Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
Wednesday, 16th January 2008, 1:42pm (GMT), 3 Comments
Well I'm sure most of you have heard the news that's recently set the Sonic community buzzing; the first details and screenshots of Bioware's DS Sonic RPG have been unveiled in American magazine, Nintendo Power. Check Sonic News for the initial details, and full scans can be found within their forum topic (my connection at the moment is too bad to find the page). As I have a blog for sharing Sonic-based thoughts, I thought I'd take advantage of it..

Certainly, there are loads of good things to look forward to. It's a traditional top-down RPG with turn-based battles, incredibly cool looking, hand drawn environment graphics, stylus controlled movement, character switching for hopefully clever puzzles, and promises of a massive storyline with refreshingly deep characters and hopefully an especially well written script for once. With Sega, now more than ever, it's often fair to treat particularly exciting little features with suspicion, because the little things often don't quite turn out as expected in the end. Especially when it comes to connecting with the past games (remember when they told us STH '06 would be full of little warm, fuzzy throwbacks? There were like three or four, and all from Sonic Adventure 1 and 2). I must confess to not ever having played a Bioware RPG, but supposedly they're pretty good at them, and I've no particular reason to mistrust promises of the reappearance of classic tunes and environments. They already boast Green Hill, Mystic Ruin and Emerald Town (an odd choice that last one, but I'll go with it), although I'm yet to be convinced that they will be the very same areas, or just ones that look like them. The hints of a story twist involving Eggman that "goes back to the franchise's early days that Sonic fans will not expect" is highly intruiging. As is their desire to tie up certain loose ends that our Sonic Team writers, God bless em, have managed to accumulate over the years. It sounds like they know their stuff, or at least have done their research.

In terms of story and characters, there isn't much better that a Sonic fan can look forward to than this kind of depth and these kind of promises from good writers. I know that's what most of the Sonic community seems to crave above all else, and it's all well and good, but my anticipations can go higher than this, because my most craved aspect is good old Sonic platform gameplay and level design, and I don't really need any plot at all. Of course, this is an RPG - a spinoff, and I guess I was hoping for more of a clever mix of RPG puzzle-solving and Sonic platforming, as traditional Sonic platformers are what I care about above all else. I've always been a bit put off by those turn-based battles in RPG's, which seem a bit complicated and lacking in intensity. That said, I guess I did enjoy Pokemon though.

Still, I was playing Zelda, Phantom Hourglass recently, at a point where you can control a Goron, who rolls around with speed and is able to jump and roll into enemies that are tapped with the stylus, very much like Sonic. It was controlled in such a precise way that I thought it'd make a far easier and more fun way to deal with minor enemies in Sonic Chronicles, and allow for more of a focus on Zelda-esque puzzle solving than leveling up and turn-based skills and things. That, I'd be more interested in. And as for leveling up and altering different attributes, well, they tried it in Secret Rings, and personally, I just couldn't be bothered faffing about with them. Maybe in the context of an RPG, it'll make more sense.

Still, there's much to be excited about, even for those sceptical about Sonic in an RPG. At the very least, we seem to be much more assured of quality, and effort in getting things just right for this one, so, using Bioware's popularity, it could well prove to be the big critical success we need. And if the next primary Sonic platformer (which I estimate to be unveiled at some point this year) is successful, Sonic could still be able to improve his reputation in the gaming world yet.
Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Marx Chaotix on Thursday, 7th February 2008, 11:09pm
This is a pretty cool website. Keep up the good work!
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 17th February 2008, 7:34pm
Ell man pokki ykkner deenen Sonic 2 jiuh zonen , allat'i qew man Oil O cean Zone,Metropolis Zone t'uu bgg zonen.Jukki okjii allat'onm Sonic 3 &
Knuckles.Nass yuu o be deena poil?
#3. Comment posted by Anonymous on Sunday, 17th February 2008, 7:38pm
My favorite Sonic's game is "Sonic 3 & Knuckles!Sonic is the most perfect in the Universe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ARE MAGNIFIC!
Stalagmites and Stalactites.. which one is which again?
Wednesday, 9th January 2008, 11:36pm (GMT), 0 Comments
Update: Mystic Cave Zone added to the Sonic 2 section
Stalactites are the hanging ones because they have to hang on "tight". That's what I was always taught... Yes! Finally, after nearly 3 and a half months, Mystic Cave is finally here! Go nuts with it. And of course, as discussed in my last entry, it's a special level to Zone: 0 because it's the first to be created dynamically from database entries and a general PHP script, as opposed to a straightforward HTML page. The difference is hardly noticeable to a visitor, but it makes things so much easier, behind the scenes.

Oil Ocean might well be an equal distance away though, as I have yet more work coming this term at uni, but we'll see how it goes. There's loads of stuff I need to do here really, including redesigning the site and adding a proper menu system. This home page has always been temporary, but I just haven't had the time to fix it up.

So a couple of Sonic news items of late to discuss. It would seem that, as reported on Sonic News, a potential name for a new Sonic game, "Sonic Chronicles" has been discovered in a trademarks database. As I recall the same thing happened for Sonic Gems Collection and I think, Sonic Rush Adventure, so it's perfectly possible, and I would say very likely that this is indeed a forthcoming title. Chronicles means the documentation of historic events, so that could suggest this title contains some sort of reference to the older days of Sonic history. Surely not another compilation title though? It's been too soon since Mega and Gems Collections, and there are only three or four games left that aren't readily available on modern consoles, so I would be disappointed if it were any kind of collection disc. Although the game has been in development for a long time, I think it's most likely to be the upcoming DS RPG that Bioware are making for us. They may only have decided on a title quite recently (afterall, new titles for Sonic games are getting hard to think up these days), and I suppose it would still fall to Sega to trademark it. The possible significant references to Sonic history however is certainly interesting, or perhaps it is intended as a prologue to everything? Even more interesting!

If you've been keeping up with your Smash Bros Brawl updates over at the dojo, you'll know of the emergence of a classic Sonic tune to the game's soundtrack. An interesting choice, Angel Island Zone from Sonic 3, updated by Jun Senoue into quite a fun, guitar-ish version that would be suitable background music for a battle. The page presents a short 50 second preview of it that consists mostly of the Act 1 theme, followed by the start of Act 2. Compared to Sonic 1 and 2, it's less common for Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles tracks to get remade, and as that's my favourite soundtrack of the lot, it's always a special treat for me when one of its tracks pops up again. This could imply that Angel Island Zone will be a stage in the game, but as I understand it, the music can be collected and played on a random basis anyway, so it may just be a disembodied track floating around in the game. There definitely needs to be at least one classic Sonic stage in there somewhere though, for maximum goosebumps. Angel Island is a bit of a weird choice for it though, I would say. Perhaps it hints that Knuckles is a playable character too, and that would be his stage? Who knows.
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