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Found 33 results

  1. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Sonic Mania

    Developers: PagodaWest Games, Headcannon Publisher: Sega Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date(s): August 15th, 2017; August 29th, 2017 (PC) ESRB: E for Everyone Note: This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game Let’s be real for a second; Sonic the Hedgehog hasn’t exactly had the best of luck over the years. Ever since he entered the 3D realm, our favorite supersonic hedgehog has stumbled a few too many times for his own good. That’s not to say that there aren’t any good 3D Sonic games, but… well, let’s just say the blue blur hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record (and I’m not talking about literal track records here, as I’m sure he breaks them all). Sonic the Hedgehog in 2D, however, has almost always been great, at least in my opinion. So, you can imagine my excitement when Sonic Mania was first announced. I’ve awaited a game like this for what feels like an eternity. In fact, I’d say I’ve been waiting for Sonic Mania ever since I beat Sonic 3 & Knuckles, I just didn’t know what it would be called. And once it was released, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the 90s again. Not only does it feel like a true entry in Sonic’s Genesis era, but with today’s technological advancements, Sonic Mania performs even better, too. Some extremely creative level designs, an insanely good soundtrack, and all the nostalgia you could ever ask for makes Sonic Mania one game no Sonic fan should miss. As with most of the classic Sonic games, Sonic Mania doesn’t really focus too much on story. There is a story being told, but it takes a back seat to just about every other aspect of the game. The gist is that, following the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Sonic and Tails have noticed a strong energy reading similar to the Chaos Emeralds coming from Angel Island, so they head on over there. Of course, Dr. Eggman (who else?) and the Hard-Boiled Heavies – a group of robots created by the bad doctor – noticed the signal too, so they made sure to get there first. What they find is a gem known as the Phantom Ruby, which enables Eggman and the Heavies with immense power, including the ability to warp Sonic & co. through time and space. And thus, the possibility to replay old stages becomes possible. Sonic Mania is more than just a collection of old levels, of course. While the development team most definitely repurposed some of the old levels’ designs, they also made sure to change some things. For example, while the Act 1 stages of the classic zones are very reminiscent to the originals, Act 2 tends to be a brand-new level entirely. Aside from that, there are also some new zones you will only see in Sonic Mania (at least for now). And if I’m being honest here, I’d even wager that the newer stuff has the better level design (please don’t kill me…). As for how Sonic Mania controls, it’s exactly what you would expect. From the simple running, jumping, and spin-dashing mechanics to Tails flying and Knuckles gliding and climbing, the game really feels like you’re playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles again, but with a different lineup of levels. The power-ups from Sonic 3 & Knuckles even make a nice comeback. There is a new mechanic, however, that helps Sonic Mania stand out a bit more – the Drop Dash. Basically, while Tails can fly & Knuckles can glide, Sonic can now dash immediately after dropping to the ground after a jump. It can be very useful if you get the hang of it, although until I figured out how to use it, I sometimes found myself drop-dashing accidentally to unfortunate consequences. Speaking of things from Sonic 3 & Knuckles that have returned for Sonic Mania: love it or hate it, the blue sphere special stages are back. They don’t unlock Chaos Emeralds this time, however. Instead, upon clearing these special stages, you earn silver medals when hitting all blue spheres and gold for also collecting the rings. Collect enough medals and you start unlocking additional features, such as moves from previous games, Debug Mode and the much-needed “& Knuckles” Mode, a feature that allows you to have