Tag Archives: Sonic the Hedgehog

Endgame: Top Three Favorite Final Bosses

A common element of video games are boss battles. These are fights that test the player’s skill and ability. So with final bosses, it’s no surprise that they are a true test of skill. Every journey has an endgame, and video games are no exception. These are my top three favorite final bosses in gaming.

WARNING: There are massive spoilers ahead for the games that will be covered. So proceed at your own risk.

#3: Grima – Fire Emblem Awakening

There’s a lot I love about Awakening, and its final boss is no exception. The journey has led the main character and the Shepherds to their fateful encounter with the Fell Dragon Grima. It turns out the protagonist is the vessel of Grima, created to bring the Fell Dragon back into the world. However, given the events of the game, the protagonist chooses to defy their destiny and slay the dragon. Joined by their close friends and allies, the protagonist charges into battle atop the back of Grima.

This battle is a tough one. Players will need to bring their tactical A-game if they want to slay Grima. Plot-wise, it serves as a great ending to a marvelous tale. Also, the music track playing during the battle (Id-Purpose) is phenomenally composed. It adds to the grandness of this final fight. Overall, the final battle against Grima is a very enjoyable one.

#2: The Final Hazard – Sonic Adventure 2

Surprisingly, my favorite game of all time only has my second favorite final boss of all time. However, that is a not a sleight against the Final Hazard. This fight is just plain epic. Two super-powered hedgehogs fight a giant lizard that has merged with a space colony that is on a collision course with Earth. If that isn’t enough, a fantastic rock song is playing in the background too (Live and Learn by Crush 40).

There are only two other things I can say about this battle. One, it is an awesome wrap up to one of my favorite stories in the Sonic franchise. Secondly, it feels so good to lay the smack down on this lizard, especially after an earlier fight with it. All of that combined makes for one heck of a fight.

#1: Primal Dialga – Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky

Here is a game I haven’t talked about yet. Explorers of Sky is a phenomenal game already, and is another one of my favorite games. Consider it a #6 on my previous list. The long and epic journey that led our protagonist and their Pokemon partner to Temporal Spire is finally at an end. At least, it would seem that way. Enraged by the collapse of time, Dialga has gone mad, reverting to a primordial state. It’s up to the duo of Pokemon to defeat the outraged time deity and restore the flow of time.

This is my favorite final boss for many reasons. Primarily, it is an outstanding ending to an awesome story. Plus, I remember spending days as a kid trying to beat Primal Dialga. I will admit as an adult the battle can be pretty simple. If you know your type match-ups in Pokemon, then you’ll have this fight in the bag. However, it is still one of my favorites regardless. Lastly, the track playing throughout this clash (Dialga’s Fight to the Finish) is simply great. It adds an epic level to an already grand face-off.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous other final bosses that I have yet to face. So, this list is subject to change in the coming years. With that being said, what are your favorite final bosses? Let me know in the comments. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace.

Way Past Cool: 30 Years of Sonic the Hedgehog

If there is one series I’ve talked about a lot on this blog, it’s Sonic the Hedgehog. This line of games (and other media) is among one of my favorites of all time. Needless to say, I also have an extensive knowledge of the series’ history and lore. So, strap on your running shoes and grab a chili dog, this is a look at the Sonic series.

The Genesis of Sonic

Early on in the 90s, Sega had just released their Genesis console (also called “Mega Drive” in Europe and Japan). It boasted 16-bit graphics and “blast processing” (marketing mumbo-jumbo) that rivaled the Super Nintendo. However, the Genesis lacked a killer app to truly sell the console. Sega needed a mascot with true supersonic power.

Enter programmer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ohshima, the two men credited with creating Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic himself went through several different concepts before he became the iconic blue hedgehog. In fact, one of the designs had him as a rabbit.

Concept artwork of Sonic. (Photo credit: SEGAbits)

Once all was settled on the design, the game took shape. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was initially released on June 23, 1991 for the Sega Genesis. It would go on to be a modest success for Sega. From there on, the rest is history.

My History With the Series

I remember my first interaction with the Sonic franchise was the animated series simply called Sonic the Hedgehog. It was probably around 2003 when I was at a Blockbuster Video with my parents. I had picked out a VHS of the cartoon because it looked cool. After watching a few episodes, I became a fan. Little did I know that this hedgehog had a whole series of video games, comics, and other media behind him.

