Tagged "Sonic"

Aug 02
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

Sega Sammy has made a loss of £17.4m for the first quarter of the financial year. “In the home video game industry, the demand was generally weak in the US and European markets due to the headwind like sluggish personal consumption,” they said.

I don’t know what “headwind” means but it’s no surprise that demand for their titles has been weak. Apart from a few exceptions, like Vanquish, Yakuza 4 and Football Manager 2011 on PC, Sega’s output has been mostly middling.

Thor and Iron Man 2 were both typically poor movie tie-ins. You can’t tell me Sega expected Thor to turn out to be a ‘triple A’ title – it was by the people who made the mediocre Rise of the Argonauts and was being put together on a very tight schedule.

Super Monkey Ball 3D was woefully light on content, Sonic Free Riders was rushed out for the Kinect launch and was deemed unplayable by some reviewers, while Dreamcast Collection was panned by fans for featuring just four titles and no extras.

Virtua Tennis 4 did make it into the top ten, but only once the price was slashed heavily. And when Wimbledon was on the TV. Regardless, rival tennis sim Top Spin 4 was touted as the one to go for by the press.

Then there’s their Wii output to take into account – a crusty port of Gunblade NY and LA Machineguns, the forgettable Tournament of Legends, and The Conduit 2 which was delayed and then shoved out on the sly.

Early reviews suggest that Captain America is actually pretty good, but with review copies not sent out to the monthly press in good time and a history of poor Marvel movie adaptations behind it, it has sunk without a trace.

Fortunately Sega’s future looks a whole lot rosier. Going by what has been shown of Sonic Generations and Aliens: Colonial Marines so far, they’re the type of polished product that Sega should have been putting out to the public all along. Guardian Heroes hits Xbox Live Arcade soon too, and unless something terrible happens I can’t see that being too shabby either.

But why the boost in quality all of a sudden? It seems to me that Sega has only just realised that putting out crap and hoping it sells isn’t a particularly profitable business strategy.

Jul 26
By Matt Gander In Retro 2 Comments

The discovery of a new Sonic game on an old Xbox development kit caused a bit of commotion on the internet recently because, well, it’s a Sonic game. It’s no shame Sonic Extreme was canned though. As this video shows, hedgehogs and skateboards don’t mix.

Another unreleased Xbox game has since surfaced too, and not much has been said about this one so we’re giving it some coverage. This game is Tiltronica, which features vehicles in orbs battling in what appears to be the insides of pinball machines. It looks pretty much finished but a bit on the crappy side, hence why it was probably never released. Perhaps developers Vision Scape Interactive should have spent as long on the game as they did for their rather elongated start-up logo.

Not exciting enough for you? Here’s a bonus video – a game based on Steven Spielberg’s A.I, discovered on an abandoned Xbox development system back in 2009. It’s not an adventure game or platformer but rather… a beat’em up. A.I: The Circuit, as it’s known, was in development at Radical, who are now owned by Activision and are best known for Prototype. Back when this game was still kicking around though they developed a lot of games for Vivendi, so it’s likely Vivendi bagged the license and passed it to Radical who didn’t have a bloody clue what to do with it. The video shows some very generic robots fighting in small environments. Have they even seen the movie? It could have only been worse if it were a kart racer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpsdioW4ZwY

Discoveries of these titles originally broke over on the uber hardcore ASSEMbler forums. If you ever want to spend an hour of your life reading about things you never knew existed, it’s a forum well worth a visit.

Jul 12
By Matt Gander In Blog 1 Comment

  • Sonic once had an affair with Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. Amy found out but never let on for the want of living a quiet life.

  • Conker’s Bad Fur Day was Luigi in a squirrel costume. It was the only job he could find at the time and he didn’t want to ruin his clean image.

  • Hitman’s Agent 47 shaves his head because he’s a ginger.

  • Mario and Luigi only see each other when starring in a game together. Luigi never texts Mario back; his phone is always left to ring until the answerphone kicks in.

  • Bubsy the Bobcat is on the last of his nine lives. He now spends his days as a recluse; a quivering wreck in house where everything with sharp corners has been coated in bubble wrap.

  • Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy are the same person. Alex enjoyed the breeze a loin-cloth brings so much that he continues to wear it until this day. He let the hair dye grow out naturally.

  • Princess Peach may look good with her make-up on but without she has got a face that would make an onion cry.

  • Link has been arrested for burglary 37 times but when appearing in court he always turns up as child Link so the judge goes easy on him. He later parties hard as adult Link.

