SEGA Preview Event

I am usually able to contain my excitement, I can usually hide any signs of girly fanism well and I can usually walk away from a preview event without injury…

Ha, not this time baby. I knew I was going to Sega!  I knew I was going to play Sonic and other Sega franchises. I knew I would see people I knew who wouldn’t recognise me without a certain pink wig and jet packs too (for those who don’t know, I often dress up as Ulala – and if you didn’t know… where have you been?). There was one thing I didn’t know, that the ugly competitiveness between myself and fellow Ready Up comrade in arms (and later legs) Duncan, would result in such pain and anguish…

Once we got to the venue, we were greeted by many lovely Sega chaps and, more importantly, waitresses with little meats on sticks and even smaller meats on tiny spoons… which were for us to eat (not the spoons of course, that would lead to a trip to the dentist). So I took my meat on a stick, supposedly it was duck, but looked and tasted like pork.  Perhaps it was hedgehog. I doubt I will ever know the real truth behind the meat, but one thing was for certain… I had to give the stick back. I guess they’ve heard about me before… or foresaw the competitiveness vs. Duncan to come.

So I ate my meat, and then was asked by Sega’s lovely Kevin Eva if I’d like to play some Sonic the Hedghog 4. Kevin had previously met me at the Summer of Sonic events but also while I was dressed as Ulala so he didn’t recognise me (tee hee). But there’s no way he’ll forget the non-Ulala Fran, after the way I played Sonic 4.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was… wait for it… brilliant. If you are a real Sonic fan (you’ll know you’re a real Sonic fan if you bought Sonic Unleashed and actually had the strength of character to play through any of the Werehog levels and suffer that insufferable blue idiot, Chip) you will love the fact it is a shiny new Sonic game the way Sonic games should be… 2D… (well 3D, but with a 2D perspective).

If I was an 8 year old Fran. I would have probably finished the stages without any difficulty, but – my God (Krataos if you’re interested) – I was useless at this game 20 years on. I managed to hit every bloody spike, due to badly timed bounces from springs (you know, those spikes that look like arrows and pop out every now and then from the sides of walls). One of the new bits from Sonic 4 was balancing on a moving boulder… well, [holding up sarcasm sign] that want really well…  so well in fact that I had Duncan take over (only because I was hedg-hogging the game, not because I was crap at it or anything). [Putting down sarcasm sign]

Yes OK, I was rubbish at Sonic the Hedgehog 4, but it made me want to play it more and more and improve at my previous feeble attempts… but its main appeal is that it’s so much like the original Mega Drive Sonic games. It made me smile like a little 8 year old Fran a lot, inside. The first act that I played was pretty much a Green Hill zone clone. All the pieces were there. The classic Sonic environments, the robot enemies, and cute ickle animals that you rescue from their mech shells. It was so perfect it made me forget things like Shadow the Hedgehog and vacant UK Sega arcades for a short while…

The next game we were shown was Sonic Free Riders which uses the sparkly new Kinect camera. This game was really great fun, but made me wish I’d never pushed myself that teensy bit extra on my cross trainer the day before.You basically stand sideways to the TV screen and to control your floaty hoverbaord majiggy you need to bend backwards and forwards to turn the board left and right. Just like you would if you were on a real skate or surf board (or maybe not at all as I have done neither of these outdoor activities).

To use your boost power, you need to put your back leg forward, and swing it back as if you are pushing yourself to go faster. You have to stick your arms out to grab rings you go past and when you pick up a power up, you have to use your own arms again to throw it at a rival racer.

There are also jumping ramps dotted around the courses, and yes you have to actually jump to make the jump. So I did a little jump and noticed I got a score of a C grade, C for crap in my eyes. After watching Duncan get consistent S+ grades on his go, I went back in front of the Kinect for revenge. I was then told that there is a higher grade than an S+, an X grade. X for xtream? X for X-factor? X for X-rated? Any which way, I had to do a full 360 spin jump to get it, and with me jumping in short skirt, the experience for others probably was gunna be X-rated.  That’s what the X was for!

To cut a long story short, I did successfully pull off the 360 jump and got my X grade. Yes, it felt like I’d been kicked in the back due to my over exercising the day before, but the pain was worth it… I won. I kicked Duncan’s ass… whilst he most likely got a good view of mine.

A little less energetic, but equally as fun, was Sonic Colours on Nintendo Wii. The game incorporated Sonic Adventure style 3D parts with a Sonic 4 2D approach. This was really good fun and looked was appropriately colourful in appearance. In this game Sonic gets help from cute little floaty creatures called Whisps. There are many different colour Whisps and they all give Sonic a different power up. I kept getting the Yellow Whisp and this lets Sonic drill through soft ground. So I did, I drilled lots and found secret areas and short cuts through the level. I also went though pipes and these send you to other parts of the stage, and in true unlucky Fran style, I went through one that sent me the wrong way. It all just goes pear shaped when Sonic nicks ideas from Mario.

