Mash-Up Monday: Till Our Planet Dies

 

Hiroyuki Sawano is a brilliant composer, there’s no two cents (or pence?) about it. Without you knowing, you might’ve already listened to some of his work if you’re an avid anime watcher: Blue Exorcist, Attack on Titan, and Kill la Kill are among a number of shows he had scored. Recently, he has even lent his talents for a little Monolith Soft-developed game called Xenoblade Chronicles X, which is hitting the West in early December!

However, to one man, he felt that Sawano’s music was missing something, some sort of spark… say, a dash of blue.

So he went and combined some Sonic music with it and called it a day!

All kidding aside, Triple-Q has done an amazing job in combining the vocal track “Till I Die” from Kill la Kill, composition by Sawano with lyrics by cAnON and vocals by CASG, with a small selection of Sonic music from recent games. From Sonic Colours comes the Area and Act 1 themes of Planet Wisp, by Mariko Nanba and Kenichi Tokoi respectively, with a later transition into Tomoya Ohtani’s “Sea Bottom Segue” from Sonic Lost World.

The end result is absolutely nothing short of spectacular, because “Till Our Planet Dies” sounds like pure magic to the ears. Give it a listen yourself!

If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, you can check out Triple-Q’s library of mash-ups on his YouTube channel, which includes other Sonic-themed mashups that we have featured in the past: “Pull Over (That Metal Too Fast)“, “Knuckles Gets It Started In Here“, and “Green Panty Zone“! You can also download the collaborative KLK tribute album organized by Triple-Q, Cut, Paste and Kill, which is full of wonderful mash-ups just like this one. Click here for more details!

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 Triple-Q’s mash-up above!), or you can reach me over the following to see your choice next Monday:

Have a good week, everybody!

Retrospective: The Colours Still Feel So Right

soniccoloursretro

2010 was an interesting time to be a Sonic fan. At the start of the year, the franchise was at one of its lowest points, with jokes about the Sonic Cycle being thrown around every which way following the downward spiral of quality in the games – Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic ’06, Sonic and the Black Knight… even 2008’s Sonic Unleashed, the closest thing to a step in the right direction we’d seen, was critically panned and bogged down by poor design choices. Luckily, there seemed to be a shining ray of light on the horizon, one that the entire fanbase was clinging their hopes onto, something that promised to set the series back on track at last…

That game was Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. And we all know how that turned out.

Yes, rather unjustly in retrospect, it was the disappointing sequel to the classic Sonic trilogy that garnered the most attention in 2010. Instead, there was another, far better, far more memorable Sonic game released that year that deserved to receive the lion’s share of fan interest. Announced slap bang in the middle of the Sonic 4 hype, Sonic Colours – or Sonic Colors, for our American readers – was eternally in the shadow of its downloadable counterpart, with only a month separating the two games’ release dates in October and November respectively. It’s understandable, of course – the game’s rather obscure title and lack of concrete gameplay details upon its initial reveal made Colours a bit of a harder sell compared to the prospect of a follow-up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Even I’ll admit, I thought Sonic Colours would be a puzzle or spin-off title when I first saw its announcement… but fast forward a few months, and it ended up being one of my favourite Sonic games of all time.

NE Sonic Colours Wii 5

Whereas Sonic 4’s hype train went out of control before well and truly coming off the rails, the more quiet and subtle excitement surrounding Sonic Colours actually worked in its favour. When the astonishingly good reviews came rolling in – that all important first score of 86 from NGamer and an 8.5 from IGN, to name but a couple (let’s just forget that 4.5 from Destructoid though, eh?) – it caught us all by surprise and made us appreciate the game even more. It not only surpassed Sonic 4, it trampled all over it and gave us the first genuinely good Sonic experience in years. Say what you want about the game, but you cannot deny that Sonic Colours set alight the hearts of several fans and critics again after oh so long.

So what was it about the title that sparked off such acclaim? Well… a bit of everything, really. Presentation-wise, Colours definitely delivers on its title – this is a bright, quirky, visually appealing adventure that really pushes the graphical boundaries of the Wii to their limits. While we’ve since seen the likes of Planet Wisp and Starlight Carnival recreated in high definition in Sonic Generations and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, their original incarnations still hold up beautifully on Nintendo’s last-gen system. What really stands out about Colours though is its sheer imagination, fusing recurring Sonic tropes into entirely fresh new locations such as the tropical casino aesthetic of Tropical Resort and the watery Chun-Nan that is Aquarium Park. Despite being a modern 3D title, Colours captures the vibe and essence – and, dare I say it, magic – of the classic era better than ever before (arguably better even that Sonic 4 did), to the extent that famous badniks like Motobugs even make their long-awaited return with a few new twists of their own.

Sonic Colours Wii screen 1 1st Aug

Musically, the soundtrack is also up there with the finest in the series – and that’s an impressive feat considering how consistently brilliant Sonic music tends to be (Chronicles notwithstanding). Almost every tune is a joy to listen to, ranging from the adrenaline-pumping sounds of Terminal Velocity to the gentle and serene Planet Wisp tracks. It’s also the last time we had a vocal song as the main theme of a Sonic game – can you believe it’s been four years already? – and, while Cash Cash’s Reach For The Stars and Speak With Your Heart aren’t to everybody’s taste, they’re serviceable enough and undeniably catchy for those who want to sing along as the credits roll.

