Sega Will Not Be Pleased
October 22, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Return to Emerald Hill Zone! Sega recently released its modernized take on the classic Sonic the Hedgehog formula with Sonic the Hedgehog 4, but for something much more authentic and in the spirit of the original Genesis games, you'll have to turn to the free fan-created Sonic Fan Remix. Now with playable PC demo! Get to it before the lawyers do!

Note all of the little details in the video such as the giant Robotnik robot in the background, the cameo from the killer whale of Sonic Adventure, the changing weather, passage of time, and much more.
posted by Servo5678 (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I doubt this kind of thing really damages the brand more then it hurts.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 AM on October 22, 2010

I'll probably be in the minority here but my reaction is.... ugh. I appreciate the work they did: graphically, that is just drool-inducing beautiful. But gameplay-wise that looks incredibly unpleasing. They changed levels that were clear and bright into a mess of darkness and low contrast. Sonic is less visible and I can't even focus on him.

This feels like the Star Wars: Special Edition of Sonic Games... instead of just refining the choppy parts they went nuts with excessive and painfully distracting backgrounds and lighting effects that were completely unnecessary given how amazing the original was to begin with.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:21 AM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

These are both incredibly enticing for their own reasons. The Remix looks more true-to-nature Sonic, whereas Sonic 4 looks like they're trying to bring some of the features from the last few Sonic games back to an old-school level environment. I hope Sonic Fan Remix is eventually ported as respective console homebrews.
posted by tybeet at 7:33 AM on October 22, 2010

Wow. I'd seen a video of the fan remix but playing it was another story. It's really, really pretty, and to control it feels just like Sonic 2: they've got the weight right.

I've also played Sonic 4 on the 360, and to be honest, the fan remix would be making Sega's internal development teams look incompetent if Sega weren't excelling at that already.

Bring back AM2 and UGA and throw money at them, Sega, because (what's left of) Sonic Team just can't make games any more.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:03 AM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I got this game on PS3 and actually enjoy the mix between old and new, though it took me awhile to get used to the "dive" mechanic. By the end of it, I wanted more, but then again, it is just episode I, isn't it?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:13 AM on October 22, 2010

I'm glad to hear that the fan remix controls are good, but I'm still not convinced that throwing more sparkly detail into every inch of the frame is the best graphical choice here. I guess I'd have to actually play it to know for sure. Just seems so ADD in that video that I don't think I'd be able to track what's going on. I'd love to play an upscaled HD port of the original with sharper graphics but the same old hypersaturated cartoon style without all the filler crammed in for effect.

Also: What's the spin dash doing in a Sonic 1 stage?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:20 AM on October 22, 2010

The Sonic Cycle.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:30 AM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just seems so ADD in that video that I don't think I'd be able to track what's going on.

It may be that the tiny youtube window is doing it no favours. I played it full screen on a large-ish monitor and found everything very clear, and I imagine anyone with a TV hooked up (so they can play Sonic as it should be played, controller in hand, on an oversized Sega bean bag chair) will find it no more difficult to navigate than Sonic 2. It's certainly no Sonic 3.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:34 AM on October 22, 2010

I doubt this kind of thing really damages the brand more then it hurts.

Sega doesn't need any help with damaging the Sonic brand, that's for sure.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:34 AM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pfft, Sonic is totally a werewolf and you know it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:42 AM on October 22, 2010

Good Sega news: Space Channel 5 Part 2 is coming out for XBLA and PSN.

Bad Sega news: Outrun 2 has been taken off PSN because Sega lost the Ferrari licence. You can still get it on XBLA until next year, though (and you should!).
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2010

The backgrounds in remix are wonderful, but I don't like how busy the foreground is. One thing I think people keep missing in the rush for graphics is when and how to use them. There's a certain usability factor in simple graphics... because you need to see certain things in order to play.

The parallel here would be the Halo series and watching the enemies go from bright neon colors so you could just focus on shooting to grey/brown colors so you could spend 3 minutes trying to figure out where that alien was that sniped you.

Sega has run a lot of things into the ground. Which is sad because they shaped so much of my childhood. The should just stick with short, great gameplay games - the downloadable console market is perfect for that kind of stuff, which is what they did well when we had arcades.
posted by yeloson at 8:53 AM on October 22, 2010

There have been some insightful comments made recently, such as in this Youtube video, about how bad the physics in the later 2D Sonic games is. It's impossible to careen through the air in a ball, out of control, because when you stop holding the controller forward Sonic's horizontal motion zeroes out. Rolling downhill similarly doesn't work the way you'd expect it.

I remember playing Sonic Rush on the DS and thinking how the music and graphics were great, but you couldn't bounce off of enemies consecutively and bounce back up to the height you fell from. It's like Sega doesn't understand their own game. (Although it should be said this game was made by DIMPS.)

This is important because one of the least popularly-understood aspects of Sonic the Hedgehog is that it's really a kind of elementary physics game. Most everyone knows about Sonic's speed, a few people know about Sonic's platforming and pacing, but the physics are surprisingly little remarked-upon.
posted by JHarris at 9:00 AM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thinking a bit more....

I made a game recently with physics that are a little similar to/inspired by Sonic, and one of the things that struck me is how twitchy the physics can be to get right. It required a lot of experimentation to get it remotely playable, and even now I'm not satisfied with it.

The point is, I had to experiment a lot to get the physics right. It almost requires an iterative design process where you start out not sure how you're going to do it or if it's even possible, then through a series of prototypes you figure out how to get the effect you're after. If you try to design it all first and try to implement that you might get something that blandly appears right, but doesn't snap when you play it because it's a lot harder to design something like feel into a game ahead of time. And an iterative design process requires that you be "into" the game you're making, playing it and understanding it and enjoying it and working with your aesthetic sense of gameplay to make it better.

I suggest this is why the fan game kicks Sonic 4's ass.
posted by JHarris at 9:10 AM on October 22, 2010

Servo5678: "for something much more authentic and in the spirit of the original Genesis games, you'll have to turn to the free fan-created Sonic Fan Remix. Now with playable PC demo! "

There's also the original Sonic emulated in Java, playable online for free. Also: Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:40 AM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sonic CD (for PC) was super awesome. My holy grail of sorts is working out how to make a decent Sonic-type physics. It's hard- you want just enough physics that it makes sense, but not so much that things can get out of hand.

Recently I made a remake of the SonicCD Special Stages in Flash. I never made it playable, per se, but you could run around on the special stage ground in pseudo-3D and jump. Lots of fun!
posted by BungaDunga at 11:31 AM on October 22, 2010

I just got done with the game (or at least episode I) this afternoon. I really enjoyed it. It plays . . . differently, but that's okay because all the Sonic games play differently. They did a good job and deserve that recognition. Perhaps it's not your cup of tea, but it certainly was mine. I also like the return of the rotating maze bonus stages.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2010

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