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KingK's 60-Minute Sonic 06 Video Retrospective

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sonic5993, Oct 18, 2022.

  1. He literally calls out Colors for its childish and stupid dialogue...which yea is true, but you're doing that in the same breath as pretending like 06 is somehow better in that regard.

    I don't even really care either way, but I'm calling a spade a spade. If he didn't like people talking smack about his favorite games then he shouldn't turn around and do the same to others.

    Cuz by your logic, I can say that 06 is the biggest betrayal of Sonic ever and that people who applaud it for its "ambition" have absolutely no taste in video games whatsoever. But if I did, you'd rightfully call me out as a dick.
     
  2. charcoal

    charcoal

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    …Example? That story you made up in your head doesn’t sound very good but it doesn’t seem really relevant to this discussion. I don’t think there’s a single Sonic game where the change was inherently bad like you’re saying. Even something like Lost World had potential with it’s parkour mechanics. I don’t think there’s a single Sonic game that was bad because it was different, just games that were bad due to poor execution. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that applies to pretty much every single franchise to ever exist. To me, it sounds more like you just hate change due to stubbornness more than anything :V
     
  3. Zephyr

    Zephyr

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    "You're right. Sonic should have ended after 3 & Knuckles, because the series had nowhere else to go. The Adventure games (and especially 06) never should have happened, because they're inherently less compelling than the original trilogy, and don't respect the ideals of 'fast quiet man turn ball' that were established from day one. They're bad because they're different."

    Turns out what one person sees as ideal and "inherently more compelling" isn't going to be universal. You're probably going to find something more appealing if it imprinted on you at a very impressionable age in your life.

    I get that shit rolls down hill (just like Sonic should), and this is really just 00's kids trying to dish out what's been dished at them (towards the ones who like the thing that replaced the thing they liked). That's fine, and natural; it's how the passage of time and generations work, and all that. But I don't get why we're pretending it's something deeper than that.

    If we want to pretend it's something deeper than that, and that we can make some genuine attempt to reconcile the friction between "taste is subjective" and "but some judgments of taste aren't as justified", I highly recommend getting familiar with David Hume's take on the matter (the section "Hume’s Essay on Taste" specifically).
     
  4. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    I see where you're coming from, but I think saying "Sonic stories should all be about environmentalism" is a rather limiting and close-minded mentality. Even the classic games weren't just about that. They had mysticism, ancient lore (Sonic 2 and 3), gods (Sonic 3) and (post-)apocalyptic scenarios (Sonic CD's bad futures; the backstories in Sonic 2 and 3) too. S3K itself downplays the environmentalism and goes deeper into the legends and mystical angle. SA1 continues that. As does Sonic 06 with Solaris (who is Mephiles is one half of), and Unleashed with the Gaias (with Dark Gaia being the reason for the Werehog). It was only in more modern games like Colors that that aspect was dropped, despite being a series staple.

    You bring up SatAM and Fleetway as examples of adaptations that stick to the series' roots, unlike the 3d games. I counter that they both downplayed the classic games' mysticism and lore, and featured some of the elements you criticized the 3d games for having, like (post-)apocalyptic scenarios and corruption, as a result of Robotnik taking over the world.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2022
  5. Taylor

    Taylor

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    The older games did have stuff like ancient lore, gods, and apocalyptic scenarios but they were all in service of environmentalism. The apocalypse happens in Sonic CD because Eggman turned the environment into a mechanical hellhole. The ancient lore (and gods) of the 2D Sonics revolved around the emeralds*, which were meant to represent nature's power, and how things can go wrong if nature is abused. That's why Angel Island falls to the ocean in S3K/SA1, its to show how abusing the emeralds is screwing things up. Because of that, S3K doesn't downplay environmentalism, rather it better combines the mysticism and environmentalism. This goes for SA1 as well, yes Chaos is a god and upstages Eggman but he's motivated by rage against echidnas for abusing nature, and acts like an animal himself (and even looks like one as he changes forms). I suspect this is why in my experience, older Sonic fans are kinder to SA1.

    The main theme of SA2 is good-evil and how they can find common cause, that's straight from Sega's mouth. The real-fake reading of SA2 doesn't work because it only applies to Sonic-Shadow and only vaguely. Shadow's design doesn't communicate "fake", he's just another hedgehog. His background doesn't play into the whole "fake" angle either, as it's not like he was meant to be an imitation of anyone, he was created to be an immortal being. It's a confused story, it's no wonder fans latch onto the "Shadow was based off the S3K mural" theory to make things more coherent.

