Sonic's Shitty Friends™

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Solid SOAP, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    What's your opinion on what man have decided to call "Sonic's shitty friends"? How should they be handled in future games, are you happy with the way they're treated now, etc?

    Friends were handled perfectly in Generations, I feel. I liked that they only really appeared in optional side missions and helped you out, with genuinely fun gameplay elements to enjoy such as Knuckles' treasure hunting in Sky Sanctuary and Vector tossing you in Crisis City. It's when SEGA force you to play as them and go through their boring stories that makes people hate them. In Sonic '06, when I choose Sonic's story, I don't want to be forced to play as Tails, Knuckles, and Silver with shitty controls. People hate the "shitty friends" because they're forced upon us, they don't mind when they're optional diversions.

    For example, people don't seem to mind the hundreds of unoriginal recolor characters the Mario series has to offer, despite how, well, unoriginal they may be. There's "dark" versions of characters (Wario, Waluigi), baby versions of characters (Baby Mario, Baby, Peach, etc), male/female versions of characters (Yoshi-Birdo, etc), and more. However, what Nintendo does it segregate these characters from the mainstream games. You don't find Waluigi shouting "WAHHH" in Super Mario Galaxy, nor are we forced to play a slow-paced beat 'em up as Baby Mario in New Super Mario Bros. Popular characters such as Wario and Donkey Kong are given spin-offs (The Wario Land, Wario Ware, and Donkey Kong Country series' are still alive and critically acclaimed today), and slightly less popular characters such as Daisy and Petey Piranha usually appear in spin-offs after their debut games.

    Many have said that SEGA are lacking in quality IPs, and they only really rely on the Sonic series to make the big bucks these days. So you know what, why not pull a Nintendo and make entire series' and spin-offs out of these characters? Many people feel that Shadow's character is too dark for the Sonic series, yet many seem to love the character. Why not make the "Shadow" and "Sonic" series' completely different from one another? Remove the character from Sonic, and give him his own series ala Wario, who only appears in spin-offs. Hell, Knuckles has really been absent from anything meaningful in Sonic lately, why not give him a series? Combine the beat 'em up gameplay from Unleashed's werehog sections with the treasure hunting from SA2/Generations and you have a game right there. This way, those who happen to love Cream the Rabbit and Charmy the Bee can enjoy them in spin-offs and party games, but those who want to play Sonic for what it truly is get what they want. I can honestly see a cute children's game coming out of a Cream the Rabbit franchise, but I digress.

    That's just how I feel, I'm happy with what they've been doing lately by making Sonic, Tails, and Eggman the main characters, and anyone else who they deem appropriate for the story, and not just for the sake of fan service, makes the cut too, such as Amy in Unleashed, and, well, every Shitty Friend™ who was in Generations.
     
  2. Covarr

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    Except Tails and Knuckles (heck, even Shadow and Blaze) aren't shitty friends. People mostly just don't like having bizarre, poorly thought out alternate play styles forced on them. Having someone whose game is mostly the same, but with small differences in stats and abilities, such as a lower jump but being able to glide and access alternate routes, is a great thing. It only goes wrong when we have to go fishing, dig for buried treasure emeralds, walk around shooting lasers in a bigass clunky mecha, or do other things equally un-Sonic that we get pissed off.

    The Werehog in Unleashed was technically Sonic, but was still far more representative of the "shitty friend" problem than Blaze, who actually felt right to play as in Sonic Rush because she was designed around the existing style of play rather than shoehorned into an awkward new one.

    edit: As for story, I think part of the problem is that SEGA keeps introducing too many new friends, and not giving the older ones a chance to shine or grow. How will we ever learn to like Rouge and Cream if they're just going to keep adding more Marines and Silvers?
     
  3. Tyty

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    To be honest, the friends really aren't that bad, like you said there's as many as in mario, so it's not too many that's the problem, nor is it (in my eyes) their story. For me, the problem stems from them trying to be too different with the characters, and it's something the handheld games have been getting right that the 3D games haven't. In the handhelds, the characters all play different, but not too different. No awkward treasure hunting, no incredibly weird fishing, no running around in mecha (Which should've been Eggman only), they all control like Sonic, but with abilities that stem from that, leaving Sonic as the more plain character. What they really need to do, if they're going to have his friends around, is look at games like Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and Knuckles Chaotix. Not only do all of the characters play the same levels, but they have almost the same skillset, with some variations. In Chaotix, all of them except the negative characters (Heavy and bomb) have vertical ascension abilities that separate them from eachother, but they all play through the same elastic band momentum based platforming. They all have advantages and disadvantages, but they all feel the same. The same goes for Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic is the plainest character, but becomes the most broken when hyper, and gains some benefits from the shields. Tails can fly, but can't turn super until the other characters have turned hyper, and gains his own advantages. Knuckles can glide and climb, but he can't jump as high. Even with these differences though, they all play the same.

