Happy 26th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

Can you believe it’s been 26 years to the day that the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game was released on Sega Mega Drive? The blue blur is now way too far gone for any ‘old enough to drink/drive (though not at the same time)’ jokes. In fact, he’s well on his way to being old enough to starting a mortgage and a family. Continue reading Happy 26th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

Hirokazu Yasuhara’s Sonic 1 & 2 Development Talk Now Online

Hirokazu Yasuhara who was one of the original designers for Sonic 1 & 2 has recently been discussing a lot of early concept and development work which went into Sonic 1 & Sonic 2.

This includes several sketches of level concept art posted on twitter and more interestingly an entire presentation about early Sonic 1 & 2 development builds, these include details such as how the time travel aspect of Sonic 2 would work including a level map, alternative zone layouts and early concept names for zones.

The presentation is in Japanese however an English version will also be uploaded at a later date.

We’ll let you know when that happens.

Source: Hirokazu Yasuhara Twitter

Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Inducted Into The Video Game Hall of Fame

Sonic the Hedgehog has now been put in the accolades of fellow major video game franchises such as Pac-Man, Super Mario and Zelda. Today, Sonic the Hedgehog has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame. With Sonic being well known for his speed, it didn’t take long for Sonic to reach the Hall of Fame that’s now celebrating it’s second year. Here’s the announcement from the official site. Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Inducted Into The Video Game Hall of Fame

Super Bunnyhop looks at the first level of every main Sonic game

The YouTube channel Super Bunnyhop has uploaded a 39-minute look at the first level of every main Sonic game. Hit the jump to see it, and also to get a full list of the games covered. Continue reading Super Bunnyhop looks at the first level of every main Sonic game

It finally happened, Ken Sugimori (Pokémon) has drawn Sonic!

l_55e84605c3550Above you see the cover artwork for the just announced Sega 3D Classics Print 2, a compilation of Sega’s 3D Classics on 3DS, though only five games are confirmed right now, including Sonic 1.

What’s so special is that like the box of the first pack, this was drawn by the main character designer and artist of Pokémon himself; Ken Sugimori.

More surprises are teased, like the blurred out bit above. Any guesses?

The pack is due on December 22nd 2015 in Japan. The first never left Japan, so don’t expect the same for this.

Image and announcement came from Famitsu.

New Sonic 1 Alpha Screenshots Uncovered

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 22.05.27New screenshots have been unearthed from the Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) alpha thanks to a scan from the August 1990 issue of old SEGA magazine, Mega Drive Fan, uploaded to a forum for discussion.

The scan was uploaded to fansite SEGA-16 and discovered by Retro members, and quickly identified as the alpha due to their extreme visual similarities to previously discovered media shown at the 1990 Tokyo Game Show, where the title was first revealed to the public.

The screenshots are some of the highest quality available of the alpha, giving us better look at some development designs and alterations the launch title for the SEGA Mega Drive went through.

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Aside from the instantly recognisable differences – such as the majorly differing mountain range background art and a completely different badnik design never seen in the final game, there are other small changes to be seen. These include Sonic’s sprite design, the palmtrees and the title screen logo.

You can also spot what could be various gameplay differences too, as Sonic (seen in the screenshot above) is not in his iconic spin jump form while coming in to seemingly aerial attack the badnik. It could be a possibility that the pinball nature of Sonic had not been established yet.

You can take a look at the screenshots in our gallery below, including cropped, blown up and touched up images thanks to Retro user cornholio857. Credit to the original scan goes to JumpingRyle of SEGA-16!

Side Scroller Sanctuary: A Classic Trilogy Retrospective

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Art by Veronica Vera, Not Enough Rings

This is a retrospective I did of the classic trilogy of Sonic games for SEGABits, celebrating the hedgehog’s 23rd anniversary week last year. I decided to spring (get it?) new life into it, since I was feeling pretty nostalgic today and recently played through these fantastic titles again I remembered how much of a treat they are. Let’s get to straight into it!

Ah, birthdays. The perfect times for parents to get out those old, embarrassing pictures of you when you were a baby. Our spikey blue hero is no exception to this, however his own classic outgoings were never something to be embarrassed about. In fact, many fans still refer to the original trilogy of games as some of the best games the series has made. I’m not far removed from this ideal, and as such I wanted to look back at these old gems of classic gaming, chronologically.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Filled with the sights of chequered hills, loop-de-loops, and the iconic sound of the SEGA chant on the boot up, the original Sonic the Hedgehog released in 1991, setting the stage for a future 23 years of Sonic. So much about this classic has been said already, but it’s worth giving it another run through, right? Let’s look at why this title is so iconic, and how it laid the groundwork for the future.

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Sonic’s well known for his speed, yet this title doesn’t really capitalise on that gimmick during your time with it. A key element with Sonic is that speed is earned as a reward for your skill and mastery of a level, and this really is the title which began that train of thought. Green Hill Zone is easy enough and gives the player plenty of freedom to get used to Sonic’s top speeds and style of level design, but immediately after, Marble Zone punishes you for trying to charge in without thinking.

This isn’t the only zone which forces a player to slow down and plan what their next moves are. The iconic Labyrinth Zone brings Sonic to the speed of snail underwater, all while avoiding deadly enemies and remembering to collect those all important air bubbles to ensure you don’t drown. Fortunately, in between these two platform heavy zones are Spring Yard and Star Light. As long as you’ve mastered rolling by that point, there’s crazy high speed thrills to be had.

