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What are the first questions you usually hear when a new Sonic game is announced -- I mean after the forced sighs of remembering the halcyon days of nostalgia lost. It's usually a quick reply of "Great, how much is Sonic getting screwed this time?" Or sometimes a less rude, "Remember when Sonic was better? I miss those days." While our speedy friend has had his fair share of fun games, the last few attempts to revitalize him have been... mixed. It's also fair to say that Sonic fans are some of the most obsessively fierce defenders of the Blue Blur -- so much so that their love often does more harm than good.

Anyway, I'm getting slightly off topic. After a few bumps in the road, Sonic is finally coming back in a big way. I got about half an hour with the Nintendo exclusive Sonic game (that still weirds me out) "Sonic Lost World." It's every bit what makes Sonic... Sonic -- and better still, it improves upon the classic formula in all the right ways.
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Attention Sonic fans! What's better than a plate full of chilidogs? That's right, you're very own copy of the blue blurs latest kart racing game, "Sonic & All-Stars Racing" including a brand spanking new Xbox 360 to play it on! Details to enter after the jump!
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Despite fan protests, Sega continues to develope their Sonic the Hedgehog games with cameo appearances from the blue critter's friends and "Sonic And The Black Knight" doesn't deviate from the formula much, with an armor-clad Knuckles showing up to duel with Sonic. Read More...

It's already time for a new "Sonic" game, which MTV Multiplayer got a hands-on demo with in New York City today. This time, Sonic's got a sword and his Wii-exclusive game, "Sonic And The Black Knight" has surprising controls. Read More...

'Sonic' Toy

My MTV News colleagues who cover the hip-hop beat recently showed me the raw footage of an amazing interview they conducted with Charles Hamilton, an up-and-coming rapper signed to Interscope who really, really liked the Sega Genesis. They've been nice enough to give us this exclusive clip.

Simply put, we need more rappers like Charles Hamilton. The man knows his video games. And he's.. creative.

Hamilton's so Sega-crazy that he's releasing a mixtape, called "Sonic The Hamilton," which chronicles his adventures of him living life as Sonic.

"I'm not crazy," he told us. Read More...

Who has the better platformer games? Sonic or Mario? It depends on whether you prefer running action or jumping action, I think. I lean toward Mario, because I've long felt  -- and seen -- that there are more possible gameplay variations with jumping mechanics than with running ones.

Now we've got a Sonic role-playing game to match against the Mario ones. I've been playing "Sonc Chronicles" on the DS the last few days. What it borrows from the other "Sonic" games are the diverse character abilities of Sonic's wide case of protagonists. It doesn't, however, do much with the core element of "Sonic" platformers: speed.

The "Mario" role-playing games -- ranging from "Paper Mario" to "Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time" -- aren't able to take advantage of as well-defined a set of gameplay character traits as the Sonic RPG. It's not like Mario should have obviously different abilities from Luigi, the way Sonic should from, say, Knuckles.

What the Mario RPGs do borrow from their platformer source material, however, is a style of action-first and ease-of-use. They translate their style of platform gameplay better than the Sonic RPG appears to. The Mario RPGs tend to be more streamlined than the average "Final Fantasy," giving players fewer items, fewer side-missions. And, most prominently, the Mario RPGs have usually included a lot of reflex-based gameplay. In some of them, you can even play them like Mario platformers, jumping on the heads of enemies and defeating them without even going into turn-based battles, if you're powerful enough.

The Mario RPGs feel more "Mario"-esque to me than the Sonic RPG feels like a "Sonic" game. But I do appreciate the "Sonic" RPG's successful use of a diverse set of characters, something the Mario games haven't ever managed that well. Gaming's two most famous mascots have found a new realm in which to be compared. I think they'll be richer for it.

Next: Over the weekend, I'm trying to play much more of "Lego Batman" and I'm finally starting my final copy of "Fracture." I hope I like it as much as I did the preview builds.

There are few ideas that should give gamers more pause than the introduction of "innovations" in Sonic The Hedgehog games. Sonic gets new friends, a third dimension to run in, secret rings, a gun-toting darker half -- any of this stuff introduced in recent "Sonic" installments -- and review scores plummet like an ill-timed jump.

This week, gamers got to see Sonic star in a role-playing game, "Sonic Chronicles" for DS. The fact that it's not bad and actually getting solid reviews is a twist. Whether it's the start of a trend is another question.

It didn't look like Sonic would necessarily be on a good-game trend when word leaked earlier this year that the next Sonic game, "Sonic Unleashed," will intersperse traditional run-really-fast Sonic levels with combat stages that feature a werewolf Sonic.

Werewolf Sonic? Another one of those "innovations."

In a hotel suite in Manhattan yesterday I was given a personal demo of "Sonic Unleashed" and was shown some of the werewolf stuff in action. Read More...

Sonic's had a tough couple of years, but Sega managed to reignite interest by teaming with BioWare for the DS RPG "Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood."

"Sonic Chronicles" arrived at retail yesterday. If you've decided to take another chance with Sonic and friends and are just starting out in the game, you'll want to pay attention to this post.

We reached out to BioWare for a list of 10 things you absolutely must check out while trying to save the world in "Sonic Chronicles." Here's what three developers at BioWare recommended:

BioWare Developers' Must-Do List For Players of
"Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood"
(Nintendo DS RPG, September 2008)

Michael Liaw – QA Analyst
1. Discover the space pirates that are plaguing the merchants - Their speech impediment is quite unique.

2. Help Big find Norton - What frogs do on their own time is pretty amazing.

3. Take a look around for Omega in Metropolis - He might give you a hand.

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In a closed-door demo with Sega yesterday, I saw a new side of the blue-coiffed hedgehog in "Sonic Unleashed." And I didn't know "Unleashed" literally meant "off the leash."

At E3, for the first time ever, the company showed the night-time stages of the game, which had Sonic in his new "werehog" form. He's apparently transformed into a werehog after Dr. Eggman captures Sonic, which will be revealed in the opening cutscene not shown.

In his nocturnal werehog form, Sonic is stripped of his speed (he runs on all fours like a gorilla) but gains massive strength and the ability to stretch his arms. The night-time levels are a mix of combat and platforming, and Sonic can perform a variety of combo attacks. On the Xbox 360, "Y" was the push attack, "X" was a sideways claw attack and "B" was used to grab enemies.

Examples of Sonic's super-strength included breaking down doors, lifting panels for platforming (the instance I saw required the player to button-mash "B" to lift) and climbing. The werehog is a good climber, and U.S. producer Patrick Riley said there will be plenty of vertical climbing in the levels. As for Sonic's stretchy arms, if the player misses a jump, his elastic limbs can save him from falling.

So Sonic fans, what do you think of the hedgehog's new werewolf form? Do you think the series needed this transformation? (At least the game won't have inter-species kissing.)

[Image from CampSonic.com]

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