Sonic Rush Adventure - Impressions ahoy!
Saturday, 15th September 2007, 7:05pm (UTC), 4 Comments
Well, European Sonic fans everywhere have been enjoying Sonic Rush Adventure as early as this past Thursday. Somewhat funny story for me - I ended up with two copies. I originally ordered from, attracted by their 25 price tag. Little did I know at the time that they're based in Jersey, and I'm not, therefore postage delays were probable. I did want it asap, but I also return to University on Sunday, and I was afraid it wouldn't get here before then, so I cancelled the order on Wednesday, and ordered a second copy from GAME. Couldn't cancel it in time though, and unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to order on Wednesday for GAME to deliver it on Thursday. Lo and behold, they both turn up on Friday! Nevermind, I can return one of them as long as I leave it unopened.

SO! In one word? Excellent. It is an excellent Sonic game and will probably become my favourite secondary Sonic platformer thus far. I'll start by saying that I never disliked Sonic Rush, it's always been good fun, but I always felt it was a bit overrated, and not without faults, particularly regarding its level design and frustration factor, in initial play. I would say that almost all of these problems have been fixed for its sequel, and while its frantic flowing style of gameplay is still very present, there is an absolute tonne in here that separates the two games very significantly.

Rather than a traditional menu, all of the game modes can be accessed within the hub map of Windmill Island, and within the map, small RPG style rooms and docks that Sonic can walk around in, and talk to people such as Tails, Blaze, new character Marine, and her various Koala-based friends that the team meet along the way. Great to see new NPC's that aren't humans, even if they do all have to be the same animal. It would seem that the powers that be are determined to make RPG style gameplay work alongside Sonic's usual running and jumping shenanigans, to help freshen the series. There will always be those that are dead set against it - the annoying, bitching type of people that never want Sonic to do anything that he didn't do prior to 1995, and I admit I was eager to plough through the initial ten minutes of story scenes and training sequences to get to the action. But after that, I think those two main modes, and the sailing (which I'll get to in a minute) gel quite well together to form a neat little adventure, and the game certainly feels deeper and longer as a result.

Seven levels, two acts and a 3D boss each, and all very similar to how things were done in the first game, but there are many notable differences that any discerning Sonicologist will be able to spot, and to me, just about all of them are for the better - Except perhaps for the control system. It's the same basic thing, but the X button is now unused, and B is used to perform combo tricks while in the air, although the R button still does tricks while grinding and dashing across or up, aswell. It's a bit fiddly and confusing at first, but you get used to it. Thankfully the pinpoint tight movement controls of your character remain the same.

The wonderful level design more than makes up for that. Their locations are more original, with bright colours and the environments are full of stuff, compared to the slightly empty feeling I got in the first installment. Speed is still of the essence, and I felt that my bursts of speed flowed a bit better, and for longer. There are more level-specific objects ("gimmicks", if you prefer), and loads more occasions where Sonic's 3D model is used to great effect, popping in and out of the layout, and even indulging in the occasional, completely 3D segment, such as hopping between adjacent grinding rails. There are so many new, innovative moments that I think most fans will enjoy. The focus on enemies is back to being just right, with almost no health bars in sight, and none of those areas where you have to beat a group of them to pass through.

Perhaps most importantly, someone over there at Sega or Dimps or wherever has finally said "Hey, yanno what.. there's too many death drops these days, lets do something about it".. hallelujah. They're still there, but occur much less frequently, particularly in the earlier levels, and even later on, I still felt that their inclusion was reasonably fair. As a result however, the game does feel alot easier, probably quite a bit too easy, in fact, and most of the levels feel at least a minute too short too. While they're still very entertaining and keep you on your toes, and I infinitely prefer too easy to having challenges that are just too difficult, there just weren't as many particularly tricky bits for me to get stuck on for a little while as I would have liked. I never actually got a Game Over - something I was getting all the time in SR1, and if the levels were played one by one, with nothing in between, you could probably race through, even on your first time, in little more than an hour or even less. I beat all levels and the final boss by the end of my first day.

