Sonic Site Awards 2009
Wednesday, 24th June 2009, 1:15pm (BST), 3 Comments
Every year (except last year), the Sonic Stadium hosts the Sonic Site Awards, an opportunity for new, up-and-coming sites in the community to get a bit of recognition and exposure to new visitors. In 2007 I was overjoyed that Zone: 0 was nominated in three categories, and actually came runner up in the big Sonic Site Award, itself! Well, the opportunity has come round again for 2009 and I think it's the perfect opportunity for those in the community that have never been here to get to know Zone: 0, especially since we now have so many new guides by so many new writers coming up! I suppose it's still quite a small, relatively unknown site, just about..!

The first round is for nominations, up until 26th July, and I would massively appreciate any for this site, in any of the categories! Simply load up the SSA page and send them off an email listing the sites that you want to nominate for each category. I'd like to think that Zone: 0 can do even better this year and maybe even win one of them, but I'll need your help to do so, so get emailing!
Comments   3 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Ajavalo on Wednesday, 24th June 2009, 1:40pm
Zone:0 MUST earn some awards. I'm e-mailing immedately!
#2. Comment posted by Mercury on Thursday, 25th June 2009, 10:33am
I nominated Zone: 0 for Best Layout/Design, Information Station, and The Sonic Site Award.

I hope it wins in at least one category. It's awesome now, and it's only going to get cooler as time goes on. :)

(Speaking of awards, Wacky Workbench gets "stupidest zone name"? I'd have thought Gimme Shelter or Panic Puppet would have beat it easy ;P )
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 25th June 2009, 10:43am
Thanks guys! Fingers crossed!

(Ah, I never said it won the award I just said it was a contender! Gimme Shelter and Panic Puppet are definitely contenders too, and I can't decide between them!)
Sonic CD Gameplay page now up (P.S. Happy 18th, Sonic!)
Tuesday, 23rd June 2009, 5:09pm (BST), 0 Comments
Update: Gameplay page added to the Sonic CD section
Wish our favourite hedgehog a happy 18th birthday by.. reading about the basic gameplay features of Sonic CD..

Have fun!
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Whack the Workbench!
Wednesday, 17th June 2009, 9:05pm (BST), 2 Comments
Update: Wacky Workbench added to the Sonic CD section
Wow, only a week and a half later and another level, you lucky people! Oh Wacky Workbench, with your silly name and your annoying bouncy floor and your weird crushers and your secret angel room. How we love you. You know, I was reading someone's analysis of Sonic yesterday and they claimed Quartz Quadrant and Wacky Workbench as 'dull'. To say the least, I highly disagree. For a factory level, Wacky Workbench is far from dull and Quartz is a work of art.

Speaking of great levels, I'd like to flag up an official poll being held by the Sonic Facebook page, which I've already been a little vocal about. Their poll presents you with lists of all the levels from the ten primary Sonic games, plus Secret Rings and Black Knight, and asks you to pick your favourite from each. It's fantastic to see an official poll focus on what I always argue as the very most crucial part of all of Sonicdom, levels, goddamn it! Nevermind about characters and plots and all that. It all comes down to stages, and now we've a chance to see what the most popular ones actually are, so I'd urge everyone to participate, as an experiment more than anything. I'd be very very interested in a complete list of results for this, it would be great to see an exact order of popularity for the levels of each game. There's a "no preference" option too for people who haven't played a given game (or perhaps refuse to accept it as having any levels of merit), so it'd be interesting to see exactly which games are the most-played amongst the community.

For those dying to know what I picked myself (and that's all of you, I can tell) - Star Light Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Quartz Quadrant, Ice Cap Zone, Lava Reef Zone (..or may have been Sky Sanctuary, I can't remember, but both worthy anyway), Lost World, City Escape, Rail Canyon, Crisis City, Skeleton Dome, Cool Edge, Molten Mine. Almost all choices were very difficult as there are so many other levels that I love just about as much as the ones I chose. You'd think with all the time I spend thinking and writing about these levels I'd have firm favourites cemented in my head, but clearly not. I think most choices though were based on the overall enjoyment factor that I get from them, rather than appreciation for clever design. Ultimately, that's all a great level needs to do I guess - make you feel good when you play it. For me, the music actually plays an extremely vital role in that too. Anyway, I'll be interested to see how that all turns out and may put together a short analysis in a later blog, providing that the full details are published.

