Pacing the Cage

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Archive for the ‘Sega’ Category

Character File: Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik

Posted by ptcgaming on November 18, 2008

Hey, aren’t you one of the Rough Riders?

First appearance: “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Sega Genesis/Master System, 1991)

For almost 20 years now, Dr. Robotnik has seen the fall of many of his machines at the hands (and feet) of one Sonic the Hedgehog. But despite his many feeble attempts to destroy Sega’s blue mascot, the guy who turned cute little fuzzy animals into robots never seems to give up.

Robotnik, who was in part based on our 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt (a more pudgy version, at least), is actually who made Sonic fast (and blue). And the pair were friends until an accident embedded the doc with chaos energy, transforming him into the antagonist we all know of today. Since then he’s acquired the “Pinky and the Brain” syndrome, where he tries to take over the world no matter how many times he’s unsuccessful in the process. He also apparently has a “Star Wars” fascination, based on the creation of his outer space-floating “Death Egg” in “Sonic 2.”

But this robust fellow hasn’t spent all of his time being trampled by Sonic and his friends. He was the central character in 1993’s “Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine,” a game more in the style of “Tetris” and “Dr. Mario” than a 2D platformer. He’s also been a playable character over the years while starring in animated shows and comics.


Posted in Characters, Sega | 1 Comment »

One Sonic, three consoles

Posted by ptcgaming on November 13, 2008

Most people remember Sonic’s maiden voyage on the 16-bit Sega Genesis (left). But the blue blur also staked his claim on the 8-bit Sega Master System and handheld Sega Game Gear (right). There are several differences between the two, but both are solid in their own right.

The year 1991 could be labeled the “Year of Sonic.” It was that we saw the debut of Sega’s new “spokesperson” on not just one console, not two, but three different Sega consoles. After first dipping his toe in the pool that was the Sega Genesis, Sonic took a step back to the 8-bit era with releases for the Sega Master System and portable Game Gear. Although Sonic lost some power in the process, the 8-bit incarnation is still a solid game to play and doesn’t lose much in translation.
Today, I’m going to give a side-by-side comparison of the Genesis and Master System versions of “Sonic the Hedgehog” (the Game Gear version is very similar to the Master System version with a few exceptions). Before I begin, you have to understand that even though they bear the same name, the two titles are quite different. Other than obvious differences in graphics and sound, level designs and bonus stages are different, creating an all-new Sonic experience.
Graphics: The Genesis version features some of the best graphics of the 16-bit era (Sonic 2 pushed the envelope even farther). The 3D effect of running behind trees and posts, coupled with outstanding surface textures creates a great gaming experience. However, the Master System version features graphics I’d put up against any NES game any day of the week. Though not nearly as detailed as its counterpart, the game moves fluidly, and enemies are easily recognizable from the 16-bit version.
Sound: The music and sound effects on the Genesis are fantastic, some of the most classic in video game history. The Master System version features good sound as well (even though it’s in mono), but the console’s technology produces sounds that are at times tinny.
Gameplay: Sonic on the Genesis is fast, especially in some of the more straightforward zones. He’s pretty fast in 8 bits as well, although the game doesn’t feel it’s moving quite as fast. Eight-bit Sonic does share many of his 16-bit counterpart’s mannerisms, like when he starts staring you down because you haven’t moved in awhile. Also, in the 8-bit version, when you hit an enemy, you can’t retrieve the rings you lost. And though they share names with a few zones from the Genesis version, the entire 8-bit game was retooled so it isn’t a direct port. Bonus stages are different, too, and Chaos Emeralds are found within the zones. There is also a map in the 8-bit version that shows you what zone you’re on, and I think that’s because the text at the beginning and end of the zones isn’t superimposed over the game screen like on the Genesis. Overall control of Sonic is fluid on both consoles, though I think the Master System version of the game is more difficult to complete.
So there you have it, a short but concise comparison of the Sega Genesis and Master System versions of the original “Sonic the Hedgehog.” I could go on and on with more about the two, but you can get the idea by just checking out the screenshots above (By the way, those are two different zones from each of the games). Now don’t be deceived by the 8-bit version, as Sega thought it was good enough to build into some late versions of the Master System console. It’s available on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console for just 500 points ($5), so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re able to get it.

Posted in Retro Gaming, Sega | 1 Comment »

Our Favorite Games: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Posted by ptcgaming on September 18, 2008

Platform: Sega Genesis Released: 1992
Sonic returned to the gaming scene in 1992 with this sequel, and a friend tagging along. Sonic 2 took a successful model and improved upon it, making the game graphically better and faster (if that was even possible). Sonic’s second quest to take out Dr. Robotnik introduced us to Tails, his partner in crime (er) and ongoing character in the Sonic series. Though most of the zones were cut down to no more than two acts (except the Metropolis Zone), the abundance of zones made the game seem much longer than the original Sonic. And while the game features continues that can be earned, the lack of a save feature makes this game difficult to sit through after spending all day at work then coming home to take care of your family before having time for yourself. (On a side note, there is a save feature in later titles in the series.) But even with it’s time-consuming length, the ever-changing landscapes and great music make this a great title for a weekend gaming sit-down. The game is so popular (at least six million copies sold), it’s the biggest seller for the Genesis (Mega Drive in Japan), all-time. This sequel is a great example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

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Our Favorite Games: Out Run

Posted by ptcgaming on September 16, 2008

Platform: Sega Master System Released: 1987
Remember back in the days when you’d spend a Saturday night at the local arcade feeding quarters into dozens of video game cabinets to flex your gaming muscles? I sure do, and one of those games I fed numerous quarters to was Out Run. Now Sega Master System owners were lucky – they didn’t have to keep feeding quarters to get their Out Run fix. The idea of Out Run was simple – drive to the checkpoints before time runs out. Of course, dodging other cars and making your way through several different landscapes makes this much harder than it seems. Out Run was just plain fun. Its 3D effects and graphics were some of the best of its time. You just hopped in the car with your girlfriend and put the pedal to the metal. Another thing that made Out Run great was it was always changing – You could choose your route, giving the game 16 different route variations. And where you end determined your ending. Out Run has been called by some not a “racing” game, but a “driving” game instead.

Posted in Favorites, Sega | 1 Comment »