Why do YOU like Sonic games?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Josh, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Josh

    Josh

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    As some of you may have seen, earlier this week I released the first part of a Sonic retrospective series:



    If you're unable or don't feel like watching it, I'll be happy to sum it up. In this video, I talk at length about what Sonic 2 (the first game I ever owned) taught me about gaming, and what attracts me to the medium to this day.
    Basically, the way Sonic 2 was designed was focused much more than its predecessor around speeding through levels as fast as possible. Not saying the zones weren't still complex, or that they didn't include plenty of platforming, but more than any of the other Genesis classics, Sonic 2's level design is speed-focused.

    Therefore, that's what I like about Sonic games: getting through them as fast as possible.

    In the next part, I plan to talk about Sonic 1 and (probably) Sonic CD. I know the latter in particular is many people's favorite, but it couldn't be designed more differently. The level design is much slower, and lends itself a lot better to exploration.

    This was one of the classic series' greatest strengths: want to go fast? That's fun. Want to take your time and scour the map for secrets? That's also fun.

    But it created a splinter in the fanbase that exists to this day. I suspect most people may fall somewhere in the middle, but it's why you get people who don't really care for Generations and prefer Lost World... an opinion I find a bit flabbergasting, but if that's what you're looking for in a Sonic game... and that's one I heard right here on Retro.

    I fall pretty far on the side of speed, but I feel that in the retrospective, it's going to be important to set up this divergence. Now that I've established why I like the series, I want to accurately describe why others do.

    So. What is it that keeps you coming back to Sonic? While I definitely want to hear from people who prefer the slower-paced stuff, this doesn't necessarily have to fall within the purview of the parameters I've established. Do you like the Adventure series' focus on multiple playstyles and story elements? The community's focus on finding lost elements and hacking?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Ell678

    Ell678

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    This is going to sound extremely dumb, but Sonic has always been a part of my life.

    One of my earliest memories are of playing Sonic 1 and 2 and I just carried on playing them. I read Sonic the Comic as a kid, right until it stopped getting published. I stopped playing them in my early teen years, until I was about 16 when I found sites like Retro that had like-minded people who are passionate about the games. Since then, my interest in Sonic has risen, seeing them as spectacles in video game design. There really is nothing like Sonic, whether you are talking about Sonic 3K or Sonic 2006, they are all unique, good or bad, but undeniably "Sonicesque".

    As for what is my favorite "formula" - it is platforming, with speed being the reward. These games can be summed up as action platformers, with the speed fulfilling the action part and the platforming...yeah. Neither should suffer though, if you want to go slowly, by all means, but blasting through should still be a viable option. Structure is very important though. I hate the emerald hunting and overt exploration stuff as (to me) it feels like an unnecessary attempt to slow you down and force you to spend far more time in a level than you should. Every level should have at least a couple of ways through, with some hidden goodies along the way.
     
  3. LordOfSquad

    LordOfSquad

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    I like Sonic games because a rude wizard put a fucked up hex on me when I was two years old.
     
  4. Covarr

    Covarr

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    I like different Sonic games for different reasons. I shall now spend the next 30-60 minutes (edit: it took me 78 minutes) detailing whatever comes to mind.

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    This has long been my favorite Sonic game, and I think that's because of how well it balances speed, platforming, and exploration. It feels like they looked at Sonic 2 and Sonic CD, built on what worked, and threw out what didn't. Much like Sonic 2, speed is used as a reward. You can go fast, but you have to earn it. Much like Sonic 2, there are multiple paths, each with their own distinct challenges. But what it takes from Sonic CD that Sonic 2 didn't really do is a heavy emphasis on exploration. There are secrets hidden absolutely everywhere. Sure, Sonic 2 had a few, but this one encourages you to explore every nook and cranny. You never know when there's gonna be a set of spikes you can push out of the way, or a passable wall with a big ring behind it, or a rock that grants access to some ring monitors if you break it.

