Uncertainty

well…it’s certainly been quite a while, hasn’t it?

thesite

looking back on it, i can say that 2017 has more or less been my “low point”. aside from the fact that my last actual review was posted seven months ago, ranking the pixar films STILL hasn’t been finished (though i’m thinking of re-starting it in a different format than i did before), and i’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with the site, and at one point it felt like i was done with reviewing games altogether. it doesn’t help matters that my problems aren’t even limited to wordpress – after i made the decision to place the site on indefinite hiatus, i chose to shift focus towards furthering my artistic skills and achieve the goal of developing my own project, even going as far as to change my username on most of the sites i had a presence on. but the thing is, whenever i do come up with something, whether it be a game like sketchquest or a series like louie & ollie, i’m always find myself being disappointed with the direction that they’re going in. while i can say that i’ve improved with my art, creatively, i’ve become nothing but a hot mess, going through several ideas but not having faith that they could really appeal to a wide demographic. i’ve been trying to keep something on a presence on wordpress by checking out the stuff you guys make, but even then i know that it isn’t really enough. needless to say, it’s gotten to a point where i can say that i just don’t know what to do anymore. i might try taking a break from social media and go back to square one, or i could try and work on salvaging all this, the former being more likely as of now. and…that’s pretty much all i have to say, i guess.

Advertisements

How Sonic Mania Has Already Succeeded Where Sonic 4 Failed

Sonic_Series_Logo

It’s no suprise that the Sonic franchise has had quite the buzz surronding it over the past several months – with a slew of reveals regarding Project 2017 from its’ story, official name (Sonic Forces), and gameplay mechanics, the second season of the Sonic Boom TV series (which interestingly enough I heard has improved in quality, though I still don’t really care about it enough to be bothered to watch it), and the topic of today’s article, the second major attempt at a game in the style of the original trilogy and CD, Sonic Mania.

With an all-new trailer for the latter being unveiled to the public as of late (which by the way is absolutely amazing and you guys should like, watch it immediately), a thought that has lingered in my head ever since Mania’s announcement resurfaced, and one that really makes me hope that it turns out to be a spectacular game in the long run. However, before we get into what that thought exactly is, I’d like to take the time to give you all a brief history lesson.

Sonic_4_Logo

As the franchise was slowly but surely beginning to show signs of moving past the times consisting of such masterpieces like Shadow the Hedgehog…

…the GBA port of Sonic 1…

…and of course, one of the crowning achievements of the franchise, Sonic 06…

…Sega made an announcement that they would be making a direct follow-up to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, in what they deemed a “critical first step” to repair the franchise’s tattered reputation. Initially under the codename Project Needlemouse, the game’s official title was revealed to be Sonic the Hedgehog 4, in addition to the reveal that the game was also to be episodic. While expectations, as stated earlier, were generally high (for the most part), they sadly more or less fell flat at the end, as both Episodes 1 and 2 received a generally lukewarm reception, which in turn led to a planned Episode 3 now sharing the same graveyard as X-treme. With all of that out of the way, it’s time we got into the true meat of this article, as well as the previously-mentioned thought in question: How exactly has Mania succeeded in its’ goals as a revitilization of the original games where 4 failed in that department? Well, it was a bit hard to pin down at first, but after a while, I realized just what it was…

splash-hill-1.jpg

When you take a prolonged glance at either Episodes 1 or 2 of 4, you get the feeling that it’s all too familiar – and not even in the intended nostalgic way, for that matter. Even if there are some mechanics thrown in here and there to differnate itself from them, said mechanics cannot hide the fact that they’re more or less glorified rehashes of the first two games. Episode 1 in particular is absolutely ruthless with this to the point where it reaches full-on Memberberries territory; All four zones are blatant retreads of ones from past games, Splash Hill being a retread of Green Hill, Casino Street being a retread of Casino Night, Lost Labyrinth being a retread of Labyrinth Zone, and Mad Gear being a retread of Metropolis – hell, the bosses aren’t even safe from this! Episode 2 isn’t quite as bad with this, moreso to say less obvious, but my point still remains.

Sonic_Mania_MSZ_Act_2_Knuckles_1495557613.jpg

Mania on the other hand, while indeed reusing levels from the original games and being a throwback to them, is rather more like Generations in the sense that they’re both “Best Of” compilations of the series’ most fondly remembered and iconic levels, though Mania revolves entirely around the original games in contrast to Generations revolving around the series’ recent entries. It also helps that there are also a helping dosage of new levels added in to spice things up, such as Mirage Saloon (pictured above) and of course, Studiopolis Zone.

When making a throwback-style game, the most important thing above all to do is know how to stay true to the past while at the same time not clinging too much to it. This is a tatic that Mania seems to be taking full of advantage of, a tatic which most throwback-style games could honestly really benefit from. And with that, it has already succeeded where 4 has failed.

BONUS QUESTION: What games are you hoping to see get announced at E3 this year?

© 2017 A retr0pia Production

it’s here

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’.”

– Robert Oppenheimer 

Sonic Begins

In addition to wanting to pursure developing games, I’ve also had an interest in taking a look at various iconic properties and giving my own special take on how I’d reinvent them. However, there’s one property that I’ve had a particular desire to put my ideas towards, said franchise being Sega’s flagship franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog.

CharacterLineup

What you are looking at are designs of a hypothetical complete reboot that’s been brewing in my head by the name of Sonic Begins. Essentially, Begins comes from a similar place where Sonic 4 and Mania came about; a back-to-the-basics fast-paced 2D side-scroller in the style of the Genesis games while also building and adding upon the formula established by them, as well as giving an all-new, unique take on the roots of Sonic/Robotnik conflict, as well as Sonic’s meeting with his eventual sidekick and best friend, Tails. If you guys are interested in seeing me develop this idea further, be sure to let me know in the comments below.

SOON….

I’ve been somewhat slow in regards to content here lately, and trust me when I say that I apologize for that. I mean, it’s been almost three months since my last real review, I’ve yet to finish Ranking the Pixar Movies, and there are several games lying about in the mist that I’ve yet to give my take on. However, I will say that (hopefully) very soon, the slack is more than going to be picked up. Expect me to branch out into other games, consoles, and companies (and perhaps some beyond the 90’s), as well as more forways by me into other entertainment mediums, as well as some all-new segments and Ranking the Pixar Movies to FINALLY be completed (hopefully before Cars 3 comes out). Until then, be sure to watch this space, and stay retr0 as always! Oh, and as a bonus, have this timeless masterpiece of absurdity:

© 2017 retr0pia Productions