Tagged "Sonic"

metalslug
Jan 29

Amongst various timeless Zelda and Mario titles, incredibly obscure PlayStation 2 and GameCube releases and some soon to be classic Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games sits a few others on our bulging dusty shelves that we wouldn’t even dream of trading-in or putting on eBay.

As the name of this article has more than likely already given away, they’re retro collections. Regular readers will know that we’ve always had a soft spot for these, and so today we’re looking at eight of the best.

Inexpensive and often containing one or two games that would cost a small fortune if purchased for their original hardware, all of these offer decent value for money as well as serving as invaluable portals back to misspent youth.

SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection – PS3 / 360

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SEGA’s sublime collection from 2009 is packed with so much content that you could say that they ‘ultimately’ ended up shooting themselves in the foot. Why pay £6.75 for the likes of SEGA Vintage Collection: Golden Axe and SEGA Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage on XBLA – or even £3.39 for one of the Sonic games – when they’re all present on this collection which can usually be found for around £10? Aside a possible desire to unlock the achievements they contain, we fail to think of a valid reason.

DynamiteHeaddy3

Whereas most retro collections tend to contain just the first game in a renowned series, this compilation more than lives up to its moniker thanks to containing every single 16-bit Sonic, spin-offs and all, the entire Golden Axe and Streets of Rage trilogies and a grand total of six Shining Force and Phantasy Star RPGs.

Fellow top-down role player Beyond Oasis (aka Story of Thor) is another highlight, while platform fans are very well looked after – Ristar, Dynamite Headdy, Kid Chameleon, Decap Attack starring Chuck D. Head, Vectorman and its sequel – which was never released in Europe – all feature too. So many spinning collectables, so little time.

Unlocking achievements – which vary from stupidly easy to surprisingly creative – also unlocks interviews with key SEGA staff as well as a handful of arcade and Master System games from SEGA’s early days including the first Phantasy Star, RPG spin-off Golden Axe Warrior and the arcade versions of Altered Beast and Space Harrier.

The only real downer is that a few games from 2007′s PlayStation 2/PSP SEGA Mega Drive Collection are missing. Then again, Sword of Vermilion, Ecco Jr. and the Mega Drive’s wonky rendition of Virtua Fighter 2 were a bit rubbish to begin with and as such aren’t huge losses, leaving quality to prevail.

Taito Legends – PS2 / Xbox

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We’re so incredibly fond on the two Taito Legends collections that we’re going to take a look at them both. Although a few games have a whiff of filler about them (hello, Great Swordsman, Electric Yo-Yo and Volfied) they are thankfully outnumbered by stone cold classics.

And they certainly don’t get any more classic than Space Invaders, immortalised here in three different forms – the original, Space Invaders Part 2 and Return of the Invaders. As an extra bonus there’s a video interview with creator Mr. Tomahiro Nishikado, which is well worth watching.

TheNinjaKids

Operation Wolf and its often forgotten sequel Operation Thunderbolt, Rastan, Space Gun, Phoenix, Super Qix and Elevator Action likewise gobbled plenty of coins back in the day.

Then we have the ever colourful trio Bubble Bobble, New Zealand Story and Rainbow Islands. All three of these sold incredibly well when converted to home consoles in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and as such are rightly well remembered.

Fans of Konami’s licensed scrolling brawlers from the ‘90s should find solace in The Ninja Kids, a very similar side scroller to The Simpsons/TMNT with a rather distinct art direction. We found this to be the collection’s hidden gem. Puzzlers Plotting and Tube It hold up well too, made that slightly more frantic due to their tight time-limits.

As well as viewable arcade flyers, now defunct UK publisher Empire went beyond the call of duty and included one of six collectable arcade artwork postcards inside each box. It’s doubtful that anybody bought six copies just to own them all, but we do seem to recall retro collectors swapping and selling them on various gaming forums. A nice little touch on Empire’s behalf.

