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TGC's Sonic Advance Series! An inauspicious start to DIMPS' reign!

#1 User is offline Josh 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 02:28 AM

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The Sonic Advance series is a more interesting topic than I thought it'd be. Originally, I figured I'd do what a lot of YouTubers do and lump all three games into one video. Then I played through the first one for the first time in a few years, and quickly realized I had WAY too much to say about it. I'm glad I took this approach, because compared to the original 16-bit trilogy which basically just polished a winning formula to perfection, each game in the Advance trilogy takes a different approach from the others.

This was also the start of DIMPS' reign, and it's always been interesting how close they got to the formula in Sonic Advance, and then promptly never really tried it again, not even for Sonic 4.

Hope you all enjoy! Sonic Advance is out now, Advance 2 will hit April 27, and Advance 3 is out May 4!

#2 User is offline E-122-Psi 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 11:10 AM

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Yeah, after Pocket Adventure which was a straight up scaled down 'best of 16 bit Sonic' rehash and before the later Dimps titles that tried to encapsulate the speed focused formula of the 3D games, this felt like the better compromise, still a bit too rocky and derivative in places to be a Sonic 3 sequel proper, but still closer to a 'Sonic 4' than the proper one they made was (this coming from someone who didn't really mind Sonic 4).

And it goes without saying that I LOVED Amy Rose's gameplay in Advance 1. I think it's a shame they never really tried that sort of thing again, just that extra bit of intuitivity involved to make her a 'lethal joke character'.

My only major issue is the cast seem a bit imbalanced. Amy is good on paper but still maybe a bit too nerfed in areas (the steps and high jump are a bit too weakly implemented to fully counterpart the spin dash and Tails' flying) and Sonic losing his shield abilities and invincible frames of insta shield really dwindles his points over Knuckles and Tails, who if anything GAIN more advantages in this game. I don't even remember if Knuckles still jumps poorly in this one.

Also while the Dreams Come True themes were nice, I admit to kind of liking the Android version's direction of making the title theme the recurring leitmotif for invincibility and what not, kept a bit more of it's own identity.


And by the way, it's AWESOME seeing more Geek Critique videos, you do some of my absolute favourite game reviews on Youtube.
This post has been edited by E-122-Psi: 22 April 2019 - 11:13 AM

#3 User is offline Laughingcow 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 03:13 PM

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Good vid

To answer the "why'd they fail the physics for 4" question again, the answer is they didn't have Yuji Naka supervising them at that point. I'll direct you to an interview with M2 when they had to add the spindash to Sonic 1 only to find out that Sonic Jam had Naka doing the programming despite being credited as "producer". I wouldn't be surprised if the physics engine for Sonic Advance wasn't as least partially programmed by Naka.
http://info.sonicret...ecember_3,_2013)

I still think the Amy Rose gameplay needs work. Echoing the above sentiment, she is "too nerfed in areas". Fortunately, Freedom Planet gives us a nice framework on how this could work better.

#4 User is offline TheInvisibleSun 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 09:51 PM

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Good stuff as usual, Josh! I really hated Amy's gameplay back then; I think the lack of rolling killed it for me, along with the weird conveyance issue with her 'double-jump' hammer attack. Though since I haven't played the game in over a decade, I may be inclined to see if my opinion differs now.

#5 User is offline Billy 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 10:31 PM

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I had no idea about Knuckles' ability to tread water in this game until I watched this video.

Great video. Puts elegantly how I feel about Sonic Advance into words.

#6 User is offline Powpuck 

Posted 22 April 2019 - 11:36 PM

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I didn't know Knuckles could spindash upon landing after a glide (if I'm understanding correctly), let alone that it was something he could do in the original games. It's not something I can pull off in the mobile remasters, and doesn't even seem to be covered in the physics guide.
This post has been edited by Powpuck: 22 April 2019 - 11:39 PM

#7 User is offline Josh 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 01:58 AM

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View PostPowpuck, on 22 April 2019 - 11:36 PM, said:

I didn't know Knuckles could spindash upon landing after a glide (if I'm understanding correctly), let alone that it was something he could do in the original games. It's not something I can pull off in the mobile remasters, and doesn't even seem to be covered in the physics guide.


Yeah, it's actually only because of members here that I know he can do that, and I've found it to be super useful. Interestingly, it seems to be something added late in Sonic & Knuckles' development. Earlier betas of the game didn't allow it, and it was never added to Knuckles in Sonic 2.

Unfortunately, Taxman and Stealth's Retro Engine version of Knuckles was built off of KiStH2, so he can't do it in any of the remasters or Sonic Mania.

#8 User is offline HP Zoner 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 09:20 AM

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I've been meaning to tell you this for quite some time, but I always enjoy your videos! Your reviews are spot on, and even when I disagree with any of the points you make, you always back things up with sound reasoning or admit it's due to personal bias (which I think is absolutely fine, especially when a lot of people pretend they're above that). I also love to hear your personal experiences with the games you review. Your anecdotes are fun and quite relatable!

