TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Mobile (Dash/Crash)

Everywhere you look, classic Sonic games are on things that go beep.  With the success of Sonic 1 Mobile, with its sales exceeding 8 million units, SEGA thought it would be a swell idea to port Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to mobile phones as well.  Since Sonic 2 is so damn big, it was released in two parts, Dash and Crash.  My mobile provider recently put up Crash, so I gave it a spin in order to make my intended Dash/Crash, 2-in-1 review.  The verdict?  It’s Sonic 2 and good.  Big surprise.  I’ll keep it brief, kids. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Mobile (Dash/Crash)

Sonic the Hamilton

I like almost all music.  “Almost, you say, Slinger?”  Yeah, I cannot stand country whatsoever.  When you go to karaoke night at the bars every Wednesday night, the hicks in Nebraska love to sing their Garth Brooks.  I’m rather open about rap and hip-hop, as the beats and grooves can prove to be rather cathartic at the end of the day.  That, and it can really pump me up before I step onto the field.  I have been talking a lot about Charles Hamilton lately, because I like his sound and he has been making news with the release of his new mixtape, “Sonic the Hamilton.”  I have had a while to check out his new tracks and I urge you to give this Hedgehog-lovin’ rapper a shot.

As a mixtape, I expect a lot of songs to use sampling.  A majority of this mixtape does that and it is rather successful.  A well-executed sample can add new dimension to a song and allow people to relive the source material.  Many of Hamilton’s samples are, of course, Sonic tunes and when I heard the familiar Genesis tracks, I could not help but not my head with the beat. Continue reading Sonic the Hamilton

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Unleashed

I found it hard to write this review. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but because I wasn’t sure how I was going to say it. Hashimoto-san and company have worked very hard on the latest Sonic adventure. It’s clear to see when you take a peek at the screenshots, or learn about the Hedgehog Engine, or hear about how they spent countless months designing Sonic stages that cover hundreds of virtual miles. Sonic Team haven’t scrimped here, they had something to prove after Sonic 06 that they can create a well-produced, non-glitchy game. And they have. Based on the effort put in, I’d give them as many Thumbs Up as humanely possible. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Unleashed

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is further proof, beyond Sonic Spinball and Sonic Riders, that the classic hedgehog formula can be applied to just about any old genre SEGA sees fit (not always successfully, mind). The idea for this game apparently came about during a discussion with Bioware’s managing directors and SEGA America’s President Simon Jeffery. Obviously the concept and challenge of putting Sonic the Hedgehog in untested waters was just too good an opportunity to pass up, but also came with a worrying premise for gamers. Because we’d all been there with Shadow the Hedgehog.

With the standard Sonic games not doing so hot, was a spinoff – which happen to be extremely hit and miss in the history of the franchise – really the best way to go about repairing the damaged reputation the blue blur has? Would the franchise be in good hands with Bioware, an excellent developer known for their more mature RPG projects? Read on and find out, in TSS’ definitive review.

Continue reading Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

SAGE 08: Sonic Frenzy Adventure

Sonic Frenzy Adventure is one of those games that started a long long time ago and was never quite finished. Unlike most projects which ended up being canned though, SFA has stuck with it and is here to prove that ambitious fangames can be seen through from beginning to end. The question is though, is it still relevant in today’s fangaming scene, with Sonic Nexus and Retro Sonic ushering us into a new, exciting era of the hobby?

What it does, it does pretty well and in an entertaining fashion. You’re not going to walk away from the latest Frenzy Adventure demo thinking it’s a poor excuse for a fangame. Clearly a lot of detail and attention has gone into this game so far, with a stonking 16 Zones promised plus a Chao raising minigame. The presentation for each Zone is impressive, and BlueFrenzy has thrown some good gimmicks and ideas into each one. Continue reading SAGE 08: Sonic Frenzy Adventure

SAGE ’08: Sonic – Time Twisted

Time Twisted and I have a history together. The game debuted during the same SAGE as my project and we have made an appearance at the show for three years running now. It is always a good sight to see that a project is still alive. Secondly, we both chose the path of emulating Sonic CD, which is a plus, in my book. It remains a highlight of the show for anybody looking for a demo with more content than most (three zones here, broskis). Nonetheless, personally, I am gradually more and more disappointed with each subsequent release.

