Thursday, July 30, 2009

Metal Madness - SDCC Metal Sonic Review

You might know everything I'm going to do, but that's not going to help you, since I know everything you're going to do! Strange, isn't it?

The Tickle-Me-Elmo of 2009 has arrived! Introducing the Exclusive San Diego Comic-Con 2009 Vinyl Metal Sonic from Jazwares. Despite the "exclusive" label, this little guy is rather easy to find... within the United States at least. With 3,000 available at the San Diego Comic-Con and the remaining stock on sale while supplies last at, true Sonic fans really don't have an excuse not to get one. I bought mine online from Toys R Us, putting me back a mere $15.99. Shipping costs would have put the figure at a little over $20, so I added the exclusive Sonic the Werehog figure putting the total at $26. More about the Werehog later, let's take a look at Metal Sonic!

Let's start with the packaging. The thin matte cardstock used makes the package feel more like an early version printed inhouse for design review rather than a finished product. I definitly can not see this figure surviving a toy store aisle. Though, being an exclusive figure I probably shouldn't complain. This package was never meant for realworld retail, and it sure beats a plastic baggy or white cardboard box usually used for online exclusives. The back promises more figures in the series: Sonic, Knuckles, Shadow and the Werehog. Despite loving the Metal Sonic figure, I wasn't too impressed with the look of these. Rather than following the classic designs, they look to be more in line with the Sonic X models. Who knows, maybe they'll turn out to look great.

I had planned to not opening the figure, as the box was covered in tape. But the shineyness of Metal was too much, so i risked tearing the box to shreads. Surprisingly, the tape comes off easily, leaving no tears or residues. After creating a wad of tape, I removed the figure. Oooh lordy is this thing smooth! And lightweight too, allowing for easy posing with no risk of the figure falling over.

The detail and simplicity of the figure's design are in perfect balance. The spikes and rear jet engine (which are clearly additions to the basic JUVI figure) are simple in design yet really contribute to the Metal Sonic "look". The metallic colors give an excellent robotic shine and give an inflated balloon look. In fact, the Sonic Stadium confused this for a blow up doll back when it was released. What dirty minds those Sonic fans have.

Articulation is what you'd expect from a vinyl toy: pivoting waist, arms move at the shoulders and head spins about. While not a lot of movement is possible, you can make some pretty cool poses (such as the villainous "You'll have to catch me first!" pose seen above). Overall it really is a great figure, with minimal problems. While the nose looks a little goofy turned upwards, it works when viewed from certain angles and doesn't detract from the figure at all. Final score:

As mentioned, I added a Werehog figure so that I could avoid shipping costs and spend a few more dollars for another figure. The Werehog is pretty cool, though his legs are the most fugged up action figure legs I've ever seen! Sonic can either have broken kneecaps or broken ankles, and a running pose is almost impossible. His heavy head doesn't help either. Within twenty seconds of opening the figure and putting him on the shelf, I wasn't to the door before I heard a clunk and turned around to find that.... well, let's let this little vignette show the aftermath:

Metal: So, I see Barry opened the cheap variation of Sonic and left the rare one mint in package.
Werehog: He opened me to try out my fourteen points of articulation! He left you in the box because you have four. HA! Four!
Metal: All that movement and you cant even open your hands? You're like a lobster with bands on its claws.
Werehog: One more crack out of you and I will tear off my arm and beat you with it!!!
Metal: Don't you mean "I will tear off your arm and beat you with it"?
Werehog: THATS IT! ROAR!!! QTE COMBO A, A, B, X, Y!!!

Werehog: Ouch.
Metal: Still gonna beat me with it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SEGA Asks What iPhone Users Want (Sonic CD, Please!)

SEGA wants the community's input on what new games we want?! Shenmue 3! A new Jet Set Radio! Oh, correction, SEGA is asking for the community's input on what game they'd like to see on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

In this SEGA Blog post, requests are asked to follow two requirements: "First, it has to be a Sega game, meaning no other publisher’s titles, even if they did appear on our old systems (I know, I know, I want to see a Road Rash
sequel too). Second, we can’t accept original game ideas, we’re not looking for acquisitions for new titles in this brainstorming session. And that’s pretty much it, go to town and tell us what you want to see."

SEGA seems to be quite serious in their request, as they're accepting replies not only on the blog itself, but also on Twitter, on Facebook, and their forums.
The SEGA Twitter makes note that some are suggesting games already released for the iPhone (Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog), though I think these requests are for proper non-buggy versions. Personally, I'd like to see SEGA fix what they already have put out before adding even more buggy titles. I'd love to see the Phantasy Star games, but not running on the same emulator as Streets of Rage.

