Sonic the Hedgehog (DS)

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T’other day I found myself in HMV and happened upon Sonic Classics Collection (Sonic 1-3 and Sonic & Knuckles) for the DS. I’d heard about it ages ago, but don’t remember it actually coming out. As is the way with Sonic games of old (and sadly, often of new), I had to buy it. So I did!

And it’s the most faithful version of Sonic I’ve played on a handheld. OK, so it seems the screen resolution is slightly too low, so there are a few horizontal interlacing artifacts, but it has no slowdown or anything. In fact, since it’s the US version, it technically has a speed up. Woo!

It also has a (single) save slot for the original Sonic, so I don’t have to play it in one sitting. So far, I’ve reached Labyrinth Zone, and already have all 6 Chaos Emeralds. It’s really good, as ever, and shows Sonic 4 up as a pile of steaming droppings. But then, you knew that.

Sonic Adventure (360): COMPLETED!

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You know what? I actually really rather enjoyed that.

I mean, it’s short, and the camera is a work of wonk, and the bit with the stone water snake in the ruins near the end was just stupid (mainly because of the camera) and the end boss was a pain because Sonic would glitch through him rather than homing attack him (so I’d die) but it didn’t really seem to matter. I had fun, and for all of its faults and stuff, its still eleventybillion times better than pretty much any other Sonic game of recent years. And I’ve just realised – Sonic Adventure is TWELVE years old. Good grief.

Did I go back and play as the other characters? No. Because they’re all dead to me.

Sonic Adventure (360)

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I’ve completed it $hlmun times. I still think it’s the second best 3D Sonic game. I bought it last week when it was on offer, and have been playing through as Sonic.

At first, I thought, what? This is utter rubbish. I don’t remember it being this rubbish! I fell through the floor in the same place on the first level on my first go and lost all my lives. WHAT? RUBBISH!

But then, despite Tails’ appearance and the (let’s be truthful now) awful between-stages running around only vaguely knowing where to go, it still somehow works. The levels, although a bit glitchy, are mostly wonderful (especially Twinkle Park so far), and although it looks old and graphically isn’t amazing (draw distance in particular is nasty – but that’s mainly due to it being a port of the PC version not the DC or GC one), it’s still a lot of fun.

Oh, and the voice acting? Aside from Eggman, it’s awful.

Sonic the Hedgehog Episode 1 (Wii)

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I hate it and I didn’t want it. We’ve been through this. And I bought it for the iPhone and the 360 and the Wii. I know. Leave it.

So I played through the first half of the game today. And gained 23 lives on Casino Street Act 2, without even trying. And the game is still rubbish and it still doesn’t control like Sonic and I still won’t be buying Sonic Colours regardless of how good everyone is saying it is. Strong!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (360): COMPLETED!

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Shall we not even start on the “but you said”s and the “why did you”s please? Thanks. That makes it much easier, as I feel bad enough already.

In between bouts of Progress Bar Champion, I actually got time to play the 360 version of Sonic 4. Shush. We agreed! Time to play – and complete it, in fact. Perhaps it is best to compare this to the iPhone version, rather than just repeat myself.

Firstly, there are two different levels. Casino Ni^H^HStreet Act 2, which on the iPhone was a rubbish “Get 100,000 points!” level rather than a proper level, has been replaced with a quite pleasing, but very easy and extralifemungus dice-and-cards themed normal style level. And yes, extra lives were literally mungus. I started with 9, and finished the level with 34. And I died a few times. Madness.

The other different level is Lost Labyrinth 2. On the iPhone it was the worst level in any game ever made ever – a tilty mine cart level with gravity that was all over the place and makes me cry just thinking about it. It’s been replaced with Sonic in the Dark, where you have to walk slowly through a dark mine, holding a torch and lighting candle things. RUBBISH.

The special stages have somehow been broken further since the iPhone game. They’re the same, only now you use the control stick to rotate the levels rather than tilt the phone. It sounds like it should improve things, but – of course – it doesn’t. The stick makes the level rotate far too quickly making the stages unnecessarily harder. RUBBISH.

For some reason, the graphics looks wrong on the 360 too. Everything is too big, like the screen is zoomed in too far. Rings are about 1/3 of the screen each (roughly) and Sonic appears to be made of glossy plastic. RUBBISH.

It’s not all worse though. The controls are, generally, much better, and not having thumbs covering half the screen makes some of the bosses much easier to beat as you’re not relying on luck in doing so. Sadly, almost everything else that was bad about the iPhone game has made it over intact.

It’s all completed now, so we never need to play it again. And I mean it this time.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (iPhone): COMPLETED!

Er, hurrah? I think? I’ll write more about the game itself at a later date when I’m in a more ranty, wordy mood, but needless to say it wasn’t great. There were great bits, and the idea was mostly sound, but the wrong physics and totally not-Sonic feel to it (despite visually being a clone of previous (better) Sonic titles just broke it.

