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Bashing Sonic CD

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

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  1. LockOnRommy11


    This is a great assessment of 2D Sonic games up to Sonic Rush.

    I’d say I’m a wizard at 2D Sonic games, and when Mania came out I assumed I’d breeze it because, well, how could I not?

    Turns out I died A LOT. I was so mad and was ready to blame level design because frankly a lot of enemies felt cheaply placed, but then I started dying less upon repeat of levels even when I wasn’t too sure where to go and was unfamiliar with the full level layouts. I realised that muscle memory was key, and found I knew timings of movement and assumed enemy placement in advance without really thinking about it. I got really good at Mania to the point where I can now do it in one sitting with Emeralds and die a maximum of 1 to 2 times if I’m unlucky. I’ve probably played it a good 50 hours at this point which to be honest isn’t all that much for me considering I’ve probably played the others for well over a thousand hours.

    Sonic is about memorisation, rhythm and patterns, and building understanding through repeated play. SEGA - and by extension their MegaDrive / Genesis console - was all about the home arcade experience, where repeated plays make you better at the game increasing your chance of success. Sonic just hides this well under it’s cutesy cool Platforming facade which people automatically assume is just like Mario but with more physics-based terrain.

    Each Sonic title tends to have a different rhythm from the last and I chalk that down mostly to the type of enemies found in each game coupled with the attacks the player has at their disposal. Some people dislike CD because they hit a lot of enemies, and this is usually due to people using the Super Peel Out too freely and not learning their lessons, not taking note of enemy rhythm and placement by noting the way the environment gives them hints about what’s to come. In other Sonic games this isn’t as much of an issue because Sonic’s roll is the primary source of his acceleration, and they don’t have secondary objectives such as time travelling.

    This isn’t to say that Sonic CD (and other titles) doesn’t have some dick enemy placement because it most definitely does, but it’s not as frequent as people make out.
  2. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    Sonic CD is just my second favourite classic game just because S3K exists, which was such a jump in quality that there's no match here (Sonic Mania has come so late I can't adequately assign it a rank, I'm a different guy now).

    What makes Sonic CD special despite having such levels layout is precisely the change in gameplay. I'm on the camp of those who don't find annoying the style of the first game, which felt a lot more exploratory and changing between levels than its sequel; Sonic CD took that part and created new game rules that took advantage of it. Unfortunately, Ohshima didn't have the rest of the dream team with him and that played against the resulting game, but even if the level layout isn't that good and the time travel mechanics weren't handled the best way (probably still thanks to the level layouts), theres always a way to secure a way to the past and usually even have an alternative if the first fails; that, of course, if you want to do that, which I used to do because that was the unique stuff about that game no other Sonic game has.

    For the record, I always played the game that way unless I was aiming for a time stone hunt or to see the bad futures and bad ending deliberately when I played my old PC version (and I won't bash it, I'd have to buy another one ifI did that. :V), and I even waited to get the last time stone on the last non-boss act so I could complete the robot machines quest first on the same savefile when I got good at Taxman's remake (it sure took a while). Spoilers: you get nothing more than bragging rights. So, how would I prefer Sonic 2 over this one?

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles, of course, is a different thing, but if we had gotten a Sonic CD 2 made by the main team, whoa, guys, that would have beaten everything (and I know how to do it).
  3. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    Destroying all the Metal Sonic projections, robot generators, and getting all the time stones in one go actually nets you an extra message at the end.

    I think it just says you are a Super Cool Player or something.
  4. Unlimited Trees

    Unlimited Trees

    we Do a Little Mischief, Mischief... Member
    UNITRES, Project Time, etc.
    how do i block a forum thread
  5. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

    You can just unwatch it.

    Also: personally I'm surprised there are almost no hacks for Sonic CD besides Sonic CD++ (which I just played for the homing attack). I've always imagined people taking the SCD engine and making all sorts of bombastic, wacky levels that take full advantage of the time travel mechanics. Maybe I'd like it a lot more if it did, because I personally would find Sonic 1 extremely uninteresting if it wasn't for hacks like S1 Extended Edition or Sonic Megamix.
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
  6. kyasarintsu


    I just don't like CD. I think it just does too many things poorly for me to consider it a good game.

