Bashing Sonic Mania

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Chaos Rush, Jul 26, 2020.

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  1. That wasn't in the initial release, if I recall correctly. I think that was added in the 2018 update when Plus came out.
     
  2. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

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    Ya that scene didn't exist in the original. I think the original transition-less zones were FBZ, SSZ, HCZ (talk about shit transition there though, plus it's broken as hell), OOZ, LRZ (Except Knuckles), and MMZ.

    Ya Mania def wasn't a finished product, and this is after it was initially delayed.
     
  3. Mana

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    Which I can't/won't fault them on because SEGA wanted it out before Forces and they had a very small staff.

    They patched all the missing stuff in less than a year after with a bunch of new content too, what more did you guys want?
     
  4. I don't think it's fair to say Mania wasn't finished when it was released. It was missing some stuff, sure, but it was a complete game with a few blemishes they patched out later on. It's not something like Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines or Sonic '06, when the developers were quite literally putting out a project that had not been properly completed.
     
  5. Xiao Hayes

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    SSZ1 is the most boring and frustrating thing in Mania, It's the place where I make the stop in a multi-session playthrough. Act 2 starts better, but the boss fight takes more time to beat than the act to go through, so I don't have enough time to enjoy it.

    I'm ok with Titanic Monarch for the most part, but don't tell me that's the robot because it feels more like you got to the retro area of Metallic Madness (retro sci-fi style, I mean), and then like you entered a church where they worship the robot god. Btw, the 4-acts-in-one nature of Act 2 is really weird for a Sonic game, it reminds me of the Elite Four in recent pokémon games. Even 8-bit Sonic 1 did felt more on point with its multi-room acts of SBZ2.
     
  6. Palas

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    I haven't played Plus and while that's great, I don't get why they would launch it at first without it. I think it's not fair to call it unfinished, because it is what it is and it's great, but also it's definitely an oversight.

    I don't feel it because there are a few odd ones out, like Press Garden before Stardust Speedway, and also there's another layer of meaning that makes things muddier: old levels reset the feeling of adventure/exploration because I've been there before. I know these badniks, I'm familiar with how things work. I can't apply my gripe to everyone else, but from my perspective it could have kept the feeling of incoming danger and ever-increasing fear of what's ahead if all returning zones came before the new zones. Then the new zones would all have kept me on my toes.

    EDIT: (But of course this isn't a real suggestion and obviously they would have never done that)
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  7. Overlord

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    Have to agree, honestly. Stardust Speedway 2 is my least favourite level in the game (yes, a game with Oil Ocean in it has a worse level (though I actually like what they did with OOZ in Mania, it's much better than 2's)), simply because it feels like you're being flung around at random, have zero control, and no idea where you're going. I didn't like the original zone for the same reason. Metallic Madness is the far superior SCD level set in Mania.

    That said, the awesome boss fight does largely cancel out the awfulness of the act, so...
     
  8. Dark Sonic

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    Oh God that music. The Metal Sonic themes are usually excellent anyway, but this one was just fantastic, one of my favorite Sonic songs period.

    It's funny, other bosses and characters get new themes all the time. Save for Sonic 4 though (and even that recycled notes of the Generations theme which was just Sonic CD again), Metal Sonic has used the same 2 theme songs since Sonic CD. The tracks are both great, but just an observation
     
  9. TheOcelot

    TheOcelot

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    The improvements made to the Metal Sonic boss in Stardust Speedway makes it a lot more fun compared to the spike-wall version. The overall fight is shorter (the second chase section is way quicker and you only need to make Silver Sonic hit Metal 3 times instead of 4) which is better. Facing-off against Metal Sonic Kai in Mania is so cool-such a neat Chaotix reference. The fight against Kai is quicker (compard to spike-wall) and easier to beat IMO. Definitely one of the most memorable boss fights in Mania (when compared to boring spike-wall) and a fitting fight for the games halfway-point. The music for this fight is awesome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  10. Blue Blood

