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Sonic 2 Level Order Your thoughts...?

#1 User is offline KingofHarts 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:37 AM

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So I'm playing through Sonic 2... and also working on some concept ideas for my fangame... and it hit me... out of all 3 games, Sonic 2 really does have the WORST level order layout of the three... It just doesn't feel like the levels are in the order they should be... EHZ is a great start... but CPZ comes out of nowhere IMO... then ARZ, and out of nowhere, CNZ... although that's not quite as bad IMO, then all of a sudden we are on Hilltop Zone, then after that it makes a little more sense with MCZ. OOZ follows, no real complaints. Metropolis, Sky Chase, Wing Fortress, and Death Egg conclude the game, and those 4 are without a doubt perfect where they are... but how about the others?

Maybe I'm wrong? But I feel like it's just not right... how would you guys do it? IF you would change it... or is the level order just fine, and I'm looking too deep into things that are probably not even there?

EDIT: The one thing I would change more than anything else is Chemical Plant Zone's placement... just thought I'd add that in.
This post has been edited by KingofHarts: 24 March 2012 - 11:02 AM

#2 User is offline Knucklez 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:16 AM

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You're right. I always thought it was out of whack, like how the hell did Sonic jump from a tropical island to a chemically polluted city? There had to be some legit transition in-between.

Level transitions were only introduced in the second half of the game, with the first half making you question what's really going on.

I think a more appropriate level should go like this:

Emerald Hill > (transition deeper through the island's forests and mountains) Aquatic Ruin
Aquatic Ruin > (transition into the mountain caves) Mystic Cave
Mystic Cave > (transition up and out onto mountain peaks) Hill Top Zone
Hill Top Zone > (transition down the mountains towards nearby cities) Casino Night
Casion Night > (continue through the cities to a more industrialized area) Chemical Plant
Chemical Plant > (reach the shores of the industrialized cities) Oil Ocean
Oil Ocean > (transition into Eggman's metropolis) Metropolis
Metropolis > Sky Chase > Wing Fortress > Death Egg.

The Hill Top > Casino Night > Chemical Plant > Oil Ocean level order makes a lot of sense in that they give a day-time/night-time progression with Oil Ocean giving a finishing touch with a sun rise.

#3 User is offline Mr. Mash 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:31 AM

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I'm pretty sure they arranged them in order of difficulty, apart from the last few. It's hard to tell now though, because I've been playing it for 15 years so everything's easy.
I think it's more important that they have a wide variety of types and settings of levels than that they necessarily make sense

#4 User is offline jasonchrist 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

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Emerald Hill (Coast)
Hill Top
Mystic Cave
Hidden Palace
Aquatic Ruin
Wood
Casino
Chemical Plant
Metropolis
Oil Ocean (To Coast)
Sky Chase
Wing Fortress
Death Egg

#5 User is offline Hinchy 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:57 AM

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I wouldn't put Hill Top next to Emerald Hill simply because they're TOO similar. It's better to punctuate that with a few zones... Knucklez has the right idea.
This post has been edited by Hinchy: 24 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

#6 User is offline Machenstein 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:20 PM

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Sonic 1 had this same problem, but the difference is there was an intended level order. There's a reason why Labyrinth Zone is right under Green Hill Zone in the level select screen. The game was suppose to progress in a way where the levels would get more and more industrialized until you get the Scrap Brain Zone. Of course, since Labyrinth Zone was too difficult for first time players, Sonic Team moved it into the fourth zone slot instead.

#7 User is offline Keith Stack 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

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Wouldn't it be a lot more boring if all the natural levels and all the city levels were lumped together? I like the variety going from level-to-level.

#8 User is offline Black Squirrel 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:28 PM

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Sonic 2's level layout is fine. In fact, it sort-of makes sense.

You've got Sonic and Tails running through various rural areas on the heels of Dr. Robotnik. They keep encountering things which look like bases, only to find they're not the headquarters, and so the two move on. Eventually there's the realisation that actually, Robotnik's main base is in SPACE.

Sonic 1 does this too on a much smaller scale, as does Sonic 3.

