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MEGA Bites Vol. 06

Sometimes news takes forever to surface, and other times it strikes like lightning. That’s the case this month, as there have been several new tidbits of information on the Genesis front, including one more go around for a famous hedgehog and what seems to finally be the last key in Genesis emulation. Read on!

The… Eighth Time’s the Charm?

What can be said about 3D Sonic The Hedgehog games that hasn’t already spewed forth from the mouths of angry fans already? Over the years, they have wagged their finger at Sega – and rightly so – about the consistently poor quality of the games plaguing the famed mascot since he made the transition into the third dimension. On every console imaginable, Sega has tried and tried again to finally bring Sonic into the modern era in a way that embraces new technology but also remained true to his roots. To say that it has been slow going would be the mother of all understatements.

That all might actually change this time (yes, you’ve undoubtedly heard that line before). Sega recently confirmed that leaked images of an unknown Sonic title is indeed the upcoming Sonic Unleashed for the Xbox 360, Playstation 2 & 3, and Wii. The game obviously has our hero taking on his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman (or Robotnik, your choice) who has broken the world into pieces, but supposedly there’s a new dynamic that has Sonic turning into a werewolf alter ego of himself…. ok… Personally, I’d be happy with a straight up old fashioned Sonic game, and I long for the days when people’s gripe with the franchise was that “you could beat the whole game by just pressing right” instead of “when are they going to make a good Sonic game again?”. Ah, the good ol’ days…

The kicker with Unleashed is that it is apparently in 2.5D, using the new Hedgehog engine, which Sega reports has been under development for three years. I guess someone at Sega finally convinced the higher-ups to give up the ghost and try something that hadn’t been done before. It’s the age-old “throw something at the wall and see what sticks” approach, and from the looks of the video below, it seems to be sticking quite well. There are still a lot of questions that crop up though, such as camera dependibility, depth of gameplay, the chance that this could turn into another “Knuckles Scavenger Quest” game, etc.

We’ll keep you posted on new details as they’re revealed, and we’ll have a full hands-on upon release this holiday season. We’ve all been burned by the hedgehog’s 3D outings before, but one still can’t help but get excited at the prospect of finally seeing it done right.

You Down with SVP?

We’ve reported on the perils and pitfalls of Sega’s famous (and grossly underused) SVP chip before, but this latest information is truly a milestone. It appears that someone has finally found a way to properly emulate the powerful technology, and it now seems like the last secret in Genesis emulation has finally been cracked. It might not seem like a big deal, considering that the SVP chip only works with one game – the impressive Virtua Racing – but when you look at things from a technological perspective, this has potential. Now that the tech has been properly emulated, what other goodies might we see? Could there be ROMs of other SVP games floating around, just waiting to be completed and even released? One can only hope.

The person responsible for this feat goes by the handle “notaz” and frequents the GP32X boards. According to notaz, the game is fully playable in Windows, and he’s currently trying to get it up and running on the GP32. You can view some great screen shots and his full tool resources over at his SVP page.

Atari Fans… “Get Ready!”

Over the years, devoted Sega fans have probably counted the consoles sporting a port of the classic Space Harrier. Even the mighty NES had one, so you’d think that everything this side of the Game.Con would feature the game in its library. Believe it or not, there are still a few systems out there that are lacking the Harrier goodness, such as the Atari 800 XL/XE. Tthanks to some diligent work by British coder Chris Hutt, it looks as though this situation is soon to be remedied.

That’s not to say that the game is close to completetion. As a hobby done whenever time permits, Hutt’s version of Space Harrier for the 800 XL has taken him around eight years to reach its current form (up to stage five). It will most likely be some time before a finished product is available for emulation, but at least the effort is well underway. Hutt says that most of the major hurdles have been overcome, and that he should be able to finish the game soon. It currtently requires 128k RAM to run, but Hutt is confident that he can bring it down to only 64k.

We might be spoiled with our 32X version of Space Harrier and its Genesis sequel, but anyone taking the time to share the Sega love deserves a thumbs-up from us. Want to know more? Then head on over to Hutt’s Space Harrier XE page for all the info, as well as some great movies of the game in action so far.

A New Game Comes Forward

By now, you’ve hopefully spent some time with Super Fighter Team’s excellent Beggar Prince, and you’re probably thinking that you’ve seen the last Genesis title to come down the pike. Think again my friends, because there’s another challenger on the horizon! If you had fun with Beggar Prince, let us remind you that developer WM Development is putting the finishing touches on a brand-spanking new RPG called Pier Solar. That’s right, brand new. Pier Solar isn’t a re-release or hack. It’s a completely new game done from the ground up using original assets and tech, and it’s coming to a Genesis and Sega CD near you soon.

Originating as a homebrew project over at Eidolon’s Inn, serious development began back in 2004. WMD is getting ready to release this massive adventure, and they’ve even mentioned that an emulator-run demo of the game’s first chapter is on its way as well. Soon, Genesis fans will be sharing in the adventures of Hoston, Edessot, and Alina, as they set out to save their world from evil.

Issue #49 of Retro Gamer magazine features an interview with team members Tulio Adriano and Daniel Horvath (Sega-16’s own 108 Stars!). We’ll be giving Pier Solar the complete treatment, so expect a preview, full review, and post mortem upon the game’s release. In the meantime, head on over to the official site and whet your appetite with all the media goodies!

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