Sand Castle
Wednesday, 10th August 2011, 8:54pm (BST), 13 Comments
Update: Sandopolis Zone added to the Sonic & Knuckles section
I've fought off the looters of the London riots this evening to bring you one of Sonic's toughest and most daunting original levels - the Sandopolis Zone guide is finally among us! If I remember right back, this is one of the levels that I actually wanted to publish early, when the site was in its prototype phase, in order to test the general format of the guide. There's loads of tricky things about this level, so it's a good test of how successful the page actually is as a strategy guide. Over four years late then, but nevermind. The maps came out pretty massive for this one, in file size. Hope we're all on fast interweb connections!

Sorry I've been quiet lately, there were a few things I wanted to post about, particularly around the big anniversary celebration a couple of months back but I never really found the time. I did plan on writing about my visit to Summer of Sonic, as I did last year, but by the very end of that I rather lost my enthusiasm about it. Through no fault of the event itself or the efforts of the staff, all absolutely brilliant and very entertaining in general. Thing is I was supposed to be one of the lucky site owners to be granted an interview with Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka, which I was extremely excited about, and would have loved to have fed back to you. Unfortunately I was very last on the list, by which point, after waiting an hour or so, I was told they were apparently too tired, so my interview was cancelled. My suspicions carry me to the conclusion that this may have been a decision taken by Sega reps there rather than the duo themselves. Either way I wasn't happy, and even had to barter for the opportunity to have them sign my original Sonic 1 instruction manual, which they could just about muster up the strength to do, but without me getting to meet them myself at all. A great thing to own, but not so great a story attached to it really. And for that I also had to wait another 45 minutes or so. Even while waiting backstage, I did generally feel a little bit ignored by everyone too - they all seemed to know each other quite well, and I had to overhear what was actually going on, rather than be told. Before that, it was all a great day, and I even got to play on Green Hill modern in the Sonic Generations demo three times (which is going to be fantastic by the way), but unless there's something equally enticing next year I can't say for sure if I'll want to really be there or not. Maybe I'm better off celebrating Sonic quietly and individually in the way in which I always have done.

I should acknowledge that my map work actually featured in two different UK magazines in June, one with my permission, the other not. Retro Gamer asked if they could use my Green Hill Act 1 map as part of their front cover fold out, with a nice nod to me and my site alongside. I happily provided them with the original, full size, non-annotated version, and it looks brilliant in print! A great accomplishment for this site. Games Master meanwhile swiped my Marble Zone Act 1 map without asking (talk about looting! :P). Still flattering, but they had to make do with having an obscure "1" point icon in the middle of it. There's a lesson there kids - always ask first, you might get something even better than what you were actually after! Thanks to the Retro Gamer guys. Slightly less thanks to Games Master, although their special Sonic issue was pretty cool in general, if inaccurate here and there. I'd like to think that a few fans recognised my handiwork straight away though. Hopefully.

Well, I'd like to say Sonic Generations is looking better and better, but.. I'm not allowing myself to look at it! I feel like I go on about this all the time, but I really think with this game, it's more important than ever before to hold back as many surprises as possible, especially anything related to the classic era, in my opinion. They've never really delved into such specific references as they're doing here, so I'm not allowing myself to see even one screen shot of Chemical Plant, or any other classic stage yet to be revealed - it'll be so much better to experience it completely fresh when I finally get to play on it. That said, I am finding that I might be robbing myself a little bit of the hype and excitement that makes this build-up time always so special - even if the final product occasionally doesn't live up to it (though I'm confident that won't be the case here). A certain balance needs to be struck I think, but I'm still of the opinion that you can't rely on Sega, games media, and especially not hackers to strike that for you, it takes the right amount of will power to put some things off limits to yourself, but without losing the excitement of something new to look at.

I might be tempted to look at the next stage to be shown from either Adventure or modern eras, just because I know Green Hill so well now. I think one more trailer will do me, maybe just a snippet of gameplay from one of those levels, but then it'll be a complete lockdown! I might even try to work out if I can create some sort of Twitter or RSS feed that shows me only Sonic news that doesn't contain certain key words. Such as "Generations" and perhaps even the names of every single possible level to make an appearance. Am I going mad? perhaps. If I succeed though I'll see if I can share it for like-minded misers.

