I’ve been on the “outs” with the hedgehog of late.
It’s hard to believe that Sonic is turning 20 this year. Good Lord. It just messes with you when you realize that much time has passed from that lazy Summer in 1991 when I alternated between the first Sonic game, and Sega’s equally fun Spider-Man title for the Genesis. But here we are.
And a lot of things have changed since then. The little blue guy has seen how many sequels and spin-offs now, strolling well into Mega Man territory with the sheer amount of games, but unlike Mario, which (back then, anyway) seemed a little more reserved in spin-off titles, Sonic was everywhere. Perhaps too much so at some points.
Outside of the 16-bit sequels, the Sega CD game, and perhaps Sonic’s first 3D Adventure outing, most sequels lost their way, either promoting stupid gimmicks, a never-ending expanding cast of quickly forgettable side characters, and the loss of that “’90’s attitude” he was so well known for. Even Sonic the Hedgehog 4 just missed… something (I attribute that to those goofy physics they slapped in the game).
I’m going to present a different sort of review for this particular entry.
As I mentioned about two months ago, DuckTales the comic was coming this month, and was penned by Epic Mickey‘s resident Disney fan, Warren Spector. While this is seemingly a bit of a “breaking format” for my usual type of entries, any kid with a NES back in the 1990’s would tell you otherwise.
The Disney Afternoon was a 2 hour block of animated shows featuring new or reimagined Disney characters going on series of action adventures from Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and of course, old Scrooge’s adventures. With each show came out a usually excellent game from Capcom within a year, so not only could you watch the shows, you could play them.
I actually did read the first story arc of the updated Rescue Rangers, and they make a very direct reference to its gamesake in the second issue (which made me smile, as I loved that game), but to prevent myself from going too far off my intended subject matter, let’s get back to the ducks.
The Sega fan is/was such a different creature than the Nintendo fan. For the 1980’s/1990’s, you chose one side: Nintendo or Sega. I made like Switzerland, and actually enjoyed both. There was always something “edgy” about Sega. Their games had “attitude”, which was so popular in the 1990’s, and so different that what passes for those terms today.
The Sega Master System, though lacking the 3rd party support that Nintendo had (largely due to the near-monopoly The Big N had on the gaming industry back in the day), still produced some quirky and unique titles, one of the most standout being the original Phantasy Star, which blew away most 16-bit offerings. And who could forget Alex Kidd and Fantasy Zone? Sega also had a number of notable arcade titles, such as Space Harrier, Shinobi, Outrun, Altered Beast, Golden Axe….
But Sega didn’t really find their foothold until the Genesis. It was here where we saw sequels to most of those beloved titles, as well as introducing newcomers like Ecco the Dolphin, ToeJam & Earl, Streets of Rage, and of course, Sonic the Hedgehog.
Hard to believe for the newer folks, but Nintendo used to be THE place for top-notch RPGs. Well, back in the NES and Super Nintendo days. When Nintendo refused to go to CD with the Nintendo 64, they lost one of their biggest third-parties (Squaresoft), along with pretty much everyone else who made that type of game. From then on out, RPGs on a Nintendo console (but not portable), have been scarce.
The Wii in particular has been a wasteland for RPGs. Oh sure, there’s the Virtual Console, where you can mine a ton of classic 8 and 16-bit RPGs to your hearts content, and there’s that promise of Dragon Warrior X (but I’ll believe it when I see it), but in terms of retail, it hasn’t happened.
Then in 2010, a strange thing happened. More traditional games started flooding the Wii. Whether the early signs of “The End” for the Wii, or a last-ditch attempt to bring in the more dedicated gamer, a lot of great stuff came out.
So I’m doing something a little different with this “Post-Script”: Reviewing a title that has been released on two systems. “But wait”, I hear you say. “Aren’t cross-platform releases the exact same thing with minimal to no changes?” In some cases, yes. In other cases, even though some games may have the same name, the similarities stop there. Look at 2009’s Ghostbusters game. Both Wii and HD versions have the same main story, but are presented in two entirely different ways. And such is the case of Michael Jackson: The Experience.
There is one continued “grouse” point that I will bring up for both: Store-exclusive content. The game is pretty much the same wherever you go, save for Wal-Mart, where buyers get an extra exclusive track “Another Part of Me” from the Bad album and the Captain EO mini-film. I personally love this song, and the news wasn’t widely hyped, so it’s irritating to miss out on such a catchy tune. Buyer beware. More content for the same price.
But the Wii version and Kinect version are two separate beasts. I’ll point out all the major differences:
I decided to review this DS staple after being prodded by Club Nintendo to rate my experience.
I bought this game as part of a fairly nice sale at Toys R Us some weeks back, so I didn’t pay full price for it, but as far as experiences go, it’s still the best pet sim out there.
I know that I generally “Eh” about Nintendo’s casual fare, but I am actually quite fond of Endless Ocean and the original Nintendogs. I thought it was cute, and with multiple releases, kind of a “Puppy Pokemon“. (FUN FACT: I’ve never played a Pokemon title. Not one. Gasp all you want, but I actually do intend to rectify this on the 3DS Virtual Console when they’ll likely re-release the originals). The game can technically go on forever, and while I eventually quit the first title, I grew fond of my virtual pooch.
I picked the same breed (Yorkie) with this new title. While there are some new breeds, I’m pretty disappointed that the majority of the dogs are recycled from the first batch of titles. I would have liked to have seen a feature where players could download new breeds (such Read the rest of this entry