    *Yea, the Chaos Emeralds are a reoccuring part of the series but the environmentalism angles are played down as the series go on. Instead of animal-powered robots, you just have robots. The apocalyptic scenarios are created by otherworldy beings, not abuse of nature, and Eggman ends up playing second fiddle to these beings. The Chaos Emeralds become less about nature's power and more just mystical macguffins needed to move the plot along. Unleashed was a decent attempt at bringing things back to the environmentalism angle but it did have some big issues in that regard and by then, the fandom had enough of it.
     
  6. I mean if we're gonna talk about confused storytelling, most of the environmental messages are background lore.

    And there's also the fact Sonic 1, 2, and 3 all have different backstories for the Chaos Emeralds, so let's not pretend like Sonic lore wasn't always a bit of a mess and that only started in the 3D games.
     
  7. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    I think you could draw similar parallels to environmentalism from the 3d games you criticized.

    In Sonic 06, the world of the future was ruined as a result of people experimenting on and trying to take control of Solaris in the past. When Silver travels to the past, the first thing he sees is a lush forest, prompting awe and admiration from him. In the end, he decides that trying to change the past isn't the way to go and resorts to sealing Iblis in the future, allowing the world to heal and giving humanity the chance to atone and rebuild.

    In Unleashed, Eggman cracks the world open. Dark Gaia can be interpreted as the planet's way of fighting back. Sonic has to go on a quest to "heal the planet" as Professor Pickle put it and quell its rage.

    As for the Chaos Emeralds, they're still connected to nature, as evidenced by the Gaia Temples, and Sonic Channel establishing that upon being used up they scatter around so that they can "slowly accumulate their power in the midst of nature".
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2022
  8. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    I feel Colors is as much about environment and nature as, say, Sonic 1. I would go further and say Colors is THE 3D game that brought back this theme.
     
  9. charcoal

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    Yeah, that was pretty much Planet Wisp's entire thing. You could argue Lost World and Forces also did that a little, with Lost World having you save Flickies, and Forces openly portraying the damage Eggman is doing to nature with things like the 'Sand Hill' portion of the GHZ theme. Colors probably did it best though, since that was pretty much the entire focus of the story. It's pretty much Sonic 1 but in space in that way.
     
  10. Wraith

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    Environmentalism was important in the classic era but I wouldn't say it was key to why people stuck around. I actually could see why the developers wanted to move away from it. You can only take that so far without making an actual, more controversial statement on the matter and IMO Sonic CD feels pretty definitive as far as that theme goes. Sonic 2 and 3's narratives are hardly about that and lean more on the strong personalities of the protagonists. I don't blame Sonic Adventure for taking a similarly character driven route.

    The appeal was more in Sonic as a character which is why they can get away with moving away from that stuff. You REALLY lose the plot once Sonic is out of the spotlight, which is why games where he's being smothered by 8 other characters who's narratives all have fuck all to do with him are a smidge controversial. Most people just want the fantasy of being sonic without a bunch of other stuff strapped on. If you're going to add an interruption to that it has to be really good to justify it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  11. Taylor

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    @Sonic5993 A lot of the environmental messages are background lore but that was standard practice at the time. With Sonic being intended as a multi-media mascot, there was likely some expectation that lore would be read. But even within the actual games you can glean environmentalism, considering animals pop out after you defeat robots and there were zones like Oil Ocean. Not to mention Angel Island being put on fire and falling into the ocean because of Eggman.

    I'm not talking about lore coherency so much as thematic coherency. Yes, Sonic 1-3 all give different stories for the chaos emeralds, but they all represent the same thing: the power of nature. SA2 on the other hand is thematically inconsistent, Shadow's design and even name screams "I'm an evil version of Sonic", but the game's actual explanation for Shadow has nothing to do with Sonic. That's why I referenced the mural theory, its fans wanting some way of connecting Shadow to Sonic, to give some justification for him being "Evil Sonic".

    @Blue Spikeball I'll focus on 06 so this post doesn't get tl;dr and its what the thread is about anyway. Solaris is awakened by humanity's greed, but Solaris appears to be an intrinsically evil being, not one made that way by humanity/echidnakind (Chaos). Solaris and Mephiles' motifs bring to mind angels and demons (as opposed to Chaos being made of water and transforming into animal-like creatures). In SA1, Eggman is the one manipulating Chaos up until the end, the spotlight is put on humanity's abuse of nature. Chaos' destruction is through tsunamis and floods, a natural disaster that irl is exacerbated by human greed. In 06, Mephiles has far more agency and is working independent of Eggman. His destruction of the world is a very sci-fi "reality getting erased" scenario. This all adds up to feeling less like "humanity's relationship with nature" and more "humanity tampering with supernatural forces of evil and suffering for it"...a plot in which Mephiles is named after. Environmentalism is used in service of a much bigger theme, the inverse of the earlier games.