Most importantly, Colours nailed the gameplay. Taking the day stages from Sonic Unleashed as a basis, cutting out all of the nonsense like medal hunting and Werehogs, every stage was a high octane blast of speedy Sonic fun. The level design is top notch with some hugely enjoyable courses to overcome right from the off – there’s no messing around with opening cutscenes or tutorials, you press Start at the title screen and you’re straight into Tropical Resort Act 1. It’s a platformer at its most straightforward – clear one level, move onto the next, rinse and repeat until you face off against the world’s boss, then move onto the next area – and it’s all the better for it, with nothing to get in the way of the fun and preventing it from becoming sidetracked by anything unnecessary.

Sonic Colours Pink Wisp screen 1

It’s the Wisps that really steal the spotlight here though. Before 2010, if you heard the words “Sonic” and “gimmick” in the same sentence, you’d shudder in horror. Fishing, treasure hunting, guns, motion controls, stretchy armed brawling, talking swords… you name it, Sonic had probably tried it, often to disastrous effect. But the Wisps did something that none of these other gimmicks were capable of – adding to the basic Sonic gameplay rather than detracting from it or outright replacing it. Each of the different coloured Wisps grants Sonic a new kind of Colour Power to utilise as he traverses his way through a level, be it a quick-firing laser, the ability to hover, or a drill to dig through the earth (or cake, if you happen to be in Sweet Mountain). Each is a bite-sized burst of fun, never outstaying its welcome and often leading to some previously unexplored section of a stage. In a game where the gimmicks are almost entirely optional, you’ll be actively wanting to use them more than ever, going back to previous locales to seek out those hidden Red Rings you missed first time around because you hadn’t unlocked the right Wisp yet. They’re a joyous addition, and it’s a shame that they were used much less gratifyingly in their comeback appearances in Generations and Lost World.

This isn’t even scratching the surface of what Colours brought to the table – a brand new voice cast featuring Roger Craig Smith in his Sonic debut (if you conveniently ignore Sonic Free Riders, as most people do), a more simple and streamlined narrative focusing on just Sonic and Tails rather than the cavalcade of sub-par sidekicks seen previously, the infamous Eggman P.A. announcements, and the first time we’ve seen Super Sonic playable in regular levels in a 3D game. It was a total shift for the Sonic series, both tonally and reception-wise, and it was just the ticket to dig the hedgehog out of the hole he’d dug himself into over the preceding years.

All praise aside, it’s not the perfect Sonic game – there’s some awkward difficulty spikes, it’s only a few hours long, and the story is rather minimal with some love-it-or-hate-it scripting – but it’s by far the most original entry we’ve seen in the franchise in recent memory, Generations included. There’s a certain magic and a certain joy that I get from playing and looking back on Sonic Colours, and that’s something that’s distinct from any other entry in the franchise.

Sonic Colours Wii screenshots 21

In this uncertain age where Sonic is once again descending into mediocrity, it’s enlightening to remember that once upon a time, when even the most promising of projects led only to the bitterness of disappointment, a game like Sonic Colours came along out of nowhere and revitalised the series in a way no one expected. Who’s to say that lightning can’t strike twice…? And, if nothing else, it proves that Sonic can do Nintendo exclusivity right when it puts its mind to it. Sorry Lost World and Boom, but you’ve got nothing on this gem.

With Sonic Colours, SEGA reached for the stars – and boy, did they come close. Four years on and the colours still seem as right and as bright as they ever did. Long may they continue to shine.

What are your feelings and memories about Sonic Colours? We’d love to know your thoughts too, so sound off in the comments! Don’t fall apart, speak with your heart!

Sound Test Saturday: 21st Anniversary Edition!

My readers, this day is what all true Sonic fans strive for!

Yes, today is June 23rd, and you all know what that means! The Blue Blur himself, Sonic the Hedgehog, is celebrating his 21st birthday today!

So, let’s have a bit of an extravaganza ourselves! 21 is the magic number, so why not go for that many tracks, just for today? A great number of these tracks have been tipped by you guys, and I thank you all for your contributions!

Due to the sheer amount of music to be featured beyond the jump, I’ll refrain myself from commenting on each track. Instead, I will leave you all with this. If everything goes according to plan here, Sound Test Saturday will be moved to SEGASonic: Radio next week. Yes folks, SS:R will return sooner than you think! And with the big move, we will introduce a new feature on our weekly music column: interviews! First ones up are Freen in Green, followed by xTrickyWolfy and Ring Energy should all go well!

If there is any particular artist you would want featured on a future Sound Test Saturday, if there are any remixes, covers, or originals you want to share, if you have work of your own you would like to see up on the site, then do not hesitate to notify me at vizardjeffhog@sonicstadium.org!

That being said, Happy 21st Anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog! Still unstoppable after 21 years!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlfoErrGMSo

Title: Green Hill Zone
Author: TheSymphonicGames
Tip: Faseehudeen

Continue reading Sound Test Saturday: 21st Anniversary Edition!

Mash-Up Monday: Every Colour Has A Sound

I told you there’d be more colours!

I told you so!

Just as on Saturday, we have a Sonic Colours-centric Mash-Up Monday as we bring you a very special guest, providing us a very special mash-up!

Some of you might recall the name DJ EAR. Whether it is for his musical contributions to The Sonic Stadium Music Album or the brawler fan game Super Sonic Knockout, this artist has a massive talent for music. One such display of his prowess is a mash-up compiling various tracks of Sonic Colours, highlighting every zone and then some, appropriately titled “Every Colour Has A Sound”.

You won’t have to guess which tracks in specific have been used; the songs used are listed on screen as they play. Very cool!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FXUsyRBS00

Found an interesting mash-up? Made one of your own? If you’ve answered yes to either question, then send them over to vizardjeffhog@sonicstadium.org!

Sound Test Saturday: Unlimited Colours!