    I see a lot of people default to the "just replay it until you've mastered it" response and I really disagree with it. I've played all of these games an unhealthy amount of times and I still don't feel comfortable going fast in this game. Nothing about the hazard placement or geometry feels like it was thought out well besides Palmtree Panic, and that's really only because it's spaciously designed like Green Hill was. I dread going fast because I know i'm just going to hit some stupid spring or spike that I can't humanely react to due to movement speed and camera. I can cautiously tip-toe, yes, but I don't find that fun in any platformer, much less one with a character who controls like Sonic does.
    I played a disgusting amount of Mania and even did a lot of speedrunning to the point that I could get to the top of many in-game leaderboards. I was able to feel confident and secure in my speed because so many of the rough edges of level design have been rounded off. There aren't that many invincible enemies, there are plenty of useful powerups to grab, and there aren't that many springs and spikes randomly strewn about. In contrast, it feels like any time I can go fast in 1 or CD, beyond the first zone, is because of dumb luck, an automated sequence, or in spite of the game's design—stop-and-go spin dashes at every other moment or because I just outright skipped chunks of the stage. It feels like the level design is at odds with the concept of fluid movement altogether. If I'm ever going fast, it's a fluke, and it won't last me very long.
    I don't think CD's level design works very well as an exploratory game, either. Levels aren't laid out in very interesting ways and they can be really cumbersome to navigate due to all the setpieces that want to throw you this way and that. Finding generators can be a chore because of how restricted—and occasionally obtuse—the routes to them can be. Time travel in itself can be a pain in the ass to accomplish unless the level design gives up and provides a mindless, automated segment to time travel with. The annoyance of keeping 50 rings just for one chance at one of the most annoying special stages to date is another factor that stops me from actually aiming for the good ending. Playing the game like a "normal" game just leaves me with incredibly-unsatisfying, often-annoying levels that I really wouldn't go out of my way to replay over the others these days.

    I guess I'm also the odd one who just doesn't like the aesthetics. I find the music annoyingly cheesy and I don't like the ridiculous color palettes that every stage in this game just has to have.
    I'd always prefer to just play Sonic 1 again. Despite its many rough patches, it provides me with more interesting platforming and it at least feels satisfyingly lengthy. Sonic CD honestly just feels like a much more chaotic and obnoxious version of Sonic 1.
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  7. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    I must admit I never paid too much attention to the projectors, since they weren't linked to the good ending and time over existed, but I suppose that gives me a reason to play again. :V
  8. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    This is why Sonic 1 is my least favorite of the classic 2D titles - not even because of the aspect of going fast, but because I find the platforming to be slow and especially annoying, largely due to that game's emphasis on things that can instantly kill you if you fail - pits, drowning, crushing, Marble Zone's stupid lava pits that would immediately eat all your rings. Sonic 3 and even Sonic 2 manage to do platforming that doesn't go on nearly as long and most importantly, usually doesn't punish you hard for failing it at (which, punishing you hard goes against literally all of the other games' mechanics - the rings to give you basically an infinite number of retries against enemies or spikes, and the time limit to encourage you to go through as quickly as possible). Like, even a level near the end of the game like Sky Sanctuary does not have failing a jump to be a death sentence, and Sonic 3 is confident enough in having its level design + drowning mechanic not be the worst to have a water level as its second stage, which they tried to do in Sonic 1 before moving Labyrinth farther in at the last minute due to being too difficult.

    I feel that CD's level layouts are less annoying than Sonic 1's - even Tidal Tempest is a far less annoying version of Labyrinth, which I find absolutely interminable. Even its platform-heavy levels aren't as slow or as lengthy, and while its bosses still kinda suck, at least they follow the rules laid out - which is more than I can say for Sonic 1's labyrinth zone boss, which I died a lot at before I figured out that unlike all the other bosses before it, you don't beat that one by hitting him. Who does that?!;dr, we should really have a Sonic 1 bashing thread instead. ;)
  9. Nova


    You know some people are probably criticizing Sonic CD despite actually enjoying it - the game isn't perfect.
  10. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    After reading the wiki, the message appears solely by destroying all projectors, it's not necessary to do the whole thing. Well, I suppose a good ending will still be required, or else it could be quite weird to compliment the player like that.

    I mean, I don't think those two games are perfect, there's a lot to hate in those games depending on what you like from Sonic games and the fact they're not as refined as other classics. it's just that those issues aren't that bad for everyone, or at least for me. Giving me a goal achieved through exploration and also a bit of difficulty compared to the other classics feels good, and, having played a lot of platformers, controls in these games is still great, enough for me to handle the challenge or the style of their blocky and sometimes unfortunate design. FWIW, I'm also a big fan of the first Tomb Raiders, and those were blocky for sure.
  11. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    It's not that I don't like those games (I still play them!), it's that I agree that there are issues and mentioning things I don't like about them, and why I feel that contrary to other users in this topic, I feel that Sonic 1 is rougher than CD. :)
  12. Nova


    Sonic 1 absolutely is rougher than CD, at least in terms of level design - look at some good speedruns of CD side-by-side with 1 and you'll notice the CD levels flow much, much better. While some people may find the stages confusing, they at least do have better-designed pathing than the original game, on top of their increased verticality.

