If you’ve missed our live stream shows, you’ll be happy to know that we archive (most) of our videos including our first look at Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed running on iOS as led by Guess Who. We’ve also got first looks of Sonic Dash and Crazy Taxi running on Android that showcase game features and commentary from the staff at Retro.
Now, we’ve seen a number of big releases this year. Sonic Generations. The Sonic the Hedgehog CD remake. But there is one release that has been pretty much ignored here on the front page of Retro, aside from a small blurb about when it was announced. Before the two big releases, iPhone/iTouch/iPad users got an entirely different game to waste the time away. It might not have been the biggest, most in-depth game, and it’s true that it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Christmas. But you know what? I’m not going to let that stop me. I’m already running late on this, so we here at Retro are going to give you another review for your money’s worth.
SEGA has finally announced when we can expect Sonic CD to hit digital platforms. As it turns out, it will be released for most platforms tomorrow for only five bucks. Considering this is an all new version made by Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead with features like playable Tails, the Sonic 2 spindash, widescreen, 60FPS at all times and the ability to switch between both soundtracks, that’s a pretty good deal. However, if you live in the US and only have a PS3 you’ll have to wait until December 20th to buy the game. The Android and Windows Phone 7 versions have also been delayed until the new year and there’s no word on when the Steam version will be released, though The Taxman has said on the forums that it isn’t cancelled. SEGA also released a launch trailer for the game, which can be viewed here:
It shows a couple of the new features, so it’s worth a watch. Also note that at the end the trailer cuts to the Sonic CD logo right before Sonic goes past a future sign, maybe a teaser for things to come? Either way, it looks like this version of the game will be worth buying. Multiple times.
UPDATE: Ken Balough has said on the official SEGA forums that the PC version will be coming soon and that the release date was adjusted “slightly due to some outside factors”. A date will be announced soon.
Sega’s latest classic title up for download services proves to be an important stepping stone for the company. Not only is it a port of a rare Mega/Sega CD title, the collaboration behind the project showcases the 10+ year old game running with optimizations and slight changes that help solidify Sonic CD’s place among the previous games. Not since Street Fighter has a game seen this level of work, both for those who prefer games to stay as true to the original as possible as well as please those who are looking for optimizations to solidify the functionality between the Sonic games. What was shown off in the PAX demo was the entirety of Palmtree Panic, with two special stages that would be randomly chosen for each playthrough for the sake of the demonstration. Honorable mention goes to our good buddy Ken Balough who was also there at the Xbox Live Arcade booth to help fill in the gaps of what to expect.
No doubt the most promising feature is the ability to change between two different spindash types for the game. However, the demo available only allowed for players to utilize the Sonic 2 & 3 Spindash feature. While the sound effects were still similar to the original version of the game, the spindash execution itself was much more streamlined compared to the original Sonic CD. You still have to charge up Sonic before he goes blasting off, but it is much easier to access places that would normally be more difficult to reach because of this optimization. Because of the new spindash feature, the screen does not pan in front of the player as it did in the original. In the final game, the screen will pan if the legacy spindash feature is turned on.
The gameplay otherwise feels exactly as it did in the original game. Load times are quicker for sure, enemies move as you expect, the stage gimmicks, such as Sonic going through the giant 360 degree loop, are also in place. Some additions including the 16:9 widescreen presentation that properly fills the screen in both regular and special stages help with the viewing area even without the camera panning in front of Sonic. The only real oddity I came across was the stage boss in Act 3; during the part where Eggman falls from the sky, the player can still damage the boss before he begins his attack movement.
The special stages in this version take advantage of the modern hardware, well, as modern as a flat “Mode 7-like” plane with UFOs flying around can get. The 3D plane turns much more smoothly as the UFOs scale properly in the 3D space. Item UFOs are much easier to identify; Light blue represents ones with shoes, and the darker bluer ones represent rings. Of course, the time bonus UFOs are still the same light blue with red bars and will appear when 20 seconds are left on the clock. The smoothness of which Sonic runs around, (or if he gets bounced around,) makes it easier to tell Sonic’s trajectory as he travels. Despite the upgrade in presentation, control is still fully digital, (i.e. no analog,) when turning Sonic left and right.
