A trio of classic Xbox 360 Sonic the Hedgehog titles – Sonic Generations, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – will be enhanced on next-generation Xbox consoles thanks to the consoles’ ‘FPS Boost’ feature. The updates will take effect on all three games today.Continue reading Sonic Unleashed, Generations and All-Stars Racing Transformed Gets FPS Boost on Xbox Series X and S
Ahead of its full unveiling later this month, SEGA has shared with us a small preview of its Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary concert. And what fitting choice for an orchestra to pick than Sonic Unleashed?Continue reading Sonic Unleashed Orchestral Music Forms This Preview of The Sonic 30th Anniversary Concert
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, we don’t mean Christmas – pfft! – but instead Next-Gen Console Day! This month sees the launch of two new platforms in the Xbox and PlayStation family of gaming systems, and we couldn’t be more excited about both. Today, Microsoft formally releases the Xbox Series X and S, and with backwards compatibility a major factor we decided to dig into the archives and check which Sonic the Hedgehog titles you can play from Day One.Continue reading Xbox Series X/S Launches Today – These Are The Sonic Games You Can Play Right Now
Sonic Unleashed is one of the more ‘divisive’ entries in the series, but one thing about it that’s hardly contested is it looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, the Xbox 360 and PS3 were not ready to handle the intensity of the Hedgehog Engine and certain levels like Jungle Joyride looked less like a video game and more like a slideshow.Continue reading Sonic Unleashed Runs Smoother than Ever on New Xbox Series X
Recently, Sony announced that it was making big changes to its PlayStation Store. From Monday 19 October, you will no longer be able to purchase PS3, PSP or PS Vita games from a desktop web browser, and from 28 October on mobile browser. This may have an impact on your ability to buy and download a range of Sonic games, so consider this a Public Service Announcement.Continue reading PSA: PlayStation Store Web & Mobile Browser to Stop PS3, Vita and PSP Sales – Get Your Sonic Games This Weekend!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of Jason Berry and dot not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TSS staff.
Guilty pleasures. Fan favorites. Cult classics. Names used for a variety of entertainment from movies to music and of course, video games. Usually, it refers to something that is flawed, but nonetheless, enjoyable.
The same can be said for a lot, and I mean a LOT of Sonic games out there. Games that are seriously flawed, but still have some fans who enjoy them. I’m still baffled by some people who say that they loved Sonic ‘06 but hey, don’t let me tell you what not to enjoy. Heck, I kinda like Rise of Lyric and that game is in an even more unfinished state than ‘06.
But what I want to talk about are Sonic games that were poorly reviewed by critics, but still enjoyed by fans or vice-versa. Games that are on the cusp of greatness, but some element holds it back. Games that make you say “yeah, it’s not the best, but I like it.” Games that are polished in their design, but their design is ultimately flawed. These are my five Sonic games just shy of greatness.
Sonic and the Black Knight
This is low on the list because it’s genuinely a bad game in the design department, but it has two elements that really shine. Sonic and the Black Knight was the second in the short-lived storybook series just after the arguably better Sonic and the Secret Rings. So why is this one on the list and not Secret Rings? While I didn’t care much for the constant stop-and-slash gameplay of Black Knight, there were two things that really stood out for me.
One, the story is actually one of my favorites in the series. Sonic is back in a storybook world, only this time, he has the knowledge from the previous game to know that his friends are not the same ones from his world and only look the same in appearance. Also, Sonic’s smart enough to realize that something’s off with the titular villain and the surprise twist reveal is something I didn’t see coming. It also includes a moral that, well… you don’t see very often.
Two, the music! Crush 40 is back along with a great, guitar-heavy soundtrack by Jun Sunoe and other talented composers including Tommy Talarico. There are also a few remixes of previous Sonic music, but overall a rockin’ soundtrack to a sub-par game.
Sonic Lost World
Boy did everyone love this game when it made the early rounds at preview shows like E3 and Comic-Con. Most people gave this new and very different entry in the Sonic series a lot of love… until it came out. It’s not that changing the formula for once wasn’t a good idea. I love the boost formula but could’ve used a break. However, once again as most games you see on this list, the biggest flaw is the game design.
Sonic Lost World was doing it’s best to rip off Mario Galaxy and it just didn’t work. The level design, for the most part, was very good. It was the controls themselves that fell apart. Sonic with a run button just felt wrong. Not allowing a more analog run control was a mistake in my opinion, but the other problem was the game’s newest gimmick, the parkour control. Basically, Sonic could climb and run alongside walls in a parkour-style to traverse certain levels. However, it was very hit and miss. Sonic would start to slide off the wall very quickly and it was hard to bounce from wall to wall. It took a more advanced level of skill than normally required from a platformer. Surprisingly, the 3DS port had the opposite problem. The parkour controls worked very well and should have been implemented in the console game, while the level design was pure torture. Had we had gotten both solid, parkour controls along with good level design, Sonic Lost Word could have been a hit.