    I get preferring Sonic 1 and if someone does then that's their bag, I would never tell somebody they're wrong for it. The games are barely that different and it is largely personal taste as to which one somebody prefers, but I would make an impassioned case for CD being objectively better-designed.
  13. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    I think so too, Sonic CD is sending you all the good vibes. But then again, Sonic 1 has GHZ, a wonderful example of what Sonic is all about. Even without the spindash or elemental shields. It's not just an iconic level, it's really that good imo.
  14. RDNexus


    And WAY overused over the years, majorly for nostalgia's sake.
  15. Nova


    Definitely agree with both of you - while overused these days, Green Hill Zone was a really good early example of the team nailing how Sonic levels should work, it's just a shame that design philosophy didn't permeate the rest of the game as much as it needed to. Star Light Zone excluded. CD did a much better job of this and, in my opinion, 2 did an even better one than that.
  16. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    CD is my fav sonic game, just after 3&k....
  17. JustAMotobug


    Eggman Robot Member
    United States
    You know, whenever I listen to the North American Sonic CD Soundtrack, it always reminded me of the soundtrack that appears in both Dragonball Z and GT's Funimation Dubs. They're both made for a North American market and were localizations of Japanese media, so I could see why they sound so similar. Funnily enough, the NA Soundtrack was the first soundtrack I heard in CD due to playing that version.

    For whatever reason, the speed cap only activates when the player presses any directional key in Sonic 1. The speed cap is akin to Sonic 2 if you let go of whatever directional key you're holding while being propelled down a slope or something that makes the momentum continuous. Most of the time, you'd be holding the direction pad whilst in some open area. Since many of the areas in Sonic 1 contain small amounts of both slopes and areas that let you run at top speed, it's hardly noticeable most of the time. The areas in Spring Yard zone where ramps are abundant make this design choice much more noticeable since there are a few ramps that require you to reach top speed to get to the rest of the stage.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  18. Fadaway


    Not sure if this helps anything, buuuut... Sonic CD rules. It is a crazy mess. Avant Garde. Beautiful. Maddening. Fun. Frustrating. It is a game of extremes. It's the white album of Sonic games. And, it's wholly original. I first experienced it (revised American soundtrack for better and worse) while getting stoned as a 16-year-old. Don't hate it. Do love it. It's far from perfect or the best game. But, it is very, very special.
  19. Sonic CD’s music will always be one of my favorites but not MY favorite, due to how catchy it can be sometimes. However, I will never consider the game one of my favorites due to how slow and boring each stage is. While speed is a reward in sonic games, every stage other than stardust speedway throws that out of the window. Every stage has an unavoidable wall you will need to do platforming to get around, which isn’t exactly fitting for sonic’s “speed is a reward” gameplay. The only level you go truly fast is Stardust Speedway, but that level is boring because the ONLY thing you do in that stage is go fast. It isn’t rewarded, it’s the gimmick and that’s what makes the stage bad other than the metal sonic fight.

    I get people have their own tastes in gaming and i’m fine if people consider sonic CD their favorite game, but when they go ahead and brag “sonic CD is the best game EVER!” that’s when it gets a bit irritating. Sonic CD isn’t the posh game it used to be, everyone knows about it and played it.
  20. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    The whole "speed is a reward" mantra is still far off. To think of it as a reward puts the emphasis on how you have to work towards it, not with it. And I mean, it isn't much of a reward if all you have to do is to Peel Out/Spindash to achieve max speed.

    And what Sonic CD does best -- and also does worst -- is to invite you to work with the speed you gather in order to finish the stages. You have to work with it in order to time travel and, precisely because of its platforming, mantaining speed makes the platforming so much easier. And that's the crux of it: You have to use the environment as best as you can to surpass the same environment.

    This is the essence of Sonic as a game design philosophy. It's a slippery slope, though, because it's all the more frustrating to be stopped by a wall you didn't nor could ever know was there. Still, it's the game with the most impressive time attack runs and shenaningans you can do in order to exploit Sonic's speed.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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