    At the same time, they were wise enough not to make exploration mandatory the way it was in Sonic CD. All these secrets? They can be helpful, they can lead to massive shortcuts, but if you don't want to, you never have to interrupt the flow of the game to find something. There's virtually no backtracking, no mazes, and only a couple of puzzles (which largely still manage to keep the game moving at a decent pace while you solve 'em). In a way, it follows what you said in your video. You don't need to be good at platforming to beat the game, but you are rewarded with a more fun experience, with speed. In S3&K, you don't need to explore to beat the game, but doing so rewards you with shortcuts, items, and special stages/emeralds.

    Where the game really shines, though, is in the way it teaches you to explore. Right near the beginning of Angel Island Zone Act 1, there's a rock that is clearly out of place:

    [​IMG]

    A new player will see this, and it will be immediately obvious that something's up, even if you don't know what yet. If you've played a Sonic game before, it'll be pretty instinctive to try rolling at it. Even if this is your first game in the series, you're likely to experiment a bit to see what's up.

    But let's say you ignore the rocks, or give up, or maybe you even miss them entirely. The game will have none of that. It does everything in its power to bring you right back here, to ensure that you know to investigate:

    [​IMG]

    These springs are easy enough to jump over with skilled platforming, but unless you're expecting them, you're bound to hit them, and bounce right to that rock. This is the game trying to send the player a message without ever actually saying anything. And if they get that message, it'll teach not just how to break through rocks, but one of the more fundamental concepts of this game: there are secrets. In this case, getting past this obstacle rewards the player with a special stage. A really easy special stage, whose rules are largely intuitive, and will grant its own reward at the end if they succeed.

    So already we're off to a good start. There's a few more big rings hidden throughout Act 1, but you know what? It's possible that the player has missed all of them. Even the super-obvious first one. Fortunately, Act 2 has a solution right at the beginning:

    [acronym='Apologies for the awkward seams here. Didn't feel like ripping the background and compositing it neatly'][​IMG][/acronym]

    The only way the player can possibly miss this big ring is if they already know it's there, and avoid it on purpose. The tunnel forces sonic into a ball, ensuring he can break the rocks in the wall, which make a very obvious breaking noise and animation. This teaches the player, if they haven't learned already, that rocks can be broken by spinning. In going through, the player also learns that sometimes walls are in front of the player, not on the same plane, and it may be worth checking if you can walk behind them.

    They spin their way right past the big ring to the wall behind it, and must walk backwards to leave this hidden area. This makes sure they have time to see the big ring expand to full size, and ensures that they are moving slow enough to see that it is clearly the cause of the special stage entry when they touch it; if the game let them race right into it at full speed, a player might not even notice the ring, which would teach them less.

    I don't intend to explore the level design seen throughout the game and all the ins and outs of it. Rather, I'm using these particular examples to show one specific concept: the game teaches you, in no uncertain terms, that exploration will be rewarded. But at the same time, it's never forced on you. Not once do you need to explore in order to advance the stage. For the most part, it's rather linear. Mandatory exploration only comes in a few select areas much later in the game (Ice Cap Zone), and nothing comparable to Sonic CD.

    Sonic Generations

    This is my other favorite game in the series. I'm not gonna examine this one in depth at all. It rewards skill with speed, and going fast has the potential to be more fun than dangerous if you know what you're doing. I really like fast games, and this is the fastest in the series.

    Sonic CD

    In spite of introducing the whole concept of exploration that was significantly refined in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, this game really drives me crazy, and not just for the overbearing exploration. See, this kinda the antithesis to Sonic 2. Where S2 rewards skill with speed and punishes failure with slow, SCD punishes speed with walls and interruptions, and rewards going slow by letting you progress at all:

    [​IMG]

    Going faster than a crawl? You're all but guaranteed to hit this spring. It's even difficult to avoid if you know it's there. And it doesn't serve any purpose but to slow you down. Things like this really piss me off, but this sort of design is integral to Sonic CD's identity as a complete asshole. Other ways the game slows you down include:

    • Platforming sections that aren't actually difficult, just time consuming, and carefully laid out so as to prevent you reaching full speed.
    • Straightaways that end in sudden walls, requiring you to jump on a spring in order to progress upward
    • Excessively vertical level design with an emphasis on upward movement throughout the game (this was annoying in Knuckles Chaotix too)
    • Bouncing puzzles with pinball bumpers
    • That stupid planeswitching mechanic in Stardust Speedway, which seems intentionally designed to cause the player to accidentally run by arrow signs and set the planes opposite of how Sonic needs them to progress.
    • All of Wacky Workbench. Fuck this level.

