Monday, May 27, 2013

As the world turns (oops not that one)

Shift in Gears – Sonic After 2006

Unleashed – Exploring the world was one of Sonic Team’s biggest quests in Adventure I &II. But on another level, it has never been this big. Crossing various continents; from cities to vast country sides, and Robotnik’s insane amusement park (which connects to the Colors storyline). On the plus side, the introduction to this new chapter is intense, full blown animated epic until the moment you don’t want to admit it. (Example: Sonic does get beaten, dropped from the satellite that he and Robotnik fought within. Down he goes, crashing to the Earth taking the Emeralds along with him.)

From there we are jet setted off after meeting a new creature / friend who’s lost his memory. But at the same time, we learn Sonic’s adventure has barely begun.  With instincts, and new found buddy trying to find the best way to fix the planet.  What made Unleashed work so well is the script and storyline. It never feels flat, or repetitive, every  area you clear changes with its environment. Including the in-game hub whether night or day, the atmosphere emulates what Sonic and Chip experience along their journey.

But wait this is a lot of description, where does Unleashed fit in? Well like I wrote in my coverage for 2006, let’s get rolling on some details you may not have been aware of before.
1) Perfect Gaia is an elemental being, like Iblis (they are one and the same). How so? Looking at the character boss design, they look pretty similar. Although they may differ in size, both carry their own dimensions of power, and downright scary.
2) So did Silver fix the timeline? Both yes, and no. Balance was restored for Soleanna, and its time stream. Unleashed is another matter altogether, thanks in part to the super genius.
3) What are the true limits of the Chaos Emeralds? I have been wondering the same thing. Whatever Robotnik’s Chaos machine was capable of, it literally drained the energy source right out of Sonic (in his Super form) which has never been done before. ( I wonder if Sonic Team may ever pull off a ballsy move like this again.)
4) I wonder if the dev team drew inspiration from Gradius (final boss fight). Swirling about the planet in a 3rd person perspective and tackling those manifestations via Perfect Gaia’s energy stream.
5) If you take a walkabout each locale, it actually feels like an rpg world. Although there are some npc’s out and about on their daily routine. Wentos, and a few others rarely leave their designated home.

*In case you weren’t aware, those mini bonus clips you unlock are in fact more than goodies. During the game’s pre-release Sonic Team uploaded an animated short called “Night of the Werehog”. Sadly it couldn’t fit on the game disc, but is still online.

Sonic Colors – Enter Planet Wisp
Given Robotnik’s conquest over one planet, he takes on another this time a far off distant place called Planet Wisp. An integral environment untouched by outsiders; protected by its inhabitants that rely solely on their planet’s eco system. Being a direct sequel to Unleashed takes Sonic and pals out of their usual territory. However it actually relates to Sonic CD’s unique formula, every area cleared changes the planet’s atmosphere.
Another interesting tidbit about these inhabitants is that they speak in code. It is not made up, but actual computer encoding language that does in fact exist. It may be logical that this Planet Wisp may be a collected consciousness, where there are more just like it. (*Lost World connection, these new allies / foes may have ties to Sonic’s new friends that he made in Colors.)

Generations – How it all comes together – Celebrating 20 years
Lately it seems like every franchise has been celebrating an anniversary. Sonic Team is no different, with a variety of titles under their belt including the blue hedgehog. Been under lock and key for years, until it found a voice, in an unlikely writer (who is quite talented, and has a funny bone) Same said writer also produced the story for Colors. (and is working on Lost Worlds)

But this is where the entire series also folds unto itself. Each stage is completely wiped from existence until Sonic (classic) or (nextgen) repair it towards its original state. What works with the in-game world being eclipsed without colors leaves it up to players to make decisions. In the past with the Adventure series, extra missions could only be tapped into by clearing the main stage. Here it takes one step further, with a variety of bosses to be challenged  (past and present).

Taking on the assortment of levels as classic or nextgen opens up so many pathways. Including the hunt for Red Rings (a fun sub-mission), but totally worth it in the long run. In addition there is assortment of upgrades you can choose from to use during any mission (or boss fight).

*note the homing attack was displayed in Sonic CD cutscenes, and the OVA movie. But not actually used till Adventure I.

^I do admit it feels kind of unusual to unlock and buy techniques for either rendition of the title character. But it is a neat feature that should be used more often. What makes it even more diverse is that these upgrades can be used by choice.

Although the game may feel short to some, there are plenty of goodies to unlock. From more sub-missions, to the bonus art, music, and cutscene gallery. For those that aren’t aware the collection area Is a hub that can only be unlocked via codes that were printed out for Sonic related products. Casino pinball was a featured downloadable content feature for those that pre-ordered the game. Plus there is a neat avatar outfit included as well.

Speaking of hidden features, each level is played in its own perspective depending on format. However nextgen Sonic’s viewpoint changes when it comes to the situation he’s dealing with. I find it humbling that such a design scheme could be pulled off. Take the time to look around, there is so much going on within each level its insane they crammed so many things into these levels we take for granted.

What’s next? So far it seems that “Lost World” is a new adventure. So far it has been teased that it takes place after Colors. New foes / allies to be revealed, team ups with old friends. Some of my friends from RadioSega, and myself have been discussing what could happen next. Thus game me some inspiration to put some words together to come up with this additional article. Thanks for reading, and there is much more to come!

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