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  • SonicROMs.co.uk Closes Down

    It's the end of an era for one of the earliest Sonic the Hedgehog fan sites on the internet. SonicROMs.co.uk has closed its doors, with owner ElectroSonic Dan bowing out of the scene.

    ElectroSonic Dan has been a part of the online community since 1998, so after a four-year run we're sad to see him shut up shop. We wish him all the very best. Here's his good-bye message, which he posted on his website:


    "I'm sorry to say that SonicROMs.co.uk has been shut down indefinitely for various reasons. Firstly, I no longer have enough time to update the site, as I'm sure regular visitors have noticed in the past few months, due to the pressure of upcoming exams in school. I also do not wish to cause any problems for my server, because I know I must be using up a ton of bandwidth every week. I'm also fed up with people demanding warez off the site - if you want Sonic R or Sonic CD, go down to your local store and pick it up for 拢5!

    I've had a great run in the Sonic Community since 1998. For those of you who don't know, I first entered it with 'Daniel's Sonic the Hedgehog Fan Created Games'. After the site was shut down by my ISP, I returned to create 'Electro Sonic Team' - bigger, better and bolder than my previous attempt at a website."

    ElectroSonic Dan was also a dab hand at making fan hoaxes; we've included some of his best on The Sonic Stadium, which you can find here.

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    • This reminds me of last time the extended cast really took off in the brand, which was in the early 2000s.聽 It might've been completely by accident, but I'd argue they were lucky that the series had been expanding its roster leading up to the time they went third-party.聽 SEGA in the 1990s had marketed itself to a large degree as the "cool kids club", something not everyone would be hardcore enough for but you best hope you were or else you'd be that dork who got lambasted on the playground as much as SEGA lambasted Nintendo in their ads, and Sonic himself inevitably became the face of that, on at least some level.聽 That elitist attitude obviously wasn't going to fly after SEGA gave up on console manufacturing, but that the Sonic series had evolved into one with "something for everyone" helped their transition a lot.聽 The Sonic series having all sorts of characters in it helped create the impression that all sorts of players were welcome, too, so it's not surprising that Sonic's first simultaneous multi-console release went even further with the multiple characters.聽 So yeah, multiple characters definitely helped expand the brand, even if at a cost. Well, it didn't start that way but SEGA certainly exploited it as such. 聽Mostly correct, except I'm not sure it was smaller, depending on how you define eras.聽 The "Dreamcast" era was much less successful than the Genesis era in that critics were less enthusiastic towards it, and eventually downright hostile, but going multi-console quite possibly brought in a lot more players to the Sonic series than it ever could have hoped for when it was confined to one company's consoles. I think back when people were pushing the "Sonic's shitty friends" bit, they weren't as cognizant of what actually made Sonic Team tick.聽 Back then, a lot of people just assumed that Sonic Team was just spitballing a bunch of ideas and only a third of them happened to be well-suited to the Sonic series.聽 That in itself would be pretty shameful, but it also made people think that at least it would be pretty easy to fix, just by taking out the ideas that didn't work and keeping the ones that did.聽 What people weren't aware of back then, but were largely forced to acknowledge the moment they saw the Werehog, is that those slower-paced segments of this series marketed around speed were not just stupid ideas they accidentally had; they were deliberately conceived because Sonic Team just plain refuses to accept the short game length that would inevitably result from playing an entire game going fast.聽 Not only did that make it clear that this problematic mindset wasn't really innately linked to playable characters other than Sonic, but it made people realize it's actually been in the Sonic series from the very start.聽 The more that Modern Sonic alienated people, the more that Classic Sonic also became an acceptable target for game critics, and while Sonic fans were not about to forgive IGN saying Sonic was never good, even many fans have gotten a bit less rose-tinted.聽 For example, I remember a time when Labyrinth Zone was regarded somewhat like Judge Doom; yes, it traumatized people as children but they still remembered it fondly and saw it as a vital part of the work containing it.聽 That has changed; today the most common opinion of Labyrinth Zone seems to be that it was the "Big the Cat" of its time, something completely antithetical the intended appeal of the game containing it, which should never have been in the game and was only there to pad it out.聽 You'll even hear more extreme positions that Green Hill Zone is the only good level in the first game, conveniently the first level as a way to mislead consumers. So just as this paradoxical attitude towards speed has always been present, it has never really left.聽 Some games display it more and some games display it less, some levels display it more and some levels display it less, but it never really goes away, and with Sonic Frontiers it's back in full force.聽 Not only does it gatekeep Sonic's speed in a whole host of ways (though the most egregious of those was alleviated in Update 2), but it also throws in a bunch of combat, puzzles, and shooter minigames.聽 It even has a fishing minigame featuring Big the Cat.聽 In short, it was the Sonic Adventure approach to gameplay in absolutely every regard except having multiple playable characters, which is why I predicted some months in advance that this would be the game that would bring other playable characters back, or at least the structure of the future game that would.聽 Lo and behold, it's the former, and the way things are going, looks to be the latter, too.
    • Co-op looks just about as messy as I expected it to be, if not even more.聽 Though my overall opinion of this game is pretty positive, I can't shake the feeling that this is the umpteenth instance of the Sonic series trying to do something that is currently "cool", regardless of how well it actually suits Sonic gameplay. I agree about the music; it's erratic.聽 The theme song and Bridge Island sound like they're trying for the same vibe as "Friends" in Sonic Mania, by Hyper Potions, Speed Jungle sounds like it's moving in the direction of Angel Island Zone from S3K, and Pinball Carnival sounds like a Tee Lopes song.聽 To be fair, Sonic Frontiers also had a rather varied soundtrack, but arguably all genres of music there reflected the game's general theme of unease and mystery.聽 This game just sounds like multiple composers being multiple composers.
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