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Does Sonic 1 honestly hold up?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Blastfrog, Feb 3, 2014.

Does it hold up?

  1. It's just fine. I don't see anything to complain about.

    75 vote(s)
  2. Yeah, the cracks are definitely showing.

    21 vote(s)
  3. I'm not sure one way or the other.

    5 vote(s)
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  1. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    While Sonic 1 isn't bad by any means, I've felt over the past few years that it doesn't hold up nearly as well as the later titles.

    As far as art goes, a lot of it feels simplistic and flat. The parallax of REV00 doesn't help this. Sonic's walking animation looks fucking terrible with the horizontal alignment all over the place, as well as the lack of an intermediate frame for the head turning. The literal RGB greys and yellows are ugly, I prefer Chaotix's warmer rings and bluer greys. The seams on the lava in Marble Zone are pretty ugly too. Labyrinth's tile background isn't very inspiring to look at, I wish they had kept the cave background of the preview versions. The removal of the animated UFOs in Marble make it feel even simpler.

    The speed cap makes the game feel sluggish, and it doesn't even make sense to have it because it doesn't apply when not pressing the movement buttons. The on-rails pure platforming levels like Marble and Labyrinth break the flow of the game, don't fit and don't really make use of unique Sonic game mechanics. You could easily have Mario going through those levels. Scrap Brain feels unfinished and underwhelming.

    I realize that because the later games took what worked and refined it, of course it will pale in comparison. Regardless, is Sonic 1 really worth going back to for the game itself on its own, rather than for completionist or nostalgic purposes? Sonic 2 was a huge step up, and Sonic CD has amazing polish and atmosphere.
  2. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

    Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Wiki Sysop
    GreatMegaLD, GreatSC3k, Great SG1k
    Sonic 1 is the best in the series and the one that instills in me with the most joy. Every iteration that has come after has added unnecessary characters and gameplay mechanics. I would have been quite happy for Sonic to remain mute in an eternal struggle against his Wile E Coyote-esque Robotnik with levels that required dexterity, accuracy, patience, skill and an ability to exploit the pseudo-physics of Sonic's world to achieve fast speeds and high scores. While the sequels are good for what they are, the additional complexity dilutes the purity of the original masterpiece.
  3. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    I think it holds up in that it's surprisingly refined for what it is, especially when you glimpse at the crazy dev schedule it had, and the pressure it had to deal with. Regardless, it was eclipsed by what came after, specifically S3&K (Sonic 2 made a lot of improvements, but at the same time, it was significantly less refined, and had a lot of technical issues that S1 didn't).

    It holds up as its own game, but less in terms of comparing it to other games in the series.
  4. Clutch


    It was a dark and stormy night... Member
    Taxman and Stealth's remake of the game was fucking amazing, but...sadly re-affirmed that I basically only enjoy 50% of the levels in the original game. There's a lot of level design decisions that strike me as the result of not being sure of the kind of game Sonic is supposed to be and of throwing level gimmicks at the wall and seeing what sticks: things Sonic 2 and 3 knew to downplay a bit more.

    And yeah, the art style is probably the most rough-around-the-edges of the original Genesis/CD games. There's more than a few instances of awkward tiling, bland coloring or visuals (Star Light Zone), or art that just plain look rushed (why is one of the mountain peaks in Green Hill floating in mid-air)?
  5. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    It hold up just fine sure, but it's never been my favorite. But that's just my personal cup of tea, and I respect it for what it set in motion.
  6. Shockwave


    LA, CA
    Sonic: South Island Warped
    Honestly, I think Sonic 1 holds up just fine. I appreciate all of the levels, even Marble and Labyrinth, I could care less how slow they are since I still consider them entertaining to run through, especially Marble since there's a good amount of alternate paths and the platforming is pretty well laid out. I don't mind the speed cap or lack of spin dash since it encouraged rolling in the right places more often to get speed.

    However, I certainly wouldn't call it the best of the Genesis games. S3&K and SCD definitely surpass it in pretty much every aspect, but of course that makes sense since they were the games to come out later and improve on what S1 did right.

    I would, personally, still rank Sonic 1 above Sonic 2 though. I'm probably the only one that'll say that, but Sonic 2 just runs by too quickly for me. Plus, I feel like half the levels just exemplify the "hold right to win" game play some people like to joke about with the series.
  7. Lilly


    United States
    Shang Mu Architect
    My biggest problems with the game were the speed caps and certain bugs, (Spikes and no variable jump height in special stages.) which made the physics feel too floaty and slow for my liking, but most Sonic 1 hacks fix all that. Marble Zone was probably the only stage I didn't really like, although that's personal opinion; the others had pretty okay themes even with the flat colors.

