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Let's criticise classic Sonic gameplay. Or criticize, if you prefer.

#16 User is offline ErictheSquirrel 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:35 AM

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Sure, I'm all up for that.

For me it has to deal with the space between Sonic and the edge of the screens, a little bit more wiggle room to prevent sudden collision on oncoming enemies. Along with a common trope in Sonic games, questionable enemy placement. All of the games have moments like that, mostly Sonic 2 with Metropolis Zone in particular of course for obvious reasons.

Level design didn't bother me too much on the first game since its the first release so I give it slack. Sonic CD I criticize a bit with how confusing level design wise it can be. For whatever reason some levels will have a spring that launches you back, even though you've passed the goal sign so it has no reason being there what so ever.

#17 User is offline DigitalDuck 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:57 AM

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Posted Image

Sky Chase Zone.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.

Posted Image

Lava Reef Zone boss.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.


Unlike the other two I've posted which are things that are relatively minor (at least to me, they're just "would be a bit better with these"), these are sticking points. I hate them. I make sure I'm Super Sonic for the LRZ boss so I can go and fetch a drink or something without having to be mind-numbingly bored, but that's not even possible for SCZ (I'm already mind-numbingly bored before I get 50 rings).

#18 User is offline Deef 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 11:33 AM

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Wow, for me Sky Chase was one of the most relieving experiences I've had in a game. When I was a kid, before level select was a thing, when running out of lives meant going back to the start of the umpteen zones that were Sonic 2... Metropolis Zone was a BIIIIIITCH. Then FINALLY you complete it and you're like WTF no boss??? ACT 3 WTF?!?!!!

When Sky Chase started, with that music, I couldn't have needed it more.

So while I get what you're saying and I too find it pretty dull to play, if there's ever an example of mixing it up to give the player a break I think that's what Sky Chase is.



@EricTheSquirrel
So then what do you think of Taxman's widescreen Sonic 2, regarding wiggle room?

#19 User is offline Dark Sonic 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 11:37 AM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 20 July 2015 - 08:57 AM, said:

Posted Image

Sky Chase Zone.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.

Posted Image

Lava Reef Zone boss.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.


Unlike the other two I've posted which are things that are relatively minor (at least to me, they're just "would be a bit better with these"), these are sticking points. I hate them. I make sure I'm Super Sonic for the LRZ boss so I can go and fetch a drink or something without having to be mind-numbingly bored, but that's not even possible for SCZ (I'm already mind-numbingly bored before I get 50 rings).

Now this I agree with to the end. Christ almighty these levels. I feel like I should take a nap.

#20 User is offline Felik 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 12:47 PM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 20 July 2015 - 08:57 AM, said:

pic

Sky Chase Zone.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.

pic

Lava Reef Zone boss.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.


Unlike the other two I've posted which are things that are relatively minor (at least to me, they're just "would be a bit better with these"), these are sticking points. I hate them. I make sure I'm Super Sonic for the LRZ boss so I can go and fetch a drink or something without having to be mind-numbingly bored, but that's not even possible for SCZ (I'm already mind-numbingly bored before I get 50 rings).

When I was a kid I quite liked them. They added variety to the gameplay... if you suck. But when you get better they become a borefest.
The real problem with these stages is that unlike any other level/boss in classic sonic you can't really beat them faster if you get better at the game.

#21 User is offline Caniad Bach 

Posted 20 July 2015 - 01:48 PM

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I kind of have to disagree about Sky Chase Zone, it's a welcome change of pace (especially after Metropolis Zone), and I used to think it was really cool as a kid. The idea of being up in the sky was a cool gimmick and I loved flying past Wing Fortress and having that small amount of environmental story telling. I'll agree that it's kind of boring for me to play through now, but I have been playing the game for 20 odd years.

I'll agree that the Lava Reef Zone boss isn't great though. It's both boring because you can just jump for a few minutes and beat it, whilst being unfairly unforgiving if you slightly mess up.


I agree with the comments about the characters thematically, but ultimately it would have meant some major work to incorporate massively different play-styles into Sonic 3, as ultimately the levels don't allow for it. I remember for a while as a kid wondering why anyone would play as Sonic when Tails or Knuckles had all their special moves, but now I've mastered the insta-shield and the item shields, Sonic is far more fun to play. If done properly, it would be really awesome to have Sonic be Sonic, Tails be Sonic on easy mode due to his swimming, flying, flying tails attack, but no super form or full ending, and then Knuckles have a very different, slower play-style based around punching and exploration. Realistically this would have risked far too much money because everyone would have said "ugh why the fuck am I going slow in a Sonic game!?" anyway. I think something that I would have liked to have seen addressed in a theoretical re-release of S3K would be some Tails specific paths in the S&K sections, because in S&Ks often more confined levels, he's underutilised at best, and game-breaking at worst.

