sonic 4 episode ii

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Sonic 4 Episode II Xbox 360 Impressions

Windows Phone Central has eagerly covered SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II ever since its first official announcement. The Windows Phone version is still due out in July, but the console and PC versions have already arrived. As such, here are my impressions of Sonic 4: Episode II on Xbox Live Arcade.

Episode II has a larger budget than the original game and it shows. The game starts out with an actual intro sequence, followed by more story bits later on. Graphically, Sonic and Tails are fully 3D and look great in close-ups like those in the bonus levels. The backgrounds feature more interesting and varied locales than before, such as White Park’s snow-covered theme park. New lighting and show effects impress as well. These graphical improvements extend to the currently-available iPhone version, so expect a similar boost on Windows Phone as well. I wish I could say the music had improved, but it sounds as unimpressive as the last game. Can’t have everything, I guess.

As with Episode I, there are four zones, each with three acts a piece. My favorites are the third and fourth zones, Oil Desert and Sky Fortress. The desert stage involves features unique set pieces like sliding down oil slicks, jumping to avoid sinking into quick sand, and frantically climbing silos as they fill with more death-dealing sand. Sky Fortress starts out with Sonic riding along on Tails’ biplane, just as he did in Sonic 2. After that engaging aerial sequence, look forward to navigating the exterior of an airship, running along walls, and firing Sonic from cannons to reach new areas.

Head past the break for more Xbox 360 impressions and details on the upcoming Windows Phone port!

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For a few short hours yesterday, anyone who preordered Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II on Steam (the most popular provider of downloadable PC games) had the chance to download and play a near-complete beta version of the game. Not long thereafter, somebody realized the error, removed the beta, and deactivated it from users' Steam libraries. Before that happened, several players managed to rush through the game, capturing some lovely new screenshots and videos for the rest of us to see.  This sneak peak gives us a feel for what's in store for our Windows Phone later this summer.

Head past the break for new gameplay details and videos.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, the long-awaited sequel to Sonic 4, finally has a release date. And when I say that, I don’t mean just the Xbox 360 version has a release date. Even the Windows Phone and PC versions have them! That’s something you don’t see every day.

The information comes from a new trailer that debuted at GameSpot today. The Playstation 3 version rolls out on Tuesday, May 15; the XBLA version on May 16; iOS and PC versions sometime in May; Android in June; and last, but certainly not least, the Windows Phone port comes in July. Considering the wait for Sonic CD, a mere two months for Sonic 4 Episode II doesn’t sound so bad.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, Sonic 4 Episode II will also reportedly be the first Xbox 360 game to feature synchronous game play with Windows Phone, meaning you can pause your game on your phone and pick up the game in the same spot on your Xbox 360.

The other big news revealed in the trailer is that the already-released Sonic 4 Episode I is getting a surprising new feature. Gamers who buy both Episode I and its sequel will unlock Sonic’s robotic rival Metal Sonic in Episode I! Plus four new levels. How’s that for Lock-on technology? The new content won’t cost anything extra besides the purchase of Episode II. The trailer doesn’t mention whether any platforms will miss out on the Metal Sonic bonus (besides Wii, heh), so it’s safe to assume that he’ll be coming to Windows Phone as well.

Sonic 4 Episode II coming to Windows Phone in July is great news, but what about Sonic CD? That game hit XBLA, PSN, iOS, and Android in December and PC a month later in January. The Windows Phone port is nowhere to be seen, and we have it on good authority that it’s definitely not releasing in the next two weeks. Readers keep asking about Sonic CD, so we’ll repeat what we know. WPCentral has repeatedly asked SEGA, Microsoft, and even the actual developer of the Sonic CD remake for a status update or estimated release date for the Windows Phone port. Even if the game has no concrete release date (few Windows Phone games get solid dates more than two weeks in advance), it certainly has an internal projected date. They simply won’t tell us or make any comment on the subject. Disappointing, but at least we now know it’s likely to come out before July!

Source: GameSpot; Thanks Aaron K. for the tip!

