Go N⋅Sane for Crash Bandicoot!

Woah! After 21 years, Crash Bandicoot is finally back!

Ready to go N⋅Sane for Crash? I sure am ready, it was long overdue but it’s finally a relief to see the marsupial bandicoot make his remarkable comeback.

Just last year, Sony & Activision announced Crash Bandicoot’s return, which brought rumours and speculation to an end after so many years. It’s oddly eerie how I wrote a review on Crash Bandicoot: Warped on the 9th July 2015, because I mentioned in that review that it would be nice to see the classic trilogy being remastered and it was quite ironic to hear a year later before my 18th birthday that Crash Bandicoot was finally making a comeback to PlayStation. How crazy is that? To think I was talking about wanting to see the game being remastered, only to have my prayers and everyone else’s prayers finally be answered with the trilogy being given the official remaster treatment. I marked my 19th birthday exactly two weeks ago today so it’s triple the celebration for me.

The marsupial bandicoot himself, including his villainous counterparts, return to wreak havoc once again, as Crash foils Dr. Neo Cortex‘s plans for world domination.

I won’t lie, I am so pleased with the gameplay I have seen recently and for the fact that Activision have gone to all that hard work and effort to keep the trilogy as true to the original proves they wanted to make sure the games paid all the attention to detail whilst keeping the marsupial bandicoot breaking boxes while dodging dangerous obstacles.

The bosses for the trilogy are so good that it almost feels realistic, given that the attention to detail makes you feel like you’re in the game and for the fact that Activision have been showing footage of the games on YouTube proves that they wanted to keep it as true to the original trilogy so that we can all play the Crash Bandicoot games of the past and present.

I love the fact Activision have paid homage to Naughty Dog by slapping their iconic dog paw on Coco Bandicoot‘s laptop, which is really nostalgic considering that Naughty Dog’s efforts to release the games in 1996, 1997 & 1998 made Crash Bandicoot the iconic gaming legend he is today.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy! I pre-ordered it in advance of today’s release, but I will be uploading gameplay footage of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy to my YouTube Channel, so I can assure you that my YouTube Channel will consist of gameplay footage from all three games: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped.

Stay tuned as I’ll be publishing a review on the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy at some point over the coming weeks, but for now, let’s go N⋅Sane and welcome back Crash Bandicoot to PlayStation! We missed you!

Alex Smithson

© Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog 2017

© The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Official Box Artwork, including the Crash Bandicoot franchise, are all copyright of Activision, Vicarious Visions & Naughty Dog. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

HOUSEKEEPING

As I was able to meet my deadline with all of my coursework backed up to some hard drives, I did a massive clear-out on my laptop. I needed to get that much-needed storage space back as my laptop was being cluttered with all of the coursework I’ve done over the course of the entire year.

I was so glad to have taken all of my work off my laptop, as it’s completely spacious once again, and after defragmenting and optimising the drives built into my laptop, I have managed to get some extra space back, and I have noticed my laptop is running much faster now and it’s also working much more efficiently than before.

I won’t lie, I didn’t realise how much coursework I did this year until I got all of my coursework together in one folder. I am pleased that I have done all of my work, as this gives me a sense of relief knowing that I can use the research and photography skills I have by putting them to good use.

It’s hard to believe that after Monday 3rd July, my time at Croydon College comes to an end. Croydon College has given me so much and has helped me to realise my potential in becoming the photographer I am now, and never did I think I would be saying this three years later that I have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time. Photography has always been a passion and a hobby for me as it is a hobby I want to take up as a full-time career, and I have noticed lately with this website’s Instagram account that some of the photography work I have published on this website’s Instagram account has been receiving a lot of positive feedback, which has helped me to come up with all new ideas for this website.

But again, doing a much-needed clear-out has done me a favour as I can now come up with better ideas that are free-flowing, which is essential for me in that respect considering I love photography and now that I have had the opportunity to photograph some friends of mine for my Final Major Project, including the famous actor and Mental Health Awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, I actually want to photograph people as well as producing photography work that is nature-based, landscape-based and portrait-based, as photographing people fascinates me, given that facial expressions are something that interest me. A facial expression, in my eyes, can describe more than just a thousand words. A facial expression can describe unlimited amounts of words, as well as speak volumes.

I will miss Croydon College, but life has to go on and I can honestly say that despite all the ups and downs I have had, that all of us have had in that respect, this college got me and everyone else through and allowed us to realise our potential, and this college have been so supportive and given me and everyone so much to be thankful for. Croydon College is a good college but I will miss it, but still, life goes on and I will work my socks off from here on out even after I finish my last ever day at Croydon College as a college student, as I want to become a full-time photographer and even get the opportunity to do photography-based projects that I actually want to get paid for.