  • Bowser once dangled Bowser Jnr over a balcony. “He wanted to see the crowd,” he said. The tabloids had a field day.

  • Dennis the Menace’s dog was stolen by a homeless man while he popped into Greggs for a steak-bake.

Jun 29
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic 2 Comments

Loose copies of Taito’s Little Samson on NES can fetch up to £100 due to its rarity. You’d think that a complete copy would only fetch a little more, but not so – this new and sealed copy netted a US seller $5,500.00 (£3,444.39) after 29 bids. What is it with Americans paying stupid amounts of money for NES games? Still, $5,500 is nothing compared to what that infamous copy of Stadium Events sold for.

One lucky seller is also ending this month a whole lot richer after selling two new and sealed Nintendo Game & Watch LCD handhelds. Octopus sold for £2,999 on Buy it Now while a panorama view Mickey Mouse went for £2,000 on a Best Offer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks he’s a taking the Mickey to charge £10 postage on top of those prices. Just to confirm its actual worth, another complete Mickey Mouse recently sold at $999.00 (£625.63) with one bid.

Because Sega released Sonic & Knuckles in a cardboard case it can be hard to find a boxed copy. And when they do turn up boxed it’s usually in bad condition. Not this French copy that sold for €511.56 though (£453.80) – it’s new and sealed in a blister pack. He also got €121.00 (£107.34) for a copy of Sonic 3 in similar packaging. Blister packed games are common in France. They were often used as it allowed toy shops, supermarkets and the like to display and sell games without fear of the contents being stolen or damaged.

Seeing as it’s Sonic’s 20th this month, here are a few other hedgehog related items. A Brazilian TecToy release of Sonic Spinball on Master System spun £49.99 out of somebody on Buy It Now, this Tomy Sonic Pinball game went for £29.99 while somebody thought £41.37 was a fair price to pay for a Sonic costume. Gosh!

With The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D riding high in the charts now is as good as time as any to give Link some loving too. A signed copy of Ocarina of Time on N64 went for £155 (13 bids). Obviously it was signed by Shigeru Miyamoto, and not the seller’s mum. A Zelda Game & Watch also netted £205 (8 bids), and proving that there are a lot of mugs out there a Zelda edition Game Boy Advance SP sold for £200 on Buy It Now. That said, another went for £109.99.

There hasn’t been much of note going on in the world of PlayStation collecting – apart from a sealed fishing game selling for an absurd $90.00 (£56.36) – so we’re going to have to turn to the obscure stuff.

How’s about this? A development copy of Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy on Atari Jaguar which ended at $75.00 (£46.97). The seller was unable to find buyers for his 8 other development cartridges though. Random fact: Trevor McFur made up 50% of the Atari Jaguar’s US launch line-up. The other 50% was the pack-in game Cybermorph.

Then on NEOGEO copies of Super Sidekicks 4, World Heroes Perfect and the brilliantly named Bang Bang Busters sold for £887.08, £637.90 and £520.00 respectably.

The NEOGEO – the only console that you have to sell a kidney to be able to buy new games for.

May 17
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

With the Portal 2 ending song proving absurdly popular on YouTube, spawning numerous remixes and tributes, now seems a good time to look back at a very short fad from the ’90s. For reasons unknown – or at least for reasons that didn’t involve making money – record labels thought that releasing remixes of music from popular video games was a fine idea.

This started off in 1992 when somebody thought that mixing the Tetris theme tune with a 2-Unlimited influenced techno score would make for tuneful listening. That somebody was, I kid you not, Andrew Lloyd Webber. As such it’s probably the best of the bunch mentioned in this article, although incredibly similar to a lot of dance tracks from the ’90s. It managed to make #6 in the chart and was later included on a NOW compilation CD. The B-side had a name which couldn’t be any less subliminal – ‘Play Game Boy’.

Super Mario Land was the next game to be given the treatment. That was in the form of Super Mario Land by Ambassadors of Funk featuring M.C. Mario, and featured rapping over the music from the first level of Super Mario Land on Game Boy. As you’d expect, the lyrics were painfully cheesy which such lines as “Even my ma, she thinks I’m crazy / But I’ve got to rescue Daisy!” The B-side on this ‘effort’ was simply an instrumental version while the cardboard sleeve featured a screenshot of Super Mario Bros. 3 on NES for some odd reason. It made #8 in the UK charts and managed to hang around the chart for a good 8 weeks. A follow up called Go Mario Go! was released but did so poorly it didn’t even manage to chart.

