Sonic Mania Does the Classics Justice

One of Sonic the Hedgehogs iconic catchphrases, “Gotta go fast” takes a completely new meaning in Sonic Mania. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been an amazing Sonic game since the end of the 16-bit era. I’d argue that the best 3D sonic game is Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but the original Sonic will always be the best. The only reason Sonic has stayed so popular throughout the years of mediocre games is because Sega uses him as their mascot. Sonic has cartoons and comics, but his rivalry with Nintendo’s Mario was almost a laughing stock, with Mario way in the lead of gaming and popularity.

Sonic Mania was created to change all of this. Sega and the fans really needed Sonic Mania to be a huge success and they have surpassed all my expectations. The game brings Sonic back to what made his games so great, Fast paced, side-scrolling action. The games mechanics and visuals truly made me believe this was the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Mania builds up on what made the original sonic games so memorable: high speeds, intricate level designs, simple controls, and fun. That’s what I think is most important. As soon as I started playing this game, all I could do was smile because of how fun and blown away I was by it.

It’s honestly the game that long time Sonic fans have been asking and wanting from Sega. Sonic Mania was created by a team of indie developers who previously worked on Sonic fan projects. They finally partnered with Sega in order to reboot the franchise and they’ve done just that. As soon as the game loads, it makes you go back 25 years. The Sonic Mania opening is identical to the original games and they even start you off in the iconic “Green Hill Zone”. I did notice that when you stop moving, Sonic will begin to stare at you an tap his foot. This is amazing because Sega loves to incorporate Sonic’s attitude and personality in their games, and they executed it perfectly. Sega shows all of the things that make a classic Sonic game different from other classics and its just in their first level.

As you progress through the game, you can feel that each level is like a completely different world. Sonic Mania nails the speed down with every level, taking advantage of the pointy blue Hedgehog zooming through corkscrews and collecting rings. There’s so much happening in the game that you often can’t keep track of where Sonic is on the screen. Mania has him turning into radio waves traveling from satellite dish to the next, running through caged platforms, going so fast you run on water, and so much more.

Yes, what I just described has been in the classic Sonic games, but Mania builds up on the level design even more. Their are more secret passage ways hidden in walls which makes the game feel more open then just having one direct path to the goal. Levels have new interactions like wood chippers and Hedgehog eating plants you can bounce on. All of these things make it possible to play the game in different ways. It isn’t just a game about going fast anymore even though there’s plenty of speed in the game, and I mean PLENTY.

Besides the stages having new designs and ways to explore, they also look perfect. Manias stages are designed around the classic 16-bit art style, but add more depth and amazing visual ideas. The one that stood out most to me was a new are, “Press Garden. As I was playing the level, I couldn’t help but stop and just stare at the beauty of it. As Sonic is speeding through the stage, soft pink flower petals fall from the stage background while stone lanterns light up the stage. Press Garden is definitely a stage that you need to stop and admire.The evil Dr. Robotnik and his robot minions created some of the best boss fights in Sonic Mania. Each boss fight feels so different from one another. There are the boss fights from classic Sonic games where you jump and hit the robots to make them explode, but Mania brings in new ways to fight Dr. Robotnik. My favorite fight probably was when you are in a ship above water and Dr. Robotnik is in the water planting bombs. You have to suck up Dr.Robotnik to hit him, but you have to make sure not to suck up and bombs or you’ll get hit. The boss fight was actually challenging and made me have to be strategic which is always really fun.

Overall, Sonic Mania sticks to its roots. It takes the Sonic games that long time fans love and tweaks them for a new fast paced adventure. The game still follows the same basic mechanics where if you lose all your lives, you have to start the level over. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s hardly a problem. Mania still has the constant checkpoints and plenty of rings to collect so you don’t die, but it also makes the player slow down at times since you only have three lives. Besides the main story, Sonic Mania includes plenty of extras including a time trial mode, a multiplayer mode, and mini games. They aren’t necessarily big compared to the single player, but classic Sonic games are the same way. Sega did add some bonus content in the game like the ongoing joke of the Knuckles & Knuckles joke. It’s a game play mode where Tails is switched out for Knuckles to follow Sonic around. You can also have Knuckles follow Knuckles around if you choose to do that (which you definitely should). img_5361

Sonic Mania is exactly what the franchise needed. It takes what you love about a Sonic game and makes you remember that amazing feeling of excitement. It also helps bring a whole new generation of Sonic fans to enjoy playing as our favorite blue Hedgehog.