    That's what I'm wishing they bring to the modern games. Characters that play similar, but aren't. You could even leave Sonic's ability be like, the boost, then put the others in, and it'd be absolutely fine. Tails can fly and reach paths that Sonic can't! Knuckles can bust through walls Tails can't, and Sonic needs to boost through, just by running! Espio can run up walls like it's Sonic 4 whenever he damn well pleases, but maybe can't run as fast. Stuff like that.
     
  4. Namo

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    Honestly I only find these friends "bad" when they try to shoehorn melodrama and cliche animu personalities in. And I really don't care who is doing what in what Sonic game, I just hope Tails and Knuckles are playable again in a main-series entry before this millennium ends.
     
  5. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Yes they do.
     
  6. Dude

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    The only reason I never liked the other characters was because they changed the gameplay significantly. Like in sonic adventure where instead of having one nice polished game with slight changes, you have 6 different, unrefined piles of crap with maybe one of them that is any good. Then you're forced to play all of them. The characters themselves were never the problem.
     
  7. corneliab

    corneliab

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    Generations definitely did NOT handle the concept of the "friends" perfectly. It did however provide a sensible compromise that was consistent with the game's concept of an anniversay title. Pretty big difference.

    If a standard, non-celebratory game is going to involve multiple playable "friends", the best thing they can do is devote attention to a SMALL number of them and have their gameplay be similar to Sonic's. S3&K did this perfectly and is the gold standard in this regard: Tails and Knuckles didn't have drastically altered gameplay, but they did possess abilities that differentiated themselves from Sonic in the ability to reach different paths or reach paths differently/quicker. Sonic Adventure handled multiple characters quite poorly, seeing as how they involved characters that played completely differently than Sonic (Amy, Big, Gamma) while the characters that had gameplay similar to Sonic in the past got shafted with truncated levels and altered playstyles entirely (racing and treasure hunting).

    If the game wants to involve a bunch of different characters regardless (even though it's unnecessary and narratively stupid) the gameplay at least can be salvaged by taking the Generations approach and reducing them to existing in optional "helper" stages.
     
  8. I agree with everyone else here. The characters themselves aren't bad...it's how they were handled that is bad.

    The greatest example of this is Silver the Hedgehog.

    In Sonic 06, his clunky play-style made for really shitty boss fights, and even worse gameplay as slow ass moving shit around Silver.

    Sonic Generations did a total 180 from this. Silver was as fast as Sonic, and his boss fight was tied to the Sonic gameplay well. This redeemed Silver in my eyes.

    THAT is how the characters should be handled from now on. Matching Sonic's core moveset and speed while adding their own unique flair to the mix. This is why people like Sonic 3 & Knuckles despite there being extra characters, because those characters could find new routes...but STILL had the original gameplay from Sonic intact.

    I wouldn't mind running around as Tails and Knuckles in the same level as long as they kept Sonic's level layouts with tweaks to their gamestyle. That would be the greatest thing to happen to a modern Sonic game. Now that they have the gameplay style nailed, they can alter it a bit for each character to add a bit more replay value.
     
  9. Rosie

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    While I didn't mind the other gameplay styles in the Adventure games, I never actually went back to play as anyone other than Sonic after completing the games, other than Shadow, but recolours don't count. And I didn't bother playing with them because they just wern't as much fun. I wouldn't mind different game mechanics which different characters if it was genuinely fun and added to the experience, but really I'd prefer the old school route, of having additional characters be completely optional but be there to experience the game in different ways. I think by now the series could benefit from having Tails as an optional character, perhaps Knuckles, but only if there was an actual plot reason for him to have left Angel Island, or if the game didn't have a plot at all.

    Also, one of the main problems is that instead of fleshing out the characters that currently exist in the roster, they continue to create new ones which merely perform roles that had previously been done just as well with someone else. If there was to be a return of hub worlds, I'd kind of like to see a world populated by characters like Sonic and his friends, rather than there just be about 20-odd animals with gloves and shoes on in a world full of humans, I mean, what are they, twisted experiments?
     
  10. Clutch

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    Wario started off as an unoriginal concept. He's liked by fans because his personality expanded beyond "Evil Mario" into "glutinous, greedy, gross, selfish, egotistical, treasure-hoarding, beefy, agressive, cackling. funny little weirdo".

    Hell, I'd argue a bit reason why people don't mind Mario's extensive cast of characters is because Mario himself is barely a character. Characters like Wario, DK, Luigi, and Bowser have established personalities and quirks that give them more dimension than the lardass they share spotlight with.


