Retrospective: The Colours Still Feel So Right

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2010 was an interesting time to be a Sonic fan. At the start of the year, the franchise was at one of its lowest points, with jokes about the Sonic Cycle being thrown around every which way following the downward spiral of quality in the games – Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic ’06, Sonic and the Black Knight… even 2008’s Sonic Unleashed, the closest thing to a step in the right direction we’d seen, was critically panned and bogged down by poor design choices. Luckily, there seemed to be a shining ray of light on the horizon, one that the entire fanbase was clinging their hopes onto, something that promised to set the series back on track at last…

That game was Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. And we all know how that turned out.

Yes, rather unjustly in retrospect, it was the disappointing sequel to the classic Sonic trilogy that garnered the most attention in 2010. Instead, there was another, far better, far more memorable Sonic game released that year that deserved to receive the lion’s share of fan interest. Announced slap bang in the middle of the Sonic 4 hype, Sonic Colours – or Sonic Colors, for our American readers – was eternally in the shadow of its downloadable counterpart, with only a month separating the two games’ release dates in October and November respectively. It’s understandable, of course – the game’s rather obscure title and lack of concrete gameplay details upon its initial reveal made Colours a bit of a harder sell compared to the prospect of a follow-up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Even I’ll admit, I thought Sonic Colours would be a puzzle or spin-off title when I first saw its announcement… but fast forward a few months, and it ended up being one of my favourite Sonic games of all time.

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Whereas Sonic 4’s hype train went out of control before well and truly coming off the rails, the more quiet and subtle excitement surrounding Sonic Colours actually worked in its favour. When the astonishingly good reviews came rolling in – that all important first score of 86 from NGamer and an 8.5 from IGN, to name but a couple (let’s just forget that 4.5 from Destructoid though, eh?) – it caught us all by surprise and made us appreciate the game even more. It not only surpassed Sonic 4, it trampled all over it and gave us the first genuinely good Sonic experience in years. Say what you want about the game, but you cannot deny that Sonic Colours set alight the hearts of several fans and critics again after oh so long.

So what was it about the title that sparked off such acclaim? Well… a bit of everything, really. Presentation-wise, Colours definitely delivers on its title – this is a bright, quirky, visually appealing adventure that really pushes the graphical boundaries of the Wii to their limits. While we’ve since seen the likes of Planet Wisp and Starlight Carnival recreated in high definition in Sonic Generations and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, their original incarnations still hold up beautifully on Nintendo’s last-gen system. What really stands out about Colours though is its sheer imagination, fusing recurring Sonic tropes into entirely fresh new locations such as the tropical casino aesthetic of Tropical Resort and the watery Chun-Nan that is Aquarium Park. Despite being a modern 3D title, Colours captures the vibe and essence – and, dare I say it, magic – of the classic era better than ever before (arguably better even that Sonic 4 did), to the extent that famous badniks like Motobugs even make their long-awaited return with a few new twists of their own.

Sonic Colours Wii screen 1 1st Aug

Musically, the soundtrack is also up there with the finest in the series – and that’s an impressive feat considering how consistently brilliant Sonic music tends to be (Chronicles notwithstanding). Almost every tune is a joy to listen to, ranging from the adrenaline-pumping sounds of Terminal Velocity to the gentle and serene Planet Wisp tracks. It’s also the last time we had a vocal song as the main theme of a Sonic game – can you believe it’s been four years already? – and, while Cash Cash’s Reach For The Stars and Speak With Your Heart aren’t to everybody’s taste, they’re serviceable enough and undeniably catchy for those who want to sing along as the credits roll.

Most importantly, Colours nailed the gameplay. Taking the day stages from Sonic Unleashed as a basis, cutting out all of the nonsense like medal hunting and Werehogs, every stage was a high octane blast of speedy Sonic fun. The level design is top notch with some hugely enjoyable courses to overcome right from the off – there’s no messing around with opening cutscenes or tutorials, you press Start at the title screen and you’re straight into Tropical Resort Act 1. It’s a platformer at its most straightforward – clear one level, move onto the next, rinse and repeat until you face off against the world’s boss, then move onto the next area – and it’s all the better for it, with nothing to get in the way of the fun and preventing it from becoming sidetracked by anything unnecessary.

Sonic Colours Pink Wisp screen 1

It’s the Wisps that really steal the spotlight here though. Before 2010, if you heard the words “Sonic” and “gimmick” in the same sentence, you’d shudder in horror. Fishing, treasure hunting, guns, motion controls, stretchy armed brawling, talking swords… you name it, Sonic had probably tried it, often to disastrous effect. But the Wisps did something that none of these other gimmicks were capable of – adding to the basic Sonic gameplay rather than detracting from it or outright replacing it. Each of the different coloured Wisps grants Sonic a new kind of Colour Power to utilise as he traverses his way through a level, be it a quick-firing laser, the ability to hover, or a drill to dig through the earth (or cake, if you happen to be in Sweet Mountain). Each is a bite-sized burst of fun, never outstaying its welcome and often leading to some previously unexplored section of a stage. In a game where the gimmicks are almost entirely optional, you’ll be actively wanting to use them more than ever, going back to previous locales to seek out those hidden Red Rings you missed first time around because you hadn’t unlocked the right Wisp yet. They’re a joyous addition, and it’s a shame that they were used much less gratifyingly in their comeback appearances in Generations and Lost World.

This isn’t even scratching the surface of what Colours brought to the table – a brand new voice cast featuring Roger Craig Smith in his Sonic debut (if you conveniently ignore Sonic Free Riders, as most people do), a more simple and streamlined narrative focusing on just Sonic and Tails rather than the cavalcade of sub-par sidekicks seen previously, the infamous Eggman P.A. announcements, and the first time we’ve seen Super Sonic playable in regular levels in a 3D game. It was a total shift for the Sonic series, both tonally and reception-wise, and it was just the ticket to dig the hedgehog out of the hole he’d dug himself into over the preceding years.