Sonic Forces COULD have been a great game under the right circumstances. It’s using the Hedgehog Engine 2, Classic Sonic is back, you have your classic 2-D and boost gameplay just like Generations. You can even design your original character (do not steal), making every Sonic fanfic writer’s dream come true. In fact, it did okay with critics or at least critics who weren’t that familiar with Sonic. But as a fan of Sonic, you played the game and realized right away that something was off. It looked like Generations, but it didn’t quite play like it.
I think the main problem lies in that a good amount of the team from Sonic Colors worked on this game including the director, Morio Kishimoto. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Sonic Colors. But that game has very different platform physics than Generations or Unleashed. However, this game seems to have the engine of Generations, but with the jumping physics of Colors. Casual game players might not notice, but if you’re a Sonic fan, it’ll throw you off a bit. Like riding a bicycle, only now the bicycle controls like a unicycle.
What also doesn’t help is the terrible writing once again from Pontac and Graff. I’ll admit, I loved the story in Colors and laughed at Eggman’s PSA’s but those two are comedy writers, and every time they attempt drama in Sonic games, it falls flat. Sonic was supposed to be captured by Eggman and tortured for months, but when we see him, he’s the same ol’ Sonic he’s always been. Crackin’ jokes with (not) Zavoc.
“What goes up, must come down…” Much like the quality of gameplay in Sonic Heroes.
Now, Sonic Heroes is definitely one of my “guilty pleasures”. It has a lot going for it that I like. It offers the 3-D gameplay similar to the last Sonic Adventure games, but stripped down to a level-by-level structure, much like the 2-D classics. The new gimmick in this one is that you control three characters at once. One for speed (Sonic, Shadow, Amy, Espio), one for power (Knuckles, Omega, Big, Vector), and one for flight (Tails, Rouge, Cream, Charmy). Four teams with four stories of their own. Sonic Heroes did a lot right. It brought back the Chaotix, introduced Omega, and had probably Jun Sunoe’s and Crush 40’s best tracks in any of their games. “What I’m made of” is unironically a damn good song and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise (not really). For the most part, the “three at a time” formula works and helps keep the platforming gameplay moving at a fairly fast pace. It even did fairly well by critics (for a Sonic game of that era). Seaside Hill is still a joy to play. So what’s keeping it from being one of the best?
Level design. That’s the biggest problem. Sometimes it works great (like the aforementioned Seaside Hill) while others are a disaster. Casino Park and Bingo Highway still infuriate me to this day. The game’s difficulty constantly spikes. You can be having a great time of it only to have one of the most frustrating experiences on the very next level. It also doesn’t help that this was the first Sonic game to introduce a massive amount of annoying talking during gameplay. I just want to reach into my screen and choke Tails every time he says “Look at all those Eggman’s robots!”.For a child with a high IQ, he sure has poor grammar.
Now, if you’re a big fan of Sonic Heroes, I understand. There’s a lot to love here. But it’s definitely not without its faults. Speaking of a very faulty Sonic game that I love…
I friggin’ LOVE Sonic Unleashed! But it’s definitely got its flaws.
It starts out soooo good! That Marza animated intro is the best Sonic…. Anything! (Speaking of, when’s that “Lupin the 3rd: The First” movie hitting the western markets?) We then meet Chip and… yeah, his mileage may vary depending on if he grows on you or not. We then meet humans and OMG!! They actually fit well in Sonic’s world for once! Giving them a cartoon appearance works perfectly. Then, after some story introductions and a training level, we are introduced to our first full level in Apotos, “Windmill Isle Act 2” and OMG is it amazing!! Sonic’s running at incredible speeds through narrow streets that blur by. Dodging buildings left and right, grinding rails and smashing through Badniks. It was the first Sonic game to introduce the 3-D boost mechanics that are still present in the latest games. It all feels sooo good and it’s over too soon.
And then it happens. The Werehog. The thing both critics and fans felt was a bad idea and frankly, still is. Now, don’t get me wrong. The gameplay of the Werehog is actually not that bad! You’re running, jumping, getting into brawls and shimmying on ledges and it works out okay. It just doesn’t feel like that kind of gameplay belongs in a Sonic game. Also, each level is about a half-hour long or more. Compare that to the Sonic daytime levels that clock in at about five minutes. I’m bored ten minutes into the Werehog levels. The one thing the Wii did right was to break them up into smaller levels so you could take a break from them. The Wii version also didn’t have the frustrating medal hunt. Don’t have enough sun medals for the next Sonic daytime level? Too bad. Back to the old Werehog levels to hunt them down.
With all, it’s faults I’d still be lying if I didn’t say that Sonic Unleashed was one of my favorite 3-D Sonic games. The Werehog isn’t gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are far worse Sonic gameplay options out there (I’m looking at you, Big in Sonic Adventure.)
So what flawed Sonic game do you enjoy? Are there any you think I should have put on the list? Let me know in the comments below.
Good things come in pairs, and following the Sonic sale on the U.S. Nintendo eShop, Microsoft joins in with intense 50% discounts on ten more Sonic games for multiple Xbox Marketplace regions, most of which aren’t part of the Nintendo sale. As a reminder, all these games are playable on the Xbox One, and will likely be playable on the Series X in the near future.
