2P SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG /
Sadly, my computer doesn't have the specs to run Dolphin properly, and I didn't get a proper chance to see the 2P co-op in action.
AMONG THE OTHERS /
This is definitely a nice-looking and sounding game, zones like the Pepsi City Zone look lush while having a few gimmick memes to break the pace, pretty cool things I usually like to see in a hacking contest hack. While I definitely did enjoy playing it the first time around, returning to play brought serious annoyances. Sonic's physics seem to have been modified to where you can lose most of your momentum after a roll, similar to Sonic 4. This is problematic as level 1 and 2 have loops which are tailor-made for this kind of momentum, meaning these areas aren't possible to reach if you are rolling. It's a strange physics choice and I don't really understand why it needed to be changed in the first place. There's a few collision errors which stop you in your tracks in the first two levels if you try rolling near a loop, and you can't duck. This wouldn't really be a problem, until you get to level 3, and the enemy placement ensures that you can't duck under any of the orbinauts. Level 3 is gaming hell, with wonky collision ensuring that you have to plan out what should be simple jumps up a platform. While there's nothing specifically wrong with the layout itself, you get an idea of how unsuitable these new orbinaut enemies are in such an enclosed level. The final boss is sickeningly cheap, and it was completely random if I would actually get hit by its orb attack or not. I did eventually find a consistent way of avoiding them, by standing in the middle of the two centre orbs and letting them pass, but judging by the way that you'll practically never get hit by them, I'm going to assume that was not the intentional way of avoiding them. Without this, the boss is borderline savestate-tier, and the fact that you have to hit the boss 32 TIMES had lead me to believe that I was initially doing something wrong on my first playthrough.
Personally, I am completely disappointed by the final message. Not being funny but I doubt anyone wanted to actually see that, especially with the Hacking Contest getting more exposure, this is shooting it in the foot with your own personal in-house drama. Please don't do this again.
AQUARIUM PARK /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC. I did get a chance to see how this played so I will judge it based on that. Firstly, I think it's actually cool to see how this one turned out in particular. For one, the level is HUGE, incorporating the acts into one single act, making the most of the fact that Generations can handle larger levels. With that being said, it already has the foot up over a number of the other mods based on sheer content alone. This is a high-quality port, taking attention to even the smallest of details by porting over ambient sounds. Good job.
CAMELOT CASTLE GENERATIONS /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC. It definitely plays like a level that you could see in Sonic Generations, which could be an achievement: I've not played Black Knight, so I couldn't really tell you how it plays, but judging by the fact that it runs on a different engine is a testament to how seamless it plays. It is a considerably short mod, but I suppose it can't really be helped, although maybe something can be done with the setpieces to make your own custom level layout?
CLASSIC SONIC MOD IMPROVEMENT /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC, and since this is more of a gameplay modification, I can't exactly judge it like I can the other Forces entries. A lot of people have bad things to say about Classic Sonic's handling in Forces and I could imagine this mod making it a lot more akin to Generations. There are various other small additions and that is nice to see. If a full-blown mod came out of this, that would be awesome!
CTHULHU'S ISLAND /
Here, we have a neat little one-zone hack. Layout plays relatively well, except maybe a few too many knockback springs, some particularly questionable level design choices in act 2 where I had to jump off a slope to actually reach the floating platform and the start of act 3 was horribly laggy, dropping to complete slowdown. While it's good to see that the special stages have been edited, they feel unusually basic, the blocks don't flash properly, and it usually amounts to falling down one of two corridors, the second one is a massive offender with this. I do have to say that I don't know how I feel about this music in particular. It kinda does suit the atmosphere that the game has put forward, but I'm not a fan of the instrumentational choices on them at all, and they could have desperately used some variation with them, as pretty much all of the songs end up sounding the exact same. On the other hand, I think that the artwork is brilliant, and while Labyrinth Zone isn't finished, it definitely looks like an interesting zone to say the least. There were a few background glitches in the second and third act that do need to be fixed, however: They could be in the first but I didn't notice, the background is messed up. The boss was a nice variation on the original Marble Zone, adds an extra challenge to keep you on your toes, sweet. Should be cool to see what becomes of this hack: It definitely was a funny one to play, what with the edited Sega sound, the frequent edits of Sonic such as on the title screen and signpost where he looks a little worse for wear and the completely random Bubsy soundbite.
