Nintendo Power’s Sonic Colours Preview Reveals New Info

Nintendo Power has posted some preview pages for the next issue of their magazine. Two of the pages shared are a preview of both versions of Sonic Colours, which reveals new information about the game that we’ve listed for you below.
* The Purple Wisp transforms Sonic into a “berserker that chomps through anything in its path”
* Asteroid Coaster Zone is revealed, with the following description. “Run on a Saturn-like planet’s rings, deal with reversed gravity and toxic green goo.”
* The Wii version contains six Acts per zone, some short and some long and one boss, while the DS version contains 2 lengthy Acts per zone and one boss.
* Aswell as the previously revealed Sonic Simulator, where you can play co-op with a friend, you can also “challenge every level in sequence via the Egg Shuttle”.
* The DS version has a Time Attack mode and also allows you to compete against friends locally or over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Overall, the preview is very positive, with their only complaint being the “cringe-inducing jokes” in the cutscenes. You can check out the preview in full, with a few new screenshots at Nintendo Power’s website.

Thanks to PC the Hedgehog at the SSMB for the heads-up!

Gamespot’s Sonic 4 Preview: Game Now Has A World Map

Along with his impressions of Sonic Colours, Gamespot’s Mark Walton has also posted his impressions of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Those of you sick of hearing about Splash Hill Zone will be glad to see the preview is focused entirely on Lost Labyrinth Zone.

Walton begins with Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 2, which is entirely dark apart from a small amount of light given off by a torch that Sonic carries through the Act. Not only does this torch aid you visually, but you’ll need it for puzzles. One puzzle sees Sonic in a room where he has to light lanterns in the correct order to release platforms, or else they disappear before Sonic can make his escape. Another couple of puzzles are based around lighting dynamite that Sonic will have to light to explode large blocks.

The lack of light was used for several puzzles in the zone. In one area, there were lanterns on the wall, which we could ignite using the torch. Each lantern extended a platform, which we needed to climb up to escape the room. However, the lanterns had to be lit in a certain order and at a particular time; otherwise, the platforms would disappear before we could make it all the way to the top.

Later in the level, we found another use for our fire torch: igniting dynamite. Some large stones blocked our path, which rather handily had dynamite attached to them, along with a fuse. By igniting the fuse, we could blow up the blocks and clear the path. Another area had several explosive blocks in it. We had to carefully choose which blocks to ignite and which to leave in place so we could jump up to a secret area at the top of the screen.

Other classic platform game traps are built around boulders, Walton explains. One point has you time jumps to avoid being hit by falling boulders, while in another you have to jump on a rolling boulder and move your analogue stick/press your d-pad left and right to maintain Sonic’s balance.

The dynamite section was swiftly followed by one involving boulders, which dropped down into a pit below. We had to time our jumps just right to make it across the pit without falling into it. Later, a boulder was released from behind us Indiana Jones-style. Rather than just run away, Sonic jumped on it and we had to maintain our balance by pressing left or right while it rolled down a long track.

Walton then talks about the infamous minecart, which if you’ve been keeping up to date, you’ll know has been revised in the console versions of the game. The minecart is now limited to a small portion of the stage and is no longer motion controlled, it instead rolls along while you make a few jumps to avoid hazards and falls.

The final section of the level featured a mine cart sequence, which required some quick reflexes. After jumping into a cart, we sped off down a long track where we had to jump over obstacles and avoid falling down bottomless pits. The lack of light made it difficult to see upcoming hazards, so we had to be especially alert to make it out alive.

Walton says that fans should rest assured that while these are new mechanics, you’ll still find plenty of familiar classic elements in the stage.

While these sections added something new to the series, we found there was still plenty of classic Sonic action. All the loops, springs, and insane speed from the original games were there, along with plenty of tricky water hazards and spikes to avoid.

At the end of the preview, Walton reveals the game now incorporates a world map instead of a basic stage select screen.

Though we weren’t able to try it out, we spotted a casino-themed level on the world map screen, which indicates there is still plenty more to be revealed about Sonic’s HD outing.

TSS founder Svend Joscelyne aka Dreadknux, who also played the game at SEGA’s press event last week has confirmed this world map screen in a post at the SSMB.

It’s a proper map. 🙂

Joscelyne then revealed that classic progression is an option, so you don’t have to return to the world map if you don’t want to.

I forgot to mention. There’s a choice, actually, of whether you want classic progression or not. Once you pass that Act Clear marker, and the score counts down, a button will appear at the bottom of the screen (I think it was Triangle on the PS3 preview version or something), that says “Jump to Next Act.” If you don’t do this before the fadeout, you go back to the World Map screen.

Note I said World Map – as in “awesome, detailed static world view,” and not “shitty, confusing 3D world hub.” =P

For the full preview, head over to Gamespot

What do you think of the preview? Are you happy with the change to a world map? Discuss in the comments.

Gamespot: “Sonic Colours is a marked departure”

Gamespot’s Mark Walton has posted up a preview of his recent hands-on time with Sonic Colours‘ Planet Wisp stage. The preview is very positive, so much so that he claims the game “is a marked departure” for Sonic, due to the lack of gimmicks which many in the press have rated the Sonic series down for in the past.

