The J-Man Show#99: Sonic Boom or Adaptation Fail (05/01/19)

J returns to discuss Sonic The Hedgehog (2009), Avengers Endgame, and discuss why even if you’re a true fan, you should never be mad at adaptations based on an IP. Further along there will be info regarding J360 Radio, Future Film productions, and Godzilla.

Sonic The Hedgehog (2009) Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvvZaBf9QQI

Sonic the Hedgehog Fan Film (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtCtQpclpY8

J360 Productions Social Media/Contact Info

Twitter: @j360productions

Facebook.com/j360productions

Email: J360productions@outlook.com

Hotline#: 240-903-1634

Advertisements

The J360 Live Stream: 01/24/17

Synopsis: J is playing Sonic Adventure again and begins to present his insights on the upcoming issues while attempting to finish off Dr.Eggman or try to play Big The Cat’s Storyline.

 

Looking Back: The Sega Game Gear

It’s 1991, and the Gameboy has dominated the new portable gaming market with hits like Super Mario Land and Tetris.  All over the world, people were enjoying their new past time especially since Nintendo did so well with the home consoles.  However this new market needed competition, and break people away from the green and grey screen of the Gameboy.

Enter Sega R&D and what came along from their creative ideals was one of the most epic relics of the 90s.

Game Gear.png

Game Gear.jpg

Before Sega’s dark times, we’ve had the Master System for the 8 bit market, the Genesis for the 16 bit home market. For the rising portable market however the Master System was recreated in a new form to wage war against the Nintendo Game Boy.  It was more horizontal than the gameboy, sporting a bigger screen, and the major selling point was the Gear Gear was in color!  The system took six AA batteries to power up with a series of different accessories (Even a TV Tuner!) to support it, it came in black, later blue with special edition colors in Japan along with a library of 363 games.   The Game Gear was a powerhouse to be reckoned with in the 90s, and as soon as you powered it on and heard that Sega chant.

You knew it was all about the games from here on out.

Game Gear games.jpg

There were multiple Sonic Games, Columns, Mortal Kombat, a few RPGs, and even Mega Man graced the Game Gear screen at least once.  Some of the most enjoyable games from my library alone even dealt with Larcen from Eternal Champions being in his own spin-off game called Chicago Syndicate. There were lots of opportunities with this console even a link cable so you could battle against another Game Gear owner if they had Mortal Kombat. Keep in mind this before Game Freak came around with Pokemon, so all of this was still new at the time.

While it seemed to have epicness written all over it, the Game Gear wasn’t without its share of problems.  It was hard to play the game in sunlight, it wasn’t so easy to hide in your pockets, the accessories make it more cumbersome to carry around, and the battery life of the console was hilariously bad. Due to the Back lit Screen, the Game Gear was a battery eater in every sense of the word. I remember this being my main problem with it in my travels as I would get to a tough villain in Sonic Chaos and get so close to beating it, only for my system to shut down due to battery death.

Game Gear Battery.jpg

Feed Me Seymour!

There were remedies to this  you could use a spare Genesis power adapter to keep gaming at home (which I did) or you could use one of the accessories like  the Battery Pack, which was able to connect to the system’s a/c adaptor port but it dangled and connected to your belt which was later phased out in favor of an actual connector called the Powerback, and a Car Adaptor was created when your system died on the go.

Game Gear Power Adaptors - JBrady.jpg

Power Up (You’ll need it.)

There is also a design flaw within the system’s capacitors which if you still have one now, it probably won’t turn on anymore or ripple in the pictures due to the capacitors leaking.  It can be fixed and there is a how to but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are patient and love to tinker with machines.

So age hasn’t been so good to the Game Gear in this regard but like other retrogamers there is a love that surrounds it from appearance alone especially with memories of the hours lost in gaming.

Unfortunately as the heat from the 16 bit era was shifting to 32-bits, the Game Gear was starting to show its age, and although it was out there as a great alternative to the Game Boy. Sega didn’t want to support it anymore unlike the Genesis whom later received those two infamous “add-ons.” The home market was thriving so well for Sega that the Game Gear got lost in the crowd and as the Game Boy library grew, the Game Gear slowed down to a crawl. As news of the Saturn came around, the Game Gear bit the dust and Sega moved onto developing a 16 bit portable successor in the same vein called the Nomad.

While the Game Gear’s story was bittersweet, it managed to acquire a tremendous amount of fans over the years.  The system was re-released in 2000 by Majesco with Sega’s licensing and received a brief resurgence in popularity.   Plenty of the games can be enjoyed again through emulation, visiting different flea market outlets, and of course Ebay.   If you have a broken Game Gear like me, you’ll probably wanting to know how to repair and fix up your capacitors so you can get back into 90s portable gaming so I’ll leave the link here at the bottom.  that system’s design of the system was also influential  for other portable consoles like the PSP, The GameBoy Advance, and Micro, and plenty of other retro consoles out there.  The Game Gear is still a remarkable system and it makes me wonder what it would’ve been like if Sega were still producing consoles?

