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Everything posted by Cube

  1. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    So it seams the main reason to play Halo Infinite (campaign co-op) has been delayed for at least six months. I'm expecting split screen campaign to be quietly shoved under a rug and never actually happen. Forge mode is also delayed for at least six months.
  2. House buying is the worst

    Every part of this is so stressful. They seem to be asking for new details every other day and each one just gives me a pang of "they're (the mortgage company) looking for an excuse to back out". Someone did point out that if they wanted to back out, they would just say no and wouldn't bother with any of this, and that they're just checking everything which we know is in good order. Even so, my mental state is constantly flipping between "yes, we're getting a house" and "it's all falling apart".
  3. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Twelve Minutes Everyone’s first “loop” in twelve minutes will be similar: you get home to your small apartment and your wife has prepared a surprise dessert for you (I’m not quite sure what happened to the main meal, I guess he eats at work?), along with some news. As you both enjoy this excitement, a cop knocks on the door and a series of events ensue, resulting in you getting knocked out. You then start again having just entered your flat. This is a time loop game. Your goal isn’t quite clear, but you know you have to get out of your current situation, solving the mystery of the situation you are in, one loop at a time. Twelve Minutes takes place entirely in the apartment, so there’s only a limited amount of things to interact with. This helps narrow down what you can interact with, so for the most part there’s always something to try. One problem with the mechanics is that it’s not just about what you know, it’s about what the main character (unnamed, played by James McAvoy) knows, in order for him to try and convince his Wife (also unnamed, played by Daisy Ridley) or the Cop (played by Willem Dafoe). At various points in the game, you as a player know what’s happening, but you need to figure out what to do so that the correct dialogue options will appear. Some of working this out I do enjoy, and learning how each loop works and how to interact with everyone is really nice. The point and click side of things is quite well done, and apart from a couple of moments, I never felt completely lost in terms of not having any ideas to try out. What is very frustrating, however, is the dialogue options with the Wife. So many ideas will pop into your head on what you and the wife could attempt, but because there are a very limited options of dialogue choices, so most of your ideas you won’t be able to try out. It feels like you’re working out what the game wants you to do. It’s very different to The Outer Wilds (another time loop game) where if you have an idea, you can try it out. It means that in The Outer Wilds, it feels like you’re finding out how the world of the game works, while in Twelve Minutes, you’re figuring out what the code wants you to do. It’s not very immersive. Twelve Minutes has a top-down perspective, but the aesthetics are quite nice. What is disappointing is that the animation is very wonky, right from the very first interaction (you and the wife interacting), it comes across very unnatural. It’s not helped with how a lot of the time, when you choose to talk to each other, your character will walk right to them in order to do so. It’s a strange complaint because I wouldn’t care about this in an older Point & Click game, but the style of Twelve Minutes, plus it happening in one apartment, just comes across as unrealistic. It’s a bit of an uncanny valley – because it has a realistic style, these flaws are much harder to dismiss. Mild Spoilers about the beginning of the game from this point Lots of people hate finding out about some stuff relating to how the story as a whole works, so I will issue a spoiler warning for this as well. I will not be giving any details, purely my opinion on the quality of the story and its resolution (again, no details, just talking about its quality) Warning Story Structure Spoilers from this point I love time loop games, and point and click adventures, but unfortunately this is missing the vital elements of both.
  4. 47. Sonic Jump Fever Original platform: Android/iOS Availability: Only available if downloaded previously. When I wrote about the first Android version of Sonic Jump, I never mentioned the endless mode. This was because it was just a bonus, and not anything meaningful to me. This is important to mention now because the endless mode of Sonic Jump – an additional extra to the main game – is the entirety of Sonic Jump Fever. There’s no campaign mode with crafted levels that feel satisfying to complete, just random endless platforms. Well, technically, it’s not “endless” as such. You have a time limit and you reach the “end” once it runs out. When you fall, you don’t die, you just appear in a cannon at the bottom of the screen and get blasted to carry on. Progressing in this doesn’t feel satisfying in any way, as it just means you had a lucky set of platforms that got you to the next time extension checkpoint, not by skill. On top of this, Sonic Rush Fever has the same issues as the Sonic Dash games – you can upgrade your characters and buy items that offer you a one-time help.This means that your scores are entirely linked to how much time you spend grinding – or how much money you put into the game. Sonic Jump Fever also features a Chao garden. There’s not much to do here, you’ll get eggs by spending coins (or money) and you have a limited amount of time to use them enough times to earn their “loyalty”. Run out of time and they’ll vanish. Playing enough times to earn their loyalty sounds like a simple task, but that’s where the energy meter comes into play. If you’ve been lucky enough to not encounter energy meters in mobile games, this is how it works: you can play Sonic Jump Fever 5 times (which doesn’t take long at all, one to two minutes per play). After this you must wait for your energy meter to fill up at a rate of one go per 25 minutes. Of course, you can also pay premium currency to fill this up, because that’s all Sonic Jump Fever cares about: making you want to part with your money. Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump Fever are rather fascinating games as they portray the evolution of mobile games rather well. The first one is a game made up of pre-made levels, designed to give you an increased challenge as you progress, and add in new challenges and features along the way, while Sonic Jump Fever is just endless grinding to try and hook you in so you’ll waste money on it. 48. Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive) Original platform: Mega Drive Version Played: PAL & NTSC versions Where to get: Available on many platforms and collections. This game was my early childhood. I absolutely adored it as a kid, playing it many, many times on my Mega Drive. It has a very secure and special space in my heart. I also had Sonic 2 as a kid, but the original stuck with me more. That said, I find it very difficult to play Sonic the Hedgehog on the original hardware (I do have a Mega Drive and the main Sonic games), due to being spoiled by different versions I’ve played in the nearly 30 years since. This isn’t due to new features, but more that those versions are based on the American and Japanese versions, and not the European version. Back in the day (I feel old writing that), TV technology in Europe was different to America and Japan, running at 50Hz instead of 60Hz. Some games got a proper “conversion” to 50Hz, meaning the European version was very close in most aspects, but Sonic the Hedgehog 1 did not get this. Games now have differences in frame rates (such as 30fps, 60fps) but the important thing to note is that the games still run at the same speed. Characters don’t move faster at 60fps, it’s just that the movement is slower. The difference between 50Hz and 60Hz, while technically being about frames per second, is very different. 50Hz games (when not properly converted) simply run slower. Sonic runs slower, and it takes longer to complete levels. Even the timer in the game runs slowly. This means that according to the game, you can finish the levels in both 50Hz and 60Hz versions with the exact time on the in-game timer, it will have taken longer in real time for the 50Hz version. This also extends to the music, which also runs slower. Here’s an example of Spring Yard Zone: Oddly, I had no issues getting used to the faster music or faster pace when I first played a 60Hz version (which was probably working out how to activate 60Hz in Sonic Mega Collection on GameCube), but going backwards is something I struggle with. For me, I’d much rather play the 60Hz version, which is most accessible in emulated forms. As for the game itself, I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said. I absolutely love the game. Although Labyrinth Zone is a low point, I still think it has some nice ideas. I also really like Marble Zone – I don’t mind when Sonic games focus on slower paced platformer for some moments or levels. I absolutely love the graphics, sound effects and music as well. One small thing I’ve noticed in more recent playthroughs is that Sonic 1 is actually really good at introducing gimmicks in each level, as the first time you can encounter something it’s usually “safe”, with it getting dangerous once you know how it works. This means you don’t really die because you weren’t expecting a mechanic, because you’ve already been able to “test” it. I was also surprised about how subtle this is. It’s a really well designed game, and I just absolutely love it.
