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Sonic Generations Custom Levels
Saturday, 23rd June 2012, 1:58pm (BST), 15 Comments
First of all, happy 21st Birthday to Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 1 is of course 21 years old today - ensure you devote a bit of time to it. I've already done my playthrough, realising that I'm actually incredibly rusty! I died several times in really stupid places. How embarrassing. You can also celebrate by pre-ordering the English version of the History of Sonic book that was recently released in French by Pix'n Love. You can find out more about it here.

Anyway, that's all by the by, I mainly just wanted to flag up something really interesting going on over there on Sonic Retro - Sonic Generations hacking. You may have seen this video already but in case you haven't, it demonstrates Sonic Unleashed levels being imported into the Sonic Generations engine and thus being playable on PC and perhaps even perfected a little bit:



It's now gone even further than that though, videos of the same treatment on even older levels have been popping up all over the place, albeit still in very much a work-in-progress form. Still, the possibilities are getting even more exciting. Check these out...







First of all, the prospect of updating and re-imagining old levels that, with enough talent behind enhancing textures and re-modelling, could look as good as the ones that were actually re-made for Sonic Generations, is tantalising enough. This is all clearly still in the earliest stages, and from what I've read they are understandably still working things out, and importing old levels is obviously a very good way of doing that. I'm amazed at how much they've already managed to achieve, there's some amazing talent around in the community.

But the Sky Troops one interests me in particular because it looks a lot more customised and demonstrates the exciting possibility of being able to create your own entirely new stages. At this point in time it all seems way beyond me to get my hands dirty with it, and I'd need a decent PC for a start. But I'm a budding level designer, with a particular passion for coming up with fresh ideas in every aspect, and hope, over the next few years, to start realising some of these ideas I've had knocking around in my head for ages now. I've always imagined them as 2D, but I adore the modern Sonic Generations levels so much that I can't help but get extremely excited about the possibility of my levels taking that form as well. Problem is of course that while I reckon I can work my way pretty far through the creation of a 2D game with a bit (ok, a lot) of dedication, 3D is a completely new domain for me, I know next to nothing about it and frankly would struggle to make a model of a perfect cube.

However, for anyone with similarly colossal aspirations, I recommend keeping an eye on this scene as from what I've seen of 3D Sonic fan-made engines over the years, this looks like one of your best bets. Sonic fan game or hacking projects are notorious for getting scrapped along the way, and this is complex stuff that really requires collaboration, something that's very difficult to hold together within an amateur context. Plus I do have some concerns about SEGA's view on all this. Editing 20 year old games to put new characters in and change the colours a bit is one thing, but this is messing around with a very current engine that could be used to create very similar, rival content to new official Sonic games.

Still, that all being well, I'm hoping that these clever guys can come up with some nifty tools to make the whole process a lot more user-friendly and easier for less-technically minded, but more creative people to bring their imaginative ideas to life. Even then, creating a massive 3D Sonic level of the quality of those in Generations - or indeed any for that matter - has to be a huge undertaking if you want to do it properly, and I'm sure it will always require a lot of dedication and a willingness to understand new concepts. My mind is twirling with the possibilities of my imaginary level, but I'm trying to remind myself it's going to take a hell of a lot of work and perhaps collaboration with others. To that end I'd be particularly interested to hear from any of you for whom this has also got your brain ticking about what you could do with this engine given the best tools and capabilities at your disposal. Perhaps we could discuss further and share some ideas - believe me, I have a lot of them!

The best place I've seen so far to follow these developments is on this lengthy Sonic Retro topic. Spend a bit of time going back through the last pages and look at the kind of stuff they're working on. I think their goals seem to align with what I've mentioned above, and it all sounds really promising.
Comments   15 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Saturday, 23rd June 2012, 4:40pm
Even after 21 years of extreme platforming and high-end determination for world safety, sonic the hedgehog is still the world's most highly praised superhero character with a full 5 stars next to his name. LONG LIVE SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!
#2. Comment posted by afolita on Sunday, 24th June 2012, 11:56am
I don't think all this modding should bother SEGA so much: if they release some DLC, people will definitely buy them, not to mention a whole new game they surely have currently in development. Moreover, they can have a look at these fan-made stages to take a few notes about the most preferred level design and such things. Have you seen CorvidDude's Emerald Coast yet? It's the best of all by far!

I'd also love to design my own Sonic levels, both 2D and 3D, and I have a bunch of nice ideas, but my limited knowledge and a bit of laziness stop me from actually getting to make them. Tell us about what you have in mind a bit, LiquidShade!
#3. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 24th June 2012, 11:59am
Did you see the most recent link I set you? (he most interesting one in my opinion)
#4. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 24th June 2012, 12:03pm
@afolita

Did you see the Emerald Cost video by Corvid Dude that was uploaded... Today!!!! 100x better than the last preview. (That was the link I sent LQS btw).

p.s I didn't see your comment when I was writing mine, because I was writing it at the same time.

HAHA I am a peot, and I didn't even know it!
#5. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 24th June 2012, 3:59pm
Yeah, I saw the Emerald Coast one, it looks awesome. Very exciting.

I've had several level ideas over the years - enough for a full game, and each one either in a completely unique locale or with a certain gimmick to it that hasn't really been done before. I'd be most interested in doing my idea for the first level however, a grand country garden, with neat flower patches, woodlands, fountains and pools, hedge mazes and old country mansions. If you happen to be British, you'll know of our National Trust gardens and old houses across the countryside - it's basically that sort of thing but on a grand and slightly more ridiculous scale (I imagine the hedge mazes - which you can go inside and get lost in - towering up into huge multi-sided cubes for example). Broadly, it's probably closest to Marble Garden Zone, except it's not a ruins level, the buildings are slightly old but well maintained, and with pristine gardens.

And most importantly, no seaside, beach or tropical palm tree in sight! If I were to do a more traditional seaside zone, I'd turn it into a challenging water level, for the middle of a game, crossing with a haunted theme as Sonic would delve into sunken shipwrecks amongst coral reefs. I've had ideas similar to Rooftop Run and White Park as well, but pre-dating both of them, though I still might like to do them anyway, and I'm a big believer that the rarely seen Wild West style level has thus far been criminally overlooked, for the most part.

I'm desperate to get cracking on these, or at least just the garden level, after my plans for Zone: 0 are complete (although note, at this stage, I may not just be referring to the S&K guide there...). If any good 3D modellers are reading and happen to be looking for a level to contribute to.. let's talk!
#6. Comment posted by afolita on Sunday, 24th June 2012, 9:05pm
LiquidShade, you seem to have read my mind with that seaside zone paragraph, seriously! My wish would be to create an ocean level with beaches, coral reefs, sunken pirate ships, submarine caves... all with colourful fish swimming around and other misc seafloor decoration. My main idea is to show players that water levels can be fun and enjoyable and not a nightmare (they don't have to be more challenging than others) when done well. Aquarium Park is my favourite area in Sonic Colours for a reason.
#7. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Monday, 25th June 2012, 12:01am
afolita, I don't think it's easy to get Sonic Colours for the ps3, because I think it's rare to find one.
#8. Comment posted by netch on Monday, 25th June 2012, 10:17am
Sonic Colors was never out on PS3.

I am particularly most excited for the Emerald Coast custom level. Beats the 3DS version already (and "...the level isn't even halfway done!")!

If you're not good with 3d modeling, then you might just "plan" the classic level design in SonEd2.

P.s. You might not be able to run SonEd :(
#9. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Monday, 25th June 2012, 6:11pm
I thought I'd get here & find a better answer to my question.
#10. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 26th June 2012, 8:51am
What better answer is there to a question other than the right one?
#11. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 26th June 2012, 8:54am
Oh, and LQS, PLZ Check ur e-mail, 3 new (and exciting) vids.

Windy Valley Custom Level (Ok-ish)
Emerald Coast Preview#2 (Great!)
Sonic Unleashed Porting, HUB test (Dragon Valley looks awesome, and it looks like the HUB CAN be in 3D!)
#12. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Tuesday, 26th June 2012, 10:08am
Anyway...
I'm no expert on remodelling or restoration for many levels of the sonic the hedgehog series, but I still give him a full 5-star rating for world-class safety.
And as an added bonus, the upcoming new sonic game (Sonic & All-Stars Racing TRANSFORMED) has more in it than it's predecessor, sonic & sega all-stars racing.
When you think about it, it's like having something to share with other sonic fans around the globe.
One last thing, when will the ''death egg'' & "the doomsday'' zones plus the miscellaneous section be added to the sonic & knuckles game section?
#13. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 26th June 2012, 12:09pm
I shall speak on behalf of LQS for the last bit, because it has just been asked too many times...