It feels so good to do a lot of housekeeping but now I can come up with better ideas from this point forward. I haven’t published in goodness knows how many weeks due to the coursework, as I met the deadline and did my last Maths exam, and I have had a lot of free time to use lately. I have been gearing up and preparing myself for the hype of this Friday, as this Friday sees the remarkable gaming legend make a comeback after 21 years, and that legend is Crash Bandicoot. The Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy, produced by Activision (original Crash Bandicoot series by Naughty Dog) will be released on Friday 30th June! Keep your eyes peeled for the article I’ll be publishing that will be celebrating the release of the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy on Friday.

Does it feel good for you when you have done a lot of housekeeping? Please tell me, I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Mania. Out 15th August!

After a lot of hype, a lot of anticipation and a lot of excitement, Sonic Mania will officially grace our screens on the 15th August!

This news couldn’t have come at a better time, as this year will mark 26 years since Sonic the Hedgehog graced our screens.

Christian Whitehead, PagodaWest Games & Headcannon, who are responsible for making Sonic Mania a reality, showed us Green Hill Zone, including Studiopolis & Mirage Saloon, which are two new levels for the Sonic franchise, with past-time favourites, such as Flying Battery Zone and Stardust Speedway even making a comeback.

I must admit, when SEGA announced the game was being delayed until the Summer, I wasn’t sure at first, but I am so glad they delayed it because it made more sense to delay the game so that it could give them more time to make sure the game could not only capture the magic of the first three Sonic games, but that Sonic Mania could pay homage to the franchise itself. Stardust Speedway, which made its debut in Sonic CD (or Sonic the Hedgehog CD, however you choose to call it), which last featured in Sonic Generations and in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (Episode II) for the segment, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode Metal, returns in Sonic Mania with modernised visuals that go old-school, which is what myself and every Sonic the Hedgehog fan wanted.

Overall, I have a strong feeling this game will not just be popular once it’s released, but I can guarantee this game will be a smash-hit for SEGA when it is released before the next Sonic game in the Sonic franchise, Sonic Forces. Sonic Mania is most definitely the game I will be playing and reviewing so stay tuned as there’s more to come, what with Miles “Tails” Prower and Knuckles the Echidna also returning in Sonic Mania!

Are you excited for Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces? Please let me know. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy / Out 30th June!

It’s official! Just a few months after we all witnessed the marsupial make his comeback, Crash Bandicoot is ready to come back to PlayStation on the 30th June! Who would have thought it, eh?

This news comes after the comeback trailer unveiled Crash Bandicoot back to his true and original form, with the comeback trailer itself even showing comparisons of the original PS1 Classic levels including the newly upgraded level designs of the exact same levels.

I also came across official screenshots of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back after reading an article that Crashy News published, and honestly, Activision have made sure to keep the N⋅Sane Trilogy true to the original PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot and they have most certainly done the Naughty Dog Original series justice with this refreshed collection of the N⋅Sane Trilogy.

I won’t deny this, I will be pre-ordering the Crash Bandicoot N⋅Sane Trilogy because it’s so good! I will not be surprised if this trilogy sells just as well as the original PS1 Classics, because Crash Bandicoot was and still is a bestseller even to the present day, and the N⋅Sane Trilogy itself will do just the same, because Activision have made sure to keep this game original by making sure it captures the true heart of the original PS1 version of Crash Bandicoot that we all came to know and love.

This release date couldn’t have come at a much better time, as this trilogy releases exactly two weeks after I mark my 19th birthday.

Are you just as excited as I am that Crash Bandicoot is finally back? If you are excited to see Crash Bandicoot come to the PlayStation 4 on the 30th June, then please let me know, I would love to hear what you think about the marsupial bandicoot making his comeback to PlayStation.

Also, if you want to be kept up-to-date on all things Crash Bandicoot, then please visit Crashy News by clicking here.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Generations: A Shift Between Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic

As Sonic Generations marked the 20th Anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was clear that this game had everything to offer, because for the first time, and with Stereoscopic 3D, you would get to see Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic in an entirely nostalgic form that would shift between the past and the present. I will not deny this, but I have played the game myself and I absolutely love it, because it delivers and creates not just a nostalgic feeling that makes you think of the good old days of Classic Sonic, but it gives you the approach that Sonic is back and Retro is back too.

As a massive SEGA fan, I love the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and have played previous games, such as Sonic Heroes, Sonic Rush and even the Christian Whitehead reboots of Sonic the Hedgehog & Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and I won’t lie, I wish I played Sonic Generations sooner, because it’s one of those games where you cannot afford to not play it to appreciate and understand the true aspects behind how the game was really made, as well as the hard work that SEGA went to in order to modernise and remaster past levels.