Rolling is the key way you’ll be the speed demon this time around. Since the hedgehog has a speed cap on foot, putting yourself into a ball lets you bypass that. This is where the idea of rewarding a player’s mastery of a level comes in – you’ve gotta know what dangers lie ahead and the layout of the acts so you can most efficiently beat the clock and overcome the obstacles in your path. My current best on Green Hill is about 24 seconds.

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To finish the game 100%, you’ll need to defeat the final boss with six Chaos Emeralds in hand. Collecting the emeralds wasn’t much of an easy feat back in the day, especially when you’re going in blinded – the rotating stages could often get frustrating, especially if you didn’t know what you were doing (GOAL? That’s not my goal, that’s the exit!), and accessing them in certain zones was a nightmare (specifically, holding onto 50 rings). More recent versions like the current mobile ports allow you to quit and retry special stages, making it significantly easier on the player. A change I welcome, since it’s totally optional.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a solid title. It’s a little overrated nowadays, but without the iconic ideas it introduced we wouldn’t have its two sequels that built on the ideas and created fantastic experiences. The level design is solid, the visuals for its day were great, you can achieve a great sense of speed and the bosses are nice mix of challenging to simple. If I was going to recommend a version of this game to you, it’d certainly be the rebuilt mobile version, even with the touch screen controls. It’s the best port of this game to date.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)

Jump to a year later, and say hello to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Building upon its predecessor, Sonic 2 features more zones, more Chaos Emeralds, more bosses, more characters… and is commonly referred to as one of the best titles the Sonic series has ever made. It’s certainly one of the most popular and best selling, and only helped to propel Sonic to further mainstream popularity back in the day.

I think part of what makes Sonic 2 so successful are its zones. Sure we start with the typical green hill-ish zone once more, but immediately after we’re thrown into Chemical Plant, sporting purple water and giant ramps to roll down. Later on down the line there’s an ocean of oil, a bright casino, a chase in the sky… these unique level tropes were fantastic to look at and run through. All of these are enjoyable in their own way, sporting some individual platforming and exploration ideas in all of them. Not all of them live to this standard, but even then they still have some great level design.

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Something that should be noted about Sonic 2 is that the design has shifted to push much more of the “speed” gimmick. You’ll find yourself flying down giant hills and soaring into the air often, and loop-de-loops are common. This makes for some exhilarating moments you feel in control of. This speed focus can also be seen in the inclusion of the brand new move, the Spin Dash, now a staple of the franchise. Revving yourself up and releasing to a top speed is extremely satisfying, and helps to overcome those ramp issues you might have struggled with once before.

This doesn’t mean Sonic 2 is devoid of the platforming that Sonic 1 embraced fully. You’ll still need to slow yourself down at points and slowly make your way through areas. However, I can’t deny that Sonic 2 feels more linear. As long as you’re not playing blind, for most of the game you can comfortably charge forward and not get punished too often – apart from one or two zones. You can make up your mind if this is a strong suit for the hedgehog or not.

Sonic 2’s lowest points for me come in two areas – Metropolis Zone, and the special stages. Metropolis Zone is well known to be Sonic 2’s most difficult stage for good reason. The badniks are the toughest in the game and most cheaply placed, often found in almost unavoidable spots. You’ll find Shellcrackers waiting at the top of high ledges to knock you back down, or running ahead where a Slicer will suddenly appear and throw its twin blades at you. But aside from these guys, there’s platforming blocks with spikes that stick out of them, conveyor belts above lava, gears that you travel across, corkscrews to run up and black platforms that crush you. The corkscrews should be noted as one of the more challenging obstacles since they’re almost always littered with the exploding Asterons who will knock you down to the ground the minute they detect your presence. And the worst part? All of this goes on for three acts, rather than the usual two.

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And anyone who played Sonic 2’s special stages will understand where my pain comes from. Like the previous game, you’ll need 50 rings to access them, however this time it’s via checkpoints via levels. Never assume past the first few zones you’ll get to the special stages without actively trying to keep your rings. The special stages themselves are now iconic, sporting a half pipe design and littered with rings and bombs. Often though it’s difficult to see what’s ahead of you, I feel the design of them tries to confuse you in later stages. There’s no chance you’ll complete all of them blind. It took me many tries on later special stages to get to the end, and remember if you get thrown out you’ll have zero rings and have to collect 50 again. And of course, there’s nothing more frustrating than having the ring count needed and reacting to a sudden bomb in your way, but Tails just isn’t fast enough and you lose out on the goal. It could be just me, but I’ve always found these stages a nightmare, even more than Sonic 1.

Overall, Sonic 2 is a much more enjoyable title than its predecessor to me. It builds on the good of the original and expands on it. The level design gives more freedom for thrilling moments, the spin dash is a smart and satisfying addition to Sonic repertoire, the music is catchier and captures the essence of each zone brilliantly and the visuals look great and really capture the atmosphere of the zones. If you pick it up on mobile platforms, you also get access to the once forgotten Hidden Palace Zone through a certain pit which many remember the misery of…

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1993/1994)

And finally, we come to the big one. Famous for making use of “lock-on technology” and creating the biggest 2D Sonic game to date, Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the true version of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. There’s so much more content here and improvements, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles to date still stands as my favourite title in the series, and my most played one too.