Death egg is Coming, and Doomsday will be added to misc. Probably without a map.

"... I still give him a full 5-star rating for world-class safety."

Isn't that what you said in the 1st post? And I kinda have no idea what you mean (the safety bit). Can you Please elaborate?

@afolita Hydrocity was fun too! Oh, and Aquarium Park Act 5 I think it was, WAS a nightmare (you know, the bit where Sonic gets chased by that THING, the one that gets re-incarnated in Terminal Velocity Act 1)
#14. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Wednesday, 27th June 2012, 7:08am
It means that we're safe from evil moustach monkey Dr. Eggman.
#15. Comment posted by Kabam! on Sunday, 1st July 2012, 3:18pm
This is amazing! Just imagine Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) remade into what it was supposed to be. If the speed section of wave ocean was that good then the possibilities are endless! And I agree SEGA should take a deeper look into this stuff and learn from it.
An update at last!.. S&K Other Modes
Saturday, 9th June 2012, 10:06am (BST), 12 Comments
Update: Other Modes page added to the Sonic & Knuckles section
Ok, sorry sorry sorry... sorry. It's taken me far too long to get around to this. I can't believe my last update was in February, that's got to be a personal record. As I've mentioned before I've been doing other stuff, but it's here now and proof, if you needed it, that I will finish this whole bloody thing, even if it takes me ages to knock together the last few pages.

Ordinarily the Miscellaneous page comes along with the Other Modes page, as it's typically quite a short one. However I'm moving to a new flat this weekend and will be without Internet for two or three weeks. You've waited long enough so I thought I'd finish up Other Modes for now, and then add the little Miscellaneous page when I can.

Other Modes of course comprises of a number of additional important areas of the game that don't fit into anywhere else, including the Special Stage, Bonus Stages, details about Super and Hyper forms, and a bit about the three lock-on games, and it's the biggest of the non-level pages, so go and have a look!

As a kid I was rubbish at the Blue Sphere Special Stage for ages, then one day I finally did about five in a row and my friends and I became obsessed with collecting and sharing passwords and trying to work out how many levels there were. I don't know at what point we gave up but I'm pretty sure it wasn't anywhere near the ridiculous 134 million that there actually are. I hope you weren't expecting me to go into detail on every last one of them though because, well, I haven't. A while ago I did wonder if I could cover some of the recurring layouts that appear repeatedly across the game, which would make for a nice little guide that I don't think anyone has done before, but then, where do you draw the line? There must be loads of them. Perhaps I'll return to it eventually, on a rainy day, or if someone else wants to write about them, they're more than welcome.

On the subject, Hyper_Sonic alerted me to this exciting looking thing in the comments of the last post: Blue Spheres Forever, a fan version of the game that features a level editor! Oh how excited the younger version of me would be to see this, with all his own designs for the Special Stages drawn out on grid paper. I can't get it to work on my computer yet, but it's still being refined and looks amazing. I think there's a new version just released that I'll have a go at when I get a chance.

Sit tight, I'll be back before you know it!
Comments   12 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 9th June 2012, 10:31am
Yay! P.S Plz Check ur e-mail
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 10th June 2012, 11:21am
Here is a level and code generator for the Blue Spheres game:

http://cwcyrix.no-ip.info/bsgen/
#3. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 10th June 2012, 12:09pm
Hmm, that's very interesting. Very very interesting!
#4. Comment posted by Kabam! on Monday, 11th June 2012, 3:39am
I have always been a fan of blue sphere! What an awesome post!
P.S.- Dr. Eggman makes a cameo appearance in this new Disney movie "Wreck it Ralph". You should check out the trailer.
#5. Comment posted by Anonymous on Saturday, 16th June 2012, 6:48am
Dude, add the last maps on the Sonic&Knuckles section please, im waiting for months ago (Death Egg and Doomsday Zone)
#6. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 16th June 2012, 12:48pm
LiQuidshade says Doomsday map MIGHT not come :( Besides, if you want the maps that badly, just go to the Sonic center or Sonic retro.
#7. Comment posted by SonicFan on Monday, 18th June 2012, 7:14pm
Sorry, will you do Death Egg Zone act 1, 2 and Doomsday Zone? Answer at Megabit426@mail.ru
#8. Comment posted by Gemster312 on Tuesday, 19th June 2012, 7:53am
The Blue Spheres forever will be implemented into Sonic 3 HD if any of you are still interested in that :)
#9. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 21st June 2012, 7:34pm
Death Egg acts 1 and 2 yes, definitely. Doomsday maybe, but probably not. No software I have seems to be able to map it, and it's likely to be too difficult to do by hand. You'll get them when you get them and not before.
#10. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Friday, 22nd June 2012, 12:41pm
PLZ Check ur e-mail LQS

p.s. I see you have your internet back ;)
#11. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 22nd June 2012, 7:18pm
Only temporarily, I'm away from home at the moment and Internet won't be set up there til early July. Just sorting out a few things first but I've read your email and will respond shortly!
#12. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 23rd June 2012, 10:43am
I sent another 1 (well, more like1-hundred), (sending error) hope the next one helps you understand more. (yanno, with a link that actually works)
Sonic 4 Episode 2: Review
Monday, 21st May 2012, 8:30pm (BST), 31 Comments
So, here we are again for round 2, as the second instalment of Sonic 4 aims to refine the attempts of the first, and win back those that it lost while proving itself as a bona fide, classic 2D Sonic experience. It's a tricky one to review, because it doesn't succeed entirely. I think it's definitely better than the first in most of the biggest areas of concern, but I do think fans will still have a bit to complain about in all of those areas, each of which I will go into. As I've been trying to analyse it, I'm finding more and more things that it could or should do better, yet for all its flaws, I still quite like it, and I enjoyed my time with it. Lets take a look...


Momentum On Our Side

One of the least favourite aspects of episode 1 was its poor grasp of Sonic physics. It worked, sure, and on its own terms it was a perfectly competent platformer, but a good Sonic experience has a beautiful flow and sense of momentum to it. Episode 1's physics had much more of a literal way about them - Sonic pretty much only moved when you moved him deliberately with the thumbstick - release it and he tends to stop dead, so jumping felt weird and you can completely forget about rolling Sonic gracefully down a slope and watching him pick up speed all by himself.

For episode 2, the PR people made sure to highlight that such concerns were being addressed and that we would see some significant improvements. Tweaks are definitely noticeable but as I suspected, it's not exactly a complete recovery. You don't have to play too far into it before you realise Sonic moves around in a much more familiar way now. Spin dash, release and then jump without holding forward and you'll find Sonic whips through the air and lands on the ground in the kind of neat arc you would like to see - rather than witnessing the untimely and immediate death of your speed as soon as you've pressed jump. Sonic even spins faster depending on his speed, just like in the originals. It's not pixel for pixel with the classics, but it feels like a happy medium between them and episode 1 that I think most people will find satisfactory. You'll also, quite rightly, have much more trouble walking up curved vertical walls this time too.

Jumping around is fine, but rolling still feels a bit off. It's hard to say, as I'm no expert on the exact maths behind what Sonic should be doing in any given situation, but I can't help but feel he should be rolling down slopes at a choppier pace than what he's doing at the moment. I think it probably has been improved from episode 1, and there is speed gained by rolling down a slope, but not much of it and it has to be quite steep. Most of the levels are designed in such a way that this isn't always particularly an issue, but in speedy sections of Sylvania Castle and particularly in the rollercoasters of White Park Act 2, you'll feel like you should be going faster. Frustratingly, the spin dash appears to be exactly as weak and disappointing as in episode 1, the developers having apparently not played Sonic Generations, which boasts a classic spin dash that is so quick and convenient that it will take your thumb off if you're not careful. I must admit, I kind of miss being able to just hold and release X for a quick boost. Sorry purists - it's wrong, yet it feels so right.


The New and Improved Powers of Team Work!