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Toy Fair 2014
Jan 24

It was Toy Fair 2014 at London’s Kensington Olympia this week. Video games didn’t exactly feature prominently, but Sonic was there.

Peter Shilton, Toy Fair 2014

You can see him above, loitering in the background of a photo of event manager Simon Pilling. Sega weren’t exhibiting, so it’s hard to say exactly what Sonic was up to. Apart from loitering.

But importantly, Sonic’s presence is pretence enough to bring you this slightly uncomfortable photo of Peter Shilton from the show.

From play to academia, and the Epic Games Centre launched at Staffordshire University this week. That’s not a case of academia trying to be all hip and young; it’s a collaboration with developer Epic Games. Here’s their European Territory Manager Mike Gamble standing in the centre.

Epic Games Centre, Staffordshire University

Looks nice enough, doesn’t it?

It’s not exactly a local tie up. With headquarters in North Carolina, and additional studios in Washington, Utah, Poland, Korea and Japan, it’s not going to be very convenient for the “key personnel” involved from Epic. Even the UK arm, which handles licensing services for Europe, is based in East Sussex. There are going to be some hefty expense claims.

Derby University

Just down the A50, Derby University also blew the trumpet of its game-related degree courses, as its graduation ceremonies took place.

The chap in the photo is Peter Innes, who completed the BSc Computer Games Programming last year with a 2:1, and is now working for Microsoft in the fancy USA, but flew back for graduation. And to stand in front of a lorry with a cracking billboard on and have his photo taken.

It’s also worth noting that the Programme Leader for that particular course is the improbably named Dr Tommy Thompson.

BBC News - Nintendo

And finally to Nintendo, who have been in the actual news with their loss warning and resulting share price drop.

BBC News wins the award for best accompanying photo, with this effort of a slightly sad looking man near a Wii U.

It’s the standard to which we all aspire.

HappyMeals
Apr 17

We could start this article by sharing our views on the morality of luring children into fast food resultants via free toys, but then we remembered our tagline: “finding the fun”. That subject would be precisely no fun at all to discuss.

One, believe it or not, allowed you to mould a moustache out of clay

Fun can be had though by looking back at the various videogame franchises that have been turned into McDonald’s Happy Meal and Burger King Kid’s Club toys over the years, especially after discovering that there are plenty of amusing adverts available on YouTube.

With Skylanders Happy Meal toys currently available in the US, and due worldwide soon, has there been a better time to take a lookback? No.

Super Mario Bros. 3 – 1990

Considering gamers flocked to cinemas in 1989 to watch The Wizard so they could catch a glimpse of Super Mario Bros. 3, it’s not hard to imagine that McDonald’s Super Mario Bros. 3 Happy Meal toys caused a similar commotion. After all, nothing can make a child happier than opening a cardboard box to find Mario’s face starring back at them.

That’s unless that cardboard box was home to a tramp, and located round the back of McDonald’s, of course.

We recall owning two of these – a Koopa Paratrooper that could hop by squeezing a red pad filled with air, and a Goomba that was supposed to back-flip via a suction cup. Mario meanwhile could leap in the air via a large spring shoved up his behind, while Luigi could whizz around by harnessing the power of a pull-back motor.

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XboxLiveArcade1
Jan 16

Not only does Microsoft have a list of the best selling XBLA games of all time on Xbox.com, but they also keep it updated daily. We doubt it changes dramatically on a day to day basis, but it’s a touch that we didn’t expect to see.

Speaking of unexpected things, the official top 50 best sellers list does contain more than a couple of surprises.

UPDATE: It so transpires that Microsoft takes DLC into account, hence why Rock Band Blitz is so high on the list. It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft has different best sellers lists for every region. This is the UK list.

50. Monkey Island: SE (2009)
Considering that are currently 532 XBLA games listed on Xbox.com, Lucasarts should feel no shame about this classic point and clicker clocking in at #50.