Prices in USD/GBP respectively.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic CD – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Fighters – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure 2 – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II – $7.49/£4.99
Sonic Unleashed – $7.49/£5.99
Sonic Generations – $9.99/£7.49
Another month, another late Sonic Talk podcast! In our “Holiday special”, Jason, Alex, GX and this month’s 4th chair, Cory “Jet” Holmes discuss the latest topics going on in the world of Sonic including Smash Bros Ultimate, Sonic Unleashed on X-Box One, Sonic in “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, but mostly, we dicuss the bizarre design on Sonic in the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie posters. Continue reading Sonic Talk 57: Two Hours On Three Posters
…Via backwards compatability.
That’s right! The game which brought us Wentos, Chip and Ice Cream is getting a release on the Xbox One thanks to backwards comparability.
Confirmed by Major Nelson just an hour ago, the game is available to play right now!
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) November 29, 2018
Now you can re-live those moments of looking for medals, trying not to damage pots and trying to finish the Eggman Land hot dog missions all over again!
Among the bevy of VGM cover artists I follow on the web, one standout artist in particular shines with his rock/metal arrangements of classic gaming themes in the form of “GaMetal.”
Week by week, Jonny Atma wows the scene with all sorts of fantastic VGM covers featuring his trademark solos, covering nearly every song under the sun from the popular to the obscure, and fan-favourites from the Sonic series is no exception. While he has covered a handful of tracks from the franchise in the past, Atma wrapped up the month of February with not just one, but two remixes of some of the best boss tracks Sonic the Hedgehog has to offer.
2010 was the year Sonic the Hedgehog came back. Yes, we all heard the stories about how the franchise had declined not long after the jump to 3D, how gaming news outlets and critics even now would begin their pieces with some variation of “Sonic has had a rocky history,” and how every new Sonic game released around the “dark ages” period couldn’t shake off the dreaded “Sonic Cycle.” Continue reading The Spin: How SEGA is Ignoring the Middle Children of Sonic’s Legacy
What do you think the legendary horror movie director John Carpenter does to unwind and relax? Well, as it turns out, the visionary behind Halloween, The Thing and They Live has one major vice that he’s been unable to shake off for twenty years straight – Sonic the Hedgehog games. Continue reading It’s Official: John Carpenter is a Sonic the Hedgehog Fan
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!
In 2007, after years of barbs and jabs at one another from either side of the 90s Console Wars, celebrated company mascots Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog finally starred in their first crossover game in the aptly titled Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. 2008 marked a brand new start for the Blue Blur in his own games as well, with the release of Sonic Unleashed later that year on several platforms – a game that brought new life to the series with transitional 2D and 3D gameplay and the Boost ability, a mechanic that went on to become a staple in later titles until recently. Continue reading Mash-Up Monday: Endless Possibilities X 400m Dash
The YouTube channel Super Bunnyhop has uploaded a 39-minute look at the first level of every main Sonic game. Hit the jump to see it, and also to get a full list of the games covered. Continue reading Super Bunnyhop looks at the first level of every main Sonic game
Following the disastrous 2006 release of the next-gen Sonic the Hedgehog on Xbox 360 and PS3, early demos and trailers of the next instalment in the main series helped manage to generate a ton of positive press for SEGA and the Blue Blur, as they hinted at a return to the high speed platforming fans and critics have come to know and love over the years. Sonic Unleashed was soon unleashed onto the gaming world, and the end reception the game had received is mixed, split right down the middle – like night and day!
Yep, as I hinted in part 1 of my lookback featuring Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, I wanted to do my next one on Sonic Unleashed for the Wii! Have a look at part 1 right here (and comment! I’d really love some more feedback. ).
So now onto the lookback:
So this is what everyone considers to be the afterthought version, the side project, the thing to chuck out there for a quick buck… which apparently worked too well as the Wii version was apparently not only the highest selling version, but APPARENTLY outsold both the PS3 and 360 versions combined. Well that’s one reason Wii got Colors exclusively.
So for a long time we always thought it was mainly by Sonic Team with Dimps doing the daytime design work, but after exploring the endless world of the interwebs, I found the websites of Xeen and O-TWO and spotted the Wii version on both sites under games they worked on. As I noted last time, those two indeed worked on Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, and there’s the old interview where a Sega employee (think it was at one E3) where it was said it indeed used the Zero Gravity engine, all signs point to it being correct.
The game runs in 480p, 16:9 widescreen like Zero Gravity and all other Sonic games on Wii, however it runs in 30fps, also like every other Wii Sonic game except for Zero Gravity. Why did a spin-off accomplish what main games wouldn’t do? At least not until Sonic Lost World, and even then Zero Gravity is a locked 60fps where Lost World dips at times…
For those unfamiliar with the latter two teams, Xeen actually was the main dev of Rhythm Thief on 3DS and O-TWO mainly works on various 3DS eShop games like Skater Cat and Cube Tactics, they also helped on the more recent Puyo Pop games.
So here’s another thing to point out and it’s a biggie. The Wii version was basically the darling of most review sites, while the HD versions were slammed and some even rated it lower than Sonic ’06, ouch. I’ve only played the 360 demo in terms of HD version experience and it wasn’t my cup of tea, all the footage I’ve seen so far shows it being NOWHERE near as bad as Sonic ’06, and no, I don’t think Sonic Boom will be either, there was more than just technical issues being why Sonic ’06 was poop.