All praise aside, it’s not the perfect Sonic game – there’s some awkward difficulty spikes, it’s only a few hours long, and the story is rather minimal with some love-it-or-hate-it scripting – but it’s by far the most original entry we’ve seen in the franchise in recent memory, Generations included. There’s a certain magic and a certain joy that I get from playing and looking back on Sonic Colours, and that’s something that’s distinct from any other entry in the franchise.

Sonic Colours Wii screenshots 21

In this uncertain age where Sonic is once again descending into mediocrity, it’s enlightening to remember that once upon a time, when even the most promising of projects led only to the bitterness of disappointment, a game like Sonic Colours came along out of nowhere and revitalised the series in a way no one expected. Who’s to say that lightning can’t strike twice…? And, if nothing else, it proves that Sonic can do Nintendo exclusivity right when it puts its mind to it. Sorry Lost World and Boom, but you’ve got nothing on this gem.

With Sonic Colours, SEGA reached for the stars – and boy, did they come close. Four years on and the colours still seem as right and as bright as they ever did. Long may they continue to shine.

What are your feelings and memories about Sonic Colours? We’d love to know your thoughts too, so sound off in the comments! Don’t fall apart, speak with your heart!

News Boom: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal 3DS demo now on the eShop in NA and EU. New info found in the digital manual. Rise of Lyric demo on Dec 4th, and a FREE 3DS theme and StreetPass puzzle!

15528335357_50b2a842ff_oWe were a bit slow to mention this yesterday, our bad! :P

So yeah, right after the Nintendo Direct, the demo of Shattered Crystal finally came out on the eShop in NA and EU.

Fellow staff member Brad transcribed the contents of the demo’s digital manual:

  • Amy is kidnapped by Lyric because “she’s a history buff who has studied the legends and lore of this mysterious island… and a menacing reptile has taken notice.”
  • Lyric The Last Ancient is the last of his kind who lived on the island a millennium ago. His race was devoted to perfecting technology using organic energy to power their creations and invention. Lyric rose to power and tried to use this technology to conquer all other races, but this went against his peers’ beliefs so they captured and imprisoned him. Now he’s back and seeking to reclaim the forgotten technology to unleash a terrible robotic army on the world.
  • There are 6 islands (zones) in SC: Seaside Coast, Scrapyard, Shadow Canyons, Ancient Ruins, Volcanic Crater and Cloud Sanctuary.
  • Adventure Stages are the main gameplay levels, where you switch between the four team members.
  • Badges are needed to unlock levels and progress through the game. They are attained by completing level challenges on the Level Stats screen.
  • You can collect broken fragments of the Lost Crystal in adventure stages to prevent Lyric from obtaining them. You take them to Sticks.
  • Blueprints are found similar, and are to be collected and given to Tails.
  • Connecting to Wii U unlocks specific character upgrades.
  • Streetpass can earn you additional Tokens to be used in Q-N-C’s Toy Shop.

In other news, Sega also confirmed that a demo of Rise of Lyric on Wii U IS on the way… except it’s coming AFTER the game’s release date. The demo will be out on Dec 4th.

But wait, THERE’S MORE! On November 11th, Sega will release a StreetPass Puzzle Swap puzzle of Shattered Crystal AAAANNNNDDDD a free Sonic Boom theme for your 3DS menu!

Have a look at the theme:

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And the puzzle:

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Finally, Sega provided more info on air times and when other regions will get to see the show:

For the first time ever, the rich realms of the franchise’s Wii U and Nintendo 3DS titles will be blended with Sonic’s first CG-animated TV series, debuting on Cartoon Network! The series will premiere on Saturday, November 8 at 7:00 AM  in the U.S., with a global rollout in France on Canal J on November 19 and on Gulli in spring 2015. The Middle East will launch in spring 2015 with other territories to follow in fall 2015. Be sure to tune in!

All are part of what Sega are calling Sonic Boom November.

Excited? Let us know!

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Gets A New Japanese Trailer Too

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Not to be left out, there’s also a new Japanese trailer for Sonic Boom:Shattered Crystal (AKA Sonic Toon: Island Adventure) for the 3DS out today. The new trailer still shows a lot of footage from the first world, but also shows some of the new world maps Sonic and friends can travel through as well as Tails hut for what appears to be blueprints for new robots or mechanical items while Quincy has a shop for toy capsules with items inside. While I’m still a bit uneasy about the Wii U version, I’ve been very excited for the 3DS game since E3. We’ll see how the full games pan out come November 11th here in the U.S.

New Japanese Sonic Boom: ROL Trailer Makes the Game Look Exciting and Fun

YouTube Preview Image Recently, a new game trailer for Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (AKA Sonic Toon: Ancient Treasure) has been released from Sega of Japan. The trailer shows off brand new areas, brand new gameplay and a multiplayer party mode featured in the game. The trailer also gives us a good idea of what the final game will look like and it’s looking much better than what early gameplay and screenshots have shown. I gotta admit, this trailer has me more excited for the game than any English trailer that has been shown yet. A ton of action oriented gameplay is shown and the Japanese announcer sounds like he couldn’t be more excited about what’s on screen. Finally, this game is looking like it might just deliver the goods. We’ll know for sure once the game hits U.S. Store Shelves in less than two weeks on November 11th. Big thanks to Ace0902 on the SSMB for the find.

New Sonic Boom Screenshots & Vehicle/Weapon Info

 

Knuckles - "I wanna see Nemo." Sonic - "We're not at Disneyland and this is not that submar-"  Knuckles "IWANNA SEE NEMO!"

Knuckles – “I wanna see Nemo.”
Sonic – “We’re not at Disneyland and this is not a submar-”
Knuckles “I WANNA SEE NEMO!”

Recently the Japanese website for Sonic Boom (AKA Sonic Toon) released some new screenshots of the upcoming game as well as some info on new vehicles and weapons. Also shown were some brand new screenshots of some levels including ones that haven’t been seen before. Check below for screenshots, descriptions and of course, my hilarious captions. They are hilarious aren’t they? I NEED VALIDATION! The first pic you see at the top is the “Battle Boat”. A four-seater where one person steers and the others man guns. I’d love to see how this plays out in co-op.

