Gaming Post 26: Sonic and the Secret Rings

It’s been a while since I last wrote a gaming article. I’ve been mostly playing video games and adding them to my list. I have reached my 250 beaten games milestone, which I assure you I have only reached because I am willing to play crappy games alongside great ones. I’ve been putting off writing this article for so long because it was about one of the (comparatively) crappy games I beat. That’s one downside to using a random number generator to determine the order in which to write articles. You can never be sure what’s coming next.

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The random number generator has determined that the next game I should write about is Sonic and the Secret Rings. It was a vaguely interesting game which I played when I wanted to catch up with the 3D Sonic games.

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Back when I was a kid I watched VHS tapes of the Sonic cartoon and was a fan of the video game series ever since playing Sonic R on the computer and seeing a commercial for Sonic Adventure 2 randomly at a Toys R Us store. By early high school, I still liked Sonic, but I wasn’t following the game series since my most advanced system was the GameCube when the games “Sonic 2006” and “Sonic and the Secret Rings” came out. My friend Puck had a Wii and a copy of Secret Rings, but I never really played the game when I was at his house. I was far more interested back then in playing his copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, as I was slowly discovering the joy of the Zelda series at that point in my youth. Still, I did notice that the box art for Sonic and the Secret Rings was absolutely beautiful. I made a note in my mind that I would eventually try the game out some time in my life.

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Look at that artwork! The game must be great! …Right?

Years later (I believe it was 2012) I was enjoying having a Wii System, going down the list of games for it that had not been my main reasons for wanting to get a Wii but I still wanted to play. Of course the main reason I got the Wii was to be able to play the Super Mario Galaxy series and Skyward Sword, but at that point I wanted to play all of the 3D Sonic games. I had heard many people say that Sonic games had gotten bad in the years that I had missed, but I still wanted to play them for myself so that I could have firsthand experience with them before passing judgment.

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The game is the first in what was supposed to be the Sonic Storybook Trilogy, however, the third game never came out, probably due to the bad reviews the first two got. As such, the Sonic Storybook Trilogy is actually what I call a “Dulogy”. This first game takes place within the stories in the famous anthology known as The Arabian Nights. The main antagonist is named Erazor Djinn, who is the same genie of the lamp from the Aladdin story.

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This guy isn’t quite as fun as when he was voiced by Robin Williams.

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Erazor Djin hits Sonic with a magical arrow, and from what I can remember, Sonic has to keep running or else he will die. I think that’s how they explain why you have limited control over Sonic’s movements in this game and you have to keep moving for the most part on a single path. This is also the only Sonic game in which Sonic is wounded for the entire story.

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Sonic and the Secret Rings wasn’t actually that bad. Its gameplay consists of Sonic automatically running a certain path through an environment while the player avoids obstacles. As the game is technically a rail platformer, you have much less control over Sonic’s movements than in his other games. The motion controls are also unintuitive at first, but I eventually got used to it in my playthrough. And although the game is split up into small missions that get unlocked as you complete more of them, the environments are pretty good throughout and make up for that a little bit.

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I was planning on beating all of the challenges, but some of them were pretty difficult and frustrating because of the controls. When I disclosed this to my friend Magic on Skype he convinced me to put the game away and move on as I had already completed the main story.

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This is Sonic’s Super Form in this game. Final Forms are always pretty neat when they’re there.

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The music in Sonic games tends to be pretty great, but I was a little disappointed in this installment. I no longer expect a full soundtrack of great tracks like we got from Sonic Adventure 2, but I was hoping for at least one compelling song from this game. The main theme is called “Seven Rings in Hand”, which is played on the title screen, but I honestly can’t remember much of the song like I can for Sonic Adventure 1 and 2’s main themes. The song I remember the most from this game is about Sonic and how he’s going to rock the place… place… place…

I think the main reason why people consider recent Sonic games to be bad is not because they are technically worse than other games, but because we expect Sonic’s games to be a lot better given the series’s history. We know what the Sonic series is capable of, given that the Sonic Adventure games were great. It’s just gradually gotten worse over the years (with a brief period of getting better around 2010 and then reversing after Sonic Colors and Generations)

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The newly announced Sonic game

A new Sonic game was announced recently called “Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice” for Nintendo 3DS, and despite my better judgment, I do feel a hint of excitement. I know that the game is going to be bad, but I guess it also means I get to play through another Sonic game that has a slight chance of not being terrible. My expectations are low, so I’ll probably have an alright time when I eventually play it some day. That’s just how the Sonic series is for me now.