The intro to the cartoon. (Credit: 90sCartoonIntros on YouTube)

My earliest memory with the games is with Sonic Advance on the Game Boy Advance and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the GameCube. Sonic Advance is a two-dimensional platformer that returned Sonic to his roots. There wasn’t much of a story to the game, but it’s still a very solid experience. It eventually got two sequels.

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was what completely sold me on the series. As currently being my favorite game of all time, there’s a lot I could say about this game. However, I already covered it in a previous post. Safe to say, the game means a lot to me.

From then on, I was a total Sonic fan. I read the comic books published by Archie Comics, I watched the anime, I bought the music CDs, and I even saw the recent movie. (In my opinion, the movie’s pretty decent!)

Final Thoughts

Though I have my gripes with the series’ current direction, overall I love the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. While I haven’t been around for all 30 years of its history, I’ve seen enough of it to be a fan. What are some game series you love? Let me know in the comments. As always, until next time my fellow nerds, peace,

To the Scrapyard: 3 Games That Never Released

There are many video games out there, some that have gone on to be great successes. However, not every game gets released. A few even got far into development but were axed later on. This week I will be looking at three games that never reached store shelves.

#1: Sonic-16 (Cancelled Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game, 1993)

There are several cancelled Sonic the Hedgehog games throughout the series’ history. This one, referred to as Sonic-16, was pitched to Sega by Sega Technical Institute (a long-defunct American development studio of Sega). Sonic-16 was based off the hit TV-show at the time simply called Sonic the Hedgehog or as fans call it, “Sonic SatAM.”

It featured noticeably slower and more methodical game play than the series was known for back then. This reason alone is often cited as why then series director Yuji Naka gave the pitch a thumbs down. There is a video of the cancelled game on YouTube, but I thought it would be best to share it here.

Video of the pitched game from November 1993. (Video credit: Peter Morawiec)

Personally, I would have been interested in trying the game out if it ever released. (Granted, I wasn’t even alive in 1993). Funnily enough, the old Saturday morning cartoon is what introduced me to the overall Sonic series. I’m pretty sure younger me would have been thrilled to see this as a fully playable game. However, as an adult, I can see why Yuji Naka made the decision he did. It would have been too risky to change the game play so drastically early on in the series. Though, I will admit, part of me would love to see this game revived officially or through a fan-made ROM-hack.

One last thing to note, Sonic-16 has been said to be an earlier form of another, much more infamous cancelled Sonic game. However, I feel the story of Sonic X-treme is best saved for its own post.

#2: Maverick Hunter (Cancelled Mega Man first-person shooter)

Ah yes, the Blue Bomber himself has his own set of cancelled games, too. However, the most interesting one to me is the cancelled first-person shooter game. This game, entitled Maverick Hunter, was based off the Mega Man X sub-series. It would have reportedly been similar to what Metroid Prime brought to the Metroid series. (In fact, some of the people who worked on Metroid Prime also worked on Maverick Hunter).

Video of the game play in Maverick Hunter. (Video credit: MegaMacTV)

Maverick Hunter features fast and high-octane action akin to DOOM (2016). Players would have been mowing down robots and performing stylized kills on them too. The video featuring its game play was first released back in 2013, presumably some time after the game had been cancelled.

I honestly think this game could have been quite a bit of fun and an interesting spin on Mega Man X. It would have been a much darker take on the series and a radical genre shift, too. The Mega Man X games are traditionally “run ‘n gun” platformers and a bit more lighthearted. Suffice to say, I can see why this project got shelved.

#3: Star Wars 1313 (Cancelled multi-platform action game, 2013)

Among all of the Star Wars games developed by LucasArts, Star Wars 1313 was one of the last. This wasn’t because LucasArts went under, it was because the Walt Disney Company had bought Lucasfilm around the time of development. Ultimately, the game was scrapped due to the acquisition by Disney and subsequent layoffs at LucasArts.

The game would have starred bounty hunter Boba Fett as he explored the subterranean society “Level 1313” of the planet Coruscant. It would have been a darker, grittier take on the Star Wars universe.

