Colliding with Chaos
Monday, 13th April 2009, 10:23pm (UTC), 3 Comments
Update: Collision Chaos added to the Sonic CD section
Sonic CD's insane, slightly drug-induced second level now graces the long corridors of knowledge that is Zone: 0. Managed to get through this one quite quickly actually, which bodes well considering how many more levels I have to cover. Thanks, once more, to mercury who, upon reading my tweet for help about counting rings in these Sonic CD maps, has whipped up a new version of his Sonic extractor tool that automatically does it for me. This has removed a massive headache of mine, since Sonic CD famously tantalises you with rings all over the place and embedded in the foreground, only accessible in a certain time zone. So they're easy to miss sometimes, and I was not really that surprised to discover that not one of my own ring counts for any of the time zones in Palmtree Panic or Collision Chaos were bang on accurate, compared to the correct, mathematically-calculated totals. Not even the bosses, which should have been easy, so I don't quite know what happened there, and it makes me wonder how accurate my ring tallies for Sonic 1 and 2 have been. Rest assured though, ring tally corrections to Palmtree Panic have already been made.

I've got about 3 months or so off over the summer so I've been looking at how likely it will be for me to get Sonic CD, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles all done and dusted by the time I return to Uni (and from then on will have little time for numerous updates.) Ha! Impossible, surely. It's taken me two years (It was Zone: 0's online-birthday last week, don'tcha know) to get from nothing to not even half way to that point, how on earth am I ever going to finish the other half in five months? Well, you're probably right yes, it is a bit of a stretch, but it is also still very possible. You forget, my doubting friend, that everything is already written, and has been since 2006. I have eighteen more levels sitting in plain text format just waiting to go up online. Now that the mapping process has been made extremely easy by comparison, I reckon I could get most S3&K levels done within the space of about three full days each. I'll try my best to get as much Sonic CD done before my break starts too, hopefully at least Tidal Tempest and Quartz Quadrant, and then even if I only do typically one level per week, plus a little extra here and there, I could just about do it! ..I'm telling you I can!.. Fine, don't believe me. Oh well, even if I just get Sonic CD and Sonic 3 finished by September that will at least be something very significant. I know many of you, as am I, are looking forward to S3&K a great deal.

it's time I was honest with you though, the future of Zone: 0, after those five games, is uncertain. The plan, at first, was to cover absolutely every Sonic game ever, which currently stands at forty nine games.. In the space of four and a half years, I've written five, and published two and a bit. Sure, there was lots of site construction and planning going on there too, but if I write alone, I will never reach that target. Then the plan was to go as far as I could while I still enjoyed it and still felt it was worthwhile. While the site's been online, my web development and programming skills have increased dramatically, and I had a great time re-building the site. Now that I'm back to adding content however, I guess it's starting to feel like a little bit more of a chore than it did before. I'm absolutely going to publish online all that I have already written, it would be foolish not to, but after that, it remains to be seen whether I will still want to continue with Sonic Adventure 1 and 2.

Perhaps it's just Sonic CD. As much as I admire the beauty and complexity of the game, to me it doesn't strike the same nostalgic chord as the others, purely because, unlike those, I never played it in its own time. For that reason I'm expecting S3&K to be quite a bit more enjoyable for me to assemble, so hopefully that will kickstart my enthusiasm again, but for the moment, Sonic CD desperately needs a guide to be written for it, and that must be done.

So don't think of this as me throwing in the towel after five rounds. Think of it as me considering throwing in the towel after five rounds. The idea of beginning my research on Sonic Adventure is still an exciting one, but when I get to that point, which will probably be in about a year or so from now, I'll have to decide whether it's actually worth my commitment, given how much of my free time this place eats up, and whether I should move on to other things. I've got ideas and dreams of things to build, not least of all, my very own ideas for Sonic levels that I've always wanted to construct, supplied by the knowledge and conventions that I've learnt from my writing. There will come a time when I will have to move on - but Zone: 0 need not die. Not if I can find someone, or a group of people, very very committed and passionate people, willing to carry on where I leave off, and take the site into their own vision.

...Anyway, for now, I have screenshots to take, maps to make and layouts to organise.
Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Tuesday, 14th April 2009, 3:56pm
It's not surprising that Sonic CD is pretty boring when adding it to the site. Because the game has a past, present and future, it's like doing 9 acts rather than 2 or 3, so your writing about the same thing for a longer amount of time.
#2. Comment posted by 1963886 on Wednesday, 15th April 2009, 10:48pm
I really hope you can continue your work when you get to the Adventure series. It's understandable that you have a lot to do in "real life" but I'm sure a lot of people, including me, are very impressed with what you've done in relation to Zone:0.