CapcomDigital1

49. Super Street Fighter 2 HD (2008)
Although a decent version of the classic globe-trotting brawler, it would appear fans prefer the original which can be found at #22. At 1,200 MSP this HD revamp is a little pricey also.

48. From Dust (2011)
You may not think #48 is very high, but this lovely-to-look-at God-sim has in fact managed to outsell many other Ubisoft games including I Am Alive, which received a significant amount of press coverage.

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May 29

Released: Unreleased
Format: Sega Master System

Frequent Games Asylum readers may be questioning why we’ve picked a Sonic game twice in a row for our monthly retro gaming feature. Although it’s true that we do have a soft spot for the ‘hog, the story behind the unreleased Sonic’s Edusoft (sometimes referred to as Sonic Edusoft) is a rather curious one that deserves to be told.

It’s a game that was very much made on a whim. After the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Manchester-based Tiertex – who handled the Master System versions of Paperboy and Gauntlet – started work on an educational Sonic game aimed at 5 years olds and hoped that Sega would take a shine to it and snap it up.

Unfortunately for Tiertex, Sega simply weren’t interested. If this wasn’t the case then it would likely have been released between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2.

The playable ROM that’s available online suggests that development was pretty much finished. One of the programmers even said – via a forum post on SMS Power – that it even got as far as being play-tested at a local school. We wonder if those children know how lucky they were to get to play an unreleased Sonic game?

The aforementioned programmer has always remained nameless but has been more than willing to share Sonic Edusoft’s story. He originally added information about its existence to Wikipedia, only for it to be deemed a hoax. He then e-mailed a few screenshots to various Sonic fansites where, once again, fans refused to believe it was a real game. It wasn’t until the ROM was dumped online that people realised that their proverbial legs weren’t being pulled.

The game itself had some nice chunky visuals, and was based around a series of mini-games mostly involving maths and spelling. There were also three non-educational mini-games, presumably included to trick kids into wanting to play past the educational guff.

One of these mini-games was set in Green Hill Zone and simply involved avoiding objects that fell from the sky, while another saw Sonic jumping on a moving trampoline. A set of islands, viewed from an isometric perspective, acted as a hub, with extra areas that could be accessed once a certain number of the educational mini-games have been beaten. Sonic was also able to jump in a helicopter to get to different parts of the island. It was all very simple stuff, as you’d expect from a game aimed at children.

The fact that the NES had quite a few educational games similar to this would suggest that there was a market for such a thing. Our line of thought is that Sega put a lot of focus and attention into Sonic having a cool image, and perhaps thought that an educational game may have put a damper on that. Sega may have also been worried that it would divert attention away from Sonic 2, a game crucial in their strategy to winning the ’90s console war.

As the programmer said himself, it’s hard to say if Sonic’s Eudsoft should be classed as either an unofficial or unlicensed game. Tiertex started development on it without acquiring the Sonic license beforehand, but it doesn’t seem right to file it next to the many fan-made Sonic games that are available, as Tiertex were a very well known developer at the time. It’s a tricky one to pigeonhole, that’s for sure.

May 21

Now this is cool – Nike’s latest advert features a playable Sonic the Hedgehog mini-game set in the iconic Green Hill Zone.

Towards the end of the advert a billboard appears on screen featuring a red and white football boot along with the words ‘Sonic X Vapor’. Click on this and the mini-game instantly appears.

It’s an endless runner – like those found on the App Store – in which you have to prevent Sonic coming to any harm for as long as you can. Sonic has been kitted out with a pair of Nike’s latest footwear and can also punt a football along the screen to take out rows of baddies in one go.

The music should be familiar to Sonic fans. We’re not quite sure why they didn’t just stick with the Green Hill Zone music though.

Nike’s advert has currently been viewed a staggering 113,555,342 times.

We wonder how many of those viewers have missed out on this brilliantly hidden extra?

Apr 17

Proving that us videogamers really are just big kids, a lot of videogame related toys have sold for stunning amounts on eBay this month.