Sonic Colors is a marked departure for the little hedgehog that could; you don’t turn into a werehog or wield a giant sword. In fact, there is a distinct lack of gimmickry about the game, which instead offers a purer 3D experience not seen since the likes of Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. There are tons of fast loops to roll through and springs to leap from, as well as new wisp power-ups that have been tuned to fit in with Sonic’s breakneck speed.

Walton reveals that Planet Wisp is in-fact the opening stage of the game and as seen in gameplay videos at Gamesom, looks very familiar to the opening stages of older Sonic titles.

Our hands-on focused on the opening stage, named Planet Whisp. Like the opening stage of earlier Sonic games, it featured familiar visuals, with lush green plants, waterfalls, and simple badniks.

Walton informs that players will need to use the B button on the Wii Remote to get around turns and that doing so will not only make you drift, but gain a speed boost too.

To make our way around the huge banked curves, we had to hold down the B button, which gave us a burst of speed in the corners and made Sonic’s famous red sneakers glow bright yellow.

Walton then goes on to explain the three Wisps that he got to try out, namely the Rocket, Lazer and Hover Wisps that we know all too well by know. This is the first time we’ve heard of the Lazer and Hover Wisps presence in Planet Wisp, so it seems SEGA have been updating the stages to incorporate more stage exploration with the games variety of Wisp power-ups, which can only be a good thing.

In Walton’s final thoughts, he seems very impressed with the games Wisp power-ups and how they build on Sonic’s gameplay when compared to past gameplay styles like Sonic Unleashed‘s Werehog. The visuals also get the thumbs-up from Walton.

What stood out the most from our time with Sonic Colors was how much the power-ups have been integrated into the lightning-fast platforming that has become a hallmark of the series. Unlike the mindless werehog combat of Unleashed, the wisps serve to enhance the core gameplay experience and not drastically change the pace. The visuals in Colors also look good, and Sega has put a large amount of detail into the backgrounds, with the lush foliage-filled Planet Whisp looking particularly impressive.

For the full preview, head over to Gamespot.

Videogamer.com on Sonic 4: “I think I enjoyed Sonic Colours more”

Videogamer.com’s Jamin Smith has posted up a preview of his play test of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 at SEGA’s recent press event in London. While some fans in the Sonic community have found a lot to complain about in Sonic 4‘s mechanics, Jamin Smith thinks the homing attack is the only real change.

This is the only fundamental change to the core mechanics of the game; everything else is pretty much how you’d remember it.

Smith has taken note of other new elements in the game though, such as Lost Labyrinth Zone’s torch mechanic and feels new ideas like this make the game live up to it’s title.

Of course there are new features to make it worthy of the number four in its title, and the few I saw were fairly well sewn into the experience. The second act of the Lost Labyrinth Zone, for example, is completely bathed in darkness. Thankfully Sonic is sensible enough to have brought a torch with him, which illuminates the area immediately around him. It’s also used to light candles, which open doors and raise platforms around the level.

An interesting puzzle with the torch is mentioned about that same Act of Lost Labyrinth too, one that Smith seemed to have some trouble with.

There was a particular puzzle late in the level that involved lighting candles in the right sequence so that the correct platforms are raised in the correct order to progress. This stumped me for some time, however, and I actually managed to reach the ten minute time limit that each level has in place. I’ve never quite understood why this would kill Sonic, but it does, and I died.

Overall, Smith thinks the game is a good platformer and looks great, but had much more fun with Sonic Colours.

I’m slightly concerned that with Sonic 4, my judgment has been clouded somewhat by the mists of nostalgia. If I’m honest with myself, I think I enjoyed Sonic: Colours more than Sonic 4, which isn’t at all what I would have predicted a few weeks back. Don’t get me wrong, Sonic 4 is a very competent platformer, paying homage to the originals whilst bringing something new to the series at the same time. It looks great too, with gorgeous 2.5D visuals and slick new animations. Still, I couldn’t help thinking it should have offered something slightly more, but quite what that ‘more’ might entail I have no idea. The only thing that will prove or soothe these worries is playing the full game, and despite a few reservations, I’m very much looking forward to doing so.

Do you agree with Jamin Smith’s thoughts on Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1? Discuss in the comments.

For the full preview, head over to Videogamer.com

IGN: Sonic 4 iPhone’s Minecart “more fun than the universal stages”

Well, here’s something that will give you a shock. In a preview of the latest build of the iPhone version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, IGN’s Levi Buchanan has stated that the controversial minecart Act in Lost Labyrinth Zone (that has been removed from console editions), “was actually more fun than the universal stages I tried.”

The reasoning behind Buchanan’s statement is that he feels Sonic runs too fast and he can’t progress through a stage without fear of falling or hitting spikes and losing all of his hard-earned rings.

Here’s why: Sonic has a tendency to get away from himself. Granted, that’s by design. Sonic is all about speed and you’re supposed to get going as fast as you can, blasting through stages with the constant fear that one false move will send your 112 rings into the gutter. But that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me anymore. In fact, I’m sure I groaned aloud many times at SEGA’s office when I was cruising toward the finish line only to fail a small jump and drop onto some spikes. My rings scattered and any hopes of enjoying a bonus stage (more on those in a moment) were dashed against the rocks.

Buchanan goes on to say that the minecart stage has less chance of death, so you can relax and enjoy the ride(pun intended).