    @Wraith Good point, Sonic himself is a big factor. I think for the early games it was both aspects working together. Sonic is just a cool guy, and the environmentalism sets the stage for his conflict with Eggman, while giving the series a consistent aesthetic to work with (eg animal-themed robots as the primary enemies to coincide with the environmentalism theme). I do agree that there's a probable limit with environentalism, and that Sonic's character is strong enough to explore different themes while keeping the franchise feeling familiar, but the problem is that while the franchise moved away from environmentalism, they were also forcing you to play different characters. I think it's that double whammy that gives the feeling "That's not what Sonic is!".

    Which brings us to Unleashed, which does put more focus on environmentalism and makes Sonic the only playable character. But after a near decade of the franchise going off-course, it wasn't enough. The environmentalism is used in service of a "Light vs Dark" motif and you're forced to play as the Werehog. As pointed out by @charcoal, Colors should've been the follow-up game after 06.

    Funnily enough, I actually think Shadow had an interesting twist on the environmentalism aspect, with the aliens wanting to turn humanity into livestock. It's just...you know...everything else about that game :V
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  12. Blue Spikeball

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    This is wrong. Solaris was a pacific deity worshipped by Soleannans that manifested as the Flame of Hope and was only driven mad by the experiments. At the end of the game he regains his mind and sends Sonic and Elise to the past so that they can erase him from existence and save the world. That's not something "an intrinsically evil being" would do.

    Solaris has a fire motif, the world of the future is ravaged by Iblis' flames. Iblis is basically a fire elemental and a mindless force of nature, and was pretty much created by humanity, when their experiments caused Solaris to split into him and Mephiles.

    So basically, it's like S3K. Its plot centers around Sonic's quest to stop Eggman from reactivating the Death Egg. Things like environmental damage caused by Eggman's actions are secondary to that.
     
  13. @Taylor That is true, but I feel like outside of Sonic CD that message was getting less and less prominent in favor of the over the top stories you see later. Sonic 3 is more of a grand adventure than it is about any environmental themes.

    As mentioned, people care more about Sonic and the characters surrounding him than the actual thematic relevance pertaining to them. Shadow is still one of the most popular characters in the franchise despite his own lore having very little to do with Sonic.

    Tho I still say he embodies the nature and technology dichotomy just as well.


    You can make an argument that Sonic's drifted from its environmental roots, I just don't think it's particularly relevant outside the old guard of Sonic fans. And it's fair to not really like that, but Sonic has stayed very popular just by strength of his design alone.
     
  14. Blue Spikeball

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    I agree that the shift from environmentalism to grander adventures with a greater focus on the sci-fi and fantasy elements began in the classic games. Even ignoring that those elements were there since the beginning, it's not a sin for a franchise or story to evolve. Many of the most successful franchises ever had similar (if not more blatant) shifts throughout their history. Dragon Ball was basically a completely different anime/manga during its first saga than, say, during the Cell saga.

    I also think that if most fans cared that much about the lesser focus on environmentalism in the 00s games, they would have said so themselves. Arguing that when people complained about the darker/shonen/more grounded elements they actually meant they wanted more environmentalism strikes me like putting words in their mouths.
     
  15. Laura

    Laura

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    As far as I'm concerned Sonic has always been about characters rather than themes. The environmental themes were very light and mostly aesthetic. They were important and a key part of the games' identity but it is the characters who really were the pull.

    Sonic 1 is about Sonic. Everything about the game design is made around Sonic as a character. It was a very original concept and instrumental to the game's success. Sonic here was a major influence on game's like Crash Bandicoot where it is really the character who is front and centre.

    A key scene is Sonic 1's ending. On one level, it is clearly about environmentalism. Sonic defeats Eggman and restores flowers to Green Hill. It's cute and very 90s. But what really stands out to me is how the player is encouraged to chase down Eggman when he's beaten and destroy his ship. Its all cartoonish and not to be taken too seriously but it tells us a lot about Sonic as a character. He's the real deal when it comes to being a 90s rebel. Most 90s rebels were ultimately conformist but Sonic really does completely rebel against the system and hopes to destroy (but obviously not kill) Robotnik. His standing sprite afrerwards really sells his righteousness.

