Sonic Mania (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by TimmiT, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. rebelcheese

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    SEGA's been doing it since Sonic Adventure, with a level literally named Ice Cap Zone existing within it. Sonic Adventure 2 is what started the remixing trend in general though, that game basically remixed Speed Highway into Radical Highway and Sandopolis into Pyramid Cave, and it's just been getting more prominent since then. Eventually you run out of original places to throw your character into and you have to start rehashing or remixing. Mario has done this too, and that's probably why he's being infamously thrown into a contemporary-ish city in Odyssey, that's the one place Mario hasn't explored yet.
     
  2. Pengi

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    Once the obvious level themes have been exhausted (jungle, desert, ice, volcano etc) then it's time to think outside the box a bit more. Baseball stadium, shopping mall, dojo, nightclub and so on. Studiopolis is very much in this spirit.

    Then there are some obvious themes that somehow never got used. It's crazy that it took until Sonic Heroes to get a medieval castle level. Mirage Saloon is an example of this, all these years and somehow there's never been a Wild West level in a Sonic game.

    With games like Sonic Colours and Sonic Rush Adventure you could really tell that they were trying to do new things with the levels. But then there are games like Sonic Advance and Sonic 4 which are bereft of new ideas.
     
  3. Aerosol

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    My favorite trope so far has been "cyber zone". Sonic Advance 2 may be bad*, but Techno Zone is fucking awesome and if you disagree you can meet me at high noon.

    *it is also my guilty pleasure.
     
  4. Felik

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    There was one in Sonic Rivals 2 and in Sonic Free Riders.
     
  5. Burrobot

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    To add to that, the arcade game SegaSonic also featured a 'Wild West' stage in the form of Desert Dodge. The inclusion of cacti suggests to me that it's meant to be a North American-esque desert.

    Nevertheless, it's great to finally see a Western desert stage in something a little more 'regular'. I for one am quite happy to see a new take on the unused Desert Dazzle tileset - it deserves a finished zone.
     
  6. I must admit I'm not a huge fan of tropes that are based in a more 'human' reality.

    I'd like to see more abstract & creative tropes - futuristic cities floating above endless oceans, neon lights reflecting off crystal structures, giant lush greenhouses (Chaotix) etc...
     
  7. Blue Blood

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    I don't mind some realistic areas in the series, be they cites or ruins/nature. Nothing in Unleashed felt out if place to me. Ever since day one the games have had relatively fantastic places like Green Hill and Spring Yard alongside the more grounded Starlight. CD is the only game that really went truly bonkers 100% of the time as far as the Classics are concerned (Chaotix too if you include that). Mania is totally getting it right with Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon. Both are outlandish and whimsical, but not at the cost of feeling like they couldn't actually exist as locations in Sonic's world.

    Dessert Ruins in Lost World is just a bunch of giant confectionery floating in a pink void. That's the kind of crap I don't want to see in Sonic.
     
  8. Endgame

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    Why is it do people think we're not getting remakes of games from Sonic 1 (other than GHZ)? I'd have thought there are plenty of Zone remake possibilities for the first game in here.

    I mean, we don't even know the Zone order here; maybe it's something like the Sonic 1 zones first, then a new zone, then Sonic 2, etc. - or it could be S1, new zone, S1, new zone, S2, new zone, S2, new zone etc.

    Just because they've only showed us zones from mainly Sonic 2 doesn't necessarily mean they're sticking to mainly Sonic 2.
     
  9. Aerosol

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    You like Sweet Mountain right?

    Right?
     
  10. Pengi

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    Sweet Mountain was an amusement park environment with a food theme. It didn't have giant donuts, it had giant metal structures made to look like donuts.

    Sonic lives in an abstract world, but I agree that it should have a certain level of consistency with how abstract it goes. The music level in Advance 2 and the toy level in Advance 3 felt particularly egregious.
     
  11. VectorCNC

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    Agreeing with High Fidelity, I don't want real places or very similar approximations so far as zone locations are concerned. Part of what I liked about Sonic was the unique and abstract locations, like something which possibly-could-maybe exist in another reality. However, there needs to be some substantive consistency with said reality. In line with BlueBlood, to me giant dessert world's and things of that nature have no definite or stable phase relationship, and are therefore inauthentic. I cheapens the experience for me if literally anything and everything is possible. This is a criticism which can be made in regards to aspects of Mario Galaxy too. Lastly, it is a fair criticism to point out that I don't extend this argument to special stages.... because, special stages be special stages... they are special.
     
