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KingK's Sonic the Hedgehog retrospectives.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by JoePro, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. JoePro

    JoePro

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    I just saw this video today, and I must say it is a very well made retrospective of the very first Sonic game. He goes into a lot of detail about how he feels about each individual zone, how it almost peaks at Green Hill Zone before slowing down at Marble Zone without fully recovering. It's a very impressive video, I highly reccomend anyone here to watch it. He also mentions how he is going to make another video about Sonic 2, whcih i am eager to watch.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2022
  2. Josh

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    Yep, KingK does consistently excellent work, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series.
     
  3. Lapper

    Lapper

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    Sonic Studio, Sonic Physics Guide, Kyle & Lucy, Freedom Planet 2
    I like that Sonic 1 has varied level layouts.

    Don't take this as a negative at all, but Mania/3 and even 2 have levels that are all very simmilar with mainly visual changes. They ALL have large slopes, long declines, thousands of layers etc. 2 levels from 2 zones can have swapped graphics and they'd fit right in when swapped places. Trust me, more the better I love it. But I do appreciate the cherry picked variety in 1.
     
  4. I'm slightly annoyed by the impression people who started with later games have of Sonic 1. I was lucky to experience Sonic 1 before Sonic 2 came out, and it was fantastic! It was a really fresh take on the platformer genre, and the lack of spindash or the presence of severel slow levels didn't bother anyone.

    I'll probably never make peace with Labyrinth Zone because of my phobia of water levels, but I honestly like Marble and Scrap Brain. I don't feel the need to run all the time, so I find the slower levels just as legitimate as the fast ones.

    As for the spindash, I don't rely on it so much in Sonic 2 and up, since I learned to control Sonic without it. Just like boost pads, the spindash is kind of a cheap way to gain speed, and the first game worked well without any of that.

    Sonic 1 is a fine game, certainly not perfect, but not ridiculously inferior to the later entries in the series as some people make it out to be.
     
  5. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    You all should watch his two Mania videos before going into this.
     
  6. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    Me too, I always say the good thing about Sonic is the physics, and the speed is just a derived feature. I enjoy more replaying Sonic 1 than Sonic 2, and only see it really harder in special stages because the emeralds are really causing chaos there. Well, and Labyrinth boss is a thing, such a narrow and dangerous passage to go through it when water's rising...

    Btw, I'm not scared by underwater levels, but was really scared as a not-so-kid by Sandopolis ghosts, or by falling to the bottom of the level through large empty areas, had they water or not. I think I feel your pain.
     
  7. Willie

    Willie

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    I think I'm one of the only people on this planet who love Labyrinth Zone. I've always enjoyed the zones in Sonic 1 that put extra emphasis on platforming. I feel the momentum based physics of Sonic worked really well with tight platforming challenges and the slower pace of stages like Labyrinth allow people to do precise platforming without fear of going too fast to see where they are going. My only major complaint with Labyrinth are the annoying bubbles and lack of multi-branching paths. I always felt act 3 was the strongest act of that zone because of the bigger emphasis on exploration and secrets. Great retrospective by King K regardless. A lot of his work is great, so future episodes should be solid.
     
  8. Chris-M

    Chris-M

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    As someone who's introduction to the franchise was this game I pretty much agree with the review. I also find Sonic 1 one of the harder games to finish (even without the Chaos Emeralds) because of the change in pace and level design that makes me grow tired of the game and stop playing. Green Hill is easy but it's a bit harder than other first levels, mainly if you take the lower paths and run into the spikes which I did when I was younger and didn't know what I was doing. If you know what you're doing then it's a short-lived Rollercoaster for the most part. Marble is a difficulty spike, it could've been worse, but it's still more difficult than Green Hill. I find that the rest of the game the difficuly remains the same or increases a little bit, besides Labyrinth, but the game feels slower. Though even if the level order was Green Hill, Spring Yard, Star Light, Marble, Labyrinth, Scrap Brain and Final, the difficulty would be similar if not the same and that wouldn't fix the level design problem. On the other hand, I think the problem with the slower levels can be fixed, adding faster sections and some branching paths, as well as less water in Labyrinth. Another thing is that the Spindash in Sonic 1 is not as useful as it is on 2 and 3&K because of the level design. In my opinion, Sonic 1 is a good game but it has some crippling flaws especially compared with it's sequels.
     