So what about the Wii game itself you ask? Well I REALLY liked it, it certainly has some glaring issues which of course I’ll dive into, but first let’s talk about the gameplay.
It’s very true the game is pretty one-sided in favor of the Werehog stages, basically for every day stage, you get 3 night stages. Some night levels even take place like 3-5 in a row, yikes. But the daytime stages are purdy fun. One thing I really enjoyed was the limited boost usage where it’s divided into small bursts at a time rather than go hedgehog wild. It allows you to strategize more in when to use it, also I like how after every 30 rings collected, its max amount increases AND fully restores it. I also like that *puts flame shield on* it’s SLOWER! I don’t like boosting like a bajillion miles and hour with little to no control, no sir, I don’t like that. Just give me a sense of going fast but being able to see things around me and being able to control what the hell I’m doing while boosting!
A major bonus on Wii is the medal system, you never have to worry about searching far and wide (I ain’t singing it, get that out of your head!) for medals, instead they’re rewarded depending on your rank in all levels, where as B gets you one, A gets you two, and S gets you all three medal in the level. Much easier. I just encourage you to try and get an S rank in the night levels on the first go if you don’t want to play them again.
Speaking of the night levels, here you focus on using the Wiimote and Nunchuck to fight in a sort of Wii Boxing/Punch Out style, and honestly, once you get the hang of it, it works REALLY well, I never used another control setup, I know, crazy right?
S ranking in the night levels is a bit tricky, you have to collect all the experience (called Force), rings, and beating the stage fast enough. But just be quick and break and collect everything you see and you should be okay. Here’s a tip: instead of punching boxes and whatnot, RUN into them, they break automatically thus saving you a lot of time.
So how about dem graphics? Well it’s no secret it’s not as pretty, and frankly, it’s not even close to the graphics of the Colors team’s output (Secret Rings, Black Knight, and Colors), hell, the game runs in 30fps so to me it’s kind of beneath Zero Gravity. Plus there’s something BIZARRE about the image quality where when the Werehog stages begin, he looks VERY weird with how the jaggies move about, like it’s not polished and… ugh, I can’t put my finger on it! The game could’ve used the useful Deflicker technique where it softens the image to reduce jaggies, like a free fake Anti-Aliasing of sorts. A lot of Sonic games on GC and Wii used it, as most famously Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl. It honestly helps a bit I’ve noticed, but I’m no expert so…
Also need to mention this graphical glitch in the first main daytime Adabat stage where you reach the bottom of a 2D section where you’re on the water, and the water just flickers really badly, but this is the only case of that, but it always does that there.
However, when played in HD on Dolphin, it surprisingly shines! Here is a gallery made by a person named zetabio who made DOZENS of screenshots of it in 1920×1200.
So all-in-all, I really enjoyed the game and I highly recommend it as long as you’re not going to puke as soon as you look at it and don’t mind the Wiimote controls. Actually it supports the GameCube controller (not usable at the moment on Wii U of course) and the Classic Controller if you prefer.
I’d give it an 8.0 out of 10. It’s not my fav Sonic game, but I still really enjoyed it as I said. It’s hard to say if I prefer Zero Gravity over Unleashed, I kinda prefer Zero Gravity due to it’s vastly superior polish.
That’s it for now! Hope you’ve enjoyed the 2nd lookback. Hopefully I’ll do another down the road again, but these two were the most under the radar/underrated of the console games last gen so I felt the warranted lookbacks the most.
Well… better late than never?
Sonic Unleashed has been… uh… Unleashed onto the PSN nearly 6 years after it’s original release. So if you’ve been after a copy of this for a while and your efforts to get a physical version have failed, this might be an option for you.
Oddly, Sega never announced this, it randomly appeared in this weeks PSN update, prices are £15.99/€19.99/$19.99. Although it’s not that odd since Sega have still to announce that Sonic Heroes is on the PSN and that’s been on there for several years.
Not sure what else to say on this really, it’s a fun game, the Werehog isn’t that bad once you level him up, though it’s a tragic experience early game. Otherwise it’s quite challenging and has some decent music. Though Generations is a lot better.
Anyone want to place bets on this being a PSN+ Freebie in time.
Source: Playstation Blog.
Given that this is the Sonic fanbase, it should surprise no one that there is a lot of product out there that many feel is…..below average. The mid-2,000s is still an era that Sonic is recovering from in terms of brand image. Basically, there’s a lot of “crap” out there and to be honest, many of us enjoy some of that crap. Many things that are downright hated by most in the fanbase. There are Sonic Underground fans, Shadow the Hedgehog (game) fans, Sonic Rivals fans…..even people who like Sonic ’06! They do exist.
And hey, I’m not gonna bash on someone for what they like or tell you that you have poor taste. This is the Sonic fanbase, a little poor taste comes with the territory. (I’m just kidding! Don’t hurt me!) Even I got some choices that tend to be frowned upon that I genuinely enjoy. Here’s my list of guilty pleasures in the Sonic franchise.