#9 User is offline David The Lurker 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

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Yuji Naka in the Sonic Jam Guidebook said:

At first this stage was set to appear about after Zone 10. Although there would be fewer Acts this time, we thought having about 18 zones would be good, but having each zone stand out and fit in the story in a way that was easy to follow, in the end it dropped down to 11 zones, and Chemical Plant was placed as the second stage. In the end, it was a success (laughs).


Chemical Plant, aside from the whole "megamack" sections, isn't a particularly hard zone, so it makes sense that it would be moved up. Just like the aforementioned Labyrinth Zone example, but in reverse. But really, Sonic the Hedgehog levels are about diversity. Even in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which has the level transitions, you had levels that might not make exact sense in the order they were received if you weren't given an excuse for them. Jungle level, underwater city, ruins area, modern carnival, snow covered mountaintops, tropical shoreline built over with a launch base, mushroom covered forest, flying fortress, desert level, lava filled cavern, non lava cavern, floating ruins, flying fortress, and just space. Really, it's only the last few levels that actually flow into each other, just like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. To be perfectly fair, that's all you need. I don't want to go through four tropical levels followed by four city levels. I want to see as much of Sonic's world as possible in one game, jumping from one location to another and not having any idea what to expect next. As long as it starts in some hilly landscape and ends at the heart of Eggman's latest base of operations, I could not care less what the order of everything is inbetween. As long as there is a gradual curve of difficulty.

Hell, you can even say the same thing about Sonic Adventure. The hubworlds are an excuse to get from place to place, but that doesn't always make the flow of levels make sense either. Emerald Coast, Windy Valley, Casinopolis, Ice Cap, Twinkle Park...not exactly a natural progression.

Maybe that is one of the things that bothers me about Sonic Adventure 2. They spent way too much time focusing on creating a flow of levels that actually led into each other. And that kinda hurt the game, because at the end of it, even if you had 30 separate levels, they were only in about four different locations. City, Desert, Space, Jungle. Nothing really special about any of them.

#10 User is offline KingofHarts 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

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View PostKnucklez, on 24 March 2012 - 11:16 AM, said:

The Hill Top > Casino Night > Chemical Plant > Oil Ocean level order makes a lot of sense in that they give a day-time/night-time progression with Oil Ocean giving a finishing touch with a sun rise.


I was always under the impression that Oil Ocean was during a sunset..
EDIT: Not that this matters to me... IF I can get it working correctly, one thing I want in my fangame is a day/night system across the zones. That, though, would be one of those final things I would TRY to add.
This post has been edited by KingofHarts: 24 March 2012 - 11:14 PM

#11 User is offline HarrisonJ 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:39 PM

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It seems to me that Sonic 3 and Knuckles is the only one of the pre-Adventure games in which the level progression makes any sense at all. Before that they just seem to be arranged by difficulty and nothing more, with fairly random jumps between areas except for the final few levels.

#12 User is offline Machenstein 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:07 PM

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I rather like Black Squirrel's explanation of Sonic 2's level order. Sonic and Tails start off in the woodlands, just to find out later that half of it's been turned into a polluted chemical engineering plant. Sonic and Tails destroy the chemical engineering plant and restore the woodlands back to the way they were, only to find out later that a sacred ruins site has been turned into a casino. It's like every two levels in the game are their own mini-stories of Sonic and Tails saving natural landscapes from becoming another one of Eggman's bases.
This post has been edited by Machenstein: 24 March 2012 - 11:08 PM

#13 User is offline KingofHarts 

Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:12 PM

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View PostHarrisonJ, on 24 March 2012 - 10:39 PM, said:

It seems to me that Sonic 3 and Knuckles is the only one of the pre-Adventure games in which the level progression makes any sense at all. Before that they just seem to be arranged by difficulty and nothing more, with fairly random jumps between areas except for the final few levels.


I can buy into Sonic 1's level progression... I even like to clump together the MD and GG levels of Sonic 1 and it still makes some sense to me,

GHZ can transition into Bridge Zone perfectly, and Marble Zone as well, based on appearance, MZ's appearance is similar to GHZ at first, THEN it gets different when you get into the underground and lava bits. Plus Bridge Zone and Marble Zone have very similar backgrounds, leading me to believe that they could be close to one another. Spring Yard and Jungle Zone appear almost out of nowhere, but I don't have too much issue with them. (Jungle actually fits a little bit more, and I'd put Spring Yard after Jungle Zone)

Labyrinth Zone appears out of the blue in the Mega drive Sonic 1. But the map in GG Sonic 1 kinda gives an excuse... I like that touch, so I can forgive it. Star Light and Scrap Brain are more urban/industrial, respectively, and are good closers IMO.

