Bashing Sonic 3 & Knuckles OTHER THAN THE BARREL

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

  1. Mana

    Mana

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    I won't invalidate your bashing but I think this was on purpose. After mushroom hill you go directly to the enemy's airbase and then deeper and deeper underground and into the unknown with the colors being more bland and sterile to help represent this. It makes the moment where you're flown to Sky Sanctuary, full of color and beauty, that much more exciting. It's a final breath of fresh air after so much grey and brown and sets you up to remember what you're fighting to stop Eggman from destroying. Because the world under him would be as bland as those scary worlds.

    I'm 100% sure that was a purposeful design choice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  2. Nova

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    What a novel way of looking at it. I like it!
     
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  3. Mana

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    It's hurt because someone got the idea to move Chemical Plant Zone to Zone 2 instead of later but Sonic 2 does the same thing with the early zones being open and very grassy and then the later ones, as you get closer to Eggman, being more sterile and claustophobic. It makes the ending where Sonic and Tails meet each other again more exciting.

    Sonic Mania follows the same thing with each zone after Mirage Saloon being darker, more sterile, and less colorful until the moment of freedom when you beat the game. Those games doing the same things help support that this was intentional.
     
  4. Bryn2k

    Bryn2k

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    It took me longer to get S3&K in cart form than S1 and S2 so my first experiences were actually a S3 Collection PC demo and then emulation. However much I enjoy the game, it does have some things that just grate a little.

    The first thing that bugged me was the length of stages, some are just obnoxiously long with repeating gimmicks, lots of stage length is padding, rather than unique challenges - I'll come back to these in sequence.

    Second thing is I don't like the flashing on/off RINGS text for 0 - much prefer the yellow/red of the other games.

    Angel Island is good, the fire sequence was brilliant, although on my first ever play through years and years ago I thought you could prevent it but given attacking the boss here is likely to just hurt you, it's not worth the effort to even try. Always amused me that you could bug the game into playing Act 2's music by entering the giant ring after that OBNOXIOUS SPIKE CRUSH right after the star post once the place goes into firestorm mode. Act 2's boss was horrendous first time I tried it, the auto-scroll from the green Flying Battery not adding much to the battle other than gratuitous Tails Abuse.

    Hydrocity (and it's Hydro-city, not Hydrossity, that boils my piss!) is mostly epic, music and concept, apart from the over-reliance on the hand-crank speed boosters and the wall of doom which isn't hard, it's just annoying, not sure why the yellow spring was there in S3 alone, a 10 ring monitor instead of the lock on 1up would have been a better item. Presumably the star post is a programming limitation if the wall kills you because doing the Act 1/2 transition again would screw things? The Act 2 music alone makes up for everything though. That opening drum beat. The washing machine boss and the far too long vertical climb with the crushers/spikes in Act 2 (at least your reward is a skim across water bit) can burn in hell though.

    Marble Garden having several earthquake sequences before the giant one with the falling ceiling at the end is an unnecessary repeat of the same gimmick. At least in Hill Top it happened only once per act unless you managed to somehow get onto both paths in Act 2. This and those blue spinning tops seem to be in the game purely to show off the hardware capabilities rather than enhance the game play. Having to attack *numerous* arrow shooters And the Act 2 boss can go fuck itself as well. The music for this stage is just meh, I've never really enjoyed it as much as other tracks in the game.

    Carnival Night just sucks ass. Nothing about this stage is enjoyable, the length is too long, the gimmicks repeat far too much, it has the irritating "two springs next to each other" trap that only ever makes sense in Sonic CD near a timewarp sign. This is easily the worst zone in the entire classic series. It has none of the fun of Casino Night or even Spring Yard and Collision Chaos. The barrel is the least of this zone's problems.

    Ice Cap is okay I guess, I like the music but the stage design is nothing amazing, the snowboarding bit is a gimmick that doesn't add much else but a chance to have rings for the main stage. There are some bullshit crush deaths and the forever vertical loop is not a clever design feature, it's just a time-sapper. The worst sin of Ice Cap is over-reliance on the speed-dash lifts.

    Launch Base is challenging but doesn't feel like a crapshoot, just take it steady and plan movement and you get through. The three bosses in a row though is overkill, especially if you balls up Big Arms and have to go back to Eggman's Ballshitter as Cybershell called it. Not a problem in the full game I know.

    Mushroom Hill has the seasons gimmick, which is funky, the see-saw lifts are another time-sapper. Nothing special here other than the birth of the auto-runner as others have mentioned.

    Flying Battery is great apart from the screw elevators which... again are a time-sapper. The reliance on these set pieces is not good, it just wastes down that timer. Definitely the zone Wing Fortress wanted to be. The Act 1 boss is a bit lame though.

    Sandopolis. Nope. Worst zone in the second half. Act 2 especially. It's not fun, it's just annoying.

    Lava Reef will kick your ass but it's good fun and with excellent music. Both acts are long but none of it really feels obnoxious until "Act 3", which mixes auto-runner with marathon boss. The worst of both unless you get the fire shield and just cheese it out.