The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Okay, this one’s low on the list because there’s still a good chunk of the fanbase who’ve enjoyed it . That said, you gotta admit that for the most part, it’s still pretty awful. The comedy is almost strictly for young children and the characters and stories are just too goofy even for someone like me who really enjoyed Sonic Colors. Sonic and Tails come off as bad Looney Tunes wannabes and tend to be bland. So why do I still enjoy the show? Two Words. Doctor Robotnik.
Truly the only way to really enjoy the show is NOT through Sonic and Tails, but by enjoying the ridiculousness of Dr. Robotnik himself. He comes off as the worst, most ineffectual villain, but the way he’s designed and the constant abuse he takes from both his stupid lackeys and his hilarious, overbearing mother (who has the same moustache as him) make Dr. Robotnik the reason to watch the show. This is punctuated by the late Long Jon Baldry’s voice which was perfect for the role. I’ll even admit that there are some episodes that are actually genuinely good. The main one being the four part time travel story which also had the best animation of the whole series.
The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Not good enough to be considered a quality show, but just barely bad enough to be a guilty pleasure.
Sonic 4: Episodes 1 and 2
I know what you’re thinking. “Wait a minute Jason! Wasn’t this in your list of WORST Sonic games in the past generation?!!” Well yeah, as a game that dares to call itself SONIC 4, it comes nowhere near living up to that lofty goal. However, let’s look past the title. What if this game was called…I dunno “Sonic’s digital arcade adventure” or “Sonic the Portable” as some background images have hinted at and it was just a simple, arcade downloadable without having to live up to that huge legacy? Well then, it’s actually a pretty good set of games. There I said it.
Even a fair amount of critics looked past the number and had fun with the title. IGN stated “Sonic is back, baby!” while the very critical Jim Sterling actually lambasted against the Sonic fans who were hating on it. Episode 1 may have had poor, robot-like physics and had its levels clearly based on classic Sonic games. But I thought the level design was decent and it had a good pace and flow to the game that I hadn’t really seen since Sonic 2. What I mean by “flow” is that the game keeps you moving along and giving you platform and enemy challenges without the need to constantly stop you and slow you down (except for that damn torch puzzle).
This “flow” however, wasn’t quite there for Episode 2. While the physics were redefined and made a whole lot better and the graphics were improved greatly, to me, it didn’t quite have the proper pacing and flow in the level design that the first one did. I mean really, a water level in the first zone? That said, I’d say it’s still about equal to Episode 1 and some levels are pretty dang good. I’ll even go as far as to say this. I…..like Sonic 4 episodes 1 and 2 better than Sonic 1. Don’t kill me!
Let’s just put it out there, Sonic R is a bad racing game. It only has five tracks plus five more mirrored, the drifting is horrible and takes forever to get used to and you can probably beat and unlock everything in under 3 hours. So why is it so appealing to me? This is why.
The soundtrack by the brilliant Richard Jacques and singing by the lovely TJ Davis is just wonderful and just puts me in such a mellow and happy mood that I could give a crap how short the main game is and I just sit back and play. I get a handle on the drifting and the game becomes easier and easier. I just sit back and start unlocking stuff while my ears are being gently caressed by these smooth tunes. By the time I’m done, I’m just totally chill. Sonic R. It’s like the gaming equivalent of weed. Ah man, that hit the spot. I need more Richard Jacques, so here’s the next on my list.
Sonic 3-D Blast
I don’t think anyone disagrees that Sonic 3-D Blast was far superior on Saturn than on Genesis. However, many would disagree whether it’s a good game or not and that’s understandable. It’s not a great game by any means but that doesn’t mean it’s without its charm. The game is on an isometric plane in which you have to bop badniks to free the flickies only this time, the flickies follow you to a warp ring of safety. Only problem is that they will scatter in several directions if Sonic is hit by anything. Then, it becomes an annoying fetch quest of grabbing them all again. The other problem is that the isometric angle makes it hard to get you precise location to hit an enemy. I will say that it does have a decent exploration aspect due to its “3-D-ness” and it’s at least something different from what was the usual norm of Sonic game at the time.
The main reason I enjoy this game is due to both the Saturn’s major upgrade in the visuals, but once again we get a smooth-jazz soundtrack from the great Richard Jacques. No disrespect to Jun Sunoue who did a great job himself on the Genesis version, but I always loved Jacques Saturn compositions and this one is no exception. The best one and the biggest difference between the two games is in the bonus levels. Click here to see the Saturn version. Now click here to see the Genesis version. The Genesis version just has some bland, rickety bridge while the Saturn version not only does a great job bringing back the Sonic 2 style bonus stages, but has such awesome music that I go out of my way to collect enough coins just to go back to those stages.
Sonic 3-D Blast on Saturn may be just an okay game to some, but its improvements over its Genesis brother makes it seem sooo much better than it actually is that I can’t help but enjoy it.
Sonic Unleashed (HD)
Screw all the critics, I LOVED this game! Yes, the Werehog is a silly concept (as is a super-fast blue hedgehog), the Werehog levels are WAY too long and the medal collecting gets REAL annoying later in the game not to mention Eggmanla-OKAY! OKAY! This game has its problems but not really any more than the other 3-D Sonics did. Frankly, I’d still rather play through a Werehog level than one of those horrible Rouge/Knuckles levels from Sonic Adventure 2.
