Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble

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This is a nice enough portable rendering of Sonic, but it fails to deal with any of the issues that have always been present in the series. ~Simon Reed

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble

Sonic is not a character I have ever really warmed to. I prefer my platforming to be precise and skillfull, with new challenges introduced throughout. Sonic, however, seems to be purely about running fast and letting his (usually lovely looking) backdrops become a blur. That’s not something I can really abide by.

Anyway, that’s my feeling about Sonic, and most of his games. Triple Trouble doesn’t change this mindset, but if you’re a fan I suppose it’s a pretty good effort, especially for a Game Gear game.

sonic_the_hedgehog_triple_trouble

It starts with a little cutscene with Sonic chasing Knuckles, who has taken some gems. Tails bring up the rear (i’m saying nothing). Eggman (or Dr Robotnik, whatever), then appears, and holds a gem. Nothing more is explained. Whether you end up having to take on two enemies in the game is a mystery.

Next, the title screen pops up with Sonic’s face. A smaller Knuckles appears and laughs like a dick. This was obviously before he wimped out and became a good guy, letting in freaks like Shadow into the increasingly cack Sonic enemy cast.

sonic_the_hedgehog_triple_trouble

I chose to play as Sonic instead of Tails in this play-through by the way. I don’t think I need to justify my choice.

Great Turquoise is the first world. It is neither turquoise or great, but whatever. Basically, it’s Green Hill Zone. You can easily rush your way through to the boss stage, and I only really noticed two things during my dash.

First is that the water in the game is very odd, with weird flickering dots appearing on top of it. Not particularly easy on the eyes. The other is that no matter how many rings you hold, when you get hit you only drop around 5, meaning that the difficulty is a little higher than a Mega-Drive Sonic title. It also robs you of seeing the rings cascading in every direction – personally one of my favourite little touches of the series.

sonic_the_hedgehog_triple_trouble

The Boss for the first set of levels is a flying turtle thing. You start in a pool of water, with the fight eventually reaching ground level. It’s tough to hit the boss in this part as he’s high off screen. You just have to spring up and hope you hit him, instead of the other way round.

After sending him to turtle-robo hell you’ll see Knuckles on top of a cliff. He laughs like a dick (again) and roasts you with a wall of fire. How he set up such a thing I have no idea, especially as it seems to come out of nowhere.

sonic_the_hedgehog_triple_trouble

Sunset Park is the next stage, and is a solid but unspectacular world, full of slightly unfair deaths. Spikes, flying hammer bees and exploding platforms are all frustrating obstacles, but you can scrape your way through eventually.

The boss for this world is an even bigger pain though. Set on a moving train you have limited control of your character and must hit a gun firing directly at you. What’s worse is that you have to start the whole level, which is slow (for a Sonic game) and boring, from the start if you die.

I think i’ve seen enough from those two worlds though. Basically, it’s as I said in the introduction. This is a nice enough portable rendering of Sonic, but it fails to deal with any of the issues that have always been present in the series. Oh and one last thing – Sonic The Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure on Neo-Geo Pocket is much, much better than this.

Christmas Nights into Dreams

Christmas Nights into Dreams

Perhaps the best definition of a Christmas game, Christmas Nights into Dreams was released as a promotional sampler disc during Christmas 1996 for the Sega Saturn. While labeled as a sampler disc containing only new versions of the same stage the disc itself not only came with a cool Christmas theme but a ton of bonus content that never came with the original version of the game. Honestly, it played more like a standalone game than a demo.

Christmas Nights into Dreams

The reason it was considered a sample was that it contained the first stage of Claris dream, Spring Valley and both players could play on it. If you selected Elliot you could take a different path that was only on that disc. However, the coolest part was that if you changed the Saturn’s internal clock the game looked different depending on the time you selected.

