Being a part of the Sonic Fangame scene for a very long time, I have played and looked upon a lot of projects in my trek through finding things that interest me. Now, there has been a lot of 2D "classic" styled fangames that emulate the experience the old Genesis games put on the forefront. But, in my search, there are rarely fangame projects that target the more modern iterations of this pristine formula. And what I mean, is the Sonic Advance and the Rush series, with there are not many projects that echo the design philosophy and style these games ooze right from the title screen. However, I feel like there's one classic fangame that hit the nail on the head, maybe not all the way, but from what was available at the time, it was very impressive. Of course, I'm talking about;

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Those who have dabbled in the 2006-2014 fangame scene will probably recognize this game from the word alone, and that image probably puts the ever so great sounding Live and Learn track back into your head, but for those who haven't heard of Sonic FGX before, mind if I give you a bit of a run down? Sonic FGX was one of the first Sonic projects created by Dekoldrick, who was known as GamerBee at the time. The game itself is heavily inspired by the Sonic Advance games, as shown with the art style and sprites being almost straight out of the Gameboy Advance titles themselves. It is a very standard Sonic fangame in its own right, you select a character, and your goal is to reach the end signpost, and ultimately defeat the Zone's boss to reach the next one. However, FGX manages to not just harken to the strings of the Advance and Rush titles, but it also adds bits of the "Dreamcast era" into the mix.

The game itself has 6 base characters, mostly the cast from the GBA titles including Shadow, with 4 other extra characters to unlock via completing the game with the base cast. This is where the game itself strives and shows it's an effort though it's sleeve, as every character has their own distinct attributes and movesets that makes traversing every stage a different experience. For example, Sonic and Shadow keep the wall jump from games like Sonic Heroes, allowing them to scale up walls quicker than someone like Knuckles can. This doesn't just matter in terms of the moves itself, as different characters hold different passive abilities, such as Amy being able to get into a special "Boost Mode", which allows the characters to run very quickly and become invincible while doing so, much quicker than other characters. It is very fun to experiment and find your favorite, as the level design itself acknowledges these differences. There are many small secrets and hidden paths some characters can go through, that other characters will never be able to. If you are one of the more creative types, there's even an option of making your own custom character by playing with the game's files.

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While the game has a lot of highs, it also suffers from a lot of lows, which can be due to the time it was created in. Sonic FGX was created in the Sonic Dev Engine, a very old and outdated Sonic framework for the Game Maker engine software. Due to this, the game itself can be quite buggy and unpolished at times. Things such as weird clipping issues, animations and characters being jerky, or even the music cutting in and out are things that should be expected going into this game, but if you can stick it out, there is a lot of gold to be found amongst the rubble. Outside of it's single-player modes, there are special stage rings right out of Sonic 3 & Knuckles that take you to 3D special stages to knab a Chaos Emerald, a 2 player race mode, and even a mission mode, complete with some pretty challenging objectives to reach.

In conclusion, I feel like Sonic FGX fills a special niche within Sonic's fanwork history. Surprisingly, this game holds a lot of memories for people, especially if you grew up when the Yoyogames Sandbox was still up and kicking. It may be very dated and not up to snuff like the amazing projects we are getting nowadays or will be getting at this year's SAGE Expo, (Which starts next week, by the way) but the game itself holds a unique time capsule of what Sonic fangames were back in the day, and I feel like most Sonic fans out there could benefit to take some time to relish in what was big in the old days. Give it a try, you may just love it.
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