    All in all, Sonic CD gives the distinct impression that every single moment of the game was engineered to be as time consuming as possible. If there's a screen, challenge, or obstacle that would take a player three seconds to pass in another Sonic game, it must be reworked to take at least ten seconds in Sonic CD.



    Why am I going into such detail about a game that clearly pisses me off, in a thread about what we like about the series? Because in spite of everything that I just said, I like this game anyway. It's got one good soundtrack and one amazing soundtrack, beautiful art, unique bosses, and the exact same sort of silent-but-effective storytelling that worked so well in Sonic 3. Sure, I may get the impression from time to time that the level designers went into this with a personal vendetta against me and everything I hold dear in level design, there's something about this game that keeps me playing anyway. It might be the aesthetics, it might be the challenge (which is genuinely difficult rather than just slow about half the time), or it might be that this was the first game I ever owned on my old hand-me-down Windows 95 PC back in 1999. Whatever the case may be, this game inexplicably holds a special place in my heart. + - It's still the worst 16-bit Sonic game though   .
     
  5. Josh

    Josh

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    I think Covarr and I may be dangerously close to the same person, haha. S3&K and Generations are my favorites, I feel pretty much the exact same way when it comes to Sonic CD, and Wacky Workbench is the only level in the entire classic series that I can honestly say I hate. And yet I've still played the hell out of it.

    I never really thought of Angel Island that way, though. I mean, the giant gold ring in act 2 was obviously there to teach you, but the springs forcing new players into the wall? Very clever tutorial, there, and one that I'm sure I fell into when I first played. Nice observations!

    EDIT: Also, a word about rolling. I don't know if Sonic 2 and beyond ever did a good job of teaching you that you could press down while running to curl. Considering what a unique and important element of the game design it is. Maybe it was more obvious if you started with Sonic 1, where holding forward while running could actually slow you down? Green Hill had the underground tunnels that definitely showed off the kind of speed you'd get, and not being able to spin dash in that game would've made it a more unique state. But in Sonic 2, the only thing I can think of that even comes close is Chemical Plant's tubes, and those are really a different beast.

    I played Sonic 2 first, got Sonic 3 that summer, and I distinctly remember figuring out WHY I occasionally curled into a ball without spin dashing on Marble Garden's slopes, so it definitely took me a month or two.
     
  6. Covarr

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    FWIW, AIZ2 begins with this very same type of tunnel. It doesn't necessarily teach how, but at the very least it shows that Sonic is capable of curling without a spindash. Then again, maybe that doesn't mean much, because Sonic 2 clearly shows that Tails can fly, and then he can't.
     
  7. Josh

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    Yeah, it may well just be a minor consequence of introducing the spin dash. I guess I learned the spin dash from seeing Tails do it, but I ended up equating the rolling state with spin dashing, and didn't understand that I could get to it without coming to a dead stop. Sonic 1 wouldn't have had that circumstance, so especially with Mario 3 and its butt-slide fresh in gamers' minds, it would've been a lot more obvious.
     
  8. Hinchy

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    It's funny - Sonic probably wouldn't be one of my favorite game series if it wasn't for the timing, and for the community aspect.
    There's a small handful of really good games and everything else ranges from mediocre to offensively terrible. That contrasts a lot with most of my other favorite game series, in which I genuinely like all or at least most entries.

    The year is 2000. My mom, up to this point, has held up a strict "no video game consoles in the house" rule, for whatever reason (something something rots your brain or some shit).