  • If it is Christmas, Santa Claus will appear.
  • If it is New Year’s Day, a message saying: “Happy New Year!” will appear.
  • If it is Valentine’s Day, some hearts will appear.
  • If it is April Fool’s Day, The player plays as Reala instead of NiGHTS.

Christmas Nights into Dreams

During the holiday season, the snow can change depending on what time you set the internal clock to.

Time             Effect

3:00 AM – Lunar eclipse

6:00 AM – Northern Lights

7:00 AM – Bright sun

9:00 AM – Crescent moons

12:00 PM – Rainbows, clouds & confetti

3:00 PM – Candy

6:00 PM – Strange stars

9:00 PM – Bright stars

12:00 AM – Hearts

Christmas Nights into Dreams

The story takes place after the original Nights and during Christmas time. Elliot & Claris are exploring the Christmas decorated city, but notice the star from the top of the Christmas tree is missing. The duo head off to Nightopia and find NiGHTS to help them retrieve the star. In the end you defeat the boss and find the star, but in the end it was all just a dream.

One of the coolest parts of the disc was depending on when you set the date, the game had the chance to load something other than Christmas Nights. Now the changes were small meaning it only effected the appearance and music of the main game, but still, pretty cool.

  • NiGHTS: Limited Edition: When played outside the winter season, the game becomes “NiGHTS: Limited Edition”. The game’s presentation (title screen, menus and in-game) is similar to that of the full version of NiGHTS into Dreams with no visual alterations.
  • Winter NiGHTS: In November and January, the game changes to “Winter NiGHTS”. Spring Valley is now covered in snow, and the entire stage is decorated with Christmas objects replacing various items and objects (ie. Ideya Captures are replaced by Christmas trees). A different soundtrack also plays. During this time, the weather will change based on the time it is played.
  • Christmas NiGHTS: The core of the game, Claris, Elliot and NiGHTS wear Santa-colored outfits, and the background music is replaced by an instrumental rendition of “Jingle Bells”. The game’s Christmas story is also enabled, as well as a Christmas-themed boss battle with Gillwing. Beating Gillwing with both characters will show the story’s ending, with credits featuring the A Cappella version of Dreams, Dreams.
  • New Year’s NiGHTS: The game becomes “New Year’s Nights” when played on New Year’s Day. The game is essentially Winter NiGHTS with a different title screen and song.

Pre-Order The History Of Sonic The Hedgehog

The History of Sonic the Hedgehog

The History Of Sonic The Hedgehog

Fans of Sonic you can now preorder the upcoming book titled The History of Sonic the Hedgehog. . Amazon is not taking pre-orders for the book that outlines the history of Sonic from the development stages through all the games we know and love.  Here is a scoop on what to expect:

The History of Sonic the Hedgehog

The History of Sonic The Hedgehog covers every 2D and 3D Sonic game in detail, ensuring that every generation of ‘Sonic’ fan will find a lot to love! The book also details every spin-off game, every crossover, and even rare cameo appearances by Sonic across the gaming universe! Whether you’re looking for a detailed history, character profiles, promotional art, game packages, or even rare concept art, you’ll find it in The History of Sonic The Hedgehog!

The History of Sonic The Hedgehog is the book that fans of this series have been waiting for, and whether you’re an avid gamer, a Sonic comic reader, or just have fond memories of this series, you’ll want a copy on your shelf!

The History of Sonic the Hedgehog

Currently the exactly release date is unknown, but you can reorder yours right now.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis - Title Screen

I’ve told the beginning of this story before, but I’m assuming nobody ever reads this stuff anyway so it’ll be new to you.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sometime in the early ’90′s…not sure when, but it was after the launch of the Sega Genesis and after they started packaging Sonic the Hedgehog with the consoles….but sometime in the early ’90′s my brother said to me, “Hey, my buddy I work with has a Sega Genesis and he doesn’t need it because he already has one. I guess his brother stole it from a toy store, then panicked and left it in the arcade next door. So, Mike is keeping it, but would rather have $60.” Obviously, with a deal this good and no love for Johnny Law, I jumped at the deal.

