Tagged "Sonic"

Nov 22
By Matt Gander In UK Charts 3 Comments

UK Charts

Despite the very fine Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit being released last week, Call of Duty: Black Ops has held onto #1. They have to make do with #2 and #3 respectively. Wii Sports Resort has risen from #19 to #7 but Fallout: New Vegas has fallen from #7 to #13. Football Manager 2011 goes from #5 to #19.

The jolly decent Sonic Colours has had a better second week – it was at a lowly #36 but it’s now at #18. This might be because Play had it for £17.99 last week. The bad reviews have seemingly harmed Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows as it can only manage a #20 positioning.

GoldenEye 007 is still outselling 007: Blood Stone but neither are doing fantastically – the celebrated Wii shooter is at #29 while Bizarre Creations’ effort is at #38.

If you’re wondering how the Kinect games are doing, then wonder no more – Kinect Sports is at #9, Dance Central at #25, Motion Sports at #33 and Fighters Uncaged at #39.

Nov 15
By Matt Gander In UK Charts 1 Comment

UK Charts

There’s no prize for guessing what’s #1 this week. 2m copies were sold in the UK over 5 days, generating an estimated £81.9m. The Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops sold the most copies with 55% of the share, while the PS3 version gained 42%. This means that the Wii, DS and PC versions only took 3% between them. This is a little surprising – first person shooters usually sell quite well on PC, especially if they give the chance for a PC owner to show off their stupidly expensive graphics card.

Last week’s #1 – Football Manager 2011 – is now at #5.

Kinect hasn’t done too badly either with plenty of the launch games scattered around the chart. However, Kinect Adventures hasn’t been included in the top 40 as it was bundled with the device. Rare’s Kinect Sports did the best at #4, followed by Dance Central at #13, Motion Sports at #15, Fighters Uncaged at #23, Kinectimals at #26, Kinect Joy Ride at #30, Your Shape at #33 and Sonic Free Riders at #38.

Sonic Colours hasn’t fared that much better – it’s at #36.

Both Bonds are slipping – GoldenEye 007 drops from #13 to #20 while 007: Blood Stone has gone from #18 to #22. They may rise back up again though – it’s not hard to imagine a clueless grandparent buying a Bond game for their grandson for Christmas.

Nov 11
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 2 Comments

This Week’s Games

It seems funny to say that most of the games out this week require another £130 to be blown in order able to play. I am of course talking about the Kinect, which doesn’t appear to be totally sold out just yet.

Eurogamer reviewed the launch line up last week – Dance Central and Kinect Sports gained the highest scores, followed by Kinectimals, Kinect Joy Ride and Kinect Adventures (which is bundled with the device). The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout looks like being the best of the fitness games, getting an 8/10 from Game Informer. Fighters Uncaged, Motion Sports and Sonic Free Riders have been getting a kicking – Ubisoft’s brawler currently has a 41% average GameRankings review score, Motion Sports at 50% and Sonic Free Riders 57%. One website gave Sonic Free Riders a 2/10, calling it broken and unplayable. IGN though gave it 7.5 and said that “The motion controls make it hard to just jump into the game, but they’re fun once you’ve got the hang of everything”. I expect that’s the case for most Kinect games, really.

If you’re a fan of the blue hog then Sonic Colours should be on your shopping list – it’s apparently very good, scoring a solid 8/10 on Eurogamer. Also out, and will probably do quite well I’d imagine, are Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth on DS and Doctor Who: Return to Earth on Wii. The Official Nintendo Magazine gave the DS iteration 69%, suggesting it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of the Doctor. There’s one to avoid on Wii this week too – Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2, which IGN gave 4/10. “Even the loading logo looks terrible,” they said.

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few days, you’ve probably noticed that Call of Duty: Black Ops (or Blops, as the cool kids are calling it) is out now. 5.6 million copies have been sold already in the US and UK alone. Believe it or not, it’s the only PlayStation 3 game out this week. Not that any others had much of a chance…

Next week: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Prince of Persia HD Trilogy, FlingSmash, EA Sports Active 2.0, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, Wheel of Fortune, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs Strike, Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet, Pictionary, Apache Air Assault, Blood Drive, iCarly: iJoin the Click and three different Harvest Moon games from two different publishers – Frantic Farming, Sunshine Islands and Animal Paradise. Most odd.

Oct 07
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

There has been a lot of average Sonic games over the years. Sega knows this, and before the ‘hogs reputation is completely run into the ground they’ve decided to “de-list” a handful of Sonic games from stores. In other words, Sega aren’t going to be shipping any more new copies of older Sonic games to retailers.

SEGA’s SVP of EMEA Jurgen Post told MCV:

“Any Sonic game with an average Metacritic has been de-listed. We have to do this and increase the value of the brand. This will be very important when more big Sonic releases arrive in the future. We could make a lot of money on back-catalogue Sonic titles, but let’s keep the number of Sonic games available under control. Otherwise you can have cannibalisation. If there are ten Sonic games on the shelves, with people seeing Sonic Rush DS or Sonic Rush Adventure, this may not help our overall strategy.”

