SEGA Games for the Sonic Gamer, Part 1

SonicsegaLike many SEGA fans, I started out as a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog more so then SEGA itself. As I became more invested in SEGA hardware, though, I was encouraged to begin trying out some of SEGA’s other franchises. I’ve since grown to love a variety of SEGA franchises and as part of the #Sonic23on23 celebration, I’d like to share some of my favorites with other Sonic fans on behalf of SEGAbits! All of the titles I’ll be talking about in this series tickle my fancy in the same way Sonic games have for years, that any Sonic fan ought to experience. These titles are not necessarily platformers, or involve cute and furry animals, but they do share at least one key element with Sonic games.

This series will divide the different games into categories and let you know which title you ought to try fist. I hope you’ll try some of these games!

Rail Shooters:

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After Burner

Before Sonic, SEGA had another adrenaline inducing game called “After Burner”. Here, players take control of the iconic F-14 Tomcat and blast through stages at sonic speed…literally. The After Burner games are all about memorization and twitch game play. Players have to be fast and at least somewhat familiar with enemy formations in order to succeed. All of the After Burner games produce a great sense of speed that is impressive even these days.

The original After Burner is not the most easy game to pay these days, and the best versions of the game available were made for the SEGA 32X and Saturn. SEGA has released a version of the game for the 3DS, which I do recommend picking up if it ever comes over. More accessible is After Burner Climax, which is currently available on Xbox Live and PSN.

If you want to know more about the game franchise, I recommend heading over to SEGAbits and checking out our content from After Burner Week.

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Panzer Dragoon

In Panzer Dragoon, players take flight on top of a big laser breathing dragon. This franchise is slower and more methodical then the After Burner games, but makes up for that slower pace with deeper game play and longer levels. Just like any great rail shooter, Panzer Dragoon is all about twitch game play, as players get constantly attacked on all sides by waves upon waves of enemies as they blast through beautiful, creative levels. Panzer’s world and music also possess an exotic charm that sets the series apart from other rail shooters.

Panzer Dragoon Orta is easily the most accessible game in the series, as it is the most affordable and is playable on both the Xbox and Xbox 360. It is also my personal favorite game in the series and has probably aged the best out of all of them thanks to the Xbox’s capabilities. The original trilogy is currently only available on SEGA’s Saturn. Of those, Panzer Dragoon Zwei is easily the best rail shooter of the bunch, though the original Panzer Dragoon is also pretty good. The franchise’s magnum opus, Panzer Dragoon Saga, is unique and excellent RPG, though is quite expensive and doesn’t really possess the qualities that would lead me to recommend it to Sonic fans.

Sonic Team Games

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NiGHTS into Dreams

Kind of obvious, but NiGHTS needs to be included all the same. NiGHTS once had a tendency to pop up often in Sonic games, and with good reason: outside of the Sonic series NiGHTS probably stands as the best thing Sonic Team has ever made. It shares some of Sonic’s qualities: it is simple, yet inventive. Each stage has its own theme and gimmicks that make them stand out and memorable. Many of the stages have unique topography that really do look like they came out of a dream.

NiGHTS isn’t exactly adrenaline inducing, but it’s still a fast game. Many of the game’s best moments come when your quickly zooming through loops and collecting blue chips, racking up huge links and points in the process. NiGHTS is all precision and memorization, perfecting your runs through the game’s stages so that you can improve your scores and A rank all the stages. NiGHTS into Dreams in many ways invokes many of the best elements of Sonic’s best games.

NiGHTS into Dreams HD is available on Xbox Live, PSN and Steam. If you’re feeling up for playing it old school, it’s also available on the Saturn. There was also a sequel released for the Wii version called Journey of Dreams, but that isn’t really as good and shares flaws with many of Sonic Team’s modern Sonic games.

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Ristar

Though it doesn’t bear the Sonic Team name, many Sonic Team alumni apparently worked on the game. In fact, this was character designer Yuji Uekawa’s first game. He would soon go on to become the character designer for the Sonic games starting with Sonic R in 1997.

Ristar itself is considerably slower than your standard Sonic game, but features the kind of cute character design, creative level design and unique character abilities Sonic Team was once known for. Ristar is all about swinging and bouncing around stages and adapting to the unique gimmicks each stage throws at you. One musical stage has you carrying around metronomes and bringing them to song birds that, when activated, add their voice to the stage’s background music, which slowly becomes more elaborate over the course of the stage. Another has you springing traps meant for you by throwing miniature Ristar models. Even the boss fights are varied, and can range from a cute little snow ball fight with a small child to an epic confrontation with a giant robotic mole during a freefall.

