About Zone: 0

In short, Zone: 0 is a now small, but ever growing Sonic game information and strategy guide resource that aims to one day cover as many of the platforming legend's games as possible in very meticulous detail, presented in a fully illustrated and easy to read webpage format.

This is a long term, ongoing project of mine that quietly began production in Autumn 2004. For the next two years I wrote full guides to Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2 and 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic CD. In April 2007 I finally revealed the first few pages as a limited preview of content before officially launching the site in a pre-release state in June. After a 9 month redesign process, the final form of the site officially launched on 22nd February 2009. My current goal is to convert all of the text I've already written into full pages with screenshots and maps, and then continue with new games for as long as I can.

More about these guides..

Have you ever thought that the FAQ guides available on GameFAQs, while useful, are presented in a less than comfortable format? Screenshots and maps would be of great use, as would a way of dividing the content into sections so that you can easily look up exactly what you want to know, without having to sift through endless paragraphs of unformatted text, hoping you haven't already gone past the thing you're after. There are many Sonic fan sites that offer information through web pages, but I find that most of them lack a lot of detail, especially when it comes to the levels, where only a couple of paragraphs and screens are available for each. You could shell out a tenner or more for a handy strategy guide book, complete with more images and maps than you can shake a stick at, but in the world of Sonic at least, they're often rather poorly written, with incorrect or omitted details and a lack of knowledge and interest of the ins and outs of the series rather evident by the author. They also tend to be hesitant at pointing out any glitches and the ways in which they can be avoided, which can be important at times. For your money's worth, you want a bit more expertise than that.

This rather colossal project of mine aims to combine the detail and accuracy of a well written FAQ with the visual features and organisation of an official printed strategy guide, all mangled together into a series of web pages. The ideal, although probably unrealistic goal (either way, we're talking in terms of years here), is that every single game in the series will one day be covered within this website. The biggest emphasis here though is on the levels of the Sonic platformers, and each one, for each game, will have its own page personalised and dedicated entirely to it. Information will not only relate just to the specific obstacles and tricky bits you'll encounter but also details surrounding its structure, appearance and tons of other trivia, relying on specific and consistent methods of organisation and analysis. Where possible, complete maps with the most detail you can find anywhere, as well as a load of screenshots will help illustrate the entire stage for you. I have a big interest in Sonic level design and the great variety in stages that make up Sonic's huge legacy, so this won't just be a strategy guide for those lost on what to do in a game, it'll be a complete source of reference designed for any Sonic fan, newbie or veteran, to take advantage of. And it won't cost you a tenner, either. In fact it won't cost you a darn thing.

Will the site consist of anything else?

Zone: 0 will also delve into the "study" of Sonic (or "Sonicology" as I call it), and this is where things get really geeky - if they weren't enough for you already. Many sites attempt to bring order and understanding to the story and characters of the series, but I'm more concerned with the actual games. By my count, we fans have got over fifty different games under our belt for the series now, and I'll be suggesting ways of bringing some unofficial methods of organisation for the series. For example, I'll be implementing models for sorting the games into categories (primary, secondary and tertiary platformers, plus spinoffs and compilations), and I'm very interested in developing ways of categorising levels too. We can all spot recurring environments such as the tropical beaches, the pinball casinos or the mighty flying fortresses that pop up all the time, but I'll be forming a definitive list that can hopefully categorise just about every level ever made, useful for predicting the levels of new games and deciphering what's been done and what hasn't. This aspect of the website should hopefully be of particular use to any of you fangamers out there having difficulty in choosing what types of levels to make use of in your games, and the kinds of structures and obstacles that will be most suitable for each, according to the practise of the official games.

Your feedback

As much as I love Sonic and I've loved delving into these games to uncover just about everything about them, it wouldn't be worth all the time I've given it if no one else cared about this project. Thankfully that does not seem to be the case, as the feedback I've received so far has been immensely positive. I would love to continue getting responses from other Sonic fans, crucially about what you think of the whole idea in general and if it will be of any use to you once more games are covered. Also about things like the layout, specific bits of the texts, maps etc, and anything really. See the blog page if you wish to leave me a comment, which you can do in response to any blog entry I've submitted there or alternatively, feel free to email me.

Project Zone: 0 is my most ambitious undertaking, and as I've been responsible for creating just about everything to do with it so far, I can't guarantee it'll ever quite reach a stage of total completion. It constitutes a ludicrous amount of work and time, the latter of which I may not have so much of in the coming years. Nevertheless though, I'm determined to keep things going alongside any other commitments I have, and if this ever gets anywhere, it'll be helped along by the support I get from those of you who share my enthusiasm for the idea, and wish to see it come to life...

I think that's about it for this rather lengthy introduction (that's another thing actually - if you haven't realised it by now, you soon will, I'm very much a waffler and am rarely happy with a piece of text until it contains every bit of detail that I think is necessary, and that's usually a lot!). Thanks very much for checking the place out, and do come back regularly for new updates, which I'll try to keep to on a fairly regular basis.


LiQuidShade, writer, webmaster and Sonicologist.
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