Monthly Archives

November 2012

Game News, Sega Retro

New Trailer for Ron Gilbert/Double Fine’s The Cave

SEGA and Double Fine just released a new trailer for The Cave. For those who don’t know what this game is, The Cave is an upcoming puzzle platformer by Ron Gilbert (The Secret of Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion) and Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts, Brütal Legend) that’s being published by SEGA. It’s going to be a lot like those old point and click adventure games, except with a lot less pointing and clicking and more moving left and right and jumping. You have to choose from three of seven characters at the start of the game, all of which have their own quirks. This new trailer showcases four of these characters, and another upcoming trailer will showcase the rest of them. The game can also be played with up to three players in local co-op.

This is a seperate project from Double Fine’s upcoming crowd-funded point and click adventure game Double Fine Adventure, though Ron Gilbert is working on that game as well. The Cave comes out January 2013 on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, the Wii U eShop and Steam.

Comics

Mobius: 25 Years Later: The Review, Part 2 – Of Frightened and Dancing Crocs

When looking at Mobius: 25 Years Later as a whole, it is pretty clear just how important Ken Penders wanted this story to be for the readers. Running in the comic for over a year, coupled with its promise of wrapping up numerous storylines that had been running through his Knuckles narrative since nearly the beginning of his time writing for the title, it was meant to be this grand finale for a medium whose very nature would prevent an ending from coming about. If the series were to ever end, there might not be enough warning to give the comic any sort of closure, as has been the case for numerous titles throughout the industry, not just at Archie Comics. The publication of a licensed comic going for as long as Sonic the Hedgehog has is still unprecedented, and only in recent years have Archie and SEGA really begun to comprehend this. It’s been said more than once that SEGA’s input in the series currently far surpasses anything they did during Ken’s tenure, quite possibly wanting to avoid a situation where the interior of the comic book is in stark contrast with how the franchise is being portrayed in the games.

Though it’s uncertain if Ken ever thought about the possibility of his work being collected into a trade paperback, Mobius: 25 Years Later certainly feels like something that was meant to be released as a single volume at some point down the line, similar to how Archie have recently been collecting the Sonic the Hedgehog comics in its Archive and Selects books. While the issues 25 Years Later appeared in are still a ways away from being considered for inclusion, it wasn’t that long ago that almost the entirety of the storyline was published together in Issue #4 of the Sonic Super Special Magazine, a quarterly publication whose goal seems a bit all over the place, collecting random arcs of various quality.

For anyone who owns a copy of Issue #4, those in the know may have noticed two parts of the story missing: “Prologue,” which was covered in detail in our previous installment, and “Father’s Day,” the penultimate chapter which we’ll get to in due time. So for those who have only experienced the saga in magazine format, we’re reaching territory you are now familiar with as we once again journey into the world of Mobius: 25 Years Later
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Game News

Sonic Jump High Flier Update Now Available

The first update for Sonic Jump is now available on iTunes for free. This update adds Blue Sky Zone, which includes 12 new story levels and one new endless arcade level. The gimmick of this zone is that you can bounce off balloons, Batbots and Spinners appear as enemies in the stage. Another addition is Amy as a playable character along with new abilities.

Also added is something called Global Challenge, in this players need to work together by getting as high as possible to get to the moon and unlock a new playable character.

Comics

Mobius: 25 Years Later: The Review, Part 1 – What’s Future Is Prologue

The American Superhero Comic Book. A strange enigma in the creative world that attempts to be the small, self-contained tales of yesteryear while also being a sprawling epic that will leave people talking for years to come. While many have attempted to find a balance, few have truly succeeded. Now, you could say that Ian Flynn‘s work on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic by Archie has attempted this formula, having smaller arcs and stand alone issues that build upon what he’s been doing with the comic since cleaning up all the various threads left by his predecessors. Even Archie has acknowledged this by compiling his work for the Sonic Saga line of graphic novels that are slowly being released. Discussing just how well he’s done could make an interesting article, but would be lacking until his tenure on the comic is over.

However, Ian wasn’t the first to use the Sonic comic book as a canvas to tell a much larger story. No, the first man to truly try and tackle this feat in the pages of the licensed series was Ken Penders. The name should not be unfamiliar to people who have read my previous articles on the front page, or even those who can’t help but watch the slowest moving trainwreak of our times. But there was a point not all that long ago when he was considered the architect of Sonic, even though he wasn’t the main writer for the flagship title during much of his time working under Archie. Still, many of his concepts and characters that he came up with became integral parts of what the other writers played with during the 90’s and early 2000’s. He would be the one fans turned to for sneak peaks and explanations of what was happening in the monthly adventures of everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog.

Though he clearly had a passion for Sonic in his writing as evidenced in the originally intended finale Endgame, Ken’s true baby was his Knuckles the Echidna line of comics. Starting with specials and mini-series, Knuckles was spun off into his own comic book that lasted for thirty-two issues before being unceremoniously canceled right before the Sonic Adventure adaptation (something I’ll get to eventually – I haven’t given up on the game adaptation reviews). Ken’s work did continue as back-up tales in the main Sonic series, and while he reveled in the continued adventures of the Floating Island, there was one arc that stood out in his mind. What he wanted to be his legacy and wrap up the Sonic series once and for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the first in the multi-part feature to look into Ken Penders’ “crown jewel” of storytelling: Mobius: 25 Years Later.
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Reviews, Sega Retro

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: The Retro Review

The developers at Sumo Digital have tuned up their old car, shoved a jalapeno up the tailpipe, changed the belts, look, whatever generic trope you want to indicate for the existence of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed. You know, that Sonic and Sega racing game? They made another one of those.

Without a doubt, it’s a better game than the predecessor. It’s more of everything: more vehicles, more characters, better physics, more track variety, and so on. It also does what it can to give character/item based racers the competitive edge that the genre has difficulty in reaching. On the other hand, the game has mishaps and hiccups that occur more often than it should which can cause the game to be a frustrating experience, especially in some of the game’s more heated situations.

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Game News

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Includes a Christmas Present

It’s always cool when a game does something neat or unlocks something on a holiday, like with Christmas NiGHTS or Animal Crossing. Now it turns out Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has a secret unlockable that unlocks on Christmas day. This secret can be unlocked early by changing the date of your console to December 25th, 2012. This can be done on Xbox 360 and PS3, it’s not certain if this can be done on the Wii U version as well. You do need to sign out of Xbox Live before you do this though and when you sign back in, it’ll be as if you weren’t able to time travel one month into the future after all. We don’t know if the same goes for the PS3 version.

If you want to spoil the surprise, go ahead and change the date on your console or alternatively, just click the jump of this post.

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Game News, Miscellaneous

Starbucks US Pick of the Week: Sonic 4 Episode II

Back in August, UK Starbucks customers were *ahem* treated to a free download of Sonic 4 Episode I for iOS. This week, US customers have a chance to own the second episode on their iDevices at no charge. From now through November 26, Sonic 4 Episode II will be available for free at Starbucks chains across the country. Simply take one of the cards near the register, enter the promotional code on the back, and you’re good to go. Note that this is only valid for US and Canadian iTunes accounts.

Special shoutout to Twitter user @SonicNerd97 for giving me the heads-up about this.