Knuckles tag along on your adventure, even if you’re playing as Knuckles. Because if there’s one team-up I always wanted to see, it’s Knuckles & Knuckles. While the blue sphere special stages don’t unlock Chaos Emeralds, they aren’t the only special stages in this game. Finding a giant ring hidden in each stage will warp you to a new type of special stage exclusive to Sonic Mania where you must catch a UFO and take the emerald from its grasp, collecting blue spheres to gain speed and rings to not run out of time. I actually found these special stages quite enjoyable, with a definite Sonic Jam/Sonic R vibe going on. And like with any type of special stage, they get harder and more frustrating, which can get annoying when you have to keep looking for the giant rings in order to retry the stages after failing. But it’s all worth it in the end, once you can become Super Sonic and fight the true final boss of the game. There’s not a ton to say about the graphics aside from it being like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but better. And I found that delightful. As a long-time fan of the game (and the series in general, of course), I just love how similar it looks. Obviously, the resolution is higher and the overall quality is better since it can be. And I was impressed by how seamlessly the development team could create new levels that look exactly like something from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Like, seriously, these levels don’t look out of place at all. If you’re a sucker for nostalgia, then Sonic Mania will have no trouble satisfying you. The music, though. THE MUSIC, THOUGH. Seriously, Sonic Mania not only lives up to the awesomeness of the classic games it borrows levels from by remastering certain songs we all remember from those games, but the remixes used in the Mania-exclusive Act 2 stages of some of those zones and the songs written for the brand-new zones are just pure gold. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that Sonic Mania has my all-time favorite soundtrack of any Sonic game ever. And that’s really saying something. Of course, it certainly helps that many of my favorite Sonic tunes have returned in Sonic Mania. I realize I haven’t said a whole lot about the negatives in Sonic Mania. But there’s a reason; I simply can’t think of that many. I remember one time when the game glitched on me and somehow replaced the jumping sound effect with the ring one, which was weird. I also ran into a glitch in a certain new stage right before the boss that kept the boss from showing up, thus keeping me from progressing until I either ran out of time or killed myself. Other than that, there are a few annoyances that carried over from the classics, such as abruptly and unfairly getting crushed to death. And if you’re one of those people who didn’t care too much for the stop-and-go style of classic Sonic games, this game probably won't change your mind. For the longest time, I’ve considered Sonic 3 & Knuckles to be my favorite Sonic game of all time. But now that I’ve played Sonic Mania, I’m not so sure anymore. The game has its share of glitches, but they are few and far between and takes nothing away from what makes the game so good. With some level designs so good I might even consider them the series’ best, graphics that make the game look like a Genesis game with higher resolution, and possibly my favorite soundtrack of any Sonic game ever, Sonic Mania is one hell of a comeback. If you’re a fan of the classic Sonic games, you owe it to yourself to get this game. You won’t regret it. I promise. Pros + Incredible level design that might even top the classics + Fun special stages with plenty to unlock + Delightfully retro graphics style + Amazing soundtrack that is hard to stop listening to Cons - A few minor glitches - Some frustrations passed down from the classics Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic A wonderful throwback to Sonic's Genesis days, Sonic Mania is a fantastic game and a strong contender for best Sonic game of all time, thanks to some incredible level design, a delightfully retro graphics style, and an amazing soundtrack. This is one game no Sonic fan should miss out on.
  2. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Mania - Stardust Speedway

