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Sonic 4: Episode 2 Screenshots Released on Xbox Live Marketplace (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The release date was spotted on Xbox Live as well shortly before it was removed along with the screenshots (which were re-uploaded later on). If the date is correct, we should be seeing this game as early as May 16th.

While it’s entirely possible we weren’t supposed to see these just yet, we were warned by Ken Balough we’d see some interesting things in the next couple of weeks regarding the one Sonic title we definitely know is coming: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. And with no fanfare whatsoever, we can now see, at the very least the visual style they are going for in the next chapter of the “Sonic 4 saga.”

Oh man, they even pulled the original Tornado out of storage for this one. Remember, the reason it says Sonic on the side is because it was Sonic’s plane in the first place.

Even though it wasn’t that hard to guess from what concept art we had, those of you who guessed that the first level in the game might have some resemblence to Aquatic Ruin Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 can pat yourself on the back, since it looks like we’re definitely in a ruin underwater from those first few screenshots. Mixed in with a bit of Marble Garden imagery (oh hey, that strange head guy who loves to throw arrows is back), it doesn’t seem to be as much lifted straight from Sonic 2 but an amalgamation of the two, so it actually looks…almost new! Definitely a step in the right direction.

But hey, we get more than just the first level. We get to see hints of the other three that are meant to be coming out way (yes, once again we’re getting a four level jaunt). Also coming our way is another strange amalgamation of winter fun and carnival excitement. What is nice is that the winter area isn’t exactly Ice Cap, but something reminiscent of a stray idea mentioned a long while ago…sure, might be coincidence we’re getting Christmas Trees, but hey. And you can’t go wrong with Metal Sonic apparently hijacking one of Miles “Tails” Prower‘s inventions.

We also get to see a quick look at yet another industrial zone pluked straight from the Texas oil fields, and also the return of the Sonic 2 Special Stages. Sonic Team, if you can make them just as extreme as the remake you did for the Saturn version of Sonic 3D: Flickies Island, we’re in business.

Also, for those who thought the twirling of blue and yellow in the teaser trailer meant something, looks like Sonic and “Tails” are getting all sorts of moves. Yes, “Tails” will be able to airlift Sonic. But they’ll also be doing some crazy spin move that’ll…um…well, who knows what it does. And…wait a minute, is that the Little Planet in the background? With something being built around it?! Death Egg Mark II Mark III Mark-Something, anyone?

Included with the screenshots is the official description to the game, which you can take a gander at below:

The Sonic 4 Saga continues as Sonic reunites with Tails for all new collaborative play! Following the events of Episode I, Metal Sonic has returned to form a formidable alliance with Dr. Eggman! To face this new threat, Sonic will have to call upon an old friend to help him save the day! Joined by Tails, utilise ingenious combination moves and race across four brand new Zones, in order to put an end to their evil plans! Play alone, or with a friend locally (and online), in an evolution of Sonic 2’s collaborative gameplay! Unleash Sonic and Tails’ devastating joint attacks and combination moves to fight the united force of Metal Sonic and Dr. Eggman. Episode II features an all new game engine, bringing you updated physics and an original graphical style as you race through four unique Zones and a new Special Stage.

FEATURES
Offline co-op 1 – 2
Dolby Digital

ONLINE FEATURES
Online co-op 2
Leaderboards

Ladies and Gentlemen, you better prepare yourself for the return of the 2-Player mode. But until then, check out the entire gallery below, along with the cover art to the episode.

…and hey, is it me or does the first level kinda remind you of a certain fangame everyone loves?

[Source: Xbox Live Marketplace]

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91 Comments

  • Reply

    It feels so weird looking at hi-res screenshots of zones that haven’t even had their names publicly revealed yet.

  • Reply

    This is perfect! *.*

  • Reply

    I haven’t jizzed like this since episode on was announced.
    Hopefully it won’t be such a let down.

  • Reply

    ..this. ..this doesn’t look like ass! 

    Colour me intrigued. If the gameplay is better I’m gonna be sooooo happy.

  • Reply

    IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    the graphics tell me that this won’t be comin’ to the iPhone. Time to break out Steam…..

  • Reply

    Way to top episode 1 by 500 miles.

  • Reply

    Looks much better then episode 1. Hope the physics are much better this time

  • Reply

    Visually this looks very impressive.

    Visuals mean nothing to me.

