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DAY 14 - Fan Game Favourites 2: 'Fan Hacks' [30DOS22]

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Hi everyone, it's Fan Game Favourites Tuesday! If you only take part in this week's activity, you can earn this badge:

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Fan Game Favourites

What is your favourite Fan Hack?

This can be a ROM hack of a classic Sonic game, or a modification of a modern/3D Sonic game that improves (or... doesn't!) in some way. The PC gaming community in general is really good at clubbing together to build upon existing works, and Sonic games tend to be no exception. Whether it's adding new stages to the Sonic Generations engine to... simply making Sonic fat in Sonic 2, there's something for everyone if you know where to look.

Let us know your favourite Fan Hacks, and why!

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Easy one: E-122-Psi's Sonic 2 Pink Edition

Maybe there are better, more complex and ambitious hacks out there, I don't know, but this one allows me to play as Advance-like Amy with hammer gameplay, Cream, and Big the Cat. Easy win.

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When I first saw this I thought it was a legit update to Forces it was so good. Having Chaos show up at the end of act completion and then an actual boss fight that fits right in with Forces (if not better than the actual included ones) really shows that they missed a beat not including one. Add the combination of the Chaos 0 and Perfect Chaos music in to the mix and it makes the game that one step closer to what it could have been.

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For me it's the Unleashed Project for Sonic Generations. I think it's super impressive that they managed to port every day stage from Unleashed and get them to function perfectly fine in Generations. They even created an entire White Space replacement for this mod, even composing new transitional tracks that play when you stand in front of each stage as it does in regular Generations.

I also appreciated how they tweaked the ranking system for this mod since you have to speedrun every level with very little leeway for errors in order to get the S ranks. It was great for replay value.

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Look no further than Dr. Robotnik's Creature Capture by MarkeyJester, an incredibly in-depth hack of Sonic 1.

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In this game, you play as Dr. Eggman! But it's not a simple sprite-swap or level rearrangement. Oh, no, no, no. The entire basic set of mechanics have been redone from scratch, and the object of the game has changed with it. In this game, your goal isn't to rush to the goal or beat bosses - but to run around big open stages and capture all the animals.

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Each level has a certain number of animals to collect, a capsule to put them in, and a timer that's constantly ticking down. Whenever you put an animal in the capsule, you gain extra time. You can't die in this game, but whenever Eggman takes damage from stage hazards (like lava or spikes), you lose time. If time runs out, that pesky Sonic shows up and breaks your capsule open, ruining your schemes!

Once you've found all the animals, you then still have to make a mad dash for the goal post, flipping the Sonic sign over to an Eggman sign.

Every act in Sonic 1 has been reimagined as a new stage built for this game. And there's even an extra zone after Scrap Brain with three all-new acts. It's super simple, but also fun and addictive. Simply beating the game is a manageable enough, but setting the best times is where the real challenge sets in.

Sonic Retro has an article and download here: https://info.sonicretro.org/Doctor_Robotnik's_Creature_Capture

I highly recommend it. One of the best rom-hacks I've ever played.

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I recently played through Sonic 3: DA Garden Edition for the first time and it made me fall in love with Sonic 3 all over again like it were a new game. It has some creative, more difficult layout changes for both zones and special stages, while keeping the flow of the game exactly the same as before. I technically never played the original DAGE for Genesis Sonic 3 as my first direct exposure to it was the officially-approved fanmade port to Sonic 3 AIR, which adds additional palette changes (like Mania's Encore mode) and balance tweaks. But as someone who has gotten kind of bored of vanilla S3 over the years, DAGE is a great way to revisit one of Sonic's best games with a brand new twist on everything you know about Sonic 3.

Also, I'd be remiss to not mention E-PSI's various character hacks, with their Amy ones being my favorite and most played among the Genesis games. She's extremely fun to play in the original trilogy with her Advance moveset and they were contributive to my increased liking for Amy over the years.

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This might be a bit of an odd answer, but I feel like my favorite rom hack isn't really rom hack, but a semi-sub genre of hacks. 

I really enjoy hacks that are basic and utilize one concept. Mini-hacks if you will. Whether it's putting Thomas the Tank Engine's face everywhere...

...or flooding an entire zone...

...I am just a sucker for smaller scaled hacks like this. Other notable mentions are 'OMG THE RED RINGS', 'An Appeeling Sonic Hack', and 'Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog'

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I’m tempted to say Project 06, because of how much of an absolute godsend it is for fixing up 06’s flaws, porting it to a new engine, giving it much better and way more consistent performance, and generally - doing its damnest to make a bad game decent, but I’m not sure if it counts as a hack, or a fan game, since it’s technically 06 being ported over to a new engine.

So I’m gonna mirror @Adamabba and say the Unleashed project. I think it’s incredibly how much dedication and passion is required to port over all of the daytime stages of Unleashed into Gens’ engine, adapt them for the new engine and formula, and provide PC players an incredibly solid way to enjoy the insanely good stages of Unleashed on PC. While it’d be nice to get a port at some point, the fact the fan community was so dedicated to ensure everyone gets to enjoy these incredibly awesome levels is fantastic. 

