Browsing Tag

The Taxman

Game News

Freedom Planet 2 Announced


Turns out GalaxyTrail had a Christmas surprise in store, with them just having announced Freedom Planet 2. Several of our forum members are involved with the game’s development, with Stephen DiDuro (aka Strife) being the project lead again, Christian Whitehead (aka The Taxman) working on the game’s engine in Unity, and Falk Au Yeong consulting and mastering the game’s soundtrack.
Lilac, Carol and Milla return as the game’s protagonists, with each having a new look. And just like in the first game, there’ll be an adventure mode with a story and classic mode where all of the cutscenes are skipped. You can find a whole lot more info on the game’s official website, so be sure to check that out. And if you’re a member of our forums, you can discuss the game there as well.
If you haven’t played the original Freedom Planet, you can buy it for 35% off right now on Steam. It’s also available on the Wii U eShop, though there’s no discount on that version at the moment. Continue Reading

Fan Works, Game News

Taxman and Stealth celebrate Sonic & Knuckles’ 20th anniversary with a Sonic 3 & Knuckles proof of concept


Today marks the 20th anniversary of SEGA’s Sonic & Knuckles, and to celebrate, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 remastered developer Christian Whitehead shared a proof of concept prototype from the Taxman & Stealth personal vaults featuring Sonic 3 & Knuckles running on the Retro Engine. Of course, this is presented unofficially, so don’t jump to the conclusion that a Sonic 3 & Knuckles remastered is on the way anytime soon. Still, awesome to see that they’ve done work on the much requested title, even in an unofficial capacity. The Taxman himself shared this link in our forums, stating that “this isn’t an official announcement of any Sega project, nor to we intend to work on this as a fan-project. It’s simply a proof of concept from our vaults that has been kept to our chests for some time.”
You can learn more about the technical side of the project in Stealth’s latest blog post!

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Game News

Amazon Giving Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Android Away for Free

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Because the folks at Amazon are such swell guys, thirty of the most popular apps on the Amazon App Store are free for the next two days. And it turns out that Sonic 2 is a pretty popular game even to this day, because it’s one of those thirty apps. If you’ve wanted to give The Taxman and Stealth‘s remastering of the game a try, this is the best time to do so. You can get it here:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Game News

Sonic 2 Mobile Update, Transformed iOS Unveiled

Sonic 2 2013 CPZ

Sega announced today their Winter 2013 lineup features Sonic 2‘s mobile update and Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed for iOS. The two titles are joined by Rhythm Thief and the Paris Caper (which is fantastic and worth checking out if its 3DS counterpart indicates anything) and a new MOBA card game called Demon Tribe.

Sonic 2’s update brings the same enhancements that Sonic 1 received in the form of wide screen display, a smooth 60FPS gameplay, and a host of other enhancements such as high quality Mega Drive sounds, leaderboards and achievements. I’m sure most of you are wondering about the game’s two-player mode. While Sega’s said little about the title, title developer and connoisseur of vegemite Christian “Taxman” Whitehead offered a little tease.

“I’m pretty limited in what I can mention about Sonic 2 right now, but when the Press Release says that the game runs widescreen at 60fps, that applies to all aspects of the game… wink wink, nudge nudge,” Whitehead said.

The Transformed port for iOS will feature a refined World Tour mode to accentuate gaming on the go and also provides four-player local and online multiplayer.

Both titles are currently scheduled for release sometime next month. Grab some hot chocolate, a blanket, and your mobile device (these should undoubtedly make their way over to Android users too.) Sega is aiming to provide a comfy winter for mobile gamers. Let’s just hope Sonic 2 can make it in time for its Nov. 24th anniversary.

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Game News

Sonic 1 Remastered Releases Later This Month, First Gameplay Footage

Android Police reports that Taxman and Stealth’s remastering of Sonic the Hedgehog will be released on Android and presumably iOS as well later this month for $2.99. Those who have already bought Sonic 1 on iOS will get this release as a free update. The site also released some gameplay footage of the Android version, which confirms that this is indeed Sonic 1 in widescreen running nice and smooth.