TouchArcade has an excellent idea, Sonic CD! And not just the game ported by SEGA, but rather by a man named Christian Whitehead. Whitehead has ceated a pitch-perfect port of
Sonic CD, featuring a consistant framerate of 60fps and an altered aspect ratio to fit the slightly wider iPhone screen. Hopes are high for SEGA to move ahead with this advanced port, and if the final release is anything like what Whitehead has now, it would make for an awesome port.

Source: TouchArcade, Sega Blog

Saturday, July 25, 2009

'Golvellius' RPG Coming to iPhone

Yet another SEGA port has been announced for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but this time it's not ported by SEGA nor is it a Mega Drive game! DotEmu and D4 Enterprise have partnered to release the Master System RPG Golvellius: Valley of Doom. While I haven't played Golvellius myself, it looks to be a rather kick-ass Zelda-like RPG. What makes the game unique is that it features both an overhead view as well as side-scrolling platformer segments.

TouchArcade describes the game as "an expansive title that many gamers missed due to its limited platform coverage. Unlike Zelda, Golvellius is a rather linear, structured game consisting of seven distinct areas, where one must be completed before the next is unlocked. The hero of the game is the brave Kelesis, a fearsome warrior bent on slaying the evil denizens of the game world in an effort to rescue the lovely princess Rena. Aside from dispatching the standard baddies in every area, a dungeon boss must be defeated for each before the next area is unlocked."

Expect a full Nomad Junkyard review when Golvellius: Valley of Doom is released this August.

Source: TouchArcade

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SEGA Tchotchkes You Can't Live Without

Today is the day! San Diego Comic Con has begun, and the only real thing of the event that excited me was the Exclusive San Diego Comic-Con 2009 Metal Sonic the Hedgehog. This little guy is not only available at the event, but can also be snatched up at the Toys R Us website for $15.99. From what I've read, they only ship within the United States and to Puerto Rico. Orders over $20 receive free shipping, but only a handful of items qualify for the free shipping discount.While there are a lot of inexpensive Transformer and G.I.Joe figures that could bump you over the $20 minimum, I recommend adding the Exclusive 5" Sonic the Warehog Figure. While the Warehog isn't the best sculpt, it's the only other SEGA item available and is also the cheapest figure on the list at $9.99. $27 for two exclusive figures isn't that bad of a deal, and they're quite unique decor for your SEGA shelf.

SEGA SOAP, not to be confused with SOAP Shoes.

Speaking of unique items, the awesome website Etsy has a nice selection of handmade SEGA-inspired items. For those not in the know, Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods from artists and craftsmakers. Not only can you buy, but you can place requests for whatever you can think of, and sellers will reply to your listing with price quotes. It can be like a reverse ebay at times, with sellers hoping to get the job and buyers haggling for the best price. One seller by the name of TheClayCollection has made Dreamcast controller earrings while another seller called DigitalSoaps has made Genesis controllers made out of soap. Prices are very reasonable and many sellers ship internationally. What better way to show her your love than with a pair of Dreamcast earrings? (VMU necklace not included)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Nomad Returns - Our 50th Article!

I think the band Staind said it best: "It's been a while." After a week long vacation through the Caribbean, I'm back and ready for more bloggy goodness. As it has been a week, I've accumulated a few stories that could be in separate postings, but I'd rather do them all now.

First off: Nomads of the Caribbean
During the past week I've been cruising through the Caribbean with my girlfriend and parents. During my travels I promised myself to be on the lookout for anything SEGA related. Unfortunately, island folk are more into sunshine and beautiful island scenery than video games. Thankfully, the Carnival Freedom (our vessel) had a decent arcade. SEGA made up about half of the units, two of which were brand spankin' new House of the Dead 4 machines. Luckily, the larger of the two HOTD4 units had 20 credits left on it so I played through a bulk of the game. Check out some of the SEGA arcade units below.

I had never played a Metal Slug game before, and I was blown away by how balls-to-the-walls awesome it was! Donkeys with rear mounted machine guns really do make a game.

Outside the arcade was a much larger area devoted to gaming: the casino! Now I'm not a gambling man myself, but if a man like Ryo Hazuki can try a few games then why can't I? I quickly lost $15 at slots and then earned back $20 on one quarter. Not content with winning $5, I dropped one more quarter. The wheels spun and... Jackpot. I won $175! My luck continued in a poker tournament in which I won third place and a cash prize. What is a gamer to do with an excess of cash? Put it towards my student loans? I think not! Upon returning home I bought an XBOX 360 (20gb, refurbished) and a handful of used Sonic games (and yes, that includes the abysmal Sonic '06. What can I say, I'm a masochist and GameSpot had a 2 for 1 sale).