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    Yeah, I just want to chime in on this too. Mania might have been rushed out the door for its summer release, but was it unfinished? Not even close. The initial release had a pretty high number of minor glitches, especially on the Switch version where glitches that extended to performance issues such as Special Stages lagging considerably for no obvious reason. Then on top of that is the fact that the initial release suffered from some polish and balancing issues;
    • the entire Stardust Speedway fight was way too long
    • the Silver Sonic section of the Stardust Speedway boss was obtuse
    • stage transitions died off halfway through the game. Cutting from Flying Battery to the brand new Press Garden with no transition hurt to watch
    • Hydrocity Act 2 is almost 1:1 to the original (notably also one of the biggest stage transition offenders as it lacks an intro and an outro)
    • the ending cutscene is... a barely animated blatant last-minute addition. It's totally fine but felt awkward
    • Oil Ocean 2's boss was absurdly difficult and felt like it hadn't been playtested
    • as noted by others, the second half of the game seems to drag a bit
    • level length can be wildly inconsistent; they're not one-off cases like Knuckles' Carnival Night 2 in S3K, the level length here flip-flops all the time.
    There's plenty more to add to the list, but it's telling that a lot of the problems weren't to do with the gameplay going wrong but more to do with presentation, performance and balance. And these problems apply mostly to later parts of the game. Tons of bugs and some of the issues outlined above were addressed in Plus/v1.4 updates, including the total revamp to the Stardust Speedway fight. Not everything got fixed though, and I think a lot of the issues would have been fixed if the game wasn't put out so soon. I don't think that any significant content was missing from Mania's initial release or that the content that we got was unfinished, but I do think that it was pushed out in a state that the quality varied from "finely tuned to perfection" to "near-finalised draft approved for playtesting". All playable, all serviceable, not all polished up neatly.

    We know that at least one stage would have been cut from Mania had the game not been delayed, and unless someone can tell me otherwise then I suspect that it was Hydrocity. Visually and audibly it's the most vanilla of all of the returning stages, it's in the latter half of the game which feels a bit less refined than the earlier portions, there are more S3K stages than S1/2/CD (although you can also say that it's the only S3 stage)... Most telling is the layout of Act 2, which is even closer to the original version than even GHZ1 or CPZ1. It very briefly introduced whirlpools and collapsing platforms at the start of act 2, and then proceeded to forget all about them just moments later. Act 1 is massively different from the original, and the same is pretty true of Oil Ocean, Lava Reef, Metallic Madness and Stardust Speedway. Act 2 of all those other stages took things even further, whilst Hydrocity Act 2 falls back on the original so hard that I just have to assume it was because they ran out of time to fully design a new act.

    I can't really "bash" Mania. I can put out a few criticisms because obviously no game is perfect, but I genuinely don't feel that any changes would have made the game better in any particularly significant manner. A number of boss fights could have been scrapped or at least heavily revamped, I guess? So many of them just feel like busy-work that don't add much enjoyment. Whilst having a boss at the end of every act in S3K was a novel idea, they can start to feel like pace-breakers if they take too long to go down or if the most effective strategy is to just damage-boost to victory. This was the case in S3K and it's exasperated in Mania. CPZ1, SPZ2, PGZ1, OOZ1, TMZ1; these fights are all chores that aren't fun to play through. Get rid of them. Then you have others that need significant tweaking; SPZ1 takes forever and the player does barely anything (or does nothing if Super), crush-deaths in FBZ2 feel cheap and it's really unclear when you can bump the boss, Metal Sonic Kai results in a number of unfair deaths if you don't land your attacks just right, HCZ2 did not need the second phase which was just a bigger version of the S3 Act 1 original, Sonic's MSZ1 can leave you waiting for ages to get an ample attacking opportunity and the depth perception is pretty rough, and TMZ2 was not the most exciting note to end on.

    Yeah, I figure that that's where I'll leave it. The game was evidently hurried to completion and the boss design was eh. The boss fights are a low point definitely but I don't feel they drag the game down. TBH, boss design was something that I was low-key worried about pre-release because the Hidden Palace boss in S2 mobile was tedious. Many of the fights in Mania was fine, whether they're spins on old-ideas like GHZ1 or totally original like the first part of HCZ2. It just feels like they were ultimately a weak link. If we ever get that increasingly unlikely Mania sequel, fewer bosses would help to keep the pace and could hopefully lead to tighter design.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  11. SystemsReady

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    Whether you consider Metropolis to be Sonic 2's last level or Wing Fortress, it doesn't change the fact that both of them are wayyyyyyyy more cheap and worse than Titanic Monarch. Uglier too.
     