A trailer featuring game play of Star Wars 1313. (Video credit: GameNews)

Given the recent success of The Mandalorian, I could see a game like this being done for the current gen of consoles and PC. It probably wouldn’t be a straight-up revival of 1313, but a potential game could take a lot of inspiration from it. Considering that the Star Wars games license will no longer be EA’s in a couple years, I would say a 1313-inspired game is completely possible.

Final Thoughts

Like I said before, not every game gets to make it to store shelves. Regardless, it is still interesting to look at what could have been for some game series. There are still far more cancelled games I could cover in the future, and even some other lost media too. Though, that is for another time. As always, feel free to let me know what you think of this post in the comments. Until next time my fellow nerds, peace!

My Top 5 Favorite Video Games

So, keeping in-line with the gaming theme, this week I will talk about my five favorite video games of all time. Bear in mind, this list is completely subjective and not fact. With that settled, let’s get right into it.

#5: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

While not my initial foray into the Monster Hunter series (that would be Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate), Generations Ultimate is what made me love the games. This series has you, the Hunter, track down and kill various monsters. There is very little story to this entry, but I feel it’s a game that doesn’t really need it. All I need, personally, are my weapons, some supplies, and a daunting monster to hunt.

Generations Ultimate fulfills that need to a great degree. Every monster has some unique elements to it, making it necessary to prep and strategize for your hunt. (Or you could just charge in head first without a plan, I won’t judge). I’ve died so many times to certain monsters (mainly the Khezu and Cephadrome) that after a while, I had to break from the game for a bit. Even still, I’d come back and try something different, eventually beating these behemoths. The game is all about learning, watching, and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Other things I love about Generations Ultimate are the monsters themselves, the weapons, and the armor. Mainly, I love the designs and motifs of these three. Monsters come in many varieties, ranging from giant fiery chickens to leech dragons. Weapons also share in this swath of styles. Some of my favorite weapons conceptually are the Windeater, Kut-Ku Pick, and the Airship Hammer. Finally, armor sets are no slouch either. Armor sets can either look sleek and cool or bulky and tank-like. Of course, these all depend on your play style. (Side note: I mainly use Blademaster builds and weaponry).

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate may be a game where you hit monsters until they’re dead, but that process is very enjoyable nonetheless.

One of my many early-game hunts against the Yian Kut-Ku. (Copyright: Capcom)

#4: Persona 5

Here is a game I remember being rather hyped for back when I was a teenager. I had loved playing through parts of Persona 4 and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, so it was only natural to be excited for the next installment. Simply put, the Phantom Thieves managed to take my heart after playing Persona 5.

There are many aspects of this game that I enjoy, like the story, characters, soundtrack, art style, and game play. To completely go over every aspect listed would take its own separate post, so I’ll try to keep things brief here. Persona 5 exudes style with substance all throughout the game. While it is a longer title (my first run of the game had taken me over 115 hours to complete), I feel it is an experience worth having.

To summarize my thoughts, I appreciate the themes and topics this game goes for. Persona 5 focuses its story on changing the hearts of corrupt individuals in society. It essentially asks the question: “Can people truly be reformed and have a change of heart?” I’m not going to spoil anything about the plot, so you will have to find out the answers yourself.

The game play, to me at least, is one of the better turn-based RPGs in recent memory. (Though, that isn’t counting out games like Dragon Quest XI or Etrian Odyssey). Its soundtrack is outstanding and its art style is rather unique. With all of these put together, it amounts to one of my favorite games. As far as Persona 5 Royal goes, I’d say play that version if you have yet to experience Persona 5 at all. It is the definitive edition of the two.

Screenshot of Persona 5 game play. (Photo credit: Atlus).

#3: Fire Emblem: Awakening

Now, this is a game that helped me get into RPGs in general. Fire Emblem: Awakening is the thirteenth entry in the long-standing Fire Emblem series. As it stands, this entry is my favorite of the series. (Though, Three Houses is certainly trailing it closely). Awakening is a lot of things to me, chiefly among them is being fantastic.

Everything about this game stands out to me still, even eight years after I initially played it. The characters are well-written, the story is gripping, the music is downright amazing, and the game play is great too. Awakening is an outstanding game and a rich experience.

Part of me thinks this much effort and detail were put in since this was potentially the last Fire Emblem title. At the time, the series’ developer Intelligent Systems was struggling financially. If Awakening did not succeed, they would have had to close up shop. Fortunately, the effort Intelligent Systems put forth was not in vain. Either way, I can tell the developers wanted to go all out with this installment.

