don't click here

SA1 is not the first modern Sonic game, it is the last classic game

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Blastfrog, May 25, 2017.

  1. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    SA1 may have seemed like a big departure in style at the time, but in retrospect, it seems more like the last hurrah of the classic games than it does some kind of new beginning. This was the last game that Sonic Team proper worked on, when the key members were still together. It was Oshima's last involvement in the series. Though Naka still stuck around for a while, he had less and less to do with the games (apparently he only learned of how bad 06 was late in its development).

    Everything feels at home with the classic games. The music consisted of a lot of remixes from the earlier games, and even its original tracks would not feel remotely out of place in the Genesis titles (except for the Crush 40 stuff, perhaps). The visuals were still very colorful, the tone and atmosphere had a carefree feel. Hell, even the character designs were more like classic for most of its development, they only made further revisions toward the end.

    SA2 is more of where the series took a true turn. They went all "dark and edgy", it felt like the plot took itself too seriously, they focused on stuff that had no precedent (GUN, etc). It had themes more in common with spy thrillers than Sonic. The gameplay focused on the new mechanics (homing attack, etc), SA1 had that stuff, but the level design wasn't built around it at every turn. The music went full-on Crush 40 style in most places. The non-rock stuff didn't feel poppy anymore.

    Does anyone else feel this way?
  2. Drex


    Lazy perfectionist Member
    Yeah, I can agree. The characters still felt like themselves. The atmosphere and music was way more fun and varied. And, goodness, classic the physics were translated really well into 3D. I think they would have been perfect if they were able to smooth out the gameplay so the characters wouldn't? fly off of slopes, clip through floors, or have their running become jittery and choppy when running alongside a guardrail (like when running down the long slopes in Windy Valley (In the Air) and you touch the sides).

    Sonic Adventure 2 is definitely a big cheesy departure. The controls fell too floaty, the character animations lost some of their cartoony flair, there is product placements everywhere, and the music is generic, uninspired, and lacks atmosphere (I can't imagine hearing something like Lost World or Mystic ruins in SA2).

    I still pressed on and got some enjoyment out of it, but when Sonic Heroes gameplay videos popped I was truly disappointed in the direction Sonic Team was heading. I was even sadder because the idea of playing all three characters at once had been a big dream of mine ever since S3&K, but the overall execution of the game was very terrible. The only salvageable assets would be the art and some of the more unique level themes.

    Anyway, Sonic Adventure is definitely the last time I truly felt that magic. Sonic Unleashed and, to a much lesser degree, Sonic and the Secret Rings came very close, but only aesthetically, not gameplay-wise.
  3. I disagree. The gameplay was already different enough to make it feel like a different series. Also, the cringy voice acting and dialogs killed a lot of the charm the classics had. Another thing that felt completely out of place for me was the addition of a "magical" enemy more threatening than Robotnik powerful enough to start an apocalypse. Sonic Adventure was most certainly NOT a classic Sonic game, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the first modern game either.
  4. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    The mechanics might've been very different, but the core gameplay design really wasn't that different. The homing attack was a definite change, but you weren't going around constantly grinding on rails, nor were the levels chock full of areas that required the homing attack. Besides, it's not like it has to follow the classic formula to a T to be more in the ballpark of it than SA2 was.

    Not a legit relevant complaint, as far as I'm concerned. They botched the localization, it's not a reflection on how the game itself was actually developed.

    The English voice cast not only seemed to be a bit inexperienced, but they were given extremely bad direction. A very, very large part of the awkwardness was due to them being told to match the lip movements of the existing animations. SA2 was a huge improvement here, as they were told to just get the length of the line right and ignore the lip sync. If lip sync was that important, why didn't they redo the animations to match newly recorded dialogue?

    I can't help but feel the translators didn't do a good job with the script itself, either. Having a bad script rendered through bad performances did not help matters.

    I can't speak, read, write, or understand Japanese, but it seems like the performance was better. Can't comprehend a word that they're saying, but their tone of voice seems a lot more natural.

