~TO BE THIS GOOD TAKES AGES
TO BE THIS GOOD TAKES SEGA~
Keylogger found in Sonic 2 HD
Yeah, you're gonna wanna scrub your registry clean, now. Here's how:
Earlier today, I was contacted by a professional antivirus employee who was interested in why Sonic 2 HD consistently popped up as a threat by multiple antivirus software programs and did some investigation. His results showed that a keylogger is part of the Sonic 2 HD software. After receiving this notification, we conducted our own independent tests and found that there is indeed a keylogging program as part of the Sonic 2 HD alpha software.
I want to emphasize that at this time, we have found no evidence that the software has been “phoning home” any data—only that we have found the capability exists.
Because this vulnerability has been found, we are strongly advising that the software be removed. You will need to delete the files included with the Sonic 2 HD zip, as well as the registry keys hooked at HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/NakaSMK (if you are unfamiliar on how to do this, go to Start->Run.., type regedit, follow the folder path, and then delete the NakaSMK folder.)
We will have more information on the situation as it evolves.
NEW SONIC 4 TRAILER
Showing off the new desert Zone plus playable Metal Sonic for the first time ever in a main-line Sonic game.
A message about Sonic 2 HD
So, as many of you already know, the alpha for Sonic 2 HD released a few days ago. As a longtime member of the Sonic hacking scene, and once a member of the development staff at the project's onset, you may wonder why I haven't spoken about its release. Anyone who pays attention to anything I say on these boards undoubtedly knows I'm enamored with both Sonic the Hedgehog and the philosophical free and open nature of the sonic hacking community as a whole, so why wouldn't I be trumpeting its release?
This isn't an instance of sour grapes - I left the project extremely early on due to a realization that I wouldn't be able to make any time commitments to the project at length, but I have never wished ill on the project. And, to be sure, I have followed its development, and wished it well from an outsiders perspective.
The reason I haven't spoken about the release is because what the project is today goes against everything I personally like about said hacking community, and I am protesting the game by refusing to acknowledge it. This project was once championed as the ultimate result of collaboration and culmination - that the collective efforts of everybody freely, and openly exchanging information between one another can produce wonderful end results. Today, Sonic 2 HD adheres to none of those ideals.
I have known the current lead programmer of the project, lOst, for 14 years now. To say what he has done to the project disgusts me would be an understatement. lOst is not a newbie to the community, he is one of the longest tenured members around. Without holding punches, I'll say he has essentially stolen the project from the community. That alone isn't quite enough to make me enforce a self-imposed protest of the game. Rather, the hypocritical guall of lOst to not only close the project off from the community, but impose DRM upon a project that he did not start, that was intended to be inclusive of anyone interested in contributing, for paranoid delusions revolving around theft of code and dreams of imitating Taxman's rise to rank within Sega, has put off not only I, but practically the entire community at large. That he would, against the wishes of all other project leads, enforce an unwritten license for the game, and spend months writing security measures to ensure that no one can reverse engineer the code he wrote, especially given that his code itself is not only reverse engineered, but was done so by others and freely given to him, is appalling and selfish.
Sonic Retro, essentially the hub for all things Sonic Hacking, is essentially pulling support for the game. Long time, well-respected member Guess Who has written a guest editorial on the front page explaining in more detail the timeline surrounding the game and the insulting nature of the final product, which can be read here
(and I urge everyone who has played the game to read it).
In retaliation, one of the most respected members of the hacking community, Gerbil, has broken lOst's security measures and is releasing large chunks of the game code at will.
I'll close what will be the last time I ever speak about this project, barring the removal of lOst from the project, with this delicious bit of hypocrisy taken weeks ago from a candid conversation he had with someone involved in porting Sonic Unleashed's levels to Sonic Generations:
Oh, can you find the shaders for me? (lol, I can really learn/steal from those stuff). Even if they are compiled, they can be disassembled. That's all I really care about. And thanks again!
Sorry for all the drama. Let's continue talking about the exact color of Sonic's fur instead (it's cobalt, the same as the Sega logo).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!