  5. Pokèmon Prèsents 18/08/2021

    They don't need to make it fully like an action combat system, but they could potentially have it real-time (generic, there's some potential balance of having some moves take longer than others), where you can mark locations for your Pokémon to go to to add a bit of positioning to it - not directly controlling each Pokémon, but more suggesting a spot for your Pokémon to position themselves, especially as this game's battles take place within the terrain. You have the four main buttons for each of the four moves it knows, analogue stick to be a kind of "pointer", shoulder button to shout "go there", items/change pokémon on the D-pad.
  6. Pokèmon Prèsents 18/08/2021

    The ovwrworld of Arceus looks interesting, but I wish they'd done something different for combat instead of keeping it turn based like the main games. What's the point of the world if the combat doesn't make use of it?
  7. Yup, it's got different levels and stuff so it'll also on the list.
  8. 43. Sonic Unleashed Original Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 Version Played Xbox 360 Where to get: Xbox Store, PS3 store After almost defeating Dr Robotnik but falling into a trap, energy is drained from Sonic to power a weapon that splits apart the planet and releases Dark Gaia. Sonic turns into a “werehog” and is sent tumbling down to the planet where he stumbles upon Chip, his new companion who has lost his memory. In Sonic Unleashed, the stages take place in fictional locations that are inspired by real-life ones, and they all look stunning with wonderful music that mixes Sonic music with a style that matches the region the level is based on. There’s a lot of background detail, too, with lots of buildings – the European city inspired Spagonia had what looks like thousands of houses in the background as you ascend and drop down from a large clock tower. Unleashed is split into day and night stages. In day, you play as Sonic, while night stages have you playing as his Werehog form (thankfully, the game never uses the Werehog term). The day stages are immensely fun, utilising the boost like Sonic Rush, but in this it’s gained from collecting rings. Another major change is that the homing attack now has a reticule (first doen in Sonic and the Secret Rings), which is a big improvement as you know you’re going to hit an enemy instead of flying to death because you weren’t targeting what you thought you were targeting. The main stages are incredibly good fun, using a mixture of 3D parts with twist and turns, ones where you run straight and use the shoulder buttons to sidestep, 2D platforming sections that can be fast paced or more focused on precise platforming. It keeps the longer levels Unleashed has feel like they’re comprised of interesting segments. There are also some additional smaller levels which focus on singular mechanics and can be very difficult. My main issue with the day stages are the quick time events. Quite often you’ll hit a big ramp and have to hit a series of buttons to reach the higher route. They seem to be there because everyone was doing QTEs back when this came out. Still, it’s just a minor flaw. In the night stages, you play a God of War-like fighting game with Sonic in his Werehog form. I actually quite enjoy this, and I think it’s one of the better “non-Sonic-style” types of additional gameplay in Sonic games. Combat is satisfying to do, with lots of combos, being able to pick up enemies. It does have a QTE issue in that you can perform a finisher, which has a long animation. I found myself ignoring this quite a bit as it seemed quicker to just carry on pummeling some enemies (except for the evil wasp enemies, those were annoying to fight). The platforming sections of the night stages aren’t great, as the grab feels delayed and some camera angles make it incredibly difficult for you to aim your jump (the lack of a shadow beneath Sonic also makes it far more difficult). And some levels just have a lot of walking on narrow platforms. The big problem with Sonic Unleashed is the pacing of it. Between levels, you have to explore multiple hub worlds. I do like the sections where you talk to people, do some side quests, as it makes the game feel big in scope. There’s a secondary hub area where the levels are located in “gaia gates”. You will have to locate these levels (some of which require specific abilities), but you need to meet certain conditions to enter. First, the level needs to be available at that point in the story (sometimes you need to speak to a professor to tell you to head there, and the level isn’t available unless you talk to him first), and secondly you need to gather enough Sun and Moon medals to access it. Unless you’re an expert who has played the game many times, this means a lot of replaying previous levels. The Night levels also seem to have the most medals and due to the pacing you can take your time exploring the level (whereas in the day stages, you mostly stumble upon them at random), so most of this repeated playthrough will be as the Werehog. Sometimes it can be hours between playing Sonic levels. If the game properly directed you to the next level, and changed the Sun and Moon medals to unlocking extras, than Sonic Unleashed would be a brilliant game. Unfortunately, this incredibly dull padding sours the game quite a lot. 44. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Original Platform: Wii Where to get: Second hand One big improvement over the first Wii Olympic Games is that all events are unlocked from the start, so as a party game it’s instantly accessible. At the same time, it feels like there’s also not a lot to do in London 2012 as it seems that the mode where you would unlock games just isn’t included. The Winter Olympic Games that preceded this had a great mode where you went through a mixture of missions and events across a number of “days” to become the overall champion, with some boss encounters thrown in. This just has nothing. There is a good variety in events, with the basics like 100m and hurdles, match sports like Badminton, Volleyball and Football, technical sports like Equestrian and Discus and the dream events. The technical sports still don’t work very well, with it being difficult to time things. One big problem with this (most evident with discus) is that you have to actively stop yourself from trying to play the sport with the Wii Remote. If you try throwing a discus by acting out throwing a discus, you’ll fail. Instead you’ll have to wait for the animation to play out (resisting the urge to move your arm in time to the animation) and give the Wii Remote a quick flick once the animation is finished. Hammer Throw seems like it would work better, but requires very precise timing, I got one throw that wasn’t a foul in nine attempts. Running, swimming and cycling work well, all feeling intuitive in their controls. I really like that Sonic is given a life jacket when swimming, which was an unexpected little touch. Football is simple but good fun, but these two team/player sports have the same issue as other entries where you can’t just play a single match, but must compete in a tournament. Table tennis is really good, feeling closer to the quality of Wii Sports Tennis, while Badminton just feels more like a rhythm game and Volleyball is just awkward. I also felt let down by the dream events. They don’t feel like an extension to the sport they’re based on, more like random minigames from Mario Party. The Winter Olympic Games did a better job at these. This is better than the first Olympic Games, but a step down from the Winter one. Oh, and one additional thing (which isn’t really Sega’s fault) is that the game uses a lot of Olympics imagery. This usually isn’t a huge issue, but for London 2012, the imagery is absolutely hideous. 45. Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed Original Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 Version Played: PC Where to get: Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 Store From a singleplayer perspective, I think this is the best kart-style racer, and also one of the best from a multiplayer perspective. In Sonic Racing, Sonic and some classic SEGA characters like Danica Patrick, Wreck-It Ralph and Team Fortress Spy/Heavy/Pyro race around evolving tracks with transforming vehicles in car, boat and plane modes. The handling and controls feel extremely smooth, drifting around corners at high speeds. The trick system is also a vital part of movement now. Performing tricks will give you a boost, but now the right analogue stick controls the direction of your roll. In car/boat modes, rolling left and right will move your car in that direction, while in the air it also applies to up/down. It’s always very satisfying to do, especially when you position yourself as well. The tracks in this are amazingly well done. They all have varying amounts of “evolution”, so some will be the same for three laps, some will change gradually while others will be completely different. Focing on Sonic first, there are three tracks: Seaside Hill, Sky Sanctuary and Galactic Parade – interestingly one from the main “eras” of Sonic. Seaside Hill is the basic level, but has multiple jumps, the large rolling disc from Sonic Heroes to dodge and changes to a water course on lap three (with a gorgeous looking coral reef). Sky Sanctuary swaps between plane and car-type laps and is heavily based on the Sonic Generations version. The Death Egg will also get closer and closer as you progress. Galactic Parade is an absolute spectacle, with lots of ships flying in the background, you race on a section where robots are shooting lasers (it feels just like the Sonic Colours level it’s based on) and on lap three, a large ship warps into the way of the track and becomes part of it. It feels straight out of the game, and the same holds true for most of the tracks, Other stand out tracks (although most are great) are the Skies of Arcadia, where there’s a massive battle happening with airships, which drastically alters the track as you race on it, the NiGHTS level which its surreal imagery and completely different segments each map, and the Burning Rangers (a game I know nothing about) level which takes place in a flooding underground base. They all have a great spectacle about them. On top of the cups, you also have a singleplayer to work through. Here you collect stars by completing challenges based on difficulty (with expert difficulty unlocking after finishing all but the final few challenges. There are some optional “paths” to unlock characters and “mods” for each character (which allow you to adjust a racer’s stats by increasing one aspect while decreasing another). I think a bit more variety in missions would be nice, but everything is still very enjoyable. For Sonic characters, you have Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Dr Robotnik, Shadow and Metal Sonic alongside