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Specials Stages in Sonic Games

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Jlook, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Frostav

    Frostav

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    They've never been too good until Mania, to be frank.

    1's stages are annoying to control and the auto-rotating can absolutely screw you over, and you get nothing substiantial for beating them. 2 introduced the great reward of Super Sonic, but they have horrible lag and if you play as Sonic & Tails together they become an absolute nightmare where Tails can fuck you over with zero fault of your own.

    CD's are cool but have horrid perspective issues because the UFO's are sprites and on original hardware they run at a truly horrendous frame-rate with awkward controls. On PC they're better but still not good.

    I absolutely do not like Blue Sphere. It is pure trial and error, because the controls are 100% digital--there's no leeway, and if you mess up a single turn getting back to where you were is a clunky nightmare assuming the level even lets you. Not that it matters because I suck at exploring and can't find any big rings anyway.

    I'm ignoring the Advance games because they are not mainline games and despite owning all three as a kid I never ever remember getting in a single one. I do know that A1's have horrendous perspective issues, A2's are nigh-impossible to get into, and A3's are just eh whatever. Also ignoring Rush's.

    Mania though fixes the biggest issue with all of the special stages up till now--it's actually in 3D with analog controls instead of just being faked 3D to wow kids with Genesises in the 90's. The FPS is actually tolerable, the controls are smooth and precise, and hitting things and making jumps is very fun. Mania marks the first ever Sonic game I actually got Super Sonic in for that reason.

    If you were a kid born in the 80's and experienced the Genesis games in the 90's, then I bet they were amazing to witness, and you probably had like five games for the thing and three of them were shitty licensed games you waited three months to get and realized they were terrible within minutes of playing, so you had nigh-infinite time to grind them and get good at them, but fuck man, I was born in 1995, my first game console was the Gamecube, all this faking-3d-with-2d hardware stuff isn't mind-blowing to me, it just makes me wish I were playing an actual 3D game to be honest lmao
     
  2. I played the genesis games for the first time in 2006. The special stages still wow me to this day. They weren't designed simply to convince kids that a 2d game was 3d, the special stages pushed the genesis hardware to it's limits (a little blast processing, eh?). Growing up with a clean blend of 2d and 3d games has taught me that games look the way they do simply because... they do. I didn't care about 3d games being "better" than 2d ones, I just cared about having a good time. So as someone who also grew up with a gamecube, I strongly disagree with you good sir.

    If you play pseudo 3d games and end up just switching to a 3d game simply due to the graphics, fine. But I'm not here for graphics like most people these days- if I was, I'd watch a movie. I don't care if the special stages are 3d or not lol. I just want something fun. :/
     
  3. The Joebro64

    The Joebro64

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    The Advance games are in fact mainline
     
  4. ChaddyFantome

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    As someone who also was born in 1995 and had a gamecube growing up myself, I can't say I sympathise with this.
    Still remember playing Sonic 2 on the Genesis when I was a kid and finding Sonic 2s special stages cool and good fun, if hard.
    Maybe its because my first console was an NES? I dunno.
    Never found them particularly hard to or unintuitive to control either.
     
  5. Dek Rollins

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    They're handheld spinoffs made by Dimps. So... I don't think they are.

    Since when?
     
  6. Jlook

    Jlook

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    Yeah I don't remember when Super Sonic has horrible lag so, I think it's just Frostav I guess
     
  7. No lol, he's talking about the special stages' low frame rate.
    No, they're mainline. Cream, cheese, and vanilla all first appeared in advance 2, and gemerl comes from advance 3.
     
  8. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    The stories being canon doesn't necessarily make them "mainline" games. They're still just spinoffs.

    Also I've never found the Sonic 2 special stages to be laggy. That's why I questioned the original statement.
     
  9. Josh

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    Yeah, I've always taken the position that to be "mainline," a game has to feature Sonic in the starring role, it has to be a platformer, it must release on flagship hardware, and it must either...
    • Be developed by some iteration of Sonic Team, or...
    • As in the case of Sonic 4 and Sonic Mania, act as a direct sequel within a Sonic Team sub-series.
    So! Chaotix and Shadow may directly follow up on the stories from their predecessors and introduce characters that will recur down the line, but Sonic's not playable. The Advance and Rush games star Sonic, but they're not direct sequels to core series games, and they weren't developed by Sonic Team.

    Sonic R is on flagship Sega hardware, and even had Ohshima, Naka, and Yasuhara in the credits, the only game other than Sonic 1 to do that. But while you could probably argue it, Sonic Team still isn't credited as THE developer, and more importantly, it's not a platformer.

    Of course, this is just my own dumb criteria. Some will argue story continuity is the main criteria, some will say it's got to be Sonic Team, some don't think it even matters whether Sonic himself is playable. There's really no universally-defined metric for determining something like this.
     
  10. Laura

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    This may seem like a polemical comment but I largely agree with it. I was born in 1991 and was a child when I played the classic Sonic games. I owned five games and would just rent the others and that would be your game for a week. So I played Sonic 1 over and over until I won the game with all chaos emeralds. But that was really a product of my own dumb childhood rather than the Sonic 1's special stages actually being good. I'd never ever do that now. Not because I have better things to do :V but because I could have a better time playing other games, including in the classic Sonic games.

