Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Retro News - Sonic X-Treme... At Last?

I can’t really speak for any of my overseas friends but Sega’s poor old Saturn had a torrid time here in the UK. Among the many reasons given for its relative failure was the lack of a proper Sonic game. Sega’s hyperactive spiker had, after all, been a big factor in the success of the Mega Drive, and most Sega fans, some still reeling from the disappointment of the 32X, were expecting not only an amazing new console but also an amazing new game starring their hero. It did not arrive but, as many gamers know all too well, one was in development, and it looked pretty good.

Poor quality but shows the famous fisheye lens effect...
Sadly, after being besieged by all manner of problems, both technical and personnel-related, during the course of its (more than) two year development time, Sonic X-Treme was cancelled. Instead, us poor old Saturn owners had to make do with Sonic 3D Blast, a conversion of an isometric Mega Drive game, Sonic Jam, a compilation of Sonic's other MD adventures accessed via a rather limited 3D 'Sonic World' area, and Sonic R, a racing game starring our nippy blue hero along with a few of his friends. All three games were okay but definitely not what we were promised nor expecting. Over the intervening years, snippets of information and a few grainy screenshots from the failed project emerged which only compounded our frustration - it actually looked like it could've been really good! God damn Sega and the chaotic mess that followed their most successful period...

Over the intervening years, many of us fans have lamented their startling failure in this area - a failure some say was single handedly responsible for the Saturn's own less than stellar performance. What might've happened if Sonic X-Treme not only saw release but a timely one? Would the Saturn have gone on to hold its own in the face of Sony's relentless onslaught? Possibly, but it doesn't stop us wondering how things might be for Sega now if the Saturn period was more successful.

Some sort of take on the good old Spring Yard Zone?
Many of us have also spent a good while wondering just how good the game might've been - as well as looking potentially splendid, it also looked fairly innovative for a 3D platformer of the time. Remarkably, however, we may soon get the chance to find out! Yes indeed, for the hour may have grown late, but a handful of the most dedicated fellows over at Sonic Retro forum have acquired the original source code for the game and have begun to convert it to run on modern PC's as well as restore it to a state as close as possible to the real thing. This is glorious news for us faithful Sega fans, of course, and even better is the news that the team have already reached the stage where they can release a playable PC demo of the game consisting of one (albeit very unfinished) level from the game. How far they'll get with this project I'm not sure - it's ambitious and will no doubt take time, but I for one am very excited at the prospect of a playable version of Sonic X-Treme.

It's actually hard not to be at least a little sceptical about all this, particularly since we've been hoping for so long for just such an announcement from somewhere, but it does appear to be a genuine attempt to finally get the much-fabled game out and into the hands of Sega fans the world over, complete and perhaps even spruced up a bit too, and for that I can only offer my sincerest thanks that there are still so many dedicated, talented fans around working hard, purely for the good of the retro community. Keep up the good work guys, it's very much appreciated.

Find out more here, or check out this video on the project as it stands so far:



  1. Although I think it's cuel fans brought this game back, I also think Sonic X-Treme would not have been a good game in its time. It looks too similar to Sega's BUG!

    BUG! is kind of fun at first, but it quickly becomes repetitive.

  2. You think it's cruel? Are you not interested to see what the game would've been like? I think it would've at least been an interesting game. I wonder how it plays with that fisheye lens viewpoint :)

    1. I think hes an idiot for even saying that

    2. Whoops! I just realized two months later I wrote "cruel" instead of "cool" my bad. No, I mean I think it's cool that fans did this, but from the videos I've seen the game simply does not look good.

      It reminds me too much of the "BUG!" games, which were fun for short periods but that was about it.

    3. Haha, oops! Yes, I see what you mean now :) I suppose that when games get canned, it's usually for a reason. Who knows, though, it might've been a corker that saved the Saturn. I guess we'll never know :P

    4. Agreed. Personally I don't think any one game could have saved the Saturn from its financial woes. I love the Saturn but I also believe the problems it brought were needed for Sega to properly restructure itself and work as a unified company whereas before it felt more like the company was at war with itself.

      It's a shame they couldn't recover during the Dreamcast years though.

    5. For sure. As I've mentioned here at RP several times, the DC was the last console I was genuinely excited about, and its failure took my enthusiasm for gaming with it. Or at least 'current' gaming.

      Agree though, Sega were their own worst enemy in the Saturn days. Mistake after mistake, infighting, US v Jap rivalries...