Sonic Adventure Zeebo Port Mystery Finally Solved – Why Was It Cancelled?

Remember the Zeebo? A small console produced by longtime SEGA partner Tectoy released for the Brasilian market over a decade ago, the smartphone-in-a-box was originally planned to have a number of Dreamcast ports launch with the device, including Sonic Adventure. But the blue blur never ended up appearing on the console, and recently we found out why.

Continue reading Sonic Adventure Zeebo Port Mystery Finally Solved – Why Was It Cancelled?

Sonic Adventure Pins Teased by Zen Monkey Studios

Sonic Adventure pins are on the way, courtesy of Zen Monkey Studios. Zen Monkey, a company that specializes in collectible pins and patches, teased some art for the upcoming pins on their social media accounts, including Instagram and Twitter. The pins are based on cover art for Sonic Adventure 1 and 2.

These pins won’t the first they’ve made, as they have an entire 30th anniversary collection, which they first announced last year. You can check out the pin art below:

NiGHTS into Sonic (Team): A Brief History of NiGHTS Cameos

Before NiGHTS into Dreams… became widely available with its HD release in 2012, many people (including myself) first encountered the series through its copious amount of cameos, largely in Sonic Team games.

I don’t think any celebration of NiGHTS would be complete without an overview of the character’s many, many cameos in other SEGA properties. This is hardly a complete list, of course, but we’re at least touching on many of the character’s more notable appearances!

Sonic Adventure

Released in 1998, Sonic Adventure’s NiGHTS pinball game in Casinopolis is the franchise’s earliest cameo, and how many of us were first introduced to it. Players knock the pinball around the table, trying to collect cards which feature numerous NiGHTS characters. Collecting more then one of the same card nets a load of rings, and opens up a portal to a second, Nightmare themed pinball table. 

Between the tables, cards, and two neat looking animations that showcase the NiGHTS world, this remains one of the coolest NiGHTS cameos SEGA has done.

It was also possible to create NiGHTS chao by giving them flying animals. 

Shenmue

When Ryo couldn’t find sailors, he could at least find capsule toys

NiGHTS made a brief appearance as two of a multitude of capsule toys that could be collected in SEGA’s 1999 open world game, Shenmue. 

Sonic Shuffle

Image from Sonic the Hedgeblog

NiGHTS popped up again in SEGA’s Sonic party game, Sonic Shuffle, released in 2000. When the Dreamcast’s clock was set to December 24, NiGHTS would replace Lumina as the game’s guide in multiplayer matches. Sonic Shuffle also takes place in a dream world, and Lumina herself bears some visual similarities to NiGHTS, which is probably why Hudson Soft included the easter egg.

Sonic Adventure 2

The NiGHTS cameos are way less noticeable in Sonic Adventure 2, but they are there. NiGHTS decorated a few levels, such as Radical Highway and City Escape. The game also features NiGHTS-inspired Chao like the first game.

Sonic Pinball Party

When Sonic returned to pinball in 2003 with Sonic Pinball Party for the Game Boy Advance, it was only fitting NiGHTS was brought along for the ride. Featured as one of the game’s three pinball tables, this one drew significantly more inspiration from NiGHTS into Dreams… then the table from Sonic Adventure.

This table aims to replicate NiGHTS in pinball form. The pinball needs to be hit into an ideya palace three times to dualize with NiGHTS. From there, it needs to be knocked into the ideya to get it. After all four ideya are collected, the player can then face the boss, which appears in the upper right corner of the table.

With a total of 12 table designs based on the game’s first six levels and bosses, this is one of the most extensive NiGHTS appearances outside of the franchise’s games.

Billy Hatcher & the Giant Egg

NiGHTS was one of several Sonic Team characters to appear as an “egg animal”  in the developer’s 2003 platformer Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. Like all those characters, NiGHTS is both difficult to obtain and severely overpowered. Unlocking NiGHTS requires collecting 180 “chick coins.” Once that’s done, NiGHTS can be hatched from a Sonic egg found in Giant Palace’s fourth mission.

Billy Hatcher also had an unlockable downloadable mini-game for the GBA, NiGHTS Score Attack. This game could also be downloaded from Phantasy Star Online Episodes I&II.

Sonic Riders

NiGHTS appeared in 2006’s Sonic Riders and its sequel, Zero Gravity, as a flight-type character. Unlocking NiGHTS in the first game required the completion of all missions, while getting them in the sequel only required beating all story missions. In addition to NiGHTS, Sonic Riders also had a track with an area based on NiGHTS.

SEGA Superstars/Sonic & All-Stars

SEGA Superstars, a 2004 PS2 mini game collection made for Sony’s Eyetoy camera, had a NiGHTS mini game. In this, you waved your arms around to control NiGHTS as they flew through rings. This is arguably NiGHTS’s first playable cameo.

Years later, in 2008, NiGHTS and Reala would both appear as playable characters in SEGA Superstars Tennis, along with a court based on Journey of Dreams’ Aqua Garden. In 2010, NiGHTS would appear as a flagman in Sumo Digital’s second SEGA crossover game, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. In 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, NiGHTS and Reala appeared as playable vehicles, driven by a Nightopian and Nightmaren respectively.