    Sonic 1 just doesn't have much nostalgia for me, since I never got to play it until my sis found a copy at a used book store when I was 15, whereas I had been playing Sonic 2, and Sonic & Knuckles, for much longer than that. I barely play the Genesis games as it is, since I replayed them all to death on multiple computers, homebrew emulators, and official re-releases. (Like Mega Collection on the Gamecube.) Sonic CD is the one that keeps me coming back more frequently since I have yet to see absolutely everything in it.

    I can see Sonic 2's pace being an issue for some, but later stages are anything but hold right to win, especially Metropolis Zone and Oil Ocean. I remember Sonic 2 being hard as balls when I was a kid, it took me three years to beat it because of no save options.
  8. SF94


    Tech Member
    I'd say it's held up... alright. It's not terrible or anything. I generally don't enjoy Sonic 1 as much as the other games though, especially without a spindash. Or more specifically, it's not a game that I go out of my way to play very often, although still mildly enjoyable the times that I do (as long as they're few and far apart). To me, it seems like a lot of "just started picking up speed" followed by *smack*, an obstacle that completely nullifies it.

    So I suppose that would skew my opinion a little, but what more is this than an opinion in the first place? =P

    My favorite is probably Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I feel like it strikes a nice balance between obstacles and allowing you to keep moving. Sonic 2, while not bad, is pretty much just run with minimal obstacles, let's be honest. And Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a game I go out of my way to play.
  9. MarkeyJester


    Original, No substitute Resident Jester
    I think it does hold up, purely on the basis of its ironic simplicity.

    Despite the fact that the game has a complex sense of physics, that separated it from other games at time of its release. The actual game play, its rules, graphics, music and sound, are in fact simple and easy to get around. You can pick up the controller and just... play. Sonic 2 and above do retain the pick up and go feel, but there are additions to them which complicate the situation. They have a story, cut-scenes, additional game-play rules to add to the mix. That's not to say it's a bad thing, but it does show that Sonic 1 has that one advantage of simplicity, that allows it to hold up the way it does.
  10. Metal Man88

    Metal Man88

    Time Traveller Oldbie
    I didn't like it when it was still vaguely new (circa 1996 when I encountered it), nor do I like it now.

    *shrugs* It certainly holds up in that my reaction hasn't really changed: That is, "SLOWWWWWWWWWWW."
  11. Kyuu


    Memory Access Violation Member
    Honestly, I'm not sure what I'd say. Like, on the one hand, I don't think Sonic 1's a bad game by any means, but on the other hand...

    Pretty much what Morph said, I guess - Sonic 1 feels like "build-up-speed-hit-obstacle" to me sometimes. I don't expect it to be overly simplistic to keep momentum high, I just seem to be unable to avoid some obstacles even if I know they're there (a few rocks in GHZ, for instance).

    Basically, I still think it's a good game and enjoy it, but I don't know if I'd say it holds up that well (MJ raises a valid point though, S1's simplicity is something I'm quite fond of).
  12. Knucklez


    I love 2B 'n' ass. Member
    Why is this even a discussion? It was the first in the series and of Sonic EVER. Its flaws are excusable for that reason.

    Not all firsts are masterpieces, but it was a masterpiece in its own right. When you have a final product, you can always refine and tune it into something even better (if you know what the hell you're doing). Which is why the series got better one after the other (ending with S3K of course because S4 doesn't count).

    If you played S2/3 before 1, then you're judgment will more likely be biased because you aren't taking all factors into account. Whatever.... keep on, keep on, keep on with the bullshit.
  13. Tiller


    HDK & World Runner
    Sonic 1 is alright. It's just overshadowed by its two sequels that took the concept and refined it into the formula I prefer. It was always my least favorite as a kid due to things like the speed cap and less appealing acts. Labyrinth Zone really kills it though before the game fizzles out.
  14. Willie


    Each day the world turns Laugh 'til it all burns Member
    Sonic 1 is my second favorite game in the series and has been ever since I've played Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It was the slowest paced game of the original trilogy and that never bothered me (which might be why I love Sonic 3D Blast and enjoyed the 3DS version of Sonic Lost World). The lack of spin-dashing made it easier to balance the levels where you're not accidentally spin-dashing to a death trap and that helped some levels maintain their higher difficulty without feeling cheap. Maybe I'm just a sucker for lava based levels with a big emphasis on platforming, but Marble Zone is my favorite zone in the game. I love every zone in the game for a variety of reasons (including Labyrinth Zone) but I can't say the same about Sonic 2. I only love about half of the zones from that game.

