Sonic the Hedgehog 4

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The following is not only about Sonic the Hedgehog 4, but I also took the chance to have one big nostalgia trip, and its a long post about Sonic the Hedgehog in general. It actually has taken me a few days just to compile this. Let me know what you think:

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Growing up I was a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan. I loved the games and I loved the cartoons and comic books. I was heartbroken when the last official Sonic game came out on the Sega Genesis. By official, I mean in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe of games. If Super Mario Bros. 1-3 and Super Mario World were all in the same storyline of games, because one followed the other, then Sonic 1-3 and Knuckles all were apart of a storyline.

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But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

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I think Sonic to me is what Opie and Anthony are for radio Shock Jocks. Everyone’s favorites tend to be Mario for video games and Howard Stern for radio. And don’t get me wrong, I love playing Mario games and I’m dying to get my Sirius radio back in my car to listen to my Howard 100.

But if I had to choose between them, some sort of alliance between myself and the other. I’d totally go Sonic (and to continue the analogy Opie and Anthony). I just felt that Sonic was the complete opposite of Mario. Mario just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. Sonic always wanted to save his friends and the world.  They are even in games together now.

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I definitely always liked Mario games, in fact, I’m still playing them. After receiving my Nintendo Wii for my birthday (my 28th birthday) I went out and purchased the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game. It has been one giant nostalgia trip for me, many of the levels and music are direct homages to the original games (Mario bros. 1, 3 and World) with a lot of the elements being the exact same. It was really quite exciting. Although, I can’t help but think that New Super Mario Bros. Wii isn’t in line with some of the storylines. But I guess that’s what Super Mario Galaxy (1 and 2) are supposed to be.

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I guess  Mario already had a World and a Land, the next step was a Galaxy huh?

But with Sonic, I just always assumed the game storyline continued in the Sonic Adventure games for the Sega Dreamcast (which I lovingly spoke about way back in March of 2005, in my 3rd blog post, check it out: I should really be working). But to get to this point in time, I really have to explain why I even bothered looking up Sonic the Hedgehog, about a week ago, in the first place.

While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, RBR Weekly Wrestling Talk, they have a segment at the end of the show that they answer e-mails; those e-mails could be completely on topic (ie about wrestling) or completely off top. One of the questions was: “What was your favorite villain music from a video game.  William R. Washington, the lead host of the show, actually played the Dr. Robotnik’s music at the end of a level from Sonic 3. I laughed (or as they would say in wrestling, “marked out” when I heard it and I immediately thought, I liked Dr. Robotnik’s music from Sonic 2 better, and on top of that, I actually have the music from Sonic 2 on my iPod (which Melissa hates because if it isn’t wrestling music, or film scores, its usually Sonic 2 that pops in the middle of the random rotation of music). And that got my mind going, reminiscing about the old days and my nostalgia trip was on!

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The next day I decided to look up Sonic the Hedgehog and continue down the road named nostalgia and I typed into Wikipedia (which I’m sure if you’ve been reading and scrolling through the majority of the links attached to this post, you’d see a lot of them are from Wikipedia) and I started looking at some information. But I started with Sonic the Hedgehog (part 1), and started thinking about how much fun I had with this character.

Sonic the Hedgehog

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Originally released in 1991, and went on to some great success. I can remember going over to my aunts house and my cousin Javi had a Sega Genesis (I think I had a Super Nintendo at that point and was struggling to get through Super Mario World) and he just made Sonic look easy. The first Sonic game, I have to admit, even now, is a lot more difficult than the rest in the series. I just don’t think games were as forgiving as they are even now.

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I don’t know why, and I don’t know how to explain it, But in the era of no saving and limited video game lives, video games were extremely hard on one’s ego and self esteem. But, alas, I got through it.

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I remember around 1991, I was still getting the Disney Adventures magazine and in the middle of the magazine there was a promotional comic strip, that until looking it up on google, I haven’t seen it since. I think I may have misplaced this magazine, which is very unlike me, I tend to keep most of the magazines I get. You just never know when you might want to look something up again. Anyway, click here to view that promotional comic strip.

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Anyway, I saw Javi beat Sonic 1, which now in hindsight, wasn’t the greatest ending for a video game. You beat Robotnik, only for him to runaway. I mean, yeah, typical video game ending, leaving room for a sequel. But still, you’d like some sort of a reward.

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Also, in hindsight, Robotnik (now called Dr. Eggman) reminded me then as he does now of Mega Man’s villian, Dr. Wily…

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…perhaps its the bald head and mustache…and the fact that they are mad freaking scientist that like to make robots!

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But whatever. It was a great game, a classic now, and Javi went on to get Sonic the Hedgehog 2…

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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My all time favorite video game (next in line would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, then would be Super Mario Kart). I have played this game so many times I could probably play through it with my eyes closed. Ask Melissa how many times one of the level songs pops up on random rotation on the iPod and I actually get it right. One of my favorite video game soundtracks, even if it is completely midi.