What's more, I don't think I even lost a life on any of the bosses, and that was definately not the case for the bosses in SR1, whose dodgy ring loss system made me want to throw the damn DS out the window in unbelievable frustration. That problem is fortunately very much fixed, and the bosses actually have both an easy and normal difficulty setting in the options. Mine was on easy so that might have explained it. Still, they remain very interesting challenges that really break the boundaries of anything we've seen before in Sonic bosses. Multiple routes in the levels are of a similar style to original. Plenty of places where you can see separations, but I don't think many of them last all that long, but I'm sure there's plenty more for me to explore yet.

The sailing was an area that I thought might not have been fully refined, but as it turns out, it's just as well implemented. Four very different crafts lead to significantly different methods of play, from Special-Stage-like moving and ring collecting, to firing at enemies by touching them with the stylus, and they all travel for different maximum lengths and over different surfaces, etc. They're necessary for travel to the different islands that house the levels, and Tails builds the crafts one by one from different amounts of materials that you can gather by completing each act. You often end up needing more than what one playthrough of any level will give you though, so you must either do the level again (which is something I would do anyway, but there was something about the fact that the story seemed to force you to do it that didn't quite sit right with me), or you can explore many of the hidden islands on the great, sea map. These contain small, fresh chunks of level that are either of a special seaside location, or based on the appearance of one of the full levels. This is a great addition that helps to make up for the lack of the length in them, and some of them are actually quite a bit harder too. The whole thing reminds me alot of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker actually, which is also a great game.

Story scenes are numerous and mostly take place using images of the characters and text, like in Sonic Rush, but this time 3D sequences are also used to convey any significant action. Marine is the new Raccoon girl and she certainly has alot of life in her, decorating her many sentences with a barrage of crazy Australian phrases (some of which I've never heard in my life, so they possibly may have been made up entirely). For anyone who was wondering why this game was given an age rating of 12 for bad language, it's because Marine uses the word "bugger" on four different occasions. Probably intended to be perfectly innocent, but of course over here in Britain, it's something of a mild swear word, which Americans may not be aware of. It's rather funny that probably that one word caused the whole game to be inaccessible to anyone below the age of 12 without their parents handy. Anyway, Marine's childish naivity, bossiness and excitability ceratinly makes the other characters seem quite a bit less interesting, but it doesn't take long for her to get on your nerves.

Beyond the main story, there's more extra stuff to do than in any previous 2D Sonic game. On top of the hidden islands, you also get 100 extra missions to complete (containing all the usual suspects), and Chaos Emeralds and Sol Emeralds to collect, which seem to open up the inevitable extra boss encounter (which I haven't unlocked yet). No Special Stages this time though, Sol Emeralds are collected by beating harder versions of the bosses as Blaze, and Chaos Emeralds are won by beating "Johnny", the simplistically-named torpedo robot, at jet ski races. Incidentally, Blaze does not have her own story, she joins the others when they meet her in storymode, and from then on, you can simply choose to play as either Sonic or Blaze. Good news for me - I hardly ever play as Blaze in Sonic Rush.

What else..? Oh yeah. Good soundtrack. Not amazing, but good, and better than Sonic Rush's very unorthodox one. This is from the same sort of vein, but features much more traditional, catchy Sonic style tracks. Good to see that each act has a different variation of the same tune aswell, rather than just a separate one for each character. The way it should be.

This is a bit of a historic week in Sonic history, as it marks his first official foray into proper online gaming, but I can't believe Sonic 2 on XBox Live Arcade pipped this game to the post by merely 2 days! Unbelievable, but regardless, the online competition in SRA is perfect. I've had a few races and there's been no lag whatsoever (unlike for Tails in Sonic 2), and I'm thrilled that it's even here - I was honestly expecting it to not make an appearance in the end. You know how Sonic Team are with letting us down on the little things. I'm returning to Uni tomorrow where there isn't a wireless connection, so if you want to play against me before then, be quick and enter my ID: 1007-7113-9238-4000, for when I can find the time to play for a bit, and whenever I'm home.