  12. Blue Blood

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    Titanic Monarch is good. Better than Scrap Brain, Metropolis, Wing Fortress and SCD Metallic Madness, but not as good as S3K Death Egg, Launch Base or SM Metallic Madness. Other people have mentioned final level exhaustion in Mania though, and that helps to drag TM down a bit. Both acts are long and immediately follow MMZ, which also feels like a final level. Plus there are the plasma orbs, which I dunno... I personally find them really easy to use and actually quite fun for speed and enormous jumps, but so many people seem to dislike them and even struggle with understanding how to use them directly. I know why people dislike the stage, and I just happen to really disagree.
     
  13. Gestalt

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    Titanic Monarch looks fine and plays fine... it's not bad. It radiates a sense of "So, this is the final zone, huh?" and offers a good challenge for those who are thirsting for something different. But as the great finale to the long-awaited 2D comeback of Sonic the fucking Hedgehog you'd expect a little more than just stained-glass windows (so cliché). Still great, though, but too much padding in the latter half of the stage.

    The Foreboding Cathedral Level trope demands a narrative, something that brings us closer to the scenery.
     
  14. Dark Sonic

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    ya that element was an odd choice. Cool looking, but cathedral robot? I guess that kinda matches Heavy Kings kingly aesthetic
     
  15. Myles_Zadok

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    SPZ2 might actually be my favorite boss. Unless you're playing as Knuckles, you can beat it in under 15 seconds if you time your jumps correctly.

    The others you listed, yeah I can see why you feel like they're too long or rely on damage-boosting, but the only one of those that really bothers me is TMZ1, but usually I have unlocked the super-form by that point in the game, so it doesn't make that much of a difference to me.
     
  16. Yeah, I replayed the level so I could comment here and it's definitely lacking... emotion. Like, Launch Base and Death Egg both feel like the grand culmination of a massive adventure, the final step towards salvation. Titanic Monarch just feels like a generic, traditional final level, like Bowser's Castle in NSMB. Which, to be fair, is fine, but it does leave me wanting.

    I think Titanic Monarch would've been better if it was more like DK Island in DKC: Tropical Freeze, in which you had to go through the levels of previous DKC games but they're all post-apocalyptic and depressing and really give you the feels if you're a longtime DK fan (while playing I no joke almost teared up when I realized the Frozen Frenzy music is a remix of the DKC1 factory theme).
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  17. Gestalt

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    While I don't think that the DK series is the best fit for Sonic (I mean, come on, it's Donkey Kong), Retro Studios effortlessly gave him a modern makeover, which is cool. However, the levels in Donkey Kong Country Returns don't always look and feel like real places either (there are visual cues everywhere, be it conveniently placed enemies or trails of bananas all over the place). But that's a completely different story!!!

    They really should have made Egg Reverie Zone a full-fledged level. That, and instead of these pointless level transitions, Mania could have used a few more cutscenes and filler à la Hidden Palace Zone (short stage followed by a boss fight) or Sky Sanctuary (pseudo-boss rush).
     
  18. Blue Blood

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    SPZ2 isn't a major issue to be honest. The problem is that the boss does very little to fight back, and generally poses virtually no threat. The lightning forecast requires you to avoid attacks slowly and occasionally, although it doesn't interfere with you ability to land lots of easy with roughly timed jumps. The sunny forecast gives you enough free hits to knock him out almost instantly. And the windy forecast is good.

    It just feels like the boss doesn't do much and doesn't stand a chance of hitting you. It's not awful, just really pretty weak. When I think about boss fights that just float across the screen from side to side, I expect them to have some sort of defense or regular offense. S3K HCZ2 has the fan and S1 GHZ has the wrecking ball... I dunno. The boss is mostly just a target to hit several times and is largely passive. I only really put it on the list because there is a list. If the other boss battles were better in general, I wouldn't single out SPZ2 as a problem.

    You also mentioned fighting the boss as Knuckles. Same problems really, except you can't get the boring fight over with quickly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  19. TheInvisibleSun

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    And yet, I still find the Mania iteration of Stardust Speedway far more enjoyable than the original in CD.
     
  20. Mana

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    I don't think any level in CD is any good (some cool gimmicks but I wouldn't go back to them as a whole) so I can say I agree.
     
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