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Cube Tries to Play (Almost) Every Sonic Game

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Goddammit, hearing those two tracks back to back made me angry. It's so painful! The one from Sonic Eraser sounds way worse for me, especially when it apparently plays during actual multiplayer gameplay? Sonic Spinball's stinker even has the decency to be in a menu where you can turn it off.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is such a weird game. It introduced the new designs, but it also included this weird grand adventure that's completely at odds with the tone that the specific Boom franchise would adopt going forward. The cartoon series is silly and comedic, with great writing, and Lyric himself would never set foot/tail there. Definitely a case where they should've let the cartoon air first (thus setting the tone and strengths of the spinoff), THEN make the game.

@Glen-i, in the series, Vector only appears in one episode where he's a celebrity detective (Vector the Detector). With that in mind, what's your evaluation of that series' quality?

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It has been a long time since I 'listened' to either of those Sonic 'music' tracks... long enough that I'd just about erased the first track from my memory.

As for the Options track in Sonic Spinball, I genuinely didn't know that the entire track was more than twenty-five seconds long, as that's just about all the time I spent on the options screen at the time, because the audio was that bad even then, and I don't remember the options being particuarly expansive.

But now that I know the track is nearly a full minute long before it loops? Well, at least now I know that I wasn't missing out on much.

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10 hours ago, Jonnas said:

 

@Glen-i, in the series, Vector only appears in one episode where he's a celebrity detective (Vector the Detector). With that in mind, what's your evaluation of that series' quality?

My evaluation is that Vector has raised his fees since signing the contract to appear in video games. Sonic Boom literally couldn't afford him for more than one episode.

He was also smart enough to agree a condition that his proportions are kept in check. He's got an image to maintain!

You see, before Vector signed the deal to appear in Knuckles Chaotix, he was just a random member of Sonic's band. Sonic 1 was gonna be his big break into gaming stardom. But Sonic, being the utter diva he is, demanded that game be a solo venture for himself. Poor Vector lost his chance.

Anyway, he naturally jumped at a supporting role in Chaotix, but that game ended up being a bit crap, so when the time came that Sega hit him up for a more permanent role in the franchise, he negotiated a clause where he's allowed to veto his own appearances if the game turns out to be crummy. That's why his appearances are quite sporadic.

Anyway, since then, Vector has cemented himself as the coolest character in the franchise (Don't argue, it's true). This means he has a lot more value, so when Sonic Boom asked him to appear, he flat out declined to appear in the game. As for the TV series, well, a new contract had to be made, which means Vector charged his more up-to-date pricing. Hence, only one episode. Sonic Boom's staff agreed, because who doesn't want Vector in their TV show?

I'm telling you, he's the smartest character in the series!

Edited by Glen-i
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On 01/09/2021 at 7:26 AM, Glen-i said:

My evaluation is that Vector has raised his fees since signing the contract to appear in video games. Sonic Boom literally couldn't afford him for more than one episode.

As for the TV series, well, a new contract had to be made, which means Vector charged his more up-to-date pricing. Hence, only one episode.

At first, I thought you were artfully dodging the question, but judging from this clip...

...you're definitely on to something.

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6 hours ago, Jonnas said:

At first, I thought you were artfully dodging the question, but judging from this clip...

...you're definitely on to something.

If there's one thing you can count on me for, it's to do an exorbitant amount of research for totally important matters such as this!

It also helped that I actually watched that episode since I was made aware that Vector was in it and actually ended up looking cooler then usual.

Edited by Glen-i
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53. Sonic Forces – Speed Battle

  • Original Platform: Android/iOS
  • Version Played: Android
  • Where to get: Google Play, Apple App Store.

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Another sequel to Sonic Dash, kind of. This takes the autorunning gameplay and put it onto specially designed courses, where the object is to race to be the first to the finish line, avoiding obstacles and using power ups to battle other racers.

For a while, I wasn’t sure if I was racing real people or not. They have names of other people, but I know from other mobile games (like Mario Kart World Tour), that these are often fake and you’re just racing AI using random people’s names. The lack of any ability to play with friends is also usually a sign that there’s no actual online multiplayer, and none of the racers seemed to act like real people, and were really easy (to the point I even did one race while cooking, occasionally swiping and hitting loads of obstacles…and still won).

That was until I got to around 1000 points into the ranking system (1st place gets you around 27ish points), all of a sudden the game got much more challenging, and the opponents moved around more, used similar tactics to what I had been doing, used power ups more and just acted more human. I suspect that initially I was paired with AI disguised as players before it started pairing me with real people. If the racers were balanced and it didn’t have horribly aggressive microtransactions and loot boxes…it could be a pretty fun mobile game.

But it’s not balanced at all. In order to facilitate the many kinds of microtransactions, the game is based around unlocking and upgrading characters, so you’ll just face opponents with outright better (or worse) characters. This is done by collecting “cards”, you need X amount to unlock them and then Y more to upgrade them. It varies between characters and some cards are a lot rarer (with others only available in special time limited events). I did end up getting quite a few characters within a few days: Sonic, Classic Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Silver (I got so, so many Silver cards), Charmy, Omega, Vector ( @Glen-i, Vector is actually in this horrible mobile game TWICE!!), and Tangle (a character from the comics). One interesting omission is Infinite, the character introduced in Sonic Forces.