But I’ve completed it now. Sans emeralds, but the Special Stage is too ridiculous to attempt any more, and I don’t care.

Let us not speak of this game again.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (iPhone)

I said I wouldn’t buy it. I wasn’t going to buy it. I really didn’t want to buy it. Really. But of course, I did. Rubbish. But is it actually any good? Could it be a surprise?

In many ways, it does a lot right. Like, very right. Splash Hill, for instance – it’s ace. First level of Lost Labyrinth? Excellent. Mad Gear 3? Lovely. But some of it, like the nonsense of “get 100,000 points!” in Casino Nig^H^H^HStreet 2, and the AWFUL minecart of Lost Labyrinth 2 just make me want to smash things. They’re not hard, just rubbish.

It’s also disappointing that the whole game is just a remix of the previous games. They’ve literally just done new Green Hill, Casino Night, Labyrinth and Metropolis levels. On one hand, this is fine, but not when this is supposed to be a new sequel in the series – new levels that are similar to old levels (Angel Island/Green Hill, Metropolis/Scrap Brain) are OK, but the same levels with new layouts? Lazy. Same can be said for the bosses – they’ve actually reused the bosses from the previous games, just adding a bit of a twist after a few hits (which, if you’re quick, you don’t see in some cases). Not good enough, Sega.

On the subject of bosses, Sonic 4 suffers from The SuckySuck(TM) bit. That’s Irritating and Unnecessary Gaming Cliché #1 on my list. For those not aware, it’s a Boss Rush just before the final boss. And is lazy.

Then there’s the homing attacks, which although sort of fit the game, shouldn’t really be there in the first place. They make an already easy game much too easy. However, due to the iPhone’s less than great touch controls, the attack did save me more than once.

Unforgiveable, however, are the bugs. Yeah, I seem to attrack bugs in games, but in fact they just annoy me more than most people who can just ignore them. The few minor ones I had (got stuck in a wall once, stuck in a rock once, glitched through loops multiple times, fell through a floor to my death once) weren’t too bad and are the sort of thing that happened in the original game occasionally too. The one that REALLY pissed me off, was on the end of game boss. His (presumably final) attack form took 5 or 6 lives to figure out a dodge for. Once I did, I dodged a couple of times, and then the game quit. That’s right – the game CRASHED on the end of game boss. Seems I’m not alone either – in searching for a fix, lots of matches on Google came up with the same problem – mainly for iPhone 3G devices, but also a few on 3GSeseses. Annoying. Very annoying.

Overall then, it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been, and for about 50% of the game I was having fun. It’s a shame Sega didn’t reel in the crap bits, and actually put a bit more effort into making it a proper sequel rather than a rehash. Mind you, given past form, perhaps that’s for the best.

I certainly will not be buying the XBLA version on Wednesday.

Sonic and Knuckles (Wii): COMPLETED!

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So I’ve completed this seven thousand times now. Or something like that. This time with Knuckles.

But it’s ACE, so that’s OK!

Sonic and Knuckles (Wii)

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Yes, I bought the same Sonic game AGAIN.


I’ve completed it a billion times already on every format known to man or beast. But somehow, I felt compelled to buy it again. Perhaps I’m subconsciously trying to tell Sega that more 16-Bit style Sonic games is what I want? Which it is. And which Sonic 4 is shaping up not to be (no shocks there, then).  Anyway.

I’ve completed up to Sandopolis so far. Hurrah!

Sonic and Knuckles (360): COMPLETED!

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Bought this earlier in the week. Well, it was rude not to, wasn’t it? I already own it for practically every other format it has ever come out on, so I sort of had to.

It’s actually my least-played 16-bit Sonic game. That’s probably down to it being the last released though, coupled with the fact I usually played it locked-on to Sonic 3. It’s still excellent, however, but does feel a little short without Sonic 3 in there. It’s probably quite a bit shorter than Sonic 3 is too, actually.

So I completed it with Sonic, and all the Chaos Emeralds, then started again as Knuckles and am up to the end of Flying Fortress Act 2.

Assorted iPhone Games (iPhone)

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With my lovely new iPhone now here, and I’ve had just over a week to play with it, I’ve loaded it up with a few games. Here’s what I’ve been playing:

Flight Control
It’s only 59p, but it’s addictive like crack. The idea is (as will all the best games) simple – direct aircraft to the matching landing strip. You’ve got fast planes, slow planes, and helicopters, and you draw their flight path in. If they crash, game over. Great fun, hard, but with One More Go Factor 10.

Like Boggle. Only free. I’m rubbish at it, but still keep playing.

The Secret of Monkey Island
My most expensive iPhone game so far at £4.99. It’s a remake (or rather, a reskinning) of the original game. I’m not very far in yet, mainly because I’m lost but also because getting used to the fiddly (at first) controls took ages. Looks great though. And it’s a “talkie” version!