When it came down to gameplay, the physics are similar to Sonic Panic, in that they are manageable and are not intrusive to the action. A much needed improvement that I noticed this year was the beefed-up spin-dash. It only takes one touch of the space bar to power up Sonic to full speed and that is a godsend, in my opinion. The core gameplay experience does not twist the fun, but there are a few questionable gameplay choices that will. For example, ring loss is, apparently, absent. Sure, it happens, but I cannot collect any rings. None.

Time Twisted, as stated earlier, takes after Sonic CD and its time travel element. In previous years, I did not think there was a reason for the time travel, as Overbound, the creator, might not have thought of a purpose for it at the time. That said, now that development is three years in, there should be a reason why I should even bother going back to the past. I had to destroy something in the past levels of Sonic CD, so there was a reward for keeping my speed up in the present. Here, I am simply unmotivated to brave the journey through time. Time Twisted treats this feature like a novelty and it feels phoned in for the sake of having time travel while other fangames do not. Continue reading SAGE ’08: Sonic – Time Twisted

[SAGE ’08 Review] Review Round-Up #1

There are always short demos on the show floor, so I’m combining them into one post here. Today, I’ll be reviewing a few of the lesser known titles at the show, in order to give them some exposure. The bigger games you already know about and will be getting larger reviews, like Fated Hour, later this year. I’m holding those off, as they always update with bug fixes and stuff throughout the expo.

The following, arbitrary scoring system will be used for these review round-ups:

  • Sucks: Avoid at all costs
  • Kinda Sucks: You might like it, but probably not
  • Meh: Doesn’t suck, but isn’t cool either
  • Interesting: Worth your time
  • Way Past Cool: Must see!

SONIC PANIC – Meh

Spike has had this game running for nearly 3 years now and this year, we get new content and a brand new name. Formerly named, “Sonic the Hedgehog 4,” Sonic Panic follows Sonic as he chases Robotnik across various galaxies and planets. The demo features the Planet Mech level of Rail Road, which is a Genesis revamp of Sunset Park from Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble on the Game Gear. I am a complete sucker for Game Gear levels, so I went into the demo with modest expectations.

First off, you will notice that the music is awful. The instrumentation is simply horrific and you will be cursing FL Studio for having such poor guitar samples. Once you get past that, your attention will be directed towards the “close, but not quite” physics of the game, which are decent enough. Jumping could use some improving and the spindash is extremely weak, but otherwise, the whole gameplay experience is serviceable and is hardly game-breaking in the slightest.

As a Genesis-styled game, the level design features branching paths and “awesome secret walkthough wall shit.” While it is nice to have many places to go, there is simply not much to do. The whole level is devoid of any activity, mostly due to the lack of badniks, as I only encountered a couple. There are a few industrial-themed gimmicks in there to tide you over in spots, however.

Augmenting the demo’s emptiness has to be the graphics. Essentially everything is black and any variety the foreground tries to offer is thrown out the window. There is the occasional yellow, construction stripe, but that is about it. The background is nice, with the sunset and all, but the black silhouettes of the towers in the background have no contrast to the foreground, thus adding to the black attack. Continue reading [SAGE ’08 Review] Review Round-Up #1

SAGE ’08: Sonic – The Fated Hour

Kuzko.  He found his groove.The man on the left is Kuzko. He found his groove in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. In this forgettable animated movie, starring David Spade and John Goodman, Kuzko (Spade) is turned into a llama by some crazy, usurper bitch and Pacha (Goodman) has to save him. They run around and do a whole bunch of wacky shit, avoiding the crazy, usurper bitch as much as possible. They get to Kuzko’s palace to reverse the process, an epic battle ensues, and Kuzko returns to being emperor and the big, stupid, comic relief character teaches some kids how to talk to woodland creatures. What does Kuzko learn? While a llama, he changes his arrogant, selfish ways and embraces the world and the people that inhabit it. His 180-degree turn is truly heartwarming, albeit formulaic and uninteresting.

What does Kuzko have to do with a Sonic fangame? Well, BlazeHedgehog’s Sonic: The Fated Hour has been in development for ten years. Ten. Read up on it, because I’m not lying here. Finally, after years of gameplay changes and data wipes, Fated Hour has finally found its “groove” in the alpha version of Sonic Worlds. Kuzko’s change of heart happens after he is transformed back into a human and Fated Hour is at this point still in the “llama” stage. The project has made a huge change for the better, hopefully leading to greater things, but there is still a long way to go to fully develop its character, like Kuzko.