    (The first cracks had already started to appear by that point; 2 years earlier it was "no video games at all", until she bought me the then brand-new Game Boy Color for Christmas. Most of my friends are surprised when I say that I didn't own a video game until then, but yep. Also, even then, I had only got Pac-Man and the Game Boy Camera. It'd have been longer to own my first "real" video game if it wasn't for my friend receiving a duplicate copy of Wario Land 3 for his own Christmas and giving it to me.)

    Anyway though 2000. My cousin (a few years older than me) came to live with us while her parents went through a messy divorce. And, out of not wanting to fulfill the "sent to live with your mean distant relative" stereotype, my mom let her keep her Nintendo 64.

    This, of course, was the point of no return for me and games.

    So, when she moved back in with her dad, I no longer had a video game console at my fingertips. Desperate, I asked some friends. And - jackpot! - a friend of mine was selling his Genesis for $15. What a steal! It even came with some games, but most of them weren't really good - a football game, a baseball game, + - Bubsy and its sequel   , and - wait, what's this? Sonic the Hedgehog 3? Sonic 3D Blast?

    Needless to say, I played those two games a ton over the next several months.

    Fast forward a bit, summer of 2001 - I accompany one of my friends to the store. He was wanting to get a new game for his Dreamcast. I can't remember, but he was planning on getting something specific. But then, at the store, we saw a display for Sonic Adventure 2. For some reason, and I don't really even know why, this game blew both of our goddamn minds at the time. He changed his mind immediately and got that, and we played the shit out of it.

    So, at this point, I'm really really digging this Sonic thing. So my next step was to go searching for it on the internet. And lo and behold, I come across Sonic Fan Games HQ.

    "What? I can MAKE MY OWN SONIC GAMES?!?!", said 10-year-old me. (To a lesser extent, I also said "What? I can MAKE MY OWN GAMES?!?!" - this was pretty much my first exposure to the realization that yes, human beings with their own hands and keyboards make games on their computers without being mega-geniuses with special game development superpowers. So I guess I can blame Sonic for my choice of career path, too.)

    But yeah that pretty much did me in. Thinking about it, if Kirby or Pokemon had half the fangaming scene Sonic had back then, I might have never gotten into Sonic as much as I did.

    And at this point, it's pretty much the community aspect that keeps me interested in the series. I actually entirely dropped off the face of the Sonic community for a couple years after Shadow and 06, and only showed back up around Unleashed. But I'm probably here for good now, if only because during that same period of time I had another message board to care about. Now classic forums are starting to get displaced by social media shit, you guys are my last bastion of message boardery. ;(
     
  9. Ravenfreak

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    I know I've said this like four times within the past 5 1/2 years I've been registered here on Retro, but it all started at the very young age of 4. Sonic the Hedgehog was the very first video game in general that I ever played, because my cousins brought their Genesis over to my grandmother's house and I was living there at the time, so Sonic holds a special place in my heart. I love the music and the need to go fast, but I also enjoy exploring each level to find new paths and that's why Sonic CD is tied with Sonic 3 and Knuckles as my favorite in the franchise. And there's one thing most of us can agree on, even if the game sucks most Sonic games have pretty epic music. (Aside from a few games...) Another aspect that I absolutely love about Sonic CD is the whole time travel gimmick. S3K is my other favorite game because each character has their own path to travel in each level, again with multiple paths you can explore each level and the game did such a great job introducing Knuckles to the franchise. I honestly don't think I'll ever stop liking Sonic... no matter what Sega throws at us next. And I gladly welcome Sonic Boom with open arms.
     
