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Is Sonic Unleashed the Fastest Sonic Game to Date?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Rhythm Raccoon, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. Someone brought my attention back to this old idea I've had for ages now- being that Sonic Unleashed (not just in speed, but in style and design direction too) is singlehandedly the fastest Sonic game released to date. I really want to hear people's thoughts on this.

    I personally think it is, due to multiple factors:

    >Sonic moves the fastest he ever has in 3d, with the only game tying it being Sonic Generations.

    >However, unlike generations, Sonic has a wider drift arc. While it's not as useful this way, it feels faster, due to the slipping and sliding giving the effect of moving so fast you're losing control.

    >Compared to the secondary gimmick of classic sonic, who is almost as fast as Sonic is, the werehog is obtusely slower, meaning that Sonic feels ever faster by comparison.

    >The game actively calculates your speed anytime you pass a checkpoint

    >The game is constantly making high-tech dial, gauge, and chime sounds for various actions

    >The game has the shortest and hardest to complete QTEs in the franchise

    >And all of this combined with Sonic's joy-filled shouts and whoops and he parkours around the world

    Those are all of the reasons I can list off of the top of my head- not forgetting the level design either. What do all of you think? Also, while we're at it, why don't we talk about other games too? Like which one is objectively the most well rounded (most people are gonna say sonic 1 or something, but I'd genuinely be happy if people came in here and said sonic forces or sonic blast etc). Like, instead of just thinking about what we like, think about what would appeal to kids. Or people outside of the fanbase.

    I honestly can't remember ever seeing a discussion like this here before, since most of us spend our time screaming at each other like toddlers over how our preferred version of sonic is objectively the right one (including me), so I wanted to try to shift gears a bit. With my luck though, this'll just get trashed lol :D So what do you say- is Sonic Unleashed the fastest Sonic game? Or does that title belong to Gens? Or advance 2? And what games are #1 in other categories?
  2. Myles_Zadok


    IDK Member
    According to Game Theory, Sonic's max speed in Unleashed is probably the highest speed he reaches in any game (the video was made in 2012, but I don't think any games since then would really be in the conversation here).
  3. Speeps


    If you master Sonic Labyrinth you can actually go really fast in it. Speedruns of that game are pretty interesting.
  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

    no reverse gear Wiki Sysop
    Northumberland, UK
    steamboat wiki
    I remember correctly, id Software defined the "unit" in 3D space for Quake, which I think might have become a pseudo industry standard. If it goes down the family tree it's a good chunk of the industry.

    If this were the case, and Sonic is 100 units tall in Sonic Unleashed, but 1000 units in Sonic Colours, he's probably travelling faster in Colours.

    I know very little about 3D modelling though. My guess is you can redefine what a unit is, but maybe Carmack invented the default value? idk.
  5. So... My only experience with Unleashed is via modding Generations. I will say that those stages do make Sonic feel a ton faster than he does in the baseline stages. All I can really compare Generations to would be Forces, and I'd say that Generations seems faster.
  6. MH MD

    MH MD

    I kiiiiiiiinda remember that Generations was actually measured to be faster than Unleashed, even though Unleashed due to some effect feels faster? gotta look into it to make sure
  7. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

    Classic Eggman art Member
    The fastest one is Secret Rings, I played that game a few seconds and it was over for me. :V
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  8. Not to be rude, I'm actually laughing while writing this, but I think some of you are taking this too seriously lol.

    I don't want a scientifically proved explanation on which sonic game is the fastest, I want a discussion on which sonic game feels the fastest. Or which one's aesthetically the fastest. Or sounds the fastest. Like that. Which Sonic game is deliberately designed in every aspect of the game to be the fastest.

