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Christian Whitehead

Opinion, Previews

Sonic Mania – 25th Anniversary Party Preview

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The second Christian Whitehead, better known as Taxman, posted his YouTube video presenting his Sonic CD remake for iOS, he became a household name. Folks had known him before, but for the first time, a fan’s efforts had caught SEGA’s attention and sure enough, we got the Sonic CD remake, then the original Sonic 1 and Sonic 2.

Fast forward to 2016, and Taxman, along with Headcannon and PadogaWest Games are bringing us a brand new experience feature select levels from Sonic’s past, as well as brand new levels for fans to explore and enjoy. Sonic Mania is the game fans never thought they’d see again, but at the 25th Anniversary Party, we didn’t just get a trailer: we got to play it.

Hit the jump for thoughts from Sonic Retro’s own Bartman3010 and myself.
Continue Reading

Game News, Opinion, Previews

SEGA News Bits: Sonic Mania Hands On Impressions

We played Sonic Mania, and now we’re going to tell you what we think! In this SEGA News Bits, George and I (Barry) rest our aching feet just hours after the Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Party in San Diego to share our reaction to the Sonic Mania reveal and give our thoughts on how the game plays. Do we have another Sonic 4 on our hands or is Sonic Mania the true successor to Sonic 3 & Knuckles? The answers are obviously “nope!” and “hell yes!” in that order.

Special thanks to Neo Hazard for letting us use his footage, you can check out his channel here! Also, thanks to Bartman for being the one to play the game in our footage. You can find Bartman’s YouTube channel here!

SEGA News Bits is a production of SEGAbits, covering all things SEGA and Sonic the Hedgehog. When we touch on Sonic stories, you’ll be seeing them here on Sonic Retro as well. If you enjoyed this episode of the SEGA News Bits, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and never miss an episode!

Game News

Sonic Mania Announced For PS4, Xbox One and PC

Holy shit.

Sega is working together with Christian Whitehead, Headcannon and PadogaWest Games to make Sonic Mania, a new 2D game featuring brand new zones alongside re-imagined versions of old zones.

People at the 25th Anniversary Party can play a demo featuring a re-imagined Green Hill Zone and a new zone called Studiopolis Zone right now. Sega has also given out a goody bag with an USB stick that includes one of the songs from the game, which will undoubtedly be put online sooner than later.

Sonic Mania will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC in Spring 2017, and we can’t wait to play it.

Fan Works, Music

Sonic Nexus OST Released as “Nexus Genesis” via Ubiktune

hunty_nexusgenesisHi, it’s been a while. I haven’t been around the Sonic scene in years because, like… do I really need an explanation?

I am back today to promote an album of Genesis chiptunes that, at one time, was the soundtrack for my Sonic fangame, Sonic Nexus. You remember that game, don’t you? For the low cost of $7, you can enjoy 21 original FM tunes and own a part of a game that almost was, but then suddenly wasn’t.  The game’s composer (and one of my best friends), Hunter Bridges, has been doing a bit of press on the lead up to the release on sites, like Medium, if you’d like to read about the history of the project and his soundtrack from his perspective.

A series of fortunate events in the professional lives of The Taxman, Hunter, and myself ended the Nexus project, so it brings us all a lot of happiness and closure to see something from the game get released, despite having long-since moved on.

It’s a great album, so I hope you guys give it a listen.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD “NEXUS GENESIS” FROM UBIKTUNE

RSTitle

4 Life.

Game News

Sonic CD is PSN’s Top Dowloaded Game for December 2011

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Reviews

Sonic CD: The Retro Review

Let’s level here for a second–if you’re a Sonic fan in any capacity whatsoever, you’ve heard of Sonic CD, the tried-and-true cult classic of the original Sonic “trilogy,” as it were. Released in 1993 for the SEGA Mega CD, spearheaded by Sonic’s original character designer Naoto Ohshima and developed by a completely different team than the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, the game has received wildly mixed views as both the best and worst Sonic game–and in some cases, platformer in general–of all time. Sporting surreal and immersive environments, a heavy focus on puzzles and exploration and an absolutely killer soundtrack overseas (courtesy of the collective genius that is Masafumi Ogata and Naofumi Hataya), Sonic CD stands out in a lot of ways from virtually every Sonic title that came after it. This is likely due to the fact that game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara had no involvement in it whatsoever, contrary to the original Sonic and the two sequels that followed it. Still, love it or hate it, Sonic CD has left a longstanding impact on those who played it–both good and bad. Continue Reading

Game News

First Look at Sonic CD on XBLA, U.S. Soundtrack Confirmed

Although GameStop’s tablets include a copy of the game already on them, new video on YouTube of the Xbox Live Arcade build of the game gives us a crisper look at the game running, as well as laying any fears to rest of the Spencer Nilsen soundtrack being excluded for those preferring the more rock and synth U.S. soundtrack.

The video gives us glimpses at the main menus, Tails as an unlockable character, and a new instrumental remix of the original International opening theme, “Sonic – You Can Do Anything”. Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine can be seen in full force as the game animates at a smooth 60FPS on a 16:9 aspect ratio, allowing more of the action to be seen by the player.

The big stunner of the video comes at the end when the player goes through the Special Stage, now significantly smoother to any other experience of Sonic CD to date. It’s almost disorienting after playing it at its chugging Mode 7-esque pace.

Sonic CD is due out by year’s end on every platform under the sun except for the Wii and 3DS. Sorry, Nintenation.

Game News, Interviews

Ken Balough Speaks On PartnerNET Version of Sonic CD

Late last month, a game-testing friend of mine hopped on Twitter and talked about what he was going to be testing on PartnerNET that day. Sonic CD was one of the games and he was disappointed with what was a 4:3, 30 FPS demo with performance issues. Well, that Tweet made its way around and some confusion ensued, especially since the news of Christian Whitehead’s involvement in the port was made known a few days prior. (Fact checking, how does it work?)

While the PAX demo of Sonic CD cleared up some of that confusion, Sonic CD Brand Manager Ken Balough gave me a ring this afternoon, wanting to make everything clear. “The version of Sonic CD developed by Christian Whitehead has never been on PartnetNET. The PAX version that is widescreen and runs at 60 FPS is the version,” said Balough.

SEGA has been susceptible to PartnerNET leaks in the past, but the version of Sonic CD on the service was never meant to be for private testing, let alone known to the public. Balough noted, “The PartnerNET build wasn’t created by Sonic Team. It was something that we were playing around with to see if a port would work. It was never intended to be played by anybody outside of the company. When we were thinking seriously about this project, we started looking at talented developers. That’s where Christian, his Retro-Engine and Sonic Team come in.”

“It’s a non-story at the end of the day.” Words we’ve heard many times. Many, many times.