I’d say that Sonic Rush DS and Sonic Rush Adventure are strange examples to use – their Metacritic scores stand at 82% and 78% respectively. If anything, they’re two of the best Sonic games released in the last five years.

Jul 02
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

If you’re a follower of our Twitter feed then you may be aware that I’ve been collecting Sega GameGear stuff since the start of the year. After having been lucky enough to bag a few large bundles on eBay relatively cheaply, I’m not far off from having a complete collection of PAL releases.

Why the GameGear, you ask? Well, the handheld holds a lot of nostalgia for me – I’ve owned one since around 1994, when games for it were still being released. I also believe that it’s the most under-appreciated system ever with a huge catalogue of decent titles, many of which are largely unheard of.

Because the GameGear didn’t sell as well as Nintendo’s GameBoy many people see the system as another one of Sega’s failed attempts. Not so – eight million of the 8-bit handhelds were sold during its six year lifespan. When you bear in mind that the GameBoy Advance was around only for five years it can hardly be deemed a flop.

The majority of people also think of the GameGear as nothing more than a portable Master System. This isn’t a lie as such – for the first couple of years of the handheld’s existence most of the software for it was simple Master System conversions – but once the Master System started to fizzle out many developers started converting their Mega Drive games to it, often with decent results. The 8-bit versions of the likes of Earthworm Jim, Super Return of the Jedi, James Pond 3, Ristar, Dynamite Headdy, Gunstar Heroes and Jungle Strike remained just as playable even though scaled down slightly.

While building up my collection I soon became fascinated with finding out what titles were denied European releases. The amount of games that were US and Japan only is staggering. I’m not just talking about obscure RPGs like Lunar and Shining Force but games based on established brands and characters like Pac-Man, Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude, Coca-Cola Kid, Tails’ Sky Patrol and the aforementioned conversions of Jungle Strike and Gunstar Heroes. On the upside though, Europe had a fair few exclusive releases including Mortal Kombat 3. Games were released right up until 1996, which is a whole year after the Sega Saturn and PlayStation was released.


Mar 30
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

Sonic’s 16-bit hits are incredibly renowned – if you didn’t own any, then you probably have at least played them or read about them countless times before.

It’s slightly odd, then, that the blue-hued mammal’s 8-hit back catalogue is barely talked about even though far more varied and interesting. Not convinced? Here’s some random facts to consider: there was there more than double the amount Sonic games release on the 8-bit formats than on Mega Drive, two of these were exclusive to Japan, three had different names in the east and only one is a straight conversion of one of Sonic’s Mega Drive romps. Two of the games featured in this article also recently sold for over £50 on eBay. Want to know which? Of course you do.

Sonic The Hedgehog – 1991 – Master System & GameGear
So, this is where it all started. And for American Master System owners, this is where it ended – Sonic’s original adventure was the last game Sega published on the Master System in America. Loosely based on the Mega Drive romp, this version was slightly slower paced and some might say harder. There was no Spring Yard or Marble Garden zones but instead there was a jungle-themed zone while the second level was set entirely on a bridge. In the Mega Drive version the chaos emeralds had to be collected during the bonus stages. Here, they were cunningly hidden in the levels. Incidentally, it’s only on the first level that the infamous speed shoe power-up is available. One short burst of speed and that was your lot for the entire game.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 – 1992 – Master System & GameGear
I got this for Christmas in 1992 and I thought it was awesome. In hindsight, it’s a really poor sequel, especially when compared to the Mega Drive version. Tails wasn’t a playable character, the animation was unchanged from the first game, the much touted hang gliding sections were rubbish and the levels seemed like they were in the wrong order. The first level was a dark cave; it wasn’t until near the end of the game that Sonic got to run around some lush green landscapes. Also, on the GameGear version the first boss is almost impossible due to the screen size – his bouncing balls of death were incredibly tough to avoid. Balls!

Sonic Chaos – 1993 – Master System & GameGear
Known as Sonic & Tails in Japan, this is the game that Sonic 2 should have been. The sprites were larger and had been redrawn, Tails was playable and Sonic could now perform his spindash move. The new power-ups were fun to use too, including rocket boots and a pair of spring shoes. The Master System and GameGear versions of the game featured different boxart from one another, which is a little peculiar – in most cases the cases were identical.

Sonic Triple Trouble – 1994 – GameGear
Not only was this the best 8-bit Sonic game – it’s also one of the best 2D Sonic games ever made. The level design was excellent, the music captivating and the bosses innovative. Knuckles made his first 8-bit appearance too cropping up in the “cut-scenes” to cause havoc, thinking that Sonic is his enemy. And the snow level – titled Robotnik Winter – had a snowboarding section that was more interactive and fun than Sonic 3’s snowboarding section. The ‘Triple Trouble’ part of the title steams from new character Nack the Weasel (known as Fang the Sniper in the Japanese version) who appeared in the special stages and was also after the chaos emeralds. Certainly not a load of old ‘nackers.