characters from other sega games and some non-Sega guests. I really like some of the stranger choices like a football manager or General Winter and Willemus (WWII and Roman generals), although I think it’s strange that these characters are only on the PC version. Everyone has a unique vehicle that, for the most part, suits them. My only complaint is that Tails has a shiny vehicle very similar to Sonic’s, which seems like a strange choice when Tails literally has a transforming plane in the Sonic games. His vehicle needed to look more hand-made. 46. Sonic Jam (Game.com) Original Platform: Game.com Where to get: Second hand This is a compilation of Sonic games featuring classic levels from Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. You can choose to play them as either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles. These are advertising points on the box of the Game.com version of Sonic Jam, a game better known for being an extremely well made Sonic compilation for the Sega Saturn. If you don’t know what the GameCom was, it was a handheld that tried to compete with the Game Boy. It had a similar black and white screen but boasted higher specs – although games didn’t really utilise it. It did have a touch screen and limited internet capability. When porting a game to a handheld system like this, you have to compromise in some way, mainly graphics, to make the game playable. Except Tiger Electronics didn’t want to do this. The sprites are taken straight from the Mega Drive games (if they didn’t want to make any, they could have asked for the Game Gear ones). This focus on graphics (it should be noted that it’s a black and white console, so all backgrounds were removed) is one of the core issues with the Game.com version of Sonic Jam: Sonic takes up most of the screen. The levels in this are also not the levels from the classic games, but merely “inspired” by the first stage of each. There are four acts for each, but when you take Emerald Hill and Angel Island, remove the background and make them black and white, they look extremely similar. Despite being made for the GameCom, the levels don’t feel like they were made for the console, as you have falls you can’t see (a lot of the time, the ground is pretty much five pixels from the bottom of the ground), you need to jump over spikes before they appear on the screen and all sorts of other problems due to the tiny amount you can see on both sides. The Game Gear version of Sonic 2 is known for having these issues, but the GameCom Sonic is even worse. Then there are the physics of Sonic himself. The developers figured this aspect of Sonic was so important that it renders the game unplayable. If you go slow enough so that you have time to stop before a jump, you won’t be able to make the jump. You’ll often have to run backwards in order to do a running jump. Inclines also kill your speed almost instantly, unless you’re running at full speed (which will cause death), you can sometimes make it to the top, but other times you have to move up it bit by bit by jumping constantly for 20+ seconds. It really is agonising to play. After four acts in each of the three “games”, you’ve played everything. The one good thing I have to say is that there is a good variety in bosses, as you will encounter them in acts 2, 3 and 4. These are based on bosses in the games, but because they have to place Dr Robotnik on the screen, you just have to jump up a few times to kill him. Sonic Jam on the GameCom is by far the worst Sonic game I’ve encountered so far, and I think it will likely be the worst overall.
  9. At least that's three more than Valve.
  10. House buying is the worst

    We put in an offer which was accepted. Now to start the long process of all paperwork and checks. But still, it's very exciting. I've even made a logo for the house. I don't know if I'll register the name properly, but I like the idea of a sign with a name. The name is a very, very loose translation of "Nintendo" into Welsh. My fiancée is fine with me effectively calling the house "Nintendo 64".
  11. 40. Sonic Cricket Original platform: Java Mobile Where to get: Unavailable. This java mobile game was originally designed for India, celebrating Sonic’s 20th anniversary by combining him with their most popular sport. This mobile game is light on features, but the gameplay is surprisingly in depth. In Sonic Cricket, you play through single cricket matches (with 5, 10, 15 or 20 overs), picking either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles to be team captain (sadly, Amy is relegated to being a cheerleader). Dr Robotnik acts as umpire. All the other players on the teams are robots, so you’ll be mainly seeing those for most of the game. Based on a coin toss, you’ll start by batting or bowling, then do the other after. Batting has two options: a simple option where you press a button to hit, or a more complex mode using 8 numbers for different kinds of shots, and moving left to right to position yourself (if you have a left handed batsman, this is also swapped around). Once you’ve launched the ball, you can press 5 to run, cancelling it if you think you need to. Bowling isn’t a case of throwing the ball as hard as you can. First you choose to bowl from the left or right, then aim for a spot on the ground. Then a bar will fill up to determine power, and then spin. If you go for full blast, you’ll likely get a “no ball”, as the ball needs to hit the ground before it reaches the batsman, you have to choose your shot carefully. When fielding, you can choose to pass your ball to either wicket to try and get someone out. The team captain also has a power shot for a stronger bowl or hit, but this depends on how long the captain lasts before getting out (or one over for bowling). The animation in the game is also really nice, with some strange tv-like overlays, and players petitioning to the umpire when they think a player is out (and then Dr Robotnik decides, although he’s actually a fair umpire). It’s a surprisingly nice little touch. I actually enjoyed Sonic Cricket. It’s very bare bones, but it does its job pretty well. 42. Sonic Adventure 2 Original Platform: Dreamcast Version Played: Xbox 360 Where to get: Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 Store There’s a face searching far, so far and wide, There’s a place where you dream you’d never find, Hold on to “what if”! Hold on to “what if”!….the songs in Sonic Adventure 2 are definitely some of Sonic’s best. Sonic Adventure 2 gives you two stories (then some final missions if you complete both) to work through, playing as six different characters. The Sonic and Shadow missions are the highlights, with some fast paced action and mostly fun platforming. There are some sections where the wonky homing attack or bad camera angle will cause some unfair deaths, but they’re still mostly good fun with some great spectacles. One small thing I really like is how Shadow moves, like he’s skating rather than running. For an “evil copy” of Sonic, they’ve done a good job at making him different enough to not be part of the “Dark Link” kind of trope. They still play the same, but the levels are also different. Knuckles and Rouge have treasure hunting sections, which I quite enjoyed. TV screens give you hints, while you have a beeping detector (although it’s a bit loud, it’s nothing compared to another sound effect I’ll get into in a bit). You have to climb and glide around each level finding three objects. I wouldn’t want to redo any levels, but for the first playthough they’re decent padding. The Tails and Dr Robotnik sections are just bad. The shooting mechanics are boring and you have a very loud high pitched beep whenever you aim (which is most of the time). I ended up actually muting my game because it got that annoying. These levels also have some of the worst platforming sections in Sonic Adventure 2, with really bad camera angles. Sonic Adventure 2 is a mostly great game, even if it does show its age a bit, but the Tails/Robotnik sections pull it down a bit. I think they could have added some alternate ways to play after you first complete it, such as playing through Sonic/Shadow levels only. 42. Sonic’s Edusoft Original Platform: Master System (Unreleased) Where to get: Unavailable A game that was in development at British developer Tiertex in 1991. This was in development as an official Sonic game with an agreement between Tiertex, US Gold and Sega. The usage of Sonic was never licensed as it was hoped that Sega would publish the game, but this never happened. This game was still in early development, but the main portions seem to have been completed. As the name suggests, this is Educational Software starring Sonic. It was designed for the Master System. As the developers didn’t know what sections of Sonic would become series staples, it has no rings (you collect stars instead). You walk around a map screen, which actually looks really nice, like an isometric Green Hill zone, selecting activities to play. These are usually maths or spelling challenges. In these, you will race against a challenger by answering questions. For the maths ones, it will ask you a maths question and you select the answer from a list of possible answers. If you get it right, Sonic will move one step forward, while if you’re wrong the opponent will do. Half way through the quiz you’ll get a different question where it asks for a multiple of X and it will scroll through some numbers, and you have to hit the right one. The spelling challenges give you a list of up to 8 letters, you have to work out what word they spell and select them in the right order to spell the word. In the middle of these, there will be a challenge where you have to press A when you see two of the same letter (although it is possible that it will time out before actually showing you a correct answer). The words in the challenges are based on different topics like transport, food, animals and hobbies/sports. I was quite impressed with the amount of options for setting difficulty, with 7 different levels for question difficulty and speed (although putting both on full makes it virtually impossible for the spelling challenges), and on the highest setting I struggled with a few things. I think it’s a pretty solid educational tool, and I’m quite surprised that it was never rethemed and released as a lot of effort seems to have been put into it. The “rewards” for progressing are not so good, though, as the game gives you three simple minigames. There’s one with a half-pipe and a balloon which just didn’t work, a trampoline game which is a very basic version of Game & Watch Fire and an auto runner platformer which had obstacles which were difficult to see. I think these were at a very early point of development. I think Sonic’s Edusoft is quite an interesting bit of Sonic’s history, it’s not a game I would choose to play, but it seems very well made for an educational game.
