives moves that haven’t been relevant since the Adventure era like the light speed dash, spin dash and bounce attack a chance to shine. Certain moves are recontextualized by the game’s mechanics as well. The stomp move from the boost games now allows for more precise platforming. If you’re feeling adventurous, the bounce attack can be used for that same purpose, while also allowing your character’s momentum to be maintained.

In addition to the standard moves, GT also has four different characters, including Sonic and Mighty (I’ll avoid spoiling the rest) who each feel distinct. They each have unique moves and their own top speed, acceleration, jump height, and ways of interacting with the physics. All of these moves make the levels of GT an absolute joy to run through, and those runs are almost never the same because of the sheer amount of paths, moves, and distinct characters at your disposal.

Sonic’s got his drop dash and a unique homing attack

That said, the gameplay does have its issues. The game’s motobug badniks can be a bit of a pain to deal with, as they’ll sometimes come speeding out of nowhere and blindside you. The expansive range of the homing attack can also mean exactly what its targets can be a tad unpredictable at times. The expansiveness of the levels led to me accidentally backtracking a couple times and it is really easy to miss check points. I found being conscious of these things does a lot to mitigate them, but they can make the experience feel a bit rough and unfair at times, though they are small blemishes in what is an otherwise ridiculously fun experience.

GT’s greatest flaw is its bosses. The game has three bosses, and two of them can be pretty frustrating. For one, they each take a LOT of hits (about 12 each) which can be difficult to deliver. The first one needs to be run down, which can be an absolute thrill…until one mistake allows it to get so far ahead that it can’t be hit again. This frustrated me at first, until I realized I could run in the opposite direction and catch it from behind, but that made the whole fight feel a bit sloppy.

These little buggers have a way of sneaking up on you.

The second boss, a robotic bird in an arena surrounded by spikes, was a lot more unforgiving. It gives you one chance to reliably hit it every minute or so, after it spends some time launching electric mines at you, then attempts to blast you into the spikes with a wind attack. Only then can you deliver a homing attack…two if you’re lucky. It’s possible to land additional hits by bouncing off the mines right after it fires them off, but this is not only very unreliable, it’s also very easy to home into the mines just before they activate, hurting you instead. On top of that, the wind attack isn’t telegraphed, so it constantly took me off-guard, leading to many deaths that just felt cheap. It took me over an hour to finally beat the damn thing.

Thankfully, Sonic GT’s developers have already confirmed that a patch addressing the bird boss is in the works, and could be out in a few days. Regardless of how the other bosses are tweaked, however, GT’s final boss is still very fun to fight. So the game does at least have a solid finale!

This damn bird was a pain in my rear.

It’ll take just a couple of hours to see that ending, but the game doesn’t stop there. Like any good Sonic game, GT has replay value. You can play through the story a second time as Mighty the Armadillo, and there is a time attack mode and a mission mode. Mission mode has you playing through each level as one of the game’s four characters while accomplishing a particular goal. GT’s a ridiculously fun and feature rich experience with some frustrating issues, and these qualities extend into the game’s production values too.

The visuals, which were part of what attracted me to this game to begin with, are pretty damn impressive. Sunset Boulevard and Hilltop Zone are especially gorgeous, featuring colorful, atmospheric environments that feel like they were ripped right out of the Sonic universe. The game’s frame rate can be a bit rough at times, no matter what I set the graphical settings to, but I found myself forgetting the issue was even there after awhile.

The soundtrack is pretty diverse and understated. You won’t find any loud Crush40-inspired cheese rock here, but if you dig the level soundtracks of games like Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, you should like what GT has to offer.

It’s with the story that GT stumbles. That this game has a story at all is impressive, and I appreciate the game going in a lighthearted direction rather then trying to do something dark and edgy. The plot is pretty simple: Eggman wants Mighty’s “shell,” and kidnaps one of his friends to lure him in. With most Sonic plot lines typically dealing with apocalyptic or world-shattering scenarios, it’s nice seeing the characters dealing with a basic, hair-brained Eggman plot instead.