Overall, Sonic Rush Adventure is a superb game, that, at least on initial play, is way better than its predecessor in my opinion. However, what's important to me is its lasting appeal over the months and years that I'll return to it now and then for a play, at which point it can be properly compared to the other games of the series. It's a shame the levels are so short and easy, in fact I dare say this could be the easiest Sonic platformer we've ever seen, and it remains to be seen if this will impact much on its lasting appeal. That doesn't mean for a second though that it isn't a fun, innovative and highly enjoyable experience that is deepened tremendously by its sailing aspect and a not-too-overwhelmining smidgen of RPG. It's all so well thought out and the developers have really softened every corner, which is a sight for sore eyes in these modern times. Dimps may have kicked off for us the start of Sonic's return to the top, or at least a more comfortable alcove on the mountain of gaming.

By the way, Hill Top Zone isn't far off completion now. More people are flocking to this place to find out Sonic 2 info for its XBLA version, so I'll try to build it up as quickly as I can.

Comments   4 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Saturday, 15th September 2007, 8:34pm
...I didn't know that. No wonder it has a 12+ rating, I guess. America will get this game in 3 days, and I'll be getting it then. I'm curious, what are the "real" lyrics to the boss music? Have YOU figured them out. I really hope it doesn't say what everybody thinks it says. The game sounds great, though
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 15th September 2007, 9:03pm
lol, yeah, I don't think it says that either. That's certainly what I say when I'm humming along to it though. If you're on the Wi-fi, let me know your ID number.
#3. Comment posted by 1963886 on Sunday, 23rd September 2007, 1:05am
Uh... Well, I guess that's up to you, but, one of the reasons I like the
Sonic series is because it has/had NO bad language. There's no reason for it to change, and if it does, I won't buy anymore Sonic games. I'm a little unhappy with Sega. Even if the song really doesn't say that, the should have relized it was to close to keep in there. That being said... The game itself is awsome. I still haven't beat a number of the missions yet, though. Do you have any advice on getting through the zones as fast as you can?
#4. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 3:05pm
Not really, sorry. I'm kinda stuck on those time limit ones aswell. Guess it just comes down to working out the best shortcuts, of which there seem to be plenty.
Sonic's Gambling Addiction
Thursday, 6th September 2007, 1:08pm (UTC), 3 Comments
Update: Casino Night Zone added to the Sonic 2 section
Sorry it's taken so long, but I've finally finished Casino Night Zone. Blame my eyes giving up on me, although they seem to be getting much better now, thankfully. The Act 1 map in particular was a bit of a nightmare. So many bloody bumpers and flippers etc, and then I had to add in all the Sonic and Tails panels in the foreground too, which was pretty time consuming. I rather hope Hill Top Zone will be much less of a struggle. One thing to note is that for this page, I tried out a whole new organisation system. Before, each page had its own specific CSS file that specified a particular div id for each individual paragraph and image in the html. I've done away with this and from now on, I only specify what I need to in the actual html file, so much less code needs to be repeated. I no longer use p tags either, so the page should look mostly the same in Firefox, IE and hopefully everything else now - the differences used to drive me nuts. IE still sucks though. Use Firefox.

So, only a week to go til Sonic Rush Adventure washes ashore at game retailers, and I am rather excited, moreso than I was at this point for the first one anyway. Most people prefer plots not to be spoiled for them - I'm the same, but because level design is my first love in Sonic, I don't want levels and general gameplay contents spoiled for me either. I just love the feeling of exploring a brand new level for the first time ever, and it's amazing when you haven't seen a single screenshot or movie clip of it, and haven't heard the music, don't know what type of level it's going to be or even know its name until you actually play it. In recent years, most games could not offer me this experience because I'd already found out something about all its levels - I really hate it when official media spills the beans on all of them, so now I refuse to see any more screens or movies, hear the music that's on the rather stylish official site, or find out anything else about SRA. I know five of the seven levels, but I want the remaining two to be kept a complete secret, thankyou very much. The only video footage and music I've seen/heard is in the trailer too, so there's plenty of new ground for me to cover - can't wait!

One thing that's still up in the air as far as I'm concerned is whether or not the game will feature online play via wi-fi. If it does, it'll be the first ever Sonic game to officially take the big leap into online play (and about time), but I'm trying not to be too excited. Some sources say it will, some don't mention it, but after it was promised, then taken away from us in Sonic the Hedgehog on 360, I remain on the fence. If it doesn't, then apparently Sonic 2 on XBox Live Arcade might take the leap instead, but Streets of Rage 2 apparently is very slow online, so that might bomb a bit too. Bah!

