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.

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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!

e-numbers
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.
Hills of Emeralds
Saturday, 21st July 2007, 5:23pm (UTC), 1 Comment
Update: Sonic 2 section finally kicks off, starting with Emerald Hill Zone, fully completed. Details of Sonic 1 on XBox Live Arcade also added to Sonic 1 Miscellaneous page.
Sorry it's been so long, almost a month since I finished Sonic 1 in fact, but I'm finally done with Emerald Hill Zone, thus begining my quest to capture Sonic 2 in the form of text, images and html. And css. It actually didn't take that long to assemble, it's just that I've been very busy building another site as part of a freelance job I've aquired. That's mostly out the way now though, so hopefully I'll have alot more time to spend on Chemical Plant, and it shouldn't take quite so long to get it up, I hope.

Naturally, you shall find Emerald Hill in the newly opened Sonic 2 section. Eagle eyed readers may notice one or two minor aesthetic enhancements to the formula, such as faint background images in the coloured container boxes on the page, but mostly it sticks to the same template as the Sonic 1 levels. I wanted to keep them all organised in as much the same way as possible, so that it reads as more of a guide to specific levels across the series rather than each game feeling very separate from each other. Having worked my way through six levels already, I've noticed some small imperfections that I wanted to set right once and for all, and the result, I think, is an Emerald Hill Zone page that feels a bit neater and more orderly. Knowing my perfectionistic nature though I'll now probably want to waste time and go back over everything for Sonic 1 and readjust small bits and pieces to bring it up to standard, but I'll try and focus on new things beforehand, at least. One thing I have also done though is add details about Sonic 1 on XBox Live Arcade to the miscellaneous page there. Yes, I bought it. Despite owning the game in probably more than ten different forms already. I wonder how much money Sega have made out of me so far..

Sooo, Sonic Stadium's ad banner service seems to be working out rather nicely so far. I'm getting at least 50 visits per day, which for a site that's just starting out is pretty good. I'm getting more interest in the project than I ever realistically expected at this stage too, and to know that I'm not the only one that is really enthusiastic about the whole idea of the site is extremely encouraging. Thanks very much to all who have expressed their interest. On a related note, Sonic Stadium are kicking off their Sonic Site Awards and accepting nominations. I probably wouldn't have submitted Zone: 0 myself if they hadn't actually encouraged webmasters to do it for their own sites, but I entered it into the "Information Station" and "Impressive Layout" awards, as those are really the only ones I can see it being a worthy nomination for. Anyone else is welcome to submit it for any of the others if they really want to but I don't think it'd be worth doing. If I could just be nominated for those, it'd be a further boost for everyone's awareness of the place, and actually winning one would just be brilliant. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope you enjoy the new content!

Comments   1 Comment has been posted.
#1. Comment posted by 1963886 on Sunday, 22nd July 2007, 8:49pm
Cool! It's up. Great Job!
Welcome new visitors and my Sonic E3 impressions
Tuesday, 10th July 2007, 8:30pm (UTC), 2 Comments
Even though the site is still in an early phase and there's only one game to look at so far, I felt I needed to spread the word a bit, and get people knowing about Zone: 0 so they can check back from time to time as it develops. That one game is probably enough to show off just how serious I am about the amount of detail I want to go into, so I thought I'd fork over a very reasonable 5 to Dreadknux of the Sonic Stadium, for an ad banner placement on there. Even though the banner only seems to actually be in the rotation at all at certain points throughout the day (I sent it off a few days ago, and have only just seen it on there for the first time this morning), it's still doing the job very well. The highest number of daily visitors has been over 100, which is absolutely fantastic. My amount of bandwidth at the moment probably wouldn't take much more this month if I had any more than that anyway, so thanks alot Dread and TSS, and a warm welcome to everyone coming straight from there, which will be almost all of you I'd imagine.

Unfortunately, nothing particularly new to update you with this time (although I dressed up the level pages a teeny bit in the act title sections t'other day - makes them look so much more organised and clear now I think), but I would like to share a few views on the new Sonic-ness shown at E3, which kicked off today. If you haven't heard yet, surprsingly early this morning, we were treated to the first screens of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, the first video footage of Sonic Rush Adventure, and the first trailer and gameplay vid of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. To catch up, I point you to suckle at the ever informative teet of Sonic News.

