Homing Attack or Not?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MegaDash, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. MegaDash


    Pinpricks Member
    The homing attack introduced itself to the world in 1998 with Sonic Adventure. Since then, it's not only been a staple of 3D Sonic games, but literally a staple of the character itself. Wherever he goes, it goes, and people have different feelings and ideas about it. Some think its a welcome evolution of Sonic's fundamental moveset, others think its an absolute necessity in 3D, still others don't really care that much about it, and perhaps a few think it needs to either go or undergo some changes. I started this topic because I'm genuinely interested in the move's existence, its future, and what people think about it, so I want to engage Retro in a dedicated discussion about the move and prevent further derailing of other threads over it. Specifically:

    1. How has the move evolved and where has it been, for better or worse?
    2. How has it served the franchise in 2D and 3D, for better or worse?
    3. How could it be improved OR with what would you like it to be replaced in the future, either in 2D or 3D games?

    Getting #1 started, the homing attack has been in every 3D Sonic game with the exception of the Sonic World in Sonic Jam, and its only previous instance was in the form of the golden shield powerup from Sonic 3D Blast. After Adventure 2, it has also been in every DIMPs-developed 2D Sonic game except for Sonic Pocket Adventure. If I missed anything, feel free to clear that up for everyone. For this subtopic, let the discussion focus on the move's functional role and usefulness in each game as well as its aesthetic and technical specs: how did it feel to use, how did it affect Sonic's inertia/momentum/overall movement through the stage, etc.

    Subtopic #2 will be the pathos of the homing attack. How do you think (or feel) it has served the franchise in 2D and/or 3D? Did it make it worse or did it make it better? Was it simply an inevitable design decision, or an easy mechanic that's been resting on its laurels for too long?

    Subtopic #3 will simply focus on suggestions for its improvement, great or small, or its replacement. If you'd like, consider a specific homing attack from a game to cite as an example for a basis of improvement. For example Sonic Heroes's homing attack tends to move in a sort of arc to each enemy as opposed to a straight line. If you want it replaced, it could be by anything from the Insta-Shield to something completely new and original, but think about what kind of purpose, design, or experience it would be made for.

    You can discuss whichever subtopic you like in any order.

    Play nice. The move does have an established place in the franchise in both 2D and 3D now, and we probably will be seeing it more and more. However, with Sonic Generations coming around and bringing back Classic gameplay, SEGA have shown that they're listening to people who are sick of the move and don't think it belongs in a 2D Genesis-style game. For everyone that doesn't like it, there's probably 1 or more that either like it or don't think much of it, so consider that. I personally don't think the move is an absolutely necessary tool, but I don't mind using it in either a well-designed 2D or 3D game. I didn't like it in Sonic 4, but I personally didn't mind it at all in a Sonic Advance or Sonic Rush game, and I actually liked it better in Sonic Megamix and certain other rom hacks. For 3D Sonic games, I think it's perfectly possible to design such a game that caters to a different philosophy that renders the homing attack superfluous or out of place.

    For emphasis, design is everything. Design can make the best of a tool or the worst of it. Let's talk about how design served this move in all of its iterations, maybe discover a newfound appreciation for the move, and overall have an entertaining discussion about it.
  2. gold lightning

    gold lightning

    IMO you don't need the homing attack if you have proper bouncing physics coupled with tight controls. The homing attack hasn't gotten any better over the years other than it being less buggy in recent games. It also allows and encourages bad level design in many cases. If you follow my first point you don't need the homing attack anymore and it can leave without being missed IMO.
  3. Sparks


    Kyle and Lucy: Wonderworld
    I'm ok with it in 3D as long as it isn't abused, and isn't massively required in level design.

    In 2D, I think Advance 2 handled homing attack perfectly.
  4. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    <!--quoteo(post=601121:date=Jun 30 2011, 12:28 PM:name=Sparks)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sparks @ Jun 30 2011, 12:28 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=601121">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->In 2D, I think Advance 2 handled homing attack perfectly.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    I agree, it was an unobtrusive, additional attack that had a very short range that made the attack an option, not a necessity. However, in 2D play, I'd rather it be relegated to a shield attack, like the gold shield in 3D Blast, or even an evolution to the fire shield.

