Sonic Blast (3DS): COMPLETED!

You know something? That Sonic Triple Trouble wasn’t so bad after all. You know what was bad? Sonic Blast on the Game Gear.

No, not Sonic 3D Blast – that’s a wholly different game, being in isometric and with Flickys to save and stuff. This is a standard Sonic platformer, or should I say, sub-standard. On paper it sounds great – platforming, Sonic, no Tails, 3D rendered graphics. However, the platforming is dire and the 3D rendered graphics are so low resolution they look terrible. Sonic has a giant head, appears to be permanently tilted out of the screen, and only two frames of animation.

He doesn’t seem right in the context of the levels. I’ve never been a big fan of the graphical style (and I’ve lamented before about how awful Super Mario Ball and Donkey Kong Country look too) but never before has it looked so ugly and jarring.

It isn’t just the graphics that I hate about the game though. The physics seem off too, and the levels are tiny. You get just one chance at each chaos emerald, and you have to hunt for the entrance to the emerald special stage in Act 2 of each level – it’s very easy to miss them completely. Luckily, the specially stages are incredibly easy despite the dreadful collision detection, due to how slowly Sonic runs. They are much like a cross between the Mega Drive Sonic 2 (into the screen, collect rings) and Sonic 3 (seems to be on a ball) special stages, but not as much fun.

sonic blast

The main levels are dull, and several seem to be watered down levels from Sonic & Knuckles – there’s a Sandopolis level (Yellow Desert Zone) and a Lava Reef Zone (Red Volcano Zone), but they’re sparsely populated and boring. If they were doing that I’d have hoped for a Super Sonic Space Chase like in Sonic 3 & Knuckles if I completed it with all the emeralds, but no – just a weak additional final boss.

sonic blast

In all, it feels like a Sonic game driven by having a new graphic style and written by some people who saw a Sonic game in a shop window once but have been given access to some of the assets. I’m glad I’ve played Sonic Blast, but only so I know not to ever again.

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Sonic Triple Trouble (3DS): COMPLETED!

When I started playing this (it was cheap on the eShop, in case you’re wondering), I was convinced I’d never played this before. I mean, why would I? It’s got Tails in.

sonic triple trouble

But then after a while it seemed awfully familiar. Especially the bit with the bouncy apple things. If only I kept a record of all the games I’d played somewhere. OH WAIT I DO. Yeah, nine years ago I played it on my PlayPal Game Gear clone emulation handheld device thing. Blimey. Nine years.

You’ll not be surprised to hear it hasn’t really improved since then. It’s not awful, but the cramped viewport makes the jumps hard and reaching some of the special stage TVs is a pain. On the plus side, unless you choose Tails as your character (and if you do, you need to be taken out and shot), he’s hardly in it.

Anyway, I completed it somewhat easily, with all the emeralds, and now I’m going to play Sonic Blast. Self-loathing as I am, see. Still, at least it isn’t Sonic Unleashed or something.

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Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (NGPC): COMPLETED!

It has been a long time since I played a Neo Geo Pocket game, but having figured out why they hadn’t been working on Retropie (games have to be .ngc files, if you’re interested) I got stuck into Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

sonic the hedgehog pocket adventure
Hammer! Hammer! I am! Hammer! They put me in the mix!

I remember being slightly disappointed when I bought it for my Neo Geo Pocket Colour back in the day. There I was expecting a new 2D Sonic platformer, perhaps a 2D version of the excellent Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. After all, it shares the same art style as that title, on the menus and box and stuff. Instead, what I got was a rehash of the Mega Drive version of Sonic 2.

As it turned out, that was awesome.

And it still is. Certainly, each level looks like a level from Sonic 2 – there’s your Emerald Hill zone, and your Aquatic Ruin zone, and your Metropolis Zone, but for the most part the levels have different layouts. They also all have new bosses, and Knuckles makes an appearance too.

"Knuckles you eediot!"
“Knuckles you eediot!”

There are reworked versions of the music from several different Sonic games, not just the second one, and the final stage more like the end of Sonic 3 and Knuckles than Sonic 2. Add to all this the hidden puzzle pieces hidden round the levels which you can collect and complete, and you can see why I loved it so much all them years ago. I think, bar remakes of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure might be my favourite handheld Sonic title too.

Click to view slideshow.

Oh, and yes – I got all the Chaos Emeralds. I totally forgot the final one though, and had to redo the end boss to get it! That unlocked the final, final stage, which I also finished. Phew.

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3D Sonic the Hedgehog (3DS): COMPLETED!

You may be aware that I have completed the very first Sonic the Hedgehog game a number of times in the past, but the 3D version, on the Sega 3D Classics Collection? Nope.


OK, I lie. I have. Sort of. You see, I already own 3D Sonic the Hedgehog – buying it when it appeared on the 3DS eShop as a single title. That was about three years ago though, despite me thinking it was actually earlier this year. I completed it back then, and today I completed it again via the 3D collection.

