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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Gets the Remastering Treatment, With the Long-Lost Hidden Palace Level Restored

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 13th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: :: Read Review »

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been given the remastering treatment by Sega and Christian Whitehead, who presided over the Sonic CD remake and original Sonic the Hedgehog remake that released earlier this year. Available as a free update to the previously-emulated version on the App Store, Sonic 2 contains some cool new goodies along with widescreen and iPad support.

Unlike Sonic CD and the original Sonic the Hedgehog, which were both games that only let players control Sonic in their original versions, Sonic 2 was much more comprehensive with its characters. Tails made his first appearance in Sonic 2. Knuckles showed up later, but was patched in to the game for people who locked-on Sonic 2 to Sonic & Knuckles. However, Tails has been given the ability to fly where users couldn’t control it in the Genesis original.

Thus, the big addition to this game is Hidden Palace. Sonic 2 is pretty well-known for having had a few levels left on the cutting room floor, discovered through leaked betas. One of the most intriguing pieces that was abandoned was a level called Hidden Palace. While the name and perhaps its giant emeralds were reused in Sonic 3, how it would fit into Sonic 2 was never quite known and this level in particular has only been found in an unfinished form. But now Christian Whitehead has gotten to add the level to the game, finished it up, and given it a proper conclusion - including a brand-new boss fight.

Finding the level isn’t too difficult: one particular quasi-bottomless pit near the middle of the game that would just kill players with spikes has become the entrance to Hidden Palace. You’ll probably discover it accidentally. Or, just watch the video below!

There’s still a good selection of secrets to be had. To access level select, go into No Save Mode, and tap on the letters S-E-G-A in order. Then, tap and hold with two fingers on the title screen to access the level select. Here you can select any level, including Hidden Palace.

You can use the Sound Test to put in cheats. Playing 4–1–2–6 will give you all 7 Chaos Emeralds. Playing 1–9–9–2–1–1–2–4 will unlock debug mode; tap in the upper left corner to turn into an item. Use the + and - icons that appear to cycle between icons. There’s some unused item boxes that can be placed, and ones that only appear in the two-player mode.

And oh, that’s been preserved too - and now the two-player race mode supports Game Center online multiplayer. There’s no iCade support, but MFi gamepads are supported.

Even beyond the new additions, considering that Sonic 2 is a game that holds up incredibly well to this day even without any additions, this is a must-have for fans and anyone who has yet to play this classic. The game is a free update to those who owned the previous original emulated version, and is available now.

Sonic the Hedgehog's Remastered Version Finally Releases, and it Comes Bearing New Goodies and Secrets

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 17th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The original Sonic the Hedgehog has been remastered for iOS, a la Sonic CD. Under the care of Christian Whitehead and his Retro Engine, the team at Sega who helped guide the port along, and Simon Thomley, aka "Stealth," who helped put Knuckles into a Sonic 1 ROM, the original Sonic game is now even better, with tons of new extras for long-time fans. Oh, and it's not a new app, though it certainly could have been - this is a free update to the original Sonic 1 release for iOS, which was just an emulated version of the Genesis original.

The game itself is a faithful port, with some tweaks added. It's now friendly to multiple aspect ratios, including widescreen, which may still come to Sonic CD. The spin dash has been added as an option, which does make the game a bit easier. Spike behavior has changed to be more player-friendly and more like the later games in the series.

But it's the extras, both big and small, that are worth getting excited about. Because the game has been rebuilt in the Retro Engine to the specifics of the original title, it's possible to add new things in. Tails and Knuckles are unlockable by beating the game and getting all the Chaos Emeralds. This is one of the harder Sonic games, so good luck.

It's the even more deeply buried tweaks that are more fun. iCade support is in the game, which comes recommended for two reasons: physical controls make this game a lot better, though the virtual controls are better than the emulated version and have plenty of options to configure them. But more importantly, iCade usage helps unveil one of the game's coolest secrets that may be inaccessible otherwise. Don't read any further if you don't want to find out. SPOILERS!

Start up a new game in "No Save Mode" and input Up-Down-Left-Right on the controller. You'll hear a chime. Tap Start, and you'll see a level select screen. Initially, it's a bit of sacrilege as it's different from the Sonic 1 level select, but it lists plenty of neat options. All the characters can be played immediately. Individual game behaviors can be changed. Items from Sonic 2 and/or 3 can be added. The game can be played with 7 Chaos Emeralds instead of the original's 6. Plus, there's a sound test. Pretty much the only missing thing is the debug mode!

This might not be the end to the secrets: Tails' name can be displayed as Miles "Tails" Prower when starting a game as him by tapping the letters in the famous SEGA logo to spell AGES. The developers have been in the Sonic Retro forums teasing out other secrets, so there's plenty of options here.

That this all has been presented as an update to the emulated version, when Sega could have easily justified it as a new purchase - and I'd have defended it too - is a killer deal for Sonic fans. Casual fans will love getting a better version of this game. The hardcore fans will love all the additional goodies. Much like Sonic CD, this is how a port should be done. Of course, there's two other main series Sonic games to potentially be ported, and don't forget Knuckles Chaotix!

GDC 2013: Sonic the Hedgehog Gets Remastered by Christian Whitehead

Posted by Carter Dotson on April 4th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The developer who helped bring Sonic CD to mobile platforms in a flawless port is back with a new port, this time of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Christian Whitehead has brought his remastering touch to the Sonic game that started it all, dramatically improving and modernizing the emulated Genesis version currently on the App Store. Thanks to the rebuilt game's new native engine, the graphics now support the Retina Display, widescreen, and the iPad. The virtual controls are improved as well, and some minor tweaks and improvements to pathing that will make the game play better than ever.

For extras, there's the ability to see the US, EU, or JP version of the Sonic 1 cart in the menu, and to play a new Time Attack mode. This revamp releases in April, and will be a free update for those who already own Sonic 1 on the App Store, and will be available on Android as well with gamepad support.

Sonic CD Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on December 15th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SONIC BOOM
Sonic CD is an iOS version of the Sega CD Sonic game, tweaked and rebuilt for iOS.
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