For the first time, you can play these levels in modern form:

  • Green Hill Zone (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog)
  • Chemical Plant (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2)
  • Stardust Speedway (Metal Sonic Rival Battle) [Classic Sonic] {Taken from Sonic CD}
  • Death Egg Robot (Boss) [Classic Sonic] {Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 2}
  • Shadow the Hedgehog (Rival Battle) [Modern Sonic] {Taken from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle}
  • Sky Sanctuary (Taken from Sonic & Knuckles)
  • Speed Highway (Taken from Sonic Adventure)
  • City Escape (Taken from Sonic Adventure 2)
  • Seaside Hill (Taken from Sonic Heroes)
  • Crisis City (Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog) [2006]
  • Silver the Hedgehog (Rival Battle) [Modern Sonic] {Taken from Sonic the Hedgehog ’06)
  • Perfect Chaos (Taken from Sonic Adventure)
  • Rooftop Run (Taken from Sonic Unleashed)
  • Planet Wisp (Taken from Sonic Colours)
  • Egg Dragoon (Taken from Sonic Unleashed)

Also, for the first time, you can play the final boss in the level, Time Eater. If you have all of the 7 Chaos Emeralds, you will be able to play as Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic but as Classic Super Sonic & Modern Super Sonic, and you will be able to fight Dr. Robotnik & Dr. Eggman.

If you have the PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Generations, it comes bundled with the first ever Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog, which is an added bonus considering you can play two games as well as one. To get the first ever Sonic game in Sonic Generations, you need to buy the SEGA Mega Drive Controller in the game with the points that you collect through every level that you have completed and don’t worry, you don’t pay extra money for the game at all, you just use the points you earn in the game for every level to get the controller in the game and you’re ready to go at any time.

Below are some screenshots from some of the Classic & Modern levels of Sonic Generations if you want to relive the nostalgia of past Sonic the Hedgehog games.

It’s hard to believe it was five years ago this game was released, and I won’t lie, playing this game has made me realise just how much technology has evolved in the gaming world, and not only that, but to see games from past time being remastered, it’s amazing how some games still capture that nostalgic appeal from the last 10 to 20 years.

I felt it was right to write a review on this game considering it’s exactly 25 years this year since the first ever Sonic game was released, and to continue the celebrations, Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, who has ported Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 & Sonic CD to smartphones and consoles, is working again with SEGA and also with PagodaWest and Headcannon on the upcoming 2017 Sonic game, Sonic Mania, which will relive the nostalgia of past levels from some games, including some new levels, though some of the new levels will be new to me as I have never seen them before, apart from watching clips of Sonic Mania on YouTube and on some gaming websites. Also, as the as yet untitled Project Sonic 2017 game is being developed for the XBOX ONE, the PlayStation 4, the Nintendo Switch and also for Laptop / PC, it’s safe to say that SEGA have a fantastic year ahead. 2017 is going to be SEGA’s year, and I am absolutely sure of that.

What do I think of Sonic Generations? I love the game with a passion, because it relives the nostalgic appeal that I had with past games, such as Sonic Heroes & Sonic Unleashed, and because I have played Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic CD & Sonic Heroes, including Sonic & The Secret Rings and Sonic Colours, Sonic Generations really captures the heart of what made SEGA, and Sonic Generations as a whole captures the flare that past Sonic the Hedgehog games had as well.

Overall, I am absolutely glad to have played this game and I will still continue to play the game anytime and also because the HD Graphics on the game are perfectly crisp, and you can’t help but feel like as if you’ve immersed yourself in the game even though you’re the one playing the game. Sonic Generations is such a fantastic game and I absolutely love the fact that SEGA have decided to give past levels from past games the new lease of life they deserve.

One more thing. If you haven’t got Sonic Generations, then I strongly recommend you buy it for the PlayStation 3 as it is on the PlayStation Essentials list, or if you have a Laptop / PC, then it will be available to purchase on Steam.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sonic Generations.

If you enjoyed my review of Sonic Generations, then please feel free to comment below your feedback on this review. All feedback is much appreciated and to end this review on a high note, I just want to say this:

THANK YOU SEGA FOR SUCH A FANTASTIC AND NOSTALGIC GAME!

Alex Smithson

© SEGA & Sonic Team 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the SONIC GENERATIONS Trademark, the Registered SEGA Trademark, including the promotional image of Classic Sonic the Hedgehog & Modern Sonic the Hedgehog, including the concept art behind the logo and the game’s screenshots are all copyright of SEGA & Sonic Team. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy Unveiled at PlayStation Experience!

A short while ago, I wrote an article following my excitement that Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back & Crash Bandicoot: Warped were being remastered after years of rumours and speculation, and tonight at the PlayStation Experience, Activision unveiled the first ever look of Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy and I have just seen the comeback trailer of the new Crash game and believe me, I wasn’t prepared. It’s so good! To reminisce the nostalgic fever of the PS1 Classic Crash Bandicoot, Activision showed the original levels from the Crash Bandicoot PS1 game, and then they put the original levels together with the remastered levels and it’s so good!

I know I keep saying it’s so good, but trust me, it is that good that your jaws will drop the moment you see the comeback trailer. I have provided the comeback trailer below so all of you can see Crash Bandicoot in his full glory, officially remastered for the PlayStation 4 in 60FPS (Frames Per Second)

Sony & Activision couldn’t have picked a better time to show Crash Bandicoot off, and just in time for Christmas, they have given all of us hope and have put smiles on all of our faces, because the marsupial Crash Bandicoot is back and marks his 20th Anniversary of being on PlayStation.