For this week’s Sound Test Saturday, we will be taking a look at a couple of remixes dedicated to Sonic Colours, a Nintendo exclusive entry that breathed new life into the franchise with some of the most zaniest yet colourful stages, gameplay mechanics, and of course, music, in the entire series.

Let’s start with something unique: a House mix of the Green Hover Wisp theme by Stylez-T!

Update: The video has been removed. Thanks to Darksonic20 for the notice.

As if the Hover theme wasn’t relaxing enough. Stylez here somehow managed to make a blissfully happy and sleep-inducing track even more sleep-inducing and happy. Of course, what’s most impressive is how Stylez turned a short, soft, situational loop into a full fledged 4 minute track! Definitely the last sort of thing I expecting! His “Hover House” mix at least deserves that credit.

And now, we dive into a unique remix, combining Aquarium Park with… Mystic Mansion from Sonic Heroes!

…wait, what?

Continue reading Sound Test Saturday: Unlimited Colours!

Iizuka says Sonic Dimensions a Hoax, Comments on Sonic’s Future

Remember those rumors regarding a Sonic Colors sucessor incoming for the Wii U? Well, Takashi Iizuka has finally spoken out on thematter in a SPOnG Sonic 4 Episode 2 interview:

SPOnG: Can you say whether the rumour of a game called Sonic Dimensions on the Wii U is true or false?
Takashi Iizuka: Sonic Dimensions? [Laughs] I think it’s a complete hoax. [Laughs]

In that same interview, Iizuka commented on Sonic’s future. We have a sample of his comments posted below. For the full comment, as well as the entire interview, please head over to SPOnG.

SPOnG: Sonic Colours, Sonic Generations and Sonic 4: Episode 1 have all been critically acclaimed and generally very well-received by fans. How do you feel about the Sonic franchise going forward, now that you’ve put it back on track?
Takashi Iizuka: Well, thank you very much for your comment on the series! As to your question… there was a period where we had this photo-realistic Sonic, going to loads of different places and offering fans completely different gameplay experiences. I feel that there should be a consistent core experience that defines Sonic, that runs through every major game.
During this period, that was missing – there were too many branches of play styles and mechanics, and as a result people didn’t know what was going on with Sonic or what he was really about. I think that caused a lot of confusion with the fans.

Sonic Colors Soundtrack…Available In North America & Europe!

Earlier this week we reported on the Sonic Colors Soundtrack VIVID SOUNDS X HYBRID COLORS getting a digital release in Japan with no sign of release in the west…well…be disappointed no more!

As of today, VIVID SOUNDS X HYBRID COLORS is available to download from iTunes in North America and Europe! Not only this, the price of the soundtrack has scaled with the market!

The Soundtrack is again released in 3 volumes, each disc costing £7.99/$9.99 to download. “A great price!”, you say, but are you only after specific tracks? Then don’t worry! You can buy individual tracks from the iTunes store for the bargain price of 0.99p / $0.99! Yes! That means you can have your fill of Cash Cash for the price of a hamburger!

So whether you fancy just reaching for the stars for a quid, or downloading the whole experience for £24/$30, iTunes will let you do so, at a much reduced price to importing the physical soundtrack.

To check out the tracks available follow this link.

So, will you be purchasing any of these tracks from iTunes? Let us know in the comments!

Sonic Colors Soundtrack Available On ITunes?

With older Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks becoming more scarce and difficult to obtain, along with newer releases frequently only being available to Japanese markets, the cry from fans for Sonic music to be available for download has become greater in recent years.  This is set to change however, with the announcement that the Sonic Colors Official soundtrack album VIVID SOUNDS X HYBRID COLORS will be available from the 26th of this month for download from iTunes.

However don’t jump for joy just yet; the album will only be available to the Japanese market in which Wave Master Entertainment (long time Sonic OST publishers) operate, meaning Western markets will be no closer to getting Sonic soundtracks on general release (although there are ways in which to buy through the Japanese iTunes). Unfortunately the soundtrack does not come cheap; the album is sold in three volumes each costing ¥1500 ($19/£12), with individual tracks being unavailable for purchase. Some fans may find this deal not to be worthwhile, with the physical 3-CD soundtrack costing ¥300 less than downloading all three volumes. Those looking only to purchase the title “Reach for the Stars” by Cash Cash will also be disappointed.

VIVID SOUNDS X HYBRID COLORS is still available for import through CD Japan for ¥4200 ($48), although expect to pay appropriate shipping charges and import tax. Although it may appear that the west is no further forward into getting similar releases to this, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Read the original article on the Japanese site 4.Gamer.net

Japanese Sonic Channel Interview with Sonic Colors Sound Team

As yesterday marked the release of the Sonic Colors official soundtrack CD Vivid Sound X Hybrid Colors, the SEGA of Japan Sonic the Hedgehog site Sonic Channel interviewed composer Kenichi Tokoi (who previously composed for Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games and Sonic and the Secret Rings) and producer Tomoya Ohtani (Who composed for soundtracks such as Sonic World Adventure and Sonic Rush Adventure) with regards to their involvement with the soundtrack.

Although the interview was conducted in Japanese, we’ve picked out some interesting topics discussed! Tokoi and Ohtani first discuss how the title of the album came about; vivid was deemed a lively term and reflected the nature of the game well, with the word hybrid uniting the liveliness of the game with the music. Because of the mix of synthesised music, autotuned vocals and orchestral music, the term hybrid was also thought to also reinforce the nature of the diversity of music on the soundtrack.

