Mash-Up Monday: The Jesters of Pumpkin Hill

Sure, Mystic Mansion got its day in the limelight, but you didn’t really think I forgot about “A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup,” did you? The definitive Sonic Halloween track quickly gained renown among fans and within the gaming community at large for hammy lyrics and dancing pumpkin men. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a little known mashup for Mash-Up Monday: Halloween 2016 Edition!

Mashup artist How2BEpic brought the infamous Pumpkin Hill to the world of Gaia, with the renowned theme combining with that of the sycophantic servants to Queen Brahne: “Jesters of the Moon” Zorn and Thorn of Final Fantasy IX. Have a listen below!

Continue reading Mash-Up Monday: The Jesters of Pumpkin Hill

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure Music Experience 2016, Tokyo

A large proportion of the fan base to this day cite the Sonic Adventure series as being the pinnacle of the Sonic the Hedgehog gaming experience; on the most part, the games were their first jaunt into the Sonic Universe, and have defined what they come to expect from titles to this day. Being one of the more senior fans, Sonic Adventure was an exciting revival of my favourite video game franchise, after several years of stagnation and the glory days of the Megadrive now a distant echo. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure Music Experience 2016, Tokyo

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

Mash-Up Monday: JoJo’s Sonic Adventure

OH! MY! GOD! Three mash-ups on a single Monday!?

Conceived by Hirohiko Araki back in 1986 and acting as one of the forefathers of modern shōnen, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is an ongoing Japanese manga series that tells the tragic tale of the Joestar family, whose members possessing unique latent powers are forever bound by destiny to battle against supernatural forces. JJBA spans across multiple story arcs following the preluding battles between Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, each part with their own starring JoJo, and is currently well into its eighth part almost 30 whole years later, dubbed JoJolion.

After a handful of OVAs and a number of video games over the past few decades, JoJo has finally received a stellar anime adaptation for its first three arcs so far – Part 1: Phantom Blood, Part 2: Battle Tendency, and Part 3: Stardust Crusaders. However, one of the unspoken rules of a good anime is that it needs a really good opening sequence, and thankfully, the JJBA anime has had four incredible ones as of now!

Why all the JoJo exposition on a Sonic fan-site, you say? Context for this week’s mash-ups, of course! No need for alarm either: I can assure you that none of these are the work of an enemy「Stand」.

First up is mash-up artist BotanicSage‘s concoction, which brings the opening tune “Bloody Stream” for Battle Tendency and Hideki Naganuma’s “Vela-Nova” from Sonic Rush together into an even funkier jam combined. I suppose you could say that the end result is a real match…「Made in Heaven」! Eh?

Eh?

…get it?

. . . . . .

Yare yare daze, you’re no fun at all.

Anyway, here’s “Bloody Nova”!

We’re switching gears from jazz to rock now as we turn to our next JoJo/Sonic mash-up, this one by guilhox!

When some people think of a memorable Sonic theme, chances are they’re going to think of the iconic “Live and Learn” by Crush 40. When it comes to JoJo, understandably, a lot of folks will point to Jin Hashimoto’s “Stand Proud”, the opening track for the first half of Stardust Crusaders, the arc that formally introduces the ethereal spiritual projections known as “Stands” into the JoJo universe. Rock out to the fused “Live and Stand” below!

Albeit this is a Jet Set Radio mashup rather than a Sonic-themed one, we might as well feature this final gem for the week! Richard Jacques’ “Everybody Jump Around” from the SEGA Dreamcast classic is mixed together with “A Fine Fellow Arrives” by Yugo Kanno, the latter straight from the original soundtrack for Stardust Crusaders. Courtesy of Swordy, here is “Jet Set JoJo”!

Found any other interesting Sonic music mashups out there on the web? Maybe you have one of your own you’d like to share? If so, then you can post some in the comments below (as well as your thoughts on BotanicSage, guilhox, and Swordy’s mash-ups above!), or you can reach me via any of the following to see your choice next Monday:

Even Speedwagon would be impressed!

