With a decade under his belt, Adam is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Adam is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.
Charity gaming event Gameblast18 kicks off this Friday 23rd of February, and to help launch three days of festivities, SEGA will be hosting a 24-hour stream, starting at 6pm UTC (6pm GMT). Those wishing to tune in can do so via the SEGA Europe YouTube channel.
Highlights of the stream are set to include:
Yakuza 6 and the PC version of Puyo Puyo Tetris, ahead of their release
Sonic Mania, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Adventure 2
An SOE staffer will be transformed into a Space Marine on Friday
Midnight Alien Isolation
Bayonetta, with a very special guest from 2pm on Saturday
The stream will be raising funds for the great cause of helping thousands of people with physical disabilities enjoy video games through specially designed games controllers. You can donate to the cause through the SEGA Gameblast18 JustGiving page.
Charity Fan Magazine Green Hill Zine, a charity comic project comprising 70+ pages of artwork from every zone in Sonic 1, 2, 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic CD has opened Pre-orders for both the digital and physical releases.
The zine includes artworks from artists approached for the project including Sonic Mania team members Tom Fry, Paul Veer and Midio, alongside the likes of future IDW cover artist NathalieFourdraine, animator and Archie comic artist Tyson Hesse, and a host of other talent selected through a submission process last year.
All proceeds will go to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmentalist group whose many missions include the protection of the worldwide environment and wildlife.
Pre-Orders for the Zine are now open via the Green Hill Zine site, where either obtain a digital version of the zine for $10, or a physical edition can be purchased for $25 plus shipping. The zine can be purchased over the next fortnight until February 15th, 2018. The comic will be released between March and April 2018.
Start saving your pocket money, as board game purveyors Shinobi 7 LLC will soon be launching their Kickstarter campaign for their newest board game Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers! The product is advertised as a strategic board game designed for 2-5 players, in which each participant takes on the role of one of multiple Sonic the hedgehog characters represented by a set of fantastic, size-scaled figurines.
Shinobi 7 plan to launch their Kickstarter campaign this month, offering up exclusive and Limited-Edition items to those who pledge their support. A retail edition of the game will be available later in the year through Diamond/Alliance.
The description of the game on the Shinobi7 site is as follows:
“Burst into action with Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers! Select your racer, choose your route, and fight your way to the finish while avoiding opposing racers and a variety of dangerous obstacles. Control your speed, use your abilities, and activate your special powers to collect as many rings as you can in an amazing race.
Based on Sonic the Hedgehog, the world-wide phenomenon, Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers allows you to take on the role of Sonic or one of his many friends and rivals in a strategic race through a variety of exciting locations. The course changes with every race, so no two games are alike!”
Other information from the Shinobi7 site states:
The base set of the game comes complete with five figurines of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Eggman, along with all neccesary parts to play the game
3 “Boss packs”, themed around Infinite, Metal Sonic, and Shadow, include a new character figurine along with new playing tiles and parts to expand the game
12 additional character expansion packs (Big, Blaze, Charmy, Cream, E-123 Omega, Espio, Jet, Rouge, Silver, Sticks, Vector, and Wave) will be available, with each character bringing new elements of gameplay to spice up the base set’s play
During this period of vinyl resurgence, it is great to see seminal Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks are receiving LP incarnations, and as such, following on from 2017’s Sonic Mania vinyl soundtrack released through Data-Discs, Japanese record label Brave Wave have produced both Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks in 12″ vinyl format.
This first pressing of each soundtrack comes as either a double LP, or packaged as a limited edition box set containing all four LPs in a presentation case and the addition of a certificate of authenticity signed by the series sound director himself, Jun Senoue. As an absolute sucker for anything limited edition, I opted for the latter choice, shelling out an additional 20 euros for the full experience.