Tokoi and Ohtani also comment on differences to composing the soundtrack compared to Sonic World adventure (or Sonic Unleashed), whereby the music in the game did not change for the stage, where as now every act on the Wii version of the game has a different tune. Thetr is also discussion of the similarities and differences between the title track “Reach for the Stars” and that for Sonic World Adventure “Endless Possibilities”, and how they feel variation of lead singers for the title tracks is beneficial.

The pair go on to talk at great extent about the inspirations and vibes considered when composing for varying levels; for example the twangy guitar was thought to capture the subtle hilarity of Sweet Mountain being an armoury masquerading as a confectionary factory. Heavy guitars were employed for the fast pace of the Asteroid Coaster, and the darker themes were used to convey the feel for the Terminal Velocity stages. Both composers also enjoyed creating the 8-bit versions of the tracks used during the virtual stages!

They interestingly also discuss how they feel they have not deviated much from the framework of most sonic Sonic soundtracks, but hope fans appreciate the more pop-themed opening tunes rather than feeling betrayed by the decision to have Cash Cash perform.

You can check out the full interview with pictures on the Sonic Channel Page.

If you haven’t ordered your copy of Vivid Sounds X Hybrid Colors, you can purchase this now from CD-Japan for ¥4200 (about $47 USD or £32 GBP).

Unused Sonic Colours Vocals and One-Liners Surface

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CafgpUojSxw&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Can’t get enough of the awesome dialogue in Sonic Colours? Well, our friends over at Sonic Retro have been busy digging, and Retro Tech Member Technokami has managed extract some unused one-liners from Sonic and Doctor Eggman that never managed to make it into the game itself. Admittedly some of these lines are pretty dire, but are most definitely in the vein of most cheesey Sonic vox pops.

As Sonic (apparently) would say…“You can’t be quality with quantity!”.


Sonic Colors Saw Highest Pre-sales Ever, 3 New Games for 2011

The quote below is from SEGA’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Alan Pritchard…

“[Colours] is our pure Sonic gaming experience. That’s had some high scores. It’s also the highest pre-selling pure Sonic title we’ve had ever. That’s a good indication. With the quality of the game, we’re confident of that. That’s our pure platforming Sonic.”

“We have some announcements in the early part of next year that will further support and add to this strategy. There will be two of three big Sonic announcements in the early part of next calendar year.”

Needless to say, we all hope Colors did rather well for itself. Hopefully SEGA will release some hard numbers on it eventually. Here’s hoping that these future games continue what was started this year with the likes of Colors and All Stars Racing. Any guesses on what these three titles may be?

In the same interview, Pritchard also mentioned that there will be four to five 3DS titles based one existing franchises released in the coming calender and financial year.

IGN Joins List of Promising Sonic Colors Reviewers

Reviews have been slowly trickling in for awhile now, and so far we’ve yet to get anything less than an 8. IGN joins the club with it’s review today.

Closing Comments
Sonic Colors is a dizzying combination of the distantly familiar memories of the first few Sonic titles combined with thoughtful new abilities and mostly well executed level design. There are a few issues that mar an otherwise awesome experience, but those shouldn’t stop Sonic fans and Wii owners from grabbing the best Sonic game in 18 years. As a blueprint for the future of SEGA’s star, Sonic Colors delivers, and then some.

7.0 Presentation
While Sonic Colors’ story is forgetable fun, the menus and level menus are pretty rough, and don’t match the great visuals found elsewhere.

9.0 Graphics
Sonic Colors is one of the best looking games on Wii, with great animation and detail, and some awesome lighting and level variety.

8.5 Sound
Sonic’s new voice cast is much less annoying. Meanwhile, the music is universally great.

8.5 Gameplay
Sonic Colors features tight controls with great level design; all of these things lead to a game that’s a joy to play. Except when it REALLY ISN’T due to some puzzling stage design later on.

8.5 Lasting Appeal
While the main game itself will probably clock in around 11 hours or so for most gamers, levels are more fun after beating the game and the challenge levels will also keep players busy for a while.

8.5
OVERALL
Great
(out of 10)

I highly recommend you read the full review here. For those of you who are finally off the fence and intend to buy the game, check out our guide to Sonic Colours’ release.

Interview: Sonic Colors Adaptation – Ian Flynn

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, today we bring you our interview with the writer of the Sonic comics, Ian “Potto” Flynn.

TSS: Hello Mr. Flynn, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today!

IF: My pleasure!

TSS: When where you approached with the Sonic Colors adaption?

IF: If memory serves, it wasn’t too long after the first public announcement.

TSS: How did it interfere with the plans you already had for the book?

IF: It didn’t, really.  “Welcome Back, Chao!” was originally going to be two parts, but we were already thinking it was a bit too slow paced.  We condensed it down to one and put in “Sonic Colors” in its place.  One or two back-ups had to be shuffled around as well, but that happens all the time.

TSS: How did the development of the script differentiate from the development of a typical Sonic comic script?

IF: Not much.  The only real difference was that, instead of me coming up with the story on my own, SEGA supplied us with the English script and some concept art.  The rest of the process happened as per usual.

TSS: What sorts of materials did you have access to from the game during the script’s development?

IF: I guess I got a little ahead of myself with that last question!  SEGA provided us with the English script and concept art for the updated Orbot, for Cubot and all the Wisps.  There was level concept art and videos, primarily of the opening sequence and CGI promotional stuff.

TSS: This is…I believe the third game adaption in the book to use the setting “Another Time, Another Place”.
Do these stories all take place in the same universe?

IF: They could be – call it the “SegaSonic Universe” if you like.  Or they could each be their own zone.  It’s entirely up to the preference of the reader.

TSS: Are these stories basically meant to take place in the game canon?