Diablo III: What’s new in Season 11

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Season 11 begins on July 20th, 2017 Credit: Battle.net

Diablo is once again causing havoc and destruction in Sanctuary. Only this time, there is a new ally you can embody to help send the ruler of death back into the gates of Hell. Season 11 of Diablo is upon us and to everyone that is a huge Diablo fan like I am, there have been a lot of improvements to the game. Blizzard has always done an excellent job when it comes to listening to their fans and players, and what we want added to the game. Well, instead of just going on and on about Blizzard and how amazing Diablo is, lets jump right into season 11 and all it has to offer.

     1. The Season of the Necromancer. 

The Necromancer class was last seen in Diablo II. This class utilities dark magic to conjure dead spirits and unleash the power of blood and bone to demolish demons. The class was so popular that Blizzard decided to bring it back to Diablo III. Now the class has been out for a while, but players have been waiting for season 11 to start in order to reap all of the new rewards for the necromancer. In order to play as the Priest of Rathma, you have to buy the character pack. The Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer pack costs $14.99. It may sound like a lot of money for a new class, but it also comes with a bunch of other in game items. With the pack, you receive the Necromancer class, 2 character slots, 2 stash tabs to hold more loot and weapons, new Crypt Guardian Wings that you can use with any hero, a half-formed Golem pet, and a new banner shape, banner sigil, and pennant.

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Priest of Rathma, The Necromancer Credit: Battle.net

     2. Rewards, Rewards, REWARDS!

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   As with the past seasons, Diablo III offers new cosmetic rewards for completing challenges on your season journey. Pet collectors can add the Emerald Dragon to their collection and use it to unleash devastating attacks on enemies. The conqueror set armor has added pants and boot slots to complete the new season set. There is also a new portrait for your character that features Treasure Goblins. There is also the season journey rewards that unlock additional stash tabs to hold more treasure. In season 11, if you have not earned at least four stash tabs from previous seasons, you can still receive on if you complete these challenges:

  • Complete a Torment XIII Rift in under 5 minutes
  • Complete Greater Rift 60 solo
  • Kill Greed on Torment XIII
  • Kill Siegebreaker on Torment XIII in under 15 seconds
  • Reforge a Legendary or Set item
  • Augment an Ancient item with a Level 50 or greater Legendary Gem
  • Level three Legendary Gems to 55
  • Complete two Conquests

     3. Haedrig’s Gift.

Who wouldn’t more gifts from Haedrig right? In season 11, you can receive a shiny new class set armor for completing certain chapters in season journey. The way it works is by completing chapters 2,3, and 4. Completion of each chapter will reward you with one of Haedrig’s Gifts. Each gift contains two pieces to the set armor for your class. Depending on what class you are when you open the gift will result in that classes armor set. You have to be careful though, you only receive one gift for each chapter the entire season, so choose wisely! To collect a full class set, you must open all of Haedrig’s Gifts with the same character. The sets granted by Haedrig’s Gift in Season 11 include:

  • Barbarian – Wrath of the Wastes
  • Crusader – Roland’s Legacy
  • Demon Hunter – Unhallowed Essence
  • Monk – Raiment of a Thousand Storms
  • Necromancer – Bones of Rathma
  • Witch Doctor – Helltooth Harness
  • Wizard – Tal Rasha’s Elements
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New set armor for each class in Diablo III Credit: blizzardwatch.com

Blizzard really didn’t hesitate to throw in all of this new content into Season 11 of Diablo III. The new Season goes live Thursday, July 20, at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia.

 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Easter Eggs and Review

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Spider-Man: Homecoming promotion photo Credit: Radio Times

If there is one thing everyone can agree upon after watching Marvel Studios and Sony’s new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, it is that the fresh take on the iconic superhero brings forth so many new ideas for the Marvel universe. Between the interesting settings that young Peter Parker takes us to or the diversity shown in each character, it’s welcoming to see that Spider-Man truly is home. Up until now, Marvel have been working solely on the Spider-Man comics, while Sony was in charge of the past two Spider-man films. Now this article isn’t bashing the first two films at all. Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield played excellent rolls as Spider-Man, especially the AMAZING emo Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3 (please sense my sarcasm). Joe Russo, the co-director of Captain America: Civil War said it best stating, “Maguire and Garfield are great actors, but they were cast at the wrong age. He’s supposed to be a kid.”

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That being said, Tom Holland fits perfectly into the role as Peter Parker. Throughout the film, Marvel, having finally being able to take control of their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, didn’t waste any time throwing in references to the comics. These little Easter eggs help tie together new and old fans of the superhero. The result gives fans a completely new look into Peter Parker’s life and the history of Spider-Man. Lets start revealing my top 3 Easter eggs of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

WARNING: From here on out this article will contain spoilers for the movie and comics. If you have not seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, please refrain from reading any further. 