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    Stardust Speedway & Knuckles.

    © Sega

  3. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Mania - Special Stage

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    Sonic runs through a special stage to take a chaos emerald from the UFO.

    © Sega

  4. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Mania - Mirage Saloon Zone

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    Sonic, Tails & Knuckles fly through the deserts of Mirage Saloon Zone on the Tornado.

    © Sega

  5. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Mania - Green Hill Zone

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    Sonic and Tails run through Green Hill Zone.

    © Sega

  6. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Mania - Opening

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    The intro to Sonic Mania.

    © Sega

  7. In today's news, more NX rumors surface, SEGA teases Sonic news soon, we get some more information on Dragon Quest VII, and more! Read on below for the full scoops. New NX Rumors Surface Still no official word on what Nintendo's next platform codenamed 'NX' will be, but new rumors are circulating about the console's technical specs. A survey from GFK (a client of Nintendo) which was leaked from Liam Robertson (who has ties to Unseen64, a site about unreleased and cancelled video games) seems to add further fuel to the fire about connectivity between a handheld and console unit. Furthermore, it makes mention that video calls will be able to be made through your TV through the NX and it will support 4K/60fps video streaming and gameplay graphics at 900p/60fps. Finally, a sensor bar is also reportedly supposed to be bundled with the system; an interesting tidbit for sure, if true. As usual, take this all with a grain of salt until we get actual confirmation from Nintendo, which will hopefully come sometime before E3 (if not at the trade show itself). Source: Nintendo Inquirer SEGA teases Sonic news in February If you're a Sonic fan, good news -- you might be hearing more Sonic game news very soon. Apparently SEGA's teased an announcement of... some announcements to come in February on their Tumblr page. Might they reveal a new Sonic game or two? It's possible considering that this year is the 25th anniversary. Stay tuned... Source: Sonicthehedgehog.tumblr.com New Info on Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past Many fans have long been awaiting Dragon Quest VII remake here in the US, and yesterday brought a slew of new info on the localization. Namely, Dragon Quest VII is basically a brand new game with all new writing and no random encounters (you'll see the enemies on the map). Also being implemented are a story summary feature and Streetpass feature that will net you tablets. Keep an eye out for more Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past news leading up to its release later this Summer. Source: Siliconera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuzx7OKR40Y&feature=youtu.be&t=6m10s Aryll speaks for Toon Link in Hyrule Warriors Legends Hyrule Warriors Legends on 3DS is slated to include a few new characters that weren't present in the Wii U version of the game. Chief among them is Toon Link, and recent information has revealed an interesting tidbit about him. Other incarnations of Link usually have a fairy speaking in behalf of him throughout the game but Toon Link will have none other than his kid sister Aryll speaking on his behalf, which should be a nice change. She'll be speaking to him through the power of the Pirate's Charm, the same item that Tetra and The King of Red Lions used to communicate with Link in The Wind Waker. You can hear her talking at the 6:10 point in the video above! Of course, you'll also be able to hear her for yourself when the game launches on March 25 in North America. Source: Zelda Informer Twilight Princess HD amiibo functionality detailed Wondering what the Wolf Link amiibo will do when used with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD? Well, we finally have an answer. According to this week's Famitsu magazine, using the amiibo at a certain location will allow the player to experience "Thorough Battle: Trial of the Beast." Clearing it will net you a "Bottomless Wallet," which can carry up to 9,999 rupees (the max amount, safe to say). Also, the amiibo will allow you to import data from Twilight Princess HD into the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U game. What the data is is currently unknown still; expect to hear more leading up to the game's release. Finally, other Zelda-related amiibo will be able to be used once a day for different effects, such as replenishing arrows, hearts, and even making enemies dish out twice as much damage (thanks, Ganondorf... I guess). Source: Nintendo Everything Knuckle Sandwich is a visually stunning, upcoming Earthbound-inspired indie RPG Who doesn't love Earthbound (am I right)? 2015 saw a slew of indie games inspired by it, such as Citizens of Earth and the ever-popular Undertale (which I hear may have won our Game of the Year 2015 honor). Anyhoo, an upcoming indie RPG from Andrew Brophy called Knuckle Sandwich looks to be inspired by the SNES classic as well. The game stars a boy who's living on his own for the first time, and gets caught up in a mystery where people are disappearing from town. No release date has been detailed just yet, but Knuckle Sandwich will be coming to PC at some point. Be sure to check out the game's trailer above. Source: Polygon What news stood out to you today? Do you think the new NX rumors have any merit? And will SEGA announce something exciting for Sonic?
  8. Graham Smith