If you want to know more, you can check out the content I wrote for Ristar Week, which I ran for SEGAbits earlier this year. Ristar itself can be played on the Wii and Wii U through the Wii’s Virtual Console service. It can also be found on numerous compilations including the SEGA Genesis Collection, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection and Sonic Mega Collection (as an unlockable). The original game can be played on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.
I’ll be back later with more recommendations, so stay tuned!

Community Challenged to Decide Transformed DLC Characters

Selecting characters for Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing: Transformed has been no easy task for the SUMO Digital team, with many fans voicing their opinions as to which SEGA characters they want to see included in the roster.

A few days ago, Steve Lycett of SUMO Digital (otherwise known as S0L on the interwebs) issued the community a challenge via the SEGA forums:

I’ll set you a challange. Without any policing from the SUMO or SEGA crew, if you can all agree on three characters by the 1st of December and prove there is sufficient interest of at least 1000 unique people *per* character, I will present the result to SEGA. I can’t promise anything will happen as a result, but since you’re starting it…

While nothing is set in stone as to what the outcome of any response will be, the community have already formed a collective and responded. T B from the SEGA forums has organised a set of petitions for the introduction of several SEGA characters as DLC for ASR:T.

Included in the list of characters you can petition for are Axel Stone from Streets of Rage, Ristar, Segata Sanshiro and Bayonetta amongst a whole host of familiar characters.

If you want to participate by adding your signature to one or more of the petitions, follow this link to the SEGA forum which outlines what is required to add your name to the cause.

Continue reading Community Challenged to Decide Transformed DLC Characters

Ristar to Wave the Flag in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

A new preview at V3tro has revealed that the flagman for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will be Mega Drive/Genesis ‘star’ Ristar. We guess the little guy’s waving in the previous game’s Egg Hangar track had a lasting impression and landed him the role.

You know the development team tried their best when the race starts and Ristar is cheerfully waving the flag. Each of the courses is a visual treat that will certainly make gamers smile.

Check out V3tro’s preview at the link below.

Source: V3tro

Sonic Center Running Sonic Marathon for Charity

With charity streaming the in thing right now, members from Sonic game superplay site The Sonic Center are joining the fun with their own marathon.

Taking place over six days, the TSC Charity Marathon will be playing through a buttload of Sonic games, along with Sonic Team classic Ristar and the NiGHTS series, in aid of the game-oriented children’s charity Child’s Play. If you want to support a good cause, be there and consider donating or spreading the word.

Also taking place on Friday will be open lobbies for Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing and Sonic 4 Episode 2‘s co-op mode – both on Xbox 360 – and Puyo Puyo VS 2, a Windows sim for the series that included Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. Have one of those games, and you could take part live on stream.

The Sonic Center Charity Marathon starts at 7PM (UK) Tuesday 21st August, and continues to Sunday. For full scheduling, see the stream channel.

Be Sociable and Win a Megadrive/Genesis Ultimate Collection LP!

If you’re one of these hip, cool people who loiters on the Global Networking / Distraction from work site facebook, you can have yourself an opportunity to snag yourself a nice bit of SEGA Megadrive history. Many of you will know that SEGA have produced a limited run SEGA Megadrive Ultimate Collection LP, featuring 6 tracks from SEGA titles such as  Ristar and Golden Axe (for those of you who are too young, an LP is one of those big black disc things that your Mums and Dads have at home in the dusty cabinet – usually featuring Barbera Streisand’s hits and ABBA Gold).

Anyway, if you fancy having a crack at winning one of these, for purely aesthetic purposes or not, head over to the SEGA facebook page, and vote in the current poll that is going: “What is your favourite SEGA Megadrive/Genesis series?” To increase your chances, let the peeps at SEGA know WHY the series is your favourite in the comment box.

If you’re reading this, you are now by law required to vote Sonic…not that he’ll need any help mind you…

Sonic Mega Collection Details

This has prolly been mentioned in every other website and board under the sun, but… more info on Sonic Mega Collection!

The game’ll come with:

  • Sonic 1
  • Sonic 2
  • Sonic 3
  • Sonic & Knuckles
  • Sonic 3D Flickies Island
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Mean Bean Machine

+ Two unlockable games – Flicky and Ristar. Yes, Ristar! Continue reading Sonic Mega Collection Details