Sonic Lost World

The Wii U version of Sonic Lost World came with free NiGHTS DLC in its early physical copies, labeled “The Deadly Six Edition,” and would later be included in all PC versions of the game. This DLC was essentially a boss rush, featuring all of the bosses from the first NiGHTS game (aside from Reala) teaming up with the Deadly Six to fight Sonic. There were also brief auto-running sections where Sonic could home in on blue chips and go through rings from NiGHTS.

The battles were easy, and mostly just variations of the Deadly Six’s original boss battles, but it did give us Wii U-quality HD models of all of NiGHTS into Dreams’ Nightmaren bosses for the first time, which is neat.

Sonic Forces

NiGHTS became the basis for an unlockable costume set in what is currently Sonic Team’s latest Sonic game, Sonic Forces. This set included headgear, body gear, and footwear.

And so…

A few Nightmaren enemies briefly popping up at the start of IDW’s Sonic 30th Anniversary comic

NiGHTS has a pretty long history of appearing in Sonic Team’s games, as well as the occasional title from SEGA’s other developers. With NiGHTS tied so closely to SEGA’s blue mascot, that could continue to keep the character around even if they never get another game. Here’s hoping they pop up in Sonic 2022!

25 Years of NiGHTS (Part 2)

For Part 1 of this article, go here.

The Cameos

Though no new NiGHTS game was on the horizon by the late 90s, Sonic Team and SEGA still had plenty of love for the purple dream jester, and they demonstrated that a lot. Sonic Adventure featured an entire NiGHTS themed pinball table, which likely served as many Sonic fan’s first exposure to the character. When Dreamcast party game Sonic Shuffle’s multiplayer was played on December 24, NiGHTS replaced Lumina. Sonic Adventure 2 featured NiGHTS on numerous level assets and featured a chao based on them. The cameos continued even after the Dreamcast.

Sonic Pinball Party gave NiGHTS a second pinball table, and the character was playable in both the Sonic Riders games and SEGA Superstars, a mini game collection for the PS2’s Eyetoy. NIGHTS popped up in Billy Hatcher as a special unlockable character, and also starred in NiGHTS Score Attack, a special mini game that could be downloaded to the GBA over a link cable from both Billy Hatcher and Phantasy Star Online.

For over a decade, this was essentially how NiGHTS stuck around. It wouldn’t be until 2007, eleven years after the original game’s release, that this finally changed.

The Sequel

Takashi Iizuka had often talked about wanting to do a NiGHTS sequel, and finally got his chance in late 2005, after the completion of Shadow the Hedgehog. My mid-2006, NiGHTS Journey of Dreams was in full production for the Wii. Though some have speculated JoD may have been originally planned for HD consoles, Iizuka later confirmed it was built from the ground up for Nintendo’s system.

After a small delay, JoD launched in December of 2007. It would not be as well received as its predecessor, receiving mixed-to-positive reviews. The game also likely didn’t sell especially well, though sales numbers appear to be hard to confirm.

JoD kept several aspects from the original, including its 2.5 perspective, its focus on flight, the timer for NiGHTS, and the ability to link rings and blue chips together for higher scores. Unlike the previous game, players needed to chase down nightmarens riding large birds in order to collect keys to free NiGHTS, and there is no incentive to run the timer down. Instead, JoD encourages players to simply complete its stages as quickly as possible. 

JoD also introduced a lot of brand new features, such as multiple missions per level, a significantly more fleshed out plot, an online multiplayer mode, and most infamously, platforming levels starring the children. It also has an area where Nightopians can be interacted with called “My Dream,” which is essentially a barebones chao garden. This open space can be filled with random objects from the game’s levels, as well as Nightopians and Nightmarens, which are sent here via paralooping. 

JoD does a lot to try to modernize NiGHTS. While it has the same number of levels as its predecessor, it stretches those levels out by giving each five missions that reuse assets, including the aforementioned platforming sections. It also features loads of cutscenes and voice acting for all the characters.

JoD’s plot is essentially a reboot of the previous game, but with new kids: Helen and Will. The game features a new helper character, “Owl” who essentially serves the same purpose as Tikal and Omochao. Aside from NiGHTS, Wizeman and Reala also make a return. Everyone is sporting new, more complex designs.

There is a lot I could say about JoD, but that’s best left for another article. To this day, it continues to serve as the only other full game in the NiGHTS franchise. It would not be the last NiGHTS game released, however. The original would soon be getting a remake.

The Remake

Just a few months after the launch of JoD, SEGA launched a full remake of the original NiGHTS for the PS2, exclusively in Japan in February of 2008. It featured completely remade visuals, Christmas NiGHTS, and a complete port of the Saturn original. Each copy of the game also came with a second printing of the rare NiGHTS story book. The PS2 version featured additional timed events in Christmas NiGHTS, including special summer and Halloween outfits for Claris and Elliot, and a special Halloween skin for NiGHTS. Unfortunately, the game didn’t sell particularly well, charting just over 6,000 units. The remake version of the game is also infamous for featuring somewhat slower speeds, as well as inferior (potentially 8-way directional) control instead of full analog.

