On this latest episode of Sonic Talk, hosts Jason, Alex and GX talk about all the latest Sonic news, including the library of the SEGA Genesis Mini, the return of Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, the development materials for Sonic 2 released by game artist Tom Payne, and the last few issues of IDW’s Sonic comic. Continue reading Sonic Talk Episode 60: Super Smash Butts
With the launch of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s Stage Builder this week, fans have set about creating a multitude of distinctly Sonic-themed stages.
Check out our favourites in the article below!
This episode of Sonic Talk is experimenting with a new, slightly different audio-only format. This episode, we discuss some news out of the Sonic panel from SXSW 2019. We also discuss (as this episode’s name implies) the latest leaks from the Sonic movie! Continue reading Sonic Talk 59: Leaking All Over the Place
Don’t blink! Don’t think! Just go-go, go-go, g-g-g-g-go-go down to your local video store on May 28 to pick up Sonic X: The complete series on Region 2 SD Blu-Ray! (God, that was corny.)
The good folks at Disctek Media are bringing all 78 english language episodes in one volume. (Sorry Japanese sub fans, you’ll have to stick with Hulu for now.) This includes the extras from the DVD version as well as the original pitch video where the world of Sonic X had a lot less humans.
On this much shorter episode of Sonic Talk, Jason discusses Apex Legends (that other game with Roger Craig Smith) only for GX to suffer a power outage which results in about half an hour of our discussion being cut off. We still have plenty of Sonic news and a review of the first dozen issues of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog. So prepare for 45 minutes of Sonic-y goodness!
Last month, the Sonic community was dazzled by an incredibly creative sight – a design pitch for an official Sonic Mania-themed LEGO set. The creation, by Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart developer ‘toastergrl’, featured a Sonic Mini-Fig alongside some custom Badnik models and a huge Death Egg robot – and has been the talk of the town ever since. With a concerted push to drum up as much support as possible to make the design a reality, we spoke with ‘toastergrl’ herself to learn more about the project. Continue reading Community Interviews: LEGO Ideas Sonic Set Designer, ‘toastergrl’
So, if you hadn’t noticed already, the design for the blue blur in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie has been leaked. Take a moment to look at it, absorb its detail. And then, let us know what you think… because the rest of the community sure did, on social media, and as you’d expect reactions have been… slightly… mixed? Continue reading ‘Just Give Him Gloves!’ The Sonic Community Reacts to the Sonic Movie Design
When I was a kid, I had a special appreciation for media that didn’t talk down to me and tried to tell a good story with interesting lore and backstory. Knuckles the Echidna, a 32 issue monthly comic series from Archie Comics, did just that. Given Knuckles’ 25th anniversary, I thought it would be nice to revisit the comics in some way. I haven’t read them in some time (due in large part to their lack of easy digital availability) so I will be recounting my memories of the comic’s tone and themes somewhat vaguely and broadly. Hopefully, I will be able to do a deep dive into the comics in the future.
I had been reading Archie’s Sonic comics for a couple of years when the Knuckles the Echidna series got going. Knuckles was a character that got my attention before I was even exposed to his first game thanks to his cool design, his weird abilities, and most importantly his place in the story. Knuckles was that cool guest star character who only popped up occasionally, making his appearances feel special. He could not only could go toe to toe with Sonic himself, but often would, making him Sonic’s “rival,” at a time when that concept was still fresh to my young mind.
To me, Knuckles was the coolest Sonic character. I must’ve not been the only kid who thought that because Knuckles became pretty popular in the comics. His occasional appearances turned into regular back story appearances, which lead to a mini series, which finally led to a monthly ongoing…which was weird as all heck, but also very neat.
As I said before, the Knuckles series didn’t talk down to kids and tackled some subjects that most kids media didn’t put much focus on back then. The world had politics, including three distinct factions: the fanatical technophilic Dark Legion, the fascistic (and later racial minority) dingoes, and of course the citizens of Echidnapolis (who were predominantly echidnas, of course). The series even featured an entire arc devoted to the world’s politics and the tension building up between the factions. The comic also wasn’t afraid to deal with death and romance, going so far as to devote an entire three-issue story arc to Knuckles and Julie-Su’s budding love-life.