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Sonic- Anyone getting Phantom Menace vibes? Knuckles – “Meeza tink so!” Sonic – Shut up Knuckles.

The Submarine “Angler” is a two-person submarine craft “that specializes in high speed navigation” and “can respond to fierce fighting in water”.

PREPARE FOR THE TICKLING OF A LIFETIME!

PREPARE FOR THE TICKLING OF A LIFETIME!

If I’m reading this translation right, this feather sword can shoot feather blades from a long distance at enemies. It’s also a bit weak in power, but good for a long range attack.

I hate to toot my own horn but.....Oh who am I kidding. I LOVE to toot my own horn!

I hate to toot my own horn but…..Oh who am I kidding. I LOVE to toot my own horn!

Again, going by the translation, the Battle Trumpet can put out a good blast at a short range.

"C'mon baby! Let's do th-" What? too obvious?

“C’mon baby! Let’s do th-” What? too obvious?

The Cyclone Generator produces a good size twister and is a powerful support weapon.

Now THAT'S what I call "Burnbot"!

Now THAT’S what I call “Burnbot”!

The Explosion Switch creates a big boom and is the most powerful of the support weapons.

I knew that trip to ToonTown would come in handy!

I knew that trip to ToonTown would come in handy!

The “Hand Gun” is a comical, but powerful short range weapon.

Yup. It's a water balloon alright.

Yup. It’s a water balloon alright.

The Water Balloon. Old tech robots and water don’t mix well.

Now check out some more screenshots.

"Welcome to the jungle! We got fun and games!"

“Welcome to the jungle! We got fun and games!”

Come at me windmill! My name is Amy Rose, the woman of La-Mancha!

Come at me windmill! My name is Amy Rose, the woman of La-Mancha!

Good thing that trail of rings shows me where to jump or else I might have hit those thick lasers that are obviously in front of me!

Good thing that trail of rings shows me where to jump or else I might have hit those thick lasers that are obviously in front of me!

Oh yay! More of that level we've seen a million times!

Oh yay! More of that level we’ve seen a million times!

Check the Japanese Sonic Toon website for more details and updates.

New Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric Cutscene “Soak it all in”

PLEASE READ THE HEADER BEFORE WATCHING (Otherwise, it looks like Sonic wants to hit on Amy and is too shy to go for it.)

The GameStop Expo had a new build of the Toxic Waste level from “Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric”. This time, you can go through the whole thing and head outside. I thought I had made a second recording of this, but something happened and the first half of this cutscene got lost. The beginning of this scenario goes as follows (this is not word for word, but close)…

Sonic and Amy escape with the crystal in hand. Amy looks around at the new area they’ve discovered. “It’s beautiful!” She says. Sonic is growing impatient. “Let’s keep moving!” Amy asks him to wait. “We’re finally done being chased by giant robots. Let’s just rest for a second and soak it all in!” Sonic decides to wait, but it’s obviously killing him inside. The video follows from there.

Look closely and you can see the beginning of the next level.

There was a few new bits of dialogue during the level as well. At one point while collecting rings, Sonic retorts “I got more rings to rule them all!”

Exclusive Archie Comic Inside of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal

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Not since the Sonic and the Secret Rings Target exclusive has Archie comics content been included in a Sonic video game but this November, you won’t need to go to any one store to enjoy an exclusive Archie Sonic Boom Story written by Ian Flynn and art by Evan Stanley. IGN has a full article and coverage of several panels from the included comic. As you can see, they are all in a letterbox format to fit the 3DS screen. What I wonder is, will the Comic Art be in 3D as well? Also, will it be available from the start or as an unlockable?

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal will be on the 3DS on November 11 in the USA and Novermber 21st in the UK. You can check out the IGN article here.

Sonic Boomcast Episode 2 “Accentuate The Positive”

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The second episode of Sonic Stadium’s monthly Sonic Boom podcast is here! In this episode, we discuss several things including the more recent demo from San Diego comic con that me and some of the others have tried, the new pre-order offer from Gamestop, Shadow and the extra members announced and more. Our main topic will focus on some of the positive aspects of Rise of Lyric that we’ve seen so far. We pretty much wrap things up in the first half, but if you wanna hear some Sonic fans ramble on about recent comic stories or the plot holes in Unleashed, then by all means, keep listening.

Commentators, WE WANT YOU! If you have any questions on Sonic Boom you’d like to hear our opinions on, please leave your questions in the comments section of this episode’s post and we may read them on the air in next month’s show.

New Sonic Boom Speed Level Video and More New Demo Details from SDCC

While at the San Diego Comic Con, I managed to capture some footage of the new speed level from Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. The demo starts off with Sonic and crew in a cave you can explore a little bit (not shown in the video) from here, you can take off and go through the new speed course which does feature a few obstacles, but only at the beginning and ending. Leaving the cave into the lush jungle is a beautiful scene. What I find odd is that they decided to go with this new, shorter speed level rather than the old one. Especially since this new one has had some glitch issues in every other playthrough. My feet fell through the floor in one, Ben over at Segabits had a similar problem and the guy demoing the game for me fell through into nothingness at one point too. Why rush out a new, not tested enough demo when the old one worked fine and was longer? Oh Well. BTW, if you see some frame skips, that’s from my iPad recording and not the game itself. A small update on the Sonic and Amy Chemical Factory level. I got confirmation from Kellie Parker that my eyes were not deceiving me and that the games graphics have improved a touch over the E3 build. Also, during the cutscene with Quincy, Amy and Quincy’s mouth now move during their conversation. It might have just been me, but while playing the level again, I found more areas with secret items and it made me want to explore the level more. Combat’s still weak though. One other new thing is that while the opening cutscene with Tails and Knuckles is gone, you get more gameplay near the end with another Guardian chase. This time you have to dodge and jump over pipes while running away from the giant robot. The game is starting to grow on me, but don’t get too excited. Right now, it’s gone from a C- to a C+ in my book. That puts it at average licensed video game fare like the mediocre Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures.

