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Sonic 3: Angel Island Revisited (A.I.R) - 16:9 Support, Achievements, Drop Dash, Oh My!

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Yep, this is brilliant. The one thing I wanted more than anything was a widescreen version of 3K and now we have it. Eukaryot has got this finished super quick.

As well as lots of menu features (graphical filters, Sonic 3 or S&K  music options & level layouts etc), Eukaryot has also added 12 achievements:

  • By collecting three of which unlocks Knuckles &Tails (AI) mode, which is really cool because with Tails help Knuckles can now play the Sonic & Tails Angel Island act1 mini-boss, S&T Marble Garden act2 Eggman boss and S&T Ice Cap act1 mini-boss etc, allowing Knuckles to play through level design he normally can't access because of his smaller jump-high.
  • By collecting seven achievements unlocks the drop-dash ❤️
  • By collecting 10 unlocks debug-mode which you can then enable via the options menu (unlocking debug mode was always cumbersome in Sonic 3 and S&K, so this is a welcome addition).

I've unlocked everything

Spoiler

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This port (or whatever you wanna call it) is:

Image result for magneto perfection gif

I highly recommend Sonic 3 AIR!

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Alright, just did a quick ran over through Angel Island Act 1 and 2. As many persons already told, Sonic 3 Widescreen was being one of the things we most wanted, after all Sonic & Knuckles Collection can be patched to look like the original game. Noted a few things:

  • Why does they say in every corner that Sonic 3 Steam is necessary to play if is not? I just downloaded it and didn't requested anything (Not even a single ROM!).
  • There's still lots of bugs. They are minimal, but they aren't hard to find:
    • In the end of the first Act, a flame became in front the sign
    • In the second special stage, for some reason, the sound of losing rings got played after completing the square of blue spheres.
    • Not sure if it's a bug or not but in AIZ2, a minimal part of Sonic got inside the water but the palette didn't changed.
    • Almost in the end of the act 2, it's likely impossible to not be hit by one of the bombs launched by the plane, even if I pressed right all the time.
    • Not sure if it's a bug². While going to HydroCity, during the cutscene, Tails looked to the wrong side (left), while Sonic looked to the right where Knuckles was.

In short is pretty okay. I know, it's now the game is going through it's debug phase, in fact, if I can send this feedback, please tell me where I should go. Really nice to see Classics are going that further. Well, I finished Sonic 3 & Knuckles on emulator not so much time ago, so I don't think I'llface this one that soon:

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43 minutes ago, Solister said:

Why does they say in every corner that Sonic 3 Steam is necessary to play if is not? I just downloaded it and didn't requested anything (Not even a single ROM!).

If you have 3 on Steam, it automatically detects. Since I believe it uses the ROM in some way, I'm not sure how it'd run if you didn't. I believe you can trick it with a generic ROM but Steam is the easiest method. 

14 minutes ago, KHCast said:

Is this gonna get pulled by Sega?

Probably not, since it relies on the Steam version primarily. It's much like the mod support the SEGA MD Collection has on Steam.

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I played a few levels of this and it's pretty excellent. It reminds me of Doom 64 EX, another pseudo-source port that uses the original game's ROM for its assets. It's mostly what you'd expect from a Taxstealth-helmed port of Sonic 3, even right down to having smoother Special Stage graphics. If anyone is wondering whether or not it's better than Sonic 3 Complete or that it usurps it as the definitive version of Sonic 3, I think both versions of the game complement each other well and have their own unique advantages, so anyone who is a mega S3&K fan should find value in having both on hand. I'm sure I'll find myself going back and forth between Complete and AIR in the coming years depending on my mood.

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One cool improvement is in Flying Battery Zone. The camera scrolling while climbing the monkey bars is smooth now, just like in Mania. Going back to Sonic 3&K's FBZ was a little rough after playing Mania's, so I'm glad they fixed this up.

Wondering how likely it is we'll see the same treatment for the other 2 major classic games. Gimme Sonic 1 SIR and Sonic 2 WIR, my dudes. 

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Not that it takes a whole lot to get me replaying 3&K, but considering I've already done 3 runs through this game, I'd say it's pretty successful at what it's going for. The optional extras and the quality of life improvements are all well appreciated and with the unlockable drop dash I think this'll become my preferred way of replaying 3&K. I will say though, this might just be due to Mania's physics being fresher in my mind, a few things do feel very slightly off. Sometimes the collision on corners feels a bit off, I feel like I slip off loops too easily if I try to go into a roll, and I'm pretty sure Sonic used to be able to safely duck under pop-out ceiling spikes like the ones right after AIZ starts burning. Still if these are real issues at all they're very minor ones, not nearly enough to harm the experience.

e: uhhh I got instakilled as Hyper Tails by LRZ1's boss and I am pretty sure that is not supposed to happen?