I've never felt much of a problem with the general idea of the (classic) ring mechanic, as it allows more freedom to enjoy one of the main selling points of the ability to go fast, and allows for the difficulty to be scaled quite nicely with more hazards, non-killable hazards such as pits, crushers and water and less rings to rely on, as the game progresses. One criticism I would offer would be that most of the bosses don't use any of the skills that you would pick up in the actual gameplay, and become a test of getting to the boss and memorising the pattern rather than a test of your skills at the game. This is especially true of the end game, where you're put in an unfamiliar situation with no rings whatsoever.

Other than that, things that are bullshit:

  • The timer should reset after you beat the boss on Death Egg act 2 in S&K (or just can the boss because it's boring, requires little skill and takes too fucking long).

  • The spinning pole things sending me the wrong way in Wacky Workbench only serve to annoy.

  • Pretty much everything in Metropolis being an unfair dick move.

  • The bugs features in Metallic Madness 3 are just bullshit.


Sonic games are good though, really. You should play them some time.

#22 User is offline winterhell 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 02:45 AM

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While the Lava Reef Main Boss is on the other extreme of the spectrum compared to most Sonic bosses that you can camp on top of them, it is probably right about the difficulty. You've had 10 Zones and 20 bosses until him, its only natural to be much harder than Angel Island Zone Act 1 boss.
This post has been edited by winterhell: 21 July 2015 - 02:47 AM

#23 User is offline .Luke 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 03:04 AM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 19 July 2015 - 06:57 AM, said:

The ring loss mechanic.

You're safe from most obstacles provided you have at least one ring, and it's incredibly easy to reclaim that ring once it's lost. This has the effect of making most enemies in the games... ignorable. Sonic 1, 2, and CD at least gave you a purpose for holding onto your rings, as you needed 50 to enter the special stage. In Sonic 3, you no longer even need to do that - the only benefit you get from holding more rings is more points, and the occasional extra life (the latter of which is completely unimportant in a game which throws lives at you like they're rings, and has a save system anyway).

The only real dangers are being crushed, drowning, and falling into bottomless pits. It's probably why S3K introduced a lot more crushing objects into the game, as well as more water-filled areas.


I feel like they addressed that fairly well in Sonic Rush. Holding onto the same set of rings is bad news, because after taking so many hits and recollecting them, the old rings fly farther away from you until the point where they soar off-screen forever. Collecting a fresh ring to reset that is the only way to survive in Rush's boss fights, so the tension of other games with health bars is plenty there; you're doomed if you collect all the rings in the arena in one go.

#24 User is offline MotorRoach 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 07:06 AM

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View PostDigitalDuck, on 20 July 2015 - 08:57 AM, said:


pic

Sky Chase Zone.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.

pic

Lava Reef Zone boss.

It's just shit. It's a filler episode. You wait for ages, and jump occasionally until it's over.


Good lord, these two zones. The LRZ boss is the worst of these two for me (if not plainly the worst boss in the game), because not only it's the most repetitive one, but the concept is just stupid. Technically saying, you don't even defeat the boss, because he defeats himself while you just stay there.

It was even more boring for me because I usually got to the end of that level as Super/Hyper Sonic, which means I didn't even need to jump at all. Heck, some times it was so boring to me, that I remember actually PRETENDING I wasn't Super for the sake of jumping upon the platforms descending. It still didn't make it any more fun to me.

#25 User is offline Deef 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 07:26 AM

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Wow look at all the SCZ/LRZ boss agreements coming out of the woodwork. I guess I was kind of impressed by LRZ boss's challenge (which is perfectly fitting imo) to really dwell on the stand-and-wait aspect of it. Personal tastes aside, at least everyone can understand their criticisms. I didn't realise it was so shared. Good to know. Oh, but hey, what about Sandopolis act 1?! Now that guy bored me.

Also seems I'm the only one who liked how similar the characters were (and wished Knuckles was even more similar). Complete side note, I loved that Tails did have 1 Tails-exclusive area in Hidden Palace Zone. Like one explicit nod from the developers that Tails is still definitely part of the game.

The Sonic Rush ring loss mechanism has always sounded ok to me, but I've only played the (3) games enough to finish them probably only once each. So I've never really thought critically about how well it plays out.