  10. JoeyJojoJr

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    I'm one who doesn't hate the more slow paced elements in Sonic. As others have said, in my ideal Sonic formula, you don't just go fast because that's how the game works, you go fast because you're good at the game and can make the moves quickly without getting slowed down. You have a high top speed, but you have to earn that acceleration. This is a problem I have with Unleashed, Colors, and Generations, among a few other games in the series. You're just shot out of a cannon and dodge what comes your way. You don't earn the speed, the speed is the gameplay. I still like the games a lot, they're really polished and fun, but they feel like they miss the point of what was Sonic gameplay up until that point. Sonic 1 advertised speed, but you had to earn it. Sonic 2 made it a bit easier but it was still earned, and that's generally how it was through most of the main games through 2006. Then 2006 was a half finished mess and Sega threw the baby out with the bathwater. It wasn't the ideas for the gameplay that were bad, it was just that it wasn't finished and thus full of half implemented features, glitches, and far too many lengthy load screens. Formula-wise, that game was much closer to the Genesis games, aside from the Town Stages (which were taken from Adventure), than the games that came after it. Even the multiple playable characters were closer to "Sonic with a twist" like in S3&K than in previous games. They didn't work nearly as well, but terrible execution doesn't mean it was a terrible idea.

    Part of my problem with Unleashed, Colors, and Generations is that with their "gotta go fast" style of gameplay, it really hampers the exploration. The games previous to this had tons of exploration. You didn't have to do it (most of the time), but if you wanted to, you could look around, find secrets, and be rewarded for it. It's already been pointed out that CD took this to the extreme, but that's what I like about it. It changes the formula a little, enough to stand out on its own, but still feels distinctly Sonic-like. You can still burst through the levels, there are even rewards for getting extremely low times in the time attack mode, but there are other rewards for taking your time and exploring every corner of the level. This, more than the other classic Sonic games, gives you more reason to replay, more things to unlock, more motivation to really experience absolutely everything the game has to offer. It's still not my favorite of them, but I love the ideas here. I don't feel it's quite as well polished as Sonic 2, but it's got enough ideas to make me like it as much (maybe more) anyway. Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with its multiple characters, multiple stories, and advanced gameplay mechanics and sheer polish, make me feel the game has as more to offer than CD, but CD did more with less. If 3&K rewarded exploration with things like the Hologram Projectors or the robot-making machines, or rewarded practice with the time trial mode and the things you can unlock from it, it would feel like it had a lot more content, even though it actually only added a little.

    Sonic Adventure 2 is another game that does this really well. If you only bother with story mode you're missing the vast majority of the game. Go and play the extra missions in each level though, and this game suddenly has more content than many RPGs. The different missions and grades encourage you to master the levels in different ways, to explore, to go fast, to be stylish, to find the right mix of these factors. And along the way you continually unlock things. Like in CD, the unlockables aren't much, but they're paced just right to make you keep trying for that next goal. And when you finally finish everything? Green Hill Zone. Possibly my favorite unlockable in any game ever. It takes effort to earn it, but it's fun, and you're given little rewards along the way. It makes the game feel like it has way more content than Adventure 1, even though it has a comparable amount of levels.

    Now with the Adventure games, some people complain about the many gameplay mechanics, not all of which are that much like Sonic's. I can get where people are coming from, but I think the differences are overstated. As far as I'm concerned, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are all close enough to Sonic for me to still feel like I'm playing the same game. Knuckles is one people complain about a lot, but I don't see it as slow, because you're still rewarded, especially in Adventure 2, for exploring with speed. Amy is chased the entire time, so she's certainly going fast, and Tails is racing. I was actually really disappointed with Tails in Adventure 1 because you didn't get the chance to explore quite as much, outside of the Adventure Fields. I'd really like to play as him again in the same type of style but without the racing. It felt like a 3D version of playing as him in Sonic 3. 2006 kind of gave you that, but then I've already talked about the problems with that game. Really, you barely get to play as these characters anyway (aside from Knuckles), so it's not much of an issue. What is more of an issue is the Adventure Field. I could see how some people are turned off by this element which is really all about exploration, but only at a few points do you really have to explore (searching for keys in the jungle, finding how to transform the Egg Carrier). If you want to explore it, though, there's tons of stuff to find. Talking to every NPC and finding their own little story, exploring with every character at different points of the story to find how things change over time. Meeting other characters, like how you can find Sonic and Tails knocked out outside Casinopolis. I love the Adventure Fields, and loved how they came back in Unleashed. They came back in 2006, too, but then that's just an example of how to do them wrong. They were mostly barren outside of the few missions, but the missions required so many lengthy loading screens they were just dreadful to play.