But the mine cart stages are more measured than that. There is a sense of exploration as you tilt Sonic through the maze in his cart, looking for bumpers to blast you across chasms or finding the switch to open a sealed door. Death is not as ever-present here, which lets you relax and appreciate a few things. One, the tilt controls in the mine cart stages are well done. I felt like I had complete control over Sonic’s plight. Two, the art work in here is really nice.

As for the Sonic 1 inspired Special Stages, Buchanan finds the new control method of tilting the maze to move Sonic much better than manoeuvring Sonic himself in the Mega Drive/Genesis iteration.

So, bonus stages – they’re back in Sonic 4. Remember the spinning labyrinths you had to guide Sonic through to capture the chaos emeralds? The bonus rounds in Sonic 4 are very similar, but now you tilt the device to rotate the maze rather than control Sonic. This is a big improvement and cuts down on frustration. Easing Sonic through the maze toward the chaos emerald is still tricky (there’s a time limit and plenty of opportunities to drop out of the stage), but at least you feel in control rather than swimming upstream through an auto-rotating screen.

What do you think of these statements? Discuss in the comments.

For the full preview, head over to IGN.

Electricpig: Sonic 4 “ideal way to return to 2D”

Electricpig has posted up a new preview of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, featuring thoughts on the whole of Splash Hill Zone and Act 1 of Lost Labyrinth Zone. The versions available were the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, of which they played the former and glimpsed the latter. The previews author, Ben Illis found both to be visually identical, but control wise were very different. Illis seemed to struggle to play this game with the Xbox 360’s analogue stick and d-pad, and feels the controls on PS3 will be “preferable”.

What might set them apart is the controls: since Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 is a 2D game, the Xbox 360’s analog stick is somewhat irritating, and the time it takes to pull from all the way left to all the way right when he’s hurtling along at speed is irksome, not helped by the awful D-pad on the controller. We have a feeling this one’s going to be preferable on the PS3, or with Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 gamepad (Though buying it just for this would probably be overkill).

The levels, Illis feels “trod a fine line between retro nostalgia and inventiveness” and “were a blast to play”, so much of a blast that Illis thinks this an ideal return to 2D gaming for Sonic.

“Tearing through the green loops and bouncing up the cliffs of Splash Hill while rescuing bunnies and bouncing off robot fish transported us back to our childhood, and seems like the ideal way to return to 2D Sonic gaming.”

The preview then moves on to the Lost Labyrinth Zone, where Illis says the game “ramps up the learning curve a tad.” At one point with the boulders, a graphical glitch is mentioned, but it’s good to hear it is the only one.

“Here, you’ll be dodging falling boulder, Indie style, or even rolling along on top of them (Which caused the only graphical glitch we saw), and as with older Sonic games, it becomes no longer possible to simply hold right and jump now and again.”

The preview ends by describing the games small amount of zones and stages, but Illis says that “SEGA fans of old will relish these morsels of pure fun.”

For the full preview, head over to Electricpig.

PAX 2010 Preview: Sonic Free Riders, Part 1

We’ve got three Sonic games coming out at the end of the year, and between the three, the one SEGA’s kept closest to its chest has been Sonic Free Riders. Unplayable at E3, the game was only made available to the press about a month ago and made its first public appearance at Gamescom a few weeks ago.

The Penny Arcade Expo marks Free Riders’ first public appearance in America… sort of. Despite SEGA’s intention of bringing it to the show floor, those plans were cancelled at the last minute. So, how am I writing this preview? During the last 45 minutes of the Sunday show, some of the good people over at SEGA closed the Sonic 4 booth and set up a Sonic Free Riders demo. Only a few people, aside from myself, were able to play it and I’ve compiled their opinions for the second part of this preview.

So, how does it play? Well, allow me to start by saying that despite this game being on a “casual gamer focused” peripheral, it’s probably the least user-friendly game I’ve played for the peripheral so far. There is a certain way you need to stand, a certain way you need to move to activate certain attacks, and if you don’t do it right, the game won’t control properly.

When you do, though, Free Riders is probably one the best titles on Kinect’s holiday line up, but that’s not really saying much. It’s also looking like being the best game in the Riders series, though again this isn’t really saying much. In order to play the game properly, you need to stand as if you where on a skateboard. If you stand with your body facing the screen, you will have absolutely no control over your character. You also need to throw the different weapons in different ways, with a certain amount of exaggeration in your movements.

So with this game, much like Sonic Riders and Zero Gravity, there may be a lot of early frustration depending on the user. While I was watching others play, I noticed some of them picked it immediately, while others needed some time to get used to how the game played. Once you do get it though, Sonic Free Riders can actually be rather exhilarating. For the users who do get it right away, they’re in for a pretty neat motion game. It cuts out a lot of the fat that held down its predecessors; you no longer need to refill your air, turning is a lot easier to pull off then it was in past titles – at least once you figure out how to stand – and the difficulty is more forgiving.

However, with the removal of many of these elements, the game itself has become simpler, which may have its drawbacks in the long run. Even compared to arcade racers likes like Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing and Outrun 2, the game feels a little shallow. The handful of weapons that were shown in the demo – the rocket and the bowling ball – aren’t anything we haven’t seen before.

Of course, this is all based on a single race; about 3 minutes of playtime, and at the end of the day the experience was definitely a positive one. Sonic Free Riders is fast and it stands as a testament to just how immersive the Kinect peripheral can be when it’s applied to the right game. While you play the game, you physically throw the weapons, scoot your back foot across the ground to activate the boost (as you would on a real skateboard), jump in the air to jump, swim with your arms to move through water segments, and twist your body left and right to make the turns. All of this makes for a great – although somewhat exhausting – racing experience.