This version would later become the basis for the HD remake, which as released on Xbox 360 and PS3 four years later in 2012. This remake presented NiGHTS in HD for the first time, and featured true 16:9 widescreen as opposed to the stretched 4:3 widescreen of the Saturn and PS2 games. It included all the special features of the PS2 version, as well as all the control issues. These issues would later be patched, though.

NiGHTS into Dreams… HD continues to be available for both Xbox and Steam users, and can also be played by anyone who has Game Pass or PS Now, making it far more accessible then it once was.

The Legacy

NiGHTS hasn’t had a single release of any sort in nine years, but as with before JoD, the character hasn’t disappeared.

NiGHTS was a playable racer in 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and inspired a whole DLC level in 2013’s Sonic Lost World. NiGHTS, Reala and Wizeman all returned to Archie as part of their World’s Unite crossover event. They appeared as “buddies” in 2015’s Sonic Runners, and inspired a costume in 2017’s Sonic Forces. Elements from the games even popped up in Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Comic and orchestra just last month!

Finally, NiGHTS as a brand has recently made a return…as a slot machine in certain casinos. I can’t say I’m exactly happy about that, but it does show that someone somewhere still sees value in NiGHTS as a franchise.

With Iizuka expressing an interest in returning to NiGHTS yet again, there is yet hope that we’ll be seeing the purple dream jester again in a proper game. Until then, we’ve still got 25 years of games and legacy to remember them by.

Sonic Sounds: The Best of 30 Years of Sonic the Hedgehog Music

A defining element of the Sonic the Hedgehog series is the superb soundtrack that has accompanied our favourite characters across 30 year’s worth of adventures. Here’s the top 10 of what our resident music maniac T-Bird considers the best of three decades of music featured in the Sonic Universe!

10. Sonic R

Often dismissed as cheesy (but come on folks, Sonic is often super cheesy), the Sonic R soundtrack is the first entry on my list. While not everyone’s cup of tea, very few Sonic series soundtracks come close to being anywhere near as upbeat at this first foray by Sonic into a more contemporary sound, drawing from late 90s dance and Eurobeat. Authored by the one-and-only veteran composer Richard Jacques and embellished with vocals provided by TJ Davis (previously of D:Ream and Gary Numan) Sonic R is packed with plenty of guilty pleasures – not that there should be any guilt of course! We think Sonic R has a solid-gold track listing, and we will always sing Can You Feel The Sunshine at Karaoke, given the chance!

Highlights: Can You Feel the Sunshine?, Living In The City, Number One.

9. Sonic Heroes

Follow in on the coat tails of the Sonic Adventure series, the Sonic Heroes soundtrack continued the tradition of maintaining a thematic landscape, heavily drawing on the rock sound that worked so well for the last two titles. Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue once again utilises his links to the world of melodic rock to recruit the vocal talents of Ted Poley (Danger Danger) and Tony Harnell (TNT) for We Can, in addition to two belting themes from Crush 40. Employing industrial electronic act Julien-K to provide an angsty theme to Shadow the Hedgehog’s team in the form of This Machine is perfect. There are far too many great stage themes to list in this game, but the fact that Wave Ocean and Bingo Highway have seen so many reworks and remixes since 2003 is testament to the enduring nature of this soundtrack!

Highlights: What I’m Made Of, This Machine, Wave Ocean

8. Sonic Rush

A unique entry to this list are the funky tones of the Sonic Rush soundtrack. Lead by the rather eccentric Hideki Naganuma (if you don’t believe me check out his Twitter), the genius behind the unforgettable Jet Set Radio soundtracks, provides an infusion of funk, soul, drum and bass, and a mountain of samples from every corner of the music industry. Naganuma’s approach delivers something that is seldom replicated anywhere else, and will leave anyone earworms for days to come. From the happy-go-lucky Back 2 Back to the darker tones of Wrapped in Black for the final boss, you won’t believe that something so powerful can output from a DS.

Highlights: What U Need, A New Day, Wrapped In Black

7. Sonic Unleashed / World Adventure

In a tonal shift from most other Sonic titles, sound director Tomoya Ohtani elected to take the soundtrack to Sonic Unleashed down a more orchestral avenue, to reflect the more cinematic qualities of the game, the environment, and the exploratory nature of the game’s hub worlds. What is delivered is a grandiose performance from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, interjected with fast-paced and floaty drum and bass day tracks, and the cool jazz strings and flutes for night stages, more often than not arranged by an unsung hero of Sonic sounds, Fumie Kumatani. Although the Werehog battle theme finds itself being overused, its hard not to adore this soundtrack for its variety.

Highlights: Apotos Day, The World Adventure, Cool Edge

6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive / Genesis)

It doesn’t get much more definitive than the theme to Emerald Hill Zone (with the exception of Green Hill of course) and as such Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s soundtrack ranks high in this list. Composed by Dreams Come True superstar Masato Nakamura, the music collection featured on the title is one of the most definitive to have featured on the Mega Drive / Genesis, exploiting the full range of channels available to deliver a soundtrack with depth and character, with catchy hooks and brilliant basslines. The game concludes with a rendition of DCT’s Sweet Sweet Sweet, to bring the feels as you save the planet once again.