“Passion & Pride” and “It Doesn’t Matter” Remix now on UK iTunes

Making love to that guitar

Sonic music lovers, get ready to rock! As we reported not long ago, a brand new album titled “Passion & Pride: Anthems with Attitude” featuring a collection of music from the Sonic Adventure era was set for release in Japan – but now it’s made its way across the waters (or rather, across the internet) to the rest of the world too!

That’s right, if you’re happy to forgo a physical disc and avoid all the hassle of pre-ordering from Japan, you can now download yourself a copy of this new compilation from iTunes. The album is split into two separate volumes – Vox Collection and Instrumental Collection – which cost £7.99 apiece, or 79p for individual tracks if you don’t want the lot. The track listing for these albums is as follows:

Vox Collection

  1. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure)
  2. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure)
  3. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure)
  4. My Sweet Passion
  5. Lazy Days -Livin’ in Paradise-
  6. Theme of Dr. Eggman
  7. Theme of E-102 Gamma
  8. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure 2)
  9. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure 2)
  10. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure 2)
  11. Throw It All Away
  12. E.G.G.M.A.N.
  13. Fly in the Freedom

Instrumental Collection

  1. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure)
  2. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure)
  3. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure)
  4. My Sweet Passion
  5. Lazy Days -Livin’ in Paradise-
  6. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure 2)
  7. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure 2)
  8. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure 2)
  9. Throw It All Away
  10. E.G.G.M.A.N.
  11. Fly in the Freedom

Now, eagle eyed readers will notice that one track, the much anticipated “It Doesn’t Matter” 2014 remix from Tony Harnell and Jun Senoue – arguably the biggest draw of the entire album – is missing from these digital releases. Well, fear not! You can download the remix on iTunes as well – it’s just listed as its own individual single (priced at 99p) rather than being bundled in with either of the albums. A strange decision, but at least we still get it!

Click on the handy album covers below to take you straight to the UK iTunes links:

passion_A.170x170-75passion_B.170x170-75passion_C.170x170-75

 

Happy listening! Time to rock and roll! If you’re planning on downloading any of the music, let us know in the comments!

Sonic Adventure 2 in Source Filmmaker! I found you, Faker!

Close your eyes and think back to a time when the console wars were coming to a close, Big Blue hit the 10 year mark, and SEGA had released their final bid in keeping the Dreamcast alive – Sonic Adventure 2.

Ooooor you could think back to a time when SEGA fell apart as a first party company, and then went on to port this game onto the Nintendo Gamecube as a third party developer – Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Either or!

After a case of mistaken identity, wrongful arrest, escaping imprisonment, and breezing through the prison island’s metal harbour, Sonic breaks free into the military patrolled greenery and confronts the doppelgänger hedgehog behind his string of misfortunes. Enter Shadow, the Ultimate Lifeform.

Remember that particular clash? Where blows were finally being dealt, and words were being eaten? Now imagine it in high def.

Hypo, who first recreated the Giant Talking Egg scene from Sonic Adventure, gave the sequel’s Faker scene the Source Filmmaker treatment. Everything from the initial encounter to the brawl itself, as well as the aftermath, has been remastered for your viewing pleasure – perfect for a nostalgia fix!

[SFM] SA2 Scene Recreation: Faker!

Sonic List: The Most Overrated Sonic Games

Ahhh nostalgia! You make things so much better than they actually were.
Ahhh nostalgia! You’re so good at lying to my brain.

Remember when I did those lists like “My guilty pleasures” or “Defending the lesser loved characters”? Lists that made you feel good about your Hedgehog hobby? Yeah, this is not one of those lists. Sorry. This time, I’m gonna tear apart some of the most beloved and critically acclaimed Sonic titles for the brilliant but flawed games that they really are. Games that got far more praise than they deserved. Even games I happen to love myself that have some bad design choices. Get ready! It’s time to take off the rose-tinted nostalgia goggles and find the lumps of coal inside these diamonds!

Sonic The Hedgehog 1991 (Sega Genesis)

"Riding blocks in lava. Some much more fun than oh, running super fast and rolling through loop-de-loops."
“Riding blocks in lava. Some much more fun than oh, running super fast and rolling through loop-de-loops.”