  12. There are so many Olympic Games, and I'm only though the first few. 37. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (DS) Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand. The handheld counterpart to the first Mario & Sonic Olympic Games on Wii. This is a fairly simple affair, but also much more enjoyable at the same time. The touch screen is used a lot in this game, running for example is done by rubbing across the screen, tapping to jump. Overall, the controls for the simpler games work quite well (although fencing again just seems like a complete mess, I don’t think they can get fencing right in these games). Some events, however, use the touch screen and d-pad or buttons. For me, these are a massive pain as I’m left handed, but I’m used to the right-handed way of playing games, so I need the stylus in my left hand but also feel like I need to use my left hand to turn via the D-Pad. For singleplayer, you progress through 15 cups of 4 or 5 events. You can spend a coin on one of the events to double your score, but you only get one coin. This means that even if there are a couple of events that you can’t perform well at (Pole vault and Triple Jump for me), you can make up for it by doubling your score on an event you do well at. I managed to make it through them all without too much hassle. Compared to the Wii version, the DS version of the original Mario & Sonic was actually quite enjoyable. 38. Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom Original Platform: Android/iOS Where to get: Google Play/iOS Store The sequel to Sonic Dash, this removes a bunch of features and replaces them with…not a lot, really. It’s a similar endless runner, this time on really dull looking stages (I think I encountered three types, they’re not interesting enough to spot the differences). It does add rails, which are nice, but it doesn’t change the gameplay a lot. Instead of ending a section with a spring, you choose to pick a course leaning left or right (although these always seemed to be the same option) and can change character or head straight to carry on, missing out on baking your rings. Rings seem completely meaningless in this game. You can upgrade your character, but it doesn’t take much until you reach the point where you need red rings (the premium currency) to upgrade. On top of this, the only thing that the upgrades do is multiply your score for a certain type of action, but there’s no reason to ever aim for a high score as it’s entirely meaningless. As you can’t do much with rings, there are no animals to collect, there’s no reason to ever carry on your run after you complete the missions you have (a maximum of two at once). For an endless runner, this seems like a massive flaw as the entire point is supposed to be to see how long you can last. Completing missions (which are things like collecting rings, killing enemies, jumping over things) gets you XP. As you level up, you will get score multipliers, random packages of rings (or spirits, which are temporary power ups) or you unlock characters. Except that you don’t unlock the character, just the option to buy them with a large amount of premium currency. So on top of everything else, there’s not even anything meaningful to work towards in terms of levelling up, either. 39. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (DS) Original platform: DS Where to get: Second hand These Olympic Games are some of the more exhausting games to work through, although I’ve been told that they do get better. While I enjoyed the first DS game more than the Wii version, I did not enjoy the DS version of Winter Games at all. The big feature of Olympic Winter Games DS is the Adventure Tour. This is an RPG-like adventure where you gather team members, unlock new abilities and find equipment, all with a story. It sounds nice on paper, but unfortunately is extremely tedious. The dialogue is extremely dry (and as Mario isn’t a very talkative character, they also don’t give Sonic any dialogue, so Toad is the main spokesperson), and the areas you explore are designed so you need to do a lot of backtracking and wandering back and forth. The areas are maze-like, with springs and pipes used to make navigation more difficult. You will also encounter missions you can’t play until you find items in treasure chests. You also have limited hearts (which you can find in objects like jars), but losing them all just means you have to walk back to the event you were trying. It’s a shame as the events are quite fun, and are actually more varied than the Wii game. For Skiing you have a 2D race (on a course that reminds me of Excitebike), a biathlon version which has a shooting section after each lap, you have a ski jump and a dream ski jump (the latter involves flying through rings), a 3D race where you have to steer through laps and a 2D downhill ramp where you have to avoid obstacles and feels like something from Sonic Rush. The missions themselves also add rules, or focus on specific parts, such as needing to do a boost start, a shooting game (where thankfully you tap at targets on the touch screen) where you have to hit a particular colour, go for distance in a long jump. If the game had been a list of missions on a menu, it would have been very enjoyable, but the aimless wandering between them takes up far more time than actually playing the game.
  13. I was originally not going to put it on my list as it's a compilation, but due to its history and it having the explorable 3D world as a menu, I think it's worth playing and talking about. I should be able to get it up and running (some versions of Sonic X-Treme I tried were the Saturn version via an emulator). There's also another Sonic Jam that I'm not looking forward to playing - a version for the Game.com. Time for some mobile games (and 8-bit Sonic 2): 34. Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Original Platform: Android/iOS Version Played: Android Where to get: Play Store, iOS store Surprisingly, it took SEGA 10 years in between releases of Sonic Olympic games on mobile devices, and this was the first one available on Android devices. While it uses some assets from the Switch game, the structure of the game is completely different. In Sonic at the Olympic Games, Dr Robotnik has decided to take over Tokyo, agreeing to Sonic’s challenge that if Sonic wins in events, Dr Robotnik will cancel his plans. Dialogue is presented in mobile phone text bubbles, and is cheesy but enjoyable. The challenges are scattered throughout different areas of Tokyo, with a lovely isometric 2D map serving as a background. You’ll tackle these one at a time, trying to get at least a bronze to progress. You’ll be playing the whole game as Sonic, but once a challenge is completed, you can re-try them as a couple of other unlocked characters (provided you have unlocked them). Some events have special versions that you will encounter a lot (some are just special versions, like BMX), which involve rings, enemies, springs and powers. This does feel like a Sonic Olympic game rather than just an Olympic game with Sonic in it. A lot of the events are quite fun, and are very short so can be played in quick bursts. I really enjoyed Speed Climbing, where you have to “throw” Sonic into the direction of the next handhold (avoiding enemies and timing right for moving handholds), as well as Badminton which is surprisingly tactical, letting you use a “slow motion” to get into place for more difficult slots. You automatically move (like Wii sports), but it adds a little something to it. Diving is also a lot of fun, picking the angle of your jump to hit springs, performing additional mid-air jumps and then trying to swipe down as straight as possible. Not all events are great, shooting is horrible to control, you have to drag to aim and let go to shoot, but it feels way too slow and imprecise, and you pretty much need to get a near-perfect score to get bronze. I also can’t get to grips with fencing, as the controls feel inconsistent. It’s possible to skip a challenge if you can’t complete it, but you have to fail it five times and spend “TP”. TP is gained whenever you complete a challenge, but some challenges require you to spend large amounts of it to wipe your supply. After around 70 challenges, I encountered an extremely difficult shooting challenge and it felt like a good place to stop – although if none of the other Sonic mobile games grab my attention, I may return. You can boost how much TP you get, these seem to be on-off purchases that give you a permanent upgrade to how much TP you earn. There are no temporary boosts, items, and not time-gates that you can use premium currency to remove, so Sonic at the Olympic Games does not feel greedy. You can also buy additional background music to replace the original music, and I may have bought the pack which includes Can you Feel The Sunshine? There also a few mini games you will encounter, such as one based on Sonic Jump, a quiz and a crane game, which are nice distractions. The biggest issue with Sonic at the Olympic Games, however, is that doing anything needs an internet connection. There were a few times where my internet dipped, and I had to wait ages for the loading screen to finish. It makes it a game more to play at home instead of out and about due to that. I was pleasantly surprised by Sonic at the Olympic Games. It’s a decent mobile game that doesn’t feel like it’s constantly asking for money, which makes it leaps and bounds above most mobile games. In terms of classic video game companies, there’s another whose mobile games are savagely greedy, so in terms of making a respectful mobile game, it seems that Sega does what Nintendon’t. 35. