Even though the site is still in an early phase and there's only one game to look at so far, I felt I needed to spread the word a bit, and get people knowing about Zone: 0 so they can check back from time to time as it develops. That one game is probably enough to show off just how serious I am about the amount of detail I want to go into, so I thought I'd fork over a very reasonable £5 to Dreadknux of the Sonic Stadium, for an ad banner placement on there. Even though the banner only seems to actually be in the rotation at all at certain points throughout the day (I sent it off a few days ago, and have only just seen it on there for the first time this morning), it's still doing the job very well. The highest number of daily visitors has been over 100, which is absolutely fantastic. My amount of bandwidth at the moment probably wouldn't take much more this month if I had any more than that anyway, so thanks alot Dread and TSS, and a warm welcome to everyone coming straight from there, which will be almost all of you I'd imagine.
Unfortunately, nothing particularly new to update you with this time (although I dressed up the level pages a teeny bit in the act title sections t'other day - makes them look so much more organised and clear now I think), but I would like to share a few views on the new Sonic-ness shown at E3, which kicked off today. If you haven't heard yet, surprsingly early this morning, we were treated to the first screens of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, the first video footage of Sonic Rush Adventure, and the first trailer and gameplay vid of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. To catch up, I point you to suckle at the ever informative teet of Sonic News.
Despite the currently very old skool style and lack of any official post-SA artwork adorning this neat little site, I am in fact not at all against modern Sonic in any way, and carry a generally very optimistic view of new titles, treating them in as high regard as those of the "first generation". So I've not surprised myself by being impressed with Sonic Team's E3 offerings so far. Firstly, Mario and Sonic. Who'd ever have guessed, huh? Especially not at the Olpympics, which has absolutely nothing to do with either franchise. Still, I'll go with it, and there's something about a couple of those screenies that warms me old heart. Sonic and Mario characters appearing together in the same shot.. it might not mean much to you if you're young and weren't around or paying attention during their rivalry, but to see that now is just.. well, it's quite nice, I think. That's about as well as I can describe my thoughts about that. As for the game, I've a feeling its novelty may wear a bit thin once you've played all the games and everything, but then, that tends to be the case for many a Sonic genre spinoff, which don't tend to keep my interest for a great deal.
Sonic Rush Adventure.. to be honest, I don't see what the problem would have been with calling it "Sonic Rush 2", but regardless, it's lookin' good. One of my biggest beefs with Sonic Rush, as it compares to the others, is the lack of originality in levels, primarily in their appearance and structure, and as you'd guess from the way I'm organising my guides, these are important elements to me. The locations mostly felt a bit "been there, done that", and the structures were all too emphasised on speed, as fun as they were to race through. SRA looks to have the location problem sorted and, much like Secret Rings, is going for completely new, or much less used ideas in the settings for just about all of its levels. There's a danger of making it feel a bit too un-Sonic by doing that, but I love the look of the sunset mechanical/ruin type level, the ghost ship one is a nice idea, though a bit bland looking, and that gorgeous mystical forest kind of stage in the trailer is making me suddenly very impatient to play. Although, that does look a bit similar to the dinosaur jungle stage, as seen in previous screenshots, and I think all levels within a game should look as different as possible to each other. Unless they're two acts of the same level..? Could we finally be getting altered backgrounds and level contents between acts, like in S3/S&K? Probably not, but I can live in hope that one day we will. In general, I hope they go for slightly less of a speed-orientated adventure this time, and focus a bit more on interesting level layouts and objects. New ideas are great, but I don't want modern 2D Sonic games to permanently go too far away from the original formula, which I felt that Sonic Rush did a tad.
Finally, NiGHTS. Not a Sonic game as such (well, at all), but I was one of the lucky ones to own the original game, being a proud Sega Saturn user, and I'm thrilled to see how lovely the new one looks in the trailer, and how similar it is. Upon seeing the first screenshots and hearing that the early motion of the game was a bit jerky, or something like that, I was a bit unimpressed, but the trailer has put those fears to rest. The voice over reminds me of a Christmas coca cola advert. Very wholesome and fantastical quality to it. I'm sure the game will end up with enough problems that critics will complain that it's not as good as the original, and is therefore not worthy of anyone's money, etc, but I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy it. As always, screw the critics.
Too bad there's not going to be any sign of that mysterious Sonic RPG. I've never played anything by BioWare, but the fact that they're supposedly so good at RPG's, and enthusiastic about Sonic fills with me with hope, though I'm very intruiged as to how they're going to blend RPG puzzling and wandering with good old fashioned, pick-up-and-play Sonic action. People didn't like the RPG elements in Sonic Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog, so it's going to be very interesting to see exactly how they plan to counteract that, to stop people moaning. Whatever happens, it looks to be the most significant Sonic non-platformer ever. And the announcement of Sonic Rivals 2 recently means that I'm definitely going to have to buy a PSP now. Of the forty one titles that I class as being currently within the Sonic series, Sonic Rivals is the only one I have never played, and don't have any access to. Going this long without one of them is a crime, but now two? Something simply must be done.. Looks like I actually need to get a job. :(
Well, that's a lengthy chunk of text I've put you through there, as always. Do feel free to drop your comments, and as the site is still a newbie, don't hesitate to use the comments feature of this entry, or the previous one, to let me know your overall impressions of the site. Thanks to those who've already given them.
P.S. If you're looking for a progress report on the Sonic 2 section - there ain't one. Sorry, been mega busy with other things lately, but I did get a chance to have a read through of what I'd written for Emerald Hill Zone some time ago, and it's all pretty good and rather brief, so shouldn't take me long to put together the page and images for it, which I'll hopefully be starting within the next few days.