Opening the box, you are greeted by the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 box art in gloriously large dimensions, and to Brave Wave’s credit, perfectly reproduced in the original vivid colours and high resolution. The gatefold for the Sonic Adventure OST impressively opens up for a full splash (pun intended) of Perfect Chaos straddling both pages, complete with lyrics to the game’s theme song Open Your Heart. Both albums come complete with a large 20-page book, containing character artwork, lyrics to vocal tracks, and an interview with Senoue-san and series director (and now Sonic Team head) Takashi Iizuka.
On the turntable the recordings sound fantastic having been remastered for the 180g pressing, with mixes that on the whole feel balanced and close to the original. Tracks feel fully fleshed and in many cases the clarity offered by the medium really amplifies elements that many might have missed depending through what platform you’ve listened to the soundtrack previously; the Shadow side on the SA2 album sounded particularly fresh. Of course many will be buying these editions for the vocal tracks, which all sound satisfyingly grandiose in this format when played through a good sound system.
As with the Sonic Mania product, the limitation of producing a Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack on vinyl is the available space; as such both OSTs have been truncated by approximately 50% when compared to their CD equivalents, which offer the more complete experience. As such, some real belters have been omitted from the roster, with a notable attrition of Knuckles vocal tracks from Sonic Adventure 2, and the almost ‘criminal omission’ of either rendition of Choose Your Buddy! The sequence in which the tracks are presented feels a little odd as well as being inconsistent between each album, with Open Your Heart concluding side D on the Sonic Adventure soundtrack, while Live & Learn sits as the last track on side A on the SA2 album.
Given the wealth of artwork produced during the production of the Sonic Adventure games, the presentation of both products feels a little sparse, particularly given the opportunity the size of these vinyl editions present to showcase some of the series artwork by Yuji Uekawa, and really does seem like a missed opportunity to appeal to a larger audience. Those expecting E-102 gamma artwork will be disappointed at his complete exclusion from the SA1 booklet!
The production quality of the records themselves is good, although my personal experience is marred by a red blemish on the otherwise solid white LP. While this is superficial and does not affect playback, I would have been very upset had I purchased these for display, as I imagine many fans will, and I therefore hope this defect is limited to a minority of copies [EDIT: I appear to have been the only person to suffer from this defect, and Brave Wave have very kindly replaced it – AT]
The greatest disappointment I feel comes with the limited edition box set, which includes a cardboard box and little else. The cover of the box does little more than amalgamate the cover art from both games, and as such feels reminiscent of a bargain bin 2-for-1 DVD case, looking cheap and unexciting alongside other box sets in my record collection. The certificate of authenticity has a ‘street flyer handout’ feel to it, when I think something of this nature should really be produced on heavy gauge, high quality paper to embellish the premium paid. This edition comes across as an afterthought, and an opportunity to make a few extra bucks from die-hard fans; indeed they have succeeded, with this edition selling out as a pre-order. For a cover price of over £100 all said and done for British punters (about twice the price I would expect to pay for two double gatefold albums at retail, although probably not helped by our poor exchange rate), I would have expected a lot more.
Overall, it is fantastic to see the soundtracks to the Sonic Adventure make it to vinyl, albeit in a truncated form, and that these are hopefully the first of many more Sonic the hedgehog re-releases on record in the near future.
It is a real shame however that both soundtracks come at such a relatively high cost (€40 each plus postage in Europe), and that the limited edition box set has resulted in product that feels inferior to its individual constituents.
That being said, Brave Wave have shown they are exceptional at their craft with their mastery of these two selections of highlights, from the titles that set the musical standard for the series for more than a decade.
*Soundtrack reviewed on a sound system comprising a Rega Planar 2 turntable, Marantz PM6006 amplifier and Dali Zensor 3 speakers)
Pre-orders have just commenced for the limited edition versions of the soundtracks (each containing 2 x coloured 12″ vinyl records) which can be purchased individually at the cost of $40/40€, or $100/100€ for a box set containing both soundtracks totally 4 vinyl records and a certificate of authenticity signed by Sonic Team sound director and composer Jun Senoue. The box set is to be strictly limited to 300 copies worldwide.