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-Bit) Original Platform: Master System Where to get: Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic Mega Collection Plus, 3DS Virtual Console I opted to go for the Master System version of this as people warned me about the amount of blind jumps and obstacles you can’t see coming in the Game Gear version. I’m glad I listened as the Master System version is still really bad at those aspects, so I don’t want to imagine it being even worse. When Sonic 2 first starts off, it feels great. Sonic is quite nippy and the levels appear to be zoomed out enough to see jumps or obstacles. However, despite his on-screen size, Sonic’s jump is rather large, and the levels are designed around this, so despite initially seeming zoomed out enough, you’ll still have to blindly jump into the screen. Something that the game isn’t afraid to use against you by having an endless gap because you were supposed to turn around and go up instead. Sonic 2 also features a lot of springs, where you need to launch yourself even higher to jump across gaps you can’t see, and onto tall platforms you can’t see. It’s extremely trial and error. There was even one spot where a moving platform was moving up, and the camera purposefully stops moving so Sonic hits some spikes that only come into view when it’s too late to dodge. Next time, you may try jumping before you get to the spikes, but there are more to the side. It turns out that this is the only spot (that I encountered) where you need to duck. The levels have some interesting gimmicks, even if some are a pain to use. You have a hang glider, minecart and pipes. The pipe level is similar to the Sonic Blast one but not quite as frustrating. While it likes to dump Sonic onto spikes, it’s not too difficult to keep collecting lost rings and making it back to the pipes. One odd choice of levels is putting Green Hill Zone near the end, especially as these levels felt quite simple, with no difficult platforming and a huge amount of rings. Sonic 2 (8-bit) is a fairly poor Sonic game, and not as fun to play as the first 8-bit sonic. 36. Sonic Dash Original Platform: Android/iOS Version Played: Android Where to get: Play Store, iOS Store An endless runner inspired by the success of Temple Run, Sonic is definitely a good fit for the genre and Dash does a good job of making it a Sonic endless runner and not just Temple Run starring Sonic. Gameplay is simple: Sonic runs forward, you swipe left and right to move across the three “lanes”, jump to jump over obstacles and spin dash to roll under obstacles or defeat enemies. After a section of “track”, you will hit a spring (which can lead to different locations or boss encounters, and you can pick one of three), bank the rings you have collected and carry on. Each time you get to a spring, the rings you have collected will be times by how many springs you have reached in this run. If you hit an enemy, spikes or bomb, you will lose your rings (and get hit again and you’ll die) but hit a wall of some kind and you’ll instantly fail and your score will be counted up. That’s how it is in theory, but due to microtransactions and adverts it doesn’t work like that. When you die, you can watch an advert or pay in one of the premium currencies (red rings) to come back to life. In order to create a sense of progression, rings can be spent upgrading characters, making abilities and power-ups last longer. You also gain XP by levelling up or completing missions (simple things like “kill X enemies, collect X rings”). The more XP you have, the higher your score multiplier. You can also buy one-off boosts to move you along faster. While it’s nice to have progression, these all make the score utterly pointless. There’s no reason to aim for a high score when you can just grind or pay money to get a better score. It turns a simple but fun idea into a game where you play to get rings, so you can spend rings to be able to get more rings. One nice thing that you do unlock are new areas, based on different zones. You can choose to start out in any zone you wish, but springs will take you to the other zones. There’s no difference to the gameplay, but they all do look gorgeous and it’s nice to change the environment up. Sonic Dash has fun gameplay, but it’s a score-based game which has a meaningless score. It’s nice enough to play every now and then, but you have little incentive to go further than you did last time.
  14. Two similar but surprisingly different games 32. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Original Platform: PC/360/PS3 Version played: 360 Where to get, Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 store. I was originally going to do Sonic 4 as a single game, but after playing through Episode 1 and Episode 2, it’s evident that they’re completely different games so I’ve decided to give them separate slots. The “Episode” part of this is a complete lie, it seems. Also a complete lie is the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4” name it has been given. It’s nothing like a sequel to the original games in any way. The best way I can justify the name is that it’s a new take on the Game Gear “Sonic the Hedgehog 4”, aka Sonic Blast, which seems apt due to the more maze-like levels and the “Donkey Kong Country” style graphics, where Sonic’s sprite is based on a 3D model. It kind of looks similar to the Sonic Blast one, too. The other parts of the game take on different styles. The levels look like they’re 2D textures with some shading added in photoshop to make it “look” 3D. The backgrounds are sometimes layers of 2D, but other times are fully 3D. Dr Robotnic has a cel shaded style and stands out. There’s no consistency to the graphical style at all. Also like Sonic Blast is how slow it takes Sonic to get moving. Moving from a standstill is so slow it’s agonising. Especially when you’re trying to move Sonic away from an obstacle. There’s something off about the way he moves and jumps as well. It’s not nice to play. Sonic Blast 2 (the name I’ve given this game) also features the homing attack from the 3D games, but unlike some of those, it also kills Sonic’s momentum, so you have to start moving from a standstill again. Even when you have the Power Sneakers, Sonic still feels slow. The levels are a rehash of previous levels: Green Hill, Casino Night, Labyrinth and Scrap Brain. They have different names in Sonic Blast 2, but they don’t feel different (although Scrap Brain has elements from a Sonic 2 level). There’s three acts for each zone and two of these are all incredibly dull, just retreading old ground. The second act of each stage does try something new. The second act of Casino Night introduces a cannon mechanic, where you have to aim and fire Sonic. Aiming is very slow and it’s not smooth or fun at all. Labyrinth zone act 2 is dark and Sonic has a torch, lighting other torches (sometimes activating switches) and setting off TNT. With a better level design and physics, this level could actually be really good. The bosses are mostly the same as the original bosses, with a brief second stage. Even the final boss is just the final boss from Sonic 2, and you have to fight all the previous bosses again to reach it. Sonic Blast 2 is a poor rehash of Sonic 1 & 2, with bad graphics and wonky physics. It’s a very poor Sonic game. 33. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Original Platform: PC/360/PS3 Version played: 360 Where to get, Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 store. This shouldn’t be called Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, but for different reasons: it’s actually a good game. I’m going to call this one “Sonic & Tails”, as it revolves heavily on using Tails’ abilities to navigate the levels. The graphics in Sonic & Tails are much more consistent, using 3D models for everything, and the consistent style not only works well, but also looks amazing, with beautiful backgrounds and scenery, and some surprisingly nice lighting effects. Physics also feel much better, with Sonic actually moving at a fun speed and jumping is precise, it never felt like a death was due to the game being at fault. The levels are technically remixes, but they remix multiple stages together in a way where they feel like new stages instead of re-hashed content. The level gimmicks are also fluid and keep up the flow of the gameplay. There are only four (and a bit) zones, so it’s quite short, but each has three acts and a boss, and each act feels very different. I especially loved the rollercoaster level. Tails follows you along this time, and seems to have some level of AI as he’ll occasionally grab a few rings for you or navigate platforms. Together, Sonic and Tails have two abilities: flying and a rolling attack. Flying seems to be limited to a certain height of where you start, and can be used for shortcuts or is needed to navigate some sections. Rolling is very fast, and allows for digging through some sections. Both are fun to use, although the game hand-holds them a bit as a screen is in the background showing you which ability to use. It’s a shame there’s no way to turn these off. The bosses are also all new, with some fun fights (although some do last quite a while). The first boss actually mocks Sonic Blast 2 by setting up a stage from an old boss fight before smashing it up. If you skipped this because of Episode 1, it’s worth giving it a go. Sonic & Tails is a fun, albeit short, Sonic game.