Sega’s blue blur was the next victim, appearing on the cover of SuperSonic by HWA (Hedgehogs With Attitude). I never managed to find a copy of this back in the day, which was probably because it entered the chart at #38, went up to #33, and then swiftly left. In fact, the first time I ever heard it was while researching this article. HWA simply blended parts of the Green Hill Zone music with a generic dance track and seemingly threw in some Sonic sound-effects in randomly. Not as ear-offending as I’d feared, and certainly better than…

…1993’s Lemmings: SFX. Even when I was a (stupid) child I knew this was a poor effort. The lemmings’ high-pitched speech samples feature alongside a rather excitable male vocal artist who rattles off the lemmings’ various skills, occasionally informing the listener that they’d “Better watch out, ‘cos there’s a lemming about.” #51 in the UK chart was as high as the green haired chaps managed to climb.

This rather nonsensical fad fortunately came to an end with 1994’s The World Warrior – Street Fighter II. A mixture of the Street Fighter II’s title screen music, various sound effects and rapping, it eventually ends on a high with Ken’s stage music. You can’t deny that it made good use of the source material – music from the game plays throughout almost the whole track. That video above is just a fan made tribute, if you’re wondering. Unsurprisingly considering it only made #70 in the UK chart, it’s the hardest to find a hard copy of out of all the music listed here.

Looking at the comments on YouTube it’s obvious that these ditties did bring a lot of joy too many despite their tackiness. I think we should just be thankful that nobody made a track featuring Bubsy the Bobcat.

Apr 27
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic, Retro No Comments

The humble GameGear has gained more than a little attention on these hallowed pages this month. First we covered the fact that Sega are re-releasing their 8-bit hits on the 3DS’s virtual console, and then we chose the uber obscure Kuni-Chan’s Game Paradise for our monthly retro feature. I see no harm in continuing the theme to kick off this month’s eBay trawl. It’s not as if the GameGear is a popular topic for discussion, is it?

For collectors of the GameGear there are quite a few games to look out for, many of which were never released outside of Japan. A seller listed more than a few of these elusive titles on eBay this month which created something of a bidding frenzy.

Sublime shoot ’em up GG Aleste went for £82 (31 bids), late release Godzilla for £50 (4 bids), scrolling Anime-shooter Fray for £78.79 (11 bids) and the little known Panzer Dragoon Mini for £33.23 (7 bids). Despite both being pretty terrible, a copy of Tails Sky Patrol sold for £30.99 while G Sonic (aka Sonic Blast) blasted £62.00 out of somebody’s wallet, after 9 bids. Zool and In the Wake of the Vampire (aka Masters of Darkeness – a nice little Castlevania clone) were both released in Europe but the Japanese versions are quite rare as their ending prices show: Zool went for £51.99 (5 bids) while In the Wake of the Vampire ended at £30.99 (9 bids). Anything else? How about this copy of Operation Star5ish – the third and final part of the James Pond series – that sold for £24.54 (10 bids), and this very dubious boxed bootleg cart which went for £93.23.

From Sega, over to Sony. Xperia Play phones have been selling for between £350 and £450. This one even managed to get 31 bids. Perhaps there’s a bigger demand for them than anybody would believe? Or maybe people just really, really, really want to play Crash Bandicoot while on the move? Another PlayStation-related item shifting for a high amount was this Japanese copy of Zanac X Zanac which sold for £149.99 on a Buy It Now auction. An auction containing Suidoken I and II went for £150 on Buy It Now too, and just to prove their worth here’s a copy of Suidoken II which went for £102 on its lonesome, attracting 18 bids. The Suidoken games have always fetched a lot of cash, so these high amounts shouldn’t surprise that much. So here’s something that will: a copy of TinTin: Objective Adventure went ended at £68 after 10 bids.

Although Namco’s lovely RPG Tales of Vesperia is now available to download on the Xbox Live Games on Demand service it’s still selling for astronomically high amounts – this sealed copy sold for £90 while this one went for £59 with 21 bids. Maybe the bidders have no access to an internet connection whatsoever? That said, it is always nice to have a box and manual to look at.

Fans of boxes and boxart will like this Nintendo 64DD package which contained all the games released for it including Doshin the Giant and Sim City 64. It went for an impressive £557 after 29 bids. Also of note is this Nintendo 64 development system which fetched £170. “I had to put the other keywords in like Bung and Doctor as searching on eBay for just CD64 bought up some photos of a “curvy” woman in her underwear as the first result (seriously!),” said the seller. Oh really? A sealed copy of Chameleon Twist 2 on N64 also sold for £122 after 5 bids.