I've finally been able to get my Xbox back online and so have proceeded to purchase every Sonic Unleashed adventure pack, and I can't say I've been disappointed. Each pack adds an additional set of acts for both day and night and although by throwing in a few floating platforms in an extra act, or having it loop in laps doesn't really properly feel like a stage in itself, they can still be long enough and filled with sufficient content and interesting ideas to be entertaining (I particularly enjoyed Apotos' extra offerings), and I do generally like this recent "mini acts" approach to Sonic games, which started with Sonic Rush Adventure's Hidden Islands, of course. Sure, there's a few stinkers in there that I would never really want to play again after completing them, like the acts where you must just drift round corners before time runs out, but there's a lot of interesting platforming ideas to be found too, particularly those that require very precise timing on exactly when to hit that homing attack, for example. Even many of the werehog levels can be fairly enjoyable (by werehog standards anyway), not to mention pleasantly short! I also like that the nature of the daytime levels means that the "hard mode" versions of the main stage can't just get away with having more enemies this time. Although I would liked to have seen more variation in terms of routes in these, which the DLC for Sonic '06 did quite well at, I thought, there's still a lot of changes made to the object placements such that they feel like whole new challenges. Can't say that in an ordinary play-through I'll pick them over the original versions, as I rather like to soar through levels nice and neatly, but the options are always nice to have.

I was considering providing something of a short review for each and assessing which are the best buys, which I still might do if I find myself with nothing to do any time soon (VERY unlikely), but they're all about as good as each other really, so if you can only go for a certain amount of packs, just pick your favourite levels.

I think I might put up the gameplay page for Sonic CD next. Generally I go through all the levels first but it struck me there's a fair few mechanics you should probably know about Sonic CD before attempting to play it, and for those that aren't so familiar with those, it might be best to ensure they're covered. Better late than never, eh? It's "Sonic Day" on Tuesday too, so what the hell, I'll aim to have it up then.
Comments   2 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Wednesday, 17th June 2009, 9:28pm
Great! I can't wait to have a look at the Wacky Workbench stuff!
#2. Comment posted by supersonicsmash on Friday, 19th February 2010, 11:21pm
What's skeletion dome? since its between about 06 (do I really have to spell it out) and 08 (unleashed) I'd say its on Sonic and the secret rings.
A Quick Quadrant
Saturday, 6th June 2009, 10:16pm (BST), 0 Comments
Update: Quartz Quadrant added to the Sonic CD section
Quartz Quadrant now up! A lovely little level really - one of those that's perfect to wile away a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon, I always think. My summer is now wide open, save for a bit of freelance work here and there, so I'm hoping to attain an average of a new level or page every one or two weeks until September. Don't hold me to that, but it's sigificantly more likely that updates will become much more regular during this time, anyway.

My campaign last month to try and drum up some interest from writers seemed to prove rather successful! I'm glad my big "dream" seems to have struck a chord with a lot people. Sometimes I do think I'm the only one, but then I guess I tend to be something of a reclusive Sonic fan, as I don't spend much time on forums. Perhaps I should, and perhaps the time is coming closer to a Zone: 0 forum of some sort. A simple one, but I think some potential for it is developing. Anyway, the quest for writers will continue and I'll advertise it a bit more around the various pages of the site too. Really looking forward to Monty Eggman's Tails Adventures guide. Admittedly, it's the game that I probably know the least about in the whole series really, so all the better to have a full guide all about it, I guess! From what I've read of it so far, we're in good hands for it. :) There's also a Sonic 3D guide coming too, and it would be great if there could be several more on the go too, so if you're interested, check out the previous post and please get in touch!

It's post-E3 and if you haven't checked out what has been revealed, see Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic Unleashed Mobile. Racing seems something of a sequel to Superstars Tennis, which I wouldn't class as a Sonic game as such, but perhaps this one should be, depending on exactly how prominent Sonic-based material is in the game. Seems a nice enough little game but nothing to get too excited about. I'm more interested in the seemingly rather in-depth mobile phone take on Sonic Unleashed. Until now I've never thought of any mobile Sonic game as a legitimate entry into the series, but this one seems like it could be about as significant an adventure as pretty much any other 2D platformer really. I guess technology is moving in such a direction that you can no longer really go by the rule of "it's not a true Sonic game if it isn't on a machine that is primarily a games console" which is what I've been following thus far. One to keep an eye on I think, if only because there's always something particularly exciting about a new 2D platformer.

So two "maybe" Sonic games and Winter Olympics (speaking of which, it's nice to put the normally cult-character of Metal Sonic within eye shot of the casual gamer, but are these kind of activities not a teensy bit out of character for him?). It's funny, by this point after the most recent wave of titles, we normally have a somewhat more significant selection. Could be the 'ol economic difficulties, or maybe Sega are cutting back on having too many Sonic titles, and if that means spending more time and focus on fewer significant platformers then that's definitely for the best. I was hoping to have seen a third Sonic Rush by now though. Given the popularity of the first two, it's a no-brainer really and I hope the pint-sized Unleashed isn't some kind of replacement for it on the 2D arm of the franchise. The pirate themed Sonic Rush Adventure also opens up a lot of possibilities for each entry to have a theme, which keeps things fresh. "Sonic Rush Digital" is my proposal, in which Eggman has encased Sonic and Tails (and Blaze I suppose) in a virtual world. All levels look like any usual selection of locations except they're not real, revealing occasional glitches a bit like Assassin's Creed. Exactly like the alternate time zones of Sonic CD, some way in which to break through the barrier to reveal the reality behind each level - a digital "tron-like" version of itself, would be perfect. Something to consider anyway, Sega.
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