    This one makes it closer to the classic games than later iterations, actually. These themes were heavily hinted at in earlier entries, but never fully explored until SA1. And then they just dropped the whole "ancient horror" concept from the franchise entirely after that.

    The backstory on the emeralds is that they're very powerful, and ancient civilizations abused them, leading to the apocalyptic downfall of their societies. This is going clear back to the Japanese Sonic 2 manual. That's not even mentioning the entire S3K plot. Tell me again how SA1 was even remotely a departure from this? The fact that they never revisited this core concept is what makes later games less like the classics.

    Everything in Sonic Adventure 1 seemed to be a culmination of all they were building up to. Ideas they had about the world but never got a chance to really delve into until granted the ability to do a game of that scope.

    Right, the characters also weren't grossly distorted into having exaggerated personalities inconsistent with what came before. I mean, yeah, Sonic is a snark, but he's not a douche. SA2 really feels like it tried to be edgy in an early 00's style, and it has not aged well in this regard.

    They did a better job than in SA2/Heroes, for sure, but I think they could've done a much better job. Sonic 3D Blast, bland as that game is, had an excellent adaptation of the physics in 3D.

    Oh, more than just visually. Notice how they kept even the sound effects cartoony in SA1, but in SA2 they went all "realistic" with it? No more do you hear "whhooOOOP!" when you jump, instead you get an uninspired "whoosh!".
  5. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    If you can't understand the language, then you CANNOT judge their performance. People who can't speak a language tend to think that language's dubs are better than their own, precisely because they can't hear any mistakes that may have been made. Don't fall into that trap.

    Anyway, I guess I'd say SA1 is neither classic nor modern. Modern clearly comes from it, but it's not quite there yet (does that make any sense?). And at the same time, it's reasonably close to the classics, but too far removed to really belong with them, style-wise.
  6. Felik


    Do you want an actual conversation or just zealously defend your opinion while dissing others?

    "I can't prove that I'm right just feel that I'm right"
    OK got my answer

    Yeah it was "excellent" in a way that it didn't have physics and used tons of scripted sections to attempt to hide that fact.
  7. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    As a point of discussion, I'd like to remind everyone that the DX version of the game excessively changed the visuals to be more in the style of SA2.

    The Dreamcast original is cosmetically far more in line with the classic games than the ruination from DX.

    Sure, the surface elements are different, but the tone, atmosphere, music, sound effects, character design, world design, story, etc have strong roots in the classic games.

    It is a direct continuation of what came before, despite the stylistic shift. SA2 was an utter abandonment of what came before (including the game it alleges itself to be a sequel to). I think SA1 is something of a black sheep of the classic series, but is very much a part of it (and its end).

    Fair enough, but I think that goes without saying. Of course I have no way of knowing whether the performances are good or not. However, I think tone of voice is something that is more universally able to be understood.

    Actually, there are a good number of people here who have studied Japanese. I'd like to hear their opinion of the Japanese SA1 VA, would certainly be a better analysis than my "gut feeling".

    I do want an actual conversation, or else I would not have created this thread. I'm not zealously defending anything, just explaining in further detail why I feel the way I do. I'm open-minded, my opinions are not concrete and am more than willing to change my mind if proven wrong. And while I have the tendency to be snarky and direct with people, I'm not dissing anyone.

    I can see how "not legit" can be misinterpreted as a slight, I should be more careful with how I pick my words. I did not mean that his opinion was invalid at all, I just meant that I personally didn't find it to be a relevant point, and I followed up with why I felt that way. I feel that complaining about the English cast is irrelevant because it doesn't have any bearing on the "canon" cast that the game was developed with. It was a thing done as a necessity for bringing the game overseas, it's safe to say that they botched it, if for nothing else; the insane direction to slavishly match the existing lipsync.

    And who knows how closely the original Japanese script was translated, if the intended tone was lost? There are so many fan-retranslations of games for this exact reason. Final Fantasy 1 comes to mind as an example.

    No. More like "I know that I have no reason to feel this way, but here is why I have a certain gut feeling". I was not asserting myself. If I'm trying to assert myself, I say as much.

