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Not to be confused with Sonic Blast, neither with Sonic the Hedgehog Blast.

Sonic 3D Blast (ソニック3Dブラスト[3] 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 Genesis version used the Blast name in Japan. 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 for 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.

Release history and versions

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, considered by many fans to be the best Special Stage in the series) and an entirely new CD audio soundtrack composed by Richard Jacques (who later produced the Sonic R soundtrack). A European release followed in February 1997.

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, but lacking some of the Saturn's effects (such as the fog in Rusty Ruin Zone) and with a downgraded Special Stage that mixed the 2D sprites from the Mega Drive version 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.

Only one version of the Mega Drive game 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 a PAL 60 or NTSC-J system.

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.

In October 2006, a 95 percent complete prototype was acquired and dumped for Internet distribution.[4]

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

The title screen of the Sega Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast.

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.[5]

At that time, there was a spy satellite in the sky far away that scouted 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 examins 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.[5]

Following that incident, Sonic immediately arrives. When Sonic sees Dr. Robotnik imprisoning the flickies in Badniks, he yells out in frustration to Robotnik. Robotnik, 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.[5]

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.

Gameplay

An example of Sonic 3D Blast gameplay in Green Grove Zone, the first Zone in the game.

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.

Scoring system

Main article: Point#Sonic 3D Blast

Controls

Button formation Character movement
Mega Drive Saturn PC
Controlpadds.png [1]/[2]/[3]/[4]/[6]/[7]/[8]/[9] Run
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Sega Saturn A Button.png/Sega Saturn C Button.png [Control]/[Spacebar] Spin Jump
B Button (Sega Genesis).svg Sega Saturn B Button.png [Shift] Sonic Spin Dash
Controlpadds.png + B Button (Sega Genesis).svg Controlpadds.png + Sega Saturn B Button.png [1]/[2]/[3]/[4]/[6]/[7]/[8]/[9] + [Shift] Spin Attack
START [Enter]/[F3] Pause the game

Characters

Playable characters

Non-playable characters

Badniks

  • Bat (only appearance)
  • Bee (only appearance)
  • Bug (only appearance)
  • Bunny (only appearance)
  • Crock (only appearance)

Bosses

  1. Green Grove Zone boss (Green Grove Zone) (only appearance)
  2. Rusty Ruin Zone boss (Rusty Ruin Zone) (only appearance)
  3. Spring Stadium Zone boss (Spring Stadium Zone) (only appearance)
  4. Diamond Dust Zone boss (Diamond Dust Zone) (only appearance)
  5. Volcano Valley Zone boss (Volcano Valley Zone) (only appearance)
  6. Gene Gadget Zone boss (Gene Gadget Zone) (only appearance)
  7. Panic Puppet Zone boss (Panic Puppet Zone) (only appearance)
  8. Final Weapon (The Final Fight) (only appearance)

Zones

  1. Green Grove Zone, a Green-Hill-esque tropical paradise with checkered soil.
  2. Rusty Ruin Zone, the once-submerged remnants of an ancient culture, dredged up from the sea bed by Robotnik.
  3. Spring Stadium Zone, a bouncy arena filled with balloons and spikes.
  4. Diamond Dust Zone, the frigid slopes of Flicky Island's mountain range.
  5. Volcano Valley Zone, an active volcano.
  6. Gene Gadget Zone, Robotnik's genetic research laboratory.
  7. Panic Puppet Zone, a fortified factory and the center of Robotnik's base. Game ends here if the player has not collected all 7 Chaos Emeralds.
  8. The Final Fight, the steel foundations beneath Panic Puppet Zone. Can only be accessed if the player collects all 7 Chaos Emeralds.

Special Stages

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. To do this, the player must stand next to either Tails or Knuckles. At this point, the player's Rings will be absorbed. However, the player is not required to hand over fifty Rings at once, but can instead hand over a portion of the required Ring 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 platform of the game:

  • Sega Genesis/Mega Drive: Sonic must run down a bridge, collecting rings and avoiding bombs.
  • Sega Saturn: Sonic must run down a three dimensional half-pipe covered in Rings and bombs and must collect enough Rings to progress to the end of each stage.
  • PC Version: Sonic must run 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.

Modes

Sonic 3D Blast features many modes that can be acceded through the main menu. These are:

  • Start: The normal mode of the game.
  • Controls: It is where the player can change their controls.
  • Sound Test: Allows the player to listen to the game's tracks.

Music

Jun Senoue worked on the music for the Mega Drive version while Richard Jacques scored the Saturn/PC versions. Many of the themes used in the Mega Drive version come from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. The Game Over music was also used in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

The Saturn version also 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.

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 67% (Sat)[6]
59% (Gen)[7]
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 3.5/5 stars
Electronic Gaming Monthly 6.68/10 (Sat)
7.25/10 (Gen)
GameSpot 7/10 (Sat)
IGN 6/10 (Gen)
Nintendo Life 6/10 (Gen)
Entertainment Weekly B (Gen)
C (Sat)
Sega Saturn Magazine 82% (Sat)

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."

GameSpot was more positive on the game, praising its graphics, soundtrack and challenging boss fights. However, 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."

Entertainment Weekly was harder on the Saturn version of the game than the Genesis 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."

The Saturn version received slightly more positive reception than its Mega Drive/Genesis 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."

Compilations and re-releases

The Genesis 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;[8] Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Windows;[9] and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[10] It was also digitally re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console system[11] in 2007, Sonic Double Pack for Windows and Valve's Steam marketplace in 2010.[12] The game was also playable for VIP members of the PlaySEGA browser game service sometime in the late 2000s or early 2010s.