What did you think of the comeback trailer for Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy? Do you have all three of the original PlayStation 1 Crash Bandicoot games? Are you just as excited as I am about Crash Bandicoot’s comeback? Please let me know if you feel nostalgic by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Sonic CD: Old-School Retro Meets Modern Gaming

As I share my love for SEGA‘s blue mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic CD officially went widescreen, thanks to Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, who is best known for porting SEGA’s iconic classics, Sonic the Hedgehog & Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to consoles, smartphones and even tablets and as I was lucky to grab a copy of Sonic CD via iTunes, I started playing on the game and I can be honest, it is much better now compared to the 1993 SEGA CD release.

As Sonic CD was also re-released for the PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Android, Steam and Windows Phone, it was safe to say that the Classic Sonic we all knew and loved was back and to be honest, playing the game in widescreen is so much better now than before as you can finally feel comfortable playing a treasured classic from the past without needing to go back to a certain area in each level that you play.

The 7 time stones, later known as the Chaos Emeralds in the future Sonic the Hedgehog games, were the crucial pieces of the puzzle that would come together once you claimed them through 7 Special Stages in the game. This, of course, would give Sonic the Hedgehog the ability to defeat Eggman once and for all, or Dr. Robotnik as Sonic’s arch nemesis is most famously known as.

I won’t lie to you, it’s such a good game to play and it has the old-school retro appeal that can make you feel like as if you were in the 1990’s playing this game the moment it was released. I love the game, as it is different in its own right, but at the same time, you can’t help but feel like you wished you played this game sooner.

It’s hard to believe it was 23 years ago that this game was released, it’s amazing how the time flies, but when you consider how much technology and gaming have evolved, it’s amazing to see old games becoming new again, and it’s also amazing to see old games being revived for the big screen. Sonic CD was remastered to be played in 16:9 widescreen and it is Full HD, so you’re getting the best from this game, even if you have or haven’t played it before.

But overall, Sonic CD is such a fantastic game and you cannot go wrong with such a fantastic old-school classic like this. Sonic CD’s old-school retro appeal has officially met the modern gaming world and it’s safe to say that this game is worth downloading and is worth playing. I wholeheartedly recommend playing the game, because the moment you start playing it, those seconds turn into minutes, and those minutes quickly turn into hours of gameplay.

If you enjoyed my review of SEGA’s Sonic CD, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© SEGA & Sonic Team 1993, 2016

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the SONIC CD Trademark, including the promotional image of Metal Sonic & Sonic the Hedgehog side-to-side are all copyright of SEGA & Sonic Team. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Spyro the Dragon: The Purple Dragon’s Quest to Defeat Gnasty Gnorc (1998)

With it being 18 years ago since Spyro the Dragon landed on PlayStation, I thought it would be nice to do a review of the game considering I have owned and completed the game.

With 36 breathtaking levels split over 6 worlds in the game, 12 eggs to collect, 15,000 gems to collect and 80 dragons to save, Spyro’s journey to defeat Gnasty Gnorc is a challenge, but defeat is not far behind, as you can beat Gnasty Gnorc after you complete the levels, Gnorc Cove & Gnorc Nexus. As soon as you defeat Gnasty Gnorc, you will be able to progress on to the final level of the game, Gnasty’s Loot, which can be opened if you have all 12 of the dragon eggs, 13,000 gems and also if you have saved all 80 of the dragons from the Dragon Kingdom.

Spyro the Dragon was a blockbuster hit when the game was announced, and would go on to have commercial success globally, with two more games following soon after the first.

But back to the subject of Spyro the Dragon, the game’s visual concept brings about vibrant landscapes, with some old-school music to accommodate what the game’s concept is really about.

When I first played the game properly, I actually spent the whole of the day upstairs in my bedroom playing Spyro the Dragon, and I was so determined and dedicated to completing the game that I was able to finish the game some time after 12:00 AM or 1:00 AM in the morning, and completing the game fully for the first time was actually a few years ago.

I won’t deny it, but ever since I completed the game fully first time, I have been able to complete the game a lot quicker than I usually do, and just recently, I was able to complete the game a lot faster than before, but it just proves that if Spyro the Dragon can prove to be a smash hit game, then you know that you’ll love playing Spyro the Dragon, including the second and third games from the Spyro the Dragon series.

Did you know? Stewart Copeland from the band, The Police, composed the music for all three of the Spyro the Dragon PS1 Classic series. Did you also know that Carlos Alazraqui was the first man to do the voiceover of Spyro in the first Spyro the Dragon? Neither did I until a few weeks ago.

Overall, I absolutely love Spyro the Dragon, because it is not just an iconic classic of its own, but because it’s a game that you can play any time and never get bored. Plus, because it is a classic game, you know that with Spyro the Dragon, you’re getting the real deal. You can never go wrong with Spyro the Dragon.