IF: More or less, but it varies from project to project.  The “Sonic and the Black Knight” tie-in was almost shot-for-shot, word-for-word the opening sequence so it’s obviously the same thing.  “Sonic Colors” will be a little more liberal, but it’s still true to the source, so you can take it as a retelling or a synopsis.

TSS: Will we be seeing Orbot, Cubot, or Yacker in this adaption?

IF: Yes on all three counts!

TSS:  Do you have to work under any special restrictions for these types of stories?

IF: Aside from the tighter deadline, we really have to be true to the SegaSonic art style and accurate to the story.  For instance, I couldn’t add Amy into the story if I wanted because she isn’t in the Wii version, and that’s the version we’re adapting.

TSS: Back in the day, the comics use to reserve substantially more space for in-continuity adaptions of the games. Why don’t we see those anymore? Might we ever see them again?

IF: Part of it stems from the game’s having much bigger stories.  The more involved the game plot, the harder it is to integrate it into the comic’s plot.  This ties directly into the next issue, which is time.  We usually work six months ahead, and the game tie-ins are usually requested with much less time to work with.  This means adjusting the publishing schedule, the story order, and taking the plot of the game and whatever’s currently going on into account.  Add on top of that the higher level of scrutiny since it’s a direct tie-in story, and it simply becomes unfeasible to do stuff like the Sonic Adventure tie-ins.  For now and the foreseeable future, we’re sticking with the elegantly simple “Another Time, Another Place” option.

TSS: Many ask why the Archie comics do not simply base a comic in the game continuity, either as a reboot or as another series. Would you run into any problems – beyond angry fans who enjoy the current comic canon – with such a move? Would there be any restrictions writing a comic in the game canon that you don’t currently work under in the comic’s own canon?

IF: We’ve considered a SegaSonic companion book, but never seriously pursued it.  The ArchieSonic canon is hard enough for new readers to keep track of without having a totally different canon to follow as well.  “Sonic X” had a little bit of this problem, but we mostly solved it by making it very continuity light.

Additionally, SEGA is very protective of their material, and rightfully so.  But that means the SegaSonic cast is perpetually stuck in their present characterizations.  The ArchieSonic cast and world give us the means to tell compelling stories where individuals grow and develop.  Come for the Sonic, stay for the story.

TSS: Will we be seeing any of Sonic Colors’ characters appear in the main book? Orbot already has quite a following from his Sonic Unleashed appearance.

IF: That all depends on SEGA.  Orbot and Cubot would fit right in, and the Wisps would certainly make enough sense given all the other aliens running around.  You’ll just have to wait and see.

TSS: Have you had a chance to play Sonic Colors yet?

IF: Unfortunately, no, but I do have it pre-ordered. (I. Must. Have. That. HAT!)

TSS: Thank you for your time Mr. Flynn

IF: My pleasure.


The final interview will be going up in the next few days. It will be with artist Tracy Yardley, and will include some exclusive concept art from the story Archie was nice enough to send to us.

Interview: Sonic Colors Adaptation – Paul Kaminski

The creative team of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe have been gracious enough to grant us a three part interview about their upcoming adaption of the Sonic Colors game. The adaption will be included as the backstory of Sonic the Hedgehog #219, which releases later this month. First up is the comic’s Editor, Paul Kaminski! Enjoy.


TSS: Hello Mr. Kaminski, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!

PK: My pleasure!

TSS: Did SEGA approach you with the idea of a Sonic Colors adaption story?

PK: After the game announcement back in May, we approached SEGA to see if they would be interested in working out a “Sonic Colors” story the same way we worked the past few game adaptation back-ups. SEGA seemed as enthused about the idea as we were and shortly after the exchange the details were ironed out and Ian was hard at work on draft one of the script!

TSS: As I understand it, the comics are meant to help advertise the games in the series. Why does SEGA ask you to only do adaptions for a fraction of the Sonic games released every year?

PK: Whether games get adaptations or not, at least in my experience, is less of a strict mandate and more a matter of practicality/availability. Our primary goal, besides trying to tell a good story, is to help promote the Sonic  franchise as a whole, and I think we do a pretty good job of doing just that.

TSS: Do you have any idea what it is about the Sonic Colors game that separates it from the other games that haven’t been adapted, in particular Sonic 4 and the upcoming Sonic Free Riders?

PK: A comic adaptation of ‘Sonic Colors’ just makes sense. The game has fantastically stunning visuals, plus new characters like the Wisps that lend themselves to the types of storytelling we seek to achieve month after month with the Sonic comics. As for the other Sonic game releases this year, you may in fact see adaptations of these games, just not in the traditional “another time, another place” style.

TSS: SEGA has a reputation for keeping actual game material very close to its chest when it comes to game adaptions in the comics. What sorts of materials did SEGA lend you to allow you to do a proper adaption for this game?

PK: We had access to a pretty awesome collection of materials and imagery from the game to make the adaptation as faithful to the source material as possible.

TSS: How much lead time did you have with this adaption compared to typical Archie stories? Has it significantly altered plans for comic’s near future stories?

PK: The game adaptation stories require a little extra lead time because of the sensitive game materials and more meticulous rounds of approvals. The first conversation about doing the adaptation was back in May so that’ll give you a rough idea of how long the process took. As for altering plans, it hasn’t really. Ian wound up having to cut “Welcome back Chao” down to a one-parter but that was pretty much it. Other back-up stories got shifted around too to make sure the game story came out at around the same time as the game’s release.

TSS: What sorts of behind the scenes work have you done for this story in particular?

PK: Just a lot of coordinating with SEGA contacts, freelancers and media types to make the thing come together-  which sounds boring but is in fact a lot of hard work! I LOVE to get creative with the books and contribute as much as I can, but this story is SEGA’s baby and we’re just here to help the team!