However, once you’ve got most of the “common” characters, progression is probably extremely slow to get more. Unless you pay for them multiple types of premium currency, loot boxes or (some some characters) deals that unlock a specific character (Shadow was available when I paid for £4.49, which is quite a lot).

I think it would be nice if the final patch of the game let you play against AI and choose the level you want to play, but ultimately, I think that the servers will just be shut down at some point and the game will be unplayable.

54. Sonic Pinball Party

  • Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • Where to get: Second Hand

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A pinball game that has a story. After Dr Robotnik’s last defeat, he’s set up a pinball tournament. As Sonic, you take part in the tournament. The tournament has 16 players, but you’ll only encounter Knuckles, Tails, Amy and Metal Sonic (the other ones are just to tease you). After you win the tournament, it turns out it’s all a trick and you have to face Dr Robotnik (in a pinball match).

First up you’ll have to face Knuckles on the Neo Green Hill Zone machine and get 10,000,000 points. Progress will be very slow until you follow the arrows, three loops and hitting into the right hole will get Dr Robotnik to spawn, then hitting the ball into a hole will destroy him and get you the 10,000,000 points.

Then Tails, who calls Sonic a moron, and has glowing red eyes because its brainwashed (I like how Knuckles has been fooled to fight Sonic so many times that they didn’t even bother brainwashing him). This time you need 15,000,000 points in 5 minutes on the Casino Paradise Zone machine. This is when you’ll find out that all the Sonic tables are exactly the same, just with different colours. So you’ll be doing exactly the same thing to get Dr Robotnik to appear and defeat him, potentially twice, as it’s by far the best way to get points.

Next up is a brainwashed Amy, and you get to play a completely different table, based on NiGHTS. Points aren’t important here, you just follow the instructions until you win. The final stage of the “tournament” is against Metal Sonic, where you have to beat all seven stages of the Sonic table. To defeat a stage, you do the same thing I mentioned above to defeat Dr Robotnik. So you need to do this same pattern seven times.

Then Dr Robotnik will challenge you, you have 5 minutes to score 30,000,000 points, so three more goes through the same thing. Throughout the story, you’ll have repeated the same exact actions around 13 times. It’s incredibly tedious and boring.

Completing this will get you a Samba De Amigo machine. The three tables have hidden minigames and features like multiball to discover, but ultimately following the instructions will net you by far the most points. It’s just a pretty bad game.

By far the best mode of Sonic Pinball Party is the options. Here is a sound test with the music, which features renditions of Songs based on the classic games, Sonic Advance and some extra tracks like midi versions of Super Sonic Racing and Live & Learn, all using the GBA’s capabilities quite well. On reflection, it makes the music in the GBA Sonic port even worse as Sonic Pinball Party had some pretty good versions of some of the music.

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Sonic Pinball Party is best played in arcade mode.  Just unlock the stages and then don’t bother with story mode anymore.  It’s a pretty decent little pinball game that is a bit more traditional than the likes of Pokémon Pinball or Metroid Prime Pinball; which is actually pretty refreshing in of itself.

Edited by Dcubed

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55. Sonic Colours

  • Original platform: Wii
  • Version Played: Xbox Series S
  • Where to get: Xbox Store, PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop

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This is what I want from Sonic games in terms of structure. I personally don’t like to be forced to go through “padding” just to reach the end of a game, so Colours’ method of just letting you go through the main levels and defeat the final boss is perfect for me. Even so, Colours is so enjoyable that I choose to complete all I can because it’s simply fun to do.

Sonic Colours is based on the “boost formula” of Sonic Unleashed, but slightly more refined, especially on big turns. I did have a slight issue of sometimes doing a homing attack when I wanted to do a double jump, but you can set homing attack to a different button if you want to.

The big addition to this Sonic game are the Wisps, which are power-ups that temporarily give Soinc different abilities, such as shooting forward as a Laser, rolling up walls as Spike or turning blocks on or off as Cube. They integrate into the Sonic gameplay very well, although as a lot of them are designed to work in a 2D environment, it does impact the level design, as Sonic Colours has a lot more 2D segments compared to Unleashed (which isn’t a problem for me, just some people prefer the other way).

You have six zones, each with six acts. Act 1 is typically the “main event”, while Act 2 sometimes feels like a “cut” section from Act 1, as the level starts exactly where Act 1 ends. The other four acts are typically shorter, usually focusing on a particular wisp or gimmick, although sometimes these are sort of “repeated” content, as they will take part in sections of Act 1, but with different obstacles (some are completely new segments).

Where I think the levels truly shine are with the Red Rings. Hidden throughout every stage are five Red Rings. These are optional to complete the same story, but will unlock new things. These utilise the Wisps heavily, and encourage you to find different routes. Taking a slower pace to find them doesn’t feel like you’re not playing the game “properly”. You can reach sections where you can’t go back, so you will have to replay levels, so I found myself attempting to find a quicker route in sections where I had the red rings. I especially liked the more Wisp focused levels for finding the Red Rings.