I wouldn't say Sonic CD isn't nostalgic, it just has a different kind of nostalgia. I like Sonic CD.
#3. Comment posted by pokemega32 on Thursday, 16th April 2009, 7:12am
Well, if you do feel overwhelmed by the task of continuing past the original set of games, I would suggest finding others to help you. Even if you would like to write all of it yourself, there's no harm in having someone else format it all for you. Sites are always easier to maintain with multiple people!
Sonic and the Forever-Swinging Sword
Monday, 23rd March 2009, 8:40pm (UTC), 3 Comments
My apologies for the last month of silence. Things have been stupidly busy at work, plus I've actually been without an efficient way of making a new blog post until now. Finally got round to building a sleek new blogging system in my secret underground site admin bunker, plus I've put in a clever system that resizes any images in recent posts in order for them to squeeze in that little gap on the left in the home page, below the two newest ones. Javascript and I are becoming closer buddies every day it seems.

Hopefully those who have been patiently waiting for them will notice that Palmtree Panic is now fully mapped up, and has been for a week or so now, so go check out my handiwork - not possible of course (or, possible I suppose, but would be far too time consuming to even attempt), without the help of mercury's marvelous Sonic Extractor tools, which you can find out more about in the Recommended Links section of the home page. Still, even with all the objects placed for me, and even though the Good and Bad Futures are essentially the same, it was still a few hours of work just to place the arrows and time travel warps and things in. I'm wondering about my blue arrows, to be honest. In some cases they're essential for pointing out hidden passageways in walls, but I also use them to identify where multiple routes split and converge. A level like Palmtree Panic is massively loose and open with regard to its routes, so it was hard to determine how long a path should go on for before it should technically be classed as a route, and how thorough can I be with them before they get too pointless and distracting? I'd like your feedback on this, as obviously I need to be consistent across all of my maps with their use, but I also want them to still be a useful addition. It seems in this case, there's an awful lot of them flying around and its difficult for me, having made them, to decide whether they're worthwhile in such a loose structural layout. Blue arrows should be more useful when S3&K comes around, as those alternate routes are much more deliberate and complex. Anyway, let me know what you think about them.

Now. Sonic and the Black Knight. Hmm. Yes.. You may find some mixed opinions in my twitter feed recently as I've waggled my way through most of this game. Still haven't quite finished it but I'm near enough the end I think. First of all, Sonic with a sword doesn't really bother me inherently, and neither did Sonic as a werehog - I'm fairly open to new gimmicks if they can be handled well, but Black Knight sadly does not use its new found swordiness for good. Rather, it relies on it as the near-sole gameplay element in a game that I struggle to class as a true Sonic platformer.

Things start off interestingly enough. The game's illustrated interface is very contemporary and cool and the story scenes and dialogue are about as good as you can expect from the usual stuff in the series. Scenes are illustrated with storybook style animated stills just like Secret Rings. Oddly, credits appear smack bang in the middle of the game, after which the story takes on a whole new direction that's quite an interesting choice, unusual for the series, which is normally quite predictable in its plots. Still, it does place you under the illusion that the game is about an hour and a half long at best, when in fact there are a load more levels afterwards. I would liked to have seen them get more mileage out of Sonic being a villain to the townspeople, given that he's going against King Arthur.

Sonic is now armed with a talking sword named Caliburn. Inevitably this leads to levels filled with dialogue, but at least it's a lot more entertaining than it was with whats-her-name in Secret Rings (Sahra? Saria? Sharia?.. oh well, don't care), who made everything very difficult to enjoy. With self-aware sword in hand, Sonic traverses technically thirteen or so levels, although don't get too excited by this unusually high figure, as there's only about six or seven different environments, which double up into other, slightly altered stages much like in Sonic Adventure 2 or Shadow the Hedgehog. These include castles, woods, giant fields, caves and volcanic mountains. Some, in fact most games in the series let their story carefully meander around often imaginative, uninhibited levels and locations - others, such as this and interestingly SA2 again, let the story and theme dictate the levels, which in my opinion is the much less attractive option. Sure, things are more consistent, but part of the Sonic magic for me is dreaming up whole new, exciting ideas for level locations and gimmicks. Sure, there's some new stuff in here, but I longed for the imagination and innovation exhibited by this game's predecssor, which gave us likes of sunset ruins resting on the backs of giant stingrays in the sky, a stormy pirate ship and a dinosaur-infested jungle for God's sakes! The whole thing about delving into alternate storybook worlds gives us license to place Sonic in these slightly crazier situations, which this game does not take advantage of, and everything ultimately ends up looking a bit bland, uninspired and like any other bland and uninspired, non-Sonic game.

