Happy 26th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

Can you believe it’s been 26 years to the day that the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game was released on Sega Mega Drive? The blue blur is now way too far gone for any ‘old enough to drink/drive (though not at the same time)’ jokes. In fact, he’s well on his way to being old enough to starting a mortgage and a family. Continue reading Happy 26th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

Sonic Games on sale on Nintendo eShop

European Playstation owners aren’t the only ones getting a Sonic sale! Starting today, Nintendo fans can also get in on the action. Sonic games on both the 3DS and Wii U platforms will be on sale for up to 60 percent off in both America and Europe. The sale will last until June 29th. For a full list of games on sale, please check the list below.

Special note: Virtual Console Game Gear Games are not a part of this sale in the United States.

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$14.99 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$29.99)
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$19.99 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$39.99)
Sonic Lost World (SEGA EUR) – €19.99/£17.49/$14.97 (normally €39.99/£34.99/$29.95)
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (SEGA) – €15.99/£11.99/$11.98 (normally €39.99/£29.99/$29.95)
Sonic Generations (SEGA) – €9.99/£7.99/$11.99 (normally €24.99/£19.99/$29.99)
3D Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA) – €2.24/£2.04/$2.99 (normally €4.49/£4.09/$5.99)
3D Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (SEGA) – €2.49/£2.24/$2.99 (normally €4.49/£4.49/$5.99)
Sonic The Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic Drift 2 (SEGA, GG VC) – €1.99/£1.79 (normally €3.99/£3.59)
Sonic Labyrinth (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic Blast (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic The Hedgehog (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (SEGA, GG VC) – €2.49/£2.24 (normally €4.49/£4.49)

Sonic sale on EU PSN Store

PSN’s EU store is having a sale on all its Sonic franchise titles, starting today and ending on July 5. Every single one of Sonic’s games on the store are available for at least 50 percent off. For a full rundown on the current prices, check the list below:

Sonic 1: £1.69
Sonic 2: £1.69
Sonic the Fighters: £1.69
Sonic Unleashed £4.99
Sonic Adventure: £1.69
Sonic Adventure 2: £2.49
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed (PS3 & Vita): £5.75
Sonic 4 Episode 1: £2.49
Sonic 4 Episode 2: £3.99
Sonic Generations: £5.79

The store also has a variety of SEGA games for sale, including Virtua Fighter 5 and Fighting Vipers.

Sonic games 75% off on Steam for 24 hours

Anyone who’s ever wanted to own every Sonic game on Steam is in luck today: from now until 1 p.m. EST/6 p.m. BST tomorrow, every Sonic game on the service will be on sale for 75 percent off.

For those of you who have never bought a Sonic game on the service before, Steam has an even better deal for you: a bundle that not only includes Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, but also gives you Sonic Generations and its Casino Nights DLC completely free.

The Sonic Games Collection Steam bundle is currently going $28.24/£19.49. The Collection usually goes for $112.99/£77.99. You can check out the bundle and individual games here.

SXSW not streaming Sonic panel. Here’s how you can watch it!

SXSW revealed yesterday that they would not be livestreaming their panels tomorrow, including their Sonic panel. Luckily, Tails Channel is streaming it! You can watch it in the embedded video below: Continue reading SXSW not streaming Sonic panel. Here’s how you can watch it!

Sonic Mania will will launch same day across all platforms, at the same price

According to a new interview with Sonic Community Manager Aaron Webber, no platforms will be getting any preferential treatment from Sonic Mania when it finally hits. According to the interview, conducted by Nintendo World Report, the game will be hitting the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC at the same time and at the same price, although no further details were given on what the release date and price will be. Continue reading Sonic Mania will will launch same day across all platforms, at the same price

TSS Review: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for 3DS

Title: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice
Platform: Nintendo 3DS (played on 3DS XL model)
Developer:
 Sanzaru Games
Release Date: September 27th, 2016 (NA), September 30th, 2016 (EU), October 1st, 2016 (AUS), October 27th, 2016 (JP)

Review copy provided by Sega

Here we are at last. It’s been almost two years after the Sonic Boom branch of the series launched with the TV show and the accompanying Wii U and 3DS games. We now have the second main Sonic Boom game (depending if you view Rise of Lyric on Wii U and Shattered Crystal on 3DS as a sibling pair of games), and this time it’s only on 3DS. Like Shattered Chrystal before it, Fire & Ice is once again developed by Sanzaru Games, who is also known for the Sly Cooper HD trilogy remaster and the fourth Sly game a few years back on PS3 and Vita. While Big Red Button’s Rise of Lyric launched in a poor and buggy state on Wii U, Shattered Crystal on 3DS was considered to be at least decent, though it had issues of its own. The question is, how does Fire & Ice fare?

Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for 3DS

Check Out the Launch Trailer for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice

It’s been two years in the making, but Sanzaru Games’ Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for the Nintendo 3DS is finally upon us. Having launched for the Americas just yesterday, the third installment of the spinoff series will be arriving in Europe this Friday while Japanese hopefuls will have to wait another month. Promises were made about the game shaping up to be better and faster-paced than the preceding Shattered Crystal, and according to most critics, Sanzaru certainly delivered.

