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A Double Liveblog of Sonic Unleashed
Komodin

[table of contents]
The Introduction: I could think of a witty title here, but I won't.
Sonic Unleashed. Where to begin. For starters, it was released on November 18, 2008, for four consoles: the Wii, the Xbox 360, the PS2, and the PS3. (Why am I liveblogging it now, nearly 2 years later? I'll get to that.) The game was made in two seperate versions— one for the 360 and PS3, and one for the Wii and PS2. This resulted in wide variations of level design, gameplay, and several other aspects. Both versions sold well, but their critical success is another story.

As for what spawned this LB? Well, my brother and I have both showed interest in getting Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. Sometime back in... May, I believe, he went to the store to buy it. He couldn't find it, so he rented Unleashed instead. We played the game all week, and I eventually gave my opinions on each level in the "Chatterbox: Video Games" thread (around Page 10). Over time, the posts became a proto-LB. At some point, Freezair For A Limited Time asked me if I had ever considered livebloggening. To tell the truth, I had— however, I decided against it, as my summaries were somewhat concise, and since we wouldn't be keeping the game for long. Not to mention, I've never even done an LB before. I did get a small idea, though, and someone volunteered to help me with it— he'd already done an Unleashed LB, which was eventually "archived". Cut forward to today: still no luck in finding S&SASR, so we went and purchased Unleashed. Which means... it's time.

In this liveblog, I shall be playing through the Wii version of the game. Whether or not I go for Hundred Percent Completion is still to be determined. However, I won't be the only one here; Komodin will also be L Bing, playing through the Xbox 360 version. Expect a fair amount of comparison between the two games. With that in mind... IT BEGINS!

Blue Index (Wii)

Komodin Index (360)
11th Dec '10 2:51:43 AM flag for mods
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Part 1: Then...

CONSOLE: Activated. CONTROLLER: Charged. DISC: Inserted. ALL SYSTEMS READY. LAUNCH IN 3...

2...

1...

Upon booting up the game, we're met by the basic SEGA logo, followed by the Sonic Team logo. Why does everyone seem to hate Sonic Team? At least they try to make good games.

Now, the first difference you'll notice between the SD (Wii/PS2) and HD (360/PS3) versions; the opening cutscene here is played before the main menu, while in the HD version, it plays upon starting a new file.

Music: "Cutscene - Opening"; composed by Takahito Eguchi, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. (First half here, second half here) This song is basically what you can expect for the rest of the soundtrack— sheer, unquestionable awesome.

As for the cutscene itself? Amazing. The animation in this game is nearly Pixar-quality, and this is the scene that best exemplifies it. We start off with a massive fleet of spaceships (must... not... reference... Star Wars...), under the control of everyone's favorite villain, Dr. Robotnik Dr. Eggman. The Doc looks over his mighty armada, laughing, when he looks over and goes "wait what—" Suddenly, there's our protagonist, Sonic. How he got on the ship, I don't really know, but whatever. Sonic plows his way through all of the robots only to be confronted by Eggman, piloting a badass mecha that will never be seen again in the game. After attempting a Macross Missile Massacre, he instead opts to grab the hedgehog with his bot's extendable arms. I would question the logic of this, but trying to blow him up first actually sounds like a logical plan. However, since this is the space level, Sonic should have all of the Chaos Emeralds right now. And it's lucky that we're going for the Good Ending here, because yes he does. Sonic proceeds to go Super, trash Eggman's mecha, and chase after him— laying waste to his fleet in the process.