    That's not what I meant at all. SA1 scripted loops and such in just the same way. I was referring to the way the character smoothly turned (a necessity on a dpad, but still nice to have regardless), the way he accelerated, the way there was proper slope resistance, the way that he bounced off of walls depending on the angle you hit it at when spinning, etc. SA1 either didn't have these things or did them worse.

    When I say physics, I mean in a more general sense; the mechanics of movement in general, not necessarily things like taking loops or wallrunning into account.
  8. Drex


    Lazy perfectionist Member
    Sonic Adventure definitely introduced a lot of new things, but I still feel like the team was bringing the classic characters into a new world and the world they built was fleshed out. I willing to say that SA is an in-between or transition to modern Sonic.

    Yeah that sound still annoys me to no end.
    The Adventure series' problem as a whole is that it was trying to be too real. It wasn't too bad in SA1 as it was novel and things could have continued nicely if the style and story went in the direction of Unleashed or even took a step back and went the Heroes route, but everything got too EXTREME with SA2 including the realism.

    Classic Sonic had STYLE. Unique and creative attributes were given to it's characters. Knux was straight forward with his ability to glide and climb, but TAILS has two tails! He can spin them together to fly. When he spin attacks he turns into a puffball and his tails just whip wildly behind him completely detached from his body! Sonic morphs his body into a ball to roll down hills at lightning speeds. He can spindash and run so fast his legs literally turns into ribbons. You just don't see that level of creativity coming out of this franchise nowadays and what bugged me most about SA2 was how they started to strip away those unique qualities.

    Aside from the spindash, every action the characters do in the game would look natural for some super powered human to do. The new moves they added to the characters were also uninspired and/or clunky (especially somersault and magic hands). I think that I'm ranting now so I'll just stop.
  9. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    It was definitely a transitional piece, but I suspect it wasn't meant to be - SA2's direction was probably decided upon during that game's preproduction, and not earlier. Keep in mind, SA1 is a game originating in 1997. 1997. It was first released in '98, sure, but commercial games (at least of this nature) tend to be developed in about a year. By late '97, I'm sure the design we see now was mostly in place, even if the game itself was probably still in alpha and may have seen further (perhaps even significant) changes.

    The only reason they went with redesigned characters and a slightly more realistic aesthetic (emphasis on the "slightly" part) was to be all like "this is the new generation of technology! it's a new day!". They weren't trying to reinvent anything, that was just the choice they made to show off the Dreamcast, perhaps fearing that keeping in a completely cartoony style might not have showcased the hardware as well as they wanted to for their new console's flagship title. In retrospect, this was probably a mistake, but it wasn't a terrible decision either, and they handled it in a balanced and tasteful way. DX shat all over the "tasteful and balanced" part, but the less said about that travesty of a rerelease, the better.


    I'm not really sure you can say it was a "new world". I think it was just the world that they already had in mind for years, just parts of it they never explored in detail due to the smaller scope of the games that came before.

    The Egg Carrier was a lot like the Wing Fortress in concept. Ancient ruins with a mysterious past were definitely a trope. Classic Sonic already had cities with people in them. You never saw the people in-game, but then what are all those city levels populated by? Humans are definitely a thing in the Sonic universe, just look at Eggman. As for Sonic being in the city proper (not just the highways) and interacting with people, I direct you to the Man of the Year short cartoon.

    Though not strictly Sonic related, even the Chao have a basis in this era in the form of the a-life creatures in Nights into Dreams.

    There is literally nothing I can think of in SA1 that, while presented in a new style, doesn't have some direct basis in the previous games or media surrounding them. I can't say the same for SA2.

