Sonic 3D Blast (ソニック3Dブラスト Sonikku 3 D burasuto?), known as Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (ソニック３Ｄ フリッキーアイランド Sonikku Surīdī Furikkī Airando?) in Europe and Japan, is a 1996 platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was developed in the United Kingdom by Traveller's Tales and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Saturn, and Microsoft Windows.
The Japanese version was released simultaneously with Sonic Adventure International as a Sega Saturn exclusive under the Flickies' Island name, although later re-releases of the Mega Drive version used the Blast name. The Mega Drive version has been released on the Wii's Virtual Console service in late 2007 on the European and Japanese markets, and in 19 November 2007 in North America.
This version was also included in 2002's Sonic Mega Collection, a compilation on the Nintendo GameCube of seven Sonic hits on the Sega Genesis, and was later featured in the 2004 re-release titled Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 systems, which featured the seven original games, plus unlockable Game Gear titles and other bonus features. The PC release, based on the Saturn incarnation, used the full title Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies' Island on its window.
The stories surrounding the Chaos Emeralds, beautiful gems that possess mysterious power, would prompt Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends Tails and Knuckles to visit a mysterious island known as Flicky Island. According to the legend, the Chaos Emeralds lie dormant on this island. The first thing on the agenda for Sonic and his friends however, is to look for birds named "Flickies," which serve as clues to the Chaos Emeralds' location.
At the same time, there is a spy satellite in the sky far away that scouts out Flicky Island. This satellite belongs to the evil scientist Dr. Robotnik, who has been looking for Flicky Island after hearing about the Chaos Emerald legend as well. He immediately examines the whereabouts of those Emeralds, and he soon finds out that he will have to use the Flickies in order to find them. Dr. Robotnik thus comes to Flicky Island to capture the Flickies. However, there are no trace of the Flickies anywhere, only forests and mountains that stand still as death. Suddenly however, Robotnik sees a Dimension Ring appear in the distance. From it, a flock of Flickies pops out. These Flickies stay in the trees, and when they finish eating the local nuts, they go back into the Dimension Ring again. With this observation, Robotnik has figured out the Flickies' secret: the Flickies are coming and going through subspaces using Dimension Rings as they please. As Dr. Robotnik thinks about this to himself, he quickly completes a "Dimension Ring Generator." He then begins capturing the Flickies and imprisons them in Badniks one after another.
Following that incident, Sonic immediately arrives. When he sees Dr. Robotnik imprisoning the Flickies in Badniks, he yells out in frustration to Robotnik. The doctor, however, merely gloats to Sonic that he will not be able to stop him this time, as he will conquer the world once he has all the Chaos Emeralds, before flying away in his Egg Mobile.
Making his way across Flicky Island, Sonic frees the Flickies from Robotnik's Badniks and, with Knuckles and Tails' help, travels to the Special Stages to find the Chaos Emeralds before Robotnik does. At Panic Puppet Zone, Robotnik's base, Sonic has freed all the Flickies from the doctor's control. From there, he has a showdown with Dr. Robotnik. After this, the game's ending will depend on the player's progress:
- If the player has not collected all seven Chaos Emeralds, Robotnik will be shown with the Chaos Emeralds the player has not managed to collect. The game will also encourage the player to replay the game and get the good ending with the text "TRY AGAIN".
- If the player has managed to collect all seven Chaos Emeralds, the game will continue with Sonic being transported to The Final Fight with the Chaos Emeralds and the Flickies' aid. There, Sonic will fight Robotnik and his Final Weapon. After defeating the doctor, Sonic returns to Flicky Island through a Dimension Ring where he finds that the island has been freed from Dr. Robotnik.