Again, I could devote a post of its own to this game and the others on this list too. However, the main thing I love about this game is its cast of characters. They all stand out in my memory as characters that felt realistic for once. Plus, all of their backstories and personalities endeared me to the game even more. Overall, Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fantastic and memorable time to be had.

Screenshot of battle game play featuring Stahl and Sumia. (Photo credit: Nintendo).

#2: Pokemon Black/Pokemon Black 2

Ah yes, the Pokemon games. This was a truly difficult call to make, as a few games in the mainline series contend for being my favorite. (Ones that did not make the cut: Soul Silver, Platinum, and Emerald). Ultimately, it came down to the fifth generation of the series with a tied entry between Pokemon Black and its sequel Pokemon Black 2.

Honestly, this is where the series peaked in overall quality for me. There was a lot of heart and effort put into these two games. I always appreciate it when developers give it their all with games like these two. There are levels of detail and care put into Black and Black 2 that I could go on about for hours. Everything from picking your starter Pokemon in Nuvema Town (or Aspertia City) to the closing credits of Black and Black 2 is so wonderfully constructed.

If there’s one thing that should be obvious by now is that I am a sucker for a good story. The overarching story line in these two games is, in my opinion, the best mainline Pokemon has put forth yet. While simplistic, the story line is well-told. At the end of Black 2, it felt like the true end of a long and fulfilling journey through the Unova region.

Of course, need I say anything about the presentation of the games? The graphics and music help bring this game to life. Pokemon are, at last, fully animated in battle with beautiful sprite art. Its soundtrack is epic and fitting of a timeless adventure. In addition, the game play is the Pokemon standard I have come to love.

These two games are what I would call a complete package deal. That is the reason why the two are tied for my favorite Pokemon game. To fully enjoy the fifth generation, it is best to play both entries. In all honesty, Pokemon Black and Pokemon Black 2 are the definitive Pokemon experience.

So, while I may have gushed a bit here, what could possibly top #2?

Screenshot of the over world in Pokemon Black. (Photo credit: Nintendo).

#1: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

Well, there’s one out of the blue. For a list that mainly consisted of RPGs, it may come as a surprise that my all time favorite game is a platformer. Namely, that platforming game is none other than Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. The Sonic the Hedgehog series has always held a special place in my heart for getting me into video games. I have been a fan of the series for about 17 years now, so I think it’s only natural that one of the games made this list.

Enough intro though. Why is Sonic Adventure 2 Battle my favorite game? Simply put, it’s a game I can go back to no matter the occasion. Whenever I get the itch to play a platforming game or a Sonic game, this one is usually the first I go to. (Although, Sonic Mania is another one of the hedgehog’s games I revisit frequently, too). This game is a real rush and thrill to play, especially when playing as either Sonic or Shadow. That’s not to say the other characters aren’t fun to play as too. Knuckles and Rouge’s treasure hunting stages are great for exploration. Meanwhile, Tails and Dr. Eggman’s mech shooting stages are excellent for wreaking havoc and destruction. All three play styles have their own unique charms and the like.

Otherwise, what else do I love about this game? For starters, the story is rather engaging and serious for a Sonic the Hedgehog game. It shows that this series can handle darker/more serious themes in its stories. Another thing I enjoy about this title is its soundtrack. There’s a lot of variety here, ranging from rock to admittedly cheesy rap music. The soundtrack is one of my favorites in the series just for its variety and greatness. Overall, these elements combine to give you a feeling of one epic adventure.

While the latest Sonic games have been disappointing (save for Mania), Sonic Adventure 2 Battle shows me this series has a lot of unused potential. However, that is a topic for another day.

I have a lot of memories of this game, and it is one of the reasons I even got into gaming to begin with. Even though there’s a little bit of nostalgia for it, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle reigns supreme as my favorite video game.

Sonic running through a checkpoint in City Escape. (Photo credit: Sega).

Final Thoughts

There you have it, my top five favorite video games of all time! Of course, there are tons of other games I love. However, to keep this post from going on any longer than it needs to, I shortened it to the top five. What are your top five favorite games? Or just your favorites in general? Feel free to let me know in the comments! Until next time my fellow nerds, peace.