3

Pushing on from Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles goes on to push more of a mix of high speed sequences and platforming. For me, it’s almost perfectly balanced here. There’ll be times where the hedgehog will do his thing and curl into a ball and zoom across the screen at a thrilling speed, and the game won’t punish you for having that fun. But then it slows down, and you have to methodically make your way through areas. Even the famous water zone Hydrocity contains high speed, water slide based segments. The design of the levels is expansive and feels far more immersive to travel through in general, since all acts and zones have transitions here.

Storytelling is a much bigger thing in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Unlike its predecessors which story was told in the levels themselves (to such a subtle point, you wouldn’t be reprimanded if you didn’t know it existed), this title actively shows the adventure which the speedy blue hero has through effective zone transitions, and events within levels which change their atmosphere (see – Angel Island setting on fire). The story isn’t intrusive, but still pushes you to want to keep moving and defeat Robotnik and his scheme to build the Death Egg. It’s also nice to see the rivalry between Sonic and new character Knuckles build and build to a point where they butt heads, and eventually unite. Seeing the Death Egg rise again above the clouds in Sky Sanctuary Zone feels suitably like a challenge to the player, and works on a great story level also.

The game contains fourteen zones overall, which is a pretty comfortably long adventure. These zones also continue with the unique zone trope ideas, creating a collection of enjoyable levels which never feel like retreads of ones you’ve already been to. What’s even better is that zones can be different from act to act – it might just be visual differences like Mushroom Hill’s seasonal changes throughout the zone or seeing the Death Egg in the background of Launch Base, but certain zones like Sandopolis go from traveling a outside in the desert to being inside a pyramid haunted by ghosts, and Lava Reef goes from being a scorching hot cavern to being a crystal wonderland.

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Alongside the focus of storytelling and unique level tropes, Sonic 3 & Knuckles also contains music unique to each act. This aids the progression idea significantly, but is just downright a pleasure to listen to. Act 2 is commonly a remix of Act 1’s music which feels just different enough to be both recognisable and brand new. It really helps create an atmospheric change too, such as Launch Base Act 2 feeling like a calm before the storm, or Hyrdocity Act 2 feeling like you’ve travelled to the deepest part of the waters. A special exception is Lava Reef Act 2, which completely changes its music style to suit a complete new area, and an idea of a mystery unravelling itself – this area leads to the discovery of Hidden Palace Zone where the prophecy of the Doomsday fight is, and where the Master Emerald lies.

The special stages here are the most enjoyable I’ve played in the series thus far – Blue Spheres is even a little addicting. The idea is to turn all the blue spheres into red, but touching a red sphere kicks you out of the stage. Unlike previously where you had to collect 50 rings, these stages are accessed via hidden giant rings in stages. This encourages the player to explore these large stages high and low. The stages themselves contain I believe the right mix of challenge for those who are blindly going in or are experienced – obviously, if you know these stages well, it’ll be smooth enough sailing to fight against the increasing pace, with only a little pressure kicking in at top speeds in later stages. But a newbie player will feel that pressure each time they enter a new stage. I never found myself wanting to throw my controller in rage even when I was kicked out once or twice on my first tries, it often felt like a mistake on my own fault. Either way, it’s always satisfying to create a square of red spheres and turn them into rings.

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There’s a few other little improvements I want to mention about Sonic 3 & Knuckles too. First off is the ability to have multiple save files which comes with level select, meaning you can pop in to any zone you fancy after you’ve finished. Second run throughs with Super/Hyper Sonic is something you may do often, I know I did. I also enjoy how each character feels just unique enough to want to use all three – Sonic’s has a insta shield which gives momentary protection, but more importantly he can take advantage of the new elemental shield powers which are a lot of fun (my personal favourite is probably the electric shield – double jump plus a ring magnet), Tails’ flight ability is finally usable here and helps out newbie players in difficult area and to find hidden secrets, and Knuckles has his own unique pathways and specifically designed sections (and story!) only he can traverse through. Because of this, replayability is far increased from what was there previously. Finally, I think the game’s multiplayer needs a little shout-out. These aren’t anything much more than races against a friend, but there’s fun to be had and the music found in these levels are hidden gems.

The reason why this title will stand among all other to me within this franchise might be partially down to nostalgia, but everything it does it does so brilliantly to me. It succeeds on a lot of levels – it takes steps visually with the environments, the music is lovely and easy to get addicted to, the level designs feel sprawling and fun to speed through, the story is told non-intrusively but is still surprisingly engaging… it feels it took all the best and worst elements of the previous two and made it all just downright fantastic. All three of these games will always stand on a pillar to me for their impact of the franchise, but this game especially holds a special place in my heart.

What are some of your favourite memories of the classic games? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

Taxman Remakes and Sonic 4 Being Ported To Amazon Fire TV

Whitehead confirms that his games will be available on launch date.

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Image copyrighted to Amazon

Yesterday, the electronics market was set alight from news that Amazon were entering the hardware fray with a media streaming device they call Fire TV.  Amongst its streaming abilities, Amazon also aims to compete with existing consoles by providing its own gaming content at cheaper price points.