Highlights: Emerald Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Mystic Cave Zone


5. Team Sonic Racing

The most recent entry into this list is the soundtrack to Team Sonic Racing, another titled directed by Senoue-san. Not only is TSR packed with rearrangements and mash-up tracks from previous Sonic games, The SONIC ADVENTURE MUSIC EXPERIENCE, including long-time Crush 40 session bassist Takeshi Taneda and Crush 40 percussionist Akht, drive the heart of this assembly of octane-fuelled compositions, with a massive supporting cast including TORIENA, Hyper Potions, Tee Lopes, and Tyler Smyth (Dangerkids). As such, Senoue and company have delivered what is definitely one of the high-water marks in Sonic the Hedgehog music of the modern era.

Highlights: Ocean View Lap Music, Frozen Junkyard Lap Music, Boo’s House Lap Music

4. Sonic CD

I am going to have to cheat here in that this entry is a two-for-one and include both the American and Japanese soundtracks here (controversial, I know..and not the only time I will cheat either!) for quite different reasons. Naofumi Hataya and Masufumi Ogata’s masterful works are lined with J-Pop sounds, that while might sound a little contemporary and dated, are some of those associated most with Sonic games by the old guard. Spencer Nilsen’s soundtrack on the other hand delivers a much more ambient and darker tone to the game, completely changing the atmosphere; it really goes to show that a soundtrack can completely change the feel of a game. Regardless of which camp you fall into, you can’t deny that both games come armed with a great opening and closing vocal tracks.

Highlights: Sonic Boom, Tidal Tempest (US), Stardust Speedway – Bad Future (US), Comic Eternity (JP), Metallic Madness (JP), Boss!! (JP)

3. Sonic Mania

A modern classic. I probably don’t need to say much more than I have previously, in that Mania’s soundtrack is nothing short of a love letter to Sonic music through the ages. Fan-turned-professional musician Tee Lopes’s universal understanding of the DNA that comprises Sonic the Hedgehog soundscapes is nothing shy masterful, and has set a lofty standard for whatever follows in it’s wake in 2D Sonic titles. Lopes takes the best of the existing material and gives it a polish, breathing new life into well known tracks without detracting from what made them so brilliant in the first place. Additionally, Lopes demonstrates repeatedly throughout that his own compositions are just as phenomenal. Indeed, this is a soundtrack for the ages, and it feels criminal to select just three tracks as highlights!

Highlights: Prime Time – Studiopolis Zone Act 2, Blossom Haze – Studiopolis Act 2, Skyway Octane – Mirage Saloon act 1

2. Sonic 3 & Knuckles

A close call between this and the number 1 spot for sure, but many will hardly be surprised to see this game near the top of the listings. The songs of Sonic 3 & Knuckles are a culmination of tracks that are the very epitome of what makes Sonic soundtracks so good – a completely unique aural experience that has been much emulated but never replicated. Whether it’s the incredible “guitar” licks of Flying Battery, the “steel drums” of Angel Island, or the even the  driving basslines of Ice Cap, this game sounds incredible even to this day, and further augments this great game. The calibre of the soundtrack is hardly surprising given that it’s authors include the likes of Senoue-san, Michael Jackson music director Brad Buxer, and in all likelihood the King of Pop himself!

Highlights: Hydrocity Act 2, Flying Battery Zone Act 1, Sky Sanctuary Zone

1. Sonic Adventure 1 & 2

The crowning jewels of the music of Sonic the Hedgehog are the timeless masterpieces that are the soundtracks of the Sonic Adventure series – and yes, I couldn’t pick a favourite. Pulling out all of the stops, Senoue et al. pulled out of the collective minds not one, but TWO massive musical landscapes to embellish the plethora of game environments, with no constraint on musical genre. Songs like the pop-punky Escape from the City and the spectacular power anthem that is Open Your Heart are unmatched in their power, driven home with a triple threat of galloping guitar work, thunderous percussion, and soaring vocals.

Nearly every playable character across the two games have their own distinct theme tune and genre, so their really is something for everyone. This format extends to the stages but is never forced, in fact quite the opposite; breaking into a vault to a jazz soundtrack has never felt so sincere to a 1960’s secret agent film with I’m A Spy…For Security Hall, or the slow Hawaii-esque guitar twangs of sitars that rings throughout Azure Blue World as Sonic adventures across the beach of Emerald Coast. I’m sure many fans will have stopped in Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and even a Chao Garden or two, to just pause and take in the atmosphere delivered by this soundtrack.

A perfect soundtrack for one of the most celebrated games of the series.

Highlights: Too many to list!

Honourable mentions:

Here’s a handful of soundtracks that just missed out on featuring in the top 10:

Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear) – there are lots of 8-bit gems that missed out here, but Sonic Triple Trouble is a real diamond in the rough; Sunset Park Act 3 is a real highlight, and Fang the Sniper’s theme exudes a Mexican standoff – perfect for this rootin’ tootin’ sharp shootin’ Wolf. Or Gerboa (who knows!)

