Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brief Sonic 4 Recap and Some Spotlights (UPDATED)

So, just to recap on the current Sonic 4 news:
  • Guerilla-style footage of every Sonic 4 Episode 1 level (including the ending and cliffhanger) has been leaked by a guy called infinity on Sonic Retro and have been taken down pretty much everywhere
  • The soundtrack has been leaked as well, and then taken down
  • Chaos ensues as usual, since people have already downloaded them all and are no doubt using them as talking points
After deep exposure to the radioactive fan fallout, I found myself with only one sentiment to express.

And now, a picture for the theme:


In other way-past cool news, a number of remixed soundtrack tunes have been featured on the Sonic City Blognik, due to sounding awesome. You can find more on YouTube and the Sonic 4 thread on Sonic--actually now it's SEGA--no, wait, it's back to Sonic Retro again. April Fools is trippy. On that note, Happy April Fools and Happy Easter.

Speaking of Sonic Retro, I thought I'd spotlight some of their Sonic projects filed under Engineering/Reverse Engineering, as well as one other from YouTube. First up is Sonic 4 Genesis Edition, which promises to be even closer to the classic Genesis gameplay than Sonic 4 does. The video below shows music remixed by Tweaker and concept images done by Chimpo of Sonic Retro:

Looks all-right so far. The new art style is an interesting choice. It reminds me a lot of an upscaled Sonic Pocket Adventure, which is actually a complement, but it still leaves me wondering how it'll affect the game's overall retro-impression if at all. Judging from all the criticisms Sonic 4 is getting now, I'd anticipate the team would make drastic changes to the level design seen from the leaks. If honest criticism and unmet expectations prompt this kind of fan response more often, I might regard the negative criticisms with less disdain, seeing as how more time would be spent making a game and less time debating about it. Oh, how sweet that would be right now.

Next is Sonic Classic, a truly ambitious looking homage to the classic trilogy brought to you by Hez, otherwise known as HezMan2000 on YouTube. You've got all original zones with redone classic music, some new tunes, and an overall Sonic CD influence in the menus and sound effects (also Super Peel-Out). Judging from the time attack video, there are 7 original zones starting with Hazel Hill and ending with Cyber City (totally Sonic CD alliterated), as well as time attack trials for all of Sonic 1's zones. Check out more at the Sonic the Hedgehog Classic thread, which has a number of development screenshots, 5 or so video samples, and a downloadable demo.

Up next is Sonic CD 2, which is being headed by StephenUK @ Sonic Retro. Not too much to say about this one, other than he's thinking of implementing a dynamic season device into the game a la Mega Man Zero 4 and/or the Oracle of Seasons. Best of luck to his project, as I'd be very interested in playing it.

Now we're talking. This is Sonic Boom, and it's a fan-game that'll blast your balls off. Right away, you're greeted with a gritty YM2612 remake of the game's namesake, followed by some totally radical Duke music to accompany your supped-up Sonic running, fly-kicking, double-jumping, and ground-pounding through a dark metallic factory. By the way, when I say fly-kicking, I mean to say the devs behind the game actually retooled the standard homing attack to be a snazzy mid-air flying kick, and if that's not enough awesome to rock your ass, the next two acts feature fully Genesis-remade tunes from the Mega Man X games. Holy shit, you just crapped your pants, because you know that's the coolest thing you've ever heard. The game is remarkably fast, but the controls are so tight, you're fully immersed into the experience, and the level design is pretty much yours to dominate. Check out the official thread here.

Okay, now this last one isn't based in Sonic Retro, but rather on YouTube, and it's being worked on by a fellow fan from Brazil: LtheHedgehog. The story with this particular fan-game is that it used to be a rather standard, albeit promising 2D Sonic game using graphics from the Advance games and various techniques and stage gimmicks from the 3D games, like Unleashed: ground-pounding through crates, body-diving through a chasm to collect rings, and locking on to pulleys and manuevering in mid-air using the homing attack. All in all, it looked pretty promising, as he made some interesting design choices in some of the levels. Then, after many months, came the update video you see above, followed by some more videos showcasing 3D models cast in 2D as well as a brand-new theme song. The song was great, and it was one of the strongest grabs for me by the project as it stands now. It sounds that awesome, and there's supposed to be a better-sounding version coming soon (but really, what sounds better than retro music done right?). Also, the cel-shaded model for Sonic looks clean and beautiful.

There are many more ambitious fan projects to check out, but I'll be here all night doing features on them, so I encourage you guys to find some really good ones for yourselves and post them in the comments section below. Try searching for Needlemouse: The Emerald Hills for starters.

NEWSFLASH: This whole leak business appears to be coming to a head. PartnerNET, the game development service provided by Microsoft for their Xbox360 platform, has been shut down. This is where the leaks have been coming from, although now it seems the game in its current form is also available to PS3 developers on PSN. Seems SEGA has decided to finally nip the problem in the bud already.

Speaking of which, in a rather belated move to preserve company-fanbase relations, Sonic Retro admins have removed the Sonic 4 discussion thread and will reward any further discussion of the game with a permanent ban. Says Scarred Sun on the matter, "Don't fucking test us," and "You fuckers fucked up BAD." Tweaker says some words about how valuable their relationship with SEGA is and why they decided not to act sooner on the leaks within the forum.

So, basically you decided to act now to stem the rabid fandom and leaking over this game? Geebus Christus, you guys took your damn time. Was it too much to restrict the posting of leaked videos at least? It's not like there weren't already over 600 pages of discussion on the game without the help of condoning released footage of the game. I can understand Tristan posting it all, since he takes it upon himself to report on every little thing that happens as editor of TSSZNews, but Sonic Retro? Seriously? You'd think you could've done more earlier to prevent this sort of thing from happening, like banning the user infinity from posting illegal PartnerNET footage. Sure, he could've taken it somewhere else, but at least it wouldn't be fucking Sonic Retro.

God. It's like they ask for it until the limit has been breached, and THEN the shit has hit the fan. Good job, Retro admins. Way to have your priorities straight. I'll give you guys some credit, though, since you actually took time to do something about it (after the fact).

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