Sonic Generations Preview Round-up, More Info & Gameplay Footage

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It appears SEGA’s embargo that IGN mentioned before has now lifted, as gaming websites SPOnG, CVG, Videogamer.com and GamesRadar have all just unleashed new previews of a near-final build of Sonic Generations, which give us some new nuggets of information. CVG has also provided new gameplay footage of Classic Sonic’s Sky Sanctuary Zone stage.

SPOnG’s preview is written by this website’s very own Svend Joscelyne/Dreadknux and tells us more about the game’s missions. Two new Speed Highway screenshots are also included.

Inbetween these stages, you’ll get the opportunity to play optional missions. There are five missions for both Classic and Modern Sonic in each zone, and will mix up the core stage in some form. Other characters will take an active role in helping you out, but for now we only know of Tails’ involvement in these levels. A mission called ‘Way Past Fast’ sees you race against the Tornado plane, piloted by the two-tailed fox

Other missions include Doppelganger races, against another Sonic, and a mission called ‘Look Out Below’ which challenges you to complete a remixed Green Hill Zone stage with breakable platforms. In each of these, the main elements of the core stage remains the same, but enemy placements will change and you may even explore completely different looking areas than you would in the main level

In Videogamer.com’s preview, there is an example of what part Sonic’s friends play in gameplay:

You don’t actually play as, say, Knuckles, but in one mission you can take advantage of the red echidna’s fists, where a tap of the button sends him burrowing into the ground for rings. As well as this there are time attacks, high speed challenges and doppelgänger races, which has you racing against the ‘other’ Sonic. Considering modern Sonic has homing attacks and the such, the odds are always stacked against his older, squatter counterpart – which is half the fun.

GamesRadar gives a bit more information about the opening of the game’s story:

The game’s plot is told through deliciously self-referential cut-scenes. Sonic eats chilli dogs while holding Amy at arms length literally with his whole hand over her face as she runs on the spot trying to get to him. But just as it’s getting all cosy, a vortex opens up in the space/time continuum and all of Sonic’s buddies (which include some Chaotix members) get sucked into it. Some cynics would likely be happy to leave the game there, having solved the most irksome problem of the past 19 years, but they’d be missing out on some gorgeous gameplay, so let’s carry on.

GamesRadar also previews the 3DS version and praises the 3D effect:

The 3DS version of Sonic Generations is very different compared to the ‘big’ game, but at the same time very similar in that the more platform-centric Classic Sonic levels are countered by faster, more dazzling Modern Sonic levels. But they all look great in 3D. I played for a long while with the 3D slider up full and it didn’t feel strained on my eyes, which was good. It can look a little simplistic in the over-the-shoulder Modern sections, but that’s to keep the speed and fluidity up, which is obviously vitally important.

All four previews are extremely positive, which is very good to see this close to release when reviews will soon be due. Will Sonic Generations be critically acclaimed? We’ll have to wait and see…

To read the full previews, head over to the links below.

Sources: SPOnG, CVG, Videogamer.com and GamesRadar [PS3/Xbox 360 & 3DS]

Thanks to SSMB member ForgeCircuit for the heads up!

Got a news tip? Send it in to thesonicstadium@googlemail.com, shadzter@sonicstadium.org or via Twitter at @Shadzter and we’ll credit you for the find.

Sonic 4 Speedrun, Out Now On XBLA & EU PSN

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GamesRadar’s Justin Towell, who gave Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 a 9/10 in his review has put out the world’s first speedrun of Splash Hill Zone Act 1 and it’s a very impressive run at 40.79 seconds. Towell currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Xbox Live Arcade version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s Emerald Hill Act 1.

Source: GamesRadar

UPDATE: The game is now available on the European PlayStation Store for £9.99/€12.99 and weighs in at 197MB. /UPDATE END

In other news, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 has just been released on the Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points and weighs in at 191MB. If you want to give the game a try before you buy, a demo is available. The PS3 version will release in Europe on the PlayStation Store later today. We’ll update when that goes live.

Source: Xbox Live Marketplace
(The game is not immediately visible right now. You’ll need to look under the ‘Top Rated’ section to find it.)

Will you be buying the game today? Do you think you can beat Justin Towell’s time? Let us know in the comments.

GamesRadar’s Sonic Free Riders Video Preview

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During his rounds last week, SEGA’s Brand Manager David Allen stopped by GamesRadar’s offices where they got to check out Sonic Free Riders for Xbox 360 Kinect. In the video we see Tails in action as David guides Chris through the demos controls, shortcuts and many interactive items and weapons. Speaking of items, in this preview we get our first look at the “Soda Can” item, which you shake until it bursts and gives you a boost as you ride on it in cartoon fashion.