    Emerald Hill: Love it.
    Chemical Plant: Love it.
    Aquatic Ruin: Levels that use water as a punishment instead of a fun aspect to a stage will always be the least enjoy water levels. This level also started the low areas = way less fun trend. I can be in any higher or lower area of any level from Sonic 1 or S3&K and still have a great time.
    Casino Night: Started possibly my least favorite level trope in the entire Sonic franchise. People bitch about Sonic 1's slow pace, yet this level has you waiting for elevators to move you up and down without anything else to do during that time.
    Hill Top: Enjoyable stage, but I don't love it. Also the least interesting lava level of any 2D Sonic game I've played.
    Mystic Cave: Love it.
    Oil Ocean: Enjoyable, but not a favorite by any means. Also strangely one of the more forgettable stages despite its unique trope.
    Metropolis: Love it.
    Sky Chase: Love it.
    Wing Fortress: Love it.
    Death Egg: I've always found the final boss to be more of a pain in the ass than fun.

    I love 11/20 stages from the game, where as I love every stage from Sonic 1 and S3&K. As for Sonic CD, the level design was a very different beast but I enjoyed the maze like level design except for the cheaper level design and act 1 of Wacky Workbench. Act 2 and 3 of Wacky Workbench were great though. I always felt the boss fight in that zone was one of the more unique boss fights in the series. Sonic CD's boss fights were some the strangest of the classic games in that they didn't follow the traditional 8 hits to death rule for Robotnik's machines and varied a ton in quality. Sonic 1's bosses weren't the best in the Sonic series, but all of them were enjoyable and diverse. S3&K pulled off boss fights the best of the classic games and its level design is second to none in the entire series. Seriously, why didn't future 2D Sonic games get level design that complex designed for multiple characters? The Advance games had five playable characters, yet nearly anyone could access any area of the first two Advance games. Can't quite comment on Advance 3 with the level design because I didn't play that game anywhere near as much, but I don't remember any sections that felt like they were designed with specific characters in mind.
  15. Andrew75


    Technical Artist Member
    Project AXSX(Sonic Xtreme) + Misc Projects
    Back in 1991 the tiling issues mentioned above for sonic 1 were far better than most other games of the time. I feel the game still holds up pretty well today. After all its a video game meant to look and feel like a video game. ( not a failed attempt to mimic a cinamatic experience) It's aged better than some of the more modern sonic games have or ever will.
  16. Jayextee


    Unpopular Opinions™ Member
    Atro City
    For everyone but spindash babbies, it holds up.
  17. Spinksy


    Sonic 1 with a MegaDrive was the first console I had at the age of 8, therefore it sticks as a favorite.

    Will never forget struggling with some of the levels when I was 8/9 and never completeing it till me and my mate got a cheat from a magazine lol.

    What fascinates me is how people obsess over sonic being stupidly fast - when in reality the first game never was THAT fast (just quick for that time peroid)- it had fast paced bits but the majority of the game was good platforming, the speed was to me just what made him stand out!
  18. Vangar


    You're going to have to explain this to me. Sonic 2 only has 12 stages, unless you are breaking them into acts? In which case you only like one some acts of some zones? From your love it hate it list, 8ish out of 12 zones isn't bad?

    You also mention you love every zone in Sonic 1 but hate Casino Night because you have to wait for platforms? How about the platforms in Spring Yard. Like the multiple marathon of them up and down? You mention you like it because it is slower paced, or at least it doesn't bother you... so why is 1 - 2 platforms in CNZ an issue? CNZ and spring yard are extremely similar, Spring yard is kinda like a less-featured CNZ. You still get bounced around all over the place.

    ARZ and LZ are similar too. Both punish you underwater - ARZ only has a few falling stones while LZ has spikes all over the place, quickly moving spike balls and the boss is more frustrating.

    As for CD, I always felt that the level design and tropes were closer to Sonic 1 then any other game. Slow paced, obscure level genres and more of a 90's japanese theme. Where as sonic 2 onwards became more western.

    Does Sonic 1 hold up today? Does this retro forum still exist? Well it's sure not here because of Lost World or '06!
  19. LordOfSquad


    bobs over baghdad Member
    Winnipeg, MB
    making cool music no one gives a shit about
    It still holds up, it's just got more of a basic, arcadey feel to it than the others. It's certainly still more charming than Sonic 2.
  20. Nova


    Oh, most definitely - whether it's as good as the later entries in the series is highly questionable. I'm a little biased towards it as it was my first video game ever and so many of my formative experiences came from it, but Sonic 2 and 3 came out when I was a little older and as such, I was able to appreciate the advances made and they are definitely the better games in my opinion.

    Again, Sonic 1 definitely, definitely holds up. But it has a totally different feel - I think it was Guess Who who brought up in the IRC that Sonic 2 was the first game where they learned they could do more than a slightly-fast-platformer using the momentum-based physics, and Chemical Plant Zone was the first level where they truly showcased this. Going back to the old games, this kind of 'flowing' gameplay is so much more emergent and fun than Sonic 1's. Still, definitely not a bad game even by today's standards.
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