The title would have been a lot longer, but word limits, ahh! There's a very distinct way the classic Sonic games look--it's already present in 1, definitely there in 2 and 3, and in CD and Mania is taken to its absolute limits. Frankly, when I talk about the visual style of classic I'm really just referring to CD and Mania, which have my favorite permutation of the idea. This style was never really attempted in 3D. I know you're going to replay with "but what about Generations/Forces", but in those, the actual aesthetics changed pretty heavily. GHZ in Sonic 1 is extremely geometric; Generations GHZ is much more organic-looking. If anything, I think the level that most gives off that surreal vibe of CD and Mania is Speed Highway, whose deep blues almost bare a resemblance to studiopolis: Spoiler Studiopolis wins in terms of color variety and the neon acid surrealism, though. What I want to know is: can you really bring that style to 3D? Sometimes I feel like the reason CD and Mania work is because they use drawn 2D graphics--trying to take that second picture and turning it into a 3D world you can freely move the camera around would look off in some kind of way. And Studiopolis honestly looks more reasonable in comparison to something like Collision Chaos which like uh...I don't know what on earth that would look like in 3D. I would love to see Sonic try its hand at this kind of surreal, hypervibrant art-style in 3D, but perhaps the fact that it is level tiles plastered atop several flat 2D parallax backgrounds is why it looks the way it does. Nothing about 2D Platformers makes sense--the characters are traveling on a completely straight-line path set against what is effectively a theater stage background. What even is the area that Sonic runs on in, say, Stardust Speedway? It's a completely chaotic mess of tubes that don't seem to have any coherent purpose, and how does it make sense in relation to the actual location it's supposedly in? When Sonic did 2D levels with 3D graphics (gens classic), it added all sorts of turns and twists to make the levels feel more plausible (and then Forces just abandoned that but lolforces ), but none of the classic Gens levels have that same bizarre liminal space sensation that 2D Sonic often gives me. Sonic Utopia's demo hews much closer to Sonic 1's GHZ than Gens does, and Sonic GT has a Studiopolis level. Both do not give me quite the same sense as their 2D counterparts, but they are also made by 1 person each (I know Utopia has a separate programmer but Lange did the level himself I think), so I'm not sure they're good examples here. For a while, I've been on the "Sonic Team just refuses to give the classic aesthetic a shot (even though they gleefully crib from classic elsewhere for nostalgia whoring) because they don't have the confidence to be creative" but I'm starting to feel that they don't do that because it's impossible to actually recreate this style in 3D without losing something in the process. Lost World for instance just looks plain and bland; SA1 is the mainline 3D game least concerned with realism and it still has far more grounded levels than the 2D games. On the other hand the Ark in SA2/ShtH is incredibly surreal and vibrant so maybe it can work. While looking for Speed Highway images I came across this art piece on deviantart that definitely tipped me closer to the "2D adds an inherent sense of surrealism that 3D struggles to match": This is honestly pretty close to how Speed Highway actually looks in Gens--but it gives me that same feeling that 2D Sonic's zones also do. It has a surreal, otherworldly, hypervibrant tone to it that the actual 3D level does not.