DREAMCAST CHAO GARDENS /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SA2 working. I did see footage of the gardens in action, however. To be honest with you, I never really raised Chao in Sonic Adventure 2 so I wasn't even aware that there were even changes to carry through to the updated ports. It is strange how most of the Dark Garden got pruned in the port from the Dreamcast to the Gamecube, but this mod's decent enough for anyone who wants to scale back some of the changes that happened during the port. One thing that's always awesome about these types of mods is the way they allow you to play the game how you want to, especially looking at the SADX->SA1 conversion mods.
EMERALD COAST IN SA2 /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SA2 working. I did get a chance to get gameplay of it, so I will judge it based on that. This is a pretty cool mod, especially considering that it breaks the ground of being the first level mod of its kind, and I would honestly like to see more level mods of this kind, if nothing else for a proof of concept. There are a few things that I would say are rough around the edges: In the video that I watched, there were a series of crashes throughout the game and for me, those would be the priority one fix before anything else in the game if this is going any further. Alongside that, there are a few physics problems which I can only attribute to the complete difference in controlling Sonic between Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. I don't know how much of those you would be able to fix before you end up completely changing the way that the game is played, but other than that, good job! It's always good to see successful level ports in the later games and this marks one of the first.
HELLFIRE SAGA /
This seems to be a series based on Sonic: Chaos Quest that we all saw at last years contest. I definitely like the idea, although I find a few problems in execution. The storybook presentation is interesting along with cutscenes bring a comic book-style approach to it. The lifebar is another different idea, but I find it isn't suited for a hack like this: I noticed that it seemed to be based on GaG and Castlevania from the opening, and by the looks of things seems to want to emulate its difficulty. Not really too much of a problem, except this means you can only take a limited number of hits and otherwise acceptable bosses become either cheap or barely beatable. Maybe I'm not the type of person these difficult hacks are designed for but I usually find the difficulty never seems to translate well for Sonic games. For instance, the layouts are relatively empty, but I still find myself tapping right to edge the screen because the enemies are schizophrenic and will appear at a moment's notice, needing a twitch reaction to avoid getting hit, and since your health is now limited, you're gonna die a lot. This is admittedly another one of those hacks that I needed to savestate to beat because of its difficulty. Music sounds a little off too due to some minor nitpicks, for instance in the first level, I think the main instrument is a bit too loud and is really distracting as a consequence. Although for what it's worth, it doesn't particularly sound like anything from a Sonic game, which is what the hack is going for. Nevertheless, it's an interesting idea and the atmosphere is set well, it just completely breaks my immersion when I'm paranoid about what's around the corner.
SONIC 1 HIDDEN PALACE ADVENTURE /
Well, it's Hidden Palace, in Sonic 1! It's a good port of the Hidden Palace Zones from the subsequent games into Sonic 1, with the exception of a few graphical bugs that pop up every now and again towards the end. The addition of Sonic 3's Hidden Palace and a Green Hill Zone 3 segue was a bonus addition that was awesome to see, considering it wasn't exactly necessary. The only problems that I would really have is exactly the whole point of the hack, in that it's Hidden Palace Zone, and I've played it before so to actually get something new out of it, completely different interpretations and levels really need to be designed from the setpieces, though the hack seems to manage that fine; There were a few parts where it was recognisable S2 Beta level design though. There were some things in the level that looked suspect, such as the boss arena and the platforms underwater with a very thin sliver of land next to a bottomless pit, thank God there's checkpoints next to them. It was neat to see the Chemical Plant boss ported although it didn't make a lot of sense with what exactly he was harming Sonic with.