|Sonic the Hedgehog||The world's fastest, sonic-speed hedgehog. Once again, he'll face off against his nemesis (?), Dr. Robotnik, for the Chaos Emeralds!|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||An energetic fox with two tails who adores Sonic. This time, he appears as a helper character.|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Sonic's rival, the flying echidna. He's a rival, but this time he appears as a helper character, just like Tails.|
|Dr. Robotnik||The world's most evil super genius scientist. This time, he's going to beat Sonic to a pulp.|
||Flickies||Small birds who live on Flicky Island. They are said to be the key to the secret of the Chaos Emeralds, but they are being held by Dr. Robotnik.|
Sonic 3D Blast is an isometric view action and platforming video game. The player takes control of Sonic the Hedgehog, who can run, jump and Spin Dash. The game features seven main Zones, each divided into two Acts and a third, shorter Act with a boss fight.
The main objective of Sonic 3D Blast is to beat the aforementioned Acts in the least amount of time possible. To do so, the player needs to find all five Flickies in different sections of an Act. The Flickies have different behavior according to their colors; the blue ones will try to find Sonic, and if they do not manage to do so, they will fly around in circles; the pink ones behave the same as the blue ones, except that they will fly in bigger circles; the red Flickies will not make any efforts to find Sonic, and make large jumps that make them hard to catch; the green Flickies wander around in random places, sometimes even trying to avoid Sonic. The playable character needs to touch a Flicky to make it follow Sonic, and take them to the Dimension Ring. Once done, the player will be able to proceed with the Act, eventually reaching the goal.
In Sonic 3D Blast's Acts, many Rings can be seen scattered everywhere. Rings serve as the playable character's basic method of protection; if the player is hurt while having at least one Ring, they will survive at the cost of losing all of their Rings and Flickies. When Sonic is hit without having any Rings on him, they will lose a life, or get a Game Over if they run out of lives.
|Sega Mega Drive||Sega Saturn||PC (original)||PC (Steam)|
|[←]/[↑]/[→]/[↓] // /////// on numpad||[←]/[↑]/[→]/[↓]||Walk/Run|
|[SHIFT]||[B]||Sonic Spin Dash|
|+||+||[←]/[↑]/[→]/[↓] // /////// + [SHIFT]||[←]/[↑]/[→]/[↓] + [B]||Spin Attack|
- Green Grove Zone boss (only appearance)
- Rusty Ruin Zone boss (only appearance)
- Spring Stadium Zone boss (only appearance)
- Diamond Dust Zone boss (only appearance)
- Volcano Valley Zone boss (only appearance)
- Gene Gadget Zone boss (only appearance)
- Panic Puppet Zone boss (only appearance)
- Final Weapon (The Final Fight) (only appearance)
- Green Grove Zone: A Green-Hill-esque tropical paradise with checkered soil.
- Rusty Ruin Zone: The once-submerged remnants of an ancient culture, dredged up from the sea bed by Robotnik.
- Spring Stadium Zone: A bouncy arena filled with balloons and spikes.
- Diamond Dust Zone: The frigid slopes of Flicky Island's mountain range.
- Volcano Valley Zone: An active volcano.
- Gene Gadget Zone: Dr. Robotnik's genetic research laboratory.
- Panic Puppet Zone: A fortified factory and the center of Dr. Robotnik's base, with the game ending here if the player has not collected all 7 Chaos Emeralds.
- The Final Fight: The steel foundations beneath the previous Zone that can only be accessed if the player collects all 7 Chaos Emeralds.
To warp to a Special Stage where the player can try for a Chaos Emerald, either Tails or Knuckles must be located within the regular levels. The player must then hand over a minimum of fifty Rings to one them in order to be taken to the Special Stage. The player must stand next to either Tails or Knuckles for the Rings to be absorbed. However, the player is not required to hand over all fifty Rings at once, but can instead hand over a portion and then come back later in the same level and hand over the remaining Rings.
There are three different versions of the bonus levels based on the game's platform:
- Mega Drive: Sonic runs down a bridge, collecting Rings and avoiding Bombs.
