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Sega's Thunder Blade makes a fierce return in the 3D Classics Series

May 13 // Alessandro Fillari
Originally released in 1987, Thunder Blade brings players to the helm of a heavily armed attack helicopter as they battle waves of foes in tanks, jets, and battleships across a variety of locations. Much like the other Sega offerings of its time, the story is kept light in favor of offering accessible and fast arcade-style gameplay. You're the good guy, everyone else is bad -- shoot them. Though unlike most other shoot-'em-up titles, Thunder Blade features a unique take on perspective, as the action will transition from an overhead angle to the over-the-shoulder look similar to Space Harrier during key sections of the stage. This dynamic switch of perspective made it a welcome fit for the 3D remaster. "We felt that this point of view was extremely well suited for a stereoscopic 3D conversion," said producer Yosuke Okunari. "When we went to actually build the game out in 3D, we found that it gained a very unique sense of actually being suspended in their air, and was even more impactful than the original game. This same thing happened with 3D Galaxy Force II, where by implementing stereoscopic 3D, the game's visual view point style transcended in to its final form, you could say." Thunder Blade has made the transition quite well, and the new hardware has done wonders for the gameplay. The frame rate is rock solid, and the controls for the 3DS are super sharp and make controlling the attack chopper feel very accurate. The left stick controls movement and altitude, while both shoulder buttons control speed (increase and decrease). Though the 3DS is a far cry from the control scheme found on the original arcade release -- which featured a flight stick and a special chair that sought to emulate the cockpit of a helicopter -- I can safely say that 3D Thunder Blade is a fine port, and the action still kept me on my toes during the hectic battles. Much like the other 3D Classic titles, Thunder Blade makes exquisite use out of the new 3D visuals and hardware. One of the most striking elements is its depth of view during altering perspectives, and the new 3D visuals do well to enhance the view and sense of movement during the action. Though the draw distances unfortunately haven't been improved, I was still quite impressed with how the visuals sharpened up. Interestingly enough, the transition to 3D meant having to design the new visuals around the new perspectives independently, and layering them on top of one another. "For this version, we had to implement 3D separately for each of these three types of scenes," said the producer. "The boss stages were particularly difficult. The original game actually had preset depths. Even more so than some of the Genesis games, there were a number of situations where we wouldn't really have to worry about if we left them in 2D, suddenly [having] paradoxical situations when we put them into 3D." "Thunder Blade has three types of gameplay for every stage. The first are scenes that are from the top-down, which allow you to fully appreciate and enjoy changing your helicopter’s altitude. The second are scenes that are 'over the shoulder,' which are reminiscent of After Burner II. The last are the boss battles, where you are not able to change your altitude but you are placed into a forced-scroll situation where you can control your speed and progression. There are no other games that allow you to experience these three types of gameplay all in a single game." Though they were keen on keeping the 3D remaster as it was with the original title, they did implement some new features -- both out of necessity and the desire to include new content with the original game. As some areas didn't take to the new 3D visuals too well, such as shadows glitching out and boss battles resulting in odd bugs, they had to be cut in order to preserve the experience. But in order to make up for this, they implemented a stage that's brand new to the original Thunder Blade. Okunari stated that the new level will be consistent with the rest of the game and really offer an exciting finish. "The new stage feels natural and uses the graphical style of the era, all while taking advantage of the stereoscopic 3D to deliver a scene where you flying into the center of a base, reminiscent of the final Death Star scene in Return of the Jedi. The boss has a really awesome background to it as well, so I encourage everyone to check it out." Not only that, there's the new Arrange mode which is unlocked after completing the arcade mode. In Arrange Mode, players will control an alternate helicopter with different weapons and tackle stages that have some additions to them. While the the original arcade mode is exciting, the extra content goes above and beyond what I expected. I was pretty damn pleased with how 3D Thunder Blade turned out. It helped to scratch that shooter itch I had after playing Space Harrier and After Burner, and Thunder Blade definitely holds its own. While the style and approach is a bit different, I still found it to be a welcome addition to the Classics series. And it's a fine 3D remaster, too. This title is a good one to close out the spring phase of the Classics series, and it'll definitely hold you over till the summer titles come a knocking.
Sega 3D Classics photo
Sans crazy arcade installation
It's been a real joy re-experiencing classic titles from Sega's past. With the recent releases of Outrun and Fantasy Zone II bringing back some serious nostalgia trips, the folks at Sega have still got plenty of 3D remasters ...