I don't know if I can seriously say that I condone the initial intentions behind the hack behind publically proving a point, but whatever - The hack itself plays well on its own, so it's a nice little mini hack to play if you wanna explore SuperEgg's own interpretation of HPZ.
KNUCKLES IN S3PC /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of S3PC working. In addition, I couldn't find a stream that showed footage of the game so I can't give it a look either.
LOST VALLEY OVERCLOCKED /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I have seen footage of the mod in action so I will review that: Well it is nice to see something done to the levels themselves rather than level ports which seem to be the standard, although this particular mod is a bit questionable. The amount of dust and ash in the level makes it extremely difficult to see any of the other added detail that was added, and then we have those black pillars that seem to damage you on contact, but they seems to be thrown all over the stage randomly to the point where you are always running into them. I definitely do like the robots added in the background, but for the most part I think this mod needs some more work. It's pretty short and it plays like Lost Valley so most of what's being judged is cosmetic.
MEGAMAN X IN SONIC 2 /
One thing to bear in mind is that I've never played the X series if this has any bearing on the hack itself. More of an original generation player.
This is a character hack into Sonic 2, and if there is one thing I can say about this, is that it's the right way to go about doing one. Replaying with the abilities of a foreign character to that game are practically the bread and butter of ROM hacks, and can be extremely rewarding when pulled off correctly. That being said, there are a few problems. The thing that gets to me is that the powers seem horribly ineffective, meaning there's little use in the main levels except to spam against bosses, to which some are a complete nightmare on the Mega Buster alone. This seems to murder the pace for me. Even despite that, I had a lot of fun: It picks up a lot more once you start getting more powerups and I found myself coming back to it to give it another go from a different level, organic gameplay at its finest. I got all the powerups only to get to the Robotnik levels, only to find them quite unfinished. Sky Chase Zone crashed because I seemed to get too high a point bonus from the Mega Buster(?), and Wing Fortress barely seemed beatable, and it only killed me when I beat the boss during the cutscene. I won't fault it for this as I doubt it's complete to begin with and didn't see it mentioned. Good work!
MORTAR CANYON REMASTERED 2 /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I did get a chance to see gameplay so I will judge that:
To be completely honest with you, aside from killer lasers and perhaps more enemies, I'm not entirely sure what's been changed in this mod. It plays an awful lot like the original Mortar Canyon so the differences aren't terribly noticable in the first place, having needed a second look to confirm the differences in the mod. If you want to make your mod stand out a bit more, you should be aiming to make grander cosmetic changes at least, otherwise you're going to end up feeling like you're playing the same game, which was the impression I got from this one I'm afraid.
NETWORK TERMINAL OVERCLOCKED /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I did get to see some footage however: While I'm not terribly familiar with Sonic Forces, having only played my brother's copy, I have noticed that there are some drastic changes to the level layouts, which is what I honestly like to see from 3D mods and what I'd like to see more of, considering it keeps it a lot fresher than a level port. I will say that I'm not sure how well the level complements Sonic's physics, along with the camera that keeps fighting you on precision platforming sections. Then the level cuts to the regular Network Terminal, and the black pillars from the other Overclocked mod are shown again, positioned around the level in places that will get you hit frequently, similar to the Lost Valley mod. I feel there's a consistent running theme between these two that would help if you changed the positioning of some of these, but for the most part it has the same changes as the other one and most of it has been covered. The graphical changes look fine but that's the most I got out of it.