You can check out the launch trailer above, as well as a review roundup below!

Continue reading Check Out the Launch Trailer for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice

Freak-Out Friday: Sonic the Hedgehog in Smash Bros. Melee

Who remembers those old hoaxes swirling around some of our favourite video games? Those days where prolific liars on the playground took advantage of our gullibility, saying you can only catch Mew in Pokémon Red and Blue from under a truck, or Aerith can live in Final Fantasy VII, or you can find the Triforce in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, all after a complicated set of conditions are met?

fof_smashhoax

There was one hoax Sonic fans would remember from an old issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, where you could unlock Sonic and Tails in Super Smash Bros. Melee by scoring 20 KOs in Cruel Melee mode. Impossible, right? Not so, for YouTuber MagicScrumpy did unlock the one and only video game character who is blue, collects rings, and goes fast by clearing those conditions – check out his video below!

Continue reading Freak-Out Friday: Sonic the Hedgehog in Smash Bros. Melee

The Creative Director of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Speaks Out on Changes Over Shattered Crystal

We’re less than two weeks away until Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice launches on the Nintendo 3DS, and new information and footage from the game is dropping nearly by the day. That said, there is still an air of uncertainty and apprehension surrounding the new Sonic Boom-branded game, despite its one year-delay and SEGA’s promise to uphold a higher standard of quality in all of their games.

This scrutiny isn’t without grounds and neither is it be unexpected, considering the disastrous launch of Big Red Button’s Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric on Wii U, which was received poorly by critics, and Sanzaru Games’ Shattered Crystal on 3DS, which didn’t live up to fans’ expectations for a 2D Sonic game. With Sanzaru once again at the helm, however, the team aimed to improve on Fire & Ice where Shattered Crystal went wrong, as the game’s creative director Mat Kraemer explains in an interview with GameSpot.

Continue reading The Creative Director of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Speaks Out on Changes Over Shattered Crystal

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice and SEGA 3D Archives 3: Final Stage Will Both Be at Tokyo Game Show 2016

This year’s Tokyo Game Show kicks off on September 15th, and with it will come plenty of big reveals from some of the industry’s biggest developers and publishing giants, as well as over 200,000 people expected to be on the show floor to try out upcoming titles.

SEGA will be attending the event with livestreams going on throughout the show, showing off the likes of Yakuza 6, Persona 5, and the new Puyo Puyo Chronicle among other wares. The latest SEGA 3D Classics compilation title from M2, SEGA 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: Final Stage, and Sanzaru Games’ Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice will also be present, complete with new gameplay footage and a live stage event featuring special guests like M2 President Naoki Horii and Sonic series director Takashi Iizuka respectively.

Check out SEGA’s complete TGS 2016 schedule below!

Continue reading Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice and SEGA 3D Archives 3: Final Stage Will Both Be at Tokyo Game Show 2016

Three Weeks Remain for Limited Edition Sonic Mania T-Shirts on Amazon

Sonic Mania keeps looking better the more we see from it, and all the more so with every little bit of footage sprinkling forward towards its Spring 2017 release. With that in mind, what if we looked better the more Sonic Mania we have on ourselves? Your dreams can come true today, as SEGA is selling a pair of official Mania T-shirts through Amazon – a Studiopolis Zone-based shirt and a “Triple Theat” tee starring icons of the game’s three playable characters.

However, this promotion is running for this month only, up until September 30th, and at the moment is only available through Amazon US. The Studiopolis tee, as well as a Triple Threat design with the Sonic Mania logo printed on it, were previously available on Amazon UK, though their listings appear to have vanished.

Have a closer look at the shirts themselves in the gallery below!

Continue reading Three Weeks Remain for Limited Edition Sonic Mania T-Shirts on Amazon

Freak-Out Friday: Cobanermani456’s Sonic Unleashed Fail Compilation

The definition of insanity is “repeating the same actions over and over again while expecting different results,” so says some famous scientist of the previous century. However, such unyielding determination is to be commended, especially when one manages to succeed despite the odds after several attempts, but at what cost?

Such is the case for this week’s Freak-Out Friday, as we take a look at Let’s Player Cobanermani456’s 40 minute-long compilation of his Sonic Unleashed fails. No, we’re not talking about the base game here, my good readers – we’re talking about the incredibly unforgiving and unfairly difficult stages available via the DLC Adventure Packs, with death after death after death compiled into one glorious video with copious amounts of schadenfreude to delight yourself in. To our younger readers though, be warned, for there be lots of swearing!

That said, pull up a chair, grab some snacks and join in on Cobi’s suffering after the cut!