  • Reply

    Way better then Sonic 4 Episode 1’s art!! o_o

  • Reply

    LOL. Sonic Twinsanity

  • Reply

    I remember being severely let down when the first screenshots of Splash Hill Zone were released.

    This time it’s exactly the opposite. These look amazing and more or less original. Which is awesome.

    Obviously we still gotta wait and see how the gameplay/everything else turns out. But these shots look very promising.

  • Reply

    Okay…

    …now we’re talking. 😀

    And I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the Sonic 2 special stage restored as it is. Of course, the final verdict will depend on how it plays, but the sheer fact they’re attempting to reproduce it is a HUGE plus in my book.

    And looks like they’ve actually got something of a story this time! Huzzah!

  • Reply

    Fused rehashes aside… I’m in love with this! Especially on the Co-op emhpasis!

  • Reply

    am i the only one here hoping for Turbo Tails to make a comeback?

  • Reply

    Well well well! The graphics don’t look like pre-rendered ass at all! I dare say, they’re even good!

    But these are screenshots, not a gameplay video! Let’s wait and see if the gameplay is actually any good. At the very least we’re seeing something about Sonic and Tails’ co-op moves, Metal Sonic and, ugh, those blue needles that are there just to be homing attacked.

  • Reply

    So they showed off three zones, huh?

    Wonder what the last two will be like.

  • Reply

    More rehashes, still homing attack, NEW moves, graphics still not anything great. Garbage. 

  • Reply

    Not. That. Special Stage. I hated Sonic 2’s Special Stages. ._. Hopefully it will be better.

  • Reply

    I don’t believe it! This has to be the most surprised I’ve been about the game since it was first annoucned! Updated Graphics Engine: Check! (Nice new HUD SEGA). Tails playable: Check! (Even online play! Good job!)
    Now all we need is good physics and this game is an automatic 8.0

  • Reply

    The only thing that strikes me is that, every single level looks rather…. dark.

  • Reply

    Wow, looks really promising!

  • Reply

    I hope to god that the combo moves with tails aren’t as sucky as Sonic Advance 3…

  • Reply

    So is Eggman constructing the newest Death Egg to around Little Planet, using it as a source of power?

    Not really sure, but that’s actually a good way to connect Sonic CD in future episodes.

  • Reply

    Looks lovely. I can tell already this will be miles better than the first. All these levels look original~ I kind of think it’s a little realistic compared to the first episode

  • Reply

    WOW. Perfection!

    lol @ the 69 pose, but otherwise this looks too perfect to be a ligitimate game. seriously, as soon as i saw the 1st image i thought- fan game, as up until recently only the fans have been able to get it right.

    This though looks perfect. Nothing looks plasticy, its looks like the levels are true to what you would expect to play after sonic 3 and knuckles.

    true to the original physics are a must though, and im still unsure about homing attack, though we do have the option to use it or not.

  • Reply

    I’m not sure how you could see anything else from screenshots.

  • Reply

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
    TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!

  • Reply

    Looks amazing…Only bad part is that it’s only 4 levels…

  • Reply

    It looks like they learned a lesson on classic referances from Generations, this looks like it could be absolutely brilliant consider to Ep1.
    What seems to be a fully 2.5d game engine, some lovelily designed levels, 2-player co-op, return of Metal Sonic, REALY looking forward to this.

  • Reply

    Now hang on, that can’t be little planet, it was destroyed at the end of cd, so while it does look similar, it can’t be the same… Can it?

    • Reply

      …um…the Little Planet wasn’t destroyed at the end of the game. Sonic saved it. It made a sparkle and then disappeared to wherever it goes when it isn’t hanging out near Never Lake. So it is the same place.

    • Reply

      No, at the end it emits a shower of sparks in the shape of Sonic’s face, floats off, and then explodes in a shower of sparks.

      • Reply

        …so what you’re saying is that Sonic defeats Eggman, saves the Little Planet…and then it immediately explodes. While in the bad ending, the planet remains entirely intact. That…doesn’t make any sense whatsoever?

        Remember, the Little Planet only shows up once out of the year. It’s safe to assume that it disappears. It was flashy because “oh man mega cd animation” but it definitely did not explode. If it had, I’m pretty sure that would have meant Sonic lost.

    • Reply

      Stuff like that has happened before though in plotlines, so it is ok to assume that when an explosion happens centred around little planet, and it then subsequently disappears, that it exploded.

