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

The8BitDrummer Returns With a Fantastic Drum Cover of the Sonic 2 OST in One Take

Last month, Jerod The8BitDrummer performed a spectacular drum cover of the entire Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles soundtrack — in a single take! — during one of his live Twitch streams. His drum cover of Michael Jackson’s legendary Sonic OST made for an intense and physically demanding feat that took nearly 90 minutes to accomplish. Now he’s at it again. Continue reading The8BitDrummer Returns With a Fantastic Drum Cover of the Sonic 2 OST in One Take

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

(Update: It’s $5.99) 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 landing on 3DS eShop in NA on Oct 8th

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Update: Nintendo has added the game to its website and like the other games in the Sega 3D Classics line it’s $5.99!

Well, it’s a little later than planned (they just said September), but not by that much. 😛

Sega of America confirmed today on twitter that the game is finally coming out at least in NA on October 8th, after having already been released in Japan back on July 22nd.

The 3DS version actually has a wireless co-op multiplayer feature where one player is Sonic, and the other is an invincible version of Tails to assist Sonic in the game, basically like you did on the TV back in the day. You’re also able to save at anytime and can now more easily unlock Super Sonic just by beating the game on any mode, which gives Sonic all the chaos emeralds when the feature is turned on.

Sadly at the moment there’s no release date yet for Europe.

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 releases on July 22nd in Japan for the 3DS eShop

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So now we finally have news about 3D Sonic 2 after its announcement back in April!

We have the Japanese website, and thanks to Nintendaan, we have the info that the game will support co-op play, but each player will need the game.

Nintendaan was also kind enough to record the trailer and snap the screenshots from the eShop page as seen below!

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is set to release on July 22nd on the 3DS eShop in Japan for 864 yen.

Rouge Voice Actor Karen Strassman Lists ‘Sonic II’ on Resume

Karen Strassman Sonic II

UPDATE 2: Thanks to the Wayback Machine we can see there were no Sonic listings on Strassman’s resume on March 14th 2012, but there are in the next capture on September 5th 2012, including ‘Sonic II’.

UPDATE: We have since found an old copy of Strassman’s resume from 22nd January 2012 that still lists ‘Sonic II’. Either work had already started on the new game back then, it’s a cancelled project or this is an error.

Original story: The Sonic Stadium has today spotted a listing for a video game titled ‘Sonic II’ on the resume of current English Rouge the Bat voice actor Karen Strassman’s resume. A Google search shows Strassman’s resume was last updated 20th May 2014 and the game is listed after Sonic Free Riders and Sonic Generations, her last roles as Rouge, so it’s likely this is an upcoming unannounced game.

The title is strange, considering we had Sonic the Hedgehog 2 back in the 90s, but then again, we did have a new Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006. However, with such negative feedback, we don’t think SEGA would create a sequel to that game, especially if it performed as poorly. There’s also the possibility this could be a remake of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but SEGA kind of did that on mobile devices not too long ago with the help of Taxman and Stealth.

We recently reported about another unknown title with a 2 in its name ‘Sonic Mach 2’, which we spotted on German Orbot voice actor Romanus Fuhrman’s resume. Could they be one and the same? We’ll have to wait and see…

If we get any updates, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Sources:
Karen Strassman’s website resume
Karen Strassman’s voice acting site resume
Google search results

3rd set of Sega 3D Classics coming to Nintendo 3DS, including Sonic 2!

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Although SEGA suggested previously that the 3D classics line for Nintendo 3DS would be closing with Thunderblade, a further three 3D Classic titles have been confirmed by SEGA to be on the horizon.

At this time, the third set in the series only contains 3 titles. One title in particular however is certainly of interest to TSS; Sonic 2! That’s right, that means 3D special stages!

The other two games are the aforementioned Streets of Rage 2 (due in July) and Gunstar Heroes (due in August). Sonic 2 will be out in September. All will be priced at MSRP $5.99/€4.99/£4.49

Are you excited for Sonic 2 or perhaps the other two games? Have you bought any of the previous games yet? Let us know!