    Sonic Before the Sequel Review

    Sonic Before the Sequel is a fan made game that aims to fill the story gap between Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequel. It tells the story of how Sonic and Tails came to meet and how they ended up at Emerald Hill Zone together. In the beginning you play as Sonic who has just been warped to a distant land by his recently acquired Chaos Emeralds. This first level is called Hilltop Heights Zone and is heavily reminiscent of Sky Sanctuary Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. Right from the beginning it is clear that this game has been developed with a great love for the series. The gameplay is just as simple as in any other 2D Sonic game and the traits you associate with the originals, such as springs and ring boxes, are all present and correct. Collecting a life plays the same familiar tune but with a mesmerizing orchestral twist. Invincibility boxes also return and strangely seem to last a lot longer than in any other Sonic game. Graphically the game is just as beautiful as the original and the music for the first three Zones are excellent remixes of the theme for Green Hill Zone. Some impressive weather effects have also been thrown in, with a well animated shower of rain just a few minutes into the game. The most interesting level starring Sonic is Titanic Tower Zone. It has an upbeat disco soundtrack and features a night time cityscape. Throughout the level you find switches that turn off most of the lights, meaning you can only see Sonic and a few remaining lights on the platforms. During this time you have to navigate your way around the environment using only these small hints of light until you can find a switch to turn all the lights on again. Fortress Flow Zone is another noteworthy level for Sonic. Here Sonic is constantly stuck in a bubble and blown around all over the place by large fans. Mechanically it almost feels like Labyrinth Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, but instead of being restricted by underwater currents you are pulled around by movement in the air. This is most noticeable during sections that see you trying to bypass spikes as you float inexorably in one direction. Some levels allow you to play as Tails who can fly and swim just the same as ever. Indeed, it“s only when you start to play as Tails, and utilise his flying ability, that you realise just how open ended the game is. There are many alternate routes to take and depending on where you go you will find completely different obstacles and Badniks. Some of the traps are really clever, with my favourite one being in Star Shores Zone. Here you will often come across little floating cotton balls with eyes, and if you touch one the screen will start to ripple and change colour as though Tails had just smoked something that he shouldn“t have. Lost Levels Zone, in which you play as Tails, is perhaps my favourite level, not least because it contains small turtle Badniks that squeal ”Hadoken“ as they fire blue flames at you. This level also features a wonderful soundtrack and contains a wide variety of scenery between it“s three Acts. The first Act is based on Mystic Cave Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the second Act is set in a jungle and the third Act seems to switch sporadically between icy and volcanic rock. The game also has some excellent boss battles. Sonic always fights Robotnik, whereas Tails fights a robotic minion instead. Sonic“s best boss battle has to be his final tussle with Robotnik which has two phases and takes much inspiration from his struggles towards the end of Sonic & Knuckles. The highlight for Tails takes place in a small loop where you have to avoid projectiles, kind of like the battle with Robotnik at the end of Casino Nights Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. At the end of every third Act you are given access to a Special Stage. During these stages the screen chases you while you try to collect as many rings as possible in order to gain extra lives. The only complaints I have about the game are that the movement can be a little sluggish at times and there are some obvious glitches. These issues are far from major however, and never really impact on the game“s overall playability. There are an astonishing twelve Zones in total, most of which contain three Acts; this amounts to at least five hours of gameplay. If you are a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog you should definitely give this a try. Download it here: http://sites.google.com/site/sonicbts/
  9. Also announced in today's Nintendo Direct was the fact that Sonic will be returning as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. The news is both surprising and not at the same time; Masahiro Sakurai, the game's director, had previously reiterated how difficult it was to get approval from the necessary parties in order to include such third party characters, so it wasn't a sure bet that Sonic would have been back before today's announcement. However, SEGA and Nintendo have been pretty cozy with each other as of late, as evidenced by their exclusive deal to bring three Sonic games exclusively to the Wii U, so it seems the process may have been expedited by that fact. In any case, Sonic's moveset looks similar to what he had in Brawl, though we won't know for certain until more information is given. Sonic's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS brings the playable roster count up to 17 now. Are you excited that Sonic is returning as a playable character?
  10. Note: The majority of the article (black text) was written by me, Leah. The blue text is written by Marcus Estrada, who added his own thoughts on the game's demo as well. In recent years, Sonic has been steadily regaining his former glory and effectively putting a stop to the infamous “Sonic Cycle.†Even though I still haven“t gotten my hands on the last few great titles, such as Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, I still wanted to try out the recently announced Sonic Lost World and see what it had to offer. So, Marcus and I made our way towards Sega“s E3 booth to get that started. In regards to Sonic, I'm even further out of the loop than Leah. I've focused my time with the Genesis games the most, of course, with attention paid to the Sonic Adventure games as well. Then I took up some of the more dubious titles - Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Shadow the Hedgehog - which really means any Sonic game I play next will be considered "good" by comparison. For this preview, I“ll be focusing on the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World. I decided to try out the Windy Hill Zone level, which is more 3D-focused versus the other playable Desert Ruins level, which felt akin to old 2D Sonic games. Immediately, I was greeted by bold, bright colors and fluid animation. After fiddling around with buttons and learning the controls, I was soon blasting through the level as the blue hedgehog. Like with any other Sonic game, the goal is to dash through the level while defeating any enemies that may get in your way. To improve your score, it“s advised to avoid damage and collect as many rings as possible. Leah actually had a really hard time with the controls because they were not logically placed, at least to both of us. A separate button for running meant that she actually waddled through most of the level instead of running which Sonic is so well known for. I was able to play with a great deal of speed and still found some segments to be impeding Sonic's dash through the world. As I progressed, Sonic Lost World felt more and more similar to the Wii“s Super Mario Galaxy. Floating land masses? Check. Bouncing between said land masses in an extravagant fashion? Check. Gravity not a problem as you run around each area? Check. Some people may think it“s blatant copying and that it will just be a Super Mario Galaxy clone. However, I have played and watched enough of Sonic Lost World to say that this is not the case. It“s different enough to be its own game, and a promising one at that. It's not like Super Mario Galaxy is the only game that features traveling across planets, but Sonic Lost World sure does make it seem a lot similar. However, I feel that Sonic works better with it than Mario ever did. Jumping from planet to planet flows better when you're the famous blue hedgehog and it doesn't seem out of place for a Sonic game. I say that Sonic Lost World is a game from Sega to look forward to. Not only that, but it“s a seemingly good game that the meager Wii U library needs. I know I“m definitely going to keep my eye on it as its release draws near!
  11. Leah