The reward for these is unlocking levels in the “Game Land”, which has a “Sonic Simulator”. This included seven more zones, each with three stages. There is no “theme” to these zones, all taking place in a cubic void, but it’s sort of a whole game’s worth of Sonic levels as a bonus extra.

To me, Sonic Colours is one of the stronger Sonic games. The core gameplay is fun to play and the Wisps add to the gameplay instead of trying to provide a completely different gameplay style. I much prefer being able to complete a game and having lots of optional content on top.

56. SegaSonic Popcorn Shop

  • Original Platform: Popcorn Machine
  • Where to get: Unavailable

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A Sonic game that was installed in a popcorn machine. I had to provide my own popcorn as my PC lacks the “popcorn maker” component.

After you insert your money, you get to pick your flavour of popcorn: butter, salted or curry (curry sounds very intriguing), then you play a quick minigame to run away from Dr Robotnik as he attempts to stop Sonic from making some popcorn. If Dr Robotnik does catch up to Sonic, then Sonic will dodge on his own, as the game won’t stop you getting popcorn if you fail.

Next up, you have to rotate a crank to stir the popcorn as Dr Robotnik tries to punch some, once this is ready, Tails will fill a cup and go off-screen to give it to you (if you had the actual popcorn machine, that is).

It’s an interesting novelty. There’s not much actual “game” to it, but it’s still technically a game, and would have been a fun amusement in an arcade.

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57. Team Sonic Racing

  • Original Platform: Xbox One, PS4,Switch, PC
  • Version Played: PC
  • Where to get: Nintendo eShop, Xbox Store, Steam, PlayStation Store

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Taking things in a different direction from Sonic All Stars Racing and Transformed, this kart racing game is entirely focused on the Sonic franchise, but with a twist of its own: you play in teams of three. While it does present some problems, it has some really interesting ideas.

Characters are split into three types: Speed, Technique and Power (similar to Sonic Heroes and Sonic Riders). Speed characters have the highest top speed, technique characters can go over rough terrain with no penalty and power characters can smash through obstacles without taking damage. They all ultimately feel quite balanced, and you can make further customisation to your cart to change stats or colour styles.

The racer on your team in the highest position will leave a “trail” behind them, any teammates following the line will build up a boost, which activates when they move out of it. If you coordinate well enough, you can technically keep leapfrogging each other. You can also pass item boxes between you (which can also increase the power of some items). Doing these team actions will build up your ultimate gauge, which you can trigger an Ultimate power, which makes you invincible and faster for a short period, and works even better if all three people on a team activate it at once.

All the items are based on Wisps, which is a neat idea for items, but unfortunately their icons aren’t very clear, so it’s not as easy as some games to remember what each one does. Different skill types also have their own unique wisps. These are more impactful than in the previous games (especially in speed types), but if an ally swerved in front of you, you get a little boost to recover much faster, so it’s a nice little touch.

Team Sonic Racing has a story mode called Team Adventure. Bizarrely, this is single-player only (I was expecting up to three players locally, especially as it’s literally got the word “Team” in the mode name). This is where one big problem with the team gameplay impacts you the most: you’re reliant on your AI teammates to be good. You can sometimes perform really well and get first place, pass back every single wisp to them and still not win the race.

Having to rely on AI racers also means that local multiplayer feels a bit off, due to having your performance affected by how well your teammates do. The ideal way to play Team Sonic Racing is to organise groups of 6, 9 or 12 people to play online, with voice chat set up between each team, which is a lot of faff to do. You can play without the team mechanics, but if you’re turning off the main feature, you may as well play Sonic Racing Transformed instead.

The 21 tracks are split into 7 locations. The new locations all look stunning: Planet Wisp, Glacierland, Sandopolis and Rooftop Run, and the individual levels feel distinct (although all Plant Wisp levels look quite similar).I really love the three Rooftop Run levels, all with a completely different atmosphere. Glacierland is a brand new icy location, with lots of floating ice crystals that look like more detailed versions of the Laser Wisp crystals from Sonic Colours.

Unfortunately, the other three locations are Seaside Hill, Casino Park and Final Fortress. These nine tracks are returning from the Sonic All Stars Racing games. The visuals have been completely updated and they look nice, but the layouts are the same and they’re all locations we’ve seen before in Racing games. I also find it odd that there’s a complete lack of classic themed tracks. While some main Sonic games have leaned on nostalgia too much, a kart racer is one time where it should lean on nostalgia.

Team Sonic Racing is a very solid kart racer. It has some extremely interesting mechanics which are implemented really well, and the new tracks in it are incredibly good fun. It’s main issue is that the main mechanic only works if you have the right amount of people to play with, and even then the story mode can’t be played as a team.

58. Sega Superstars Tennis

  • Original platform: 360, PS3, Wii, DS
  • Version Played: 360
  • Where to get: Second hand

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The basic tennis matches in this are fairly solid, if fairly standard. You have a few different types of shots, and run back and forth hitting the ball. As you hit the ball, you will build up “superstar” mode to build up, where you can activate a special power – although oddly I found that Sonic’s ability (Super Sonic) made it easier on the opponent, by swinging the ball to the centre of the court instead of the sides. If you don’t like it, you can make it longer to charge or just turn it off.