So, will Sonic Free Riders turn out to be a great game? I’ve played too little to say. As I said earlier, the game is a little shallow and there is no telling whether the final product will offer enough to keep you playing for a long time. It is most certainly not a bad game, though.

While I am personally expecting more from Sonic Free Riders when it’s released than I was before, it still didn’t excite me enough to actually buy the Kinect. If you’re planning on buying Kinect for this game alone, I’d advise you to try before you buy, if you can. While it was fun, I’m not sure it’s worth Kinect’s $150 price tag.

We’ll bring you our thoughts on the full game once it comes out this holiday season. Stay tuned for part 2 of this preview, which is a video compilation of what other players thought of the game.

New Sonic 4 Lost Labyrinth Trailer & Preview At IGN

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFNIgxtLBho&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

A new trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 has just been released by IGN. The trailer shows us gameplay footage of the recently revealed Lost Labyrinth Zone and the updates made to the game in action, such as the torch mechanic, faster acceleration and running animation. No solid release date yet (just a change from Late 2010 to Fall 2010), but downloadable games don’t usually get a release date until about two weeks before release.  SEGA, in their last Sonic 4 update said we could expect more updates “early September,” and with this new trailer released, we expect they will be speaking more about the game sooner than expected. To accompany the trailer, IGN also posted a preview of the latest build.

Source: IGN:
Trailer
Preview

Thanks to Woun at the SSMB for the heads-up and the YouTube HD upload of the video!

New Sonic 4 Preview In Latest Nintendo Power

The latest issue of Nintendo Power magazine is now available on newsstands in the U.S. and inside is a preview of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. The demo they got to play was of a new build, one which contains all acts and boss battles in Lost Labyrinth Zone and Mad Gear Zone. Nintendo Power says Lost Labyrinth Zone is heavily inspired by Sonic 1’s Labyrinth Zone with familiar elements, such as “endlessly looping waterfall mazes, pulley-based moving platforms, retracting spikes, and underwater segments that require you to grab air bubbles before you run out of oxygen.” Reaffirmed is the removal of the infamous mine cart stage and the torch mechanic put in its place, though nothing more is revealed than what’s is obvious in the screenshots, like lighting sconces to take down obstacles which block your path.

Nintendo Power also details two new features seen in the recent screenshots, including the orb that Sonic is standing on and a boulder that Sonic is running from. Sonic must keep his balance while the orb follows a specially designed track and other sections will see him be chased by giant boulders that fall out of the sky, requiring quick reactions. Nintendo Power also inform us that players will also have to escape a giant wall that threatens to crush you, while the stage fills with water.

In their playthrough of Mad Gear Zone, Nintendo Power compares the stage to most end of game stages in the Sonic series, “hard edged industrial stages full of steampunk-style machinery that practically screams you’re on the bad guys’ home turf.” The stage is said to not only contain stage mechanics that you’ll recognise such as pneumatic transportation tubes, steam geysers and giant pistons, but also some new ones. Sonic will have to run on top of cogs, some will help move Sonic to new areas, while other cogs will open heavy metal doors.

Nintendo Power states the difficulty increases significantly for the third Act of Mad Gear Zone, where an enormous drill machine chases Sonic in a similar fashion to the giant wall from Lost Labyrinth Zone. While the machine pursues Sonic, Nintendo Power says “you must leap spikes, hit switches, and dodge momentum-reversing blasts.” Sounds like it’s quite the challenge. Nintendo Power also reveals that players can choose to play the game’s four zones in any order they like.

The preview doesn’t mention anything in terms of any of the tweaks to physics, running animation, acceleration etc that SEGA of America’s Ruby Eclipse spoke of recently, but it does come with five new screenshots of the Lost Labyrinth Zone. To check out the screenshots and the full preview, pick up a copy of Nintendo Power issue 259 at your local newsstand.

Thanks to SSMB member Doctor Eggman for the info!

GamePro’s Sonic Colours Video Preview

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQE9f86fRpY&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

GamePro’s German division has put up the above video preview of the Wii version of Sonic Colours. The levels shown in the footage are the two usual suspects (Tropical Resort and Sweet Mountain) that we’ve gotten so used to seeing in E3 demo coverage, but much of the footage gives us a look at some new areas of those stages, which suggests that this is a newer build being shown to press.

Thanks to MarcelloF at the SSMB, we have a translation of the preview:

After the disappointing Sonic Unleashed, SEGA once again tires with a high-speed 3D Sonic. But, this time without bothersome Werehog stages. The “Sonic Colors” titles game is being release exclusively for Wii and looks phenomenal, as you can see in these impressions of the first level. Once again it proves that there’s a lot more in the Wii than muddy textures and “casual” simple graphics. Plus “Sonic Colors” runs unbelievably fast on the screen.

Similar to Sonic’s 2D adventures, you speed through set sections that are full of junctions and secret areas. Most of the time, you’ll see Sonic from behind while you’re speeding through the tracks. Time and again the perspective switches to the side perspective and your blue runner becomes tiny. Like this “Sonic Colors” plays almost like the classic 2D adventures. At least shortly, because the perspective usually switches fairly quickly back to the familiar “Hedgehog From Behind”.

