Review: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (Nintendo 3DS)

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In late October, SEGA released the first piece of the Sonic Boom franchise by way of the Archie comic book series of the same name. Despite the much touted TV series and video games, the comic book was our first official trip into the Sonic Boom universe. In my review of the first issue, I noted that I really enjoyed the fun, loose, self-referential nature of the comic book series. I compared the Sonic Boom comic to Archie’s early Sonic the Hedgehog issues. My exposure to the franchise continued with the TV series, which I also enjoyed, noting that the series felt very much like DiC’s 1993 series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. By this point, I was feeling fairly positive about Sonic Boom. And then the video games released.

Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (PS3 & PS Vita)

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All screens from the PlayStation Vita version.

So, Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd is finally here. My first time playing a Project Diva game was last year when it came out on PS3 in western territories, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So many hours of my time logged into playing Project Diva F. Needless to say, I was looking forward to Project Diva F 2nd and it doesn’t disappoint, in fact, it goes beyond my expectations.

If you have played Hatsune Miku Project Diva F, you have an option of carrying over all the accessories, modules, and items you have unlocked over into F 2nd when creating a new game. Don’t worry if you haven’t unlocked everything, F 2nd gives you a way to unlock items from the first game if you haven’t unlocked them.

TV Review: Sonic Boom – “Translate This”/”Buster”

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It has been quite a week for the Sonic Boom franchise, with the Wii U and 3DS games releasing and completing the circle of multimedia that make up Sonic Boom. Regardless of your feelings towards the games, the TV show was a welcome addition to the new franchise last week, and this weekend we have two new episodes to watch – “Translate This” and ”Buster”. How do these episodes compare to last week’s premiere? Let’s pour a bowl of Reece’s Puffs cereal, tune in and find out!

TV Review: Sonic Boom – “The Sidekick”/”Can an Evil Genius Crash on Your Couch for a Few Weeks?”

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Sonic Boom premiered just minutes ago on Cartoon Network! As each episode is 11 minutes long, each week two episodes will be released side by side to fill a half hour time slot. Past Sonic cartoons have premiered either with a very clear first episode (ABC’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic X, Sonic Underground), or with an episode that throws you right into the show with no clear feeling if it being the start of something (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog). Sonic Boom’s first episode, “The Sidekick”, falls in between these classifications. The episode kicks off with the very same footage seen in the TV series trailer from months back as Sonic is in pursuit of Eggman, only to take on Burnbot and almost lose Tails to a plane crash. It’s a nice way to establish Sonic and Eggman’s rivalry and Sonic and Tails’ friendship.

Comic Book Review: Sonic Boom Issue #1 (Archie Comics)

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When SEGA’s Sonic Boom was unveiled in October of last year, all we had to go on was four silhouettes and a press release detailing the people behind the TV series and the general direction. What a difference a year makes, as here we are now with a much better idea of what Sonic Boom is all about, as well as an expanded offering of Sonic Boom materials ranging from the TV show and video games, to toys and comic books. Never before has an offshoot of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise spanned so many forms of media, and such a broad spectrum says a lot about how invested SEGA West is in Sonic Boom. While the TV series is a little over a week away (Saturday, November 8th on Cartoon Network) and the games release in the following weeks, we have the first form of narrative content from Sonic Boom available to us in the form of Archie Comics’ Sonic Boom issue #1. I’ve read it, and now I’m going to review it!

Retro Review: Shenmue (SEGA Dreamcast)

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Even with the ridiculous and almost unprecedented hype that surrounded the release of SEGA’s mega-budget Dreamcast title Shenmue, it’s tough to imagine that gamers first diving into the series back then would have any idea how legendary (or infamous) Ryo’s adventure would become. Who could have guessed that even nearly 15 years later, fans would be still be begging for more?

Love it or hate it, the still-unfinished saga that is Shenmue has become a legend in its own right: a mystery etched into the fabric of gaming that may never be solved. But it’s a game very much worthy of that legendary status. It may not have been for everyone, but for those who “got” Shenmue, there was simply nothing else like it.

Retro Review: Shadow Squadron (SEGA 32X)

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Anyone who thinks the 32X was nothing more than a steaming pile of shit has never played Shadow Squadron. If they had, they’d not only know that the 32X had its share of great titles, they’d know it played host to what was quite easily the best space sim available for fourth generation consoles. It may have paled in comparison to PC sims like Wing Commander and the X-Wing series, but it beat the shit out of anything on the 16-bit consoles.

I think there’s no better way to end 32X month then with a look back at one of the platform’s best titles. Known as Stellar Assault in Europe and Japan, Shadow Squadron was one of the closest things the 32X had to a true killer app during its brief lifespan. Check below the fold as we explore what makes this hidden, forgotten gem so special.

Review: Crazy Taxi: City Rush (iOS)

Free-to-play games can be hard to get right. They can either block customers from playing until they pay up or give them too much, making the grinding easy and fun which kills any reason to buy anything. The free to play approach on Sonic Jump Fever and Crazy Taxi: City Rush couldn’t be more different. Sonic Jump Fever is all about the high score by having you follow your Facebook friends and compete with them on the leaderboards. Sadly, the only way to get the best scores is to have that one rare chao that kills all of your enemies, Use your hard-earned in-game currency on items like power ups and more powerful characters, and have an energy bar that depletes super fast.

All of this forces you to pay-to-win, requiring you to pony out dough just to compete with your friends. This may be a free to play game, but I’ve spent $14 on Sonic Jump Fever. Curse you Sonic Stadium’s Adam Tuff and your super-high scores! In Crazy Taxi: City Rush, the “fare” is much more fair and just a better game all around. Read on for why this is one of the better ways to make a free to play game.

Movie Review: Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

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Although Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie is not a SEGA related movie, there is no doubt that James Rolfe’s creation has made an impact on retro SEGA gaming, bringing obscure video game classics and atrocities to the forefront of people’s minds by highlighting the aggravations and rewards of classic games and hardware. While I sit firmly in the pro-Nerd camp, I’ll admit that as a SEGA fan I’m a little annoyed by how James’s over-the-top Nerd persona has affected how modern gamers view some of SEGA’s more controversial add-ons like the SEGA CD and 32X. I don’t blame James however, as I think viewers of his videos simply need to realize that his videos are part parody and the ideal way to form an opinion is to try the games and hardware out for yourself.

Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, which is releasing in theaters throughout the US and Canada as I write this, had its East Coast premiere last night in Phoenixville, PA. I was able to snag tickets before the show sold out, and after standing in line outside the historic Colonial Theater (home of The Blob), I and over six hundred other fans packed the house and James kicked off the movie that he described as eight years of his life in two hours. So did James’s efforts pay off?

Atlus Review: Abyss Odyssey (Xbox 360)

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If you’re familiar with ACE Team, they’re responsible for some of the most off the wall games including Zeno Clash, Rock of Ages and before they became a commercial developer, they were a pretty interesting mod developer. Their continued partnership with Atlus has brought another release that is less absurd thematically, but brings us a rogue-like title that wraps mechanics similar to the Super Smash Bros. series with Abyss Odyssey. It’s not a carbon copy of the Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, nor is it a cumbersome slog akin to Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. The game centers itself around its fighting game mechanic and drives you to advance onto closed off fighting arenas, hunting for loot and building your character to become stronger as you find better weapons and techniques.