Rise of Lyric Comic Con Demo Adds New Level, Drops One

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While at the San Diego Comic Con today, I decided to head to the Nintendo Lounge to see if the Sonic Boom demo had been updated at all from the E3 build. I found out that there was some differences made since the E3 build. I can honestly say that I did see some improvements made, a brand new level and one omission most likely due to the feedback from E3. Here is a list of the few differences I noticed.

1.) First off, the original speed level has been replaced with a brand new one that starts out in a cave. You can smash some boulders and there’s some small secrets around the cave. Before I hit the boost pad, I was switching around characters and ended up with a glitch where Knuckles and the others were halfway through the floor. I ran up to the front and hit the speed boost and it fixed the glitch. The speed section itself is a bit more difficult. There are more obstacles in the way and at least one or two alternate routes. The level did seem shorter though. I will say the best part was riding the enerbeam out of the cave and into the lush jungle. It was really a breathtaking scene.

2.) There were only three choices for levels compared to the four from E3. This is because they took out the Knuckles mine cart level from the E3 demo. I think it was a wise choice not to show the level that got the most negative reaction from E3 when showing off the game to the public. It’s a very slow and plodding level and they only need to really show one adventure level so it might as well be the more action packed one.

3.) It might just be the TV, but the visuals seem to be a bit improved. The colors really popped out more and the lighting seemed better. The E3 demo’s colors seemed bland but as I said, that could have been the screen too.

4.) Again, it might be me, but lassoing the robots seemed to be a faster experience from before. At least in the Sonic/Amy level. The fight with Eggman seemed exactly the same as before.

And there you have it. New speed level, no Knuckles mine cart level and some slight graphical improvements…..I think. If I hadn’t played the original E3 demo, this would have left me with a slightly more positive view of the game. As of now, my view of the game is just a bit more positive.

Sonic Boomcast Episode 1

Welcome to the first episode of Sonic Boomcast! A monthy podcast dedicated to the Sonic Boom franchise where we’ll be talking all things Sonic Boom related along with a few other Sonic things should the need arise. Hosted by me, Jason Berry of that other Sonic podcast (Sonic Talk). I’ll have a slightly different roundtable of guest hosts each month with some staying for the long run. This months hosts include Shayne Edwards, Lidice Garcia, Tanner Bates (Oglvie in the SSMB) and Christian Gausin. You may know them as the folks who helped bring the first big Sonic convention “Sonic Revolution” to life in Southern California. This months episode focuses on the history of the franchise from before the major announcement back in February all the way to the recent comic book announcement. So listen in, and I hope you enjoy!

Sonic Revolution in Pictures!

10446480_10152972570759816_533319714706732893_n Pictures courtesy of Christian Gausin and 50 Rings Photography. This past Sunday was the first ever gathering of Sonic Revolution at the Holiday Inn at Buena Park. It’s the largest organized Sonic convention in the U.S. similar to “Summer of Sonic” in the UK, but still fairly small so far. We also are encouraging other Sonic fans across the U.S.  to make their own Sonic conventions or at least a “meet and greet”. Sonic Revolution was founded by Shayne and Charles Edwards, Christian Gausin and Lidice Garcia. It started with them organizing “Sonic Boom U.S. West Chapter” (it was in response to Sonic Boom moving to St Louis) in September of 2013. During our little meet and greet, she asked if we’d like to be involved in building up the community for a full on Sonic convention and we were all in!

The gang who made it happen.
The gang who made it happen.

So how was it? It was great! We had some wonderful guests and a nice amount of attendees. Guests included gaming composer legend Tommy Tallarico, Archie Comics Evan Stanley, artists Elson Wong and Devin Taylor, my brother John and his girlfriend Debbie selling her hand-made jewelry, Darian Gonzalez with his very Sonic-like fan game “Bingo the Multiva” Chris Wilcots of fan film “Sonic Prologue” and rock band Serenity Seven. Not to mention the extra surprise of Sega’s Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost who stopped by to check out the event.  We even had a real life hedgehog show up!

10301204_10152972534594816_1535587133199628585_n
“Where’s Amy at?”

The schedule of events included a cosplay contest, a panel with Tommy Tallarico talking about his life and video game music (he confirmed that Michael Jackson was the composer on Sonic 3), two concerts by Serenity Seven, Chris Wilcots showed off two exclusive scenes from his upcoming fan film “Sonic Prologue”, Aaron Webber and Stephen Frost had a Q&A panel (or course someone shouted “When do we get Shenmue 3?”),  a very tough trivia contest (hosted and prizes supplied by yours truly), a one minute art contest in which Evan and Elson had to draw Sticks auditioning for Sonic Boom, a gaming competition (with several consoles in the back showing off many Sonic games) and finally, a raffle for some cool prizes and one more concert by Serenity Seven. It was an absolute blast and I can’t wait until next year!  Let’s get to the pics! 10300798_10152972523359816_4530564000308773493_n

Our Gaming Tournament booth.

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Tanner “Ogilvie” Bates showing off his display of Sonic merchandise for sale.

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Our program guide.

10262093_10152972570334816_3423704538990129837_nBlaze and Rouge enjoying themselves.

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Bishop’s son enjoying the show.

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Now THAT’S a big Sonic.

1555347_10152972568569816_3027811355364177089_nTails – Don’t worry Shadow, I’m sure there’s someone who wants a giant, ugly Shadow plush.

10462593_10152972525394816_8131807437238788742_nMore of Tanner’s merch.

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Bishop Gahram’s Silver poster.

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Rouge with what appears to be a piece of the Master emerald.

10382455_10152972526854816_8143465718764279601_nLetting people in to enjoy the show.

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Blaze the Cat.

10415598_10152972540409816_5825149679628149225_nShard’s here and ready to party!

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Mariaaaa!!

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Aaron and Steven Arrive on the scene.