Expect a full on bout of impression giving on SRA next weekend. Should get Hill Top up before the month's end aswell.

Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Friday, 7th September 2007, 9:48pm
I'm looking foward to Sonic Rush Adventure, too. I have high hopes for this game! Casino Night zone is looking really good, and very detailed!
#2. Comment posted by Fueledbyrings on Saturday, 8th September 2007, 5:28pm
Actually, Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast had World Ranking contests (sponsored by Reebok and AT&T), a Christmas mod for Station Square, a Halloween "Tremble Park" mod, a Dreamcast launch mod, and several Twinkle Circuit downloads, as well as the Chao stuff and the voice themes. I guess that would make it the first Sonic game to go big online, but who knows what SRA will do?
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 8th September 2007, 9:30pm
Very true, but I was thinking more of actual online play, as in playing against other gamers in real time, and ideally, competing against them in levels, at the same time. I've heard that there was some sort of not-very-good online patch for Sonic R on PC, and of course some emulators can play the Megadrive 2-player games online, but other than that, it hasn't really been done yet, officially.
Happy Birthday, Zone: 0!
Thursday, 30th August 2007, 4:55pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Update: Page Reply feature added to all pages in the Sonic 1 and 2 guides, allowing visitor submission of extra info.
That's right, one pleasant summer's evening, three years ago to this day, I decided to sit down and write about Green Hill Zone, after spending the previous few weeks throwing around an idea in my head about the ultimate online reference guide for all Sonic levels. Granted, it took only three hours and it wasn't immediately as detailed or accurate as it is today, but the foundation was laid, and the remaining Sonic 1 levels followed shortly, all within the space of just over a week! Three years on, and here is that resource, and though its really only just started to break out of text documents on my computer and onto the interweb, it is already far more detailed and impressive that I could ever have imagined it would be. How the hell that one idea has survived to this day, through all the potential pit-falls and reasons for me to give up, and now with my enthusiasm for it fully intact, I have absolutely no idea, but you can bet your ass I'm sticking with it!

I don't let anniversaries like this go by unnoticed, so to celebrate, I've gone and launched the Zone: 0 Page Reply system. Journey to any page within the Sonic 1 and what's currently available of the Sonic 2 guides, and you'll find a pair of outlined boxes at the top and bottom, which link you to a pop-up window filled with.. well, at the moment, not much, but it will be filled with dozens of comments left by loyal Zone: 0 followers (who will also materialise in due time). They'll be talking about extra bits and pieces of info that I've missed from that particular page, maybe asking me inane questions that would probably have been answered on the page if they'd looked hard enough, and hopefully a touch of debate here and there about the level in question. Dunno what kind of debates those would be, but I'm sure they'd be darn fascinating. I'm hoping that over time, regular visitors will make themselves known through that system and my blog comments, and one day a proper Zone: 0 forum may emerge with a ready made community to use it. A real nice forum, where the matters of level and game design are discussed in a friendly atmosphere, but only between knowledgeable and devoted Sonicologists.

Unfortunately, Casino Night is still not ready, and both act maps still need completing. It's all those darn bumpers and flippers all over the place. As I mentioned last time, my eyes have given up on me recently and decided to hurt unbearably, sometimes all day long, and especially when I try and look at a computer screen. Given that my life isn't much without being able to receive visuals through some sort of screen that's in front of me, this has proved to be highly inconvenient. Got new glasses yesterday though, which are a massive improvement, and I don't have to squint to try and see anything anymore, which I reckon was what the problem was. The pain is still a bit on and off but I'm hoping it'll go completely very soon, and I can get on with things. Being idle sucks.

So, realistically, expect us to hit those glitzy slots sometime next week, all being well (though it may not be). Then I might have a little break to get a few other non-Zone:0 things sorted, like heading back to uni. And then we've got Sonic Rush Adventure to look forward to! Start practicing that piratey accent now. I don't need to, I talk like that all the time.

