Multiplayer Showcase is the review show where you get to see me and some friends of mine play multiplayer games that have been long forgotten and give it a proper analysis by sharing our opinions on the game in a roundtable discussion to see how things have held up for gaming’s past brightest stars and lowest points.
This episode compares the boxing gloves to the green shells with the Mario Kart-inspired Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. I never got to play this game much with friends locally. I’ve certainly played it online some time ago, but as you might recall, there are limitations added when playing online, so playing with a group of people with everything unlocked lets everyone dig in for some four player action coupled with SEGA nostalgia.
The Dreamcast era was a special moment for many a SEGA fan. At the time, it was the company’s last great hope, but soon transformed into its swan song. For fans of the SEGA brand, even if the system had no hope on tackling the PlayStation behemoth, it was an unbridled time for ingenuity and creativity. One of the draws for the company had always been its lack of fear when it came to innovation, and games like Jet Set Radio and Phantasy Star Online were offerings other players at the time just couldn’t provide.
Of course, the return of Sonic the Hedgehog as a full-fledged icon was more than welcomed. It was the hedgehog that drew many people to the system in the first place. How many would have played through Streets of Rage or Ecco the Dolphin if they had not first bought a Genesis to run through the one video game that could take on Mario? That’s what made the unexpected arrival of Sonic Dreams Collection all that more alluring. The website in which the unassuming program was released sets the stage: that during the prime of SEGA’s developmental creativity, a small, previously unheard of studio within the halls of the company wanted to use the Sonic brand in all sorts of wild, new, game-changing directions.
SEGA’s mascot had already been in numerous platformers, a handful of racers, a fighting game, a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The idea that he could have been the face of numerous off-the-wall concepts is not all that far fetched, especially considering the time and place. Loading up the Arcane Kids offering was nearly irresistible, and once going through it, well…
Sonic Dreams Collection might be the greatest Sonic the Hedgehog game of the past decade.
Originally, I was just going to throw up a clip of The Critics’ Jay Sherman just saying his trademark line of “It stinks!” but that would be simply broadside-ing with an elephant gun what at its core is a good game wrapped up in layers of garbage, like one of those Babushka figurines.
So, let’s talk Sonic Runners. Even though Sonic Dash is still very much a thing and is celebrating 100 million downloads by shoe-horning in a brand it has no business even associating with in Angry Birds, Sonic Team decided it wanted to take a stab at this crazy bizarre world known as mobile freemium development.
Enter Runners. Simple enough premise: Sonic and friends run to the right and collect gems and rings through an obstacle gauntlet of spikes, enemies, dash rings, pits, loops–you name it. At the end of each segment, Sonic encounters Eggman hauling a stash of goodies and is tasked with smacking that old greedy capitalist of all his money for your own purposes. Then the level speeds up and repeats with a more difficult layout. Rinse and repeat two more times to max speed until you eventually die.
Throughout this, you’re treated to very simple stories of Team Sonic helping out Animal friends, lost Chao, and even scared groups of Wisps in their battle to stop Dr. Eggman from whatever anti-environmental/furry critter plot he’s hatching for that chapter. It may sound like I’m complaining or ready to just eviscerate the game, but this isn’t the case.
Sonic Boom has certainly been a source of contention from many fans of the franchise, both old and new. Presented as a new branch of the Sonic series primarily led by the people at SEGA of America, it’s hard to argue the experiment has won any favors from longtime fans. While the TV show has been performing well, the 3DS game didn’t turn into anything more than a mediocre platformer. All that’s left to talk about is the Wii U game.
Unfortunately, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the weakest element in the Boom bandwagon. The title shows off way too many glaring issues that seem as if the developers were rushing to get the game out the door in time for the TV show’s premiere, and boy, we got stuck with another unfortunate misstep for the blue blur. Plagued with infinite jump glitches, weird collision bugs, opportunities to soft lock the game and some of the worst special effects seen in the CryEngine…wait, the CryEngine 3? The same one powering performance hungry games such as the Crysis series? Indeed, the same one, only now the game is running poorly optimized for the Wii U and has some of the most awkward special effects in a modern 3D game.
I don’t doubt that the engine could work well for Sonic providing an open world environment, but that kind of experience is not delivered well here. Now, some of you arm chair experts are probably sitting there saying the game is terrible due to Sonic losing his speed, turning the game into a glorified beat-em up and changing the iconic style of the character, the plot and all the things that make Sonic work. But that couldn’t be further from the point on why exactly this game is bad.
While the verdict on Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is pretty clear at this point, not much attention has been given to its 3DS counterpart Shattered Crystal. Made by Sly Cooper developer Sanzaru Games, this title tries to add kinda-Metroid-like elements while having a hero switching mechanic similar to Sonic Heroes. Unlike the Wii U version, SEGA was confident enough to put up a demo of the game on the eShop before release. And while it wasn’t particularly impressive, the sample given was pretty decent. So the question is if the full game holds up.
So here’s the deal with this Sonic game: it’s not really much like a normal Sonic game. Rather than being about trying to take the fastest path to the finish, a lot of time is spent exploring the levels as you can collect a bunch of crystal fragments and blueprints in most of them. These also take a lot longer to finish than your usual Sonic stage, as they can easily take up to 15 minutes to complete if you’re looking around for collectables. You can also switch between four characters in these stages: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Sticks, all of whom work very differently from past games. Continue Reading
[The following review was provided by site member and main power source for the server GerbilSoft.]
Mario and Sonic are back at the Olympic Winter games, this time hosted in Sochi, Russia. Like the previous three installments, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is a mini-game collection based on Olympic events and various levels from the Mario and Sonic universes. How well does it compare to the previous outings? Continue Reading
Sonic Lost World for the 3DS is the latest in a recent trend of handheld Sonic games – while there was a long string of completely original Sonic titles, from many of the Game Gear titles all the way to the Advance and Rush series, the last couple have instead been downscaled versions of their console counterparts: Colors, Generations, and now Lost World. Why this is the case, I don’t know, because it will invariably result in comparing these games to their consistently better big brothers, and in every case they fall short, including this one. Which is tremendously worrisome, considering the Wii U version of the game didn’t exactly set a high bar to begin with. Continue Reading
Another year, another re-release of Sonic The Hedgehog. Ho-hum. No, you won’t find much different here if you’ve played this game at some point in the last 22 years, and it definitely isn’t a revolution like “Team Stealth-Tax”‘s Sonic 1 Mobile update on iOS and Android . Instead, let’s focus on what’s a little more interesting in this project: M2’s “GigaDrive” system running this bad boy. How does it handle Sonic 1 on your 3DS?