The comic also had a lot of backstory and lore. The tension between the Dark Legion and the citizens of Echidnapolis went back hundreds of years, to events involving Knuckles’ ancestors feuding over how technology should be used in echidna society. Before that, there was Enerjak, a power-mad entity created when one of Knuckles’ ancestors absorbed eleven of the island’s twelve chaos emeralds (yes, twelve) in an attempt to return Angel Island (called simply the Floating Island in the comics) to the planet. The series would often dive into this history to give the current day plot line a greater, more epic context, since the conflicts the comic covered often had roots going back centuries.
The comic also had loads of weird, often sci-fi concepts. The Dark Legion, who served as the comic’s primary villain faction, often sported loads of cybernetics to display their devotion to technology. These cybernetics could look kind of gruesome to me as a kid. Then there was the Brotherhood, a clandestine organization made up of Knuckles’ living ancestors, who as it turns out were inexplicably long lived, with the oldest being hundreds of years old at the start of the series (I’m not sure an explanation was ever given for that). The comic opened with the Dark Legion escaping from an alternate dimension known as the Twilight Zone, while the second arc focused on two dimensions holding the separate cities belonging to the echidnas and dingoes collapsing in on each other. Then there was Knuckles himself, who was genetically modified when his father, Locke, irradiated his egg with chaos energy to give him special powers.
So yeah, the comic was cool…and weird. Putting my childhood nostalgia aside, it was also flawed. The writing could feel stiff, and many characters often sounded like they were speaking with the same voice. The comic didn’t always make use of what should have been interesting plot revelations, such as when one member of the Brotherhood turned out to be a former leader of the Dark Legion.
This reveal did not have the emotional pay off one would expect: his son, who held a special hatred for the Legion, turned on him immediately, while the rest of the Brotherhood did not seem to express much emotional grief over their son/grandfather/great-grandfather/etc turning out to be a villain the whole time. We were also denied the satisfaction of a reunion between the Brotherhood and the man the Legionnaire replaced.
As I said before, its been a long time since I last read these comics. I don’t remember how pervasive the issues I mentioned above were, but they are there. As much as I enjoyed them as a kid, I couldn’t help but feel a bit…underwhelmed upon revisiting them.
That said, there’s still plenty about the comic that did age well. The interior art was mostly done by Manny Galan, one of the best artists Sonic comics have ever seen. He nails the look of a the comic’s characters and world perfectly, and his work is still a joy to look at. The comic also employed an interesting concept with its covers: each cover of the comic’s three issue story arcs could be combined together into a single image. These covers were mostly done by Sonic comic legend Patrick Spaziente, often depicting epic scenery and action.
It’s kind of unfortunate these comics are so inaccessible in an age when nearly any comic can be bought online. This does, unfortunately, bring us to one of the reasons why I have difficulties going back to these books even when I do have access to my old copies: the Ken Penders lawsuit.
This is something I’d rather not get into right here, so I will keep it brief: I think every artist should be compensated for reprints of their work, and I wish Archie had worked something out with Penders to make that happen. I hope IDW does what they couldn’t. I also think that, by copywriting the characters he created, Penders effectively destroyed this comic’s legacy. Its characters will never be able to grace any Sonic comic continuity again. They have already faded into complete obscurity and they will never again be able to interact with the game characters they were created to flesh out. I think this is very unfortunate.
Though, in a sense, the Knuckles series being inaccessible does feel right to me. Back when the Knuckles comics were being made, I had difficulties getting ahold of them. My local book store didn’t carry them and the comic book stores that did kept going out of business. So to get them, I’d have to go to a Books-A-Million in Potomac, Virginia, which was an hourlong drive. I didn’t get to go often, but whenever I did and I got to see that Knuckles comic on the rack, it was always special. That reflects my feelings on the comic as a whole: special, memorable, and a series that will always evoke my childhood to me. I do hope inaccessibility does not become this series’ fate. So far as I’m concerned, it at least deserves more than this.