If you look closely, you can see an image of Eggman on the soda can with the words “Power Up”:

(Thanks to Hero of Legend for the image)

With the bowling ball, rocket, golf club and now a soda can item, it appears SEGA are really taking advantage of Kinect to make this the zaniest and most interactive racer out there.

Source: GamesRadar

GamesRadar’s Sonic 4 Hands-on Preview

You wouldn’t expect more Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 previews from the press so soon after E3 but it seems SEGA aren’t one to let the hype train go off course with GamesRadar getting some fresh hands-on time in their new preview published today and it seems to be the most in-depth and positive preview yet. A lot of praise is given to the physics, controls and even to the developers for their love given to the game. The previewer David Houghton says “Sonic 4 feels like Sonic the Hedgehog 4. The next game after Sonic 3. Not a tribute. Not a reworking. The next game in the series.” Some strong words there, very strong. David even goes on to explain how he feels the the previous Mega Drive games aren’t perfect and states this game fixes the problems contained in those games.

If that’s the feeling for the game in it’s current state over at GamesRadar then it’ll be interesting to see what they think of the final game after it’s been polished with it’s extra development time.

You can check out the preview in full at GamesRadar.

GamesRadar’s Sonic 4 Q&A

GamesRadar’s Justin Towell has recently got to have a look at Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, the first 3 levels to be exact and so asked the public to submit some questions about the game via their Twitter and Facebook. Today Justin has posted up 4 pages worth of the questions and his answers for your viewing pleasure.

Check them all out over at GamesRadar.

Thanks to Tornado over at the SSMB for the heads-up!

GamesRadar On Needlemouse: Highly Anticipated & Doomed To Fail

GamesRadar may be familiar to some Sonic fans thanks to their extremely harsh treatment of SEGA’s mascot. Staunch supporters of older Sonic games writers for the site have documented the hedgehogs fall from grace in graphic detail, labeling his kiss with Elise in Sonic 06 as their reason for taking a swing at Sonic and his friends every chance they get.

Their viewpoint on Sonic isn’t an unusual one in the mainstream gaming press, but while some persecute without remorse, reading thorough the various lists compiled on GamesRadar you can’t help but feel that at least a small part of them yearns for an exceptional Sonic game. Over a year ago now one of their writers stated the only way for SEGA to remedy the problem would be to “Take a cue from Mega Man 9 – make Sonic 4 and bring back Blast Processing.”

Capcom's revival of Mega Man has been so successful it's spawned another retro sequel. It's not a stretch to think SEGA saw this and started work on a classic revival of their own.

Over a year later and GamesRadar aren’t getting exactly what they asked for but it’s close enough and what little we know about Project Needlemouse has them excited,

“So we know it’s 2D. We know it’s HD (which rules out Wii). We know it’s clearly focused on speed and old-school feel based on the sound effects and specific blue-blur animations. By all accounts, this is it folks, the game we’ve been asking for since the late ‘90s. And you know what? We’re ready to bite… almost.”

It’s with that in mind I want to bring your attention to two of their newest lists. The first details their top 100 most anticipated games of 2010. Project Needlemouse sits pretty at number 50.

“The very name sends shivers down our spines. Why? Because Sonic was called Mr Needlemouse internally at Sega before he was called Sonic. This is it – the game where they make Sonic like it’s 1991, only now they’ve got Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware to do it with. Time and time again, our hopes are dashed, but if ever one last fragile hope burned in the void, it’s in the shape of this game. And it has to be perfect. Nothing less will do.”

The well wishing doesn’t last very long. Only a few days later Project Needlemouse appeared on a very different list; Games that are doomed to die in 2010.

“Sonic is historically an automatic seller. After years of slow franchise death, does anyone really give a crap about the little blue bugger anymore? At this point, anyone who does care probably isn’t interested in the Sonic of yesteryear, and anyone who cared about Sonic when he was at the top of the industry has had his passion destroyed by this:

The worst moment in a Sonic game? The worst game in the Sonic series? Many think so.

Claiming Needlemouse is doomed to fail strikes me as being a very premature statement. Firstly there are precious few actual facts to base an opinion on and secondly, dismissing a legion of loyal Sonic fans is a very dangerous thing to do. GamesRadar may end up eating their words with this one. What do you lot think, let me know on the comments!