What I definitely will continue to avoid like the plague is that cursed list of the names of all of the levels, hacked out of the classic demo a couple of months ago. The fact that such a thing exists makes traversing the Sonic community at all very difficult. Why the developers would leave that lying around in there in the first place is beyond me, surely now they must be aware that if it's in there, hackers will get it, whether anyone wants them to or not. It's become a bit awkward that people know exactly how accurate my own predicted level list actually is, well before I will. Surprisingly, 100% accurate so far though! That never happens! Please, please do not tell me how much that percentage is actually going to drop down to though. If at all possible, I want to be able to sit down with this game in November, not having a clue what half of these levels are going to be.

That'll do for this post I think. Hope to start on Lava Reef soon, as I'm eager to get this guide finished so I can crack on to more financially lucrative endeavours. Got to pay the bills unfortunately, but finish it, I will.

Stay safe.
Comments   13 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Josh T. on Wednesday, 10th August 2011, 10:36pm
You're like me. I like to stay away from spoilers as much as possible, too!

Also, the Sandopolis guide is great! :D
#2. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 11th August 2011, 3:33pm
Glad to see that this guide is up!

So, I take it that it will be another 2 to 3 months until you upload the Lava Reef guide?
#3. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 11th August 2011, 7:28pm
In all likelihood, yes. Hidden Palace and Sky Sanctuary should be quicker though, as there's a lot less to them.
#4. Comment posted by Hyper_Sonic on Thursday, 11th August 2011, 10:06pm
I can tell how you don't want to see any of the Sonic Ge*******ns spoilers. they do really spoil... I won't reveal any level, all I wanted to say was the SEGA officially released screenshots of classic (cutie) and modern tails and one zone (which you actually so happened to predict), so if you do not want to see any spoilers then you haven't all ill say is that on the official side you have predicted 4 levels (GH, CE, RR, and **Z) Isn't it weird how all sonic zones have two words...

I cannot wait till you publish my favorite zone of all time, Death Egg :D It is a real shame how no levels in S&K feature water though. I do like a good water stage :( If Death egg had water it would be the perfect zone:D
#5. Comment posted by Cybershell on Tuesday, 16th August 2011, 8:23am
These guides really are fantastic, thanks for making them
#6. Comment posted by MoDaD on Tuesday, 16th August 2011, 7:23pm
Once again, great work. Congratulations on the magazine appearances. If you keep up with all of this high quality work maybe someday you can get into an official contributor position? (If that's what you're interested in, that is.)
#7. Comment posted by Zeupar on Wednesday, 17th August 2011, 10:25am
Awesome job as always, LQS! Do you happen to have scans of those magazines? I am curious to see them. :P
#8. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Thursday, 18th August 2011, 4:11pm
Thanks :)

I have a photo of a portion of the Games Master one. You can tell there's no mistaking it for anyone elses map! Photo here
#9. Comment posted by Anonymous on Thursday, 25th August 2011, 11:02pm
Any chance you'll add a map for the secret special stage in Sonic 3 (as featured in the cheats sectionof that game)? It'd be nice to have it match the other special stage guides.
#10. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Friday, 26th August 2011, 7:24pm
Probably not. I must admit, the only reason I could do those maps so easily was because I traced over ones from scans of the Sonic Mega Collection Japanese guide, which doesn't contain that stage. Won't rule it out, but I doubt I'll have the time/patience.
#11. Comment posted by SeekingTruth on Saturday, 27th August 2011, 8:54am
I have been deeply in love with this site since I first discovered it, it's always so exciting to see an update :) Amazing Sandopolis guide! Have you ever considered making a simple Facebook page for Sonic: Zone 0? It could help your work get the attention it deserves. :) I'm sure there's thousands of Sonic nerds on Facebook who would love to plumb this site's depths that would never find this place otherwise.
#12. Comment posted by LiQuidShade on Saturday, 27th August 2011, 12:23pm
Thanks a lot! Facebook eh? I suppose I could, never really considered it properly. Probably because I'm one of the few people who spends loads of time online, but very very little of it on Facebook - can't stand it, personally. But, it is the way things seem to be going these days isn't it? So I might look into it a bit more. However, I am starting to wrap up all the work I plan to do on this site, so it won't be as beneficial now as it would have been a year or two ago. Still, thanks for the suggestion, I'll give it a think!
#13. Comment posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, 30th August 2011, 11:44am
And when there is management Lava Reef?
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