PROTOTYPE WINDY VALLEY /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SADX working. I have seen footage, so I will judge it based on that. I've actually wanted to see a finalised version of the prototype Windy Valley for a while, so I'm glad that I got an opportunity here. I can appreciate all of the long hours that have gone into making this playable in the final version for all to see. Extra objects to make use of are a blessing, especially considering it's a level port, it's always nice to see new things in the level as a bonus. The level itself actually translates quite well across the games, considering Sonic's high-speed physics and plenty of ramps to make use of. Although it does bring out a few problems that I can't really fault the mod itself for, due to it being a port of a level from a literal prototype, but the level does seem a bit strange at times, and I will say that I don't know strictly how much of the textures are reused from the autodemo, but I will say that I think that tornado texture looks a bit suspect, although on the other hand you can only convert so much before it becomes completely unfaithful to the source and vision that you wanted to get from this to begin with. I can definitely give this a thumbs up.
RADICAL HIGHWAY FOR SONIC HEROES /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SH working. Looking at the footage, it seems to complement Sonic Heroes very well. Radical Highway is one of my favourites from Sonic Adventure 2, so it's definitely nice to see that. One thing that drastically needs fixing, however, is the camera. It seems to refuse to behave while playing and creates its own problems. Other than that, good work: I'm not entirely sure where the project will end up going from here, maybe more Heroes levels but it's definitely served its purpose well nevertheless.
SADX - SONIC, SHADOW AND METAL SONIC MOD /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SADX working. I did get a chance to see some footage so I will review it based on that:
If I'm being honest, this is probably my favourite of the 3D mods in general. To see new movesets ported into SADX was not something I was expecting to see in any way, amazing work on that front. The new abilities of the characters bring a lot more replay value to Sonic Adventure and reminds me of days where people would use glitches to get the other characters into the levels and see how they played in them, not to mention the sheer number of them, making this game look really interesting to play. The models look extremely clean for SADX and everything from the custom HUD to music is ported over perfectly. Very impressed with this one.
SONIC 1 ALMOST REMASTERED /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Mania on the PC. I got a chance to see it playing so I will base my judgement on that. So, Sonic 1 has been completely revamped for Sonic Mania! This one was only a matter of time to have been undertaken, and makes use of the upgraded engine for Mania to bring the original levels to an updated standard. One thing that I'd like to see in this mod is more use of the upgraded engine to bring about more changes to the levels themselves: I'm reminded of the Misfits Pack submitted this year and how it managed to make some relevant changes to Labyrinth Zone and still giving you the experience without changing more than is actually needed. I do like the art alterations, although I'm not personally sure about the lava in Marble Zone however. Music is comprised of lovely remixes of the Sonic 1 stages, not entirely sure if they are custom tracks but they sound good enough for a remaster nevertheless.
But that's not the end though, this game is chock full of content: Of course we can't finish without talking about the three bonuses in the game! I'll start off with the 8-bit zone: It looks promising, I don't know if we're going to see any tweaked physics closer to matching one of the 8-bit games but the work is appreciated. Next up, my clear winner for the Special Stage trophy, the Pac-Man Special Stage! I do like how this mod takes existing concepts and models them in a unique way, this was awesome to see and I don't think anyone would disagree with that. Lastly, we have the drawn stages, and these are extremely short, obviously meant as a throwaway for people who want to see something different. Amazing work on this mod.
SONIC 2 CD REMIX /
It's nice to see that some levels have interesting gimmicks to differentiate themselves from their respective time zones, it's a change compared to the usual palette hacks that end up in time zone hacks, and while this does tend to happen here now and again, it's fresh enough to be memorable. I'm not exactly sure how finished the hack was prior to uploading, but it would be nice to see more edits to the art at least to separate them even more; This was done to EHZ, but not so much with the rest. The time travel methods are an absolute godsend to someone who completely despises Sonic CD's method of signpost travel, and in turn the game holds my attention a lot more than Sonic CD does, although I'm not entirely sure why completing a good future act brings you to a bad one in the next. What I'd find cool to see in this hack would be to change up the bosses depending on the future: I found it quite jarring to go rushing into EHZ's past's boss while the water level was dropping, only for the drill mobile to come out, maybe an amphibious variant would be an interesting touch to it? Speaking of bosses, I'm afraid to say that I wasn't a fan of the Death Egg Zone boss. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with how I feel about the boss it's based off from Sonic CD, and I can appreciate the technological effort that went into it, but I either found myself careening into spikes, hitting them and losing all my momentum, not having enough momentum to clear the slopes properly or getting bottlenecked by Metal Sonic while in tight corridors thanks to its charge attack. With that last point, I think that's something that played off better in Sonic CD due to it not being DEZ, but in this case, it ended up with me consistently losing lives on a level you have to rush in. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable hack and definitely worth a play.