While the normal matches are nothing special, in the singleplayer mode, you will encounter lots of different ways to play. You will have to play a lot of matches and tournaments to unlock it all, but it’s well worth it. Some minigames are a bit dull (the Sonic ones especially, as they’re just walking around and don’t involve hitting the ball), but others can be a lot of fun.

In the Super Monkey Ball missions, you’ll progress through different kinds of hitting monkey balls into holes by hitting them with a tennis ball, before ultimately playing snooker trick shots by hitting a cue ball in a way so it hits another ball into a hole (and you can’t pocket the cue ball). Each mode builds up on its concepts like this until you get to the “main mode”. The Puyo Puyo mini game is incredibly good fun, and you have to hit Poyo pieces to get rid of them (hitting blocks of the same colour will get rid of all of them). House of the Dead and Virtua Cop require you to hit enemies with tennis balls, while Chu Chu Rocket works well as tennis.

I think it’s a shame that you have to play though some of the duller parts of Sega Superstars Tennis in order to get to the minigames, because the events you do unlock are a ton of fun.

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Yeah, Team Sonic Racing is a really solid title.  It's not as good as S&ASRT, but it's still a well made game and a genuinely unique take on the arcade racer.  I appreciate the attempt to try something new, especially in such a risky genre.

It's a shame that it wasn't really given a chance by the general public.  Switch version is also rock solid as well, excellent port that is at least as good as the base PS4 version; and runs like a champ in handheld mode to boot!

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Couldn't decide where to put this, but I guess this sorta fits. Green Hill zone music got lyrics.

 

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Apparently it wasn't intentional, but I always thought that Dreams of Absolution was based on Green Hill Zone 

 

 

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59. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

  • Original Platform: DS
  • Where to get: Second hand

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A turn based RPG, which is a kind of game that I don’t really like. I’ve attempted a couple, but Sonic Chronicles is the only one I’ve actually completed. As far as the combat is concerned, I found it a bit more engaging due to the POW attacks, as you have to play a sort of rhythm game for full damage (and do the same to protect yourself when the enemy does one), but as I don’t really know the ins and outs of the genre, I can’t comment on the quality of it.

One thing that Sonic Chronicles does pretty well is story, it has an engaging mystery of what this mysterious group is up to, and when you enter a portal you meet some interesting entities. It feels a bit like Doctor Who in a way, as Sonic can negotiate with the people of these various worlds as they’re not the mindless brutes as they originally seem to be. The new characters introduced are rather interesting, and I would like to see some of them return. The biggest flaw with the story is that it does end with a cliffhanger ending (the main plot is, thankfully, tied up), and a sequel was never made, presumably because the developer – BioWare – became part of EA.

I also really enjoyed the dialogue. Like a lot of BioWare games, you can make dialogue choices. This doesn’t have any impact on the overall story, although if you are nice to Amy, it can lead to an additional conversation where you can set up a potential future romance between her and Sonic. The conversation options allow you to ask some questions, or if you really want to, you can just make Sonic rude and obnoxious with some funny dialogue choices.

Getting around the world I found to be a bit annoying. To access different areas, you need to have certain movement abilities in your party, so sometimes you’ll need a specific character with you, or you’ll encounter some chao eggs or rings you can’t access until you return at a later point (but not too late, there are multiple points of the game that lock you out of previous areas). To trigger this ability, you just tap an icon on the screen. I have particular trouble in the Metropolis area as I didn’t notice I could jump down a platform and searched for ages to try and find the route to get to where I was needed.

I did enjoy Sonic Chronicles overall, due to the charming writing, although some aspects were a let down (the music is just…there, and is the most forgettable music in a Sonic game), the only thing I really disliked was that it was a turn based RPG.

 

60. Tails Adventure

  • Original Platform: Game Gear
  • Where to get: 3DS eShop, Sonic Gems Collection, Sonic Adventure DX

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This really wasn’t what I expected from a Tails spin off on the Game Gear. For starters, the graphics are really nice for a Game Gear game, looking a lot closer to the Mega Drive games than the other Master System/Game Gear Sonic games.

The gameplay itself starts as you would expect, it’s a platformer where you have to reach to the end of the level, slower paced than typical Sonic games. Tails is equipped with a bomb, which can be thrown in an arc, one of the classic frustrating weapon types as when an enemy is close, you just throw bombs over their heads.

As you progress, you’ll unlock new items, such as a remote control robot for activating switches and remote bombs. Tails can only hold 4 items at a time, so you’ll eventually hit a dead end and have to back out of a level to return to Tails house to swap items. As you find more items, you can access more areas – it’s a bit like a linear Metroid game.

It is very frustrating releasing mid-level that you need a completely different set of items to the ones you brought, especially when you have to return multiple times because you get further and discover you need something else. It’s still a rather interesting game, and has some neat ideas, such as the remote control robot being used for some puzzles.