Sonic Drift 1 & 2 / Sonic Drift Racing – 1994/1995 – GameGear
The Sonic Drift series remains popular with collectors (a boxed copy of the European version sold for £64 on eBay earlier this month) but the games themselves aren’t too great. They’re fast and colourful but the GameGear had no ‘Mode 7’ or 3D capabilities meaning that the tracks were flat and lifeless. The first was only released in Japan and had just four playable characters – Sonic, Tails, Amy and Robotnik. The sequel included an extra three characters – Metal Sonic, Knuckles and Nack/Fang. Sega released Sonic Drift 2 in Europe as Sonic Drift Racing but didn’t bother changing the title screen which still said Sonic Drift 2. The lazy arses.

Sonic Spinball – 1994/1995 – Master System & GameGear
Out of all the games featured, this is the only one that’s a conversion of one of Sonic’s Mega Drive outings. Also, if we exclude the Brazil-only release of Sonic Blast, this was the final Sonic game released on Master System. Like Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine it’s based on the crudely animated Sonic cartoons with the unlikable likes of Sally Acorn trapped inside Robotnik’s inventions. For reasons unknown, the first level in this pinball-alike adventure had its name changed from Toxic Caves to Toxic Pools during the conversion process.

Sonic Labyrinth – 1995 – GameGear
The first time I played this I loathed it. After revisiting it for the purposes of this feature though, I found myself playing it for longer than expected. It’s an isometric affair, just like Sonic 3D was on the Mega Drive, and plays nothing like a traditional Sonic game with the idea being to collect keys in a maze and then locate an exit. Sonic games are famous for having tight controls and plenty of speed but not here – Sonic moved very slowly when not whizzing around in ball. To make matters worse, enemies left puddles of glue behind when destroyed which made Sonic move even slower. Not Sonic’s greatest moment but at least Sega tried to do something different.

Sonic Blast – 1996 – GameGear
Featuring Donkey Kong County-style rendered visuals this was easily the most impressive looking GameGear game to be released. At least it was when Sonic (or Knuckles) was stood still – there weren’t many frames of animation, so it did look a bit shoddy when in motion. I think it’s fair to say that developers Aspect had spent most of the development time on the visuals – the levels were short, with most only lasting thirty seconds or so. In Japan it was known as G Sonic and was not just the last Sonic game but the last GameGear game full stop.

Deformed fox Tails also started in not one but two GameGear games – Tails Adventure and the Japan-only Tails’ Skypatrol. Both feature nicely drawn visuals and have a slower pace than the Sonic games. A boxed copy of Tails Sky Patrol ended at £52 on eBay, although I’m not sure if it always sells for this much as it doesn’t appear too often. Sonic also made a bizarre cameo appearance as a tennis umpire in the dully titled Sega 4 in 1 Pack on GameGear. I wonder if Sega were tempted to make Sonic be the ball instead?

Feb 25
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

This Week’s Games

I don’t know if Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing features any music – remixes or original – from Sonic R, but it bloody well should. Even if it doesn’t it’s still worth considering as reviews have been solid including an 8/10 from GamesRadar and 78% from NGamer Magazine. Both said that the track design is decent but the commentary soon gets annoying. It’s out on Wii, DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and, funnily enough, PC, this week. Why no PSP version, Sega?

PSP owners shouldn’t feel too bad though – both Dante’s Inferno and perplexing puzzler Echoshift are out to buy from tomorrow. The curious Heavy Rain, which is rather aptly named given the weather at the moment, is this week’s big PlayStation 3 release. I have no idea if it’ll sell well though. The Wii meanwhile gets the very good Ace Combat-alike Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces and the presumably rubbish Safar’Wii.

Over in the world of Xbox 360 there are two new racers – budget priced Crash Time 3 (£17.99 at Gameplay) and Superstars V8 Racing: The Next Challenge. The first Superstars V8 didn’t review too well. Maybe this will be an improvement?

Another less than full-price title hitting shelves is Way of the Samurai 3 on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It sounds like there’s some nice ideas behind it – there’s 15 different endings and you can talk your way out of fights. The first Way of the Samuari game has something of a cult following too.

Another else left? Only a little gem of a game called Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes on DS. This got rave reviews (which is a phrase I haven’t used in a long time, incidentally) around Christmas time but was put back until now to avoid getting lost in the Xmas rush. Imagine a mixture of Advance Wars and Final Fantasy Tactics and you should get the gist.

Next week: Final Fantasy XIII, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Sonic Classic Collection, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Infinite Space, Dementium II and the Nintendo DSi XL.

Sep 09
By Matt Gander In Blog 2 Comments

At long bloody last Sega have realised that Sonic fans don’t want another shoddy 3D Sonic game and would rather have a super slick 2D one instead.

Enter Project Needlemouse. That’s a temporary name, obviously. Details are slimmer than Kate Moss but Sega have revealed that it’ll be out next year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, presumably as a download.

Long term hedgehog obsessives will know that Mr. Needlemouse was what Sonic was originally going to be called. It makes you wonder if he would be as popular as he is today if Sega had chosen to stick with it.

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