Update: We also have screens and transparent logos for you all!

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.

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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.

Sonic 2’s Lost Holographic Cartridge Labels

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Now this is an interesting bit of unknown history. According to Al Nilsen, who at the time was the Director of Marketing for Sega of America back in the 90’s has revealed an unknown tid bit regarding Sonic 2’s release. That being, the cartridges were to be a little different to the usual cartridges which were out on the market. Sega had planned to make Sonic 2’s cartridge stand out from the crowd.

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Sonic 2 had a rather large marketing campaign behind it known as Sonic 2’s day and a scrapped plan was for the initial release of games to have holographic cartridge labels. Mr Nilsen recently showed off the labels via twitter and said that the reason they didn’t go ahead is that it was too costly.

Source: Al Nilsen’s Twitter

Sonic 2 HD Rises From The Grave

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If you remember a couple of years back, a highly ambitious fan project aiming to re-create the classic Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with high definition visuals released its first ever alpha to the public. It was certainly stunning – however, issues behind the scenes involving the programming and engine arose shortly thereafter, which sadly brought a swift end to the future of Sonic 2 HD.

However today (and what a day to announce it on), the project was announced to be back on via the Facebook page. A fan came and saved the day, lending his own independently created engine to the game. Even without all its previous team members, Sonic 2 HD is back in production with even a Mac OS version coming at a point. The full post is as follows:

Hello everyone!

The only thing more surprising than seeing an official post from us here is our announcing that S2HD is no longer dead.

You read that correctly: work has once again begun on Sonic 2 HD! That said, we’d like to give you all a brief tie-in for recent events leading to the project’s reboot.

As many of you know, the leading reason behind the project’s cancellation was due to the programming element being removed with no possibility of return in its existing form. As of last year, this changed. Before anyone raises the question, no, the former programmer and the S2HD team members have not had a reunion; instead, a fan of the project independently created and submitted his own engine to Vincent, the project leader, for evaluation. After integrating the art assets from the alpha release and successfully testing it, Vincent began to let the rest of the prior team members know, and we’ve picked up where we left off sans those who are unavailable due to real life obligations. Two other talented programmers have since offered their skills to recreate the game’s physics to match the original, and to port the game to the Mac OS platform (the latter of which is still in the earliest possible stage, and we have no estimate on when it will be playable, so stay tuned!).

In response to some of the questions we have seen, the Alpha Release build is officially discontinued and will not get any form of support as we do not have the source code. The next release will be entirely new programming from the ground up.

We’ll provide more details in how you can help us out in the next few days. It’s good to be back!

From that final note, you can see the team might be reaching out for some help from the community soon. Make sure you keep up to date with their Facebook if you feel you can contribute. I personally wish them all the luck in the world that they’ll succeed – Sonic 2 HD is a huge undertaking but it would be a dream to see it become reality!

Got any fond memories of Sonic 2 you wanna share with us? Be sure to head over to Twitter and get involved in the week long celebration for Sonic’s birthday which we’re collaborating with SEGAbits and Sonic Retro. Use the hashtag #Sonic23on23 to get in on the conversation, and we’ll be looking out for some of the best to re-tweet and favourite!

Source: Sonic 2 HD Facebook

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

 

Sonic 2 & Sonic Labyrinth arrive on 3DS eShop!

Sonic Labyrinth screenshot

The Game Gear love on the Nintendo 3DS continues this week as two new Sonic games arrive on Nintendo’s downloadable retro service – and if you’re looking for a pair of obscure, challenging titles to sink your teeth into, this might well be the week you’ve been waiting for!

Continue reading Sonic 2 & Sonic Labyrinth arrive on 3DS eShop!

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

How Does Ten Sonic Games For Under $27 Sound?

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For all two of you who haven’t bought every Sonic game, here’s a great deal!

Greenman Gaming is selling ten of Sonic’s biggest titles for $26.95 American. Titles included are…

Sonic Generations
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
Sonic 4: Episode 2
Sonic 4: Episode 1
Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic Adventure DX
Sonic CD
Sonic 3 and Knuckles
Sonic 2
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

That’s pretty much Sonic’s main gaming history not including side games and Colors. Even if you have these games on other consoles, it’d be kinda nice to have them all together on your P.C. Don’tcha think? It doesn’t say when this sale ends, but I’m sure it won’t last too long.