Now this is a hell of a way to start a list! The one that started it all. The classic game that first introduced us to the speedy hedgehog. Notice what almost every new remake of the game added? The spindash. Why? Because outside of the Green Hill Zone (and one or two other zones), this game is SLOOOOW!

It was a fantastic game for its time, but when you play other classic Sonic games with great pacing and flow like Sonic 2 or 3, you’re BEGGING for more speed. Especially when you go from a speedy fun-filled world like Green Hill and then get dropped into the dull, drab world of the Marble Zone. I go from loop-de-loops rolling super fast down hills to the point where you can’t even see me toooo…..pushing a block into lava and riding it very, very slowly. Oh look, the lava pushed the block up. Whee.

Let’s be honest here, if you were forced to lose a classic Sonic game out of the original trilogy, this would be the first one to go. It’s still a great game, but it’s not quite as fun or fast-paced as the other two.

Sonic Rush

"Whooo that was tricky! But now I got a nice, safe parachute anLAZER!!"
“Whooo that was tricky! But now I got a nice, safe parachute anLAZER!!”

Ohhhh this is painful as it’s one of my favorites. Sonic Rush has Blaze the Cat, incredible speed and a wonderful soundtrack by Hideki Naguma (Jet Set Radio). I absolutely love this game and have played through it several times. However…..

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. DIMPS is really good on a TECHNICAL level. They can do the graphics, physics and the engine of a game just fine but when it comes to actual level design, they tend to suck. Sadly Sonic Rush is no different. This is the first Sonic game to use the boost mechanic and it does so to the point where there’s barely any actual platforming to be had. “Boost to win” became a meme due to this game, but that’’s still not so bad as it gives the game a great sense of speed. What is bad is that when you finally get to a point where jumping from platform to platform is important, it does so when you’re highest in the air and any wrong step can kill you. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had Altitude Limit push them to their limits of patience.

All in all Sonic Rush is still a wonderful game IMO, But still, it’s far from flawless.

Sonic CD

 

"Oh Wacky Workbench! You're so wacky and...horrifically awful!"
“Oh Wacky Workbench! You’re so wacky and…horrifically awful!”

Now, if you wanna see an over-praised game with REALLY bad level design, here you go. Sonic CD has AWESOME music, great graphics, Metal Sonic, Amy and….some anime stuff at the beginning and end. That said the level design makes it one of the poorer 2-D Sonic games out there. Sorry, but it’s true. First off, the time traveling is a HUGE pain in the ass. “Oh, you wanna go to the past? Here, hit this sign and get enough speed and a good place to run at full speed for ten seconds. Whoops! You hit a ramp at a wrong angle. Too bad! Try again. Whoops you hit a future sign just as you got to full speed! Have fun in your ugly, bad future!”

Seriously, who though have to run for so long in these levels that are far more vertically inclined was a good idea? If you’re trying to make a good future it’s a horrible, hair-pulling chore that ends up being no fun at all. Even if you don’t care about that stuff and want to just play straight through can be either good, or awful thanks to really poor level design that either bounces you high into the air and gets you lost and stuck in parts. Wacky Workbench itself may go down as one of the worst 2-D Sonic levels ever not to mention those “Super FX” 3-D bonus levels where you can’t quite judge if you’re about to land on road or time sucking water.

If you go into Sonic CD for great music, cool boss fights and just play straight through, you’ll have a pretty good time. If you’re a completionist who wants to have the best ending, be prepared to scream in frustration.

Sonic Adventure 2

"I'll save you if you just stop staring at my ass!"
“I’ll save you if you just stop staring at my ass!”

Please note that I’m not including “Battle” because the multiplayer does make the game a fair amount better.

Oooohoho! This is by far number one on my overrated list. “Why don’t they make good 3-D Sonic game like Sonic Adventure 2?!” “Remember how good Sonic games USED to be like Adventure 2?” Time to take off your nostalgia glasses boys and girls because in my humble and always correct opinion SONIC ADVENTURE 2 SUCKS!! It is SO undeserving of it’s praise. It is so far from perfect and really shows where Sonic Team was starting to go downhill.