No comments have been posted in response to this Blog post.
Zone: 0 needs YOU!
Friday, 24th August 2007, 3:05pm (UTC), 3 Comments
Well, nominations for the Sonic Site Awards have been posted up, and I'm thrilled to see that Zone: 0 has made it through to be nominated for three different awards, including Information Station, Impressive Layout and even the big one, the Sonic Site Award itself! Given that this site has only been up since April, and for it to already be eligible for the top award is quite an achievement and I thank Dreadknux and whoever else helped him choose the final nominations for giving Zone: 0 the opportunity.

As of writing, you can't vote just yet but by the time you're reading this, it'll probably be open, so I'd be very grateful if you could vote for Zone: 0 in any of those categories (though you do need an SSMB account, I believe). And by all means, let me know here if you voted for me, by leaving a comment on this blog post. Though it's against strong competition, I think Zone: 0's amount of detail gives it a good chance in the Information Station award. I'm not so sure about Impressive Layout, after seeing the likes of the extremely stylish EverSonic. I'll probably vote for them myself, actually. Although I'd like to suggest that Zone: 0's best in that department can be found more in the way the content pages of the games are organised and are hopefully quite clear and easy to read, rather than in this still quite temporary home page area. As for the biggie, its anyone's guess really. I'm not expecting to get it, but I'd be overjoyed if I did. Whatever happens, I'm sure it'll be a big help to spreading word about the place. Thanks also to Hogfather and anyone else who was kind enough to nominate me for that award, as I only went in for the other two, myself.

If you're wondering what's going on with regard to updates, I'm afraid it's a bit slow at the moment. I've practically blown out my eyeballs in the last few days, and while they're alot better today, it's been the case that I've been unable to keep my eyes on the monitor for more than ten minutes without them starting to hurt unbearably. Too much strain on them as of late, but I'm getting new glasses next week, which will hopefully fix the problem. The Casino Night Zone page is half done, but the maps aren't and I can't say for sure when they'll be up, but hopefully within the next couple of weeks.

As I mentioned last time, it's the third anniversary of the whole concept of this resource on the 30th August, and I hope to celebrate it by unveiling a new comment system for each individual page of info in the game guides. This will allow you to write a response, or read a list of previous responses relating to any specific level etc, and it allows you to post further info that I've missed, ask me questions, or help solve anything I don't get or can't access. No login will be required, so I'm hoping to build up more of a community by making the site a bit more interactive.

I better go now cos me eyes are playing up again. See you on the 30th, and VOTE VOTE VOTE!.. for me. Please. Thankyou.

Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Hogfather on Saturday, 25th August 2007, 2:14am
I'm voting for Zone: 0... and so should you... Also.. Vote for A Rose and a Thorn in fiction 2007... It's not my fic... but it's blood good and deserves to win. Just like Zone: 0 deserves to clean house.
#2. Comment posted by 1963886 on Saturday, 25th August 2007, 1:50pm
I'll vote for your site... actually, I'll vote your your site in all 3 categories.
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 25th August 2007, 2:37pm
Cheers guys! Lets hope this can gather in more loyal Zone: 0 followers, who will also pledge their votes.
Water Erosion
Monday, 13th August 2007, 10:58am (UTC), 6 Comments
Update: Aquatic Ruin Zone added to the Sonic 2 section
I had Aquatic Ruin all finished up and ready for showing yesterday but unfortunately my IP became blocked from my own web host for some reason just as I was uploading. The maps took quite a while this time, what with complicated routes, all those foreground bushes and different colouration for the underwater segments. Worth it though.. then again, come to think of it, I haven't actually received any feedback as of yet about any of the maps, specifically. You guys DO have a look at these maps I invest a fair bit of time on, right? Of course you do, I can see them being accessed in the stats, but I hope they come to good use, or will do in the future. I like Aquatic Ruin Zone, it's a cheerful little level with a very interesting structure that's filled with sub-routes and hidden bits and pieces, though it strikes me as being quite underrated in the community. You never hear people talk about it much, do you?