S3K BATTLE RACE /
An absolute marvel, that's aesthetically pleasing and fun to play. I managed to get an opportunity to play this with a friend and after replaying Sonic 3 & Knuckles to the point of burnout over the years, it's definitely added a lot more replay value to the game. This ROM hack brings a similar multiplayer of that from Sonic 2, to Sonic 3 & Knuckles compared to S3K's own multiplayer mode, and it completely changes up the dynamic of the game. The battle mode changes the pace of the levels completely and rewards keeping one step ahead of your mate, so your own knowledge of the base game will definitely help when it comes to this hack. If you want a different experience, the variety of minigames are a fun alternative if you want something different to the regular battle, a lot of fun with a range of objectives: My mate especially got a laugh out of the Streets of Rage survival one.
The splash screens, intro and level transitions are detailed to a high level, and really brings out pleasing visuals even while keeping its main objective of a gameplay modification of S3K, and the same can be said of the music. Definitely high standard work but to be honest, looking at the people involved, would you have expected any less?
Honestly, if you can grab another player and a means to properly play it, give it a go. It really changes up the game and the polish added to it just serves to sweeten the project. Probably the best project on here, I would recommend to anyone and I can't wait to see where this hack goes from here.
SONIC CRONOS /
I've gotta say that it's an interesting hack firstly I don't think I've played one with this kind of atmosphere. However, this hack while aesthetically pleasing, is littered with poor design choices. The level design is haphazard, and seems to encourage speed, while it isn't safe to go at those speeds due to the enemy and spike placements around the level. Towards the end of the second act, it gets even worse sadly, to the point where you have to make very dangerous jumps and get thrown into hazards commonly. I personally do not like when hacks bring out 'Eggman' monitors as they are never used properly, and even in instances when they are, it isn't necessary to add them in the first place. The special stage, while it is a neat idea, ensures you can't successfully beat it if you dick around too much, clearing a lot of breakable barriers that you actually need to finish it isn't a good idea, and needs to be changed immediately by the next revision. The drop dash is bugged to the point where there are times where you can't even release it until after you've fiddled about with it. On top of all that, this is the only hack I've seen that gets brutally-laggy, for reasons I couldn't even tell you.
I'm not too sure about the music either. The instrumentation seems strange, and the different channels seem to clash with each other frequently, along with some instances where I think it goes off key. Gonna need to fine-tune these songs a little more so it isn't obvious, although I do admit that I do really like the Forgotten Land theme.
There were definitely some neat ideas, But if I'm honest with you, the hack could use a lot more polish.
SONIC ECLIPSE /
Again, the same case with Sonic Frenzy in that I'm not terribly familiar with the base game, but it was a short, sweet play. Artwork looks wonderful as expected from a Mr. Cat entry, and manages to look vibrant despite the fact it's on the Master System,looking better than even some of the earlier professional Mega Drive titles. I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't expecting the complete tonal shift by the time I'd reached the first portal, and thought that I'd end up having to play through the underground section before actually getting to the edited zone, so imagine my surprise by the time I reached the hub world, I don't believe anything like this has actually been done in an S2 SMS hack yet. Layouts are detailed, plenty of alternate routes to take in Crystal Coast Zone, along with the appropriate amount of challenge that you would generally expect from the first zone of a Sonic game, and the music ports are nice to where I'd consider it to have a 'Sonic SMS' feel, although I do feel like the tempo on the Sonic Boom song is a little bit fast.