Despite the currently very old skool style and lack of any official post-SA artwork adorning this neat little site, I am in fact not at all against modern Sonic in any way, and carry a generally very optimistic view of new titles, treating them in as high regard as those of the "first generation". So I've not surprised myself by being impressed with Sonic Team's E3 offerings so far. Firstly, Mario and Sonic. Who'd ever have guessed, huh? Especially not at the Olpympics, which has absolutely nothing to do with either franchise. Still, I'll go with it, and there's something about a couple of those screenies that warms me old heart. Sonic and Mario characters appearing together in the same shot.. it might not mean much to you if you're young and weren't around or paying attention during their rivalry, but to see that now is just.. well, it's quite nice, I think. That's about as well as I can describe my thoughts about that. As for the game, I've a feeling its novelty may wear a bit thin once you've played all the games and everything, but then, that tends to be the case for many a Sonic genre spinoff, which don't tend to keep my interest for a great deal.

Sonic Rush Adventure.. to be honest, I don't see what the problem would have been with calling it "Sonic Rush 2", but regardless, it's lookin' good. One of my biggest beefs with Sonic Rush, as it compares to the others, is the lack of originality in levels, primarily in their appearance and structure, and as you'd guess from the way I'm organising my guides, these are important elements to me. The locations mostly felt a bit "been there, done that", and the structures were all too emphasised on speed, as fun as they were to race through. SRA looks to have the location problem sorted and, much like Secret Rings, is going for completely new, or much less used ideas in the settings for just about all of its levels. There's a danger of making it feel a bit too un-Sonic by doing that, but I love the look of the sunset mechanical/ruin type level, the ghost ship one is a nice idea, though a bit bland looking, and that gorgeous mystical forest kind of stage in the trailer is making me suddenly very impatient to play. Although, that does look a bit similar to the dinosaur jungle stage, as seen in previous screenshots, and I think all levels within a game should look as different as possible to each other. Unless they're two acts of the same level..? Could we finally be getting altered backgrounds and level contents between acts, like in S3/S&K? Probably not, but I can live in hope that one day we will. In general, I hope they go for slightly less of a speed-orientated adventure this time, and focus a bit more on interesting level layouts and objects. New ideas are great, but I don't want modern 2D Sonic games to permanently go too far away from the original formula, which I felt that Sonic Rush did a tad.

Finally, NiGHTS. Not a Sonic game as such (well, at all), but I was one of the lucky ones to own the original game, being a proud Sega Saturn user, and I'm thrilled to see how lovely the new one looks in the trailer, and how similar it is. Upon seeing the first screenshots and hearing that the early motion of the game was a bit jerky, or something like that, I was a bit unimpressed, but the trailer has put those fears to rest. The voice over reminds me of a Christmas coca cola advert. Very wholesome and fantastical quality to it. I'm sure the game will end up with enough problems that critics will complain that it's not as good as the original, and is therefore not worthy of anyone's money, etc, but I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy it. As always, screw the critics.

Too bad there's not going to be any sign of that mysterious Sonic RPG. I've never played anything by BioWare, but the fact that they're supposedly so good at RPG's, and enthusiastic about Sonic fills with me with hope, though I'm very intruiged as to how they're going to blend RPG puzzling and wandering with good old fashioned, pick-up-and-play Sonic action. People didn't like the RPG elements in Sonic Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog, so it's going to be very interesting to see exactly how they plan to counteract that, to stop people moaning. Whatever happens, it looks to be the most significant Sonic non-platformer ever. And the announcement of Sonic Rivals 2 recently means that I'm definitely going to have to buy a PSP now. Of the forty one titles that I class as being currently within the Sonic series, Sonic Rivals is the only one I have never played, and don't have any access to. Going this long without one of them is a crime, but now two? Something simply must be done.. Looks like I actually need to get a job. :(

Well, that's a lengthy chunk of text I've put you through there, as always. Do feel free to drop your comments, and as the site is still a newbie, don't hesitate to use the comments feature of this entry, or the previous one, to let me know your overall impressions of the site. Thanks to those who've already given them.

P.S. If you're looking for a progress report on the Sonic 2 section - there ain't one. Sorry, been mega busy with other things lately, but I did get a chance to have a read through of what I'd written for Emerald Hill Zone some time ago, and it's all pretty good and rather brief, so shouldn't take me long to put together the page and images for it, which I'll hopefully be starting within the next few days.

Comments   2 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by King Ubu on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 6:11pm
Your Sonic Stadium banner is certainly one of the more noticable. It's being displayed during the peak times for both Europe and America.
#2. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 12th July 2007, 7:10pm
Yeah, my stats are telling me so, and seemingly at numerous points throughout the day, though apparently in short bursts as I've still only actually seen it up on one occasion. Weird when certain other banners are in the rotation all the time - not really sure how the system works. Regardless, it's certainly working!
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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.