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Let's criticise classic Sonic gameplay.

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Deef, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. winterhell

    winterhell

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    I wouldn't say that. The younger and/or less experienced players often do not manage to get all the emeralds even by the end of the last stage(S3 and S&K separately) despite trying. I agree with your point that the game is too easy and someone mentioned that it throws 1UPs at you. Maybe thats its main drawback, especially the difficulty drop in Mushroom Hill Zone.
     
  2. Deef

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    What if it was Sonic 3 with 4 (audio and visual) variations of every act? I'd be quite happy with that. Seriously... Past Icecap and Future Icecap..?? ysplz~~
     
  3. ErictheSquirrel

    ErictheSquirrel

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    I can see where you're coming from on Sonic CD, the idea of it is great. What I'm not a big fan of when it comes to Sonic CD is the level design itself being...cluttered. Sonic 2's level design yeah, varies but I guess I prefer the format of Sonic 2 compared to CD, even if some levels are passable. Oil Ocean is a fun and interesting idea for a stage, but feels a little weird to platform around most of the time. Hill Top Zone is boring to me since it doesn't add much, mostly seesaws and lava :v: riveting.

    The way exploration was handled in S3&K is the bits I enjoyed with CD thankfully
     
  4. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

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    As a child, the first time I got the 7th Chaos Emerald was in Ice Cap 2 (I'd normally still not have them all by the time I'd reached Mushroom Hill), and I'd always struggle to get the 7th Super Emerald before Sandopolis 2. But the special stages are more so much more easily accessed in 3D than than in the others. There's no ring limit and they're hardly hidden at all really, at least aside from a very small number in the SK-hald. The game was definitely too lenient with them.

    You mean Sonic 3 with time travel? Don't get me wrong, the time travel in CD is really awesome. Seeing all those variations is great. The problem is though that they serve little to no purpose in the gameplay. And actively seeking them out is such a chore it's just not worth it at all. Playing through CD without bothering about the Time Zones makes it a much better experience.
     
  5. Mr Lange

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    There's more to a stage than just collision tiles you know. The time periods were an awesome experience. The themes were amazing and beautiful along with the music. That alone made it all worth it.
     
  6. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

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    Yeah, see, I don't get that. My problem just lies with the fact that it's something you have to work for (by doing an exceptionally unfun task), and the eventual reward is pretty much nothing. "Oh hey the stage now looks/sounds different for the remaining 10 seconds you'll be in it because after searching around for so long you're sick of it and just want to move on already!". Great... I just can't get behind the idea.
     
  7. foXcollr

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    I totally agree about the time travel point. I don't think I ever even got all the capsules/Metal Sonic projectors. I mostly just switched to whichever version of the stage looked cooler or had the best music.

    Even after playing Sonic 2 through multiple times, I still usually end up getting faked out by that one corkscrew section where not getting hurt is almost impossible, so I would have to agree about Metropolis. I actually enjoyed Sky Chase a lot, and not just because of the change of pace, although I think the way Sonic ran with the biplane was a little odd-looking... Even while the stage moved itself, it was cool trying to get as many badniks as possible, and I don't think I figured out how to play without Tails got good enough at the special stages to be super at that point until a few times through the game.

    I don't remember being invincible too many times throughout the latter stages in S3K, although I may be wrong, because I tend to avoid them just so the music doesn't restart :v: AS far as special stages go, I actually find the special stage rings to be harder to locate as the game progressed, and it wasn't until a few times through the game that I could actually become super that early on. I only recently started playing the combined S3K, and I still haven't gotten all the Super Emeralds, so even after being familiar with both separate games, I still find it a challenge to get them all.
     
  8. DigitalDuck

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    See, I have the opposite problem. I find the Time Stones a massive hassle (I just can't get the hang of CD's special stages), but love exploring the levels finding the generator (and Metal Sonic hologram).

    It'd be nice to have a gameplay reason to go to the future, though.

    Yes, yes, yes. Especially when you're playing from a save; I'm glad S3C has the option to turn it off. :v:
     
  9. Harmony Friends

    Harmony Friends

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    I just wish it had the option to not even do the speed shoes treatment, and just leave the music intact. Some songs just don't work being played at the faster tempo the whole time.
     
