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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sonic 1 Coming to the 3DS
Hey, if you haven’t gotten your Sonic 1 fix on every other platform coming in about a week you will be able to get the classic game on your 3DS. Now this is considered a remake, but for the most part everything will stay the same except changes in the games background thanks to the features of the 3DS. If this isn’t enough Sonic news, Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead and Stealth are working on a Sonic 1 remake for Sega. Those of you who played Sonic CD on your smart phone should know about that team. Either way, soon there will be no place you cannot find a Sonic game to play.
Sonic the Hedgehog Remastered
Coming in April the remastered version of Sonic the Hedgehog arranged by Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead will be available for the Android and iOS platforms. The cost will be three dollars and you can expect it to be a lot like Whitehead’s last release of Sonic CD. In addition, Sonic 2 will also be getting the remastered treatment soon.
Did you know: Sonic had a Girlfriend?
It’s true our favorite blue hedgehog originally had a girlfriend named Madonna that was to appear in the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Madonna was described as a blonde haired skinny human woman in a form-fitting red dress.
Apparently Madonna was to chase Sonic around kind of like Amy Rose does in some of the current Sonic games. She was created by Hirokazu Yasuhara, but Madonna eventually was scrapped due in large part to Madeline Schroeder and her wanting to soften the Sonic character for children. She also felt it would appeal better to foreign countries without Madonna feeling that character felt to “Japanese”.
Other Sonic Facts
In addition to losing his girlfriend Sonic originally was to be part of a rock band and only 15 years old. I am beginning to see a pattern here. His shoes were inspired by a pair of Michael Jackson’s boots and the reason Sonic died when he fell in water is because Sonic programmer, Yuji Naka mistakenly thought that hedgehogs could not swim.
As a bonus, check out this retrospective on 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 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!
Currently the exactly release date is unknown, but you can reorder yours right now.
Sonic: History Of An Icon
Check out this awesome documentary on Sonic. The 36-minute video tells the history behind Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog and the war between Sega and Nintendo.
Xbox Live is continuing its sale giving gamers additional presents up to the New Year. Today’s deal is on everything Sonic, well almost everything. Take 60% off the normal price of the following tittles.
|Sonic 4, Episode 1|
|Sonic Adventure Upgrade|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
Thanks to Major Nelson for the info. Now get out there and get the goods!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
You want to know what’s wrong, readers? Are you deaf? Are you daft? Stupid? Or just plain retarded? Didn’t you hear? They are cancelling the Mega Man franchise! The Mega Man franchise! The whole goddamn thing! Do you even-
So what? Mega Man has been dead for awhi-
Don’t you say it! Don’t you dare even say that blasphemous shit! Mega Man is as healthy and as vibrant as ever! Mega Man Network seemed to sell well amongst the little ones! Mega Man 9 & 10 were a great homage to the past and beginnings of our rock n’ roll android hero! Mega Man Zero and ZX kept to the hardcore, instant death pitfall, metal crunching insanity of the old Mega Man X style of game play. The Zero series was the most badass installment for the franchise outside of all the stupid ELF shit!
Umar, Mega Man was cool on the NES. Nothing about the franchise is-
Did I say you could speak, smegma breath? Did you even play Marvel VS Capcom 3? Do you watch the tournaments for the game? Do you know who is one of the most badass characters chosen? That’s right. It isn’t Wesker or Arthur! It’s the Maverick-fucking Reploid, Zero! How can you compete against a robot with a plasma gun and a lightsaber? How? You can’t even concoct an answer for that kind of shit! Even EMPs don’t do a thing to him.
I see your point. That does sound pretty darn bad ass!
Thank you! I’m glad we’ve come to an understanding on the travesty set before us!
Capcom… what the fuck, man? Why are you doing this shit to me? My daughter is due in a couple of days. How am I going to explain this to her? “Daddy?”, she’s going to ask me, “Why aren’t there any games with super fighting robots? Perhaps ones with androids that thwart the plans of a comically evil mad scientist who time and time again proves he is untrustworthy. Why hasn’t this existed?” After a pause that thickens the air she will look at me baffled. “Daddy? Why are you crying?”
This is like telling me Disney World is closing down. Do you fucking grasp the literal hole you’ve placed in my heart? I went to the doctor and they told me I have a HOLE which shouldn’t be there in my heart! Thanks for handing out my death certificate, you reapers of childhood dreams! Thanks for killing away Mega Man while Sonic the Hedgehog thrives in the festering mounds of shit it has enterprised on.