Sonic Colours also has a multiplayer and you unlock the stages when playing the single player. It’s a race against each other but it is also supposed to be a co-op multiplayer… but there was not one ounce of cooporation in any shape or form when me and Duncan played it.

After overdosing on Sonic games, we decided to have a spot of tennis, Virtua Tennis… Virtua Tennis 4, in fact… not your ordinary tennis game. This was properly pimped tennis which used the new Playstation Move and it was in… 3D!  For the first time I put on dorky yet exceedingly comfortable 3D goggles, and the tennis game came alive.

I was playing as Rodger Federer against Andy Murray (which should have been a piece of cake, Murray never wins anything). So holding the Move controller towards the TV screen, I was surprised how well it picked up my movement. It was a first person view, and all you could see on screen was your hand holding the tennis racket and that bastard Murray on the other side of the court. The control system is still being worked on, but it was still pretty damn impressive. Be it a backhand or a serve, the onscreen racket moved with my Move.  Now this was one game I was actually good at and I kicked Murray’s ass in straight sets. Then Duncan had a go…

It was described as the greatest come back in Virtua Tennis history by the Sega guy there. Duncan, who was losing so unbelievably badly to begin with, came back from the grave to beat Murray with ease. How, we will never know, but at least it was a realistic outcome. (Sorry Murray, how about you prove us wrong for once).

So then we were both knackered. Not from the tennis, just by watching the game Vanquish being played by someone who knew how to play it.  I actually think I felt more tired than after my jumpfest on Sonic Free Riders! The game, which already has a demo on Xbox Live, is one of the most lovely looking games that I have seen in a long time… but man, it can make your eyes bleed with the vast amount of stuff going on… everywhere! I really like my gritty Sci-fi settings, and over the top everything, but even though it was designed by some of greatest game creators of our time – there’s only so much my retinas can handle!

Shinji Mikami who is best known for creating the survival horror series Resident Evil and Atsushi Inaba who’s best known for Okami, Bayonetta and MadWorld are behind the craziness that is Vanquish. Having worked on Devil May Cry, Killer 7, Viewtiful Joe and God Hand, not to mention one of my most favourite franchises, the Ace Attorny games, you would kinda expect the producers of these gems to create some sort of eyeball exploding monster. And that’s what you got… but luckily without literal exploding eyes – how would I have used the 3D glasses?

I think it’s one of those games that you need to learn the controls before you can do any of the really cool shizzle. Sega had their top Vanquish player play us a new build of the game – and my Krataos –  this guy was good.  He was so good that he made it look really easy, shooting off  mech limbs, picking off missiles and even bullets in mid air… whilst in slow motion! So when it came to mine and Duncan’s go, we went into battle quietly and confidently… and naively.

We were no way as good as the Sega dude, and all I remember of my time with this game, are the billions of bloody bullets flying everywhere and the biggest freaking mech who refused to die and my over exaggerated flamy death which happened shortly after the mech appeared… all I needed was the main character to have been Vin Diesel (or as a push, Jason Statham) and I would’ve been in heaven.

We ended our time with Sega by having a leisurely game of Yakuza 4. I enjoyed this game far too much and I want to get a PS3 now just so I can play it – or if anyone has a PS3 they don’t want, feel free to send it to me via Ready-Up. Duncan made me laugh saying that someone more like him, wearing a hoody, should be enjoying this game more than a sweet and innocent blond girl (having worked with Dunc several times now, you would have thought he would’ve learned to never judge a girl by her hair colour… but the sweet and innocent part is the complete and utter truth – if you don’t believe me, I’ll kick your face in).

I want to thank Sega and everyone at the preview event. They were lovely – they fed me, they orange juiced me, and they gave me the most awesome day of Sega gaming (Segaming?) ever. And to top it off, I got given a Sega record bag. I have wanted one of these for years and now I finally have one. All I need now is for Sega  to give me a job making my own Space Channel 5 game and my’ fan girlism’ will be complete.







3 responses to “SEGA Preview Event”

  1. Matt avatar

    I can’t recall a game in recent history that I’ve looked forward to more than Sonic 4 (maybe Sonic Adventure). Even Mass Effect 2 didn’t have me giggling like a child on Christmas Eve like Sonic 4 does.

    I am indescribably jealous that you’ve had a go at it.

  2. Duncan avatar

    You beat me at Kinect… I won at life! 😉

  3. Ninja avatar

    “but its main appeal is that it’s so much like the original Mega Drive Sonic games”

    OK, that just sold me the game. Well, I would’ve bought it anyway but sooner rather than later now 😉

    “just like you would if you were on a real skate or surf board (or maybe not at all as I have done neither of these outdoor activities).”

    Er, yeah you kinda shift weight on your feet. Balls and heels 😉 I have not skated in many many years though. Like since I was, hmm, 8 or 9 maybe?

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