(Also, I really want to add an apostrophe to the name of the game)

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On 01/10/2021 at 4:23 PM, Cube said:

The biggest flaw with the story is that it does end with a cliffhanger ending (the main plot is, thankfully, tied up), and a sequel was never made, presumably because the developer – BioWare – became part of EA.

I thought it was because one of the authors for Sonic's Archie comics decided to sue Sega/Bioware over this game? I think they used a character or a concept that he claims to be his IP?

Anyway, I checked Wikipedia, and though the lawsuit happened...

Quote

However, the game also proved a source of contention with former Archie head writer Ken Penders, who felt that the Nocturnus Clan antagonists were heavily derived from his own Echidna characters in the Archie Comics Sonic titles, whom he subsequently revealed he had copyrighted. Penders filed a lawsuit against Sega and Electronic Arts in 2011 for alleged copyright infringement;[35] the lawsuit was dismissed in favor of Sega/EA three times.[36][37][38]

...even the Wikipedia article itself seems to believe the EA acquisition is the likeliest explanation for the lack of sequel. Seems I was mistaken.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Jonnas said:

I thought it was because one of the authors for Sonic's Archie comics decided to sue Sega/Bioware over this game? I think they used a character or a concept that he claims to be his IP?

Anyway, I checked Wikipedia, and though the lawsuit happened...

...even the Wikipedia article itself seems to believe the EA acquisition is the likeliest explanation for the lack of sequel. Seems I was mistaken.

I think that lawsuit's main impact was that Sega completely distanced the series from ever referencing the Archie Comics ever again.

I don't believe that EA was the reason for no sequel. I think the actual reason is because the game is utter crap. If it was actually good, Sega would've commissioned someone else to do a sequel.

Anyway, @Cube. I have to have a word with you.

On 01/10/2021 at 4:23 PM, Cube said:

I’ve attempted a couple, but Sonic Chronicles is the only one I’ve actually completed.

If this is truly the case, then your Turn-Based RPG track record is truly woeful!

When Paper Mario drops on the N64 Switch Online app, I demand you play that and actually find out what a decent RPG with action commands is actually like.

It's for your own good.

Edited by Glen-i
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24 minutes ago, Glen-i said:

 

When Paper Mario drops on the N64 Switch Online app, I demand you play that and actually find out what a decent RPG with action commands is actually like.

It's for your own good.

I have it on the Wii/Wii U. Got as far as some lava boss. It's just a genre that's not for me.

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Everyone hates Sonic Chronicles and here I am thinking it wasn't THAT bad. Sure, its not a classic by any means, the music is terrible and I forgot a lot about it over time but I had relatively few issues with the actual game itself and found the story rather interesting. The final boss was a bit of a letdown though.

 

I'll go into more detail about it when the Sonic video eventually drops, I'm almost done with it, just need do to a lot of post produiction and testing.

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19 minutes ago, Aperson said:

Everyone hates Sonic Chronicles and here I am thinking it wasn't THAT bad. Sure, its not a classic by any means, the music is terrible and I forgot a lot about it over time but I had relatively few issues with the actual game itself and found the story rather interesting. The final boss was a bit of a letdown though.

Many, many reasons why I despise this game. I went over them in my Throwback Thursday article, but the short version is:

- The "Attack" and "Defense" stat actually denote Accuracy and Evasion. Not only is this grossly misleading, it also means Attack is completely useless because it only affects the standard attack, which is absolutely rubbish and should never be used. If you put the bonus points into attack, you've just wasted a precious level up.

- Because the standard attack is pointless, you rely on Power Moves the entire game. Which makes it a real pain that no character will ever get more then 20 PP in this game. Even in the last dungeon, you'll burn through your entire reserves in one fight. This forces you to waste turns defending or waste all your items.

- Currency is severely limited. They're finite in the overworld and you get none from winning fights. Which means you have to sell all the crap you no doubt need to keep your PP up.

- Lots of RPG's have 1 or 2 party members that aren't very good. Sonic Chronicles has 8 out of 11 of its characters be rubbish. The 3 who are of any use include 1 who buggers off halfway through the game and 2 optional characters who are permanently missable.

- The above point wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the sections that force you to split everyone up into 2 teams. This includes the final dungeon. The team that can't have Cream is going to have a really miserable time!

- If your level is too high, the experience points you get from fights gets drastically reduced. I hate it when RPG's do this.

- The depth of the overworld is non-existent, which makes some areas unnecessarily difficult to navigate.

- The soundtrack is utterly woeful, which is absolutely blasphemous in a Sonic game.

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1 hour ago, Glen-i said:

- The "Attack" and "Defense" stat actually denote Accuracy and Evasion. Not only is this grossly misleading, it also means Attack is completely useless because it only affects the standard attack, which is absolutely rubbish and should never be used. If you put the bonus points into attack, you've just wasted a precious level up.

I will say, stuff like this was never particularly obvious when playing as for about 11-13 years or so of playing RPGs I didn't pay too much attention to how my stats were actually affecting my attack etc, there was no real obvious feedback from what I could see about the impact that my stats were having. Stuff like that is the sort of stuff I feel you'd only really find out on the internet anyway. This might be why I was able to enjoy the game a fair bit more than you did. Not a scratch on the 93% review score in ONM that basically sold me on the game though!

