Sometimes, you gotta take it nice and slow. You don't have to speed through life all the time. No stress, my friends. No stress.
Soothe your weary joints by drawing a warm bath, lighting some incense, then playing this Sonic...
I know! But before you get your hopes up, let's go through this one step at a time. Game designer Ed Annunziata, the creator of Ecco the Dolphin, tweeted this last week: "Ecco fans, I need you to follow & tweethank @scott...
Following the introductory video that James "Angry Video Game Nerd" Rolfe uploaded the other day, here comes the epic showdown: Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis! Which is the undisputed champion?
Obviously, there is no winner...
As the Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe can be funny, crude, abrasive, or annoying, depending on who you're asking. But when he steps away from that persona and simply shares his childhood experiences, he's a pretty mellow...
[Header by Ashley Davis]
Every other videogame franchise seems to be celebrating a major anniversary lately. However, there's one little series that seems to have slipped everyone's mind. Everyone except Dtoider TheManchild, ...
Siliconera has reported on a rumor that the funkiest aliens ever to be stranded on Earth will soon make their way to PlayStation Network. According to their sources, ToeJam & Earl and ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotr...
Is it possible for cold, hard videogame technology to be loveable and sweet? What do you think, Beemo?
I curse the powers that be every night that my Game Boy doesn't sprout legs, go to soccer practice, and make fart sounds w...
Ecco the Dolphin inspires many feelings: awe, sadness, regret, absolute terror. I hate to use the word "experience" -- such a loaded cliche -- but Ecco is indeed an experience of the mind and body. Artist Andrew Norman Wilso...
Considering this is the fifth collection of Sega Genesis games to hit Steam, I was anxious to see what the overall quality of the offering would be. It's surprisingly not all over the place! Part of that can be attributed to ...
[Update: It's now available and it's free!]
As a Sega Genesis child, I will forever be enamored by the crunchy sound of FM synth music. The SNES had crystal-clear audio, sure, but it wasn't raw and gritty in the way the Genes...
Way back at the start of 2011, we told you about a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 fan remake that was in the works. The appropriately named Sonic 2 HD is exactly what it sounds like: the classic Genesis game we all remember, updated w...
Sega and Westone's Wonder Boy series was really strange when it came to naming conventions. Wonder Boy started visiting Monster Land and Monster World, and before you know it, Sega put out a Genesis game with the&nb...
It's a funkadelic edition of "Throwback Thursday" today on Mash Tactics. King Foom is wobbling into the Sega Genesis cult classic ToeJam & Earl. The titular heroes are stranded on Earth, and the player must venture throug...
It's a ghoulish edition of 'Throwback Thursday' today on Mash Tactics. King Foom is spraying through the 16 bit action horror onslaught Zombies Ate My Neighbors! This Konami title featured two radical teenagers, Zeke and Juli...
It's sure to be a nasty 'Throwback Thursday' on Mash Tactics. King Foom has invited some friends over for some couch multiplayer in Mutant League Football and Hockey on the Sega Genesis. Tune in for old times' sake and enjoy ...
Chad James of ScrewAttack is a big damn hero. He and his father took a truckload of copies of Shaq Fu, the infamous Shaquille O'Neal fighting game, to the gun range for some target practice. The video that resulted from that...
It's time for 'Throwback Thursday' on Mash Tacitcs! The retro romp this time is Rocket Knight Adventures, and its sequel Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2 for the Genesis console. A series about a possum equipped with a s...
[DOLPHINS! The Manchild writes a great post about the ocean and Ecco the Dolphin. As always, remember to load your own blogs into the Community Blogs and tag them with the "Bloggers Wanted Essay Response" tag, and y...
As you're probably well aware, emulation is a fantastically convenient way for us to play our old games but it does suffer from a few problems. Many of those issues surround the legality of playing copies of ROMs downloaded f...