So, SAGE (Sonic Amateur Games Expo) has come and gone once again and there were a handful of impressive offerings. In general, the fangaming community is now becoming quite successful at making their various game engines emulate the real thing, compared to where they were 4 or 5 years ago, where things like loop-de-loops and platforms that make Sonic move with them were the stuff of the absolute experts. There's also some quite good level design and interesting ideas popping up aswell, but the problem is that still, nothing is ever completed. The only half decent completed fangame I've ever played was Sonic Time Attacked, which now is quite old and can be improved upon. Otherwise, all we ever get is an endless stream of demos featuring only one or two levels, and then the creator usually scraps it shortly thereafter, often replacing it with another game that is essentially the same basic concept. I understand it's all part-time stuff (like me with this site), and sometimes things don't always work out the way they were planned, but surely there should have been more of them that have actually been finished by now. Maybe everyone should just forget about trying to make whole games and just focus on releasing individual, unconnected levels of varying difficulty and type. That's what I'd do I think.

Retro Sonic is one fangame I've been keeping an eye on over the last few years and I'm thrilled to see it back and better than ever at SAGE, even though it was only just released this morning. Its physics are about the best I've seen from anyone, and the level design is excellent. Very smooth and flowing and flat out fun. If there's one game that I really hope to see complete one day, it's this one. Sonic Nexus was also impressive, with some nice, original ojects, and its good to see a fanmade level that isn't just a succession of speedy curves. I don't normally play many hacks on emulators, mostly because I get the impression they usually just replace Sonic with someone like Shadow or Mighty and then warp the level graphics into horrible colour schemes. Yes, Sonic 1 Megamix is partly that, but it also features completely redesigned, and very long levels that add whole new ideas to Sonic 1. Racing through it is good fun, and it's nice to play something that's actually a whole game, from what I've reached so far. Not something that I would have thought might appeal to me, but I liked Tikal and Chaos for its inventive platforming maneuvers given to Chaos, particularly, and just the interesting level design. I know people work very hard on their fangames, so well done to you all. Show SEGA and Sonic Team that level design doesn't always need too many death drops and gangs of enemies with health bars to be a decent challenge.

Now then, what's all this cafuffle about Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity? It seems that PLAY magazine is boasting all the info before SEGA release it. Unusual for some mag to be the very first to divulge stuff about a new Sonic game, but I guess they would have no reason to lie. That makes a cluster of five different games coming our way within the next year or so, which is quite alot, and if Zero Gravity is for real, that makes 46 Sonic games in total, by my list. I break up the series into two distinct generations, Pre and Post Sonic Adventure, and SA was Sonic game #24. That makes the first and second generations now exactly the same size as each other.. Time for a third then? Maybe.

I'm eagerly awaiting the start of the voting phase for the SSA's. Even if Zone:0 is just nominated for something, it'll be a much needed boost to my hits. Although it is doing quite well in Google search results at the moment, coming up quite high for the right kind of phrases. Also, this whole project celebrates three great years of being in production on the 30th of this month. That's right. First two years spent writing, the third spent on building all that you see here right now. To celebrate, I hope to build that system I've been promising, where you can leave comments in response to each level page, and just generally improve the functionality of the comments system. And Casino Night Zone will probably come up along with it aswell.

'Til then!

Comments   6 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 16th August 2007, 1:55am
...Of course we look at the maps. That's funny, Aquatic Ruin is a good level, but I consider it the worst in the game. What do you think is the worst level in the game? What about the best level? The section looks nice... you're a good writer.
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 16th August 2007, 8:24am
I would say Hill Top is my least favourite. Ever since I noticed it, I just can't help but be put off by the fact that it has the exact same foreground as Emerald Hill, only turquoise instead of orange. Otherwise it's cool, but I just think it could have done with more originality in its graphics.

As for my favourite.. don't really have one that stands out for me especially, but I've always enjoyed Casino Night, and of course Sky Chase is always pleasant and simple.