Lets not forget one of episode 2's USPs - Tails! Firmly happy being back in Sonic's shadow, he tags along, picking up the extra ring as ever he could. He can also now open items, pass checkpoints and acquire shields and power-ups along with you. The X button (on the 360) can now be used to summon him instantly and perform one of two team work attacks depending on whether or not you happen to be in mid-air at the time. Jump and press X to have him carry you while flying. It's a similar control set up to Sonic 3, just press A to gain a boost up, however this boost is a bit more powerful so it requires careful practise, and as well as being limited by time as you always have been, it now appears that Tails can only go to a certain height too. You have to press X to release yourself, and will often have to use this move in order to reach a boss, so then quickly pressing A to home in on them is tricky.

Press X while on the ground to initiate the controversial double spin move where Sonic and Tails join in a manner that cannot be comfortable, in order to batter their way through walls and obstacles at a generally quicker pace. This tends to go on and on in one direction until you press X to break out of it. I ponder that they may have dumbed down the spin dash and the roll on purpose in order to make way for this move, though it's an awkward substitute. Still, these moves go some way, I suppose, to add a bit of variety without straying too far away from the tried and tested classic formula - plus there's an occasional power-up that allows you to perform an action not unlike Sonic Heroes' Team Blast. It was a while before I managed to stop forgetting that they were there at all though, much to my peril in Oil Desert Act 3's scary sand crushing segments, as the handy panels that help spell out which one you need to use start to disappear further into the game. A bigger gripe though is that I was constantly calling up the wrong one by just getting my timing wrong as to whether or not I was pressing X while on the ground. I think perhaps they should have had separate buttons.


Sonic 4 Episode 2: Attack of the Clones?

High on the list of big let downs in episode 1, and a personal favourite complaint of mine, was that it simply wasn't original enough, relying instead on what I like to call "level clones"; levels that are obviously based very heavily on one particular other level from a previous game, in terms of appearance, structure and objects (the patented Zone: 0 "three magic factors"). It's done in the hope that people will say "Yay! Green Hill Zone! Casino Night Zone! Just like I remember them", but really most of us say "Oh for God's sake, if I see another Green Hill style level I'm going to ram a palm tree into Ken Balough's moustachioed cake hole". I can speak for myself only but I think a lot of people share my opinion, that I don't need to be reminded of classic levels, I play them all the time. I need to be entertained by new ones, with their own original concepts and features. They don't necessarily have to be entirely new types of places or an entirely new trope, just a set of ideas, maybe some new, some old but from a variety of sources, that identify them uniquely from any other level.

That's what I had my hopes held high for with this game, especially when we were told that only one stage took its cues from a previous one. The fact that this is, as it turns out, a blatant lie is infuriating, but it does at least offer me the justification to use the highly appropriate Star Wars pun that heads up this section.



Naturally, this one level could only be the first level, Sylvania Castle, an Aquatic Ruins inspired clone that, satisfyingly enough doesn't actually feel that much like the Sonic 2 source material, even though it borrows almost everything from it. Perhaps I'm a more simple creature than I would have liked to think that I am, because it could be that all it takes is just a simple shift from daytime to (beautifully done) morning and night time, and a slight tweak from ancient ruins to more castle-based ruins to get me to be more accepting of this particular clone. It dips in and out of numerous but fairly shallow water pools by way of loops and curved roads with a mixture of new badniks and old, and features borrowed from Aquatic Ruin, as well as Marble Garden, and some simple new rotating and moving platforms in Act 3. The floating spring that needs to be flipped with a homing attack is a nice new touch though. In terms of the difficulty of this level, I was curious as to whether they'd treat it as a first level to a new game, or a fifth level to an existing game, as it's technically both. It has a similar problem that Mushroom Hill Zone had - to be straightforward enough for new users to complete, but challenging enough to conceivably be placed in the middle of a larger game, and it actually tackles the problem very similarly. It is straightforward to complete, but has a larger range of unique objects and structural features than you would normally expect to find in a first level, much like Mushroom Hill.



The next two levels were most exciting of all - finally levels that actually have some individuality to them, and not obviously based on one particular predecessor. Probably my favourite is the second level, White Park, as unimaginatively named as it is (come on people, Christmas Carnival Zone surely!). It's a beautiful cross-breed of two Sonic staples, the snow level and the carnival level, and alternates its emphasis on each from act to act. Act 1 is a catchy, festive frolic with all the trimmings, whereas Act 2 sees Sonic and Tails take to the rollercoasters and avoid being crushed by lots of huge moving pieces of track. Act 3 is mostly submerged in the chilly waters where you'll probably find your first real challenges of the game, particularly towards the end, where seal badniks that freeze the water into impenetrable spheres create a very tricky trap. Although annoying, it's a nicely done idea that sees enemies interacting in their environment very well. A great zone.



Oil Desert is the type of locale that I've actually seen more than once or twice in fan games, but it's never quite been done in an official game. It takes place on Eggman's oil mining operation (presumably one of the sources of his apparently unlimited funds) in the middle of the harsh, windy desert. Sand storms blow you across the gantries and rigs and new badniks such as the dung beetle and flame throwers that set oil slicks alight prove annoying, though nonetheless kind of welcome for the sake of originality. In terms of other objects, you'll find many nods to Oil Ocean and Sandopolis in particular, including oil slides and quicksand in Act 2. If you thought the rising sand segments of Sandopolis were tough though, wait until you see what Act 3 has to offer you. It took me ages before I remembered that I had my new team moves to help me through it, but it was at this point in particular that switching between them became a noticeably fiddly and frustrating process.

As is now customary for any new Sonic platformer, there comes a point during the time between announcement and release that I lay low for a while, by turning off Twitter and avoiding Sonic news sites in the hope of keeping my eyes and ears away from the spoilers of every single level that will inevitably emerge, either from hackers or SEGA themselves. As such, I managed to keep away from anything to do with the final level until I reached it myself in the game. Imagine.. a completely brand new level, with brand new ideas that I was about to experience all at once. A lovely and rare Sonic moment if ever there was one. I was excited. What could it be?.. Well, I'll tell you what it is..



Wing F*cking Fortress.

I can't tell you how annoyed I was. The fourth level is not one but two clones in one neat little disappointing package. The first act of Sky Fortress (well, at least its highly original name is masking its true origins) is a more frustrating version of Sky Chase Zone, and the other two acts are Wing Fortress with a pinch of Death Egg and little else. They're all well and good as levels, and Act 3 at sunset feels very climactic and everything, not to mention beautiful, but it's just such a wasted opportunity. Make a flying fortresss level by all means - in fairness we haven't actually had one for ages - but at least try to do something different with it. Even a different colour scheme for the ship would be something.

Fortunately we're not quite done yet, as there is an additional semi-level as part of the final bosses, which sees Sonic and Tails take another trip up into space to discover exactly what Eggman has been up to with Little Planet. It actually unites the stories of all of the classic games quite nicely, albeit with little complexity. This is nothing very groundbreaking, but at least it doesn't look exactly like anything else. I can't help but think a really cool level could have been made by blending the wacky world of Little Planet with its new mechanical outer shell though, and it's disappointing that although quite epic and exciting, Sonic essentially retraces incredibly familiar steps in the last quarter or so of the game.


The Difficult Second Game

One thing you can say about this game is that it is definitely a challenge. More so than the first episode and in fact, more so than most Sonic games of recent years. And in general, it's the right kind of challenge too, which is a very good thing. There are death drops sure, there always are, but the level design mostly doesn't rely on precarious platforms balanced above them, awaiting any small mistake at any point in the level. It feels cheap if this keeps happening, but like the classic games, episode 2 restricts its biggest platforming challenges to very specific points in the levels, creating potentially terrifying areas that you may lose strings of lives on and may get frustrated with, but there is a kind of mutual understanding there. You get the rules, you understand why you're messing up as you gradually figure out what you have to do and how to do it. This is how it should be, and in fact makes these levels perfect candidates for Zone: 0 guides (though don't get too excited, I probably won't be writing them).



It also makes the game feel longer than it would be otherwise, and therefore gives it a bit more value for money. That said, most of the acts have a very healthy length to them anyway, taking anything from 2 to 5 minutes after a couple of goes, potentially much longer on your first try. It's hard to say having only played each act no more than a handful of times, but the downside of these impressive lengths appears to be that the all-important factor of multiple routes may have been sacrificed, as I haven't spotted too many other entrances and exits to alternate paths in most of the acts. One addition to longevity is the inclusion of our new friends, the red star rings, and there's one tucked away somewhere in each act. Although I haven't picked up a lot of these yet, I have at least seen quite a few of them, and I figure that if there were lots of other routes to take, the level designers would hide them on those that are less well-trodden. It's not a big deal right now but multiple routes are the real key to 2D longevity, and I fear their absence will have a big impact on this aspect of the game.