Sonic Colors (Nintendo Wii) – A tonally different game once again, Colors deserves a mention here as it’s soundtrack perfectly complements the lighter tone of the game itself, and Tomoya Ohtani gladly provides this in his distinct fashion.

Sonic Forces – Controversial, but why not! Forces, while being one of the poorer outings of Sonic in recent years, has some crackers in the soundtrack, and a smattering of catchy drum and bass-centric vocal songs. Let’s also not forget the heavy hitting Theme of Infinite provided courtesy of the Dangerkids!

Sonic Generations – This has probably missed out on the top 10 for being more of a revisiting of old soundtracks, but is nonetheless brilliant, and there are some phenomenal reworkings of Sonic CD’s Sonic Boom, and a blistering version of Heavy Arm’s theme.

Shadow the Hedgehog – Not to everyone’s taste, but I adore this soundtrack, which is heavier than a heavy thing, and a firm favourite of metal fans for sure. The theme song, I Am…All Of Me, is one of the most powerful Crush 40 songs going, and never fails to get the blood pumping.

Sonic Song Sin Bin:

Sonic Underground soundtrack – Apologies to the Sonic Underground gang, but this falls firmly in the sin bin – and although I am often one for a bit of cheese, this is too difficult not cringe through. Sonic and his band should probably not give up their day jobs! I will make one exception here – and that is the theme song, performed powerfully by Michael Lanning. That rocks.

Wonderman by Right Said Fred – During the advertising campaign in the early 90s, SEGA teamed up with dance-pop act Right Said Fred to create the bizarre Wonderman, which while making tenuous mentions to spin attacking and power sneakers in the lyrics, has little else to do with Sonic. It peaks at number 55 in the British charts, which tells you everything you need to know. Watch the bizarre music video below:

Sonic Jam (Games.com) – Barely a soundtrack, this game features single-channel renditions of stages from earlier Sonic games, that are unrecognisable due to having their tempo reduced by an order of magnitude.

Agree with our list? Don’t agree with our list? Let us know your favourite Sonic songs and soundtracks in the comments!

Scott Pilgrim vs The World’s Physical Packaging Cover Art Looks Familiar

Scott Pilgrim isn’t exactly unfamiliar with referencing numerous game franchises, so it isn’t all that surprising that the just-revealed physical edition from Limited Run has a few. The game’s cover art features Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers performing a pose that will be very familiar to Sonic fans. Check them out in the images below!

Scott Pilgrim’s reversible cover combines posing from the original Sonic Adventure with aesthetics from the Japanese Sonic box art.

As the images say, the games will be available to pre-order from Limited Run on January 15.

Revisit The Adventure Era With Some Never-Seen-Before Concept Art

The Sonic Official Extra Life 2020 charity livestream that had been recently held had a special treat for Adventure fans. For the first time, fans got to see a handful of concept art from three 3D Sonic games.

Continue reading Revisit The Adventure Era With Some Never-Seen-Before Concept Art

Xbox Series X/S Launches Today – These Are The Sonic Games You Can Play Right Now

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, we don’t mean Christmas – pfft! – but instead Next-Gen Console Day! This month sees the launch of two new platforms in the Xbox and PlayStation family of gaming systems, and we couldn’t be more excited about both. Today, Microsoft formally releases the Xbox Series X and S, and with backwards compatibility a major factor we decided to dig into the archives and check which Sonic the Hedgehog titles you can play from Day One.

Continue reading Xbox Series X/S Launches Today – These Are The Sonic Games You Can Play Right Now

PSA: PlayStation Store Web & Mobile Browser to Stop PS3, Vita and PSP Sales – Get Your Sonic Games This Weekend!

Recently, Sony announced that it was making big changes to its PlayStation Store. From Monday 19 October, you will no longer be able to purchase PS3, PSP or PS Vita games from a desktop web browser, and from 28 October on mobile browser. This may have an impact on your ability to buy and download a range of Sonic games, so consider this a Public Service Announcement.

Continue reading PSA: PlayStation Store Web & Mobile Browser to Stop PS3, Vita and PSP Sales – Get Your Sonic Games This Weekend!

Find Tikal’s Lost Chao in New, Fan-made Sonic Adventure Dreamcast DLC

The Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure has received its first brand new downloadable content in nearly twenty years, thanks to the efforts of the Dreamcast community. This new DLC, called “Tikal’s Challenge,” has players traveling back to the past as Sonic to find five chao lost in the ancient echidna city. They’re tasked with finding the chao as quickly as possible, and bringing them to the Master Emerald shrine.

Continue reading Find Tikal’s Lost Chao in New, Fan-made Sonic Adventure Dreamcast DLC

Sonic Team, It’s Time To Bring Back The Chao Gardens

When I was 18, it was in 2010 and I had yet to become a Sonic news writer. It was also the year that I got Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the Gamecube. I wanted to get all the game’s emblems, only to learn that doing so meant that I had to go raise these little creatures that are called Chao, enter them in races and Karate tournaments, and get some emblems there. It didn’t take long before I discovered that raising these cute, adorable Chao is fun and addictive. Now, a decade later, I think it’s time that Sonic Team decided to bring that back.