  10. But, but, what about that gotta go fast feeling it brings? :specialed:
     
  11. Crasher

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    Aren't you supposed to go to the Future to get the "Good Future" though? It's been ages since I've played CD (and I never really bothered with the Good Future stuff simply because, as you said, it was a chore), so it does serve something of a gameplay purpose.

    Also, if I remember correctly, the Good Future has no enemies, which makes it ideal to go there simply because the only obstacles would be the environment.
     
  12. You need to go to the Past and destroy the Robot Generator in each Zone or collect all of the Time Stone in order to ensure a Good Future. When I've collected all of the Time Stones, I usually go to the Good Future version of the levels since there are usually less obstacles in that time period and no enemies. In any other case or when I'm focusing only on the Robot Generators, I don't travel to the future version of the stage unless I decide to do so arbitrarily.
     
  13. Crasher

    Crasher

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    Ah, that makes sense then.

    I always thought you had to travel to the Future to get the Good Future.
     
  14. MartiusR

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    Travels in time can be a bit confusing when someone is starting with Sonic CD, I had the same thing, Crasher :P I couldn't simply imagine, that travel in future can be useless, I thought that maybe I've missed something, because how could they make one of the "parts" of this feature not useful at all... Well, it's indeed useless, as other users already mentioned.


    The thing I don't like is this infamous combo of speed and camera centered on character we're controlling. I know that in older platform games memorizing some parts of levels was something common, but still - it's kinda annoying that you can't perform some good style (without bumping into obstacles & enemies), because you don't have time to react (or have VERY little time to do so). I've managed to tolerate it (because well, let's say it's one of the "charms" of Sonic series in 2D), but still can't say I like it.

    Bonus levels in Sonic 2. It's one of these which I have serious problem. I know that aerodynamic tunnel is quite common bonus level in later Sonic games, but I still don't like it in classic Sonic 2. When I'm playing in bonus levels in Sonic or Sonic 3 (& Knuckles (& Knuckles (&Knuckles)))*, I have feeling, that:

    a)they are "beatable"
    and
    b)they leave me some margin of error

    And I don't have such feeling in case of bonus levels in sonic 2. It requires from you up from... 3rd level? To be absolutely precised and don't make almost any mistakes.

    (By the way - I know I should be ashamed... but I've never managed to collect all Chaos Emeralds in Sonic 2 or Sonic 3, I've done it in Sonic 1, but with saving & loading, so it doesnt count :( ).

    It's rather not about gameplay itself, but still - I didn't like music in first Sonic. Maybe it's because I've played in it faar later than in MD era, but still - I've found out that it has the most annoying set, with some exceptions (as far as I remember - third zone sounded quite nice).

    All these pinball/casinos levels. Nope, negative. Every time when I'm stucked between some crazy bumpers, argh... It's somehow spoiling my impressions, since I have (at some moments) very limited control over my character (and I don't like any "hazard/casino" themes overall, the only thing which is more annoying for me is halloween themes - stupid abominations!).

    The thing which was quite annoying was also hiding almost all star posts in second zone in Sonic 2. It's a minor thing, but why they must be so hidden? I can't remember any other zone in Sonic 2 with this issue. I know that I was complaining about bonus levels, but when I would like to try to collect these chaos emeralds, why it's almost impossible to have even one in whole zone?

    Multiplayer in Sonic 3. I think it's quite good idea with these categories in VS mode in Sonic 2 (never had too many opportunities to play with someone in it though. Charms of having a lot siblings (four, I have FOUR) who don't like what you like - "OK, we can play with you in something, but only if it won't be any Sonic games"). And in Sonic 3 we've got some very, very simplified race with many "copy&paste" fragments. What a shame.


    *& Knuckles
     
  15. eighttailedfox

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    Sonic 2, Casino Night. As a kid that one bumper area next to a half pipe area, was near impossible for me to beat for the longest time. I'd run out of time, die by timer, and then on restart I'd try my hardest to take another path.

    Sonic 2, Mystic Cave. That one pit when super sonic. You know the one. Also that one stabby pillar in the corner of a curved ramp. So useless, but I always Thought I'd die if I touched it.

    Sonic 2, Hilltop zone. That one tunnel that shoots you out, and if you follow the rings You'll get over the loop-de-loop. To this day, I always forget to push forward and I always miss it.

