Sonic Smackdown was one of the many games featured at this year’s SAGE event, and probably one of the more notable. The game pays homage to the Capcom style of fighting games, drawing it’s inspiration from the Marvel series of beat ’em ups.
While at Comic Con last week, I managed to grab a SDCC exclusive copy of Tangle and Whisper issue number one, The very first IDW spin-off mini series based on comic exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Written by Ian Flynn with art by Evan Stanley.
While a good chunk of Sega’s booth was dedicated to Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, there was a corner showing off some of Sega’s other properties slated for release later this year. Among them was the Sega Genesis Mini, Sega’s answer to the NES and SNES Classic. I sat down in a bean bag (which means my fat rump had a hard time getting back up) and sampled SEGA’s miniaturized console.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing the demo at E3 is that the part of the booth you’re at looks like a living room, complete with a bean bag to sit in. Much like the virtual living room in some of the recent Genesis compilations, there are posters of Genesis games everywhere, along with with old VHS tapes with cheesy labels like “Cartoon collection! Do not erase!!” on them. They really went all-in on the “90’s bedroom” aesthetic.
The nostalgia doesn’t stop with the booth aesthetic, as the mini console itself gets a lot right. Its controller has an ergonomic feel and shape that perfectly replicates the original, and the console itself is a faithful, shrunk-down recreation of SEGA’s 16-bit system. Once you boot the mini console up, you’re treated to a screen filled with about a dozen Genesis titles, with the rest coming into view as you scroll down. I don’t know if I care for this, as it shrinks down the box art and makes each game feel less important. Hopefully, the interface can customized in the final product.
Despite the September release date, the console already feels ready for release, as all 42 games were playable on the show floor. I went with Mega Man: The Wily Wars and Road Rash 2 for this preview. Both played great and judging by Road Rash 2 alone, are identical to their original versions. The emulation is perfect.
Holding start for five seconds brings up a menu where you can make a save state and exit back to the main menu. There’s your usual options such as screen filters and what aspect ratio you want the game in, but one of the most interesting features is the language menu. You can set the game menu to many different languages and the games will play in their original language as well. Going back to aspect ratio, another neat feature is that many of the games feature a more natural 16:9 aspect ratio by zooming in on the game while keeping the UI in place. Sonic 2 was shown off as an example of that. It keeps the sprites from looking stretched, but at the cost of zooming in on the picture a bit.
Overall, with a great controller, cool menu features and pixel perfect emulation, the Sega Genesis Mini is something to get hyped for. It blows the old AtGames Genesis consoles out of the water in every way, and should definitely be worth picking up come September.
In addition to the regular kiosks, SEGA also had a Genesis Mini running on a giant, 5-foot-wide Genesis controller that folks could play Streets of Rage and Sonic 2 on. When I tried to play Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant level, I had to stretch my arms out and punch the A button with my first just to get around. While it was a neat novelty, it wasn’t exactly the most wieldy controller, since I couldn’t even spindash with it.
Still, even on this giant cumbersome monstrosity, I was able to get enough rings to enter the special special. As I began maneuvering Sonic and Tails through the half-pipe, a crowd formed around me. Despite the massive controller, I made it through and even got a small amount of applause! Here’s hoping SEGA’s booth features and equally cool gimmick next E3.
Three years after they last went head to head, Sonic, Mario and friends are finally back at the Olympics with Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. SEGA is making sure everyone is aware of this, as the two mascots are not only on the E3 badge insert this year, but take up a huge chunk of real estate in the LA Convention Center’s West Hall. To anyone entering the West Hall, the booth leaves a heck of an impression. It not only shows the game on giant screens, but has a climbing rig for attendees to try out. With Sony and Microsoft doing their own thing, this is the first time in over 20 years that the West Hall belongs mainly to Nintendo and Sega. Continue reading TSS @ E3 2019: Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Hands-On Impressions
If you aren’t already feeling ancient at the prospect of Sonic the Hedgehog turning 28 next month, here’s a fact that’ll age you; it’s been 7 years since SEGA Sound Director Jun Senoue led the creation of a Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack (Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, for those who can’t remember!).