  12. Beltway

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    Eh, I don't agree. The whole thematic point of the Mario Galaxy games is that you're traveling across the universe that lies outside the Mushroom Kingdom / Mario's world, seeing different galaxies and the planets inhabited within. That in itself I'd argue does gives developers the credence a fair amount of leeway with the level locations for certain galaxies.

    And for what I've observed, most people generally don't have a problem with those levels, if anything, they praise them for being fresh and bizarre from what we normally expect from the series. For comparison's sake, the NSMB series, the 3D Land/World games, and --especially-- recent Paper Mario games caught a lot of flak for adhering to the "standard" Mario aesthetics and world locations.

    I do agree that levels like Dessert Ruins are far more questionable in their placement in the context of Sonic, though.
     
  13. Sean Evans

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    Doesn't really make sense to compare visuals and themes between Mario and Sonic. Mario is basically nonsense because it can be. I wouldn't call it a game with a heavy focus on artistic direction, which is why stuff like Galaxy and Odyssey aren't really all that offensive in the context of the series, and are actually kind of refreshing. Even then it still looks relatively Mario-esque. With Sonic though, it's a delicate balancing act because of how established it's style already is. So just throwing out new ideas and then dumping Sonic in them doesn't really work. Sonic in the real world sounds cool, but it turns into a mess if all the pieces aren't properly situated. Unleashed is the best it's gotten, and there are still issues with how it looks. I think that's why the team was so hesitant to really step out of their comfort zone :v: early on. As weird and zany as CD is, it's still basically playing off the themes from Sonic 1, because they know how to make those locales look "Sonic-y". That's why Mania's really clever. It's less of them coming up with completely new level themes, and more of an evolution of already established tropes taken to a logical extreme like the Advance games. We've had casino levels, but not any with a cinematic/studio theme. We've had desert levels, but none with a western/saloon theme. That, to me, should have been the next step from the start. That way there's a safe base to work from, while still letting the team play around with newer ideas.

    It very well could lead into tropes like:

     
  14. VectorCNC

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    I literally agree with every point you both made. But what I meant was that if things become too incongruent within the "world" or narrative which has been constructed, then the "world" becomes both convoluted and meaningless. Like, how does anything matter at all if there are no boundaries. Im saying, I don't like zones that are based on real places, because they are too shallow - it doesn't challenge the boundaries of possibility, it's less imaginative, and boring. Then on the other extreme you have no boundaries at all, it's imagination unrestrained, its nebulous.

    So in the case of Mario Galaxy, a criticism could be made that artifact like puzzles, that just seem to exist in the void of space for perhaps no other reason than to simply be stumbled upon by Mario some day, really pushes up against the boundaries of the traditional Mario World that has been constructed. Like Mario, while albeit he is a celebrity, is otherwise a normal individual person interacting in the Mushroom Kingdom on some planet, but then at the same time somewhere out in the Galaxy Mario is basically also the centre of the universe, and the very nature of reality conforms to him and his adventure. That is incongruent. I'm not saying these two exist in a perfect binary, just that there is a range between these two extremes and I don't like my Sonic getting too cozy on either side. :colbert:
     
  15. Aerosol

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    I think Dessert Ruins gets a pass because it was on the Lost Hex, a floating planet (in another planet's atmosphere?!!?!?!). Having an area filled with floating sweets isn't that out of the norm in the context of Lost World.

    Unless you want to say Lost World's entire aesthetic doesn't make sense in the context of Sonic. Which you won't find me jumping at the chance to argue :specialed:
     
  16. rebelcheese

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    Lost World in general makes no sense whatsoever whether in the context of Sonic or not.
     
  17. Chaud

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    This debate usually ends up getting into the question of the suspension of disbelief and how tolerant the person can be in relation to certain topics.

    There are two emblematic examples on this issue. The first is, "what would your reaction be if at the end of the movie/book The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo was about to give up the One Ring, a flying saucer would appear and use a tractor-beam to pull the ring and Gollum and start a war with aliens"? If your reaction is, "wow, awesome/funny", then you're from the everything-goes school. The world doesn't have to make sense. Nothing really needs to make sense, because it's fiction, there are no rules, or rather, there's no need for rules. Your interest in the story and the world is purely abstract, it exists only as a backdrop to events, the important thing is that "cool things" needs to happen.