Continue reading Freak-Out Friday: Cobanermani456’s Sonic Unleashed Fail Compilation

New Footage of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Gives Us Another Look at Bot-Racing

There’s not much time before the launch of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for the Nintendo 3DS. Come the end of September, Sonic fans in the West can get their hands on the third playable instalment of the Sonic Boom series, helmed by Shattered Crystal developer Sanzaru Games as the studio aims to improve where the previous game went wrong – with SEGA going so far as to delay it by a whole year as part of their pledge to aim for a higher standard of quality for all of their games from here on out.

SEGA of Japan recently hosted a near-two hour long livestream showing off several of their upcoming games, including the latest Yakuza, the recently revealed Puyo Chronicle, and Atlus’ highly anticipated Persona 5, but not without kicking things off with a sneak peek at the localized Sonic Toon: Fire & Ice. Gameplay featuring Sonic, Knuckles, and Sticks was shown off in the segment, as well as another look at the Sonic Rivals-esque Bot-Racing. You can check out the interview in full, or watch just the gameplay with footage spliced together by BlueParadox, after the cut!

Continue reading New Footage of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Gives Us Another Look at Bot-Racing

Mash-Up Monday: Lost World’s “Sea Bottom Segue” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”

Music mashups of Sonic the Hedgehog and Michael Jackson songs are nothing particularly new, but that doesn’t stop them from sounding incredibly amazing – and with Michael Jackson’s involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 confirmed at last (and later confirmed again), the fact that several of these exist across the web isn’t surprising given how well they mix, like thinly sliced fresh cucumbers, a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a pinch of black pepper, and bread no less than 3/4 of an inch thick.

That’s the case once again with today’s Mash-Up Monday, as we take a look at DarkHyperSonic7’s mashup of the King of Pop’s hit “Man in the Mirror” with Tomoya Ohtani’s “Sea Bottom Segue” from Sonic Lost World. Maybe it’s just my personal bias with any song that includes a piano given how gorgeous Michael’s vocals are when in contrast with Ohtani’s beautiful melody on the keyboard, but listen to it for yourself after the jump and let us know what you think of it in the comments!

Continue reading Mash-Up Monday: Lost World’s “Sea Bottom Segue” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”

New Sonic Mania Footage from PAX West Shows off More of Green Hill and Studiopolis

Sonic Mania is the return to form classic fans have sought after for years, and expectations are high since its debut appearance at the 25th anniversary party in San Diego, revealing a remixed Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog as well as a brand new stage with Studiopolis Zone. With this year’s PAX West winding down, more footage from the game has surfaced, all direct feed and featuring both Zones on full display!

Check out GameXplain and Polygon’s differing playthroughs of these levels after the jump, and be sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Continue reading New Sonic Mania Footage from PAX West Shows off More of Green Hill and Studiopolis

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

It’s incredible how time flies, isn’t it? One moment, you’re seven years old, sitting on your living room floor with eyes glued to the screen as a speedy blue ball bounces around to the tune of Green Hill Zone. The next, you’re replaying those golden oldies as an adult, celebrating 25 years of epic platforming fun.

Happy Anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog. We know SEGA has plenty of plans in store for you, but we at the Sonic Stadium have some plans of our own too. Continue reading HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

Fierce Battle Between Fierce Rivals! The Super Mario Bros. Z Reboot’s First Episode is Now Live

Four months ago, Mark “Alvin Earthworm” Haynes announced that he is rebooting Super Mario Bros. Z, his Dragon Ball Z-inspired flash series crossing over fan favourite gaming franchises Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. After Mobius has been reduced to ashes by the merciless and power-hungry Metallix, it is up to Mario, Luigi, Sonic, Shadow, and Yoshi to search the Mushroom Kingdom for the seven Chaos Emeralds before the mechanical menace finds them first.

Now, the first episode of the reboot—”Fierce Battle Between Fierce Rivals”—has finally launched, and is ready for viewing above!

With the Mushroom Kingdom’s first official Smash Tournament underway, the final round of the melee tourney pits the heroic plumbers Mario and Luigi versus the double-crossing bad boys Wario and Waluigi in an all out brawl for the championship title. That is, until the tyrannical King Bowser Koopa intervenes and begins his latest attempt at Mushroom Kingdom conquest – and the first step of his plan? To destroy Mario!

To those familiar with the original series, “Fierce Battle Between Fierce Rivals” combines the events of the first two episodes into a glorious 30 minute-long presentation. In Mark’s own words, this was how he had originally intended it to be back then, but technological limitations at the time caused it to be split into two episodes.

You can continue to support Mark Haynes and Super Mario Bros. Z via his Patreon – as a bonus, those who pledge a certain amount can actually watch new episodes three whole days before the public release.

SMBZ’s first run began in 2006 and spawned 8 episodes in all before the series was put on an indefinite hiatus in 2009. In 2013, Mark spoke of a number of alterations he would perform on the overall story before ultimately confirming a series relaunch.

Source: Patreon

HoL’s Musings: Was maybe an artificial extension of the Nintendo deal made?

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I’ve decided to rename my The Spin articles into HoL’s Musings, it’s a title I came up with on my own site, and I think this will help differentiate them from The Spin which I think is more Hogfather’s own thing and make it more my own, let me know what you think!