The CG portraits for the story scenes are also incredibly well-done, looking practically indistinguishable from what you’d get from SEGA itself. This game goes above and beyond what we typically get from fan games. Yet…the writing itself is mediocre, and the voice acting isn’t that great either. I obviously never actually expected a fan game to have professional-level writing and voice acting, but I know I would be doing the game a disservice if I didn’t set player expectations accordingly. Cutscenes cannot be skipped at all, or sped through on first playthrough either, so you will be experiencing all of it.

Like I said at the start of this massive preview, I’ve been playing Sonic fan games for nearly two decades, starting around 2002/2003, during the great Sonic console game drought between SA2 and Heroes. At the time, I was so hungry for new Sonic experiences that I turned to SFGHQ and started downloading my first fan games. Now, in 2020, we are in the midst of another Sonic drought, and I find myself again turning to fan games, and…Sonic GT has done a damn good job quenching my thirst. If you’ve been desperate for a new 3D Sonic game, download and play this. Despite some rough edges, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Sonic GT can be downloaded here or here.

SAGE 2020 Site Knocked Offline by Record Breaking Traffic, Backup Site Now Up

SAGE 2020 is doing so well this year that the event’s website has broken from the sheer amount of traffic! As we reported when the event launched yesterday, the website has been down since everything started. Despite this, the website logged more than 3.5 million hits in its first 16 hours. Although these are for visits, not individual users, this is a significant uptick from the 100,000 hits the event scored in its first 24 hours last year.

Thankfully, SAGE 2020 has been doing everything it can to keep the event going despite these technical issues. While they work with the site’s ISP, SAGE 2020 has launched a back up website with secondary links to many of the event’s games. You can check it out here.

If you’re a SAGE exhibitor, and your game does not yet have a secondary link on the back up website, be sure to let SAGE know through its discord server!

SAGE 2020 Starts Today!

The 20th edition of the Sonic Amateur Game Expo, SAGE 2020, has officially launched! The long running online fan event will have a whopping 250+ games this year, including loads of Sonic fan games, mods, and original titles. This massive selection shows just how far this event has since its inception as a small Sonic community event back in 2000.

Unfortunately, the website is currently experiencing technical difficulties, but you can find alternate download links for some of SAGE’s projects on Twitter, here.

Be sure to stay tuned to Sonic Stadium throughout the event for coverage of some of the events games! You can already see our coverage of one of the games here.

SAGE 2020: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit is Looking to be a Quality Remake of a Portable 8-bit Classic

Out of all of Sonic’s 90s offerings, Sonic Triple Trouble is probably the most under-appreciated. Featuring some of the best levels, bosses, and music outside of the series’ core offerings, Triple Trouble is the apex of Sonic’s 8-bit entries. It built on the unique quirks of those games, while also coming the closest out of all of them to matching Sonic’s 16-bit releases. This makes it all the more frustrating that the game hasn’t seen an accessible re-release since it hit the 3DS eShop 8 years ago. Hopefully, this will be corrected soon, but until then, we’re set to get something much better: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit.

Continue reading SAGE 2020: Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit is Looking to be a Quality Remake of a Portable 8-bit Classic

Sonic OVA Production Demo OST Released

A 30 minute production demo of the Sonic OVA has just been released via YouTube, thanks to the efforts of Illuminor, the same Sonic fan who was able to obtain and release the full version of the OVA’s main theme, Look-a-Like, last week.

Illuminor received this demo from the same person who sent him Look-a-Like, after asking if they had any other tracks from the production. This demo features numerous tracks from the OVA spliced together, including the long-coveted South Island theme. Many of these tracks are different from what was featured in the OVA, which leads Illuminor to believe that this is likely from before these tracks were completed. The demo also features roughly ten minutes worth of music never featured in the final production. Illuminor’s contact isn’t sure if all of this music was originally created for the OVA, as it may have been mixed in from other projects.

You can check out the production demo in its entirety below, or go to the YouTube page for time stamps of the individual tracks. Illuminor will be releasing the source files for both Look-a-Like and the production demo via the Russian Sonic fan twitter account Sonic & All Characters at a later date.