So, Sonic (whose shoes are really shiny for some reason) finally has Eggbotnik cornered, and what does the Doctor do? He pulls a Wily and asks for forgiveness—
"Dr. Eggman: S-Sonic! I-I'm sorry! R-really! L-look, go easy on me! [He seems to stutter a lot, doesn't he?] I'll turn over a new leaf, I swear! Just give me a chance!"
Good ol' Sonic, Genre Blind as he is, responds with some witty banter—
"Sonic: Well, this is new. Showing remorse, Eggman? If you played nice, I wouldn't have to break all your toys."
OH HEY LOOK IT'S A TRAP WHO SAW THIS COMING. As Sonic has his energy drained, he cries out in pain. (by the way, that infamous Narm face? When I first saw that, it creeped the fuck outta me.) As it turns out, this was Eggman's plan all along. He uses the Chaos Emeralds to power a massive laser, which he then fires at the planet. (Insert obligatory Shoop-da-whoop reference here.) Bada-bing, bada-boom. The world slowly cracks apart, and OH HEY, there's a huge Eldritch Abomination sealed beneath us. Sleep well tonight, folks! Sonic gains a larger, more beastly appearance, which everyone will bitch about for some reason. Eggman mocks him about it ("That's a good look for you— festive!") and dumps Sonic (and the Chaos Emeralds) out of the airlock. As the hedgehog Werehog falls down to Earth, the Eldritch Abomination disperses across the globe, and we go to the title screen.

Music: "The World Adventure - Title Screen"; composed by Tomoya Ohtani.

Alright, time to actually start the game. I switch the control settings (my brother uses the Classic Controller; I use the Nunchuck), create a new file, and OH HEY another cutscene. Typical.

Music: "Cutscene - A New Journey"; composed by Tomoya Ohtani and Takahito Eguchi. No link, because the soundtrack rip that made its way onto Youtube omits the cutscene music.

So, Sonic is falling to the planet, when a barrier slows his fall. He regains consciousness, only for the barrier to vanish. Instant Slapstick! (I have a feeling that faceplants will become a Running Gag in the series, if they haven't already.) We're introduced to a small, winged... dog? Thing? Whatever he is, he seems to have no memory whatsoever. Sonic muses (via asking the audience) if it's because he fell on him, giving him head trauma and potentially causing a brain tumor that will kill him offscreen. Introductions are had, and then the sun rises, turning him into normal Sonic. On with the show, then.

Music: "Apotos - Day", composed by Fumie Kumatani. A rather nice hub theme.

A little bit of dialogue, and we go straight into the tutorial levels. Today's installment will be a double-header, since I'll put up a half-part later for the first level. Aren't you lucky?
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10

Part 1.5: Let's Get This Show on the Road

Music: "Windmill Isle - Day"; composed by Tomoya Ohtani. I rather like most of the day music, and this is no exception.

So, on to the tutorial level. Basic stuff— jumping, drifting, boosting, and goddammit I already know this stuff. Now that that's finished, let's go to an actual level.


Day Stage 1 - Windmill Isle
Actually, Windmill Isle is a rather strange case, as there are two full acts— every other day stage only features one. Well, this is pretty simple as long as you have the hang of the controls. My first time through, it took a little while to learn the ropes, but over time, I mastered it. So I just blaze through and OH HEY there's an item there. Crap. I'll have to pick it up later. The rest of the stage was pretty uneventful, but I managed to score a nice S Rank.


Cutscene time! Heh, Sonic can juggle. Some chit-chat, but then the little flying thing is suddenly drawn by the irresistible force of DAN GREEN delicious ice cream. "The whole world can come tumbling down, but they'll still line up for a taste!" I wouldn't say that too loudly, Dan Green Morshu Ice Cream Man. As it turns out, the little guy is rather fond of nachos chocolate, hence Sonic dubs him "Chip". Alright, I guess it's time to find somebody who knows the little bugger.