Maybe one day.
Happy birthday to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which turns 25 years old today! As Sonic the Hedgehog mania reached fever pitch in February 1994 with playgrounds across the plane buzzing with Sonic 3 hype, with plentiful promotions abound (but the less we talk about that Right Said Fred single, the better!)
To coincide with the launch of the game in the US, branches of the fast food restaurant McDonalds launched their Sonic the Hedgehog Happy Meal promotion, with millions of Sonic the Hedgehog toys ready to be given away from Friday the 4th of February, alongside a sweepstake in which participants could win one of 10,000 copies of Sonic 3.
Another month, another late Sonic Talk podcast! In our “Holiday special”, Jason, Alex, GX and this month’s 4th chair, Cory “Jet” Holmes discuss the latest topics going on in the world of Sonic including Smash Bros Ultimate, Sonic Unleashed on X-Box One, Sonic in “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, but mostly, we dicuss the bizarre design on Sonic in the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie posters. Continue reading Sonic Talk 57: Two Hours On Three Posters
Before you send me a ton of hate mail, let me explain.
First, we gotta go back to the beginning of cartoon adaptions of video games. It wasn’t always easy to do. In the early days of video games you had a protagonist that you played as, an antagonist but no real story tying them together. If there was one, it was VERY bare bones. With very little to go on so the cartoon creators had to come up with some kind of plot that could play for 13 episodes on a Saturday morning. Continue reading The Spin: The Freedom Fighters are Gone (and That’s Okay)
To celebrate 20 years of Sonic Adventure, we take a brief look at some of the best Sonic Adventure-themed merchandise released in 1998 and beyond!
Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.
We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.
SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.
On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.
The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.
Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!
Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.
Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).
The story mode
Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).
The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.
Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!
Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!
While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!
The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.
The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.
The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.
The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.
Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!
What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!
It’s that festive time of year again! As always, we at TSS won’t be able to sleep on Christmas eve as we are too excited thinking about the Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise Santa will be bringing us in his sleigh! We must have been particularly good this year (we’ve only been completing hero missions), as Europe and the UK now has it’s very own dedicated SEGA Shop crammed with new and exclusive merchandise.
We take a sneaky peak at some of the great Sonic gear on offer right now…
With the popularity of Amiibo figures, it was only a matter of time before other companies followed suit. Gamestop saw the profit in this and with their “ThinkGeek” brand made their own line of exclusive, “Amiibo-ish”, non-electronic figures called Totaku. They don’t interact with your games in any way, they just look pretty on a shelf and they have a plus-shaped base that allows you to connect the bases together for a nice display. It’s a neat way to get non-Nintendo figurines to stand side by side with your Amiibo ones. There are many characters in the line-up including Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Parappa the Rapper, Sackboy, Lara Croft, Kratos and many others.
But of course, I’ll be focusing on the classic Sonic trio recently released. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are all here in their classic glory. Each one with their own fine details. I’ll be going over each one individually.
Sonic has his old finger waving pose with a 16-bit ring laying at his feet. There’s striped grass at the base with the checkerboard dirt underneath showing that he’s standing in the Green Hill Zone. This is the same for all three figures. The paint job is fairly well done with a few very tiny blemishes here and there. For instance, the white of the eyes bleed a tiny bit into the muzzle, but only if you’re looking at it from an upper angle. It’s a common flaw in Sonic figures. The ring has several different pixelated levels of colors to make it as exact to it’s game counterpart as possible which is a very nice touch.
Here he comes! Rougher than the rest of them! While he’s not guarding the master emerald, Knuckles is standing over a green chaos emerald. He’s got a cute smirk on his face and looks like he’s ready to enjoy a good fight at a moment’s notice. This is a real solid figure with no paint blemishes at all. Probably my favorite of the bunch.
Last but not least, Tails is seen flying just above the striped grass. Shown in a pose that says he’s ready to go and an adorable smile on his face, Tails paint job is also flawless. The only downside to this figure is that he has no extra object on his base. No ring, no emerald, just Tails.