I can’t handle this insanity, Capcom. I don’t even know what else to tell you!
“Good luck with your future endeavors!” No, I wouldn’t wish you safe tidings on your journey without Mega Man.
“I hope it all turns out well.” We both know this would be a lie pouring out between the gaps of my teeth.
“Please bring back Mega Man!” As much as I despise you right now, as much as my stomach twists in knots, as much as my blood boils in unbridled wrath, I know pleading won’t bring back Mega Man. I’m realistic about this kind of shit. You just don’t care. You’ve lost money and cut your losses. Mega Man isn’t cool right? It’s all about Lost Planets, Ace Attorneys, and Street Fighters. No room in your hearts for an android boy and his dog Rush? It’s fine. You may kill one of the greatest heroes of all time but you’ll never kill off Dr. Wily’s Stage song in Mega Man 2. That sweet harmony will always resonate in my heart and echo within my soul forever!
But seriously, though…
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Sonic 2 is a game to pick up and play and have a good night with. It should definitely be in everyone’s gaming collection. ~Luis Zena
Sonic 2 defined the way we looked at sonic games. This is probably the best sonic for the Genesis (Sonic 3 comes real close) because of how many memories we had with it. For me, it was the first Genesis game I ever played, in fact, it was the first time I ever saw the Genesis and it was all thanks to the popularity of this franchise. The game is breath taking from beginning to end with some of the best level design in any Sonic game.
The game consists of three levels per world and a boss fight. If I remember correctly, there are eight worlds with three levels each. I myself haven’t reached the end but one of these days I will try to accomplish it. Either way, anyone can pick it up especially since the game is so common to find and usually has a collector value of .50 cents so there really shouldn’t be any problem picking it up. The reason this game was so common was because Sega packaged it with the Genesis console to help pump up sales which worked for a while and gave Sega the lead over Nintendo during the early 90’s console wars. Furthermore, the game has excellent sound and peculiar bad guys that turn into animals when you kill them.
To conclude, this is a game to pick up and play and have a good night with. It should definitely be in everyone’s gaming collection. I also suggest if you don’t want to buy a genesis get the recently released Genesis Collection disc for the next gen consoles. It brings tons of games and will definitely satisfy your Sonic needs. Until the next retro game of the week.
Five Treasured items from my Console Days
Everyone has items or knickknacks that they keep because of the fond memories. It can be the ticket to the first baseball game you went to or a lock of hair from that girl you’ve been stalking. Just like baseball cards and comic books there are items that we treasure and if we had the time and space would create a shrine to. Unfortunately, when it came to my console gaming days I didn’t take very good care of my stuff and so much of it was either, destroyed, and lost, sold or traded. However, there are items that I would definitely put in a safe place to remind me of the joy it brought me.
The Gold Zelda Cartridge
Believe it or not it is rarer to find the grey Zelda cart than the gold, but for me it was just too cool to open the box and find a shiny gold cartridge. The gold cart just went along with the game and collecting the tri-force of power and began long before the overused term “bling”. The golden cartridge just stood out in your collection.
Sonic 3 & Sonic & Knuckles
I was a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan and as such the last thing I wanted was my game to come to an end. When these carts were released so you could connect them I geeked out hardcore. When you finished Sonic 3 the game would automatically transition into Sonic & Knuckles.
This was called Lock-on-Technology. Originally Sonic 3 was to feature Knuckles and many of the levels found in Sonic and Knuckles but due to time constraints the game was split into two. There are a bunch of differences to the games when using the Lock-on-Technology including the ending being different in Sonic 3, Knuckles being playable in Sonic 3 and having modified levels in Sonic 3. You could also connect Sonic 2 to the Knuckles cart to make Knuckles in Sonic 2 and gain the ability to play as Knuckles.
The Super Game Boy
I was a Game boy freak. Sure, it did not have the graphics or the color of the Game Gear, but I fell it love with the games and played it more than my GG when I finally got one. The Super Game Boy allowed you to play the original Gameboy games and the first Gameboy color games. For the most part the graphics remained the same at least in early games, but later on the some of the Gameboy games could take advantage of the SNES hardware and display more colors.