Not wanting to forget the retro formats that aren’t from Sega or Nintendo, this rare Atari STBook laptop went for an eyebrow-raising £989 attracting 18 bidders. The seller says that less than a hundred now exist, although I personally always take things like that with a pinch of salt. I mean, has he actually phoned everybody in the world to ask if they have one? Almost as impressive is this Commodore 64 Game System (C64GS) which went for £304.99. Can you believe that Commodore thought they could take on Sega and Nintendo with this? It was rather generous of Commodore to include a cart containing four rather good games with it, though.

Mar 31
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

The ability to charge good money for single retro titles on the likes of Xbox Live Arcade and Virtual Console has made publishers very stingy with their retro complications. The likes of Midway Arcade Treasures, Capcom Classics, EA Replay and Taito Legends on PlayStation 2 and Xbox were rammed full of content but so far this generation only Sega Mega Drive Collection and SNK Arcade Classics have rivalled them. Mario All-Stars Collection – which was literally just a SNES game copied onto a Wii disk – really hammered home how publishers can be, and although Dreamcast Collection has had slightly more effort put into it, it’s still a missed opportunity of epic proportions.

This is purely because when this collection was first announced forums and news sites were hopeful that it would feature the likes of Shenmue, Toy Commander, Headhunter, Sega Rally 2 and Virtua Fighter 3tb. But alas, all Sega have dished up here is four games that have been available on Xbox Live Arcade for some time. If you’re a Sega die-hard then chances are you’ve downloaded at least one of them already. Sonic Adventure, probably. Or maybe Crazy Taxi. The other two games present – Sega Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 – are pretty niche after all. Why Sega didn’t put Rez on here is a mystery. Maybe they forgot that they released it on Xbox Live Arcade back in 2008?

Presentation is almost non-existent – there’s just a single unattractive menu screen that lets you choose between titles. Crazy Taxi has had the licensed soundtrack removed which spoils the vibe somewhat and the branded locations, like KFC and Pizza Hut, have also (less noticeably) been omitted. It still plays well though and the Crazy Box mini-games are just as challenging as they were back in 1999.

The action sections in Sonic Adventure are still quite fun too and occasionally alluring visually. Time hasn’t been kind to the adventure sections but to be fair these were pretty rubbish in the first place due to poor signposting. Items of importance are often hidden away in the last place you’d expect them to be – at one point you have to find a key which isn’t even in the same level as the door. The graphics appeared to have been sharpened up but for some reason there are massive boarders around the side of the screen. None of the other three games have boarders, so to find them present here is a little odd. Big the Cat’s fishing sections are still deeply rubbish too, as are the embarrassingly poor cut-scenes.

Speaking of fishing, I thought Sega Bass Fishing might be on the fishy side but I ended up playing it for an entire evening. The tournaments take a while to play through and to finish the arcade mode with just one credit you’ll need to learn where the best fishing spots are. Achievements are for things like catching 500 fish, winning all the tournaments and unlocking all the lures so if you’re an achievement hoarder you might end up playing this one for a while.

Then we have Space Channel 5: Part 2. It was one of the better games to be released during the rhythm-action craze and holds up well, with some amusing lyrics and a surreal sense of humour. It’s not a game that’ll please everybody – it simply boils down to pushing buttons at the right time, with a great emphasis on timing – but it’s nice enough.

If dreams really did come true then this would have been a celebration of all things Dreamcast, packed full of video clips, images, interviews and a significantly more games. As it is, it’s a crushing disappointment.

Sega’s dream machine, God rest its water-cooled CPU, reserves better.

Feb 11
By Jake In Street Viewtiful 5 Comments

Everyone loves a good poke around on Google Street View. So, in an idea I’ve shamelessly plagiarised from myself, we’re going to take an irregular jaunt around the world of games via that very medium.

Where better to start than the scenic M4 motorway heading out of London? That’s where, as well as a number of those huge displays which alternate between the time and temperature, you’ll see Sega’s UK headquarters. That familiar blue logo peeking up over the flyover raises a little smile every time.


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It is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a building very much in-keeping with its glorious surroundings.

I’m pretty sure that last time I drove past there, a big Sonic had been added to the other side of the building. Sadly, when the Street View cameras visited, it was still the Agfa logo. Which is definitely a lot less fun.

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