SAGE 2020: Mania Mods Roundup

When Sonic Mania first released, it represented a fresh blast of energy for classic Genesis Sonic. It paid homage as much as it tread new ground. It played into expectations as much as it subverted them. And in the years since, new tools have made it easier for mod developers to recraft color pallets, sprites, music, and stage design. SAGE this year brings a bundle of Mania mods, so grab your Steam copy, download the Mod Manager, and let’s dig into some Mania remade!

Sonic DVD
Mod type: Original Game
Status: Demo – Sonic only, 1 Complete Stage, 1 Incomplete Stage, “Encore” variants on both.

Sonic DVD bills itself as a fan sequel to Sonic CD, and it certainly has the menu style down. This (mostly) single stage demo has the player navigate an underwater stage somewhere between Press Garden and Hydropolis with a gemstone aesthetic and chill music. Throwing the player into an underwater stage as your first and only impression is a risky move, but the game maintains pace through ample use of currents, boats, and the occasional running-on-water. The design motif is firmly aligned with those two zones as well, putting Sonic in cramped tunnels and locked rooms that require finding a button to progress.

It’s a solid Mania-style stage, though it doesn’t scream “Sonic CD” (interpret that as a positive or negative as you see fit). It has the density and diverging paths of a Sonic stage, though it leans heavily on simple puzzles, traps, and doors. The game gives an incredibly small taste, but an ambitious one, with professional-looking reskins of the stage features and badniks. I would have liked to see more to gauge the designers’ knack for variety in level theme and structure. It still has a long way to go, but it’s definitely one worth keeping an eye on.

Chaotix Mania
Mod type: Recreation
Status: All Mania characters, 6 stages and final boss, special stage, pinball stage, and 4 “Encore” variants.

I’ll put this up front: I don’t think Knuckles’ Chaotix is a very good game. It has a neat hook and some fun stage gimmicks, but the aesthetics are gaudy and the level design is uninspired, especially when set against characters that control in such unique ways! Thus, I’m put in the awkward position of saying, yes, it recreates the stages of Knuckles’ Chaotix within the constraints of Sonic Mania, allowing you to beat the stages as a single character instead of a tethered team, but I also question if it was a feat worth accomplishing. I feel gross saying that, I want to judge it based on what it sets out to do, but I feel it’s absolutely necessary to reinforce that the things the developers couldn’t recreate within the constraints of Sonic Mania were the specific things that made Knuckles’ Chaotix cool.

As a sprite conversion, you’ll be able to easily identify which Mania stages became which Chaotix stages. I wanted to verify accuracy of the level layouts, but the liberties they took to translate one stage to the other made it difficult to find 1:1 comparisons. It certainly has the look and sound of Chaotix, including a thoroughly customized HUD. However, it suffers from frequently bland level design and occasional bugs. The appeal here strikes directly at the most dedicated fans of Knuckles’ Chaotix. For everyone outside that target, stick to the 32X original.

Sonic Aspect
Mod Type: Recreation
Status: Demo – Sonic only, 2 stages

Aspect Co. was the studio responsible for a surprising number of 8-bit Sega games, including Sonic 2, Sonic Chaos, and Sonic Triple Trouble. Sonic Aspect aims to bring a selection of classic Aspect-developed Sonic stages to 16-bit, and… man, is it a crowded year for that. The demo reskins Green Hill and Angel Island as the two acts of Great Turquoise from Sonic Triple Trouble. Motobugs have been converted to turtles (without springs), and Crabmeats have taken on a two-tone paint job.

The level graphics are simple and bright to match the spirit of the original, and I adore the blocky, chunky checkerboard pillars that form the stage and dot the background. The remixed music has a peppy energy that fits the level perfectly. But despite this, it’s really hard not to draw direct comparisons to rival remake Sonic Triple Trouble 16-bit, a standalone application that feels just as good mechanically, and isn’t constrained by the limits of being a Mania mod. I want to see more of this game. I want to be surprised and impressed by the team’s level interpretations. But this year won’t be the year for that. There’s fun to be had in this demo, but you can’t be blamed if your thoughts stray towards greener hills.