    • Reply

      Little Planet didn’t explode. It swirled away and zoomedback to its own dimension. It only appears once per year, and Eggman was trying to keep it bound to this dimension so he could harness its time-travel powers for his ow nends. That’s why Little Planet stays in the bad ending and goes away (NOT explodes) in the good ending.

  • Reply

    And another thing, is Ep1 had Sonic 1 Special Stages, and Ep2 has Sonic 2’s… Can we expect a return of Sonic 3’s as well?

    • Reply

      No. Ep 2 is the limit. They’re not doing 3

  • Reply

    It’s interesting to see a theme going on with the zones: there’s forestry in a few of them, and they’re all generally set at night/twilight. Maybe it’ll be similar to Sonic 3 in that the levels simmer from one to the next? 

    Something does feel bizarrely ‘right’ about the stages so far imo, though. Even with Sonic Rush’s crappy tiling, the design could still look nice.

  • Reply

    OH… MY… GOD… These are AWESOME!!!
    And I love how all of the comments are positive and surprise reactions and feedback, while there’s ONLY ONE troll here.

  • Reply

    so… any body else feeling light headed. i just nerded out all over the kitchen, family, room my ps3 needs cleaning. oh man and the sheets… <_<

    THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!! inb4furry jokes from screenshot4

  • Reply

    The visuals are perfect. Absolutely nothing to complain about. But the physics…it’s alllllll about the physics.

  • Reply

    I remain cautiously optimistic, they fixed the visuals thats for sure, hopefully if this new engine will be on par with the retro engine, and they have an orchestra for the music then we have a game…..OH NO THE SONIC CYCLE STARTS AGAIN!!

  • Reply

    From what I can tell, it looks good. I only wonder about what’s next and if this is based on their handheld games’ engine. Now to get a PC I can actually play this on.

    “The only reason I need Windows is the fact that all the good software is on it” –Open Source Advocate

  • Reply

    Finally, a game that allows you to 69 with Tails while hurling through the air.

  • Reply

    It looks like it fizzled into sparkles in the Mega-CD version, but it definitely looks like it blasted away in other versions.

  • Reply

    Well they adding tails and that is a nice touch if you ask me

  • Reply

    Huh… Sonic 2 Special Stages… what happens if you already have the Chaos Emeralds from Episode 1… SUPER EMERALDS??? no… i don’t thing SEGA would bring them back… *edge of seat*

  • Reply

    Homing Attack or no Homing Attack? That’s what I’m wondering right now. You see those Bubbles lined up like you’re supposed to use it on them, but then you also see a screenshot of Sonic leaping toward a Chop-Chop underwater, and the Chop-Chop has no targeting reticules on it.

    I wonder because the Homing Attack really could make or break the game for me. I hate the Homing Attack because it always goes off when I’m trying to make a series of quick jumps, causing me to get thrown off of ledges and/or into hazards. The very least they could do is assign it to a button other than Jump, but even if they did that, it’s still one of the symbols of what’s wrong with Sonic, especially since the developers confessed to deliberately getting the physics wrong in Episode 1 in an effort to force players to use the Homing Attack. If they think they can make me play their game the way they want it to be played, I’m not gonna play at all.

    I like the screenshots and they beg me to believe, but the only question on my mind is, “Ok Segac, what’s the catch? What did you deliberately botch this time?” The things they get wrong are so exasperating because they’re basic things that ROM hackers have been getting right for years. It’s like instead of trying to make a game that they think is fun to play (like Sonic’s old rival Mario does all the time), they instead make Sonic games just to show off how awesome Sonic is, and that’s why the poor blue boy has suffered so much.

  • Reply

    Actually I think the Special Zones are the one place where Sonic can safely show off his breakneck running speed without it souring the rest of the game. Sure, the result is pattern memorization along with trial-and-error gameplay, but the Starposts should provide dozens of chances and your reward for beating all the Special Zones is the ability to break the difficulty curve over your knee, so I think it evens out in the end.

  • Reply

    The game looks visually stunning, but from what i`m seeing, it looks somewhat bland in platforming, and the game has a strange coloration that just doesn’t settle for me.

    But still, it looks sick.

  • Reply

    from the perspective on some of the shots, (see that industrial one for example), it looks like they’ve switched to a 3d engine for the land

  • Reply

    Is it me or do the special stages look like Sonic 2’s special stages?

