Bashing Sonic 3 & Knuckles OTHER THAN THE BARREL

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sid Starkiller, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    I was gonna say Sonic's sprite, Sandopolis, Marble Garden, but people already did this.

    I also don't like the aesthetics of the levels. Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 (and CD) have bright colors, which make the levels look so vivid, while Sonic 3K has colors so pale, so boring.

    And while I find Sonic 3 too short, I find Sonic 3K too long. I'm not sure if Mania is as long as Sonic 3K but I don't have any problem with Mania on this matter. Maybe it's because Mania often 'rewards' the player with sections of great speed, I don't know.

    (Sonic 2 is still my favorite of the series)
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
  2. Sonic 3K is my favorite in the series, and has been ever since I first played it/them. Yes, I still rank it above the masterpiece that is Mania.

    It has always stood out to me as the most complete Sonic game, even before I started learning about the development histories. It has a concise narrative, and unlike Sonic 2, the order of the zones make sense and add to a feel of a natural progression. Unfortunately, with the game being split as it was, Flying Battery's misplacement screwed that flow up a bit. Of course, this is a more recently developed peeve of mine, as when I was a kid the transition from CNZ to ICZ didn't seem odd at all.

    I've always preferred playing as Knuckles, who was also my favorite character when I was a kid. His story makes enough sense, and I love how Eggman was replaced with Eggrobos, but it would have been cool to have his zone order switched up akin to Blaze in Rush. That's certainly not a problem I hold against the game though, just a nice thought. A real problem is Knuckles' gimped jump height that makes Sandopolis act 2 more difficult than it has any right to be.

    I've always seen the sprites here as being the best in the series, with Chaotix and Mania being the only challengers for the title. Sonic Team did do Tails dirty though by not updating his. His sprite was still perfectly fine, but it would've been nice to see him get a fresh coat of paint along with everyone else.

    Marble Garden. It has great music, and an adequate but tame aesthetic. I'm not really a fan of the spinning tops, and I'm very much not a fan of the earthquake. It looks cool and helps to show how dastardly Eggman is with his environmental mutilation. Sometimes I'm just left with little to no time to get out from the falling roofs.

    Uh, sometimes the Blue Spheres are just too damn fast. Gotta love the save system though, as I always have full-emerald saves alongside the naked saves for when I'm just not in the mood to get blue balls.

    Quick recap: FBZ is out of order, Knuckles' jump is too weak, Tails didn't get updated, and Marble Garden has some annoying gimmicks.
     
  3. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    I fffffffucking love the final Death Egg boss, and I will die on the hill of "god I wish Mania's final boss was you actually fighting the Titanic Monarch"


    I also disagree with the "locale" nitpick about the S&K half. I strongly prefer the logical progression of the game's levels instead of the barely-held-together progressions of S3 or Mania and the downright nonsensical Sonic 2 lineup.

    Also:

    They did update his flying sprite, so he no longer looks bewildered to merely be off the ground :V
     
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  4. Josh

    Josh

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    Yeah, I said something about this earlier in the thread, but it kind of got lost near the bottom of a page:

    I think it's telling that among hardcore Genesis-era fans, Sonic 3 is often considered the best game in the series, while Sonic 2 is more beloved outside of, y'know, US.

    And I think it's because (at least until you hit Oil Ocean or so) Sonic 2 was so much more approachable. Sonic 3 has loads more depth and variety and a higher skill ceiling, but its levels are so enormous that basically all of 'em can be a slog until you break that ceiling. A friend of mine loved 1, 2, and CD, but couldn't finish 3 because he kept running out of time. Whereas with Sonic 2, you'll breeze through Emerald Hill, be rewarded with one of the speediest stages in the series in Chemical Plant, and after that water section, you won't really hit a difficulty spike until Mystic Cave.

    Put another way, Sonic 3 is the deeper game on your 20th replay, but you'll probably have more FUN with Sonic 2 on your first or second. Thus the disparity between hardcore fans and more casual Sonic-likers. And while Mania's zones are still freakin' HUGE, I think it intentionally tries to bake in more of that Sonic 2-style approachability. It balances a high skill ceiling with stages that are still speedy, rewarding, and free-flowing if you're NOT so skillful, and I think that's partly why it's so highly thought of by fans and non-fans alike.
     
  5. Swifthom

    Swifthom

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    I think that is fair to an extent...

    Angel Island is a bit stop and start - anyone approaching it looking just for speed is going to be disappointed with all the gimmicks. I adore the level, think its fantastic, but the design philosophy is nowhere near Emerald Hill.

    Someone familiar and deep into the lore of the games looks at Hydrocity and knows it is a fantastic level (probably why Mania toook it) - but to a newcomer they go 'oh no, water levels suck' - it needs the player to muck in and find its actually got great speed segments and is a lot closer to chemical plant than you think.