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61. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

  • Original Platform: 360, PS3
  • Version Played: Emulated & Patched 360 version
  • Where to get: Second hand

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It’s possible that some of you have noticed that I haven’t always played the original versions (it’s just the original Sonic the Hedgehog where I’m looking at specific versions), and I figured that conversations about Sonic 06 have talked about all its flaws and hidden qualities have said everything that ever needs saying, so I figured that for Sonic 06, I would delve a little bit into fan territory.

Not as far as P-06 from ChaosX (although I did play some levels after completing Sonic 06 and it’s shaping up to be amazing), but more the patches included in the Sonic 06 mod manager, and just those patches – no additional mods. I included various bug fixes, made it so characters can still be controlled while taking certain actions (such as Amy’s hammer attack), some extra visual flair and one cheat, that being infinite lives. I personally hate lives and the system in Sonic 06 is particularly bad, as you don’t simply start at the beginning of a level, but you have to travel to it and complete any required town missions along the way. I avoided the ones which switch up moves, changes the speed of characters and stuff like that, as I aimed for a more playable version without changing it too much.

The first thing to address is the loading screens. Originally they took around 30 seconds each, and there were a lot of loading screens. For a town mission, you’ll speak to them, accept a mission, get a loading screen, they’ll then repeat what the mission is, another loading screen, then go. Then if you fail you get a loading screen, return to the hub and then start the process again. That hasn’t changed at all, but due to simply running emulated on a PC, the loading screens are a few seconds, so you can laugh at the absurdity of the amount instead of having an agonising wait.

Sonic 06 starts you off in the hub world of Soleanna. The actual background and lore surrounding the world is really deeply crafted, with lots of nice touches and background detail you can find, unfortunately, the design itself is rather repetitive and a bit bland, so the town missions just aren’t that fun to play and pad the game unnecessarily. Before you can play a level in Sonic 06, you get to watch a brilliantly animated cutscene where Sonic saves a princess, only for her to be captured (something that will happen many times throughout the game). You then need to get to the first level, but need to buy a light ring so you can perform the light speed dash. Luckily, the man next to the shop will challenge you to “SOLVE MY MAZE” as you run through rings, you can then buy the move and access the first mission, wave ocean.

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The levels themselves are actually really well designed, with lots of multiple paths to take to find quicker routes, either going via more enemies or for a faster route. The homing attack does actually feel a lot more precise than previous games as it always seemed to target what I was intending to, unlike previous games.Unfortunately, there are a lot of bugs, and you’ll die a lot due to unfair obstacles, but for the most part, the main levels in Sonic 06 are a lot of fun, there’s some good set pieces and some good level design.

There are a fair few detractors, though. Levels are chopped up into segments, with loading screens between them. Sometimes they look like they could be stitched together to flow nicely, but sometimes it just feels like you’ve warped to a different area, there’s no good transition between the areas at all. Joining Sonic on this adventure are Tails and Knuckles, who you will control at certain points. Tails can fly (for a short time), and has an atrocious attack of throwing item box bombs, which throw fake rings everywhere (making it a pain to find real rings if you get hit). Knuckles’ biggest problem is fixed by a patch (originally, jumping off walls wouldn’t work most of the time), but feels very weak in terms of fighting, which is a bigger part of this as enemies have health bars. You only use them for a few sections, although Tails has his own level, which just feels out of place in the story (Tails suddenly decides to chase after the princess on his own, fails and rejoins Sonic).

Sonic’s story in this is centred around saving princess Elise, complete with a romance plot. There’s no real chemistry and it kind of feels like Sonic doesn’t even care at all. Elise does show a bit more initiative in trying to escape each time she gets captured, but it happens a lot. What is interesting about Sonic 06 is that Sonic himself doesn’t really find out much about what is going on, there’s a far deeper plot to Sonic 06 that Sonic himself is unaware of during his part of the story, with the other parts being the focus of the stories of Shadow and Silver.

Shadow plays similarly to Sonic, but is a bit more aggressive. His homing attack packs a bit more of a whomp with a very satisfying sound, while he can shoot blasts at enemies. His story is the best out of the three, revolving around Mephiles, a devil-like entity of darkness, who escapes from his cage during a fight between him and Eggman, and Shadow travels to the future and past to try and stop him. Mephiles shows Shadow that the world will turn on him to tempt Shadow to join him. Shadow’s levels are the same as Sonics, but with different setups and routes, and Shadow also has another trick up its sleeve: vehicles.

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Dotted across some of Shadow’s levels are vehicles you can jump in like a buggy, bike or hovercraft-type vehicle. They are fairly simple to control but fit the gameplay fairly well (that said, it is odd having them appear in the apocalyptic future of Crisis City). There’s also a few glider sections where you get to blow up a load of stuff.