    Sonic 3, Carnival Zone. The fucking Spinning barrel in act 2.

    Sonic 2, flying fortress. Super sonic was living hell in the first half of this zone.

    Sonic 2, Chemical Plant, sometimes glitching through curved ramps, sending you into instant death or warping you through walls.

    Just a few of the problems I had as a kid.

    While not a criticism of sonic 2. If you were playing on the genesis, and did a soft reset, you could begin a new story with all the chaos emeralds of the previous run. Back when I was a kid, I did this to get them all before Chemical Plant.
     
  16. Beltway

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    This (DigitalDuck's opinion on it) is honestly how I feel about CD's Time Travel more than anything else.

    I think some clarification is needed here that not only was your ring total halved when you got hit, you permanently lost those rings, so you couldn't re-collect them.

    Not too much of an issue when you're boosting in the game (as long as the ring gauge is full, you should be fine), but it's evident fairly quickly in tricky platforming segments, especially with the later levels in the game (Eggmanland.... :[ ).
     
  17. Covarr

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    There is a gameplay reason for the future: To accidentally get the signs when you're trying to go to the past, and make the game needlessly more annoying.
     
  18. Jayextee

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    Gee willy-willickers, Blast Processing Man, it's a whinge thread!

    Except I'm not going to do that. Wall of text incoming. My criticism is more 'pros and cons' than mere complaints, anyway.

    Sonic the Hedgehog

    This game is, to me at least, almost perfect. Almost. Most detractors aren't keen on the lack of an instant-speed solution (spin dash, boosting) compared to later games, but there are very few sections that don't leave some form of run-up to gain enough momentum to pass (which is more than can be said for attempting a spin dash-less run of S3K for example). Why is this such a big deal? Because to those not in the know, the spin dash is a little too esoteric to access -- you mean crouch + jump doesn't do like, a high jump? Wow. I digress though. Zone-by-zone breakdown.

    Green Hill Zone
    ...is basically a loose playground of intersecting paths with a smattering of the game's common gimmicks, although nothing too complex. The opening stretch is fundamentally-identical to the structure of Super Mario Bros. World 1-1's beginning -- many words have been said, some by Shigsy Miyamoto himself, about how this teaches the player. GHZ1 does a few other things worthy of note; the game's first loop is introduced after a downhill, so unless a player has been jumping around like a flea with a pepper in its ass, it should be conquered pretty easily; and without explaining implicitly the inference is there that you need a little momentum to get around it. Almost immediately afterward, there's the double S-bend into a cluster of rings in the sky; AND THERE ARE LOTS OF THEM, suggesting a lot of them can be carried -- an incentive for players to try exactly this, and reap the rewards (number one, extra lives; number two, special stage access for the 'good' ending).

    GHZ2 is a speedrunner's wet dream, but IMO gets too rough in its mid-section for most beginners. Tough love with that spikes/platforming section. It's worth noting that there is a small barrier to slow down players before this section in the form of a purple rock thing. In fact, most times these are placed in Green Hill Zone serve as a buffer to slow the player down for a section that would maul a beginner trying at high speed.

    One particularly clever section was, I thought, the swinging platform to upwards quarter-pipe early on (leading to downwards quarter-pipe then the loop, but this isn't the section I'm talking about). Remember how I mentioned momentum? If player remembers this from the loop in act 1, then a failed jump to/from the swinging platform can be 'fixed' by taking a run up. If not? There's another route; if the player didn't figure out by now that stages have alternate routes (and remember, this was 1991 and such things weren't entirely commonplace), they will now. Furthermore, try failing the jump and hitting the quarter-pipe midway through and see the speed. Rolling here will eventually reveal a secret area, nice.

    GHZ3 serves as a culmination of all that has been seen thus far. The multiple routes are definitely back in force, and how. S-bend and loop combination leads to a 'soft' trap of backwards red spring, teaching player one more thing; be prepared to react at a moment's notice at speed. Boss is simple enough, but still able to kill beginners without their wits about them.

    Marble Zone
    I spent the longest time hating on this zone, like many. However, looking at the bigger picture it's a change of pace. Literally shifting down a gear, and this is entirely necessary; the first instantly-killing obstacles are introduced; crushers. Yeah, we've had pits; easily avoidable by always taking upper routes. These things can be anyway. And we have lava, an environmental hazard that can command a LOT of space; indeed, it rains from the ceiling AND erupts from below! The latter however, is a clever method of locomotion, serving as a temporary raised platform when the blocks are pushed into lava and rode upon.