In Part 2, we'll explore Apotos a little, and deal with the rest of Windmill Isle. Stay tuned.
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10

Part 2: It's All Greek to Me

I know; the pun is horrible. Alright, where did we leave off last time? Oh, that's right, we were just introduced to this game's equivalent of a hub— which is, essentially, a menu screen. You have various locations ("Bell Square", "Flower Street", etc.) What happens when you choose one? Well, let's start off at the "Windmill Coast Street". We meet... an old guy. He greets us, tells us a couple of things, and then we leave. That's pretty much these hub worlds in a nutshell. The HD version of the game is a completely different story, but we're stuck with this for now. We talk to some random dudes, and then go back to the old guy, who has some other crap to say. Mentions something about a 'shrine'. As it turns out, there's a "Sacred Shrine" on the far edge of town, and— oh, Chip found a stone with a sun on it. Good for him? Anyway, we enter the shrine and holy crap

Music: "Gaia Gate"; composed by Fumie Kumatani. I love this song; it's probably my favorite rendition of the main theme. Sadly, it's a Wasted Song in the HD version.

Welcome to the Gaia Gate, exclusive to the SD version. Most worlds have their own temple, and each one of them is absolutely beautiful. The Apotos gate features a large bell, and some various statues. It also happens to be the only shrine that's properly lit. (By the way, I'm typing this up as I go along. Sonic is currently asleep on the temple floor.) There's a room to the side, with various pedestals. Those will come into play later. Also in the temple are various smaller doors, which—
"Chip: Looks like this door won't open yet, Sonic! We need 33 total Sun Medals and 26 total Moon Medals. Come on, Sonic, let's go find more!"

...

...Shit.

After admiring the scenery for a little while, we notice that one of the doors (the one with a sun on it— must be a coincidence) happens to be glowing. Which means, we can open it. Why do they light up? Beats me. It trails off into a long hallway. Where does it lead?


Day Stage 1 - Windmill Isle (cont.) This is that 'Act 2' I mentioned before. I rather like this level; it has plently of shortcuts and hidden pathways. There are also a bunch of items, if you know where to look. A quick tip, though— right before you leave the 2D section, boost. There's a line of robots right there who will stop you in your tracks. They are cheap. The end of the stage features a mini-boss, the Interceptor. He shows up a lot in the HD version, but only twice here. It's just avoid his (laughably predictable) attacks, attack him, lather, rinse, repeat. It's more of a time waster than anything else, and it does that job rather well.
  • RESULT: A Rank; two Moon Medals
  • ITEMS OBTAINED: Illustrations 4 & 32, Documents 17 & 20.
After every day level, there are a few sub-missions. Each give you one medal upon completion, and they vary between time-attack, ring-collecting, etc.
  • ITEMS OBTAINED: A tablet piece. We'll find out what it does later.


Music: "Cutscene - The First Night"; composed by Takahito Eguchi.

Another cutscene! The sun is setting on Apotos, but Chip is still amnesiac. The moment the sun passes the horizon, Sonic transforms back into the beastly thing we saw earlier. By the way, I find this line hilarious:
"Sonic: I just need to be careful who sees me like this."
Indeed you do, fluffy. The moment you're spotted, the Fan Dumb will be on you within seconds. But enough about that; back to the scene. We see the ice cream stand again, and it seems that Dan Green has AAAAAAAAAANGST. In his Wangsting, he knocks a cone of ice cream off of his cart. In a fantastic display of super-human reflexes, Were-Sonic decides to... stretch his arm over 10 feet and grab it. Yeah. He's also notably flippant about it, and just decides that "Hey, this could be useful. Somehow." Oh well; back to the hub.

Music: "Apotos - Night"; composed by Fumie Kumatani. Quite relaxing.

Just talking to the same people as earlier. One guy actually gave me a record (Soundtrack 33). How nice of him. Another dude had a tablet with a moon on it, and he mentioned that a "yellow fox" gave it to him. Oh, gee, I wonder who that sounds like? I suppose we'll find out next time.
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10

Part 3: Creature of the Night

Well, time to head back to the Gaia Gate. Strangely enough, Sonic reverts back to his normal form here, regardless of the time of day. This is Hand Waved somewhere, but I won't bother explaining it. Since we have our Moon Tablet, we can open the door and enter our first night level—

Music: "Windmill Isle - Night"; composed by Fumie Kumatani. Quite nice.