Continue reading HoL’s Musings: Was maybe an artificial extension of the Nintendo deal made?

Alvin Earthworm is Rebooting Super Mario Bros Z, Teases With a New Opening

[ Or, to those with trouble seeing the video, here’s a direct link! ]

Super Mario Bros. Z was a massive fan undertaking by one Mark Haynes, also known as Alvin Earthworm, that began way back on Newgrounds in 2006, acting as a crossover between the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog games with gorgeous Dragon Ball Z-inspired fighting sequences layered on top.
With the seven Chaos Emeralds warped away from a Mobius reduced to ashes, it was up to Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Sonic, and Shadow to gather the mystical gems and keep them from the tyrannical Mecha Sonic’s clutches, all while dealing with Bowser’s latest attempt at conquering the Mushroom Kingdom.

The animated webseries earned a phenomenal following in its heyday, until production ultimately ceased following the eighth episode, “The Great Doomship Defensive”, in 2009. Due to a busier life offline and waning investment (which is, all in all, completely understandable), Mark withdrew from the Super Mario Bros. Z scene and laid the series to rest, as SMBZ then became an object of nostalgia for many of the web’s denizens while time marched on.

The inaugural battle between Mario and Metal Bowser, the brawls between Team Mario, the Koopa Bros, and the revived Axem Rangers X, the destruction of Yoshi’s Island, the 8bit battles that rocked the fabled Minus World, the introduction of Fire Sonic, that Mecha Mario tease… Needless to say, SMBZ had a lot of memorable high points.

The last that was heard from the series was a rather bizarre 2010 April Fools’ short and an upload of what would’ve been the intro from Episode 9…

…until Mark spontaneously released an animation test back in October 2013 – a remake of SMBZ’s very first scene. He advised fans not to get too excited, or to take it as confirmation that he would be working on the series again, but spoke of a number of alterations he would perform to the story, some of the fight scenes, and dialogue if he went ahead with rebuilding the series from the ground up.

Well folks, get ready to party like it’s 2006, because it is happening. Attributing the introduction of Flash-to-HD Video software Swivel as a major plus, the returned Alvin Earthworm has formally announced that Super Mario Bros. Z is being revived, and that the first episode is indeed on the way!

And, to build up hype for fans old and new, Mark has even gone and redone the opening sequence for the series to  kick things off. Compare with the old opening on Newgrounds! Revisit and marathon the old series (NG / YT)! Get in touch with your old Internet friends from way back when and spread the word! Don a banana suit and shout “I LOVE CEREAL!” to the heavens before spontaneously com–––okay, okay, don’t do that, but hey, you get the idea! GET EXCITED!

Super Mario Bros. Z is BACK!

Mark Haynes, Alvin Earthworm, all the best to you, and glad to have you back!

Were you around during the first run of SMBZ? What were some of your favourite moments, or your most favourite battles from the show? Is this the first time you’ve heard of the series as it is? Let us know below!

And if I may add anything else… might I just say that this really takes me back to the old VGLan days.

…wow, I feel old.

First footage of Sonic in Super Mario Maker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9DZCDDo7CY

Following the first-look at his sprite in the game yesterday, we now have a bit of video footage of him in the game (skip to 2:26), here you can see it’s definitely the Sonic 1 sprite, and also when he runs, he spins!

And yes, even Pokemon are in! Why does it feel like Pokemon are now a bigger shock than Sonic?

To clarify, these outfits do not require amiibo, you can unlock them by completing the 100-Mario Challenges in the game.

Sonic costume confirmed for Super Mario Maker on Wii U

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As was long awaited since the confirmation of amiibos being supported in the game, allowing you to unlock the costumes of the corresponding amiibo (though they aren’t required, just an easy way to unlock them if you have them on hand), we now have confirmation from the Super Mario Maker Miiverse community that Sonic’s costume does exist, and will finally let you play as Sonic in a Mario game for the first time in history.

What’s really bizarre is that it appears to be Sonic’s Sonic 1 sprite… which is 16-bit. All costumes are meant to be 8-bit and only usable in the SMB1-style levels. You’d think they’d have possibly picked Sonic’s sprite from Sonic Pocket Adventure, his only 8-bit appearance in the Modern-era in 8-bit form.

Super Mario Maker arrives on Wii U on September 10 in Japan, September 11 in NA and EU, and on September 12 in Australia.

Thank you Nintendo Everything and GoNintendo for the find.

SEGA Europe Appoints CPLG to Handle Sonic Licensing in Europe

CPLG Logo

SEGA Europe has appointed CPLG (Copyright Promotions Licensing Group) to handle its Sonic the Hedgehog licensing business in Europe. This deal will see the agency promoting both the Sonic Boom and Classic Sonic brands across all major European territories, utilizing the Sonic Boom TV series and by launching exciting new products.