    Also worth noting is that Knuckles does have linear gameplay with his same controls and moves in 2006, but it's a glitchy, half finished mess, so we know how that worked out. If we got more of that style in an actually finished game, though? I would love it.

    I've left out talking about Gamma/Eggman and Big's gameplay, because my defenses for the other gameplay styles don't apply here. Yeah, these ones are pretty different. Gamma/Eggman encourages speed as well, there's platforming involved, but yeah, it's fairly different. I still don't hate these. Gamma's Action Stages are very few, and take up very little of the game. They're still pretty fun, and by the time of Adventure 2, Eggman/Tails stages are much more refined and play a lot better. Not incredibly Sonic-like, but fun in their own way. Plus, Gamma's story is awesome, and totally makes it worth it. Big? Well Big barely adds anything to the story and couldn't be any less like Sonic's gameplay. That must be why he only has a few stages. I still don't hate it, but I must admit this is the one bit of the game I wouldn't miss if it was removed. As a character, though? I still love Big, even if finding his cameos in Adventure 2 was more fun than playing his stages in Adventure 1.

    Now I mentioned Gamma's story, so I'll say that, yeah, the story definitely does play a part in how much I like the series. I'm a firm believer that story should be one of the lower priorities in a game, but if the gameplay is already great, then a nice story to go along with it doesn't hurt. I grew up with American Sonic with the cartoons and comics and other merch, but really, that didn't hook me as much. I liked the cartoons, but when they went off the air, they didn't stick in my mind so much. I just went back to playing the games and forgot about the stuff that wasn't in them. Once Adventure came around and I learned about the Japanese story, though, that tickled my nerdiness in just the right way. The mix of science and fantasy, the tight continuity that still leaves just enough unsaid to let your imagination take over. The way the stories from the Genesis games, the original stories, tie into Adventure so well, even though so few people realize it, is very interesting to me. People say that Adventure changed things, but it really didn't. Sonic 3's story is basically just a fleshed out version of exploring the same backstory from Sonic 2, and Adventure follows that same trend. Even X-Treme was going to do the same (some of the story elements they were tossing around in that game are really interesting and I would love to see them expanded). Games after Adventure didn't follow the exact same plot as much (Adventure kind of brought it to its logical conclusion) but they kept exploring the same sorts of ideas, and I enjoyed that. The many gods that make up the universe, Chaos, Void, Gaia, etc. The rich history and locations. That is until Colors, anyway. Unleashed changed the story a little, but still tried. The plot was a little lighter but the characters got more depth and emotion than in previous games, so I figure it evens out. The basic ideas were still like the games before it. Then Colors figured it would take Unleashed's trend to the extreme, and just stop trying with story, and Generations followed. Generations had an opportunity for such a cool story, but instead it had possibly the weakest story since Sonic 2 (maybe even Sonic 1). It's still a fun game, but there's nothing wrong with story, and plenty of Sonic games did story right before. I wish they would go back to having stories along the lines of either Adventure and the games that followed (which were really just the stories of Sonic 2, CD, and 3 with cutscenes and dialogue) or stories like Unleahsed, since many do seem to appreciate the lighter approach.