I know you’re gonna go into the comment section about how wrong I am and what a great game this is but let me ask you a question. If they re-tooled this game and took all the admittedly great Sonic and Shadow levels out, would there be ANYTHING good to say about what’s left? Not much, if any.

All those fond memories of the game are pretty much anchored to the Sonic and Shadow levels. They are fast, cool and very well done. The rest of the game however, goes from boring to frustrating garbage. The Tails/Eggman shooter levels are just bland and far too slow paced for a Sonic game while the Knuckles/Rouge levels take the “meh” Emerald Hunting from the first Sonic Adventure and somehow screwed it all up by forcing the radar to only react to one emerald shard at a time leading to a frustrating, controller-throwing mess. I’ve literally stood next to an emerald shard and the radar did NOTHING!

And it’s not like the first Sonic Adventure where you can choose any character at any time so you can skip the stuff you don’t like. No, no, no. You gotta wade through all this crap just to get to the good stuff. Let me play as only Sonic or Shadow and I’d be a lot happier. Then there’s the story. It’s admittedly fairly well written I don’t mind a Sonic story getting a little more mature, but gunning down a little girl? A Big-Breasted bat? A moody, violent anti-hero? This is like, Penders/Bollers late 90’s Archie Sonic stuff here and I don’t care for it personally.

People crap all over Sonic Unleashed for the Werehog and they’re right in doing so because those levels are far too long. However, I’ll take a Werehog level any day of the week over any Rouge/Knuckles levels in Sonic Adventure 2. To me, it’s very undeserving of its praise.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments section below. Just please, keep it civil.

Jason says to please give all your hate mail to Hogfather @ sonicstadium.com 😉

(Don’t, please. I’m just kidding.)

 

[VIDEO] The SSMB Sings “A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup”, and Other Spooky Treats!

Ora ora ora! …rats!

Welp, it’s that spooky time of year again, when kids dress up as monsters and go door to door for free candy, when adults marathon horror movies, when spooky, scary skeletons send shivers down your spine… or when Sonic fans dust off their consoles and ain’t gonna let it get to them; they’re just gonna creep down in Pumpkin Hill in order to find their lost piece!

And that is exactly what we’re sharing with you today, for the fine folks at the Sonic Stadium Message Board have come together this holiday to sing a fabled Halloween carol: A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup, by Tomoya Ohtani and Hunnid-P!

I shed a tear… That was utterly magnificent. Great job, SSMB, great job. I tip my hat to you all for participating!

Makes you want to join a future The SSMB Sings, doesn’t it? You can even download this disasterpiece for yourself! Just right click, then hit save on the link.

In any case, before we close off October, here are a few other spoopy recommendations~!

Although it goes without saying, we’ve got a YouTube channel! Subscribe today for bonus TSS content and more upcoming shenanigans!

Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

A few years back, a wineglass emblazoned with the Sonic 10th Anniversary emblem cropped up for sale on eBay. While most seasoned merch-hogs were aware of the trinity of 10th anniversary items that had been offered by the Sonic Factory in 2001 (the statue, the crystal cube and the pewter ring), this was the first time most had seen this item; its authenticity and origin (along with that of the 10th anniversary lighter) has been much debated amongst Sonic collectors.

Luckily, one fan account reveals the origin of these items, and details the happenings of the “Sonic 10th Anniversary Birthday Party in Japan” which took place a day after Sonic’s 10th birthday on the 24th of June, 2001.

Continue reading Sonic’s 10th Anniversary: Merchandise and Memories

Sonic Master Collection On PSN For a Limited Time Only

Sonic CD PS3 Theme Good Future

Have you ever wanted to own every digitally released Sonic game on the PlayStation Network? Well now is your chance! For a limited time only, PSN will be selling the “Sonic Master Collection” for a paltry $29.99. This collection contains the following:

1. Sonic Adventure

2. Sonic Adventure DX Upgrade

3. Sonic Adventure 2

4. Sonic Adventure 2 DLC

5. Sonic CD

6. Sonic The Hedgehog

7. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

8. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

9. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

This content usually goes for $61 collectively, so you will be saving a little over 50% in this deal. That is, if you haven’t bought these games already!