Continue reading Sonic Team, It’s Time To Bring Back The Chao Gardens

Brave Wave’s Vinyl Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 Soundtracks Are Getting A Reprint

A few years have passed since Brave Wave’s vinyl releases of the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks first came out. If you still haven’t gotten them yet, now’s your chance, because a reprint is on the way.

We don’t know how much they will cost. We also don’t know when they will release, although Brave Wave has suggested that fans “stay tuned for information on where to pre-order”. But we do know that the reprints will be 180g black vinyl.

If you need a refresher on what’s on the soundtracks, they contain the character theme songs and level tracks for both Adventure games. You’ll also get a comprehensive booklet featuring an interview with Jun Senoue and Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka.

But that’s not all. Also included are song lyrics, character art and even Liner Notes by John Linneman of Digital Foundry. You’ll even receive a digital download with your physical copy, in case you’d prefer listening to the music that way. You will want to hurry, though. The original releases sold out, so it’s very likely that these will do the same.

Via Twitter

Fan-made Radio Drama Sonic and Tails R Light-Speed Dashes onto YouTube

Hold onto your light speed shoes, remember that radio drama that was teased a while back? Well, it’s out now, and we couldn’t be happier to hear such an all-star cast lend their talents to what is shaping up to be quite an adventurous project!

Continue reading Fan-made Radio Drama Sonic and Tails R Light-Speed Dashes onto YouTube

Xbox Super Saver Sale Spotlights Significant Sonic Savings

Good things come in pairs, and following the Sonic sale on the U.S. Nintendo eShop, Microsoft joins in with intense 50% discounts on ten more Sonic games for multiple Xbox Marketplace regions, most of which aren’t part of the Nintendo sale. As a reminder, all these games are playable on the Xbox One, and will likely be playable on the Series X in the near future.

Prices in USD/GBP respectively.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic CD – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Fighters – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure 2 – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II – $7.49/£4.99
Sonic Unleashed – $7.49/£5.99
Sonic Generations – $9.99/£7.49

Via @videogamedeals and xbox.com

Oh, you can play Sonic X-Treme… In your (copy of) DREAMS!

Media Molecule’s Dreams is a new PS4 game (well, more of a tool than a game) that lets users create their own games with much more freedom than you had in their previous creation title, Little Big Planet. It’s been in a beta stage for a long time and people have been using that time to make unique and interesting games along with some that are inspired by other popular genres.

One player, JPG240SX has created 2 stages inspired by Sonic X-Treme, the long-lost Sega Saturn title. The version he created uses low-res textures and a fisheye-lens camera to get the effect of what the original title was going for. It’s really impressive.

The engine that Media Molecule is using in Dreams is so impressive that people are already making levels based off of Sonic Adventure and other Sonic titles and even making their own original, momentum-based Sonic games. It’s a game creation tool like no other.

Dreams is available now for PS4 at $39.99 US.

Sonic Talk 66: Siri, Stop Playing Cats

In this episode of Sonic Talk, we discuss the Game Awards Show appearance that wasn’t, Sonic Adventure’s lost DLC, and Sonic’s latest holiday special. We also talk about the latest merch from Puma, First4Figures, Eaglemoss, and of course, Arby’s. Finally, we discuss a veritable boatload of movie news including, of course, baby Sonic! Continue reading Sonic Talk 66: Siri, Stop Playing Cats

Report: Sonic Adventure 2020 Music Event Suggests New Port/Remake Incoming

SEGA Japan is apparently preparing to stage a Sonic Adventure-themed event, due to take place late in 2020. If true, this adds fuel to the fire that a port or remake of the Dreamcast launch title is in the works.
Continue reading Report: Sonic Adventure 2020 Music Event Suggests New Port/Remake Incoming

Lost Sonic Adventure DLC Rediscovered

A long lost DLC event for the Japanese version of Sonic Adventure has just been uncovered. Moopthehedgehog, a member of the Dreamcast development and homebrew website DCEmulation, found a copy of the game’s 1999 New Years event on an old memory card he ordered from Japan.

Continue reading Lost Sonic Adventure DLC Rediscovered

Unused 3D Blast Demo Music Reveals Shocking Connection to Sonic Adventure

Remember those cool music samples from Sonic 3D Blast? Well, Jon Burton has uploaded another lost demo track onto his GameHut YouTube channel, and fans of Sonic Adventure for the SEGA Dreamcast might find it to be quite familiar!

Continue reading Unused 3D Blast Demo Music Reveals Shocking Connection to Sonic Adventure

Hero of Legend’s Look Back – Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut

This year is the 20th Anniversary of the Western release of the Sega Dreamcast and flagship launch title Sonic Adventure (its European anniversary was actually yesterday)! But, while everyone can talk about the game’s original release until the cows come home, a lot less remembered is its Gamecube/PC port, Sonic Adventure DX. Let’s take a Look Back at it! Continue reading Hero of Legend’s Look Back – Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut

Tee Lopes and Jun Senoue’s Station Square Remix is Here, and it’s GREAT

Yesterday, we reported that a new official remix from Tee Lopes was on the way soon, and we speculated that it would be Sonic Mania themed… and we were wrong! Sonic fans old and new will get to listen to a fantastic arrangement of “Welcome to Station Square” from the beloved Sonic Adventure, and even Jun Senoue gets in on the action!