But first: more tutorials! Isn't that fantastic? Jumping, climbing, etc.

Music: "Werehog Battle Theme"; composed by Kenichi Tokoi. You'll be hearing this one a lot.

It's also here that we're introduced to combat— at the moment, Sonic's only got a basic three-hit combo (R-L-R or L-R-L), and the Were-Hammer (L+R). Later on, he'll learn some more tricks, but not nearly as much as in the HD version. Although technically, you'll see more here, since Komodin will be going for a Low Level Run and won't level up his Combat skill. In this game, levelling up is only for the Werehog, and it's automatic— any Dark Gaia Force (red orbs; your EXP for the game) collected during a level will accumulate, unlocking upgrades at various intervals. We also meet our basic enemy here: the Nightmare. To recap: goddammit I already know this stuff! Moving on!


Night Stage 1 - Windmill Isle As opposed to the Day levels, the Night levels are actually split into full acts, with 3 Sun Medals each. As a result, there are about 30 more Sun Medals than there are Moon Medals. This is the starting level, which introduces us to a few more things: for starters, some new enemies— Frights (Personally, I like to call them "Magikarps", because they're small, round, (sometimes) red, and they flop around and don't do much. A few hits will dispose of them quickly.) and Killer Bees (*sigh*). We also encounter a new mechanic— a barrier, that requires you to collect three keys. (Sound familiar?) This also shows up frequently, but they're pretty easy to solve.
  • RESULT: S Rank; three Sun Medals.
  • UPGRADES: Learned the "Were-Claw" (Dash+Attack).
  • ITEMS OBTAINED: Movie 2, Illustration 23.
A couple of new mechanics here: there are switches and levers, which do... stuff, and various poles and ledges to climb on. By the way, I'd like to mention this game's ranking system. The Day ranks are simple enough to understand— less time, better rank, more medals. The Night ranks, however, are decided by three factors: Time (how fast you complete the level), Rings (how many rings you have), and Force (how much Dark Gaia Force you collect). For each criteria you meet, you get a medal. Meet all three, and it's an S Rank. It's theoretically possible to collect every single Sun Medal without gaining any rank higher than B.
  • RESULT: A Rank; two Sun Medals.
  • UPGRADES: Combo Level Up (longer combos; now I can do L-R-L-R-L or R-L-R-L-R).
  • ITEMS OBTAINED: Illustrations 30, 64, & 66, Movie 3
For being what is essentially a straight line, this level is actually rather intricate, with a bunch of secrets. The reason being, it's a wide straight line. The end of the level introduces us to the Deep Nightmare, which is a larger version of the regular mook. A fun fact: My first time playing through, this would have been the first level I S-Ranked, had I not neglected to collect one more ring. Today, I made damn sure to collect every ring I came across, and as a result:
  • RESULT: S Rank; three Sun Medals.
  • UPGRADES: Learned the "Were-Wallop" (two or three-hit combo, then L+R).
  • ITEMS OBTAINED: Illustrations 26, 65, & 67; and another tablet fragment.


Time for some cutscenes!

Music: "Cutscene - Tails in Trouble!"; by Takahito Eguchi.

Well, our favorite fox has gotten himself into a slight jam. A notable difference between the two versions; this scene plays before the night level in the HD version, and you actually fight the enemies at the end. In the SD version, the giant enemy (the Titan) won't be appearing for a few more levels.

'''Music: "Cutscene - To Spagonia!"; by Takahito Eguchi. Actually quite lovely, if you get a chance to hear it.

We now cut to here, where Were-Sonic has dispatched the foes and Tails comes out for some friendly exposition. He mentions some dude named Professor Pickle, over at the university in our next destination: Spagonia.

Music: "The World Adventure - World Map"; by Tomoya Ohtani.

We leave off at the World Map. See ya next time!
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10

Part 4: The First of Many

...detours, that is.