Christian Whitehead, one of the developers responsible for the critically acclaimed remakes of Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Sonic CD, has already confirmed that these games will be included amongst the content when Gaming for Fire TV launches. Speaking on the performance capabilities of the system, he appears to think favourably of it, at least in comparison to the Ouya, which currently isn’t doing so well in the market.

As well as this, Engadget reports that Amazon has confirmed that both episodes of Sonic 4 will also be available amongst the launching software. This combined with the above brings the platform up to speed with other devices in terms of Sonic content available.

So, if you’re thinking of purchasing the Amazon Fire TV for yourself after yesterday’s news, you can be assured that it can provide you with your Sonic fix outside of watching countless reruns of the DiC cartoons.

Sources: Twitter, Engadget

 

3D Sonic the Hedgehog hits 3DS eShop this week

Sonic 1 Title Screen

The original Sonic the Hedgehog game is racing onto the Nintendo 3DS eShop in Europe and the US this Thursday, 5th December – but it’s already been ported to seemingly every gaming system under the sun, so what makes this one noteworthy? Well, this isn’t just your straightforward port, it’s a part of SEGA’s 3D Classics series for the 3DS, enhancing some of their classic games with fancy new stereoscopic visuals. It’s a whole new way to experience the blue blur’s first ever adventure!

3D Sonic the Hedgehog also contains an option to toggle the spin dash on and off, for those wanting either a newer or a more traditional method of play.

The game will cost £4.99 in Europe and $5.99 in the US. Will you be downloading this enhanced version of Sonic’s debut? Let us know in the comments!

Sonic 1 iOS Out Now: Tails & Knuckles Playable!

sonic1tailsWell this came out of nowhere! Yesterday we told you how the 3DS version of Sonic 1 was released in Japan, in the last hour without any announcement, the ‘Stealth-Tax’ version of Sonic 1 for iOS has been released and it contains 2 big surprises!

sonic1knucklesTails & Knuckles are now playable! Confirmed by both the product description and official screens on the product page, Tails & Knuckles can be unlocked giving you a completely new playing experience.

Continue reading Sonic 1 iOS Out Now: Tails & Knuckles Playable!

3D Sonic the Hedgehog Out Now In Japan

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If you happen to have access to the Japanese Nintendo E-Shop, you might be interested to know that the 3DS version of Sonic 1 has just been released. The game costs 600 Yen and can be found in the ‘recent digital only’ section of the store.

As of yet theres no official screenshots but that hasn’t stopped someone from uploading one or two screens of the game. According to one user the game has a few more breakable walls which are most likely included due to the spindash being in this version, as well as a “fish eye lense feature.”

Continue reading 3D Sonic the Hedgehog Out Now In Japan

3D Sonic the Hedgehog Coming to Nintendo 3DS Japan

A new Sonic game has been revealed! Well, not exactly new, but still!

Joining fellow Genesis favourites Super Hang-On and Space Harrier in Japan, the one, the only, and the original Sonic the Hedgehog is coming to its native Nintendo 3DS eShop on May 15th of this year!

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To be released as a 3D Classic, Sonic 3DS features the ability to play the original game with three dimensional depth, customizable controls, and the ability to toggle between the Japanese and “Overseas” versions, and Mega Drive 1 and 2 sound formats, as reported on Sonic Retro. Like the upcoming Taxman/Stealth remastered iOS version, players are also given the option to play the game with or without the Spin Dash.

A price is set for 600¥, and there is no confirmation of a Western release at this time.

Special thanks to Wraith on the SSMB for the tip!

Mega Drive Classic Sonic 1 Coming to iOS & Android, Sonic 2 Also Planned

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SEGA has announced at GDC 2013 that the classic Mega Drive title that kickstarted their mascot’s career Sonic the Hedgehog will be released for iOS and Android in April. The game will cost $2.99, run at 60FPS and will include a new time attack mode, widescreen support and a completely remastered soundtrack. Android Police reports that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is also planned for release on Android too, but SEGA didn’t give any details.

Christian Whitehead, who made the recent Sonic CD port, made this tweet to a follower on March 23rd. (Thanks, TimmiT)

Those feels, I’m preparing a build for GDC and I won’t even be there.

Could he be behind this port?

Hit the jump to check out some screenshots of Sonic the Hedgehog on iOS & Android.
Continue reading Mega Drive Classic Sonic 1 Coming to iOS & Android, Sonic 2 Also Planned

“Sonic the Hedgehog: Omochao Edition” Will Test Your Skill, Patience

What started off a joke hack has become so much more.

Everybody knows that Omochao is annoying, but only one man has the balls to make an entire ROM hack out of it.  Sonic the Hedgehog: Omochao Edition is an exercise in obnoxious from Sonic Retro staffer Cinossu that injects Sonic Team’s favorite floating tutorial into the classic Sonic experience.  While many people will be initially turned off by Omochao’s presence, there is much more to this hack than meets the eye, as it fundamentally changes the entire Sonic the Hedgehog experience.

The hack’s premise is to avoid being annoyed.  See that ring?  Don’t touch it.  See that badnik?  Don’t touch it.  If you do, Omochao will pause the game to inform you of your miniscule accomplishment and play the 1-up fanfare.  With every object you touch, the fanfare becomes longer and longer, making you reach for your emulator’s fast-forward key.  There have been many “don’t touch stuff” Sonic hacks in the past, requiring players to have lightning-quick Sonic skills and an intense amount of patience, but this one bests them all.