Honestly, the only real complaint that I could give is that it's only 1 zone long, and that's not even a fair complaint considering that it's an unfinished demo. When the complaint is that you enjoyed it that much the length is a drawback, it's safe to say that you think the hack is pretty good.
SONIC FORCES GLYPHIC CANYON /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I did get a chance to see the gameplay so I will judge it based on that. Similarly on Camelot Castle, this is a level that blends well from a game with a completely different engine. Seeing the game play however, I think this fits better as a proof of concept, of sorts. The level itself is a relatively linear, point A to point B stage but I'd guess that's more of an indictment of Shadow the Hedgehog's general level design. Probably more to do with the fact that StH's levels were meant to serve moral choice objectives than any serious design. The port itself is decent, and serves its purpose well so I can definitely give it a pass on that. Good job.
SONIC FORCES LAVA SHELTER /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I have seen footage so I will judge it based on that.
Here, we have the second ported Shadow the Hedgehog level in this contest. It has been ported correctly and has no bugs that I am aware of, but I have the exact same problems with this level mod as I did with the Glyphic Canyon mod in that the Shadow the Hedgehog levels are extremely linear, more than likely to accommodate a completely different gameplay style compared to what is expected in Sonic Forces. Naturally, this means that I feel that this is more suited to a proof of concept style mod just like the Glyphic Canyon mod would be.
SONIC HEROES 2P COOP /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SH working. Let me just preface this by saying that I can't mod the 3D games to save my life. I have no idea how much effort would go into making a mod like this, so naturally I'm assuming that this is a decent PoC mod to get the second character working in this game: Having read from the entry's bio, it seems that this was made from before the there were more modding tools. It's unfortunate to say that while I'm reviewing from footage alone, I'm coming across several serious bugs that are causing problems for the player, such as the level ending mid way in due to a second player death(?), and the rampant camera issues that this mod brings could use a section of its own, ranging from switching from full screen to split screen, sometimes frequently to the point where the screen is flickering madly to characters getting launched into the sky for no reason. According to the mod creator, he had run out of time before the contest deadline was due, so hopefully there are more improvements and general bugfixes for the next release. Aside from that, it's general Sonic Heroes.
SONIC LIMBO /
Don't know how I feel on this one, I'm afraid. Had a multitude of problems while playing it, which was a shame because of the potential the concept brought.
The main problem with this hack is its main gimmick; The shadows. This creates a problem where the levels aren't necessarily detailed enough that they can particularly be commented on (Where the first and third zone look near-identical), while creating some awful layout problems. It wasn't so bad in the earlier zones except for some instances where I couldn't see the spikes in the second zone, but by the time you reach Lightless Zone, you can't see anything. I get that it's the point, but the zone itself was almost unplayable. I remember one particularly obtuse section in this zone where I had fell down a pit, pushing forward brought me to a wall with a platform I couldn't reach: Backtracking brought me to a dead end and I kept getting hit by something I couldn't see. Because I couldn't see, I thought for the longest time I was stuck until I realised I had to get a running start and time my jump off an angle of a slope to reach it, but this wouldn't have been so much of a problem if I knew where I was going. The next zone, I played for a bit and fell through the floor and I legitimately thought I was stuck until I fell through the ground again and got killed by something I couldn't see, oops. Another problem I noticed was that the levels up to LLZ were really easy, even when it was hard to make out anything, it just usually amounted to jumping at the right time. The music, especially in the first zone, although I can't particularly say as much for the second not going to lie, mix of good songs and bad songs in there.
At the moment, the hack is very rough around the edges and probably needs a different approach to the concept because the flaws are fundamental. Would like to see where it goes because it seems like a neat idea. Don't let this discourage you: Keep at it, and the polish will definitely pay off.