CPLG is a big player in licensing and responsible for some major brands, like Tony Hawk, Jurassic World, Minions, Skylanders, Kiss, Sesame Street and more. No doubt it will be interesting to see what promotions and products we will see develop from this deal.

Source: Licensing.biz

Sonic & Tails wish Sonic a happy birthday, guest starring Ryan Drummond!

A person with the name of FlutterTreeMuffin on YouTube teamed up with Ryan himself to bring you the above video featuring Sonic and Tails. It’s a really sweet gesture and a wonderful treat to hear Ryan behind the mic as Sonic even if it’s unofficially again after so long (he did play as Sonic on camera in an interview not that long ago).

For reference, Ryan voiced Sonic starting from Sonic Adventure on DC in 1999, and ending with Sonic Advance 3 on GBA in 2004.

Thanks Flutter and Ryan for the video! 🙂

What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

Sonic skin confirmed for Yoshi’s Woolly World on Wii U

Sonic Yoshi

Yep! As speculated from Sonic’s amiibo being supported in the game, as seen above, it is so, Yoshi will get to be blue but not so spiky!

The image came from a video by ODDERZ Plays showcasing most of the amiibo skins for Yoshi, including the Inkling Squid which just came out of course for Splatoon (only that one was shown, since its the only of the three he has, so I assume the Inkling Boy and Girl ones work also), I would assume Chibi-Robo will also be included who is only available I believe in a bundle with Chibo-Robo: Zip Lash on 3DS. Bad news is, no Pokemon will give you their skins, they’ll give you unrelated patterns, but no Pikachu Yoshi for you sadly. 🙁

Check out the vid below, the amiibo line-up starts at 4:07 and Sonic Yoshi shows up at 5:35:

Pic was taken by GoNintendo.

Sonic amiibo support coming to Yoshi’s Woolly World for Wii U, but in what capacity?

So it was announced in a new trailer today for Yoshi’s Woolly World for Wii U (developed by Good-Feel, the developer of Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Wario Land: Shake It) that you can use over 40 amiibo figures to give Yoshi a costume based on the character as demonstrated in the video which showed Yoshi as Mario with that familiar mustache (quite bizarre-looking if I’m honest lol!), as that Gorilla who refers to himself as an ass (Donkey Kong), or as Link (he just got even greener!).

You can see a big line-up of supported amiibo near the end, one of which includes Sonic, but as we’ve seen in numerous other amiibo-supported games, this doesn’t guarantee Yoshi will get Sonic-ized. Full circle from Sonic Lost World anyone? 😛

But if so, does this mean wool Yoshi will also be a spiky blue pin cushion?

We’ll report when we find out what the exact functionality of Sonic’s amiibo and if he does get a Sonic outfit.

AFD 2015: Sonic The Hedgehog: Remastered Announced

Today, SEGA have announced a remastered version of the notorious 2006 game, Sonic the Hedgehog, slated to hold a slew of new features to improve the gameplay experience and story. The title is coming to Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles, with no specific release date given as of yet – but the 25th Anniversary is highlighted by Takashi Iizuka, head of Sonic Team. Continue reading AFD 2015: Sonic The Hedgehog: Remastered Announced

The Anatomy of a Bad Sonic Game

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The following is a guest article from SEGAbits writer Ben Burnham, who joined the website several years ago. He is an avid and long-time Sonic fan who’s written about the games numerous times over the years. As part of our intersite #Sonic23on23 celebration, Ben has written an article for us about what he thinks makes a bad Sonic game well…bad! Hope you enjoy.

If there’s one series known as much for its failures as for its successes, it’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
There was a time when SEGA’s famed mascot, spinoffs aside, seemed like he could do no wrong; The series was incredibly popular, and arguably a major reason the Genesis was able to put up such a strong fight against the Super Nintendo.

It then came time for Sonic to make the dreaded transition to 3D, and though critics and fans have become more jaded about the quality of the games in hindsight, the fact remains that Sonic Adventure and its sequel were given rave reviews and greeted with much fanfare when they were released on the Dreamcast.

From there, however, it would become a bumpy ride. Sonic Heroes and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 divided the fanbase, while Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, and Sonic and the Black Knight were panned across the board. Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic Unleashed were met with only tepid enthusiasm, and even with the well-received Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations thrown into the mix, it remains evident that the franchise has struggled to find its ground in recent years.

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It makes sense then to answer, or at least attempt to answer, the big question of what makes a bad Sonic game bad, and how Sega can work to prevent future entries in the series from becoming bad. It seems like an easy question, but upon sitting down to write this article, it became clear to me just how difficult it is to answer.
The Sonic Adventure games on the surface featured much of what fans would grow to hate about the series; multiple playable characters, a large variety of differing gameplay styles, linear levels with few paths, and cheesy presentation. With all that said, these factors didn’t seem to bother much of anyone back in 1999 and 2001.