Fated Hour offers up your standard fare of Genesis-styled gameplay, while expanding upon it to keep it more unique amongst the sea of booths at SAGE this year. These new inclusions are first made apparent by Amy Rose, who offers to explain the controls to the game. Rather than only have the jump button, there are four in use during the game. However, only two are in use during this showcase: jump and jump cancel. Jump cancel will break the ball Sonic normally goes into during a jump and allows him to grind a rail or wall-kick. The multiple button setup sounds good on paper, but trying to wall-jump between two walls with two buttons is cumbersome and mapping Sonic’s wall-stick to the jump button or making it automatic would work better. When the game offers high scores for best times, the time-attackist might have difficulty trying to blow by a section of wall jumping. This button tandem is like an old man, because it threw off my groove. Continue reading SAGE ’08: Sonic – The Fated Hour

Famitsu Scores Sonic

The latest Famitsu magazine has hit store shelves in Japan, and the four editors have rated Sonic the Hedgehog on XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3 rather healthily.

Sonic’s latest adventure was rated on both next generation platforms and received overall scores of 30/40 and 29/40 respectively. A bit of a surprising score considering the general panning the game has had from other outlets, stranger still rating the 360 version higher than the PS3 offering.

Famitsu is regarded as the ultimate gaming tome in the land of the rising sun, and is even highly respected in Western circles. Their reviews are hyper-critical most times, and feature four writers or editors assessing the game and each giving a score out of 10. As such, games scoring 30 or higher out of a possible 40 is seen as a promising assessment. Continue reading Famitsu Scores Sonic

TSS Reviews: Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)

It has arrived. After changing the formula with Sonic Heroes and getting mixed responses, the Team have gone back to basics and stuck with what works. The result is a mixture of Sonic Adventure’s town stages and level structure and Sonic Adventure 2’s involving plot lines. Now we’ve hit the next generation of consoles, does the tried and tested work in Sonic the Hedgehog? Continue reading TSS Reviews: Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)

First Sonic Gems Collection Review Published

Electronic Gaming Monthly have published in their current September issue, the very first review of Sonic Gems Collection. The EGM staff as expected have not taken much of a liking to the game, understandable though if you keep in mind this compilation was created sheerly with the hardcore fans in mind.

Scoring an average of just above 6/10 EGM describe the compilation as ‘A diamond, two opals and lots of cubic zirconia. (Check the media link for a scan of the review) How well will the game be received by the fans and the rest of the gaming press after a review like this? Stay with SONIC NEWS to find out first.

Sonic Gems Collection will be released on Tuesday the 16th of August in North America for GameCube, and on PS2 and GameCube in Europe before the end of the year.

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut

The game that has been praised by many Sonic fans as the better of two Sonic Adventures has been re-released on Nintendo GameCube. After SA2 Battle and Mega Collection (the only other two Sonic games on the console), this comes as no real surprise – Sonic Team is milking its mascot as much as they can by enticing Nintendo fans into the world of the blue blur. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

This game is (or rather, was in the US) getting quite a reputation for itself recently. Sure, it may only be an upped version of Sonic Adventure 2 on Dreamcast, but what really excited everyone was the fact that Sonic was appearing on a Nintendo console… for the first time! Practically every Sonic fan in the known universe has been wanting this title since, and yes, even though it is just a DC port. Amazing, huh? But, it’s out in the US, toted for GC’s European Launch in May, and yet all the yankie video games mags, and even some UK Import mags, are ripping on it. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

TSS REVIEW: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (8-Bit)

In another unprecedented ‘Sonic’ port over to Game Gear and Master System from the Mega Drive, Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine pits you against 13 stages of puzzle-mania! Basically, beans drop endlessly from the top of your chamber. The aim of the game is to link up four or more of the same colour to make them disappear, and in doing so foil your opponent in achieving the same goal. You see, when you release beans, ‘Refugee Beans’ come dropping into the chamber of your rival, blocking his chamber up. The player who fills up their chamber first is the loser. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (8-Bit)