Freak-Out Friday: OLD SPICE BODY ODOUR BLOCKING POWER

I’ve always been a fan of the Old Spice commercials… I’ve always been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog… and I’ve always been a fan of body odour protection.

NOW GET ALL THREE AT ONCE! FEEL THE 16 HOUR B-O BLOCKING POWER!

OLD SPICE: SPAGONIAN ROOFTOP RUN.

Old Spice Generations: Rooftop Run Classic Scent

Continue reading Freak-Out Friday: OLD SPICE BODY ODOUR BLOCKING POWER

S2HD Keylogger No Longer the Case, Safe to Download Again

Those who have downloaded and promptly deleted the alpha demo of Sonic 2 HD no longer need to fear of alleged keylogging, GeneHF of Sonic Retro shares, saying that the game demo is safe of said malicious software. This announcement follows that of LOst being booted from the S2HD team. Read the full story after the jump.

Continue reading S2HD Keylogger No Longer the Case, Safe to Download Again

You’ll FLIP Over These New Pieces of Sonic 4: Episode 2 Concept Art

The bad puns continue as Sega gives us our first look at a non-badnik piece of concept art. This flipping platform hides a spring underneath that Sonic should be able to take advantage of if timed right. Read on to see a very familiar badnik who’s neither a Skylander nor a rapping kung-fu onion, but shares the same name.

Continue reading You’ll FLIP Over These New Pieces of Sonic 4: Episode 2 Concept Art

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

OCRemix: Sonic 2 Ending Gets the Piano Treatment

I don’t know how you can make the ending theme of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 any more moving than it already is, but talented remixer WillRock has managed to do it (and here I thought the live, vocal track was epic).

A classic piano solo in what sounds like a limitless space, “Sweet Sweet Sweet” gets re-arranged into something even more magical. After a great intro (which, to the keen ear, is the intro of Sonic 3′‘s Angel Island Zone), the melody we all know and love kicks it and is it ever chilling. This remix is easily one my favorites and you’d be a cynical bastard if you didn’t download and like it, too.

Download “Above the Sky” from OCRemix.

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 2 Inspires Real Life Speed Run on “Tosh.0″

In an episode where he also pays tribute to NBA Jam, comedian Daniel Tosh showcased a speed run of Emerald Hill Zone last night on Tosh.0, his stand-up/web video show on Comedy Central.  After he shows the video, Tosh is inspired to do a speed run himself… in real life.  Does he have Super Sonic speed?  Find out in the clip below.

If the embedded clip doesn’t work or want to watch in a higher quality, watch it here on Comedy Central’s website.  (U.S. region-locked)

UPDATE: Thanks to Ethan Kerr, we have a YouTube version that’s (hopefully) region free:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmApmto2Rh8

Sonic 2 Speeding Onto iPhone Next Week, Preview Inside [Update: No Tails?!]

Apple App review site Appolicious is reporting that Sonic 2 will be hitting the app store sometime next week for $5.99.  They have a preview up on their website, discussing the games features, or lack thereof in a few cases.

What’s missing from the port of Sonic 2 that was in Sonic 1?  Well, the fullscreen option, as the preview only says that a windowed version is available:

The first thing you’ll notice is how strikingly similar Sonic 2 is to the original game; while the first iPhone game had two view options, a full-screen mode and a slightly smaller screen (which also offered sharper graphics), this version only has the smaller view.

While that’s a bit of a downgrade (some people don’t care for stretched graphics), the controls are apparently more responsive than the port of Sonic 1:

While the first game was quite successful and for the most part critically acclaimed, there was a common complaint about the buttons not being responsive enough. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with Sonic 2, though, as the game plays remarkably close to the original (though I do acknowledge it’s been a few years).

