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DAY 7 - Fan Game Favourites 1: 3D Games [30DOS22]

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We've managed nearly an entire week of 30 Days of Sonic activities - I'm very proud of you all for sticking with it! Today's Tuesday, and we're going to spend Tuesdays celebrating a particular side of the fan community...

Fan Game Favourites

Each week, we'll pick a category and you simply have to share with us what your favourite fan-made game (or ROM Hack) is that fits in that category! Give a reason why you like it so much, as well, and you'll be eligible for the following badge:

Fangame Blue.png

You have until Thursday 9 June at 23:59 UK Time the end of the month to get your contributions in!

Fan Game Favourites

What is your Favourite 3D Sonic Fan Game?

I'm going to kick things off with something really obvious and a game that everybody should know like the back of their hand - Sonic Robo Blast 2. Mostly so that you guys can share something other than SRB2 to be different, but also because it's sadly one of the only fan games I have actually played (blame that on lack of time, RL commitments and having a Mac and no PC!).

srb2.jpeg

Also, generally speaking it's a project that's close to my heart in a very specific way; it was one of the very first fan games I covered on The Sonic Stadium, waaaaaaaaayyyy back in the Year 2001! Of course, it has evolved a LOT since those halcyon days, but even though there have been many other 3D fan game projects out there, SRB2 has endured for literally decades.

It was a fantastic representation of Sonic in a 3D space using the Doom engine even twenty years ago (who knew Doom could be so colourful!?) but today, it stands the test of time as the gold standard for not only inspiring modern projects, but also in terms of actually good, tight 3D Sonic level design (something that many other projects, like Utopia, as amazing as they look with its open-world approach, is sorely lacking).

This game is a legend. Respect the legend.

What are your favourite 3D Sonic fan games?

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This, frankly - is a question that's incredibly hard for me to answer because I don't really pay much attention to fan-games, let alone play them. That said, I will bring some attention to a fan-game I've seen on YouTube a little while aback, and has actually gotten my attention:

I just absolutely dig it's style. The mix of what appears to be PS1/Dreamcast/early PS2 aesthetics just all blend super well together in a cool as hell art-style. That era in general, and PS1 in particularly rarely, if ever actually gets retro attention in comparison to things like the NES/SNES/Mega Drive, so it's just great to have my era of console represented, generally.

And the game's sense of style and flow is just top-notch, you can tell it's taking heavy inspiration from Jet Set Radio, and Adventure, while adding it's own flair to it, giving us very cool unique designs on Sonic and Shadow, along with a soundtrack just encapsulates that era of music.

Now the part I'm probably the least experienced to talk about - the gameplay. I tend to not really like talking about fangames' gameplay, because it's very easy to slip into the "SEGA HIRE THAT MAN!!" mindset, but Sonic Storm both through visuals and it's sense of momentum, flair, and style just hits right to me. It doesn't feel like the usual nonsense where someone slapped Sonic into an Unreal Engine playground, with some momentum system tied to him, and just said - go at it.

Storm's style compliments the gameplay at hand, with the snappy movement, rail-grinding, air-dashing, light speed dash, and just how much control you have over Sonic and how much freedom you have to combine all of his skills together to soar through the levels at your own pace, it's cool how it has a hint of Pro Skater in there with the scoring system being based on how Sonic chains his skills together.

It fits that tier of games like SBR2 where the game is clearly about taking a core gameplay and wanting to make something with it, as opposed to just getting down a decent momentum system and moving on. It's considered every other aspect to making a fan-game work, a unique world and style, great music, fitting visual design that smoothly blends into the gameplay, etc. I'm aware it's not the only one that's done such a thing, that there's plenty of fan-games that's done it, and the "HIRE THIS MAN" thing is more a meme than anything else, but Storm's unique style and era-representation is just what really opened my eyes to some of these 3D projects. It does more than be a cool looking Sonic game, it's a Sonic game that explodes style, like if the Jet Set Radio Future team had been given the reigns for a Sonic game back on Dreamcast, and I don't really have much else to say...

tenor.png

 

 

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There's a number of good ones, but one that I find to be underrated is Sonic Islands. Of all the 3D Sonic fangames out there, this one dang near surpasses the Adventure games for me. As you unlock the rest of Sonic's abilities, it's clear that Sonic was meant to scale walls and parkour all over the place. If you liked Sonic Utopia, this one is also worth checking out.

 

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My favorite 3D Sonic fangame is, uh, Sonic Robo Blast 2. Unlike all of the other 3D fangames I've played, many of which are great in their own right, SRB2 is a fully featured game, with seven zones, special stages, and multiple playable characters each with their own unique abilities. SRB2 has a confident identity in turning the classic Sonic titles into a 3D platformer, even if it doesn't try to recreate the precioussss ball physics that so many other 3D fangames are obsessed with. SRB2 also has rich and varied level design, and with six distinct playable characters the game has great depth, with many different paths through each level to discover. SRB2 is simply put the closest thing to what I want a 3D Sonic game to be I've yet to play.