Bosses are invariably the most frustrating bits in the main game though, and this instalment is no exception, with some real tough cookies. You will face Eggman and Metal Sonic alternately at the back end of each zone, and gone are the little Egg-mobile attachments, to be replaced by larger machines that require lots of hits and lots of time. A shame really, I do think the smaller scale boss is something that 2D games should hang on to. Thankfully though, they are at least entirely free of cloning and pretty much completely original, illustrated not too subtly by having the stack of spitting statues from the Aquatic Ruin boss rise up from the ground in the first battle, only to be knocked away by mechanical vines almost immediately. The final boss is particularly unique, yet also, particularly frustrating.

Lastly, we can't forget the Special Stage, which takes its cues, as most others always have done in some way, from the Sonic 2 half pipe. Another feeling of deja vu. It does at least offer a chance to make some much needed refinements to that classic formula however, namely to do with Tails. You remember, he used to walk straight into bombs and lose your rings, making the whole thing, well, pretty pointless, and actually probably one of my least favourite Special Stages. He's much better behaved this time, moving more in time with Sonic, and even when he gets hit I don't think he loses rings, though I may be wrong. I'm only about half way through my emerald collecting challenge at the moment - a bit stuck on the fourth emerald - but early indications show that this hunt for the shiny jewels is as tough as it ever was. I can only hope that one day we'll see the "collect blue spheres" Special Stage make a much needed return, if any more cloning must be done.




Retro Sounds

Next stop on the up and down rollercoaster ride that is this review is the musical stylings of Jun Senoue. Now once again he appears to have been given the sole task of coming up with the entire soundtrack for this game, which actually is quite big, and I do think he could have used a hand with it as it might have ensured a more consistent and higher quality. The bottom line is that it's much the same story as in episode 1; lots of unique pieces of Mega Drive style music, some maybe a little bit catchy (albeit "growers"), others seem to lack any sort of memorable tune whatsoever. Sylvania Castle Act 1 is definitely a baffling example of the latter, which seems to get itself all keyed up but never goes anywhere interesting whatsoever, while White Park Act 1 by contrast has a much more defined, pleasant melody. Strangely Oil Desert and Sky Fortress abandon the Sonic 4 rule of having completely different tunes for each act and instead go the traditional route by handing out variations of the same tune for two or all of their acts - perhaps Jun ran out of either tunes, time, or both. I wouldn't really say any of them jumped out at me as immediate favourites, and I don't think I'll be distributing too many iTunes 5 star ratings, but it's perhaps not as much of a melodic disaster as the first few pieces of music in the game would make you think it would turn out to be.

What is a bit more of a train wreck though is the general quality of them. I really don't think he's got the hang of this retro sound that he's going for, because many pieces are difficult to like just because they sound instrumentally repetitive (yes, he loves that annoying Sonic 1 and 2 drum sound), awkward and just plain uncomfortable to listen to. Oil Desert Act 3 and even the slightly re-done Sonic 4 title theme, along with several others, are really not easy on the ears. I'm no musical expert, but I know what I like to hear, and there's just no sign of the kind of beautiful complexity heard in the likes of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and you get the impression that he doesn't quite understand that just because it's retro, it doesn't give him an excuse to make music that sounds awful. I appreciate he was probably under a lot of pressure to get them all done, because good quality or not they still take time, but most of his recent work in general hasn't entirely impressed me to be honest, as I felt he had some of the weakest offerings on the Sonic Generations soundtrack too. I wouldn't be all too sad to see him step down from his current role as all-important Sonic music guy in favour of someone more capable, such as Tomoya Ohtani. Sorry Jun.


Full Metal Episode

Do you have Sonic 4: Episode 1? Do you have Sonic 4: Episode 2 on the same system? Wouldn't it be nice if you could connect them together, or "lock on", if you will, to create the complete Sonic 4 experience? It would wouldn't it? Oh well, moving on..

Well, I assumed that probably wouldn't be happening, given the changes to physics and graphical styles etc, but as it turns out, it probably would have been possible, because if you have both episodes, you can unlock a bonus level called "Episode Metal", in which you play as Metal Sonic in one act of each of the levels in episode 1. These acts are edited heavily to create more of a "hard mode" experience, and demonstrate how Metal Sonic got his groove back, discovered some sort of secret glowing purple power source in Lost Labyrinth, and stole Tails' little space rocket thing in order to catch up with the duo in time for episode 2. It ties up a few (albeit not really that crucial or interesting) loose ends and offers a nice new challenge on existing content.

However the key thing here is that Metal Sonic controls exactly like Sonic does in episode 2. i.e. we have episode 2 physics in episode 1 and you can really feel the difference. I can't imagine it's going to take a gargantuan amount of work to import the rest of the acts, albeit with any necessary object placement tweaks, so that we can have that full continuous experience and make episode 1's content that little bit more enjoyable. Future DLC? Maybe if we ask really really nicely but my personal suspicion is that now that it's done, sadly, SEGA will just draw a line under Sonic 4 and move on. A safer bet is that one day a clever hacker will come up with something and who knows, maybe more clever people will be able to soften all the hard edges and shape a complete Sonic 4 into a more refined and smooth, fan-assisted package.


Worst Episode Ever?.. Nah, not really..

I've been a bit hard on the game in some places, and even though it took me on a bit of an emotional journey, I did enjoy it, and would recommend it. It's well constructed, has genuine challenge, and the new graphics engine looks beautiful, particularly the lighting effects and the vivid, busy backgrounds. Control over Sonic, while not perfect, has improved subtly yet significantly, and moving him around feels as solid and smooth as I would want.

Aspects of the level design could be better; they still rely too much on existing ideas rather than new ones, and I genuinely don't know if that's down to the misguided view that we want loads of throwbacks, or just simply a lack of new ideas. The latter isn't entirely true because there are new little touches, in both episodes for that matter, but most of the new obstacles and features in this game are fairly simple platforming ideas. It's also a shame that there doesn't appear to be a great emphasis on exploring multiple routes - a key ingredient of classic Sonic that I'm still not confident that they entirely understand. I feel that they were barking up the wrong tree with the musical direction all along, and this is a shame, as it too impacts greatly on how much you want to go back and experience these levels.

That said, what I really took away from this is that, at least in part, this felt like a truly new 2D Sonic experience, the likes of which I haven't enjoyed in quite the same way in years and years. Say, Sonic Advance 3, or possibly even earlier, because everything since has either felt like it's been designed in an entirely new, faster style that, while entertaining in its own right, is not the same, or in the case of episode 1 or Generations, feels too close to existing material to really feel unique and unexplored. This episode, even if just relatively briefly, captures that feeling of exploring bright, imaginative and varied worlds that are new, exciting and distinct from each other in every way. You're not forced along them at breakneck speed, the pace is comfortable and individual, and each act has its own specific challenges to throw at you. Rather than innocently slipping through different parts of the floor every couple of minutes, the art of creating specific "tricky bits" to work out and try to understand has well and truly returned and though you'll lose lives on them, you'll at least be accepting of these points as genuine challenges, and that's what gaming is all about after all.



I think it's safe to say that there probably won't be a third episode, and I think that's for the best. So as a complete game, which I actually find harder to comprehend than I first thought I would, Sonic 4 is not a perfect attempt at continuing the original series, but no matter how good it could have been, I don't think anyone would really consider it as another proper instalment of those games. They were of a specific time and made for a particularly optimistic and youthful fan-base that has since come to worship them as the untouchable religious icons they are, and there's no real way of just capturing that all over again, because so much has happened since. I don't care what it's name is, this game isn't really Sonic 4 in the way that Sonic 4 always should have been - but that's ok, it doesn't have to be. What it is, is a neat little blast from the past that attempts, mostly successfully, to recapture the important aspects of classic Sonic level design as opposed to modern Sonic level design. It could have been better, but it could also have been much worse. Vaguely, they've got the right idea.