10360689_10152972530319816_3104139430612878713_n“Sonic the what now? Never heard of it.”

10353101_10152972542384816_7269390741591862311_nTommy Tallarico hangs out with Serenity Seven.

10441010_10152972550829816_6582564420626661241_nTommy talks to the crowd about his music career.

10339562_10152972558029816_6389958884070435588_nAaron and Stephen enjoying the show.

10329073_10152972556819816_7002660232995840957_nIt was so cool getting to meet a musical legend like Mr. Tallarico.

10492511_10152972543229816_4488397925994839600_nThis father and son were in line at least 3 hours before the show opened

1514603_10152972550169816_8682820146089877619_n“Gasp!” It’s the Chaos Emeralds!

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“Time to go super!”

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Some classic Sonic merchandise.

10472853_10152972531189816_580155949651627513_n“Hmmmm yes. This does play quite like Sonic. You’ll be hearing from our lawyers soon.”

1907383_10152972567404816_1763084521903635964_nHere, Aaron is showing off a fan’s concept art for a game idea Stephen had were Tails (who’s deathly allergic to bee’s in his official bio) is being chased by Charmy and the object of the game is to keep the pair apart.

10252160_10152972562124816_2096966346903899776_nThis is Aaron idea for a game. Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3.

10478183_10152972547404816_8864299415244254186_nGuess who won first place in the cosplay contest?

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Aaron and Stephen answering questions on stage.

10430383_10152972551204816_5882430547580918695_nThe fans soaking in the Q&A panel.

10450173_10152972532704816_1141437979947196446_nFan’s at Evan, Elson and Devin’s booth.

10492511_10152972522234816_8164816271954384123_nFounders Shayne and Lidice enjoying the fruits of their labor.

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Evan won the  one minute art contest with her drawing of Sticks jugging. Elson was apparently drawing her on a surfboard,but didn’t quite get to finish.

10440856_10152972567694816_8145892820577018568_nWell, that’s a wrap for now.  There’s plenty more pics on our Sonic Revolution Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/sonicrevolution . There, you can check ou-wait! What’s th-..

RougecloserOh dear lord!!

RougerealcloseRUN AARON AND STEPHEN! RUUNNN!!

Sonic Boom’s E3 Makeover

Our own Hogfather brought this up on our message boards. Look at this snapshot from Sonic Boom’s pre-E3 B-Roll footage.

Sonic Boom pre-E3

 

Looks like an old PS2 game right? Super bland textures. No lighting. Now look at the same area from footage taken during E3.

Sonic Boom E3Holy cow! What a difference!  It looks 100 times better.

This brings up an important question. Why in the world was that B-Roll footage ever allowed to be shown to the press and public in the first place? This does nothing but sour peoples feelings towards the game.  It even affected my thoughts on the game on Sonic Talk pre-E3 (plug, plug).

If anything positive can be said, it shows how much a game’s look can be improved in just a short time (or it could be the effects were turned off to help stabilize frame rate). In the meantime, check out both videos below to see some of the other differences.

Original B-Roll from the Sonic Show

[youtube width=”600″ height=”345″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdaGYQIh0DE[/youtube]

Now, this new footage from Nintendo World Report

[youtube width=”600″ height=”345″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srz_xVXat3I#t=14[/youtube]

 

TSS@E3 – Interview With Matt Kraemer (Sonic Boom 3DS)

[youtube width=”600″ height=”340″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUZ1KtEE_Q8[/youtube]

Sometimes when working for two sites at an event, it’s easy to get your wires crossed. In this case, I refer to myself as Shigs from Segabits after Alex informed me that this interview was meant for Sonic Stadium. Oops!

Anyway, this is my interview with Lead level designer from Sanzaru Games, Matt Kraemer. Matt was incredibly friendly and I gotta admit, Sonic Boom:Shattered Crystal (3DS) was by far my favorite of the two Sonic Boom games. Here, we discuss collectibles, second goals, Streetpass features and more! So why are you still reading this? Press play!

TSS@E3 – Interview With Stephen Frost

[youtube width=”600″ height=”355″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU3neKGNktA[/youtube]

While on the E3 show floor, I got a chance to interview the producer on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Stephen Frost. We talked about the game, some fans concerns and Sticks. I was originally going to do a transcript of the interview, but it’s 16 minutes long and that’s a lot to transcribe and it’s been a long week and I’m lazy. Besides, this way you get to hear it straight from the man himself and reading is overrated anyway. Enjoy!

TSS@E3: Check Out The Sonic Boom Blackboard

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSeE3AQ0Ntw

One of the things I miseed while at the Sonic Boom booth yesterday was this huge blackboard which appears to be from Tails workshop where he appears to be studying some of the enemy robots and making a little robot buddy of his own. Also, Sonic, Knuckles and Amy leave some comments of their own on the board as well, with their chalk representing their color. I haven’t seen it around on the internet, so I thought you’d enjoy it in full form.

TSS@E3 – Hands-on: Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric

Sonic "Hey look! No Shadow!" Knuckles "The Hedgehog?" Sonic "No. On the ground."
Sonic: “Hey look! No Shadow!” Knuckles: “The Hedgehog?” Sonic: “No. On the ground.”

After your done reading, get a second opinion from Nuckles87 over at SEGAbits!

Big Red Button’s Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is an odd duck. It’s a Sonic game that feels NOTHING like a Sonic game in almost every sense. At it’s core, it’s an adventure-based brawler with platforming and puzzle elements similar to other adventure games such as Tomb Raider, Ratchet and Clank or Uncharted and relies heavily on co-op. A Sonic game that’s not very Sonic-like in any way.

The E3 demo I played has four different levels. A mining level with Sonic and Knuckles, an underground toxic waste level with Sonic and Amy, a speed traverse level with all four and finally, a boss fight with Eggman. These levels are meant to show you samples of the gameplay you can expect from the game, but when put out of context like this, it kind of gives you a poor idea of what the full game is like.