Before we head off to Italy Spagonia, there are actually a few things I'd like to take care of in Apotos. For starters, there's that item I missed back in Part 1.5. Let's go pick it up, shall we? To be honest, it's not that hard to collect. I barely missed the S-Rank time, but it doesn't matter anyway— I already have all three medals. Next up, there's a day mission we unlocked: "Reach the goal unscathed!" In this particular mission, you're pitted against the Interceptor, and you have to beat him without getting hit. He's pathetic as ever, and there are no items to collect, so it's an easy mission. Next up, there are more Night tutorial missions. Every time you unlock a new move, you also unlock a tutorial mission here. All you have to do is pull off the move in question, and you win. Technically, you don't even have to kill anything. But since we're here, I might as well explain each of 'em—


Okay, fine, let's actually go to Spagonia.

Music: "Spagonia - Day"; by Kenichi Tokoi. This hub music just gets better and better, doesn't it?

The first few people know nothing about this "Professor Pickle" chap, so we go to a back alley and run into a young man, who appears to be the Prof's assistant. This would be a good time to mention that this is one of, if not the only NPC who doesn't have a name. Seriously, what's this guy called? Anyway, he tells us that he doesn't know where the professor is, either; instead, he leads us to the Pickle Lab to explain more.

Music: "Dr. Pickle's Laboratory"; not sure who composed it. I dislike this song, for a reason that will become apparent later.

OH HEY, it's a cutscene. So the assistant (voiced by Jason Griffith) explains that the professor has, in fact, been kidnapped.
"...and a whole pack of robots!"
So, Tails figures out that Dr. Eggman took the prof and his research, and is holding him in Mazuri. Wait, what? We have to leave already? We just got here!

...

...Fine. I guess next time, we're going to Mazuri.
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10

Part 5: I Better Get Frequent-Flier Miles for This

This episode has been brought to you by three tracks exclusive to the HD version: "Tornado - To Spagonia" & "Savannah Citadel - Night", both composed by Fumie Kumatani; "Savannah Citadel - Day", composed by Tomoya Ohtani.


Music: "Mazuri - Night"; by Fumie Kumatani. Rather peaceful.

It's the middle of the night, and there's nary a soul around. Gee, maybe it's because everyone's asleep? But hey, we found some sort of mysterious hole...

Music: "Cutscene - Same as Ever"; by Takahito Eguchi

OH HEY it's the Professor. Wow, that was eas— wait. I think I know why Eggman locked the prof up: in order to seal the almighty power of DAN GREEN. Anyway, we bust Professor Green out, and bring back some documents with us. By the way, I love this little exchange: Chip: *pulls chocolate out of Hammerspace* Want some chocolate, Professor? Pickle: Why, don't mind if I do! *takes bar* Sonic and Tails (in background): *look at each other and shrug*

Music: "Cutscene - Gaia Manuscripts"; by Takahito Eguchi. I hate this song. It's a massive screw-up! There's a rather ambient little tune in the background; I have no problem with that. However, even in the frikkin' OST, it also has THIS layered on top of it! It doesn't match the mood, the tempo, nothing! But I've rambled long enough.

Hoo boy. Lots of exposition here. Gaia Manuscripts, ancient stuff, Dark Gaia, Chaos Emeralds, Gaia Temples, fixing the planet, blah blah blah. Did I mention we're already back in Spagonia? What, does the voice of Dan Green give Pickle the ability to teleport? In that case, what about the Ice Cream Man? But I digress.

So, we now have a way to repair the planet— restoring the Chaos Emeralds (which, in case I didn't explain properly you forgot, had their power drained by Eggman), via each of the Gaia Temples. This, in turn, will restore each continent. Somehow. Hopefully, nothing will have fallen off, and the oceans won't have completely drained by then.

So, where are the Gaia Temples? Well, I guess Dan Green Professor Pickle still has to decipher the Manuscripts, but he's already figured out there's a temple... back... in... Mazuri.