Sega financials photo
Sega financials

Sega calls Alien: Isolation sales 'weak' at 2.1 million


And a poor showing by Sonic Boom
May 11
// Brett Makedonski
Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation was one of the most well-received games of 2014, but "well-received" seemingly doesn't cut it for its publisher. Sega released its year-end financial results today, and in it expresse...
SEGA photo
SEGA

Sega axing various mobile games due to quality concerns


No word on the exact titles
May 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Sega will soon remove a number of its games from mobile marketplaces, the company announced. The company wouldn't say which games will be disappearing or how many, just that a number of them will be pulled from the Google Pla...
Sonic X-treme POV photo
Sonic X-treme POV

Sonic X-treme POV build leaked, releasing publicly


First time ever shown
May 06
// Jed Whitaker
For the first time ever, footage of the Point of View developed version of Sonic X-treme is being shown publicly, running on Sega Saturn hardware to boot. This build is going to be released for download on May 6, so if you'v...
Sega not at E3 photo
Sega not at E3

Sega continues to wind down relevancy, won't have an E3 booth


Japan's gaming giants lumber off
May 05
// Steven Hansen
As a business, Sega is doing fine. It has two mobile games that, on their own, each turn over $5 million a month. That's to say nothing of Sega's succesful non-gaming businesses. The company's projected revenue forecast on th...
Total War: Warhammer photo
Total War: Warhammer

Sega officially announces Total War: Warhammer


Missed opportunity for an easy portmanteau
Apr 22
// Darren Nakamura
Sure, we might have unofficially known about its existence since January, but Sega still wants to wow people with the reveal trailer for Total War: Warhammer. Pretend to be surprised! It's got the Warhammer staples: humans, ...
iam8bit art show photo
iam8bit art show

Mario, Sonic, and other gaming icons have put on some weight


The Famous Chunkies by Alex Solis
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
Outside of occasional gags like Doughnut Drake in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, I tend to forget how generally fit most mainstream videogame characters are. Leave it to artist Alex Solis to remind me of that fact with his upcom...
Virtua Tennis photo
Virtua Tennis

This is our last chance to buy Virtua Tennis 4 digitally


Sega's delisting the Steam version on April 23
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
Sega plans to pull Virtua Tennis 4 from Steam on April 23, 2015. After that point, the title (which is still tacked on to Games for Windows Live, darn it all) "will be unavailable to purchase digitally." Good news is tha...
Genesis on 3DS photo
Genesis on 3DS

A new batch of Sega Genesis games is getting the 3DS treatment


Streets of Rage 2, Gunstar Heroes, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Apr 14
// Brett Makedonski
Nintendo 3DS owners have a fairly solid stable of new videogames to choose from. Sega's going the other direction and offering experiences that are remembered by most of the bygone days of Genesis gaming. In fact, the movemen...
Alien glitch photo
Alien glitch

Maybe Ripley's arms are made of fire?


Amanda? More like Ash
Apr 13
// Brett Makedonski
In what was probably an alternate ending to Alien: Isolation, Amanda Ripley looked down and noticed that her arms were fire. How she went through decades of life without realizing that her limbs were constant chemical combus...
Project X Zone 2 photo
A follow-up to Sega, Capcom, and Namco's mashup
Back in 2013, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Sega teamed up to give us a healthy serving of fanservice in the form of Project X Zone for the 3DS. Our own Kyle MacGregor called it a "love letter from Japan," and I think that'...

Dead or Alive photo
Dead or Alive

Shenmue enters Dead or Alive 5 thanks to mods


Now do the forklift
Apr 07
// Jordan Devore
Forget the Dead or Alive 5 Last Round nude mods. This is where it's at. A modder named Esppiral used their retexturing skills to turn DoA's Jacky Bryant into Shenmue star Ryo Hazuki, and Akira Yuki into Longsun Zhao. Even the...
Gross Sonic statue photo
Gross Sonic statue

Make an unholy shrine to Sonic out of bones


Preferably chicken bones, but whatever works
Apr 06
// Jordan Devore
In this episode of Craft Lab, hosts Anna Akana and Greg Aronowitz craft a Sonic the Hedgehog statue partially out of chicken bones. It's cut down the middle to show his insides. Eww. If I went into someone's home and saw one of these on display, I wouldn't expect to leave alive. Would've been less creepy if they had kept Sonic's legs nice and lanky.
SEGA Steam sale photo
SEGA Steam sale

Steam SEGA Super Bundle gives you $370 worth of games for $80


There are also a bunch of separate bundles if only certain things interest you
Mar 27
// Steven Hansen
Sega is sailing onto Steam with sales this sweekend. On this page you'll find a general list of things on sale. It is deceptive because a $2.50 Jet Set Radio or a $6.80 Valkyria Chronicles share as much screen space as the "S...
Dreamcast 3DS theme photo
Dreamcast 3DS theme

This Sega Dreamcast theme for 3DS is legit


Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
The first time I booted up my Dreamcast with The House of the Dead 2, I believe it was, I thought the machine was broken. I'd ordered it along with a bundle of used games and controllers on eBay, so that was a real possibili...
Japanese sales charts photo
Japanese sales charts