~The Sonic Renaissance begins TODAY~
When stepping back and examining the history of a still-young medium such as video games, a single character having 20 years of longevity is absolutely a milestone worth celebrating. Given the limited (if entirely absent until recently) nature of the medium's ability to convey story and emotion, it's rare for a single video game series to remain popular after 2/3 of the medium's accepted lifespan. Where other, lesser characters have faded into obscurity, it takes a special quality to survive in gaming's ever changing environment. The list of characters who truly never stopped is short - Mario and Link are essentially the gold standard. Even Pac-man, widely recognized to be the first true video game "character", enjoyed long periods of dormancy (and those periods are even longer if you rejected entries which bore absolutely no resemblance to pac-man as we know it, such as Pac-Man 2). It takes more than just a fun concept to withstand 20 years - it takes something more. A special quality that separates gaming greats from gaming icons.
Sonic Generations is more than simply a celebration of Sonic's 20th year as a brand. It is a exhibition of absolutely everything that kept the series going, a dazzling display of exactly what differentiated the series from its peers, and, in it's own right, a fantastic game. Make no mistake at all - Sonic is back at top form. Sonic Team has simultaneously trimmed the fat from the series, while refusing to pretend that said chubbiness never existed. This is not a reboot, not a do-over. Sonic Team makes no concessions with regards to the series history. They don't turn a blind eye to the worst parts of the series, instead they embrace them as part of the (now long) history of Sonic the Hedgehog. And it's a better game for it, as mistakes of the past have not only been identified and avoided, but also teach lessons about better game design.
The game itself is actually the third in what some call the modern sonic trilogy. What began in Sonic Unleashed saw a sequel in Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations picks up where Colors left off, both in terms of play style and story. The game simultaneously begins at the very beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, and immediately after Sonic Colors ends, in the most literal way. Pressing start at the title screen, for example, begins the game the exact same way the series began: the title screen fades, green hill zone act 1 pops up, and Sonic (from Sonic 1, hereto referred as Classic Sonic) begins his gaming career. No cut scenes, no exposition. After Classic Sonic's first act, the actual story begins, and we're shifted to moments after Sonic Colors ends. The contrast in style is immediately noticeable - classic Sonic is solitude - not even Tails accompanies him - while the recent Sonic (hereto referred as Modern Sonic) begins by immediately seeing just about every hero character from the series history. After a brief cutscene explains how (but not why) they were kidnapped, Modern Sonic begins his adventure in Green Hill Zone a new.
From then on, the game switches back and forth, at the discretion of the player, between Classic and Modern Sonic, with each encompassing one full act of each zone. The game, as most are well aware, serves as a tour of Sonic's entire career, with 1 zone from each main-series Sonic game represented in glorious HD. The much ballyhooed Hedgehog Engine returns after a year away thanks to the limitations of the Wii, and performance-wise it seems improved. The overall visual quality of the game seems perhaps a bit below Unleashed, but the frame rate is much, much better, rarely dipping below a locked 30 FPS. But where Unleashed may have had prettier textures, Generations has much better level themes. Welcome back to the era of surreal, absolutely twisted Sonic tropes.
The level selection itself has been much discussed, but at the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won't dwell into the actual level selection. However, a majority of the reoccuring tropes from the series history have returned, even if they appear in Zones which were originally of a different trope. You still have your requisite tropical island level, your factory level, your sky high air level, your water level, your night time city level, your day time city level, your lava level, your carnival level, and your robotnik fortress level. They're simply built into zones which you might not expect. The level design is stellar, easily amongst the best in the series. Classic Sonic bares none of the pitfalls of Dimps designed games, such as Sonic Advance. These are huge, sprawling, mulch-tiered zones on the level of complexity of the biggest Sonic CD acts. Bottomless pits are rare, and the tempo of the classic series has returned, with the same intricate-platforming-interspersed-with-speedy-breaks rhythm that first defined the series. Perhaps the best compliment I can give the Classic sections is that, in my initial playthrough (with bottomless pit warnings disabled) I was able to fling myself into the air at will without fear that I'd fall to my death - at worse I would only fall to a lower path. What few bottomless pits exist, exist in logical locations to the extent that you can, with a discerning eye, learn to visually identify them.
On the flipside, Modern Sonic is far evolved from even Sonic Colors. Sega seems to have taken the "hold forward to win" criticism, as bunk as they may have been in recent years, to heart, and seems determined to make anyone who faults the series as being a boost fest eat their words. In Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, the 3D segments essentially took the place of the speed segments from the classic games, and left the slower, more intricate platforming to the 2D Sonic Rush inspired segments. In those games, at best, platforming in 3D was limited to intricate quick-step speed ways that, at times, felt more like a music rhythm game, where you might end up on one path if you hugged the left part of the lane you were running on, or on another if you hugged the right part. Sonic Generations is not the same beast. There are numerous 3D platforming segments seemingly ripped straight out of the Sonic Adventure series, and at numerous times the area before you opens up into giant rooms without a set path, where your decision will directly affect the path you're taking. In these wide open segments, we are treated to a style of Sonic gameplay never before seen in a 3D Sonic, a perfect meld of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Adventure.