Above you'll see an emulator running Sonic and Knuckles on the PlayStation Vita. Woah. That was quick! But, before you get too excited, know that this is actually going through the Vita's PSP emulator, so its emulation insid...
Dtoid's little drummer boy NukaCola is back with a brand new drum cover, this time of one of favorite game series ever, Rocket Knight. Specifically, he covers the opening level themes of both Sparkster on the SNES and Rocket...
Between the recent digitally distributed re-release of Sonic CD on consoles, and the still-funny dumb running Sonic Tumblr, I'm in the mood to throw our hedgehog friend some love. Today, many of the well-remembered Sonic game...
Dec 15 //
Sonic CD (PlayStation Network, Xbox 360)Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaReleased: December 14, 2011MSRP: $4.99 / 400 Microsoft Points
The power of CD storage didn't bring anything new to the Sonic franchise. Sonic CD was still a 16-bit title, and it ended up looking a lot like the previous Sega Genesis releases. The 'new' came with the game's time-travel mechanic. In the game, if Sonic runs past a marker and hits top speed (how very Back to the Future!) he can jump to either the future or the past to explore an alternate version of the stage, which could be slightly better or worse than the present-day version. Rather than just running through stages to get the most rings and the best time, players could visit the past to fix the future. This made for a Sonic with a bit more depth than its predecessors.
In my mind, Sonic CD was notable for another reason. I don't know if Sega thought that adopters of their CD technology had a higher tolerance for cheap deaths or what, but there's plenty in Sonic CD. This game is packed with more hidden traps, endless loops and pop-out enemies than any other of the 16-bit titles. Sonic has always been a series that wants you to learn its levels to balance speed with survival. This one makes no apologies. I appreciate the stiff challenge, even if it did have me screaming at my television all last night.
This port is pixel perfect, so it's just as good as I remember. The control is tight and I have no issues to speak of. There's no HD upgrades, updates or control tweaks, and I'm happy about that. There was nothing wrong with Sonic CD in its original form, and I'm glad that Sega didn't mess with it.
There are a few upgrades and other neat features for this digital version, though. There are subtle visual filters (smooth, sharp, and classic) in the options, but they don't seem to do much. Series fans will appreciate that the Spin Dash is a selectable option in the menus now. Beating the game once unlocks the option to play as Tails; Sonic's flying buddy makes coin collection and obstacle dodging much easier. Finally, Achievements/Trophies have been added. The Achievement name for making your first time jump would make Doc Brown happy.
The soundtracks are another new option, letting you switch between the Japanese and English releases. I'd recommend trying both. The English soundtracks features the work of Spencer Nielsen, with its crowning piece being the fantastic opening vocal song, "Sonic Boom," shown above. The Japanese soundtrack is a better collection of songs overall, with some fine examples of 1990's urban music as interpreted by Japan in the mix. Again, both soundtracks are a delight.
I'd like to think of this release as a sort of gift to the Sonic fan from Sega. Here's an older game that many may have missed. Sega wants fans to remember it because it was a high-quality release from them. They also would like those that missed it to experience one of the best games in the franchise. To miss Sonic CD would be to miss some of the franchise's best (and strangest) level designs. They were really creative with this one. You would also miss the race with Metal Sonic by not playing this game, and that would be a shame.
If this is all that's changed, then why all the excitement? I'll tell you why: Sonic CD is a great game. I paid $300 for an attachment and $50 for the game back in the early '90s to see Sonic at his best. Now all you need is $5 and a few minutes for a file download. Sega could have easily charged twice as much for this much-loved classic.
I'm dating myself here, but playing Sonic CD again really took me back. It took me back to a time when I had saved up money from my part-time job (and borrowed a bit more) to buy that really ugly Ver. 2 "sidecar" Sega CD atta...
[Update: According to Capcom Unity, this is also coming to Europe and the States. I still think it's a case of "too little, too late," but at least the West isn't getting completely screwed over again.]
Son of a less than cl...