Also it has shows that Sonic can indeed use the spindash in this new version. The music isn’t present in this video, presumably because they aren’t done making the tracks sound nicer yet. The menu isn’t present either, as they probably aren’t allowed to share the neat new features. Also no zone title cards for some reason.

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Game News

Sonic CD is PSN’s Top Dowloaded Game for December 2011

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications, and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Sony’s official U.S. PlayStation blog revealed that Sonic CD boomed past the competition and was the top purchased digital game on the PlayStation Store for the last month of 2011. Given the cult classic status it has amongst Sonic fans, seeing it bust out the gate strong is always a pleasant sight, though its feeling of familiarity with small enhancements for this HD age to give it a breath of fresh air certainly left us smiling.

The other story is that it no doubt shows success for Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead’s Retro Engine, utilized to power the game and all its modifications and more importantly sends a strong message to Sega that demand is out there and there is benefit to using the engine in not only new Sonic games, but various new titles in general given the engine’s versatility. Congratulations, Taxman!

If you’ve not gone and purchased Sonic CD or spread the word to friends who enjoy a quirky platformer, what are you waiting for? We’ll even GIVE you a copy of Sonic CD on Steam if you have a nice tale on how you got someone to play Sonic CD!

Reviews

Sonic CD: The Retro Review

Let’s level here for a second–if you’re a Sonic fan in any capacity whatsoever, you’ve heard of Sonic CD, the tried-and-true cult classic of the original Sonic “trilogy,” as it were. Released in 1993 for the SEGA Mega CD, spearheaded by Sonic’s original character designer Naoto Ohshima and developed by a completely different team than the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, the game has received wildly mixed views as both the best and worst Sonic game–and in some cases, platformer in general–of all time. Sporting surreal and immersive environments, a heavy focus on puzzles and exploration and an absolutely killer soundtrack overseas (courtesy of the collective genius that is Masafumi Ogata and Naofumi Hataya), Sonic CD stands out in a lot of ways from virtually every Sonic title that came after it. This is likely due to the fact that game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara had no involvement in it whatsoever, contrary to the original Sonic and the two sequels that followed it. Still, love it or hate it, Sonic CD has left a longstanding impact on those who played it–both good and bad. Continue Reading

Game News

Sonic The Hedgehog CD Achievements Revealed

Next month, the re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD will be in our digital hands. Available for just about everything (except for Nintendo users…yes, we understand your pain), this will certainly be the definitive release of the game. A choice of soundtracks, unlockable “Tails,”…how could you not want it? I know we’ll have plenty of time to gush over Christian Whitehead once it’s released, so for right now we just have to settle for what the Internet has given us today: courtesy of xbox360achievements.org, we now are able to see just what is in store to get that perfect gamer score. If you want to stay in the dark as to what the achievements are, turn back now.

Continue Reading

Game News

First Look At Sonic CD In The Wild

I don’t know how many people were aware that Gamestop was making their own gaming tablet until someone noticed that Sonic the Hedgehog CD was being included for free on it. I know I certainly didn’t, but then again I don’t really pay all that much attention to the tablet scene. Well, the tablets were meant to be released today, and already the demo units are up and running. Soon enough all the juicy details of this port will be up on YouTube. And by soon enough, I mean starting right now.

YouTube user Spindash54 woke up bright and early, deciding to record footage from his nearest GameStop with his trusty cell phone. While there is the same footage of Palmtree Panic we’ve all seen, we get our first look at the snazzy new menus within the release. Pausing has never looked so good, my friends. And the main menu, along with an extras list? Yes, you can make out the return of D.A. Garden and the Visual Mode on there, but two more remain with the illustrious question mark. One is assuredly Miles “Tails” Prower, but the other? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

All I do know is that Christian Whitehead certainly isn’t unlockable. Look at his name scroll by. You certainly deserve it, Tax ol’ boy.

Oh man is that Brand-new World in your credits sequence oh man that is fancy.