SAGE 2020: Eggman And The Hard-Boiled Heavies Await You In Sonic Mania Boss Rush+

Do you like Sonic Mania’s various bosses? Then you will probably like this SAGE 2020 mod. One boss after another will show up to defeat Sonic once in for all. This time, we’re taking a look at Sonic Mania Boss Rush+.

Continue reading SAGE 2020: Eggman And The Hard-Boiled Heavies Await You In Sonic Mania Boss Rush+

SAGE 2020: Search For Treasure In Knuckles’ Emerald Hunt Mania

Next up in our SAGE 2020 coverage is another Sonic Mania mod, but with gameplay that will remind you of the old Sonic Adventure days. Knuckles is back to look for emeralds in Knuckles’ Emerald Hunt Mania.

Continue reading SAGE 2020: Search For Treasure In Knuckles’ Emerald Hunt Mania

Amazon.com lists a ‘Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack’ for Switch

So this just popped up. It’s been reported that Amazon.com now lists a double pack of Sonic Mania (the vanilla version it appears) and Team Sonic Racing for Switch. There aren’t any listings of the pack for other platforms yet upon checking. Also it’s not clear if this is yet another of those “put two boxes in a cardboard sleeve” type of releases that Sega do occasionally, as opposed to cramming both games into one cartridge/disc.

Continue reading Amazon.com lists a ‘Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack’ for Switch

Sonic Mania Was Released Three Years Ago Today

Today is August 15, which will be obvious to anyone who happens to be able to tell the time. But what might not be so obvious – unless you’re keen on checking calendars – is that Sonic’s fantastic 2D adventure, Sonic Mania, was released on this day in 2017. That was three whole years ago! Where has the time gone!? Continue reading Sonic Mania Was Released Three Years Ago Today

Sonic Mania Coming to Origin Access Premiere UPDATE: With Denuvo DRM

Anyone with an Origin Access Premiere subscription now has access to the PC version of Sonic Mania through EA’s Origin storefront. For those unfamiliar with the service, EA Access Premiere is the higher tier version of the Origin Access service. This service provides access to a library of games, discounts to all games bought on the storefront, and “extra content” for new EA games for $15 a month.

It is the vanilla version of the game, meaning that the Encore DLC will still need to be bought separately.

UPDATE: According to twitter user @CodenameGamma, who hacks and reverse-engineers games like Sonic Mania, this version of the game adds the infamous Denuvo DRM back into the game. The Steam release of Sonic Mania originally released with this DRM, before it was removed due to fan outcry. As a result, this version of Sonic Mania will not be supported by the community.

Buy Sonic Generations on Steam for $1.00

Yes, seriously. Sonic Generations is 95% off it’s MSRP on Steam right now, so you’d better act quickly! In fact, many other Sonic games are available for a ridiculously low price.

Continue reading Buy Sonic Generations on Steam for $1.00

Microsoft’s Offering The Sonic Movie And Sonic Mania For Just $13 Until June 15th

Microsoft has got an interesting offer for Sonic fans out there, especially if you’re still planning to check out the new Sonic movie. Until June 15th, you can get the Sonic Movie for just $12.99 as part of the Gamer Flicks Sale. Doing so will also net you a free downloadable copy of Sonic Mania.

Continue reading Microsoft’s Offering The Sonic Movie And Sonic Mania For Just $13 Until June 15th

Sonic sale going on Nintendo Eshop. Prices up to 50% off

If you’re looking to complete your Sonic collection on 3DS or Switch, Sega has you covered.

From May 17th to the 26th, a huge library of Sonic games are on sale on the Nintendo eShop. The games include the following…

SWITCH

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – $39.99
Sonic Forces – $9.99
Sonic Mania (Standard) – $9.99
Team Sonic Racing – $19.99
SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog – $5.99
SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – $5.99

Nintendo 3DS

Sonic Generations – $9.99
Sonic Lost World – $9.99
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal – $9.99
Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice – $9.99
3D Sonic the Hedgehog – $2.99
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – $2.99

Prices reflect the U.S. Eshop.

Sonic Mania LEGO Design Builds Its Path Towards Official Approval

Just as Sonic Mania itself is a fan labor of love made official, Toastergrl’s Sonic Mania LEGO design continues its trek towards becoming an officially licensed LEGO set. Today, 2020’s first period of LEGO Ideas crowd support ends, and Toastergrl’s design was among an unprecedented 26 designs to reach the 10,000 supporters needed for official consideration. LEGO Ideas will announce their final determinations this Fall.