    Sonic Lost World - 2

    From the album: Leah's Editorial Images

    © Sega

  12. Leah

    Sonic Lost World - 1

    From the album: Leah's Editorial Images

    © Sega

  13. The console war is one war that will never be won. There will be victories and defeats, but there will never be a true winner to end all of this digital mayhem. And in this case, a never-ending war is the best thing gaming could ever hope for since competition fuels the need for innovation. Without an enemy to face, we would have never gotten some of the amazing things we've seen in our generation. Of course, we also wouldn't be able to laugh at the war torn history left behind by those many console giants from the past, present and future as well. And really, that's way more important than any amazing game changing innovations we might have seen in the last thirty years. So why don't you join me for an awkward look back at the world of video game rivalry? Pikachu Really Hates Sony I've mentioned Hey You, Pikachu! a number of times in a few of my past articles due to it's microphone capabilities; an extremely underused feature that I love seeing in games. The reason I'm mentioning this less-than-well-received Nintendo 64 title is thanks to an easter egg hidden in the game's long list of many phrases that Pikachu would react to. Back up, what did you just say to me? Among words such as Pikachu, apple, and lightning bolt was the extremely out of place "Sony." Now why would a rival's company be among the list of words that Pikachu responded to? Well, as we all know, Nintendo and Sony have been rivals since the very beginning of the Playstation's launch. As a way of taking a shot at Sony, Nintendo included the name of the company in Hey You, Pikachu! as an extremely negative word. If you so much as hinted to Pikachu that you were about to say the word Sony, your pokemon companion would absolutely flip out. He would stop listening to you, start electrocuting everything in his general area and drop whatever he was holding in his hands. The mere mention of Sony was enough to send him into a waking night terror with no escape. Microsoft Has A Naval Battle With Sony The Xbox 360 exploded out onto the market nearly a year ahead of its competition. Sony had finally released the Playstation 3 in America, and it was gearing up to release globally. Excited gamers in France began to stand in line as they eagerly awaited the release of the PS3... and then things got crazy. Does the X in the O stand for hugs and kisses? As the legions of French fans stood out in the cold waiting for the official launch of the PS3, a large boat adorned with Microsoft and Xbox symbols slowly came into view of the store's line of customers. In large white letters was the phrase "XBOX 360 YOU". Microsoft had pulled the proverbial boombox in the rain on this poor group of frozen gamers... and it was kind of funny. The only thing that would have made it better was if a Sony boat pulled into view and attacked the Xbox boat. It was a silly idea that did manage to get Microsoft some free advertising at Sony's expense, but I suggest they try using blimps to advertise during the PS4 launch. They're much harder to ignore because honestly, who can say no to looking at a blimp? Sonic Takes A Jab At Mario; Totally Beefs It Have you ever heard of the Sonic title, Sonic X-Treme? I'm going to guess you haven't, seeing as it was cancelled after constant game delays and massive problems during production. Many programmers slaved over the game working 16 hour days only to see their troubled game get flushed down the toilet, never to be seen again by anyone ever. But not before they got this juicy little advertisement out. How could something like this fail? Mario and his apparent henchmen are unable to bring down that pesky hedgehog no matter how hard they try because he has made the jump to the 3D world and left them in their 2D dust to rot into obscurity. The ad itself is what makes this so funny. Shortly after the game was cancelled, Mario entered the 3D realm with Super Mario 64 and ended up leaving Sonic to rot in his 2D dust while his franchise became bigger than ever. Square Enix Attacks... Themselves? Alright Square Enix, I don't think you understand the point to all of this. It's supposed to make your enemies look bad. You aren't supposed to take shots at your customers. In the PSP game, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Square Enix did just that. In the Battle Tips section of the game, you can see what Final Fantasy XII's Penelo has to say about each character. I bite the hand that feeds me, teehee! Most of them are just funny little things or observations about the characters. When you get to Cloud and Sephiroth, however, things take a turn. With Cloud, she says all he does is mope around and is therefore an uninteresting character. She then goes on to say Sephiroth is supposed to be pretty popular, but he really isn't that attractive. While these are more or less just funny little things they threw in the game to spice things up a bit, you have to remember the people who are constantly voting for Cloud and Sephiroth in character polls. They're called fangirls and fanboys, and they don't understand jokes in the slightest. Any attack on their husbandos is an attack on them, and they will write about it in their Livejournals for the whole world to not care about. Nintendo Is All Up In Sony's 3D Venture The Nintendo 3DS was a revolution in 3D technology. It was now no longer necessary to spend upwards of $60 just for a pair of glasses to see the 3D image being projected from a screen, and you didn't have to burn your eyes out like with Nintendo's first 3D venture, the Virtual Boy. Its a pretty neat gimmick for the system because when it works well, it works really well. But we're not here to discuss systems. We're hear to talk about wicked sick jabs at rival companies. "Just eat it." And this jab took place at the absolute greatest E3 ever, E3 2010. While a lot of disses and slams were being thrown around in each E3 presentation, the one that sticks out for me was Nintendo's 3DS conference. They constantly brought up the fact that expensive 3D glasses were going the way of the dinosaurs and anyone who used them were going to get left in the dust in the coming years. The very next day Sony held a conference that was almost entirely based around expensive 3D glasses. While I have no way of proving Nintendo set up their 3DS conference that way on purpose just to get Sony's goat, it seems pretty obvious that was what they were aiming for. How do you follow with your multimillion dollar project announcement right after your competition just thrashed you for a solid hour with their glasses free 3D? Well, I would say something along the lines of Sony's split screen 3D technology, but nobody uses that. The reason I love quips like these is because every time I see or hear one, I imagine someone being dunked on by a basketball player. Totally unrelated, I know. But its why I love them so much. Can you think of any other types of marketing slams that have happened over the years? Why not discuss them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.
  14. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic 06