Upon giving it some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that what made it work in those days was that the ideas back then were seen as being executed well. Most 3D platformers of that era didn’t feature multiple playable characters; and I don’t think many, if any at all, let you play as the villains in addition to the heroes. The freshness of these concepts certainly gave them strength, and while people universally preferred the Sonic gameplay to that of the other characters, the fanbase by and large didn’t question the existence of the other characters’ gameplay, seeming to accept them as a necessary part of those games. But it wasn’t just the fact that it was a new concept that made it a success. More importantly, the Sonic Adventure series was able to justify the other characters by getting their gameplay right and by giving them a role in the game that felt genuine and not like a marketing ploy.

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Though fairly simplistic, the shooting mechanics of characters like Gamma and Dr. Eggman were solid, doing their job and working the way they were supposed to. Many dreaded the Knuckles and Rouge stages in the Adventure series, but they provided a challenge and did what they were supposed to do. With the exception of Big the Cat, most of the gameplay in the Sonic Adventure games, if nothing else, proved itself worthy of being a part of the overall experience, and it fit organically into what those games were and what they set out to be.

My big issue with where Sonic’s gone these days isn’t that they continue to add gameplay variety, but that the different gameplay they come up isn’t fun or well thought out. Amy Rose’s levels and her storyline in Sonic Adventure were short and didn’t overstay their welcome, while the Werehog in Sonic Unleashed had levels that felt like they went on for ages. Sonic Team back then knew where to devote the majority of their gameplay, while the Sonic Team of today releases games that are more Werehog than Hedgehog. The old Sonic Team knew how design gameplay centered on each characters’ unique strengths, while the new Sonic Team will add a parkour mechanic to a game and do almost nothing with it.

segabits sonic 06 town

If there’s one thing that I’d like more than anything to get across to those who make the Sonic games, it’s that the poor implementation of the ideas is the problem, not the ideas themselves. Nobody would have complained about using the sword in Sonic and the Black Knight if the swordplay was fun and didn’t detract from the experience. Developer Big Red Button didn’t pull punches when they revealed up front that Sonic Boom would be far heavier on the exploration elements than recent Sonic titles, and I personally believe that many in the fanbase were optimistic about this, or at least hopeful, that we would have a fun new take on the franchise. It’s a series that’s flexible enough to warrant change, and to regularly shake things up, and these things are what keep things fresh.

segabits shadow the hedgehog shadow

It’s in this sense that Sega shouldn’t be afraid of new ideas. New ideas are what keep long-running series’ going, and without them, they eventually cease to exist. What makes a bad Sonic game bad isn’t that it features a new take on the character, or a new style of gameplay, but that the gameplay isn’t well-developed or fun. It’s not enough to just give Sonic a sword and call it a day, but the gameplay has to be paced well, using the sword has to be fun, and the new gimmick needs to justify its existence rather than simply feeling like a way to sell Happy Meals. A Sonic game that feels more like an exercise in marketing than a well-made product is a bad Sonic game. A Sonic game that’s released unfinished, where it’s evident that monetary return was more important to its publisher than putting out a quality game, is a bad Sonic game.

These are aspects that should apply to any game, but the Sonic franchise has fallen into these traps repeatedly. The worst Sonic games either banked too much on ideas that didn’t work or weren’t fun, or they attempted to do far too much with too little development time. There’s a level of quality that’s just expected from an IP of Sonic’s stature. Developers who are content enough to add guns to a Sonic spinoff, but not to make the effort to ensure that they work properly and that gamers would be happy to use them, are not doing justice to the series. Ideas that just seem to come across (at best) as “okay” in practice shouldn’t be included in a game, even if they’re for secondary characters, or if they’re in addition to strong speed sections. The ideas should never be making it past the planning stages because they aren’t worthwhile additions to the gameplay.

segabits sonic and the black knight

Looking towards the upcoming Sonic Boom, my fear is that it will be a bad Sonic game. I hope I’m wrong; I was so excited when it was first announced, believing that it would be a promising new start for the iconic mascot. If a combat system, which currently looks to (but hopefully does not) take up a majority of the game, is being viewed by the majority as something that isn’t fun, then it’s something that the developers need to make note of and fix. It’s something that they should have caught before the game was even shown, because what makes a good Sonic game good, just like with what makes any game good, is that it’s fun to play.

Through it all, that’s the most important thing. The conclusion after all this is so simple, but it’s one that has in the past so easily eluded Sega’s grasp; the game has to be fun to play. No matter what longtime fans may think of putting a villainous hedgehog on a motorcycle and sending him into battle, if the gameplay was fun to play, people would have eventually grown to accept it. Fun speaks volumes, and ultimately is the most important part of all forms of entertainment.

If any aspect of the experience, especially a major aspect, proves not to be fun, or proves not to justify itself in the context of the game it’s in, then that’s when we have a problem; because, in my view, that’s when we have a bad Sonic game.

Sonic List: The Most Overrated Sonic Games

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

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

Sonic The Hedgehog 1991 (Sega Genesis)

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

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

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

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

Sonic Rush

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

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

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

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

Sonic CD

 

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

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

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

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

Sonic Adventure 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Don’t, please. I’m just kidding.)

