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sonic the hedgehog

In case you hadn’t noticed, your friendly neighborhood Windows Phone Central gaming editor is a big fan of SEGA. While the publisher only operates at a fraction of the size it once did, it continues to produce numerous quality digital titles, plus a fair quantity of worthwhile retail releases.

Last week, we gave the Xbox Windows Phone version of Sonic CD a well-deserved glowing review. This week, we’ve got two mini reviews of SEGA’s latest Xbox 360 offerings: the retail release of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and Sega Vintage Collection: ToeJam & Earl for Xbox Live Arcade. Read on to learn about one of the best kart racers ever and a collection of unique Sega Genesis classics.

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Sonic CD: Xbox Windows Phone Review

A few years ago, an Australian Sonic fan named Christian Whitehead created a proof of concept of a reprogrammed version of Sonic CD for iOS. The demo video quickly vanished, but not due to a copyright claim from SEGA. Instead, the house that Sonic built actually displayed unprecedented coolness by hiring Christian to fully develop Sonic CD for multiple devices, including the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone. After interviewing SEGA about the game, we came away excited.

The WP7 version appeared 11 months later than the XBLA one, prompting many to wonder whether it had been discreetly canceled. Luckily, the Aussie dev continued plugging away on the XNA port of his Retro Engine, and now Windows Phone gamers can enjoy a virtually perfect port of Sonic CD.

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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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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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Sonic CD - the remake of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog adventure - comes to Xbox 360 this week, but not Windows Phone. The 14th, it seems, is just too packed full of Xbox Live releases. But Sega's latest will very likely land on Microsoft's mobile platform on December 21 or 28. We’ve already interviewed the remake’s brand manager, digging up some choice details about the new version. Now it’s time to learn more about how the original Sega CD/Mega CD platformer came to be, thanks to a new video from Sega.

The Developer Diary features Sonic Team Art Director Kazuyuki Hoshino, who reveals numerous pieces of never-before-seen concept art. Highlights include original drawings of Amy Rose and an explanation of Metal Sonic’s design process. You’ll also see several tantalizing unused enemy and boss concepts. Interspersed throughout the video is footage from the remake, giving a great impression of how the game looks and feels.

Sonic CD is scheduled to arrive on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation network on December 14. The Windows Phone, PC, iPhone, and Android versions should emerge by the end of the year.

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Sonic 4 Mango update turns the music back on

The arrival of the Mango update has been a great thing for Windows Phone Xbox Live gamers, with a few exceptions. Specifically, Twin Blades couldn’t run on Mango until it got patched, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I began to experience a nasty sound bug. Thankfully Sonic 4 received a Mango update today that fixes things right up.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I version 1.1 release notes

  • Added Fast App Switching support
  • Fixed sound bug that occurred when players earned an extra life, causing the music to stop

Sonic 4 is a great touch-screen platformer that captures nearly all of the magic of its console counterpart. Now that its tunes are working properly again, fans of the blue hedgehog can step into his shoes and thwart Dr. Eggman’s plans as intended. If you haven’t played the game yet, give our review a look.

Sonic 4 costs $6.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace. To learn about Sonic CD, the follow up/prequel to Sonic 4, check out our developer interview.

Thanks to Mark Tepper for the tip!

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As our review indicates, I’m a big fan of Sonic 4, the first Sonic game released on Windows Phone. SEGA is now gearing up to release Sonic CD, a new and improved version of the classic Sega CD game, for Windows Phone and other platforms. In the latest installment of our Xbox Live Developer Interview series, we grill Ken Balough, Brand Manager at SEGA, about the upcoming Sonic CD remake.

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A flying fox joins the cast of Sonic CD

We’ve already mentioned that the upcoming Xbox Live remake of Sonic CD will have several improvements over the original, including a proper widescreen aspect ratio and the ability to switch between two different styles of spin-dashing and physics. But today Sega knocks off the socks of Sonic fans everywhere by announcing a completely unexpected addition…

Sonic’s sidekick Tails is an unlockable character in the new Sonic CD! The two-tailed fox debuted in Sonic 2 but didn’t show up in the original Sonic CD due to the two games’ simultaneous but separate development. Now, for the first time ever, Sonic CD players will gain the ability to play as Tails after completing the game once. It’s an awesome extra that should lend an already fantastic game even more replay value. Somebody find my socks.