What I love about the game is not only those breathtaking, high-speed Sonic daytime levels, but the atmosphere it brings. While others scoff at the hub worlds and find them boring, I loved looking around the villages with their beautiful backgrounds and great detail. I even enjoyed talking to the local townsfolk who FINALLY looked like they fit in a Sonic game for the first time in history. This is mainly thanks to the designs by the Gurihiru duo who also still work on Marvel Comics including Power Pack. I think Japan had it right by calling it “Sonic World Adventure” because that’s what it really felt like to me, a world tour.
Then there’s that AWESOME opening animation! Easily the most impressive piece of Sonic animation ever shown and still gives me goosebumps just watching it. Plus, it just had such a quality feel to it. Even if you didn’t like it’s design at times, it felt polished. While I think Unleashed is Far from perfect, I don’t believe it’s the disaster some make it out to be.
So what Sonic game, cartoon or whatever do you love that’s not exactly popular? Let us know in the comments. I might do another one of these “guilty pleasure” lists sometime in the future.
Jason’s guiltiest pleasure is being the president of the Tommy Turtle fan club.
I remember a time not too long ago where one could wake up to find out that their favourite blue hedgehog had taken up the hover board, had decided that swords were cool, or had a accumulated another new friend to add to the already brimming roster of colourful critters. At the time, Sonic had suffered a spate of mediocre to down-right poor titles, the most notorious being Sonic ’06. The prevailing morale of the online community was pretty low and on the morning of the announcement of Sonic Unleashed, images of the Werehog did nothing to inspire or reassure fans that a title of note was in the making. Forums lit up with debate, sites quizzed their audiences with “will it be good, won’t it be good?” polls and comment boxes became an arena for conflicts of opinion.
Many fans at the time, including myself, were certain that the train of thought implemented in the making of Sonic titles had become intrinsically flawed, with focus on graphics and sheen, rather than gameplay. Many desired to see a return to the roots of what made the classic Sonic titles so good, which ironically backfired somewhat with the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I. The last thing we were interested in was another gimmick, and this is what it looked like SEGA were about to present us with. On this occasion however, I couldn’t have been happier to be proven wrong. I love Sonic Unleashed, from the diverse soundtrack, to the lush worlds, to the level design to the Pixar feel of the characters. While not a perfect game in many respects, it was fun, and had elements to please both old and new fans. Not only that, Night of the Werehog was a fantastic little bonus; ten minutes of distilled genius and beautiful animation.
Fast forward six years and we seem to be back at this juncture once more.
Sonic the Hedgehog fans have had a lot of new information to assimilate over the last 48 hours with regards to the announcement of Sonic Boom, which will hit screens later in the year in both TV show and videogame incarnations. Scanning through my facebook feed, the general vibe from a lot of the younger members of the community is one of excitement at the prospect of another TV show, after all it has been a decade since Sonic X premiered on western screens (has it really been that long?). However, these announcements have been completely eclipsed by the news and images of the new character designs, which have in the cases for some characters, been fairly drastic.
But haven’t we been here before? If so, what is all the fuss about? Well, a few months back, we were all given a glimpse of some familiar shadows set against a wall. It was obvious that the main characters of the franchise were looking to get a makeover, and internet speculation about whether or not Knuckles had been hitting the gym exploded onto every Sonic-themed forum.
It seems almost seems surprising therefore, that the community has reacted in the way they have, given there was fair warning substantial changes to the character models were on the horizon. Indeed, Knuckles looks like he has now swallowed the Master emerald in a last-ditch attempt to prevent it from getting nicked. Other characters seem to have been less drastically altered, in most cases proportions have been subtly tweaked, and many would be forgiven in suggesting the team have had a recent run-in with the Andrex puppy. Admittedly, I’ve had a good giggle at some fan parodies and interpretations of these changes. Fortunately, fan reaction has been tempered by a follow up announcement that Sonic Boom would remain an isolated “sub franchise” and that these changes would not be canon.
So again, we come back to the question: what’s the big deal? Why has something like a change in the colour of Sonic’s arms hit such a nerve amongst fans?
Well, the likely answer to that is probably many fold. Firstly and most obviously, many fans probably fear that SEGA are back on down the gimmick route to promote new games. Sonic Lost World didn’t quite achieve the accolade many thought it might, and it’s understandable that there is apprehension over whether this is the dawn of the second era of the so-called “Sonic cycle”. Secondly, and more importantly I think, is the change in the base properties of the franchise. There aren’t many other fandoms that command such a loyal legion as Sonic does, and many are invested in the characters, the stories and the universe on the whole. So when something fundamental is modified, no matter how trivial it may seem to someone on the outside looking in, fans are going to react negatively; after all, why change something that isn’t broken? Indeed, most fans are questioning the necessity of equipping a hedgehog with a scarf and a copious quantity of sports bandages. Perhaps in some cases it is purely personal opinion. More curiously, many have noticed how pedantic SEGA have been in the past with regards to attention to character models, what they are allowed to be doing, and how they are represented in any media. Many perceive this as an almost complete U-turn on this previous ethos, and has opened up speculation to whether or not this is the result of a shift in those who call the shots when it comes to the franchise globally (although a recent statement from Iizuka picked up on TSSZ News announced that Boom will only be available to western markets).