Do you own a copy of Spyro the Dragon? If so, I would love to know your views on the game, as well as whether you share your love for the Purple Dragon. Please feel free to submit your feedback in the comments. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Rush: SEGA’s Iconic Handheld Classic

As it has been 11 years since this iconic handheld classic was released, Sonic Rush was the first Nintendo DS Game produced and released by Sega. With more than 30-40 levels in the game, Sonic Rush brought to the table the new and playable character, Blaze the Cat.

Breaking away from its old tradition of just being 7 Chaos Emeralds, the introduction of Blaze the Cat brought about the Sol Emeralds. As all the levels for both Sonic and Blaze were indefinitely the same, there was a twist to this game, as the music for every level was almost the same, but did change as you played either character. For instance, playing as Sonic the Hedgehog meant the music for the game would remain as is, but for Blaze the Cat, the music sounded more in your face, but was able to fit accordingly and also very well to the overall concept of the game.

For each level, there were obstacles that were almost impossible to get through, given that some levels were a lot more complicated than they first appeared to be, which proved just how much of a smash hit game Sonic Rush was when it was released.

I got this game the year after it was released when I went through hospital treatment from March to May 2006 after fracturing my wrist/arm and I was in pain, but this game kept me going through the pain and I’m pleased to say that for a game like this, it is absolutely worth every penny and also worth everything that comes with it.

I love games, but the type of games that peak my interest, and Sonic Rush and the Sonic series is the type of series of games I would always play.

In the game, you have not one, but two Eggman characters. Eggman and Eggman Nega.

For Sonic the Hedgehog to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds, you would need to find a spinning wheel of different colours in the level, and if your speed gauge is full enough, Sonic will be able to hang on to it and then speed around full circle on the spinning wheel, to which he will be thrown up but into a portal taking you to the secret part of the level where the Chaos Emeralds can be collected.

All seven Chaos Emeralds are separated accordingly over the entire game but throughout all the levels. All you need to do is collect them. In order to gain each Chaos Emerald as you progress through the game, you will be given a ring count target to reach and if you reach it the first time, you will then be given another ring count target to reach, and if you do reach the second ring target then you will earn the Chaos Emerald. If you don’t reach the required ring count target, you won’t receive the Chaos Emeralds, which in effect sets the difficulty to all-new heights.

As you continue to progress through the game, each boss gets harder to complete but the final boss that involves Sonic transforming into Super Sonic and Blaze transforming into Burning Blaze is one of the hardest final bosses you’ll complete, because just like the final boss in Sonic Heroes, you will be expected to keep collecting rings in order to save both Sonic and Blaze from losing their lives as they defeat Eggman and Eggman Nega. If the ring count hits zero for both Sonic & Blaze, both will die as a result so the final boss is the battle for survival.

Sonic Rush and all the other Sonic the Hedgehog games always send a message, reading out: “Survival of the Fittest“, which keeps the spirits of Sonic Rush and the other Sonic games alive.

With 2D & 3D graphics balancing the game’s concept, Sonic Rush couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite some thinking it didn’t live up to the hype of the previous Sonic titles, I can say that it’s an iconic title that does in fact live up to the hype and keeps the energy and spirit of a true Sonic the Hedgehog fan alive.

Also, the nostalgia of some of the levels remind me of some of the previous games, such as Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 & Sonic Advance 3, as it feels like some of the ideas from those games were recycled and reused in this game, making Sonic Rush feel nostalgic, which I love, because it’s like the ideas from past games have been recycled and reused into something new, but something that is just as better as the past, present and future Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Overall, I love Sonic Rush because of the fact it doesn’t just live up to the hype of the previous Sonic games, but because it also has that nostalgic feeling that takes you back, especially if you’re someone like me who used to and even now, would still play the Sonic Advance series, especially where Sonic Rush is concerned. Sonic Rush is the best follow-up to the Sonic Advance Game Boy Advance titles in my opinion and is the type of game I would play any day.

Do you own a copy of Sonic Rush? Please let me know what you think of the game by submitting feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Sonic Rush Nintendo DS Game Rating: 10/10

Rio 2016: The Closing Ceremony

The Closing Ceremony for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games has officially got underway.

Fireworks have just lit the Olympic Stadium up and with the roaring crowds comes a vibrant display of visuals and bold colours, including vibrant and energetic music that lights up the entire Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, including the iconic Rio logo formation.

The Olympic Rings have been formed in a multi-coloured energetic scene, with the stadium then going completely blue before the spotlight focuses on one of the musicians performing at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Closing Ceremony.

This year’s Olympic Games by far has to be the best Olympic Games since the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and the best since the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.

The Olympic Rings flag has been raised, including Brazil’s flag with the name: “Ordem e Progresso” etched on to the flag. Ordem e Progresso stands for “Order & Progress“.

The athletes are officially making their way into the Olympic Stadium. Not a single sign of team separation this end and they have even come in together with a symbol of unity. The flag bearers have come in first and are streaming across the entirely length of this football pitch with Samba music added to lift the spirits for everyone involved with this year’s Summer Olympic Games.