    In 3D, however, I think that the best thing that the can do is apply a manual lock-on, ala z-targeting in Zelda (someone else was mentioning this the other day as well). And make it a little more subtle like in Adventure 1 and 2, not ridiculously long range like in Heroes, Shadow and Unleashed. Additionally, there should be some transference of momentum on landing. Not like in Sonic 4, but again, subtle, like the Adventure games.

    From the gameplay I've seen of Generations, it seems like they're starting to get the homing attack down again, but it still seems too long ranged when near an enemy.

    Even that wouldn't be an issue if Unleashed, Colors and, seemingly, Generations weren't so linear. With the way levels have been set up these past few years, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. There needs to be some inkling of skill involved with it's use. It's fine to mindlessly bash on early enemies, but more advanced enemies should be able to shield themselves like in Heroes, or sidestep; you have to think in order to get at them. Or maybe these enemies are impervious to homing attacks at first and you need, say, a manually locked on spin dash to bash it out of their hands and then you can mid-air stomp them or homing attack them on the rebound.

    But in the end, I just want it to be another attack with advantages for using it, as well as situations where it's not appropriate to use. It should never be necessary for completion of a level, only for additional paths.
  5. Flare


    Never thought of doing a z target style, mmm...not sure if it is more cumbersome with it though. Homing attack in 3D would be better if it was used for what it was intended to, replicate the feeling of bouncing off enemies in 2D. However it all comes down to the level design and enemy placement.
  6. Felik


    If sega will get rid of standing/hovering still and doing nothing enemies who's only purpose is to be HA-chained and if sega will not make so ridiculously long HA ranges like in colors than I'm totally ok with it.
  7. Solaris Paradox

    Solaris Paradox

    On my butt in front of the computer. Where else?
    I'm working on working up the willpower to work on learning how to make my own Sonic fangames. Not quite there yet.
    In 2D, the Homing Attack is unnecessary and only serves to stagger the pace of the game. In 3D, the Homing Attack is borderline necessary, but could do with the revival of some aspects in the Adventure series—a greater emphasis on enemy types designed to hinder or evade the Homing Attack—and a massive dialing-down of the "homing chain across a pit" and "9,001 Eggpawn Mooks Syndrome" that Modern Sonic has suffered for the past few games. Also, health bars (Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic '06) make the Homing Attack freaking unbearable, so don't even TRY that again.

    Ideally, level designs should reward players for knowing when to forgo the Homing Attack in favor of jumping, boosting, sliding/rolling, etc. Also, Homing Attack-based timing challenges, as seen in a few optional/DLC Unleashed stages, would provide some nice gameplay for this seemingly anti-gameplay attack move.
  8. Master3k


    Absolute necessity? In my opinion, not really. I can easily play a newer Sonic game (3D or 2D) without using the Homing Attack, except when it is needed to proceed through the level.

    I think it made Sonic games too easy. Can't kill a (insert a enemy that can be killed with Homing Attack here) by jumping on it? Homing Attack.

    Just my opinion.
    EDIT: "Procceed"
  9. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    <!--quoteo(post=600927:date=Jun 29 2011, 06:40 PM:name=MegaDash)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MegaDash @ Jun 29 2011, 06:40 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=600927">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Oh, and no more homing attacks. Just a spindash and perchance an insta-shield. Maybe a homing attack that sends Sonic flying into an arc inbound to an enemy and outbound from it at the same speed Sonic hits it.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    This is pretty much what I've been suggesting for a while now; a magnetic attraction function that'll gently alter your trajectory to ensure that you never miss a bounce attempt, preserving all momentum. In practice, you shouldn't even realize it's happening. Alternatively, insta-shield with a large radius, that'll work just as well. Again, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZqVgy3RVI8" target="_blank">this is the ideal.</a>

    Jumping on shit in 3D really isn't that hard, though!
  10. Vinchenz


    Yo! Hustle! Hustle! Member
    I think that's evolved in a way that it's made it easier to use... but I do prefer the range and the non-aimingness of the Adventure games. Although, because of how fast the BOOSTAN style goes, the long range and aimer (yeah I know "aimer" isn't a word but the actual name for it escapes me right now) might be necessary to give the player more time to react.