The roughly 700-brick design features a classic take on the Lego Dimensions Sonic minifig facing off against brick-built Dr. Eggman with his Egg Robot mech and Hard Boiled Heavies, all complimenting several iconic Green Hill Zone level features.

The path for a LEGO Ideas design to become an official set is a long and difficult one, with only three to five approved each year. After achieving the required 10,000 supporters on ideas.lego.com, candidates must go through an internal review process to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of the project. Competition will be especially tight this year, as the number of successfully supported candidates is more than double compared to previous evaluation periods. Other licensed and unlicensed projects being considered include a 17th century-styled train station, the Gemini spacecraft, a micro-scale recreation of 4th century Rome, a 15 inch (39 cm) tall functional globe, the garden from Untitled Goose Game, a detailed model of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, an articulated model of The Iron Giant, and the Planet Express office and ship from Futurama.Details and additional renders of the design can be found on its LEGO Ideas page, and in TSS’s March 2019 interview with Toastergrl. With some luck, hope, and enthusiasm, perhaps we shall see Sonic Mania alongside other brilliant fan developed LEGO creations in 2021.

Woodwork Artist Creates a Sonic Mania Mega Drive Cartridge And Now We Really Want One

What do you do in the middle of a virus-related lockdown? Exercise (indoors)? Comfort eat? Play games? Or get creative? We’re thinking that one talented woodwork artist has been doing a lot of the latter, as he showed the world a custom Sonic Mania-themed Mega Drive cartridge made entirely out of tree! Continue reading Woodwork Artist Creates a Sonic Mania Mega Drive Cartridge And Now We Really Want One

Steam & Humble Bundle Offer Sonic Fans Superb Savings With Week-long Sales

To celebrate the release of the Sonic movie, both Steam and Humble Bundle are offering Sonic games at a steep discount through the next week.

Steam is offering a “Sonic the Hedgehog Ultimate Bundle” an over $250 value, at less than $60, or 76 percent off. The bundle includes the following games:

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
Sonic 3D Blast
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Sonic CD
Sonic Adventure 2 (plus Battle DLC)
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Sonic Lost World
Sonic Generations with Casino Night DLC
Sonic Mania with Encore DLC
Sonic Forces
Team Sonic Racing

The games can also be bought individually. For their individual prices, check out the bundle’s page on Steam.

If you just want deals on the newer games, and if you want some of your money to go to charity, you can check out Humble Bundle, which is having a Sonic week right now. Check it out here!

Sonic Games Get a New Years Sale on Nintendo’s eShop

Nintendo is holding a special New Years eShop sale from today until January 16. Included in the sale are nearly a dozen Sonic titles across both the Switch and 3DS. For the titles on sale and their discounted US prices, check out the list below:

Nintendo Switch

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – $33.99 (was $59.99)

Team Sonic Racing – $19.99 (was $39.99)

SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog – $5.99 (was $7.99)

Sonic Forces – $9.99 (was $19.99)

Sonic Mania – $9.99 (was $19.99)

Nintendo 3DS

Sonic Generations – $9.99 (was $19.99)

Sonic Lost World – $9.99 (was $19.99)

3D Sonic the Hedgehog – $2.99 (was $5.99)

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – $2.99 (was $5.99)

Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal – $9.99 (was $19.99)

Sonic Boom Fire & Ice – $9.99 (was $19.99)

 

The sale also includes other SEGA titles, such as the rest of their SEGA AGES line and Valkyrie Chronicles.

In addition to Nintendo’s eShop sale, Sonic Mania is also currently on sale for $9.99 on Sony’s PlayStation Network.

Sonic Decade in Review 2010 – 2019: The Games

Well, that was a decade and a half wasn’t it? So much has changed in the last ten years, it’s difficult to wrap it all up in a very succinct way. But don’t worry, The Sonic Stadium is here to help you remember. Let us take your hand and chuck you down this hellish warp zone we call a Retrospective, and blitz past all the crazy stuff that’s happened since 2010.
Continue reading Sonic Decade in Review 2010 – 2019: The Games

Back Stealth’s Vertebreaker on Kickstarter With Money (and try out the Demo!)