As you can see, “Sonic Colors” is very colorful, but what does the reference to colors in the title mean? For that let’s see the World Map first. This is an overview of Dr.Eggman’s Interplanetary amusement park. The villain has converted the planets into attractions and it’s up to Sonic to free these planets. But, that still doesn’t explain the game’s title. Time and again Sonic encounters small, alien beings that are prisoned in capsules. If he frees them, he can use the powers of the blue or yellow creatures for a short time.

All that is done by a small waggle of the Wii Remote. If you have an alien, you just have to shake the controller to, in the case of the yellow alien, dig through the earth. The blue alien, on the other hand gives you a laser. Of course there are more colors in the final game to be found, but in our preview version, only the blue and yellow ones were implemented.

Overall, with “Sonic Colors” there finally seems to be a decent 3D game with the sneakered hedgehog in the making. We, at least, can not wait to play this Wii gem in its finished version.

GamePro has also revealed the below clear image of the games map (click to enlarge):

Thanks to Blue Blood at the SSMB for the heads up!

Gamespot’s Sonic Free Riders Video Preview

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxYl1UXKoLI[/youtube]

In their latest “On The Spot” show, Gamespot got to interview SEGA’s David Allen about Sonic Free Riders.  David also demoed the game on the show.  Those who have been keeping up to date with the Xbox 360 Kinect title won’t see anything new in terms of the track shown, but we do get a better look at rail grinding and the player interaction required for that technique.

David Allen explains that they have taken the best bits from the previous two Riders games and combined them into this game. When it comes to controls, a lot of detail is given about how interactive the game is, such as its skateboard or snowboard like steering. David, however, is quick to be secretive in response to most of Ricardo Torres’ questions about content, like multiplayer options, modes, other characters, tracks and items. Instead, David assures that the team are trying to get in as much content as possible while rushing to get the game out for its November launch.

You can check out Ricardo’s hands-on preview from the 3rd August at Gamespot’s website.

Thanks to bolt7 at the SSMB for the heads up!

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.

More Wii & DS Sonic Colours Screens and Joystiq Preview

After CVG revealed 5 new Wii screenshots SEGA have released more screens of both versions of Sonic Colours via their Flickr account aswell as some hi-res pieces of artwork. From the new Wii screens we learn that Wisps will be contained in capsules much like the ones we’ve seen items be held within in pretty much every game since Sonic Adventure. In the DS screenshots we can see how Sonic Rush inspired the game is with the boost returning and the bright 2D stages but with both Rush games so well received that can’t be a bad thing can it? Check out all of the screens and artwork at the bottom of this article.

Joystiq have posted up their impressions of the E3 demo of the Wii version which sounds pretty positive, here are some of their main points –

•Sonic doesn’t talk. There are no conversations or text screens — just Sonic running around a lot, very quickly. The game was described to me by a developer as, “Sonic Unleashed minus everything but the running,” and that seemed an apt description, as Sonic races over huge walkways, bounces off of springs, and homes in on enemies, combo-ing them them in groups if timed exactly right.

•The cast is kept to a minimum. Well, the “colors” could be counted as friends, I guess, but they’re really just power-ups, activated by waggling the Wiimote. In the part I played, Sonic hit a yellow color creature, and waving the remote turned him into a drill that had him digging in any direction across a 2D plane, seeking out secret stashes of rings in the giant environment. A green color creature creates a laser that will aim Sonic and then launch him back out into the level.

•It’s fast. Sonic Adventure fast. The levels I played were bright and colorful, one long sprint of dodging and jumping and Sonic doing what he does best.

•I was told that there wasn’t a hub world, but there was definitely a map screen, showing off a series of planets in space from which Sonic could visit and access levels. In fact, my first reaction to seeing the game was: “Sonic Galaxy.” That’s not a bad thing, right?

Full Joystiq preview
Thanks to Mr.S at the SSMB for the heads up on the preview!

SEGA’s Sonic Colours Flickr set

Wii screens:

DS screens:

Artwork:

ONM’s Sonic 4 WiiWare Preview

UPDATE: We’ve just been given the following info via the comments section from long time ONM subscriber and Sonic Relief founder MK –

MK says:
2 June, 2010 at 11:29 pm (Edit)@Shadzter: Hate to break it to you, but this is a preview from an old issue that they’ve only just now put online. So everything you read is at least a month or two out of date.

So the removal of motion controlled act’s may still be rumour for now.
/UPDATE END

Official Nintendo Magazine UK have posted a new preview for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 on their website together with a bunch of screenshots of Splash Hill Zone in the WiiWare version. Most interesting is the part about the Special Stages and motion control aspects where ONM confirm rumours going around the Sonic community that the two motion controlled Act’s have been removed from the console versions of the game.

A Special Surprise

The Special Stage is a fantastic update of the spinny, psychedelic one from the first Sonic game. In the original, you had to guide Sonic through a maze of coloured stones to reach a Chaos Emerald. It’s exactly the same here, with the same lovely sound effect going off every time Sonic bumps into one of the colour-changing gems, and the same familiar chime when he picks up the Emerald at the end of the stage.

There are a couple of additions this time though. There are also ring gates that you can’t get past unless you’ve collected enough rings, so if you haven’t managed it you need to go back and get more. What’s more, the Special Stages also have motion control, so you’ll be tilting Sonic left and right with the Remote.

