Sonic the Hedgehog - 25th Anniversary Retrospective

Discussion in 'Other Gaming Discussion' started by RK128, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone :D!

    Haven't been posting much here, so want to apologize for that :(. But, I've been busy on NeoGaf making a retrospective series for this blue blur the past week or two :).

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    Love the series and grew up with it throughout my life. From Sonic Adventure 2 on the GameCube too Sonic Generations in 2011, been an avid fan of this iconic series for quite a long time.

    So, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, going to cover as many games as I can before the end of March, where its rumored to be the announcement date for the 25th Anniversary game. I started with Sonic Heroes and recently finished making the Knuckles Chaotix thread on NeoGaf but because you guys are awesome, I want to make my threads even better here :D!

    Will update this topic latter with my Classic Series Retrospectives (Sonic 1, 2, CD, 3&K, Knuckles Chaotix) and I hope you all enjoy them.
     
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  2. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Series: Sonic the Hedgehog 1

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    I played through this years ago and loved it, but I want to go back to this, as I want to play through a lot of games in the series this year to celebrate the anniversary.

    So, lets all scream......SSSEEEEGGGAAA!

    *Cough*

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    The core gameplay is what we all know and love; a blue hedgehog that runs fast named Sonic runs through colorful zones to stop a round man name Dr. Robotnik from trapping innocent creatures inside robots. You go through six zones with three acts before facing him one final time to save the day!

    Sounds simple and that is Sonic's charm; the game is simple to control with only one button to jump and the D-Pad to run and roll. But the games mechanics are interesting; Sonic is all about maintaining your speed and playing with the level to get the best path.

    For example, you can roll down a hill and build up crazy amounts of speed, then launch high in the air and collect a ton of rings. Or, you can just run down the hill and get some of the rings. Or even just jump before you hit the incline, and progress down the lower path.

    Level design like this allows the game to feel fresh and interesting, allowing you to try to get the best times for repeated replays.

    Anyway, the first zone is Green Hill Zone and we all know it:
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    It has the iconic theme that we all have ingrained in your brains and I love the theme a lot:
    http://api.viglink.com/api/click?fo...www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPRG...RBl94Q-brvs_cs

    Iconic music beating in the background as you run through a great opening level. Mechanics are introduced naturally across the three acts and you fight against Robotinik using a ball-and-chain weapon. Very easy fight but still, a nice opening to this classic.

    The rest of the levels are interesting as they push more Mario-like platforming instead of the speed-focused nature that Green Hill give the impression of.

    Also have thoughts on the other zones too:
    -Spring Yard: This zone is fun, with the pinball like gimmicks (bumpers, lots of springs, ect) and the platforming felt really rewarding. Also really loved the track in this zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8Av...353F7F&index=4
    -Labyrinth Zone: Was not looking forward to this, as I hated this zone when I played this originally.....but I ended up having a good time here :). Liked how Sonic felt underwater, the platforming felt really rewarding for going out of your way (ring boxes, invincibility, shields in hidden spots) and the music was great too. The boss for this zone was BS originally but I got to grips with it over time. Not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be honestly.
    -Star Light Zone: Hands down my favorite level in the game so far. Love the track that plays here and its so rewarding to have another Green Hill-like level after all the platforming-focused levels prior to this. Getting those upper paths felt great and the boss made good use of a gimmick (platforms that can fling a spike in the air, and when it lands on the opposite side, it launches Sonic higher or in the boss fight, the spike can hit Robotnik).
    -Special Stages: They were not really hard at all to me and it was fun doing really well in these stages :).

    Overall, this is a great game and for us Vita owners, we can play this on our lovely system! Get the Sega Genesis Collection and transfer it from your PS3 to Vita. Sadly, this only works for NA PSN users (I think?) but its still a way to play this classic.

    Going to close this with the images for the great special stages, as they are really tripy.
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  3. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Series: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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    Sonic 2 is a game so many of us grew up on and is the Classic Era Sonic game that I have the strongest connection to; played through this a lot of times both when I was little and when I was in high school XD!

    This is one of the sequels to Sonic 1, as while production of Sonic 2 progressed, ideas about time travel and level design ideas/concepts were brought to the table. At some point, Sega was like "You know what, lets make this two games" and thus Sonic 2 was split in half. One half was a platforming-focused time traveling adventure that really pushes the mechanics from Sonic 1 (momentum physics) while the other half was a speed focused sequel with level designs pushing for more forward-focused platforming (though extra paths and exploration was still present).

    Will cover CD latter, as I love that game a lot, but Sonic 2 rocks and I want to talk about that first :D.

    The core gameplay is the same, Sonic runs super fast & rolls around....but he has a new move; the spin-dash. He can rev-up in place by mashing the button while holding down on the D-Pad. Letting go lets you move with a burst of speed, allowing you to really take advantage of the level design and get through lops even faster.

    Sonic also has a new friend this time out; Miles 'Tails' Prower. He is a two tailed fox that was bulled growing up and after being inspired by Sonic's heroic's, started following him around. He kept up and Sonic to him in as his side kick and younger brother. Together, they fight Dr. Robotnik who is attacking South Island.

    The set up is the same as Sonic 1, but with the third act for each stage cut (outside of one zone toward the end of the game). You have two acts, with a boss at the end as special stages to complete by collecting 50 rings and jumping through a ring that generates after hitting a checkpoint. Its simple, so you can just jump in and have fun :D.

    What Sonic 2 does so well is the focus on speed. Sonic 1 has levels like Green Hill, Spring Yard and Starlight Zone that pushes speed but it doesn't compare to Sonic 1. Chemical Plant, Casino Night, and more push speed far more then any stage in Sonic 1 and it feels so great rolling super fast down hill.

    Sonic 2's stages are really ironic as well, considering many of its level themes are still used today in the series:
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    I love many of these zones and they are such a blast to process.

    *Cough*

    Anyway, the music here is fantastic, like any Sonic title.

    Emerald Hill


    Chemical Plant


    Aquatic Ruin


    Casino Night


    Mystic Cave:


    Oil Ocean:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quYF_G3zwp8&list=PL79F03A209D48391D&index=11

    Death Egg Robot:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l51_8ogFESI&list=PL79F03A209D48391D&index=16

    Secret/Unused Track: Hidden Palace Zone:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyuAk7Y8Vpo&list=PL79F03A209D48391D&index=21

    Really great soundtrack and each track fits its stage like a glove.

    Overall, wonderful Sonic game and something I'm sure we all played before :D!

    If you have a 3DS, play the 3D Classic's version.

    But the Vita has a version of this to, thanks to the Sega Genesis Collection. Its part of it alongside Sonic 1, and like I mentioned before, it works in NA PSN and you need a PS3 to transfer it over to your Vita.

    If you have a Smart Phone, play the release head by Taxman and Stealth. That version is special, as not only can you play as all the Classic Era cast (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles) but you have Hidden Palace Zone fully restored! Its a two-act zone like the others and its great to see original content being added-in to a decade-old game :).

    Here is gameplay footage if you are interested :D.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORt1VhKP7hI
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  4. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Series: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

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    This game is a pure classic and hands down one of the finest 2D platformers I’ve ever played. Next to CD, its my favorite Classic Series game. But to be fair, every Classic era Sonic game rocks, so you always win XD!

    This game is playable through the following:
    Wii: VC release/Sonic Mega Collection/Wii U: VC release
    360: Digital Release with Lock-On features restored
    PS3: Sonic Genesis Collection; Both Sonic 3 & S&K are on it but Lock-On isn't working
    Genesis/Mega Drive: Original version
    Nintendo DS: Sonic Classic Collection; Lock On Restored
    Saturn: Sonic Jam (lock-on works)

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    Okay, will speed up my comments man. Wait a minute buddy ;).

    The games origin stems from Sonic 3 being a massive project for Sonic Team. Yuji Naka wanted it to be a 3D platformer originally but after that idea crashed and burned, they went back to the idea of a 2D platformer like 1, 2 and CD. Interesting that we still got 3D Blast out of this though, a game I will cover in the future.

    NeoGaf member Man God helped me with the following two points, so thank him for this information :).

    "Considering I've already brought up spinball here's the gist of why Sonic 3 was broken up. RK128 isn't entirely wrong, S3&K would have been a gigantic game and would have been near the top end of game cart costs back in the day (Probably right around the 100 dollar mark that a few games hit in the end of the 16 bit era) and that might not have been a great move, but the real reason why Sonic 3 was turned into two games was that Sonic 3 absolutely, positively had to be out by December 1993....and even after splitting it it was clear that it was not going to make it out for the holidays. So Sega rushed development of Sonic Spinball as their big Sonic title for the holidays...and it did fairly well actually! I'm not a fan of the game at all but it didn't crater or anything and really good for a title that went from concept to shelves in less than six months."

    "The division of the two games has less to do with S3&K being too big for one game and more to do with S3 absolutely positively having to ship on a certain date."

    Anyway, they made so much content for Sonic 3, it couldn’t fit on the cart! Sega saw this and thought of an amazing idea; why not cut the game up in half, and release each part six months from each other? Even better, make the Sonic & Knuckles part of the game lock-on to other 2D Sonic’s and add more replay value for those.

    But the biggest point of this as once you lock on Sonic 3 with Sonic & Knuckles…..the full game was unlocked!

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    This was magic for many during this time; no game ever did this before and the only prior case was maybe the Game Genies or Action Replay carts for the NES/SNES/Genesis at the time. This never happened for a major game release, so this was really impressive. Will fully explain how this works latter on but this is one of the many, many great qualities to this classic.

    The story for Sonic 3 & Knuckles is of Sonic and his buddy Tails visiting Angel Island on the hunt for Robotnik after hearing wind of him going there for some reason. Along the way, our boy Knuckles knocks Super Sonic out and takes the Emeralds from him, laughing in Sonics face before running off.

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    So starts the long, epic 12 Zone adventure with Sonic & Tails exploring Angel Island’s locations to find the emeralds, fight Robotnik and find out what is Knuckles beef. Love this story as, its acted out through gameplay.

    Every major scene before boss fights, major story beats toward the Sonic & Knuckles half of the game, and more are done really well and give natural transitions between the different acts within zones.

    Having fire overtake Angel Island after fighting a robot at the end of Act 1, having the ground rumble and shift around during Act 2 of Marble Garden Zone, the entire last three zones as a whole; it feels cinematic but it doesn’t detract from the quality Sonic gameplay we come to love and enjoy from past 2D Sonic’s.