Dtoider Patrick a.k.a. NukaCola has a regular feature in which he takes listener-requested videogame music and layers a thick slather of live drums atop the original track. We've featured him on Weekend Destructainment in th...
"You got a Secret Bonus Point!"
I doubt there was much of any demand for an fan arrangement album covering relatively obscure Genesis game Dynamite Headdy, but I'm not complaining! Certainly, this is one of the most surprisi...
Aug 19 //
To clarify, I had no beef whatsoever with the Super Nintendo during my youth. Prior to its release, I was a perfect little Nintendo foot soldier -- I had my Japanese Famicom, a Game Boy, several Super Mario Bros. Super Show VHS tapes, and a subscription to Nintendo Power. I was more than ready to upgrade to the next generation of Nintendo home entertainment.
Then my Hispanic heritage kicked in.
Perhaps this is purely anecdotal, but have you ever noticed that Latin-American gaming trends are the polar opposite of those in the States? Latinos loved the Master System and were therefore more inclined to advance along the family line. Latinos also prefer The King of Fighters to Street Fighter and Pump It Up to Dance Dance Revolution. I don't know why! They just do!
Anyway, during a trip to Puerto Rico to visit family, my cousins led me over to their new Sega Genesis. I had occasionally seen some commercials about a speedy blue rodent with "attitude," but I didn't think much of them. All of a sudden, here I was in a darkened room under the glow of the television screen, watching my cousins race around colorful zones as that very same critter. At the end of the third act, we would defeat "The Monster" -- no one bothered to read the manual, okay? -- and save Sonic's woodland pals.
Guess what I wanted for my next birthday?
Back home, I soon discovered that I stood alone among my circle of friends regarding my console selection. In addition, I now had a subscription to a magazine that advertised new games I couldn't play. I wasn't about to get new friends, nor had I any interest in lesser periodicals like "LamePro," so I became isolated in my own little gaming sphere.
Being the greedy little brat I was, I would frequently suggest to my parents that they gift me an SNES to supplement my Genesis. Yeah, that wasn't happening. This was the '90s, guys! Unless your family had cash oozing from the floorboards, you weren't getting more than one next-generation console. That would be like an average family in the '50s owning more than one TV set!
I wasn't too worked up, though. I had Sonic, Alien Storm, Castle of Illusion, and other fantastic games to keep me company. Every few weekends, I'd head down to Blockbuster Video for a game rental; because I couldn't keep myself abreast of the latest Sega releases as I could Nintendo, I made plenty of shot-in-the-dark selections with often positive results. Plus, since I was the only kid around rockin' the Genesis, I was feeling pretty damn special.
Still, I knew I was missing out on something substantial. Because the legacy of the SNES is more prominent than that of the Genesis, it's easy to forget that two were on relatively equal footing. Outside of Japan, sales of both devices were neck-and-neck in every region, and in the US, Genesis software regularly dominated the monthly sales charts. Despite this balance, it's the higher-profile game library of the SNES that is more fondly remembered today.
Why was the SNES getting all the sequels to these great franchises while the Genesis was stuck with the spin-offs? Contra: Hard Corps is probably my favorite game in the series, but everyone else only gushes about Contra III. Similarly, what about The Hyperstone Heist versus Turtles in Time? And how come the only Mega Man game released for my system was that mysterious compilation that, at the time, I barely heard whispered in the wind?
Whenever I would visit someone's home and notice an SNES nestled under the TV, it was like finding El Dorado -- a mythical wonder that I only knew about from stories. Its colors were more vibrant, its music more melodious than anything I had ever seen or heard. Was I worthy enough to bear witness upon this electronic majesty?
I would only have a couple of hours at most to absorb as much as I could, so I didn't let that time go to waste. I explored, I experimented, I giggled like a bright-eyed schoolboy (which I was), imprinting these titles on the happiest recesses of my mind. Super Mario World was an adventure without end, featuring so many twists and alternate paths to discover. Joe & Mac was an insane co-op romp through a land of comically rendered dinosaurs. Buster Busts Loose was just as manic and surprising as the Tiny Toons themselves. And F-Zero was... well, fast!