The speed level is fairly simple with some boosting areas, simple jumps and places where you can grab with your enerbeam to swing around. I did go an alternate path from what was shown in previous videos and found an area with a fair amount of obstacles to dodge. It’s no Sonic Generations, but at least it’s something fun to do when going between worlds. Sadly the level was very short and stopped before we got to our destination.

"Well, we solved that! Now lets stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I'm already bored."
“Well, we solved that! Now let’s stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I’m already bored.”

Now, here’s where things get very different. I played as Sonic and Knuckles  as we traversed an old mining facility. There were robots and snakes around (at which point Knuckles does a bad Indiana Jones imitation) I couldn’t figure out how the gate opened, but fortunately, Sonic chimed in “maybe we need to use that mine cart up there!” So, I found a switch to drop the mine cart and had Knuckles push it to the gate by way of punching) and used the jump boost on top of the mine cart to get over the gate. During the level, I was constantly having to stop and figure out what to do next. Some of which was done by using each characters unique abilities. Sonic has a spindash that boosts him up into hard to reach places, while Knuckles can burrow or climb certain ledges. At one point, we used our enerbeams to lock on and pull the cart over to another path. That’s right, Sonic and Knuckles have “lock-on cart” technology.

…..Oh, come on! That was funny and you know it.

However, constantly having to stop and figure out another puzzle made the whole thing (up to getting to the mining robot) a real drag. At one point, Sonic sees Tails and Amy up above. They are talking about how what a blast they are having in this upper path. “Well, at least they’re having fun” Sonic quips. Too bad I’m not. I found this to be the most boring level in the entire demo.

"Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!"
“Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!”

The third demo was with Sonic and Amy in an underground toxic waste dump. At times they are being chased by a giant guardian robot while being assisted by a helper robot. There are a few chase scenes reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot. It seems odd that Sonic can barely run fast enough to get out of it’s way. He basically runs the same speed as Amy. Maybe he’s just slowing down to make sure she’s safe? Speaking of Amy, her gameplay is actually pretty good here. She’s acrobatic and can traverse thin pipes and does some difficult platforming along with swinging from bar to bar. I found using her to be much more fun than Sonic or Knuckles. Also, she sounds a lot more like her old Sonic X self rather than Minnie Mouse.

The final level is a boss fight with Dr. Eggman. He’s using an ancient machine and it isn’t going too well (the Eggmobile doesn’t fit quite right and keeps falling over). He’s also using old, used missiles that don’t hit the gang, but just drop to the ground. You can then grab the missiles with the enerbeam to throw them back at Eggman until he falls over and you can attack him head on. There’s plenty of teamwork going on here and the quips are pretty funny. That’s one thing I really gotta hand this game. The dialog doesn’t constantly repeat itself (except in some casual fights) and is pretty funny while moving the story along. It’s a refreshing pace from the poor dialog we got in games like Sonic Heroes. That’s good for those of you who love some Sonic games for their story.

"GAAH! No fair! What'd I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff."
“GAAH! No fair! What’d I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff.”

Sadly, that’s the best compliment I can give the game so far. The game just demos bad. Having it cut into chunks like this really doesn’t give you a full understanding of how the full game really is and instead gives you these dull puzzle sections that make the Werehog levels in Sonic Unleashed seem like a thrill ride in comparison. Also, if this is a co-op game, why are there no two-player demos out on the E3 floor? As I said though, it’s really hard to judge in the format it’s in here. However if I only had a choice between the Wii U version and the 3DS version (Hands-on coming soon), I’d definitely pick the 3DS version as it has more of what makes a fun Sonic game. This one seems to be more focused on telling a story rather than making a really fun experience.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will be out this November and hopefully, we can get a better example of the full game’s experience before then.

 

 

 

Very high-res capture of Sonic Boom concept art surfaces

Sonic Boom LogoThe following is a ginormous pic of Bob Rafei and the board full of concept art from Sonic Boom as seen in an earlier video, but this capture might be a proper photograph as it is way too high resolution to be a snippet from a video. At the moment we have no true source of the picture. But nevertheless, it’s here and for you all to see!

Bob RafeiClick the image for the full 3000×2000 version!

One of the most interesting characters shown is what appears to be Marine from Sonic Rush Adventure making her comeback.

Marine BoomMy boomerang’s a little Ty’d up at the moment…

Not only do the colors and the patterns match up, but she is also stereotypically carrying a boomerang and she did speak in an Australian accent before.

Another character, is what appears to be a robot that looks to have very similar features to Emerl, last (and only seen) in Sonic Battle (not counting Gemerl’s appearance in Sonic Advance 3).

Emerl BoomGod dammit Mad Doctor, we didn’t need to turn Emerl into a Beetleworx!

While we don’t have a definite source for the image, we have Eitarou and A Real Human Bean to thanks in our forum for finding (Eitarou) and posting the full image (A Real Human Bean). We also have an adjusted (albeit smaller) shot of the pic by Storme Prince so you don’t have to strain your eyes as much.

Sonic Boom Concept Artwork AdjustedWe had to cut corners to bring you this piece, we apologize.

So there you have it! Enjoy! 😀

Sonic List: The Top Official/Semi-Official Sonic Pairings (Valentine’s Special)

SX16

 

I hate you Google Image. I put two Sonic characters in your search bar and you provide me with these horrifying images of Sonic couples. The safe search, it does nothing! Why are they inflated?! Why are they centaurs?! Why are those things a fetish?! GAAAAAH!

Anyway, it’s Valentine’s day, love (or some other foul stench) is in the air and it’s the perfect time to talk about everyone’s favorite Sonic relationships. While I’m sure there are many of you who like to ship their own fictional Sonic couples be it straight, gay or “call the police”, I wanted to focus on the ones that have been made official or even semi-official through the games, comics or cartoons be they full blown couples or just one-sided love interests. I’m not much of a shipper myself, but I wanted to look at them from a writer’s perspective to see what works about them. So in no particular order, here’s my list of what I personally think are the best couples in the Sonic Universe.