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    The gameplay is almost 1-to-1 with Sonic 2; Sonic can spin-dash, roll and jump like before in addition to core level design being what Sonic 2 tried to but further fleshed out with longer paths and more rewards for exploration. Basically, it nails the balance between Sonic CD and Sonic 2, leading to a really strong game.

    Some differences is through the Elemental Sheilds, Tails, and Knuckles. The Elemental Shields are special shields that everyone can use….but Sonic has some unique abilities when using them.

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    Water: Gets the ability to breath underwater (everyone), bounce attack when pressing jump in the air (Sonic only)
    Fire: Walk over lava/fire (everyone), Air Dash when pressing jump in air (Sonic only)
    Electric: Draws in rings (everyone), Double Jump when pressing jump in air (Sonic only)

    This gives Sonic far more versatility and really pushes the exploration aspect; it feels great using these and it makes some sections all the more better (no worrying about hunting for bubbles in Hydrocity Zone!).

    Tails returns from Sonic 2 but he can fly in the air this time out. Even better, you can plug in a second controller for player two and they can pick up Sonic and help him fly to higher spots. This rocks, as it can be really helpful with trickier platforming sections.

    Lastly comes our boy Knuckles. Unlike Sonic, he doesn’t chuckle and is quite powerful! He can glide in the air and climb walls, making him great for exploration like Tails. In addition, he can smash through large rocks in some stages allowing you to get through paths Sonic & Tails cannot access when playing as them. Some of these extra paths are really different level design wise, making them like extra acts for plugging in Sonic 3 on-top of S&K.

    This is how Sonic characters should all play; everyone having one core element making them unique but still controlling how Sonic does. Tails and Knuckles can spin dash, roll and jump with no problem, making them added replay value for the game when you are done as Sonic/Sonic & Tails.

    The levels are all great with some creative themes. For example, you don’t start out in a green hill location but a tropical jungle, having new swinging gimmicks and some underwater sections if you explore enough. Another example is Ice Cap, as you start out snowboarding on hills, then you explore ice-filled caves. My favorite levels are Ice Cap, Angel Island and Lava Reef for how dynamic and fun they are.

    Sonic 3&K has a lot to offer outside of the main story though. One case of this is that you can collect the seven Chaos Emeralds like in past games but you also have the Super Emeralds, which you can only get when playing S3&K. They allow Tails to use a super form and it gives Sonic a bit of a power boost as Hyper Sonic.

    Another example is a MP mode, which Sonic 2 had (and I glossed over) but here its more interesting. You have more stages to play, racing modes are really fun and I love how the levels lop during the racing mode.

    Now I will cover the soundtrack and we got a bit of a history with this one. Sonic 1 & 2 were composed by a JP musician, so it makes sense that Sonic 3 would do this as well. Pop Icon Michel Jackson helped compose a few tracks (Ice Cap, Sonic 3 Ending theme, Carnival Night) and the only reason he wasn’t credited was because he wasn’t too happy with how it sounded. The Sega Sound Chip wasn’t the strongest thing in the world, so sadly he didn’t want his name linked to the game.

    But that doesn’t mean the game sounds bad, as it sounds great! So many of the themes are iconic and sound awesome.

    Angel Island Zone
    Hydrocity Zone
    Ice Cap Zone
    Flying Battery Zone
    Lava Reef Zone
    Sky Sanctuary Zone
    Doomsday Zone

    Sonic 3&K’s score is still remembered today for it being so high quality, so its great to see some of these tracks like Sky Sanctuary, Angel Island, and Flying Battery used in newer games.

    One last thing to cover is the lock-on technology, as it works different per Sonic game:
    -Sonic 1: Blue Sphere – Due to emulation issues at the time, they couldn’t put Knuckles or Tails in Sonic 1. So despite the menu giving you this:

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    You can end up playing hundreds of special stages based on Sonic 3&K’s version of them. If you loved them with your time with them, then it’s a nice way to kill an hour or so.

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    -Sonic 2: Knuckles in Sonic 2 – You can play as our boy Knuckles in Sonic 2’s levels. The game doesn’t change too much but some level design is changed a bit to support his gliding ability and his special stages are easier.

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    -Sonic 3: Sonic 3 & Knuckles – You can play the intended game Sega and Sonic Team set out to create. You as Knuckles in every Sonic 3 stage while you can also play as Tails in every Sonic & Knuckles stage. This also unlocks the Doomsday boss fight (if you got the Chaos Emeralds or Super Emeralds) and access to the Super Emerald Special Stages.

    Overall, this is a classic and I really like this game a lot. Revising the Classic series has me appreciating them a lot and hopeful that the anniversary game coming this year remembers these classics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  5. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Series: Sonic the Hedgehog CD

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    This game is a sequel to Sonic 2, actually, it was ONE of them. Sega Japan suggested work on Sonic 2 be split, as it had a lot of ideas for multiple versions of the same zones and time traveling mechanics. So they gutted those out of a version of Sonic 2, and turned that into its own game, which is this :).

    Clips - US
    Clips - Japan

    The game is rooted within the style/world of Sonic 1, so assets and sprites mirror those found in Sonic 1. Even Sonic looks like he's ripped directly from Sonic 1:
    [​IMG]

    Going into how the game works, you have seven zones with three acts in each (like Sonic 1) but unlike Sonic 1, the boss fights in Act 3 take up most of the stage and are always set in the 'Future'. Every act rather then being designed horizontally, with upper and lower paths being made for extra goodies, the level design mentality for CD is very different from Sonic 2.

    It continue's the platforming focus Sonic 1 had but heavily using vertical level design with many upper and lower paths but the middle path being very simple in comparision. The reason for this is because of two new objectives before heading to the sign post; destroying the robot generator and Metal Sonic Holigrams. The former is in every 'Past' version of an act and once you destroy it, you get a good future for the zone. The latter is an extra focus that gets you more points when you beat the level.

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    If you ignore every robot generator? You get a bad future, where Robotnik takes over everything and the world looks ravaged.

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    Okay! Wait a minute man XD! Will explain things now :).

    The way time travel works in Sonic CD is by hitting special signs (Past, Present, Future) creates a blue trail that follows Sonic around. Once you start running or rolling, the trail gets longer and go really fast for a set period of time (about....10-30 seconds), Sonic warps to that time period.

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    Depending your actions in each level when traveling into the future, you get either a good future, or a bad future. Here is an example :D.

    Good Future:
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    Bad Future:
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    The level designs change and alter depending on the time period, with good futures having more rings and goodies with no foes, while bad futures have more badniks to fight and more hazards to avoid. Has a great risk-reward system and makes getting good futures so rewarding in CD :).

    CD in general has some of the best usage of the physics system sonic has in any Genesis game, as you're speed has massive impacts on the world around you. If you don't have skillful speed, you miss out on taking advantage of the time travel system. The 2011 re-release of CD is even better in this regard, as Sonic has his control style from Sonic 2/3&K, making things feel a lot more smoother than in the CD original (or the Gems Collection version).

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    Levels and Boss Encounters:
    Sonic CD is very strange compared to the rest of the Genesis Era titles, with none matching CD in tone outside of maybe Knuckles Chaotix at some points (a game I will cover latter, never played it before :)).

    Very abstract visuals and design work, lots of bright colors and levels having far more detail then Sonic 1.

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    Some really creative locations and I love how latter games in the series try to capture this, mainly Sonic Colors. That game feels like a spiritual successor in some ways to CD with its visuals and amazing score.

    Love CD for its presentation but the design of these levels are not like anything in Sonic 2 or 3&K. They are more maze-like at points and focus heavily on core platforming. But unlike Sonic 1, there are a lot of sections to play with your speed and thanks to the time travel mechanic, you are pushed into using your speed. So, its a nice balance.

    Wacky Workbench, however.......

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    Hands down one of the worst designed levels in Sonic history (2D series wise). Its maze like structure is really hard to navigate and a level I just did not enjoy sadly :(.

    Bosses are all interesting, as they each have some fun mechanics.

    One boss is on a converter belt with Sonic having to use his speed to burn away Robotnik's mech all while avoiding projectiles.

    Another boss is the most famous:
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    While it has some issues with its level design, its great racing Metal Sonic. Having the iconic Stardust Speedway NA or JP theme play during the fight....makes it even more powerful :).

    Overall, the bosses and levels are strong, making them all really enjoyable to go through outside of some specific examples.

    - - - - - -

    Music:
    Oh, where to BEGIN :D!

    Sonic CD is a special case, as we got not one, but TWO soundtracks. NA and JP/EU got different soundtracks and both have some really outstanding tunes :). Will be posting more JP/EU tunes, as I loved them in the 2011 HD version but feel free to suggest tracks I looked over :D.

    Plamtree Panic Present JP/EU
    Palmtree Panic Good Future JP/EU
    Collision Chaos Present JP/EU
    Collision Chaos Good Future NA
    Tidal Tempest Present JP/EU
    Tidal Tempest Good Future JP/EU & NA
    Quartz Quadrant Present JP/EU
    Quartz Quadrant Good Future JP/EU
    Stardust Speedway Present JP/EU & NA
    Stardust Speedway Good Future
    Stardust Speedway Bad Future JP/EU & NA
    Metallic Madness Present JP/EU & NA
    Sonic Boom (NA)
    Sonic You Can Do Anything (JP/EU)
    Boss Theme Good/Bad Future NA
    Extra: New Remix of Sonic Boom from Crush 40 & Cash Cash -

    Out of all the Classic Era music, Sonic CD easily stands up as a favorite :). Love, love LOVE this set of soundtracks :D! Such musical variety all over the place, such memorable melodies ......such a great sound just springs from this game in all regions.

    - - - - - -

    Extra/Conclusion:
    This game also has a few different versions. We have the different region soundtracks for NA & EU/JP but there is also the fact that the 2011 HD release that came out on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and iOS/Android fixes issues that many had with the original.

    The controls for Sonic in CD are fine, but Sonic 2's controls work better on a few levels. In the 2011 version of CD, we got the Sonic 2 controls, meaning stronger spin-dash and physics that work a bit better with the level design. Not to mention you can unlock Tails when you beat the game (who can fly) and the fact that special stages run at 60FPS now.

    Another plus is that you can switch between both the JP/EU soundtrack AND the NA soundtrack :D!

    Everyone interested in CD, get this version of the game. Hands-down the best way to play this gem of a title.
     
  6. RK128
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    Classic Series: Knuckles Chaotix

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    This game is unique out of all the games I covered so far.....as I never played this before. I tried this game out two days ago for the first time and.....well, going to comment on it now :).