TSS: Are the wisps and other Sonic Colors characters off limits for the in canon stories in the same way Eggman Nega is, or will you be able to include these characters on your whim?

PK: Well I can’t speak for SEGA, but the only folks I’ve ever dealt with over there are wonderfully creative cats that are just as interested in telling a good story as we are. I would guess that if there was a story that demanded we include the Wisps down the line, they would be cool with it.

TSS: Have you had a chance to play the game at any point? Maybe at NYCC?

PK: What is this…”leaving the Archie booth” you speak of?

TSS: Thank you for your time Mr. Kaminski

PK: Anytime!


Tomorrow, we’ll be interviewing Ian Flynn, and after that, artist Tracy Yardley, complete with exclusive concept art straight from the story!

NYC Sonic Colors Event Caught On Video

Youtube user “TrippyFeline” has put up the first footage of Sega’s Sonic Colors Premiere Party at Bryant Park. Among the sights seen are Sonic riding a Zamboni and some concert footage of Cash Cash including a stripped-down version of “Reach for the Stars.”  Frankly after hearing it, I can kind of see why Sega had them use auto-tune.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6nsiXWre4g&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

Sonic Colors US Commercial Recorded

We’ve got the Sonic Colors US commercial, courtesy of Sonic Stadium forumer Jetronic. Not really much to say about it. It was first reported on Nick @ Nite.

Here you go:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7LSYt7yu30[/youtube]

Special thanks to all the great people on our Sonic Colors board who went out of their way to hunt down and upload this commercial! We appreciate your hardwork.

Rumor: German GamePro Gives Sonic Colors an 87%?

What’s this? Another high score for Sonic Colors? Seems that way. According to Sonic Stadium’s Dusk the Horror Keeper, the German version of GamePro has given Sonic Colors an 87%.

You can expect this news post to be updated with any new review scores that trickle in over the next few days, to prevent additional reviews from clogging up TSS’s news feed. You can also expect that wonderful image above, created by NeoGAF’s Technomancer, to accompany any more review news. Provided the scores continue to warrant it, anyway.

More Details and Cover for Sonic Colors Album “ViViD SOUND X HYBRiD COLOURS”

In addition to the release date of December 22nd this year, details have emerged that the Sonic Colors album “ViViD SOUND X HYBRiD COLOURS” album will be a 3CD affair (hence it commanding the price of ¥4200 – around £35 / $60) and will include a monsterous 82 tracks including pieces recorded with a live orchestra in Amsterdam.

Details can be found on the translated Game Watch Site. Thanks to Woun for the heads up!

New Videos, Screens For Sonic Colors Wii, DS

Sonic Colors is coming out in less then a month, and SEGA is finally showing the game off. Today, they’ve released three new videos based on the green, pink, and orange wisp powers, as well as the fire and rocket powers on the DS.

Wii:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIoRd1oBuR4&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGgOvk9X7sE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ5hm3tTQ1A&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkASTdvQh2s&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

DS:

http://sonic.sega.jp/SonicColors/#/action/ds_red

http://sonic.sega.jp/SonicColors/#/action/ds_orange

You can also find a load of Sonic Colors screens here.

Special thanks goes to Sonic Stadium Forumer Woun for ripping the videos.

Exclusive: New Control Option Confirmed For Sonic Colors

Yet another thing I saw at PAX that I apparently didn’t tell you guys about. While I was wondering around the SEGA booth trying to get some hands on time with other games, I noticed people playing the game with the Wii remote by itself, no nunchuck. Apparently, this is a control option available in the new build. I didn’t have a chance to try it out for myself, but I have a feeling most would probably prefer to just use the nunchuck anyway. Still, it’s a neat option, and useful for co-op if you lack a second nunchuck.

Sonic Colors is scheduled to come out this November.

Exclusive: Video of New Area In Planet Wisp

So yeah, apparently a level I took video of weeks ago at a public event still hasn’t been uploaded on the internet. Who knew? You can read my complete hands on of the game here. To say the least, I find the game fun, and this stage was no exception.

The footage of the new area starts at 4:46. It’s played from start to finish of course, though I did screw up the drifting a little.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfI34y7izBE[/youtube]

New Sonic Colors DS Video Shows Off New Boss

TSSZ has been covering the Tokyo Game Show, and they’ve gotten a nice video the boss for the Sweet Mountain level in Sonic Colors DS. The boss design is in keeping with the whimsical nature of the game: a lollipop wielding pirate robot. It hovers over the top half of the screen and knocks enemies down at you. In order to win Sonic needs to knock the enemies back and knock the pirate robot out of the sky. It looks rather fun, though also rather easy.

To see the video, head over to TSSZ. We’ve also got some exclusive Sonic Colors video, which we’ll be posting shortly.

PAX 2010 Sonic Colors Hands-On

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfI34y7izBE[/youtube]

I think they’ve finally got it.

That about sums up my second chance to play the game. They’ve cut the gimmicks, cut the fat, fixed the camera, tightened the controls, and done just about everything else you could ask of a development team. Indeed, I don’t even recall seeing any of the random frame rate chugging like in the E3 demo. The jumping feels perfect. The homing attack has been fine tuned to the point where using it will never accidentally send you careening off into a chasm. Controling Sonic feels great and fast, with no collision detection bugs or odd glitches. The endless chasms appear to be gone, and while the levels have so far proven easy enough to get through, it still takes some skill to play them well, just like in the classics.