This game was awesome. I remember going to the Bronx and watching Javi play the game. To me he was like a freaking master. He knew exactly what to do and when to do it and I marveled at it. I wanted a Genesis just to play this. Heading back home from his house, I remember staying awake to go over the George Washington Bridge just to look at the City (Manhattan to everyone who doesn’t get that) thinking about the levels that reminded me of the city skyline light up at night, like Chemical Plant Zone and Casino Night Zone (respectfully):

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Someone actually posted a picture that they took that looks like a real life version of Chemical Plant Zone, and even named it after itself:

"Chemical Plant Zone" by RKT Vision.
Needless to say, this game had a profound effect on me. I loved the whole story. Sonic needs to not only help save his friends (the animals stuck inside of the robots) but he also has to save the world from Dr. Robotnik’s plans at world domination. He built his Death Egg (a clear rip-off of the Death Star).

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It had a great ending where Sonic not only battled a robot version of himself, but he also battled Dr. Robotnik in what could very well have been the end to a series. I loved how cinematic it is, with the world in the distance, Sonic (as you the player as well) knows how much is at stake if you don’t beat Robotnik.

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Hey, I just saw the pic below and I know it wasn’t made with the original Sonic 2, it looks so nice and clean, any ideas as to where it came from, anyone:

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After a little bit of research, this is a Sonic 2 HD wallpaper…it is now on this laptop’s desktop as MY wallpaper…

I eventually did end up getting a Sega Genesis and I went on to play this game over and over and over again…I think I beat the game in less then 45 minutes once. I was an animal. Then came word that Sonic 3 was coming out:

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

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To me, Sonic 3 was MY Sonic game, it was my first post-Javi Sonic. I wasn’t waiting around to see him play or beat it, I was getting it when it was coming out and it was released on February 2nd, 1994 (I was in 6th grade) and the day, which is usually called Groundhog’s Day was deemed Hedgehog Day and I’ve always considered it Hedgehog Day. I also wrote about this on the February 2nd, 2006 blog entry: I remembered this morning that today is Groundhog’s Day. Which actually has pictures from Sonic 3…hmm…I’ve always been working (mentally) on this blog post…and I know its slowly becoming the longest blog post in history, but I have honestly been working on this slowly over a bunch of different days.

Sonic 3 did have a lot of faults, in my opinion at least, I didn’t care much for the fact that it had a mid-level boss and I didn’t like the changes in the soundtrack. I also felt that there should have been a difference between becoming invincible and become Super Sonic.

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But I’m just being nit-picky. It was also extremely short, with only 6 levels, it just didn’t feel complete. But, more on that one later.

So, about a month or so after I got the game I went to the Bronx and I brought Sonic 3 with me, just in case Javi didn’t have it, which he didn’t. I had already gotten to level 3 but we played through from the first level and we got all the way to level 6. I remember, clear as day, going through whole levels and feeling as if I just schooled Javi. In fact, I remember him saying “I can’t believe you might actually beat this game in one night…” and I almost did. It was very empowering. But alas, I did not beat the game. I think I went home and a day later beat the game…then came word of Sonic & Knuckles…

Sonic & Knuckles

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Clearly a continuation of Sonic 3, they didn’t even bother changing the soundtrack to the mid-level boss or to Dr. Robotnik. But like i was saying before things just weren’t as high quality (again, in my opinion) as they were with Sonic 2. I actually thought the soundtrack was gloomy, it didn’t have the upbeatness that Sonic 2 had. I also don’t really care how they connect each level to each other. I loved that aspect of Sonic 1 and2, but somehow they felt the need to connect them in 3 and Knuckles.

Also, they added some “supernatural” elements that I didn’t really care about. Off the top of my head I can remember the Pyramid level (Sandopolis Zone) and I think they had ghosts that would chase you. Not for nothing, but I like Sonic because it didn’t have all the hokey stuff that was in the Mario games, like the haunted houses and all that. Don’t get me wrong, I love running like a crazy person through a haunted house while playing Mario, but I’m playing Mario. So, this knocked this game down a peg for me.

But I will say, if Sonic 2 had an awesome ending, this one double the impact. Not only was time running out, the Death Egg was finally a “fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!” but once you beat Robotnik and the Death Egg is finally destroyed, he has one more trick up his sleeve. He takes the Master Emerald and takes off in outer space, with you, Super Sonic, hot on his tail. An ending of epic proportions. Sonic gets “…the girl, kill the bad guys and save the entire planet!” oops! wrong thing…that’s from Total Recall…Sonic destroys the Death Egg, beats Robotnik (forever) and saves the world. (pretty close, he just doesn’t get the girl).