EDIT: Forgot about Sky Base Zone. I love Sky Base Zone. That is a perfect Final Zone, and is miles ahead of the Final Zone we got for the Mega Drive IMO.

Sonic 2 is the one that really gets me, but I think the main problem is that there is no way to provide any rhyme or reason to it, such as cutscenes or maps or anything... Maybe if it had this, it wouldn't be that bothersome at all. I am hoping to provide such a map system in my Free Play Mode of my fangame. (A very early mockup of the screen concept is up on my facebook page, minus the zones/islands. Those still need to be drawn)
This post has been edited by KingofHarts: 24 March 2012 - 11:13 PM

#14 User is offline Shadow Fire 

Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:10 AM

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View PostKnucklez, on 24 March 2012 - 11:16 AM, said:

You're right. I always thought it was out of whack, like how the hell did Sonic jump from a tropical island to a chemically polluted city? There had to be some legit transition in-between.

Level transitions were only introduced in the second half of the game, with the first half making you question what's really going on.

I think a more appropriate level should go like this:

Emerald Hill > (transition deeper through the island's forests and mountains) Aquatic Ruin
Aquatic Ruin > (transition into the mountain caves) Mystic Cave
Mystic Cave > (transition up and out onto mountain peaks) Hill Top Zone
Hill Top Zone > (transition down the mountains towards nearby cities) Casino Night
Casion Night > (continue through the cities to a more industrialized area) Chemical Plant
Chemical Plant > (reach the shores of the industrialized cities) Oil Ocean
Oil Ocean > (transition into Eggman's metropolis) Metropolis
Metropolis > Sky Chase > Wing Fortress > Death Egg.

The Hill Top > Casino Night > Chemical Plant > Oil Ocean level order makes a lot of sense in that they give a day-time/night-time progression with Oil Ocean giving a finishing touch with a sun rise.

Y'know, you just posted the EXACT level order I used for Sonic: The Lost Land 2. Don't believe me? Download it and test it out. :P It's been that way for ages, and even a guy on YouTube, after seeing someone's Let's Play, commented on the excellent choice of level order.

#15 User is offline KingofHarts 

Posted 25 March 2012 - 01:43 AM

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View PostShadow Fire, on 25 March 2012 - 12:10 AM, said:

View PostKnucklez, on 24 March 2012 - 11:16 AM, said:

You're right. I always thought it was out of whack, like how the hell did Sonic jump from a tropical island to a chemically polluted city? There had to be some legit transition in-between.

Level transitions were only introduced in the second half of the game, with the first half making you question what's really going on.

I think a more appropriate level should go like this:

Emerald Hill > (transition deeper through the island's forests and mountains) Aquatic Ruin
Aquatic Ruin > (transition into the mountain caves) Mystic Cave
Mystic Cave > (transition up and out onto mountain peaks) Hill Top Zone
Hill Top Zone > (transition down the mountains towards nearby cities) Casino Night
Casion Night > (continue through the cities to a more industrialized area) Chemical Plant
Chemical Plant > (reach the shores of the industrialized cities) Oil Ocean
Oil Ocean > (transition into Eggman's metropolis) Metropolis
Metropolis > Sky Chase > Wing Fortress > Death Egg.

The Hill Top > Casino Night > Chemical Plant > Oil Ocean level order makes a lot of sense in that they give a day-time/night-time progression with Oil Ocean giving a finishing touch with a sun rise.

Y'know, you just posted the EXACT level order I used for Sonic: The Lost Land 2. Don't believe me? Download it and test it out. :P It's been that way for ages, and even a guy on YouTube, after seeing someone's Let's Play, commented on the excellent choice of level order.


Perhaps I may make an alternate level order or two? This one does look great. And I have played Lost Land 2. One of the first hacks on this site I tried out, after Megamix of course... Good stuff.

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