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sega

  15. The holiday known as Easter was originally created to commemorate the famous Jesus Christ coming back from the dead (not as a zombie, of course). Then people just sorta morphed it into a day where we worship some giant, candy-addicted rabbit who hides eggs for children to find (I don“t trust the guy, I tell ya). Well okay, so we don“t actually worship the thing (that“d just be silly), but we do treat him as a kind of animal version of Santa Claus – the other guy who stole a holiday from poor Jesus. You know what also tends to have animal characters stealing the spotlight from humans every now and again? Why, the world of gaming, of course! Plenty of games have starred some pretty heroic animals, with some more heroic than others. So to celebrate that Easter Bunny“s big day, let“s countdown what I think are the top 10 most heroic video game animals. What? You don“t feel like it? Well that“s too bad, because I“m gonna do it anyway. #10: Crash Bandicoot - Crash Bandicoot Series - Disregarding the fact that most people don“t know what the hell a bandicoot even is, Crash Bandicoot is the most heroic one there is (and also the only bandicoot featured in any game ever). Genetically altered by the mad Doctor Neo Cortex, this wily bandicoot never hesitates to oppose the evil scientist who once experimented on him and foil his plans for world domination. And while he hasn“t done a whole lot of world-saving lately, he“s still a heroic enough animal to make it on this list. #9: Klonoa - Klonoa Series - Next up on our animalistic countdown is this rabbit…cat…dog thing that goes by the name Klonoa. Actually, his place in the animal kingdom was never officially established, now that I think about it… Let“s just call him a "cabbit" for now. Anyway, featured in the series that shares his name, Klonoa is a Dream Traveler, which is exactly what it sounds like – someone who travels to different dream worlds. As a Dream Traveler, this little cabbit is fated to traverse many different endangered dreams and save them. And even though he doesn“t really have a choice in the matter (thus is fate), the awesome role Klonoa is given makes him a pretty heroic animal in my book. #8: Spyro the Dragon - Spyro Series - Without a doubt, dragons are the coolest animals of all time. Of course, they don“t actually exist unless you count posers like komodo dragons, but they most certainly exist in video games so we“re counting them in this list. One such dragon is the one and only Spyro, who you may know from such series as the one sharing his name and its spin-off known as Skylanders. And whether he“s on a quest to save the Dragon Realms or saving Skylands with his fellow Skylanders, this dragon“s heroic deeds land him a spot in this thing you“re reading. #7: Sly Cooper - Sly Cooper Series - There“s no honor among thieves. Well, unless you“re Sly Cooper of course, in which case you“ve got plenty of the stuff. Enough to be given a spot on this list, anyway, which is really all you need in the end (it“s actually not, so take my word with a grain of salt). Whether he“s chasing down his father“s murderer while retrieving his family“s stolen legacy or thieving with his ancestors through time, this raccoon is as cool as he is heroic. And while his occupation might make you grimace at my calling him a hero, the fact that he only steals from enemy gangs, corrupt governments, and crime syndicates rather than the innocent makes Sly Cooper about as heroic as the infamous anthropomorphic thief known as Robin Hood. #6: Amaterasu - ÅŒkami Series - While technically more of a sun goddess than an actual wolf, Amaterasu“s wolf form makes her more than eligible for this list. Making her debut in the incredibly artsy ÅŒkami, this lovely canine is probably Capcom“s most recognizable animal hero. Amaterasu even