Orders from Europe can be made through French music purveyors Bigwax as of publication of this article, with US, Canadian and Latin American sales going live at 12PM PST today through Fangamer (links below).
Note: This review qualifies as mostly ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements.
It’s odd to think it’s been so long since the last major Sonic the Hedgehog release from Sonic Team. In fact, it’s just over six years since the release of Sonic Generations for the 20th anniversary. I’m sure there were raised eyebrows as the 25th anniversary came and went without an A-list title, but perhaps the majority let this pass as the fandom became gripped amidst ‘Sonic Mania’. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Forces
Sonic music aficionados, get excited! Record label Brave Wave have announced that they will be collaborating with SEGA in order to produce both the SONIC ADVENTURE and SONIC ADVENTURE 2 soundtracks in vinyl format.
The albums will each contain a selection of songs from both games, each coming complete with two 180 gram records (in either a special edition blue / white or blue / red for SA1 and SA2 respectively, or a standard black edition), and will include a booklet containing “a reflective interview with Jun Senoue and head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka” in addition to song lyrics and artwork (track listing below).
While no pricing or release date has been announced, Brave Wave expect the albums to see a release this winter.
Stay tuned to TSS for more information on these releases as they come!
SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING
A1. Introduction …featuring “Open Your Heart”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Welcome to Station Square
A4. Azure Blue World …for Emerald Coast
A5. Run Through The Speed Highway …for Speed Highway
A6. Pleasure Castle …for Twinkle Park
B1. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B2. Be Cool, Be Wild and Be Groovy …for Ice Cap
B3. Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
B4. Mt. Red: a Symbol of Thrill …for Red Mountain
B5. Blue Star …for Casinopolis
B6. Lazy Days ~Livin’ in Paradise~ …Theme of “BIG”
C1. My Sweet Passion …Theme of “AMY”
C2. Mystic Ruin
C3. Theme of “TIKAL”
C4. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
C5. Theme of “CHAO”
D1. Bad Taste Aquarium …for Hot Shelter
D2. Egg Carrier – A Song That Keeps Us On The Move
D3. Skydeck A Go! Go! …for Sky Deck
D4. Theme of “E-102γ”
D5. Open Your Heart …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE”
SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING:
A1. SA2 …Main Riff for “Sonic Adventure 2”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Event: Let’s Make It!
A4. Escape From The City …for City Escape
A5. That’s The Way I Like It …for Metal Harbor
A6. Won’t Stop, Just Go! …for Green Forest
A7. Live & Learn …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE 2”
B1. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
B2. A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup …for Pumpkin Hill
B3. Dive Into The Mellow …for Aquatic Mine
B4. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B5. This Way Out …for Prison Lane
C1. Throw It All Away …Theme of “SHADOW”
C2. Vengeance Is Mine …for Radical Highway
C3. Rhythm And Balance …for White Jungle
C4. The Supernatural …for Final Chase
C5. For True Story …for Sonic vs. Shadow
C6. Supporting Me …for Biolizard
D1. Fly In The Freedom …Theme of “ROUGE”
D2. Lovely Gate 3 …for Egg Quarters
D3. I’m A Spy …for Security Hall
D4. E.G.G.M.A.N. …Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
D5. Soarin’ Over The Space …for Cosmic Wall
Growing up in the early 90’s it was impossible to avoid the music scene pervading daily life; seductive R&B tones danced through ear-worm melodies, from songs that would https://www.sonicstadium.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=50098&action=edithang at the top of the charts for weeks. From this musical era came the Sonic CD soundtrack, of which I speak specifically the Japanese/European version, which for many forms the epitome of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog sound. Twenty-something years later, we see the classic series revived through Sonic Mania – complete with a brand new soundtrack. But how does this compare to it’s 1990’s predecessors?
News hot off the floor at this year’s New York Comic Con has revealed images of a flyer advertising IDW’s highly anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog comic, the successor to the long-running Archie series, featuring artwork by the multi-talented artist and animator Tyson Hesse (see below!).