    I really hate that we haven't gotten a platformer with Knuckles playable (in a major way, Black Knight and the tiny bits of 06 nonwithstanding) in quite some time. I feel like the criticism was rooted in characters like Big and Silver (both of whom I don't even hate) and was exaggerated into "Every Sonic character except him sucks, Eggman only, Final Destination".
     
  11. Rosie

    Rosie

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    Actually I'd forgotten, Generations handled the friends appallingly: There was no Big in City Escape.
     
  12. E-122-Psi

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    This. Extra characters aren't the problem. If anything there isn't enough. But SEGA has the insistance of making every new addition a MAIN character. What about some minor animals like Sonic's friends in the original game or Mario and Sonic Olympics? If SEGA doesn't want to make minor characters maybe they shouldn't have so many drifted into the background by another big new star every game.

    I don't mind the different gameplays really. Actually I prefered a large variety like in SA1 compared to the original games, which felt to much like 'Sonic plus a couple of other Sonic's with better abilities'. They definitely need refinement in places but having variation isn't a bad thing so long as it is an extra priveledge. It becomes a problem when we are FORCED to play these new modes constantly over the classic gameplay we buy the game for. Take Next Gen for example, we get the choice of playing as Sonic and two other leads, but not only do we constantly switch between the lead and his two amigos midway each level but we also occasionally switch between leads at times. What was the point of giving us the choice? Add to that Sonic's minor placement in the story and concept (the backstory and the universe being created more in the style of it's two alternate stars rather Sonic himself) it's easy to see why some view Sonic as a supporting character in his own series.
     
  13. Herm the Germ

    Herm the Germ

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    I don't recall a character from the Sonic games that I ever quite disliked. Sonic's friends aren't "shitty" to me at all, I like 'em all for various reasons.

    I just personally wish we could actually get to PLAY as someone others than Sonic again. I personally liked the varying playstyles in SA2 in particular and would not at all mind those being brought back again. For all I care they can make those side stories so that others aren't forced to play them as long as those characters GET stories again. >:
     
  14. I don't mind Tails, Knuckles, Blaze, or Espio.

    The rest are only okay. I wouldn't miss them if they were gone.
     
  15. The characters themselves aren't the problem, it's the constant introduction of characters that replace old ones that's the problem. Not even taking in the gameplay as the problem, lets look at how many characters there are and how each one fits in the spectrum.

    Sonic - Hero, cool dude, main character
    Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik - Villain, loud, obnoxious, egotistical, eccentric, comic relief
    Tails - Sidekick, grew from useless little boy who got in the way to a true fights for himself just like Sonic inventor who's equally valid as Sonic
    Knuckles - Tough guy, fights for what he believes in, sticks to his commitments, but easily tricked
    Amy - Romantic love interest who's role was reversed, Sonic's not interested in HER but she's interested in HIM
    Metal Sonic - Sonic's rival, built by Dr. Eggman to be his equal
    Fang/Nack - Treasure hunter, only cares about himself and money
    Mighty/Espio/Charmy/Vector aka Chaotix - Knuckles's friends who were introduced solely as gameplay tweaks, later brought back as a bumbling detective agency for comic relief except for Mighty.
    Big the Cat - Honestly? Probably introduced for comic relief, but I honestly believe Big was meant to introduce kids to fishing games to sell Sega Bass Fishing.
    E Series Robots - Clever plot device to show things from Robotnik's perspective, and then show how his creations can make their own decisions.
    Rouge - Replaced Fang/Nack as treasure hunter/bounty hunter. Essentially the same character but reborn as a love interest for Knuckles.
    Shadow - Replaced Metal Sonic as Sonic's rival for no reason other than to give Sonic the Vegeta to his Goku.
    Professor Gerald and Maria - Backstory. Giving Eggman and Shadow reasons to do what they do. These characters work in that you never really see them, but they push the story forward.
    Cream and Cheese - Tails outgrew his cuteness now that he became a man, so Cream and Cheese took up the spot of "cuties"
    Blaze the Cat - Alternate dimension's answer to Sonic, more serious and less laid back
    Silver the Hedgehog - Replacement for Shadow as Sonic's rival for no reason at all. Complete rip off of Trunks, again from Dragon Ball Z.
    Marine the Raccoon - Alternate dimension's Tails, no point other than story.
    Werehog - Introduced for no reason other than to allow the developers an excuse to make shitty levels that require next to no real design, thus stretching out the true time it takes to beat Unleashed.

    I left out a few characters like Ray the Flying Squirrel and Princess Elise because they don't really HAVE personalities. Some characters I left in for obvious reasons (Big, Blaze, Marine), but the ones I didn't was because I couldn't figure out a way to describe them.