Sonic CD has no official release date but we hear it will spin-dash to all platforms in December. The Android version, however, is available right now exclusively at GameStop, where it’s packaged with the Samsung Galaxy, Acer 100, and ASUS Transformer tablets. Hurry up and release some equivalent tablets, Microsoft! In the meantime, feast on the first mobile screenshots (above) or check out the latest trailer.

Source: Sega Blog

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New Sonic CD Trailer remembers its roots

Sega's first Sonic CD trailer showed just enough gameplay footage to get Sonic fans salivating. This new trailer is even better. First it plays up the game's roots as a Sega CD/Mega CD title; Sonic CD stands out as one of the best games on that quirky, beleaguered platform, in fact. The rest of the trailer focuses on the game's unique time-traveling aspects, complete with plenty of footage of Sonic in action.

Sonic CD was originally released in 1993. The new version (which is coming to Windows Phone, XBLA, PSN, iPhone, and Android) not only recreates the classic platforming game, it includes several enhancements. The display has been expanded to widescreen without stretching the image, making the game look better than ever. The original Japanese techno soundtrack will be included for the first time outside of the US. Gamers will be able to toggle between Sonic CD-style spin-dashing and physics or the Sonic 2 and 3-style. And of course, it will offer the Xbox Live Achievements we all crave.

Sonic CD is still scheduled to debut sometime in November or (more likely) December. Between now and then WPCentral will have a full interview with the game’s producer.

Xbox 360 gamers who crave a Sonic the Hedgehog fix sooner are in luck. The surprisingly awesome (yes, I mean it) Sonic Generations heads to retail on November 1. Generations features a mix of classic Sonic levels from the Sega Genesis era all the way to the present, all presented with 2D- or 3D-style gameplay. With Sonic CD and Generations, Sega is finally giving the fans what they want: quality Sonic titles with classic gameplay.

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Sega surprised everyone today by announcing a new Sonic the Hedgehog game for Windows Phone. No, it’s not a surprise that they’re doing a second one after Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I turned out so well (see our review). What we didn’t expect from the next mobile Sonic game is that it would be a port of… Sonic CD.

Sonic CD (AKA Sonic the Hedgehog CD) was originally released on the Sega CD/Mega CD, a CD-ROM add-on for the 16-bit Sega Genesis/Mega Drive console, back in 1993. It marks the first appearances of Sonic’s would-be girlfriend Amy Rose and fan-favorite villain Metal Sonic. Sonic CD has seven huge zones, each with three acts, as well as unique 3D special stages. Most uniquely, Sonic can travel into past and future versions of most stages by passing through time portals at high-speeds. Successfully defeating Eggman’s Robot Generators in the past actually changes the future for the better. Sonic CD also features a fully animated intro and two different endings. By the way, it's my all-time favorite Sonic game.

Head past the break for details on the new Sonic CD port and the concept video that helped make this port a reality!

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We've had Windows Phone cameo appearances in episodes of Hawaii Five-O, Castle, Human Target and several other television series. Now it appears the Windows Phone product placement may be reaching to video games.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, if you keep Sonic idle for a for a minute he appears to pull out a Windows Phone and begin to listen to the Music Hub.

We've got a full review in the works for Sonic 4 and you can download the game here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace to judge for yourself if that's truly a Windows Phone he's using.  But in the meantime, make the jump after the break to view a video clip of this mysterious phone and let us know what you think? Is Sonic a Windows Phone user?

Source: Windowsphonemetro Thanks goes out to Treiz for the tip!

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I - Review

The Sonic the Hedgehog series has endured a tumultuous existence. Sonic debuted as a mascot character for the Sega Genesis and starred in several classic platformers for that console and the Sega CD. After basically shelving Sonic during the 32-bit Sega Saturn era, Sega finally decided to bring him back in a launch title for the Sega Dreamcast. Sonic Adventure received a warm reception, and yet it was the beginning of a dark time for Sonic.

You see, Adventure was the first fully 3D Sonic platformer and it introduced a host of problems that would only grow worse in follow-up titles: poor collision detection, largely on-rails game play (during the actual Sonic levels anyway), pointless town sections and side quests, terrible music, general glitchiness, numerous annoying furry pals for Sonic, and equally annoying voice work and storytelling. Each 3D Sonic sequel became progressively more heinous, culminating in 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which remains the worst game I’ve ever played in my life.

Despite numerous missteps, Sonic’s popularity never fully disappeared. His fan base split into two camps though: one consists of furries and children who basically just don't know any better. The other camp remembers Sonic’s glory days and pleads for a return to the character’s roots. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I was made just for them.