    In 2D, I hate it. It's not necessary at all. However, I think that it's absolutely necessary in 3D Sonic games to have the homing attack, or some kind of homing when jumping. Have you guys tried to jump on the flying enemies in Sonic Adventure 2? More often than not you'll come short because you're misjudging how far it is. I've tried it myself. There was a reason why it was created and that's because judging distance in 3D games is hell-of-a-lot harder than doing so in a 2D game. In fact, I'm wondering how a Sonic Adventure/BOOSTAN style game would work without homing attacks on the 3DS now that we have a proper way to judge distances.

    In 2D games, they should just remove it. In fact, I'll be a little disappointed if it's still in Sonic 4 after all of the complaints. In 3D games, though, (especially with the style the games are like) it's absolutely fine. However, if they ever make slower-paced 3D Sonic games, perhaps something a lot more subtle would work than the homing attack, like when you jump near an enemy Sonic will ever so gently nudge himself towards the enemy, making it easier to him them. A subtle, automatic homing attack if you will.
  11. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
    In Colors DS I don't mind it, and honestly I didn't even realize it was in the two rush games. At the very least I don't remember anywhere where it was essential; I tended more to using the boost for that.
  12. Steven M

    Steven M

    The 3D Mario games generally don't use a homing attack. Ask yourself what they have that the 3D Sonic games don't and you should have your answer as to why that is.
  13. Sparks


    Kyle and Lucy: Wonderworld
    <!--quoteo(post=601168:date=Jun 30 2011, 01:39 PM:name=Steven M)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Steven M @ Jun 30 2011, 01:39 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=601168">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->The 3D Mario games generally don't use a homing attack. Ask yourself what they have that the 3D Sonic games don't and you should have your answer as to why that is.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Bigger enemies? Slower gameplay?
  14. SpeedStarTMQ


    Here for The Hedgehog. Member
    I think they've got it right with the homing attack- great for the 3D games, not particulary needed, but not out of place in the 2D games. Sonic Advance 2 had a great little version which you wouldn't even know existed unless you really tried, and Sonic 4 had a really nice version of the 3D one which was used effectively throughout.

    It depends on what type of game they're making- The classics and Advance games didn't need it, but some games do, and it seems to work. I don't want it in every single title, but I don't mind the majority of the time. Balance is key.
  15. Steven M

    Steven M

    <!--quoteo(post=601170:date=Jun 30 2011, 10:42 PM:name=Sparks)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Sparks @ Jun 30 2011, 10:42 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=601170">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec--><!--quoteo(post=601168:date=Jun 30 2011, 01:39 PM:name=Steven M)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Steven M @ Jun 30 2011, 01:39 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=601168">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->The 3D Mario games generally don't use a homing attack. Ask yourself what they have that the 3D Sonic games don't and you should have your answer as to why that is.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Bigger enemies? Slower gameplay?

    Better controls, more manageable speed/acceleration, more freedom of movement, less fucking corridors of 'hit x ten times to homing-attack every enemy forming a convenient path across a bottomless pit'. That's off the top of my head, a better designer/theorist than I would provide a more detailed analysis.
  16. Endgame


    Formerly The Growler Member
    If you remove all bottomless pits, and you won't need the homing attack as much ;)

    Wasn't that basically one of the main reasons for it in the first place?
  17. BlazeHedgehog


    A "Community Enigma"? Oldbie
    I think the homing attack is pretty necessary for 3D. Consider the goomba in Super Mario 64:

    In 2D Marios, Goombas are about half Mario's size, if not smaller. They travel in one direction until they touch something, and then turn around and walk the other way. Despite their diminutive size, they are not hard to hit.