So that's my first, slightly geekish gripe. It of course doesn't stop the game from being graphically impressive, for the Wii. A much better and easier-on-the-eyes affair than the console's awful excuse for Sonic Unleashed (which I still haven't bothered to finish). There are some effects such as bursting and unudulating lava rivers that are fantastic, and of course those fields of long grass are a well-documented feat. The biggest problems though come when you start playing and realise how shallow and monotonous the whole thing is. The first few levels keep on throwing strings of very short challenges, either full levels or missions, some of which are straightforward enough to be able to complete without really being entirely sure what it was you had to do. It initially feels like a sequence of tutorial stages, but it becomes hard to decipher where the tutorials end and where the actual game begins, if indeed there were any tutorials in the first place.

The basic premise is that Sonic is set on a linear path around the level, with the camera mostly stuck behind him the whole way, like Secret Rings. Your control over him is a little more straightforward and traditional this time though, as the nunchuk's analogue stick is now used to run him forward, strafe left and right, and pull him back. This is ultimately better. Predictably, swinging the sword is accomplished by waggling the remote, which you'll do a lot. Except perhaps by introducing the odd jump and then waggle, causing Sonic to spin his sword round and round vertically with his spinning body, there's little art to it, and the real life waggle and in-game slice don't really feel connected. Just keeping it to a button would been less interesting, but at least saved me a week's worth of wrist pain, and otherwise would have made little difference.

As I've already mentioned, the game relies on this new activity a great deal - so much so that there is very very little good old fashioned platforming involved in this.. platformer. There are instead, enemies. Enemy, after enemy after enemy. And don't forget the occasional large enemy that won't move out your way until you slice him up good. What's more, very rarely did I ever gain any satisfaction from killing these lifeless drones - and when that's virtually the only thing that some missions offer you, it leads to a level of boredom that is not common in the series. It makes you wonder just what the hell they were thinking, if they ever thought they could get away with being lazy enough to fill the game with so much of this tedium. Some more interesting moves are acquired by charging up a gauge of power, but this doesn't exactly improve matters a great deal. More often than not I just wanted to jump right over each wave of enemies that came running towards me, and a double jump is in place, which would allow you to gracefully soar over them.. if of course it didn't transform into a homing attack when an enemy is nearby, which seems to be entirely ineffective in this game anyway.

Control over Sonic himself isn't exactly perfect either. He runs around winding roads, from one thing to another while you simply hold forwards and his speed seems to be dependant on however fast he feels like running. I would of course expect to be able to dart from one thing to another fairly quickly - but when he does it automatically, it all feels a bit empty. For example, when Sonic is flung towards a series of poles, he swings and flips between them without you having to do anything at all, completely ignoring the fact that the wii remote is specially designed for enhancing the interaction with elements like these.

I don't want it to seem like the game's level designs have absolutely nothing of merit. Molten Mine is actually a reasonably entertaining level, which includes hopping over runaway mine carts while grinding along train rails, splitting tumbling molten balls of rock in half with a jumping slice, and careful sidling along narrow ledges with obstacles. There are also scripted sequences where you ride on the back of a horse drawn cart, or boat or a floating rock on lava, and some levels actually have a decent supply of unique objects. These include hanging spikeballs or bee hives, bear traps, wooden cages that encase you until they're destroyed with your sword, crystals that you must reflect light onto with the sword, and even a magical dragon of light on the back of which you must run and keep up with before he flies away. So there is some variety here, it's just overshadowed by poor controls and lazy object and enemy placement.

Oh, and the who the hell had the idea of replacing rings with fairies? Seriously, this is pretty much a Sonic platformer that doesn't have rings. At least not in the conventional "lines of rings everywhere" sense - no, instead, yellow fairies provide you with various amounts (usually 1). How did that brainstorm go? "Hey! I know! Forget the rings. Rings are old. We're going medieval, right? ..FAIRIES! We can have yellow fairies for rings and blue fairies for springs and dash panels! It'll be AWESOME!". No, it won't, and isn't, and yes, they really have ditched springs and dash panels in favour of blue fairies. What happened to the apples as well? The first level uses apples as those little glowing soul spheres were used in Secret Rings, but then they don't appear for the rest of the game. Almost as if they completely forgot about them. Anyway, as far as I'm aware the moron who came up with the fairy idea, and whoever allowed it to be included in the game, are still allowed to live and breathe, but not if I had my way. Sacrilege.

It does however, get kudos from me for being the only 3D Sonic game to integrate the classic spinnable, end-of-act signpost to complete a level, let alone the only one to have used it at all since Sonic Advance, I believe. Don't think it makes up for the whole fairy thing though.