    Then Marble Zone... again does a lot to slow you down in awkward ways that just break up the speed a lot more rudely than Angel Island did.

    Carnival - Ice Cap - Launch Base I adore but most players not versed in Sonic lore will never get past Carnival Night because of the ******CENSORED CARNIVAL NIGHT GIMMICK ALERT********
     
  6. Wildcat

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    I mentioned not enjoying Hydrocity in the Sonic 1 thread but I do think it is designed better than Labyrinth because it not just dragging through water.

    My main issue was the wall closing in on you part. As an adult it’s not that bad but I’ve always thought 1-hit kills were unfair. Again not a problem now but always found it annoying.

    I really do not see how anyone can still hate the barrels. The first time of course but once you know how it’s easy. Other games have similar things that require swing-like movement.
     
  7. Swifthom

    Swifthom

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    Okay... Sorry, am going to break the threads one rule :(
    But I need to vent and this is the only place for it.

    I didn't get past it for 6 years. Not completing Sonic 3 was an important part of my childhood.

    I repeatedly ran through carnival night and never interacted with a single barrel (save jumping on and jumping off) until that point in the level when it absolutely forces you with no alternative. Just pressing up and down leads to no immediate response, you need to press up and down in time with the barrels movement to effect what you need. Also some other barrels in the level emphatically do not respond to your movement so that is a distracting factor. I jumped, I spin dashed, tried 2 player with Sonic and Tails jumping in tandem, I could see the barrel was moving and sometimes I was so close to getting out at the bottom but it was impossible.
    I spent hours scouring that zone for alternative routes. Hundreds upon hundreds of lives lost as the timer ran out and I accepted there was no alternative.

    And there are other levels that you have to press up or down in later (like the Mushroom Hill pulleys) but at least there one tap of up or down gives you an immediate response. The barrel's dual issue of not being signposted and also requiring complex timing was just... It felt broken, like some bug in the game had got through. And remember, back in the day, there were no patches. Game breaking bugs were tested for but they got through. I was absolutely convinced this was just one of those accidental things and Sonic Team had released a broken game. I was convinced about it for years. I loved everything else in the game, I read Sonic comics, I watched the cartoons, I had a duvet on my bed with Sonic's face on.
    I loved every moment of them but Carnival Night was just something not to be discussed.

    I died with time out so many times. A friend gave me the level select code - so I did play Ice Cap and Launch base. Carnival Night aside Sonic 3 was my favorite game, Sonic and Knuckles was my second favorite. With the locked on Knuckles component you dont have to face the barrel, so I could finally properly experience the game in its full when playing as Knuckles in 1995! I saw Knuckles ending but for Sonic and Tails I was stuck at Carnival Night for years. I must have put 200+ hours into these games combined but I never actually 'completed' Sonic 3, never saw the Doomsday zone, until long after I had played Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, joined the internet to rave about how great it was, and discovered what the 'trick' was.

    I felt absolutely gutted - like part of my childhood had been ripped out.
    There's no anger any more, just deep remorse that this is the ONE THING stopping this game from being perfect.

    I honestly believe Sonic 3 and Knuckles is the best 2D platformer game of its generation - that if Taxman had done a widescreen port of it then it would reclaim that throne as the best platformer in history, but for me the experience is permanently marred.

    P.S. Okay, re reading what I posted, I have an answer of what the game could do better.

    Activating the level select is hard. You have to press Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up in a very narrow window of time.
    Sonic 2 just needed you to put certain music track selectons, Sonic 1 was a deliciously simple and memorable Up, Down, Left, Right, A, start which is both memorable and satisfying. But I got SO GOOD at button mashing the level Select in Sonic 3.

    The game would have been objectively improved if it had reused Sonic 1s level select cheat code. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2020
  8. Josh

    Josh

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    That's impressive! I only pulled it off a few times. Once I figured out I could use Sonic 2 to unlock Level Select in Sonic 3, that's what I always did, haha.

    But maybe it's been a while? I'm pretty certain the code is "Up, up, down, down, upupupupupupupupupup... it didn't work, *resets Genesis for the billionth time*"
     
  9. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Ditto. I think I did it legitimately ONCE in my entire life.
     
  10. Palas

    Palas

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    The thing about the barrel though is that it's not the only instance of a function that the game wants you way too bad to learn. As a kid, I played S3&K at school and I didn't know that the spindash existed at all. So when Angel Island forced you to spindash through the rocks, I just had no idea how to do it. Rolling didn't work, so what would? Some kids from my class would accidentally do it, but not know what they did that broke the rocks.

    Again in Carnival Night, to this day I'm not sure I use the baloon-like-platforms in Carnival Night right because I just can't make them float as much as they look like they should. And there's a section in which you HAVE to use them to go up, and I always feel like I'm cheesing it when going through the game.