In addition some games had extras and enhancements when plugged into the SNES. One example was if you played Space Invaders you got the full SNES from the Gameboy cart. Also some games such as Killer Instinct allowed you to use your second control for two player action. Finally some of the Gameboy color games featured additional sounds when used with the SGB.
I know this was a failure, but I loved connecting my Sega CD with the 32x and making a big super console. I felt like it was some kind of transformer like the one that turns into the Autobots base. Honestly, the only game I ever played on this was Doom and by the time I did I was already playing it on my PC. In the end it was a waste of time and money, but I enjoyed just having it if nothing else as a bragging piece.
The Game Genie
Let’s face it, if you weren’t using cheat codes you were missing out on the full gaming experience. The Game Genie changed the way we played console games allowing you to do all types of things with games you normally would have never had the ability too.
The was a Game Genie for pretty much all the major Sega and Nintendo consoles including the Gameboy. You could get the codes from magazines or even by calling an 800 number. Personally I only used codes once I finished a game because I wore beating a game like a badge of honor, but once I did it the legit way it was open season. Truly having a Game Genie expanded the playability of games by a lot.
It has been sixteen dark years since the last true Sonic game made its debut. Sega ventured on towards 3D adventures with their signature Blue Flash and since then the fandom that followed Sonic slowly converted to Mario or lost interest in the platform genre as a whole. The masses cried out, their faces stained in the salt of dry tears for Sega to remember the past, remember their roots! After witnessing the success of Megaman 9 and 10, Sega’s minds opened up to hope and the prayers of their fans finally fell upon eager ears. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the continuation of the main 2D adventure line was to be restored! Thousands upon thousands of loyalist creamed their pants at the mere thought of Sonic returning to his true form. Surely, Sega would remember what made Sonic great.
Unfortunately, they didn’t. The return of Sonic is anything but a sequel to Sonic and Knuckles. The developers of Sonic 4 didn’t seem to know what made Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles stand on their own as epic platforming adventures. All that they remembered was the formula of level design and loops. The game plays like a mix mashed combination of both Sonic 1 and 2.
The first thing I noticed about this game that bothered instantly once I noticed it, was Sonic’s amazing brakes. I remember in the old games that Sonic used to come to a skidding stop. In this iteration of our hero, he just stops. If you want Sonic to stop where you want, he will. Sometimes midair I could just stop moving forward during an initial jump and slide down an invisible wall when all I wanted to do was reduce my jumping speed. The biggest most daunting issue I had with this was when I’d complete a zone with 50 gold rings and attempted to jump into the bonus stage golden ring at the sign post. Most of the time, I’d run right past it and think “Crap!” and try to run back in time as Sonic zooms off screen. As I made the jump toward the ring, autopilot would kick in and Sonic would just collapse like a ragdoll to the ground in front of it and walk away off screen again.
Our hero also seems to enjoy walking like a robot because his running animation from start to finish is one of the least inspiring displays of speed picking up I’ve ever witnessed in a game before. His legs stiff up like Al Gore as he slowly walks forward. I seemed to be in top speed during this ridiculous take off as Sonic trudged off with an ungraceful motion due to his lack of kneecaps. Suddenly, his legs would turn into red blurs as he ran at what was supposed to depict top speeds. Regrettably, the robotic movement lacking any fluid shift was already top speed so this animation lacked any real dramatic achievement.
An inclusion to the core game play is a homing missile aerial dash which was introduced in Sonic Adventures. While this attack was a welcome addition to the 3D adventure, its transition to 2D is rather obnoxious. The difficulty of calculated attacks and hitting small openings on enemies vanishes with this ability and takes away from the nostalgia of Sonic. Many menacing old school villains which took clean precision and timing to kill, such as Orbinaut, become trivial obstacles in Sonic’s path with the addition of the aerial assault.
The tracks in the zone Sonic robotically glides through are lacking any real enemies. Sure a villain shows up every now and then but they are easily bypassed with the homing attack. Most of the perils in the levels are spikes and pitfalls but the track you go by makes these traps seem more like scenery than anything else as most ramps toss you over spikes. Pitfalls can be easily avoided since the levels are set up in multiple tiers and you can go cascading through the air and end up landing on a lower section of the zone. When you do die though from pitfalls, it is a surprise as there are no real warning signs of its upcoming occurrence. 90% of the time you land on something when you fall. 10% of the time there just isn’t anything and the plummet is so stretched you don’t even realize it’s a pitfall until you hear the reminiscent Sonic fatality sound.