Another feature unique to this version is a filter effect for the graphics that blur the pixels for a more smoothed, anti-aliased look. Similar to Super 2xSai or Super Eagle filters that work on all the objects on screen. The filter works by applying them per object, however the effect seemed a bit blurry, and the smaller details of some sprites became a bit tough to make out. Ken did state that the feature was still being worked out as it was thrown in shortly before the PAX showing. For purists, players can easily turn the filter off and enjoy the original look of the game. In the demo the filter feature’s switch was mapped to the Left and Right Bumper buttons of the Xbox controller, which are likely to change into a menu function in the final build.
Despite the low volume of the TV, one could determine that the music was without a doubt the Japanese soundtrack. Unfortunately, Ken confirmed that the US soundtrack would sadly not be available in the final version. (Sidebar from me: You can use the Xbox 360’s built in music player to blare your rare Sonic Boom! Music CDs.) What Ken stated on the matter is that they are still working to see what would need to happen on the legal side of things to get the US soundtrack in the final game. While DLC is a possibility, he’d much rather try to include the music for free, whether they can get it in the final or added in through a patch.
While the game was being shown on the 360, Ken did state that the game is coming out on a host of platforms including PS3, Android, iOS devices and on the PC through Steam. A WiiWare version is currently not planned. The game is on track for a release later this year, and already looks very promising. Alas, no disc based version of the game will go on sale.
Finally, on a side note. Those of you who are at PAX make sure to go check out the booth. Last few times I checked over at Microsofts booth, Sonic CD was literally untouched. Go be a bro, check it out and say ‘hi’ to Ken. I bet he’s quite lonely!
So America got Sonic Boom during E3, and the U.K. is getting Summer of Sonic this weekend. But what about Japan, the country where the original Sonic the Hedgehog was conceptualized and produced? Well, this past weekend the Sega Joypolis arcade in Tokyo, Japan held their “Sonic the Hedgehog 20th Birthday Party Anniversary Exhibition.” While the Sonic display connected to it opened on the 11th of June, last Saturday was the big celebration, going full out for the 100 invited guests along with whoever else could fit through the door at the last minute. These diehard Japanese fans were not disappointed, able to see Naka, Ohshima and Iizuka live on stage. Sure, there wasn’t a 40 minute Crush 40 extravaganza, but Senoue was more then willing to show his smiling mug, and the Director of Sonic Generations was also on hand. After all, wasn’t the announcement of Sonic’s latest game that got this whole 20th celebration rolling?
If the cover on your iDevice is just looking a bit too blasé for you, consider checking out a new line of Sonic the Hedgehog and classic Sega game console iPhone covers by Japanese manufacturer CaféReo. These polycarbonate cases, which fit iPhone 4 16 and 32GB models, are part of the Sotogawa line of licensed iPhone covers. These covers are part of a larger Sega offering, including cases from Shining Wind, Valkyria Chronicles 3, Phantasy Star Portable 2, Border Break and Puyo Puyo. CafeReo plans to release these covers sometime in June, but various import shops around the Internet are already taking pre-orders; Google is your friend if you want to snag one of these for your phone.
A little blurb for ya on this Monday. Sonic 4 Brand Manager Ken Balough has informed me that SEGA Football Manager and all Sonic titles on iOS devices are discounted and that all of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross relief efforts. The sale/relief effort will extend through the rest of this week.
If you already own the discounted games but still want to donate, please head on over to the Red Cross and pitch in what you can.
Here’s one for all you Apple device owners that almost went under our radars. Along with confirmation that Sonic 4: Episode 2 is under development, Sega also announced that Sumo Digital’s answer to Mario Kart in Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing is on its way to iOS devices.
In this case, it’s specifically for the iPod touch and the iPhone. Very few details about the game were released, so there’s no clue as to how much the game will include in comparison to its console and DS counterparts. However, Sega confirmed the game will include support for local multiplayer over WiFi and Bluetooth.
Expect it to hit the App Store sometime this Spring.
[Via IGN Wireless]