The counter opinion of course, is that sometimes, change is good. You probably wouldn’t be seen dead in the clothes you were wearing a decade ago, and indeed, it could be seen as logical in this sense that over time, some things will inevitably update in order to remain fresh, keep with trends, and of course, interest a new generation. Back in 1998, Sonic underwent his transformation from a short fat spike-ball to a more athletic, green-eyed iteration of himself; that metamorphosis seemed on the whole a successful transition. Examining the timescales between those character models, it does seem like Sonic is well overdue a cosmetic overhaul.
Those of you who, like me, pine for another title with the same DNA as Unleashed, will no doubt be as giddy as I to see stunning pieces of concept art of environments, and some extremely amusing facial expressions from the cast, which lead to believe we will be getting a game with rich worlds to explore akin to Unleashed. Those worried about the game have had some reassuring news in that the development is in the hands of those behind the Uncharted and Jak and Daxter franchises (now developing under the name of Big Red Button), and if the quality of these titles are a reflection of what the next Sonic game will be like, we have nothing to worry about. The attitudes of SEGA have also markedly changed in the past half-decade, with the growth of an extremely competent and capable community team who have been receptive of fan feedback. On top of this, the connection to fans has been reinforced through events such as Sonic Boom in the states and Summer of Sonic in the UK, which have both received an incredible reception from attending patrons.
I think as a community we have matured in many aspects; after all, many have now been fans for over twenty years; some are now employed in the video game business and are more able to understand the intricate nuisances that go into making a video game. That said, I think we shouldn’t fall into the trap of becoming grumpy old women and men, and forming opinions on changes purely because they “aren’t as good as they were back in the good old days”. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to whether or not you think the new direction Sonic is taking will be good or bad, as after all the main component at the end of the day is personal preference. I hope as an older and somewhat wiser community, we can hold final judgement of the “Sonic Renaissance” until we’ve seen the final product.
After all, we’ve only just read the first page of this new chapter of Sonic the Hedgehog.
After a little over a year in development, Sonic Retro community members Dario FF, Twilightzoney, and Chimera have released what is likely to be the one of the greatest non-Christmas presents PC gamers could ever ask for. For those who own Sonic Generations, start howling with joy, because the Unleashed Project Mod is finally available to the public!
The mod replaces the Generations stages with the daylight levels from Sonic Unleashed! That’s right: Apotos, Mazuri, Spagonia, Holoska, Chun-nan, Shamar, Adabat and Empire City have been successfully ported and beautifully remastered in high definition for your gaming pleasure! Not to mention a brand spankin’ new White Space to go with it, complete with its own Unleashed White Space Medley!
Be sure to thank the Unleashed Project Team, because this is a job well freaking done. Check out the release trailer after the jump!
A Billy Hatcher Mash-Up Monday? CyanBlur, I approve!
The Gamecube classic’s main theme is thrown together with Savannah Citadel Day for Mazuri from Sonic Unleashed!
Found an interesting mash-up out there on the world wide web? Have one of your own you’d like to see featured on TSS? If so, then send what you got over to firstname.lastname@example.org!
We’ve seen Professor Pickle get modded into Unleashed thanks to Melpontro… We’ve seen him tackle a whole pack of robots through his homeland and neighbouring countries…
…but now, he sets foot on Angel Island’s Red Mountain zone.
Mod by Mefiresu!
And I honestly hope your wallets are ready for them.
The folks at SEGA are working on double time as of late. From the North American premiere of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph last weekend, where the blue blur made numerous cameos, and with Sumo Digital’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on the way this month, some would expect that that would be all from SEGA for the upcoming holidays. With everyone’s attention elsewhere, SEGA has quietly released numerous soundtracks onto the iTunes market.
Available for select regions, specifically the US, Japan, and most of Europe, the onslaught of soundtrack releases began last week with Sonic the Hedgehog Original Soundtrack and Sonic Unleashed Original Soundtrack: Planetary Pieces. Eager fans of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic 2006‘s music may now procure the complete soundtrack to both games!
And today (by EST standards, mind you!), I was notified by TRiPPY of NightsintoDreams.com that NiGHTS into dreams… Perfect Album and NiGHTS: Journey into Dreams Original Soundtrack have both snuck onto the digital music marketplace as well! The timing is perfect, considering that NiGHTS into Dreams saw an upgraded rerelease onto XBLA and PSN worldwide just last month (which, if you haven’t bought and played already, you should)!
A special combination indeed…
For this week, we bring you a mash-up that can only be described as special. Fans of The Legend of Zelda will surely be pleased with this one!
Mashed together by Shadowlink4321, Dear Wind Waker is as written. The ending credits theme to Wind Waker fuses with that of Sonic Unleashed: Dear My Friend!
And thus, I dedicate this Mash-Up Monday to my own special friend, who I hold very dear.
Found an interesting mash-up somewhere on the web? Have one of your own you’d like to see on TSS’s front page? If you’ve answered yes to either one of these questions, then send your wares and finds over to email@example.com!