 

Has Jazwares cancelled its entire 2014 Sonic Toyline?

So this is an update/article that I’ve wanted to make for a few weeks now, however I kept telling myself ‘wait until New York Toy Fair, just wait and see.’ Well… In the run up to Toy Fair,  few other bits of information came to light which didn’t fill me with much confidence… following images of their booth at Toy Fair, I think the party is over.

There is a lot of mounting evidence to say that Jazwares have cancelled or lost the rights to make new Sonic toys.

Back in September, we brought you news that Jazwares had cancelled it’s highly anticipated Metal Sonic & Classic Amy plush. Since then however, there’s been a development. Classic Amy has in fact been released in a so far very limited form from online retailers, SSMB member PatMac posted images of it a few days ago.

However… despite this surprise release, Metal Sonic is nowhere in sight, and another worrying sign is that Jazwares have changed their product page for their Sonic toys. Here is what it originally looked like after Jazwares redesigned their website in late 2013.

jazwaresnewproductgone

 

However, a few months ago, Jazwares since removed the ‘New Fall 2013 product’ from their site, there have been no additional products added to their Sonic page of any kind. See for yourself.

More significant a hint that the Sonic line is no more comes from the Jazwares Facebook page, in the run up to the New York Toy Fair, Jazwares has out rightly stated that multiple products in the Sonic line have been cancelled.

Rouge the Bat, Classic Knuckles and The Sonic & Shadow Reversible Plushies have all been stated to have been cancelled.jazfacebook

There has needless to say been quite a backlash on Jazwares’ Facebook Page to this news, this is quite understandable considering Classic Knuckles and Rouge have been teased and hinted at as far back as early 2012.

In fact, on the 28th of March 2012. Jazwares posted this on their Facebook page.

jazclassicknuckles2

 

So ladies and gentlemen, unless this was an outright lie. A classic Knuckles figure was not only in development and ready, he was just waiting for a release line to fit into. Since then there has been no mention of this particular character. So were we all lied to on this? Or was Knuckles ready to go?

As for Rouge? Well…

You might remember how we reported on this particular product page? The one which clearly shows a comic book pack of Shadow and Rouge with the word ‘new’ next to it, suggesting it was indeed on the way. Unlike Classic Knuckles which had nothing released to support it other than the Facebook outlet, Rouge had a product number and even this promotional material to back it up.

Which begs the question… why was this cancelled?

Following the huge backlash on the cancellation, Jazwares have been sporting this reason.

 it’s up to the retail stores for what products get made.

Placing the blame firmly on the retailers, if they don’t order them, then they don’t get made.

There’s just one thing with this reasoning that I question. That being there’s evidence to suggest that this isn’t the case. In the Sonic Black Knight line, the following figures were spotted and in some cases are still up for order.

  • -Sonic – Excalibur
  • -Knuckles – Sir Gawain
  • -Silver – Sir Galahad
  • -Shadow – Sir Lancelot
  • -Jet – Sir Lamorak

This information and listings dates back to June 2012 and can be found across several toy news and retailer sites.

This is also the case for some of the ASRT toys which were announced and even shown at last years Nuremberg Toy Fair. Many of those toys over 2013 appeared as pre-orders at the United States branch of Toys R Us… that’s one if not the biggest toy retailer in the world isn’t it? There was even a product photo of it, this is taken from the old listing on TRU.Com’s website.

trushadow

Anyone own that? Anyone ever seen that for sale outside of the internet listing? So why was it cancelled?

The same applies to Metal Sonic. Announced, then cancelled. Only this one is even more strange, not only has the Metal Sonic plush appeared on Jazwares’ website (and at the time of posting is still there). But it has also appeared as a product on the website for ‘Smyths’ who are one of the largest toy retailers in the UK.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was even an official product photo of it on a UK site… this was very rare since normally there’s a 1 year gap between US and UK releases.

It’s around now you might be thinking… wait… they were announced in prior to 2014, what about this years toys?

There aren’t any.

So far we have The Black Knight Silver figure (just released) and a Silver Super Poser. And that’s it. Everything else, all those toys from Nuremberg last year, all those toys which popped up on retailers, not happening.

At least that’s based on what Jazwares itself are suggesting from their own booth at the 2014 NYTF. The following image are the press releases for Jazwares at NYTF.

jazpressreleases

Sonic has no 2014 product list.

In conjunction with this, we now thanks to figures.com, have photos of Jazwares’ booth at New York Toy Far. They show no new Sonic products aside from Black Knight & Super Poser Silver.

jazbooth

There’s even an image of the plush box which has appeared predominantly at 2013’s toy fair, only this time both Metal and Super Sonic are missing from it.

This is the biggest toy fair of the year for America, and Jazwares have no new Sonic products at it for 2014. If there were new products, it’s absolute madness that they’re not here, even if it were just a prototype or concept image. But there’s nothing. You can view more images of Jazwares NYTF booth at Figures.com, but there is nothing new, everything is already out or about to be released.