So, I believe the first Genesis cart that ever entered my 16-bit beauty was the classic platformer. That’s not surprising, because a lot, or even most of you, can say the same. However, what I will say next will shock most of you….I’ve always loved the Sonic games more than the NES Marios….Hell yes, I said it. Eat it, Nintendo. Sonic was my boy. At least the first couple of games before he went 3D on me. That’s not really my style. For the record, nothing against Mario, but after an all-consuming Saturday run at SMB3 that ended after 9 hours in a power surge that completely wiped out all existence of my game…..I vowed never to play it again. A vow I have kept until this day.

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot

I can also assume that there isn’t a single person who will read this article that is unfamiliar with the Sonic games, so there’s no reason for any set-up. But, the recent 20th anniversary event that we chronicled at Thumb Culture brought back those memories. Hanging out in my old apartment, enjoying my “futuristic” 3-button controller that Sega (and Mike’s criminal brother) put into my hands. Yep, I could still hear that goofy Sonic title music. Goofy, but I love it. It’s catchy, and will stay with you throughout the entire gameplay.

I decided to fire it up in my man-cave, and within seconds I found myself at the iconic Green Hill Zone Act 1. It’s amazing that one can play a game that they haven’t seen in over a decade, but still remember when to accelerate, when to brake, and where all (well, most) of the little hidden goodies are. The backgrounds still look beautiful after all these years, and Sonic’s irritating ‘foot tap’ when you’re taking too long to move him was still a delight to see. There’s a total of 18 beautifully-designed levels to run Sonic through (6 Zones, each with 3 acts), and while they all seem a little similar, they all still have their unique qualities. Some Zones may allow Sonic to take advantage of his speed, while others force you to master his jumping ability.

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot

One thing that I always loved about this game was you could take different pathways to reach the end of the level. You can, if you choose, run at lightning speeds to reach the end in record time, or slowly collect all of the rings and power-ups. There are a number of vertical platform levels to explore…or not. It’s up to you. There’s not necessarily a set pattern to learn like other platformers. Everything is always in the same place, but the size of the levels and the ‘openness’ make replay-vale high.

The levels themselves seem to increase in difficulty, including the boss fights, which is not always the case. The Green Hill Zone seems like a practice tutorial compared to others, although the Chaos Emerald ‘special’ levels all make me dizzy. They could be exactly the same and I wouldn’t know it.

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Genesis - Gameplay Screenshot - Special Stage
The jingle of collected rings still puts a literal smile on my face, just as much as taking a cheap hit from a segment of a spiked worm makes me want to throw my controller….the two interlaced emotions that are necessary for a great game. It shows that you’re invested in it. That you’re putting everything you have into it. The rings aren’t exactly necessary, but holding at least one allows you to take a hit (consider it a shield), collecting over 100 gives you a free man (er…hedgehog), and having a good chunk of them at the end of the Act opens the Chaos Emerald levels. The Emeralds themselves are never mentioned in the game for why they need collecting, but they do give you more points, so why would you not? Plus, you can earn ‘continues’ during these stages. Continues that the mediocre (like me) need to be able to complete the game.

There are plenty of different badniks in Sonic, but they were created by the evil Dr Robotnik, who frankly was a pretty crappy inventor. All I had to do was jump on top of his robots a couple of times and they’d blow up. It’s not like I’m a freakin’ elephant for Christ’s sake! How much damage could a little hedgehog do?

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Overall, the game is nearly perfect, and there’s a reason why the cute and lovable character became the Sega mascot. While not all of the dozens of Sonic games are good…or fun…or even playable, the original one should be in everyone’s Genesis collection…and probably is. From the colorful and beautiful graphics, to the legendary level design….. from the catchy music to the memorable characters….Sonic the Hedgehog is a must own.

