Complimenting Sonic Colours

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Starduster, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

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    I'm a big Colors fan, and upon playing a few rounds of it after seeing this thread, one thing I've been thinking about is just how damn cool the environments are. They're all great, but three in particular really stand out to me.

    Tropical Resort is an awesome introduction. The concept alone is incredible, a tropical resort hotel in outer space, and there are so many fantastic details. The line of flying cars gliding through the background, the hotel entryways along the "shopping street" paths, the water features and stacked buildings. Most of all, the tiki motif is a great way to do a classic Sonic throwback that's more original and exciting than just remaking an existing zone, and it's accented nicely by the surf music.

    Planet Wisp is very evocative of Sonic CD (the bassline in the music tracks makes me think of Quartz Quadrant past), and it's the best representation of the "nature and technology" clash in the franchise. It's a great narrative element to put you right in the middle of Eggman's destruction of a natural world, and again, wonderful details abound, like the metal pathways patching over the grass and especially the caution signs with the Eggman logo and strange language (similar to Collision Chaos).

    Aquarium Park is another brilliant concept. Someone suggested a while back that this zone is a nod to a Feudal Japan zone that was planned for Sonic 1, and while I can't say if that's true, it's stuck with me as such a cool idea. This zone has the most beautiful vistas in the whole game, particularly the opening downhill road in Act 1 where the massive cityscape unfolds before you, and the cascading river towards the end of Act 6. The Japanese architecture is blended nicely with the modern industrial elements like the tube passageways and smaller aquarium tanks, and the undersea areas themselves are lush and colorful.

    The three things that matter to me in a Sonic game, in order, are gameplay, music, and environment design. Colors satisfies all three, but the environment design is phenomenal, and the best of all the 3D games if you ask me. It's mind-boggling to me that some people say Colors is where Sonic Team "stopped trying", the imagination on display in these zones is the polar opposite of apathetic.
     
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  2. kyasarintsu

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    Planet Wisp is really cool. I was disappointed it wasn't reserved for the final level, though. It certainly would've been unique, and I guess a bit personal when it's the Wisp homeworld.
     
  3. Dark Sonic

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    As I'm sure has been reiterated here and I just saw above, but echoing the environments. Perfection. The best 3D Sonic level tropes hands down. They're proper evolutions of classic aesthetics and they're somehow all original! Ya, Forces mixed tropes too, but it reused levels we've seen 10 times now (destroyed GHZ, outside Chemical Plant but it's snowing. I mean the latter looks cool but I'm so over CPZ now). Colors though? Outer space theme park, food land mixed with a sorta Launch Base zone feel, Japanese aquarium, a lush planet that DOESN'T LOOK LIKE GHZ ravished by Eggman's machinery (BTW, planet wisp prob captures this environment/industrial destruction trope better than any Sonic level ever, save maybe CD's bad futures), an asteroid roller coaster, and starlight carnival (idk how to describe it, rave carnival in space?).

    ... and then they thought "hey, you know what we should do rather than build off this? Lost world checker patterns and the most basic environment tropes ever, YA GRASS DESERT BEACH SNOW JUNGLE SKY NOT BOWSER CASTLE ACID WORLD." But they had it! Whyyyyyyy????

    Props to Unleashed and Generations that had similar design philosophies, but due to the nature of those games they didn't get to play too much with tropes (Eggman land is great, they're still using Generations GHZ for promotional materials I mean it looked great, and I will forever love Windmill Isle, but apparently the only good level in Unleashed is Rooftop Run if Sonic Team has anything to say about it).

    Slightly off topic but missed opportunity in Generations for trope mixing. I always dreamed the final level would be some kind of bizarre mash-up of the various Eggman bases. Elements of Scrap brain, Death Egg, Final Egg, and Eggmanland, only due to excessive time manipulation the level was kind of collapsing around you.
     
  4. Josh

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    Real talk, I think there's an argument to be made that Sonic Colors executes on a consistent aesthetic theme better than any other game in the series. As gorgeous and creative as its level tropes are, they all tie in to the phenomenal "interstellar amusement park" setting, without ever becoming rote or repetitive.
     
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  5. Xiao Hayes

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    Ok, but sweet factory where you dive through cakes is a trope closer to Lost World than to the rest of Colors. And yes, tropical resort is the best of the game, doing the tropical trope in an atypical way that also reminds me of Casino Night a bit. Starlight Carnival would be my next favourite, it's... umm... death egg good future? I never appreciated aquarium park too much because there's still something a bit too dull that doesn't remind me of classics, but my memories are probably mixing it with dragon road, so I'm not sure. I don't feel Asteroid coaster is that original, reminds me of SA2/ShtH space levels but with weird colouring; again, my memories can be biased, as I was too angry with the game when I got there to appreciate anything in it.
     
