Bashing Sonic CD

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by JustAMotobug, May 6, 2020.

  1. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    The version of the game I'm most familiar with is the Mega Collection one. I played the original when I was very little but I don't remember most of it - it was one of the first cartridges to get ruined in shipping when we moved back from overseas.
     
  2. Retroman

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    The version I've played is the PC port of Sonic CD American release on Windows 95. Man that thing was slow, but really nostalgic. The wait times along with hearing the 1995-era hard-disk churning out whenever loading a level, seeing the classic cream-colored CRT Monitor on top of the flatbed cream IBM hard drive back in the floppy and disc days. Having the compact green fabric chair that creaked as soon as you moved left and right. Hearing the Sonic CD Sonic Boom soundtrack play when you leave the game to play the intro was sweet.

    A couple of slowdowns:
    -When getting the invincibility monitor, it takes 3 seconds to load in and the number of stars slowed down the game's frame by half.
    -When going too fast with the sneakers, you get a few frame buffers.
    -Getting hit with a ton of rings is like doing the bullet dodge from the matrix, which mildly sucks the first couple of times but becomes infuriating when you kept on getting hit.
    -If there's too many things in the level, especially the level Wacky Workbench when you touch those bouncing checkered floors, you'd fly but have a bit of lag.

    But the slowdowns helped kept a slow pace in the game, forcing you to pay attention to the level and exploring while also going fast in certain sections. Finding and destroying the robot generators in the past is always cool. You'd find it in the present but greyed out, so you'd need to find the past sign and basically find a path where you won't be interrupted when going supersonic to travel back in time.

    It was infuriating more times than I could get working, but damn it was cool to have that trail of blue flashing when going fast, and when it does - Oh boy was it satisfying.

    So it was my favourite game as 9-year-old me would play it. The Sonic CD taxman ports really improved and fixed a lot of issues in the past, and allowed you to listen to the original (Japanese) soundtracks too which was a huge surprise of how more fitting it was to the original in most cases.

    The Eggman theme in the US version sounds like a fever dream, like you are on top of a train at night, it's raining, someone in the shadows is chasing you and you are jumping from one cart to another. It felt exilerating but also more serious - especially hearing the version where you hear a higher-pitch 'Hahahaha' which is Metal Sonic. It felt like the game was mocking you for not destroying all the generators to free Little Planet.

    Some of the levels were confusing, but not hard. The one that is the hardest would be Metallic Madness, but that's to be expected of a final level.

    It has some good quirks like tiny Sonic, but some of the layouts could've been improved. Some sections feel forced like having to ride the walking Spike walker thing, and others there were sections of bombniks waiting where you're most likely to walk into them than getting exploded.

    I'd say this game had some ups and downs. It was experimental and wasn't totally traditional compared to Sonic 2, more akin to a transition between Sonic 1 and 2 like what date it was developed and released.

    Yep this review was going to be a looking-back at it kind of thing and turned out to be a review lol but it's a classic game with some like-it-or-hate-it tropes.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  3. Wildcat

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    I don’t hate it but some things are needlessly frustrating like others have mentioned.

    The time travel without bumping into something and the Special stages were harder than they should be because of their old fashioned “3D” graphics that hurt your perception of objects.

    The time travel really should have been handled differently. I guess it was inspired by Back to the Future but it should have been done with a portal.

    I really like the idea of seeing 2 versions of a stage you could change though.
     
  4. Beltway

    Beltway

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    The time travel execution and elements of the level design is really the only issues I have with it.

    I can safely say I've gotten all of the emeralds for the other Genesis games (1/2/3&K/M), but I can't recall ever properly getting all of the time stones. The Special Stages are just pretty wack all around in terms of control (esp. in the Taxman re-release, where the framerate has been fixed, so it's even harder to complete), I don't think I've ever gotten any stone beyond one and I can't see myself ever doing so.

    Meanwhile, time travelling demands a really high specific skill ceiling due to how structurally unorthodox the level design is. Time travel is only really accessible in very select pockets of the level layouts and even they have some random platform/object/enemy placement that can completely ruin an attempt. The fact that time-traveling is very indispensable (requiring time travel posts, which are limited in number and can only be used once) only adds to that effect.

    And while I'm not as hung up about it, I'm also not going to really push back about complaints of the Super Peel-Out being visually cool but redundant in functionality. I feel you could probably tweak it for it to serve more of a purpose but I'd honestly struggling to pick one off the top of my head.

    Beyond that, I actually really like it a lot, in fact I'd say its the one Genesis game I wish I could go into more. It's actually somewhat impressive in how the level design is very specifically plotted to be messy that I feel under a different context (where you didn't need to navigate them to time-travel and they were in overall longer levels), the level design could actually make for a pretty fun gameplay experience, due to how the stages are made under more of a offbeat playground approach. (I'd say the remade CD stages in Mania have some shades of this in them.)