  9. Mr. Fox

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    I feel like this "wah, the classic games don't let me go fast all the time" complaint is getting a bit stale.
     
  10. Zephyr

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    That was a good review. I'm looking forward to his other ones (and I will now check out his Mania one).

    I understand the issue he has with Marble Zone (and his issues are certainly legitimate ones) but I still think he's cutting the Zone too short. During many of the outdoor sections, you can skip multiple small fireball pits with small moonjumps, thanks to the slopes. During some of the blocks-floating-on-lava sections, you can literally jump over the lava if you have enough momentum. These things keep Marble from being strictly a blocky platforming level. It's still one of the game's weaker Zones, but there's still plenty of inherently Sonic-like merit to the Zone that he didn't mention in his critique of it. They're subtle, so I understand him missing those, but they're still there, so it's disappointing to see some of a weaker Zone's biggest strengths left un-mentioned.

    As for Labyrinth, I do think it's a poor level to have in a Sonic game, at least as a full level. Its style of platforming is fine as a punishing lower path, and I like that a lot of later water levels do treat water as such a punishment. I still love the Zone though. It was the bane of my existence as a child, and having finally conquered it, it's now usually a triumphant joy to go through.

    Disappointed he didn't mention (or seem to be aware of) the huge shortcut in Scrap Brain Act 3.
     
  11. JoePro

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    That's not exactly what he talked about in the video, though.
     
  12. Qjimbo

    Qjimbo

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    He's now done Sonic 2:


    His Zelda retrospectives are worth checking out as well. Quite impressed with this guy's content.
     
  13. steveswede

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    I've been subscribed to KingK for some time as he does excellent analysis of games (personally think this format is the future of reviews). He can really miss the mark at times but his contribution to getting the communites to think about the details in games has been great.
     
  14. JoePro

    JoePro

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  15. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Sonic 3:
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp5D6QgL-nU
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp5D6QgL-nU
     
  16. Flygon

    Flygon

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    Whew, that was quite worth going through.

    I'd enjoy seeing his thoughts regarding the Master System/Game Gear titles at some point, but I can very much understand why he wouldn't.
     
  17. Jayextee

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    QFT

    KingK is almost single-minded with this, and inconsistent about when he's going to praise the games for platforming; or condemn them. I like that he concludes Sonic 3 and/or Knuckles is overrated, but I dunno about his commentary overall; we're going to have to agree to disagree about the homogenisation of the zones being overall a good thing, for example. Video ends with "bawwwww, people love Sonic 3 and attack Sonic Adventure 2" though, so I'm just going to question the man's taste.

    And this is coming from a guy who still loves the original first game over the rest. I'm very (self) aware that I too come from an uncommon POV on this one.
     
  18. Sean Evans

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    Some of his thoughts I agreed with, some I didn't, but I can't say I really gelled with these all that well.

    One big issue for me was how all over the place it kind of was. I liked the Retropolis vids well enough because they hung on single topics, linked to stages and did them in a reasonable and consistent way. Then when he called back a point, I had a perfect reference to what was being said. Here, he just kind of bounced from thought to thought dependent on where the script lead him, and that's not the "wrong way" ro do it or anything. But when he would make a point about how the half pipes in Collision Chaos have no purpose, then almost immediately after talk about the time travel, I didn't feel his point was strong enough, and I kind of disregarded it.

    The Sonic 3K video was better, but it still suffered from this. And yeah, the rant at the end...was that really necessary? It kind of warped the video from being about Sonic 3 to being about how we should embrace every Sonic game and stop praising the originals because they have flaws. Especially when most of his complaints range from design limitations or dated aspects that plague ANY game from that era. Just felt so...tacked on. Didn't add anything to the video...just kind of felt pompous and a bit bias.