    In 3D, Goombas were increased in size to be almost as big as Mario. They wander slowly and aimlessly until the point where they see Mario, and then the barrel directly at him at full speed. Why is this? For starters, the added dimension of 3D makes Goombas hard to stomp the traditional way, even considering their size. No longer do you worry about lining up with a Goomba on the X and Y axis, now you have to worry about X, Y and Z all at the same time.

    So why do Goombas run straight at you? Well, for one, it lines them up with the player. This makes the probability of a stomp easier, but Nintendo implemented other mechanics to ease the burden of dealing with enemies: namely, Mario's newly found melee capabilities. When a Goomba closes in, simply punch and kick and the little mushroom guy will literally run in to your fist and kill himself. Simple.

    Super Mario Galaxy makes this process even easier; instead of punches and kicks that have to be aimed in a specific direction, Mario does a twirl maneuver that attacks in 360 degrees at once. Mario can be facing the opposite direction of an incoming enemy and still land a successful hit.

    All of this is to compensate for the added dimension of depth 3D games provide.

    The homing attack is another method of dealing with that. It says, "Do you want to stomp on that goomba? Well, press the jump button again and we'll handle all of the hard alignment stuff for you."

    The problem with the homing attack these days is it's perhaps a little too powerful; the range in which you can lock on to targets is absolutely ridiculous in size - a few Sonic Unleashed levels provide you with homing attack targets far enough away that they aren't even on screen anymore, but you can still lock on to them. Sonic Colors tries to rectify this by presenting the limitation that only enemies that are on screen can be targeted, but even that gets a little silly in levels where the camera pulls out and you can lock on to something on the very left edge of the screen from the very right edge.

    The homing attack should be something that helps the player get that extra push to strike a nearby enemy. In other words, the radius in which Sonic can lock on to things needs to be vastly reduced, so the player is at least expected to get somewhat close to an enemy before using the move.
  18. Bostwick


    I honestly would rather they use the Mario method on Sonic. I can appreciate wanting to preserve the tried-and-true "hop 'n bop" method, but that ultimately doesn't work that well when you're moving at the pace Sonic normally moves. I'd be perfectly OK if they gave Sonic hand-to-hand combat (he's done it in both Sonic the Fighters and Sonic Battle) but I'm sure they can come up with other stuff, like say a stationary Spin Attack or some sort of ground-bound Insta-Shield. Heck, in Sonic Unleashed you can do a 360 sweeping kick when you're walking around the town areas. All they need to do is find a way to take that and make it faster-paced.
  19. Covarr


    Sentient Cash Register Member
    Trapped in my own thoughts.
    Two stageplays, a screenplay, and an album
    <!--quoteo(post=601204:date=Jun 30 2011, 04:25 PM:name=Bostwick)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Bostwick @ Jun 30 2011, 04:25 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=601204">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I'd be perfectly OK if they gave Sonic hand-to-hand combat<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    Yeah, some sort of melee-heavy Sonic would be pretty sweet.


    But seriously, I would not mind at all if they made a melee-heavy Sonic that controls like he does in Brawl. That was one of the best fusions of very dissimilar control/gameplay styles I've seen in years.
  20. Aerosol


    FML and FU2 Moderator
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    I think the 3D homing attack is pretty fine the way it is right now. 3D Sonic runs pretty faster. Slowing down to bop an enemy (with or without some kind of insta-shield) breaks the flow. The only suggestion I have is for a slight expansion on a property of the move I noticed in Unleashed. In Unleashed, Sonic doesn't bounce straight up after a homing attack, he bounces in the direction he traveled, more or less. If the height of the bounce could be more proportionate to the distance and angle of the attack, that'd be awesome. If Sonic were moving at the pace he does in Jim's Classic Sonic in Modern Sonic video though, then yea, an insta-shield would be preferable. But that's because he's moving slowly, already. Slowing down a bit more to control your jump and bop an enemy isn't really a big deal.

    Now, in 2D...homing attack is completely unnecessary. Atleast, as a default move. Having areas only accessible via homing attack is fine, as long as you can't homing attack all the time...or as long as performing a homing attack is a challenge, at least.