And besides, if, five years ago you'd have said that one day we'd be playing a new game where Sonic and Tails chase Eggman and Metal Sonic up to Little Planet, which was being transformed into a new Death Egg, you'd have been laughed out the building (assuming you happened to be in a building full of Sonic fans). This kind of old Sonic lore was almost entirely ignored by SEGA for years, but now it's back and that at least is something to be really happy about. And if you want to see more of it, and more refined classic 2D Sonic gameplay, buy this game, enjoy it, and let them know you're interested, because otherwise we're in danger of losing it all over again.
Comments   31 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by JamesTheEchidna on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 1:18am
I am not sure what I think about this game yet, I'm going to give this game a few more weeks.

Great Review, very well constructed.
#2. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 9:52am
A few things. First, I wish I could just stomp, it would make things easier. In fact I sometimes instinctively stomp, to no evail. I've gatten used to modern sonic. When i was playing Sonic 3 earlier today I felt the same thing. Watch the release trailer, "to be concluded" it says. Also, the Sonic Generations DLC list has supposedly leaked. 4 levels, two classic, two modern. Remember, this is just a rumor, so you can still go back into the comunity, because I myself do not believe it (although it is an ok-ish list).

#3. Comment posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 9:55am
*I*c*E*c*A*p*H*i*D*d*E*n*P*a*L*a*C*e*D*r*A*g*O*n*R*o*A*d*S*t*A*r*L*i*G*h*T*c*A*r*N*i*V*a*L
#4. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012, 10:22am
LOL about 100 spelling mistakes in post #2. Oh, and I did post #3.
#5. Comment posted by Mike on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 6:40am
I think you are under the impression that this is "it". I doubt it. The last trailer had "To Be Concluded" towards the end. And they've indicated that if ep 2 does well, we'll have a ep 3 and maybe beyond
#6. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012, 7:41am
Ah, but I interpreted the "To be Concluded" thing as referring to this episode itself. As kind of a strapline. Just a thought.
#7. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 24th May 2012, 9:58am
Did anyone else hear Twinkle Park in White Park Act 2, or was it jus me?
#8. Comment posted by hypermario13 on Thursday, 24th May 2012, 5:52pm
IMO the new running animation for Sonic is really cool! In fact, a lot of the Sonic's animations were changed to look really cool.
#9. Comment posted by jingoi on Friday, 25th May 2012, 10:39pm
Full Metal Sonic - The Sacred Pink orb that no one knew about except Sega.
#10. Comment posted by Bloody Body on Saturday, 26th May 2012, 7:49am
Hello, LiQuidShade. I sent message to liquidshade@soniczone0.com few months ago. Have you seen it?
#11. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 26th May 2012, 10:01am
I'd assume so, because he reads the e-mails I send, even when he doesn't reply.
#12. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 26th May 2012, 10:17am
Yeah, the Oil Ocean map stuff? Yeah, I got it, thanks :)
#13. Comment posted by Bloody Body on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 8:49am
I sent not only that message. Look for 18th February 2012. This message contains 5 images and 1 video. Video is answer to your question how to get the boxes, which are located in a small room without entrance except the bottom hole in Carnival Night Zone.
#14. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 8:53am
Oh yeah, my mistake, I got that too, sorry. I'll be sure to consider these when I go back over all the content and update it later this year, thanks a lot.
#15. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 9:00am
A good Idea would be to read all the "notes", they contain most of the stuff that you missed. eg. Chemical Plant Boss
#16. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 9:27am
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm planning on doing. I've got lots of emails such as those from Bloody Body too, highlighting more stuff, so I will be collating it all at some point - not to worry. I'm going to start with Sonic CD though, the 2011 version introduced a lot of things that need documenting.
#17. Comment posted by JamesTheEchidna on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 2:47pm
LiQiudShade, what do you think of the ending and the red rings?
#18. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 27th May 2012, 3:26pm
I haven't finished collecting all the emeralds yet, but I hear the ending is no different with them. So I thought it was fairly inconclusive, and doesn't really explain whether or not Little Planet actually recovers. If they knew there would be an episode 3 then I can understand that, but as far as I'm aware, they don't, and it all depends on how well this one goes.

Haven't done all the red rings yet either - if these extra challenges don't actually unlock anything new then I'm in no hurry to do them. Although before this game I had collected every other red star ring they've come up with, so I guess I should get round to these as well.
#19. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 28th May 2012, 2:06am
It's pretty hard to get all the red rings in colours, but not in Generations. I wish generations just scrapped most of the challenges, and had 4 or 6 acts in each zone instead. (probably 4). Because 2 Acts just isn't enough.
#20. Comment posted by Mike on Monday, 28th May 2012, 7:27am
Well plus, Eggman and Metal Sonic escaped at the end of episode 2. :) I just don't think we're done yet. As some on YT have pointed out, nothing has really been saved yet. We haven't gotten the "all is well" ending.
#21. Comment posted by JamesTheEchidna on Monday, 28th May 2012, 3:13pm
@Mike yeah we have no closure, but due to the reception of this game, I have a strong feeling we won't get episode 3.

You also have to realize, if the death egg explodes, wouldn't that mean little planet would destroyed with it? The death egg powers down and I think, since it powered down, it can't be powered back up in time before little planet returns to its original position.

Just a theory, take it with a grain of salt and a pinch of pepper.
#22. Comment posted by JamesTheEchidna on Monday, 28th May 2012, 3:41pm
Just heard something from a Sega Representative, but there was a good ending, but it was cut out due to the game being somewhat rushed for release dates. The good ending has the death egg mk II coming apart, piece by piece and exploding, leaving little planet unscathed and letting it teleport away from earth once again. This would've been nice to see, but you can still hear the audio file, just look up the "to be continued" video on youtube and the audio you hear is the death egg breaking apart and exploding, and little planet teleporting away. The "to be continued" screen was meant for the end of episode metal, not episode 2, which could mean this is the end of the Sonic 4 Saga, but at the same time, maybe sega didn't put in the good ending because they may want to continue the saga. I personally, think it should stop here because, to be honest, I am more of a fan of 3D Sonic, and the Sonic 4 Saga isn't really interesting for me, and I think Sega isn't really interested in it either. I think they just want to do something new, instead of continuing the Sonic 4 Saga, and that may be why they are cancelling episode 3 and leaving Sonic 4 where it is. Sorry for the long post, and I wouldn't really say that this is %100 true, but from what I heard from the Representative and a few people at SonicRetro and the SonicStadium and seems that it could be true. Thanks for reading my wall of text, now go outside and play!
#23. Comment posted by netch on Tuesday, 29th May 2012, 3:10am
I just want another sonic games like sonic 1, or sonic adventure 2 to just to give me that feeling of speed and maybe have boost.

And by the way Shadow the hedgehog was sonic adventure 3

#24. Comment posted by Cf on Tuesday, 29th May 2012, 7:38pm
If you think special stage 4 is difficult..... well, look forward to special stage 7 is all i'll say ;)
#25. Comment posted by Chaos Ace on Friday, 1st June 2012, 11:27pm
Wow, you really go all out for these reviews. Do you know when Sonic 4 episode 2 will be released in the U.S. and on what systems you can download it on?

And by the way, did you see my last comment on your previous update?
#26. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 4:28am
How far away is other modes? Oh, and I'm hard at work, hhave I got something in store for you! P.S Have you seen the fan game blue spheres forever. It's epic. Hope you can run it.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=izVtTcq_his

Will eventually be intergrated into Sonic 3 HD, if THAT ever even gets off the ground!
#27. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 9:47am
Other Modes is getting closer. I've been on it recently and will be on it this weekend. I'm moving next weekend and won't have internet for a little while so I'll try and get it done before then, but I can't promise anything.

No, I had no idea about that Blue Spheres Forever game, it looks awesome! Annoyingly I can't run it on this laptop, it just crashes before it even starts, but I'll try it on my windows emulation on my Mac in a few days. I've only got XP though so that might be the issue.