Continue reading Sonic List: The Top Official/Semi-Official Sonic Pairings (Valentine’s Special)

Friday Five: Reasons it sucks to be Charmy Bee

 BeeTrippin'

 

Let’s be (or “bee”) honest here….nobody cares for Charmy Bee much (and yes, I’m sure that there are some who’d say otherwise and like my head on a platter. All three of them).

What is he good for? What does he even do at the Chaotix? Is he their secretary? Vector’s youthful ward? Does that helmet thing even come off of his head? What?! He hasn’t been a playable character since Sonic Heroes and even then he was just one of three you controlled at the same time. He has no real personality so you can’t even relate to him in any way. Look at the other kids. Tails? Young super genius. Cream? Polite little girl who tends to have the strongest morals. Marine? Immature, bratty little girl who annoys people because she’s probably lonely and seeks attention. Charmy? Little boy. That’s it. (Not counting Sonic X where he at least had a Bart Simpson-like “prankster” personality.) Frankly, just listening to him gives me the hives.

At least the comics give you a reason to feel sorry for him. Lots of reasons. This poor little bastard’s life has been absolute hell. Read on to see why life as a bee can totally suck. But beeware honey, his tale is so tragic it may sting your eyes.

Continue reading Friday Five: Reasons it sucks to be Charmy Bee

An Interview With Aaron Webber

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BFc4KaYNcA[/youtube]

Last weekend at the Sega Arcade across from the San Diego Comic Con, Alex finally get some time in front of the camera to interview Aaron Webber on all things Lost World, the quality of Sonic games as of late and tried desperately to get some hints at the third Sonic title. Where in previous years, Aaron would spend most of his time showing off a Sonic game in front of the Archie booth, this year he was all over the place promoting Lost World at the Archie booth, Sega Arcade, Gamespot bar and elsewhere so it was lucky for us to get a few minutes of his time last weekend.

P.S. Sorry about the little droplet of water on the lens. Didn’t notice until we uploaded the video.

E3 Hands-On Sonic Lost World (3DS)

SLW4

Sonic Lost World for Wii U wasn’t the only Sonic game impressing fans at the show floor. The 3DS version was on display as well, the first Sonic portable game to offer a fully 3-D world to explore.  While the game is technically very sound, how is it compared to its big console brother and can Dimps pull it off on both a technical and design level? Read on to find why Sonic Lost World on 3DS is two steps forward and one step back for Dimps.

Continue reading E3 Hands-On Sonic Lost World (3DS)

E3 2013: Sonic Lost World Hands-on

 

 

 28022SONIC_LOST_WORLD_Wii_U_Screenshots_720p_1280x720_v1_6

If there is one thing I both love and hate about the Sonic franchise, it is its tendency to innovate when innovation isn’t really necessary. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” isn’t exactly a saying SEGA lives by. It seems like ever since the Adventure series, every home console Sonic game has needed its own unique gimmick. A gimmick that, until a few years ago, always seemed to come at the detriment of the game play this gimmick was trying to improve. Now, after two great Sonic games that have built upon the foundation initially laid by Unleashed’s daytime stages, Sonic Team has thrown out everything they have been establishing over the last several years in favor of something completely different.

The single greatest issue that every 3D Sonic game has had is control. Whether it be control of the camera or control of the characters, Sonic Team has long been struggling to perfect Sonic’s movement in 3D. Over the course of Unleashed, Colors and Generations, Sonic Team has made huge strides in solving this problem, but they’ve done it largely by taking control away from the player or throwing Sonic into a 2D space. This has resulted in the best Sonic games since the Genesis era,  but has also turned Sonic’s 3D stages into on-rails obstacle courses, providing players with a variety of different paths to take but giving them little reason to stop and explore.

28023SONIC_LOST_WORLD_Wii_U_Screenshots_720p_1280x720_v1_7

Lost World’s primary goal is to completely reinvent how Sonic moves in 3D. For the most part, the game succeeds at this beautifully. The new Parkour system allows Sonic to run along walls and up trees, making game play sections that would have been completely automated in previous Sonic games completely controllable by the player

This new system of movement is critical to the other big new idea Lost World brings to the table: the creative level design. Lost World’s 3D stage “Windy Hill is a series of cylindrical worlds suspended in the air. The scale in this stage is huge that not only allows for a lot of fun platforming, but also oozes with hidden paths and secrets. A quick run to the underside of the level reveals a whole new area ripe for exploration. A given area can have as many as four or five different paths to take, each of which test different skills. The default path in Windy Hill was the easiest, letting players just run forward and smash enemies. The other paths were more difficult though. Some paths have secrets like golden canons that will take you to new areas or red rings or animal capsules. One path was filled with spikes and enemies and was very difficult to navigate. Another path was very narrow and easy to fall off of, and yet another required the use of the wall run. During each successive play through of this stage I tried something different and found something new in the process. This exploration was further facilitated by the run and spin dash buttons, which give players an unprecedented amount of control over Sonic’s speed.

28018SONIC_LOST_WORLD_Wii_U_Screenshots_720p_1280x720_v1_11

As Sonic has gotten faster and faster, he’s also become more unwieldy in more platform heavy areas. The run and spin dash buttons finally offer a solution to this problem. Anyone who has played Mario 3D Land will find these additions to be quite natural. The run and spin dash buttons essentially act like gears in a manual transition. Without these buttons Sonic runs about as fast as Mario would. At this speed Sonic can easily navigate platforming areas with precision. With the run button Sonic’s speed increases, allowing him quickly race through areas and perform Parkour moves. The spin dash button works exactly like it has in past games, allowing Sonic to quickly reach his top speed and blast through areas, though at the expense of the more precise movement of the lower speeds. If not for the run button, exploring the areas wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

This was the first Sonic game in a long time where I found myself exploring more than trying to improve my time. Of course, not all of the stages available in the demo were like this. The second stage, “Desert Zone 1”, the sweets filled level you guys have been hearing about, is a lot more straight forward and traditional. The level is completely two dimensional and feels closer to something like a side scrolling Sonic Colors level. Much like Colors’s 2D areas, this level also had plenty of secrets, hidden areas, and alternate paths. This level was a lot of fun, but didn’t really blow me away like Windy Hill did.