SONIC MANIA THE MISFITS PACK /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Mania on the PC. However, I will at least give it a review based on the footage I've seen, as to not completely disservice this hack. This is actually a wonderful reimagining of the older levels that have been ported to Mania; It makes the most of the existing setpieces while reimagining some of the earlier zones. I honestly love the way that Metropolis Zone was edited into the game, making the most of its Sonic 2 history as Wood Zone. What surprised me however, was how well it seemed to be ported over: Labyrinth seems to adapt some mechanics from Hydrocity and uses them to its advantage to build a more vibrant zone in line with what you would expect from Mania's standards, even if it is recycled, it makes the zone itself come alive. I would actually like to see more misfit levels get the Sonic Mania treatment, as the standards presented with this mod are impressive to say the least!
SONIC THE HACKABLE /
This is a back-to-basics hack on first impressions, it doesn't add anything new with the exception of the speed booster, and after playing it, it doesn't really need anything. This hack was a lot of fun to play: The levels are crisp with awesome layouts, there are dynamic palettes which blend nicely and aside from a modified special stage and water in GHZ, everything has been built from nothing but in-game assets, having being built from vanilla Sonic 1. Basically, there's nothing offensive in this hack, and while with these conditions in mind you can't exactly expect it to break new ground, you can't go wrong by playing it.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG NEO QUEST /
There's not really much that can be said about this hack, considering the fact that it's one-zone long and reuses a lot of Green Hill Zone's assets, like the art, except for a few basic edits. The level layouts are mostly inoffensive with the exception of some parts that are obviously remnants of the old GHZ's layout, and some random enemy placement which will have you running into them if you aren't careful. The music is fine to listen to, so that also gets a pass, but aside from that, there wasn't much that caught my attention unfortunately.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG FRENZY /
I should probably preface this by saying that while I have played the original game a few years back, I'm not terribly familiar with the game at hand. With that being said, I can definitely say that I am impressed with this demo. It's not usual to see a Master System hack, so to see one of this calibre is a definite surprise. The zones comprise of levels from other Sonic games downgraded into 8-bit, and while seeing them in that state is unusually cute, they still look really good, even if they are technically borrowing assets from the other games. The zones take on enough new gimmicks to make the levels feel alive compared to what they would on simple art edits, and while they do borrow some elements from the base game, I look at zones like CFZ and see just how well the features have been implemented that it doesn't even matter.
I did have a few hiccups with the level layout in levels like CFZ, although that isn't particularly fair because Sonic 2 has naturally slippery physics. There was also a strange instance in SSZ 3 where I clipped through the floor of one of the ramps, leading to the camera going haywire. While I could run straight to the boss, I took damage and the game crashed after I was killed by it. I don't know how frequent this is because I couldn't get it to happen again on any repeat playthroughs but it's worth fixing as it's quite a serious bug.
What I would like to see is new bosses, enemies and music, although I'm not going to fault the hack on that because it's an obvious demo and with the work shown here, I think it's a given that we'll receive more quality when the time is right. Well done!
STH2006 PROJECT DEMO 4 /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC. Loing at this game play, It's actually wonderful to see a properly working Kingdom Valley in Sonic Generations. Having played the original, it was rife with the problems that you would commonly expect from Sonic 06, such as wonky physics, a camera that was actively fighting against you and level geometry that was more than happy to let you clip through it at times. It's amazing what a simple port to an engine that actually works can do for a game, or should I say the environment around it. The little cameos from Silver were neat addition, and it's actually nice to see a playable mach speed section! What this project does show is just how important a working engine is to a game, and seeing this handle Sonic 06's assets with a lot more care than the original does, works wonders for the game itself. Good job.