Would we have had as many different Game Gears as Nintendo had GameBoys?

Would we have a Game Gear 3D before the Nintendo 3DS ever came?

I guess we’ll never really know but it’s always fun to take a look back at how gaming grew into where it is now.

(The how-to fix for your Game Gear Capacitors are provided via this link, and I am not responsible for what you do in repairing it.)

 

 

 

Looking Back: Sonic Spinball (Genesis)

Looking back on it the 90s were great, we had quality programming, awesome gaming magazines, The NBA was legendary, and Sonic the Hedgehog on full momentum.

Sonic the Hedgehog.png

While it is impossible to turn back time (the Delorean’s in the shop), I will take a moment and look back on a great entry in the Sonic Collection.  It isn’t a core Sonic game but it was a great area to take him and we owe it all to the majority of fans that loved the Casino Night Zone or any Pinball based zones in Sonic games.

One thing led to another.jpg

One thing led to another.

The love of this idea lead to a full game where you can play Pinball with Sonic himself as the Ball and it’s an addicting game to play.  There are no areas where Sonic runs at top speed but there are moments where you can control him to use the spin dash, and keep him in play unless you’re in an unwinnable situation.

Unwinnable.jpgAt its core, Sonic Spinball has fast mechanics, physics, and enjoyable controls that make it easy to understand and play. The music is outstanding from beginning to end, and there are only four large levels in the game.

Sonic Spinball Levels.jpg The level line up starts from Toxic Caves, Lava Powerhouse, The Machine (Possible Pink Floyd reference), and finally the launchpad/rocket level against Robotink/Eggman.

Emerald Power grab.jpg

The objectives throughout the game are

  1. Collect all Chaos Emeralds in the Levels.
  2. Unlock the boss arena.
  3. Defeat the boss.

Unlike the the core Sonic series, there are numerous emeralds varying from level to level though the magic number is usually 3 (the games were new at the time so canon was open).  This game features some pretty wicked moments such as using a minecart to collect rings, destroying switches to locate other areas on the playfields, and if you are in love with Pinball it’s an instant classic (Try it on fast setting). The downside to the game is much like regular pinball, there are unpredictable moments and it all comes down to your reaction time and where you direct Sonic.

The game is notable for having characters from the Sonic animated series (SATAM) making appearances during one of the bonus levels where Sonic is playing a traditional pinball machine.Sonic Spinball Bonus Levels.jpg

The bonus levels can be frighteningly difficult especially as the gameplay is fast and the deflection of the Robotink objects can be brutal in knocking you to the dead zone of the table. The best part is you’ll only get better with practice (3 chances!) and you see them every time you beat a level. The bonus levels objectives are some of the most zaniest ones ever made in a Sonic Game. For example you’ll have to destroy robotizers to free Sonic’s friends in one level, and you have to knock out Robotink’s teeth in another.  There’s a total of four bonus levels but you can only reach the 4th if you’ve managed to collect every ring in the level you are in, and jump through a star portal that will direct you to it.

Clucker's Defense.jpg

The Hidden Bonus Level: Clucker’s Defense

I will attempt to find this level at some point in the future because if it wasn’t for the Sonic News Network’s article on the bonus levels, I wouldn’t have known.

This game left a notable impact in other mediums as well.  There has been a comic book stoyline from the popular Archie series based on the first two levels. Other references have been made in the two early Sonic Cartoon series (AOSTH and SATAM) respectively.

Sonic Spinball References.jpg

Sonic Spinball tie-in comic, Assault on the Pinball Fortress(AOSTH), Game Guy (SATAM)

There was even a roller coaster in England named after it along with a special Sonic hotel suite sponsored by Sega from 2010 to 2015 (It had since reverted to its original name Spinball Whizzer this year). It’s such a staple to the series, I love how there will always be a pinball based level in a Sonic game that brings back fond memories of Spinball.  For the 20th Anniversary Sega created a special rendition of Casino Zone mixed with Sonic Spinball gameplay for Sonic Generations.

Sonic Generations Pinball.jpg

There is a Game Gear version of Sonic Spinball as well, and I’ve been meaning to try it out. While there are reviews that speak negatively about it, I’m all about giving things their fair shot (Especially a Sonic game) but if it’s really bad, I’ll write a response post to this article about it. I may do a follow up on my experiences with the Game Gear because despite its flaws, it was an enjoyable system.

If you ever want to play the Genesis version I’m speaking of, it has been re-released on many Sega compilations/retro shops such as Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3/XBOX360), The Wii Shop,  Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2, XBox, Gamecube), Steam, and all of the various emulations outlets out there.

Do anybody else have fond memories of this game?

Feel free to discuss them in the comments below.