    Hidden Palace needs more "OH NO" when you hit Knuckles.

    Sky Sanctuary has epic music, it feels like you're getting somewhere. The rehash bosses are... something. I get rehashing Green Hill but what made them pick Metropolis of all things? Another time-sapper. Eggrobos are pretty annoying in this stage but managable.

    Death Egg's biggest sin is the 3-2-1 ring tracks that you have to sit and wait to be ejected from and the "engine room" in Act 1 where you're just flung around the screen and hope to hit the damn buttons in the middle to be spat out the other side. Act 2's anti-gravity takes a bit of getting used to but it's bearable. The moving conveyors are a bit of a pain that's over-used but it's a final level challenge and Sonic wouldn't be Sonic without conveyor belts. What I really don't like is the Act 2 boss which I always have difficulty with and then the marathon final boss which is OK unless you balls it up and have to do it Sonic 2 style with no rings (but thankfully a 0:00 timer reset).

    Because of the depth perception issues I seem to have, I've never successfully completed all 14 Blue Spheres, so the only way I've ever got to the Doomsday is level select. It's okay I guess? Nothing amazing, and trying to trick the homing missiles to hit Eggman can be fiddly.

    I sound like I'm really welching on S3&K but overall the game has far more positives than negatives. The above stuff is just what makes me raise an eyebrow when I play.
     
  5. Palas

    Palas

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    I really hate this part. It's VERY aggravating that doing nothing is the fastest way to hit all the buttons. What's the point, even?
     
  6. muteKi

    muteKi

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    Things I don't like about Sonic 3K, some of which were already mentioned:

    * 3 zones with water in a row, then nothing for the back half of the game.

    * Knuckles still goes to Flying Battery despite it not making sense

    It's possible to fix these, mostly, by adjusting the level order so FBZ shows up after CNZ. Few modders are interested in dropping a whole level for Knuckles understandably, and the boss does have a unique harder fight style for Knuckles. But the water thing doesn't apply as strongly to Knuckles anyway. Still, water only in the first half of the game is weird.

    * The glowing spheres bonus is so lucrative the other two stages may as well not exist. Neither the gumball or slot machine is very rewarding, especially because it's fairly easy to tell which parts of the glowing spheres stage give specific shields.

    * After all the effort the game goes through to make act transitions as seamless as possible, the one to the lava reef boss act is especially jarring, even more so given that it involves falling into a pit that would normally kill you outside of the pre-transition cutscene. Then the autoscrolling happens because...? Weirdly abstract challenge for the series.

    * I also don't like that Hidden Palace uses LRZ2 music. The art style makes Sky Sanctuary or an arrangement thereof arguably more appropriate, as was the case in prerelease versions.

    * When the color choices are bad they're pretty ridiculously bad. Tails is exactly the same colors as AIZ2. ICZ1 gives us a blue character in a blue level on a blue background da ba dee da ba dye. It's half a wonder LRZ3 isn't a Knuckles-exclusive level.

    *Marble Garden's Robotnik fight is just terrible as Tails. If you get hit, which is pretty likely unless you're being extremely slow and careful, you won't get to collect any lost rings. The flying controls just aren't precise enough for the challenge.

    * Anybody else think it's weird how Robotnik, Tails, and Knuckles fall into the LBZ2 water consecutively? Robotnik especially; he doesn't fly away or anything!

    * Inconsistencies with boss audio cues in vanilla S3K. Marble Garden digging encounters use the Robotnik boss music, but the Knuckles boss doesn't. Neither does the laser boss in Flying Battery.

    * S&K ending sequence uses Sky Sanctuary too much. It's the music during the end cutscene and then takes up most of the credits medley.

    Fortunately both of those are fixed in major mods.

    * Dr. Robotnik's deadly speed traps.
     
  7. DigitalDuck

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    I don't like that LRZ2 uses Hidden Palace music. To me it fits Hidden Palace but not LRZ2.
     
  8. Nah, I think it fits LRZ2 better. Don't get me wrong - I think it's fine in Hidden Palace - but it just works in LRZ more for me. It gives off a more endgame-y feel that I think really suits the cooled-down lava environment.

    I don't think it fits the Hidden Palace aesthetic that much; I think a subdued, more somber version of Sky Sanctuary would've been better.
     
  9. Dek Rollins

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    I think saving Sky Sanctuary for Sky Sanctuary was a good move. I think using any form of that melody beforehand would lessen the dramatic impact of the beginning of the zone.
     
  10. SystemsReady

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    Yeah, Hidden Palace is too mysterious and melancholy for the bombastic and grand Sky Sanctuary theme IMO. If anything, I actually feel that the LRZ2 theme doesn't match LRZ2. It has the same backing melody occasionally crop up from LRZ1 but not much else in common in terms of musical theming to match the first act's.
     