The most noteworthy of these is a golden vinyl Uncharted 3 toy said to be one of only 11 in the world. “For ages 15 and up” pointed out the seller but we don’t think anybody under the age of 15 would have had the money to buy it – it ended at £627.

A set of Battletoads figures from 1992 also fetched $71 (8 bids). We like the way that the seller included a photo of the reverse of the figures just so we could check out the toads’ tight buns.

A set of ceramic Donkey Kong figures from 1998 – including Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and the hateable Funky Kong – didn’t sell for quite as much as the above, but $23.50 (4 bids) seems pretty good seeing that don’t appear to be that well made. Hard to believe they’re official merchandise, actually.

This Super Mario ‘crash action police car’ from the dire Mario Bros. Movie sold for a whole lot more – £57.99 (7 bids). We wonder if Bob Hoskins has a few of these up in his loft?

Sticking with merchandise for a little longer, this Mass Effect lithograph – one of only 75 sold – didn’t have a bad ending. It sold for $760.00 attracting only 6 bidders. An animation cel from the DiC Sonic cartoon didn’t fetch anywhere near as much ending at just $10.45. We wouldn’t advise clicking on this link to see it – it was an image of Dr. Robotnik in the shower. Nude, obviously.

How about some other stuff that was never available in shops? We’re quite surprised how cheaply this GameCube development kit sold for. It went for only £275 even though the seller was confident that it has never been used. This DS download station demo pod cart didn’t sell for a lot either, ending at only £22.99. Perhaps it would have sold for more if he’d bothered to mention what was on it.

A couple of Jaguar games have gone for a small packet. Both of these were released very late in the Jaguar’s life. So much so that it didn’t even have a pulse at the time. Battlesphere blasted $710 (2 bids) out of somebody’s PayPal account while Gorf for the Jaguar CD sold for the same amount but attracted 17 bidders. “Game has been played once by me,” said the seller. That bad, eh?

We’ve also discovered this month that there are more N-Gage collectors out there than we previously though. A rare copy of Sega Rally, which was released only in Australia, went for $455.00 after 19 bids. Hardest game to find on the system, apparently.

That’s nothing compared to what this Korean 3DO beat’em up sold for though. A colossal $1,725.00 (16 bids). We’re quite amused that the back of the box for The Eye of Typhoon features the same three screenshots.

Finishing off this month’s round-up are a couple of limited edition box sets. An incredibly rare factory sealed ‘Treasure Box Edition’ of Dead Island sold for £423 (27 bids). It was only available in Australia and came with a polo shirt, poster, comic book and some other stuff all enclosed in a wooden box. A Zelda: Ocarina of Time special edition managed to clear that figure though, ending at £789.99 (14 bids). What’s in the box? Not much – just the game, a badge and a T-shirt. The t-shirt was unworn though. It’s always nice to know that your expensive purchase isn’t going to stink of BO, isn’t it?

Feb 07

The recent announcement of Platinum Games’ involvement with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance just goes to show how unpredictable the world of video games can be at times. If only it were a little more unpredictable then maybe would we end up with one or more of the games below, fabricated from our very own imaginations.

We’d like… an Earth Defence Force developed by Volition – the brains behind Red Faction (RIP).

Why? While Red Faction and Earth Defence Force share the same focus on destruction, Volition’s games were backed with their own Geo Mod technology that let buildings explode in a spectacular fashion. Earth Defence Force’s buildings merely crumbled amidst some crudely drawn clouds of pixel dust.

What are the chances? Slim seeing as D3 publishes the EDF series and Volition are owned by THQ. If THQ go bust and Volition are sold off, then maybe.

We’d like… a Duke Nukem game developed by People Can Fly – the Bulletstorm chaps.