- Saturn: Sonic runs down a three dimensional half-pipe covered in Rings and Bombs, the player must collect enough Rings to progress to the end of each stage.
- PC: Sonic runs down a half-pipe similar to those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
After Tails/Knuckles has received fifty Rings and Sonic returns back to the level, Tails/Knuckles will not transport the player back to the Special Stage again, but will instead give Sonic extra bonus points at the end of the level if the player continues to give them more Rings.
Sonic 3D Blast features many modes that can be acceded through the main menu. These are:
- Start: Begins the game.
- Controls: Allows the player to change their controls.
- Sound Test: Allows the player to listen to the game's tracks.
In addition to the original Mega Drive version, Sonic 3D Blast was also available for the Sega Saturn to make up for the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, which was intended to be Saturn's killer game for the 1996 holiday season; the game was ported in seven weeks, during development of the Mega Drive version. The game boasts FMVs, higher quality graphics, including a true 3D Special Stage, and an entirely new CD audio soundtrack composed by Richard Jacques, who would go on to produce the Sonic R soundtrack. A European release followed in February 1997.
Only one version of the Mega Drive version was released, with the title differing depending on whether it is played on a PAL or NTSC console. In PAL regions the title is Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island, and in NTSC regions the title is Sonic 3D Blast. This caused a problem, however, when the Mega Drive version was re-released in the Sonic Mega Collection. Due to the aforementioned feature, the game is titled Sonic 3D Blast when played on any console region, including a PAL 60 or NTSC-J system.
In September 1997 a port of the Saturn version was released for PC in Europe and North America, with the videos and soundtrack intact, as well as the notable addition of a save game system. This port, however, was lacking some of the Saturn's effects, such as the fog in Rusty Ruin Zone, and featured a downgraded Special Stage that mixed the 2D sprites from the Mega Drive with the basic gameplay of the Saturn version. The Saturn version was eventually released in Japan on 14 October 1999, the same date as Sonic Adventure International. That release is notable for including stylized "Classic Sonic" artwork, but other than that the game is largely identical, except the Saturn version's notorious load times are slightly improved.
Although the PC version's title differed between regions, its executable was titled Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies' Island, a combination of both names. It should be noted though, that the combined name is rarely used, with fans usually favoring one name over the other. In addition, Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island was the title that was used for the Japanese Saturn version, but when the Mega Drive version was finally released in Japan as part of Sonic Mega Collection, it was once again known as Sonic 3D Blast.
Mike Wallis, a lead producer, director, and employee in the American branch of Sega, recalled in an interview that the Sega Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D Blast was commercially successful for the company, selling over 700.000 units, despite the discontinuation of official support for the console in 1995. The Saturn version was the second best-selling game of that system worldwide, behind NiGHTS into Dreams, another title also developed by Sonic Team.
Jun Senoue worked on the music for the Mega Drive version, while Richard Jacques scored the Saturn/PC version. Many of the themes used in the Mega Drive version come from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. The Game Over music from Sonic 3D Blast was also used in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
The Saturn version features a theme song, "You're My Hero", composed by Richard Jacques and performed by Debbie Morris. This song is heard during the game's end credits.
|Computer and Video Games||(GEN)|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||7.25/10 (GEN)|
|Nintendo Life||6/10 (GEN)|
|Sega Power||92% (GEN)|
|Sega Saturn Magazine (UK)||82% (SAT)|
|Entertainment Weekly||B (GEN)|
Sonic 3D Blast has gained generally mixed reviews, with critics at the time finding the game's controls and slow pace frustrating, but praising its visuals and music.