At this point, you’ll either be so annoyed that you switch off or be compelled to power through Green Hill without touching anything to collect the game’s medals and rewards.  While it sounds impossible in theory, Cinossu and his testers have been thorough, finding the optimal paths that require the least amount of item contact.  There is a way to beat the stages, but you have to stop, think and be smart about it, using the tight controls and level design present in the original Sonic the Hedgehog.  If there is a section where item contact is necessary, the game gives you an “Omochao Protective Shield” that allows you to progress without being disturbed.

Also, check out this “perfect” run of Labyrinth Zone.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Omochao Edition is more than a novelty, as it brings more than a patronizing robot to the table.  You’ll be able to select any stage from the outset (presented in a well-designed hub world) and medals and rewards for perfect play.  If you can get over the initial annoyance of the hack, the additions and improvements reward players for dedicated play and elevates this hack above other “joke” hacks that lose their appeal after a few minutes.  Future updates will give Omochao a voice through Cinossu’s SonMP3 plug-in, additional levels and Retro Channel support, allowing players to share their frustration online.

As noted, this hack is not for everyone, but if you want to give it a shot and avoid Omochao, here’s what triggers his prompts:

  • Collecting Rings
  • Item Monitors (doubly bad, as each individual item inside will also bring up a message)
  • Invincibility Running Out
  • Power Sneakers Running Out
  • Extra Lives
  • Destroying Badniks
  • Bouncing on Springs
  • Stepping on or Pushing Objects on Buttons
  • Getting Hit
  • Getting Killed
  • Drowning
  • Getting Game Over (will also eject you from the level and reset your saved Emerald Count)
  • Getting Time Over (will also eject you from the level)
  • Touching Lamp Posts
  • Getting the Giant Ring (without a protection shield)
  • Finishing the Act (without a protection shield)
  • Finishing the Zone (without a protection shield)
  • Hitting the Boss (without a protection shield)
  • Defeating the Boss (without a protection shield)
  • Getting in that Last Hit (without a protection shield)
  • Collecting a Chaos Emerald
  • Touching a GOAL Sign

Good luck.  Download and learn more about Sonic the Hedgehog: Omochao Edition here.

Original Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog Unlockable in Sonic Generations

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka announced at SEGA France’s Paris Games Week presentation over the weekend that the original Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog game will be an unlockable bonus in Sonic Generations. This won’t be news to those who followed the June demo leaks, but for those who didn’t, this should be very welcome news. That is unless you own the original or one of the many ports out there already.

Source: Destructoid (via PSX Extreme)

Thanks to SSMB member Blur of Blue for the news tip!

Sonic 1&2 Soundtrack Releases in Japan

Masato Nakamura’s Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Soundtrack was released in Japan on Wednesday.

As part of Sega’s 20th Anniversary celebration-cum-cash-in, this new soundtrack is three discs big. While the first contains the same old tracks we’ve heard a jillion times, the second disc has the never-before-released original demo tapes of all the games’ tracks. The Dreams Come True bassist reportedly sent these tapes via snail mail to Sega to be sequenced into the games.

The third disc is a mini-album containing Sweet Sweet Sweet from Dreams Come True’s hugely successful The Swinging Star album, better known as the ending theme in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, as well as its English version, Sweet Dreams. They’re accompanied by the equivalent themes produced by Akon for the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack in 2006.

The Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Soundtrack is available to import from Play-Asia and CDJapan. There’s no news yet whether it’ll see a release in the West, however.

Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 Commemorative 20th Anniversary Soundtrack Announced

Masato Nakamura, the mastermind behind the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 soundtracks and member of the popular Japanese super-band DREAMS COME TRUE will be producing a commemorative CD soundtrack to be released over the summer.

Not only will the soundtrack contain songs taken from the first two Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the SEGA Megadrive/Genesis, it will also include a reprint of the original sound demo tapes from both games, along with other bonus tracks yet to be announced.

This will surely be a must-have item for every fan amongst the community, let alone videogame music connoisseurs. Similar to the Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Heroes re-release soundtracks, this CD album looks set to only be available to Japan.

Sonic Stadium will keep you up to date as we learn more about this fantastic compilation!

Original story taken from Japanese Famitsu Webpage

Sonic 1 and 2 Jammed Into One ROM

You don’t need no stinkin’ Sonic Compilation here!

Sonic Retro Tech Member ColinC10 has consolidated both Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 into the Sonic 2 ROM to create one epic, seventeen-zone adventure.  While adding spindash to Sonic 1 has been done a bajillion times, this hack brings the entire Sonic 2 presentation over, including sprites, HUD and title cards.  What caught my interest the most (and why I’m even blogging about it) is the emerald count.

The 6 emeralds from Sonic 1 and the 7 from Sonic 2 all have to be collected to complete the game and obtain Super Sonic.  The way you access the different emeralds works the same way and you can collect an emerald from each set in a given act.  What this setup creates is an emphasis in exploration and ring collecting to maximize the amount of emeralds that you can collect in a given zone.  I enjoy this challenge.  Of course, you can ignore the emeralds altogether.