    I also really, really adore the level concepts in the different time zones, so much that I honestly do feel that they could easily be used for their own Sonic game separate from CD. The presentation on the whole is just off-the-wall, the graphics are beautiful and while I think the US soundtrack is just alright (although some tracks like Sonic Boom and Stardust Speedway Bad Future are really good) the JP soundtrack is just thoroughly phenomenal, it's probably one of my favorite videogame soundtracks in general, let alone Sonic.

    And while the time travel concept has its flaws in execution, I personally would really like to see this particular gameplay concept of Sonic stages flavored with different themes re-explored with a new game, with the ideal changes/improvements to make it more palatable / accessible. Maybe zones under different periods of time could be re-explored, but I feel you could easily use it to tackle other concepts like zone in differing weather/seasonal states.
     
  5. Wildcat

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    Ya having stages in different conditions should be used again. Actually this would be a great idea for something like a Sonic Mania 2. Classic stages given new states and time periods. Of course not with sign posts though.

    Could even have it impact the boss fights. Miss the generator (or whatever the objective is) and they’re harder. Take more damage and have more weapons. Fix things and they’re less powerful because you weakened the defenses.
     
  6. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I actually found the special stages in the remaster significantly easier. Then again, that's more because the Mode 7 play of the originals tends to fuck with my sense of perspective, so I don't know when to jump and turn. Same reason I can't stand Super Mario Kart.

    Pretty much echoing everyone else: enjoyable but very flawed, and the weakest of the classics except maybe 1.
     
  7. Mana

    Mana

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    So yeah, the Gems collection version (based on the PC version so I assume that one as well) has a glitch where you can't get the good ending unless you get all the Time Stones, even if you destroy all the generators so that ain't true. There isn't even a real reason to destroy them over getting the Time Stones because of this. Great job, SEGA.

    I don't know if they fixed it in Whitehead's version because the special stages are easy once you get the hang of them but I wanted to say this.
     
  8. Vanishing Vision

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    When Generations was announced, and the idea of visiting older stages was revealed, I first thought it would be something like this. Like there would be Chemical Plant, and act 2 would be Chemical Plant "now", abandoned and overgrow, reclaimed by nature.
     
  9. I'd say that my biggest nitpicks is how the Super Peel-Out is absolutely pointless, the standing spindash being a bit weird, the way you have to obtain Good Futures (You have to go into a Past Zone and find the eggman machine, which is always hidden in a super-obscure place) and how you can't actually see most of the stage variations (At most, you can get Past for curiosity or Eggman machines; Good Futures are only possible if you have obtained all Time Stones or if you went to past, broke the machine, go back to Present and THEN Future, and Bad Futures are either if you go to Future for no real reason or if you didn't have the Eggman machine/Time stone conditions).

    On that last point, in other words, most of the innovation in time zones is left unseen because of how conditional the access methods are. I did enjoy a lot of the 2011 port though.
     
  10. Fred

    Fred

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    The peelout isn't "absoulutely pointless". It can be released before being fully charged.

    Superfluous, maybe, but
     
  11. SeaWave

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    I feel like the peelout is more of a ''Better but with more risk'' type of thing. Sure, it goes slightly faster and you can use it while charging but on the other hand you can just run into a badnik. The spindash is a bit slower and you can't use it while charging at least you won't get hurt while rolling.
     
  12. Stink Terios

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    There's no risk regardless, you can roll as soon as you release the peel-out.
     
  13. SeaWave

    SeaWave

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    Oh i forgot about that lol.
     
  14. Nova

    Nova

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    The peel-out is good because you can do it in front of a slope and jump off it while retaining air control, which can be useful for exploration. A spindash jump won't let you do that.
     
  15. Fred

    Fred

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    Yes it will. There is no roll -> jump control lock in any version of SCD.

    I wonder how many people in this thread have actually played the game...
     
  16. SeaWave

    SeaWave

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    I've played the game but i don't play it that often though.
     
  17. I beat the game with the bad ending, beat the game by destroying all the generators, beat the game by collecting all the time stones, and did all that again as Tails.

    So yeah. I think I've played this game.
     
  18. Nova

    Nova

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    Kind of a passive-aggressive assumption, I've played the game many, many times. Clearly my memory isn't what it used to be.
     
  19. Hanging Waters

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    Personally, as much as I genuinely enjoy Arin Hanson's work and brand of humor, some of his armchair game design opinions are extremely snooty and excessively absolute.