#3. Comment posted by Flint on Tuesday, 28th August 2007, 9:35am
Aquatic Ruin's amazing. The huge Greek mythology nerd in me was overjoyed when I played it as a little kid. Just thought I'd say "great work" again, noticed that this site had proceeded to Sonic 2 as I was checking out the SSA stuff (voted for ya btw). Sonic 2's my favourite out of the 2D games, excited about seeing what you can write. Hell, I never knew about the Chemical Plant Zone secret way D: There is however an ounce of criticism here as well, and that's with the music descriptions. I'm a huge music fan and it's slightly disappointing that you don't really insert even nearly the same amount of detail to the music descriptions as to every other description: quite often it's merely "lively and , which fits the stage". Now I do understand it's probably a bit harder to write about short loops of songs in detail than whole levels or enemies, but it's something I see as a tad of a flaw. (I might actually assist you on that stuff, but don't hold on to me on that like it's set in stone. Just an off-shoot mention. Plus I don't even know if you want helping hands) But yeah. Fantastic work still. You have a huge chance of becoming one of THE Sonic sites in the future. Good luck with the SSA!
#4. Comment posted by Flint on Tuesday, 28th August 2007, 9:35am
And for some reason the posting killed my paragraphs and made it all into one big pile of text. OUCH.
#5. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 28th August 2007, 10:16am
Yeah, sorry about the paragraphs. That's just the way it comes out, and I haven't quite sussed them yet, but I will get round to it. In the meantime, <p> tags work just as well.

Thanks alot for your vote and support! There's a reason the music doesn't get as much description as anything else, and it's not because I don't care about it. On the contrary, Sonic music is among my absolute favourite things about the series. It's simply because I really don't know how to describe music, I'm not very musical at all. I try to write more detail there but that's really all I can ever come up with.

If you want to add a bit more to it then by all means feel free, though I won't hold you to it. Very soon I'll be implementing a system whereby visitors can post comments to any specific page, just like you can with these blog entries. This can be used to add things that I've missed, so by all means post anything you want in there and I can add it to the actual page at a later date.

It'd be really cool if I could get someone who actually knows what they're talking about to write the music descriptions, so yeah, go for it! :)

#6. Comment posted by Flint on Tuesday, 28th August 2007, 4:25pm

Ehh, I don't know if I actually /know/ what I'm talking about (I've no clues about notes and whatnot!) but I do love to chat crap about things of musical nature. I'll see if I can find the time to give it a try, mail ya some stuffs when I do (don't expect immediately, I've got pretty long work days so energy goes doooown).

Thanks for the approval though :D

Let's see if these p-tags work!

Sunday, 29th July 2007, 2:25pm (UTC), 11 Comments
Update: Chemical Plant Zone added to the Sonic 2 section

Wow, a new level put together all in just over a week? Don't expect me to keep those kind of shenanigans up, although I will endeavour to put up a new level at least every fortnight for the remainder of the summer. No guarantees after that though. For anyone wondering, all the writing has been done many months ago, at the moment I'm only applying it to webpages, and making screenshots and maps, but it's still alot of work.

This one actually struck me as being a bit more well written than previous levels, not in terms of accuracy, just general writing style. Ahh, Chemical Plant. As a kid, I sucked at playing Sonic or really any game for that matter, and preferred to marvel at the abilities of my friends while I tagged along as Tails, but was I the only one to have nightmares about this zone? I remember, I used to happily play through Emerald Hill and then Act 1, but would usually just turn it off as soon as Act 2 started. Sometimes I would venture a bit into it if I was feeling particularly brave, but I lived in fear of.. "the bit". Point #5 in the guide, the bit where you're chased up a shaft filled with dangerously-close-to-each-other blocks by the deadly pink chemicals. Every time I actually tried it my nerves would get the better of me and I'd drown or fall, yet I could do quite a few of the later levels. Has anyone else had similar childhood experiences? Maybe you still can't do it? According to my misc. notes section, the current Sonic Team can't, so I guess there's no shame.

In the news lately (Sonic news, of course), it looks like Metal Sonic and surprisingly, Espio are two of the eight characters in Sonic Rivals 2. I like Espio, and I'm really glad to see him back in platforming action, and alone for the first time now (well, apart from the rival). Much better to make use of him and other less used characters than invent whole new ones for every new game, I think most of us agree. I believe there's still one more to be announced though. While we're on the subject, has anyone else noticed that the Sunset Forest level in this GameTrailers video appears to have multiple suns, during the Tails bit? No, before you say anything, it's not evidence to suggest this game takes place on another planet that's surrounded by suns, it's more than likely a graphical cock-up. I know what you plot theorists are like. :P

Oh yeah, I've also made an update to Point #7 of the Scrap Brain Zone in Sonic 1. Getting to the mysterious top route in Act 2 had alluded me until a visitor sent me an email, explaining that the tube that takes you to it only activates when you've got at least 50 rings to hand. How unusual is that? No wonder I missed it. Anyway, cheers mate. Will update that section and the map properly when I can be arsed.