Together with the announcement of the new super slim PS3 model, Sony has announced the first wave of PS3 Essentials titles joining the new PS3’s launch in Europe next week on September 28th. PS3 Essentials is a budget range of some of the best games released on PS3 over the years and Sonic fans will be pleased to see Sonic Unleashed and SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (which includes Sonic’s Mega Drive outings) among the first games to be re-released. These and all other PS3 Essentials games will be available at retail for €19.99 (just over £16 in the UK) making them perfect stocking fillers this Christmas.
Source: EU PS Blog
As Jet Set Radio will see its first release onto the digital marketplace in a few short days (PSN+ users, you lucky gits), this week’s Mash-Up Monday is entirely dedicated to the man responsible behind most of JSR‘s delicious soundtrack. You may also recognize his work in Sonic Rush as well!
Yes, this week, we’ll be looking into mash-ups involving the music of the one and only Hideki Naganuma! We got a total of five mash-ups to celebrate his work!
Put your slam jams together for SlamnoJamthetic!
More after the jump!
It has been four years since the beast has been unleashed… Now he has come out to play a new game.
Hoping to redeem himself in the eyes of a community that once shunned him, Sonic the Werehog takes to the streets of Speed Highway with all the speed, power, and ferocity he can muster!
Special thanks to Indigo Rush for the tip!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
That being said, Happy 21st Anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog! Still unstoppable after 21 years!
The video above contains what at first appears to be a normal run through of Windmill Isle, but when you look closer you discover that it’s not Windmill Isle… at least not from Sonic Unleashed. That is a re-creation of Windmill Isle running in Sonic Generations!
UPDATE: My bad. It’s NOT a mod from the PC Sonic Generations. I apologize for that.
Words cannot describe the awesomeness of this. Just sit back and enjoy.
A combo pack of games has been quietly released in the U.S. over a week ago on November 19th at popular video game retailers GameStop and EBGames. Released by COKeM International Ltd, the pack contains 2010’s well received kart racer Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and 2008’s not so well received (half of the game at least) Sonic Unleashed. This duo retails at the discount price of $34.99, saving you $5 on the RRP they both sell for separately, and could be a great gift idea for PS3 owning Sonic fans this Christmas.
We’re just over a day late, but forgive us as this news was unexpected and came completely out of left field; it was even missing from the PS Store Update blog entry at the Official EU PS Blog. Looking at the EU PS Store, you’ll now find SEGA Europe yesterday FINALLY released the final two pieces of downloadable content for Sonic Unleashed on the PlayStation 3, content that Xbox Live and other territories PS Stores got June 12th last year, namely the Mazuri Adventure Pack and the Adabat & Empire City Adventure Pack. The packs cost £2.39 each, with the Mazuri pack containing four daytime and two nighttime stages, and the Adabat & Empire City pack containing five daytime stages and four nighttime stages.
Any EU PS3 version owners out there glad to finally see this? Let us know in the comments.
2009’s almost out. That means we’ve enjoyed a whole decade of Sonic the Hedgehog goodness in the last ten years, from 2000’s Sonic Shuffle (for Americans, we didn’t get it until the year after, damn SEGA) to 2009’s Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. So, rather than just round up the games of the year, The Sonic Stadium crew have taken to list their Top 10 Sonic games of the decade!
This is how we’ve done it. A bunch of TSS Staffers wrote over their unique Top 10 (which will be listed at the end of this article). Along with it, a short paragraph as to why they ranked each game the way they did. When bunching all of these lists together, we formed an average by giving points to each game’s placement on each staffer’s countdown (so a #1 position would get 10 points, and a game in 10th place would get 1 point). Add all the points up, and we have our own, not-so-scientific average. What game will get TSS’ #1 Sonic Game of the Decade? Read on, dear reader… Continue reading The Top 10 Sonic Games Of The 2000’s
It seems Sonic Unleashed has become one of the Xbox 360’s best selling games with the game entering the U.S.’s Platinum Hits range and Europe’s Classics range. With the game hitting this new status the game’s RRP has now dropped to $19.99 in the U.S. and £19.99 in the UK, shop around and you may find it even cheaper.
U.S. Official Xbox site states –
Only the Greatest Games earn the right to be called Platinum. There are lots of games out there, but with Xbox 360 Platinum Hits you can rest assured that you have found one of the best at an amazing price.
EU Official Xbox site states –
Xbox 360 Classics offers great games and great value with Best Sellers such as Grand Theft Auto IV, BioShock and Midnight Club Los Angeles: Complete Edition and Family Games such as Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. Prices start from just £14.99.
In a move that was surely only a matter of time, Sonic costumes are making their way to LittleBigPlanet. All in all five costumes will be making their way to the Playstation Store sometime mid December for your Sackboy to wear. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Eggman arefairly obvious choices but the Werehog seems a year too late to make much impact but is sure to please die-hard Unleashed fans. Whats mind boggling is the exclusion of Chip and the inclusion of Knuckles, the spiny anteater never actually appearing in Unleashed.
We’ll keep you posted on the specific release date and prices when they are made available. In the mean time check out the pictures below.