I Second That Motion

This is the only time you’ll be tilting the Remote in the game, and it works. The Special Stages look superb and the addition of tilting controls doesn’t seem to detract from the experience whatsoever. And yes, the rest of the main game is very much the traditional D-pad and buttons setup from previous Sonic games.

Overall the preview is very positive, ONM continually throughout express their love for the games classic Mega Drive controls, feel and design especially the momentum required to build up your speed from the classic Sonic games. You can check out the preview for yourself in full with screenshots over at ONM’s website.

Gamespot Preview Sonic 4

Yet another Sonic 4 preview has hit the net, this time from Gamespot who seem to be more concerned about the game than IGN and GamesRadar. Gamespot seem to think the game will strike a chord with classic fans but are worried about how the controls will work seeing as their preview was eyes-on rather than hands-on.

An interesting part of the preview is the details regarding special stages where we find out the giant ring that requires 50 rings to enter the special stage at the end of an act is returning. Also revealed is that the Sonic 1 type maze special stages will contain barriers in them that only open when you have the required amount of rings.

If you reach the end of these levels with more than 50 rings collected, you have the opportunity to jump into a giant ring that takes you to a bonus level. These levels are similar to those found in the original Sonic the Hedgehog in that you have to guide Sonic through a rotating maze. The interesting thing here is that in the Wii and PS3 versions of the game, you can use the Wii Remote or the Sixaxis controller to rotate the level manually to guide Sonic through (the 360 version will just use the analog sticks). There are barriers in the maze, but these can be unlocked by collecting a specific number of rings.

Check out the full preview with a few new screenshots over at Gamespots website.

IGN Previews Sonic 4

Busy day for Sonic 4 news today, first GamesRadar post up a Q&A after getting a look at the game and now we have a preview from IGN who also got to check out the early stages of the game. IGN say some kind words about the game and even think it’s better than the original classics. The homing attack’s presence that alot of fans are worried about is also given alot of praise saying that it’s been worked well into a 2D space and is an invaluable tool to chain enemies together in order to maintain speed.

Those who claim IGN are IGNorant to Sonic may want to think again after reading this Sonic 4 preview.

Thanks to Doctor Eggman at the SSMB for the heads-up!

UK’s Official Nintendo Magazine With Sonic 4 Scoop Next Month

Sonic 4 has seen more high profile leaks than SEGA would have liked but the marketing for the game looks set to officially kick into high gear soon as the first news of a magazine featuring a preview has been uncovered. As revealed in their latest issue (54, April 2010) the UK’s Official Nintendo Magazine will have screenshots and impressions of Sonic 4 next month. The magazine will be out on the 9th April so in you live in the UK you can pick it up then or you can rely on TSS to give you the down-low. Thanks to MK Skillz of the SSMB for the heads up!

Nintendo Power Previews Classic Collection, Notes Framerate Issues

Nintendo Power have just released their preview of Sonic Classic Collection in their latest issue (#252) and give an expectedly straightforward preview.  It mentions everything that you thought that it would, thanks to the recent string of media that hit the net last week.  One thing that sticks out is the preview’s mention of “framerate issues.”  Nintendo World Report’s preview also made light of hiccups in the collection’s framerate.

What has yet to be determined is whether these framerate issues are old or new.  Yeah, when you had a lot of rings and lost them all, for instance, the originals chugged, but are there new framerate issues as a result of porting?  We will find out soon enough.

Check out the scanned image of the preview below:

Preview: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing

The same two questions seem to be asked over and over whenever Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing gets mentioned. “Why is Sonic in a car?” and “Is it going to be better than Mario Kart?”. If you read this site often enough you’ll know the answer to the first; it’s to keep things fair as out of a vehicle Sonic would easily win any race. Sumo Digital went the first step to answer the latter question by releasing the demo for Xbox 360. TSS has been putting the game through it’s paces for the past few hours so do we think it’s shaping up to be faster than the speed of light or slower than a plumber arriving on time for an appointment?

The demo offers up the chance to play as either Sonic in his sports car or Banjo & Kazooie in their dilapidated nuts and bolts mobile. The only track available for racing is called the Lost Temple and is set in Sonic Heroe’s Seaside Hill, music and all. In fact the race course is chock full of SEGA and Sonic related paraphernalia. NiGHTS is the man in charge of the checkered flag for example and the crowd is made up of a number Chao. Crabmeat Badniks roam the sands scurrying sideways to try and block your path while Choppers leap from the sea in between jumps. Power-ups are contained TV style capsules and springs are deviously placed to shunt you off the racing line should you get too close. Any SEGA fan will be happy to soak in the detail track-side and bask in the charm of it all but when you’ve finished sightseeing it’s time to race.

This is where things may start to feel a little familiar to anyone who has played that other kart racing series. The trick to getting boost is by drifting and if you hold the accelerator down at the right time during the start you can even gain a head start. Some weapons propelled forwards bounce along the side of the track a little suspiciously like shells might elsewhere and traffic cones dropped behind you have the chance of slipping up the competition, if you get the reference. But just when you start to feel a sense of Deja-Vu creep over you the  excitable announcer will shout about someone having hold of an “All-Star” and your world is about to be rocked. Every character in the game has their own unique all-star move and rather than just being this games blue shell taking out the player up front they all differ which could be a huge factor in deciding which characters become your favourite.