The wisp power ups are also a sight for sore eyes. Replacing the endless gimmicks and alternate play styles of past 3D games, the wisps are not only non-intrusive, but are a true joy to use. Whether it’s blasting through a level as a rocket, drilling through a cake to find power ups and otherwise inaccessible areas, or floating above spikes to reach otherwise unreachable areas above, these little aliens are probably the best thing to happen to Sonic since the elemental shields. I’ve yet to encounter a wisp that didn’t add something to the experience. Sure, the creators have pointed out that you don’t need to use them, but why wouldn’t you? For the first time ever in a Sonic game, I think this game would be a lesser experience without these gimmicks.

Of course, things aren’t perfect. At times the game can feel a little too automatic, to the point where it restricts how much control you have over Sonic in certain areas where you need to  drift or sidestep. These moments are rare, and out of the three levels I’ve played they where most prevalent in the newest level, Planet Wisp. Sonic is also just a little too fast now. I personally preferred the speed in the E3 demo, but after I got used to it the extra speed didn’t detract from the experience. That said, there are far worse things I could complain about in the other 3D Sonics, even in the Adventure series.

When last I previewed this game, I said that this was the best 3D Sonic game since the Adventure series. Well now, I rescind that statement. This game will outdo the Adventure series. Just going by these three levels, I don’t see how it can’t. The game has superior level design, superior programming, far fewer bugs and glitches – I encountered none in the PAX demo – and the gimmicks are far, far superior. I haven’t even had a chance to check out the co-operative mode, which looks like it’s going to be an experience in and of itself. I can’t believe that this game is from the same team that brought us such disasters as Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic and the Black Knight. I can’t believe, for the first time ever, I can whole heartedly recommend a 3D Sonic game, without warning about its flaws and things you need to “get over” to enjoy it. I can’t believe I can say with confidence, that those people who post the Sonic Cycle for every damn announcement, should cram it and buy it on day one.

Of course, while I’ve raised my expectations, Iizuka’s raised the stakes, claiming that the game will be equal to or better then the classic Genesis games. From my playtime, I am not yet ready to make that same claim. That’s the sort of thing even I refuse to say until I’ve played this game over at least a year’s time. We’ll see soon enough.

Don’t be reserved. Don’t be cautious. Sonic Colors is a great game. Come November, go buy it. Sonic is back.

Sonic Colours Figurine Bundle Listed On Dutch Website

Not long ago, Amazon.de began listing “Special Edition” bundles for the upcoming game Sonic Colours. Now, it seems, we may know what these bundles will come with. The Dutch video game retailer “Nedgame”, has now listed its own Sonic Colours bundle on its website, “Sonic Colours + Figurine (Bundel)”. Forum member Kjeldo posted this on our message boards, took the screen cap which I have included below:

At the moment, nothing is officially confirmed by SEGA in regards to a “special edition” bundle. Some kind of Sonic Colours related figurine? I’d get one!

Jun Senoue Confirmed as Sound Director for Sonic Colours Wii Version

Nintendo Power magazine reveal this month in an indepth interview that SEGA sound director and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue will be sound directing Sonic Colours for the Nintendo Wii. The interview also goes into detail about Senoue’s past, his musical influences, how he became involved with SEGA…and again there is another attempt to learn about Michael Jackson’s involvement in Sonic 3!

To check out the full interview pick up this month’s issue of Nintendo Power and check out their Power Profiles section!

Props to Shadzter and Hero of Legend on the SSMB for the heads up!

Sonic “Tastes the Rainbow” in Not for Resale

Not For Resale is one of the most satirical, most wrong, and yet most right Sonic related things in existence. You remember that colorful, beautiful, wholesome CGI trailer we got for this game? Well, this comic reveals what’s really going on…

Now, if only NFR would update a little more often…

*UPDATE* Green Wisp Revealed at Gamescom?

UPDATE: Apparently, no video of the new wisp was taken, and since it was not meant to be used on a public demo, the people over at Spindash likely won’t be able to get another chance. However, the description of the wisp does match it’s appearance on the Sonic Colors box art, and Spark’s description of the new title screen has been confirmed with video. All in all, I believe this to be credible./UPDATE

Seems something more than a new level is on display for Sonic Colours at this year’s Gamescom. Sonic Stadium forum member and Spindash.de writer, Spark, says a  new wisp was also on display: the green hovercraft wisp. Here is what he had to say:

– the new Sweet Mountain Act introduces the green wisp, the hovercraft wisp. (We also got some videos, we’ll upload them soon)
– the green wisp changes Sonic’s form to a green Kirby with spikes, sonic heroes-shiny effect included!
– when Sonic is in hovercraft mode, he can use the light dash to grab some ring-chains
– bottemless pits are still there, but only a few. An exclamation mark will appear if you get to close to one.
– the “new” title screen is old school! After the Sega and Sonic Team logos appeared, you get to see the space (Metroid Other M-like) and Sonic is running from one side to the other just like in the old Sega Mega Drive title screens (but no iconic “Seeeeeegaaaa!” shout out). Seems like this will be the new standard for all future games, which is pretty cool

Of course, until he sends in the video, we’ll have to consider this a rumor. We’ll have the video for you as soon as SpinDash puts it up!

Off-Screen Video of New Sonic Colors Level

Though SEGA is not present at this year’s Gamescom, its games sure are! Sonic Colors is among them, featured on Nextplay.de’s Youtube channel. The featured video shows off gameplay from the newest level, Wisp World:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYRVPT2RBIo[/youtube]

If you look closely, you can see the ring counter pass 99 rings at one point in the video, dispelling the rumor that you can only collect up to 99 rings in this game.