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Windows Phone isn’t swimming in platformers, but thanks to Sega we have a new one today. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is now available on the Marketplace.

Sonic 4 is the first numbered, 2D Sonic game in several years. It features four zones with three acts each, seven special stages (bonus rounds), and five bosses to fight. Fans of the Sega Genesis games will instantly feel at home with the gameplay. Sonic runs at blazing speeds, twisting through loops, jumping from spring pads, and spin-dashing to gain momentum. While the gameplay adheres very closely to the 16-bit Sonic games, Sonic does now have a homing attack to make attacking enemies easier.

Having played a few areas in the Windows Phone version of Sonic 4, I’m extremely pleased with this version. It looks and plays almost exactly like the Xbox 360 version. The touch screen controls (a virtual d-pad and a single button for jumping and spin dashing) are some of the best I’ve encountered in a mobile platforming game. Sonic 4 has all the same Achievements as the Xbox 360 version, plus a few new ones for completing the individual zones. One of the returning Achievements, awarded for beating the final boss without taking any damage, was super tough on the Xbox 360 game. Be prepared for a challenge if you want the full 200 points here.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I costs $6.99, which is a lot, but remember the console version is $15 and this version has just as much content. The free trial contains the game’s first act so you can see for yourself if it’s worth the price tag. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Back in February, WPCentral reported on the Xbox Live 6 weeks of Must Have Games promotion. Basically, every Wednesday for 6 weeks, a high-profile game will come to Xbox Live.

We expected the promotion to begin on April 6, but it turns out that won’t be the case. This week’s Xbox Live title is Super Monkey Ball, which will cost $4.99. Read our impressions here. Who Wants to be a Millionaire also comes out that day, but only in territories outside of North America.

April 13 will see the release of Harbor Master and Centipede. Thus the earliest the Must Have Games promotion could start is April 20, but it might be even later. Update: When contacted, Microsoft would only confirm Spring as the promotion's launch date. We'll surely hear from them again in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

For now, let’s look at the Must Have Games themselves:

  • Hydro Thunder Go – The only Windows Phone-exclusive of the bunch. Go is the mobile adaptation of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the latest entry in the popular boat-racing series. Go’s 3D graphics and water effects are probably the best Windows Phone 7 has seen. Follow this link for a video trailer and our first impressions.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – Sonic 4 marks the return to side-scrolling gameplay for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. The series has been marred by lackluster 3D titles in recent years. Sonic 4 doesn’t quite match the quality of the 16-bit Sonic games, but it’s still a worthwhile platformer. The mobile version of Sonic 4 was developed concurrently with the console title and features different stage layouts.  Follow this link for our first impressions.
  • Plants vs Zombies – From the makers of Bejeweled comes a unique tower defense game in which players place plants in strategic locations across lawns, swimming pools, and rooftops in order to fend off an army of cartoonish zombies. The PC version of Plants vs Zombies is one of my all-time favorite games.
  • geoDefense – A challenging tower defense game that features neon-colored vector graphics, much like the Geometry Wars series of shooters. geoDefense is a pretty game, but is it really that popular?
  • Doodle Jump – The original jumping game makes its way to Xbox Live. Tilt the phone to steer Doodle Jumper up a never-ending series of platforms, much like MonsterUp. Knock out enemies by furiously tapping on them. Windows Phone gamers may already know Doodle Jumper from his Parachute Panic cameo.
  • Angry Birds – One of the most popular mobile games of all-time rounds out the Must Have Games promotion. Launch birds out of a slingshot in order to collapse structures and eliminate the pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. The Windows Phone version of Angry Birds has a whopping 195 levels.
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Looks like we have some eagle-eye readers out there like Beshoy, who noticed on the official Windows Phone Facebook page a sneak-peak at Sonic 4.

We've known since February that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (also on Xbox 360) was coming to Windows Phone 7. The classic platform game is part of the big-title push coming in April to our beloved OS, which includes Angry Birds and Doodle Jump, amongst others.

Anyways, if you head to the Facebook demo page and hit the Xbox LIVE button, you'll be treated to some very brief gameplay of Sonic in action. It's what you expect it to be as it looks just like the console port that you can get now. We're certainly curious about how in-game controls work for this title and are hoping for the best as you really just can't beat some old Sonic, now can you?

Source: Windows Phone Facebook (demos); Thanks, Beshoy, for the tip!

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