    Or other subjects like which one is the best for newcomers. Which one had the best delivery on story (including characterization, set pieces, world building, tone, etc.). Which one is objectively the most average of all lmao. And none of that scientifically explained crap. That's been done to death before. Follow Sonic Colors's example and speak from your heart. What would you say a certain sonic game is?
  9. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    Ngl never considered watching speed runs of that game. Now I might lol
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  10. For best delivery on story I'd have to go with the original Adventure. No contest.
  11. Hikki Komori

    Hikki Komori

    The day time portions of Sonic Unleashed are certainly designed to feel fast, moreso than any other Sonic games to date, in the various ways you mentioned. It's interesting to see how the games have evolved since then. For example, it seems with each subsequent boost game they try to make the games feel easier and easier, probably because more casual players are hesitant to actually go fast. If they remove difficulty, then I feel like they'd be more inclined to press the boost button more and more. The only problem is, Sonic games are notoriously short, and they don't give the player enough time to really build the skill needed to comfortably boost through a challenging stage. So as a result, games like Sonic Colors and Sonic Forces feel bland to most people (I think they're fine, especially when going for 100% completion). Thankfully Sonic Generations doesn't feel so bland, but it definitely isn't as "hardcore" as Unleashed is, in terms of difficulty.

    And since you left the conversation open-ended, I'd like to touch on Sonic Forces as well. I recently 100% completed the game for the second time (this morning actually), and I stand by the opinion that it really isn't as bad as everyone says it is. I dunno, whenever I think of a bad Sonic game, I think of Sonic Heroes. I know plenty of people like that game, but it's so difficult to play for me... the controls are so slippery and loose and it feels like half the gimmicks in the stage designs don't work as intended, causing you to either fall and try to work your way back up (HELLO Casino Park), or just die and respawn. Comparatively, Sonic Forces feels like a smooth experience. You're not fighting with the controls or stage gimmicks (most of the time). There are times when you're just running through long stretches of land with nothing really going on, but I will take that over dying several times in a row to the same thing, or being in limbo for 20 minutes at a time in Sonic Heroes. Feel free to disagree.
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  12. Mission accomplished :D
    Hard agree.
    Hard disagree lol. First game to come to mind as being truly bad is sonic the hedgehog genesis on gba. I really like heroes, but to each his own.
    I'm not gonna argue lol. Everyone's opinion is valid :D
  13. brandonj


    Firstly I just wanna say thanks to the mods for letting me properly join Retro, I'm looking forward to actually being able to contribute to the community somewhat instead of just sort of observing.

    Secondly this is a take I actually agree with quite a bit; I've seen quite a few people say stuff like '06 is better than Forces because it has longer or more difficult stages but to me it's always felt just like a slog to get through because of how excessively repetitive and combat-driven the stages tend to be, along with the jank-ness of the gameplay. Forces, while obviously not a good game still provides some shallow fun if nothing else. There's also a few stages in Forces that are legit kinda well designed even if they're short, like Egg Gate, Network Terminal (especially the 2D section) and Null Space.
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  14. Mmm okay, I got one.

    Sonic Chaos is the shortest Sonic game, bar none.

    >Most stages can be beaten in under 20 seconds

    >The game calculates your speed upon finishing an act (usually very high, I think how long you take to beat the stage has something to do with it)

    >Special stages instantly end the act you were previously in, meaning entire chunks of the game can be skipped

    >Sonic was given the peel out and rocket shoes to help him beat stages even quicker

    >only 5 special stages

    >Full, glitchless speedruns come in at around 15 minutes (11 for normal ending)

    Ironically, chaos is one of my favorite games, and is my go-to 8-bit experience. Alrighty, what next...? :D
  15. Fullheartedly agree, Sonic Chaos has been my fave Gamegear since I was a youngin'. I always enjoyed the aesthetic of Blast as well, but would only ever play as Knux.
  16. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

    Jokes aside, Secret Rings actually gets pretty damn fast once you've gotten all the upgrades, not to mention the Speed Break.

    The biggest problem is how long it takes to get to that point.
  17. DigitalDuck


    Arriving four years late. Member
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    The Game Theory video is pretty bad, constantly mixing and matching average and max speed among many other things.

    "Fastest game" is a difficult thing to quantify. You can try to calculate Sonic's speed in terms of real-world units, or in terms of the size of the character himself, and get different results. You can argue that the feeling of speed is more important than the objective speed you're travelling at. I will say that Sonic Unleashed gives me the best feeling of speed, and I still want another game like that (Colours and Generations barely come close, although I do enjoy them more as games in general), and I think it's mostly the level design that's behind that feeling.