Continue reading Tee Lopes and Jun Senoue’s Station Square Remix is Here, and it’s GREAT

Happy 20th Anniversary, SEGA Dreamcast!

Back in 1999, SEGA was on the ropes. Their 32-bit console, the SEGA Saturn, had been a failure everywhere but Japan. The SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis was long dead. The arcade market was struggling. Japan was in the midst of a decade-long depression. The SEGA Dreamcast was its last hope at remaining a contender as a console maker.

Of course, we all know how that went by now. The Dreamcast struggled in Japan, initially selling out when it launched on November 27 1998, but then failing to meet subsequent sales targets. The Dreamcast had a record breaking launch in America, where it sold 500,000 units in just two weeks. The system also did very well in Europe, where it managed to sell 400,000 units in about 5 weeks. Unfortunately, this success would not last, and on January 31, 2001, SEGA announced that the system would be discontinued.

Despite its short life, the Dreamcast has become something of a cult hit among hardcore gamers. It saw many acclaimed releases, like Soul Calibur, Skies of Arcadia, Jet Grind Radio, Grandia 2, and Shenmue. It pioneered console online gaming, becoming the first system to feature a built in modem, which allowed many developers to inject online functionality into their games, including DLC, leaderboards, and online multiplayer.

Around here, the system is probably best known for being the machine that powered Sonic’s first true 3D outings, permanently changing the franchise forever.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the system’s iconic 9.9.99 US launch. Do you have anything memories of that launch? Or the system? Or its games? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

This won’t be our only Dreamcast article marking the occasion. Keep an eye out for a few more articles over the next month!

The Best References In OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes – Let’s Meet Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog recently made his appearance in an action-packed episode of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, in which the nods to Sonic the Hedgehog history came thick and fast! Here is our comprehensive TSS guide to the many references contained in the episode!

Warning – MANY spoilers ahead!

Continue reading The Best References In OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes – Let’s Meet Sonic

Jun Senoue’s Sonic Adventure Music Experience Performing in Tokyo on June 22

If you thought SEGA was just stopping with a party at Tokyo Joypolis to celebrate Sonic’s 28th birthday, you’re sorely mistaken. Sonic series sound director (and author of the incredible Team Sonic Racing soundtrack) Jun Senoue will also be performing live with his band ‘Sonic Adventure Music Experience’ in just a few days time. Continue reading Jun Senoue’s Sonic Adventure Music Experience Performing in Tokyo on June 22

Jun Senoue’s “The Works III” Release Date, Tracklist Revealed

UPDATE: The Works III is now available for pre-order from CDJapan (click to follow link to site)

SEGA Sound Director and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue will release his third compilation album “The Works III” on June the 19th, 2019 release via Wavemaster Entertainment.

Continue reading Jun Senoue’s “The Works III” Release Date, Tracklist Revealed

TSS Interview: Sumo Digital on Team Sonic Racing

Sumo Digital has been a close partner of SEGA’s for many years, ever since the Sheffield-based studio worked on a console port of OutRun2 back in 2003. But in recent years, the developer has worked on several racing games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog – Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which were released to critical acclaim.

For the third outing, the company’s new Nottingham studio has taken a brand new direction with the series, focusing on Sonic’s friends and co-operative teamwork. We caught up with Derek Littlewood and Ben Wilson to find out more about the creative process that went into making Team Sonic Racing! Continue reading TSS Interview: Sumo Digital on Team Sonic Racing

Ex-Sonic Team Sonic Adventure Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Rejoins SEGA

The Official Sonic Twitch channel had a surprise guest appearance last week, as Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber introduced Ex-Sonic Team artist Hiroshi Nishiyama to the stream, announcing his return to SEGA. Continue reading Ex-Sonic Team Sonic Adventure Artist Hiroshi Nishiyama Rejoins SEGA

Jun Senoue’s “The Works III” To Include Sonic Mania Adventures Songs and Sonic Adventure Re-recordings

Alongside the release of “MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE”, the 130-track soundtrack to the soon-to-be-released Team Sonic Racing, comes Sonic Sound Team Director Jun Senoue‘s third installment of “The Works” compilation album series.

Continue reading Jun Senoue’s “The Works III” To Include Sonic Mania Adventures Songs and Sonic Adventure Re-recordings

Takashi Iizuka is Really Interested in Remaking Sonic Adventure

Speaking with Retro Gamer magazine in their newest issue featuring a making of Sonic Adventure feature as teased before, Sonic Team’s boss Takashi Iizuka, who also directed Sonic Adventure (as well as Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, and Shadow the Hedgehog), said the following:

Continue reading Takashi Iizuka is Really Interested in Remaking Sonic Adventure

20 Years of Sonic Adventure Merchandise

To celebrate 20 years of Sonic Adventure, we take a brief look at some of the best Sonic Adventure-themed merchandise released in 1998 and beyond!