And that is essentially the meat of Sonic Generations. There are no tricks, no alternative gameplay styles. It's a pure Sonic game through and through. From start to finish, the entire game is a platformer through and through, either in 2D or 3D. This philosophy extends even to the boss battles - every boss battle in the game is it's own miniature act. They start off with very light platforming, but as the game goes on, the acts get bigger and more intricate until they become fully realized zones in their own right. Without spoiling anything, the bosses from the dreamcast era essentially steal the spot light, featuring some of the best platforming of any boss fights in the series.
Sonic Generations is dripping with content, despite the main campaign comprising just 18 acts and 7 boss fights. There are an additional 90 missions in the game - 45 for Classic Sonic and 45 for Modern Sonic, which aim to expand upon just about every alternate playstyle in the series. Yes, treasure hunting, from the Sonic Adventure games, returns, amongst others. But, in a Sonic & Knuckles style twist, these alternate play styles never deviate away from the core mechanics of Sonic Generations. When you're going through these Knuckles missions, you never feel like you're playing a different game, it is still unmistakably Sonic the Hedgehog through and through. I have yet to clear the vast majority of these side missions, only tackling 18 out of the 90, but from the few I played, the level variation deviates wildly from the normal zones. The best side missions are the ones where you race another character, as they're essentially entirely separate acts. Some are duds, I'll admit - there is one where you're battling Vector the Crocodile which instantly jumps to mind, but even these aren't terrible, just merely mediocre. And, thankfully, the good missions far, far, far outweigh the duds thus far.
They say it's the little things in life that matter the most, and it's the little things in Sonic Generations which elevates it above previous entries in the series. To be sure, I liked Sonic Unleashed and Sonic colors a lot, but Generations is a clear step above both. There is an abundance fanservice in this game aimed directly at the most obsessed sonic geeks on the planet (read: me) that will have most grinning ear to ear. From references from everything to Knuckles Chaotix and SegaSonic Arcade, to FINALLY explaining why Dr. Robotnik changed his name to Dr. Eggman, there is a distinct tinge of love distilled through this title. One gets the feeling that Sonic Team themsevles might be the biggest sonic fanboys of them all, and they likely enjoyed working on this title very much.
The soundtrack is completely fantastic. This is, without hyperbole, the absolute best soundtrack in the entire series. Each act has 2 remixes of the classic zone music, with an additional 50 remixes available from various other zones and games. No matter what your taste in music is, you will find something in Sonic generations that'll make you bob your head.
Is Sonic Generations perfect? No. There are small dips in quality here and there, but for the most part this is the most solid Sonic title since Sonic & Knuckles. Is it my favorite Sonic game ever? No, that title still belongs to Sonic CD. But Sonic generations can easily stand up to any other title in the series, classic or not. This is a quality of Sonic title not seen in decades. Sonic is back.
UPDATE: 10/14: Full classic and modern runs of Seaside Hill and sky sanctuary zone:
Modern Sky Sanctuary Zone is incredible, as is classic Seaside Hill Zone. Classic Seaside Hill is fucking gigantic!
It's after the Batman AC stuff.
UPDATE: 10/11: Green-man gaming has listed the PC release date along with the specs:
Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4200 (2x2.0GHz) or AMD equivalent 2GB RAM (Windows 7/XP)/3GB RAM (Windows Vista) NVIDIA GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 2900 11 GB free hard drive space
Microsoft Windows 7 Intel Core i5 @ 2.66 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.0 GHz 3GB RAM NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 / ATI Radeon HD 5850 11 GB free hard drive space
It'll release Oct. 4th for the PC
UPDATE: 9/29: DREAMCAST ERA TRAILER (Ft. Speed Highway and Shadow):
Couple of things:
1) Shadow looks... great? Wow
2) Speed Highway looks AWESOME
3) Cash Cash is doing the speed highway classic remix
UPDATE: 9/28: MEGA PREVIEW:
TONS of spoilers in that, but it's SO SO GOOD.