The flags (Team GB‘s Kate Richardson-Walsh is in there) are walking the length of the field and then they turn to line the perimeter. When they are in position, the athletes will start to trickle in. A flag or a phone is highly likely to be in the hands of most, though Stephan Shemilt said he seemed to remember that Carl Lewis was once told off just for being on his mobile, but it was just the size of a house brick.

Hazel Irvine (BBC Sport Presenter): “We thought it could not get any better for Great Britain but it has. It is the first time a nation has boosted their medal tally in the next Games after one they hosted. With 27 golds, it was an extraordinary performance from Great Britain to finish above China. There were British medals in 19 different sports out of the 28.

Stephan Shemilt: “I can report that the improving weather has meant the ponchos have been eschewed. Or, at least they have been for most nations, I haven’t spotted any GB stars yet. The athletes are filing in to some white plastic seats, like we’re at the world’s biggest wedding. Here come France, currently the most enthusiastic.

Andrew Cotter (BBC Athletics Commentator): “This is like the awkward moment of the school dance when no one is mingling, but give it a bit of time.

Stephan Shemilt: “The French now seem to be doing some sort of street dancing. The Portuguese have scarves. Here come Great Britain, decked out in white tracksuits. The French dancing has caused a backlog. They are holding everyone up. The first sight of GB gives us a look at those flashing trainers, which light up red, white and blue. They’re ace, the sort you had when you were about nine.

Hazel Irvine: “Check out the flashing shoes on the British Olympians, the shoes flash red, white and blue. You won’t miss them.

Stephan Shemilt: “I’ll be honest, Team GB aren’t mixing it with the dance moves. France are wiping the floor with us in the movement stakes. However, Great Britain have the best shoes. Hands down.

Jason Mohammad (BBC Presenter in Rio de Janeiro): “GB women hockey. I’m a dad of a daughter who plays hockey and this victory will inspire her and millions of other boys and girls. Incredible achievement. Funny moment – Egypt beating Sweden in the Handball! Easily my best line of the Games. On TV “A Great Night For Egyptian Handball!” Boom!

Stephan Shemilt: “It’s smashing it down in Rio now. I hope the parading athletes have got ponchos in their pockets. While they continue their march, some ladies in green have begun to dance energetically. Each is holding an umbrella. It’s like an interpretive dance version of the weather forecast. I think we’re all a little intrigued as to what the fluffy yellow and green outfits could be part of. My guess is some sort of Sesame Street sketch.

Beth Tweddle (BBC Sport Gymnastics Expert & London 2012 Bronze Medallist): “It would definitely be Max Whitlock winning his two golds and for the pure fact it is the first time ever. Obviously also the overall results of the gymnasts and winning seven medals. I do also have to put in a mention for Mo Farah winning the double double and Adam Peaty winning gold.

Hazel Irvine: “We have learned so much about this fantastic part of the world and that is always a part of the experience of the Olympic Games. The venues have been superb and allowed the athletes to produce the performances that we will always remember. This is a proud sporting nation.

Stephan Shemilt: “I kid you not, the Canadians are wearing mittens. Red and white gloves with maple leaves. Is it that cold? Or is it just a nod to their Winter Olympic prowess? Now, Eilish McColgan did tweet earlier on to say how cold she is. Now she’s bailed out completely. That’s not the spirit, is it? It’s raining heavily enough for the ponchos to be required. Let’s be honest, no one looks cool in one of those plastic ponchos, do they? Just going back to Eilish McColgan, I wonder if she actually walked into the stadium. If she did, how did she get out? She would have to walk against the tide. There’s GB rower Helen Glover, getting very excited when she sees herself on the big screen.

Hazel Irvine: “This section of the parade was scheduled to last about 20 minutes.

Stephan Shemilt: “Stand by for something incredible…

Rebecca Adlington (Double Olympic Gold Medallist in Swimming): “My moment would be Michael Phelps in the 200 IM and just his week in general to be honest. What he’s done for the sport is huge but to make a comeback and achieve what he has is just something else. It’s incredible that I’ve seen an athlete like him in my lifetime and it was so nice to see the human side of him. Every performance is incredible but it was the joy and passion and his attitude after the races also. You could tell it just meant so much to him and that’s exactly the reason why he wanted to make a comeback. He can retire a very content happy man now.

Hazel Irvine: “There is plenty more to get through and there has been a bit of a hold-up while we get all these athletes in.

Stephan Shemilt: “It looks like all the athletes have made it in. Funnily enough, Ryan Lochte isn’t there. In the rain, we’re now getting down with some dance music. The stadium has gone dark, someone is carrying a miner’s lamp. This is The Art of the People. It looks a bit like something out of Indiana Jones.

Leon Taylor (Olympic Diving Silver Medallist): “Jack Laugher and Chris Mears winning GB’s first ever Olympic Gold in diving. I knew they were capable of a medal but when they won gold beating China into third it was an unexpected delight. As Chris summed it up when I asked him how are you feeling he said ‘confused!’ Awesome performance.