Continue reading 20 Years of Sonic Adventure Merchandise

A Little Look At 27 Years of Sonic Costumes

Just over a month ago, I set myself a little personal project, I decided to research the various official Sonic Mascot costumes which have been used over the years, I wanted to see how they changed, if there was any relation in design to the games, as well as how other regions created their mascots.

It was supposed to be a short project, I thought ‘there can’t be ‘that many, this will probably be just a 5 min video at best’, I was very wrong. Not only did this project take a full month to complete, it ended up being one of the strangest research trips I have ever undertaken. You can view the full end result video at the end of the article.

For now, enjoy these highlights.

If you’ve ever attend any video game convention or event, chances are you’ll see at least one official mascot, every big publisher tries to have one near their stand. They’re like people magnets, you put a mascot at your stand, people go over to it, it’s a great way to get people to look at your game who may have otherwise past it by.

Sega knows this well, and with nearly 30 years of Sonic games, there has been nearly 30 years of these official Sonic Mascot costumes… And some of them are wild…

The Classic Era (1990 – 1995)

During the madness which was Sonic 2’s release, Sega created a Sonic & Tails mascot in the UK. The costumes appeared numerous times in the pages of Sonic the Comic but also appeared in video form on Bad Influence’s 1992 Christmas Special. The Mascots also entertained visitors to the Future Entertainment show in 1992 as well as the 1992 Sega Championship Finals.

The United states also had their own Sonic & Tails mascots at this time, whilst the Sonic was similar in design, their Tails took a different approach, it was still huge but was much less furry and and was a different colour tone.

Japan had a few costumes around this time, but this is the most infamous of the lot, because it hung out with Michael Jackson during the promotion of Sonic 3.

The costume has a very friendly look to it and a “Nice smile” but what you might not realise, the smile is actually a vital part of the design… it’s where the performer looks out of.

Adventure Era (1999 – 2005)

At the 1999 E3 expo, Sega debuted an entire cast of new costumes, Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles all got the mascot treatment. Whilst this was a major E3 for Sega, there exists very little media of the costumes at the event.

However, the costumes were so good and popular that they also appeared at several events in Japan and were even brought back into service when Sega were promoting both Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic X and even Sonic Battle!

Over time, Sega increased the number of characters to go along with this line, such as Rouge, Shadow, Eggman and even Cream! Cream made her only appearance at the 2002 Worlds Hobby Fair in Japan and from all accounts has never appeared at any other event since.

Shadow and Sonic’s costume was brought back temporarily to help promote Shadow the Hedgehog, but the other cast would remain dormant until eventually re-designed for later events.

Joypolis (? – Present Day)

This is probably the longest running Sonic costume in history, probably because it’s so good! Tokyo Joypolis has had this guy entertaining guests for at least 10 years, he’s normally available daily for photos at the park and during special occasions like Halloween and Christmas, Sonic will often dress up to get into the spirit of things.

Sega Republic (2009)

Sega Republic was Dubai’s answer to Tokyo Joypolis, a huge indoor theme park with Sega themed rides and attractions. To help promote the park, they had three mascots based on Sonic, Tails and Amy.

Whilst Tails and Amy were reserved for media events, Sonic was a daily sight in the park, guests could get a photo with him and he would even attend birthday parties which you could book at the park itself!

Sonic Boom (2014 – Present Day)

Regardless as to what you may think of Boom, a lot of effort went into these creations, Tails and Amy especially since they’re completely original. Whilst the Sonic was based off the main Sega Sonic costume used at the time, they still went to the effort to give him new shoes and accessories.

Modern Era (2010 – Present Day)

Chances are you are more than familiar with these two costumes, they have been used at almost every video-game event since 2010, the above one has been a regular feature of Summer of Sonic.

The modern design has slimmed down the costume from the more bulky ones seen in the 90’s and in Japan, this means the performer is able to make more energetic motions, at Summer of Sonic this costume was even seen dancing with Crush 40 on stage and even attended the Alton Towers Sonic Spinball launch event and entertained guests with a number of recognisable poses.

It was used worldwide up until very recently… until this costume replaced it…

 

This costume uses much higher grade materials which means it still looks really good after a long days use. The shoes are much higher quality and it has a ‘nice smile’ instead of the creepy Sonic Heroes grin that the other costume has.

The Werehog

It was only ever used for one Tokyo Game Show, yet… look at it! They made a Werehog costume to help promote the launch of Sonic Unleashed, despite the size of the costume the performer is able to move very easily in it.

What little video exists shows the costume jumping, waving their arms in the air, walking quickly with confidence and even pulling some of the Werehog poses from the game

And from what I can tell… it was used for less than a week at one event, despite being one of the best costumes Sega have ever made!

…And The Rest

This was just a little look at some of the better and most iconic costumes which span the 27 years (technically 28) in which Sega have been promoting Sonic. There are many more and some of them….

…Are certainly unique…

Check out the video below if you’re interested and want to see the full history since it’s quite in depth.

Happy 20th Birthday Sonic Adventure!

Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.

We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.

The Hype

SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.

On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.

The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.

Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!

The design

Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.

Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).

The story mode

Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).

The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.

Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!

The soundtrack

Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!

While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!

The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.

The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.

The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.

DLC

The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.

Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!

What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!