    Really, I just wish we could get a Sonic adaptation, comics, cartoons, anything, that stuck to the original story. I like the cartoons in their own way (well, maybe not Underground), but each one screws it up. I like what Flynn has been doing with the comics in the last several years, but he has too much attachment to the old American canon that I really think just gets in the way. At least Penders has inadvertently forced him to change things and make them closer to what I want. He was slowly doing that for years, but with Worlds Collide we basically jumped forward like 10 years and I love it. If only every arc could be like Shadowfall, which finally feels like it fits in the game universe, rather than a completely different universe which in many ways has nothing to do with Sonic. In the mean time, though, it's still one of my favorite comics (especially Universe). The whole Freedom Fighters concept has so little to do with Sonic. You could really remove Sonic and Tails from SatAM, change Robotnik's design a little more (they already changed it quite a lot), and you'd never know it had anything to do with Sonic. Still a good show, but it's a concept that works on its own, and they just threw Sonic in there. I know the characters are based on the little animals from Sonic 1, but they might as well be completely original. When I pick up the comics, I'm still surprised that they continue to publish a continuation of the cartoon instead of a comic that more closely resembles the games that they're still selling, and thus attracting more of that game audience, which is obviously much larger than the cartoon audience, especially since the comic's target audience is kids (and since Archie knows how to distribute, kids actually read it, unlike Marvel and DC).

    Short version:
    -Speed should be possible, but has to be earned by simply being good at the game and making your way past obstacles without losing speed. Adventure-2006 style gameplay (for Sonic's at least) is a much more accurate 3D translation of Classic Sonic than Unleashed-Generations is. Unleashed-Generations just have more polish.
    -It's extra nice when exploration is encouraged and rewarded. CD and Adventure 2 encouraged and rewarded both speed and exploration. Let's do more of that. Give us more unlockables, even if it's just concept art and stuff.
    -The universe and story is a lot of fun. I wish we would start focusing more on it again. Be more like Adventure or Unleashed.
    -Other characters are fine. I love it when they're "Sonic with a twist" like in 3&K, or Tails and Amy in Adventure 1. 3D Knuckles is close enough that I still like it a lot. Even the ones that are more different can still be fun, but I can see how they might as well be left out. That said, aside from 3&K, yeah, Sonic is always my favorite to play as (he always has the best levels), but it's still nice to change it up a little, and can make the game feel like it has a lot more content. I just want to play Adventure Tails in Adventure Sonic-style levels.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, people have mentioned music, too. I just forgot to mention it because almost every single game in this series has amazing music, so I don't have anything at all to complain about. I just want Sega to keep up the good work in that department. I especially find it cool how sometimes songs will be reused or referenced in later games. S2 8-bit's Bridge Zone becoming Tails' theme in Adventure, Green Hills Zone's theme being CD's main theme (and used in a few other places), Adventure's Windy Valley using remade songs from 3D Blast, S4E2's White Park Act 2 sampling Adventure's Twinkle Park. Those little legacy shout outs are cool. Of course, it wouldn't be worth much if the songs weren't good in the first place. Also, I must admit Crush 40 is a total guilty pleasure, and while the latest games have had good music as well, I wish they would come back and do more stuff. Even the lyrics in these songs do a lot for the story, they are the key sources for characterization for a lot of these characters, and I don't really mind that.
     
  11. Josh

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    You know, thinking about what Covarr said and playing Generations now, something interesting occurred to me. There are some comparisons to be drawn between the classic trilogy and the "boost" trilogy. Specifically:

    • Sonic 1/CD = Sonic Colors
    • Sonic 2 = Sonic Unleashed
    • Sonic 3&K = Sonic Generations
    Colors is a bit too slow-paced and platformy. Unleashed is more linear and over-emphasizes speed. Generations builds on and refines everything that came before.

    I'm mostly just putting this here in hopes that I remember and expand on it whenever these games come up in the retrospective down the line. I've also got an overarching theory as to why Lost World ended up the way it did, why Generations wasn't exactly a critical or commercial darling and what it could've done different... but I won't forget those.

    Gah, I've really got my work cut out for me with this series.

    Great responses so far, everyone!
     