    When I was a kid the special Stages were really impressive visually, but even at my age I didn't think they were any fun at all. I only ever got to stage 2 in Sonic 2's Special Stages and got Super Sonic by using cheats :ssh: . I did complete Blue Spheres a few times because that's the only one which I think isn't painful to play and Sonic 3 was my favourite game, but I also don't think they are much fun. They aren't anywhere near as fun as the main game anyway.

    In a way, I think the Sonic 3D Special Stages are actually the best. They were also very impressive visually but weren't infuriating to play. They were incredibly easy, but I'd take incredibly easy spectacle over incredibly annoying spectacle.
     
  11. The Joebro64

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    No, all of Dimps' games are mainline. Sonic Team was also heavily involved in them, the reason they outsourced them to Dimps is because they were understaffed with employees familiar with the GBA hardware.
     
  12. Who else gets to the first Chaos Emerald on Sonic one by pressing nothing at all? I mean, you still have to break the bricks, but it's an easy Emerald.

    My fave is Saturn's 3D Blast. My least favorite would be either the later Mania or the later parts of Sonic 3&K as the difficulty spikes in those games made me rage more. lol I don't hate them though.
     
  13. I know at the very least sonic team is credited for advance 1
     
  14. Azookara

    Azookara

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    Sonic Team is credited for all of the Advance and Rush games.
     
  15. Fadaway

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    Mania is the benchmark. Sonic 1's were good at the time. I thought so. They were unique. It was like an acid trip. I'm really good at them. Sonic 2's just suck IMO but it was a valiant effort to bring something new. I think with a bit more time and planning, they could have been ok. Sonic CD's were good. They were the best at the time. It was the shape of things to come. Sonic 3 was even better. Not as technically advanced. However, it was a simple and fun engine. I don't remember liking 3D Blast's and I'm ok with the Chaotix special stages but don't think they're all that fun. I don't like Chaotix in general, although the game does have some decent assets and ideas. Mania for the win.
     
  16. Pengi

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    I think it's best when there's a tangible link between the Special Stages and the core gameplay, but they're still different enough to feel like a palate cleanser between levels. That's why I like the Special Stages in Sonic 1 (Master System/Game Gear) and Sonic 1 (Mega Drive) the most. You're the same Sonic, same sprite, same physics, same controls, but in a radically different environment.

    Blue Spheres is perhaps the most divorced from the core gameplay. It has the most depth of any of them, and is a well designed game in general, but has nothing to do with Sonic.

    Sonic 3D Saturn has the best version of the half-pipe Special Stage and the best visuals and music of any Special Stage. Every version of the half-pipe since has been utterly dull in comparison.

    Sonic Mania's are also great, but you really need to know that jumping helps you turn corners better, which the game never informs you of.
     
  17. ChaddyFantome

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    Are Sonic's physics in the Special stages really the same in the special stages? It's been awhile but I don't believe he reacts to inclines and terrain the same at all.
    It may visually be the same sprite but in essence, the special stages are still a radical shift from the core gameplay, which I think is fine since its a minigame and being a shift from the core gameplay is largely the point.
    I actually like that the game gives you room to learn the subtleties of the mechanics organically as opposed to outlining it verbatim. Its something I think is lacking in a lot of modern gaming, the sense that the game is something that the player can become personally and intimately familiar with in order to excel at. But that might just be me.
     
  18. SystemsReady

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    Sonic 1's are too trial-and-error to me (though easy), Sonic 2's are extremely hampered by the low FPS and slope physics, Sonic CD has some weird ways of handling what a UFO hit is.

    And of all of them, they got definitive versions in later games - I find the slot machine bonus stage in Sonic 3 to be a more enjoyable version of Sonic 1's, Sonic Rush's are the best iteration of the halfpipe, and Mania's are better-controlling, prettier, cooler CD stages.

    I think still S3&K's are the best ones conceptually (though I really, really adore Mania's). They have their own ruleset with its own subtleties that take time to pick up on (but aren't wholly required for clear), they require both planning ("how do I approach this formation?") and skill/reflexes (higher speeds easily require frame- or close-to-frame-perfect input even in normal play*), and also....we can't forget that getting to them was and is the best way to handle reaching special stages. To me at least. :thumbsup: I've always hated the 50 ring requirement for 1/2/CD with a burning passion because even with peak Sonic Team handling it, there's still some cheap obstacles in those games.


    ...oh and 3D Blast Genesis's suck but are easy I guess :V


    *I actually use S3&K special stages to test a given emulator setup as even in the first special stage you will be noticing dropped inputs/frames past the level's halfway point
     
  19. Mana

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    Where did you read this? Because everywhere I read says it's because the DIMPS team did a great job on Pocket Adventure so when they started their own company SEGA allowed them to make Sonic Advance as their first title because they knew they'd do Sonic justice. It helps that SEGA was also a Majority Stakeholder in DIMPS even back then.
     
  20. Mana

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    These sound like they're on you. Blue Spheres are the best to me because they reward problem solving and puzzle solving because if you can figure out what the stage is trying to make you do you can finish it the first time no problem.

    It helps too that they're the same each time so if you memorize them you can easily get perfect runs in later playthroughs of the game. Helped a lot when Mania reused them for the bonus content.