  6. TheInvisibleSun

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    This was my first thought when seeing this thread.

    On the subject of level tropes, it is quite telling when the least unique one, Terminal Velocity, involves running down a space elevator with a black hole in hot pursuit.
     
  7. BadBehavior

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    I know this is "complimenting" Sonic Colours but I saw a great point about the story on SSMB and I wanted to bring attention to it. It goes something like:

    "I think it's pretty telling that it's often praised in comparison to other Sonic games and not on it's own merits." (Source)

    Which makes sense. I'm seeing a lot of "It's a breath of fresh air after Shadow/06/Unleashed" but little about why the story is good on its own terms. Which starts a whole other argument as to whether we should critique X element within the context of the series or within the little bubble of other X elements like the gameplay, level design and so on. Basically do we judge Sonic Colours as a game, or as a Sonic game?
     
  8. Josh

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    As far as the story goes, I haven't actually watched most of it in a long time, but let's talk about "Baldy Nosehair."
    It seems like a lot of folks pull it out as some kind of ultimate condemnation of how lame the writing is in the modern games... but at least with this one, I think they're reading it wrong.

    In the context of the scene, Tails is translating the Wisps' alien language. They don't know who Eggman is, they just know this loud man is doing awful things to them, so they call him "Baldy Nosehair."

    Now, Sonic & Tails are the incredibly lame duo of best friends who forced the ridiculous name of "EGGMAN" onto their rival. YOU'RE not supposed to find it funny, but the two of them think it's HILARIOUS, and it's a sweet little character moment for their friendship, which helps Sonic & Tails find common ground with the Wisps.

    At least, that's how I always saw it.

    HAVING SAID THAT, I think the reason it's read the way it is, particularly by the younger set, largely come down to the way it's portrayed in-game. Like, Sonic Heroes made me cringe like no other when I was 15, and if I imagine watching the Baldy Nosehair scene through THAT lens... the timing of the scene and dialogue, and the way the VAs were directed make it pretty awkward. Imagine how differently a scene like this might've played in something like Sonic Boom, which had comedic timing and character portrayal down a lot better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  9. CHAnga

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    At the risk of turning this into an echo chamber, Colors has some of the best and most original level theming in the entire series, bar none. If we got a new game with the same level of originality in its stage themes alongside Generations-esque level design (And more fine-tuned and less delayed controls on top of that), we'd have something truly special on our hands.
     
  10. Beamer the Meep

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    Now that I think about it, Colors might be the last game that had fairly original level design in a mainline Sonic game. Generations is Generations, but Lost World and Forces have kinda leaned too heavily upon prior stages or fairly bland settings.
     
  11. Dek Rollins

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    I think people just use the "Baldy Nosehair" thing as the poster child for how bad, stupid and childish the "Pontaff" writing can be in general, probably because it was repeated later on and is a simple phrase to latch on to. The writing isn't bad because of that line alone, but that line is indicative of the rest of their writing to some degree. While not literally every line of dialogue is awful, there's a lot of bad. Both Sonic's and Tails' personalities feel wrong IMO, with the worst offender being Tails' with his techno-babble nonsense. Almost as if the new writers didn't know anything about Sonic.

    I also think comparing that scene to them calling him Eggman is a bit of a stretch. Even ignoring the fact that his name was originally Eggman anyway, saying that Sonic and Tails are lame for calling him that doesn't make sense to me. Whether it had to do with him calling all his stuff "egg-something" or is referring to his egg-shaped belly, it seems like a perfectly reasonable derivative to mock him with, considering Sonic's sassy and cheeky attitude. Either way, Sonic finding "Baldy Nosehair" as hilarious as he does, and then later using it himself, is even less clever than the DiC cartoons' "Robuttnik" insult. I wouldn't even have anything against Sonic and Tails chuckling at the wisps giving such a description, but what we got in that cutscene is definitely more cringe-inducing than "a giant talking egg".

    As you mention, the execution of the scene is awkward, so that may have something to do with how it comes off, but I also dislike the voices themselves, so that might also influence my point of view.
     
  12. Josh

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    See, I think that's one of the greatest points of contention surrounding Colors. Sonic's portrayal in the games had, in many ways, never felt MORE right than it did in Colors, and while I'll happily agree the plots of the modern games are egregiously out-of-focus, the characterization and voice acting continues to be a strong suit, or at least, it's enjoyable enough to me on its own merits.

    To me, Sonic is cocky, he can be impatient and immature, he antagonizes his enemies and is a worse thorn in THEIR side than they are in his. Part of this comes from his portrayal in the Genesis games: After all, Sonic breaks the fourth wall and taps his foot directly at YOU, the player. But I'm not afraid to admit that a large part of it also comes from the way he's portrayed in 90s media, and especially WESTERN media which was, after all, the only thing I had to go on in my formative years.