Stephan Shemilt: “We’re rattling through now, with big cheers coming as men and women decked in red dance in an amber glow. It’s still chucking it down. This section is called Bringing Clay To Life and pays tribute to the exportation of modelling clay. Clay must be one of those things that Rio and Stoke-on-Trent have in common. That and the scenery. Now we’re getting slightly strange, Hundreds of clay figures are dancing with one another. It reminds me a little of the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – the Gene Wilder one. You know what, the clay dancers have received the biggest cheer of the night. Now the closing ceremony is reflecting on the best moments of the Games. I think they got the idea from us.

Clare Balding (BBC TV Presenter): “The women’s hockey team winning gold was one of the best ever moments in team sport, male or female. They were so committed and concentrated and I was hugely impressed with their calmness under pressure. Maddie Hinch was phenomenal in goal and with her skill and the bravery of all the outfield players I hope it’ll show the highly paid footballers in our Premier League what true sporting behaviour looks like. It was a first ever gold for women’s hockey and the perfect send-off for Captain Fantastic, Kate Richardson-Walsh after 13 years in charge.

Stephan Shemilt: “As is tradition, we’re going to have the medal ceremony for the men’s marathon, which was won today by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge. Feyisa Lilesa came second to take the silver, with American Galen Rupp collecting bronze. All three are walking like men who ran 26.2 miles earlier on. They’re getting a good deal, an audience of 80,000. Mo Farah had about 1,000 when he got his second gold last night. With a final medal ceremony, we get a last look at those ornaments that have been handed to the winners. I’ve seen them described as coloured jock straps, which I think is pretty accurate. Still belting it down. We’re being introduced to the new members elected to serve on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva is among them…We’re getting into the meat of the pomp and circumstance here. The Greek flag is being raised and the national anthem played. Then the Olympic flag is lowered and handed over to Tokyo. Earlier on I said that the clay dancers had a look of Oompa Loompas. Have a look and decide for yourself…The governor of Tokyo gets her hands on the Olympic flag and give it a good wave. Not as much gusto as Boris Johnson in 2008. We’re now going to get a sneak peak of Japan’s offering in four years.”

Tokyo are showcasing at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games Closing Ceremony what they have to offer for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Pac-Man, the iconic maze pac-dot muncher has just made an appearance, so has the man with the iconic red M hat. “It’s-a-me. Mario!” and the Prime Minister of Japan wearing the iconic Mario hat has appeared in style by popping up through the iconic Green Pipe.

It’s not even 2020 and already I know that Tokyo have tons upon tons of energy and a lot of fun to offer come the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Another set of fireworks were set off and the celebratory Mario music used when a Mario level is completed also went in conjunction with the fireworks going off.

Stephan Shemilt: “I’m just thinking about how gutting it must be for Rio to hand over the Olympic flag. All that work over so many years, and now it’s over. In contrast, the excitement is just beginning for Tokyo. We’re getting some shots of the city and what we can expect. Bullet trains, glass buildings and Manga cartoons. It looks belting. This is outstanding. The Prime Minister of Japan has appeared out of Super Mario-style water pipe, wearing a Mario hat. We’re then treated to a hologram and light show. It’s already got me pumped for how good Tokyo will be. “See you in Tokyo” is the message, followed by bright fireworks shooting into the night sky. That’s may favourite part of the night so far. Speeches time. President of the organising committee Carlos Nuzman and IOC president Thomas Bach. There’s not many people watching fellas, so don’t be nervous.

Victoria Pendleton (Olympic Cycling Gold Medallist): “Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro winning individual dressage gold. It was a perfect performance and very emotional as it will probably be the last time they ride in a competition together. Charlotte knew the performance was good and welled up as soon as they finished. It made me well up too. I now understand the connection between horse and rider.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee: “We have organised the most important event in the world. This is a magic place. It was a great challenge, but a challenge with great success. I’m proud of the city, my country and my people. All Brazilians are Olympic heroes. We celebrate together. You are the gold medal of the people on all the planet. Twenty-seven world records and 91 Olympic records. We have organised a marvelous Olympics in a marvelous city. When we won the Games I said Rio was ready to make history. Rio has delivered history. Good luck for Tokyo 2020.

Stephan Shemilt: “Hmmmm, it has been a bit soggy at the Maracana. So much so that some of the athletes called it a day before the end. There will be some wet Olympians at wrap parties all over Rio.

International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach: “Congratulations Brazil. Brazil, we love you. Thank you for your warm hospitality. For the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world. You have many reasons to be proud. These Olympic Games show diversity is an enrichment for everyone. These Olympic Games were a celebration of diversity. Together we can go even further. Together, we can aim higher. United in our diversity, we are even stronger. Thank you refugee athletes. You have inspired us with your talent and human spirit, you are a symbol of hope for millions of refugees in the world. We will continue to be at your side after these Olympics. These were a marvellous Olympic Games in THE marvellous city. These Games are leaving a legacy for generations to come. History will talk about the Rio before the Olympic Games and a much better Rio after the Olympic Games. We arrived in Brazil as guests, today we depart as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever. I declare the games of the 31st Olympiad closed. I call upon the youth of the world to assemble in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate the Games of the 32nd Olympiad. Bye, bye Rio.

