Friday, November 11, 2011

Sonic Generations: Impressions

"The only thing better than Sonic... is two Sonics!" ~Recent TV spot
I'd be lying if I said I was totally excited for Sonic Generations. After the initial announcements and Iizuka's lame reasons for stating why a Wii version was not in the works, I tried to soften the blow of missing out on Sonic's 20th anniversary celebration (and tried to keep my annoyance in check when people constantly told me "just buy a new console and shut up."). I certainly had high hopes that the game would be satisfactory for those that played it, and like Colors from last year, would please the critics and further elevate Sonic's stature back to being respected... even if this meant dipping a little too far into the nostalgia well to win back those "fans" that had claimed to have "given up" (yet they hang around and complain even when they don't play the games...).

Then a shining light appeared... or at least a rumor at the time. The year's worst kept secret, one that kept "accidentally" spilling out on online retailers the world over (or at least in Europe), that a PC version might be in the works. Eventually SEGA fessed up and made a formal announcement, though I've always wondered why they didn't just come out and announce it immediately instead of letting the rumor mill spin a while? Well, whatever the reason, it got me a little hyped up... I own a PC after all, and hopefully it'll run the game...? I remember double, triple and quadruple checking my system specs on my five-year old PC hoping I at least met the minimum requirements and, thankfully, I did.

After a wait that felt like forever just to get the game installed, a lot of swearing and headaches getting it to launch, I eventually got to just sit down and play the game. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

20 Years...

20 years ago, my family and I lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn. My earliest memories are of this place. When I was really young my mother says I enjoyed playing "Shoot the Duck" on Nintendo (aka Duck Hunt). The NES was my sister's system, and we both got quite a bit of mileage out of it. We played a ton of games on there together: Ducktales, Mickey Mouscapade, The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, the Super Mario Bros. series, etc. Quite frankly, I can hardly remember them all anymore, save for the Mario series and a bit of Ducktales (probably because my sister just has to remind me of the embarrassing songs I made up to go with the game's BGM... I was three, dammit!).

Childhood fandom: Not for resale.
So by the time I was introduced to Sonic the Hedgehog, I was no stranger to the world of video games. I don't remember the timing, I think I was in kindergarten when I discovered Sonic, the cool blue dude who has continued to be a part of my life nearly two decades. It was at a cousin's birthday part, he showed me and my sister Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on his SEGA Genesis, and immediately I was hooked. He punched in the codes for level select and debug so we could play as Super Sonic. It was a blast. I think Chemical Plant Zone was the first Sonic level I vividly remember, and it's still one of my favorites (that music!) I don't really remember much else, but later that year, I got my own Genesis with Sonic 2 packed in for Christmas and so began one nerd's lifelong obsession.

At present, I'm a 22 year old college graduate trying to mentally prepare myself for the next stage of my life. I'm not really going anywhere at the moment, which is probably the only reason I'm finding time to write a blog post celebrating a fictional character's birthday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sonic Generations Announced!

So, for the most part, I've been out of the loop on Sonic related news over the past few weeks. I did manage to catch the Facebook exclusive teaser that featured both the modern and classic Sonic designs running alongside each other. But now, as everyone else on the Internet is already well aware of, Sonic's 20th Anniversary game, Sonic Generations has been officially revealed by SEGA.

Check the trailer:

For the sake of my own sanity, I'm not going to look at the comments. I don't want to relapse to what happened with Sonic 4's announcement.

Together at last! Happy now, fanboys?
So far what I've seen looks promising. It's consistent with SEGA's attempts to merge both the gameplay of the classic Sonic titles, while also establishing a formula for a modern-styled game. But now SEGA's gone a step further, adding the option to play as Sonic in either his classic or modern appearances. What's really interesting is the fact that each version has gameplay totally unique to them; classic Sonic seems to lean towards side-scrolling 2D gameplay, using Sonic's classic moveset while modern Sonic opts for the Unleashed formula, with a mix of 3D and 2D sections and a moveset reflecting what Sonic's used in more recent games. The first level shown in the gameplay trailer is Green Hill, and it seems that Sonic Team is looking to take gamers on a trip down memory lane, going through a variety of levels from across Sonic's 20 year history (uh, do us a favor and leave anything connected to Soleanna out of it though, would you SEGA?).

It'll be interesting to see how Generations develops along the way. The only thing I'm displeased with right now is the lack of a Wii version (I don't own a 360 or PS3), but hopefully Wii owners won't get left out in the cold in the end (no, the new Mario and Sonic doesn't count!). I can't really keep up with the news as frequently as I'd like at the moment, but I'll keep an eye on things.

In the mean time, I'd recommend keeping up with the news at more frequently updated sites, like the Sonic Stadium. Here's some screenshots to whet your appetites.

Also for a random bit of commentary, I'm really digging the design of the Generations logo. It actually looks to take a few cues from the old Sonic box art used in Japan for the Genesis/Megadrive games. It's thankfully less busy than those boxes, but it's a nice little callback to those beginnings.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shout Out to the Old Earth...!

I don't know if I've ever made it particularly clear, what with my several failed attempts to actually maintain this thing, but I generally love the music that has been produced for the franchise over the last 20 years. While I do think there are a few soundtracks that are either forgettable or don't really "sound" like a real Sonic soundtrack, I don't want to make that post right now... maybe in a year or so when the feeling to write again has possessed me. I kid, I kid. It might only be a few months. Maybe.

Right now, I want to focus on the positive for a bit and talk about one of my favorite soundtracks: Sonic Adventure. Now I'm usually the first to admit that Sonic Adventure is a game that the years have not been kind to, and I honestly think it's a bit overrated these days. Not quite as overrated as Sonic CD, but it's up there. I've found that it's certainly a more enjoyable experience by comparison at least, and the game is not without its merits, but all the same the game just hasn't aged well. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is a different story.