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It looks like there are still some bugs that need go be to ironed out. Though perhaps intentionally kept in, I tore through the foreground in Marble Garden Zone's opening "fall sequence" and had to perform a reset because I got stuck. One of Dr Robotnik's "secret traps" I could live without. 

On the brighter side, one other cool thing they implemented is the insta-shield's ability to deflect projectiles. It was patched in with Sonic 3 Complete and I'm still a little perplexed that it isn't in Mania's interpretation of the insta-shield, considering it was originally an intended feature in Sonic 3 that was left out, so I'm glad to see it here. 

Speaking of... I haven't unlocked the drop-dash yet, but for those who have, does it replace the insta-shield outright, or are they both implemented, like in Sonic Mania's "Over 9000" cheat code (like it should've been by default 😒)?

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7 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Speaking of... I haven't unlocked the drop-dash yet, but for those who have, does it replace the insta-shield outright, or are they both implemented, like in Sonic Mania's "Over 9000" cheat code (like it should've been by default 😒)?

Both are implemented at the same time.

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7 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

On the brighter side, one other cool thing they implemented is the insta-shield's ability to deflect projectiles. It was patched in with Sonic 3 Complete and I'm still a little perplexed that it isn't in Mania's interpretation of the insta-shield, considering it was originally an intended feature in Sonic 3 that was left out, so I'm glad to see it here. 

Agreed. It really annoys me that the insta-shield can't deflect the falling projectiles in Mania's Lava Reef act1 mini-boss.

7 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Speaking of... I haven't unlocked the drop-dash yet, but for those who have, does it replace the insta-shield outright, or are they both implemented, like in Sonic Mania's "Over 9000" cheat code (like it should've been by default 😒)?

I can confirm they are both implemented. You can use them both seamlessly. I did a gif:

giphy.gif

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And here I thought Sonic 3 Complete was the only way ideal way to play this game anymore, then this gem comes out absolutely nowhere.

Really, this is the best way to play the game now, IMO. The only thing it lacks is the Sonic & Knuckles PC collection tracks, like Sonic 3 Complete has, but that's a very insignificant thing I could care less about.

This is awesome. Definitely give this a try, everyone.

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The Time Attack mode is so great. I love racing my own ghosts. This is the sort of thing that I enjoyed in Mania and they took it to another level. I wonder, since it has your play data saved, if it's possible to implement a "re-watch" feature later down the road, so you can study your past runs to see why any particular one was the fastest. It's fan projects like this that can help push the envelope for Sonic games in general. I love it.

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Replaying this has made my see how annoying much of Sonic 3 is. Ice Cap Zone is maddening with its springs and moving platforms knocking you back down to do all over again.

Sonic Mania really was a huge improvement.

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5 hours ago, Plasme said:

Ice Cap Zone is maddening with its springs and moving platforms knocking you back down to do all over again. 

That's just one section of the level.

Since Ice Cap isn't in Mania, what exactly is improved? The ice level in Mania has a similar vertical section that is theoretically just as annoying.

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I will wait for the 1s version to release with fewer bugs before I play. But In general i dont need motivation to play my favorite game of all time. Man, this game is so etched into my life its ridiculous. Cant stop loving it. Best sonic game of all time (unless a fantastic 3D game somewhat like it is released).

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14 hours ago, StaticMania said:

That's just one section of the level.

Since Ice Cap isn't in Mania, what exactly is improved? The ice level in Mania has a similar vertical section that is theoretically just as annoying.

It's one section, but a particularly annoying one so that I never want to play that level again. It's symptomatic of a bigger problem though: slow platforming with the moving platforms, springs which knock you back and those bungee platforms which slowly launch you up (you have to bounce on them multiple times). And since that platforming is typically the only way to progress it gets annoying quickly. Sonic is pants when doing precise platforming, it's a fucking mess.

In fact the first half of Sonic 3 can be quite annoying. Marble Garden is boring and annoying (those spike crushers, the moving spike pillars which come from nowhere, the annoying spinning tops), Ice Cap is tedious for the reasons I've listed. That's 2 dud levels out of 6, and I'm mixed on launch base.

When I said Mania did it better, I was referring to it having much superior level design than Sonic 3.

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Eukaryot has released a new version of 3 AIR.

Quoting from Sonic Retro:

Quote

Here we go.
This version fixes the new bugs (in comparison to the full release) that people reported, at least as far as I could reproduce those issues. This includes problems with game controllers - I got my hands on a PS4 controller again to make that work. Also added a general mechanism to provide default mappings for controllers by making use of what the fine folks of SDL2 already defined.

If you find new bugs with this version, let me know. 

A changelog detailing all the changes can be found here

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