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Advance

Sonic makes his first appearance on the Game Boy Advance, and it’s about flippin’ time! Everybody’s been waiting… anticipating this release since Nintendo’s handheld launched. And now, I can finally tell you how it plays. People might think that a return to 2D platforming isn’t a great idea for Sonic – especially once you account for how good Sonic Adventure 2 is. Well, don’t even think about comparing the two, as they are meant to work together – on GBA and GameCube! Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Advance

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Jam

Sega Saturn owners the world over were looking for a reason why they parted with their Mega Drives and Sonic games, and got a Saturn instead. Well, Sega listened to them, and gave them…. a compilation CD. But not just any CD. This gave the post-Mega Drive owners a chance to play their fave Sonic games again. That’s probably why Sonic Jam meant so much to Saturn owners during the big black box’s life. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Jam

TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 2

In SA2 you can choose to play as either the Dark Side to take over the world, or the Heroes trying to save it, in different perspectives of the same story. You can play as Eggman (YES!) to help the fat one and newcomers Rouge the Bat and Shadow the Hedgehog (who you can also play as) to destroy the world (yet again, Eggman never gives up). Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Adventure 2

Fan Game Review: Sonic Wars

Sonic Wars, released by Diablo on Sonic’s Birthday (that explains the familiar icons appearing at the title screen), is your average Sonic platforming adventure. But, although this seems good for a game that’s rushed (hey, it wasn’t me that said it, Diablo admitted it ^_^), there are a few flaws that stop this game from getting as good as it should have been. Continue reading Fan Game Review: Sonic Wars

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Pocket Adventure

This is one of the first Sonic titles officially developed for a non-Sega platform – namely the Neo Geo Pocket Color. This release was to accompany Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, but sadly the NGPC could never compare to the likes of Nintendo’s Game Boy Color no matter how much it tried, and therefore SPA didn’t get nearly enough attention. Shame that, because it is quite a good game to play. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Pocket Adventure

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Shuffle

Sonic Shuffle, originally titled Sonic Square, was created by members of the same team that helped Nintendo develop Mario Party (hence the similarity in the two games). The game sees Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles warped to a mystical land called Maginaryworld, where people’s dreams come true… if you excuse the horrible cliche. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Shuffle

Fan Game Review: Sonanoid

Sonanoid is based on the simple concept of Arkanoid. Wow. Use a ‘bat’ and ‘ball’ to hit blocks etc in the air. How… Fun… Zzzzzzzzz… I’m being a jerk obviously – actually Sonanoid is quite addictive, and H Hog has produced a rather fun game with a lovely Sonic twist. Gone are the usual blocks from other brick-busting games, and in come original Sonic items. Continue reading Fan Game Review: Sonanoid

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure

Well, Sonic Adventure sees Sonic and Tails once again journeying to defeat Eggman, only the plot is much more epic this time. Sonic is seen chilling out in Station Square when a commotion in the street invites him to face off against a strange enemy made of water. When the creature is defeated, Sonic runs into Tails, who discovered a Chaos Emerald on his travels. The duo go to the Mystic Ruins. On the way they meet Eggman, who introduces the two to ‘Chaos’, the water monster Sonic fought earlier. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure

TSS REVIEW: Sonic R

Sonic R is exactly what it says on the tin – a racing game. Only… the ‘Racing’ is abbreviated with an ‘R’ and it’s not in a tin. It sees you take a whole cast of Sonic Team characters out on a racing revolution! A competition is being held on Sonic’s home grounds, and the blue blur just can’t help but notice it. Sonic can’t turn something like this down. Tails joins him in signing up for the competition, however it they soon find out that it was all just a ploy set out by Dr Robotnik to trap the blue hedgehog. The swine. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic R

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Blast / G Sonic

This is the final Sonic game for the Game Gear, and boy did Sonic go out with a bang with this title! Everything has been enhanced and redesigned in order to make it a game similar in fashion to Sonic & Knuckles. The plot of the game is as you would expect from your average Sonic game – the exact details escape me. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Blast / G Sonic

TSS REVIEW: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island

Here’s the final Sonic game released on the Mega Drive, before the blue blur moved on to the Sega Saturn. On a similar note, but on a different whistle, this game marks Sonic’s debut on Sega’s 32-bit powerhouse. A totally new ploy has been devised by Eggman, involving Flickies. These strange birds live in another dimension and can warp anywhere via large rings. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Labyrinth

