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Sonic 3 30th Anniversary: AIR vs Origins

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by RetroJordan91, Feb 2, 2024.

  1. RetroJordan91

    RetroJordan91

    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    Being that today marks 30 years since Sonic 3 released (part 1 at least on 2/2/94), I figured let’s have some fun and see where you guys stand on this debate. Please feel free to express your opinions but also be respectful of others.

    Personally, I feel that the two most definitive ways to play Sonic 3 are Sonic 3 AIR and the Retro Engine remaster via Sonic Origins. Both have their fair share of benefits as well as flaws but which one is better?

    I know many go with Sonic 3 AIR because of the insane amounts of customization available:
    -I love being able to switch between the MJ tracks and 1103 prototype tracks for CNZ, ICZ, and LBZ.
    -switching filters
    -max control Sonic
    -having a remastered OST
    -using randomized blue sphere special stages to grab chaos emeralds as opposed to the original 14 in the Genesis version.
    -you can save your progress if you play regular blue sphere!!

    There’s a lot I can’t even list!

    The main negative I can attest for AIR is that this is NOT a 100% remake. There is still some emulation involved due to its reliance on the data from the ROM itself. There are also some physics quirks that still occur like in the Genesis version (I’m looking at you Ice Cap slopes). You still need the original ROM to get it going and it is hard to officially obtain via legal means today.

    Which brings us to Origins. Apparently I might be one of few people who likes this remaster. There are some who hate this version because of the Steam delisting. But let’s look at the positives:

    - This is 100% built from scratch using Taxman’s Retro Engine (v5 to be exact, which also powered Mania).
    - Amy as a playable character from the start
    - New cutscenes
    - New animations and new enemy/object sounds
    - New Blue Spheres mode

    But of course there’s negatives:
    - the muffled sound
    - the unpolished prototype music used here
    - the Super Sonic theme
    - locking customization features to level select cheat codes (I expected this though in an official product)
    - occasional hit box quirks

    And I’m sure there’s more you guys can list.

    The main advantage of both versions is the modding.. AIR has an endless amount of mods that make it a better experience, and 3 Origins can turn into a better experience via the Origins UltraFix and HQ OST mods (and there may be more in the future).

    Now for which is better?? That’s up to the gamer, but you have to remember: It is unfair to compare a fan project and an official project. If you put aside the corporate shenanigans and circumstances surrounding Origins, its version of Sonic 3 is still a solid remaster.

    I believe there is no clear cut winner here.. both are fantastic. I say the true definitive Sonic 3 is somewhere in the middle, and if by some miracle a Sonic 3 decompilation ever comes, we can revisit this again.


    Happy 30th Anniversary Sonic 3!!!
     
  2. Chimes

    Chimes

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    Yay, now we get to wait for part 2 to turn 30 later!
    I personally just play Sonic 3 with the SVC version I bought almost two decades ago because there's nothing quite like playing Sonic 3 with a modern controller on a CRT.
    (If only I had a VGA to composite adapter...)
     
  3. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    The most moddable and open source version will always win by default, in the end. That's going to have to be AIR until someone decompiles the Origins version. S3AIR might have the most advanced and crazy mod scene of any of the games, actually.

    The customization and tweaking is the entire reason alternatives to the officials have endured for so long.

    Meanwhile, happy 30th to what might still be my all time favorite game (or the first half of it, at least). In the end, it doesn't matter which version you pick, they're all amazing.

    Hell, my first version was the worst one (1997 S&K Collection), and getting that in June 1997 started me down the dark path to my insane love of everything in this crazy IP.
     
  4. BenoitRen

    BenoitRen

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    Yes, that would surely be something...
     
  5. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
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    Considering there are mods that bring Origins features to to AIR to bring it up to parity, I think AIR is the better version right now. AIR also has the benefit of allowing me to customize the soundtrack to my liking and restoring some beta stuff so it's always going to be my preferred method of playing. The only reason I'd play Origins is because of Amy and even then I'm not that motivated considering the downgrades.

    I actually wonder why an Origins Amy mod or Advance Amy mod doesn't exist yet...
     
  6. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    Sonic 3 A.I.R. and it's not even close. The amount of work that went into making Sonic 3 A.I.R. such a great port outshines the official port of the game. (Though honestly I must be in the minority when I say I don't mind the Super Sonic theme in Origins, it's still better than hearing a loop of Sonic 3's invincibility theme. Really all of Sonic 3's jingles suck compared to their Sonic and Knuckles counterparts other than the credits theme. I am tired of hearing that god awful goofy one up jingle from Sonic 3.)
     
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  7. Both are valid, in my opinion.
     
  8. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    This is not a positive. The Retro Engine is inaccurate, and IIRC it caused some issues when Origins launched, before patching the levels.