That's I funny, I was thinking recently someone should make an up to date blue spheres game. I envisioned a more original approach, introducing new elements, perhaps breaking out of it being tied solely to a big planet and having Sonic run around connected cylinders and cubes and more complicated shapes, plus coming up with new types of spheres or objects. Still, the fact that this allows you to create your own is awesome, and something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I can probably dig out some designs I made on graph paper about fifteen years ago, if I looked hard enough.
#28. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 9:51am
@Chaos Ace - Is it not out already in the US surely? Xbox Arcade, PSN, IOS, Android, etc etc?
#29. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 1:43pm
He's also thinking of making new gimmicks, eg. more different corlous of spheres. Moving Bumpers, Missing Tiles, Teleportation. Mulitplayer. Knuckles gets red spheres, Sonic Gets blue spheres. Get Most blue Spheres. etc. He wants People's Ideas. The Creator is also on the Sonic 3 HD Team. (sonic3hd.com). Don't worry, I can't run it either, on my laptop or desktop. You need microsoft .net framework 4. It's still in beta you know. If you can't run it then he wants you to report it to him, with the error and your tech specs so he can fix it.
#30. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 4th June 2012, 3:45am
I contacted the creator of Blue Spheres Forever, and she said that you need open Gl 3.3 si or higher to run it. She gave me a link to a tool which tells you your open Gl Version and if you can run later versions.

http://www.realtech-vr.com/glview/

Now I might be able to run it on my Desktop :)
#31. Comment posted by Brady Meyers on Wednesday, 6th June 2012, 1:55pm
For me, tougher levels on sonic 4 episode II is just a piece of cake.
But that's a VERY different story when fighting the final boss of the game.
The moustach monkey (a.k.a. Dr. Eggman) is one madman that no-one should mess with, because he delivers the best of his attacks to try and stop sonic and tails, if we players get the timing wrong. Best advice: quick thinking is key to victory, even in a closely pitched battle.
And I prefer that no-one uses foul language to describe something that they may have seen before, especially, about wing fortress. It's just a different layout of the level.
Many of us prefer originallity to be something special in our lives, versus those who don't believe in originallity at all. I'm a bit of both, but I still live on with the finest moments in the history of Sonic The Hedgehog. He is my most adored superheroe character of all time. In other words, a full 5 star rating. It's really not that necessary to complain about the comments that I've made, today.
All in a day's work. Thankyou
Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated
Sunday, 1st April 2012, 1:44pm (BST), 34 Comments
Two things about the odd title of this blog: a) No one has actually reported of my death, it just sounded funny in my head and b) despite the fact that its publish date falls on April Fools Day, it doesn't pertain to any sort of obvious April Fools joke, as has been customary on Sonic sites for as long as I can remember.

No, I just wanted to highlight that I haven't done much on Zone: 0 since the last update to be honest, but to assure you that I will, and that the coming months will see it finally reach its completion. I've just been involved in a couple of other unrelated projects, day-to-day work, social interactions (yeah I know, hard to believe isn't it?) and sadly any other time I've had in the last couple of weeks has been decimated by a sudden increase in eye-strain from all the excessive computer use. It's a recurring problem, so I have to remember to take it easy from time to time, but I'm sure I'll be fine. Oh, and I've been on Netflix a lot as well. Sorry.

As far as the schedule goes, we're very close to the end. I have started on the Other Modes page of Sonic & Knuckles, which will be followed by the Misc page, and both will be released together in the coming weeks as the penultimate update. Finally, my last ever level guide, Death Egg Zone, plus Doomsday and other stuff like Downloads and the game endings and all other bits and bobs will complete the Sonic & Knuckles guide, and the Zone: 0 pentalogy of Sonic game guides, after eight years of work.

Well, I say complete. There's a lot of maintenance I need to catch up on and tweaking here and there across all guides, adding in things people have suggested and accounting for ports or discoveries that have occurred since, but as far as significantly new content goes, that'll be it I'm afraid. However, as I've said before, everything will remain available for as long as it's still needed, and I do have interesting ideas for what the site might also evolve into alongside. I'm still not definite as to whether those ideas will actually become of anything, but hopefully you might find out more about them anyway around the time of completion.

Start getting excited! Or mournful, whichever seems appropriate.
Comments   34 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by JamesTheEchidna on Sunday, 1st April 2012, 2:49pm
It's sad to see this come to an end, but some people say it is better to stop when you are ahead.

Great work my friend.

:)
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 1st April 2012, 7:34pm
0-0

From now until the much-vaunted update I will not leave my place underneath your keyboard. I watch you type with bated breath.










Kidding! Kidding! I look forward to the completion of your work with unrivaled feelings of glee. You've created the ultimate. Be proud. :)
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 1st April 2012, 9:37pm
Thank you, that.. freaks me out ever so slightly..!
#4. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 2nd April 2012, 9:01am
How did you know that I reported your death?
#5. Comment posted by Annonymus on Monday, 2nd April 2012, 11:46am
...
#6. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 14th April 2012, 10:24am
Oh yea!

http://www.sonicretro.org/2012/04/sonic-unleashed-blasts-pcs-to-pieces-in-sonic-generations-mod/
#7. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 14th April 2012, 2:11pm
That looks quite interesting actually. I don't have a PC capable of running that, but I'm more interested in the potential of modifying Unleashed to improve it. I played it again the other day for the first time since getting Sonic Generations and while I still like it, Generations definitely makes it seem inferior, both technically and in terms of level design. With this, and a bit of re-imagining, it could be brought up to scratch in both areas. Did you also see the brief video of an early attempt at porting Sonic Colours' Sweet Mountain? That's also really exciting!

My only concern is what SEGA has to say about this. They've never stepped in about game hacking in the Sonic community before, but this is messing around with their recent games that, I suppose, they could still make money from. It might be where they finally draw the line.

That's one option, but a better one would be to actually work with these extremely talented people, much like they did with Christian Whitehead and actually take these creations to some sort of market, and share the profits. I don't think people hack/recreate and distribute Sonic games because they want them for free, they do it because they want to play more and more Sonic. I think most users wouldn't be opposed to handing over some money in appreciation for that hard work.
#8. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 14th April 2012, 2:20pm
By the way, I'm closing my ears on the community again until Sonic 4 ep 2's release because I want to try and avoid any more information about it whatsoever. Especially anything about the one level in it that I know nothing about. Sorry!

So yeah, any details about other news going on, like the above, while I live this hermit lifestyle would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot ;)
#9. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 15th April 2012, 4:43am
Have you played Sonic 2 HD? (Virus free)

s2hd.com (no www.)
#10. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 15th April 2012, 4:44am
Oh, and

http://www.ugo.com/movies/the-music-of-sonic-the-hedgehog-live
#11. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 15th April 2012, 10:20am
Yeah, I've played Sonic 2 HD. Very professional and an impressive show of collaboration in a situation where collaboration is notoriously difficult. However, I can't help but feel that ultimately, it is just Sonic 2, and I'd be a lot more excited if they could use all of that skill on an original Sonic game.

I saw the video games live show a few years ago in London. Sadly, it was their one visit in which they didn't include the Sonic medley. Hopefully they'll be back in the next couple of years so I can go again and finally see it live.
#12. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 19th April 2012, 8:29am
:(

http://www.tssznews.com/2012/04/18/sonic-2-hd-project-officially-discontinued/

I am truly Saddened. But at least we can turn a new page.
#13. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 30th April 2012, 7:50am
http://www.sonicstadium.org/2012/04/pixn-loves-history-of-sonic-the-hedgehog-out-now/

oh and... Sonic 4 ep 2 looks epic.

btw - when will other modes be out?
#14. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 30th April 2012, 7:51pm
I'll be very sad if that book doesn't get released in English.

Hopefully within the next two or three weeks. :)
#15. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 7:25am
:) http://www.tssznews.com/2012/05/02/report-english-pixn-love-sonic-book-planned-for-june-release/
#16. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 7:27am
Sorry for double posting, but did you know that Sonic and all stars racing transformed is coming out?
#17. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 7:59am
Awesome! Thanks for letting me know :)

Yeah, I did happen to see the racing game announcement on the page of the last link you posted. Awkward title, but cool concept.
#18. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 8:02am
Also, do we know when S4:e2 is out in Europe, for XBLA? Last I heard it was the 16th in US, is this the worldwide date as well? Thanks
#19. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 12:37pm
Are you going to get ep 2 on the same console that you got ep 1? You should because of a "lock on bonus" (episode metal)

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-04-10-sonic-4-episode-2-pc-psn-xbla-release-date

15 May (I think), well, I got it from Eurogamer, so does that count?

Have a read of that article (note, one screenshot of the 3rd zone)
#20. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 12:39pm
Oh, and PLZ check you Z:0 E-mail

(In case you haven't noticed, I'm a notorious double poster)
#21. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 3rd May 2012, 12:48pm
Oh, and one more thing (yea I know TRIPLE posting)

Did you know that a beta of Sonic 4 ep 2 leaked onto steam for those who per-ordered the game. the whole game was in it, and the link got taken down, but the unthinkable happened. Ken Balough (or however you spell his name) actually commented on it, and said that they had a legal copy because they had bought it, so none of the spoilers have been taken down. I've seen about 3 acts, but gone much easier that I did with generations, eventually watching all the classic and dreamcast eras (except shadow), and also watching a couple of acts from the modern era.