That said, while we’re on Gens, I’d like to give mention to another level mod:

My honourable mention is this fanmade recreation of Water Palace. As someone who grew up with Rush being one of my main titles, I was a little disappointed that Water Palace was the only level in the 3DS version to see a remake, unless you count Tropical Resort. Even at that, it was still disappointing that Water Palace only saw a 2.5D remake due to the nature of portable Gens, and that’s why I think this mod is so cool, it takes a level that’s Modern in nature, but that we’ve only ever seen in 2D, and adapts it into a fun little 3D Gens level. I also love how it comes aspects of Rooftop Run as well with the balloons and such, something another fan game would later do when making a 3D version of Rush, combining Windmill Isle, and Water Palace. I just think it’s neat lol.

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There's really only two examples I can think of that have a profoundly lasting impact and/or haven't had the lead developer go to prison for diddling kids (and I say this knowingly dropping out on some extremely cool games that completely reimagine the classic games, like that one that turned Sonic 1 into a point and click adventure game).

 

 

The first one is Sonic 3D Blast Director's Cut; simply because it's an amazing thing for an original developer to come back to a game after literal decades, use the source code and the development tools and unused game assets that he still had and combine them all to make an extremely advanced new version of the game which the Sonic community probably couldn't have done even if they had ever shown any interest in doing anything with 3D Blast. I don't really agree with all of the changes Burton made to the original game, however, so it doesn't get my nod ultimately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That goes to Sonic 3 Complete. For a long time it was easily the definitive way to play Sonic 3&K, with so many quality of life improvements that it beggars belief that we could ever put up with the base game. Even simple things, like being able to pick which Miniboss and Knuckles music you wanted, or having Hyper/Super forms simply speed up the level music instead of locking it into a loop forever. And I'd certainly be remiss to forget simple changes that have a huge effect on the post game, like mapping Hyper/Super forms to a different button press so you aren't hosed out of character abilities just because you played the game well. Yeah, sure, with all the mods and addons and even the base concept of A.I.R., it's perhaps a bit obsolete (and I'm sure people will claim for years that both of them are now obsolete because of Origins, even though that's obviously not true). But in addition to the game still being available to those who wouldn't be able to play A.I.R. (what if your daily driver is a PSP or a Vita?), you know what you can play Complete on that you can't play A.I.R. on?

 

 

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Real hardware.

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There are a lot to choose from. For complete hacks, Dr. Robotnik's Creature Capture is the best one out there.

But my ultimate wet dream would be Sonic Classic Heroes completed:

Sonicclassicheroes.png

Quote

Future Characters

These characters may be included in future revisions.

Unfortunately, we are going to 10 years without updates next year.

It's a great concept game, and pretty solid so far, a unique menu, 2 entire games (Sonic 1 and 2) with Sonic Heroes Gameplay. Both Heroes and Chaotix gameplay style, Team Sonic and Team Chaotix playable, and you can even play solo with a few characters, making Charmy and Vector in Sonic 2 completely playable. That's already 4 ROM Hacks in one.

Another one I really wished to see finished would be Sonic 2: S3 Edition, but it's been over 13 years since the last update.

It's been a good while I'm out of touch with the Sonic Hacking community, three honorable mentions are Sonic 2 Long Version, Sonic 2 Delta and Robotnik's Revenge because I remember playing a lot when I was a kid, as well is what brought my interest on Sonic 2 Beta.

 

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Scenic Planet Wisp at dawn, how lovely.

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A slightly more awkward view of Speed Highway's White Space diorama...

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And yeah, that first view of the clock tower you get?  That ain't the one you run up.

 

Immersion be damned, I've never been able to help myself - I love noclipping around or poking the camera through walls to see how game environments are really built up beyond the illusion - especially in modern games where that illusion is very convincing!

As such, I love Skyth's Free Camera mod for Sonic Generations (and Forces), which has at least allowed me to do that with said games! (and the Unleashed Project).

Spoiler

My white whale is how I wish I could look around Unleashed Wii like this, in particular the extra acts that appeared to once be intended to be played from start to finish but are instead chopped up into pieces for use in optional missions only.  I've seen videos that have revealed one way or another that these maps are all connected up, but I've never gotten a REALLY good look at how!  So if anyone knows a mod that puts all of Unleashed Wii's stages (including the side ones) into Generations, or a way to do it in the original game via emulator etc, I might as well throw it out there that I'd love to know!

 

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I am going to cheat again today and say all of the mods that fix up the PC version of Sonic Adventure. The game's visuals were absolutely butchered when it was ported to the GameCube, as detailed here, and IMO the original graphics have actually aged quite well thanks to a strong aesthetic that was largely missing in the DX version of the game.

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Definitely Sonic Classic Heroes. Sonic Heroes is my favorite Sonic game over all, Team Chaotix are my favorite characters, and being able to play as them all at once all while being able to switch on the fly is absolutely incredible. Naturally, a rom hack that puts all 3 of them into both Sonic 1 AND 2 all while still having the original Sonic, Tails and Knuckles playable would be at the top of my list. The option to play as a pair or go solo is much appreciated as well. I've put so much time into this game in the past, I'm realizing it's been a few years since I've played through it so maybe it's about time I give this game another run through!