  15. 27. Sonic X Original Platform: LeapFrog Leapster Where to get: Second hand A Sonic game for an educational console called the Leapster, from LeapFrog. This is a simple platforming game with maths puzzles. It takes place across three zones, each with three acts: Station Square, Angel Island and Eggman’s Base. Controls are simple: just run and jump. The platforming is very basic and there’s no deaths, and any complicated sections with loops or lots of springs are done automatically. The Math Robot will block your paths and you will have to solve a maths problem to get past him. The game will ask you to find a number, solve a sum, count up or down or complete a sequence (which will be multiples of 2, 5 or 10). Jumping on the wrong number will “hurt” Sonic (no rings will be lost) and the correct number will be highlighted. I accidentally ran into some wrong numbers trying to jump over them. Every now and then you’ll be whisked into a few minigames, such as Eggman’s Super Sucky Machine, which will ask you to drag a number (or sequence of numbers) into his machine. Other ones have addition and subtraction by tapping on robots to increase or remove them. For an educational game aimed at young kids, Sonic X seems like a good game. The maths problems increase as it goes on, and some of the platforming becomes a little bit more involved. The graphics are pretty nice, and the animation is surprisingly smooth. 28. Sonic Generations Original platform: 360/PS3/PC Version played: PC Where to get: Xbox store, PS3 store, Steam This is still immensely fun to play, an incredible celebration of the main gameplay from classic and modern Sonic games, even if the game pushes all the characters (except Tails and Dr Robotnik) off to the side. Classic Sonic feels great in this, with absolutely stunning looking levels that utilise the 3D with some great twists and turns to make the levels look more natural and dynamic. Everything feels right in this game. Modern Sonic is also the best iteration of the boost gameplay in Generations. The levels are all based on previous games which would usually be a complaint, but as this game is a celebration, it makes perfect sense. Stages are a good mix of different themes (although I would have picked a different stage for Sonic Adventure, perhaps Twinkle Park, to avoid three city ones). The music is absolutely phenomenal, too, with two amazing remixes for each stage (and a really great Casino Night Zone music for a bonus pinball level). There are also lots of challenges to complete (you must complete at least one from each area to progress), and some rival battles, which are really fun bosses. Sonic Generations is a great celebration with Sonic. It’s a big shame that Sega didn’t take what made it so good – the gameplay and level design – and create a new Sonic game with unique levels out of it. 29. Sonic Blast Original platform: Game Gear Where to get: 3DS eShop, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic Mega Collection Plus Honestly, this game feels like a bootleg, every part of it is just horrendous. First of all, there are the graphics, which goes for a “Donkey Kong Country” style of making sprites from a 3D model. But this is running on a Game Gear, which is not made for detailed sprites. The animation is also very limited, so Sonic just looks completely wrong on slopes. The backgrounds are just an ungly mess as well, with little consistency to the style. The levels are also either boring or frustrating. Due to the graphics, Sonic can’t move fast, so Sonic Blast instead focuses on more maze-like levels, making you guess at where you need to go next. This goes beyond frustrating in the Blue Marine level, which features currents and pipes to go through. You just get thrown about a lot, just hoping that the next pipe will let you progress. The length of time Sonic can hold his breath also changes depending on what part of the level you are on. The final level features lots of teleports, so it’s trial and error to find your way through it. It’s not fun in the slightest. You don’t even have any nice music to make it bearable, the music in Sonic Blast can be described as “background noise” if you want to be polite. Sonic Blast is just an awful game in every aspect. 30. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Original Platform: 360 (with Banjo-Kazooie), PS3, PC Version played: PC Where to get: Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 Store Going through Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing again brought back some fun memories. I didn’t enjoy Mario Kart Wii, so for me this was the kart racing game that picked up the slack. It’s since been improved upon by Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed, I still found the original a lot of fun to play. Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing (which I will just call Sonic Racing from now) is quite clearly a Mario Kart clone, with items and powerslides. It does feel different, with more focus on long, sweeping drifts. It’s hard to explain why exactly, but it does feel more like you’re using cars as opposed to karts. The items in Sonic Racing aren’t as exciting as in Mario Kart, but at the same time are a lot less frustrating. When you get hit, you slow down a little bit, but not to a standstill. You also have a brief invulnerability period, which means you won’t have moments where you are constantly pelted with weapons. Weapons do feel less tactical, as it’s a lot harder to use them defensively. If you’re lagging behind, you might get an All-Star, an extremely powerful move that lets you rain down destruction on your opponents, working differently for each character. There are 24 tracks in the game, which come in sets of three of the same theme (three Super Monkey Ball tracks, for example). Sonic gets three sets of tracks: Seaside Hill, Casino Park and Final Fortress. It seems strange to me that all nine Sonic tracks are from Sonic Heroes. On top of that, the Casino Park tracks just feels like a casino level, focusing more on the casino part than on Sonic gimmicks. If you’re playing on your own, there is also a mission mode, with 64 challenges. These can be driving through gates, winning races, collecting rings, bananas or chaos emeralds or even a couple of boss battles. They’re all good fun, and a few are tricky – although strangely the most difficult ones are the Big the Cat levels. Sonic Racing is a very fun kart racing game. I’m not sure there’s much reason to play it instead of the sequel, but there is still enjoyment to get out of this. 31. SegaSonic the Hedgehog Original platform: Arcade Where to get: Unavailable I wasn’t able to play this in the fully intended method: this is a Japanese-only arcade game that uses a trackball. The closest I could get is using an analogue stick to emulate a trackpad. This makes it much easier to move at full speed as you just hold instead of having to constantly roll a ball, but at the same time it’s a lot more difficult to control your speed. I would love to be able to try this out with a proper trackball, but they seem to be more expensive than I thought they would be. SegaSonic the Hedgehog is an isometric platformer made for coin-operated arcades. This means it’s a short game, where each life costs you money. To account for this, Sonic has a health bar that drops when you get hit, or when you fall down gaps (you instantly respawn with less health), so it’s not as strict as it could be. To get a higher score, you have to collect as many rings as possible, with Dr Robotnik laughing at you if you don’t get enough. Enemies also drop rings, so if you want to get to the end you can avoid most of them, but will get a low score. In SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Sonic (along with Mighty and Ray if you play with more players) is constantly being chased by traps, giant fireballs, collapsing paths. At the start, these shock Sonic as he’s screaming constantly, but he seems to get used as the game moves on. You have to keep moving constantly. It’s a very fast paced game but even with the emulated stick, it felt very precise to move. If you run into an edge, Sonic stops on the edge for a brief second before falling, giving you a chance to move back onto the path. The game also looks absolutely beautiful. The blocky design is incredibly detailed, and the levels all have a magnificent look to them. Every moment is a marvel to look at, with some stunning animation to look at as well. I would love for SegaSonic the Hedgehog to get a re-release, and I feel that Sega could get an analogue stick to work better than emulating a trackball works. It’s something that more people should get a chance to play. I suspect playing with a trackball is better, as you will get the excitement from requiring a lot of physical effort for moving faster, but it’s still a nice game to play in the non-ideal way, and is short and sweet.
  16. House buying is the worst

    Ours is a 5% deposit, one of the reasons why it's difficult got us to get a loan at this amount. Our monthly payments aren't too bad.