The reviewer also said that it was hard to preview the game due to the nostalgia washing over him.  Color me surprised that he hasn’t had the opportunity to play Sonic 2 on the millions of other devices that it has been ported to.  I hear it’s going to be on SkyNet in 2020 before it takes over the world.  At least it will be fun for a little bit.

Ports of the Genesis games have been widely reported to have instances of lag.  Will this port fix that issue?  With the track record of quick and easy SEGA ports, I doubt it.  Yet, it will sell thousands.

UPDATE: PocketGamer is reporting that Tails is axed from this release.  We all figured that 2-player mode wouldn’t make it due to the nature of the iPhone, but to have Tails not even be an option is puzzling, especially with the two-tailed fox on the cover.  PocketGamer has contacted SEGA for comment.

And I agree, commenters.  It’s nice to have something to talk about this week.  It has been a slow-go for Sonic anything the past two weeks.

Sonic 2 Is XBLA Deal of the Week: Now Only 240 Points!

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I for one am certainly not an advocate of SEGA squeezing every last penny out of their old games by re-releasing them over and over again…hell I must own about five copies of this game on different formats now. However this week we cant really complain as the Megadrive / Genesis version of Sonic 2 is XBox Live Arcade’s deal of the week. Rather than having to fork out the full whack of 400 points, the offer is now open for a limited time to download the game at 60% of it’s initial price.

For those who have played this game to death and are looking for something new, this will be of no importance. For those of you “achievement whores” out there, this is a golden opportunity to beef up your Gamerscore at little cost; the achievements are really no challenge.

Having said that, you might want to call your friends for that last special stage as the AI really won’t help you. Stupid Tails.

A Very “Special” Birthday Cake

Sonic_2_Birthday_Cake_by_MegWhiteIII

C.C. submits us something that is extraordinarily awesome.  It’s a Sonic 2 Special Stage cake!  Created by MegWhiteIII at DeviantArt, this cake was created for her brother’s 21st birthday.  She comments on how it was created:

Genoise sponge with raspberry jam and butter cream filling. Covered with a layer of orange coloured buttercream and decorated with fondant icing. It took a lot of food colouring to make it so blue!

Maaaaaaaan, I wish I got this cake on my 21st.  All I got was a hangover.

How I Celebrated My “Sonic 2sday”

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I know that this blog post runs a little late, but right after my “Sonic 2sday” festivities, I boarded a plane and went home for Thanksgiving.  I was unable to get any of these pictures (or this story, for that matter) up due to turkey-induced funtime.  With that said, I hope that everybody had a fantastic and safe holiday weekend.

With it being another Sonic 2sday and all, I decided to call people over to celebrate.  What sucks was that most people had all left my little college town for Thanksgiving break, which started that day.  Despite only two people there to experience the retro-themed get-together, it was still a fun time.

Continue reading How I Celebrated My “Sonic 2sday”

Happy 17th Birthday, Sonic 2!

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We have had a lot of Sonic 2 stories on TSS lately, what with it launching on new platforms and going on sale.  Yesterday, a TSS staffer reminded me that today was the 17th anniversary of the NA/EU release date of Sonic 2.  It all made sense then.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane again, eh?

With Sonic 1 establishing a rabid fanbase waiting for the next game in the series, the announcement of Sonic 2 made myself and the rest of the gaming world go bananas.  When November 24th, 1992 came around, my uncle was one of the first in line (he’s only 15 years older than I am and he owned the Genesis… it was like having a much cooler older brother).  Once we got back to his place, “Sonic 2sday” became one of the best days ever.

There was a new character in Miles “Tails” Prower, a new move, a plethora of new stages, new enemies, new bosses, and fantastic music.  There was also a 2 player mode that we could not stop playing!  We couldn’t ask for anything more.  We played it for about three days straight.

Years later, I’d stumble across this dank corner of the internet known as the Sonic community.  Prototypes uncovered lost levels and added to the mystique and grandeur of the game.  I was playing Sonic 2 all over again to experience what could have been.

In celebration of today, we ask you to check out our recently recovered Sonic 2 section.  Videos and screenshots await you.

