Feather in your Cap
Tuesday, 21st September 2010, 5:08pm (BST), 9 Comments
Update: Icecap Zone added to the Sonic 3 section
I know I said Icecap Zone would probably come along with less of a delay between the last zone, but you know what it's like. New job, lots of work, occasional late nights, new social life, things do get pushed back a bit, and that's the kind of schedule that will probably remain unfortuately. So Zone: 0 will more than likely plod on at this kind of pace for a while yet, as we complete Sonic 3 and then move into Sonic & Knuckles, the last of my pre-written guides. Rest assured these will be complete, there's no point in me not publishing them, but they'll still take a while I think. After that though, who knows?

Anyway, Icecap is here, one of my favourite levels. It was actually the last of the original Mega Drive levels that I got to play - I asked my friend to make a save file at that level for me on his copy and lend it to me so that I could finally play the mythical icy zone of legend, the only glimpse I'd seen of which was the little black and white screenshot tease in the manual. I loved the music but promptly got stuck tumbling down that never ending sloping drop in Act 1 for the full ten minutes, not being quite observant enough to notice that fairly obvious platform on the side. Or maybe I just found it hard to believe that a level was technically capable of creating an actual never ending drop - it didn't make sense! There must be an end soon, I'll just keep on falling.

One of the more simple ones to map actually, at least in this game. That hasn't stopped Act 2 from being a whopping 9 meg though. Sorry about that, I'll crunch it down if I can, but you kids all have fast connections these days anyway right? You can chomp down 9 meg like nobody's business, you'll be fine! Note, currently there aren't any other downloads like badnik and concept art and music. This is because these are stored on my Mac back in London and I'm with the folks this week, so I'll add these to the site when I get back this weekend or soon after. Just wanted to get the level up and running while I've got the week off. The other small thing to note is that due to the end of Act 1 actually being located on Act 2's map, in the process of merging these separated parts of Act 1 into a unified image, I was forced to lop off a bit of the short shaft that Knuckles falls down to get to his Act 1 boss. Just because the heights of the two maps didn't match and it loops vertically so often that stretching it out further wouldn't have made sense. I know some of the more pedantic and obsessive among you (and you know who you are) would have probably noticed and commented at some point, so yes, I am aware of that and it was a necessary sacrifice.

So I've been playing Sonic Adventure on XBox Live Arcade. Sure, Sega go crazy with the constant recycling of old games, but this is a welcome one as far as I'm concerned. DX on the Gamecube is not the smoothest ride in the world, and breaking out the old Dreamcast is a task and a half, so why not get a version of the game for which you don't even have to get off your arse to put a disc into your console? Perfect for today's lazy Sonic fan. Now Sonic Adventure, the grandad of modern Sonic, has not aged well. It certainly looks like a grandad, sitting alongside modern flashy XBox games, even with its 2003 character model update intact, but it's not a game you can show off to anyone, and it probably won't ever be until it gets a complete remake/restoration from the ground up. First on the list would be those cutscenes. They were even quite painful back in 1999, when it was reasonably ok to have wooden character models and even more wooden acting, but in 2010 it's more cringe-worthy than a box set of The Office. You don't have to wait several seconds between pieces of dialogue anymore, which you'd have to do while the Dreamcast noisily loaded them in, but I still long for a more subtle approach to them. Sonic Adventure's story is actually one of the best in the series, so I'd love to see a more toned down approach, with no VO's, a better script, and just simple character art and text, and a few nicely illustrated drawings to depict anything more dynamic. Pretty much how modern handheld Sonic games tackle stories. Unless you want to spend stupid money creating whole new CGI for every scene in the game, that's all you'd need. Sega probably wouldn't ever bother, but maybe one day some clever Sonic fan will include these in a kind of "Sonic Adventure: Tolerable Edition".

Still, that said, I do like the game anyway, it's something most Sonic fans look back fondly on, myself included, it was just unfortunate enough to have been born near the beginning of its era of games, as opposed to its better-aged Mega Drive forerunners, who were born toward the end of theirs. I daresay this is even the version of choice for consoles too, as it has most of DX's looks (apparently there may be some differences, to do with water or something, but doesn't really matter that much does it?), but without any (at least as far as I've noticed so far) of the 2003 version's painful and very very persistent framerate dips. Widescreen would have been nice, but it runs as smooth as a baby's bum and unless you're a purist for the original version, if you want Sonic Adventure without having to dig out an old console every time, or go to all the effort of taking a box from the shelf, opening it, putting a disc in a machine then putting the box back as well as finding the box for the disc you just replaced (guh, feeling exhausted just thinking about it!) then this is the 800 microsoft points for you. Sonic Adventure 2 as well please Sega.
Comments   9 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Zeupar on Friday, 24th September 2010, 11:16am
Icecap for the way! Great guide. Those maps are awesome. You have an interesting story with this stage. xD

About SAXBLA; the people that ported the game were so shamelessly lazy that they didn't even make it widescreen, so they aren't getting my money.

By the way, this site lacks something that every decent site has. Don't worry, I am currently working to change that. :P
#2. Comment posted by Doreen on Monday, 27th September 2010, 5:34pm
Wow, I wish I'd found this website sooner! Could have saved me hours of trying to figure out some of the levels of the first three Sonic games. FYI: I just recently purchased the Sega Genesis Collection Series Xbox 360 game that has about 6 Sonic games on it. Just one question though: Are you going to upload screenshots and tips for Sonic and Knuckles at some point? Just wondering.
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Monday, 27th September 2010, 11:37pm
Hi Doreen, thanks glad you're enjoying the site :) Yes, Sonic & knuckles guides have already been written and work will begin on publishing them, level by level, after Sonic 3 is complete, however this may take some months so please bear with me. Thanks!
#4. Comment posted by Doreen on Tuesday, 28th September 2010, 7:43am
@LiQuidShade: Sure, take your time! I'll check back every so often. Life happens and all you can do is work around it. Keep up the good work on the site!
#5. Comment posted by MoDaD on Friday, 1st October 2010, 4:48pm
Another great update! Just out of curiosity, have you been archiving those neat level-related update graphics in the top left corner somewhere? It'd be cool if those were still used in the site somehow.
#6. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 1st October 2010, 7:29pm
Yep, they're all still amongst my files. Glad you like them, maybe I will use them again :)
#7. Comment posted by Paul on Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 1:18am
I bet it will be a longer delay for launch base zone! The knuckles version is so cheap!
#8. Comment posted by Universum on Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 9:23am
Many thanks for putting out all this nostalgic content. It's fantastic seeing these maps, which I only played recently on the DS port of S3&K, and still finding new locations of Special Stages. Those things are hidden all over the shop, I only found half the ones in Ice Cap Zone.
Then again, I'd never have thought to actually dive into the bottomless water pit. Sneaky indeed.
Thanks again, I love coming to this site.
#9. Comment posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 21st December 2010, 7:47am
Icecap Zone, eh? Know what? I went on to Icecap as soon as I saw this on the home page.
It is my most best loved level in Sonic 3 you know.
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