    Many, many years later, I played Sonic & Knuckles on an emulator and got stuck in the double vines because, again, I didn't know what a spindash was. But then I already had Google so I could look for a solution.

    So anyway, this dependency on very specific gimmicks to have Sonic move is not seen anywhere else in the classic era, and a general philosophy I dislike. You can probably go through Sonic 2 without ever spindashing, even if it's harder, and I prefer that kind of approach to level design.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  11. Swifthom

    Swifthom

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    The necessity (Ice Cap was so good to replay) made it a mandatory requirement for me to get that code down.
    I couldn't do it for my life now but, back in the day, three times out of four I'd get it to work.

    I think I'd agree with this. For me the best gimmicks are optional - I.E. reveal shortcuts or secret areas or bonus stages. As long as it is possible to proceed without engaging, even if the other route is slower, less fun, etc... the gimmicks are fine as long as they have an element of optionality that makes you WANT to engage with them rather than HAVE to.

    I don't think it's any surprise the levels that find this balance are usually the more popular ones (glares particularly at Marble Garden). But for me its fine - the variety is a strength and gives variety, but I can acknowledge is no to everyones taste
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  12. TheOcelot

    TheOcelot

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    Trying to access level select via the main menu (Up, Up, Down, Down, Up, Up, Up, Up) is very tricky. I prefer accessing level select via the Angel Island method (whilst swinging on the vine-things and pressing; left, left, left, right, right, right, Up, Up, Up, hold A and press Start) which is much easier.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  13. Wildcat

    Wildcat

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    You’re right. The barrels needing a special movement was pointless. I don’t remember how I figured it out. I think it was pointed out to me somehow but once I knew what to do actually moving it was easy is what I meant.

    The problem is it’s totally unexpected. There’s suddenly an obstacle that only moves with a specific motion and timing. Nothing acts like that in Sonic 1 or 2 either.

    Maybe they thought it made for a simple gag to go with the Carnival theme. That’s the only explanation I can think of.
     
  14. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Well, since we're on the barrel anyway...

    What was worse for me was the my parents wouldn't let me call the Help Line. They told me they had the phone company disable our ability to call 900 numbers, and I never thought to try and see if they lied. I actually learned the transformation glitch before learning the proper way through. So I literally spent YEARS never knowing that Super Tails was a thing or what the game's bad ending looked like (I didn't have any magazines to learn the level select cheat).

    The real problem was that with every other barrel of its type, just jumping was enough. It was the ONLY barrel where the "swing pumping" was necessary to proceed.
     
  15. Josh

    Josh

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    Nah, they did it so you'd have to call the Sega Tips Hotline to learn what to do. Conspicuously, the official strategy guide made no mention of it. So after the better part of a year, I finally convinced my parents to let me call it, and lo and behold, that was one of the first things on the menu.
     
  16. Swifthom

    Swifthom

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    Ouch....
    The microtransactions of the day - hot line help desks :(

    Thanks, I am conflating the two techniques.
    The main menu (upx2,downx2,upx3) was the one I used to button mash, I learnt the angel Island one later and it is much, much, much easier.
     
  17. Starduster

    Starduster

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    Sonic 3 & Knuckles was my favourite in the series prior to Mania's release, so I thought it'd be difficult for me to bash, but after reading what other people have been saying I'm beginning to remember the issues I have with the game.

    • I really dislike Sonic's sprite and feel that in general the art direction is inferior to Sonic 2.
    • Several level tropes feel stale and generic in retrospect. This may be because the early games were so influential that they feel basic by comparison to what's come since, but AIZ, CNZ, ICZ, FBZ, SZ and DEZ feel to me either like generic video game settings or retreads of locales from Sonic 1 and 2. That of course doesn't mean they're devoid of novelty or creativity, but I think the envelope could've been pushed further.
    • The bosses are boring and/or tedious. Compared to Sonic 2, I feel like the bosses are nowhere near as creative. The aerial boss of Marble Garden Zone is the only one I really remember having fun with. Otherwise I found the arenas to be rather plain or the felt as though I was waiting too long to be able to hit the bosses safely. I know you can brute force it with the rings, but that's not really the point, is it? Also Knuckles was a complete letdown, he's way to easy to stun lock.
    • As stated by someone else earlier in the thread, the game's level design is rather stop-start. This isn't a hugely persistent problem I feel, but I don't think the exploration and speed is balanced very elegantly. I appreciate it's a little unfair to compare the game to Mania given the time and analysis that has occurred between them, but I think that game captures said balance far better.
     
  18. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Wait for real? That's pretty sleazy if true, damn.
     
  19. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    We have no proof IIRC, but it's not an unreasonable assumption to make.
     
  20. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    I'm just impressed that you could make the level select activation in Sonic 3. I was NEVER able to do that.