    What's my point? Notice how the characters started getting silly after Fang/Nack. While I believe Shadow has more personality than Metal Sonic and can be put to good use in a good story that calls for his character, Rouge replacing Nack was complete bullshit because there's no point to her other than being another female character. There's no point to Blaze, there's no point to Marine, and there's no point to Silver. Cream barely had a reason to be there, the werehog was a waste, and you could do without rehashing the E series robots each game. The Chaotix really have no point these days. Point I'm making is there are so many extraneous characters that there comes a point where you really just don't need to keep making new ones, yet they still do.

    Sonic Adventure had 6 playable characters, Sonic was decent, the rest were shit. Amy had like three levels. Big's levels made me so angry I didn't unlock Super Sonic until 2003. E-102 was decent, but extraneous, as was Knuckles. Tails was sort of like extra missions, but still unnecessary.

    Chaotix had 5 playable characters and each one was enjoyable in their own way, why? You didn't need to learn 5 different gameplay styles. Just like in Sonic 3 and Knuckles, you had a plethora of characters who all played the same, but in their own ways.

    Point is, story wise they just need to focus on which characters work for that particular story, gameplay wise they just need to focus on the core Sonic gameplay style and add in characters who work in that style but have their own moves.
     
  16. muteKi

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    Forcing them to be a major part of the gameplay is a no-no.

    But in every console game excepting perhaps Colors, there's this sense that Sonic's 8 or so friends are the only sentient animals in the world.
    Consider, for example, Sonic Adventure. We're in this big city and there are humanoid people out by the casino, inside (and at the desk of) the hotel, at the train station, in the burger shop, exploring the ruins, etc. We've also got the flickies, and Sonic and his 5 pals. That's it. The whole world in that game is weighted very heavily toward the humans.

    It's like the same sort of stylistic clash (although nowhere near as extreme) between Crisis City and everything else in Sonic Generations.

    And as for how they played in Adventure? I liked it. At the very least, the levels in Sonic Adventure could not easily accommodate the same play style in the way that Sonic 3 did. It would be more like the additions of Knuckles and flying Tails to Sonic 1 or 2 -- superfluous, unnecessary, and pretty useless overall. It's the same issue I have with the first Sonic Advance, that the characters don't play differently enough (or have varying sets of levels) to make each one a sufficiently different experience. Knuckles and Tails both played quite well (and indeed, designing areas around Knuckles' missions did wonders for the quality of the levels in that game), and Amy and E-102 were flawed but acceptable. (Big, although he was good for a quick humorous change of pace, had gameplay really didn't have anything to do with the rest of the series, obviously, and I won't deny he doesn't fit in well.)

    Really, the elephant in the room is that even now (although it's better than before, both in Generations and Colors DS) there really isn't a lot to differentiate a single playthrough from the next. At the very least, the precision-speedrun mechanic that Sonic Adventure and Sonic CD in particular were based around lends itself best to stages that aren't longer than 3 minutes, which is something that, say, Heroes wasn't interested in doing (very much to its detriment).
     
  17. SomeSortOfRobot

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    SEGA definitely needs to get smarter about how and when they portray it's characters.

    My biggest problem is with how they've portrayed Knuckles since SA1. He was originally brought up as this badass who doesn't take shit from anyone and can break through stone with his fists. Now he's a fucking jackass who can get tossed aside by fucking AMY. Seriously? And what's with this treasure hunting bullshit? I could understand it being a nice feature for him to find secret stuff in the game, but when I play as someone named KNUCKLES, the first impression I get is that I'm gonna beat the shit out of everything I see, but this has never been the case.

    Also, one other thing. Silver. There is no reason this guy should exist anymore, and yet he's shown up in every fucking game since his debut. He's a living plot hole, and if SEGA wants to be serious about continuity, the first thing they need to do is nix this guy. At the very least, keep him out of everything but the party games.
     
  18. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Silver was reintroduced in the Rivals games. Didn't remember Sonic because '06 never happened. So, thats already taken care of except at the same fucking time they said Eggman Nega was from the future as well.
     
  19. Metal Man88

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    I think the issue with the characters is that they became such a big deal at all.

    They started out as laid-back "Alternate control schemes given paintjobs" and suddenly turned into some big story thing.

    They could set the clock back and simply return them to their role as "alternate control schemes" much like the Sonic-Classic Sonic dichotomy was in Generations. Then, for those who must have miles of story, they can hide it under a bunch of text everyone else skips.
     
  20. Penguin

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    Chaotix handled the concept of multiple characters really well. You were only ever forced to pick one, and they all had vastly different play styles, all of which were conducive to gameplay.

    Unfortunately, Chaotix also had pretty piss-poor level designs.