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13th of June 2009

Sonic the Hedgehog 3D (demo) by Zykov Eddy

When Zykov Eddy, the Russian prodigy, posted some video clips of his upcoming Sonic 3D total conversion, I was amazed at what he had done with the old Build engine, but I was also somewhat skeptical if Sonic would fit in a 3D environment (I hated Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island, the Genesis game that marked the end of good Sonic titles). My skepticism quickly melted away the moment I started playing Eddy's Sonic 3D demo.

Just to make things clear, this really is a Total Conversion. It's all Sonic with hardly any hints of the fact that it's running on an old engine (except for the obvious sprite platforms). This is why the whole thing is so amazing: I've been a Sonic fan ever since the 90s so this demo made me feel like a kid again.

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There is just one level, of the Tropical island cliché variety, and it's been divided into three acts. (On top of this there are two, a bit too easy special stages where Sonic has to gather a specific amount of rings in a given time.) In the demo you do a whole lot of running and jumping while collecting rings and liberating animals by destroying badniks. You even get to encounter Knuckles. Pretty much everything has been done right: the game is fast, the levels are wide open and the environment has been filled with things that keep the going interesting. The only downside is that everything is so horizontal but what can you do with an engine that's only almost three dimensional? There is also one underwater area, but it seemed pretty barren.

You get to choose between three characters: Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Sonic is the fastest but Tails can fly. All characters can spin dash but unfortunately you cannot spin while moving (i.e., press down while moving) the way you could in the good old Sonic games. Playing as Tails is a bit different because of his flying ability so this should provide you with an excuse to play the demo at least twice. Maybe in the final version there will be areas only a specific character can reach?

Sound effects and music are good, especially the latter with some good techno beats, but I'd have used Sonic 3/Knuckles sound effects instead of Sonic 2 effects. My biggest problem was hearing the characters shout things like "Here we go!" which is just blasphemy. 3D graphics and high resolution textures look good and really blend in together but it should be mentioned here that hardly anything in the graphics department is Eddy's original work: Eddy's specialty is mapping and coding.

Anyways, this is just the beginning. More is on the way and I for one can't wait to experience all the different environments and kick Robotnik's butt. As said, Eddy managed to pull it off so that everything's been done right. The speed, the open nature of the environments together with smooth controls (with keyboard & mouse you should feel right at home) and a scoring system similar to that of the original games provide you with the kind of Sonic fun you have not experienced since the first half of the 90s.

(Note that Sonic 3D was designed for high resolution graphics. Don't even think about playing it without high resolution graphics which pretty much means that a computer barely capable of running Duke3D in 16-32 bit Polymost mode [without high resolution graphics] won't be enough. Also, this TC is a standalone release: Duke3D is not needed to run it.)

Score: 9
Download: 58 megs
Version: Standalone
Author: Zykov Eddy

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