    I can't even say the same for later titles where they moved back in tone, as they still went with brand new concepts, largely ignoring a lot of these oft-forgotten, less explored elements of the classic world.
  10. synchronizer


    I remember from somewhere that the loops actually work with the guides disabled.
  11. Windii


    Robot Stonks Riser Member
    I don't know man, back when I myself didn't know a lick of Japanese I still thought Kanemaru Jun-ichi's so much as gasping and yelling was ten times better than Ryan or Jason combined could have ever pulled off (and that was way before Colors was a thing). Go figure. I may not have understood the language but that doesn't mean I couldn't appreciate the voice and intonation behind it. That goes for every foreign language work ever.
  12. Beltway


    The most grateful Sonic fan of all time this week Member
    Sega of Darkest Peru
    Artwork and classes
    I'd say Sonic Adventure is more of a midpoint between the "OG" Sonic that was left at the wayside, and what I'd like to call the "Iizuka" Sonic that took over. It's definitely the visible point of when Iizuka and his intentions and design decisions started to overwrite the franchise; but it's considerably more competent in its level design and more classic-oriented in its gameplay physics than Adventure 2 and onward that makes it feel something of a last hurrah of the principles of the older games--even if it is heavily downplayed and overshadowed by the new things brought to the table.
  13. Endgame


    Formerly The Growler Member
    I does make you wonder how SA1 would have fared had it not been a showcase game for the Dreamcast. What if Sega and Nintendo had joined forces earlier, or if the Dreamcast WAS a success (or if it never existed)... would the next game/SA2 come out any differently, or do you think it was inevitable that they'd go down the same route that it did? Looks like we'll never know.
  14. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    You missed out a couple of letters in your title. You meant SAdv1, surely. =P Sonic Advance
  15. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    When you think about it, that distinction is awful. Adventure and Advance both start with Adv :v:
  16. Sonic Advance, now THAT feels like a classic Sonic game! I'd play Advance over Adventure any day.
  17. I agree with the sentiment. Upon release Sonic Adventure 2 perplexed me with its radically different approach and smoother designs. Musically the change was really stark too. Where SA1 had imo an healthy mix of Classic-oriented electronic pieces and the then-burgeoning Modern rock sound. The compositions by Kenichi Tokoi and Fumie Kumatani in particular reflect the musical leanings of CD and R. Jun also harkened back to 3 and 3D Blast.

    The artwork for Sonic Adventure left a distinctly classic impression with me as well, with its less straightforward and more stylized designs. The cover art reflects this really well imo, where Sonic is all contorted into presumably the beginning motions of a spindash. Either that or he just still enjoyed making funky poses.

    Level tropes were obviously inspired by the main classic titles, though that never really changed. In terms of the hub world however, it always seemed to me like the ultimate realization of the world Sonic Team had been presenting to us throughout 2 and 3/K. SA2's abandonment of this world in favour of an espionage and government-minded one came off as more drastic than the alterations to the character designs initiated in SA1.

    [Edit] Extra little tidbit: The gameplay was modelled after the hub world of Sonic Jam correct? And that game was essentially a celebration of the classics.
  18. Overlord


    Now playable in Smash Bros Ultimate Moderator
    Long-term happiness
    It is, but it's always been the convention historically. =P SA1 and SA2, Sadv1, 2, 3. Adventure got the less letters because it got in first (SAdv1 and SA2 came out around the same time, remember, iirc SA2 was a little before.)
  19. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    I don't agree with this. There are a lot of things about SA2 that I've come to really respect over the years, story tone and shift in art direction included (all things considered, they did a great job of integrating these cartoony characters into a more realistic environment- San Francisco has all the geography appropriate for a Sonic game, allowing for some suspension of disbelief without totally compromising the identity of the franchise or the city, and it honestly looks great), but the quality of the soundtrack hit me first when I gave it an independent listen last year. I love how every character has their own genre identity, and it was nearly the last game in the franchise where Sega's professionalism in music was still on full display, Rush and Colors being isolated peaks. I'd have loved to be in the studio when they were recording Rouge's tracks, with real musicians playing real flutes and saxophones. Tongue in or out of cheek, the game left us with some enduring classics, and when they had to lay on the drama, they nailed it.

    SA1 was the last of classic Sonic, but SA2 was the last of Sega's ethos and confidence. It was a Dreamcast game to the core.
  20. Zephyr


    Also to SA2's credit, in a gameplay sense: the grinding actually made sense for Sonic. Momentum and speed mattered on them in that game.