The original Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing was a bit of a surprise, we hadn’t seen Sonic in a racing game with cars since the Sonic Drift games. It was also a pretty good game that received lots of praise from fans, so it makes sense that the spin-off title is getting a sequel. Like the title implies, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has vehicles that transform. During a race the vehicle changes into either a car, boat or plane whenever the track needs it to, making it more similar to Diddy Kong Racing than Mario Kart, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
A trailer showcases this along with better graphics and a stage based on Panzer Dragoon, another stage based on Super Monkey Ball is shown in the screenshots. As for new characters, there’s Vyse from Skies of Arcadiaand Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe (who was going to be in the first game but got scrapped) joining the roster, with more newcomers to be announced. Scripted events change the course every lap, which you could compare to Motorstorm Apocalypse, though much more colourful. The game’s soundtrack won’t just consist of old tracks, as they are remixed with composer Richard Jacques doing some contributions. There’ll also be a story mode and the annoying commentator is no longer present.
IGN has a preview up with more details along with a video with some of the folks at Sumo Digital talking about the game with more gameplay being shown. The game will be coming to Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS and PC Digital Download later this year. Screenshots can be found after the jump.
Finally, rail shooter enthusiasts can finally bring home House of the Dead 4 this week, Sega’s last mainstay zombie shooter for arcades, for around $9.99, £6.49 or €7.99 depending on region. The port features standard Dual Shock 3 and Playstation Move support, leaderboards as well as a number of bonus features, including the entirety of House of the Dead 4 Special and an interview with the producer and director of the game.
Marketing is one of those strange concepts. No matter what sort of product you have, be it good or bad, there are people who are tasked with the job of making someone want to buy it. There are a million different ways to do this, especially with video games. I’m sure we’ve all watched Andy Dick pretend to be a woman to market Sonic, or seen the strangest pair of kids ever rap about The Legend of Zelda. With the explosion of new age media, however, advertising is a far wilder beast to tame. You have to compete with a million and one distractions to convince people to watch your movie, listen to your music, or play your game. For a recent example, everyone here on Sonic Retro is intimately aware with the ways Sega of America has been utilizing social media to push Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, a trickle of concept art and the odd screenshot, along with wild beards and teasing trailers to gain the public’s interest.
But what about Japan? How does the marketing department in the Land of the Rising Sun choose to market their latest titles with the help of viral Internet marketing?
Caution: the video you are about to watch is mostly safe for work, though you might be wary just who you play this near as it does feature an Asian woman in a red bikini.
Oh, did I forget to mention she ends up playing Super Monkey Ball? Continue Reading
Character swaps aren’t exactly a rarity when it comes to Sonic hacks and mods. Especially recently with the PC version of Sonic Generations allowing modders to swap Sonic’s model with pretty much every other character in the game. But on the Xbox 360 and PS3 these mods don’t appear quite as often, mostly because hacking a console game means doing things Microsoft and Sony don’t want you to do which means you’d probably get banned from Xbox Live or Playstation Network for doing so. So it’s a good thing one of the people that actually bothered to hack Sonic 2006 made good use of it:
This video actually has been up since March 22nd, but… yeah, I don’t have an excuse for not covering this earlier. That doesn’t mean there’s not news about our favorite new playable Sonic character though. The video’s creator, Melpontro, has now started a show page for the videos starring Pelé the Beloved Dog, with there already being three more episodes. Be sure to read the descriptions:
Two months ago, we posted some very promising videos from a triad of gifted Retroites working to import Sonic Unleashed‘s stages into the PC version of Sonic Generations, because despite Sega’s apparent new-found love for all things computer, Unleashed never got the chance to pop up. And those videos? They were nothing short of impressive work.
The trio–Dario FF, Twilightzoney, and Chimera–are happy to show you the fruits of their labor since then as Sonic zips around locales like Mazuri, Empire City, Shamar, and the original Spagonia to name a few. The team not only managed to get collisions working on the stages, they’ve been able to successfully import breakable objects and even the Global Illumination Ambiance lighting effects of the original stages so that they look like their original selves.