Senoue’s absence has been by no means a sabbatical, having been involved in several other SEGA titles – as well as peripherally with most Sonic games – and regularly performing with a multitude of live acts across four continents. Those who have taken the reigns in the meantime have accomplished some phenomenal feats, particularly Sonic Mania composer Tee Lopes who pulled a rabbit out of a hat with a perfectly blended score of old and new material, while simultaneously tipping the hat to the synonymous tones of the 90s titles. But with the classic itch well-and-truly scratched, many have longed for the return of Senoue and his trademark rock sound, in the context of a modern Sonic game.
As such, the anticipation for MAXIMUM OVERDIRVE, the Team Sonic Racing Original Soundtrack, reached fever pitch. Expectations have flown high based on the calibre of the tracks that had been drip-fed to us via Sonic the Hedgehog’s social media channels over the last few months. Now that the full OST has been released, we can firmly say that it does not disappoint.
It says a lot about Sumo Digital’s developing competence when the team can create a sequel to a much-loved racing spinoff series, nearly seven years after the last entry, on (seemingly) a much tighter budget, and yet still manage to find ways to make the experience appear like a full-priced premium package. Continue reading TSS Review: Team Sonic Racing
We were invited this month to attend SEGA’s Team Sonic Racing Preview Event, hosted deep in the heart of London’s Shoreditch, and get our hands on the game’s latest build! What happened was an action-packed day filled with tournaments, time trials and a LOT of gameplay impressions. So, let’s get right to it!
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
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
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
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
More like Revelations than Genesis in hindsight. IDW are set to release their new comic in just a few days from now. But as most of you know, before IDW there were the Archie Sonic comics. Spanning 290 issues, it lasted an eventful 24 years before it met its end in December 2016. To celebrate the passing of the torch from one company to another, I will be reviewing the entirety of Genesis of a Hero (AStH#288 – AStH#291), the last arc of the book. Continue reading TSS Review: Genesis of a Hero (Archie)
The old phrase “The more things change, the more they stay the same” has never been more true when it comes to the return of Sonic in comics in IDW’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” #1. After being gone from comic shelves for over a year thanks to a fallout between Sega and Archie, Sonic’s found a new home with IDW. But the creative team has not left. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic The Hedgehog #1 (IDW)
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. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Soundtrack Vinyl Editions
In the second of our Sonic Boom previews, we take a look at the second season’s two-part finale, Eggman the Videogame Parts 1 and 2.
It can be hard to produce a companion app for a high-profile console game. If you get it wrong, it can largely be seen as a cynical micro-transaction-heavy cash grab, or at the very least, a poor afterthought. Which is why it’s good news that SEGA Networks’ Hardlight Studio was tasked with building a new mobile experience to coincide with the launch of Sonic Forces. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Forces Speed Battle (iOS)
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
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?
In another unprecedented ‘Sonic’ port over to Game Gear and Master System from the Mega Drive, Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine pits you against 13 stages of puzzle-mania! Basically, beans drop endlessly from the top of your chamber. The aim of the game is to link up four or more of the same colour to make them disappear, and in doing so foil your opponent in achieving the same goal. You see, when you release beans, ‘Refugee Beans’ come dropping into the chamber of your rival, blocking his chamber up. The player who fills up their chamber first is the loser. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (8-Bit)
Sonic makes his first appearance on the Game Boy Advance, and it’s about flippin’ time! Everybody’s been waiting… anticipating this release since Nintendo’s handheld launched. And now, I can finally tell you how it plays. People might think that a return to 2D platforming isn’t a great idea for Sonic – especially once you account for how good Sonic Adventure 2 is. Well, don’t even think about comparing the two, as they are meant to work together – on GBA and GameCube! Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Advance
The latest in the line of Chao Breeding come from the depths of the beautiful Sonic Advance. It comes in the form of ‘Tiny Chao Garden’, and is a much more sophisticated version of the Chao Adventure game found on the VMUs we all knew and loved (but wasn’t very good). Along with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the GameCube, Sonic Advance will take the place of the VMU, and rightly so. Prepare for the greatest Chao breeding in the palm of your hand… Continue reading A Guide to Sonic Advance’s Tiny Chao Garden
