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I like Sonic 4.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Winins, Dec 12, 2021.

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  1. Simon A.C. Martin

    Simon A.C. Martin

    Fixing railways
    I remember the debates on the Sega Sonic 4 forums. The Ken Balough and Aaron Webber PR machine and the huge amount of awful cock-ups that continued for what felt like years.

    Sonic 4 Episode I was actually spot on the money as to what was needed: a new Sonic platform game, and a good one. It actually has many of the aspects that Mania had too: remixed levels, themes and old badniks, bosses, etc.

    The trouble is, the team developing it (Dimps I recall?) just had no clue about the classic physics of Sonic games. How the physics were carefully developed over several big titles. They didn't seem to be too bothered by it, but it really did make or break that title for the vast majority of hardcore fans, and in fact casual gamers, because it really wasn't very good. The rolling physics are the big draw of the old Sonic platform games.

    Episode II was a very poor attempt at trying to hide the issues of the Dimps based engine's physics by introducing Tails and using Metal Sonic as a foil.

    There's so many good aspects of Sonic 4 - I personally loved the level's aesthetics, music was not too bad, and there were some nice moments including reintroducing us to Super Sonic, but it just failed miserably at the basics of a Sonic platformer, and ultimately that's why Sonic Mania is Sonic 4 in all but name.

    It remains inconceivable to me that a title with that name should get such poor service from Sega - we're talking about a sequel to arguably one of gaming's most iconic videogame series, the Megadrive classics. How the people at Sega didn't see how strong the feelings would be from fans and reviewers alike is beyond me.

    I think it says much about its failure that it's never been included for any kind of re-release outside of the consoles it appeared on or mobile phones, where you can still get a copy if you really want to play it.

    I personally still think heads should have rolled after episode I, and Episode II's PR campaigns which were thinly veiled lies at the end of the day, should have led to the curtailing of a few more careers too.

    Thank god we got Mania...
  2. Yash


    CHOCOLATE! Member
    I've never minded the Sonic 4 duology, thought its hate was a bit overblown and squarely on the boneheaded decision to call it Sonic 4 as opposed to... anything else. They're not bad games but definitely don't earn that pedigree. (Mania is more deserving but given that it's also a retro throwback, I don't think that'd be appropriate either)

    It was funny how at the time Sega was shilling Sonic 4 as like, the rebirth of the series, dedicated to the hardest of the core of the Sonic fandom, the one that the TRUE FANS were excited for, and then acted like Colors was just a dumb game for babies that was sort of there. I remember one event where the Sega PR person kept trying to hype up 4 during an interview, but the interviewer was clearly more interested in Colors and the Sega rep was just like "really? You want to talk about THAT game? But... but Sonic 4!" I think most would agree Colors is the better game, or at least the far more inventive and interesting one.

    Also funny how games journalists doted over Sonic 4 Episode 1 when it first launched, only to retroactively classify it as a terrible game that proves the series was never good, and went way harder in on Episode 2 despite its improvements. Oh well, gaming press gonna gaming press.

    I'd still be down for an Episode 3 just to give the Sonic 4 subseries some sense of cloture - it does feel like they were building up to a trilogy that would gradually touch on everything from the Genesis series, like I imagine playable Knuckles would have been next had Episode 3 ever been made into a thing. But that ship has clearly sailed years ago.
  3. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    I remember being really pissed by this game. No real new levels, oddly polished graphics and a pretty bad soundtrack made me give this game a big thumbs down back when it was released. I revisited it multiple times since it was released (Xbox 360 and mobile), and even though my opinion of it has improved over the time, Sonic 4 gives me very few reasons to play it over something better. I bet there was at one point a prototype that played with a stylus but got scrapped because it wasn't Sonic-y enough.
  4. NyaNyaLily


    I think the fact that I have the life counter maxed out to x999 in two seperate versions of the game should be telling enough; I quite enjoy Episode I.

    We all know about the game's physics at this point, but what I like about it is the absurd amount of control you have over Sonic due the physics and the air dash.
    Want to go fast? Spindash and immediately air dash to instantly gain max speed. Want to lose all of your momentum? Just jump without holding a direction. You have so much control over Sonic that you can pull off stupid shit like this:


    Now, this results in a game that plays nowhere near the classics. So, the game called "Sonic 4" (which implies a return to classic physics gameplay and an improvement over Sonic 3&K) doesn't exactly deliver on what it's supposed to.
    That being said, I very much enjoy tearing through the levels with the help of the broken physics and moveset.