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Sonic World 

It's come a long way since I played it, but as sandboxes to play as every Sonic character under the sun in heroes formation go, this scatches that itch for me well before everyone else was doing it. Even has the freedom fighters and Hooligans. A shame the level design was a bit weaker then I'd like and holds it back. Maybe they've tighted up though.

As someone who wants Sonic's friends in a playable ansemble cast, adventure style. This is an fine alternative.

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I have to agree with Cosmos Rouge, its Sonic Robo Blast 2 for me too. Its one of the few fan games i actually enjoyed due to the mix of classic style visuals, main 3 character combos, special stages balanced out with Adventure era controls, level design and achievements. I also like the fact that sonic was still "silent" in the story sections and you had to read the text...it seems a perfect transition game between the eras

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My favorite 3D Sonic fangame is Sonic Encore.

It's one of those fangames with floaty physics which let you skip big sections of level design if you roll out of a slope at high speed, I know, but it's still the fangame which feels the closest at recreating the feel of 2D momentum based gameplay in 3D.

The game has platforming, different paths, badniks that are a threat even if you are running at boost-like speeds, some simple level gimmicks, and the leves are designed in an intuitive way so that it's hard to get lost even if there are no signs indicating the correct direction (at least, it attempts to be intuitive, but despite this I still got lost at least once in Mystic Cave... once I realized that I was going backwards, then I turned back and everything was ok again).

The thing that I like the most is the attempt at introducing some simple level gimmicks... it's not necessarily a big success, but not many 3D fangames do it.

The game takes a lot of inspiration from Sonic GT, but I prefer this one anyway.

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I'm going to also say Sonic Robo Blast 2, because it's literally the only 3D Sonic fangame I've ever played.

It's good, though! The gameplay's solid, the level design is fun, and it generally does a good job of translating classic Sonic gameplay into a 3D environment.

In theory, I also like how customizable it is with all the mods and additional characters, but I haven't really figured out how to actually implement them. Maybe one day I will, and then I'll get to play through the game as Eggman.

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I found Sonic Robo Blast 2 a few years ago and enjoyed it and then there was Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart.  There's so many tracks to play. I mostly play offline and there's different characters to play in it. Very fun and I've been hooked ever since. It's my favorite fangame. Then I discovered Sonic Pinball Panic. I like computer pinball games and I was trying to beat my score but couldn't for now lol. Also as Cuz mentioned Sonic World. 

 

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I can't say I've found that magic one that I've gone back to multiple times, but I guess I'll go with Sonic Omens.

Putting aside the controversy about their patreon, I was blown away by the production values of it, and while some of the non-platforming gameplay was as hit-and-miss, I was frequently impressed by much of it, the variety of stages and the creativity in a lot of the set-pieces and such.

While it has a lot of "fangame" symptoms of just... vague hard-to-pinpoint "stuff" that I don't think an official game would ever do, it definitely had the overall vibe and outline of what a dream modern Sonic game would be to me at times.  The only place I'd fault it is that I recall the music being servicable but unmemorable - but the fact that the composers deemed using the 4kids Sonic X dub lemotif for Sonic as at all acceptable means we probably have different tastes.

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I think Sonic Robo Blast 2 wins out all things considered. There are some upcoming fan games I'm keeping an eye on and look really awesome (I was tempted to second Sonic Storm) but SRB2 just barely has an edge because uh...it's really nostalgic for me honestly. It's also pretty cool that it's more or less "complete." There is meant to be more levels but it already feels like a full campaign. Worst thing I can say is the last few levels sorely need updates like the older ones got but that's on the way too and either way, it's still a solid game.

 

 

Oh and as for the nostalgia thing, to really illustrate my point: Greenflower's music is just as nostalgic to me as any of the first level themes of the official games I played as a kid. The current mixes of all the tracks are beautiful too.

Definitely not a game for everyone but I just find it really fun, and it's impressive as hell how they've made a pretty convincing Sonic game in the DOOM engine. I hope it keeps going because I'm curious how it'll look years from now.

 

 

 

Spoiler

Seriously though Sonic Storm is hype as hell

 

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Gee, dunno this is a tough one. Guess I better check which 3D fangame I've been playing obsessively for the last 20 years ever since the release of Sonic Adventure 2 on the Sega Dreamcast, 100%ing every single major version that has come out since the inception of recorded statistics within the game...

ouOAbqk.png

P2vNMXV.png

nsZm9qz.png

HUQiwST.png

Vhojoq0.png

ShQ52ot.png

Ohhhhh right. It's probably that one then.