UPDATE: 9/20: So I've gathered up a bunch of new rips of a couple of unheard Sonic songs and put them into a single zip file for everyone to listen to:
That's Chemical Plant Zone (Modern), Seaside Hill Zone (Modern), Rooftop Run (Modern), Big Arms Boss (3DS), and Mushroom Hill Zone (3DS, Classic).
The star of the file? Undoubtedly Big Arms Boss. It is EASILY one of the greatest Sonic songs I've ever heard. Completely blows away the original. There is a little solo about midway through that kicks a lot of ass.
That song goes to show you that no one makes Sonic music better than Sega. Incredible song.
UPDATE: 8/23: NEW CPZ Footage at 3:00 in!
additionally, confirmation that you can play as other characters:
"The classic and modern sonic are playable, because the game is about the history of the sonic series. However we try to have as many of the charming and unique characters of the past 20 years of the sonic series in the game, ex. Tails, knuckels or shadow. In some missions you can play minigames with the friends of sonic."
UPDATE: 8/16: Awesome!
UPDATE 8/06: Chemical Plant Zone Video
UPDATE 7/29: A whole bunch of new CPZ screenshots:
UPDATE 7/15: Chemical Plant Zone and Stardust Speedway Zone revealed! Sega chose the perfect images to release to keep hype rolling after the level list leaked. Chemical Plant Zone, although confirmed ages ago, had absolutely no assets in the demo, so no one had a clue what it'd look like. And stardust speedway zone wasn't listed by name, instead using the name "Metal Sonic." Both are indeed in the game.
The new Chemical Plant Zone is awesome. While Green Hill Zone seemed like a pretty faithful re-imaging of the zone in 3D, CPZ changes the tone up considerably. It looks far grimer and intimidating. More like what I imagined Scrap Brain Zone to be like than CPZ, but still with a very distinct CPZ style. This makes me hopeful for the future zones, as I think they won't seem as similar in theme as people are thinking. The textures for Sky Sanctuary Zone alone are painting a pretty unique take on it.
Anyways, enough rambling, here are the screens:
Chemical Plant Zone:
Stardust Speedway Zone:
UPDATE: ROLLING AROUND AT THE SPEED OF GENERIC TRAILER MUSIC
We all knew it was coming. Next year is Sonic the hedgehog's 20th anniversary, and buzz has been that Sega is ramping for something massive. Sega is already knee deep in a move to try and restore the legacy of Sonic the hedgehog, with 2010 undoubtedly being his best year in over a decade. Pivotal to the reemergance of Sonic the Hedgehog is what role he'll take on in the 3rd demension - 2D throw back games like Sonic 4 are the bee's knees, but if Sonic can't work in 3D, he simply will never be a major player again.
But fortunately, within the last 2 years, Sega and Sonic team have appeared to have finally, mercifully, nailed Sonic in 3D. Sonic Unleashed, despite criticisms aimed at the night-time were-hog mode, featured what was considered to be the finest 3D sonic stages in series history. I say was, past-tense, because the follow up game, Sonic Colors, completely blew Unleashed out of the water, delivering the game that people had been begging for, for almost a decade - a full Sonic-only adventure.
which leads us to today. In 6 months and 24 days, Sonic the Hedgehog will turn 20 years old. This is a major milestone for any video game character - it shows that the series has had the longevity and staying power to remain relevant for 2 solid decades. Few franchises can boast that they continued for 20 years, and those which can tend to be the ones who largely defined the medium of video games in the first place. Talking about the Marios, the Zeldas, the Megamans, the Pac-mans. Sonic is about to join their heights.
Rumors have been flying for months now that the 20th anniversary game, which hadn't been formally announced, is going to be a 3D remake of parts from Sonic 1-knuckles using the Sonic Unleashed/Colors engine. That alone is reason to get excited.
This thread is going to be a long time running, and it'll follow the development and announcements surrounding the 20th anniversary of my favorite gaming series ever. Beginning with today - Sega has finally announced the 20th anniversary game and offered up a teaser site:
This is an odd time in the series history, things seem to geniuinely be on the upswing. Hopefully Sonic 20th continues the trend. On the subject of appealing to nostalgia, Sega seems to be hitting the right notes so far - the image released with the teaser site features Sonic standing next to a classic Sonic 1/2/CD style monitor, with the Sonic the Hedgehog 1 JPN box art displayed in it's view finder.
Here's hoping to a great game.