Stephan Shemilt: “Stick with it, there’s only about 25 minutes to go. Remember the fluffy green and yellow outfits we saw earlier? They are out there now, joined by red and a hint of purple. This is a tribute to Rio and the musicality of its people. Basically, we’re having a carnival. I’ll be honest, it looked a little like dancing broccoli. Now, in front of the rotating sculpture that starred in the opening ceremony Mariene de Castro sings under a cascade of fake rain. I’m not sure that was needed this evening.

The Maracana beacon, which was lit by a flame at the start of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games has officially been put out, officially marking the end of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Hazel Irvine: “The men’s football final topped the lot. In 2014, Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-final of their home World Cup. So, to win against Germany in the Maracana stadium was deeply and doubly meaningful for this nation. Add to that the fact that Neymar’s penalty secured for Brazil their sixth gold medal, which makes these the most ‘Golden” in the country’s history – and in their first home Games – and you have a heady cocktail of emotion, catharsis and unconfined joy, the likes of which I have seldom experienced. It was utterly glorious! It is the reason why I love the Olympics.

Stephan Shemilt: “The Olympics are officially closed, the flame has gone out, but Rio is still having a party. Samba, dancing, colours. Everything you would expect from a Brazilian knees-up. This will go long into the night, probably anywhere they are serving alcohol.

Dan Walker (BBC TV Presenter): “I go for Maria (hen party gatecrashers) because the Olympics is about sport but the event is about people. Brazil is a very different country now to the one it was when it was awarded the games. We were determined to use our spot on Copacabana beach to have some fun but also meet as many residents of Rio as possible and find out what the Brazilians thought about it all. Maria wandered by, we took a chance that she would be a good guest and she was brilliant. There have been some wonderful sporting moments during these games but I will never forget Maria De Cezar and I wish her and her husband-to-be every happiness.

Stephan Shemilt: “Where else would you see a famous bin man dancing with a super model? That’s what we’ve got here. Renato Sorriso, a superstar in Brazil, is moving his fast feet with Izabel Goulart. I’d be stunned if a snap of that isn’t in the papers tomorrow. This is top notch. Music, dancing, colour, a proper carnival. Floats are arriving the stadium, with confetti falling from the roof. It’s the party we wanted and a great send-off, what a closing ceremony should be.

Mark Chapman (BBC Sport Presenter): “I’ve got two moments. Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro hugging at the net after their epic final. A brutal game that had everything and at the end of their duel they demonstrated such respect and empathy for each other. And Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse crossing the line and smiling at each other. Sport first and foremost should be fun. No other image captures the fun and enjoyment like this one.

Stephan Shemilt: “The athletes that have braved the rain are reaping the rewards, dancing to the samba beat. You’d struggle not to have a good time in this atmosphere. Here we go, more fireworks, white lights sweeping around the roof of the stadium, with a red heart then fired into the night. It’s an incredible display, the whole of Rio being illuminated with the reds, blues, whites and greens. Still the fireworks shoot, still we dance to the samba beat. It’s an incredible display and a helluva finale.

James Cracknell (Double Olympic Rowing Gold Medallist): “The best performance came from Alistair and Jonny Brownlee in the triathlon. They put themselves in the lead group in the swimming and when they realised Mola (the fast running Spaniard) wasn’t in the first group they drove the cycle group they were in – physically and verbally so they could distance Mola thus making his running speed irrelevant. Expending that much energy that early in the race could have gone wrong but they backed themselves, each other and their training.

Stephan Shemilt: “And that is that. The fireworks are over, but the music and dancing continues. The fans and the athletes will file out of the Maracana, slipping away into the Rio night. Those last 20 minutes were spectacular. I wonder how long the party will carry on in Rio tonight? The celebrations are perhaps only just getting started, but the flame has gone out. The Olympics are now Tokyo’s show. The BBC TV coverage has just closed with an outstanding montage to a quite brilliant cover of Feeling Good. Find it if you can. It gave me a little lump in the throat. And we’re nearly done. After 16 days, 11,303 athletes competing under 207 different flags for 306 gold medals, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are over. That was the Rio Olympic Games. Now, they are done. See you in Tokyo.

We have officially reached the end of the road. What a perfect Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro has had, but most of all, what a perfect Summer Olympic Games that Great Britain has had, especially for Team GB. Thank you to Team GB for such a perfect Olympic Games, you’ve done myself and the whole of the United Kingdom proud.

But most of all, thank you so much everyone for staying up until after 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM, or even after 5:00 AM depending on your location and time zone for the live coverage of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games on Mother Nature, but now is the final time to say goodbye to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

I just wanted to say to all of you for the final time, thank you so much for a perfect Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and have a perfect night. See you in 2020 at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games!

Alex Smithson