Oh, and on more thing, can you add hyper linking, italics, bold, and that sort of thing in this comment box, because I find it irritating having to write in capitals INSTEAD of writing in italics. Thanks
#22. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 4th May 2012, 8:26pm
Multi-posts are fine :) As long as they're all worthwhile of course.

Thanks for the release date confirmation. Not long now before I can go back on Twitter! I suppose the fact that it was leaked again doesn't surprise me really.

I'll see what I can do about the bold and italics. I think you can use <i>html</i> <b>tags</b> though.
#23. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 4th May 2012, 8:26pm
Oh. maybe not.
#24. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 5th May 2012, 2:28am
I don't quite understand post 23. Was it about the <i> thing?
#25. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 5th May 2012, 4:16am
http://www.tssznews.com/2012/05/03/summer-of-sonic-venue-revealed/

http://www.tssznews.com/2012/05/04/crush-40-coming-to-2012-summer-of-sonic/
#26. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 5th May 2012, 9:54am
I so LOL-ed at that epic fail. (which took me like 6 hours to get)
#27. Comment posted by Dan on Sunday, 6th May 2012, 1:25am
You need some kind of award for this site.
#28. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 6th May 2012, 5:05am
He did get 2 awards on Sonic Wrecks. Best website design, and something else. And he has also had other awards over the years.
#29. Comment posted by Indigo Rush on Wednesday, 9th May 2012, 5:27am
Can't wait until it's finished! Bring on the Death Egg!
#30. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 12th May 2012, 4:50am
Hey LQS, can u PLZ Check ur Z:0 e-mail :D (LOL, slang talk)
#31. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 12th May 2012, 6:51pm
Yeah, I saw/heard, great stuff!
#32. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 14th May 2012, 1:09pm
Did you see what I wrote most recently? What do you think of my "idea"
#33. Comment posted by Chaos Ace on Thursday, 17th May 2012, 2:30am
Hi! It's me again, Ace. I know it may be a little too late to say this, but I just collected All the Super Emeralds for Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles in Sonic 3 and Knuckles for Sonic Classic Collection (DS)! So now I can play as Hyper Sonic, Super Tails, and Hyper Knuckles! So if you need any information about them, anything at all, don't be afraid to ask.

Oh, and for the 3DS friend codes, we need the nicknames of our main Mii. Mine's Rye-Rye.

So how to you like my new nickname on your site?
#34. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 9:18am
That's alright, I'm all good on the super/hyper stuff thanks :)

I really don't even play my 3DS much anymore, so don't worry, you really won't see me online there very often - sorry!
Egg in the Sky
Friday, 3rd February 2012, 8:10pm (GMT), 28 Comments
Update: Sky Sanctuary Zone added to the Sonic & Knuckles section
Iconic level Sky Sanctuary Zone now has the full Zone: 0 treatment! It is, of course, the original inspiration for the Sonic Generations level of the same name, and I've added a little bit about that in the Misc Notes section. And yes, before you ask, I will be going back to do the same for Green Hill and Chemical Plant, and I guess, the 3DS version's Casino Night and Mushroom Hill. There's loads of things like that, along with new downloads and of course many little amends suggested from user notes that I will go through after S&K is complete, I promise.

The map was definitely a tough one this time. I normally use tools to extract the layout and object placements to make the job as easy as possible, but as you've probably noticed, this level has some of its pieces constantly moving up and down a little way, and these pieces, for whatever reason, could not be extracted. So I had to do it the old fashioned way and reproduce them myself through lots and lots of screen shots in debug mode. Painstaking, but definitely worth it in the end, as it's a fascinating thing to look at. I'm not sure I was actually aware that, rather than it being really tall, it instead loops back to the bottom, so the highest platforms are below the lowest ones. As I note on the guide though, trying to exploit this by deliberately dropping down at any early point won't work, of course. I wondered if I should signify that on the map too somehow, but as I've never actually had to mark out a death drop in a map before, I was unsure about introducing a new annotation feature so late on in the project. In hindsight, I can think of a couple of other previous levels that could use it actually, so maybe an addition for later.
Comments   28 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Ace on Friday, 3rd February 2012, 11:27pm
I was just wondering if it would be alright if I could post links to youtube videos showing various glitches for Sonic games as well as Sonic parodies over in the "Add Links" sections?
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 4th February 2012, 12:16am
Sure, of course, just post them wherever appropriate. Thanks!
#3. Comment posted by MoDaD on Sunday, 5th February 2012, 1:48am
Great work as always. Not sure if you already knew or not, but Sonic the Hedgehog made an appearance in a car insurance commercial in the United States: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfUsKWyRRm0
#4. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 5th February 2012, 10:42am
I have a feeling that Sonic 4 ep 2 is going to take longer to release that expected. Oh, and by the way is sky sanctuary on or over angel island, beacause I saw a map of Angel Island which has sky sanctuary on the map. http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081127041052/archiesonic/images/c/cd/Floatingisland.jpg Apparantly Sandopolis Zone occupies 1/4 of "Floating Island"
#5. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 5th February 2012, 3:35pm
@MoDaD I did know that, yes! Pretty cool, though a really really odd combination.

@Hyper_Sonic Yeah, but that's Archie, I think they just interpreted it like anyone can and it's not necessarily official. As far as I'm aware, it's entirely open to debate. In the game, they clearly go upwards to Sky Sanctuary, but presumably Angel Island is still in the sea at that point (as it only rises during Sonic's ending sequence), so where it actually is normally is anyone's guess. It could be made up of pieces of the island that broke off in the collision with the Death Egg, and stayed afloat for some reason, or they could just always be above or around the island anyway. Like the mystery of exactly how or why a modern carnival sprung up on there though, it's one of those things that I doubt will ever be explained in full.
#6. Comment posted by Ace on Thursday, 9th February 2012, 2:30am
Hey LiQuidShade! I have a 3DS with Sonic Generations. Wanna trade codes?
#7. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 9th February 2012, 9:44pm
Sure, but I'll be honest, I rarely play it and I have no idea how to find out what my code is!
#8. Comment posted by Ace on Friday, 10th February 2012, 2:46am
It's really simple, actually. You see, all you have to do is go to the home menu and click on the orange smiley-faced icon at the top. This you to the Friend Listing where you can view your registered friends. This will also be where you'll register the friend codes and where you can view your own code.
#9. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 10th February 2012, 8:50pm
Ok, 3995-6591-5476
#10. Comment posted by Ace on Friday, 10th February 2012, 10:05pm
And mine's 3308-4558-5367
#11. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Wednesday, 15th February 2012, 10:34am
10 sonic 4 screenies leaked, (please LQS DO NOT tell me that you are going into lockdown again!).

Oh and the release date also got leaked. P.s The game looks awesome!!! It looks almost as good as classic generations (but not quite as good)
#12. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Wednesday, 15th February 2012, 7:24pm
I was going to, but now that they've gone and spoiled three out of four of the levels immediately, there probably isn't much point. I'd find out about the last one accidentally somehow anyway, even if I tried my hardest to avoid it. However, I'll still avoid as many more gameplay videos, screenshots and pieces of information as I feel I need to. Seeing the whole thing played out before you play it yourself is utterly pointless in my view. If the May release date is accurate, then it's not too long to wait anyway.

I must say it looks awesome, and the two new stages are more original than I was expecting. The Christmas/carnival level (Christmas Carnival Zone perhaps?) is almost exactly the same basic idea as one of the original fan game levels I was hoping to get round to making at some point in the distant future.
#13. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Friday, 17th February 2012, 10:03am
Did you see the special stage... epic.
#14. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Saturday, 25th February 2012, 3:18am
Gameplay Trailer!!!
#15. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 26th February 2012, 12:19pm
Would it be ok to a link to this site in a trueachievment guide for help with saviour of the planet achievment in sonic CD. Thanx
#16. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 26th February 2012, 7:13pm
Sure, go ahead :)
#17. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 26th February 2012, 8:45pm
Thanx the maps are very useful and is alot easier and useful for others to refernece than writing a guide.
#18. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 27th February 2012, 10:33am
Anyone notice the Generations 3DS style level design (boo) and death drop signs in the sonic 4 ep 2 trailer? Brace yourself for bad level design, and four zones. But at least the graphics and music (?) are good.
#19. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 27th February 2012, 12:33pm
Still too early to say I think really. Episode 1 had pretty good level design I think. Could have done with a few more interesting multiple routes in places but on the whole it wasn't cheap, like Generations 3DS was. I approve of the new trend of death drop signs - psychologically it feels much better to know if there's danger below you or not, so whether or not there's an abundance of them, at least they're still going to give us warning about them. I'm more concerned that the physics might not have changed as much as people hope. For me, all they have to do is fix the momentum-stopping issues and I'll be happy enough.