  • Reply

    Something tells me I’m going to have to start saving money for a WiiU AND a PS3…. and enough money to get this game. SEGA’s gonna leave me as broke as they did last year with all the 20th Anniversary merchandise AND GENERATIONS….. Both versions.

  • Reply

    oh man does tht look good. just goes to show how sega can mess things up but can get to being awesome again. hopefully theres a ep. 3 and maybe a 4 to end it and the fourth having a lock on feature to play all of them like sonic 3 and knuckles

  • Reply

    I really need a HD TV.

  • Reply

    Sega… you see this $10 bill in my hand? It is waiting to venture to your coffers.

    Impartiality confirmed. You had me at online co-op.

  • Reply

    Damn, I always struggled with the last few sonic 2 special stages, looks like getting super sonics gonna kick my ass 🙂 this just looks perfect, now all we need is a look at these new fangled physics they’ve told us about.

  • Reply

    Looks gorgeus. Let’s hope the gameplay is on par with the visuals. Sega seems determined to not lose the momentum gained since Colours. Let’s hope so!

  • Reply

    If this sells well, will there be an episode 3? based on these screenshots i hope both will be the case

    • Reply

      I was thinking the exact same thing, if episode 2 does well why not complete the sonic 4 trilogy like they originally planned?

  • Reply

    OH MY GOD!!!! This looks awesome!
    Only thing I have to pick at though is that it looks darker than EP 1, but thats fine for me.
    I’m soooooo excited for this now!

  • Reply

    Yes. That is clearly the skeleton of the Death Egg being constructed AROUND the Little Planet. We have you now, SEGA! 

  • Reply

    The 6th screenshot reminds me of Chrome Gadget from Sonic 3K’s VS. mode. And man these shots look good. 

  • Reply

    Sonic Fan remix? Looks a lot like it. Looks to flashy for what Ep1 offered but i’ll tke it. Just too bad the Wii isnt getting it. Im stuck with the Ipad version/ Ipod version. BUT THERE IS STILL NOSTALGIA HERE! I hope the special stages arent as hard as they were in Sonic 2.

  • Reply

    Little Planet returns? Will we be seeing Amy?

  • Reply

    Other than the FURTHER reuse of the Sonic 2 Special Stage (God I hate you Sega) over the much superior Sonic 3/K ones, I’m loving this so far. Metal’s my favorite char besides regular Sonic, so I’m pumped in that respect, too. Plus, Little Planet? Fuck yeah.

  • Reply

    SEGA, if you’re there, listen up. You’re really stepping it up, and the game looks great, but be careful. Do NOT make those moves consume some kind of gauge. Airlifting was free in Sonic 3, it should stay that way. And pretty please change Sonics’ running animation. That paper-ish effect over his feet is unnecessary.

    TL;DR: I’M BUYING THIS GAME! *Rabies*

  • Reply

    Hey, look who’s back! “Sonic Fan Remix”‘s Evil Brother, the “Sonic Oficial Rehash”!!

    Pretty graphics, haha, okay, but rehashes again? really? come on, and the scenaries look too realistic…

    Please, everyone, don’t make the same stupid mistake you did to Sonic Colors…. praising a regular 6/10 game to make Sega think everything is going great…. hasn’t Sonic Generations taught ANYTHING to you???

  • Reply

    I really hate how they have all of the skies and all of the levels colored this time. It looks exactly like *(Sonic Fan Remix)* and the coloring and lighting effects make me feel nausious just looking at still pictures. Sonic Team basically ripped off *(Zelda : Twilight Princess)* along with *(Sonic Fan Remix)* on this game. It looks horrible and even if it plays great the coloring is going to really disgust me. It’s like Sonic is becoming a 4 year old girl’s style. All rainbows and brightness.

    • Reply

      Claims the art style rips off Twilight Princess, a very dark and gritty looking game.

      Also claims that the art style looks too bright and colourful with rainbows and shizzle.

      And what exactly is wrong with it? It looks fine, if anything it looks really rather pretty. And considering how Sonic Fan Remix has received so much praise for it’s beautiful visuals, I would hardly call anything similar ‘horrible’.

  • Reply

    But the horrible art style aside, I think in this game, and during Episode 3, the skeleton around Little Planet will slowly progress into being the new ship. With the core of Little Planet being tapped into and used to fuel it like the Master Emerald was used for. And the planets warp away ability will be used possibly for Robotniks inter-galactic travels.