    Maybe it's because the dialogue post-Colors is often being written _by_ westerners, but Sonic's personality since that game matches my idea of who he's supposed to be a whooooole lot better than it did in most of the 2000s. Back then, it was like everything I said about him being a quippy, self-assured jackass largely went out the window, especially after SA2. To me, he became way more bland and generic, feeling suspiciously like one of those badly-dubbed, boring anime protagonists in the shows the kids were watching back then. Looking back, I can very much understand why they thought Shadow was cooler, given how Sonic was portrayed.

    Then Colors came along, and like... the writing's not gonna win any awards, but Sonic finally talks like Sonic again! Yay!

    But if his 2000s portrayal taught you that Sonic was a more sincere, kinder anime protagonist type (which was, after all, all 2000s kids had to go on in their formative years), then OH NO, THEY'VE RUINED SONIC.

    I'm not saying they're wrong and I'm right, just that different people will have different conceptions of who Sonic is "supposed" to be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  13. Dek Rollins

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    I don't really disagree with you about what Sonic should be like. I don't have a particular attachment to the dark age era personality. As far as outside media goes, I watched Adventures of Sonic and Sonic X both. The OVA probably gets closest to how I think he should be, with some extra Fleetway/DiC assholiness for good measure. The Sonic 2 sprite animations definitely influence how I feel about the character.

    A problem I have with Colors+ Sonic is that his jackass qualities often come off as childish and halfbaked, and I don't feel much personality from it. Some of it is down to the performance though. There's no charisma. Jaleel White's voice in the DiC cartoons was oozing with personality. I don't get that from Smith, nor from his dialogue most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  14. Josh

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    Fair enough. I don't think I quite agree, but I can see it. Like, I enjoy the characters and the dialogue on their own merits, and I do think RCS is the best voice Sonic's had in the games, but Jaleel White's always gonna be my ideal. And while post-Colors Sonic does feel like MORE of a match for that (and for the OVA as well IMO), it's still the quippy jackass Sonic I want, but with all the edges rounded off. You said "childish," but I might more describe it as, "kid-friendly." But it's kid friendly to a degree that a lot of children's media ISN'T nowadays, if that makes sense.

    I still enjoy it, but I think the nostalgia and reverence I have for the character has a lot to do with WHY I enjoy it, and I'd never recommend any of these games to someone else based on the quality of their storytelling. :V (I just binged the entire Metal Virus arc of the IDW comics in one go the other night, and characterization like THAT would be genuinely compelling for the games.)

    Getting back to the topic though: I've played more Colors in the past week than I did in the preceding 10 years. That's a compliment in a way, right? :D

    Here's one: The final boss (much as it's been driven into the ground by repetition) is AWESOME. I like how Eggman turns the Wisp powers against you, and the phase 2 music is one of the most glorious, triumphant pieces in the series. It IS a shame that you can finish him off before it really gets going, but on my most recent playthrough, I just hung there at the end and let it play. And of course, I LOVE the Final Color Blaster, _and_ the way Eggman blasts off and explodes into his own face afterward. That and the whole "chaining up planets" aspect are more reasons Colors reminds me of CD.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  15. Mana

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    I think the new writers purposely write Sonic as someone who think he's cooler than he actually is. That's a perfect character flaw for him IMO so I've never had a problem with how he's written. My issues are with the quality of the overall stories.
     
  16. Xiao Hayes

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    Honestly, the writing of Colours was never an issue for me, never looked unfitting. I didn't think it's cringey or childish, I just thought they had made a plot for kids, and I liked that because, you know, it was a game aimed at kids.
     
  17. When people criticize Colors for its writing being too goofy and/or childish, I think they need to remember it came on the heels of this:

    Compared to the direction the series' writing was going in before, Colors is basically The Godfather.
     
  18. BadBehavior

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    Comparing The Godfather to the game that gave us "Baldy Nosehair"? As a film student, I felt my heart violently convulse.
     
  19. My bad, I meant to say Casablanca :V

    A better comparison would probably be like this: playing Colors after '06 is like watching Murder Mystery after That's My Boy. It's still not a good story, but it's an undeniable improvement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  20. Pengi

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    That does seem to be the approach they've been taking. Personally, I hate it. Sonic shouldn't be that self-conscious or neurotic, someone who tries to be cool or cares about being cool. Sonic should be cool because he's a free spirit with a live and let live philosophy and a cheeky attitude.

    Yep. They basically over-corrected from how ridiculous Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 2006 were. A shame, since Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Rush Adventure got back to that Sonic Adventure 1/Sonic Battle sweet spot. Sonic Unleashed's intro plays like an action movie, where the stakes are real and the characters act accordingly, but at the same time doesn't betray the fact that it's still a cartoon about a blue hedgehog fighting robots.