The “Wisp Me Away” Giveaway! [N.A./AUS WINNERS ANNOUNCED]

The American/Canadian winners are here!! Thanks to all who participated. I’ll be sending out the Wisps near the end of the month.

Remember, this does not include the European winners yet!! Dreadknux will be taking care of that.

The winners are:

Sonikku08
Mushroom64
Troy
chaoscontrol14
R@qH1eL
SuperEV133
The Waffle Factory
Future
PSI Wind FTW
Indigo Rush
Hello. Look at my sig
SonikkuForever
Azukara
Andy1123
ReddRicochet
SuperCookie (Awesome Nick!!)
BlueBlueChrome
Sallygirl
Calypso
Ovarloard
Jeffery the NinjaPirate
Tailikku
strickerx5
Gamer18
Doctor Eggman
Mykonos
starforce
ZeroStar
GameboyHero
Chavis the Wolf
Hazard777
Edge
tjthefox
Brianzilla2004
Sapphire
F. Lobot
Trainer Rachel
HighCaliburFun
timmyboyblue
Golden~Hedgy
dirupti
Chan Kaylore
Cola
SuperScourge12
Lanmanna
Hypersoni
Vocaloidfan2525
Blue Hedgehog
Nickno
PRiNCE

For those who just missed out, better luck next time!! This won’t be the last time I do something like this for sure!!

Hello, faithful Sonic Stadium fans. Have we got a treat for you! During E3, Sonic Colors was shown to the world for the first time. During that time, Sonic freed tons and tons of Wisps away from the capture of Dr. Eggman.

Helllp!

A few too many. That’s where you come in! As a reward to our readers, you can adopt one of these little guys and give them a home. They don’t need fancy diets. They don’t make messes. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re not even alive.

Wisps.

Look at ’em. Soulless monsters the size of your thumb.

So, how do you pick one of these up? Simple! Just use your SSMB account to PM either JasonTheJackass if you are in the USA, Canada or Australia or Dreadknux if you live in the U.K. and Europe. Give us your mailing address and tell us why you are excited about Sonic Colors. The best entries will be posted in another blog later on.

Reply as soon as possible. The amount of Wisps available are split 50/50. That means there’s 50 for the U.K./Europe and 50 for USA/Canada/Australia. We are not responsible for any Wisps possibly lost in the mail. Only one Wisp and one entry per person.

E3 2010 Preview: Sonic Colours

Let’s face It, Unleashed was not a perfect game, even in its daytime segments. It had annoying QTEs, which became huge, overbearing insta-death button mashing sessions in the later stages. It was easy to send yourself careening off an edge by doing a mid air boost by accident, because a homing attack was slightly out of reach. The game play was linear, with very little in the way of hidden secrets or multiple paths.

In Sonic Colors, Sonic’s latest outing, this has all changed. It takes the best of Unleashed, such as the fast paced game play, and huge, twisting levels, and adds layers to it. The QTEs are now gone, replaced with simple “press the A button to gain altitude”, and the mid air, target-less homing attack is gone, replaced with a simple double jump that you’ll need to get wisps that are slightly out of reach of the normal jump.  The linear level design is gone, replaced with large, multilayered levels that, according Takashi Iizuka “doesn’t have one or two paths, but several”. During my hands on preview I saw people accessing areas of the level that I still have not seen, so there is most definitely some truth to that.

Control wise, the game controls much more closely to next gen version of unleashed, except you now have more control over Sonic while he was boosting. You drift with the nunchuck, which works surprisingly  well.

The first level of Colors, the entrance to the Egg Park, is fairly barren, with a few enemies here and there. The main focus of the level is to ease you into the game. The first level is most definitely more easy then a lot of past “first levels” in Sonic games.  There were lots of secrets to explore, the yellow wisp drill especially opens up a lot of alternate paths.  The second level is where things get fun, though! The second level features a lot more platforming, and there are even more areas to explore. There are more enemies (my personal favorite being one with an Egg Beater…get it? XD).

The wisps, so far, are fun and unobtrusive. There are three available in the demo: one simply fills up your boost gauge, another, the laser, acts as both a super fast boost and a spin dash of sorts. The third one, the yellow drill, is by far my favorite. Yes, it lets you dig through levels. But it’s used far better then it was in Super Mario Galaxy 2. This level is your key to a lot of this game’s exploration. You can use it to not only find hidden items, but whole new LEVELS. I found several paths through this method alone, and it REALLY opens up the game’s levels.

I’ve often heard that “Sonic is back” or “this is the big return!”, but I will forgo these oft used phrases. Instead, all I’ve got to say is this: Sonic Colors is a genuinely FUN game. It’s got loads of high speed hijinks, and no excess gimmicks to slow it down. It’s like Unleashed in a lot of ways, but with more thoughtful design; the speed isn’t quite as fast, but it allows for better control. The homing attack is limited to targeted enemies and items, but this prevents you from throwing yourself off the edge. The wisps add an all new dimension to the game play, without slowing it down (unless, of course, the purple one turns you into Big). The levels are multilayered, offering more optional exploration than any other Sonic game I have ever played, 3D or 2D. Simply put, it’s the Sonic game I’ve wanted since Sonic Adventure 2. Whether it’s the Sonic game you want or not, that’s up for you to decide, but if you ever liked any of Sonic’s past 3D games, be excited; because this is one of the good ones.

This isn’t all of our Colors stuff. We also got to meet and briefly interview Takashi Iizuka after he demonstrated the game to us. You can expect a transcript and audio of the interview (which includes music from the Sweets level and menu music) which outlines some nice game play details I didn’t detail here, off screen movies, and a more in depth, analytic “second take” preview later in the week, after I’ve logged more time on it.