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Game News, Miscellaneous

PAX Show Floor Hands-On Preview of Sonic CD on Xbox Live Arcade

Sega’s latest classic title up for download services proves to be an important stepping stone for the company. Not only is it a port of a rare Mega/Sega CD title, the collaboration behind the project showcases the 10+ year old game running with optimizations and slight changes that help solidify Sonic CD’s place among the previous games. Not since Street Fighter has a game seen this level of work, both for those who prefer games to stay as true to the original as possible as well as please those who are looking for optimizations to solidify the functionality between the Sonic games. What was shown off in the PAX demo was the entirety of Palmtree Panic, with two special stages that would be randomly chosen for each playthrough for the sake of the demonstration. Honorable mention goes to our good buddy Ken Balough who was also there at the Xbox Live Arcade booth to help fill in the gaps of what to expect.

No doubt the most promising feature is the ability to change between two different spindash types for the game. However, the demo available only allowed for players to utilize the Sonic 2 & 3 Spindash feature. While the sound effects were still similar to the original version of the game, the spindash execution itself was much more streamlined compared to the original Sonic CD. You still have to charge up Sonic before he goes blasting off, but it is much easier to access places that would normally be more difficult to reach because of this optimization. Because of the new spindash feature, the screen does not pan in front of the player as it did in the original. In the final game, the screen will pan if the legacy spindash feature is turned on.

The gameplay otherwise feels exactly as it did in the original game. Load times are quicker for sure, enemies move as you expect, the stage gimmicks, such as Sonic going through the giant 360 degree loop, are also in place. Some additions including the 16:9 widescreen presentation that properly fills the screen in both regular and special stages help with the viewing area even without the camera panning in front of Sonic. The only real oddity I came across was the stage boss in Act 3; during the part where Eggman falls from the sky, the player can still damage the boss before he begins his attack movement.

The special stages in this version take advantage of the modern hardware, well, as modern as a flat “Mode 7-like” plane with UFOs flying around can get. The 3D plane turns much more smoothly as the UFOs scale properly in the 3D space. Item UFOs are much easier to identify; Light blue represents ones with shoes, and the darker bluer ones represent rings. Of course, the time bonus UFOs are still the same light blue with red bars and will appear when 20 seconds are left on the clock. The smoothness of which Sonic runs around, (or if he gets bounced around,) makes it easier to tell Sonic’s trajectory as he travels. Despite the upgrade in presentation, control is still fully digital, (i.e. no analog,) when turning Sonic left and right.

Another feature unique to this version is a filter effect for the graphics that blur the pixels for a more smoothed, anti-aliased look. Similar to Super 2xSai or Super Eagle filters that work on all the objects on screen. The filter works by applying them per object, however the effect seemed a bit blurry, and the smaller details of some sprites became a bit tough to make out. Ken did state that the feature was still being worked out as it was thrown in shortly before the PAX showing. For purists, players can easily turn the filter off and enjoy the original look of the game. In the demo the filter feature’s switch was mapped to the Left and Right Bumper buttons of the Xbox controller, which are likely to change into a menu function in the final build.

Despite the low volume of the TV, one could determine that the music was without a doubt the Japanese soundtrack. Unfortunately, Ken confirmed that the US soundtrack would sadly not be available in the final version. (Sidebar from me: You can use the Xbox 360’s built in music player to blare your rare Sonic Boom! Music CDs.) What Ken stated on the matter is that they are still working to see what would need to happen on the legal side of things to get the US soundtrack in the final game. While DLC is a possibility, he’d much rather try to include the music for free, whether they can get it in the final or added in through a patch.

While the game was being shown on the 360, Ken did state that the game is coming out on a host of platforms including PS3, Android, iOS devices and on the PC through Steam. A WiiWare version is currently not planned. The game is on track for a release later this year, and already looks very promising. Alas, no disc based version of the game will go on sale.

Finally, on a side note. Those of you who are at PAX make sure to go check out the booth. Last few times I checked over at Microsofts booth, Sonic CD was literally untouched. Go be a bro, check it out and say ‘hi’ to Ken. I bet he’s quite lonely!