    Sonic 2 focused on Tails and again the ending is memorable because of the character - Tails dramatically coming to Sonic's rescue. Sonic 3 focuses on Knuckles. Even Sonic CD, which has the most sophisticated environmental themes, had a major focus on characters. When I think of Sonic CD I think of Metal Sonic.

    So I think it's unsurprising that Sonic continued in this direction as a series. In my opinion, the problem is that it all got melodramatic and unwieldy.
     
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  16. Taylor

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    "The name of the sun god our country honors is Solaris... It is told that Solaris's rage would destroy the world. His wrath comes in the form of the Flames of Disaster. 10 years ago, we almost faced the full force of his fury...

    Sounds to me like it was always evil, the experiments just let it run loose. The Duke did have a Scepter of Darkness on hand to seal Mephiles. It's hard to say if Sonic/Elise going back in time was Solaris being redeemed or was a plot contrivance.

    Conflict itself isn't a theme, the theme is what helps define the conflict. In S3K, how is Eggman fighting Sonic? Through robots powered by nature. What does he want to get? The Chaos Emeralds, which are embodiments of nature's power (as opposed to 06 which portrays them as generic plot stones). Theme also ties in with aesthetics as @Laura pointed out. It can even complement gameplay: you get Chaos Emeralds by exploring the levels (most of which is nature), which is required to get the true ending. Whenever you free an animal from a robot, you get points. Super Tails has birds fighting with him. It's not that I think the games were sold solely off environmentalism, but rather it's how all these elements worked together, with the strength of Sonic as a character making the package feel far more substantial than Captain Planet. It's a cohesiveness that's not there for 06, for most of the 3D games I think.

    I don't think evolution is bad, but Sonic evolved in such a way that it lost a lot of its original appeal. With the momentum-based gameplay gone, the environmentalist identity heavily downplayed, and Sonic being forced to share more of the spotlight with very tonally different characters, it ended up not having much in common with the earlier games.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2022
  17. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

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    The game does not confirm any of this iirc. His tiny-flame form is not explained, and Sonic's and Elise's time travel at the end is not explained either.
     
  18. Blue Spikeball

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    It sounds to me like it's either a prophecy that predicts the Iblis apocalypse, or a belief that began when Iblis escaped 10 years ago. The Soleannans were just unaware that it was all caused by the Solaris Project, what with it being secret and all.

    Regardless, it was the humans' actions and greed that released Iblis and resulted in the destruction of the world.

    I don't really think S3K attributes the Emeralds to nature any more than 06. The backstory presents them as magical gems used by an ancient civilization. The emerald altar is inside an underground temple. The Master Emerald is used to keep the island afloat, rather than making nature flourish or anything like that.

    The plot is also basically about stopping Eggman from putting his space station back in orbit. Things like Eggman setting the jungle on fire are treated like minor obstacles, rather than being given any focus. Whereas the ultimate objective in 06 is preventing the Iblis-ravaged world from Silver's future from happening.

    Eh. To me, SatAM and the Pontac/Graff games felt far more dissonant to the classic games. The Chaos Emeralds, ancient lore and mystical elements were gone for the most part (at least story-wise). In SatAM, Sonic had to share screentime with a bunch of original characters that didn't even look like Sonic characters, while Tails could as well not have been there. The sense of adventure and freedom was missing as a result of the dystopian setting; we rarely saw Sonic venture beyond the generic forest and the dark and foreboding Robotropolis. As for the Pontac games, it felt like the characterizations were exaggerated or twisted for the sake of bad comedy, with Snarky Tails being the most blatant derailment. The story was severely stripped down, jettisoning any worldbuilding and lore. The Wisps, the planets in Colors, the Time Eater, the Deadly Six, Lost Hex... none of them got any background or lore. Contrast with the classic games, which would give some background to the current setting, the Chaos Emeralds, and the new characters.

    Even though the game doesn't go into detail regarding the flame, we know that it was a form or embodiment of Solaris since it was being experimented on by the Duke and his team, and extinguishing it in the past erased Solaris. The Duke outright says it:
    "This is Solaris, our flame of hope."

    As for the time travel at the end. In the Japanese version, when Sonic and Elise are being transported to the past, Sonic comments "these are Solaris' sparks", implying that Solaris used his power to send them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2022
  19. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I dunno, that sounds like it could mean a lot of things. Maybe it's residual bits of the thing the three guys with superpowers just blew up.
     
  20. It's a shame what happened with Sonic 06. They seemed to be a to be a nice game in there if the team were given more time and didn look to mix in the Sliver crap.. Its pretty sad when the demo of the game played better than the final game, I did enjoy the game music and thought the Kindom Valley stage was nice (like the demo)