#26 User is offline Dark Sonic 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 07:30 AM

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View PostDeef, on 21 July 2015 - 07:26 AM, said:

Wow look at all the SCZ/LRZ boss agreements coming out of the woodwork. I guess I was kind of impressed by LRZ boss's challenge (which is perfectly fitting imo) to really dwell on the stand-and-wait aspect of it. Personal tastes aside, at least everyone can understand their criticisms. I didn't realise it was so shared. Good to know. Oh, but hey, what about Sandopolis act 1?! Now that guy bored me.

Also seems I'm the only one who liked how similar the characters were (and wished Knuckles was even more similar). Complete side note, I loved that Tails did have 1 Tails-exclusive area in Hidden Palace Zone. Like one explicit nod from the developers that Tails is still definitely part of the game.

The Sonic Rush ring loss mechanism has always sounded ok to me, but I've only played the (3) games enough to finish them probably only once each. So I've never really thought critically about how well it plays out.

No I actually liked that Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles played similarly. That way while the experience was sort of similar, you had some new moves and new paths that could be taken to mix things up a bit. Granted Knuckles probably shouldn't have wheel o feet going on but I think Sonic 3 and Chaotix were the only games Knuckles had that.

#27 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 08:37 AM

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Given that the (likely) intent for their addition was done as an answer to Mario's suits, I think under that context the elemental shields introduced and used in Sonic 3 & Knuckles were a poor response. The main issue is that under most circumstances, they only give the player an couple extra layers of protection, based on their elemental ability as well as the occasional generic badnik/level gimmick projectile. Otherwise, they aren't any better than the standard shield in most cases.

The Lightning Shield's ability of protection against electricity is only utilized in Death Egg (and even then, it is only for Act 2, for the floating treadmill sections that operate around electrified floors). It would easily be the most poorly-implemented elemental shield, had it lacked the additional power of magnetically attracting rings. (In hindsight, this may also explain why the Lightning Shield is the only elemental shield that has been preserved past the classic series in most cases.)
The Water Shield provides underwater breathing, which is great if you are playing through Sonic 3, which has underwater sections in almost every zone (with Marble Garden the odd-man out). Come Sonic & Knuckles, however, and there is no underwater segments to be seen.
This thus leaves the Flame Shield as the least-utilized shield, as Lava Reef is the only zone throughout the game you could use its protection against fire-though to argue on technicalities, it protects against lava in that zone. I don't believe actual fire is used as a environmental hazard in any zone of the game, even the fiery atmosphere in Sonic 3's Angel Island, following Eggman's infiltration, is largely a change on the graphical front (Angel Island boss fight notwithstanding).

And while the shields do provide some exclusive moves for Sonic, they mostly amount to altering Sonic's jump direction, causing a fair amount of overlap and redundancy. Water Shield allows Sonic to bounce on the floor like a ball. Lightning Shield allows Sonic to perform a double jump. Flame Shield allows Sonic to perform an horizontal air dash.

View PostDigitalDuck, on 19 July 2015 - 02:59 PM, said:

I don't like how similar the different characters play in S3K.

Sonic is supposed to be fast. That's great. Sonic is supposed to curl into a ball. That's great too.
Tails being fast? I guess he was trying to be like Sonic, that maybe makes sense. Tails rolling into a ball? No, now he's just Sonic.
Knuckles rolling into a ball? He's the antagonist, you'd expect him to have attacks; echidnas roll into balls too. Knuckles being fast? I thought he was supposed to be the powerful punchy one? Now he's just Sonic.

It makes the three characters feel a bit too much like clones. The only thing separating the characters are what happens when you press jump while already in the air, in all other aspects they're identical (well, Knuckles has a lower jump height, I guess).

One reason I love Sonic Advance is the inclusion of Amy; she actually plays differently. She's still fast like the others, but doesn't curl into a ball, requiring a second button to attack.

I'm not going to claim I prefer it this way to Sonic's usual attack method; but as an alternate character, I welcome the change. I think making Knuckles slower would've helped round everything out completely.


I'm on the fence about this. When playing Amy in Advance, I sometimes feel like her moveset was designed for a different game rather than Sonic, and it doesn't gel with the level design at times. Which would mean I largely prefer the gameplay of Sonic...yet at the same time, I'm not really supportive of Sonic being the only playable character in his games nowadays, and still hope for the likes of characters like Tails and Knuckles to be playable again. So I largely prefer the standard gameplay/moveset, yet I still care about other characters being playable.
This post has been edited by Yeow: 23 February 2016 - 12:23 PM

#28 User is offline DigitalDuck 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 08:51 AM

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View PostDeef, on 21 July 2015 - 07:26 AM, said:

Oh, but hey, what about Sandopolis act 1?! Now that guy bored me.