IGN was critical of the game, complaining about the poor controls in conjunction with the isometric viewpoint and change in the previous Sonic formula, stating "you can't deny that the game's core design is repetitive and, ultimately, kind of bland. The sense of speed and intense action that Sonic's name was built on is absent here, replaced by, essentially, a looping, lazy fetchquest." Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot was more positive on the game, praising its graphics, soundtrack, and challenging boss fights. Unfortunately, there were still common complaints that "...wandering around the levels looking for the last enemy gets boring very quickly. Had this game been more action oriented, with more enemies and much faster gameplay, it would have truly lived up to the Sonic name." However, the staff at GameSpot's review of the PC port was much more critical, saying they "can only hope that our little blue buddy's next PC cameo will carry a little more merit."
Entertainment Weekly was harder on the Saturn version of the game than the original Mega Drive version, claiming that "while Sonic 3D Blast is super by 16-bit standards, it falls flat on Saturn, where 32-bit games with far more sophisticated 3-D graphics and gameplay are the norm." Overall, the Saturn version received slightly more positive reception than its Mega Drive counterpart, with critics praising the revamped Special Stages and the weather effects.
Retrospective commentary has also been more negative: ScrewAttack ranked it #5 in its list of worst Sonic games, calling the game "a 2-D overhead with a bad angle." Conversely, 1UP.com described the game as "much better than you might be led to believe by the negative reviews it garnered back in the day."
The Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D Blast is included in several compilation releases, such as: Sonic Speed Pack!, Arcade Collection for Windows, Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube, Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows, and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was also digitally re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console system in 2007, Sonic Double Pack for Windows and Valve's Steam marketplace in 2010. The game was also playable for VIP members of the PlaySEGA browser game service sometime in the late 2000s/early 2010s.
Archie Comics published a comic adaptation of the game for a 48-page special, published in January 1997. A loose adaptation of the game also appeared in issues 104 through 106 (May through July 1997) of Sonic the Comic.
Certain music tracks across both the Mega Drive and Saturn/PC versions of the game were re-arranged for future Sonic games including Sonic Adventure, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Sonic Generations. For Sonic Adventure, composer Jun Senoue stated he included those tracks because he personally enjoyed them, but they had not widely been heard as he only composed the music for the Mega Drive version, which was not released in Japan. In addition, an unused beta song would also be re-used by Senoue as the boss theme in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.
Sonic 3D Blast: Director's Cut
In 2017, Jon Burton, the lead programmer of the Mega Drive version, announced that he was working on an unofficial director's cut patch of the game that can be installed into the ROM of the game. The director's cut features improved controls and gameplay additions not seen in the original version, such as a Debug Mode level editor, a level password save system, Time Attack challenges, and the ability to transform into Super Sonic. A beta version was released in November 2017.
Mega Drive version
- Level Select: On the title screen press , , Right, , , Up, Down, . If done correctly, the player will be taken to menu screen. At the menu screen, press the start option to be transported to the Level Select Screen.
- Level Skip: After completing the Level Select code and then selecting a Zone, pause and press during gameplay to skip to the next level. Also, when skipping a Zone during a Special Stage, the player will be awarded with its Chaos Emerald without even going through the stage.
- Level Skip: Enabled by default. Hold and press the start button at the start screen. The player should until they get into the main game, and press start to pause. Then press , or .
- 'Easy Emeralds/Quick Emerald Gain: Enabled by default. Hold and press start at the start screen. The player should until they get into the main game, and press start to pause. Then press Z.
- The European box artwork for Sonic 3D Blast was created by Me Company, with a clay model used to design Sonic's head.
- This is the second game to feature Knuckles' socks being the wrong color, as they are blue instead of green. The first game to see this was in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, where they were yellow when not playing as Knuckles.
- In the Mega Drive version, by inputting the following the player can access to the Level Select screen: Right Up Down , with the inputs spelling "Baracuda".
- At Jack in the Box fast food restaurants, copies of the PC version of the game were given away as bonuses in kids' meals up until the release of Sonic Adventure.
- The names of the Zones in this game are all alliterations, much like in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- Richard Jacques, the composer for the Saturn/PC version soundtrack, remixed the music featured in Green Grove Zone for another Sega game, Metropolis Street Racer, into the song "It Doesn't Really Matter", sung by T.J. Davis, who had previously collaborated with Jacques for the soundtrack in Sonic R.