One of SAGE’s hottest showings this year was a little demo for a rather spooky game called Vertebreaker! It’s being developed by Head Cannon, one of the driving forces behind Sonic Mania, and now it’s come to Kickstarter to get a boost in funds to become a full-fledged indie title!

Continue reading Back Stealth’s Vertebreaker on Kickstarter With Money (and try out the Demo!)

Yukio Kusumoto talks about the origins of Sonic Mania Adventures

Comicbook recently sat down with Yukio Kusumoto, producer of the Sonic Mania Adventures and Team Sonic Racing: Overdrive animated shorts. The interview, amongst a treasure trove of other facts, summarized how Sonic Mania came to be.

  • The idea came about after the Sonic Boom TV show wrapped up.
  • The team wanted to create a short-form companion piece for a game.
  • Sonic Mania had recently released and the physical release was up-coming, so the short-form content was made for that.
  • Mentions that there are 6 episodes of Sonic Mania Adventures “so far” and that its been a great success.
  • Sonic Mania is a game all about nostalgia and they wanted to find a creator who’s all about Sonic. It wasn’t hard to find a fit for the project and eventually they found Tyson Hesse, who’s worked on some Sega projects on and off and was a storyboard artist at the time.
  • They wanted to replicate the original world of Sonic, and realize it in the style of a 90’s Saturday morning cartoon. They decided to go with traditional hand-drawn animation.
  • They wanted a style close to the game, but is also original and not too polished with a “for the fans, by the fans” feel.
  • They worked for months designing the characters and worked closely with Takashi Iizuka, the head of product development.
[EDIT: Tyson Hesse also chimed in on the story via Twitter, also crediting Sonic Social Manager Aaron Webber for his part in the realisation of Sonic Mania Adventures:

He isn’t mentioned here, but the story of Mania Adventures can’t be told without mentioning Aaron Webber, tbh. Without his championing internally for the value of it there wouldn’t have been animation for Sonic social at all.”

Thanks to Aaron and the many unsung heroes of Sonic Mania and beyond! – AT]

For the full interview, check out ComicBook.com.

Sonic Mania Programmer Creates New Spooky Platformer “Vertebreaker”

Sonic community veteran and Sonic Mania programmer Simon Thomley aka “Stealth” of Headcannon is working on an original, new 2D platformer reminiscent of the old-school SEGA glory days, and it’s quite a spooky one!

Continue reading Sonic Mania Programmer Creates New Spooky Platformer “Vertebreaker”

The Official Sonic Art & Design Book To Be Updated With 32 New Pages In Next Reprint

Video game art dealer Cook & Becker have announced that the next reprint of the Official Sonic the Hedgehog Art & Design Book will feature 32 pages of new content from Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, and Team Sonic Racing. First released in 2016 as part of Sonic’s 25th anniversary, the book originally only went as far as releases from that year.

Cook & Becker hinted at this last week, leaving many to speculate that Sonic Mania would be receiving its own art book. However, according to the company’s twitter account, there would not have been enough content from the game to fill out its own art book, so they decided to update their 25th anniversary art book instead.

The updated book can be pre-ordered off of their website for $39.99 (plus $12.50 for shipping), and is currently scheduled to ship sometime in November.

They released some samples of the new pages, which you can check out in the gallery below:

Are Cook & Becker Teasing A Sonic Mania Art Book?

Video game art dealers Cook & Becker have teased an image of the Mighty the Armadillo artwork from Sonic Mania alongside concept sketches from the animatics, in what looks to be a brand-new Sonic the Hedgehog art book!

Continue reading Are Cook & Becker Teasing A Sonic Mania Art Book?

Anniversary Sales On Sonic Titles Via Nintendo eShop, XBox Live, Playstation Store

Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony have announced a Sonic Anniversary sale on digital downloads via the eShop, Playstation Store, and XBox live for Sonic the Hedgehog titles, including Team Sonic Racing!

Continue reading Anniversary Sales On Sonic Titles Via Nintendo eShop, XBox Live, Playstation Store

Unofficial Sonic Fact Book Appears To Plagiarise Text From Fan Sites, Uses Fan Art

Eagle-eyed Badnik Mechanic Dave Luty on Twitter has spotted something amiss with an Unofficial Sonic the Hedgehog fact book “We Love Sonic”, set for release through Carlton Books this summer.