    The story is that Knuckles visited Carnival Island to check on his buds the Chaotix (the colorful group you see in the intro screen) but Dr. Robotnik captures them in a special mechine, with Metal Sonic escaping with him. Knuckles frees one of them, Espio and him and Knuckles team up to save the rest of the Chaotix while going after the Chaos Rings Dr. Robotinik is after.

    Gameplay wise, this is your traditional Classic Sonic game; you spin dash, jump, roll and use your character specific ability to explore levels at high speeds. But what makes Knuckles Chaotix so interesting is the ring system.

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    Each playable character holds one of these rings and you can do quite a bit with this mechanic.
    -You can hold them in place to press on switches or allow you to rev-up and launch into a run
    -Pick them up and throw them around
    -Fling yourself toward your buddy and get higher jumps

    It allows for some fun speed running, as the hold ability can really build up a lot of speed.

    And that is a good thing, considering this games level design is very strange. On one hand, you have zones like Speed Slider that are linear and focus on you going fast.

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    ....However, you have stages like Amazing Arena which forces you to find a Clock to hit before progressing to the goal post. And when you have no idea how to get there and the level design pushing you all over the place.....you will hit a lock-out point by Stage 3 of this place and you have to do the WHOLE level over again X(.

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    So, the level design is a mixed bag, with some stages being really fun while others being either 'meh' or outright frustrating.

    But lets move on to the characters, as this is the Classic Era game with the largest playable cast.

    Our boy Knuckles has all of his abilities from Sonic 3&K; can glide and climb walls, like a champ. He doesn't chuckle like Sonic either ;).

    But we have the Chaotix Crew, who got their first appearance in this game!

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    Vector can wall kick, Charmy is the most broken as he has unlimited flight and Espio can run on walls.

    Mighty was introduced in a earlier Sonic game (SegaSonic the Hedgehog) but this is his first appearance in a 2D platformer. Its rumored that his inclusion in the game is due to how Sonic was supposed to be here (same with Tails) but was gutted at some point. Even his sprites mirror Sonics in early prototypes of this game (called Sonic Crackers).

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    Anyway, like Vector, he can kick off walls but otherwise, Mighty is the 'Sonic' of this game.

    We also got two other playable characters; robots named Bomb and Heavy.
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    The former explodes when he bumps into robots while the latter is, well, Heavy.

    So one would imagine "Okay, with this large cast, I can pick whoever I want and play that team-up and enter any stage I want, right :D?"

    Wrong, you would be my friend. The way Chaotix works is that everything is randomized. I'm serious with that; as while you have seven characters to play as, you can only pick one (the character you play as) and your partner is decided via mini game.

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    You have some input for which is your partner character, as you can press a button to move the crane down and in-able it to move left/right but that is it. The characters shuffle around at the bottom and after you select your character, that is it until you play the game again after beating a level.

    Level selection is far more randomized though. After selecting your party, you head to the level select area but you don't just select a level, you have to jump into the selector then it goes all over the five zones, then it lands on one.

    It isn't a problem (unless you land on Amazing Arena) but its important to point this out; the game flow of Chaotix is very different compared to past Sonic's. Stage selection and character selection being randomized goes a long way in changing how you go into the game. It makes every replay different and with five acts for the five zones, you have plenty of replay value.

    Overall, if I sound like I have mixed thoughts on this......its because I really feel mixed on this game :l. The way you deal with levels, the design of them itself, and the team-up mechanics all are odd additions that, in contrast to Sonic CD where the Time Travel element really clicks with me, the new elements here don't always hit home to me sadly.

    However.....I really love a good deal of this game.

    Firstly, is the visuals. They continue the outlandish and trippy tone that CD created, leading to some really great looking stages.

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    Bright, colorful and perfectly matching the Sonic series in my mind :D.

    Secondly, the special stages are great.

    [​IMG]
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    They are Mode-7 looking locations that have you moving left, right and jumping to collect X amount of Blue Spheres per round. The timer is the amount of rings you get in the normal stages, leading you to be pushed into collecting a lot of rings prior to entering these stages.

    What makes them so fun is that they loop around and well, feel fair. You don't restart or die when you miss X amount of sphere's in a round, you just circle back again to get the ones you miss. The stages are wide and open, and with some tight controls, it makes them quite fun to complete.

    You only have to get six Chaos Rings and you have 21 chances to enter the stages; its very fair and fun.

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, is the killer soundtrack. We all heard Door into Summer thanks to the Generations remix....but where did it come from? THIS game!

    This game has an amazing soundtrack and stands next to the prior classic games in stride.

    Title Screen
    Amazing Arena 1
    Botanic Base
    Marina Madness
    Speed Slider
    Techno Tower
    Isolated Island
    Final Boss
    Partner Select
    Special Stage

    This music is really great and matches the surreal tone of the game quite nicely.

    - - - -

    Overall, this is a game that while flawed, is enjoyable. Its a shame Sega never remastered this or put this part of a Sonic Collection. But, hopefully this year or latter, it will be. As I consider this to be a fun action platformer that while having some issue, is still worth playing.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Retro8bit
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    Awww this thread brings back memories. Sonic 3 and Sonic Heroes will always be my top games! :)
     
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  8. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Made my very first game for this retrospective on Heroes, so will post that here soon enough. Love the sonic series and want to celebrate it for the anniversary.
     
  9. RK128
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    Dreamcast Era: Sonic Heroes

    [​IMG]

    This is a game that unlike any 3D Sonic from the early-mid 2000's (Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, Shadow the Hedgehog, Riders, 06, Secret Rings), feels like a classic Sonic game. You have the game filled to the brim with colors and Genesis looking locations. Clear blue skies, checker-board textures, and character models reflecting the Dreamcast style but also having a Genesis touch.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I love this about the game and one thing that makes it hold up great today visually. The soundtrack is great too, with iconic themes that still are memorable today.

    Seaside Hill
    Grand Metropolis
    Hang Castle (Version 1and 2)
    Bullet Station
    Casino Park
    Egg Fleet
    Final Fortress
    What I'm Made Of

    This soundtrack is hands down one of my favorite from this era of Sonic (with only SA1 and 2 beating it). The character themes are great too, likeTeam Sonic's and Team Chatoix's being my personal favorites.

    The gameplay is very smart on Sonic Team's part. This was released right around a good year or so after Sega ending making consoles and going third party. Nintendo was enjoying a few exclusive Sonic games on the GameCube and GBA but the series didn't hit Xbox and PlayStation yet. So, with Heroes, they scrapped the engine they used for the Adventure games and used the Renderware Engine (made by the Burnout developers), with the intent for it supporting every major platform on the market. Meaning, it would support a Sonic game on PS2, Xbox and GameCube.

    Fast forward to January 2004 and Heroes is released in US and EU (came out in 2003 in JP). What makes Heroes different is that in may respects, its a soft reboot for the Sonic series.

    It still remembers events in the Adventure and Genesis games but in a lot of ways, its a re-introduction to the Sonic series. You have everyone having colorful looks, the world being a 3D Genesis Sonic style wise, and the best elements from the 2D & 3D games coming back. What this means, is that the series got reintroduced to many through Heroes.

    Heroes plays different from the Adventure games as instead of having Sonic being the 'core' game and his friends having unique gameplay styles to pad out the game, we have a team system that controls the same across all the four playable teams. You can swap between three members for each team (Team Sonic: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles/Team Dark: Shadow, Rouge, Omega/Team Rose: Amy, Cream, Big/Team Chaotix: Espio, Victor, Charmy) and each member falls within three styles (Speed, Flight, Power).

    Speed: Sonic-style gameplay with you going fast
    Flight: Can fly in the air and shoot your partners as weapons
    Power: Can attack with great strength and throw your teammates in different ways (Omega Shoots them, Knuckles uses them as boxing gloves & throws them, Vector shoots them out of his mouth, Big his his like baseballs using his fishing poll).

    This allows the game to feel like Sonic but also have the large cast built up since the Adventure games. So, no gimmicks to pad out the game, no annoying fishing or treasure hunting stages to get in the way of the core speed gameplay and the game feeling the most focused out of any 3D sonic game for a very long while (not until Unleashed in my opinion).

    I love this, as thanks to everyone playing the same, the levels can be constructed with a core focus allowing them to be tight and full of hidden paths to take. Its like you are playing Sonic from the Adventure games but have two buddies following you around and can swap to them at any point.

    The game uses its level themes really well, as you have the iconic tropes from the Genesis games (Hill, Casino, Chemical Plant, Forest/Jungle, Eggman Base) but some new locations that haven't been in the Sonic series for a while (Haunted house). It creates some really imaginative places and opens up level design in cool ways.

    You are a pinball in one stage but the next you are exploring a castle upside down. Sometimes this presents issues with too many stage gimmicks being thrown at once (Frog Forest comes to mind with the rapid vine swinging) but its not enough to become a problem.

    My original thoughts on Heroes was that it was a great game with three problems: control is slippery, special stages suck, and camera gets in the way. Revisiting the game now, the control still is slippery but not nearly as bad as I remember it. It could be better but its not horrid like as bad as I thought before.

    The camera can be an issue but its good enough. The special stages are fun to me now, as I had little issue getting three of the Chaos Emeralds so far. Oh, forgot to talk about that XD!

    The special stages are molded after the Sonic 2 stages with you collecting orbs instead of rings and you can boost in these stages as you collect orbs. You have to get the emerald before it hits the goal ring at the end and they can be very hard.
     
  10. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Era: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

    [​IMG]

    Hello everyone :D!

    This game is interesting as its more or less Sega's first licensed game based of the Sonic IP. I'm serious when I say that, as this game uses Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog characters.

    [​IMG]

    Scratch, Grounder and Robotnik are all based on their AoStH versions and its odd seeing this comedic take on the franchise get its own video game!

    But one must ask, how do you make a game with Robotnik. Are you making robots and taking over the world? Fighting the Blue Blur by making traps that halt his progress? Blowing stuff up with a walker mech.....wait a minute, we DID get that latter though....

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, so what is this game with Robotnik about :D!?

    [​IMG]

    Puyo Puyo clone, that's what!

    [​IMG]

    Where did the Werehog come from?! Jeez, calm down man....but yes, its a puzzle game and its a fun one at that!

    If you played Puyo Puyo before, you know how this works already; you match colorful beans by color and you have to defeat the opposing Badnink on the right side of the screen.

    [​IMG]

    So this repeats with new fights and things getting much, much harder over time.

    [​IMG]

    See the black rock objects in the above screen? They block you're path of other beans landing (so no more chains and matching colors). This can happen to you're foes too if you get chain after chain as well.

