Sonic X-treme. Just the name can send a shiver up the spine of anyone who anxiously awaited the release of the game, reading the Red Shoe Diaries over and over again, trying to dissect each screenshot and guess what obstacles were in store for each new zone. Meant to be Sonic’s first foray into the world of 3D gaming, the title was quietly cancelled during 1996, a Sega Saturn port of Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island filling the hole in scheduling. For years, speculation ran wild as to what happened, and over time many of those involved in the project have spoken about it, including Chris Senn who created an entire compendium chronicling the development history of the game.
But with all we’ve come to discover in the last 18 years, there are still aspects that have been hidden away, the most glaring being how it would feel to hold a controller in your hands and move Sonic about in his fish-eye world. The only playable build thus far had been the test arena from Christina Coffin’s boss engine, a green hill-esque terrain with not much more than random Flickies populating a finite plane with no end goal. That, however, is about to change in a very big way.
Read more after the jump.
Back in 1998, our first glimpse of Sonic Adventure showed what would be the first true 3D experience with Sonic and friends. After the game’s release, the level we were told was Windy Valley was nowhere to be found in the final game, instead having been completely reworked before hitting store shelves. Even though shots of the original design were used to advertise the GameCube rerelease Sonic Adventure DX, the original look and feel of Windy Valley became one of the holy grails for Sonic enthusiasts interested in the development process.
After the retrieval of the AutoDemo, work has been performed by several people including many dedicated members of the Retro community, who have pooled their efforts to get these stages back up and running. Finally, after fifteen years we can witness this one of a kind experience with a mod for the 2004 PC edition of Sonic Adventure DX, with a fully playable beta version of Windy Valley. With recreated graphics and fully functioning camera angles, CorvidDude wants you to jump over to his YouTube video for more information as well as instructions on how to download and install the mod. Special thanks go to CorvidDude, MainMemory, ItsEasyActually, Catley, Melpontro, and many more who were involved with this project.
Back in the late 90’s, Dreamcast owners could hop online via their console to surf the web and download various things to their VMU including free DLC. That’s right, not only did SEGA offer DLC in the late 90’s, it was free! Continuing our Sonic 23rd birthday celebrations, Liam aka TrackerTD of the SEGAbits This Is Saturn YouTube series put together this great showcase of most of the DLC offered in Sonic Adventure & Sonic Adventure 2. Celebrate New Years, the Dreamcast launch, Halloween, and more in the many fun additions made to these memorable Sonic titles.
Almost a year ago to the day, Sonic Retro forum member Orengefox shared with the world the discovery of two prototypes for Sonic Adventure and its sequel. While to the untrained eye the Sonic Adventure AutoDemo might not have seemed all that special, we here at Retro know better, our elite crack team of technologically-inclined persons more than excited to tear apart reams of code to find the secret caramel-filled goodness hiding underneath.
Indeed, it wasn’t long before all sorts of secrets were uncovered, including earlier versions of Ice Cap and Speed Highway’s “At Dawn” segment. But the deepest, most enticing artifact uncovered was the level architecture from a far earlier version of Windy Valley. Unlike the previously mentioned levels, the prototype Valley couldn’t easily be turned on, what was there full of pointers directed towards a build much earlier than what the AutoDemo used. While other people would get frustrated and walk away, I already stated above how excitable our crack team can get. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out the next step, with Retro Researcher evilhamwizard putting the pieces together, importing the third segment of Windy Valley into the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX:
More after the jump.
If it wasn’t enough that Gametrailers went digging for more information on Michael Jackson’s involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3, turns out there was more involvement by another certain pop singer of the eighties than anticipated.
On YouTube, Fervor Records has posted a few unreleased music tracks on December 11th, 2009 from the band “The Jetzons.” One track, named “Hard Times” shares a more than vague resemblance to the theme of Ice Cap Zone. In fact, it may as well be exactly the same thing. What is the cause of this? The keyboardist of the group, Brad Buxer would work on the title, along with Michael Jackson as he confirmed in this interview conducted in the same year. While he does state he is not sure what material the developers used in the game, turns out to be remnants of the unreleased song linked above. You can listen to the song side by side to Ice Cap thanks to a video provided by staff member Skyler here.
This piece of information will no doubt raise additional questions about who exactly did what with the music to Sonic 3, however this evidence adds to the ever growing mystery of the involvement of the two pop stars.
Special thanks also goes to staff member GeneHF for pointing out this information.
Gametrailers’ released a new episode of their Mythbusters-for-gaming show Pop Fiction today about Michael Jackson’s involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The first half of the video is a pretty good summary of what we know already along with links to where they get their info from (thanks for the hits GT), but at the 08:36 timestamp they begin to talk about their own research.
First off, they got to do another interview with Roger Hector, who stands by what he said in his interview from 2005. He also gives additional details on how Michael Jackson got to work on Sonic 3 and why his music was “pulled”. After that Gametrailers got an anonymous source to confirm that MJ did work on Sonic 3‘s music with again more details on what he did and a different account on why he wasn’t credited.
Speed Demos Archive and Speed Runs Live team up once again to bring you another charity marathon with Summer Games Done Quick, featuring several games that will be finished in the shortest time possible, live and in front of thousands of viewers over the internet in order to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. The event lasts for five days, until the 30th, which includes games like Sonic the Hedgehog on Mega Drive and Master System, Ecco: The Tides of Time and more during the period. Earlier this year they also held Awesome Games Done Quick 2013 which has helped to raise over $448,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and they’re looking to repeat that success again with an initial goal of $50,000. The event also gives donors several benefits as well, donations affect bidding decisions on games and provides chances to win several prizes.
The event is currently underway! You can check out the stream on the Speed Demos Archive page or through the Twitch channel.
Retro user Orengefox posted on the forums his discovery of two Japanese prototypes of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 on Sega Dreamcast. Both of which have a potential source of content that are missing from the final builds with the Sonic Adventure Auto Demo showing some good promise.