Report: Sonic 2 HD contains a keylogger

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Turns out the magnificent Sonic 2 HD alpha has some keylogging tomfoolery running under the hood as part of the software’s ironic use of DRM to protect the engine – it’s been reported on Kotaku, and has also been followed up on by Sonic Retro.

The recommended fix is to delete all the program files and ro take out the registry entries inserted by the software – Kotaku’s piece above lists where in the registry the entries are currently sitting. The reports above suggest there’s no evidence of the keylogging phoning home as yet, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s… disappointing that this kind of thing has followed in the wake of an extremely promising project. Fingers crossed the team takes care of things and development continues… or maybe Sega can give the game their blessing and help with finishing the development with the existing team to get a release on XBLA, PSN and a PC-based distributor like Steam. Now that would be something really special 🙂 They could look at making Bombergames’ Streets of Rage Remake receive the same treatment while they’re at it, too!

Thanks to CG over at the Madboards for giving me the heads-up. I’ve also updated my previous posts with the details.

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Update – Sonic 2 HD is officially amazing

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UPDATE: Turns out there is some keylogging under the hood, be sure to protect yourself if you have downloaded and used played the demo, which I’ve noted in an updated post.

I’ve talked about Sonic 4 before and my hopes that Episode 2 will not be terrible.

But you know what? As excited as I am about the impending release, I’d rather Sega give the keys to the vault for the group hammering away on the Unofficial Sonic The Hedgehog 2 HD Project, because it is completely outstanding. The physics are spot-on, the HD sprites look incredible, all that extra animation blends in seamlessly, the soundtrack sounds good and for an alpha build, this thing has a golden halo of awesome surrounding it.

I’m not sure how it works on different system specs, but on my humble build (Win7 x64, AMD 1055T, HD 5670), it was flawless.

So, bring on Episode 2 of Sonic 4. I’m sure it will be significantly better than Episode 1. But Sonic 2 HD is a project that should migrate to being an official release on PSN and XBLA, the quality is simply outstanding.

My only complaint? To secure the game’s code the heuristics, the programmer(s?) built some checks and balances into the game to keep people from hacking it, and on my PC my anti-virus software knocked the program from being opened. Looks like the issue’s been raised by others on Sonic Retro too.

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Sonic 2 HD is… shaping up really, really well!

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UPDATE: Turns out there is some keylogging under the hood, be sure to protect yourself if you have downloaded and used played the demo, which I’ve noted in an updated post.

While checking out awesome website Retro Collect, I came across the news that the Unofficial Sonic The Hedgehog 2 HD Project has a new alpha build out for download.

I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but here’s a video:

Unbelievable or what?

In a perfect world, Sega would repeat their sterling effort that resulted in the fantastic Sonic CD port now available on PSN and XBLA. While I’ll happily play Sonic 2 HD on my PC, it deserves a commercial release on a console hooked up to a TV 😀

Thanks to Retro Collect, who in turn have acknowledged the original source, Sonic Retro.

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Minitroid looks amazing

The Minitroid tech demo was only recently brought to my attention – it’s a miniaturised take on Metroid (I’m seeing more Super Metroid in there, but it’s probably taking general inspiration from the series) running in a tiny pixel resolution. The thing’s an amazing piece of homebrew talent, retaining gameplay elements, charm and detail despite the limited window and sprites. There are a few enhancements compared to hardware generally associated with such low resolutions, including alpha blending and some great camera movement to emphasise the missiles, and the animation is top-notch.

You wouldn’t think you’d be able to achieve so much with such limitations. Necessity is the mother of invention though – see it for yourself:

It’s designed to run on Windows, and you can grab the tech demo from Metroid Database. Props to elvis at Aussie Arcade for the tip, and to the original source, Tiny Cartridge.

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Squeenix, why isn’t RayStorm HD available outside Japan on PS3?

RayStorm HD

I don’t quite understand why RayStorm HD isn’t available outside Japan on PS3. So I went and grabbed a pre-paid card and bought a copy through the Japanese store. Probably cost a lot more than it should when you consider the markup assigned to obtaining a Japanese PSN card, but I reckon it was worth it. Plus, I was able to get the Playstation port of Thunderforce V – I’ve played that to death on my Saturn and was always curious what the port was like, so it was a convenient arrangement.

Anywho, Square Enix’s idiosyncrasies aside, how’s the remake? Very nice indeed (as Yakumo over at Retro Core would say!). I haven’t put a stack of hours into it at this stage, just fitting in the occasional session when not hammering through Afterburner Climax or other gear on the PS3. The HD visuals look clean, uncluttered and the 16:9 playfield works really well – this last bit was my biggest concern going into it as breaking out the boundaries of a horizontal shooter already squeezed to a 4:3 aspect ration (rather than tate, or 3:4 ratio) to an even broader ratio may have messed up the balance RayStorm managed to achieve from back in the day.

While the decision to forego any crazy/fancy new effects may turn off the new breed who haven’t spent much time with the original FX-1B version or the Playstation “port” (though the FX-1B shares its hardware design with that of the Playstation, not unlike Namco’s System 11/12 or Capcom’s ZN-1/ZN-2 platforms, hence why I’ve put the word ‘port’ into quotations), I think it’s a very tasteful update to a solid game… though I still prefer the original Layer Section to its sequels (i.e. RayStorm, etc). So instead of having all sorts of filters, high polygon counts, motion blurring and so forth, we’re presented with slightly updated models and textures that reflect the exact same aesthetic as the original, only without jagged polygones or blurry textures. This is especially noteworthy with the low-poly waterfalls in level 3 🙂

And that’s pretty much it – there’s an arranged mode and some unlockables to keep things interesting, but probably the best feature introduced to take advantage of the current hardware platform are the leaderboards that not only post your high score (mine will be down the bottom if they register at all! 😉 ), but also allow you to save and upload your replays. This is excellent, since it allows rubbish shmup fans (like myself) to see how it really should be done 😉 Aside from this, it’s still RayStorm, so if you didn’t like it before, you probably won’t now unless your tastes in gaming have altered accordingly.

The only question left is – why the worldwide snub for PS3 gamers? Hopefully this’ll be rectified in time. The PS3 needs more Japanese shooters on it – I’d love some Otomedius on our machine, as well as the R-Type remake that came out a while ago, then there’s the Naomi ports (like Ikaruga and Triggerheart Exelica), and so on.

Still, we do have the Söldner-X games which are pretty awesome, but I wouldn’t mind sharing with XBLA if PSN can get a couple of those exclusives in return 😀

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