    In particular, there's this "trendy" copy+paste notion going around lately where some people repeatedly insist that all classic Sonic games fall flat because they "don't even let you go fast". As others have said, speed is meant to be a reward and a byproduct of "playing well". When you get into a groove you feel the reward of going fast.

    It's 100% valid to be critical of that formula, but if you don't understand what the game is going for to begin with then idk what to tell you. The criticism that each level is a "memorization test" is understandable as well, but again - what makes the game fun to me is noticing patterns in its level design so you can get a better feel of what's coming up ahead and how to go about it. The hazard placement generally isn't meant to be a cruel trick; there is some logic and consistency to it. Of course there are occasional surprises and spike traps, and your ability to successfully avoid them may just depend on your reaction time... but again, designing levels with the intent for them to be replayed isn't exactly a bad thing.

    I can not at all understand how people can praise games like Cuphead and then say the classic trilogy is a flop because "games should never be a memorization test". That isn't saying Cuphead is bad, it's saying Cuphead is the TEXTBOOK example of a game which creates difficulty through memorization. 2d Sonic is not nearly as demanding by comparison, yet this argument still persists. I welcome the way 2d Sonic embraces this kind of challenge, but generally doesn't seem to overdo it. The ring system even creates an environment where you can feel free to take risks with very little consequence. I don't really find it frustrating when I lose speed because it's not like the game is forcing me to restart every time I fail a reaction check... most of the time you just slow down and have to build up momentum again, and each time it feels like you're getting better at maintaining that speed. When I watch new players they often run into hazards and can't hold onto their speed for very long, but it doesn't take long for them to adapt to the game's logic and learn how to maintain their momentum.

    Anyways... I digress. As for Sonic CD, though the level design is much more tedious than the other classics, I think the puzzle-like aspect is pretty fun. The game is so visually pleasing and aesthetically cohesive that I have fun just looking at it while dicking around idly, at least for the most part (bad future ick ick), and it has a unique identity that I appreciate a lot, even if each successive game branched off more and more from the Sonic 1 / CD aesthetic. I confess that I've never 100%ed it, though I would like to soon. Looking around for projectors and capsules can be frustrating, but it also feels super rewarding when you eventually find them and can easily locate them the next time around. Ideally I like levels that have A BIT more horizontal direction to them, more along the lines of Mania, but CD really brought out that feeling of bouncing around on a pinball table and slinging between slopes. The early stages balanced speed rewards very well in my opinion, but I definitely think they become too scarce in the later stages, to the point where things seem a bit like a slog EVEN IF you can speedrun the stage. To be fair though, that's something I notice in most of the classics, not just CD. The spindash seems almost useless compared to just peeling out and curling, but in general I feel like Sonic's controls work pretty well with the level geometry, and even the vertical levels are fun for me as long as they give you some stuff to bounce around on. It just feels like the kind of game where later levels have you wishing you could go back to the "more fun" parts of the game. I appreciate the challenge that the later stages present, especially with how difficult it becomes to find capsules and projectors, but there are times where I find myself thinking, "I wish there was a way to go back to Quartz Quadrant or Collision Chaos and something more like that". Sonic games seem to give you little "speed breaks" in between later stages, like Stardust Speedway or Starlight in S1, but - while these are fun and help tie you over for a bit - it only temporarily distracts me from the fact that the later, flatter stages are not nearly as interesting or interactive to me. As I said before, I feel like this is an issue in all of the classics for me, not that it stops them from being fun... but I like the way Mania did a great job of making speed more difficult to achieve in later stages, without making them flat and devoid of the level interactivity that made earlier stages so fun.

    All in all, idk I freaking love Sonic CD! But there are definitely reasons why I shy away from playing it, and I do feel like it misses the mark on a lot of its execution, even if the concept of a sprawling vertical pinball heaven with dozens of diverging paths sounds like fun when done right. Watching the huge, rolling rollercoaster-esque terrain and gigantic loops gradually devolve into flat, crowded, somewhat claustrophobic skill checks can take some fun out of the game.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  20. Vanishing Vision

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    The strangest thing about that notion is that, while making it through a Sonic zone without taking damage can be difficult, simply surviving and reaching the goal isn't hard in the slightest for most zones. It's so bizarre that the game series with possibly the most forgiving health system around is considered unfair by some people. All you need is one ring, and you are repeatedly granted the same level of protection throughout the whole stage, and you are instantly given a chance to recover that protection as soon as you get hit, you don't even have to proceed any further to find new rings.

    The "punished for going fast" idea seems to be upset not with "it's too hard to make it to the goal", but instead "why can't I clear the stage flawlessly on my very first play?", which is completely antithetical to how any game of skill works. Is baseball poorly designed because it will likely take you quite a few games before you hit your first homer?
     
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