    [​IMG]

    But the thing is, this game gets hard. VERY hard over time, with the fight with Robotnik himself being quite the 'fun' experience.

    [​IMG]

    You see that image? Where you're beans become angels/flying things while good ol' Robotnik laughs in your face? That will happen over and over and over and over and..................over and over again :'(.

    I honestly didn't beat this when doing this for the retrospective, as I could never beat this boss despite getting to level 10-11 despite some mild frustrations. This is a hard puzzle game and if you want a great challenge, this is the game for you.

    But, like every Sonic game, the music here rocks :).

    Intro Screen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8iW...E74949CBBC8CBD
    Levels 1-4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHDV...BC8CBD&index=3
    Levels 9-12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5_0...E74949CBBC8CBD
    Level 13 (Final Boss): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hscV...E74949CBBC8CBD
    Staff Roll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v69D...C8CBD&index=11
    Continue?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn1l...C8CBD&index=15
    2-Player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjEy...C8CBD&index=18

    We even have some unused themes hidden away in the game!
    Brave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W06T...E74949CBBC8CBD
    Puyo Puyo Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obNb...C8CBD&index=20
    Unused Sound Code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiJm...C8CBD&index=21

    The music in the game rocks and helps push you through the tough puzzles.

    - - - - - -

    I'm sorry this article isn't as long as say, my Sonic 3&K, Knuckles Chaotix or Colors ones, but its hard to talk about a puzzle game when you aren't an avid puzzle gamer at heart. I love them though, with Tetris being a favorite :D! I enjoyed my time revisiting this one and its always nice spending time with the Eggm.....I mean Robotnik Empire for a bit :).

    Going to close the thread with images with this amazing foe based off the cartoon.
    Super Robotnik Man:
    [​IMG]
    Award Robotnik:
    [​IMG]
    Umm......Psycho Robotnik?:
    [​IMG]

    Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was strange man :l.
     
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  11. RK128
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    Classic Era: Sonic the Hedgehog 3D Blast - Flickies' Island

    [​IMG]

    This game is interesting, as its one of many firsts for the Sonic series. Not only is it the very first 3D game for the series but it was also the first Sonic title that was developed by a Western Studio; Travelers Tales. This studio is famous now for the hit Lego series but they did A LOT during the Genesis/SNES era.

    They are known to push hardware, with a recent example being having an open-world for a Lego Handheld title with Lego Avengers on Vita and 3DS this year!

    The original Toy Story got a Genesis/SNES game that used pre-rendered character models (like DKC on the SNES) and worked with hand drawn animation, using it for a really damn good Mickey Mouse platformer called Mickey Mana.

    I never played their Toy Story 1 game but I LOVED Mickey Mania, underrated gem :). Fun Fact: Twisted Metal and God of War Creator David Jaffe was one of the head guys behind that game!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, while Sonic Team moved on to new projects/IP (Nights into Dreams, Ristar, Burning Rangers) after Sonic 3&K, Sega called them up saying “We love the technology you use for game development and we want you to make a 3D platformer in the Sonic series on the Genesis!” Remember how I said in the 3&K thread where Naka wanted Sonic 3 to be a 3D platformer? This idea came back here and Travelers Tales made it a top-down isometric platformer with Sonic’s goal being to save the little critiers that pop out of Robotnik’s badniks.

    Every level’s goal is to save five creatures per section, with each level having 2-3 sections to clear. How can Sonic do this? Simple! He jumps, rolls and spindashes his way through robots to save the creatures and they follow him after being saved. They are useful, as you can use them to make a ‘trial’ that allows you to pick up object high above some red springs and can warp you to the next section of the level when you touch a special ring.

    The issue……is that every time you get hit, you lose the little creatures and they fly all about, with you chasing after them AND the lost rings. Remember Yoshi’s Island where baby Mario cries when Yoshi gets hit? How about having to find that flying bubble with additional coins and stuff scattered around? Sounds fuuuun……

    [​IMG]

    To be serious for a moment, I don’t mind this system as it’s a nice different take on the traditional Sonic gameplay style. Levels being mission focused give them meaning and with open levels to explore, it is fun to me honestly :D!

    I have issue with how Sonic controls, as he is a bit stiff. Makes some of the harder platforming moments a bit tricky.

    But overall, it controls well enough and I have fun running around in this game.

    Like the Genesis games, Sonic has momentum going all over the place and trademark Sonic elements are here in full force:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sonic is fast here and it leads to some fun levels.

    Green Grove is the trademark Green Hill-like zone with a great theme in the Genesis version (Saturn/PC version here).
    [​IMG]

    Rusty Ruin is a bit of a tricky stage with Sonic having the gimmick of turning into a spinning top that can smash through pillars:
    [​IMG]

    Spring Stadium is the pinball level of the game, with springs being everywhere and with everything having this 3D craze going on, level design has more layers then before. So, getting to the top of the stage and hunting for the Flickies is a bit tricky.
    [​IMG]

    Diamond Dust is the snow level of game with ice physics coming into the picture. The tricky controls become even more tricky here but.....this theme in the Genesis version pushes you through and makes this a really great stage to run through.
    [​IMG]

    Volcano Valley is the lava level of the game with, well lava being all over the place! Using the fire shield can be very helpful here, as it allows you to walk over fire with little issue. I'm assuming the level design here was focused on you retaining you're shield as long as you can......
    [​IMG]

    Gene Gadget and Puppet Panic Zones are more or less the the same; factory stages with you dealing with the hardest platforming in the game. What makes Puppet Panic Zone so interesting is that Act 1 and Act 2 function different compared every other level in the game. Act 1 has you freeing Flicky's from pillars in the stage (the story of the game literally states that Robotnik didn't get a chance to robotize them in time, so 'Gotta go fast!' *cough*) while Act 2 is a normal Sonic stage. You just run to the end and that's it; no more saving Flickies (as you saved the last few in Act 1).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The bosses with Robonik are very easy (outside of the Extra Final one), as due the 3D perspective, they make it very easy to get to the weak points and provide plenty of rings (about.....10-20 for each boss) to survive.

    - - - - - - -

    The game is enjoyable and despite some issue with the controls, I enjoyed my time revisiting this one :D!

    Travelers Tales is a great developer and between this and Sonic R, they did right on the series part. Them and the team behind Sonic 2 did a great job with Sonic :).

    Which is a LOT more then I can say for some western developers tackling the series. When I get to Sonic Chronicles.....oh boy, going to have fun ripping that game a new one ;).

    Sanzaru did a solid job with Shattered Crystal, considering it was there very first Sonic title and they got only a year or so to make it. Fire & Ice is promising due to it apparently fixing key issues from Shattered Crystal, but I will get to that latter on).

    - - - - - -

    My above point relates to this next fact, as Travelers Tales was commissioned into making a Saturn port of 3D Blast in a short time as a back-up for Sonic Xtreme being scrapped.

    [​IMG]

    So, one must ask "How do you take a Genesis game, and make it look better on a stronger console? We don't have enough time to remake the game......" But, they DID do a lot to make the Saturn version better then the Genesis version :D!

    Controls: The Saturn got an analog controller version thanks to Nights into Dreams being made, so, that was supported for this version of 3D Blast. It makes the controls a bit better, leading to platforming being a bit more responsive.

    Visuals: This is the most interesting one (next to the special stages), as the colors are more detailed and a bit more realistic if that makes sense.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As one could see, added texture was given to stages and in some cases, special effects were added in some stages like Rusty Ruin Zone:
    [​IMG]

    So, visually, the looks a bit better :).

    Special Stages: I didn't touch on this, as the Saturn version has some of the best special stages in Sonic history. Its more or less a updated take on the Sonic 2 half-pipe but....Sonic is in 3D for the FIRST TIME?!?

    [​IMG]



    Sega of Japan produced these special stages to make the Saturn version different from the Genesis and PC versions, and they rock! Sonic controls well, the visuals and music are great here and its just nice seeing Sonic in full 3D. When this came out (1996), it was the very first time many people saw the Blue Blur moving in 3D on consoles at the time; it was some sight to behold and it got people hyped for the possibilities of the Saturn for Sonic.

    We got Sonic the Fighters prior to this and that looked great! But its nice seeing Sonic run around in 3D though :).

    The Genesis Special Stages? Oh, they looked like this:
    [​IMG]

    I mean....its impressive for the Genesis and stuff, but nothing compared to the Saturn version. So, that makes it the best version hands down, right?

    Interesting enough, the PC version got a unique special stage too! NeoGaf Member Rlan pointed this out and here is footage of that:

    Thank you for sharing man!

    Music:
    Well, this is the element that will make you chose one version over the other, as just like Sonic CD, 3D Blast has different soundtracks based on which version you play.

    The Genesis version was composed by Jun Senoue (known for his latter work on the Adventure and 3D titles) while the Saturn/PC version was composed by Richard Jacques, know for his future work on Sonic R and latter down the line, the All Stars Racing series.

    Saturn/PC Soundtrack:
    Green Grove Act 1
    Rusty Ruins Act 1
    Spring Stadium Act 1
    Diamond Dust Act 1
    Gene Gadget Act 1
    Volcano Valley Act 1
    Puppet Panic Act 1
    Puppet Panic Act 2

    Genesis Soundtrack:
    Green Grove Act 1
    Rusty Ruins Act 1
    Spring Stadium Act 1
    Diamond Dust Act 1
    Gene Gadget Act 1
    Volcano Valley Act 1
    Puppet Panic Act 1
    Puppet Panic Act 2

    The main difference between the two is that the Genesis version is rooted in the Genesis era being focused on catchy themes and melodies while the Saturn version is present to build up atmosphere and establish the tone for each stage. Both are great for different reasons but like the CD soundtrack, some prefer one over the other. I love both and I like tracks in both OST's (Rusty Ruins Act 1 rocks in both versions for example!)

    Conclusion:
    Both are great versions of a fun game, so....give both a look! The Saturn/PC version so far less common compared to the Genesis version but still, its nice to have options.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  12. RK128
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    Classic Era - Sonic Spinball

    [​IMG]

    Next up on the Sonic Retrospective is this game in the Classic series; Sonic Spinball! This came out in 1993, right between Sonic 2/CD and 3&K.

    NeoGaffer Man God explained in the Sonic 3&K thread that a Sonic game had to release on the Sega Genesis/Megadrive for the holidays and a little concept for a game where Sonic is a pinball for the entire time popped up. Sega said "You have six months" and left.....with only concepts being on the table. Sonic 3 would of been the holiday 1993 game but it needed more time, so they had to rush this out for holidays.