    Sonic 3/&K, as originally released, are the purest forms of the game. AIR is closer to that original source, being based directly on the original ROM. Even beyond differences in features, that alone already makes it the superior Sonic 3 experience between the two.
     
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  9. GoldeMan

    GoldeMan

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    My go to way to play will always be the OG Genesis set up with a CRT. But, not always having access to that Sonic 3 AIR is my second go to, mostly because I really don't want to pay 30-40 bucks for Origins since I've bought everything in that collection multiple times.

    And also Origins did my favorite Prototype tracks really dirty.
     
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  10. sayonararobocop

    sayonararobocop

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    Air. I regularly switch between the two as S3/S3K has been my favorite of all time. Origins S3K still has the wrong physics.
     
  11. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    Oh my goodness, how could I forget...
    upload_2024-2-2_19-33-15.jpeg

    Happy 30th, Knuckles!
     
  12. FollOw

    FollOw

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    And here I'm still playing Sonic 3 complete.
     
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  13. Nik Pi

    Nik Pi

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    DAMN, I came here to write it!
    I like choosing of sprites between S1/2/cutscenes Knuckles, and MJ/S&KC tracks..
    I still wish the team make a little update to include prototype palettes, normal prototype music (seriously, my ears are bleeding when I listen to LBZ act 2 in S3C, even origins sounds better, imo). I also like using unused theme as super sonic, also it playable on sega genesis (I'd like to buy flashcard one day, now I'm playing on my laptop+hdmi2av for my ancient TV)
     
  14. MasterDreamcaster

    MasterDreamcaster

    Running Up That Green Hill Member
    My favorite Sonic game. Also, it was the first video game that I ever played.
    Here is a video made for the 30th anniversary of Sonic 3. It features wall run, moonwalk, a sample of Michael Jackson's Jam, Ice Cap (seen outside my window), Hard Times by The Jetzons, Brad Buxer playing ending credits theme a little bit...
     
  15. sayonararobocop

    sayonararobocop

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    I remember the S&K release a little bit better since I started going to elementary school the year prior - mainly I remember the McDonalds and other promotional tie-ins since my house didn't get a Sega Genesis for about another year or so when the Sega Channel debuted but I was finally able to play them for myself!

    It wouldn't be another few years until we actually acquired S3 and SK and I could play the full lock on experience - I never got past the barrel. Back in those days before I realized I had learning disabilities I mainly just watched others play. Once I got through S3K as Knuckles I was able to reverse engineer everyone else through in Level Select / Debug, but it wasn't until many years later that a friend casually told me the secret to the barrel.
     
  16. RetroJordan91

    RetroJordan91

    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    How can I forget 3 Complete? That is definitely the definitive 4:3 Genesis experience.. the ability to play with the original zone order with a simple toggle was so mind blowing to me.

    To this day, I feel this feature is sorely needed as a toggle in 3 AIR and it was a missed opportunity to include it in Origins.. I understand why it wasn’t added in SEGA’s case, but I feel it’s inexcusable with AIR.. I shouldn’t need a mod to implement it.. if 3 Complete can do that with its limited ROM space, then it should be super easy to make it a toggle
     
  17. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    Honestly I would say this is the best way to play it, load it up on a flashcart, hook up your Mega Drive/Genesis and then it's the true definitive way of playing it. There's so much you can customize, everything from the music, to the sprites. I just mentioned Sonic 3 A.I.R. since RetroJordan91 mentioned these two versions.
     
  18. Felik

    Felik

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    Does S3AIR actually emulate anything though? By "emulate" I mean boot up a genesis emulator and/or reading stuff from the rom.
    I've always assumed that it needing the original ROM was just a legal requirement to claim that "see? We didn't steal your game!", and all it does is just lie in the game's folder while everything (sprites, code, music, etc) is already in the game.
     
  19. RetroJordan91

    RetroJordan91

    The REAL Blue Sphere Guy Member
    So from my understanding, Eukaryot developed the engine for the game (Oxygen Engine) from the ground up, but in order for certain elements within AIR itself to properly function, some specific data is pulled from the original 3&K ROM. That’s my casual description (I’m sure someone who’s has more technical experience can chime in with specifics)

    So one feature in the recent release builds is the ability to download the remastered OST separately to save space, so the emulated OST is used by default.. I’m sure that’s one of the main examples of “emulation use” that is tied to the game, but again someone more technical than me likely knows the answer.
     
  20. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    Sonic 3 Complete is almost the best Sonic 3 experience in my opinion. There is one flaw (that I'm aware of) that kind of ruins it for me.

    In Marble Garden Zone, the blue wheels are broken. You can't bounce on them perpetually like you can in the original. I have never understood how or why Sonic 3 Complete changed this, but if it wasn't for that it would be basically perfect. As it is I can't call it definitive, personally. I pretty much always play the original lock on cartridges when I want some Sonic 3.