Super Sonic makes a return once you manage to collect all the Chaos Emerald in their tilt-a-whirl secret zones. I did mention earlier how the game is mostly comprised of traps, remember? Super Sonic doesn’t seem to really run faster than his blue form and there aren’t many enemies in the way to pummel through. What you end up having is useless invincibility that slowly eats away at your life force. I didn’t find any use for Super Sonic in this game at all since most deaths were instant kills anyway.
Another thing that peeved me about the game was the music. Sonic is known for its memorable songs. I can still remember a few and hum them every now and then when I sit on the toilet seat while reading a book. The musical director for this installment must have been Keyboard Cat as all of the songs use and abuse repetitive keys with a trumpet blaring every so often. I can’t recall a single song in my head right now despite how hard I may try.
The art style in the game lacks any inspiration at all. In fact, most of the zones are just rehashed models of zones from Sonic 1. The backgrounds in the game are bland and look like something found in a free game application on the Android Market. I was reminded of games with a smaller budget and less gameplay like Totemo as I ventured further through the game’s uninspiring scenery. Some of the cogs you were supposed to interact with in Dr.Robotnik’s Lair (Yeah, I said it. Eggman sounds stupid.) seemed to be part of the background because of their dull color and slow almost shuddering movement. There were times I’d be standing around a level wondering what I am supposed to be doing only to realize that the background was actually part of the foreground.
Speaking of the good doctor, he seems to have lost that knack for creativity we had come to know his boss battles for. In each of the four zones, you fight a familiar nostalgic battle with Robotnik. As your heart flutters from your excitement of revisiting these famous bouts, half way through the battle Robotnik changes gears and gets a bit more hardcore. Each of the initial four encounters are pretty easy and Robotnik does his usual fleeing as you free your bunny friends. When you finally reach Robotnik’s space station, Sega decided to pull a Mega Man and have you fight Robotnik again in each of his four forms you battled him in throughout the campaign. The only difference in these battles from the previous skirmishes is that the doctor kicks up his rage a notch. None of his geared up antics were too difficult and are unbelievably forgettable. I just beat the game two hours ago and I can barely remember any of his new antics. To top off the insult of mutilating old battles, they decided to change one of the greatest fights with Robotnik at the end of the game. Robotnik jumps into the colossal robotic version of himself with a jetpack from Sonic 2. The major difference between that battle and this one is that you have a homing jump and there are a ton of openings to hit the suit this time. To say the least possible without ruining the tactics involved in this battle, I didn’t have to think or struggle too hard to end the game.
The game doesn’t stand on its own in the series. Fans who may run for this installment of Sonic’s latest and greatest adventure for scraps of nostalgia will be sorely disappointed and only the most hardcore of Hedgehog fans (Laraque) could find any real entertainment in this game. I, on the other hand, wish I played Comic Jumper instead. It is only the first episode of the Sonic 4 series, and more episodes may add more features but the lackluster experience of Episode 1 has left me with the taste of duran fruit in my mouth, something I never want to taste again regardless of presentation.
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Was this to be Sonic 4, an extension of Sonic 3 or a mash up of various Sonic games into one? There are still some who debate what this game was to be but the common wisdom is that Sonic Crackers was an early prototype for the game that would come to be known as Knuckles Chaotix for the Sega 32x system.
This uncompleted game features Sonic and Tails who are tethered together by rings, which also appears in Knuckles Chaotix. Sonic can pick up tales and throw him to higher areas and use “bungie-like” physics to pull him up to platforms.
There were two main uncompleted levels in Sonic Crackers that had music, but no sound effect as well as bonus areas (which you entered when you died or completed the first level). There are no enemies anywhere within the zones and you cannot collect any rings but lose a large amount when you die. Also when paused you can float around the world and un-pause to get to new areas.
Who am I?
One of the first things you will notice if you get your hands on a copy of the ROM is that Sonic Crackers is named Sonic Studium. This alone has caused some to believe it was to be a completely new chapter for the series. What we have learned about ROM’s is that they don’t always contain the correct or real name of a game.
Also the name “Studium” is not a misspelling (at least not by us) it is how it is spelled on the code. As we all know “Studium” is not a real word. Now they could have meant Stadium, but even so it is not the name of the game.
Another theory about Sonic Crackers is that it was a hoax by Sega. The reasoning behind this is the date of release was April 1st 1994. While in the planning stages for Sonic 4 a new technology was announced called Lock-On, no one knew what Lock-On technology was.