Sonic the Hedgehog
I now own this for 8421654 different games platforms and 756467364612 times in total. I’ve only played one level so far though!

Tap Tap Revenge 2
Like Phase on the iPod, which in turn is Guitar Hero for the instrumentless. But it’s very good. The shaking moves are a bit hit and miss though, and although there are loads of free tracks for it, most of them aren’t ones I’ve heard of.

Dance Dance Revolution
59p! It was on sale so I bought it. It’s quite good fun, but a bit disappointing that there are only Konami tunes on there.

Harbour Master
Like Flight Control, only with boats. It’s a bit more different than that, but it still have the same addictive qualities. Made a bit harder as you have to manoeuvre the boats out as well as into the harbour.

Railroad Madness
Reasonably good puzzle game made fiddly because you can’t rotate junctions clockwise and anticlockwise.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (360): COMPLETED!

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Yes, I know I already own this seventygillion times. And yes – Megadrive Ultimate Collection, which contains this game, was even in my 360’s drive at the time. But still I bought it from XBLA, and of course – I completed it.

With all the emeralds (got the last one in Marble Garden 1, if you care) too. And no Tails. He’s rubbish and needs hot metal things rammed through his face.

Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (360): COMPLETED!

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One of the achievements for the Megadrive Collection on the 360 required the completion of this game. In fact, it’s the only achievement that actually requires you to complete a game.

So I completed it.

Strangely, Dr Robotnik (or Eggman, as he’s properly called) was actually easier than the three or four preceding opponents, as I beat him first attempt.

Sonic Unleashed Demo (360)

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Oh Sega, how I once loved thee. Your happy Sonic games with their speed and platformingness and fun. Why hast thou forsaken me with this swill?

Sonic Unleashed, like other recent Sonic games, is crap. Well, the demo is crap at least. Really crap. And there isn’t even a werehog stage to play, and the werehog stages haven’t exactly been top of reviewers’ lists of Ace Things About Sonic Unleashed.

It’s like they took all the worst bits of all the Sonic games since the Dreamcast days, and stuck them all in one game. Without any of the good bits.

There’s the rubbish rail grinding bits from Sonic Adventure 2. There’s the “hold right and press nothing else” bits from Sonic Rush (only with the tricks that build up your tension gauge removed). There’s ryet another annoying furry. There’s the doesn’t-work-properly running into-the-screen nonsense of Sonic and the Secret Rings. And there’s the you-can’t-see-far-enough-ahead-so-die bits from the Sonic Advance titles. And hidden bottomless pits!

Seriously – it’s like a compilation disc of “Sonic’s Worstest Moments”. I’m amazed it doesn’t have Nick Hancock doing a voice-over or something.

Are Sega listening to what people are asking for in a Sonic game, and simply laughing and ignoring them? Fuck off, Sega.

Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (GBA)

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This arrived in the post today, along with some other stuff, from Play Asia. And, since ugvm Retro Week has been extended into this week, it was ideal for playing!

Or so I thought. It turns out that in the process of simply porting the original Megadrive Sonic game to the GBA, Sega couldn’t help but rape my childhood memories by making it worse than those shoddy “fan-made” Flash-based Sonic games. It has more issues than a journal library. Par example:

1) You only get to see around 60% of the screen. The edges have been trimmed to fit the GBA. Not a huge issue if you know the layout of the levels off by heart (like me), but it means far too many leaps-of-faith and running-off-the-edge-of-things otherwise.

2) Horrific slowdown. Even when the screen isn’t busy, the game will slow down for seemingly no reason.

3) Inconsistent scroll speeds. Scrolling up and down is twice as quick as left and right. Or perhaps it’s just Sonic moves twice as quick when jumping? Either way, he doesn’t control like Sonic any more.

4) Things don’t draw in. You know the edges of the platforms in Green Hill that crumble when you stand on them? Sometimes they’re not there. But you can stand on them, and they crumble under you, but you can only see them as they crumble. The swinging platform on Green Hill Act 2 vanished while I was standing on it too.

5) Things simply aren’t there. You know the baddie in the air when you fly up into all those rings after the tunnel bit on Green Hill Act 1? The one you generally rebound off and aim back left to get more of the rings? Gone. Not just “not drawn in” – he’s gone.

6) The sound effects are broken. Some of them simply aren’t there. Others sound out of tune. Some sound completely wrong.

7) The music is awful. It’s like some 12 year old has “rerecorded” the original tracks using a dodgy midi sequencer.

8) The special stages are impossible. They run three times faster than the rest of the game. And no, it isn’t just 50 vs 60Hz issues – they’re WAY faster. And there’s the smaller viewport to contend with too.

Basically: Fuck off, Sega.