Even at Nuremberg, there were no new toys aside from Black Knight Silver and ‘that sign.’

So, what is going on? We went from being told ‘those figures are coming’ for over 2 years, we had so much new toys promised an shown in 2013, yet now the whole product line seems to have stopped.

You might be thinking ‘maybe Tomy is the reason?’ Possibly… but Tomy has a license for Sonic Boom toys, Jazwares has the modern and classic games.

It does sound like the Jazwares run of Sonic toys is at or nearing it’s end, no press releases, no new products on show and cancellation notices. It seems that the party is over on this one. Which is a shame because despite what you may say about the quality of the products, Jazwares did give us figures that fans have been crying out for since 1991.

Sega: 2014 is the Year of Sonic

I really don’t know how you’re going to react to this one… so try to remain calm.

Machinima has posted a very interesting YouTube video which contained the following image.

yearofsonic

The text on that image reads as follows…

2014 will mark a renaissance for Sonic the Hedgehog. Please join us to be the first to hear about SEGA’s exclusive announcements and plans for the Sonic brand”

“2014 is the Year of Sonic,” “Renaissance of the brand” and the image of the Sonic Boom promotional image. For those who don’t know, in it’s most basic term, renaissance means ‘rebirth.’  Now you understand why I said remain calm…

If you are doubting the authenticity of this image, to back it up, Segas entire community team, the head of marketing and several producers at Sega have recently made public that they are in New York City on a business trip. Given the huge numbers of staff in New York right now, and their roles, this is a potentially huge announcement which will have an impact over Sonic as a brand.

I can only begin to speculate what might be getting shown, but following so soon after hedgehog day which saw no announcements or even a Blog entry from Sega, the timing makes this more significant for Sonic fans.

As always, we will keep you upto date with news as and when we get it.

Thanks to SSMB member SweeCrew for the tip & screen cap.

Greg Martin, Box Art Illustrator for Sonic the Hedgehog, has passed away

sonicgregmartin

Yesterday evening we learned that Greg Martin had passed away in May of last year through a friend of his on the Nintendo Age forums. Greg Martin’s art had a prolific presence in early 90’s video game box art, spanning dozens of franchises. Though most Sonic fans may never have heard of him they will surely recognize his work: he was the man behind every piece of Sonic box art in the early 90s. His work came to define Sonic’s appearance in America and Europe, appearing not just in video game box art but also in a variety of adverts.

If you wish to learn more about Greg Martin, you can check out the Nintendo Age post that reported his passing. If you wish to see more of his work, please check out his website. Our thoughts are with his family

3D Sonic the Hedgehog hits 3DS eShop this week

Sonic 1 Title Screen

The original Sonic the Hedgehog game is racing onto the Nintendo 3DS eShop in Europe and the US this Thursday, 5th December – but it’s already been ported to seemingly every gaming system under the sun, so what makes this one noteworthy? Well, this isn’t just your straightforward port, it’s a part of SEGA’s 3D Classics series for the 3DS, enhancing some of their classic games with fancy new stereoscopic visuals. It’s a whole new way to experience the blue blur’s first ever adventure!

3D Sonic the Hedgehog also contains an option to toggle the spin dash on and off, for those wanting either a newer or a more traditional method of play.

The game will cost £4.99 in Europe and $5.99 in the US. Will you be downloading this enhanced version of Sonic’s debut? Let us know in the comments!

Limited Steam Offer: Sonic Hits Collection for £9.99

CBBC Sonic Generations artwork

Steam’s Autumn sale is currently underway and among the savings is an incredible offer for the entire Sonic collection – just £9.99 for 14 games, old and new, along with their respective DLC in the case of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Generations, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

For under a tenner you can get all of the following:

  • Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
  • Sonic Adventure DX
  • Sonic CD
  • Sonic Generations
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

Individually, the price of these games would total over £100, so this is an absolutely fantastic deal if you don’t already own the entire collection. You’ll have to act fast though – the sale is only on until tomorrow, so head on over to Steam quickly and splash your cash!

A direct link to the Sonic Hits Collection can be found by clicking here

Gotta Grrr Fast! Sonic Dog Costume

sonicthedog

Sup Dawg’s? I got some Sonic news for you.

A Sonic the Hedgehog costume…. For dogs! A Sonic the Hedgehog costume… FOR DOGS! Erm… Can I fit it on a cat?

This costume has popped up for order on halloweencostumes.com, current asking price is $20 + Postage. I can’t imagine it being official but. If you fancy turning Fido into the worlds fasted hedgehog. Well hot dog, nows your chance!

Pay no attention to the fact that they have just photoshopped the costume onto the dog and not managed to get one to sit still enough to put him in one. It’s a Sonic costume! For dogs! It comes in small, medium, large and extra large, though you might want to get on the dog n’ bone to get more accurate measurements.

Anyone here going to order one? Regardless as to if you own a dog? You’d be barking mad not to take avantage of this find.

Source: HalloweenCostumes

Edit: According to the website, this is indeed an official product.