In the Sonic Crackers game Sonic and Tales are linked together by rings and a tether and the idea was that people would believe (mistakenly) that this was the Lock-On technology.
The Sound of Music
One of the reasons it was believed Sonic Crackers was its own game at one time was the music. In the end, when Chaotix was released you could hear some similar sounds between its music and the one from Sonic Crackers. However, some believe the music sounds as if beats and tones where taken away.
The idea is if Sonic Crackers was either a fake or a very early build the music would sound less complex on Crackers and more complex on Chaotix.
The first level has an industrial theme which looks a lot like the Techno Tower level from Chaotix that fuels the fire that this was just an early prototype of that game. In the ROM you can move freely through the level and as stated before you can pause the game and “float” to wherever you want.When you reach the top of the level the “Game Over” music activates and that leads you into the first “Field” or bonus level.
The music and palettes within the game changes each time you enter which shows that a time of day features was already being tested. While you cannot conventionally die on this or any of the other levels once the times reaches three minutes you get the “Game Over” music.
Field Level A
This bonus level has a pink and yellow tile on the floor as well as rainbows and waterfalls. It appears to be in the sky as there looks to be clouds in the open areas of the level. However, despite the different sections you cannot interact or fall through anywhere within this zone.
You can exit this stage by hitting any button.
The second level in the game has a carnival/circus theme which resembles the Speed Slider Zone from Knuckles Chaotix. You cannot beat this level as it just loops around, but after one minute of play time the game over music activates.
The overall level design looks fun with tons of loops and spins however the prototype was buggy making it had to walk on the “floor”
Field Level B
The second field is much darker and has more of a technical feel to it. It appears you are high above a futuristic city, but once again you cannot interact or fall through the level.
In this video, made by PaxPredicate, you can see all the zones and bonus levels for Sonic Crackers. In addition, he points out many of the bugs in the game including the physics issues with the connecting rings, the lack of rings even though when you hit spikes you lose a ton of them and the level instability.
Now you can get your hand on this game. Pretty much it is a simple Google search and you can find a ROM for it. I used the GENS win-32 emulator to try the game out, but I have confirmed it works with many of the other popular Sega Genesis emulators. Keep in mind the game will be buggy and there are no bad guys or sound effects and you cant really finish the final level. However, it was still fun to try if nothing else than for research purposes. There are two flavors of Sonic Crackers. They are the 1MB dump and the 2MB over-dump. The 2MB over-dump contains about half of a prototype Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. The precise game that the prototype is for has not been determined.
CSI Sonic Crackers
During my research I found a few emulation sites that have people decompiling Sonic Crackers in order to learn more about the game and try to either complete it, fix the current prototype to become stable or incorporate it with an existing Sonic game. Now, I don’t know if these guys want the press so I won’t mention who they are, but the good news is many of them plan to release a copy you can play on an emulator pretty soon. If this happens and it’s safe and stable and they allow it I will follow-up and bring it to you.
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.
For fans of the classic Sonic games Christmas has come early. This month you will be able to purchase Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 on the iTunes App Store, Wii Shop Channel, Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in just about a week.
The story takes place right after Sonic and Knuckles. With Mecha Sonic destroyed and Eggman defeated Sonic returns the Master Emerald to Angel Island, but as you can guess the ol Doc isn’t going to take his defeat lightly.
Sonic is back and retains all his signature moves from the previous series including super speed, spin dash and homing attack. After defeating Dr. Eggman Sonic flies off into the sunset with Tales. Soon after he decides to take off on his own to discover a new territory and so begins the next adventure.
Sometimes when you lose you think back on what you did wrong. After his defeat Dr. Eggman decides to go back and revisit and refine the best of what he created in the past. What this means for fans is some of the best areas and badniks from the previous titles with some new improvements.
Like many of the classic Sonic games Sonic 4 will bring you something old and something new. Some zones will have that familiar feel, but with updated graphics, music and badguys.
Splash Hill Zone
This zone will mirror many of the starting zones from classic Sonic including The Green hill zone. This costal paradise has green trees, rolling hills and bright blue waters, a perfect place for Dr. Egghead to start his mischief.
You can expect a lot of what you saw in Angel Hill with lots of rolling hills, spikes and springs to rocket you across the landscape. You can also swing from vines to get to higher ground and the waterfalls look pretty cool and you can swim up them to get to your destination.
