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Sonic the Hedgehog at E3: Catching the Sonic Mania

It’s hard to believe that Sonic Mania is only a short two months away. It seems like only yesterday the game was first announced, a magical look at the Sonic experience that could have been on the Sega Saturn. When the digital pre-order trailer came out a couple weeks ago, some assumed that very little new content would be revealed in the days prior to E3. Yes, we’re a bit late to the party, but SEGA did announce a new level in style: Chemical Plant Zone.

Sure, you’ve watched it before, but there’s no shame in jammin’ out to that Act 2 music all over again. Hit the jump to see what else Mania has been up to as it speeds to it’s release.

How can you not love those sleek DNA Helix’s? More so than Green Hill, Chemical Plant Act 2 looks and feels like a new zone. One can certainly tell they are in uncharted territory, with new gimmicks like sticky platforms that move you across treacherous areas. For the keen-eyed Sonic fan, recognizable elements from Sonic CD are sprinkled in, like the Metallic Madness-esque tubes, the press of a D-pad sending Sonic on his way. There are also areas in which the ground can bounce Sonic upward, similar to Wacky Workbench‘s signature element. Instead of being all over, they are contained to specific areas. One hop on a nearby syringe changes the color of the toxic goop, altering its maximum bounce height and sending you to parts unknown. Game Informer’s website also premiered footage from Act 1 of the game, which highlighted elements closer to what was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

With E3 officially beginning, the boys (aka those dudes) at SEGA had one more surprise in store, though it had accidentally been teased a few days prior. As Aaron Webber once again made the rounds to all those many cameras in LA, the boss to Green Hill Zone was finally shown off. No checkered balls this time around, the player goes up against a revamped version of the final Death Egg Mech from Sonic 2, this time slowly following you as it destroys the terrain in it’s path. Unlike previous chase bosses seen in Mushroom Hill or Sonic Advance 2, it is Sonic who is being pursued, forced to adapt his skill set to a lumbering Eggman enemy. And if Green Hill is indeed early on in the game as one could assume, who knows just how crazy the bosses will get from here on out?

For those interested, IGN also uploaded a direct feed of Green Hill’s boss, also revisiting Mirage Saloon. Knuckles and Tails clearly begin in different locations in the dusty, hillish area, their paths eventually converging. Even small details like the pause screen and the rings counter turning blue if you hit the corresponding item box are enough to crack a smile. Proof that from big to small, this team is putting care in every inch.

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Speaking of the team, while it’s been known since Day 1 that Christian Whitehead, Simon Thomley, and PagodaWest have been working on development, the Pre-Pre E3 Show over on Twitch had a couple other members of the Mania team stroll onscreen. For long time readers of Sonic Retro, the faces of these two fellas should be recognizable. On the left: Brad “Slingerland” Flick, who once wrote for this very site. On the right: Hunter “Hunty” Bridges, who has been known to write a jammin’ tune or two in his day. As for what role they are playing in the making of Mania, nothing was said. Regardless, we wish them the best.

Stay tuned to the front page for hands on impressions on Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania, and the entire E3 experience, coming soon from our reporters in the field! Also, aw heck, I really want one of those Mania posters.

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