- This is the second game where collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds does not unlock Super Sonic.
- This is the last Sonic game to be released on the Sega Mega Drive.
- This is the first Sonic game to have been released on the Sega Saturn, though Sonic and Dr. Robotnik had originally appeared as unlockable characters in Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams....
- This is the only Sonic game where the European version features a different name than the North American version.
- One of Sonic's waiting animations appears in Sonic Generations as one of Classic Sonic's animations.
- The Japanese Sega Saturn version has slightly faster loading times, but removed/changed the level skip code.
- Matthew Felix holds the world record score at 1,746,900 points achieved on 19 December 2013.
- Sonic 3D Blast was the third to last first-party Saturn game released in Japan, where it was a Saturn exclusive until the release of Sonic Mega Collection, which finally brought the Mega Drive version to Japan.
- The music for Panic Puppet Zone Act 2 (Mega Drive) appears to be a remix of the boss battle theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- Sonic 3D Blast bears some similarities to the video game Flicky, another game created by Sega and the debut of the Flickies. Both games focus on the rescue of small birds who follow the player in a chain behind them, with the birds also separating from the player if an enemy breaks the chain. In both titles levels are cleared by collecting all of the birds and bringing them to a specific point.
- Sonic 3D Blast is one of the two Sonic games to be added to the Arcade Collection, the other being Sonic R.
- Some of the tunes (such as the 1-Up jingle and Continue music) were reused from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. The game also reuses several samples heard in previous Sonic games.
- The sound effects appear to be enhanced on the Saturn/PC version.
- The original boss theme for Sonic 3D Blast (found in prototypes) was later reused in the 2010 game, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.
- The music that plays in the Special Stages in the Mega Drive version is very similar to a track that plays in the first level of another Sega game, Super Fantasy Zone. The track is called as "Picnicka".
- As with Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic & Knuckles Collection, and Sonic R, the original PC port of Sonic 3D Blast was released as part of the "Sega PC" brand.
- A Sonic Jam promotional screenshot showed that Sonic 3D Blast was planned to have a Game.com version, which was later scrapped for unknown reasons.
- Unlike previous Sonic games, the Mega Drive version of this game uses the exact same ROM for all three regions (NA, EU, and JP). The only differences are on the title screen, with it displaying "Sonic 3D Blast" for North American hardware, and "Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island" for European and Japanese consoles.
- In issue 54 of the video game magazine Superjuegos, a section on Sonic 3D Blast is featured, which refers to all the Zones in this game by alternate names, most of which come from previous Sonic the Hedgehog titles:
- Green Grove Zone is referred to as "Green Hill".
- Rusty Ruin Zone is referred to as "Marble Zone".
- Spring Stadium Zone is referred to as "Casino Night". Curiously, the original uncompressed version of Spring Stadium's music also bears this name.
- Diamond Dust Zone is referred to as "Snow Mountain Zone". This name would later be used for a Zone in Sonic Dash, which also uses a remix of Diamond Dust's Mega Drive theme for its music. Whether this was intentional or not is unknown.
- Volcano Valley Zone is referred to as "Volcano Zone".
- Gene Gadget Zone is referred to as "Chemical Plant".
- Panic Puppet Zone is referred to as "Scrap Brain".
- Sonic X-Treme Interview - Mike Wallis. Secrets of Sonic Team. "Mike Wallis: They were part of the backup plan with Sonic 3D Blast, and Travellers Tales did the game and SOJ did the Bonus Levels"
- Playing Catch Up: Traveller's Tales' Jon Burton. Gamasutra. "Jon Burton: Sega supplied the game design and level layouts, so we implemented the gameplay, created the technology to run that kind of game on a Mega Drive and created the rendered graphic style and so on"
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