  17. House buying is the worst

    Good luck! We're now trying to view houses. Phoned for 7 houses and they all had offers pending, or accepted and waiting for all solicitor stuff to happen. Because of how busy is it, all of them want conformation of the decision in principal before viewing so it's a good job we've got that sorted. We had a viewing booked for one place on Monday, but were contacted Friday to change it to today because it had offers on (it appeared on the market on Wednesday). It was a nice house, but you could tell it would be expensive to maintain it, with lots of potential to mould (it looked like there was some on the outside of the building), and water damage in the lounge ceiling. The estate agent (after noticing us looking at it) mentioned a vague promise from the owner to fix it or "agree to something in the price", which didn't give us much confidence. We're looking at another one on Wednesday, not in the town we want but it's only out by a couple of roads. This one has an outbuilding with electric which looks perfect for a board game hut. Plus it's number 64, which is a really awesome number to have. If we get it, I'll definitely design a house sign with the N64 logo. I expect we'll be outbit a lot and it will take quite a lot of viewing before we not only find one, but are able to put a decent offer in.
  18. Just wait until you get to the Citadel DLC. Lots of people (including me) even recommend playing it after the main story (it essentially reloads to before the final mission) as it's the perfect way to say goodbye to the trilogy.
  19. A big update here. First some failed games Failed 3. Sonic Billiards Platform: Mobile Status: No ROMs leaked to public, copy known to exist Another Sonic Cafe games – a lot of failed games will be from this Japan-only mobile phone service. Footage of this exists from the same source as the other Sonic Cafe games. Sonic Billiards looks to be nothing special, it’s a basic billiards game with a picture of Sonic or Shadow in the corner representing each player. There’s no additional Sonic “flair” such as having Sonic be the cue ball, obstacles like bumpers and springs or power-ups, just regular billiards. 4+. Sonic Cafe Card Games Platform: Mobile Status: No ROMs leaked to public, copies known to exist I’m going to lump all of these in one section to avoid a lot of repetition. A lot of card games were released via the Sonic Cafe service, all of which are a single card game using artwork from the Sonic Advance series. The most interesting of note are Amy’s American Page One as it features female characters (Amy, Rogue, Cream and a Hero Chao because they somehow couldn’t think of a fourth, or just didn’t have the assets to re-use) and Sonic’s Napoleon, because of the hat in the artwork. Other card/board games include: Sonic Hearts (which has a DX version), Sonic Backgammon, Sonic Reversi (and Hyper Reversi), Sonic Speed DX, Sonic’s Millionaires, Sonic’s 7 Narabe and Sonic Casino Poker. And some more completions: 23. Sonic Lost World (3DS) Original Platform: 3DS Where to get: 3DS eShop With lovely graphics, full video cutscenes and voice acting, Sonic Lost World is definitely a visual treat for a 3DS game. I originally reviewed this when it originally came out so I was curious how my feelings for the game had changed. Playing it again, and I think the controls are an issue as they don’t feel intuitive at all. Running up walls, especially design sideways, feels clunky, and I found myself jumping instead of boosting a few times. The somersault energy attack move also feels like a pointless addition, even if it’s required for some enemies it just doesn’t add to the game, it’s just an additional thing to remember. I do enjoy games with lots of controls to remember (such as Banjo-Kazooie), but they need to be intuitive. Another change is the homing attack, with a change that sounds nice on paper: you can now target three enemies at once and bounce between them. Unfortunately, you can end up targeting an enemy you don’t want – such as one you passed – and Sonic will fly backwards to hit it. Tapping jump between each enemy worked fine as it was. The levels in Sonic Lost World 3DS are a mixed bag. A lot aren’t memorable, partly because they all look like floating islands, all in the style of Green Hill Zone. The most memorable levels either have interesting mechanics or are just a nightmare to play. These levels also seem to go on forever. There’s one level set inside a giant juicer and you have to wheel apples into it, which I really enjoyed, but then there’s one where you have to push snowballs which is possibly one of the worst Sonic level’s I’ve played. Some annoying jumps, ice physics and a giant snowman head which chases you the entire level, destroying the snowballs you push around if it touches them. Wisps return from Sonic Colours (although the story doesn’t acknowledge them at all) and while I loved them in that game, they just don’t work in Lost World 3DS and feel more like a chore to use, the asteroid is slow, floaty and often has bad camera angles while the Quake would work, but uses motion controls that can’t be turned off. Motion controls also hamper the special stages and a boss fight, as they use 1:1 motion controls, so you have to turn around fully to play them. If you happen to be playing on public transport, you’ll just have to stop playing. The controls actually work well, but they needed to be optional for a handheld system. Sonic Lost World 3DS isn’t an awful game, it’s just somewhat forgettable. It tries to do some new things and I think with some refinements it could have done well. 24. Sonic Rush Adventure Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand It seems that Dimps listened to all the criticism of Sonic Rush and addressed it for Sonic Rush Adventure. The stages in this are extremely enjoyable and feel like they have the right balance of fun and difficulty. They all seem to take into account the viewport of the screen, with methods to slow Sonic down naturally when needed without it being forced. They all look fantastic, too, with some great themes (Haunted Ship and Pirate’s Hideout are my favourites) and set pieces, with some amazing music to nod your head to as you play. The levels also use rings or arrows for some parts to direct you, instead of you instantly dying due to not expecting something, and traps that give you time to react. I think the levels in Sonic Rush Adventure may be some of the most fun in the franchise, although there are still a few unexpected pits and parts where you are moving forward without much to do for a couple of moments. Bosses are also much improved, giving you a lot more opportunities to hit them. They have a health bar and need to be hit far more than in Sonic Rush, but don’t drag on for anywhere near as long. There’s also a good variety as each boss feels quite different to each other. If that was all there was to say about Sonic Rush Adventure, it would be an outstanding game. Unfortunately, there was one Sonic Rush complaint which should have been ignored: its short length. In order to make Sonic Rush Adventure longer, there’s a lot of padding – I’m sure you spend more time doing the padding than playing the actual game. A lot of this is navigating between islands using various kinds of boats. You have to draw your route on a map (like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass) and then play a minigame until you get to your destination. Sometimes you’ll need to do this a couple of times before you get to the next stage. To access the Pirate’s Hideout stage, you have to find three hidden islands (thankfully these have short but sweet Sonic stages on them) to find clues. You can stumble across these early, but Sonic will just ignore the clue and you’ll have to replay it later. To build each type of ship, you’ll also need materials. These are earned by replaying stages until you have enough, meaning you’ll redo the first few levels multiple times before you progress. A Sonic Rush Collection that combines Sonic Rush and the actual levels from Sonic Rush Adventure would be wonderful to have. 25. Sonic the Hedgehog Part 1 (Java) Original Platform: Java mobile phones Where to get: Not available, unless you happen to buy an old phone with it installed. A port of Sonic the Hedgehog to old mobile phones sounds scary, especially when you consider how bad the Game Boy Advance version of Sonic the Hedgehog was. This port has a lot of issues, but completely different ones to the GBA port. For starters, the game actually runs smoothly, there’s no slowdown at all. The physics also feel correct, and jumps will happen exactly how you would expect. It’s quite impressive to see how well it runs for a game made for pre-smart phones. Some things do seem to be running too quickly. I’m not sure if this is due to a decrease in frames of animation (for things like rings), but it also seems that Sonic’s period of invulnerability after getting hit is also far shorter. The music sounds a lot more authentic to the Mega Drive version, just of a much lower sound quality. It is also made of smaller segments, so at the end of the unfinished “loop” there will be a slight pause in the music as it starts up again. There are also no sound effects at all, so it’s just the jarring music for you to hear. The HUD has been altered, looking closer in style to Sonic Advance. As the phones it was designed for have a portrait view, you have the full aspect ratio and the hud elements are above and below the game “screen”. The keypad controls are the biggest issue, as a keypad layout isn’t suited for games, and the jump button is effectively the “up arrow”, situated between the left and right buttons. One random change to this version is not allowing you to hit Robotnik early in the first boss. Instead of not allowing you to damage him like some versions, it will just count as Sonic being hit and you’ll lose all your rings for trying. The mobile port also only included the first three levels (the remainder were released seperately) and there are no special stages, you are instead awarded Chaos Emeralds for having 50 rings at the end of a stage. I wouldn’t recommend playing this version at all, but for a java version of Sonic, it’s a little bit better than expected. 26. Sonic X-Treme Original Platform: Saturn/PC (Unreleased) Versions Played: Two prototype builds, fan-made demo level Where to get: N/A A cancelled Sonic game originally made to be Sonic’s big leap into 3D for the Sega Saturn. Two different versions of these were being designed by different teams, with both of them working themselves to the point of illness to try and get it done. Ultimately, the game was cancelled. Since then, some prototypes have been found, and a fan has made a level in Unreal Engine, which gives us a taste of what Sonic X-Treme could have been. The simplest build is the “boss engine” one, it’s a simple 3D landscape with 50 rings to collect, and Sonic can jump and spindash. Movement is quite smooth although, due to the camera, you’re always running at a diagonal. The geometry is just some simple hills. It’s a fairly simple “Sonic in 3D”. The other build is much more interesting as it looked like an extremely unique game, as Sonic can shift gravity by rolling up walls. The prototype features some demo levels, and it’s actually quite good fun to mess around with. It does seem extremely difficult to create levels around it, especially ones that can be followed by a player, as being able to go up walls and change the orientation of the level creates a lot of options. The demo also features some short “tube” levels, something that did happen in later Sonic games, here shifting the gravity works a lot better as you can see where you need to go clearly. There are also different ground types which make Sonic slow down or go extremely fast and bouncy. The fan-made demo gives us a look at a potential “level” for this build of Sonic X-Treme could have been like, with the fish eye lens seen in early footage. Navigating this is actually quite easy. It limits rotating the level to just slopes (not hard corners), which means specific paths can be seen. It shows that this gameplay could have worked. Sonic X-Treme is an interesting part of Sonic’s history, and the development shows that they were trying some unique things with it. It’s hard to say if it could have worked, but perhaps a mixture of tube-like levels and stages where you have to find objects could have worked, even if it’s a bit of departure from the regular “A to B” style of Sonic.