You’ll meet up with Rogue and Omega. Rogue controls like a mixture of Knuckles and Tails. She can glide and climb, but has bombs, which are similar to Tails but seem a bit quicker. Omega has a lot of shooting and a hover which feels like it wants to fail a lot, but luckily you can abuse a bug where you can maintain the hover by repeatedly shooting. Both feel great (partly due to the patches), making Sonic’s story a really great experience with a really good story around it.

Silver is a new character, a hedgehog who grew up in an apocalyptic future. He’s slower than Sonic and Shadow, but has psychic powers, which make up the bulk of his abilities. Unfortunately, an idea that has the potential to be a lot of fun (and when it works, it really is) is the most problematic in Sonic 06. You can pick up multiple items, but they get in the way a lot, so quite often when you’re throwing an item at an enemy, it will bounce off another item you are holding and fly off. This is especially frustrating in some boss battles. Blaze the Cat from Sonic Rush joins him, who controls quite well and is even faster than Sonic. She has a completely different backstory to Sonic Rush, and is sadly underused. Amy also joins Silver, and randomly has an invisibility ability. Her double jump is a pain to use as it doesn’t continue her momentum, so is more for extra height than distance.

The Desert level for Silver also brings an attempt at some physics based puzzles, which is another nice idea. Sadly, it’s not well implemented. The introduction to the puzzle is really nice, you will fight some enemies on what looks like a snooker table, then some numbered balls will roll down. As you hit them the number goes down, and if it gets to zero, it vanishes and respawns. Knock them down the holes and the door opens. It’s a really neat idea, but the next time it appears, it’s full on frustrating, as you have to knock the ball down a very long corridor with corners, holes and a bumpy surface which affects how it moves. The ball sometimes counts down on its own, and can sometimes just go flying and blow up. It’s an absolutely terrible and broken segment, and the best advice is to glitch through the door.

Which ultimately is the biggest problem with Sonic 06. It has a lot of great ideas, but they are often not executed very well. There are issues which spoil the flow of the game, but the core gameplay is really good when it works. Even with the issues in the original version, there is a lot to like in Sonic 06, but a lot of frustrations. In its worst stage, it is an immensely flawed game (with amazing music) and fairly bad, but isn’t even close to being one of the worst games ever like it’s reputation suggests. With a few fan patches, it’s a much better experience and a genuinely fun experience.

 

62. Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers

  • Original Platform: Board game
  • Where to get: Limited availability

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers is quite a meaty Sonic board game. It can be played against each other, or you can have a card-controlled boss character (if you have a boss expansion – I have Dr Robotnik and Shadow, but Metal Sonic and Infinite were also available. Bosses can also be played as a normal character). The aim of the game isn’t simply to reach the finish first (although that does trigger the end of the game), but to score the most points by collecting rings and defeating badniks.

The track is built from very large card pieces, with rinks, badniks and rocks placed on them accordingly. You place two, followed by a turn (the person who first enters the turn will then place the next two). In total, there will be two turns and six sections of track. Each round, all players will pick an agility card form their hand and place it face down, flipping them over once all players have picked, they’re flipped over and resolved in order of the number on the card.

Each card consists of two sections. The top will have an optional action, this can increase your speed, let you perform a spin (to defeat enemies) or move a couple of spaces. Movement in this section can include moving to the side if you want (which lets you change lane). The second option is the main movement, which will be running, jumping or a choice of either. The distance is based on speed and must be forward (the rulebook is very unclear about this, as it’s quite poorly written), even if it means running into enemies.

There are four badniks which have different rules. Motobugs affect players running through them, but not jumping, Crabmeat will hurt enemies jumping past the spaces above and below them. Buzz bombers will hurt players running in front of them, and spinners will affect jumping enemies moving through them. Landing on them (or spinning through crawling enemies) will destroy them, giving you one point. You get a card explaining how they work, but it is a lot to remember to do while playing the game.

As you collect rings, they go on five piles, with the rings this round going on the smallest stack. When you get hurt, you lose all your rings and place them on the spaces around you. This can be devastating near the end of the game, so you’ll want to defeat badniks as you won’t ever lose their points.

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There’s also a bit more regarding terrain types and how they affect speed, and expansions will add even more options. Battle Racers has a lot of maintenance to remember, so it’s very easy to mess up a game by making a mistake because you missed something that should affect your speed. It all feels a bit more complicated than it needs to be, but is a lot of fun nevertheless.

When playing against a boss, the boss will have a stack of cards that determines their actions. The next card is revealed when all players reveal their agility card and their action will take place based on the number on it. Bosses will have different abilities. Dr Robotnik will place new obstacles, while Shadow will defeat enemies and collect rings as he moves through them. Bosses start with 10 rings and hitting them will make them lose two. If they get hit with no rings remaining, then they are removed from the game (this rule only applies to players during a solo game, so nobody is eliminated and forced to wait for the others to finish).

When playing with other players, you are still competing to get the best score, but if the boss passes the finish line first, all players lose. When playing Solo, you still need to finish first and are awarded a rank based on how many points you have. I managed an A rank against Shadow, but got hurt near the end of racing Dr Robitnik and only got a D.

