Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sonic @ 25! - Let's Play Sonic The Hedgehog

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement...

On June 23, 1991... Sega unleashed upon the world a blue hedgehog in red and white sneakers... and 25 years later, gamers all over the globe are celebrating the anniversary pf the first games release.

Now what I planned to do was a live stream, but during the course of it, the stream was experience lag and difficulties, and the games themselves weren't performing up to par, and it turns out that was due to an issue with the 'Hub' room the Steam version of the Sega Mega Drive Collection has, which for some reason is a bigger RAM-hog than newer games for some reason... and it turned out I wasn't the only one having this issues, so after messing around with the settings, I was able to record what I intended to stream live.... which was playing the first acts of four Sonic Games, The first three games plus Sonic 3D Blast.

The reason why Sonic & Knuckles isn't included is because the SMDC version has it as 'Sonic 3 and Knuckles', which was originally intended to be one long game (hence why Sonic 3 had the save feature).

And now for some quick thoughts on the games in the video

Sonic The Hedgehog (1991) -  The first game certainly got the ball rolling, basically establishing a 'tradition' of the first stage being some place bright and colorful, but one thing noticeable, is that despite being advertised for 'speed' there are quite a bit of obstacles in the way, and it's easy to lose momentum. The lack of the  'spin dash', which would be introduced in the next game, makes a world of difference in terms of navigating and dealing with enemies. The 'special stages', being pretty much rotating top down maps certainly are a pain in the rear

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992) - I first played this game in 1994 on a vacation up to Maine, and for all intents and purposes, for me, this is the first 'true' Sonic game. Not just because of the Spin Dash, or the addition of Tails, which means my brother could play at the same time and help defeat some of the tougher bosses, or the new '3D' special stages... this game basically leads in Sonic 3 & Knuckle as the first act in an epic adventure.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994) - Continuing the story from Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles combined basically gives a great conclusion. This is Sonic at his peak, with new power ups, the ability to play the game with Knuckles, and having 'alternate versions' of certain stages adds replay value. As noted above, this game had a 'save game' feature, a first for the franchise, which certainly was helpful because the combined length of Sonic 3 plus Sonic & Knuckles is pretty damn long.

Sonic 3D Blast (1996) - I hate this game...hate it... hate it... HATE IT! Sonic's first leap to 3D, regardless of the version (there was a Sega Saturn version as well), was simply horrible... and in a way, was a warning of what would come down the line... from the very loose controls and directionless map, this game is pretty much the worst Sonic game of the Genesis era... though I will say something nice: when you battle Robotnik, you do see his machines get damaged, which was a pleasing sight.

Now I'm thinking I play go over some other Sonic games in the coming weeks... but I'm up in the air on that

Tomorrow is of course Friday, which means, THIS WEEK WITH THE SUPERHEROES!

Catch ya then!  

A Hard Day's Night - Basement Matinee

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To Basement Matinee...

At the height of Beatlemania in 1964.... a little movie was made for £189,000 and in so many ways, set the standard for film to capture the craziness the Fab Four experienced with the perfect mix of satire.

From the word go (or rather first chord of the title song), we see John Lennon, Paul McCartny, George Harrison & Ringo Starr (playing themselves) running to escape their fans in order to catch a train to London where they are going to perform on television. Over the course of the first act, we are introduced to Paul's grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) whose a bit of a troublemaker, their road manager (played by John Junkin) and manager (played by Norman Rossington). It's established that the Fab Four are group of fun loving lads, though Ringo is quite reserved, someone who enjoys a good book, which draws him quite a bit of ribbing from his mates. Paul's granddad encourages Ringo to go out an experience life... which causes drama, cause as the concert approaches, he is missing!

To be truthful, the plot and set up exists to set up the musical numbers, which is basically the 50%  'A Hard Day's Night' soundtrack, and quite frankly it's worth it, cause everything fits together beautifully, setting a standard for 'Jukebox Musicals' that are basically 'product placement features. (I'm going to get heat for that aren't I?). The when they are performing their own song, the sequences very well edited together, with tightness to keep the lip syncing to the album version of the song in step.

The story itself is basically just 'skits' featuring the Fab Four (such as making a train trip a bit miserable for a fellow passenger, flirting with girls, driving the stage crew at the TV station a bit batty), and since it's done tongue-in-cheek it all comes across as great romp. Not to mention quite a lot of the iconic imagery associated with the band from just how popular they were is represented here (the screaming girls, the harmony of the band, etc).

As far as the individual performances, someone must've realized that Ringo was the 'best' actor of the four, since he has the most screen time and interaction with other characters. John, Paul & George hit their marks, but it was clear they were given material they could play around with, and this is where a lot of the laughs of the film come from. Not to mention, it probably inspired The Monkees television series

So the obvious bit here is, do I recommend seeing this movie? Why yes I do! While it gives an over the top portrayal of Beatlemania, it certainly is a lot of fun to watch, and the songs are great. Currently, for those of you who like your streaming services, it is available on Hulu, and of course on DVD and Blu-Ray!

9/22/2019 Sunday Night Overwatch