The music is a bit of a mixed bag. What you may or may not notice is that rather than the more varied and interesting scores of recent large 3D titles, some of it is reminiscent of a lot of Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Heroes and Shadow, in its choice of instruments and samples. There's a lot of crazy guitar riffs in there, and most tunes are fairly forgettable to be honest. Favourites though include the lovely, calming music of Deep Woods and the dramatic, if slightly cheesy Molten Mine. Also look out for the reappearance of character themes of old for Sonic, Knuckles and Shadow. Always a pleasant treat.

So, what can we say in summary about the Sonic game who tried too hard to be different? The sad thing is, it's not really that far off from being a half decent game, if only they'd cut back on the pointless enemies, made the controls and pace a bit more consistent and included a bit more platforming. That said, I have managed to gain some reasonable enjoyment from replaying a few of the finer levels, so maybe in the future, a bit like Shadow the Hedgehog, it'll be one that I won't mind picking up every once in a while, just for something a bit different. Problem is, in the here and now, it's damaging for us, as Sonic fans. Just as we were starting to pick ourselves up off the ground with a series of games that have had a fair few good reviews, this thing comes along and at the very least, puts us in jeopardy of being knocked right back to square one.

Not good enough SEGA, not good enough at all. You've once again chased a crazy idea in hope of refreshing the series when all anyone really wants is something that is just Sonic as Sonic always has been.

I don't know if any of you share this view, but the perfect Sonic game for me is one that cares much less about grand plots in which the world is destroyed and characters that have feelings. The perfect Sonic game is one that puts all of its time and effort into cultivating interesting, fantastic and inventive levels, each filled to the brim with their own array of exciting features and challenges, exploring colourful, fantasy worlds, all backed up with a sturdy control system that can handle them all. Mario might be about inventiveness and innovation, but Sonic is, and always has been about the experience, the adrenaline rush you get by dashing between ledges and objects and on top of enemies along to a gorgeous and fitting piece of background music and amongst a massive level layout filled with options. Surely there is no experience in the history of gaming that is better than Sonic at his best. And the secret to getting him at his best is simplicity. Gimmicks are not required. Simple, pure Sonic is all you need.

For God's sakes SEGA, I know you want to make money and are willing to throw out endless filler material (like this), to take advantage of idiots (like me), but amongst that it all just give us one that is completely and utterly simple, and beautiful. Make it shine so brightly with pure Sonic goodness, that no amount of Black Knights and Zero Gravities will be able to distract anyone from its power.

"Only you can do this, stop the Chaos Emeralds lazy level design!"
Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by xamoel on Wednesday, 1st April 2009, 5:37pm
What happens whit the 2d Sonic era? The best sonic games was in 2D.

Theres a fan drawing project, hope that you like it.
#2. Comment posted by Craig on Saturday, 11th April 2009, 7:55pm
I don't have anything to say about Black Knight, I avoided it after buying Secret Rings. Just wanna say this website is rather awesome. I never knew about the shortcut in Chemical Plant 2, that's pretty mind blowing.

Looking forward to 3&K :D Keep up the good work!
#3. Comment posted by Anonymous on Friday, 17th April 2009, 1:24pm
When will addtional Sonic games be added like Sonic 3 and so on?
Zone: 0.1
Sunday, 22nd February 2009, 8:40pm (UTC), 9 Comments
Update: The "Zone: 0.1" update. Massive visual overhaul, Sonic CD section added with Background Info and Palmtree Panic pages. New notes feature, new link submission feature, new downloads and much more!
After a lengthy redesign process of about 9 months, I am thrilled to say that the new look Zone: 0 is here! Not just a new look in fact but really, a full blown site launch. Of course we've been kicking around online for nearly two years now, but in all that time it was really only supposed to be a "pre-release", built on a very temporary visual design. As such, I've used that time to test the waters, see how the site structuring works and what you guys liked and wanted to see more of. As a result, what you see before you is pretty much a complete rebuild from the ground up. I don't think any piece of code from the old site has really remained.

What I wanted instead was something that looked good, essentially. Something that reflected my passion for the series and the writings I've created. Level pages should continue to look even more personalised and I wanted to really go all out with the overall design, have it flowing with effort and something approaching perfection. Something few of us, least of all me, can ever achieve, but as I often do, I've strived to get of it what I can. The original look was thrown together with my then more limited knowledge of CSS, PHP and whatnot - I was eager to get my game guides live and the overall packaging was less important. I've kept the basic content structuring because I feel that works, but I've tried to pack in much more visual flair in every nook and cranny I can find. I hope you like it. It's taken me far too long, I admit, but it's here now and I hope it makes your experience here more enjoyable.

Here's what's new..

