Saturday 25 July 2009

SAGE 2009

It's currently the 14th Sonic Ameteur Games Expo! Though I work at a Super Mario fangaming website, I often find myself drifting towards the hedgehog end because at the end of the day, I am a veteran Sega fan. You see, Nintendo are still hanging about producing games in the same vein as they were a decade or two ago (see: new Super Mario Bros Wii). But Sega? Sega stopped making Sonic games as I knew them in the late 90s, and though they've had a few hits with the Adventure series and the handheld titles, it's still not quite the Sonic I remember. SAGE often is.

I have more faith in the fangaming scene when it comes to producing quality Sonic games. Now granted, there's always some awful titles and many games are never finished, but SAGE is always a good place to go if you want to see some of the best games the fangaming scene has to offer. There's no Retro Sonic XG or Sonic Nexus this year, but there are others, such as...

Sonic Robo Blast 2 (again)

I find it difficult to believe a fangame can spend more than a decade in development and still not be finished, but then again when Sonic Robo Blast 2 started, there wasn't really much of a fangaming scene at all. SSNTails and the SRB2 gang have given us the first demo in three years dubbed the "marriage edition" (because SSNTails is so old he's getting married!), adding in a couple of new levels and fixing all sorts of problems. Aside from that 80MB download, this is probably the "biggest" SAGE release this year now.

Sonic: Time Twisted

I played this last year (or the year before) at SAGE and back then I would have classed it as "average" at best. This year, it's vastly improved and is actually worth mentioning. Don't really know what's going on with the whole "time travelling" thing - there's a lot of it and it doesn't really seem to serve any purpose yet except to get in the way, but nevertheless, another great demo. It's not a perfect match for my slow PC however (but it's a similar situation with all Game Maker games).

Sonic Zero Remastered

Another good game, though the fact it's using the Sonic Worlds engine probably gives that impression straight away. With only one level, there's not much to comment on, but it's still helping to fill that gap Sega left us, and it looks nice.

Sonic: Project Mettrix

Stealth seems to have his E02 engine up on display every SAGE nowadays, and with that comes Project Mettrix, the Sonic fangame that demonstrates the engine. Mettrix is about as close as you can come to having a perfect Sonic 3 & Knuckles engine, and it's always nice to see Shining Island Zone once more. The new level this year, Bronze Lake, does look a bit out of place though. Mettrix isn't exactly an artist's wet dream but this one doesn't really fit with the character sprites at all. If you don't care about graphics though, you'll have yourself a great game here, and let's not forget that not all great programmers are great artists.

Sonic Gemini

A co-operative platformer where you switch between Sonic and Metal Sonic. At a grand total of 13 frames per second, I can't really comment on this one much either, but it has the potential to be something special. It might lag a bit, but it's still nice to look at.

and there's a dozen more but I'm aware these blog posts take up quite a bit of room on the front page without condensed versions.

So check these games out sometime, especially if you're one of the many thousands of people longing for a return to the classic Sonic experience.

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