Sonic Mania: The Twitter Experience

While Sonic Mania is taking many gamers back in time to the nineties, much about the Sonic hype experience is very different to that enjoyed some twenty-plus years ago. One of the biggest changes to the gaming experience has been the emergence of social media, which allows developers, critics and fans to react and interact in a way that simply did not exist back when Sonic was rocking in 16-bit. Continue reading Sonic Mania: The Twitter Experience

The Spin: Sonic Maniacs In The Making

In more than ten years of writing for The Sonic Stadium, this article has by far consumed the most time, and required the most revisions. I guess this is because sometimes it’s hard to really convey what you mean when you’re in love, and I can say without a doubt that I am already in love with Sonic Mania. Continue reading The Spin: Sonic Maniacs In The Making

TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (iOS)

I’m sure I am not alone when I say I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve purchased Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in various incarnations, be it through a port to a 7th gen console or a compilation release over the last decade. Yet, SEGA keep coming back to these classic titles in order to capitalise on those still reminiscing of a golden age, and indeed I keep coming back to these epitomes of gaming on the Megadrive. I might have been apprehensive in purchasing this game once more, had it not been for the involvement of the now legendary Taxman and Stealth in this port, and going off their incredible rebuilds of Sonic 1 and Sonic CD for iOS and Android I couldn’t resist. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (iOS)

SAGE Spotlight: Project Mettrix

Perhaps a beacon of hope, glory and good times for many, Sonic the Hedgehog: Project Mettrix has been in the fangaming headlines for quite some time, and with good reason. While many fangames before it have tried to recreate the classic 2D Sonic experience and provide a brand new adventure out of it, Mettrix is the first from-scratch build that, even in its early state, is truly succeeding.

In the new tech demo, codenamed E02, we’re given a tour of four different stages in the updated code. The first is a test level purely for demonstration purposes, but it was real fun bouncing around in this dummy stage using all the contours and springs to our advantage. It seems that Stealth and co are onto a good thing here – focusing on physics-based speed is just what the doctor ordered.

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Although introduced in an earlier version – E01 – first stage Shining Island Zone seems to pale in comparison to the Test stage in terms of level design. Granted, the former is practically a playground to trial moves and gimmicks, but you can’t hep but feel that not enough of those curves and loops have been used in the tropical paradise level. The graphics are also showing their age, with block browns and somewhat jarring chequered scenery contrasting the blue skies badly. Luckily, this zone is due for a refit anyway according to Stealth, so we should see it in a much more contemporary state later.

As well as a Special Stage (that works exactly like those from the original Sonic the Hedgehog) and a recreation of Green Hill Zone to demonstrate the E02 engine’s capability to reproduce the Sonic experience to the letter, we were treated to a new stage called Bronze Lake Zone. Created for Knuckles, but as with any stage in this demo you can play as Sonic or Tails too, all to exact Sonic 3 & Knuckles specifications with no odd side effects.

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Bronze Lake itself is very nicely designed, and is actually quite a sizeable Zone. Taking cues from past water levels such as Aquatic Ruins, it consists of two huge, differing paths – one leading you underwater and through the depths of the Lake; the other going high into the skies, complete with dinosaur-esque Badniks to boot. Some great attention to detail is used in the scenery and gimmicks as well, such as the leaves on the trees.

Perhaps the greatest asset to Mettrix however, is its Source engine itself. For a player, it’s the perfect recreation for some classic 2D platforming action. The physics and object collisions are all present and correct, just as if you really were playing a sequel to Sonic’s finest outing. For a developer and fan modder however, this engine is a wet dream, for you can don your coding hat and start creating your own Sonic levels using Mettrix as a base! There’s a list of fan-created addons for the game already available on Mettrix’s website and as the engine gets further in development there’s no question that more complex things can be achieved on it.

Overall, Mettrix provides a very enticing prospect for the fangaming community – on the surface, an enjoyable replication of a 2D classic. Under the skin, a complex yet accessible coding base that can be used to create your very own levels in the same vein. Check out Mettrix’s tech demo E02 at their SAGE booth.

Project Mettrix Becomes First Sonic Fangame On Wii

blz-exampleStealth is the master of bomb-dropping.  To list a few, he has ported Tweaker’s Sonic 1 Megamix hack to the SEGA CD, tricked morons with news tips, and released a port of Sonic 1 for the Game Boy Advance that doesn’t suck.  At this year’s SAGE though, Stealth has outdone himself.  His long-time project, Sonic: Project Mettrix, has been successfully been ported to the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation Portable.

Project Mettrix uses Stealth’s “E02 Engine,” a multi-platform game development tool for 2D games.  Mettrix has been around for quite some time, but it is really flourishing with the E02 treatment.  Now, you can play and create custom levels for Mettrix on your Wii and PSP.

Those with homebrew enabled Wiis should download this game right away and experience this momentous occasion.

VISIT E02’s BOOTH AT SAGE 2009!

Sonic Megamix Un-Canceled

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Sonic Megamix, the most well known Sonic ROM hack, has returned to the public spotlight with a post by, community oldbie, Stealth at Sonic Retro. Stealth revealed that the drama that resulted in the project’s cancellation months ago was a complete misunderstanding. Therefore, it was only canceled for three days and the once Genesis, now Sega CD project has had work done on it since being resurrected. When Stealth finally revealed that Megamix was not dead a few days ago, he and other team members brought videos with them to show the amount of progress that they have made in private.

Despite publicly announcing Megamix’s return, Stealth did lay some ground rules that I certainly approve of.

With that said, you know how I feel about my projects, and this is no exception. It never has been, less of Tweaker’s over-zealous promotion. I am protective, and I will remain so. We will do what we please with this project, and on a time-table of our own choosing. Requests and questions about release dates are annoying and pointless. There will be no further demos, or even “private” beta-tests. Fact is, Megamix was supposed to end development with “version 4″ (at a later point in time), until this mess happened. There is no way we can possibly make another non-final release and keep it substantially fresh. Trust me – you’ll thank us when you have much more to play with all at once than one level at the end of the game and a couple of menu text changes

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Finally, and this is important, we reserve the right to halt completely at any time. We owe a debt to no-one, and we don’t have to publicize any newer builds. All we ask for is some decency and respect. Don’t launch into actual complaints about how we choose to handle our business. Don’t rip us off solely for the sake of riding off Megamix fame. Also, don’t go asking for or looking for things that don’t belong to you. If we hear about the leaked material, or see it being spread/used, that’s it. If you want to do our jobs for us, we just won’t, and when you can’t handle it, you’ll only have yourselves to blame.

The videos below showcases Megamix’s progress since its move to the Sega CD. The game is not only “Sonic CD” smooth, but now has CD audio, composed by DM Ashura of DDR fame. Megamix’s design continues to, in my opinion, bridge the old and new styles of Sonic. In addition to the classic Genesis presentation, new moves, such as the homing attack, and a higher emphasis on speed make their mark.

Now, if only the level design wasn’t so masochistic.

Visit the official Megamix thread at Sonic Retro.