    MZ1 describes the pushing ability by literally sticking the player in a position where they can do little else; a return through the crushers yields little actual results due to the downward incline to the 'internal' section requiring absolute mastery of the game's physics to escape. So there's a block and a switch. Obvious, yeah? Sonic can push the green ones, the player will learn. Mid section is a gauntlet of blocks falling into lava, further slowing down the player, followed by weights on chains; moving of their own accord, unlike the switch-activated variant. Note how all these obstacles are presented in clumps of a single type (counting large and small chain-weights as the same type due to their similar function) -- the player has a lot to learn, so presenting it thus will 'stick' better than bombarding them all at once.

    In MZ2, there is more to learn and that is the way lava ostensibly behaves in this world. Almost immediately (after another switch usage, again with no alternative route so the player learns that switches can affect more than one type of thing) there is the lava fall from above and a lava chase! Wild. Cue initially-satisfying swinging platform section that fucking ruins most speedrun attempts due to errant timing. And then a bona-fide lava/block ride! This is foreshadowing for a section in MZ3, you'll see -- lava spits the block upwards three times; the third requiring a reaction as the player jumps to safety. It is totally possible to save face if failing at this, in fact a secret area may be found! (Note: all three MZ secret areas are located in areas of perceived risk. This teaches the player that their daring may be rewarded). There's a little more to be learned in for form of destructible blocks, then a gauntlet of spiked weights preceding the exit; a difficulty spike.

    MZ3 ups the ante somewhat; although the first two acts have been linear with no alternate routes as new hazards are presented to the player, MZ3 has two distinct forks to begin with; each offering different challenges. There's an awkward introduction to rolling in the upper/left fork as some destructible blocks are presented with no room to jump -- I'm not actually sure if this is brilliant or just plain hackish. The other route has a jumping challenge with weights and falling platforms. Then they merge, and we have the section the game actually warned us about; the player will absolutely need a precise jump from a lava spout carrying a rideable block to proceed. Awesome thing is, there are actually TWO spouts; giving a player who failed a second chance. Some spike hazards and a Caterkiller (who, I forgot to mention, is the first time the player can't merely jump at an enemy to best them -- a theme repeated several times in subsequent levels), followed by two weights with the third 'risky' secret of the zone (and badass shortcut for players who get curious). The longer/lower route I've never been so keen on, there's some very cramped platforming here. Sonic is a fast game and Sonic himself can command a lot of space in a short time; such small areas always feel suffocating, although this is done on purpose in two zones' time.

    Spring Yard Zone
    I'm not going to go as in-depth from here on in, because the game stops 'teaching' the player around this point; notwithstanding some sections of this zone that require a little understanding of the way the game deals with momentum and can transfer falling/vertical momentum into running/horizontal and then some. More crushers. More moving hazards. Another type of badnik who cannot be jumped upon, and one other who can, but only when left prone. Multiple routes are back in force. Contains the very first boss who can kill instantly; albeit indirectly via the lower screen boundary. A curio is present here, in the two exits of SYZ2. I believe the purpose of these is for one to serve as an easy-access to special stage; including the preceding curve, the upper route can get the player to those required 50 rings -- and if they've succeeded in every possible attempt to gain a chaos emerald so far, this is the last time they'll need it.

    Labyrinth Zone
    In many ways a retread of Marble Zone's slower, more hazard-centered gameplay; acts one and two are ostensibly linear (because although act 1 has 'that' upper route secret, many players won't be aware of its existence), with a third act split into two distinct paths for the duration. Here, there are crushing hazards, many spikes, and a few new things; an enemy that shoots its defences, an enemy that ambushes. Switches, although briefly present in SYZ, make a more profound appearance in this zone. Also, the water. The zone itself is now a killer, should Sonic go too long without air; accompanied by possibly the most perfectly-fitting videogame tune ever, those few seconds of pure gasping horror. Remember how I said the narrow sections of MZ3 felt suffocating? Add the combination of an apparent time-limit (reset of course, by air bubbles) AND a further, more literal stripping of Sonic's trademark speed due to the underwater movement physics. If a small part MZ3 was suffocating, this is explosive decompression.