I appreciate Thumb Culture giving me a chance to write about these experiences, and hearing similar (or not) stories from the readers. For every mention of being a poor enough Sonic player where I’ve never been able to capture all the Chaos Emeralds, someone else will tell me how they’ve done it. Every mention of Dr Robotnik, someone will tell me they always call him “Dr Eggman”. The gaming community is pretty special, and now that Thumb Culture 2.0 is back, running, and more beautiful than ever, I’m going to continue writing little retro-blurbs here and there. This has been a very quick take about a 20-year-old mammal (didn’t even have to look that up) that wears sneakers, runs at high speeds, and saves the green lands from evil animal-snatchers, and maybe I’ll do another one in another 20 years. SEGA!

Sonic 3

Sonic 3 - Sega Genesis Box
Games with speed have always caught my attention so Sonic had to eventually come along into the mix for the pick of the week. Sonic 3 defined how a Sonic game should be and should always be. The game not only delivers a beautiful gameplay experience but a wonderful sound score among other things. The replay value is great and the best part of all, the game saves! Yeah, you have three spots to save your progress and come back for more. Sonic 3 is the Sonic game you should play, screw that crappy Sonic 4 game.

Sonic 3 - Title Screenshot

The game starts you off like similar Sonic games. You usually start up in some type of jungle area which developers did on purpose mainly because there could be a new Sonic player out there just getting into the series and wanted to introduce them to the game mechanics with lots of freedom. Sonic veterans will also enjoy the first couple of stages as they can get familiarized to the changes of the game from the previous counterpart. Moving on, the game is what you expect of a Sonic game back in the early 90s. It’s fast, fun, and has a wonderful sound track. There are many reasons why this game is on the top of the list. Sonic comes with some new tricks up his sleeve but you’ll have to figure that out for yourself as this article is meant not to spoil your fun by exploring this game. I’m just here to give my opinion anyways and it’s only up to you to take my opinion into account.

Sonic 3 - Gameplay Screenshot
Furthermore, this is a game that you won’t feel trapped and stressed out. The game delivers difficulty in a savvy way. You can just feel the flow and try your best. If not then don’t worry because you can save your game and continue on after you broken a few windows or walls from rage of losing in the game.

To conclude, this game is everything that a Sonic game should have been and if it wasn’t for the downfall of transferring Sonic to 3D so bad then we wouldn’t be seeing the horribly painful games nowadays. I say if it didn’t work in 3D then go back to the 2D games but with Sonic 4 being just a so-so game, I think it’s too late to go back now.

Games coming out Oct 10th for Consoles

Video Games funny poster
Video Games funny poster

I hope you either have rich parents, a good job or the unemployment check can be diverted from being used for Ramen noodles to video games because the week of October 10th has some great cash draining games.

Medal of Honor

War is hell; war in Medal of Honor is beautiful. When you have the perfect mix of exciting gameplay and incredible graphics then you have a winner. MOH has come back in 2010 with engaging missions, intense firefights and state of the art sound and graphics that puts you right in the game. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Check out the video from the helicopter mission.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode

There is not much more I can say that wasn’t covered in our preview of the game, but while this is a download title, for Sonic fans it’s a slice of heaven. True enough this is not breaking new stuff and some even feel it is nothing more than a Sonic Rush rehash, but the gameplay is fun, the visuals are a prefect mix of classic and modern and the music… well the music needs work, but hey its only fifteen bucks.

Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring

We got to look at this game while at E3 and if you are a wrestling fan in the very least then this title is worth taking a look at. Lucha Libre is Mexican style wrestling and that means high-flying stunts and crazy insane costumes. Pretty much it’s like playing a highlight reel of the WWE or TNA, on crack. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are stunning so if you need a break from the normal step into the ring with the Lucha Libre’s

So there you are three titles worth checking out next week and since one is a download it shouldn’t break your bank too much. I’ll be back next with a look at the games coming out for consoles the week of Oct 17th. Until then go make some extra cash.