    A more subtle (or maybe not-too-subtle) example of this mentality is the bikini-armor. Why would a woman wear armor with a neckline? Or that leaves the belly exposed? "Because it's fiction", and that's that - it's beautiful, attractive, and that's enough. Other people, however, are looking for a bigger reason behind everything. Yes, it's fiction, but this doesn't mean that the world doesn't have (or should possess) its internal rules. There is gravity, magnetism; People bleed and get hurt. If you lived in this world, what would lead you not to wear armor that protects you the most?

    Essentially, for those who expect a world to really work, they're waiting for "inner coherence" in it. These people expect things within the world to make sense within the characteristics presented. For example, it's okay for the world to have "magic," (or any other specific fantasy thing) but this magic must have certain internal rules to make it work, and things in the world must exist as consequences of those rules. If people can really use magic to make fire, what would stoves look like? Or the lanterns, or the light poles?

    Applying this to Sonic, for many people, Sonic has already been defined as a world of fiction with anthropomorphic animals that "in general" is based on reality. The world is a place that "actually exists within the rules of that reality," so when they look at a new zone, they want to understand how this place could exist. How was this place created? How did things get there? How is it still like that? Who put all those things there? Why would they have done it? These are questions that need to be answered so that the person can "accept" what he or she is seeing.

    That said, for me, Sonic has always been characterized by being somewhat "liberal" with his world. I mean, c'mon, just look at the mechanics of the game, loops? Springs? Floating rings? Giant cassinos? A whole lot of floating things all around and the level layout itself? (What kind of architect would even BUILD that sort of thing! That, and mother nature is on drugs.) There is really no such strong consistency and the game was never really so stuck in reality. Since it has never presented itself as a truly "consistent" world, I don't see the need to expect much of it from the start. But I can understand that different people have different levels of tolerance, of course.
     
  18. I always saw the design influence for the Classic Sonic games as being an abstraction of our own world. Deliberately unrealistic, but with the broader design tropes being rooted in being representations of what is in our own word.

    Sure, Casino Night Zone might be a complete mess viewed from a realism perspective. In fact, it's actually my least favorite stage from the second Sonic the Hedgehog Mega Drive title, but it does somehow manage to coerce the player into believing that Robotnik would be the kind of maniac to build a giant mega-sized Casino for shits-and-giggles. And to piss off Sonic, of course. :v:

    This is the reason zones like, say, the giant candy-and-cakes world trope tends to bother us. There's simply nothing like it set in reality. Most people are familiar with labyrinthine casinos, but most people that aren't named Homer Simpson haven't spent extended amounts of time walking through a world of candy-and-cakes.

    A consistent theme throughout the Classic Zones is that they're all derived from real world areas. It gives the player a sense of grounding in reality, even if it's extremely abstract.

    Regardless, the how did this get there? question is a mess in a whole many more works than just the Sonic series. Notice how most long running action TV and film series's don't even bother to handwave things being built rapidly.

    In the end, running with Chaud's above post. It's just a game, relax. Even if most of us are Spergtacular nerds built on a foundation of a leaked ROM image that's been torn to shreds with fetus-theory level over analyzationing. :specialed:
     
  19. Sean Evans

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    I'd argue quite the opposite actually. Those things are the reason the world has consistency and coherence to begin with. Shay said it best in his video looking at the aesthetic of Sonic games, "The hows of Sonic's world do not matter. But the whys do". Why is the world filled with Loops, Springs, Rings? Because everything organic in Sonic's world is geared toward his traits and capabilities. This is contrasted with the artificial environments, and that in turn creates a visual distinction that establishes it's themes. Yes it's not "realistic" and sometimes it's nonsensical, but it carries itself in a very consistent and believable way given the way Sonic's world works. When you just drop shit in without considering that first, you get '06 and Lost World. Even Colors managed to treat it's environments with some thought and respect rather than just making cartoony shit because, "it's a video game". That said, I'm not against places inspired by the "real" world or off the wall level themes, I am against making San Fransisco Zone or Ice Cream Zone and calling it a day without making so much as an effort to make it look like a Sonic level.
     
  20. VectorCNC

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    Such good points by everyone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYrRqMHQY7o