Overall this figure set looks great. With the plus-shaped bases and striped grass, you can make a nice display that connects the three figures together. $10 American each isn’t too much for these quality figures. They also make a nice gift for the holidays. You can pick them up at Gamestop in the US, EB Games in Canada or GAME in the UK.
Oh…..My….God! An episode of Sonic Talk that’s up just days after being recorded rather than weeks?!! That’s insane!!
Join Jason, Alex, GX and our special-guest-maybe-new-fourth-chair Queen Misty Lakes as we discuss the latest games, Sonic’s upcoming movie and his cameo in Ralph Breaks The Internet. We also discuss the delay of Team Sonic Racing and how everyone in the Sonic Universe might have a slight cameo in Super Smash Bros Ultimate thanks to the new spirit mode. Listen in and join the fun!
Thirty years ago, SEGA launched the SEGA Mega Drive in Japan, starting a 16-bit revolution. Less than a year later in August 1989, that system would come to American shores as the SEGA Genesis. A year after that, in September of 1990, the Mega Drive would finally reach Brazil and PAL regions, building on the success of its predecessor the SEGA Master System. Continue reading Happy 30th Anniversary to the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis!
That’s right! On this very day, at the turn of the new millennium, The Sonic Stadium formally opened its virtual doors to the world. It was a very different world back then – people used Yahoo to search for things online instead of Google, Napster was the fresh new way to download music (not altogether legally), the hottest ‘meme’ was the Hampster Dance and the Sonic online community was just getting started. Continue reading Happy 18th Birthday, The Sonic Stadium!
In this month’s Sonic Talk, we talk about Shenmue and how sometimes nostalgia isn’t enough. More on Team Sonic Racing, our final thoughts on Sonic Mania Plus, the Sonic movie, GX’s distain for Funko Pops and much, much more! Continue reading Sonic Talk 55: Funko Pooped
Approximately one year ago, I wrote a very lengthy hands on impressions about my experience playing Sonic Forces at EGX 2017 and boy oh boy it set the cat amongst the pigeons didn’t it? One year on, a new EGX has come and a new very different Sonic game is on the horizon, as I did a year ago, I went to the expo and played a lot of Sumo Digital’s Team Sonic Racing.
If there are three things we’re sure of in life, it’s death, taxes and the original Sonic the Hedgehog being ported to just about every Nintendo system. So what sets Sega Ages Sonic The Hedgehog apart from the billion other ports of the game? Continue reading TSS Review: Sega Ages Sonic The Hedgehog
For all of Sumo Digital’s noise about wanting to develop a relatively simple and accessible game, there is a surprising amount of depth to be found during a race of Team Sonic Racing. Certainly more so than in pseudo-predecessor Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Continue reading Team Sonic Racing – The Gamescom Preview
Petit Hedgehog is probably one of the more notable entries at this year’s SAGE, with a refined version from last year’s expo being showcased for 2018. Created by Chengi, Petit draws upon influences from the Sonic Advance era, as well as translating elements from the Sonic Adventure formula into a 2D environment. Continue reading SAGE 2018: Petit Hedgehog
I have a confession. Aside from the first few seconds of the last time it appeared in a mega-collection type game, I have never played Sonic Chaos. So if during this article I say something a little daft which was in the original game, that’s why. Continue reading SAGE 2018: Sonic Chaos
Wow!! Am I late with this one!! So Sorry about that. Check out our hands-on impressions of Team Sonic Racing, our discussion of Sonic Revolution, the end of Sonic Boom, The Sonic toys at Subway (which I have yet to find a Subway in my area that has them) and much, much more!! Continue reading Sonic Talk 54: Party of Four
On Saturday August 9 2008, three young British figureheads in the Sonic the Hedgehog community opened the doors to the very first Summer of Sonic convention, welcoming over 300 people into a tiny hall with nothing but a SEGA Mega Drive in the corner and some cupcakes to entice them in. Continue reading The Summer of Sonic Convention is 10 Years Old – Happy Anniversary!