GAH!
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10 (edited by: Blueeyedrat)

Part 6: Oh Hey, We're Actually Doing Something

So, after going back and forth, we're right back where we started last time— heading off to Mazuri.

Music: "Mazuri - Day"; by Fumie Kumatani.

Another cutscene, already? Geez.

Music: "Cutscene - Eggman Again"; by Takahito Eguchi.

(I kinda like this cutscene. The people are animated really well, and they throw in a nice bit of humor to it.) So, the Doc has all of the villagers cornered, with a line of robots... raising their arms up all scary-like. Or something. Anyway, Eggman's looking for information regarding the Mazuran (Mazurian? Mazurite?) Temple of Gaia. One of the young villagers seems to disagree, so he... chucks a rock at Eggman. Instant Slapstick!

Music: "Cutscene - Sonic Appears"; by Takahito Eguchi.

Just when the doctor is about to sic his robots on the villagers, Sonic appears. There's some not-so-friendly banter, and Eggman Exits Stage Left. Oh well; back to the hub.

Well, the villagers are useless once again, except for the village elder: he takes those two tablet fragments we collected back in Apotos, and fuses them to make a Planet Tablet. (An NPC who actually does something? I'm shocked.) Well, with that finished, we can now access the Mazuri Gaia Gate.

To be frank, I'm actually not sure what this particular gate is supposed to resemble— I just know that it still looks pretty. It's relatively dark (except for some torches here and there), so Sonic reverts to his Werehog form. Seriously, temple guys, get some proper lighting installed. There's a room with a bunch of pedestals, nearly identical to the one in Apotos. However, one of the pedestals is glowing— I wonder where that one will take me, considering I've only been to one other temple. Anyway, since we have our Planet Tablet (which has a star on it for some reason), we can access the only level door in Mazuri, and guess what?

Music: "Cutscene - The Egg Beetle"; by Takahito Eguchi.

Yep, it's time for a boss! This is the only daytime boss that has a cutscene beforehand, since it's the first one.


Music: ''Boss Battle - Day"; by Hideaki Kobayashi. Technically, you also hear this against the Interceptor, but I forgot to mention it.

Boss 1 - Egg Beetle The Egg Beetle is a mech with a set of giant pincers, with a slot for the Egg-O-Matic. All of the Day bosses are fought while running, akin to Sonic Advance 2. In the first segment, he drops Weighted Companion Cubes at you, while the second is a 2D area where you have to dodge missiles. There's really no trick to beating him— just collect rings and boost that sucker to death. And for that, we get a single moon medal. Whoop de do.


Music: "Cutscene - Temple Activated!"; by Takahito Eguchi.

(A quick note— the scene preceding this is the only time in the HD version where the Gaia Gate music is played. Kind of a shame, really.) We finally find the first Gaia Temple, and head inside. There's a long hallway, with a pedestal at the end.
  1. Place Emerald in Pedestal.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!
As is turns out, this Emerald was the green one. But what's more interesting is what's happening outside:

Music: "Cutscene - Planet Pieces"; by— oh, you should know who does all of the cutscene music by now.

We are treated to a glorious scene of the "continent" (with both Apotos and Mazuri) descending back towards its proper place. (Technically, they should just be "pieces"— the world map shows Apotos and Spagonia on the same landmass, just with a massive crack between them.) Anyway... one down, and six to go. This could take a while.

We're then shown yet another short cutscene, where Tails (Riddle me this, fox: where have you been the whole time?) gives Sonic and Chip a replay of... the cutscene we just saw. Whatever... I guess next time, we'll have to go back to Spagonia (again?) to learn what our next destination is. See you then.
Blueeyedrat 11th Dec 10
This is gonna be awesome! I can't wait for Eggmanland!
96.63.36.153 26th Feb 11 (edited by: 96.63.36.153)
[++UMMMMM....]

I think you're going to hit me for saying that.
96.63.36.153 1st Mar 11
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