Bores me too, but at least it's short; also the Flying Battery Act 2 miniboss. It's not impressive in any way, especially when it's just Wing Fortress' boss, and it's not difficult to spindash left, wait five seconds, spindash right, wait five seconds, spindash left, wait five seconds etc.

I'd argue bosses in Sonic games are crap generally, but those ones especially.

#29 User is offline Caniad Bach 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 09:05 AM

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I agree that the shields were under-utilised, a hidden path that you could only get to by traversing lava with the flame shield would have been great.

#30 User is offline Deef 

Posted 21 July 2015 - 10:31 AM

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@DigitalDuck
Boss talk yo. Ok, let me throw some bosses at you. I think these bosses are as good as it gets, so I'm interested in any faults you might identify in them.
Casino Night (especially), Green Hill, Hydrocity Act 2.

The main thing being that the player never had to wait + could always try to attack. Hydrocity wasn't as threatening as the other two, but I admired how it allowed for at least 3 completely different attack styles which each balanced skill and success well.

There are many more bosses I think are very good (ARZ, ICZ2, MHZ1, CPZ), but the three listed above are perfect examples I think. I find literally no faults with them. I don't mind a little bit of downtime in a boss fight, a *little* bit, and only if it is *still* filled with some non-patronising, varied, play to stay alive. Oil Ocean is a good example of the non-patronising part, but it simply takes too long between phases. If it had a faster pace I'd like it. I think LRZ1 is a good example of "can't always attack, but when you can't you still have to get involved".

Bosses I think were simply poor:
Spring Yard, Sandopolis 2, Hill Top, Marble.

But overall we have different feelings about the bosses in general; those that did something different were (mostly) a nice change for me.


View PostYeow, on 21 July 2015 - 08:37 AM, said:

Given that the (likely) intent for their addition was done as an answer to Mario's suits, I think under that context the elemental shields introduced and used in Sonic 3 & Knuckles were a poor response.
I totally agree with this, except with a really different perspective.

You talk of the shields' protection in terms of "only" and feel that's their biggest issue. I think this part of shields was OP yet compared to their other factors (below), OP shields weren't much of a muchness.

In my opinion, character was possibly the biggest fault of Sonic's shields when compared to Mario's suits. Shields only feel like tools. That's totally fine, but when you think of Mario's suits with all that character in comparison, you kind of feel that fun that suits just put in your mind. I'm not suggesting Sonic games should have copied that, it would look cheap, but Sonic Colours definitely added character to its powerups and that definitely added appeal to them, and to the game.

I agree that the shields' moves were completely uninspired. The water shield's bounce is the most interesting, but also the most clumsy. They really do feel like they just got thrown in as an answer to Mario.

Regarding protection, Sonic was already god-like with the rings, so +1 hit +1 element protection +1 projectiles protection was too much if the concern was keeping Sonic alive. If instead we consider the player who doesn't want to lose the shield itself, then I would probably feel that much protection is ok. The problem being that I just never saw the shields as a big deal to lose. The lightning shield was nice yes, but again, compare it to Mario. Losing a suit in Mario is a big freaking deal. It manufactures fun. Losing a shield is nowhere near that.

Regarding paths, I've always wondered if the explicit absence of shield-specific paths was a deliberate design feature or a fault, just because it is so explicit. Paths and shields have nothing (nothing deliberate anyway) to do with each other. I honestly liked the way this communicated to me that I was never going to be patronised with a shield. I have (and at that young age, I had already-) had it up to the eyeballs with game design that says "Here's a power" followed by "Must use power to proceed". This makes me feel like I'm watching Home & Away and that the target audience I've made myuself a part of is apparently meant to be stupid. If I collected a shield in Sonic, I knew it was 100% for my enjoyment, not some level designer's lame spark of upcoming non-brilliance.

But having said all that, I must admit that secreting away some paths and making them shield-dependent would have been a good thing. More for the player to lose, more meaning in a shield. Again, Mario 3 set the example and set it well. Shields, like many things Sonic, were rushed and under-developed. I imagine the devs just designed the levels.... then put shields in them. I imagine someone pointed out the potential being missed, and received in response a reminder that Sonic 3 was so hard up for meeting its deadline that it was about to be chopped in half.



So, I would lift the gameplay brought by shields by:
* adding character (somehow, I don't know how).
* adding meaning (they make a bigger difference somehow without being more OP).
* redesign their controls to something that's more fun and interesting (again, haven't thought of how)
* creating paths that require a shield, BUT never making these paths obligatory, nor even obvious.



I am afraid this will kick off a heap of "Yo I want the <element> shield with move X and protection Y!" posts. Keep it about game design people. :)/>
This post has been edited by Deef: 21 July 2015 - 10:38 AM

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