  20. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    I imagine this is stuck everywhere around their offices. Hopefully some day Microsoft will let them do some fun marketing.
  21. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    Xbox Marketing continue the trend of being the elderly person attempting to stay "hip" with the "kewl kids" and failing spectacularly.
  22. 21. Tails and the Music Maker Original platform: Sega Pico Where to get: Second hand. The first thing to talk about with this is the console it appears on: the Sega Pico. This is an “edutainment” device released in 1993. The internals were the same as a Mega Drive, but it featured a drawing pad and a pen, and the cartridges were books. The console can recognise which page you are on, and you can even press parts of the book to activate things in the game. Due to the cost of the device, this one I played via emulation of PicoDrive. Tails and the Music Maker isn’t so much a game you play from start to finish, but a collection of minigames and activities. The first page features a simple platformer game, across three short levels of a Green Hill Zone that turns more blue for each level. At the top of the screen are instructions for Tails to stop, tip-toe, jump or run. Tails will have to go slow to dodge coconuts and jump to make it over gaps (although if you fall, a spring will launch you back out. Also on this page is a simple game of musical chairs, played against frogs on lily pads. Page 2 features a pinball game, where hitting instrument icons will cause the sound. Hitting the bell at the top seems to end the game. There’s also a minigame where you have to draw circles around notes. Page 3 features an extremely slow Arkanoid clone where you bounce tails around to break blocks of music. Page 4 features a matching game. Click on an instrument and it will play the sound of another, click on the right one and they’ll vanish. This one doesn’t work well at all as the sounds don’t sound anything like each instrument, so instead you have to learn the tune played by each instrument. You can also play along (a few notes at a time) to a few nursery rhymes. The final page features a simple drawing studio. You can click on colours on the book and draw whatever you choose, and add Sonic and Tails from the book as well. You can also visit a music studio and listen to the sounds of each instrument (the same as the ones from the previous game that don’t sound like the instrument) or to the nursery rhymes. As an “edutainment” title, Tails and the Music Maker seems to be completely lacking on the “educational” side of things. The Pico seems like it’s aimed at slightly older children, whereas the functions of this game – at least the music-related ones – seem similar to most light up electronic keyboard toys that you can get for kids around the age of 1-2, and provide a more tactile feedback. And those ones usually have additional functions to teach colours, numbers and shapes. 22. Sonic Rush Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand The birth of the “boost” gameplay in Sonic games. The big addition to Sonic Rush was the boost and trick system. You gain boost power by destroying enemies and performing tricks after jumping from springs. This makes Sonic Rush an incredibly fast, which feels amazing when it goes smoothly, but unfortunately has its own share of problems. As this is a DS game, it uses both screens, with Sonic moving between them as though it’s one giant screen. This allows for more vertical movement, which does look great, but also has the side effect on how short the screen is from left to right, which is a major problem when combined with the boost as you have no idea what is coming up until it is too late. And Sonic Rush loves to abuse this flaw with traps, enemies, obstacles and pits. There’s one moment in particular where there’s a long, fast section followed by a “crusher” and a wall. Unless you already know it’s there, you will be crushed and will die. Get a game over in Sonic Rush and you’ll have to start the act from the beginning, so these unfair traps will lead to a lot of repeating levels, unless you choose to repeat the first few levels to grind lives – it’s an added unnecessary frustration. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to the boss battles, so you can restart there if you run out of lives. The bosses in Rush are some of the worst in the franchise. There’s a lot of waiting around for the boss to do something, where they will conduct attacks – some of which takes ages to happen. Some attacks will leave the boss vulnerable for one hit, others will not. And you need 8 hits (although this is reduced to 6 if you select easy mode, which I highly recommend as this is the only change that happens when you select easy). The boss fights take ages due to this, and some attacks can be instant deaths, so you have to start from the beginning. Sonic Rush also introduces a slight change to the rings system of Sonic which becomes very clear with the bosses: the more you get hit, the further your rings will fly, making it harder to collect them. The Casino Night boss is the only fun boss, as it has a spring on it where you can do a carefully timed jump to hit the boss as an optional extra way to cause damage. While this write-up has been fairly negative, Sonic Rush is still incredibly good fun, combining tricks and boosting works well when it goes smoothly, and I really like the little second jump Sonic can do to reach better routes. The music is also wonderful. I can’t tell what is being sang in some of them, but it’s all incredibly catchy and it will be stuck in your head for days after playing it. Sonic Rush is more flawed than I originally remember, but there’s still a fun Sonic experience here. I think a modern port would do wonders for it, expanding the screen sideways (but keeping the vertical view as high) would make obstacles far less annoying, and possibly some improvements to the bosses.
  23. The Best Gaming Music Ever.

  24. Just want to say, if you feel like any of my arguments in the Covid thread (now or future) are in bad faith, feel free to take any relevent action.

    1. Rummy


      Thanks Cube, it's not to shut down any voices or points per se; but certain ways things are argued can slowly escalate on both sides and I'm not sure how authentic they, or more so how much some posters consider the community(ie all our members, who are posting and conversving), and my 'bad faith' is along the lines of just stoking the issues and argument for the sake. As I said I'm not taking either side of the vaccine but I will be wary of the way folks are posting. Subjects and issues don't discount decorum no matter how sesinsitive or emotional they may be and it kinda just leads to division etc. imo.

  25. Marvel's Phase 4

    They certainly have the "fun and enjoyable time travel ideas, but just don't think about it too hard because none of it makes sense" aspect nailed. I feel they if you focus more on characters (like Loki) or just going completely over the top (like Legends of Tomorrow), then time travel with poor logic can still work well.