  12. Tiller

    Tiller

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    I like Sonic for it's movement, the rush of getting into a flow from taking the physics and bending using them to your advantage. At that time, no other game felt nearly as buttery smooth to me. You could roll around all over the place and keep pace if you knew the level as you dared to exploit your movement options when you are going this fast and jump at an exact point on this slope. The speed played a decent part of that, but you could stop, explore, and smell the roses if you wanted to. You were never really forced to do one over the other minus special exceptions of a chase or boss. I never liked the rigidness of say, Megaman and other games when I was younger. They always felt too tight, precise, and controlling in comparison. You always jumped at X height, you always moved at this speed or that, whoop de do. It's why I vastly prefer the flipping and diving of Mario 64 and Sunshine to the less daring movement of Galaxy. It's why I liked Adventure 1, 2, for the Sonic movement despite being fairly shitty and twitchy looking back. In my eyes the biggest transgression of 2006, despite a million other things wrong with the game, is that you just feel so impossibly confined due to how horrible the movement physics and controls are in conjunction with the piss poor quality control of the level design and buggy collision detection. I tolerated the boost trilogy to an extent for their other redeeming aspects, and even there you had a bit of leeway in exploiting the physics despite how often the game railroaded you down a straight path. However, Sonic 4, Classic Sonic in Generations and Lost World were the biggest disappointments in promising a return to that bliss. Right now I'm just waiting for the next Sonic game to come along and recapture that magic. Thankfully Freedom Planet has been scratching that itch, for now.
     
  13. Falk

    Falk

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  14. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    I like going fast.
     
  15. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

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    If you can't achieve the speed in Sonic 1 or Sonic CD, then you haven't spent enough time to learn the levels. Even Wacky Workbench has a speed route. Sonic 2 is just easier, not better designed.
     
  16. Machenstein

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    In defense of Wacky Workbench, I do like the sense of flight that level gives me. It recaptures the joy of jumping on a trampoline. I'd also say it's a fine level to practice the bounce trick in.
     
  17. steveswede

    steveswede

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    Just going to touch on the subject about slow pacing in the classic games and why I think some people might have the wrong idea thinking it's bad. Slow pacing sections in Sonic games are fine, uninteresting slow pacing sections are bad. Sonic CD does this in the bucket loads with large empty areas of platforming which is why I don't rate it as high as the other classic games. This isn't the norm in Sonic 1 where most of these slow sections give you a satisfying experience once you overcome them. All the acts in Scrap Brain Zone are mainly slow paced sections and have a fuck ton of hazards that are interesting to overcome which makes Scrap Brain very replayable. Interesting level design is the reason I mainly like the Sonic games and is something I only really see in most of the early Sonic games.
     
  18. Hinchy

    Hinchy

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    Well, to be fair, there are a few levels in Sonic 1 like Marble Zone that were pretty linear platformer-ass-platformer style levels that don't allow a lot of opportunity for conservation of momentum.
    But mostly you're right.

    also I like Wacky Workbench.
     
  19. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

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    Even though Marble zone is what it is, you can still establish a speed run though it with baby smooth motion and perfectly timed jumps.
     
  20. Covarr

    Covarr

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    A great game should reward skill mastery, not level memorization. And that's really the big difference between Sonic 1 and Sonic CD. In the former, if you want to go fast, you have to play better. In the latter, you have to know the right routes.

    I know the right routes, though, and I still find Sonic CD problematic. I played it last night because of this conversation, twice even (though admittedly the second time was with Tails and I mostly flew over stages when I could). Throughout the game I found springs that led directly into spikes and walls, staircase sections that could only be passed slowly, constant springs that point backwards right at the end of stages... This stuff isn't challenge. It doesn't make the game harder. It only makes the game longer. And any obstacle whose only solutions are either to let them take their toll, or to already know about them, are bad obstacles.

    In Sonic 1 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, even the slow routes can be fast if you're skilled enough. That's a lot of what I love about these games (and to a lesser extent Sonic 2, though it really is too easy). Speed is a reward for skill. That's the mantra that the series should always stick with, because it's at its best when it does. But Sonic CD sees speed as a reward for memorizing the stages; actual skill is totally irrelevant for almost everything except the bosses. Enemies, obstacles, entire routes will slow you down if you don't know in advance that they're there. Virtually the entire game requires you to react to things before they're onscreen. As I see it, learning the levels to get past these things faster or more safely is a workaround, all that should ever be required is mastering the game mechanics.