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Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it! =D

Gaming Post 24: Metroid Prime, Hunters

The random number generator wants me to write about Metroid Prime: Hunters for the Nintendo DS gaming system. This was the final Metroid game I completed of the (approximately 10) Metroid games that existed at the time that this post was written.

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Metroid Prime: Hunters is a first person adventure game set in the future somewhere in outer space during the career of a Bounty Hunter named Samus Aran. The story is not all that important to the overall plot of Metroid, but it does take place after Metroid Prime 1 and before Metroid Prime 2. It has the basic gameplay from the Metroid Prime games but incorporates it with touch controls made possible by the Nintendo DS.

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I first heard of this game when I got my Nintendo DS the first Christmas after it was released. The console included a small demo of the game called “Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt”. When the Nintendo DS came out, it was an exciting system to own, so I tried the game out whenever I was taking a break from Super Mario 64 DS.

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The demo had a pretty cool song.

I played the demo every now and then, but I never really wanted to buy the full game until years later when I decided to beat all of the Metroid games. Eager to purchase a copy of it one day, I walked to the GameStop closest to my house. Unfortunately, there was lots of snow on the ground at the time, and my decision to walk to GameStop rather than ask one of my parents to drive me wasn’t the wisest decision I ever made. I was cold and soaking wet by the time I got there, and I had to wait for one of my parents anyways to pick me up from there rather than walk back.

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The game sat around in one of the drawers in my room for what felt like a long time. I would occasionally try out the competitive online multiplayer mode that the game had. The objective in the multiplayer mode was to shoot each other, but I would often run away and hide from the only other player for seven minutes as a joke.

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Before the Nintendo Wi-fi service was shut down, I used my Nintendo DS Capture Device to record some of my pranking in Metroid Prime: Hunter’s online multiplayer mode. I haven’t had a chance to edit and upload it yet, but you will certainly see it at some point on Zelgerath.com.

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What encouraged me to finally take the game on was the limited time I had before the Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Unity launch. I had just finished the Halo series, and I guess I just wanted to see if I could finish off another video game series before I played the new Assassin’s Creed titles. I had already finished the other nine Metroid games, so beating Metroid Prime Hunters would complete the series.

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I played this game using my 3DS XL because I realized that the game is easier to control using a larger touchscreen. It is a bit awkward to control, but I got used to it fairly quickly.

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The objective within the story is to obtain all 8 octoliths and then face against the final boss. An octolith is essentially a magical diamond thing, its name referring to the fact that there’s 8 of them. They sort of reminded me of the form the maidens take in A Link to the Past.

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That’s not the only thing in the Metroid series that was borrowed from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

These Octoliths are guarded by two different types of bosses. There’s a sort of eyeball looking thing and a tower that shoots lasers. Each of these foes have four different levels of difficulty, and access portals for these variations are located on different planets. There are 4 planets, each with 2 portals to bosses, one an eyeball guy and the other a tower guy.

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You’ll be jumping between planets every so often throughout this game, which is a fun concept, but the way space travel is done is just a glorified level select screen.

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I’m really looking forward to the launch of the game No Man’s Sky, which is the first game to my knowledge that has a truly open world universe full of casual space travel in which it’s possible to land on more than Eighteen-Quintilian planets. I’m not even joking. The game has 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets.

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Look! Another Octolith!

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Every so often, Samus gets attacked by a rival Bounty Hunter. If they succeed in defeating Samus, they take an Octolith and you must find them and get it back. I never ran into that problem, because I knew when and when not to save.

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This game felt fairly short and easy compared to the real Metroid Prime games. It was definitely fun to play as a fan of the Metroid series, but I’m not sure if I would recommend the game unless you’ve already played the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

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As it turns out, the Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii is currently available for purchase and download on the Nintendo Wii U eshop for only $10. That equates to three great games for approximately $3.33 each. The sale only lasts for a few more days when the price will be changed to $20. $20 is still a good price for the game, but if you have a chance to get it for $10, I recommend that you do.

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When I finally defeated the final boss, it meant that I had finally caught up to the entire Metroid series. I’m now waiting for the next Metroid game to come out. I think I’ll be really excited when they announce the next one.

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Until next time, Thanks for Reading! =)