It’s great to tackle all of the levels of these two games in succession while carrying over your score and lives, too.  An “Arena Mode” is also available that gradually ups the difficulty of the levels, making their layouts harder and enforcing a stricter time limit.

If you feel like marathoning some Sonic this weekend, download this hack.  Be sure to watch Tails get annihilated three ways to Sunday in Marble Zone.

Sonic 1 & 2 Half-Off for Apple Devices

It’s back to school time and SEGA has got you covered with plenty of ways to distract yourself during lecture.

For us Sonic fans, you can grab Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 at $2.99, marked down from its normal $5.99 price tag.  If you want more Genesis Sonic games on even more devices, this sale is for you.  The sale ends September 1st.  The full list of available SEGA games are below:

Super Monkey Ball 1 $2.99 $1.99
Super Monkey Ball 2 $5.99 $2.99
Sonic the Hedgehog $5.99 $2.99
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $5.99 $2.99
Golden Axe $2.99 $0.99
Shining Force $2.99 $0.99
Streets of Rage $2.99 $0.99
Ecco the Dolphin $2.99 $0.99
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition (iPad) $7.99 $3.99
Phantasy Star II $4.99 $2.99

You still have to pay money to play that Streets of Rage port?  With a port that shitty, you have to pay me to take it off your hands.

[via SoA Blog]

Sonic Show: The Marcus Minute, Ep. 1

TSS’ vidcast, The Sonic Show, has a new face… and it’s the face of a generation.

If you were anywhere near SAGE 2009 this past July, you should know Marcus.  He had a few hours of air-time that everybody loved.  If you are unfamiliar with him, here’s his story of how he ended up on The Sonic Show:

Marcus was born in 1995.  Marcus’ first Sonic experience was Sonic Adventure 2 for the Dreamcast.  He didn’t know what a “Genesis” was until last year.  He decided to play the games that started it all.

One day, Marcus decided that he wanted to be like everybody else on YouTube and review classic games.  Nobody watched him and those that actually did hated his guts.  Marcus locked himself in a closet of Shadow plushies and cut his wrists with the instruction manual of Sonic ’06.

We saw him in action and, quite frankly, he’s the best at what he does.  Jay (DiscoPonies), head of the Sonic Show, decided to pick him up.  Marcus emerged from his closet a new man.  Today, we bring you his first review as he takes a retrospective look at the original Sonic the Hedgehog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxlAXfptNPk

Watch “The Marcus Minute” at The Sonic Show.

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Also new at The Sonic Show is #47, a behind the scenes look at the making of a film that you probably didn’t even know existed.  It’s a sequel to boot.  What?

Watch the behind the scenes footage of “Return to Little Planet II” at The Sonic Show.

Pocket Gamer’s Handheld Sonic Retrospective

With Sonic 1’s arrival on the iPhone, popular handheld gaming website, Pocket Gamer UK, released a short, two-part retrospective on the hedgehog’s adventures on mobile devices.  From the Game Gear, Game Boy Advance, and mobile phones, Pocket Gamer touches base with all the hits and misses with a brief synopsis and review.

It’s a fun read and a quick trip down memory lane.  Oh, Sonic Labyrinth, we all love you thiiiiiis much.

Part 1 of PCUK’s Retrospective

Part 2 of PCUK’s Retrospective

Sonic 1 Now iPhoneised

iphone-sonictitle

SEGA very quietly slipped in a port of the original Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog onto the Apple iTunes store yesterday, with the iPhone platform now being the latest in a long line of formats that can play the classic game.

An official blog today confirms the existence of the title, which you can now pick up for your iPhone for $4.99 $5.99, or £3.49 to the British fans out there. Control is made using touch screen ‘buttons’ that appear on the bottom of the playing screen – the D-Pad is located at the bottom left and the only button (A) on the bottom right. Two screen modes allow you to play the action full-screen with semi-transparent buttons, or in a smaller window with a visible START button.

iphone-sonic1-2 iphone-sonic1-1

The graphics appear to be intact, and the blog mentions how faithful and fun to play it is (but of course, they would say that really). Have you bought it already and played it? What do you think of it? Does another Sonic 1 port tickle your fancy or is it starting to wind you up? Let us know in the comments box!

UPDATE: According to our American friends, the price on the iTunes store looks to be $5.99 instead of the $4.99 SEGA’s blog announced. That would bring the £-$ difference a little closer (£3.49 equates to about $5.55 as of this moment), but it’s curious why the wrong price was mentioned. Most likely just a mistake on the community blog’s part.

GameTrailers Explain ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’

I’ve just got a quick update for you guys because I saw this and it made me laugh. Gametrailers as part of their ‘GT Anthology’ series has uploaded a video detailing what made the original Sonic game for the Mega Drive / Genesis tick. For instance, did you know that collecting 100 rings gave Sonic an extra life and finishing an act with 50 rings let you enter a special zone? Ok, so I’m not being fair as the video would probably serve as more use to someone who wasn’t a fan and was curious about what this whole Sonic thing was about. Plus the video gives a brief rundown about the people involved with the game and some of the things they did after which is kinda interesting.

Mostly though it’s a dose of nostalgia to fans who remember the game from the first time round and newer fans curious about the speedy blue one’s first console outing. Have a look for yourself below.