Sonic for example is turned Super and is propelled down the track at an increased speed knocking other racers out of his way. Banjo and Kazooie make the sky rain “Jiggies”;  Over-sized jigsaw pieces as deadly to front of the pack as to the back. Shadow turns super himself and dishes out a liberal dose of Chaos Spears and Ryo Hazuki  swaps his motorbike with a fork lift truck to power down the track. On the games default difficulty setting you’ll see your rivals use these moves several times during a race. Sometimes they can be avoided while others will bring you to a standstill and potentially ruin your chances at victory.

All the All-Star moves in the world won’t get you very far until you master the basics though. As previously mentioned it’s still all about drifting which is done by holding down a drift button (The left bumper or trigger). After a few second you’ll see some boost spew out of the exhaust of your vehicle at which point you can let go of the drift button to be propelled forwards. The only other way to boost is by pressing the drift button while jumping which will trigger a trick in mid-air and a boost while on solid ground. The trick is to make sure you’re heading in the right direction for a boost as it’s all too easy to career into a wall or off a bridge by accident.

Once you have your brain around those concepts you’ll notice, on the default difficulty at least, that you’ll either just win races after a fierce battle or spend all race being every other drivers punching bag. For example, despite coming first quite in quite a few races and having the optimum driving technique more or less mastered there were still occasions where I would finish dead last or close to it thanks to a perfect storm of punishment. Being hit by missiles and boxing gloves is bad enough but getting up to speed for a ramp only to be hit by something and falling off the track is infuriating, especially as when you re-spawn you’re basically not moving forwards. Another time while taking the only short-cut on the track which involves taking a jump to a boost pad on an island, Knuckles landed on me squashing me cartoon style and sending me to a watery abyss. This re-spawned me back on dry land BEFORE the jump meaning I was last by a mile.

It’s this unpredictable nature of  ‘kart’ racing games that could really sour the experience for some. The flip side is that all the damage you take you can deal out to your foes and hitting someone with a missile and watching them fall behind you is as sweet as it sounds. Lowering the difficulty to it’s easiest has everyone just wait behind you which is no fun at all while the hardest setting is the maddest of the bunch as you fight tooth and nail for every position, the bad luck visiting almost every driver in equal measure. The balancing of the games difficulty to make the punishment exciting but not unfair will be crucial.

The frame rate in the demo isn’t the most stable but as it’s taken from an older build of the game. Steve “S0l” Lycett has promised in the SSMB that such issues had yet to be fully addressed in it’s optimization stage so hopefully the proper game will be a smoother driving experience. The game will ultimately live or die by the variety of it’s characters and it’s racetracks though and how different Sumo Digital has been able to make them feel. Seaside Hill looks pretty enough but the textures of foliage leaves a lot to be desired. Then again it’s not something you notice while you’re attempting to avoid the chaos. Other levels would do well to be packed with more SEGA references but will need some neat tricks to stop from feeling the same despite the change of scenery.

At this stage Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing has just enough promise, madness and ideas of its own to carve a hedgehog shaped niche in the Kart racing genre. With Mario Kart  Wii flirting with the mainstream; wide tracks, Wiimote control and all, ASR could actually find itself in first place as the hardcore Kart game of choice if everything comes together.

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is due for release February 23rd in the States and 26th in Europe for 360, Ps3, Wii and PC.

ASR: New Preview and Interview With Steve Lycett

Sumo Digital Producer Steve Lycett has informed us of a new preview from 2D-X for Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing and a new interview he’s recently had with Digital Spy. The interview touches upon ASR demo’s for Xbox 360, PS3 and even DS, implementing Ryo Hazuki and wether they’d like to take on Shenmue 3.

As for the preview it’s very positive from graphics to characters to controls, the previewer even goes as far to say that the game has now jumped from mere consideration to a game he’s now really looking forward to.

We’ll keep you up to date on everything Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing as we gear up to launch 23rd Feb in the U.S. and 26th Feb in Europe.

Thanks to Steve Lycett for the heads up and links!

Playr’s ASR Video Preview. More DLC Characters & Tracks Confirmation

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6746AoxDpA[/youtube]
UPDATE: Just a heads up, we’re getting reports this video is unfortunately blocked to anyone outside the UK and U.S. /END UPDATE

Playr in the above video preview Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing giving us a deeper look at some of the tracks, weapons, mission mode and 5 pretty good reasons why this game is better than Mario Kart. We also get another mention from the media that the game will have more downloadable characters and tracks after launch.
Anyway, what are you reading this for? Click play now!!

Spindash.de Previews ASR: Game At One Time Had ‘Showtime Events’ Feature Proposed


UPDATE: Steve Lycett under his S0L tag has over at the SSMB cleared up the Showtime Events part of the preview –

Showtime Events eh?

Ages ago we did have something like that as one design proposal – where through the race the commentator would announce something to mix things up – but it never went into the game proper. I think you can safely ignore that one!


S0L

/UPDATE END

Original artice below –

Sonic fansite Spindash.de have posted up what’s labelled on their front page as a preview of Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing but links to more a general information page for the game.