Some fans call them zone clichés and I guess I have to agree to a point, but there is a reason for the pattern and in this case the old mixed with the new makes a great combination. In Lost Labyrinth the theme is ancient ruins in the vein of Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2 and Marble Garden from Sonic 3. However, while this zone has the underwater ruin feel of its predecessors it adds a lot more including a Indian Jones style mining cart riding experience and you even get chased by a bolder and yes the water bubbles are still there.
This zone really takes the ruins aspect to the max; it almost has a Tomb Raider feel to it. There are classic areas to the zone including running through a maze, traversing underwater and needing to take in air bubbles. In addition you can ride a mine cart roller-coaster style and try and keep your balance on a metal bolder. If that isn’t enough there are water slides and a part where you have limited light.
It’s all bright lights and big city, the Casino inspired zone is taken directly from Sonic two and expanded upon with more bells and whistles than a Vegas slot machine. Speaking of which the Sonic slots are back where you can win or lose coins. Also returning is the pin ball themed areas that bounce you around the zone.
I loved the Casino Zone from “2” the slot machines were my favorite and I’m glad to see it back in “4”. I loved what they did with the playing cards being able to ride them and play mini-games with them. The pinball areas are well done and look to be a lot of fun and the over-all theme is presented nicely.
It is the world Dr. Eggman wants to see, industrial with gears and pistons and I am sure a ton of pollution. This zone is in the same vein of Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant or Sonic 3’s Metropolis Zone. The colors here are not as bright and vibrant and that’s the point.
Every Sonic games has a zone like this which represents what kind of world Eggman wants, the steel and iron replaces the glass and trees of earlier levels. Also often the levels are harder to speed through as you end up spending more time jumping and avoiding traps and pitfalls.
The music still has the melody of some of the earlier games, but a lot more is added to it compared to the tracks of Sonic 2 & 3. In each of the tracks you can hear the slightest hint of the original zone it was created based on and in some cases it is very clear.
[mp3player width=300 height=150 config=fmp_jw_osg_config-xml.xml playlist=sonic-the-hedgehog-4.xml]
Personally I like the simpler themes of the older games. I understand what Sega is doing adding more to their stage themes, but sometimes simple is good especially for those of us who love to remix.
From E2 2010
Here is a breakdown of what you need to know about Sonic 4:
- This is only Episode 1 meaning there will be future episodes
- There will be alternate endings if you collect all the emeralds and the ending will connect and continue with episode 2
- There will be 4 total zones with three acts per zone plus boss battles and bonus world
- There will be achievements which will unlock special endings
- New skills and characters along with zones will be released in future episodes
Some fans are already claiming Sega is milking it with the episodes, but from the looks of it you will get your money’s worth per episode. This is a complete game and while short will give you the bang for the buck, that is if you are a Sonic fan.
Now that you have an idea of what to expect here is the low down on when and where you can find it and for how much:
- Nintendo Wii – Via Shop Channel – Oct 11th for 1500 Wii points
- Playstation 3 – Via PlayStation Network – Oct 12th for $14.99
- Xbox 360 – Via XBL Marketplace – Oct 13th for 1200 Microsoft Points
- Iphone/Ipad – Via iTunes App Store – Oct 7th for $9.99
There was a lot of hate over some of the later Sonic games, fans wanted more of the original, but the question remains if this version will satisfy the purists who want their Sonic 2 & 3 days back with those who don’t want to shell out $15 bucks for what some call “New levels for an old game.”
I, like many old school gamers, care about the gameplay over the flashing lights, we rather play a good game that stays true to its roots than a re-envisioningthat ruins the franchise. The idea of updating slightly, but not changing too much is not new, just look at StarCraft 2 for an example. Personally as a fan of classic Sonic this game is a winner for me. Is it groundbreaking and new, no, but we tried that with Sonic and for me it did not live up to the name.
I look forward to this game and once I get my hands on it will bring you a more in depth review.
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Sonic CD OST
I will be honest I think this was the only game I ever placed on the Sega CD and in my opinion it was the best. Not only did Sonic CD retain the classic gameplay of the originals, but it had an incredible visuals and an awesome soundtrack starting with its animated intro featuring the song, Sonic Boom.
Released in 1993 this story takes place after Sonic 1 and once again our hero has to go up against the evil Dr. Robotnik. However this time two new characters are introduced, the pink female hedgehog, Amy Rose and the evil robot Hedgehog, Metal Sonic.