Looking Back: Sonic Unleashed Review (PS3/X360)

Sonic Unleashed.png

Release Date: November 2008 (XBOX 360), December 2008 (PS3)

Happy 25th Birthday to my all-time favorite video game character, Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic Mania.jpg

Coming to PS4, XB1, and PC in Spring 2017

I cannot believe that franchise has finally hit the big 25 mark, and also has a brand new console game coming called Sonic Mania, and another game that is being produced at Sonic Team right now that isn’t a mobile game.  It will be good to have Sonic coming onto the 8th generation consoles and PC, at least in my opinion.

Sonic Unleashed.jpg

Before I start this review, I just would like to say all of you Sonic Haters please refrain from cringing at the sight of this game.  This game was actually the start of Sega’s big re-evolution of the Sonic brand and I have to say it isn’t that bad as people tried to bog it down as and I’m looking at IGN’s direction on that one, a 4.5 out of 10 ? whatever.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way let’s get started on the review.

Sonic Unleashed Eggman.jpg

 

We begin our story with Sonic chasing Dr. Eggman once again through his fortress to stop the insane doctor from completing his next evil scheme to take over the world .   Eggman was putting up a valid effort in trying to stop Sonic from trying to stop him leading to Sonic having to transform into Super Sonic in order to lay the smack down on Eggman only to be tricked into the Doctor’s latest plot and the plot of the game.   He used the powers of the Chaos Emeralds to split the planet into 7 different pieces so that he could release Dark Gaia from the core of the earth and build Eggmanland.

Sonic the Werehog.jpg

Sonic however manages to recover from this failure with a new ability and that is to change into a werehog at night, don’t worry though he remains his cool blue self throughout the game and he’s his normal self in the daytime.

Chip and Sonic.png

Sonic later meets up with an “interesting” sidekick named Chip, who is suffering from temporary amnesia after Sonic fell onto of him in the beginning of the game.  Despite how annoying Chip is in the cutscenes, he is essential in unlocking different levels in the game due to collecting Hidden Sun & Moon Medals.

Sun and Moon Medal.png

Sun and Moon Medals

The medals you collect unlock levels leading to sacred temples Sonic must use to revive the power in the chaos emeralds, cure himself of the werehog, uncover Chip’s true identity, and stomp Dr. Eggman.

Sonic unleashed3.jpg

Gameplay is different this time around you will have control of Sonic as himself in the day and as the Werehog at night.  Like it or not you will have to play both sides because that’s how the game was made, after you unlock certain levels you’ll be able to alternate night and day to switch game modes.

Werehog.jpg

The werehog mode while lacking Sonic’s trademark speed makes up for it in packing a punch in ways that would make Knuckles the Echidna proud. The Werehog uses a lot of fighting tactics that you can upgrade as you play the game making him stronger each time to the point where you could finish a level without pressing so many button combinations. His arms even stretch so you can pummel robots, and Dark Gaia foes at a distance.  You will be platforming more as the werehog than you will as normal Sonic but that’s ok because platforming is the other essential part of a Sonic game anyways.

Sonic_unleashed-xbox_360screenshots15479su_adb_day12-2.jpg
Daytime levels are the clear winner of this game. Sonic is fast again and you can use his trademark speed via a boost courtesy of the hedgehog engine.  Unlike previous Sonic games, there’s no robots stopping your speed now because this boost creates a shield around Sonic that smashes through robots and snag nearby rings to keep Sonic’s boost power strong.  As a gift to all of us that loved the 2D style gameplay, the game alternates between 3D and 2D modes when playing as Sonic in the daytime.  I thought this was a nice touch by Sonic Team, and luckily it continued into modern releases like Sonic Colors and Generations.

Just like upgrading the werehog abilities, you can upgrade Sonic’s speed as well which helps because once you’ll max it out you’ll be racking up trophies and achievements in no time.

You’ll later unlock moves such as the Sonic Air Boost, Light-Speed Dash, and the Sonic Stomp to activate switches.

Sega also kept some replay value in the game by creating DLCs for each stage which I would advise you to buy if and only if you’re a true sonic fan or like challenges because the levels you download have spikes and speed hazards in the most ridiculous areas ever, it seems the developers love Kaizo style gameplay as much as game modders.
The game does suffer from a few problems particular in the button combinations.  Sega has often mapped a lot of Sonic’s moves to one button but this was to the point where the wrong input can lead you to death. Sometimes you can have a hard time controlling Sonic too without the boost or a steady hand and the drifting in the game can be a bit awkward until you get used to it.  The PlayStation 3 Version suffers from moments of frame rate issues which is usually far and in-between however still plays identical to the 360 version.

In a minor offense, Chip as a character in this game is a game killer for some people (Particularly Segageek) but luckily you don’t have to play as him.

I’ve enjoyed playing this game because Sonic was getting closer to leaving his rut in 2006 and staying strong as one of the finest icons in gaming history. If you are interested in this game I would say go for it, its not so bad and is worthy of carrying the Sonic name.

I give Sonic Unleashed an 8 out of 10.

(Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog is copyrighted by Sega)