Sonic CD! - At last. In the new Sonic CD section you will find Palmtree Panic, plus the Background Information page and the beginnings of the Stages and Story page. I'm afraid I have not been able to add the maps to the level in time for this update, which is unfortunate as I really wanted to pay tribute to the work Mercury has done on his map extractor utilities, without which Sonic CD maps are far too numerous for me to possibly make them in any significant detail. I didn't want to delay the update any further either, but the additional work still involved in identifying routes and ideal time travel locations was too much to fit in this weekend and I didn't want to rush it for fear of missing anything. They should be up within the next week or so.

New Notes feature replaces Page Replies - As opposed to keeping my content and your comments separate, you now have the ability to add your own notes to each individual section of a page. Submitted notes and entry fields open up in the page, just underneath the content, all in the aid of sharing information that is more accessible and relevant.

User Links - To the right of each page, there's an additional little box you can use to post up a relevant link to another page. These can be to things like speed runs through a level on Youtube, or perhaps someone's created a particularly snazzy artwork inspired by a level, an interesting tidbit of information - whatever you like really, within reason and relevance of course.

New downloads - Sonic's 1 and 2 now have a new Downloads page, where all of the files are dumped together in a handy one-stop-shop. You'll also notice new downloads in the form of music, art and manual scans.

Lightbox-powered full sized pics - Again, time restraints prevented me from fully implementing this feature throughout the site, but you'll see it on the Background Info pages and just Green Hill at the moment, as a sample. You'll be able to click on most images to reveal them full-sized and uncropped in an opening lightbox that appears on the page.

New image caption boxes - Over the years, captions that I've added to the images have got more and more detailed to the point where I now write them to aid skim-reading. Simply roll over an image to get the gist of what's going on, without needing to dive into the full text. With this in mind, I've improved the caption functionality with a specially designed caption box that appears over the images, as opposed to relying on the tooltips provided by browsers, which vary greatly. IE and Safari users, I may still need to tweak this in order that you don't end up with both.

Improved image compression - Screenshots are now in super-compressed PNG format, using PNGOUT, as opposed to gif. They're round about 50% lighter in file size, leading to pages that load in about half the time, but at no loss in quality! Sadly I could not get the maps down to a significant reduction without a loss in quality, so they remain. Thanks to Reckoner for the advice on that.

Content updates - Most of the existing content has remained unchanged. However, every page now exists in a dynamic form, and as such I've had the chance to tidy up all the Sonic 1 pages significantly, which you may or may not notice. In addition, look out for the following amends:
- Green Hill Zone Misc section has had things added.
- Scrap Brain Zone has had that much needed update to the hidden path along the top of Act 2.
- iPod info added to the Sonic 1 Misc section, under Ports.
- Various map updates including Chemical Plant, Scrap Brain, Oil Ocean and Labyrinth. All underwater areas are now properly coloured in their underwater palettes.
- Also, a long time ago, Flint kindly wrote some better descriptions of the Sonic 1 music tracks that I've been meaning to add ever since. I wanted to do something clever with them, but turns out they were better off just slotted in as normal, which I could have done anyway. They're now included - sorry for the long wait Flint!

So, if you've been following the site for a while, hopefully the new look and all the new features impress. I'm quite proud of it, this full rebuild has been my biggest and longest programming project yet, including a very clever new admin system which unfortunately you won't get to see, but trust me, it's a beaut'! On this side though, I am quite pleased with the level pages in particular, which is where most of my design attention has gone. Though all the information is drawn from databases into a single page, I really wanted to keep each level looking individual, with its own colour scheme and layouts that burst out of the page. I also do like this silhouetted banner and side designs of a big conglomerated level - "Zone 0", if you like. It's one of the first things I made and over time I've had other ideas for it, but I have to trust myself that I was impressed when I first finished it! I'm pretty sure that there is something in there, object or piece of scenery, from every level in Sonic 1, 2, 3, &K and CD. If you're looking for a challenge, try and spot them all!

But as I've said a few times, there were things that I couldn't quite finish in time that I really wanted to do, but I couldn't push the deadline back any further and so, my work is not yet complete! I'll be adding things one by one over the next two or three weeks to bring it up to where I wanted it, and I'll keep you up to date on those. But for now.. I need a rest..

Special thanks to..
Mercury for his excellent map extraction tools that are sure to save me hours of hard work.
Reckoner for diligently reading through my guides and highlighting errors, most of which have now been addressed.
Flint for providing me with far better descriptions of the Sonic 1 music tracks.
Everyone who's posted a comment about how my guides have helped you. Every time I read one it makes all the hundreds of hours of work worth it.