Aside from SEGA (which really was only .5% of the trip), my vacation included many great times including stingrays, beaches, breathtaking waterfalls and even a chance to meet the stunt double for Q from the Bond film Licence to Kill. It's good to be back, but I still miss the chocolate buffet.

Another SEGA Classic Hits the iPhone and yet again it's badly emulated.

While I was gone, Streets of Rage hit Apple's App Store. The frame rate is atrocious, as evidenced in this video. Usually I link to the app store, but from what I've seen I'd rather not endorse this. Stick with the cartridge, kids. Better yet, pop the cartridge into your SEGA Nomad for some on-the-go brawlin'!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Dreamcast EP - OutsideIn Video Preview

I thought it was about time I showed off The Dreamcast EP in its physical form! For those not in the know, the studio recorded Dreamcast EP was released by Panta of for free to download in April. A few weeks later a physical CD was released, featuring two bonus tracks as well as a free CD from one of the bands featured on the EP. The music was originally performed live the 24-hour Dreamcast marathon held last year to honor the Dreamcast's 9th birthday. Check out my video preview below and then snap one up! They're only $5 including shipping!

I'm away for vacation over the next week, but I promise to keep my eyes peeled for anything SEGA related. Any SEGA arcades in Jamaica?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Columns Deluxe - Free for the Weekend!

As reported by SEGA Nerds, and posted on the SEGA Blog, Columns Deluxe for the iPhone and iPod Touch will be available as a free download in celebration of the 4th of July weekend. You might remember that the we recently reviewed Columns Deluxe, rating it 3/5. I would have happily given it a 4/5 were it free, and now that it IS free for the weekend I'd highly reccomended it.

So what are you waiting for? Download it now! America's forefathers would have wanted you to.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Let's Buy a SEGA Nomad!

With the upcoming release of the RetroGen, it will be much easier to find a mobile device that plays your Genesis carts on the go. But if you're one who likes to "keep it real" and enjoys "old school", you're going to want the SEGA Nomad. But whats the best way to go about buying a Nomad? What if you want to buy one right now? Well, in this new monthly feature I will hypothetically buy a Nomad... RIGHT NOW!

While ebay is always a great first spot to look, I enjoy Google's "shopping" tab (once called Froogle). While you usually turn up bogus shops or ebay itself, once in a while you'll hit a legitimate shop that has what you need for a great price (this is how I found Typing of the Dead for $7.99 at So we've typed in SEGA Nomad and turned up these results. Mostly ebay auctions for replacement screens and Genesis carts with "Nomad" in the product description. This is the number one problem in hunting for a Nomad: tricky e-tailers drop "Nomad" into almost any Genesis game cartridge or loose a/c adaptor. While technically correct, it really dilutes the search results for ACTUAL Nomad systems and gear.


Searching SEGA Nomad System or SEGA Nomad Unit yields better results, but still brings many AV cables and replacement screens. The most promising non-ebay link brings us to Player's Choice, which is selling a Nomad system for $134.99. If new in box, then this is a decent price, but the real question is how reputible the site is as a retailer. A quick search finds that the place is hit or miss, occasionaly listing an item as in stock even though they are out. I think we'd do better on ebay.

Let's ebay search SEGA Nomad System. 24 results show up, many of which are common AV cables. But scrolling down the list brings us to some Nomads! We hit a good day for ebay Nomad searching, as one seller is offering a slew of Nomad systems bundled with games. The least expensive lot is $89.95, plus $4 shipping (seen at the top of the image to the right). Included are four fairly common games and the system lacks an AC adaptor and battery pack. Despite not having power supplies, Nomad battery packs and power adaptors can be easily found online for reasonable prices. The most expensive Nomad bundles includes both power supplies, a second controller and the awesome Disney Lion King and Aladdin Genesis games. Totaling $136.95, it's a but steep but it's all there. This seller offers international shipping, but asks for an email to figure out the total. I'd wager $40 shipping internationally.

If I were Nomad-less, I'd be leaning towards "yes" on purchasing the Disney bundle. So we just hypothetically bought a Nomad, and speant $136.95! Was it too much, could we do better? Join us next month to find out when we play "Let's Buy a SEGA Nomad!"

Question for the comments section: How did you buy your Nomad?