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I'd have to give it to Sonic Project Hero:

This is probably the most fun I've had just running around and controlling these characters in one of these 3D frameworks. The animations are so damn clean and polished too. The game looks quite a bit different compared to this video, as there's been a graphical overhaul (and as far as I know there isn't any newer demo released), but this is the demo that I've sat down with and played at length. It features playable Knuckles and Tails, which for me is a massive plus and immediately drew me in, Knuckles especially. There's so many neat ideas here for Knuckles and Tails movesets as well I can totally get behind. There's also a Sonic Riders easter egg where you can ride each characters extreme gear, and as a Riders lover that's a huge treat. Big ups to this game, I hope it gets completed some day.

I'll also mention Sonic Storm. I love the style the game's going for and even though I haven't played it, it looks like a blast to run through.

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Oh dear, I was afraid of this. I'm not super familiar with very many fan games, and I'm not really sure where to go to become familiar with them.

I guess I'm gonna have to say Sonic Robo Blast 2, because that's the only 3D Sonic fan game I've played at length. I guess that's fine, because it is pretty great! It was also the thing that most recently re-sparked my interest in playing the series again. I had a good time throughout it. Arid Canyon Zone was my favorite.

Oh, I also liked the Project Hero demo, but it was more of an engine test than a full game. I really wanna see it completed. I'm not gonna hold my breath, because I know how difficult fan game development is to sustain, but if it does come out, that's one I'm going to play right away.

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For a while it was Sonic Islands, because despite being a proof of concept it gave you stuff to actually do...

My favorite 3D Fan Game is Sonic GT: cover-image

For being one of the ones I can actually play on my laptop...

I like how it controls, I like playing with all the moves the characters can do...which as a sidenote is quite a bit more intuitive to use than Sonic Islands, I like that there are unlockable characters, and the level design is pretty decent.

Outside of One I like the bosses as well.

It feels like a complete experience.

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I'm gonna have to go with Sonic Robo Blast 2 as well. I don't play too many Sonic fan games, let alone 3D ones, but this one is extraordinarly fun and I love all the support it gets. The music is great, even if the level design later on can get a bit too hard for me at points, but I do suck at video games so maybe that's just a me thing. But yeah, to me, this is the premiere 3D Sonic fan game that everyone should check out at least once. 

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While I've not really played through a lot of the 3D fan games available, Sonic Robo Blast 2 has always been one that I've remembered. It has a lot of customizing options, the stages are long and explorable, and the amount of love and effort that has gone in to it's creation over the many years is clearly visible.

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I mean, not for nothing, but...

 

 

 

I can't really think of any 3D fan games that are finished *other* than SRB2. The fact that I've followed its development fairly closely for the past 20 years is really just icing.

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Sonic Utopia. Although being a tech demo, it's a really freakin good one. It shows what maybe could be, if Sega would actually go the physics/momentum route. As the little classic fanboy I am, I dig everything in this concept. Maybe some day..

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I mean, yeah it's SRB2. I remember discovering that game sometime in high school and just spending every spare moment playing it. Learning the ins and outs of all the levels, playing it online with and against other people, hell I even opened up Doom's map editor to edit and create my own levels.

It's by far the best 3D Sonic game period.

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Mine is also easily SRB2 and has been since 2005... but its already been mentioned a lot so I'll just bring up the Blitz Sonic engine.

Some have mentioned Sonic World above, it's actually based on this engine. People used to make all types of different engines based on this one with different controls, physics, characters, etc. You could download levels people made and play them in any of those engines.

I don't think any of these engines really hold up today but 10 years ago when I was really bored and couldn't buy any games to play these engines held it down for me. I had a lot of fun exploring so many different worlds and trying out all these engines. Sonic World is probably the best and most fleshed out version of the engine out right now, I would've been all over it if it was out when I still played these engines.

 

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23 hours ago, Sean said:

Gee, dunno this is a tough one. Guess I better check which 3D fangame I've been playing obsessively for the last 20 years ever since the release of Sonic Adventure 2 on the Sega Dreamcast, 100%ing every single major version that has come out since the inception of recorded statistics within the game...

ouOAbqk.png

P2vNMXV.png

nsZm9qz.png

HUQiwST.png

Vhojoq0.png

ShQ52ot.png

Ohhhhh right. It's probably that one then.

RIP in Peace Techno Hill elevator 2003-2014

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SRB2, especially 2.2 onwards, is the clear winner in this category, but I do have  a special place in my heart for the sheer variety in Sonic World… and it pains me to think of what OzCrash pulled off for the last two versions of the game; joke characters, recycled stages, etc. I’m glad the others took it out of his hands for the future, which will see better animations and more bug fixes than you can shake a stick at.

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Is Sonic Smackdown considered a 3D fan-game? If so that's my favorite, I'm not too fond of fighting games, but I have a lot of fun with this one, controls are great, and it's funny seeing some characters perform certain moves (Big using Akuma's raging demon is really something special)

If not, I guess Big's Big World takes the spot, it's incredible what it did with the game map, I expected nothing from it, and it actually surprised me.

 

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