I’ll leave it at the following video, the famous 3D version of the Sonic 2 ending that we’ve shown here a few times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yfm1TUCsqFA

Glorious.  The Sonic Stadium is interested in your memories of Sonic 2 and “Sonic 2sday.”  Please share them with us in the comments below.

Sonic 2 40% Off on XBLA Starting November 30th

4117203937_ed6311e08aSEGA of America’s blog has announced that during the week of November 30th (the week after Thanksgiving), Sonic 2 will be Xbox Live Arcade’s “Deal of the Week.”  The classic title will be 240 points, 40% off from its normal pricing of 400 points.  Keep in mind that the “Deal of the Week” is available to Xbox Live Gold Members only.

In addition, SEGA of America will be having free giveaways during this week on their blog.  We will tell you what SoA will be giving away when the time comes.

Sonic 2 has had quite a week, eh?  First, it was released on Blackberry, then it was announced for DS, and now it’s 40% off?  Killer.

Sonic 2 Released for Blackberry

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Blackberries have been all the rage lately.  Here in the U.S., Verizon Wireless had a sale back in September and now everybody here on campus has one.  Sonic fans can get in on this Blackberry craze now, because Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been released for the mobile device.

RELIVE THE SEGA GENESIS NOSTALGIA ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE!

With Dr. Eggman’s return to take over the world and turn the animals into mindless drones, Sonic the Hedgehog teams up with Miles “Tails” Prower to foil his evil plans! With a new Spin Dash Attack, defy the forces of gravity, blaze through 10 unique levels, and dash through half-pipe courses. Race to find all 7 of the Chaos Emeralds before Dr. Eggman uses them to fuel his Death Egg warship!

The Bplay developed port is available for $6.99 (which is about four pounds for all of the UK readers).

April Fools: Sonic 2 Beta Secret Reveals Super Tails

Ah, yes… the famous beta of Sonic 2.  It sparked an entire website and became one of the most talked about version of any game out there.  Well, we received a news tip from a fellow named “SonicLoof” a few hours ago and he attached the picture below and explained to us what it is. Continue reading April Fools: Sonic 2 Beta Secret Reveals Super Tails

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.

The notable thing about this port is that it is not a laughing stock, like Sonic 1 GBA. The game plays and runs just like we all remember.  The entire Sonic 2 experience is here in all of its glory with no corners cut.  The music is even better than Sonic 1 GBA.

Why do I keep referencing that turd version of Sonic 1, you ask?  Well, the GBA hardware is superior to that of most mobile phones and the fact (that’s right, I’m transcending opinion here) that both mobile ports of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 are better than the GBA’s port is absolutely embarrassing to whatever hapless development team pulled a GBA cartridge out of its ass.  I could go on and on about how playing classic Sonic on your phone is more enjoyable than a device that is made for gaming, but you get the point.  Now, you could be inclined to disagree, as low end phones tend to lag when things get rather chaotic on screen, but I didn’t experience it.  My phone is awesome (double awesome for being free).  Thanks, LG.

The drawbacks with this mobile port lie solely within the hardware department.  Depending on your mobile phone, controls range from serviceable to awkward.  Sonic 2 was made for a home console, so your thumbstick/keypad mileage may vary.  During hectic moments, it could be a problem to perform certain movements, but from my experience, controls are only a minor inconvenience.  Controls are left up to what device you have,  so I recommend checking the game’s manual for your model of mobile device to see if any awkwardness has the potential of ruining your experience.  The biggest problem with the port is the amount of room on screen.  During speedy moments, it’s near impossible to gauge what is in front of you.  I’ve memorized this game up and down from frequent play sessions and when I’m running into things, there is a problem.  I assume lag can be a problem on low-end phones, but I don’t own one.  Again, my phone is mad tight.

Flaws aside, these two games pack a huge punch when it comes to content.  When I just had Dash, the game already had more content than almost all mobile games out there.  Coupled with Crash, the game’s a mobile powerhouse.  You cannot get a better deal on playtime with Sonic 2 Dash & Crash on the market.