Oh, and a much-requested golden streak of light makes his in-stage presence felt as well.
Check out the gallery for more photos and the trailer below to watch their efforts in motion. Of course, from the looks of things, the team is only getting warmed up with Unleashed levels and have set their sights to other areas…
The Sonic 2 HD team announced today amidst the flurry and confusion of an alleged “keylogger” being detected in the program that it has decided to move on without their head programmer, LOst.
The decision comes on top of several allegations from team members that LOst held the project hostage through the inclusion of DRM, public feedback of a bloated engine running an otherwise simplistic game, and other behind the scenes issues. The final straw was the massive negative reception after reports of a keylogger were detected by various antivirus software.
After some careful examination by forum member Guess_Who, the “keylogger” was confirmed to be benign and a false positive, revealing that it was a result of shoddy DirectInput programming. This is how the program was able to register key presses even when the window was not selected and running in the background. In other words, it’s like how CW Cheat can trigger antiviruses as a trojan horse, despite having no malicious software behind it.
Available as free DLC, players will get to assume the role of Metal Sonic in Sonic 4: Episode Metal as he’s transported to the age of Sonic 4 as a throwback to Sega’s previous “Lock-On Technology” effort. Metal Sonic can be seen briefly roaming through Splash Hill and Lost Labyrinth, which Balough goes on to state won’t be simple cut and pastes of the original levels, but are new stages exclusive to Metal Sonic in order to connect his importance, as well as Sonic CD‘s, to the Sonic 4 story.
When people tell the short version of the development of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, there are usually two names dropped: Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima. The former, though starting out as a programmer, soon became the figurehead of Sonic Team, his smiling mug plastered all over any material regarding the behind-the-scene events. The latter, of course, being the man who designed the characters including the star. However, there was a third man who, one could argue, shaped the title into the addictive game that people still play to this day. That man’s name is Hirokazu Yasuhara, who was the lead Game Planner of the original Mega Drive quartet, as well as the Director to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. While the designs to the characters were amazing, and there was a solid engine being built around it, the actual layout of the game would have been very, very different had Yasuhara not been there to design those level maps that have been burned into our minds over the last two decades. Who knows how things would have gone if he had flown to the United States when he originally planned instead of being delayed to shape one of the biggest video game franchises of all time?
That is why this news, for anyone who was there during the height of the Mega Drive’s success, is a bit crazy to take in. As of today, reported on Gamasutra and confirmed by his own LinkedIn page, Hirokazu Yasuhara is now employed at Nintendo Software Technology, a subsidiary of Nintendo of America. Best known for their work on the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, nothing has been said of what plans Nintendo has in store for the former Sega employee. Since he’s still in the United States, its very unlikely that he’ll have any role in one of the main Super Mario titles, but still. If you were to tell any 90’s kid that the man responsible for the layout of everything from the Green Hill Zone to Death Egg would one day be working at the house Mario built, would they have believed it?
Since the unveiling of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, Sega has been extremely careful to point out how the latest installment in the “Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Saga” has improved over its predecessor, and that they have been listening. From the physics to the art style to the implementation of new ideas, it is clear that the people behind the game are trying more than they did the first go-round. Sure, you can argue for hours on end if they have been succeeding, but regardless, there is one component of the game that has, until now, been missing from public scrutiny. I am talking, of course, about the original soundtrack to the game. There’s no need to repeat the jokes hurled at Episode 1‘s final score, but people have been wondering what sort of instrumentation the next episode would contain. Would it be a repeat of Episode 1, would it be something much closer to the classic Mega Drive sound, or would it attempt to be a bit more high definition? While bits and pieces could be heard over convention noise during the last time a playable build was available to the public, YouTube channel WounChannel have upload yet another runthrough of the beginning to Sylvania Castle, this time with no ambient noise of excited cell phone enthusiasts.
There you have it, the music to Act 1 of Sylvania Castle. While it might not be the huge change some people were hoping for, at the very least it clues us in as to how the rest of the game should be sounding.