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

Welcome to March!

Welcome to March on Mother Nature! As you can see, I have decided to go retro with the article image and do it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania is set to be released within the next few months. There is news just around the corner surrounding Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017, which I am excited about and I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on Sonic Mania when it comes out. If Project Sonic 2017 gets an official title and if there’s all-new gameplay featuring both Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic, then I shall consider the possibility of buying the Project Sonic 2017 if it lives up to the hype. I know SEGA & Christian Whitehead both have one heck of a great year ahead so I am pretty sure they will exceed our expectations any which way.

The next few weeks are going to be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project is right near the end of this month, so I will be making sure to work my socks off as I am so determined to pass and bump last year’s grade up to a Merit or Distinction at least. Also, I will be working harder than usual over the course of the next few weeks as I have a GCSE English Speaking & Listening Assessment coming up which I am currently preparing for, so I hope it goes well, so fingers crossed! Meanwhile, I will be making sure to put all of the hard work in with my GCSE Maths coursework as I seriously want to pass this time around.

Spring is ready to embrace its beautiful side and with the clocks going forward towards the end of the month, it is safe to say that Mother Nature will blossom with vibrant colours and displays. Not only that, but with the temperature of the weather slowly going back to normal, I cannot wait to enjoy the lovely Spring weather once again. The clocks are set to go forward as part of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday 26th March 2017 at 1:00 AM so I thought it would be wise to let you all know in advance so you know exactly when the clocks go forward.

I should warn you as I read something a short while back for when the clocks went back that if you have any devices with Airplane Mode switched on, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and any Android devices and smartwatches, then it’s recommended that Airplane Mode must be switched off very briefly in order for every device’s clock to go back or forward an hour. I am prepared for the clocks to go forward so to speak, but even so, why waste time when you make the most of it by making the best out of it?

If I am able to find the free time over the next few weeks, I may consider doing some drawings that I can publish on here, or if I head out to certain places in and around London over the next few weeks to photograph anything nature-based for my coursework, then I will make sure to publish any photography work I produce on this website.

Until then, Welcome to March!

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.

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.