  1. Amazing Fantasy No. 15
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Credit: Marvel.com

Comic: The Amazing Fantasy No. 15 comic book was created in 1962 and is the first adventure of Peter Parker as Spider-Man. The comic introduces his fictional high school, Midtown High.

Movie: In the movie, The t-shirts that Peter and his friends wear at school for gym class and the academic decathlon  show that Midtown High was built in 1962, referring to the Amazing Fantasy comic.

2. Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) No. 35

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Credit: Marvel Database

Comic: In this comic, Spider-Man has an epic battle with the villain Morlun in the “Coming Home” story. This battle results in Peter being badly injured, his suit ripped, and in need of rest. While passed out on the brink of death, Aunt May returns home and finds Peter in the suit, revealing himself as Spider-Man.

Movie: After returning home from The Avengers base in upstate New York, Peter finds a bag with his new costume from Tony stark. He puts on the suit, presuming Aunt May isn’t home, until she walks in on him and ends the movie with a ” what the f—!”

3. Amazing Spider-Man No. 33

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Credit: Comicbooks.com

Comic: This comic includes on of the most iconic moments for Spider-Man outside of his origin story. The “Master Planner Saga” has a lot to do with Peter trying to balance his life as a teenager and a superhero. In it, Spider-man is buried under tons of steel, desperately reaching for a vile of medicine on the floor close to him that can cure his dying Aunt May’s illness. The room is flooding with water and it puts Spider-Man in a hopeless situation. It isn’t until Peter starts to believe he can survive because of the people he has to save that Spider-Man is able to lift the steel.

Movie: During the last battle with The Vulture, Peter finds himself buried after a building collapses on him. The way Tom Holland portrays Peter as hopeless is incredible. Spider-Man struggles to get up and calls for help because he can’t lift the rubble that’s pinning him down. It isn’t until Peter convinces himself that he is Spider-Man with or without the suit that he gains the strength to be the hero he is destined to be.

If I wanted I could write forever about all of the Easter eggs that are present in Spider-man: Homecoming. I listed these three because I think they stand out from the rest by portraying Spider-Man as a character that has persevered so much. Overall, Spider-man: homecoming shows the origin of Peter Parker. The movie showcases how Peter struggles to juggle trying to live as a teenager and also become a superhero. It isn’t until the end of the film when Peter turns down Tony Stark’s offer to join The Avengers, that you see how much he’s grown. The maturity that Peter obtains is shown when he politely thanks Tony for everything he’s done, but feels it would be best if he “stayed close to the ground.”

Whether you are a Spider-Man fanatic like I am or just watching the famous web crawler taking down villains for the first time, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a perfect example of a fantastic superhero movie. The movie is filled with comedy, action, and plenty of emotion to really make you feel for Peter Parker. I highly recommend you watch the movie and encourage you even more to read the comics. Remember, ” with great power comes great responsibility.”

The Beginning

So, this is it. Andrews Arcade has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but it was never really in me. I feel like I’m always doubting myself, saying things like, “you’ll never be an actual writer” or “you only chose to study journalism because you can’t seem to succeed in anything else”. Well, I am starting today by saying that I know how hard it is to doubt yourself. The pessimistic thoughts occur so often, they become all that’s left. In this moment of time everything is instantaneous. Between social media, technology, and science, breakthroughs are evidently happening daily. It’s strange though because the world moves so fast, yet I feel like every step I take traps me in a vast pit of quick sand, and the more I struggle, the deeper I dive into this bottomless pit of solitude. I want Andrews Arcade to be the hand that reaches in and pulls me into safety. I’m tired of drowning and I can only hold my breath for so long. So, let’s end it.

I’m ready to be the writer I aspire to be and this is where I plan to prove it. If you couldn’t get it from the title, Andrews Arcade will have articles that focus mainly on “geeky” interests like: video games, comics, and anime. I also put quotations around geeky because that’s how these things are portrayed by society, but I find them to be very cool. That doesn’t mean I will only focus on those interests. I want to write about music, breaking news, entertainment, sports, and personal things as well. Andrews Arcade is universal and can focus on anything because as a writer, you should never censor yourself. I guess you can think of the title as a personification on an arcade. I want anyone who comes to read my articles to just be able to feel welcome and have fun, just like going to an arcade.

I know this wasn’t an amazing first post, but I’m just getting started. I would also love to give a shout out to my boyfriend Dylan. Without him, I would have never found the courage and drive to start this blog. Throughout our entire relationship he has known how badly I wanted to start something like this, but I always said it wouldn’t work out. He has loved and supported me every step of the way and this is for him. So, this is it huh? Well, welcome to the beginning of Andrews Arcade.