The decision lies upon your shoulders.  Do you really want another port of Sonic 2?  If you want a portable version of it and do not own a homebrew-enabled PSP or DS, then get Dash/Crash.  If you already have your portable, Sonic 2 fix, then these games are not for you.

Sonic Mega Collection + Rated for XBLM

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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

Sonic + Bad Influence = Awesome

Are you from the UK? Do you remember an old gaming TV show on CITV called Bad Influence? No? Then you were either too young to remember or living under a huge rock. Bad Influence was the coolest TV show of the 90’s, you just couldn’t wait to get home from school and watch it. No-one had the internet to keep up with the latest videogame news, previews, reviews and gameplay video’s – sure, we had our magazines but to see games in action we needed our TV shows.

The show was presented by Andy Crane and Violet Berlin and contained news, previews, reviews(from actual gamers), reports on the latest technology, U.S. coverage, reports from the latest gaming events, cheats from Nam Rood and competitions. It was awesome!

Anyway, what has all this got to do with Sonic you ask? Well, the show covered the early console days back when Sega and Nintendo were rivals. Sonic features a number of times on the show and thanks to amazing James Osborne who has managed to get permission from Patrick Titley at Yorkshire Television(who own the show) the public now have access to a new website and a YouTube channel for the show and it’s episodes.

Sonic 2 proved to be very popular on the show, in Episode 4 their panel gave the game 2 5/5’s in their review. In the same episode Violet show’s a copy of the first Sonic character design sketches handed to her by creator Mr.Kanari. It’s the same sketches we’ve seen around the net for ages now but still cool to see an official copy.

Andy Crane got to visit the Future Entertainment Show where SEGA were in attendance allowing the public to get their hands on both the 16 Bit and 8 Bit versions of Sonic 2 for the first time ever in Episode 3 – Part 1(8:40, Future show begins) Part 2(0:04 Sonic 2 segment begins). You can also see a couple of the first official SEGA Sonic and Tails costumes, Tails suit has bushy eye brows for some reason.

In Episode 8 Violet visit’s SEGA Japan HQ to look at SEGA’s arcade machines and meet’s the head of the Sonic 2 project team who’s name couldn’t be revealed due to security reasons(anyone who recognises him, let me know by PM over at the SSMB). Violet is shown alot of Sonic 2’s design sketches for the Zone’s, 2 of which are shown up close in the episode. A cool Sonic statue/model can also be seen on the desk(Do want very muchly). The SEGA visit starts at 6:14 and the Sonic 2 bit starts at 6:42 just after the funny sleepy SEGA employee at 6:40.

Sonic Spinball got reviewed in Series 2: Episode 9 and given 2 5/5’s.

Sonic & Knuckles got reviewed too and given 2 4/5’s.

So, have any of you seen/remenber this show? Do any of you guys new to the show like it? What are your thoughts on Sonic 2 zone design sketches?
Let us know in the SSMB topic.

Sonic 2’s Day Anniversary

Today is Monday. Unlucky for those of you who’ve just woken up thinking it was Sunday; you’ve just missed work. But 16 years ago, it was Tuesday. The most awesome Tuesday ever for a kid in Britain, or the United States. On November 24th 1992, the sequel to the hottest video game of the time was released – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Sega Mega Drive. Such a huge media circus this event was, that a special chartered ‘Sonic 2’ plane carrying nothing but crates of the game landed in London a few days ahead of the launch to masses of TV cameras and news reporters. Those were the days.

So here’s to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. A wonderful collaboration between East (Sonic Team, with Yuji Naka returning after leaving Sega briefly) and West (an enthusiastic American team called Sega Technical Institute that were heavily involved in the coding and designing). For a few moments, Sega wasn’t at each other’s throats internally and teamed up to produce what many fans consider the very best in the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Can’t exactly disagree. Celebrate by playing the game and seeing if you can nobble that final boss without dying (always keep falling through his nose onto his spiky hands, the f&%$%*). Or even by trying out Sonic Retro’s work in progress, Sonic 2 HD.

Sonic 2 Turns 16 today! – Sonic Retro