    One thing I will criticize however, is how bad the unmodded PC version looks and plays compared to the Wii and PS3 version. It uses the overly shiny Xbox textures, renders at 720p and it feels like it has a nasty input delay.
    With mods it's possible to have the game render at 1080p and use the better looking iPad textures. Additionally, with the Nvidia control panel you can make minimize the input delay and force texture filtering.


    It truly baffles me how much worse the PC version is.
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  5. Level Zone Act

    Level Zone Act

    I agree that classic Sonic was never really made for score attacking. Unlike NiGHTS or the SA games, I have never felt any urge to replay the 2D platformers for scores.

    However, the speedrunner Werster has recently been doing a series of Sonic 1 score attack IL runs, and I found it interesting to see the different techniques that are involved in optimising different levels.

    Marble 2 and 3 end up pretty monotonous, because they end up being all about finding a spot where you can respawn the smashable blocks, and staying there for as long as possible.

    The levels where you get the 50,000 points for staying under 30 seconds, while still trying to grab as many rings and fit in as many badnik combos within that time, are probably the most spectacular. (The video description of what went into the Scrap Brain 2 run is worth reading!)

    Labyrinth and Scrap Brain 3 are all about manipulating Burrobots so that you can roll through as many as possible without jumping. Labyrinth 3 has a very impressive combo at 3:02!

    Star Light 3 has some very creative routes around the level, and use of invincibility to get the enemies:

    Sorry, this post doesn't have anything to do with Sonic 4. I just took your assertion that classic Sonic definitely was not made to be a score attack game, and used it as an excuse to show off some impressive gameplay videos!
  6. Taylor


    Came here to post this. If I remember right, they really drew out the hype for Sonic 4. They even made a big deal of Episode 1 not having any of Sonic's friends.
    Pretty much everything about Sonic 4 makes sense when you read about it's development:

    Also, I love how S4 stopped at Episode 2. How often does that happen with an episodic series? lmao
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  7. Score attack sure did grant a ton of replay value to the duology+Metal, and I'd like to see it properly return in future entries. I do believe that Episode 2 tuned the controls enough for them to not be as slippy as in 1, which helped. The second episode also featured slightly more exciting zone design and aesthetics, not that I minded the zone design of the first though. That Casino zone was actually a highlight of mine. Putting nostalgia aside, the forced team dynamic is what bogged down the second entry the most. I often found them awkward to both time and execute, especially in the ice level.
  8. Josh


    Just wanted to give this post props for providing an interesting, insightful, and most impressively, FRESH take on Sonic 4. That hasn't happened in a long time, haha.

    I always enjoyed the physics, too. They're not RIGHT, not at all, and even when you've absolutely mastered them, I don't think they feel anywhere near as fluid as the classics. But the amount of direct control you can exert over Sonic, combined with how granular his air physics are, can lead to some fun situations. They may not be right, but they're not broken. Perhaps this is damning with faint praise (considering we're comparing a 2D game from 2010 to a 3D game from 1998), but they remind me somewhat of how bonkers the physics were in the first Sonic Adventure, and how much fun it was to experiment with all the goofy bullshit you could pull off in that game.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  9. Forte


    I speak better after three beers Member
    Well... I always kinda liked Sonic 4 because of Metal Sonic. The character was in spotlight a few years ago, appearing in more games, and even being playable.
    I absolutely love episode Metal, the stupid digital Lock-on feature, and battles with Metal in Episode 2 (which isn't a bad game either, certainly better than episode 1).

    It's funny, because I would replay StH4:e2 rather than play Sonic CD.
    Is CD still considered a holy grail in the series? I remember people praising it waaaay back, when there was no Steam/PSN versions.
  10. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

    Oh, what I was trying to say was more that classic Sonic CAN be a great score game, but it always fell a little short due to the balance issues. Sonic 1 is actually the most balanced because of those 30sec acts, but the problem comes in the other games where the 30sec bonus isn't possible, and instead you just grab every ring. Especially in Sonic 2 where there's a 50K "Perfect Bonus" for getting every ring. Not to mention 3&K's incredibly goofy 9:59 = 100K bonus.

