13 August 2010

SAGE Advice: Part 4

This time we'll be looking at some 3D fangames at SAGE, as well as some that are more heavily influenced by "Modern Sonic".

Sonic Adventure 3

Game made by Acidhead Games in Game Maker

Visit the Sonic Adventure 3 Booth!

I wish I could give this game a proper review, but sadly it's buggy as hell and I can't control it. Sonic doesn't seem to be able to run forward properly.

What I can see of the presentation, though, is underwhelming at best. No Sonic game, not even a 3D one, should have to have mouselook. It screams 'I've re-textured a basic FPS tutorial' not 'worthy follow-up to Sonic's last hurrah on the Dreamcast.'

My Advice: Who knows - if the controls work on your system, you might get something more out of it than I did. But I don't really see the point. I can't even say 'Great effort, guys!' because I'm most emphatically not a fan of 3D Sonic fangames. Why, exactly, would you want to repeat Sega's mistakes? Sonic works in 3D about as well as it does as an interpretive dance.

Sonic 3D

Game made by Zykov Eddy in EDuke 32

Visit the Sonic 3D Booth!

Well, this fares slightly better. I can at least control it. But again we have mouselook, which just feels wrong. Worse, since it's the only way to turn (the WASD controls allow only strafing), you have to always have one hand on the mouse. But of course, jump is mapped to the spacebar! Oh joy, we have to run and jump with one hand, while looking around with the other! It's far from the optimal setup, and isn't conducive to Sonic gameplay at all. Jumping on enemies or items is supposed to be the central action of a Sonic game, but here it's a tedious chore - like in most 3D versions of Sonic.

My Advice: In the end it feels like the poor man's version of the much better Sonic Robo Blast 2. I find it a shame that - perhaps in some attempt to be "impressive" - people are compelled to make 3D games like this. When most major studios can't get it right, what hope do you have? I'm all for quixotic perseverance in the face of the odds, but this is just silly. Maybe I'm just being closed-minded here, but does anyone actually have fun playing projects like this, or are they just glorified tech demos?

Sonic NXT

Game made by Altheboss in Game Maker

Visit the Sonic NXT Booth!

You know what? This one is horrible, too. I don't know if I'm just in a bad mood, or if these 3D and "Modern" fangames just suck (but I have a vague idea which it might be).

Aside from the borrowed graphics that are copy-pasted in the least imaginative of ways, the physics are also terrible. I bounced around in here for a good half-minute.

These springs bounce you right into a big solid thing. Helpful.

And the red spring to the left of here isn't powerful enough to send you further up this slant without stopping (you have to use the Spindash). Of course, in any decent engine it would be. It's almost as though the level design doesn't want me to play it.

Well, I'm happy to oblige it.

I do sorta like the Zone intro, though. Meh.

My Advice: This is way too broken to be any fun, and everything in it is recycled. Skip it. It's telling that the fangames that seem the most heavily influenced by the more recent Sonic games are also the worst.

And, yes, that's Tails with four tails. Saints preserve us.

Sonic Phoenix

Game made by LH_The_Hedgehog in Multimedia Fusion

Visit the Sonic Phoenix Booth!

Well, we've got a single act demo here, it appears. There are all the usual "Modern Sonic" suspects: boost, homing attack, Egg Pawns, wall jump, QTE's - the works.

Unfortunately there are also all the bad things about "Modern Sonic", too: treacly acceleration (PROTIP: Sonic is supposed to be fast), run-run-run-trick-run level design, and awful butt-rock music (though the Zone theme isn't terrible).

It has more polish than some similar attempts I've seen, though, I'll give it that much. And I like that it detects your ToD ("Time of Day") and changes the Zone's ToD accordingly.

My Advice: It's not totally unplayable (which means it stands out in today's group), but there's nothing that makes it fun. Though, compared to Shadow the Hedgehog 2 from last year, there's just no contest.

Well, they get props for blowing up Washington, I guess.

Wait... what? Now it's NY? I'm confused.

Sonic and the World Rings

Game made by A.J. in Multimedia Fusion

Visit the Sonic and the World Rings Booth!

Well, now it looks like we might be getting somewhere. This game makes an effort in the presentation category, and it's quite interesting for it to use double-tall resolution like a faux DS game. The title also suggests more thought has gone into storyline than if it was called "Sonic, um... 3D!".

Unfortunately, the storyline - taking a page from Sonic Rush Adventure - is told in a very unappealing way. (I also feel compelled to complain about the lazily coded message boxes, with words that type out only to jump to the next line after spilling over the right edge. It's not that hard to fix.)

We've also got a bottom-screen Tails bitching at Sonic (complete with grating voice clips), and an entirely pointless (and compulsory!) tutorial. 'This is how to walk left and right!' Honestly, would anyone dare to include something so banal if Dimps hadn't led the way?

Truly, Dimps poisons everything (to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens). Some more of the lovely Dimps-isms we're treated to here include pointless unskilled tricking to fill a boost meter (with the attending boost gameplay), death pits, bland Egg Pawns, and rooms full of bland Egg Pawns. C'mon, people, unless you're making a tongue-in-cheek parody hack, please aspire to a higher level than Dimps!

It gets worse. The level "plays itself", full of boosters and springs and rails. The homing attack (called the "Exact Attack") is awful - for some reason Sonic instantly transports to the enemies rather than zipping towards them. Ugh. There are also homing attack chains, which is a particularly brainless brand of gameplay. The few times Sonic is on solid ground it seems to be nothing but an exercise in running nose-first into crates. Has it really come to this?

I might be able to praise the original way that they handle the wall jump (continue to hold the jump button and alternate pressing left and right), but unfortunately, while it may be creative, it's terribly unintuitive and for that reason doesn't work as well as if they'd just left it alone.

Scattered throughout the Zone are bungie cords (you know the kind; first introduced in Green Forest from Sonic Adventure 2, and rehashed ever since), but they don't actually bungie (at least I couldn't get them to). They just stretch out until Sonic dies. Thrilling. I tried tricking, jumping, the "Exact Attack", spamming the directional keys... if this is some attempt to out-barrel the barrel, it's working.

My Advice: There's a more playable game here than the others we've just looked at, and the presentation is held to a slightly higher standard. If you can jump over the bungie parts (and if you fail, at least you seem to have infinite lives), there's a Sonic Rush-y bit of fun to be had. But when the Zone art and music is directly lifted from the Sonic Rush series itself, you're better off just playing those instead.

Visit SAGE!

Sorry this group was all duds, basically. I also apologise if my assessments are short and overly repetitive. I'm pretty swamped at the moment and I don't have time to be as brilliant as I'd like to be.

Next time, though, you can look forward to another gem! =)


  1. Hello?

    I'm creator of Sonic Rebirth, I really apreciate your review of the last year's build.

    I'm trying to enter in contact, because I want you to tryout the 2010's build.

    My messenger is: fasthedgehog@gmail.com


  2. I sent you an email at fasthedgehog@gmail.com, but I still haven't gotten a reply.

    I'm afraid I read your comment too quickly, because I thought at first it read: "My email is: fasthedgehog@gmail.com", now I see it says "messenger". I don't know if that's a problem, or it you can still receive emails at that address as well.

    I'm still interested in trying out the 2010 build, so please let me know if/how I can contact you.

  3. Hi.

    Actually, I don't have acess to this e-mail anymore. My e-mail is fastthehedgehog@gmail.com or ferreirajornal@gmail.com

    The messenger is still: fasthedgehog@gmail.com

    Waiting for the contact,

  4. Alright, so I sent a short email to both those addresses.