  11. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I mean you're not wrong, but given how different the acts are, I think it's fitting. Act 1 focuses on the "lava cavern" stuff, and has rather tense music to boot. Even the boss is faught in front of a giant...lavafall, I guess? Then Act 2 starts...and the lavafall instantly supercools. To the point where Sonic can run on top of it with no issue. Act 2 then immediately gains a lot more metal structure (perhaps Eggman was mining in there?), there's a lot less outright lava and more focus on giant crystals. Hell, the big Act 2 boss is only a threat because the Death Egg's superweapons superheated the area. Once the boss is beaten, once again the area cools down to "I can walk on it again" levels, and transitions to the remarkably similar looking Hidden Palace.

    So yes, the two tracks are very different, but it's clearly for a reason.
     
  12. Palas

    Palas

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    LRZ2 feels very mystical, but I think it's incredibly fitting. There's an additional reason for it: it's your last chance to get all (super) emeralds, and when you reach it, you finally recognize the structures you've seen for the entirety of S&K. It's very foreboding if you don't have all emeralds yet, which is silly when you've replayed one thousand times, but very impactful in your first playthrough. It really makes you feel like everything is coming together, and there's something really mystical about it.

    The music only helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
  13. Mana

    Mana

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    I always thought LRZ2 and Hidden Palace having the same music worked because how closely they tie into each other and how they both really pull the mystery and lore of the story together (we finally get to see what the Death Egg actually can do, we finally find out about the legend of Sonic facing Eggman for the emerald, Knuckles realizes he was tricked) before the final zones.

    When you hear the music in LRZ2 it makes it clear you're headed towards something special and then Hidden Palace proves that you were right. Any other choice of Song might not have made the Zone connections as clear.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
  14. Fred

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    It's not. It's because the soundtrack was already selected/composed by the time they decided to add Hidden Palace Zone. (Considering that HPZ occupies the act 2 slots of the LRZ and DEZ boss acts, this could have been as late as Sonic & Knuckles.)

    Had HPZ been in the cards from the start, it would probably have its own music track.
     
  15. Mana

    Mana

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    How about this then. it WORKS because of that.
     
  16. Mr. Fox

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    Yeah I suppose the super emeralds and HPZ were added pretty late in the development. Like, hey we're splitting this game anyway and we have two sets of special stages, gotta do something with them right.

    But this makes me wonder if the master emerald was in the original plans, and if so where would it be placed.
     
  17. Pengi

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    The Knuckles portion of the JP Sonic 3 manual mentions the Chaos Emerald altar:

    So this is how the manual compares to what we actu:lly saw in Sonic & Knuckles.

    * The altar is in the depths of the island's earth (Yes)
    * Houses 7 Chaos Emeralds (7 Super Emeralds, so sort of)
    * The 7 emeralds power a crystal Pillar that protects the island (Replaced with Master Emerald - its pedestal isn't really a pillar. Master Emerald "powers up" when all 7 Super Emeralds present.)
    * Has a legend of a dragon egg (Changed to a mural of Eggman/Super Sonic.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
  18. Koutoni

    Koutoni

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    Like Sonic 2... the Special Stages. Though they’re to some extent less rage inducing gameplay-wise in 3 than 2 since Tails isn’t randomly running into spikes every few seconds, I personally never really got on with the whole pseudo-3D effect very well (hurts my eyes, though I’m probably in the minority here) and honestly it’s much worse in 3’s case with the whole revolving circle or whatever it’s supposed to be. At least 1/2/CD special stages were enjoyable and playable to the extent they are, 3’s just really make me not want to even bother.

    Note that pre-rendered sprites are fine on my eyes (DKC is in my opinion a work of art and not a game, given it was a SNES game not even using special chips!) it’s pseudo-3D environments like those the S2/3 special stages used that bug me...
     
  19. The stages in the Sonic 3 half aren't all that. None of them impress me that much, they tend to have annoying gimmicks, and they frequently outstay their welcome. Angel Island Zone is fine, but just not as fun as Green Hill or Emerald Hill. Hydrocity is pretty good, but has too much crushing. Marble Garden has those terrible tops and is just not very fun overall. Carnival Night Zone is a pain in the butt, stuffed to the gills with gimmicks with much higher frustration value than entertainment value and an Act 2 that is too long for my liking. Ice Cap Zone actually has some pretty decent gimmicks, combined with amazing aesthetics, but the level design is a definite letdown. Launch Base Zone is pretty good and doesn't have any glaring issues, but it's not good enough to make up for the mediocrity of the rest of the zones. And in S&K, you have Sandopolis Act 2...
     
  20. AeonicB

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    I'm not going to disagree, but I really dislike the shading in S3&K. There's a lot going on, technically speaking, making great use of the limited color palette, like great choices for shade and highlight colors.

    But the actual shading itself feels off and wrong. A lot of it is more realistically shaded with texturing on rocks etc., which clashes with the general theme of the cartoony shading used in Sonic 1, 2 and CD, and in fact, a lot of the franchise as a whole around that time.

    I like the general idea of it, it does a lot with a limited color palette, I like the level designs, but the actual execution drives me up the walls.