features alongside other Capcom favs in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Whether scrubbing a curse from the world or facing off against comic book characters, one thing“s for certain – Amaterasu is one of gaming“s coolest animal heroes, even if she“s actually a goddess in disguise. #5: Fox McCloud - Star Fox Series - Doin“ barrel rolls since before it was cool, Fox McCloud is one of gaming“s most famous animals. Of course, being one of Nintendo“s big IPs pretty much guarantees him such fame, but he has a pretty good amount of heroism to back himself up. Not only does he tend to save worlds, but he has been responsible for saving the whole Lylat System time and time again from such threats as the well-known evil scientist Andross, whether he takes the form of a big polygonal face, a giant head-with-hands, or a friggin“ brain. It takes a special kind of hero to take on a giant brain. #4: Banjo & Kazooie - Banjo-Kazooie Series - What“s this? Two characters sharing one spot on this countdown? The nerve! But because this bear and bird are always sharing the same adventures and are rarely seen apart from each other (aw, how sweet…if a bit weird), I“d say it“s fair. And also shut up, it“s my list and I can do what I want. Anyway, as far as heroes go, Banjo and Kazooie are a pretty goofy pair, but a fantastic one nonetheless. At least, their games are pretty awesome. And no matter how hard the witch/skeleton/robot Gruntilda tries to wreak havoc, this bear and bird pair will always be there to stop her. #3: Donkey Kong - Donkey Kong Series - Nintendo“s flagship character, Mario, owes a lot to the mighty ape known as Donkey Kong, as he wouldn“t have really been anything if he weren“t saving his girlfriend from the beast back in the day. However, the girlfriend-stealin“ gorilla we knew back then isn“t the DK we“re throwing on our countdown. No, that one has since grown up to be known as Cranky Kong, while Donkey Kong Jr. has grown up to become the Donkey Kong we know today. Making his debut in Donkey Kong Jr., where he saved his dad from the suddenly-evil-for-some-reason Mario, Donkey Kong went on to star in a freaking awesome series of croc-bashing, tiki-torching platformers that prove just how much he deserves to be in a list like this. #2: Yoshi - Super Mario Bros. Series - Going back even further in Mario“s lifetime, if it weren“t for the courageous dinosaur we all know and love named Yoshi, Mushroom Kingdom“s savior wouldn“t have even gotten past infancy. This heroic dino was introduced in Super Mario World, but didn“t get the chance to truly play hero until its sequel, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi“s Island; although technically he got a chance to play hero long before Mario did. Yoshi has starred in several other games since then, such as Yoshi“s Story and the upcoming Wii U title Yarn Yoshi, and with all those adventures under his belt (or saddle; whatever that shell-thing is), Yoshi is one of gaming“s most iconic animal heroes. #1: Sonic the Hedgehog - Sonic the Hedgehog Series - But gaming“s most iconic animal hero is probably our speedy pal Sonic the Hedgehog. Entering the gaming world (at the speed of sound) as Sega“s answer to Nintendo“s mascot Mario, Sonic has been one of the most famous video game heroes to come out of the animal kingdom. Sure, he“s had a few missteps, but that never stopped his momentum in the race to be #1 on our countdown (the race none of these characters knew about). With so many fantastic titles on his résumé, and hopefully some more to come in the future, Sonic earns the title of the most heroic video game animal. If you were real, Sonic, I“d give you an award of some kind. Do you agree with these choices? What heroic video game animals would you have placed on the list?
  16. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic The Hedgehog Easter