    Thank you for reminding me that the max time bonus in the classics is at 30secs as well, I forgot.
  11. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

    Atmosphere was always a huge part of the Sonic experience for me. Visuals and sounds, even more than gameplay, were the things that cemented most games in my heart. That's why Episode 2 at least registers a blip in my memory. Sylvania Castle was moody in a way that you rarely see in a 2D Sonic level. White Park was a legit cool level theme, mashing up the snow level with the amusement theme. Air Fortress had a really cool air of drama with the sun setting. I really didn't like the team-up moves and the physics were still weird. I don't even remember the boss battles or really anything about the story. But whereas Ep 1 was just was just plastic, uglier versions of old stages, Ep 2 at least tried to execute a few original ideas. It doesn't salvage the whole experience, but it's something.
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  12. Metalwario64


    The Advance titles had very good physics and the first game played very close to the classics with proper momentum when rolling.
  13. I think Sonic Pocket Adventure played pretty well too...
  14. Brainulator


    Regular garden-variety member Member
    This thread actually makes me want to play Sonic 4. I have never done so yet, and while I hear about how it sucks or it's wrong, I'm at least willing to see whether I'll have fun (which, knowing myself, seems like a decent possibility).
  15. Sui Eel

    Sui Eel

    captan Member
    The team mechanic in Episode 2 broke the pacing far too much and made the "game" part of the game a lot less palatable than Episode 1 for me.

    But everything else in Episode 2 (physics, art direction and themes, level gimmicks, etc) blew Episode 1 out of the water.

    Overall, they were a decent experience if you play them for what they are, and not what they're supposed to be.
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  16. Simon A.C. Martin

    Simon A.C. Martin

    Fixing railways
    Well that's great. What went wrong between Sonic Advance and Sonic 4 then? If DIMPs was responsible for that first title (which I loved, btw, still have it) then arguably they got progressively worse over the years, culminating in Sonic 4's off physics.

    That's part and parcel of the problem though. They were meant to be Sonic 4...

    I won't keep harping on - did that for far too long the first time around!

    I am glad many enjoyed them for what they were. It didn't live up to my standards, and that's okay too. Best wishes for the holiday season.
  17. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    No they weren't. It is a known, documented fact that it was a random iOS Sonic filler game that some numbnuts thought would benefit from a rename. And that numbnuts was emphatically wrong.
  18. Crappy Blue

    Crappy Blue

    Knuckles' Chaotix is a perfect game with no flaws Member
    I've heard people say before that it's because Sonic 4 used Sonic Rush's gameplay engine as a basis, but I don't have a source for that outside of memories of people making physics comparisons between Rush and 4. If that's the case, then it's a combination of that and the rushed development of the game that made the physics so weird for a throwback Sonic platformer.

    Sonic Rush isn't a worse Sonic game for not having classic physics, but obviously taking its engine and using it as foundation for something meant to be like the classic games would be a damning move if they didn't make heavy changes to the way Sonic moved and interacted with the terrain.
  19. YuTwo


    This reminds me that there was a Twitter account called "Daily Sonic 4" which posted little tidbits about both episodes:

    Of course an account made on the sole basis of two games would only have a finite amount of information to cover so it lasted for just about a year. I did learn a few things from it such as one part of Splash Hill Act 2 apparently taking a part from Sonic Rush's Leaf Storm level:
    [​IMG] []

    I probably have no right agreeing with this given that I grew up playing Sonic Heroes (I much prefer the classic games more nowadays but that's getting offtopic) but I felt like this when one fan at SXSW 2018 said that they were a Sonic fan since they were eight years old and there first game was Sonic Colors.

    Thanks for this enlightening information. It just makes me wonder who exactly is this unnamed individual who was responsible for the decision to call this title Sonic 4 as they have always been left anonymously whenever this is mentioned.

    To add more supporting evidence to it's mobile game origins Iizuka said in an interview for Episode II that the graphics in the second episode were changed due to mobile device's specs being much more improved than when the first one was being developed:

    Archived Link:
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  20. Zycor


    Unlike Sonic, I don't chuckle. Member
    Beats me.
    What do Sonic 4 and Half Life 2 have in common? Episode 3.
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