 

sch_teamchaotixgotthroughact2.png

Seriously, this game is a masterpiece.

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Sonic: The Next Level is an experience

It pushes the original game to it's absolute limit, especially act 2 and the boss fight. It's a shame that it's only one stage, because this sort of creative is what I want to see in the games.

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45 minutes ago, Indigo Rush said:

It pushes the original game to it's absolute limit

You forgot to say next level. 😔

I havent played many of the 3d fan games because of my potato computer but i have played a few 2d games. Sonic time twisted stands out to me as one of the best.

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Well made game, exactly what I'd imagine a sonic cd sequel to be like. It has some fun level design and the characters have really cool animations. The music is on point very much. The ending cutscene after the final boss caught me off guard though (WTH?) Talk about a no nonsense nemesis. 

Runner up would be sonic chrono adventure and sonic after the sequel.

 

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I haven't played too many ROM hacks at length, so this is likely to change after I try out some of the ones other people have posted. But one I did like was Sonic the Hedgehog Omochao Edition.

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http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_OmoChao_Edition

It has many points in its favor! 1) I like Omochao! 2) It's amusing! 3) It's actually quite challenging to try to get a good score!

However, it is (by design) very frustrating to play, so I can't usually stand more than a few minutes of it. That may be a weird thing to list as my favorite ROM hack, but it captured my interest enough to remain memorable for me for all these years since I first saw it.

My runner-up is a ROM hack of Sonic 1 where the "SEGA" chant is replaced by Let's Player raocow saying SEGA in a weird voice, but I unfortunately can't find this hack any longer. I'm going to need to go on a great journey to find it.

...I should probably try out some of the hacks other people have posted, honestly.

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How can I not say the Unleashed Project for Generations. That thing alone has put days literal onto my Gens playtime and, till more recently, was the only way to truly experience the amazing daytime levels from Unleashed at 60fps. I honestly can't give the team behind it enough props.

Though, I also have to give a special shout out to the SA2 Randomizer mod. A friend and I have been playing with it a bit lately and shit has caused some grand laughs. The amount of effort that went into making such a joke of a mod is outstanding. Hats off to the soul that had the idea to include voice clips into the mix too lmao.

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Sonic 3 A.I.R and Project '06 are both way high up, both amazing projects, and I can't decide between both,

but I'd be lying if I didn't say my favorite modification is

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BetterSADX, it's more of a compilation of mods that make the awful Adventure port into a beautiful port, playing it in fullHD is actually incredible, some screenshots don't even look like a '98 game, everytime someone say they will try adventure I specifically tell them to install this before they start playing.

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I think if I had to pick one, my fave mod is Sonic Mania's Misfit Pack.

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It's so cool seeing all new and actually really fun level design for some controversial classic levels! And of course the upgraded visuals and remixed music are great. They do some really cool things, particularly in the second Acts, so please play the demos if you can. Or at least watch some videos. I dunno, I'm not your mom.

 

As far as romhacks go Megamix is genuinely still a lot of fun to this day, as messy as it is. And of course there's a billion character hacks that are hard to choose from. I guess one I want to highlight is Another Shadow in Sonic 1 just because I like the sprites and, as noted at the bottom of that Retro post, it's got some cool (and very silly) extras in there too.

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I've been watching Sonic Unleashed's modding scene grow for like a year or so now, and there's been a good selection of Quality of Life mods that make the overall experience more bearable. From control adjustments to the day stages so Sonic is a bit tighter to control like in Generations, to adjustments in the night stages so the Werehog can move through the stage much quicker. Mods to stop the Werehog's battle theme from playing so you can actually listen to the jamming night stage themes for once. Changing XP values so you can unlock the Werehog's entire arsenal faster. There's even a mod that maps Sonic's homing attack to the jump button like god intended, which also has the added benefit of giving the player access to the Air Dash and Air Boost at all times.

But the absolute best one for my money is the one that removes the medal requirements for stages.

Sonic Unleashed was released during that weird time when there seemed to be a general consensus that more game meant a better game, and so Sonic Team did basically everything they could to make this dumbass game as frustrating to go through as humanly possible. The medals are something that never seem important until the moment where it becomes important and you can't progress through the game anymore . You need way too damn many of these awful things to finish the game properly.

It's infuriating going through the hyper adrenaline filled thrill rides that the day stage should be and having to constantly make sure that you're collecting them along the way (doubly infuriating because these stages are not made for backtracking or exploration of any kind). It's even more infuriating having to pore over every nook and cranny in the night stages and having to spend even longer in these stages than you have to.

But with this mod? All of that hassle is gone, Sonic Unleashed becomes an almost smooth experience to go through. Instead of spending 10 minutes in Windmill Isle Night, I can just spend like 4 or 5 tops. And honestly, removing all that hassle and dumping the other aforementioned QoL mods on top of it almost makes me like the game.

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