SWEET MOUNTAIN ACT 2 /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC. I did get a chance to see gameplay of this level so I will judge it based on that. The level is fast paced fun that you'd expect from a Colours port. It does translate quite nicely to Generations, although Colours does run on a similar engine so I'd be surprised if it actually didn't. Maybe it wasn't finished, but I was actually surprised to see that it was just the single act: It would have been better in my opinion to see more acts thrown in, similarly to how the Aquarium Park mod from this contest was handled in this game.
TEAM DARK SA2 /
Unfortunately, due to the problems with my computer, I could not get my copy of SA2 working. I did get a chance to see some footage so I will review that: To be honest with you, the cel-shaded-esque models from Sonic Heroes didn't particularly bother me as much as it did other people, so I don't really think the mod was meant for me in mind. It has Eggman replace Omega but I think it would be worth also replacing the voice samples as well as it is very jarring and noticable whenever Omega speaks in this game, which is quite commonplace. I've seen that all the DLC models from Sonic Adventure 2 have been fully-ported, but I didn't get a chance to see all of them in action. Does the job if you like character cosmetics but I'm more of a custom levels guy.
TROPICAL RESORT REBOOSTED /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Generations on the PC. I did get to see gameplay however:
We have a mod in a similar vein to the Aquarium Park mod in that it ports over multiple acts from Colours and gives it a Generations twist. In fact, there are a lot more similarities than you'd think. Not only is the mod a detailed one, but in doing so they ported act 1 and 2 and conjoined them into one big level. Looks like a fun level to play, excellent work.
WEAPONS BED SONIC FORCES /
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of Sonic Forces on PC. I did see a stream of the level so I will review the footage off that:
The level is definitely a vibrant looking port, full of bright colours so I can say that I do like the aesthetic to the level. I've seen some people point out about the water looking a bit odd but on a personal level, I like the way it looks, especially when you compare the ported level to the original Weapons Bed in Sonic Adventure 2. The weapons-based gameplay of the OC in Sonic Forces seems to complement the Doctor Eggman/Tails style of shoot-em-up levels in SA2, focused on destruction of several setpieces littered around the level. I'm actually kind of surprised by how well a lot of these entries are translating even on radically different engines. Good work, I would like to see more.
Hidden Palace Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Wood Zone Trophy - Megaman X in Sonic 2
Dust Hill Trophy - Sonic Frenzy
Angel Island Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Generations Trophy - NULL
Crystal Egg Trophy - Sonic Frenzy
Mirage Saloon Trophy - NULL
Green Hill Trophy - Sonic 2 CD Remix
Botanic Base Trophy - Cthulhu's Island
Windy Valley Trophy - NULL
Studiopolis Trophy - Sonic Mania: The Misfits Pack
Jungle Trophy - Sonic Eclipse
Lava Reef Trophy - NULL
Speed Highway Trophy - NULL
Gimmick Mountain Trophy - Sonic Eclipse
Press Garden Trophy - Sonic Mania: The Misfits Pack
Genocide City Trophy - Among the Others
Azure Lake Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Advance Trophy - NULL
11000101 Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Fang Trophy - NULL
Eggman Trophy - NULL
Spin Dash Trophy - SADX: Sonic, Shadow and Metal Sonic Mod (H.M. Megaman X in Sonic 2)
Carnival Night Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Emerald Trophy - Sonic 1 Almost Remastered
Wing Fortress Trophy - STH2006 Project Demo 4
Robotnik's Revenge Trophy - S3K Battle Race (H.M. Sonic 1 Almost Remastered)
Casinopolis Trophy - S3K Battle Race
Polygon Jim Trophy - Megaman X in Sonic 2
Tails Trophy - Sonic the Hackable
Blaze Trophy - S3K Battle Race (H.M. Sonic Mania: The Misfits Pack)
I would personally like to apologise for not having the hardware to review most of these. Considering the disproportionate amount of 3D entries in particular (20/36, more than half!) compared to last year's contest, I got completely blindsided by this, and I couldn't really give a fair review to them due to it.