    These were interesting little vids though, he made some decent points I never really thought of.

    + - also he calls it "hy-drah-sitee", so his video is immediately invalidated  
     
  19. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    I'll admit I hated him calling Hydro City by the wrong name.
     
  20. Axion

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    I really liked his analysis, and while I can't share or understand his love for modern Sonic games, I agree with some of the points he made.

    It's true that Sonic isn't all about speed, but I think defensive fans can go too far the other way. A big part of Sonic isn't that Sonic is fast, but that Sonic can go fast, and that managing to go fast is rewarding. What makes classic Sonic particularly addictive is the micro-reward and micro-failure structure given by the combination of Sonic's physics, and the path structure of the levels. So I would say that while Sonic is also a good platformer series, what makes it uniquely Sonic and gives it an edge over Mario is its physics. I'm not shitting on the Mario games (I suck at them anyway), but I feel like they're more one tier in their reward structure; you're either hurt or you're not. Sonic turns movement itself into a reward in a clever way. The creators of later Sonic games misinterpreted the core concept to be about being fast, but the core of classic Sonic is acceleration and momentum. In many of the 3D Sonic games he accelerates instantly and there's no gameplay to the speed.

    The best levels play with and utilize Sonic's physics. Upward facing slopes cause you to gain height if you run and jump off the end of them, whereas downward facing slopes cause you to gain speed, jumping into slopes when you shouldn't will slow you down and then you'll look like a doofus, and the difference between Sonic running and Sonic rolling has to be considered at times. I think his point about Green Hill nailing the formula and then nervously dropping it for Marble is mostly correct, though I don't think that makes Marble a bad zone, it just makes it more like something Mario could have done anyway.

    So I think with Sonic 2 they managed to crystallize that formula with a run of three fast zones and then introduced more and more platform elements as things continued. Chemical Plant introduces platforming, but it's done in a way so that it doesn't break the flow, depending on how good you are. Everyone remembers the part in Act II with the moving blocks underwater (assuming you don't use the secret path), but players who know you can jump higher after a spin dash up an incline can utilize the helix shaped paths to fly up to the top of the area and bypass laboriously jumping from to block (I can't help but feel this is deliberate by design). Aquatic Ruin has a very clear two part structure, with a speedy top path and a micro-failure bottom path with more arduous flow breaking platforming.

    After these kind of flow zones, the game fully transitions to a platform focused run of zones, beginning with Casino Night. The important thing about that zone and why it's one of the best platforming focused zones is that they found a way to make the player slow down that is actually fun instead of just sticking things in Sonic's way that he has to tap his foot at until they're done. Unlike waiting around for traps to set and blocks to move, Casino Night has lots of fun springs and bumpers to bounce off of. The bumpers might hold you up, but they do so in an intrinsically fun way because you are constantly in control when you fight to bounce off them in a way that gets past them. You also might slow down in order to land in the slot machines, and again we see micro-failure and micro-reward theory in action. I can see why this zone struck a chord with him.

    Using my own theory I can concur with what he's saying, but to expand on that, I think that Sonic 2 is the most Sonic game; it plays to a formula relatively unique to Sonic and utilizes it in a well thought out way. Sonic 3 and Knuckles might be a better game/games overall due to its greater number of features, and more epic themes but I do feel like something very pure came to its pinnacle in zones like Emerald, Chemical, and Aquatic Ruin. I would say that when Sonic 2 does become a less unique platformer the execution isn't quite to the level of Sonic 3 (with the exception of Casino and perhaps Hill Top), so in a way the perfect Sonic game would be a combination of Sonic 2 flow zones and Sonic 3 platforming zones. I think one of the reasons I like Hydrocity Zone so much is that it lands smack bang in the middle of that formula combining the Sonic 3 sense of scale with a Sonic 2 path structure, whereas on the other end something like Marble Garden gets lost in its own scope.