Why? The similarities between Duke Nukem and Bulletstorm are vast. They both star a foul-mouthed lead character who’s quite happy to kick the opposition when they’re down. The weapon assortment is likewise similar, with a mix of imaginative weapons such as shrink-rays and a gun that fires rocket-propelled drills. If there was one company that we know full well could turn Duke’s fortunes around, it would be People Can Fly.

What are the chances? Although the ending to Duke Nukem Forever hinted at a new Duke ‘em up, People Can Fly are reportedly working on a new Gears of War trilogy.

We’d like… to see Nintendo’s take on Sonic.

Why? It would be interesting to see how Nintendo would handle the blue blur if tasked with making a Sonic game. Would they play it safe and go for 2D or try to apply the things they’ve learned from the Mario Galaxy series and have a stab at making a decent 3D Sonic game? Would they redraw Sonic and give him a new look? What new power-ups would Nintendo devise? The mind boggles.

What are the chances? It would certainly gain a lot of press attention if Nintendo were to announce such a thing for the Wii U, and the Mario & Sonic games have proven to be very big sellers despite not quite being triple-A quality. What would be in it for Sega though? And do Nintendo really need to borrow another company’s character when Mario games shift plenty? Again, lots of questions.

We’d like… Star Wars: Battlefront 3, developed by DICE and running on the Frostbite engine.

Why? Battlefield 3’s multiplayer gives Call of Duty a run for its money and the large maps, use of vehicles and different character classes would apply to the Star Wars universe with ease. Seeing as the technology is already in place, DICE could probably knock it out in a year or so. EA could even call it Star Wars: Battlefield 3 if they were worried it wouldn’t sell well. We wouldn’t mind.

What are the chances? EA’s future for DICE no doubt consists of Battlefield, Battlefield and more Battlefield. However, EA is very good at sharing resources with their other in-house studios and they’ve dabbled with the Star Wars license recently for the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. They’d have to snag the Star Wars rights from LucasArts, mind.

We’d like… a fitness game disguised as an adventure game.

Why? There’s a stigma attached to fitness games such as Zumba Fitness. We won’t beat about the bush here – that stigma is that these games are primarily for females. Sure, a few male-focused fitness games exist such as UFC Trainer but they’re still not every gamer’s cup of tea.

We propose an adventure game controlled entirely by motion via the Kinect, split into 30 half-hour segments with a new chapter available every day. Previous chapters can be played if you’re wanting a longer workout. Along the way the main character will have to climb up mountains, fight bad guys, run away from trouble and engage other energetic pursuits that’ll require the player to run on the spot, kick and punch and jump around. Perhaps the main character could even get more toned as you play, reflecting your hard work. Doesn’t that sound more appealing than having Mel B yell “Feel the burn!” repeatedly?

What are the chances? Something like this already does exist – Jillian Michael’s Fitness Adventure, which has an adventure mode set within jungle temples. It’s still not something we’d leave out on view when our friends popped over though.

We’d like… a game based on the Asian movie extravaganza, Battle Royale.

Why? Battle Royale is perfect fodder for a non-linear, open world, video game. Not seen the movie? Allow us to bring you up to speed. A coach full of Asian high-school students gets hijacked. When the students awake they find themselves on a small island where they’re told that they must kill each other to survive. The last student standing gets to go home. Each student is handed a random weapon, from crossbows to frying pans, and they’re left to decide their outcome. The rebels get stuck into killing, the girls find refuge in a light house and have what can only be called a slumber party and the nerds get busy on their laptops to try and find a way to defuse the explosive collars around their necks.

Just think about the possible number of endings, which would add replay value, and how the random weapon selection would alter the way you play. Then there’s the potential boss battles against the school rebels, and having to decide who you can trust. The collars also prevent the students from staying in the same place for too long, so you’d be constantly kept on your toes.

What are the chances? Stranger things have happened, and it’s not like older movies aren’t made into modern day video games. Gremlins, Jaws and Back to the Future have all hit Wii recently. Just don’t let Techland, of Dead Island fame, near it. Y’hear?

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