  • Reply

    YA I have a PS3 now but I still wanted it to be on the Wii for the classic controler. HD sin’t everthing. Total rip on SFR but kinda like generations. I can’t wait for the special stage, anything other than the one from heros.

  • Reply

    Oh, boy… more half-pipe special stages….

    Those have been in Sonic 2, 3D Blast (to a certain extent), Advance 1, Advance 2, Advance 3, Heroes, Rush, AND Generations. We need something new, dammit! Just bring back the blue spheres or something else that people actually LIKE!

    • Reply

      Considering that Ep1 had Sonic 1’s special stages, and Ep2 Sonic 2’s, I think it’s fair to say episode 3 will have a new rendition of Sonic 3’s special stages.

      And heroes and generations weren’t half-pipes. Just pipes. And the half pipe stages are all awesome.

  • Reply

    This is looking promising so far. That one with the Christmas trees… I think we ALL know what that theme came from… 😉

    So… If EP. 2 will have Sonic 2 Special Stages, will Ep. 3(if there will be one) …have Blue Sphere back? I hope so, Blue Sphere was the shit.

    And maybe even… Hyper Sonic?

  • Reply

    This looks better than episode one by far… looks sorta fun, besides the special stage

  • Reply

    […] that 2012, but yesterday a batch of screenshots curiously crept up on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Sonic Retro got their hands on them, and they look darn […]

  • Reply

    This. Looks. AMAZING… I was so hyped for Sonic 4 EP 1, like I would check the website and Sonic Retro EVERY single day just to see some updates on the game. Now, I’m just even more excited to play this game than I was with EP 1… SEGA is heading toward the right direction.

  • Reply

    Also, I think Ep 2 is gonna end somewhere on Little Planet, and then in Ep 3, they will finish the game with you saving Little Planet? My speculation.

  • Reply

    I’m wondering why SEGA didn’t wait to release it on disc instead of making us download it twice, maybe 3 times. But it’s still cool.

  • Reply

    I absolutely adore the visual style here. It’s vaguely realistic while retaining the whimsy of a classic Sonic game

  • Reply

    The level with the ruins and the level with the roller coaster look very similar…they have the same mountain profile and the trees look to be laid out in a similar fashion. it could be possible that the ruins is the past version of the level, the roller coaster is the present, and possibly the oil derrick scene is the bad future? This could be an inclusion of a time travel mechanic. I wouldn’t doubt it because it looks like little planet and metal sonic are back.

  • Reply

    None of the Advance special stages were half-pipes. Advance 1 had you falling through a full-pipe on a board, Advance 2 had you in a free-roaming stage, and Advance 3 had you on the Tornado 2 flying through somewhere.

  • Reply

    Now I’d consider this to be the REAL Sonic 4 Episode 1! The environments (I’m assuming by the screenshots) seem to put me under the impression that they’ll use actual 3D environments now which looks really sweet and realistic. They also seem to be using completely new cliches or adding new twists on old environments (That beautiful new Death Egg Mark 4 in the ruins, the factory in the oil-related level and the theme park in the snowy mountains). I’m also glad they improved Sonic’s animations and his facial expressions due to the fact his constant stupid faces when falling and looking up made him look like a first class moron in the so-called “Episode 1” (Yes, I hate it so much that I’d happily exclude it from the Sonic 4 series). Yes, he’s a cartoon-ish video game character but he’s also a serious adventurer. I’m generally impressed this time around but I hope the levels are MUCH larger and if there is time travel involved, I hope Sega gets it right. I also hope that Jun Senoue can compose music for this game that is capable of cleaing away the horrible soundtrack of Episode 1…

  • Reply

    […] Sonic Retro Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  • Reply

    Looks pretty.

    But I’m saving my judgment for when I actually PLAY the game.  Pretty pretty visuals are worth nothing if gameplay is horrible.

  • Reply

    more screenshots-
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/segaamerica/sets/72157628608496487/

  • Reply

    The screenshots are really impressive! And little things like Sonic new running animation is MUCH better!
    That flashy zone kinda remembers me of Endless Mines and Chrome Gadget. Neat!! And what’s with that Steampunk Zone at the last screenshots?? xD
    But, that jumping still remembers me of the first episode. The nightmares……
    Is it possible for them to make the same blatant mistake easily twice???
    … Oh, it’s SEGA…

  • Reply

    …Wait, are we even looking at Sonic 4? These graphics look incredible compared to episode 1.

    This might be worth picking up for Steam, unlike the original.

  • Reply

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