Yakuza 0 tops Japanese charts, spurs PS4 sales


Western release still in question
Mar 18
// Kyle MacGregor
Sega's open-world beat-'em-up Yakuza 0 was the top-selling game in Japan last week, debuting with a combined 236,329 physical sales across both PS3 and PS4, according to Media Create. While the lion's share of purchases came ...
Valkyria Chronicles deal photo
Valkyria Chronicles deal

PSA: Valkyria Chronicles (PC) for $6.80, which is real cheap


One of my favorite turn-based strategy RPGs
Mar 12
// Steven Hansen
Hey. Because I'm an idiot, I missed out on picking up Valkyria Chronicles for $8 two weeks ago. Because I am handsome, cool, talented and have nice eyes, Valkyria Chronicles is now on sale on the videogame website GamersGate ...

Sega brings back OutRun with style for the 3D Classics Series

Mar 11 // Alessandro Fillari
For those not quite familiar, OutRun is an arcade-style racing game that tasks players with racing their shiny Ferrari Testarossa across a stretch of land. At several points, you'll be able to choose which path you'd like to take, which will take you to a brand new setting that you'd likely not see in previous playthroughs. This nonlinear gameplay was rather unconventional for a racing title, which made it quite popular with arcade goers who wished for repeat plays. Over the years, it's developed quite a legacy for Sega, and it has even inspired musicians like Kavinsky for its portrayal of style in high-speed. It was a rather seminal title for Sega, earning a lot praise and finding much success in the arcades. Developed by Yu Suzuki, the creator of Shenmue, Virtua Fighter, and After Burner, it focused on fast gameplay while giving players a soothing and equally pulsing soundtrack to listen to. It even got several followups over the years. But with this remaster of OutRun, the folks at Sega had to put in extra work to retain the the original's style and feel without watering down the experience. "OutRun and After Burner II are two games that were the most important games in Sega’s history through the 1980s. However, due to a number of reasons, there was a time when there were no opportunities to port these two titles to other platforms," said producer Yosuke Okunari. "The most important thing for these kinds of games, and this is apparent from a video of the game you may have seen, is not to take these important games and try to remake them completely from scratch, but rather to recreate the playstyle as faithful to the original as you possibly can. And because the game preserves the feeling of the era it was made in, that history and the memories of those times can be communicated to everyone." During my playthrough, I immediately noticed how much smoother it felt. I played a bit of game when I younger in the arcades, so seeing this in action on a handheld was kind of a trip. And with the 3D enabled, the game doesn't lose performance one bit. It was impressive to see that a super fast racing game like OutRun would be able to make the transition so well. Honestly, it felt a bit hypnotic going over 200 km an hour. Once you're in the zone, you're kinda in a trance. Okunari-san explained that with the success of the previous titles on 3D Classics, they were able to tackle the necessary hurdles porting OutRun would take. "The 3DS is a notable piece of hardware, but it’s not a console that’s particularly well suited for creating faithful ports," he explained. "And so we were not able to include these two titles when we first began the development for the Sega 3D Classics. Only through the success of the first batch were we able to obtain the technical know-how and development budget to work on these two titles. It’s because of all the fans’ support." Often times, the 3DS tends to have some trouble with handling ports of classic or even recent titles. Which made porting the game, despite its age, somewhat of a challenge. One of the techniques that titles like After Burner and Space Harrier use is a way of presenting 2D sprites as pseudo-3D visuals, which is done with unique sprite-scaling designs. But in order to keep it consistent with other titles, the developers had to double the performance on OutRun, upgrading it from thirty frames per second to sixty. "Tying to get squeeze out more performance that the original title supported was a very difficult undertaking," said the producer. "Simply straight porting the game as is would prove to be a challenge in and of itself, but we had to optimize and improve the programming so it would run twice the speed as the original. Also, we added two new songs to the game, and made a point that they had to blend naturally and feel completely natural in the game, which was also a great challenge. Essentially using the same sound sources as the original, while ensuring that they would sound different and unique compared to the original three songs. New songs in the style and feel of the era when the game was originally released, back in the '80s." It's certainly eye-opening to see the amount of work that goes into remasters for classic titles. I supposed with the technology we have now, it's easy to think of products and software from the past as easy to make, or even easy to transition onto current hardware. Given the limitations they had and parameters they had to work within, I'm very impressed with what I played. I spent a good amount of time with OutRun on the 3DS, and it played like a dream. I highly recommend giving it a shot, especially if you're a first-timer. The sense of speed is just as sharp as it was back in the arcade days and experiencing it within the palms of your hands is real rush.
Sega 3D Classics photo
Race with flair on March 12
One of the great things about Sega's ongoing 3DS Classics series is that it allows retro games from the publisher's past to find a new audience. And given its rich and diverse history of quirky and fan-favorite titles, there'...