Also, FYI, I know the achievements have been posted, revealing some or all of the level names as well as other details I'm sure, but I don't wish to see them yet - especially if they hint at what type of level the one remaining mystery zone might be. I'm sure I'll accidentally stumble upon it between now and release anyway, but if we could avoid spoiling anything beyond what's in that trailer for the moment, I'd appreciate it. Sorry :)
#20. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 11:24am
I just saw 6 minutes of gameplay. The level design is A BIT(and I stress 'bit') better than gens 3ds :( Sorry to dissapoint, oh and homing attack chains are back. P.s How far away is DEZ guide. Well, maybe that was just act 1? The underwater content looks pretty good though.
#21. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 3:54pm
Haven't even started Death Egg yet. Other Modes and Miscellaneous pages will come first, but I haven't even started those either. Whoops.
#22. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Tuesday, 28th February 2012, 9:21pm
That's ok :)
#23. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 1st March 2012, 9:05pm
The prlude to episode 2:

"The fierce battle from Episode I was only an overture…
What was Dr. Eggman searching for in the Lost Labyrinth?
What was Mad Gear built for?
They were all a mere puzzle piece of a grandiose project schemed by Dr. Eggman.
As Little Planet, where “Sonic CD” took place, approaches Sonic’s world once again, Dr. Eggman’s whole scheme will be revealed!"

Also the sonic 4 website has been updated check it out! Don't worry, there's no gameplay on it. (although like 5 gameplay vids of the demo have been released showcasing the first act of two zones.)

www.sonicthehedgehog4.com/
#24. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Sunday, 11th March 2012, 4:35am
It's official, Sonic 4 ep II will have cheap level design, just like gens 3DS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwRztOQ_d_s&feature=youtube
#25. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Monday, 19th March 2012, 8:36am
Hey LQS - Check your Z: 0 e-mail.
#26. Comment posted by Anonymous on Monday, 26th March 2012, 4:56pm
Hey guys I know this is off topic but I found this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVnSVr_2cA&feature=related

It's an old version of the original genesis sonic
on the marble zone
#27. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Wednesday, 28th March 2012, 6:11am
Sonic 2 HD RELEASED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I hope this doesn't count as spam!)
#28. Comment posted by Kiwi on Thursday, 29th March 2012, 2:43am
Sky Sanctuary was always one of my favorite levels - what a soundtrack and with rich visuals
I wanted to tell you I had found this site today, and read through your synopsizes. You seem like someone who really genuinely enjoyed the series and had a lot to say about it, I liked hearing it and will continue reading. I was going to send this in person but sadly no contact button on this site! Much appreciation,
Kiwi
Sonic Generations Soundtrack Edits
Wednesday, 18th January 2012, 8:08pm (GMT), 10 Comments
Hope you've been enjoying the recently released Sonic Generations OST as much as I have. It's a nicely made one, much clearer than the rips that have been available since the game's release, and many of them come to nice, exclusive conclusions rather than fading out, which I often find disappointing. Plus, it's brilliant to finally get the tracks from the 3DS version! But that said, there are a few things that I thought could be improved upon.

Perhaps because I've come to music in general oddly quite late in life, I'm usually more of a fan of having a big shuffled list of various things together rather than listening to albums in sequence. I have an ever growing Sonic iTunes list which I've been adding to for a decade now (in fact the initial building of it was kind of a personal pre-Zone: 0 Sonic project of mine - my own emulator recordings from it are the same ones I add to the downloads of this site's game guides), and all OST tracks get thrown in and often renamed according to certain consistent patterns.

Anyway, sometimes I'll try and edit some of the tracks to suit my preferences, such as looping them or cutting them, sometimes even adding two or more tracks together or separating parts of others. There were some things I was quite surprised by on the OST, so having not actually done this for a while now, I whipped out Audacity and tried to see what I could come up with. Thought you might be interested too, if you have a similar approach to your Sonic music.


I was rather hoping that they would combine the "normal" and "fast" versions of Green Hill Act 2 and Sky Sanctuary Act 2 into a single track for each, with the faster one directly following the normal. Perhaps because whenever I hear the normal ones, I want to cut to the faster ones at some point, because they're better. They didn't do this on the OST, so here you go!

Green Hill Act 2
Sky Sanctuary Act 2

While listening on my earphones out and about, I couldn't believe how many loops Speed Highway Act 2 went on and on for. It's a decent enough piece of music, but it didn't seem to ever end. It appears to loop four times, but it's actually twice, it's just one of those tracks for which a single loop consists of the same tune looped twice but the second one differs very slightly. I brought the conclusion forward so that it only does one full loop of the song, so nothing is missed, but it ends before you get sick of it!

Speed Highway Act 2

For the Act 1 music, to suddenly start embedding the speed-up versions of the tunes into Crisis City and Rooftop Run was quite odd, though I can live with it. Even odder though, I thought, was the unexpected gap of near silence after the speed-up section of Crisis City, before returning to the main track. I found this quite distracting, so I've removed it.

Crisis City Act 1


If there's any interest I might one day post up some more tracks I've edited over the years from past Sonic games too.

You can import the rest of the Sonic Generations soundtrack from here, here, or here. I think it's on iTunes in the US too now, but still waiting for it here in Blighty, it would seem.
Comments   10 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 19th January 2012, 1:09am
Great job! Keep up the good work.

BTW, I'm glad this website isn't blacked out by SOPA. :)
#2. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 19th January 2012, 1:57am
You should make the background of the site black because of SOPA, sonic retro is down, you should sooooo read their statement. Basically they said that Sonic CD wouldn't exist if SOPA was in place, among other projects, and that retro would shout down is SOPA was in place :(
#3. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 19th January 2012, 1:58am
edit: "Up and down and all around" stuck in my head now!!!
#4. Comment posted by Super player on Thursday, 19th January 2012, 3:13am
I totally agree with you bro! But I didn't think SOPA would take away sites like this.
I sure hope they 'skip' over it.
#5. Comment posted by Anony-mouse on Monday, 23rd January 2012, 6:39pm
Hey guy! you rock! please keep working on your site because you are not alone with this love for Sonic! Thnxs!!!
#6. Comment posted by Anonymous on Saturday, 4th February 2012, 1:01am
I don't see much of a point to some of your edits. Green Hill and Sky Sanctuary were okay, I guess, but Speed Highway isn't too different from the one in game (except for on the second loop, the end is shortened in the in game version). And adding in the speed up music to Crisis City seems rather pointless to me. One thing that did bug me about the soundtrack, though, is that Modern Seaside Hill almost carelessly slaps on Ocean Palace to the end of it and doesn't sound very well as a whole track.
#7. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 4th February 2012, 8:10am
Take them or leave them, I didn't do them as a service, I did them for the sake of my own personal music collection. Just wondered if anyone else might happen to be interested. I agree with you on Crisis City, but you do realise I didn't add that speed up bit in, these are all from the OST CD release, not the game rip. All I did was remove the annoying bit of near-silence right after the speed up, which I found distracting, and I felt that the Speed Highway Act 2 track on the CD was too long. That's all.
#8. Comment posted by Anonymous on Saturday, 4th February 2012, 2:56pm
It wasn't that Speed Highway was too long, it's that the second loop of the song is too identical to the first. You could make the same argument for both versions of Green Hill and Chemical Plant as well. The original versions are just too short. At any rate, I don't need to rely on you for edited songs anyway, I have my own editing software.
#9. Comment posted by Tricky_E on Wednesday, 8th February 2012, 12:16pm
The OST CD is soo damn expensive! BAH!
#10. Comment posted by StickFight775 on Saturday, 18th February 2012, 11:41am
Nice.
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