The flyer contains the following message on it’s reverse:
Thank you for joining us for the first ever IDW/Sonic Town Hall!
IDW and SEGA are proud to bring you an all-new chapter of Sonic the Hedgehog comics! After more than 25 years, Sonic’s adventures have captured the imaginations of countless fans, and have inspired one of the most passionate fan bases in the world. We look forward to bringing you brand-new stories, featuring characters old and new, that continue this proud legacy of the fastest comics around!
SPEEDING YOUR WAY APRIL 2018!
Undoubtedly fans will be excited to see Hesse return to Sonic following the success of his involvement in the Archie comics and Sonic Mania, and will likely lead to speculation as to which names from the old guard of Sonic comics might be making a return via the IDW publication. More information is likely to come to light over the course of the comic con and the panel on the 8th of October, and as always TSS will keep you up to date with information as it is revealed!
The PC version of Sonic Mania hit Steam last week, and it didn’t take long for the Sonic hacking community to construct tools to unpack, data mine and mod the game. We’ve assembled a list of the seven most interesting things the community have found lurking inside the game’s source code! Continue reading 7 Amazing Things That Went Unused In Sonic Mania
So you’ve gathered all of the Chaos Emeralds. You’ve defeated Egg Reverie. You have screamed your way through 32 taxing Blue Sphere levels, and collected a gold medal from each of them. You’ve beaten the game with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles… and you’ve honed your speed-running skills in Time Attack…
SEGA and IDW Publishing have today announced a partnership to continue Sonic the Hedgehog comics in a new series in 2018. The news comes a day after SEGA officially announced the end of a 24-year partnership with Archie Comics.
According to SEGA, creative teams are still being formed at IDW, with more news to come later. The news shot also hints that the writers and artists are involved in the news comics, stating they are in talks with “Sonic fan-favourite creators and new creators alike”.
SEGA and IDW are thrilled to announce a partnership to bring Sonic Comics to fans new and old. The new series arrives 2018! pic.twitter.com/neT3oAMNUE
SEGA have announced today a wealth of events to be held at the San Diego Comic-Con! To complement the already announced “Behind the Scenes” Sonic Mania panel, the five day convention will also play host to the “Sounds of Sonic” music extravaganza, which will take place at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, and include a suite of music performed by Shota Nakama, creator of the Video Game Orchestra, and Sonic Team composer and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue. Continue reading Sounds of Sonic Music Event Set For San Diego Comic Con
In more than ten years of writing for The Sonic Stadium, this article has by far consumed the most time, and required the most revisions. I guess this is because sometimes it’s hard to really convey what you mean when you’re in love, and I can say without a doubt that I am already in love with Sonic Mania. Continue reading The Spin: Sonic Maniacs In The Making
While clearing out the last vestiges of what was my old room in my parent’s house a few years back, I stumbled across a big pile of fan art I’d drawn when I was about seven or eight years old. Sonic was all I would draw, and I would impress friends and classmates alike by drawing him completely from memory. Unfortunately I appear to have (thankfully) lost all evidence of Rocky: a fan character I created, well before the days in which it was trendy to post your latest creation to DeviantArt. Rocky was a green hedgehog, with upturned green spikes and a penchant for playing a flying-V guitar. I remember pleased as punch with my “original” character, however having played the game of googling [Name] the Hedgehog today, there are plenty of other Rocky the Hedgehogs out there.
SEGA have made some superb decisions with regards to the Sonic franchise recently; Sonic Mania looks absolutely fantastic, and as one of the old guard, I am filled with child-like excitement at the prospect of a game that is my opinion the true successor to the classic titles of the 16/32-bit era. SEGA have listened carefully to one of their key demographics, and are set to deliver a game by the fans, for the fans.