This time, I did think something you said (or rather, didn't say) was slightly odd, since you lumped Neo Green Hill with the zones that don't visually change between acts, when I always thought it had some of the most unique transitions in a 2D Sonic level (beach -> road -> woods -> bridge). But that's just me being nitpicky, really. I agree with everything else you said, and even though I didn't care much about Amy as a playable character (probably because I never played this game that much), you've convinced me to play as her the next time I pick this up.

Looking forward to your thoughts on Advance 2 and 3!

#9 User is offline MastaSys 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 01:38 PM

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Well i liked Amy gameplay. For the first time a 2D Sonic character wasn't a poor's man Sonic! She was also required a bit more skill than usual, something that i also apreciated.
The lack of spin dash didn't bother me, for the same reason that it doesn't bother me in Sonic 1. And she does gain some speed with her hop anyway.

Psi's Amy Hacks also solidified that opinion. Hopefully Team Mania tackle her once again in the future.

I want it and i wont shutup ever about it.

#10 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:03 PM

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View PostJosh, on 23 April 2019 - 01:58 AM, said:

View PostPowpuck, on 22 April 2019 - 11:36 PM, said:

I didn't know Knuckles could spindash upon landing after a glide (if I'm understanding correctly), let alone that it was something he could do in the original games. It's not something I can pull off in the mobile remasters, and doesn't even seem to be covered in the physics guide.


Yeah, it's actually only because of members here that I know he can do that, and I've found it to be super useful. Interestingly, it seems to be something added late in Sonic & Knuckles' development. Earlier betas of the game didn't allow it, and it was never added to Knuckles in Sonic 2.

Unfortunately, Taxman and Stealth's Retro Engine version of Knuckles was built off of KiStH2, so he can't do it in any of the remasters or Sonic Mania.

What exactly is special about this? I'm trying to do this thinking it's some special move but you can't just press jump as he's crouching after falling down, as he just jumps. If you're holding down as well isn't this just a bog-standard spindash?

Good video, as always.

#11 User is offline Yash 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:16 PM

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Great video as always (I watched it when it came out for the Patreon backers, but watched it again today as well).

I had a lot of fun with Advance 1, and it's still the only game in that particular sub-series I bothered to complete. 2 frustrated me too much (there was a bottomless pit in the 5th level that for I couldn't avoid for the life of me), and I had a pretty similar experience with 3 as you did, though I won't elaborate too much on that point since it's not out for the public yet.

It's a shame that the Advance series had so much potential that was squandered with its sequels moving towards blind, raging speed (coupled with cheap level design). I recall reading that Sonic Rivals on PSP at one point was being developed as a true successor to the Genesis series with a faithful recreation of the physics engine, but Sega stepped in and forced the developers to go a different direction with it. It makes me wonder if the lousy Dimps-isms were forced on them by upper management. Like you said, when Sonic Advance was released there was no reason to assume a 2D Sonic platformer would do anything differently, which has just made Advance look better in hindsight as it's the only game that really nailed it until Mania came out fifteen years later.

#12 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:19 PM

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You say that Advance nailed the gameplay and even cite the loop "tricks" which can still be done to gain more speed, buuuut:
Posted Image
This can't be done in Sonic Advance.


And here's an explanation for that:

JoseTB said:

This reminds me something I once found in S1; I didn't plan to post it but I guess it makes sense to add it here. There's some unreferenced (unused) code located around 0x14f74 in S1 US regarding the way sonic interacts with collision while he's on the air. By nopping the branch at 0x14f70 you can force the game to use that code, and, well, once that's done the behaviour described in the pic won't work. My guess is that they originally intended to do this way but since it causes some problems in SYZ they ended up skipping that code.
Link
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 23 April 2019 - 03:29 PM

#13 User is offline Beltway 

Posted 23 April 2019 - 03:25 PM

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View PostOverlord, on 23 April 2019 - 02:03 PM, said:

What exactly is special about this? I'm trying to do this thinking it's some special move but you can't just press jump as he's crouching after falling down, as he just jumps. If you're holding down as well isn't this just a bog-standard spindash?

Good video, as always.


I think it has something more to do with starting a spindash when Knuckles touches the ground in the gliding animation. I took a quick look at this speedrun and the player when they touch the ground in the gliding animation, is able to start and release very short spindashes that provide decent distance/speed (I presume it retains some of the momentum of the preceding glide).



Meanwhile, starting a spindash with Knuckles after either doing a normal jump or touch the ground during his falling animation (when you stop gliding mid-air) has more of a "cooldown" period that this lacks.

...that's my guess anyway. For what it's worth I've heard about this mechanic only a couple of times before and I've never tried it or seen it in action myself. *throws arms up in the air*
This post has been edited by Beltway: 23 April 2019 - 03:28 PM

#14 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 28 April 2019 - 03:56 PM

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Sonic Advance 2's out, but I'll let Josh post it =P

Phrase "Bitchslap of death" is not used when talking about the Sky Canyon boss, 2/10 would not bang

#15 User is offline Josh 

Posted 28 April 2019 - 04:23 PM

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View PostOverlord, on 28 April 2019 - 03:56 PM, said:

Phrase "Bitchslap of death" is not used when talking about the Sky Canyon boss, 2/10 would not bang


Hey now, I'm only allowed to use language like that when the situation calls for it. Like to describe Sonic's reputation after '06, or when discussing the Power Rangers.



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