There’s little more to say. It is still an excellent game. It’s still very easy, and I obtained all the Chaos Emeralds. I did choose the “bulbous CRT” 3D effect to play through with which was pretty cool, if pretty pointless. Um, that’s it.

Click to view slideshow.

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Sonic 3 & Knuckles (MD): COMPLETED!

I’ve completed this many times through the years, but it’s been quite a while since last time, and even longer since a full all-emeralds run. So I did that.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Hey Knuckles – punch Tails for me, would you?

It’s clear that Sonic 3 & Knuckles is still the best Mega Drive game. It looks and sounds incredible, has varied levels, gimmicks and bosses, and is actually huge. Yes, I know it sort of cheats by spanning two cartridges, but that’s irrelevant as far as I’m concerned as together they are the best game. Some people will say Sonic 2 is better. Those people are wrong.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Hey Eggman – could you laser Tails for me please?

In total, it probably took about four hours. I’d forgotten just how big it was. I only died three times, one death being a Time Over on Flying Battery 2 (I’d spent ages looking for Super Emeralds, and just squeaked past the final lamppost when the time ran out – lucky!), but then the game was never really difficult – especially once you’re able to be be Super or Hyper Sonic. Nor does it matter that it wasn’t hard – it’s just great. Apart from Tails. Oh god does he need to die. He actually killed me on one of the end boss fights as he hit Eggman first and I fell through him instead of bouncing off.

Click to view slideshow.

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Sonic the Hedgehog (MS): COMPLETED!

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog on the Master System was, at the time, quite an achievement. It may not have been as technically polished as the Mega Drive original, but it was a good approximation given the more limited hardware, and it steered away from simply being very, very fast by focussing more on the platforming. I quite enjoyed it at the time.

It has been quite a long time (read: over a decade, I expect) since I last played 8bit Sonic the Hedgehog, and several things surprised me: It was just as easy as I recall. It stands up better today than I expected. Mostly, I was amazed at how I still remembered where all of the hidden Chaos Emeralds were. Except for the one in Scrap Brain Zone which I stumbled across, luckily.

Those electricity pylons are really weedy compared to the Megadrive ones.

It’s a fun platformer with some excellent music (Jungle Zone was always my favourite, and still is) and one of the best games of its type on the Master System. When you compare it, technically, to earlier games like Psycho Fox and Alex Kidd (both still excellent) this does things unheard of on the console at the time.

And that’s it completed, with all the Chaos Emeralds in tow. Excellent.

Sonic-0227-220902 Sonic-0227-220558 Sonic-0227-215321 Sonic-0227-212850


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3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_nw03uvo8mr1svmpf2o1_400Twenty-odd years ago, many a Saturday morning would be spent playing Sonic. Or Sonic 2. Or Sonic 3. And today, a Saturday, I played and completed 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Nintendo 3DS. It was awesome.

Like Gunstar Heroes and the first 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, the 3D here is mostly subtle. The original parallax layers are now given actual depth, and although this makes it feel more like a pop-up diorama than properly 3D it still makes the lovely 2D sprites look fantastic. Where the 3D really shines, however, is in the Special Stages. At first, they make your eyes bleed, but when you get used to them the into-the-screen 3D is fantastic and really adds to the stages.

tumblr_nw03w7sh0a1svmpf2o1_400Apart from all that, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is still Sonic the Hedgehog too. Complete with all the bugs, but without any of the slowdown (which was only really noticeable in Mystic Cave Zone anyway). It’s still a great game, and it’s still a joy to play.

I did find it incredibly easy, mopping up all the Chaos Emeralds early on. Which actually makes the game a little harder as you don’t pick up so many extra lives as once you hit 50 rings and jump in the air, you become Super Sonic and your rings start counting down – it’s unlikely you’ll hit 100. You also feel the need to rush through the levels once you’re Super Sonic as you don’t want your rings to run out, especially if they do so when you make it to a boss!

Click to view slideshow.

And in just over an hour, it was all done. Eggman beaten (or possibly scrambled), and ending sequence go. Woo! So, Sega – when are we getting 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 3, eh?

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Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)

I decided I would push on with replaying all the events on 2 or 3 star.

This consisted mainly of me playing events on 3 star, failing $hlmun times, then having to play it on 2 star (failing not quite as many times), before repeating the sequence on another event. And doing this lots.

Net gain? I now have 68 stars. I need 95 to get onto the next tier in the World Tour.

Thankfully, I can see I’ll open a few more events (that I haven’t even got one star for yet) at 70 stars, and some more at 80, so hopefully I can get to 95 without replaying many more events.

However, I heard two terrible facts this week regarding this game:

  1. There’s another unavoidable gate later in the game that needs 145 stars (!), and
  2. There’s a 4 Star difficulty setting unlockable.

Oh my.