I just loved the idea of traveling between four zones in each area including Present, Past, Good Future and Bad Future and it had real reply values because of the different endings. Sometimes only small changes are needed and Sonic CD added just enough to make it new, but didn’t strip away what made it a classic.
Oh and the music, so so good!
Our little Hedgehog turns nineteen tomorrow and to celebrate Sega is slashing prices on all their downloadable Sonic titles. The sales will be spread out across different platforms meaning Xbox Live will have a sales period, Playstation Network and so on.
Here is a list of the sales for each group:
PlayStation Network: June 22-July 6
Sonic All-Stars Racing: Metal Sonic Death Egg
Sonic All-Stars Racing: Ryo with Forklift Character
Sonic Unleashed Apatos & Shamar Adventure Pack
Sonic Unleashed Chun-nan Adventure Pack
Sonic Unleashed Empire City & Adabat Adventure
Sonic Unleashed Holoska Adventure Pack
Sonic Unleashed Mazuri Adventure Pack
Sonic Unleashed Spagonia Adventure Pack
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006: Very Hard Missions
Sonic Unleashed Add On Bundle
Sonic Racing Add On Bundle
Sonic Rivals 2 (PSP via PSN)
Sonic Rivals (PSP)
Sonic Rivals 1 & 2 Bundle (PSP)
iTunes AppStore: Wed June 23rd to Wed June 30th
Super Monkey Ball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Super Monkey Ball 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Streets of Rage
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Ed.
Xbox LIVE Marketplace: June 24 (one day only)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic & Knuckles
In almost every hero’s journey they come to question their actions and the possible outcome of their quest had they taken a step to the left rather than to the right. Could the world have been saved in a different method? Could the fallen comrade have survived? Could all this mayhem have ended swiftly if they only took the opportunity to finish off the antagonist when the moment presented itself? The darkest parallel thought a hero could imagine is “What if I had fallen to darkness instead of striding upon the path of the righteous?” For some few unfortunate heroes, this “what if” can present itself in a physical manifestation and even become one of the biggest road blocks in their journey.
Today, we take a look into some of the most iconic evil counterparts in video game history, what they represented to the hero, and the epic battles that proved as pivotal moments in the game’s timeline.
**SPOILERS BY THE WAY**
Dark Samus (Metroid Prime): Poison has always been a substance that plagued any living organism but it remained passive and indifferent. It was only used for killing in the hands of its user. In Metroid Prime, the poison Phazon is not only deadly but also sentient. Responsible for the death of two planets, this entity looked to spread its plague further and melded the DNA of Samus Aran and her foe, Metroid Prime to create Dark Samus. To see your greatest foes taking your form as their avatar would fill any hero with rage. Our heroine managed to disintegrate Dark Samus into particles in the Agon Wastes and then once again by breaching the monstrosity’s Phazon Shield with a charge beam. Though defeated, Dark Samus has the potential to return in the future through the game’s savior by a Mark of Corruption left upon her. Only time will tell if we will ever see this enemy rise again.
Wolf O’Donnell AKA Star Wolf (Star Fox 64): Rival companies are always taking blows at each other. Look at Microsoft VS Macintosh, IPhones VS Droid, PS3 VS Xbox 360 for examples. While they normally dish out retorts via commercials or improving their own technology to eclipse the other, mercenary groups don’t normally play the same game. Star Wolf is the rival mercenary group led by Wolf O’Donnell. Their number one priority is to become the top dog group in the Lylat System. The only foreseeable way to achieve this is simple; recruit old Star Fox members, work for your rival’s mark, and hunt them down till they are left in a smoldering wreckage. While Wolf has been unsuccessful in defeating Fox McCloud he still remains a huge pillar for the team to overcome in every instance he has led an assault. He will be most remembered for telling Star Fox he can’t do that.
Omega Zero (Megaman Zero series): Zero has always been a hero who walked that fine line between right and wrong but can you blame him? He was Dr.Wily’s greatest creation, he is supposedly responsible for the death of the original Megaman, and is rumored to be the bringer of the end of days. Like a rebellious child, though, Zero forged his own path and strayed away from the road Dr.Wily left for him and became a hero. However, the idea of bringing about total chaos and destruction never left Zero’s mind and weighed heavily upon him. Luckily for him, he isn’t the real Zero but only a copy. What a weight off his shoulders! Turns out Omega Zero is the true body of Zero and guess what? He wants to tear his copy a new asshole and end life as we know it. Finally seeing that dark “What if” version of himself, our hero vowed never to travel down that path and defeated his original body dying along with it.