Sega x Game Freak photo
Sega x Game Freak

Sega and Game Freak join forces for Tembo the Badass Elephant


PC, PS4, and Xbox One this summer
Mar 11
// Jordan Devore
Game Freak (Pokémon, Drill Dozer) and Sega (Sonic Runners, Sonic Boom) are collaborating on Tembo the Badass Elephant, a side-scrolling action game about a commando elephant who will seemingly level entire cities on h...
GDC photo
GDC

Creative Assembly reveals inital pitch video for Alien: Isolation


See the never before shown video that started development
Mar 04
// Alessandro Fillari
Alien: Isolation was one of my biggest surprises of last year. As huge fan of the film series, I always wanted to play a title that emulated the original movie's tone and style. Though the action of the James Cameron-he...
GDC photo
GDC

Never seen Alien: Isolation third-person footage shown at GDC


Gameplay showing abandoned alternate camera set-up shown during panel
Mar 04
// Alessandro Fillari
One of the great joys of attending GDC is going to panels conducted by developers talking about your favorite games. Not only will you learn new and exciting details about the development, but you might even see somethi...
Sonic the Hedgehog photo
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic Team lead plans to continue making Sonic for consoles


Boom, there it is
Mar 01
// Jed Whitaker
Recently, there have been rumors going around that Sega would be leaving the console market and only releasing games for mobile devices. Takashi Iizuka, the Sonic Team lead, put that rumor to rest in an interview with 4g...
Deals photo
Deals

$8 Valkyria Chronicles returns, big Sega sale including Shining Force II, Golden Axe


Segahhhh
Feb 27
// Dealzon
Based on recent reports, Sega is now focusing on digital titles. So it's not much of a surprise that Green Man Gaming has launched a huge Sega sale with discounts on recent titles such as Valkyria Chronicles and Alien: Isolat...
Sega/Capcom crossover photo
Sega/Capcom crossover

Sega-Capcom crossover comic 'Worlds Unite' features characters we haven't seen in years


Got the world in my wingspan
Feb 26
// Jason Faulkner
Originally billed as another crossover of the Sonic and Mega Man universes in the vein of their Worlds Collide storyline, Archie Comics' upcoming Worlds Unite crossover is shaping up to be so much more. Not only will Sonic an...
Valkyria Duel photo
Valkyria Duel

Sega shuts down Valkyria Chronicles mobile game


Social card game Valkyria Duel hits the end of the line
Feb 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Sega and NHN are terminating service for their card-based social game Valkyria Chronicles Duel. The lights began going out today, as the companies have already discontinued sales of the browser and mobile game's virtual curre...
Sonic X-Treme photo
Sonic X-Treme

Fans cobble together playable demo for abandoned Sonic X-Treme


Canceled for being too extreme
Feb 26
// Steven Hansen
The titled epitome of '90s raditude done in by hubris, Sonic X-Treme, was meant to be the first full 3D Sonic -- a Mario 64 colleague -- and the first of SEGA's star series for its Saturn system. Like so many subsequent 3D S...
Archie photo
Archie

Archie's Mega Man and Sonic 'Worlds Unite' crossover will be bigger than we thought


More characters
Feb 24
// Chris Carter
[Update: we now have the full image available in the gallery below.] This year, Sega and Capcom will join forces yet again in a Mega Man meets Sonic Archie comic crossover. This time is billed as 'Worlds Unite,' which wi...
All you need is Rez photo
All you need is Rez

Note to self: Replay Rez at least once a year


'The journey will begin anew'
Feb 23
// Jordan Devore
On the rare occasion I use my Xbox 360, I'm amazed the thing still works. It's laughably slow to boot up, full of games as it is, and having gone through several broken systems last generation, there's a lingering fear that t...
Hatsune Miku: PM2 photo
Hatsune Miku: PM2

Beard View: Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2


I know too much about Hatsune Miku and I don't even know that much
Feb 20
// Jed Whitaker
Oh hello Destructoid! Its your old beard buddy Jed here, and I guess I'm officially part of the Dtoid team now. Are you proud yet dad!? This time on Beard View we're taking a look at Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2, the Vocalo...
Sonic Runners photo
Sonic Runners

Finally, a Sonic Runners trailer with all gameplay


It looks good if the microtransactions don't ruin it
Feb 19
// Chris Carter
"It looks good if the microtransactions don't ruin it." Why do I get my hopes up for Sonic games? Am I part of the dreaded "Sonic Cycle?" Sometimes. Every so often DIMPS or Sonic Team will crank out a good game like Gen...

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