Apologies to..
Mercury for not getting his map work up in time!
Flint for taking FAR to long to get his descriptions online.
EVERYONE, for taking far too long with this redesign and only just getting round to Sonic CD! Oh well, now we can press on with the good work.

Welcome to Zone: 0. The Comprehensive Sonic the Hedgehog Game Guide.
Comments   9 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Chosenoneknuckles on Monday, 23rd February 2009, 12:53am
Wow, I LOVE the new visual design overhaul! The background is a great artistic touch, and I haven't even got off the main page yet, but I will do. I never actually played Sonic CD [what? I already had a Megadrive and SNES!], so I'll be looking through that section shortly.

So my first sightings of Amy and Metal Sonic were in the UK Sonic comic [STC] and game-wise in SA1 [in the containment tubes]. So it'll be coolio to see Metal Sonic's first appearance finally [even if STC did loosely adapt it].

But I digress, not relevant at all...

But have a big pat on the back from me for the continued dedication to this site, though, goodness knows how long it takes to analysis every stage and then write about it and then all the extra noggins and everything else, making sure all the links work correctly etc.

I look forward to its continued progress and success.
#2. Comment posted by mercury on Monday, 23rd February 2009, 9:00am
Amazing... my hat's off to you for the new design. I absolutely love the new background picture with all the zone elements (now we know what took so long ;P)! No sweat about the late-in-coming maps, either - I know how it feels to be overworked!

Dig the RSS, the new blog layout, the new user notes and user links system, etc etc etc

*goes and re-reads the whole site again for sheer joy of clicking shiny new buttons*
#3. Comment posted by smiley225 on Monday, 23rd February 2009, 4:19pm
It's really great!!!!!!!!! Very well done!!! Amazing!!!!!!!! It's wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm really overwhelmed and speechless!!!!!

#4. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 23rd February 2009, 7:57pm
Thanks very much guys, I'm so glad you like it! Been a hell of a lot of work, but now I can finally rest!.. a bit.
#5. Comment posted by Anonymous on Monday, 23rd February 2009, 10:28pm
Well Done! I love the new download section on the individual games! All your work paid off.

I suppose Sonic CD will be a lot of work Good Luck! I personally can't wait until you get to Sonic 3 and Knuckles!
#6. Comment posted by iAUDiBLE on Thursday, 26th February 2009, 7:42pm
Oh wow, this widdle site is aww gwown up! *sniffs* I'm so happy.

Good luck with the whole thing, I'm going to go and check everything out. ;)
#7. Comment posted by murphy341 on Sunday, 15th March 2009, 6:57am
your site is probably the best I've seen! So in depth, I love that. Hope to see a sonic 3/knuckles section! keep up the awesome work
#8. Comment posted by NUFC-Dazzla on Wednesday, 18th March 2009, 11:02pm
Great job, the site looks awesome.

Like murphy said, hope to see a sonic 3&K section, keep it up, you;ve done a brill job
#9. Comment posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, 17th June 2009, 8:11pm
Dude. I absolutely love what you have done with the layout of this entire site. I love the references to Sonic 1, 2, 3, Cd, and Knuckles. You even threw in stuff from the Sonic Advance Games. There's hoops and rails, two things from the second Sonic Advance. Great and beautiful wrk. I also like the fact that the designs overlap. That means you get two very sweet images at once. I hope Zone:0 is a very sucessful Zone: 0.1. Keep up the terific work.
The new Zone: 0.. is coming..
Tuesday, 17th February 2009, 10:44pm (UTC), 5 Comments


..As demonstrated by the following diagram...

..Hopefully you're not as eager to stop the relaunch of Zone: 0 as Sonic is there in stopping the relaunch of the Death Egg, but you get the idea.


Comments   5 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by smiley225 on Wednesday, 18th February 2009, 12:35pm
I am really looking forward to seeing the new design!! ;-)
#2. Comment posted by Chosenoneknuckles on Friday, 20th February 2009, 11:02pm
Tis should be tres coolio. Can't wait to see the overhaul. ^-^
#3. Comment posted by Anonymous on Saturday, 21st February 2009, 4:24pm
#4. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 22nd February 2009, 1:04pm
Where is it?
#5. Comment posted by Sonic boomhog on Monday, 6th April 2009, 8:29am
Awesome site, good job TSS adevertised it.
Tweets from a Twit
Friday, 6th February 2009, 11:29pm (UTC), 3 Comments
Well, I did say I would aim to have the new look Zone: 0 up online by about this time, and clearly, it isn't. Sorry, I had a feeling it would be a bit of a push. Compared to all the large tasks I've already been doing on it over the last half a year, there's literally only a few odds and ends to sort out, but if you work with websites and anything like this, you'll know how much longer any given thing tends to take compared to what you logically expect, especially if you can only do it in your free time. I'll try my best to get it out the door some point within this month and I'll post up a few days in advance when to expect its "release date".