Dark Link (The Legend of Zelda): Link has defeated zombies, ghosts, witches, blobby things, grand sorcerers, and anything else you can think of in all his journeys. The one enemy though who manages to stop Link in his tracks is his own shadow. Normally appearing in a large desolate and eerie hallway, this abomination knows everything about Link. He even knows what you’re going to do before you do it. Going to spin that sword around? He’s going to evade. Going to charge up a heavy sword slash? He’s going to poke you in the face quickly. Thinking a bomb might work? He will just throw it back at you. The best way for Link to defeat himself is to flail erratically and hope something lands while slowly dwindling away his hit points. To this day, Dark Link remains an iconic foe to add to the Legend of Zelda’s rogue gallery.
Metal Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog): Thought I’d put Shadow the Hedgehog down? Nope, I don’t consider characters introduced when a series goes to garbage as cannon. Besides, Shadow never fought Sonic like his roboticized counterpart did. He has been used in many iterations in the franchise and has taken many different forms. He is superior to Sonic in every way. His spikes are sharper, his plated skin is more durable, and he is even faster than the series’ hero. His first appearance was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 where the two would clash in a small enclosed area. He mimicked everything the hero could do and could even shoot projectile spikes to harm the hedgehog. This battle’s level of greatness is paltry compared to his battle against Sonic in Sonic CD. In Stardust Speedway, the only thing keeping Sonic from saving Amy and defeating Eggman is to defeat Metal Sonic in a race. Not only is he faster than our hero, he can destroy obstacles and is invulnerable to damage. The only way to defeat him is to haul ass through loops and leap over spikes while he eats shit behind you. It is like a Tortoise and Hare battle except there isn’t a tortoise and there are two hares. The difference between the two is that the other hare has a jetpack and dies when it barrages itself into a wall. I hope to see Metal Sonic return in some more worthy Sonic adventures in the future and to bring the level of intensity he normally delivers to a new generation of gamers.
There are many more video games out there with evil counterparts but this was just to name a few that I can still remember to this day. Are there any other instances where the hero fought their doppelganger that you remember? Post a comment if you recall any!
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Overall Sonic 2 was leaps and bounds over Sonic 1 and zones like Chemical Plant are why. Though I also loved Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles, for me there will always be a special place in my heart for the Chemical Plant Zone. ~J.A. Laraque
Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Chemical Plant Zone
I have to be honest, long before I played with five and a quarter disks or searched for an Amiga computer, I was a console gamer. I started with the Sears version of the Atari 2600 and throughout the years have played them all. I like to look back on those days when console gaming was unique and in a completely separate world than PC gaming. Thought I have a lot of fond memories of Atari and the early Nintendo and Sega consoles it was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that really made me a fan of the series and of video game music.
One of my favorite zones was The Chemical Plant Zone. This zone had it all for me, the industrial look, the various tubes and pipes and the music, it just stuck in my mind and I could play it over and over.
It was one of the fastest zones in the game, even from the start you were racing down ramps being blasted by fans, blazing through loops, this zone had it all. With the cityscape in the background and the blue chemical liquid oozing out of everywhere, it just set the scene perfectly.
This zone had break away floors, spring bumpers and chemical hazards, but strangely enough, not many enemies. Truthfully it did not need them as the zone itself was a challenge, one that you wanted to come back to again and again.
I also believe this zone had one of the easiest Robotnik bosses. On his stage Robotnik had you between two rotating platforms. He sucks up the chemicals from the pool below you and tries to dump them on you. The trick was to hit him while he was refilling his chemical tank. What many did not know at the time was if you had a second controller plugged in you could control tails. All you had to do is send tails after him while he filled up for an easy win.
The music of the zone is one of my all time favorites. It has that mix of classic 16-bit gaming and an industrial computer music flow. Like almost all of the classic 8 and 16 bit games the music is very catchy even though it is repetitive. It has been remixed countless times, but I find the original fantastic in its own right.
Overall Sonic 2 was leaps and bounds over Sonic 1 and zones like Chemical Plant are why. Though I also loved Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles, for me there will always be a special place in my heart for the Chemical Plant Zone.