    So, Sega developers worked hard on getting this out for the holidays and one must think "Oh, this is a rushed mess then, right?"

    Nope :). This is a fun but very challenging Pinball Adventure for Sonic and we are going to spin our way through this one ;).

    [​IMG]

    Looks like someone isn't in the mood for jokes!

    - - - - - - - -

    Okay, lets get right to the action then. This game is a pinball game staring the blue blur, with his goal being shutting down Robotnik's base on a mission from the Freedom Fighters.

    [​IMG]

    Remember Satam? The show with the amazing theme song? And Robotnik was voiced by the same VA of Whinne the Pooh?

    [​IMG]

    They get their first (and only) game appearance in a Sega-developed Sonic game here (with Mean Bean Machine having elements from AoStH).

    They appear in-game within specials stages after clearing all three rounds within one of the games three/four levels:
    [​IMG]

    This is a fun little ester egg and as someone who really liked both Satam and the early comics (read up to issue......55 a year or so ago; the comic is at issue 250+ at this point XD!), so hope you enjoyed the nod to this side of Sonic.

    - - - - - - -

    Moving on to the gameplay, its a pinball game with Sonic bouncing all over the place, with the mission in each of the games three/four zones being to collect three Chaos Emeralds, then fighting Robotnik's machine's ending with a fight against the vilian himself at 'Showdown' zone.

    The game structure is split up into a few parts, as this isn't your simple pinball game.

    [​IMG]

    Sonic has to play with the pinball levels to find ways to collect the Emeralds, so the above picture is an example of this; you hit a switch to drain the sewage, then you go to the over tables left/right and find a hidden minecart:

    [​IMG]

    You go left/right based on which side you pop out from then you can get the Emerald!

    [​IMG]

    Every table is set up like this, with a lot of interactive elements outside of just bouncing Sonic like a pinball. You collect rings, destroy badniks, and interact with the table to get more points.

    Sonic can even move left/right, jump and spindash like he could in Sonic 2, though control is more gimped (as its a pinball game, not a platformer).

    [​IMG]

    - - - - - - -

    What makes Spinball so much fun, and hard, is that Sonic controls like Sonic. You function like a pinball when bouncing around, but you have a lot of air control and due to Sonic controlling like a platformer character when on the ground, it gives more agency compared to other pinball games.

    But the game has two control options for Sonic, normal and fast.

    Normal feels very sluggish and sloppy with Sonic controlling stiffer, but fast makes Sonic's movement in the air a lot smoother and more controllable.

    They should been more clear about this when booting up the game but you have options for how Sonic controls. You can go into the options menu when booting up the game and it gives you the option to switch between 'Normal' and 'Fast' speeds.

    It is a natural step-up from the pinball tables in Casino Night more or less, and I feel that is really impressive :).

    - - - - - - -

    And what is a Sonic game, without an awesome soundtrack :D!
    Don't bring up Sonic Chronicles.....please :(

    Toxic Caves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZDr...A982431C25B53C
    The Showdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJoT...25B53C&index=3
    The Machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o_o...A982431C25B53C
    Lava Powerhouse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqtQ...A982431C25B53C
    Boss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoHc...25B53C&index=8
    Bonus Round: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIPr...25B53C&index=9

    The music here is really great, with my personal favorites being Lava Powerhouse and Toxic Caves. Fun fact about the musical score is that the game has two title themes! Most versions come with this title screen, but some very early versions of the game (that came on specific carts of the game during first retail runs) have this theme, sounding very similar to the Sonic 1/2 Themes :).

    The reason for this is because Sega doesn't own the musical scores to Sonic 1 and 2, a JP musical group called Dreams Come True composed the scores for both games and own full rights to them. Sega likely backed out from re-using the Sonic 1/2 theme for licensing reasons.

    - - - - - - - - -

    This game is quite challenging, as hunting for all the Chaos Emeralds is very tricky with the pinball system and interactive tables in place.....but its rewarding to push through. Beating a level with a high score feels so rewarding :D! Remember beating the game not long after getting the Mega Collection Disk with my GC back in 2002/2003; felt really rewarding :).

    Overall, I consider this to be a good game and the fact that this was made in SIX months.....is really impressive. Content complete, fells stable, runs great and its quite a spinball ;).

    [​IMG]
     
  13. RK128
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    Classic Era - Sonic the Fighters

    READY TO FIGHT! EVERYONE READY FOR A SUPER SONIC RUMBLE!?

    SONIC THE FIGHTERS!

    [​IMG]

    *Cough* Just had to do that :'). Fighting games always have great announcers.

    Anyway, Sonic jumps into the 3rd Dimension for a rumble with the best of them, with the goal being collecting all eight (they found an extra one?) Chaos Emeralds to fly a ship to the new Death Egg.

    Sonic and friends each have an Emerald and are fighting to collect them all. Who's going to win? And who is going to save the world?! YOU DECIDE!

    [​IMG]

    This is a fighting game developed by Sega Division AM2, who are known for the Virtual Fighter series but also made other games like Fighting Vipers and Fighters Megamix....you know, the fighting game with the car :D?

    [​IMG]

    So they are known for making some really fun games, so do they do Sonic and company justice with his very first fighting game? I think they do even if the game has some issues.

    You have a number of buttons to use; Attack, Kick, Shield, and Grab. Sounds simple but imputing combos feels very odd to me though it could just be from the fact I'm used to playing 2D Fighters (this is a 3D fighter). It works though and each playable character has different attacks.

    Sonic, the Blue Blur rolls around at the speed of sound spindashing into his foes, making them confused rolling around them and has a wind up punch to use.
    [​IMG]

    Tails 'Miles' Prower has the ability to attack with his tails, spindash like Sonic and has a really good grab that picks up the foe and slams them into the ground.
    [​IMG]

    Our boy Knuckles joins the fight too, punching and gliding his way into the battle. He can spindash as well in addition to having powerful punch attacks. He also doesn't chuckle either ;).
    [​IMG]

    The last three 'major' characters here are Amy Rose (Sonic CD), Espio (Knuckles Chaotix) and Fang (Sonic Triple Trouble).

    Amy uses her hammer to attack
    [​IMG]

    Espio uses his tongue to attack alongside turning invisible at points of the match.
    [​IMG]

    Fang has a pop-gun that shoots powerful attacks and jumps quite high in the air.
    [​IMG]

    So, the cast is filled with friends we meet over the course of this retrospective but we got some new faces and one returning one. Bark & Bean are new characters made for this game (which also appear in Megamix) while Robotnik returns as a boss and extra fighters in the PS3/360 version of this game.

    We also got a character that is both new and old; Honey.
    [​IMG]

    She looks to be a new character....but she really is a Sonic-themed version of this character from the game 'Fighting Vipers'
    [​IMG]

    Quite.....the different character honestly XD! She was an unfinished character in the original Sonic the Fighters but when the game released on PS3/360 in 2013, they restored her and Robotnik for the game as 'bonuses'. Nice to see added content given to a older game :).

    - - - - - - - -
    LETS FIGHT!

    Okay, the stages in Sonic the Fighters are a mix of new locations and new parts of older zones in Sonic history.

    [​IMG]

    South Island from Sonic 2 turns into a arena, same with Mushroom Hill and Casino Night as well:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The stages all come with a great score that, like every Sonic game, sounds great :).
    Intro Theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM9F...346D64EA6BD58A
    South Island - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGlW...346D64EA6BD58A
    Character Select - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9YQ...346D64EA6BD58A
    Sonic vs. Knuckles (Special Theme) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQMv...6BD58A&index=4
    Mushroom Hill - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdt-...6BD58A&index=6
    Flying Carpet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaR-...346D64EA6BD58A
    Casino Night - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTF-...346D64EA6BD58A
    Canyon Cruse - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or0S...BD58A&index=11
    Super Sonic! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uybf...346D64EA6BD58A
    Death Egg 'Metal Sonic's Theme' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v4p...BD58A&index=20
    Sonic's Theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JvK...346D64EA6BD58A
    Bark's Theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGRh...ature=youtu.be

    Killer soundtrack and one that really matches the mood of the fights!

    - - - - - - - - -
    FINAL ROUND!

    The last bit of information to cover is the 2013 re-release of the game, as it really is a great version. Not only is Dr. Robotnik a playable character and Honey is restored (was unfinished in the original/GC & PS2 release in Gems Collection) but we got online added into the game! Adds a lot and its fun to brawl with our friends online.

    You can also play this game on the GC (US/JP) or PS2 (EU) through Gems Collection too :).

    - - - - - - - - -
    GAME OVER!

    So, did I enjoy this game? It was fun to go back to it and while it took a while to get used to the mechanics, they are fun and rewarding when you get used to it. Its not the best fighting game ever made by a long shot and AM2 did better work on other projects during this era (VF2, Fighting Vipers, Fighters Megamix) but for Sonic's first round in the ring, he did well.

    [​IMG]

    Spat out some teeth and got a few bruses but still made it through the match. He will jump into the ring for round two with Sonic Battle and will talk about that much latter :).
     
  14. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Era: Sonic R

    [​IMG]

    Its part of the Sonic Gems Collection on the GameCube and I'm surprised with this. I played this a great deal when I was younger but hated it for its wonky controls. Went back to this today and.....its fun :).

    This has five tracks and ten playable characters, so it has a decent amount of content. Level design is done by some of the developers from the Genesis Sonic's, so Race Tracks have some level of depth to them.

    Its not a great game, heck, its not even a good game in many respects. The game lacks content with only five tracks and the playable characters aren't that different from one another. But the games saving grace is two things; the visuals and the soundtrack.

    Visually, it does look a bit dated. But it has this charm to it that makes everything 'pop' off the screen. Not to mention its vibrant and colorful like the Genesis games, making it have the iconic Sonic look.

    Music.....where to begin :'). Its soundtrack is legendary and iconic to the sonic series:
    Can You Feel the Sunshine?
    Back In Time
    Living in the City
    Diamond in the Sky
    Work It Out
    Super Sonic Racing

    This stuff is great and screams Sonic. Its cheese, stupid and dumb. But its very catchy, has a great melody, and the lyrics are great XD! Love the entire soundtrack and its great to see this be part of the series in future Racing titles and even in Sonic Generations.

    Overall, enjoyable racer that while aged and flawed, was a lot of fun to revisit for a bit :).
     
  15. shadowman
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    shadowman Well-Known Member

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    Really cool info on Sonic 3. I didn't realise that it had to be out by a certain date, that certainly explains a lot...