In the meantime though, I've succumbed to popular interweb culture, following the likes of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, and of course my work colleagues, and I've got myself a Twitter account. I won't be filling it with reports of a random choice of snack or current song however, it's a strictly Zone: 0 and Sonic based feed, in which I can post news of what I'm currently working on for the site, maybe an interesting link to something and I'm sure the odd opinion here and there. Tweets will also appear on the new home page as well. So if you're on Twitter and fancy keeping up with that sort of thing, go and follow me on:

I've a big weekend ahead of me on the site, and I'm determined not to waste it, so that'll be all on this occasion. Check back soon though!
Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by mercury on Saturday, 7th February 2009, 9:38am
Okay, this is probably a silly question, but, are you a fan of Stephen Fry? The man is hilarious, I'll watch just about anything with him in it. I'm particularly fond of Blackadder series 4, QI, and Jeeves and Wooster. It's his brand of comedy that tickles me the most, and in the Sonic project I'm working on (since it's supposed to be so heavily focused on story), I give special attention to being as funny as I can, but of course without degrading the integrity of the characters. I remember some good old RPG's, like Wasteland, Phantasy Star IV, or Chrono Trigger, with exceptionally well written humour, but without being outright comedies, and this is something I think is highly important in games. If you're laughing, you're having a good time. Not to go the well-trodden road of knocking modern Sonic Team, but Sonic the Werehog landing on top of Chip isn't my idea of great comedic genius. Oh well, time will tell if I can do any better.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting, because Sonic the Hedgehog and Stephen Fry aren't two things I'd ever have expected to see mentioned on the same page, even though they're both indelibly part of my personal culture.

Well, now I gotta get back to drawing sprites (I'm going for an animated film look - go figure). Good luck with the site, and all future updates!
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Sunday, 8th February 2009, 12:40pm
Absolutely, who isn't a fan of Stephen Fry? I love his wit and the fact that he seems to know everything about everything. I'm following him on Twitter and it's a bit surreal that he's posting online updates regularly.. just like a normal person! It's amazing how he fits that in, along with all the other projects he has to do.

I agree, Sonic game storylines should never take themselves too seriously. Even if their wit isn't the finest it's nice to see it present when it does appear. A bit of humour in anything is rarely a bad thing, in my opinion.

Good luck with capturing a few laughs in your game. Any idea when we might be able to see a demo or anything on it, or is it too early to say? I'd be very interested.
#3. Comment posted by mercury on Monday, 9th February 2009, 8:46am
A demo? Golly. As I think I may have mentioned before, I intend the full release to be ready in 2011, in time for Sonic's 20th anniversary. I'm always a little wary of demos, because they tend to defuse the final product, and also effort is spent getting a demo ready for public consumption rather than being applied to the game itself. That being said, the whole thing seems a little like vapourware at the moment, and so I was thinking of an engine demo or at least a trailer in the near future. The thing is, even though much of the engine and other work is complete, it just hasn't been pulled together, so it's not much to look at. I'm currently in the process of making final sprites, though, so it should start to look like a finished product fairly soon. If you're personally interested, I'd pull together some material and e-mail it to you. I'd actually love some feedback on some of the concepts I've had kicking around for a while. I feel bad about bragging about something that technically doesn't exist yet on a public forum like SonicRetro (and I have little patience for others who do that sort of thing), but I also really want to spill beans. I feel like J K Rowling, sitting on Harry Potter Book 7. Gosh, that sounds pretentious...
Zone: 0 in 2009
Thursday, 1st January 2009, 4:28pm (UTC), 5 Comments
Happy new year all. Just thought I'd take this opportunity to make an update on what's going on with the site and reassure you that despite not having updated since late August, big changes and new things are well on the way.

Since last summer I've been building up, essentially, a whole new version of Zone: 0 behind the scenes, with pretty much brand new code all the way throughout and more importantly, a massive new visual design that I've been an absolute perfectionist over, and I hope will go down well. Mostly, the text and structure of information will remain unchanged, but its presentation will be so much neater, more colourful and just about perfect!

But I've been on about this for ages now, and I'm sorry I've had to leave you all this time with an old, overly padded out, messy design (I can hardly look at the old Sonic 1 pages now without wincing - so disorganised!), while I've been enjoying building up a top secret, improved version. But I've had a couple of weeks off for Christmas, and as such have been able to dedicate most of my time to this project. I've managed to make massive progress on converting those tired old Sonic 1 layouts into their new dynamic, beautiful form, not to mention the first level for Sonic CD, Palmtree Panic. If I have time, I hope to include Collision Chaos in the big update bundle as well - it'd be a shame if we'd gone all this time without an update, and only have one completely new page to show for it (although thanks to all the time travel, it is a bit of a whopper).

