Sonic After the Sequel is the best fan game ever made
Warning: Some serious fan nerdery follows.
A long time ago - when I was in seventh grade - my friend Emilio Saffi and I, being huge fans of Sonic the Hedgehog, set out to build our own Sonic fan game. Under the alias Xoram, Emilio handled backend, and I handled level design. We never finished our flagship title, but our engines always had really impressive tech demos. Unlike most folks who were building their engines using Multimedia Fusion, we wrote ours from scratch in C. They had real physics and tons of features, like the wacky ability to dynamically change the size of any object on the screen, including Sonic himself. The whole system ran super smooth; smoother than any Sonic engine out there.
Unfortunately, we got caught in the trap of building and rebuilding our engine to be bigger, better, and more performant. We never finished an entire game.
It’s always been astounding to me that so many young developers and designers gather around the Sonic franchise. I don’t see this breadth of fan work for any other franchise. No group is as fervent or as dedicated.
Recently, a fellow under the alias LakeFeperd has done what Emilio and I could never do: build and ship the most impressive fan game ever made. (You should download it now for free.)
What makes it great? It does something that Sega attempted to do with Sonic Colors, but didn’t get quite right. Taking a page from the Super Mario Galaxy playbook and running with it, Sonic After the Sequel introduces an interesting and fun new platforming mechanic every single act. It’s remarkably successful and breathes new life into the 2D platforming world of classic Sonic.
However, what’s getting everybody raving is the absolutely outrageous four-disc soundtrack; an OCRemix-quality release full of completely original tunes. LakeFeperd and crew are the first people I’ve seen in a decade that actually understand how to compose music for Sonic games. Their soundtrack rivals the Genesis, and I’d put it on par with the soundtrack for Sonic Colors. I don’t think even the mobile Sonic titles were executed this well, at least as far as their music is concerned.
I hope Sega is scouting and picks this guy up.