    S3&K though really is one of the best Sonic experiences out there. I still remember getting all the emeralds, transforming into hyper sonic and beating the Doomsday Zone for the first time. Epic stuff. Plus the soundtrack, Flying Battery Act 1 remains my favourite tune to this day.
     
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  16. Pata
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    Pata Well-Known Member

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    Sonic fan here too ;)

    I remember playing Sonic R and Sonic 3D, along with some other Sega old games like Sega Rally Championship and Sega GT, in the PC in my early gaming days.

    Also have fond memories of both versions of Dr. Robotnik Mean Bean Machine, which I played in the PS2 in the compilation Sonic Mega Collection Plus. Both versions were great, the Mega Drive version was one of the multiplayer games I used to play with my cousins in New Year's Eve when all family meets at our house, not to mention the singleplayer is great too (I loved how some AI had strange acting patterns), and the Game Gear/Master System version was good because of that damn difficult puzzle mode that has been teasing me since lol (I actually haven't completed it).
    Now, I will make a very honest confesion, I didn't know the game was based on Puyo Puyo, and I also didn't know that in the singleplayer the rivals I was facing were from Adventures of Sonic until later in my life.

    I never have liked Sonic the Fighters, neither back in the day when it was released in Sonic Gems Collection and neither when it was released as a PS3 version. It just doesn't feel like Sonic.

    About the classic Sonic games, what should I say that hasn't been said until now? All four games are excellent, my personal highlight is Sonic 2, such a great game. Sonic 3 had such long-ass levels (Carnival Night f*** you) and I personally didn't like that, but the game is great nonetheless, specially the variety of objects you could find (skies in Ice Cap,...), music was excellent (all of them are excellent except Carnival Night lol), that excellent that the credits song is probably the best credits song in existence. S&K is not that good but still great and the music is great too (Flying Battery FTW). Worth noting that I don't remember ever completing Sonic 3 and S&K, so this is why I probably hold a grudge on them. Sonic 1 is great too (Green Hill, Labyrinth and Star Light FTW).

    Sonic CD is also good but I think the time travel harmed more than it helped and feels kinda off, nonetheless, it was great to see the changes in the levels depending on which period of time you played them. The music (both JP and US soundtracks are excellent, noteworthy are Metallic Madness Good Future US, Stardust Speedway Bad Future (US), Tidal Tempest Present (JP) & Good Future (US), Palmtree Panic Present & Good Future (JP), Worky Workbench Present (US), Quartz Quadrant Good Future (US), among others). Special Stages are also good and different, but I wonder why you had to catch UFOs. Bosses were different (and harder if I remember right) than the classic games, which is good. Stage layout was a hit or miss (Collision Chaos and Wacky Workbench come to mind, Metallic Madness had some difficult parts,...)

    I want to play Knuckles Chaotix but never feels like the right moment to play it, maybe in the future?

    Sonic Spinball is also a kind of weird game, because it just doesn't feel like Sonic and that is probably why it didn't click with me (I tried to play it several times).

    I'll comment on Sonic 3D, Sonic R, Sonic Heroes and the rest of the games I played on another moment. But before I leave I would like to say that for the most part Sonic music in general is excellent, but that will be a thing for another moment
     
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  17. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone! Sorry for not posting much in a long while but.....I was busy :). Hope you don't mind a massive post covering a lot of games at once XD!

    Classic Series: Sonic 1 & 2 Game Gear/Master System

    [​IMG]

    Hello! Next up on the Retrospective is the Master System & Game Gear versions of Sonic 1 & 2.

    So, why didn't I cover these with my normal Sonic 1 & 2 threads? Because they are very, very different games. New zones, changed level designs, no special stages, collecting the Chaos Emeralds within stages and 0-Ring Boss Fights; quite the difference!

    So, lets go to the stories for each game!

    Sonic 1 is the same as the Genesis/Mega Drive version; Dr. Robotnik invades Sonic's home and he fights back. But Sonic 2's story is a bit different; Dr. Robotnik capture's Tails and its up to Sonic to collect the Chaos Emeralds; if he doesn't collect all seven and give them to Robotnik, Tails is goner!

    This leads to both games being quite different zone wise from the 'main' versions of the game. Sonic 1 MS has unique zones such as Bridge Zone, Jungle Zone and Sky Base but the main zones (Labyrinth, Green Hill, Scrap Brain) are still present. Sonic 2 MS has entirely unique places for the entire game (outside of a return to Green Hill).

    So, we got two new adventures to blast through! Can we process this experience ;)?

    ............

    Sorry, sorry; tired joke XD!

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    Sonic 1 MS/GG's level design is a lot more focused on being balanced with speed/platforming, compared to the original Genesis/MegaDrive versions which had speed-focused levels (Green Hill, Spring Yard, Star Light) and platforming focused-levels (Labyrinth, Marble). This allows the game to be more enjoyable in some respects.....but the level design can be a bit prick-ish at points.

    [​IMG]

    See these? They are going to be your best friend in Sonic 1 & 2 MS/GG, as they are all over the place. You don't die when you touch them, only lose rings but these alongside bottomless pits make level design focused on you being very careful through levels.

    But its a great challenge and is rewarding! ......In the Master System version. Sonic 1 & 2 on the Game Gear has bad screen-crunch, so you can't see everything around you. It is really, really bad with Sonic 2 Game Gear......as this it makes things a lot harder then they really have the right to be.

    Take this boss for example:
    [​IMG]

    You can't see the balls landing on the ground, so you can't avoid them to let them attack the robot in the pit; you will die a lot :(. This is where the Gems Collection comes into play!

    You can make quick-saves and restart from any point you had trouble with. I played these games using Sonic Adventure DX (Sonic 1 GG) and Gems Collection (Sonic 2 GG) so it helped a lot and made this issue more managable :).

    - - - - - - - -

    Now that I got my biggest issue out of the way, lets talk about the levels in detail!

    Okay, Sonic 1's stages are like I mentioned before, focused on melding platforming + speed and in my mind, it does it a bit better then Sonic. Manly from it being more consistent. Every level has a decent amount of speed vs in the Genesis version where you have two long zones with a major focus on slow platforming (Marble and Labyrinth)..

    Sonic 2's stages are home to a number of fun gimmicks to play with. Take Sky High Zone for example. Sonic has this hang glider he can use to fly across the stage, controlling a bit like Cape Mario from Mario World:
    [​IMG]

    If you nail the controls using this, you can fly past a lot of the zone. Or you can take the platforming focused path (filled with spikes) on the ground. Or, you can use your speed to stay on the middle path and use the cloud springs to say in the air for a long time.

    It was one of my favorite zones in the game :). Every zone in Sonic 2 Game Gear works like this and it allows for some really fun platforming :D!

    So overall thoughts on level design? Solid and it does a great job emulating the 'Sonic' feel the Genesis games focus on.

    - - - - - - -

    Next up is the presentation and it does a good job.

    Art style for both games are simple (due to the 8-bit nature) but they stick out well to the point that they are quite nice looking.

    [​IMG]

    The music for both games rocks, as while we got some remixes for Sonic 1, Sonic 2 is entirely new tracks with one notable exception.
    Sky High Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QKx...8PD70&index=24
    Green Hills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBgC...8PD70&index=15
    Boss Theme (Sonic 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhql...g8PD70&index=6
    Aqua Lake Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qmf...k7i1cu4ug8PD70
    Ending Theme (Master System): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA2e...k7i1cu4ug8PD70
    Good Ending Theme: http://api.viglink.com/api/click?for...%3D245ea71VCE8
    Gimmick Mountain Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn84...k7i1cu4ug8PD70
    Green Hill (Sonic 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVUK...768DBC15D73A37
    Bridge Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkS_...D73A37&index=4
    Sky Base Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NFk...D73A37&index=8
    Boss Theme (Sonic 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUHY...73A37&index=12
    Scrap Brain Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dch...D73A37&index=7
    Life Lost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq4F...73A37&index=15
    Boss Theme (Game Gear):

    Both of these games have amazing music and they stand alongside the other iconic tracks from the Classic Era :).

    Also interesting is that Sonic 1 GG/Master System was going to have Marble Zone! NeoGaffer Ferr986 corrected me regarding the ending themes but also brought attention to this track: This is Marble Zone's 8-Bit rendition....so it was likely meant for a real Marble Zone in Sonic 1 GG/MS but they ran out of time or something and never put it in the final game (though its hidden away inside the rom). Thank you for sharing this with us man :D!

    - - - - - - - - -

    So, overall thoughts on these two gems? Really fun platforms that while very hard, well worth playing! Some of the best games from this Era for Sonic and stands right next to the Genesis games in my book.

    Honestly was surprised with these two games and being surprised was one of the reasons I started this retrospective; revisiting games I thought were bad or thought were 'Meh'. But, my mind completely changed with these two games; iconic classics that everyone should give a look :D!

    [​IMG]

    - - - - - - - - -
     
  18. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Classic Series: Sonic and Tails Adventures (Sonic Chaos and Triple Trouble)

    [​IMG]

    Otherwise called in NA and EU......

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    These two games are 2D platformers not unlike Sonic 1 & 2 Game Gear/Master System.....but what makes then unique is that they were built in mind for the Game Gear first. Why do I say that? Note how I didn't use a Master System Box Art for Triple Trouble; it got no Master System version (unlike Sonic Chaos/Sonic & Tails 1).

    So lets get to the games!

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The stories for both are simple. Chaos has Sonic & Tails chasing after Eggman for the Chaos Emeralds! ......Thats it. Talk about a simple story! So with such a simple story, you wouldn't think you are in for a grand adventure, but that is wrong.

    Sonic returns as a playable character but Tails has his first Game Gear playable role and he has a gimped flight. Unlike in Sonic 3 where you can mash the jump button to fly, Tails has to stand still, hold Up and hold the Jump button to hover for a limited time.

    Sonic does have his super peel out move from CD and it gives him a huge burst of speed!

    So now that we know how Sonic & Tails control here, how does the levels play out in Chaos? They are easy and enjoyable :). These are some of the easiest Sonic Stages I've dashed through and I honestly enjoyed this a lot.

    It focused on speed and while level design could of been more fleshed out, for what it is, I greatly enjoyed it.

    The levels in Sonic Chaos are fun, with linear level design but with some enjoyable zones to dash through.

    Aquatic Plant Zone was an enjoyable water zone due to the water skipping ability from Sonic 2 GG/MS returning (rolling allows you to hop across water if you keep moving).

    I liked Gigapolis Zone, Mecha Green Hill Zone, and Turquoise Hill Zone due to the great themes all three have.