Last year’s explosive release of Sonic Mania wasn’t just about a game that ended up thrilling both new and old blue blur fans. It was also proof that a brand new, ‘classic’ style 2D Sonic title will sell – and sell it most certainly did, cementing itself in the annals of hedgehog history. But, while widely regarded as one of the most critically-acclaimed Sonic titles in recent memory, there were some clear presentation omissions and missing elements in the base game – elements that you would think Christian Whitehead and co would have included, if they were just given more time to bake it in.
Enter Sonic Mania Plus. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Mania Plus
Sonic Mania Plus hits digital game stores in just a few days time! But next Tuesday is also important for the fact that it will mark the first time that the 2017 platformer will be available in physical format on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. We’ve had a review copy sitting in TSS Towers for a while now (review coming soon!), but we thought we’d share what you can expect to find in the physical package to help hype up next week’s release. Read on to find high-quality photos of everything! Continue reading GALLERY: See the Sonic Mania Plus Special Edition, Up Close and Personal
On October 17th 2017, Sega opened it’s own online shop which had many collectors of Sega merch screaming with delight, even prior to the opening to the opening of SonicMerchandise.Com, fans had been begging Sega to have a store which would be full of exclusive or hard to find merchandise. Continue reading The Spin: Why Can’t EU Order From The Sega Store?
When I first heard about the Smach Z (initially revealed as the Steam Boy) back in 2014, I knew it was something I wanted. In addition to being a Sonic fan, I’m also a big portable gamer, so a console that could allow me to take some of my favorite Sonic games (and some other titles like NiGHTS and Witcher 3) on the go for the first time immediately caught my interest. Unfortunately, the reality has been a bit more complicated than what the initial pitch promised. Continue reading Impressions: Sonic Generations on the Smach Z portable PC console
On June 12, 2018 via their E3 2018 Direct, Nintendo finally unveiled Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to the world, coming to Nintendo Switch just in time for Christmas. The celebrated blockbuster franchise is back to reunite gaming’s greatest all-stars, this time with series creator and director Masahiro Sakurai going above and beyond to bring back every single playable character in Smash Bros. history, including one-offs like Pichu and Young Link and DLC characters like Bayonetta and Corrin. Continue reading The Spin: The Case for Shadow the Hedgehog in Smash Bros. Ultimate
Live! From Sonic Revolution 2018, it’s Sonic Talk with Jason and Alex! In this episode, the two hosts have a (semi) full audience for their show. They discuss Team Sonic Racing, IDW Sonic comic #5, the upcoming Sonic movie and much more as they desperately try to fill the 45 minute mark as Jason forgot to write down notes! Revel in the awkwardness!! Continue reading Sonic Talk 53: Sonic Talk Live!
If there’s one thing Sumo Digital is best at more than anything, it’s making a solid racing game. From Outrun 2 to Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, the development team has proven that they are the best at what they do. The only thing that could possibly hold them back is a good concept with a fatal flaw. And this is where Team Sonic Racing comes in. Continue reading Team Sonic Racing Impressions: Jason’s Take
Yesterday Afternoon during E3, I got a chance to sit down and chat with Sega’s social media manager and world’s biggest Big the Cat fan, Aaron Webber. We chatted about all things “Team Sonic Racing” including extra modes and customizations. This is a good one folks, with plenty of new info. So sit back, click and enjoy. Continue reading TSS @ E3 2018 Interview with Aaron Webber
The Sonic franchise is no stranger to the power of teamwork. Tails has been an inept, if occasionally useful, AI sidekick to Sonic since Sonic 2. Knuckles Chaotix was built around the idea of two characters using each other’s momentum to rubber-band around the stage. Sonic Heroes had players switching between different characters and using their strengths to get through stages. Continue reading Team Sonic Racing Impressions, Alex’s Take
Growing up in the 90’s, I can remember seeing adverts for a very unique toy, Stretch Armstrong, he was a super hero who in the adverts would stop crime by using his powers to stretch, bit like Mr Fantastic from The Fantastic Four, only he later got a Dog and then a dedicated villain. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic The Hedgehog Stretch Armstrong Toy