SonicLostWorld_IGNJune2013

The final stage is somewhat reminiscent of the auto run game play of Sonic 06 and Secret Rings, though with significantly better controls. In this beehive themed stage, Sonic runs down a narrow path at top speed, smashing robots and trying not to fall off the path or smash into a wall. This stage feels much more reminiscent to something out of Generations, though it never really approaches Generations’s level of speed. The most notable new element on display here is Sonic’s ability to smash through a dozen enemies at once with a single, extended homing attack.

Speaking of the homing attack, the battle system of this game has also been changed significantly. The homing attack is now a lot more versatile, easily targeting and hitting enemies in any direction. It feels like a more polished version of what was used in Sonic Adventure, with a much quicker recovery time that allows Sonic to quickly hit a variety of nearby enemies in any direction. The actual range of the attack is a bit shorter now, though. I often found myself attempting to do it a little too soon as a result. In addition to the homing attack, there is now a bounce attack and a kick. I didn’t find myself using the bounce attack much, though it feels a little like the bounce from SA2. The kick I had to use a lot, though, especially on the snail enemies, which take multiple homing attacks to kill otherwise. It works a lot like the homing attack, except it is slower and has less range.

28021SONIC_LOST_WORLD_Wii_U_Screenshots_720p_1280x720_v1_5

The many changes made to Lost World threw me off at first. I kept using the wrong attacks, I kept screwing up whenever I tried to use the Parkour system, and I died a lot. By the last day of E3 I was playing the game like a pro though and things that didn’t make much sense to me, like the inclusion of the kick attack and some of the finer aspects of the Parkour system, made a lot more sense. The kick attack is meant to test a players reflexes rather than simply mashing the A button. The Parkour system can pretty much be used to get up anything and really opens up these levels to exploration in ways that simply haven’t been done before in a Sonic game.

This game is very beautiful. It’s the first Sonic game I have ever played at E3 that actually had a consistently smooth frame rate. It remained at a steady 60 frames per second, and never had a moment of noticeable slowdown. Past Sonic games have always struggled to even maintain 30 frames, making the Lost World demo the smoothest 3D Sonic game I have played, period.

One thing I can say after this demo is that Lost Words is extremely polished and very fun. Though it lacks the speed of Unleashed, Colors and Generations, Lost World more than makes up for it in the exploration this slower speed now allows. I cannot guarantee that fans of Sonic’s faster games will enjoy Lost World, but if you are like me and you’ve been anxious for a slower Sonic game with meatier platforming levels, you are in for a real treat later this year.

Sonic and Eggman Team Up in Sonic Lost World, Box Art Revealed

soniclostworld_wiiu

Right on schedule, the SEGA Blog has updated with more details concerning Sonic Lost World, and more on its new baddies.

Dr. Eggman has harnessed the power of six menacing creatures collectively known as the Deadly Six, but when the Deadly Six rise up against their master, Sonic has to unite with his arch nemesis in order to take on the new enemies head-on.  Using his dynamic new parkour moves and improved Color Powers, Sonic must run, jump and race through a variety of ever-changing terrains in order to defeat the Deadly Six.

As confirmed by Hiroyuki Miyazaki, SEGA of America’s Chief Content Officer, Sonic Lost World‘s story tells of adversaries Sonic and Eggman indeed joining forces to defeat the new threat!

3DS box art and additional info about the game after the jump!

Continue reading Sonic and Eggman Team Up in Sonic Lost World, Box Art Revealed

Watch Now: 30 min of New All Stars Racing Transformed Gameplay

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBMQMBhmU5E

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s-gC7yWF08

As we reported earlier today, Sumo Digital were at Manchester’s Play Expo showing off ASRT and talking about the making of the game. Whilst we got confirmation of MeeMee being in the roster and a few other tid bits, we’ve now got nearly half an hour of footage from the presentation… Needless to say, this contains A LOT of spoilers. Judging by how the video cuts off in the second part, it would seem that there might be more to come.

Stay tuned to TSS for more information as we get it.

Source: MrRW26

Time to go Ape! MeeMee Joins ASRT!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d5Up9iyXmk

The Play Expo event was held in Manchester this weekend and Sumo Digital were due to give a talk about the making of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed as well as a small Q&A session.

Earlier reports coming from the event suggested that a new build of the game was shown that included several new features as well as the first appearance of a new racer, MeeMee from Super Monkey Ball.

Continue reading Time to go Ape! MeeMee Joins ASRT!

Disney’s “Wreck it Ralph” a Playable Character in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed!

It’s slowly becoming clear why this game isn’t called Sonic & ‘Sega’ all stars racing Transformed. At yesterdays Sonic Boom event, in a surprise announcement that not even Tikal could have predicted. The director of the movie ‘Wreck it Ralph’ Rich Moore took to the stage and dropped one heck of a surprise.

Continue reading Disney’s “Wreck it Ralph” a Playable Character in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed!

Australia and New Zealand Get M&S London 2012 Collector’s Edition

Following the previously revealed Limited Edition, the Australia and New Zealand branches of Mighty Ape are now listing a Collector’s Edition for the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Collector’s Edition contains:
– Game
– Money tin
– Stationary Kit
– Beach ball
– Key ring
– Lanyard

You can pre-order your copy of the Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Collector’s Edition at the links below. Both retailers ship worldwide.
MightyApe.com.au: $88.99AU
MightyApe.co.nz: $109.99NZ

If the Collector’s Edition doesn’t interest you, you can order the Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Limited Edition at EB Games Australia for £88.00AU.

The Limited Edition contains:
– Game
– Steel Tin
– Poster
– T Shirt
– Notebook
– Carry Bag

Unfortunately, it appears EB Games doesn’t ship outside of Australia.

With Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games now having a Collector’s Edition, like Sonic Generations did, it’s definitely an expensive year to be a Sonic fan.