Sonic 1 #3 on “Top Launch Titles” List

How appropriate after the release of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis/Mega Drive Collection that a list appears on the “Best Launch Titles Of All Time.”  The original Sonic the Hedgehog appeared at #3 in a countdown by Blend Games’ Rich Knight.

After pretty much losing the console wars in their first battle with Nintendo with the Sega Master System against the NES, Sega knew it needed a mascot to combat the mushroom munching, Italian plumber from Brooklyn. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog, a less family friendly, more speed addicted hero than Nintendo was offering with their kid tested, mother approved system. Whereas Nintendo made it cool to hang out with the folks and play games together, Sega went in the opposite direction, creating a mascot that would appeal to young teenage boys instead. Sega’s whole ATTITUDE was in fact different than Nintendo’s, right down to the sleek design of their all black console. Like its name would imply, the Sega Genesis WAS a brand new beginning for Sega, and Sonic the Hedgehog was their trendsetting hero. No doubt about it, Sonic the Hedgehog is quite possibly the only reason why Sega is still around in business today.

Sonic the Hedgehog finished behind Super Mario Bros. for the NES and Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, which are damn good comes to be behind.  What are your top 5?  Should Sonic Adventure, a game that clearly helped the Dreamcast gain mainstream popularity, be on it?  Speak.

Blend Games Top 5 Launch Titles of All Time

Sonic 1 On Its Way to the iPhone

SEGA has ported its flagship Genesis title to everything that makes a mechanical whirring sound.  The game is on cellular phones, home consoles on compilation discs and as a download, and it’s even on my grandfather’s pacemaker.  It’s only appropriate that they port to one of the most popular pieces of technology available, Apple’s iPhone.  I think the original Sonic has had more ports than any other game out there, so I bet SEGA will be finished porting it after releasing it for the iPhone.  Right, Simon Jeffery?

“We are absolutely delighted to work with Apple to bring Sega’s timeless classic, Sonic The Hedgehog, to the iPhone.  The great reception and success of Super Monkey Ball has demonstrated that the iPhone is a viable gaming console with immense potential. iPhone gamers can expect great products from Sega and what better way to start the New Year than with Sonic The Hedgehog on the iPhone.”

Never mind, then. I can’t wait for “Sonic the  Hedgehog” for the iPhone 2.

The game will support portrait and landscape views, touchscreen controls, and a save/resume feature.  It will be out as an app for the iPhone this spring.

[From PocketGamer]

Sonic Mega Collection + Rated for XBLM

smc-xbox

European ratings board PEGI have rated the Xbox Original title Sonic Mega Collection Plus for Xbox Live Arcade. We can only assume they mean the ‘Originals’ section of the Marketplace, and not the Live Arcade itself. For those who don’t know, SMC+ is an Xbox re-release of a Gamecube Sonic compilation, with added Game Gear titles as well as a few hidden non-Sonic titles.

PEGI have rated the game 7+, which is odd because they rated the original Xbox version 12+, so could we see some cuts in this port? Another thing that’s odd about this is that the original Xbox version is backwards compatible with the Xbox 360 anyway, the Mega Drive games will soon be released in SEGA’s newest compilation (SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection) and two of those Mega Drive titles are already on the Xbox Live Arcade.

Oh well, if it’s going cheap and people can’t find the original Xbox game and want some added Game Gear action, this will be a good buy for them.

Source: PEGI

Virtual Console – Master System Sonic 1 On The Way!

Sonic the Hedgehog - Title Screen.

Oh my. Look at all the wonderful colours!

Fear not Wii owners, your retro gaming dosage of Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t stop at Sonic 3D, oh no! You may remember our very own TSS journalist Shadzter reporting yesterday morning that a mysterious Sonic related game rating appeared on the OFLC web site. Fans of the blue speedster pondered on to what this game might have been, ‘Sonic and the Seven Dwarves’ perhaps? But no, rest assured after confirmation by the ESRB site that it is none other than the original 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog wonder that’s hitting the Wii’s Virtual Console service in the near future.

Thanks to SEGA’s recent ‘deal’ with Nintendo allowing Master System games to become available on the service, for the low price of around 500-600 points you can relive the hedgehog in his glory days by downloading the first game that sent Sonic off flying released in parallel to the Mega Drive/Genesis equivalent. Knowing SEGA and Nintendo, we should also be seeing other Sonic Master System games hitting the service in the future too, those being Sonic 2, Sonic Chaos and maybe even the 8-bit versions of Sonic Spinball and Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine. All of these titles are fantastic fun and VC releases will be great for those unfortunate souls who have never ventured away from the 16 bit era of Sonic before.

Check back with TSS and stay in the ‘know’ about the release of the title on the VC. Keep on saving those pennies- I mean, points!

“Sonic the Hedgehog” rated by the OLFC

The OLFC, the Australian equivalent of the ESRB, has rated a game titled “Sonic the Hedgehog.”  There is no indication of which “Sonic the Hedgehog” it will be, since they’re are three games out there with the title “Sonic the Hedgehog:” the abysmal XBOX360/PS3 game, the Master System version, and the Game Gear version.

Since the Master System is already out on the Wii’s Virtual Console service, I’m going to assume that the MS version of Sonic 1 will be making its way to the Shop Channel in the near future.  I doubt they’d port the Game Gear version (again) or that garbage from 2006.

“Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile” sells 8 million downloads across US, UK

Green Hill - this time, it's MOBILE

Making regular appearances at the top of many “top downloaded” and “top rated” charts for mobile games, the mobile edition of the original “Sonic the Hedgehog” just recently became more distinguished for selling over 8 million downloads in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Linda Chaplin, vice president of SEGA Mobile accredits the game’s success to Sonic’s appeal to the masses by stating, “Sonic the Hedgehog is a title that resonates with a universal audience of gamers who have grown up with the franchise, as well as with a growing audience of casual players.”

Verizon Wireless, the initial provider of the title, is probably the most pleased with the landmark sale, as the game has helped Verizon’s “VCAST” service become increasingly popular, says Todd Murphy, director of Mobile Web, games and applications for Verizon.

The success of, yet another, port of Sonic’s original adventure has sparked SEGA Mobile to port Sonic the Hedgehog 2 & Sonic Spinball to mobile devices. In addition, the company is working on a new iteration of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for phones.

In made-up news that will eventually happen, SEGA has tentatively announced porting each Sonic Genesis title to the iPhone, Playstation 4’s online store, and the brace keeping my left knee from caving again.  Also, potatoes.

Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile Site

Source

Sonic 1 returns! Makes debut on the Apple iPod

SEGA announced this morning that the original ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ title will be once again ported to a newer gaming system MP3 player.

Released in the iTunes store for $4.99, the 1991 classic will see Sonic speeding round loops and collecting up rings through 6 exciting zones in hope to put an end to the evil Dr. Robotniks schemes.

The game has apparently been ‘redesigned’ for the iPod, though still remains an exact port of the original game. There’s no news of a definite release date, apart from that it will hit American iTune stores ‘just in time for the holidays.’

You can read up on the announcement here.

Sonic comes to Xbox Live

Well, I just got done seeing the big E3 press conference from MS, and I’ve got some interesting news for 360 Sonic fans: Sonic the Hedgehog is now on Xbox Live Arcade! Go download. Now.

Well, that is, if you don’t already have the game on five other platforms…in which case, you can resind that command and just go play it on your Genesis/Megadrive, Dreamcast, Gamecube, Wii, or whatever platform you got this sucker on.

Sega reveals Wii Virtual console line up

It was revealed some months ago that Genesis/Mega Drive games would be available via the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual console service. The titles are as follows:

Altered Beast
Columns
Ecco the Dolphin
Golden Axe
Ristar
Sonic the Hedgehog
Toe Jam & Earl

These titles where revealed courtesy of ESRB’s website. Considering the ESRB doesn’t officially list games unless it has reviewed them, this list is 100% factual.

Anyone up for some Ristar?

Senn and Yasuhara to explore Sonic 1

A development has come to light over the recent charity of Chris Senn on Sonic X-treme. Chris, with the aid of Yasuhara Hirokazu, will be unearthing production information on the original ‘SONIC TEAM’ and Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis/Megadrive) game.

Chris posted this message on his message board on January 06, 2006 04:00 PM PT (US):

The Sonic Xtreme fan community will be delighted to know that I met with Yasuhara Hirokazu for lunch today, and he agreed to let me share his paper designs he contributed towards the end of the Sonic Xtreme project. They are VERY cool! These will be shared in the Sonic Xtreme Compendium (SXC) I keep mentioning. Continue reading Senn and Yasuhara to explore Sonic 1

Sega interviews Masato Nakamura

Sega of Japan conducted an interview with Masato Nakamura of the Japanese band: ‘Dreams Come True’. Dreams Come True has been a popular band in Japan for some time now, their second album: ‘The Swinging Star’ (released November 14, 1992) was the first to sell over 3 million copies in Japan.

But even before Dreams Come True’s success one company realised the bands potential, and that company was Sega. Sega employed Masato Nakamura to compose the music for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ and then again for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. In return SEGA offered sponsorship to Dreams Come True, and Sega began promoting Sonic through them.

Sega of America have translated that interview, and it gives an interesting insight to the development of the games soundtrack. It’s interesting to note that while Masato was composing music for both Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, he was also recording the Dreams Come True albums: ‘Million Kisses’ and ‘The swinging Star’, which would explain why certain songs from each album were inspired by themes from the game. For instance the song ‘Sweet Sweet Sweet’ from the album ‘The Swinging Star’ is a lyrical interpretation of the ending theme from Sonic 2.

The interview is as follows: Continue reading Sega interviews Masato Nakamura

E3: Sonic Mobile Game Announced

Now, for the news that everyone else didn’t seem to cover, the 1991 blockbuster Sonic the Hedgehog will be re-released again later this year in worldwide. In a press release that surfaced earlier today Sega announced their plans to include a port of the legendary MegaDrive/Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog sans the Special Stages with upcoming Panasonic phones.

The game will be embedded with the new Panasonic VS3, slated for release across Europe in this summer. It will later be bundled with Panasonic Mobile Communications’ latest GSM mobile phones. In Japan, the mobile version of Sonic The Hedgehog will be embedded with Panasonic Mobile Communications’ mobile phones for NTT DoCoMo.

Once again, SONIC NEWS brings you the news that slipped through the cracks, stay with us for any late breaking E3 updates.