    Level design as a whole isn't amazing, but its fun.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Sonic Triple Trouble is more interesting to talk about, as it does a lot more then Sonic Chaos. The story has our boy Knuckles being tricked by Dr. Robotnik again and it forces Sonic & Tails to once again go on a hunt for the emeralds.....but we meet a new face!

    [​IMG]

    Nack is a treasure hunter that can travel in-between the special stages....so that means we got some challenging special stages to fight. Between Dr. Robotnik, Nack, Knuckles and even Metal Sonic showing up.......we got quite some trouble on our hands ;).

    *Cough* Bad at the jokes guys :l. Anyway, the story is more interesting here, so what about the levels?

    Triple Trouble has a large selection of stages that, unlike Sonic Chaos, are really memerable. Sunset Park is a great example, as it has you using Mine Carts to get through the level and the third act having you run across a moving train!

    [​IMG]

    It was a nice set piece and it gets followed up with Robotnik Winter, with Sonic riding on a Snowboard across the level if you are skilled enough.

    [​IMG]

    Even better is if you play the zone as Tails, as you can hit item boxes that allows you to fly really fast. I had fun with this zone quite a bit.

    After this, we get Tidal Plant Zone and with Tails, you can ride in his Sea Fox Sub (which we will see very soon in his own game ;)).

    I am talking alot about the zones in Triple Trouble as, well, they are really interesting with set pieces and fun level designs. I will not say they are perfect though (Tidal Plant Zone as Sonic can be really annoying :() but I had a great time running through them.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WARP ZONE!

    *Cough* Now is the best time to start talking about special stages with Sonic :). I touched upon this with Sonic 3&K but both of these games do it differently.

    Sonic & Tails run through mini-levels in both Chaos and Triple Trouble, with Chaos focusing on gimmick powers (Rocket Shoes, which allows Sonic to fly and the Bounce Spring, which is a bounces until you jump of it). Note how I said Sonic, as Tails has no special stages in Chaos (he automatically gets the good ending).

    With Triple Trouble, this concept is expanded upon, with both Sonic and Tails running through these levels. You have two types; a maze to run through or a 3D flying section with Sonic/Tails using a plane to collect X amount of rings. Both are quite fun and after special stage two, you start fighting Nack in boss fights. Yes, I say boss fights WITHIN special stages. That is impressive and it makes you on your edge during these levels.

    [​IMG]

    Overall, they are enjoyable and add a bit to the game :).

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    And what is a RK128 Sonic topic without me gushing about the music XD! Sonic always has great music and its great seeing both of these games keep that tradition up :).

    Sonic Chaos has a great soundtrack and I really love a lot of its themes:
    Gigapolis Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzo0...kmKlI&index=14
    Mecha Green Hill Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1LJ...bN9O7-ue9kmKlI
    Sleeping Egg Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxnz...bN9O7-ue9kmKlI
    Turquoise Hill Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm6J...bN9O7-ue9kmKlI

    Sonic Triple Trouble has a great soundtrack as well, with some really iconic themes being made here:
    3D Special Stage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV3l...ySaV4zqe2hbgej
    Dr. Robotnik: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0uV...2hbgej&index=7
    Metal Sonic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijnz...hbgej&index=21
    Nack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlCV...hbgej&index=22
    Robotnik Winter Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWMe...hbgej&index=25
    Sunset Park Zone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF1d...ySaV4zqe2hbgej
    Sunset Park Zone Act 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrna...ySaV4zqe2hbgej
    Extra: Genesis Cover Version of Sunset Park Zone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zm5...ySaV4zqe2hbgej

    I love both soundtracks, as they really make great use of the Game Gear's sound quality :).

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    So, what are my overall thoughts on this pair of games? Good titles that offer some great 2D Sonic goodness. They have some issues (Special Stages being annoying at points in Triple Trouble (the maze ones mainly) and Chaos being too easy) but overall, they are great platformers.

    Triple Trouble is playable on the 3DS via E-Shop and Chaos can be played in a number of ways (Sonic Adventure DX GameCube, PS2/Xbox Mega Collection Plus, ect).

    I have a fun story with Chaos, as I got a retail cart of the game to play on a Game Gear I got from a family member years ago.....lost both sadly but still, nice owing the retail version of Chaos :D.

    I liked both of these games a lot and highly recommend you give them a shot. Easily some of Sonic's finest work on the handheld space (next to Advance 1, Rush/Rush Adventure and Colors DS).

    - - - - - - - -

    Classic Series: Sonic Drift 1 & 2
    [​IMG]

    Sonic races into action with the Sonic Drift series.....exclusive to Japan for a very long time until they got localized for English in NA/EU with Sonic Adventure DX & Sonic Gems Collection.

    So, are they fun racing games, or poor Mario Kart clones? LETS RACE!

    [​IMG]

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The game has all the settings/modes you would expect from a kart racer; time trails, GP mode, verses mode with buddies or the CPU and some options to play around with.

    But the gameplay is the most interesting element as.....its Mario Kart in some ways.

    [​IMG]

    You have the map on the top of the screen to see where you & the other racers are and you have the rest of the screen for yourself and the race track. How you race with sonic is that one button is to accelerate, one button is for breaking, and one for items you find on the track. This is a bit different with Sonic Drift 2 but will get to that in a minute.

    The controls can be really bad if you don't know how the breaking system works, which is where Mario Kart and this differ greatly. In Mario Kart, drifting can be used to build up nitro/energy (shown with colored sparks), and once you let go, you get a boost foward. With this game, you have a set speed and you get faster over time, but the drift element is for the tracks.

    The tracks are built to be very curvy, leading to you focusing on making hard turns and letting go of the gas at the right points. If you time your inputs right, you can fly past the competition!

    Don't have much to say with how items work, as they can either hinder progress or make you go faster. But I understand Sonic Drift 2's systems better, so will talk about that now :).

    Sonic Drift 2 adds a bit more to the mix, with ring collection (which is in the original) being used to build up a special ability for each racer. Sonic for example gets a boost when enough rings are collected.

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Lets get to the racers now, as each game has unique racers :D.

    Sonic Drift 1 has the above cast; Sonic, Tails, Amy and Eggman.

    But Sonic Drift 2 adds our boy Knuckles, Fang/Nack the Sniper (which will be talked about with the Triple Trouble thread ;)), and Metal Sonic.

    Sonic Drift 2's track design is a bit better then the original's as new elements like Ice and Sand enter the scene and effect the track design in new ways. Having Ice, Sand and Space settings make tracks visual look more interesting and allows the curvy design become more noticeable. Ice Cap was my favorite track from Sonic Drift 2 :D.



    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The tracks in each Sonic Drift are named after other zones in the series and like every Sonic title, they have some amazing themes :D.

    Green Hill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-nx...BafBa1Cf_YMHuA
    Labyrinth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r2h..._YMHuA&index=7
    Scrap Brain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU_6...YMHuA&index=11
    Star Light: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hupW...YMHuA&index=13

    As one can see, Sonic Drift 1 is heavily rooted within Sonic 1 locations and themes.

    But Sonic Drift 2 is more interesting with not just zones from Sonic 1 & 2 appearing:
    Balloon Panic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCAc...btKmxFUE9QbwuA
    Casino Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V7u...9QbwuA&index=2
    Dark Valley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzUn...9QbwuA&index=4
    Desert Road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpQJ...btKmxFUE9QbwuA
    Ice Cap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vAv...btKmxFUE9QbwuA
    Rainy Savannah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoZ7...QbwuA&index=23
    Final GP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkVZ...9QbwuA&index=9

    Sonic Drift 2 has a better ballence of original themes and new themes to play with for tracks and that is always a great thing :).

    - - - - - - - - - - - -

    So, what are my thoughts on this racing classic? Meh :l.

    I do feel Drift 2 is the better game here, with the same modes as the original but with more content to dig into (tracks and characters) it feels more interesting then the original Drift. But the games are just okay, not great or amazing, just good.

    For a racing game on the Game Gear, its impressive they made the game to begin with (as I would imagine something like Outrun would have a big issue making the handheld leap at this time period). So, I enjoyed both of these games :). They are just not my favorite pair of Sonic Racers.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    The Sonic series didn't ditch racing completely though.......it came back to it with some Super Sonic Racing, hoverboard action and a return to the kart racer in the future and they got better and better over time :D!

    [​IMG]

    - - - - - - - - -
    Classic Series: Tails' Adventures (Sky Patrol and Tails' Adventures)
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The last classic era games I am going to cover star our favorite two tailed fox, Miles 'Tails' Prower!

    These two games are quite different from one another but both offer a lot of fun in different ways :). They are oddballs in the Sonic series, as they play nothing like the normal sonic game.....but that is okay as these two games do what they set out to do, well, right.

    Lets fly in the sky with Tails Sky Patrol!

    - - - - - - - - - -
    Flying in the Sky, Holding Rings in my Hand.....

    Tails's home is attacked by Wendy Witchcart and her animal underlings so its up to Tails and his special ring to fly through the levels, defeat the underlings and defeat the witch! Odd set up but Sonic has had some odd settings in the past. He DID hop into the Middle-Ages swinging swords in the future after all......

    You have the following to deal with; a flight meter that controls how long Tails can be up in the air in addition to a live counter under the flight bar. Tails can fly forward by pushing right and you can use your ring to attack foes and destroy objects in the levels.

    The Ring is quite useful, as you can orbit it around you by holding a button, letting it go at the right time. Gives you a feeling of control and it makes aiming a bit easier. Tails also has a few power ups/items to keep in mind; you can collect candy to increase your flight bar, collect gems to increase your score and even find a shield that makes you impervious to damage/wall contact for a little while.

    [​IMG]

    There are a few ways to ensure the flight meter lasts a long while, as if it goes out, you lose a life:
    -Do not bump into walls
    -Control how much you push right
    -Fly into polls, launchers, mine carts and other objects to get through sections with minimal flight
    -Bump into balloons that can help you fly while using less flight meter

    So with the mechanics out of the way, how does it all come together?

    [​IMG]

    It leads into a fun shooting/flying game :). Many of the levels are focused on pushing you forward (as everything auto-scrolls right) with you facing foes, walls and other objects. Attacking foes with the ring feels natural and the boss fights with the different underlings and the final fight with the witch is quite fun.

