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retro review

Fan Works

Presented With Commentary: “The Hedgehog”

When news of a new Sonic fan film hit from out of the blue, I must admit, I got way more excited than any normal human being should. Sure, we’ve had some recent projects come out of the pipeline like the yearly Christmas tradition of Sonic and the gang doing holiday-type-things, the Sonic Prologue animated short (that I’ll sadly admit to not having watched) and more than one Sonic.exe film (which I’ll gladly admit to not having watched), but they didn’t capture my imagination like that one magical moment a few years back. When Jim Sass, Richard Kuta, and Eddie Lebron all threw their hat in the ring at once, trying to create Sonic fan films with very different goals in mind.

Their legacies, only history will know for sure. But ever since that triple knuckled punch, I’ve remained pretty quiet on the subject, at least when it comes to writing about fanfilms on the front page of Retro. But when I was linked The Hedgehog, and saw that initial poster of an awkward teenager sitting upon a merry-go-round dressed as Sonic, I knew I had to watch it posthaste. And moreso, talk about it. Did that enthusiasm last after I watched the short? Well, not in the same way, I can safely say. But before you read what I thought, go ahead and watch it for yourself. A brief warning, even though there’s nothing violent or sexual in it, the film is definitely not targeted towards kids, so hide them away for seven minutes.

The Hedgehog from Chris Lee & Paul Storrie on Vimeo.

Yep. That was nominated for best UK Short Film at the 2015 London Short Film Festival.
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Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric – The Retro Review


Sonic Boom has certainly been a source of contention from many fans of the franchise, both old and new. Presented as a new branch of the Sonic series primarily led by the people at SEGA of America, it’s hard to argue the experiment has won any favors from longtime fans. While the TV show has been performing well, the 3DS game didn’t turn into anything more than a mediocre platformer. All that’s left to talk about is the Wii U game.

Unfortunately, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the weakest element in the Boom bandwagon. The title shows off way too many glaring issues that seem as if the developers were rushing to get the game out the door in time for the TV show’s premiere, and boy, we got stuck with another unfortunate misstep for the blue blur. Plagued with infinite jump glitches, weird collision bugs, opportunities to soft lock the game and some of the worst special effects seen in the CryEngine…wait, the CryEngine 3? The same one powering performance hungry games such as the Crysis series? Indeed, the same one, only now the game is running poorly optimized for the Wii U and has some of the most awkward special effects in a modern 3D game.

I don’t doubt that the engine could work well for Sonic providing an open world environment, but that kind of experience is not delivered well here. Now, some of you arm chair experts are probably sitting there saying the game is terrible due to Sonic losing his speed, turning the game into a glorified beat-em up and changing the iconic style of the character, the plot and all the things that make Sonic work. But that couldn’t be further from the point on why exactly this game is bad.

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Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal – The Retro Review


While the verdict on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is pretty clear at this point, not much attention has been given to its 3DS counterpart Shattered Crystal. Made by Sly Cooper developer Sanzaru Games, this title tries to add kinda-Metroid-like elements while having a hero switching mechanic similar to Sonic Heroes. Unlike the Wii U version, SEGA was confident enough to put up a demo of the game on the eShop before release. And while it wasn’t particularly impressive, the sample given was pretty decent. So the question is if the full game holds up.

So here’s the deal with this Sonic game: it’s not really much like a normal Sonic game. Rather than being about trying to take the fastest path to the finish, a lot of time is spent exploring the levels as you can collect a bunch of crystal fragments and blueprints in most of them. These also take a lot longer to finish than your usual Sonic stage, as they can easily take up to 15 minutes to complete if you’re looking around for collectables. You can also switch between four characters in these stages: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Sticks, all of whom work very differently from past games. Continue Reading


Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U) – The Retro Review


[The following review was provided by site member and main power source for the server GerbilSoft.]

Mario and Sonic are back at the Olympic Winter games, this time hosted in Sochi, Russia. Like the previous three installments, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is a mini-game collection based on Olympic events and various levels from the Mario and Sonic universes. How well does it compare to the previous outings?
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Sonic Lost World (Wii U): The Retro Review


I won’t bore you with the usual spiel about Sonic’s state in the past and present. Leave that to any other website trying to pad the word count. Let’s get right into the heart of it: Sonic Lost World is a half-baked game. At its best, it brings a fresh element of fun to the series through the new Parkour System that lets Sonic zip around landmarks, triangle jump up walls, and even cancel his now-signature homing attack to kick enemies around. But the experience tends to get bogged down by odd level design choices or a finicky mechanics.

But is the game still salvageable and worth putting into your blossoming Wii U library? Continue Reading

Reviews, Sega Retro

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: The Retro Review

The developers at Sumo Digital have tuned up their old car, shoved a jalapeno up the tailpipe, changed the belts, look, whatever generic trope you want to indicate for the existence of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed. You know, that Sonic and Sega racing game? They made another one of those.

Without a doubt, it’s a better game than the predecessor. It’s more of everything: more vehicles, more characters, better physics, more track variety, and so on. It also does what it can to give character/item based racers the competitive edge that the genre has difficulty in reaching. On the other hand, the game has mishaps and hiccups that occur more often than it should which can cause the game to be a frustrating experience, especially in some of the game’s more heated situations.

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