Another try at making Sonic more than just a platform game, this time for the Game Gear, and we must say that it is pretty addictive. And slow. The basic plot is that Sonic’s speed shoes have been stolen and replaced with super slow sneakers… essentially, some confusing tripe trying to convince us that Sonic needed to be put in a puzzle game. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Labyrinth

TSS REVIEW: Tails Adventure

A Sonic game, with only Tails in it. In fact, you could say this is a Tails game, because that’s who stars it. No Sonic. No Knuckles. Be proud, Tails fans! Yep, good ol’ Miles runs the show alright, and it all starts off in his home in the forest, where our two-tailed friend is having a kip in the woods. When suddenly, the forest is set on fire. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Tails Adventure

TSS REVIEW: Tails Sky Patrol

Another game that stars Tails and Tails alone, only this game really doesn’t have the same appeal as Tails Adventure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an OK game, but there’s something about it that just… annoys me. Now, the story is… well, I don’t know really. I haven’t really had more of a pleasure than playing it, I never owned it. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Tails Sky Patrol

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Drift 2

Well, here’s the sequel to the popular Japanese Sonic Drift, released on Game Gear a year or two before this game. The difference is, it actually came out in the West! It seems the old Sonic Drift story is back – the Chaos Emeralds are under threat by Dr Eggman and his cronies, and the only way to grab the Emeralds before the lardmeister does is to take off in the Sonic Drift races and win them at the end of each Championship Race. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Drift 2

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Triple Trouble / Sonic & Tails 2

This was named Sonic & Tails 2 in Japan, just like Sonic Chaos was called Sonic & Tails there. The story involves yet another world domination plan by Eggman, only this time (like in Sonic 3), he has the help of Knuckles, that god-darn red fool! That ‘trusty’ echidna nabbed all the Chaos Emeralds and has legged it. Sonic, not too happy, chases after Knuckles, with Tails close behind. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Triple Trouble / Sonic & Tails 2

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Spinball (8-Bit)

Released some time after its Mega Drive counterpart, Sonic Spinball arrived on Master Systems and Game Gears during ’94 and ’95. Everything is in pretty much the same style as the 16-Bit console versions… but… hmmm… well. There are a few differences that make this game different from other versions of the game, and these are explained below, along with a verdict. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Spinball (8-Bit)

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Drift

Here’s the first Sonic Drift – a game that never made it out of Japan. Shame that, as it’s pretty darn good (although Sonic Drift 2’s better ^_^). Well, by the looks of things, it seems that the Chaos Emeralds are once again under threat by Dr. Robotnik. The only way to stop him is to win the Chaos Emeralds in… The Sonic Drift Racing Championship! Or something. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Drift

TSS REVIEW: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

This is a rather unusual ‘Sonic’ game. Firstly because it’s actually Puyo Puyo in disguise, and secondly because although it features Sonic characters (Robotnik for example), the blue blur himself is nowhere to be seen. Our favourite belligerent scientist can no longer stand the happiness of Beanville, so he intends to use his new invention, the ‘Mean Bean Steaming Machine’ to transform the village’s bean-shaped inhabitants into slaves. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Spinball

Sonic Spinball sees Sonic thrown into a world of pinball objects. While you might think that’s quite a basic premise, the game actually feels pretty unique. It’s not your average pinball table… The story? Well, Sonic’s gotten himself in trouble again, isn’t he? After an airborne encounter against Eggman on the Tornado, the blue blur is flung into the sea and into Mount Robotnik’s sewage duct. At least Sonic can begin his counter-attack in earnest. Just watch the smell. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Spinball

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Chaos / Sonic & Tails

Like the Mega Drive, this third instalment in the Master System/Game Gear series has totally renewed graphics and offers the ability to play as either Sonic or (at last) Tails as you attempt to foil Eggman’s plans. Robotnik has gone on another ‘take over the world’ bender, and has created a new fortress: the Electric Egg Zone. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Chaos / Sonic & Tails

TSS REVIEW: Sonic CD

This game was the first Sonic game to use Time travel – they scrapped the idea on Mega Drive. Bookended with fab Sonic anime intro and outro sequences, Sonic CD’s story sees you rescuing Amy Rose from the clutches of Metal Sonic, Eggman’s newest creation built to eradicate Sonic and the world. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic CD