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sega, Nintendo

  17. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic The Hedgehog

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sega

  18. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed hit a lot of consoles when it came out. It arrived on 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, and Vita easily. PC owners were also promised a copy, but not immediately. One thing that really helped make choosing one version of the game over the other harder (or easier) was the inclusion of exclusive characters. Unfortunately, PC players will not get to try out the console exclusive ones, but are getting their own batch to get excited about. The new additions are both expected and unusual. First, there are three characters from the incredibly popular Team Fortress 2: Heavy, Pyro, and Spy. Then, Sega decided to get weird and add in the manager from Football Manager. Finally, a Shogun from Total War: Shogun 2 is included. It's strange because at least Team Fortress 2 characters are, well, characters. In the case of these others it seems they would not jive with Sega's universe at all. But then again, Danica Patrick doesn't necessarily fit that mold either. When will you get to race with these new folks? Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will be coming to PC on January 31st for $30. It will hit a whole bunch of expected digital distribution platforms. Steam is an obvious shoe-in considering character's from Valve's own game are included!
  19. Today Sega has launched both Sonic Adventure 2 and Nights into Dreams on the PlayStation Network (they are coming to XBLA on the 5th). These games are both remastered in HD and also include the expected Trophies and Achievements and the two classic Sega games will set you back $10 each. For Sonic Adventure 2, if you want to experience Battle Mode that is included as a $3 piece of DLC. This might seem a cash grab at first although fans may be pleased to know it comes with the additional characters and maps from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on GameCube. For those interested in Nights, it also comes with an extra. The game will come with the Christmas Nights content which was only released as a promotional item in the past. Are you a PC gamer disheartened by the lack of Nights or Sonic Adventure 2 on your system? PC versions of both games are coming but no date has been announced yet. The estimate is to get them out in a few months. At least we can expect this to happen since previous Sega Dreamcast games have made it onto the PC platform, such as Space Channel 5. Here's a trailer Sega released to promote both titles: Are you a fan of these Sega properties? Which Dreamcast or Saturn game would you like to see available again?
  20. Jordan Haygood

    Sonic Adventure 2 Xbox.com Listing

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sega

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