That'll be all for now. Hopefully Zone: 0 will be a nominee for the Sonic Site Awards soon, so expect me to be rabbiting on about that next time.

Comments   11 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:26am
You are REALLY good at discovering shortcuts in the levels. You site was the first time I ever heard of two shortcuts: The Labyrinth and now the Chemical Plant level shortcuts. I hadn't seen those tricks on any other sites. Well Done. Just out of curiosity, why does the last 16 or so characters show up again at the end of every page?
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 30th July 2007, 8:59am
Thanks! Yeah, I only found out about those shortcuts within the last two or three years aswell, since I began writing. It certainly helps if you have the complete map at your disposal and therefore can see everything that exists in it, you then just have to figure out how to get to these hidden routes. I didn't figure out the Labyrinth one myself, I read about it elsewhere.

What 16 or so characters are you referring to? I'm not sure what you mean.

#3. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:22pm
Look between the Miscellaneous Notes table and the text that says "Contents of this page were last updated on 5th July 2007" on the Star Light Zone page. On my browser there is text that shows up saying "me and Sonic 2", which happen to be the last 15 letters of the Miscellaneous Notes section. It's nothing to worry about, it's actually pretty funny at times.
#4. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 30th July 2007, 12:35pm
Really? wow, doesn't happen with me, and I've tested it in Firefox, IE7 and Opera. What browser do you use? I've no idea what could be causing that.
#5. Comment posted by 1963886 on Monday, 30th July 2007, 1:19pm
Internet Explorer 7, I think.
#6. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Tuesday, 31st July 2007, 8:01pm
Ok, I've done some research into this, and this "phantom text" bug occurs in IE6, so that must be what you have. It repeats the last characters of the text according to how many comments I have in the html that sit between the boxes that contain all the individual bits of content. I use the comments to make it clear to me what's what, but for some reason they cause problems in IE6.

Unfortunately, according to my stats, about 25% of you guys are still using it! I really hate browser compatability issues. Everyone please do me a big favour and download firefox and just use that from now on... pleeease? :(

Well, in the meantime, I'll try and fix it. There seems to be a few ways to work around it.

#7. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 3:08pm
You're right, I forgot you could just go to help, and select "About Internet Explorer." It is IE6, but I'm perfectly fine using it even with mysterious text. I told you, it's actually kind of funny.
#8. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 6:35pm
Here's an idea that may work. Why don't you just try putting a "font color=white" tag right after the last table. What other options have you considered?
#9. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Wednesday, 1st August 2007, 11:22pm
It's ok, I've sorted it out now. The bug is triggered by comments in certain places. I just used a different method of commenting. I've re-uploaded all the pages, so they should all be ok now. The same bug misplaced some of the images really low down the page aswell. Could you do me a favour and check a few of the pages to see if they're alright? Thanks.
#10. Comment posted by 1963886 on Thursday, 2nd August 2007, 9:30pm
Everything looks fine to me.
#11. Comment posted by mercury on Wednesday, 28th May 2008, 8:05am
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've wondered about that top route in Scrap Brain forever! I always thought it was just an area that they decided to cut from the game, but just got left in the rom for time reasons - who knew they'd have a ring criteria? That's awesome.

As for "the bit" in Chemical Plant. Yeah, that was my bugbear, too. I would always get up to that point and make my brother play it for me! I was quite relieved when I found the secret route that bypasses it.

As always, your site's a treat. It's great having someone who's genuinely enthusiastic about Sonic, rather than just complaining about how the new games are going. I look forward to your updates.
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We've finally done it! The Zone: 0 guides have reached their last big update. Owner LiQuidShade has new projects on the horizon, but this site will always remain in his heart.