I’m not knocking Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles at all. I’ll still play them, but I just think Sonic 2 was a far more superior game to the last three. I read on-line that some of the criticism for the game was that it wasn’t as original. To that I say, turning Sonic into a werewolf is?

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More on that one in a little bit.

Up until recently, I didn’t know that Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were really meant to be one game. The only problem is that it would have been too expensive to purchase and they decided to make two separate games. No problem. Instead of making us pay for one big game, they made us pay for two of them. Who really won out in the end? hmm…

Anyway…as time went on, Sega put out their Sega CD (along with Sonic CD) which apparently had a lot of time travel elements that were really meant to be in Sonic 2 (Thank god that was nixed!) which I’ve never really had a fair shot at trying. I’ve probably played a total of five minutes with it, on and off here and there. So, I really can’t talk about it that much.

But Sega went on to make the Sega Saturn, which I didn’t even pay attention too. How could you put out two CD driven game systems so soon after each other? But, I’m not going to soap box about this. (Which again I talk about in my I should really be working post from 2005–just goes to show you, it was affecting me five years ago…haha)

Sega then on to make one of their greatest and unfortunately, last video game systems with Sega Dreamcast. This is a system I wish I had owned, but just felt I was too old to have a video game system. This was an awesome system, but it was too little too late. It didn’t really take off in the states, even though it did in Japan. With the Dreamcast came a whole bunch of amazing games, including, a few Sonic games, namely Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Adventure 2, and by this time I had given up on playing Sonic games, if I really wanted to play a real Sonic game I’d just turn on my Genesis, which worked until some point in the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

I thought Sonic & Knuckles gave the Sonic series a good send off. But Sega would go on to make endless racing games and Mario Party rip offs and stupid Sonic tie-ins with Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic Unleashed. I even tried to play Shadow the Hedgehog and hated it. It was the worse game ever. Didn’t make any sense.

Then they put out the Sonic Unleashed, and when I heard it was a game that had Sonic turn into some werewolf thing (or I guess werehedgehog) I knew that the original people behind the original four games were no longer in charge. Somehow, despite a bunch of bad games, I felt that this was the point that the series jumped the shark. I don’t even want to get into the attempted restart of the franchise with the Sonic the Hedgehog game that came out in 2006.

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Needless to say, I was done with Sonic as of Sonic & Knuckles.

But somehow, deep down inside I wished that they would just bring him back to his glory days of a platform game, as I wish they would have done with Mario. And alas, they did! Mario has returned and now (like the title to this massively long blog post says) Sonic is now returning to platform games with, Sonic the Hedgehog 4!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

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I thought it was a joke at first but after a little bit of research I found out it was true. Sonic is returning! And in an adventure that takes places right after Sonic & Knuckles.

And just like how there have been multiple Grand Theft Auto games, but only four within the main series, Sonic will follow the same route.

But, wasn’t Sonic & Knuckles technically part four? But after doing a little bit of research, the release of Sonic 4 is only “Episode 1” meaning there will be many more additions to the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 game (possibly Episode 2 and 3). So, like part 4 may have multiple episodes, Sonic & Knuckles was merely a continuation of Sonic 3, which would also explain why the Death Egg is never really destroyed at the end of 3 and why some of the soundtrack is the same as well as why the graphics didn’t change from one game to the next.

I am so freaking excited about this, I was hoping I’d see a screen capture pic of this and sure enough, this was the first one I saw:

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Which nearly made me pee in my pants! I kid you not…

If that pic above almost made me do that, imagine what the following have done:

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Needless to say, I am more than just a little freaking happy about this news.
 
Just the thought of this game being made was never in my mind. They would never make another game in this series that had anything to do with the original four games on the Genesis. No way!
 
But with the joy of a fourth game coming out, comes the sadness that it won’t be coming out as a one to purchase in the stores but rather as a down loadable game on the Playstation, Xbox and Wii systems. It will even be offered for the iPhone.
 
Well, I’m not going to go out of my way to get the Wii down loadable version of this game. I fully expect them to place the entire game, once all the episodes have been made out for the Wii system.

But, I’m so excited about this game, I’m putting it on my Christmas 2010, 2011 and 2012 lists, just so that I insure that it is purchased, because I must play this game. There is no sampling, this game is in my blood. I need to play this game. I also hope it doesn’t suck. I hope they kick total Sonic ass with this game.

Based on the screen caps above, it looks like it is going to be awesome. There is even a trailer for it:

I’ve been so excited after seeing this I’ve been playing Sonic 2, although I can only play about three minutes at a time, its been awesome.

Let’s hope some people out there enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and enjoyed the preview for what should be a great game. Let me know what you think and if you know anything else or any other news.

Simply put, this is the longest (original) post in Cos’ Blog history! Hope it was good!

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