The following translated information is listed –

It will either be represented · some Sonic characters and some familiar characters from Sega Franchais.
· Richard Jacques (Sonic R, Sonic Chronicles), the music composed. Bentley Jones sings the title song “So much more.
· On all consoles online use there should be a Onlinemutliplayer mode, where you can race with 8 players against each other. Local multiplayer can be four players to play against each other. Probably it is in online mode, the DS version to play only four of us can.
· Overall, there will be 20 characters and 24 tracks
Each character has their own vehicle, including race cars, monster truck, motorcycle and much more.
· All-star action: Each character has a special ability that helps him catch up if it is a little further back. Sonic turns into Super Sonic, Beat can go on his skates, etc.
· Showtime events: This can also be used if one lagging and it affects all the other drivers, in total there are 26 Showtime events. These include for example Reverse a Roo, Little Big Lap and Melee Madness
After each race you earn · Sega miles, can be used in a shop for more characters, tracks and songs to buy.
· There is a narrator who describes what is happening on the track. Who does not want him to hear, you can disable it.
· In the single player there is next to the Grand Prix calls a mission mode and a Time Trial.
· In an Art History section you can about all the characters and their field games

Bolded are the points we’ve not heard much about such as the History section which as far as I’m aware has only been briefly mentioned and not much about what it contains.

The SEGA Miles currency to buy more characters, tracks and music is re-affirmed.

Completely new are the Showtime Events which translate poorly but we can gather that they apparently help with lagging(in online races maybe?), there are 26 of them and they each have names such as Reverse a Roo, Little Big Lap and Melee Madness. For now if they are actually in the game we’ll have to wait until more information is revealed to clear things up. We’ll update you when we know more.

ASR Preview, Stickers & Poster In New ONM,

The February issue of Official Nintendo Magazine is out today and in it is a very positive preview of the Wii version of Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing. Obviously we can’t give you the full preview here or ONM’s legal team will be on our backs, they end with the summary –

It’s Sonic, it’s Ryo from Shenmue, it’s great drifting, it’s loads of ridiculous power-ups, it’s online multiplayer and it’s Billy Hatcher back from the dead. What more do you want?

For the £3.99 asking price it’s a good read and you also get some Official(SEGA Europe labelled) ASR stickers and a 2 page poster with new artwork.

dabbido over at the SSMB has put the 2 poster pieces together so you can see it in full, thanks dabbido! –

Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Curling to iPhone

Our friends at TouchArcade give us the skinny on the recently announced mobile title “Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.”  Much like the last mobile olympic outing, Sonic and Co. will be going it alone without the characters from the Mario universe.  TouchArcade has provided an HD video of two of the four events, curling and snowboarding cross.  Hit the jump to check it out.

Continue reading Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Curling to iPhone

Nintendo Power Preview Wii & DS ASR

Nintendo Power have previewed the Wii & DS versions of Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing and have also received a few new screenshots of both versions. Nintendo Power re-affirm their earlier confirmation of a Space Channel 5 character presence in the game, no specific character is mentioned but our bets are on Ulala the star of that series. No new information is revealed unfortunately but its always nice to have a look at how the game is looking on the Wii & DS with so much attention always on the HD versions.

Check out the article below(Click thumbnail to enlarge).
Thanks to Emerl over at the SSMB for the scan.

np250sasasr

IGN UK Previews Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing

sonic-sega-all-stars-racing--20091215084049781

Leave it to Steve Lycett (S0L) himself to tip us on a preview for his own game!

IGN UK today has posted a preview of the upcoming mascot kart-racing title.  They enter the preview rather pessimistically, stating that Sonic R and Sonic Drift were heading in the right direction, but all hope was lost with the Sonic Riders series.   However, they immediately turn the corner once they start playing the game and giving props where props are due:

Scratch under the surface, though, and there’s every reason to get excited. The SEGA cast is more than just window-dressing for a straight-up clone; they’re lovingly woven into Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing’s very fabric, with the company’s back catalogue treated with the kind of respect one wishes the more recent Sonic games had displayed.

IGN UK also tried to guess what’s coming down the pipe for the title in the form of unlockables, secrets, and downloadable content:

Our guesses – which ranged from a playable Opa-Opa and Fantasy Zone level to an Outrun themed stage – were met with wry grins and refusals to comment from the PR. They’re all lovingly worked in, their stages replete with familiar chimes that will set SEGA aficionado’s hearts aflutter. It’s first-class fan service throughout.

All in all, IGN says that ASR feels tight and responsive, thanks to Outrun 2‘s drifting engine.  It also feels like a more complete SEGA package than Sumo Digital’s last mascot-parade, SEGA Superstars Tennis.  I’m excited now (and this is coming from somebody who said “uuuggghhhh” when he saw the first trailer).

Read the full preview at IGN UK.

Archie’s Sonic Universe No.10 Preview

Archie Comic’s have released a preview of Issue number 10 of Sonic Universe, the 2nd part of it’s 4 part series focused on Knuckles and the Chaotix.

Here is an excerpt, the cover and first 5 pages they’ve revealed –

“Echoes of the Past Part Two”: As Knuckles’ friends try to valiantly defend the Master Emerald against a seemingly never-ending horde of robots, Knuckles delves deeper into the mysteries surrounding him… until he finally finds Dr. Finitevus! Knuckles is bent on revenge, but he’s not counting on the surprise twist that will delay his quest. You can’t afford to miss this exciting, action-packed issue!

su1 su2 su3

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Link