My friends helped me along my digital journey, introducing me to the games I fantasized about but never had an opportunity to experience on my own, but it was through my best friend Kyle that I was able to tangle with the big guns! During class, he would frequently bring up his love for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Admittedly, the concept of an open-world adventure with no explicit level structure sounded absolutely boring. I wished he would shut up and let me finish doodling custom Sonic zones on this oversized manila paper!
One Friday, I went to his house for a sleepover, and he promised to demonstrate Zelda for me. Might as well let him get it out of his system, I thought. However, what I saw was unlike anything I had seen before. Here was a grand world filled with cavernous dungeons and tools both whimsical and formidable! His previous words of adulation didn't even begin to do the game justice!
The only thing that stopped us from playing through the night was Kyle's mom, but we weren't about to let her curfew completely curb our emancipation of Hyrule! We set the alarm clock to wake us up at friggin' 6 AM in order to get in a few solid hours of game time before breakfast For kicks, we even slapped on a Game Genie and ran around Turtle Rock with reckless abandon because we could, dammit!
I never thought to look for any Zelda equivalents on the Genesis because I didn't think anything else could adequately compare. I hear good things about Landstalker, and maybe I'll give it a spin some day. I'm not expecting much, though.
Kyle's benevolence didn't end there -- a subsequent sleepover would feature Mega Man X as the centerpiece. I read about this one! You fight animal robots, right? What's this? An introductory stage before you even choose which boss to fight? A villain you have no choice but to lose against? And that music!? You let me down again, Sega Genesis!
Perhaps it's the cliche that the grass is always greener on the other side, but I had different expectations when it came to Genesis and SNES software, always in favor of the latter. Donkey Kong Country looked so real, man! What was the Sega equivalent? Uh... Vectorman, I guess? It was one of the most impressive graphical showcases on the Genesis, sure, but I still felt a little foolish in that judgment once I sampled the plight of the Kongs firsthand.
Well into the PlayStation era, my brother received a SNES of his own, but it was too late by then. Toys "R" Us and Blockbuster were barely stocking those carts anymore, save for whatever could be scavenged out of the bargain bin. It was the only major Nintendo hardware that I didn't own during its height, and from the looks of it, I missed out on Nintendo's finest hour. But do I regret my choices? Nah.
I keep thinking that the biggest reason for my SNES fascination was precisely because I only got to play it so rarely. Had the situation been reversed, it might have been the Genesis upon which I gazed with the same wide-eyed wonder. Regardless, this particular arrangement ensured that those brief sessions with the SNES would be all the more valuable. I think I can live with that.
So from the Genesis Kid, here's to you, Super Nintendo! Our moments together may have been fleeting, but those moments will forever shine brightest!
It's the 20th anniversary of the release of the Super Nintendo! To celebrate, Destructoid is offering a week's worth of SNES-related content. Join us for "Seven days of the Super Nintendo!"
If you ask me, the idea that the Xb...
It seems that a cool custom Sega Genesis based on "Invader! Squid Girl" has spawned from the Japanese 2chan image boards. This particular anime series is relatively popular, though I've unfortunately never seen it. ...
Jun 25 //
Jim Sterling 10. Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog, being a rampant whore, would appear in all sorts of spin-offs over the years, but one of the earliest and most successful was Sonic Spinball. At its heart, the game was a fairly unremarkable pinball experience, with a few notable differences -- chiefly the ability to have limited control over the "ball" and a set goal for each of the four interestingly designed tables.
Being developed mostly by Polygames, Sonic Spinball had a slightly different feel and visual style when compared to other Sonic games. Nevertheless, it was a fun little diversion and one that can still be enjoyed today. It's nothing that actual pinball fans could ever call good, but as a Sonic-themed bit of silliness, it does the job.
9. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
You'll notice that the early picks in this list stretch the definition of "Sonic game" a little bit. Unfortunately, it takes some blurring of the lines to get this list up to a solid ten. With that in mind, it's worth noting that Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine doesn't even feature Sonic. It does feature Scratch and Grounder though, and those chaps really need to stage a comeback.
Mean Bean takes the form of a Puyo Puyo color-matching puzzler. The Scenario Mode has the player face off against various Badniks, and they're all rather merciless. In fact, the whole game is sadistic. You can be winning by a mile, only to have a lucky combo from the enemy snatch their board from the jaws of defeat and transfer a load of unmatchable "refugee" beans over to your side.
This game was fun, but boy was it an asshole.
8. SEGA Superstars Tennis
Shut up! The game was pretty damn good.
Okay, so being a SEGA-oriented game, it wasn't strictly a Sonic title but let's be honest -- the game was predominantly about the blue hedgehog and various other Sonic characters. Like I said, I was desperate for games that were both Sonic-related and good. I'll take what I can get.
The game succeeded by keeping things simple. At its core, Superstars Tennis is a fairly standard little sports title, and that's why it works. The only convolution comes in the form of super powers that are granted to each character. Outside of the regular matches were a whole bunch of minigames that were nearly all surprisingly great fun.
Plenty of fan service, solid tennis action and great minigames. A far better title than many will give it credit for.
7. Sonic the Hedgehog
The original, though not necessarily the best. While Sonic the Hedgehog was, for its time, a kick up the ass of platform adventures, it has not aged with quite the same level of grace as the rest of Sonic's Genesis outings. The lack of a now obligatory Spin Dash move, sluggish pace, and respectively drab levels don't make for a truly great game, but it's still a decent one when regarded in context.
It's certainly not bad, and at least deserves a place for its legacy. As the starting point for the series, it laid a lot of groundwork and helped cultivate the kind of gameplay that would make Sonic a quasi-legend. Plus, there are a few standout levels -- most notably Starlight Zone, which had a fantastic theme tune and some cool little gimmicks.
It was easily outclassed by its direct sequels, but the game has earned due respect.
6. Sonic Colors DS
Sonic Colors on the Wii was sub-par nonsense and that's scientific fact, proven by science. The DS version? Pretty good, as it goes.
A lot of this is due to the increased influence of Dimps on the title. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Dimps needs to be the primary Sonic developer and it needs some creative freedom, because the studio seems to understand what made the games so good to a degree that Sonic Team does not.
While not totally free of the extraneous gimmickry that has marred most console-based Sonic titles, Sonic Colors DS was at least a more grounded and sensible platformer with very little fluff, and that's why it was actually fun as opposed to infuriating. Decent level design that puts the focus on platforming skill over pure speed is what makes Colors DS a superior offering, and while a few frustrating levels and pointless narrative scenes remain, it is overall a pretty great offering.
5. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
While Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 still remains a controversial game among the Sonic fan community -- many members of which despised it for the most arbitrary and ludicrous of reasons -- Sonic 4 was and is a lot of fun. Was it the huge mega comeback that everybody longed for? Not quite. What it was, however, was the first great Sonic game to hit a console in ages, and those who didn't demand the Moon floating in a bucket of Wish Water were left satisfied.
There are some definite low points. For example, there is a potentially excellent level in which Sonic rides decks of playing cards, which is summarily ruined at the end with an awfully dodgy pitfall section that undoes all the good the stage had previously done. A few bosses and gimmicky challenges reek of the game trying too hard to remain overly complex, when a simpler approach would be better.
Still, the overall experience is terrific, and that's despite the game's Zones being based on some of the least enjoyable levels found in the Genesis games. It takes a lot to make anything based on Sonic 2's Metropolis zone fun, but Sonic 4 managed it. That's worthy of a damn medal.
4. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is viewed by some as the best Genesis game, but I always felt it lacked the same tight level design and unique nineties aesthetic as Sonic 2. It was still a solid followup though, with levels that ranged from great to decent, and a number of inventive boss encounters.
The only real downside to Sonic 3 is how obviously significant the focus on graphics was. There's a whole section in Hydrocity Zone that puts Sonic on rotating plinths. From a gameplay perspective, it's dull stuff, but you got to see Sonic rotate a full 360 degrees, and that was the point. Blast Processing, bitch!
While Sonic 3 is a fun game and worthy of its place among the series' best, it's interesting to note that, even this early on, there are signs of the overbearing gimmickry that would kill later games. Marble Garden Zone, for instance, was a boring, slow-paced mess of spinning disc platforms that could barely be controlled by the player, while Carnival Night Zone featured the barrel of mystery that required pressing Up and Down on the D-Pad to maneuver -- a trick that the player is never told.
But ... Sonic 3 had Ice Cap Zone, so all is forgiven.
3. Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic & Knuckles is, ostensibly, the second half of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. They were supposed to be one game from the outset, after all. Sonic & Knuckles has the edge over Sonic 3 thanks to more memorable levels, an excellent soundtrack (Flying Battery and Sky Sanctuary are amazing) and, of course, a second storyline that featured Knuckles.
Of course, both games can be considered as sharing third and fourth place once you lock the cartridges together to create Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
As good as the game was, it could have really done without the stage involving ghosts and doors that would slowly close shut. Screw that stage a thousand times.
2. Sonic Advance
Sonic Advance is the reason why I say Dimps has a better handle on the series than Sonic Team, because it did exactly what New Super Mario Bros. would do several years later -- it kept things simple.
Adopting a "back to basics" approach, Dimps put its energy into proper platforming design and utilized speed as a reward, not as a central gameplay device. Its range of levels and excellent soundtrack evoked feelings of old school Sonic titles and ensured its place as a game I still happily play to this day. At the time, people would ask if Sonic could ever make a comeback. In 2000, he did so ... at least for a time.
Unfortunately, a certain demographic whined that Sonic Advance was "too slow" because they didn't have a clue what had made Sonic games good. The non-existent problem was "fixed" by Dimps, leading to a pair of inferior Sonic Advance sequels that did away with good platforming and focused on running fast. It ruined what could have been a great series, because idiots didn't realize that Sonic Advance wasn't "too slow by Sonic standards" -- it had brought the speed BACK to standard.
As far as I'm concerned, Sonic Advance was the first authentic Sonic experience since the Genesis days and, more importantly, it was the last. Time will tell if Sonic Generations can change that.
1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
I hate to end the list on a highly predictable note, but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is still the best Sonic game made to date and up there with the very best that platformers have to offer. Never has a Sonic been so consistent, with nearly every level being intensely playable, even today, and a range of unforgettable boss encounters.
Sonic 2 featured some of the best Zones in the entire franchise -- the speedy Chemical Plant, the charming Hilltop, and the delightfully oddball Oil Ocean to name but three. Had the game not insisted on THREE ACTS of the dreadful Metropolis Zone, it may well have been perfect. Seriously, three acts? It's like they knew how awful that Zone was and wanted to punish everybody out of sheer cruelty. Wankers.
Anyway, there's a reason why I still play Sonic 2 up until the end of Oil Ocean before switching it off -- it's just that damn good. A run of excellent and varied zones, the best soundtrack in the series, and of course the playable Tails to keep younger brothers occupied instead of bugging you to play the game next.
Yet SEGA does all it can to NOT do things the way they worked best. I'll never understand that, but at least SEGA's released it ten billion times, so I'll never be far away from the best Sonic game ever made.
Sonic the Hedgehog turned twenty years old this week, and there was much rejoicing. Well ... there was a bit of rejoicing. There was something, at least.
To keep everybody in the Sonic spirit, I have consulted the great...