    Also Sonic '06 is the fastest game because it gets through 30 levels and finishes a few seconds after it starts.
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  18. Nah, sonic genesis on Gba is fastest cause it ends on the title screen.
  19. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

    Unleashed makes really, really frequent use of camera panning and warping effects that dramatically change how the player perceives the environment. I think I once heard someone on this board refer to as "the vertigo effect" years ago? I was hoping to get some video examples to show this effect in action, but unsurprisingly all the videos I've found just have people boosting through the levels at breakneck speed or even sequence breaking. But for reference, here's one video wherein you can just about see it at 02:46:

    Keep your eyes on the giant Eggman-faced Ferris Wheel. Just before Sonic starts boosting, you can see the Ferris Wheel suddenly zoom away from the camera. I don't know why this particular instance of the camera warping/whatever-trickery-is-going-on was so poorly disguised, but I'd guess it's probably because it's a late part of the game and was therefore a bit less polished during development. Normally, Unleashed will turn the camera away from you at these points so you don't notice the background warping. If you have a copy of Unleashed handy, give it a go. You can walk back and forth here and watch the Ferris Wheel seemingly move around. You can do something similar after the skydiving section of Rooftop Run if you backtrack from the first Aero Chaser sequence. In fact, the technique is used all the time in the auto-running sequences wherein Sonic actually moves quite a bit slower than he does elsewhere in the game.

    Here's the same technique being used in a side-scrolling section of Generations, starting at 02:16:

    The mountains in the background suddenly get much further away from the camera just as Sonic enters the corkscrew and come back in again as he exits the corkscrew. The movement of the mountains isn't relative to the camera.

    In the Unleashed example, it makes the levels look a lot larger than they actually are. Like yeah, the levels are huge and I'm not saying that they aren't. But with some clever wizardry of capping Sonic's speed and twisting the scenery, you're fooled into thinking that Sonic is covering more ground than he actually is. The Ferris Wheel doesn't actually move further away and is as close as it first appeared to be. By making it appear further away though, you're given the impression Sonic has covered that seemingly huge amount of ground in just 2 seconds. If Unleashed was a bit more polished, you wouldn't be able to see the background get further away.

    And in the Generations example... Again it makes the level look a lot bigger, but because it's side-scrolling you don't get quite the same striking effect on apparent speed.

    I don't think that Colours and Unleashed Wii use this effect at all. And whilst Generations does, it's not used to nearly the same degree as in Unleashed. I don't think Forces uses it either, but truth be told I've never looked for it in that game. Forces barely even tries to be as fast as Unleashed and Generations anyway.

    So yeah. In which game Sonic actually moves the fastest is up for discussion and debate. But for all the reasons outlined in the OP and what I've said here, Unleashed does a remarkable job of making you believe its insanely fast. There's a difference between how fast a game is and how that speed is perceived. That was integral to making Sonic a success back on the Mega Drive and shouldn't be forgotten today.

    EDIT: How did I forget about the most obvious example, which is in fact also from Generations and not Unleashed? Speed Highway Act 2, 1 minute in:

    Sonic's about to run on to a relatively short glass walkway and there's building at the end of it. But just as he sets foot on the walkway, the camera pans a bit and the walkway seemingly doubles in the length. The building is noticeably distorted too. This is another fun one to mess around with if you go to that area and just walk around. I'm still pretty sure that the efffect is used most often and more subtly in Unleashed than in Generations though.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  20. brandonj


    Yeah the way Sonic Team accomplished that sort of warping effect was by basically just increasing the FOV of the camera a bunch when you pass through certain camera volumes placed in the stage (which as you'd expect are used to trigger dynamic camera angles). This is actually part of why Forces feels slower than Gens and Unleashed (aside from the 2D physics in Forces which are genuinely just much slower than previous games); for Forces the devs tended to use camera angles that were more zoomed out and had a narrower FOV than in the other games for some reason, and they didn't play around with dynamically changing the FOV as much either (although there are a few places where they do I believe, but even then the changes are less pronounced then they are in Gens and Unleashed).