Sonic 2 Beta. The image that sparked the biggest conspiracy in the Sonic community was a picture of a level select screen that no-one had seen before, found in the Official Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Guidebook. The booklet featured whole black and white maps to all the levels to the Mega Drive classic and included every cheat possible… Of course, there was one little thing that no-one could quite figure out. Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog 2 BETA – Playing the Legend
Sega Saturn owners the world over were looking for a reason why they parted with their Mega Drives and Sonic games, and got a Saturn instead. Well, Sega listened to them, and gave them…. a compilation CD. But not just any CD. This gave the post-Mega Drive owners a chance to play their fave Sonic games again. That’s probably why Sonic Jam meant so much to Saturn owners during the big black box’s life. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Jam
In SA2 you can choose to play as either the Dark Side to take over the world, or the Heroes trying to save it, in different perspectives of the same story. You can play as Eggman (YES!) to help the fat one and newcomers Rouge the Bat and Shadow the Hedgehog (who you can also play as) to destroy the world (yet again, Eggman never gives up). Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic Wars, released by Diablo on Sonic’s Birthday (that explains the familiar icons appearing at the title screen), is your average Sonic platforming adventure. But, although this seems good for a game that’s rushed (hey, it wasn’t me that said it, Diablo admitted it ^_^), there are a few flaws that stop this game from getting as good as it should have been. Continue reading Fan Game Review: Sonic Wars
Sonic Crackers was announced for the Sega 32X soon after Sonic 1 and 2 was released on the Mega Drive. It’s initial WIP title was actually ‘Sonic Stadium’, believe it or not! Crackers featured much of the same action that you can now find in Knuckles Chaotix, which was released in 1995. It was assumed that Sonic Crackers was lost to the world, but a ROM of the prototype has surfaced and we can now tell you the odds and ends of this curious little game. Continue reading Pulling ‘Sonic Crackers’
The demo for Diablo’s upcoming fan game is now out in the wild, and I must say, it plays very well. Only Sonic is playable right now, but in the finished game you’ll be able to play as one of three other heroes too – Diablo, Blaze and Hez Hedgehog (with a secret fifth character hinted at by Diablo). All four characters have different jump and speed attributes, meaning that completing some levels may prove more difficult for some characters. Continue reading Fan Game Preview: Sonic S-V2
This is one of the first Sonic titles officially developed for a non-Sega platform – namely the Neo Geo Pocket Color. This release was to accompany Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, but sadly the NGPC could never compare to the likes of Nintendo’s Game Boy Color no matter how much it tried, and therefore SPA didn’t get nearly enough attention. Shame that, because it is quite a good game to play. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Pocket Adventure
Sonic Robo Blast 2 is by far the most ambitious, graphically impressive Sonic the Hedgehog fan game to date, and shows a massive step up from Sonic Team Junior’s last title, Sonic Robo Blast. The story here centres on a ‘Black Rock’ floating through space, which Eggman decides to use as the perfect base with which to refocus his efforts to attack the planet. Continue reading Fan Game Preview: Sonic Robo Blast 2
Oh my God! Just when you think Sonic Team can’t do any better, they spill more details on the biggest game of the year – Sonic Adventure 2! Get ready to wipe your chins, people, ‘cos you’re gonna be drooling for a long time! Continue reading SA2 PREVIEW: Meet the Characters!
Sonic Shuffle, originally titled Sonic Square, was created by members of the same team that helped Nintendo develop Mario Party (hence the similarity in the two games). The game sees Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles warped to a mystical land called Maginaryworld, where people’s dreams come true… if you excuse the horrible cliche. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Shuffle
Mwahahahahahaaaaaa!!! All you Sonic fanatics prepare yourselves, because Dreadknux has played the SA2 DEMO! Right when Phantasy Star Online was released a week before official release (19th February instead of the 27th or something…) your favourite echidna has found the holy disc at the back of the box. This is the FIRST OFFICIAL UK Review (not including in the magazines, they got theirs early) of the sacred demo, and guess what? You’re all invited to see how it truly plays like! Continue reading TSS Preview: Sonic Adventure 2 (Demo Version)
Sonanoid is based on the simple concept of Arkanoid. Wow. Use a ‘bat’ and ‘ball’ to hit blocks etc in the air. How… Fun… Zzzzzzzzz… I’m being a jerk obviously – actually Sonanoid is quite addictive, and H Hog has produced a rather fun game with a lovely Sonic twist. Gone are the usual blocks from other brick-busting games, and in come original Sonic items. Continue reading Fan Game Review: Sonanoid