So other than that and a whole new home page and blog system that needs sorting, there's still a fair few little niggling things to work out. But we're nearly there and I'm pretty excited, so I'm aiming to finally update and release "Zone:0.1" in about a month's time. If it's looking any later than that, I'll let you know but if I continue to make it my top priority, then I'd say that's a fairly realistic deadline.

As you'll recall if you read my review of Sonic Unleashed 360 that I thought the game was little short of fantastic for its daytime, pure Sonic thrill levels. Sadly, I cannot currently enjoy them as my XBox 360 has finally caught up with itself and suffered the red ring of death (a common overheating problem that happens over time and renders the machine unusable). I'm not surprised, just glad it didn't happen before I'd completed the game and spent a good amount of time with it afterwards. My three year warranty is only three or four months away from expiring, but microsoft don't seem to acknowledge the possibility that one might have moved house since purchasing the console, and the register and repair site won't accept anything other than my old address, which is rather inconvenient. Can't seem to get through to a human on their helpline either. Do any UK 360 owners happen to know a trustworthy red ring of death repair service in the London area? I'm tempted to just buy a new one, to be honest - at least then I'll be fairly safe in the knowledge that it should be ok from now on and straight away I can get back to replaying the likes of Cool Edge and Savannah Citadel to my heart's content.

Meanwhile, I've been slowly struggling my way through the Wii version, and, lets be honest, it's hardly a worthy substitute is it? I'm sure I'd be a little more enthusiastic if I didn't have the high-end model to compare it to, but to me it just lacks everything that made its counterpart so enjoyable. The daytime levels are about three quarters 3D, in which Sonic controls like a car, and until you master it, you'll constantly be bumping into stuff and ruining your own momentum. I'm not saying that 360 Unleashed didn't have control issues of its own, but the level design was so much more varied and interesting, and at least the controls were more free. The Wii levels I've encountered so far (I'm about half way through) are primarily just long, twisting roads with pretty much no platforming. They can be entertaining in their own way eventually I suppose, but they're vastly inferior in my opinion. The werehog levels meanwhile are of about the same standard, but with slightly more fiddly controls than on 360. One better idea that this version has is to break up those lengthy 30 minute full zones into three 10 minute acts. Unfortunately though you only ever seem to get three lives with which to try anything, which I suppose balances out that good idea. Don't get me started on the graphics either. Sonic Heroes, now five years old (as of two days ago, happy birthday SH) has better graphics than this. Its dull colours and jagged edges are put to shame by those gorgeous 360 buildings and landscapes, full of vibrancy and light - come on guys, even the Wii is capable of more than this!

I do feel sorry for the Sonic fans that have to make do with this because they don't have a 360 or a PS3. I guess you don't know what you're missing, and if it were me, I'm sure I could see the more enjoyable bits of SU Wii/PS2 more clearly. Make no mistake, the high and low end versions of Sonic Unleashed are hardly versions at all, rather they are separate games in their own right, as far as level design and control mechanics (easily the two most important factors), are concerned. Think of the differences as similar to those of Sonic 1 Mega Drive and Sonic 1 Master System/Game Gear. I think of those as different games entirely, and I'm tempted to classify these in a similar fashion. It's such a shame then that SU Wii has sold almost twice as much as SU 360. I wasn't keen on Secret Rings, probably won't be on Black Knight, so I won't personally be very happy if Sega decide that it isn't commercially advisable to put Sonic on the 360 any more. If that's the case, we may not see Sonic and his world looking as good as on high-end Sonic Unleashed for quite a long time to come. On the other hand, perhaps the Wii's more limited capabilities might just suggest the opportunity to make an entirely 2D, even sprite-based game that would allow for numerous, high quality, varied Sonic levels. If they start soon, they can make it in time for Sonic's 20th anniversary.

We can only hope. Have a great 2009.
Comments   5 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Anonymous on Friday, 2nd January 2009, 3:32pm
How do you get to sonic CD?Ican't find it!!!!!
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 2nd January 2009, 4:46pm
It's not available yet. Have to wait a month or so, sorry!
#3. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 4th January 2009, 7:17pm
When this site is completely up to date it will be amazing and one of the places I will visit along with Sonic Roms!
#4. Comment posted by Diana on Sunday, 1st February 2009, 5:59am
Im excited about it. Been a Sonic fan since my days as a wee girl, making my dad beat the water levels for me.
#5. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 5th February 2009, 11:04pm
You said amonth till sonic CD!It's Feb.5 now!!!!!!!!
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