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Reviews

Sonic Mania Plus – The Retro Review

SEGA seems quite happy with the success of last year’s release of Sonic Mania. Sonic Team took a risk with passionate independent developers has paid off. After it became quite possibly the best commercial iteration of 2D Sonic, SEGA thought it would be best to entice players with not just added content but also a reason for players to put it on their shelf. SEGA is giving you several ways to experience Sonic Mania Plus, the expansion for the original Sonic Mania coming out for all digital releases of the game including Steam as well as disc and cart based versions for all consoles containing the full game and the Plus content. SEGA was kind enough to give us a Nintendo Switch copy for review a week before launch.

Much of what you come to expect from Mania echoes from Neo Hazard’s review when the game originally released. A lot of it’s key points remain the same here, such as sharing significant connections with the development team that could show bias in this review. If you want to know more about the main game, you can read about those thoughts in Neo’s original review. Surprisingly the development team also saw fit to make changes to the main game to tighten up the experience in some areas which does not need the Plus expansion. This includes revised boss patterns, updated level layouts to accommodate for the new characters and making certain challenges easier to handle. Whether you’re buying into Mania for the first time or looking to check out Encore Mode with Ray and Mighty, this review will cover what’s changed and what’s new. The Plus in Sonic Mania refers to the fact that it really is just more of Sonic Mania. While there is one new level the Plus content is more of a remix of what all is available. This is ideal for those who have mastered Sonic Mania along with more features that are enticing to newcomers and the small price is like leaving a generous tip at your favorite walk-in restaurant.

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Game News, Previews

E3 2018: Team Sonic Racing Impressions

A new E3 means a new Sonic game and this year’s major Sonic release is a pseudo-sequel to Sumo Digital’s SEGA crossover games. While the first outing had SEGA’s superstars matching together in SEGA Superstars Tennis, the remaining titles revolved around Mario Kart racer-inspired titles with the previous one featuring transforming vehicles in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. As the name implies, Team Sonic Racing calls for Sonic & Nobody Else All-Stars Team Racing. Some folks from Sonic Retro and SEGAbits, including myself had hands on playtime from SEGA’s booth at the show floor. You can either hit the jump to check out impressions from me and Neo Hazard or hop over to our sister site SEGAbits for a tertiary (or perhaps quaternary) view from SEGAbits writers Kori-maru and Dakota.

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Podcasts

Retrocast Season 2 Episode 3 – Post Mania Processing

Sonic Mania is now older than a month. What was once a pipedream of a brand new Sonic developed by fans has finally happened. David The Lurker, Cinossu, Overlord, Bartman3010 and InstantSonic lend their voices to talk about the Mania and not-so Mania about Sonic’s return to 2D glory before the start of this year’s Sonic Amateur Games Expo and the Sonic Hacking Contest. Music composed by Tee Lopes. Expect spoilers in this one!

Game News, Previews

E3 2017: Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces Hands-On Preview

Inside SEGA’s booth were a dozen demo stations for both Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces making their first and last E3 appearance. Con-goers did their best to pilfer posters given out any way they can. E3 was packed this year due to the convention allowing the public to enter for the first time in years which means the lines were more than double and that means plenty of eager people wanting to check out whats new. 

Hit the jump for our thoughts. (Bartman3010 and Neo Hazard)

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Game News

Sonic the Hedgehog at E3: Catching the Sonic Mania

It’s hard to believe that Sonic Mania is only a short two months away. It seems like only yesterday the game was first announced, a magical look at the Sonic experience that could have been on the Sega Saturn. When the digital pre-order trailer came out a couple weeks ago, some assumed that very little new content would be revealed in the days prior to E3. Yes, we’re a bit late to the party, but SEGA did announce a new level in style: Chemical Plant Zone.

Sure, you’ve watched it before, but there’s no shame in jammin’ out to that Act 2 music all over again. Hit the jump to see what else Mania has been up to as it speeds to it’s release.

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Game News

Sonic the Hedgehog at E3: When Forces Come Together…

What do you do when you have not one but two major releases coming out featuring the world’s most famous hedgehog? You spoil your audience by giving them a ton of information, whetting their appetite for what’s to come. And what better time to do that than at E3?

Slated for release during the 2017 Holiday season, Sonic Forces is the game that has baffled some and intrigued others. During the build up to E3’s opening day, SEGA has been sharing all sorts of new information regarding both Classic and Modern Sonic’s gameplay, as well as the new “Avatar” character. This has culminated in a reveal trailer that not only shows all three gamestyles off, but also reveals a new villainous character in the Sonic pantheon.

Click the jump to read on about Sonic’s latest foray in three dimensional platforming.

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Game News

First Full Look At Classic Sonic in Sonic Forces

After getting a sneak peek during a Nintendo Direct earlier this month, we now have our first full look at some Classic Sonic gameplay in Sonic Forces. And yes, it’s Green Hill Zone again. Though now it’s no longer much of a tropical island and more a grassy field in a desert. Also it has all new music rather than another Green Hill remix, so that’s something.

Forces will also feature Modern Sonic, who’ll play similarly to how he played in Sonic Generations. Plus there will be a third gameplay style featuring the new character that was teased earlier this month.

Fan Works, Hacking

Morph’s Lighting Mod for Sonic Adventure DX Restores Dreamcast Lighting Effects

Sonic Retro user Morph and several others have gone through Sonic Adventure DX and created a mod that restores the lighting effects that were previously seen in the original Sonic Adventure into the PC version. The difference gives off more vibrant colors in the environment that also reacts to objects and characters. You can download the mod from the discussion thread in our forums.

Lighting can be used to set a specific tone or mood in an environment. But why is it such a difficult thing to remain consistent when converting this to other game platforms? The game featured an artistic shift that occurred when the game was converted to other platforms. A combination of technical hurdles and creative liberties can dampen the original artistic intent, and Sonic Adventure is no exception. The original Dreamcast version featured a “Lantern” engine which provided impressive looking lighting effects using palettes on SEGA’s then cutting edge game console. However the dozens of ports of the game left out these lighting effects in favor of using drop shadows instead, until now. Check out additional videos, comparison screenshots and an interview with Morph on the mod after the jump!

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