Continue reading Unofficial Sonic Fact Book Appears To Plagiarise Text From Fan Sites, Uses Fan Art

Sonic Mania and Two SEGA Collections on Sale on the Humble Store!

Are you still slacking on getting your hands on Sonic Mania? Feeling like reliving those other SEGA classics? If you’ve been waiting for a sale, now’s the time. Humble Bundle has the PC versions of a number of SEGA classics: Sonic Mania is at a pretty significant 66% discount, with SEGA Mega Drive Classics and Dreamcast Collection both at an astounding 75% during Humble’s Retro Paradise event! But you’ll need to grab your power sneakers, because this isn’t a permanent price drop.

Continue reading Sonic Mania and Two SEGA Collections on Sale on the Humble Store!

Tee Lopes and Jun Senoue Remix ‘Theme of Knuckles’ for Sonic Mania Adventures

Sonic Mania Adventures is surely the gift that keeps on giving – as Jun Senoue has today unveiled a brand new retro-inspired remix to complement the awesome series of animated shorts. Continue reading Tee Lopes and Jun Senoue Remix ‘Theme of Knuckles’ for Sonic Mania Adventures

Sonic Mania PC Could Be Getting An Update to Remove Denuvo DRM

If SEGA’s insistence on using DRM software Denuvo on the PC version of Sonic Mania has been getting you down, then you may be in for a treat. It’s looking likely that an incoming official update will soon patch the troublesome tech entirely from the game.
Continue reading Sonic Mania PC Could Be Getting An Update to Remove Denuvo DRM

Watch Donald Duck Go Quackers in This Hilarious Sonic Mania PC Mod

We’ve seen some interesting Sonic game mods in our time, but this one takes us right back to our childhood – one plucky PC hacker is reworking Sonic Mania Plus to include famous Disney characters, turning the high-paced platformer into something reminiscent of the 1992 Mega Drive classic World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.
Continue reading Watch Donald Duck Go Quackers in This Hilarious Sonic Mania PC Mod

Mighty and Ray Figures Included In JAKKS Pacific Toy line

With New York Toy Fair in full swing this weekend, the news on new Sonic the Hedgehog toys has come thick and fast – and it looks like the new JAKKS Pacific toy line up will include the first ever official Ray and Mighty figures!

Continue reading Mighty and Ray Figures Included In JAKKS Pacific Toy line

Rock Out to the Sonic Mania Adventure Remix of Big Arms

Time to get metal! SEGA today release the first of five remixes featured in the Sonic Mania Adventure cartoon series, commencing with a guitar-driven version of the “Big Arms” theme from Sonic 3 / Sonic & Knuckles, rearranged and performed by Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue and Sonic Mania composer Tee Lopes. Continue reading Rock Out to the Sonic Mania Adventure Remix of Big Arms

Humble Bundle offering new 11 game Sonic bundle

Whether you’re feeling charitable this holiday season, or just want a bunch of Sonic games for super cheap, Humble Bundle has an offer for Sonic fans: the Humble Sonic Bundle. The money given to this bundle will go to Extra Life, Save the Children, the Willow Foundation, and Access Sport. Alternatively, your money can also be given to any charity in Humble Bundle’s database.

Anyone who’s able to give at least $1 to charity will receive the following games on Windows through Steam:

  • Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
  • Sonic Adventure DX
  • Sonic Adventure 2 (with Battle DLC)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
  • Sonic CD

For those who have a little more to spend, the following games can be had for the current donation average of $7.20:

  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Collection
  • Sonic Lost World
  • Sonic Generation Collection
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

And finally, for anyone who wants to more than double their donation to $15, they can get the latest games, including:

  • Sonic Mania
  • Sonic Forces

The bundle will be available from now until the end of the year. You can check it out here.

 

 

 

Sonic Talk 54: Party of Four

Wow!! Am I late with this one!! So Sorry about that. Check out our hands-on impressions of Team Sonic Racing, our discussion of Sonic Revolution, the end of Sonic Boom, The Sonic toys at Subway (which I have yet to find a Subway in my area that has them) and much, much more!! Continue reading Sonic Talk 54: Party of Four