    ...and exacerbated with the boss encounter; notably the only time Robotnik's craft doesn't need to be destroyed (although is possible), but chased upward against the rising tide. With no replenishing air bubbles. The game's tension peaks around here, and it's great.

    Star Light Zone
    Very relaxing music here, as the curves and loops of Green Hill Zone are given a retread minus the route interchangeability. Outside of invincible monitor use, none of the badniks can be vanquished here; a sure sign the ante has been upped once more and the endgame is close? SYZ2 marks the last possible time a player can access the special stage, marked by the uppermost route basically handing out a free 50 rings via monitors just before the level's exit.

    Boss encounter is brilliant, because the game's physics are used for two distinct possibilities of harming the boss; and the player will likely feel great about figuring that out.

    Scrap Brain Zone
    What can I say about a zone who's opening consists of two possible instant-kills via pit drops? My partner calls this "The Factory O' Death" and he's right -- circular saws, swinging spikeballs, electricity-emitting... thingies. Badniks consist of bombs from the previous zone, pigs who launch another kind of bomb, and those Caterkillers from MZ. The days of placid little Motobug are a distant memory at this point. SBZ1 has three distinct routes, with very many possibilities to 'fall' to a lower route (or, if on the lowest route, death); SBZ2 has two routes, and a bonus for curious and able players. SBZ3 is quite the event, with the player thrust back to the dreaded Labyrinth, this time with a more evil (bad future? :P) palette. I've always liked the (once again) 'reward for daring players' in the short route of SBZ3 below the sliding ledge at the start; but feel there's simply too much of a difference between this and the regular route(s) despite repeated chances to fail and be forced to join the more conventional level space. If anything, the challenge for the short route should've been much higher; it would have been its own reward. The lack of a points tally in SBZ3 is one of the most atmospheric things about the game. No breather here, this is it.

    Final Zone
    No rings. Crushers and electricity. Until the pattern is learned, this is such a daunting prospect; and even then a careless move (or lack thereof) would end it all. A little lacking in 'oomph', but I remind you once more that it was 1991.

    Special Stage
    These are a joy to behold when played correctly; a pain in the ass otherwise. Actually, these should've played more like Taito's arcade game, Camel Try; something with Sonic 4 Episode I did, but with horrible layouts. Either way, the first layout and the two more 'open' ones are excellent.

    -----

    Most of this, I'm praising the game. And rightly so, it kickstarted a long-running series for good reason; Sonic was (and I argue, still is) one of the best platform games around. Although the focus has become more squarely about raw speed since, this early installment felt more like 2D videogame parkour; engaging with the environs and learning how to conserve or generate momentum feels richer and more rewarding than defaulting to "stop. crouch. spindash" when speed is lost. The main things I actually have to say could have been improved were:

    - GHZ2's middle section being too unforgiving. Simple change of collision from top-only 'soft' collision to all-over 'hard' collision on the moving platforms would have prevented pit deaths, leaving only the spike behaviour as a hazard. Perhaps the section before the checkpoint lamp-post could have gaps bridged by falling platforms?
    - MZ3's 'rolling tutorial' section with the smashable blocks. Then again, I'm personally divided on this; it could be equally as brilliant as it is stupid.
    - MZ3's non-secret route in the second half is full of cramped, uncomfortable platforming.
    - SBZ3's short route should be noticeably tougher to compensate for its brevity.
    - Special Stage gameplay should've been Camel Try.

    Other than these things, the game is pretty amazing; and there's little wonder I can still play and enjoy is some 25 years after its initial release.

    If I can be arsed, I shall write up Sonic 2 and why I feel for every positive change it made upon the first game, it also did something awkward to negate such improvements.
     
  19. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Hey everyone check this guy out. He couldn't get all 7 emeralds in Emerald Hill without doing a soft reset. Let's laugh at him cause lol that's funny.

    + - I'm kidding!  
     
  20. eighttailedfox

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    + - I became a master of the special zones though. If I loaded up sonic 2 now, I'd still remember where most the bombs are. I remember being able to time AI tails' jump to hit the bombs but not lose rings. And eventually I found enough star posts to get the rings without soft reset, but that was caused mostly by the gamecube collection forcing me too. Soft reset was gone T.T