Each character has a special ability, but the retail game only has Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy. The deluxe version I have (which was Kickstarter only) has a lot more, while a few more were at an even higher tier. The models are quite nice, although Sonic does fall down quite easily. It’s a really nice looking game, with fun gameplay (once you get the right rules), but the amount of stuff you have to remember and pausing the game to set up the next sections of track add a lot of maintenance that makes it a pain to play at times.

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On 01/10/2021 at 4:23 PM, Cube said:

60. Tails Adventure

(Also, I really want to add an apostrophe to the name of the game)

Its grammatically correct. The adventure isn't the character's, but rather his tails are on an adventure. 

BTW I've been enjoying this thread. Been good to find out more about a whole host of Sonic games I didn't know existed!

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Well, I'm about to spoil some of the games CUBE hasn't done yet (though he's counted board games and a few compilations which I didn't but) I couldn't think of anywhere else to post this. Sorry CUBE. Seriously, there are lot of really obscure Sonic games out there that are technically official.

 

 

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63. Sonic and the Secret Rings

  • Original Platform: Wii
  • Where to get: Second hand

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A Sonic game with a unique control scheme. In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic automatically moves forward and you make him move left/right by tilting the Wii Remote. Holding the jump button will make Sonic slow down and charge up a jump while you can move backwards while twisting the Wii Remote towards you. The latter is not explained by the game well at all, as the on-screen description implies you just move it so its facing towards you, when you actually have to flip the whole Wii Remote upside down. Once you discover that, the controls are still a bit odd, but functional.

You will progress throughout a series of levels that take place in the world of Arabian Nights, starting with the desert level you would expect from a setting. The other levels, however, definitely take a lot of liberties, such as a jungle with dinosaurs, pirate ships, a floating city on top of a giant manta ray and a fiery factory. Each level is fun to play, with some great music throughout, and even with the fairly poor (for today’s standards) graphics, still have a nice visual style.

Unfortunately, the game’s structure really lets it down. When you beat a level, you’ll get a cutscene (in a nice hand drawn style), where Sonic will indicate heading to the next level…but you can’t access the next level. Instead, you have to progress through a ton of challenges. Some of these are fun, but others are just repetitive as you play through the same parts of a level collecting rings, or killing enemies, or not killing enemies. Some of these are required to progress through the game, while others are optional…except the game gives no indication of which ones are which, so you’ll go through a lot of them anyway until one of them moves you on. When you unlock a new mission, the screen will just state a new mission unlocked and won’t even tell you which level its in.

What doesn’t help is the main song, Seven Rings in Hand. I enjoy this song (especially the Crush 40 version), but it will drive you crazy throughout Sonic and the Secret Rings as it’s on a constant loop throughout all the menus, and the ranking screen plays a smaller snippet of it. You’ll hear it so much that it will annoy you pretty quickly.

Another big issue with Secret Rings is how Sonic is at the start. The game has a levelling up system, where you will unlock new skills and assign them (you can have four different layouts), so as you approach the end, it gets significantly better, but really all of the speed ones should have been default as it really does give a bad first impression.

I really like Sonic and the Secret Rings. Despite its flaws, there is a lot of charm to the game, with some really enjoyable levels. I would love a “Storybook Collection” remake with some more traditional controls as an option, as I think it really does deserve another chance.

B1. Super Sonic Ball

  • Original Platform: PC, Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series
  • Version Played: Xbox Series S
  • Where to get: Digital stores

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The latest Sonic spin-off, this platforming game is a very different kind of platforming to other Sonic games, where Sonic is trapped in a ball and you move him by tilting the level itself, guiding Sonic past obstacles and along narrow paths.

This is the first spin-off since Sonic Jump Fever where Sonic is playable, but not unlocked at the start. Instead, you start as AiAi the Monkey, who was introduced in Sonic Rivals and has appeared in a few spin-offs since then. The story itself is very loose and isn’t really explained at all. My guess is Dr Robotnik (who you never actually encounter) has trapped Sonic in an airtight ball, and he has to make his way through the levels in order to unlock the ball and escape. There is a time limit for each level (presumably representing how much air is left in Sonic’s ball). Some of the levels also imply that Sonic has also been shrunk down, as they take place above giant washing machines or a campsite stove.

Each grouping of levels starts off with a “Green Hill Zone” level. It isn’t called Green Hill Zone, but features the signature chequered pattern and tropical setting, something that is consistent across all levels, but in different colours. There are some imaginative ideas here, as one series of levels takes place in a giant whale that has swallowed multiple cities, trapped in orbs.

The gameplay itself is simple. The levels are made up of floating platforms that you tilt and you have to make it to the goal plate, collecting rings along the way. The rings can be used for unlockables, and collecting them all gets you bonus points. The gameplay itself sounds simple, but the simplicity is misleading as the levels get difficult very quickly. Thankfully, there are no lives to worry about, so you can perfect each level to your heart’s content, and the time from failing to starting again is very short, meaning that the difficult levels are challenging without being frustrating. I think I actually died on one level over 100 times before finally managing it.

Super Sonic Ball is a really great game. The levels can get ridiculously difficult, but it’s immensely satisfying when you finally beat one.

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