Equally, the decision to include an original character builder in a Sonic game could be considered an equally smart move; similar features have existed in other games for years, and with a significant parts of the fan base integrated into the many online art communities, it is almost surprising it has taken this long to have been incorporated. The response on social media from these communities to this announcement has been on the whole positive, with many excited at the prospect of a highly customisable character generator. Of course, the memes have been plentiful in the wake of the announcement, and speculation as to what level of monstrosity can be generated is fueling the imaginations of those who are handy with Photoshop.
Conversely, and predictably, there has been criticism. Ignoring the more subjective opinions on the inclusion of fan characters, there are some concerns raised that I and many others believe have merit. The most prominent of these is the fear that the gimmick takes precedence over the gameplay, something that has not only plagued the quality of past titles, but has caused games to stray from the what fans expect a Sonic game should constitute. Indeed, there is a feeling among many that recent titles featuring new characters and / or game modes have caused a detraction from valuable development time being invested in refining the more “core” aspects of these games. Many have postulated that Sonic Forces is trying to be a title that will please all; a near-impossible feat to achieve in this day and age in the video games industry. One can already see there is huge contrast in the footage shown so far; the darker theme of Park Avenue, harking back to the days of Shadow the Hedgehog/Sonic 06 seems disjointed from the jovially-themed classic Green Hill Zone. On the face of it, the game could be interpreted to be suffering from an identity crisis stemming from the “satisfy everyone” mentality. An old acquaintance of mine used to refer to clothing branded as “one size fits all” as “one size fits none”, and I feel the analogy here is appropriate; a game in which time and effort is spread too thinly across multiple modes will result in few being satisfied with any of the finished game elements.
At this juncture, it is extremely difficult to make any judgement – after all, there has been very little in the way of actual game play footage, and much of this will likely still be evolving as the game continues in its development. Undoubtedly, forums like E3 will be the trial-by-fire for this game, at which those on the ground will get a closer look at what is set to be released.
I came to a conclusion with both the Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Sonic Lost World titles that I was not the target demographic for these games. Admittedly there was some initial disappointment in this realisation, but in hindsight, I am perfectly fine with this. I can see the necessity for certain franchises to adapt and evolve with time, especially to keep up with evolving markets and trends. Indeed, the secret to success for many enduring series appears to be developing the gameplay in such a manner to keep it fresh and exciting, while retaining the heart and soul of what has become synonymous with said title.The Sonic franchise has seen success across multiple platforms decades apart, and as such the answer to “what makes a good Sonic game?” is heavily dependent on the age of the person you are posing the question to, or at what juncture the series really began to resonate with them.
I do not think that I am the target demographic for Sonic Forces, as much as I have the feeling the inclusion of classic Sonic is aiming to achieve that in some small capacity. The focus of the game has diverged beyond what I look for in a Sonic game. My hopes for the title are that it provides a sturdy experience for those who have craved a game featuring similar action to Sonic Generations (who have been waiting patiently for six years…where has the time gone?), with the fun addition of being able to bring your fan character to life in some incarnation, should you wish to do so.
I find it hard to be disappointed however, especially with Sonic Mania on the horizon – this is a game that has been created with people like me in mind, and will undoubtedly cater to the massive cohort of hardcore and casual gamers longing for the halcyon days of 90s. We are fortunate to live in times where we, the fans, have multiple upcoming Sonic games to choose from!
Regardless, I will definitely give Sonic Forces a go; I doubt I will be able to resist to allure of creating a bunch of hideous characters…and maybe a certainly green fan character from my childhood, just to satisfy my inner eight year-old!
The Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account has just released an image which appears to be a portion of a piece of concept art. Following the concept art shown at SXSW back in March, this is likely to be more concept art related to Sonic Forces. The image appears to show some form of machinery, possibly in the Green Hill Zone.
The image was simply captioned with the word “tomorrow”. It is unclear at the moment as to whether tomorrow’s release will include more of the concept piece, or any more information on the title.
As always, The Sonic Stadium will keep you up to date!