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Now that SEGA has revealed Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II to the world via a gameplay footage trailer, they’ve releasing more and more information and assets for the game. But these details are spread out all over the place online, and who has time to find them all? I do, of course!

First up, the Sonic 4 website has been updated to provide story, character, and background info about the new game. The official Episode II story:

"The fierce battle from Episode I was only an overture…

What was Dr. Eggman searching for in the Lost Labyrinth?

What was Mad Gear built for?

They were all a mere puzzle piece of a grandiose project schemed by Dr. Eggman.

As Little Planet, where “Sonic CD” took place, approaches Sonic’s world once again, Dr. Eggman’s whole scheme will be revealed!"

I love how it ties both Episode I (which had no in-game story) and Sonic CD into Episode II’s events (which Ken Balough mentioned in our interview last year). The site also reveals what happened to Metal Sonic after his defeat in Sonic CD, details about several of Episode II’s new robotic enemies, and descriptions of two of the game’s expected four zones, Sylvania Castle and White Park Zone.

The SEGA blog is also a great source of Episode II news. They’ve posted a ton of shiny new screenshots. Remember, the screenshots are from the Xbox 360 version of the game; SEGA is playing the mobile versions close to its chest for the time being. Concept art is shared across all versions though. The aforementioned blog has a few bits of artwork here and here. Want more concept art? The Sonic Facebook page has seven more pieces, mostly depicting Sonic’s enemies.

Sonic 4: Episode II has no official release date yet, but the XBLA and PSN versions will likely launch in May. We expect the Windows Phone version to arrive several months later. In the meantime, SEGA will surely keep pumping out more Episode II art and details. WPCentral will keep you posted!

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SEGA officially announced Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II way back in December, but the reveal didn’t include a true glimpse of the game. We can now get much more excited over Episode II thanks to a proper trailer that shows off the game’s beautiful new graphics engine.

Sonic 4: Episode II marks the return of Sonic’s sidekick Tails, who sat out the previous game. The console versions will include 2 player co-op play, while we can assume the mobile versions won’t. Either way, Sonic and Tails seem to have some new co-op moves, which should make Tails a more valuable partner than he was back in Sonic 2.

The physics engine has been given a complete overhaul in response to fan feedback, which should improve Episode II’s reception. Similarly, the new graphics will likely elicit smiles from Sonic fans. The backgrounds are simply lush with colors and detail. The characters match the backgrounds much better than before thanks to being rendered in full 3D (the gameplay remains 2D). Phone versions will likely fake the 3D characters with 2D sprites, but you never know.

Like Episode I before it, the new game will be made up of four distinct zones based on stages from classic Sonic games. The new levels do seem to show a bit more inspiration in their design, but that could be the pretty graphics talking. More importantly, the 3D halfpipe bonus stages from Sonic 2 and the Saturn and PC versions of Sonic 3D Blast return. Let’s hope the classic bonus tune makes it in too – it sounded beautiful in 3D Blast.

The XBLA version of Sonic 4: Episode II have a rumored release date of May 16. If Sonic CD is anything to go by, we can expect the Windows Phone version to come several months later. Speaking of which, WPCentral has learned that WP7 Sonic CD is still in development, having been started later than every other version. Hopefully it lands before Episode II makes it out on consoles!

Source: Sonic Retro

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, the long-awaited return to 2D gameplay for the Sonic series, met with a mixed reception when it debuted on consoles in 2010. The Windows Phone version debuted several months later. In WPCentral’s Sonic 4 review, I praised its faithfulness to the console game (outside of a crummy pinball level exclusive to the mobile game) and touch screen controls. While the retro remake of Sonic CD is still due to arrive sometime (having already hit consoles and iOS), many fans have been left wondering about the fate of Sonic 4: Episode II.

Good news today then, as Sega has finally released a teaser trailer for Episode II. The trailer is devoid of gameplay footage, but it does at least promise the return of two popular characters: Tails the fox, Sonic’s young sidekick, and Metal Sonic, one of the main enemies in Sonic CD.

Head past the break for another video and more gameplay details!

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