    The music for this game is solid too, with a lot of the tracks being really relaxing to be quite honest :D.
    Training Area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNFw...A7A9CE44C8D933
    Rail Canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2SK...C8D933&index=5
    Ruin Wood Area Act 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uWX...A7A9CE44C8D933
    Ruin Wood Area Act 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Nsa...A7A9CE44C8D933
    Metal Island Area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im_L...8D933&index=10
    Dark Castle Area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXqm...8D933&index=12
    Wendy Witchcart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUlb...A7A9CE44C8D933

    Overall, this is a nice little spin off that flies (*cough*) by quite fast. If you have access to the Sonic Gems Collection, give this one a shot :). Never released outside of Japan, so its nice that we got to play it at all!

    - - - - - - - - - - -
    The Fox vs. the Birds

    This game is a 2D action title like past Sonic's.....but done in a different way; its a Metroidvannia! One must ask, how the heck does a genre like that mesh with Sonic, a series known for speed-based platforming?!

    Well, keep on reading to find out :D!


    Tails Adventures is either a prequel to Sonic 2 (JP) or takes place sometime after Sonic 3&K (US/EU) depending on the region, but the general story is that Tails is relaxing on an island but birds start attacking it! Chaos Emeralds are on the island and they want to collect them all. Tails flies into action with bombs on his side to get the emeralds, stop the bird armies and save the day.

    [​IMG]

    So, how does the game play? Its controls are quite simple; D-Pad is to move left/right or look up/down, one button to jump and one button to use your item of choice. You can select one of four equipped items by pressing start and moving left/right to find the one you want to use.

    Wait, why does Tails use items? Can't he just jump into them like past games. .....That is a good point, but he has different attacks based on what items you find in the levels.

    Tails has the following items he can use as explores through the world:
    -Bomb: Standard explosive that blows up in peoples faces.
    -Remote Bomb: Remote Bomb that explodes when you press the button again; can squeeze through tight gaps.
    -Hammer: Can equip a hammer for short-ranged attacks.
    -Mini-Robot: A little Tails Robot that can explore the level through flying and jumping. You can walk over spikes as the robot, fly in the sky and currents/lava has no effect.
    -Sonic, Knuckles, Nack Metals: Each gives you a new attack once you find them (Knuckles = Punching, Sonic = Ground/Air Spindash, ect)
    -Radio: Can change the level's track to something else

    The game has a lot of items, thanks to its open level design and you will be revisiting levels frequently with the new items you get as you explore each level. The chaos emeralds are in each main level and they increase your health by 10 Rings and make your fight last longer.

    Tails also has one cool ride; the Sea Fox!

    [​IMG]

    This underwater mech is not new; we saw it in Sonic Triple Trouble/Sonic & Tails 2 and similar to that game, Tails can get around underwater with little issue. You can drill through blocks and you have a little cannon that can attack foes underwater.

    The funny thing is that the Sea Fox appears in a number of other games, even appearing on Sonic Boom 3DS as a tool Tails can use to collect blue prints.

    And like the item system, you can collect different items that increase how powerful the Sea Fox becomes. It also, like the other items, opens doors to new items to collect and thus makes simple underwater sections feel a bit maze-like at points.

    The soundtrack to Tails Adventure is solid, and fits the more laid-back tone this game has (gameplay-wise at least):
    Lake Rocky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APzD...D2HnYN35Zom-77
    Polly Mountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd_V...om-77&index=10
    Tails House (This sounds so much like the Pokemon Centers in the Pokemon games for some reason to me XD!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hI5...om-77&index=13
    Volcanic Tunnel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIDT...D2HnYN35Zom-77
    Caron Forest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O-W...Zom-77&index=1
    Final Boss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxaE...D2HnYN35Zom-77

    It sounds great like most Sonic OST's and like Sonic 1/2 GG and the Sonic & Tails games, they push the GG sound chip to its limits :D.

    So with this game shifting game genre's completely, does it complement the Sonic series? I think its an enjoyable game. While it sadly didn't grab me completely, I did enjoy my time with the game and it was rewarding hunting around for everything.

    - - - - - - - -
    The Fox's Adventures

    Both of these games are examples of fun little spin-offs done right; they mix up the core gameplay people love about the main series but does its own thing with polish, care and a lot of thought. I enjoyed both games and while they are not perfect (the level design for Tails' Adventure is tricky to understand at times), they do good in representing the Sonic series :).

    If you want to give it spin, head over to the E-Shop on your NA or EU 3DS! Its up on that store-front for 4.99 (in NA) :D.

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Classic Series: Sonic Blast
    [​IMG]

    Boy......where do I START with this one :l?

    Um, Sonic Blast released not long after the launch of 3D Blast. So, Sega thought "Lets make a Sonic 3D Blast like game for the Game Gear! It's more then powerful enough to ru-"

    [​IMG]

    "Oh my......lets just toss this out to the masses."
    "But sir! This looks horr-"
    "PUT IT OUT NOW!"

    *Cough* And thus, Sonic Blast, the treasured gem of a game, was graced amongst us mere mortals. Let its amazing pre-rendered visuals, short length and amazing level design shine us through the battle against the lone Boy of Games.

    ......I'm sorry XD! That was too much fun to write :').

    Okay, Sonic Blast is a 2D action platformer like past Sonic games before but it went all Donkey Kong Country on us! Pre-Rendered sprites and more realistic visual style replace the iconic classic era style and its......really ugly :(. Unlike the DKC games which aged quite well or even 3D Blast which looks fine today (heck, they did a great job with the Saturn version of it!).

    So, with the fuggy visuals, is their a good game here?

    ............

    Guess not, huh?

    The game has two playable characters, Sonic (who can double jump) and our boy Knuckles (who can climb up walls....and chuckles from the fact he is in this mess). The level design tries to be interesting but the art style the game uses restricts what it can do.

    Remember my Sonic 1/2 GG and Sonic & Tails threads, with me talking about the level design in a great light? That isn't carried over here, likely due to the horrid art direction using too much memory from the Game Gear.

    This comes to a head with THIS zone.
    [​IMG]

    Blue Marine Zone.....one of the worst underwater Sonic stages in history. Air currents pushing you all over the place, Sonic/Knuckles controlling like tanks and the horrid physics not working well.

    The games physics are quite bad to begin with, due to everyone moving like rocks but its even worse here. I got stuck for a good five minutes in a loop from the currents.....in Act 1. And you know what? The zones tend to last only 30 seconds or so. So that fact that I got so stuck is a problem :(.

    The rest of the game is just 'meh' honestly but the visual style and horrid controls really cement it as a bad Sonic. The classic era isn't perfect and this game is a clear example of this.

    Lets move on to the soundtrack, one area where this game does some things right.

    Green Hill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxV5...yK0X4C&index=4
    Yellow Desert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZmu...yK0X4C&index=5
    Silver Castle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8Dc...qUI9p5Y0yK0X4C
    Red Volcano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDDS...qUI9p5Y0yK0X4C
    Blue Marine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97JB...qUI9p5Y0yK0X4C

    You got that right, only five zones and they have such creative zone names. I do enjoy this version of Green Hill Zone at the very least :). Nice beat and melody.

    Is this a bad game? Yes. Is it a horrid waste of your time? YES! Should you play it? It depends :l. This is the worst Classic Era game, so if you want to see the worse of this era of Sonic (The Golden Age for the series in many respects), then why not :). Its on the 3DS E-Shop (for.....some reason :l).

    - - - - - - - -
    Classic Series: Sonic Labyrinth
    [​IMG]

    Lets go into the Labyrinth!

    Sonic Labyrinth tells the grand tale of a lost story where our Blue Blur.....was slow?! Yes, Sonic lost his great super speed thanks to a lovely pair of Slow Down Shoes thanks to Robotnik and he has to collect Chaos Emeralds to restore his speed and stop Robotnik by beating his great labyrinth. Now one must ask, why not take the shoes off? Well, he cannot, as they weigh him down and prevent him from running. But he can still use his super spindash. Using this, he spins into the Labyrinth!

    Firstly, like the move on Sega's part for explaining why Sonic is slow. Makes more sense then.......this:
    [​IMG]

    It also gives us a decent enough reason to spin our way into this adventure ;).

    Sonic has a slow walking speed he can rev-up into a spin dash and controls like a pinball. He bounces all over the place and can make some great trick shots to fly though the stages faster.

    You can charge it up to four levels, with the highest sending you flying. I like this set up, as Sonic controls well walking or rolling around. While I liked how 3D Blast played, having a more controllable option for my movement via Sonic moving slow (walking) and fast (rolling) helps a lot to make things fun.

    You're goal is to collect three keys before entering a goal doorway and you do this for every level in the game. You can also collect power ups to make you invincible, increase your walking speed or even pulling a key toward you!

    The game has some boss fights but they are simple. You roll down a half-pipe and collect rings before heading to the boss. Once you beat them, you get a chaos emerald!

    The game is sadly short (12 levels, 4 boss fights) but is it a fun ride :)? Note how I am being quite kind to the game? Its due to it being okay.

    Its not horrid, bad or great. Its just 'good', with it being a fun little puzzle adventure for Sonic.

    The soundtrack is solid too:
    Level 1 Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfvz...QRppfr&index=4
    Level 2 Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXFS...QRppfr&index=6
    Level 3 Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TipH...QRppfr&index=8
    Before the Boss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTwI...Rppfr&index=12
    Boss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfAQ...Rppfr&index=14
    Final Boss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI0A...Rppfr&index=15

    Its not amazing, but its perfectly enjoyable :).

    I had a nice time playing this and was surprised with how enjoyable the game ended up being to me. Far, FAR from it being next to Sonic 06, Shadow or Chronicles for me. I recommend you give it a shot on your 3DS if you have the time :D! Worse ways to kill a half hour.
     
  19. shadowman
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    shadowman Well-Known Member

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    Seems like I completely missed all the Sonic Game Gear games that were released after Triple Trouble. I really wanted to get Tails Adventure back in the day (remember seeing it in stores) but never got it. I do love TT though, between the music, the levels and the decent difficulty curve (so much more forgiving compared to 2 on the GG) I replayed it tons. Still love playing it today. Just wish I could find my original box the game came in...
     
  20. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the long time between posts, but will start posting the rest of the Retrospective here soon, as I wrapped it up on NeoGaf :).

    By tonight, the rest of the Classic series and most of the Dreamcast Era topics will be up soon.
     
  21. coachjjs75
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    coachjjs75 Well-Known Member

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    i miss though sonic dayz from the bast !!!! thanks for sharing !!!
     
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  22. RK128
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    RK128 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, its been a while XD! I finished my run with Sonic and started other Retrospectives too. They are on my site, which is here: https://rk564.wordpress.com/

    I will start putting Retrospectives on this forum again in the future, so I hope you all enjoy them :). Thank you all for your time and lets celebrate Sonic's big birthday!
     

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