Sales

Mike Wallis, a lead producer, director, and employee in the American branch of Sega, recalled in an interview that the Genesis/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.[13][14]

Legacy

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 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.[15] In addition, an unused beta song would also be re-used by Senoue as the boss theme in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.[15]

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 Sega Genesis version. 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.[16][17] A beta version was released in November 2017.[17]

Cheats

Sega Saturn Version

  • Level Skip: Enabled by default. Hold Sega Saturn C Button.png 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 Sega Saturn A Button.png, Sega Saturn B Button.png or Sega Saturn C Button.png.
  • 'Easy Emeralds/Quick Emerald Gain: Enabled by default. Hold Sega Saturn C Button.png 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.

Sega Genesis Version

  • Level Select: On the title screen press B Button (Sega Genesis).svg, A Button (Sega Genesis).svg, Right, A Button (Sega Genesis).svg, C Button (Sega Genesis).svg, Up, Down, A Button (Sega Genesis).svg. 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 A Button (Sega Genesis).svg 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.

Trivia

  • The European box artwork for Sonic 3D Blast was created by Me Company. A clay model was used to design Sonic's head for the cover.[18]
  • 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/Genesis version, by inputting the following in order: B, A, Right on d-pad, A, C, Up on d-pad, Down on d-pad and A, the player will have access to the Level Select screen (note that the inputs spell "Baracuda").
    • It is also possible to access the Stage Select by physically hitting the game cartridge and has been explained by the Traveller Tales' founder Jon Burton.[19]
  • 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 like the stages in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • Richard Jacques, the composer for the Saturn and PC version soundtrack, would remix 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 Emeralds does not unlock Super Sonic.
  • This is the last Sonic game on the Mega Drive/Genesis.
  • 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 does not have the same name of the US one.
  • One of Sonic's waiting animations in this game appears in Sonic Generations as one of Classic Sonic's waiting animations.
  • The Japanese Sega Saturn version has slightly faster loading times, but removed (or changed) the level skip code.
  • Matthew Felix holds the world record score at 1,746,900 points achieved on 19 December 2013.[20]
  • It 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. It was also the last Sonic game for the Mega Drive.
  • The music for Panic Puppet Zone Act 2 (Mega Drive version) 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 Flicky character. Both games focus on the rescue of small birds who follow the player in a chain behind them, in both games the birds can also get separated from the player if an enemy breaks the chain. Levels are also cleared in both games by collecting all birds and bringing them to a specific point in the level.
  • Sonic 3D Blast is one of the two games to be added to the Arcade Collection, the other being Sonic R.
  • Some of the tunes (such as the 1-Up jingle and the 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 Sega Saturn/PC version.
  • The original boss theme for Sonic 3D Blast (found in prototypes) was, much later, reused in the 2010 game Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.
  • The music that plays in the Special Stages in the Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast is very similar to a track from another Sega game, Super Fantasy Zone, the music that plays in the first level of the game, Picnic, with the track known 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 Genesis version of this game used the exact same ROM for all three regions (US, Europe, and Japan). The only differences are on the title screen. The title screen will display "Sonic 3D Blast" for US hardware, and "Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island" for European and Japanese hardware.

Videos


References

  1. Quote from Producer of Sonic 3D Blast 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 (Special Stages)[1]
  2. According to Programmer Jon Burton, Sega actually “supplied the game design and level layouts, so we (Traveller's Tales) 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,” he recalls.[2].
  3. (in Japanese) ソニックメガコレクション最強攻略ガイド. Shogakukan. 1 March 2003. p. 194. ISBN 978-4091060907.
  4. Sonic 3D Beta website
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction manual, pgs. 4-5.
  6. Sonic 3D Blast for Saturn. GameRankings. Retrieved on July 19, 2013.
  7. Sonic 3D Blast for Genesis. GameRankings. Retrieved on July 19, 2013.
  8. Mirabella, Fran (2 November 2002). Sonic Mega Collection. IGN. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
  9. Goldstein, Hilary (3 November 2004). Sonic Mega Collection Plus. IGN. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
  10. Miller, Greg (12 February 2009). Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. IGN. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
  11. Thomas, Lucas M. (4 December 2007). Sonic 3D Blast Review (Genesis). IGN. Retrieved on 19 July 2013.
  12. Sonic 3D Blast™. Steam (1 June 2010). Retrieved on 9 April 2015.
  13. sega-16. Interview: Mike Wallis. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009.
  14. Lost Levels. Spotlight: Sonic X-Treme. Archived from [www.lostlevels.org/200403/timeline.shtml the original] on 13 June 2004.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Sega-16 – Side by Side: Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis vs. Saturn).
  16. Sonic 3D's original developer is creating an unofficial Director's Cut. Retrieved on 14 October 2017.
  17. 17.0 17.1 The RetroBeat: Sonic 3D Blast sprints to a new legacy with an unofficial Director’s Cut. Retrieved on 22 November 2017.
  18. Y2K Aesthetic Institute on Twitter. Twitter (20 October 2019). Retrieved on 20 October 2019.
  19. Ben Kuchera (3 October 2017). Why physically hitting Sonic 3D Blast unlocks a secret menu. Polygon. Retrieved on 23 November 2017.
  20. highest score Sonic 3D Blast Sega Genesis. recordsetter.

External links

Sonic the Hedgehog spin-off games
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