I’m sure many of my fellow thirty-somethings have breathed the same sigh of relief in that as we grow ever older, cartoons have not lost their appeal; I’d even go as far to say that we are in the midst of something of a cartoon renaissance – with multiple franchises successfully walking the line between children’s entertainment and veiled adult humour garnering cult followings.
The success of these series is largely down to the creators knowing their audience, and for the writers of Sonic Boom, they have certainly done their homework. I have lost count of the number of references to the Sonic universe the show has now made, and it is wonderful that 75+ episodes in, the jokes and in-jokes show no sign of relenting. The series on the whole to date has been wonderfully self-aware, subtle enough that younger audiences can enjoy the action and slapstick, while purposefully cliché and self-referential to deliver a wink and a nudge to older audiences, or a comical reprieve for parents who probably have already had to endure unending hours of Peppa Pig.
As the second season passes its mid-way mark, this week’s episode will introduce the first in a four-part story, Robots From The Sky (sung to the tune of a popular 80’s cartoon featuring metamorphosing machines, of course). The episode introduces the characters Mighton and Bolt who feature throughout the arc, two sentient robots from a floating city who find themselves stranded on the ground after their ship crashes. In a case of mistaken motives, the two misconstrue Sonic and friends as antagonists following a bout with Eggman’s machines. The episodes each end on a cliffhanger, as the team investigate why robots all over the world have begun to turn evil, with events from the past resurfacing in a series of plot twists.
Before I go on, SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!
The quadrilogy is the first in the series with writing credit going to Sonic Boom producer Bill Freiberger (the voice of Comedy Chimp), alongside regulars Alan Denton and Greg Hahn, who once again find their stride in penning a compelling children’s story interspersed with moments of eye-rolling humour most will find themselves chuckling at (unlike Knuckles). Speaking of which, Travis Willingham continues to deliver on his portrayal of his wonderfully simple Knuckles (although I’m sure this is obfuscating stupidity) with fans cheering that seventy-plus episodes in, we get a “legs day” joke. Mike Pollock and Roger Craig Smith have created a wonderful on screen (or off-screen?) chemistry between Eggman and Sonic, to the point at which battles have become juxtaposed with casual conversation, both characters aware they are simply going through the motions.
In a change of style, the story takes on a slightly more serious tone (but only slightly) as it begins to become clear that one of the heroes has inadvertently caused the current predicament. The first episode’s cliffhanger recovers with a deus ex machina deployed as another great comic device, once again nodding to the more senior audiences. This tone makes for a refreshing change of pace in comparison to the self-contained episodes, however fans of previous Sonic shows seeking more involved story arcs will likely find no satisfaction here. Some might have grown tired of the fight scenes by this stage; for this they might be forgiven, but again in context are necessary considering the show’s primary audience and the need to keep pace. Once again, the punctuation of satire should be what mature viewers focus their attention on. The final robot showdown sees an army of mechanical counterparts created with some albeit spurious science, but provides delightfully bizarre conclusion.
The Sonic Boom TV show has successfully created own its personality and carved its own niche in the Sonic universe; it is pleasing to see the progression in its evolution that prevents the concept from going stale. For many, including myself, the show continues to be the highlight of the Sonic Boom franchise – and I hope it continues to provide entertainment, for young and old, for many more episodes to come.
Robots From The Sky Part 1 is billed to air at 6pm ET on Saturday, 6th of May 2017 on Boomerang in the United States.
The First4Figures Official Facebook Collectors Group has shown a sneak peak of the long-awaited 25th Anniversary Statue, which appears to be very close to the computer generated model previously shown of classic Sonic,in his trademark “figure 8” run.
Alex Davis of Firs4Figures, stated in the post alongside the image “Really hope this does well [sales-wise] – dont want this to be a swan song!”, once again reiterating that a continuation of waning sales of the Sonic series could result in the cancellation of statues planned in the future, including Modern Metal Sonic which is currently in the development stage.
Are you planning on purchasing the F4F 25th Anniversary statue? Is it what you expected? Let us know in the comments!