Sean reacted to Wraith in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time (PS4 / Xbox One)
Beat this game over the weekend and am still chipping away at the skins I want bit by bit. It's really great when it's firing on all cylinders. Easily the best Crash game I've played (IE just the first 3).
I thought the new artstyle for the game was a win when I first saw and now that I've actually played it I still mostly agree with that aside from one minor nitpick. Crash's shadow doesn't show very well, so the solution they went with was either turning on this bright yellow circle underneath him or not having a drop drop shadow at all. The circle sticks out like a sore thumb but the alternative was like trying to drive with your feet so I just got used to it.
Otherwise, yeah, the new look works. The weird, gaudy Crash in Unreal Engine look from NST has been abandoned for something much more fantastic, reminiscent of Toys For Bob's other games. This is honestly the best Crash and Coco have looked since the original games for me, and the top notch animation for their expressions helps a lot. They're just fun to watch no matter what they're doing, and the billion costumes they snuck into the game mostly look good too. I wasn't too hot on Tawna's design when I first saw it but it grew on me. It's a cool modern action heroine take with a couple fun allusions to her original design.
The main thing it does right is focus the entire game around the series platforming, and forms of platforming that lean into the series strengths instead of vehicles and or chase missions. Even the iconic 'running toward the camera' shit that always got on my nerves has been brought down to a minimum. The masks are a big win for Crash because they're usually just an extra wrinkle to the simple, timing based platforming going on on screen. It's more like giving a rhythm game an extra button instead of a reinvention. They're all pretty good, but I fee like the time mask always a blast to use. Timing the stop maneuvering through a tricky section in time is a lot of fun on it's own, but mix it in with the fun interactions you can have with explosives, bouncing boxes, and enemies and it turns into something that's always great. I was a little iffy on the dark spin because it caused a lot of strange collision/physics interaction, but I enjoyed the hovering challenges and having to switch between it and regular jumps to bounce off of explosives. I really wouldn't mind if they became a mainstay in this era of Crash. Wall running is a little unwieldy but I enjoyed it in the less chaotic sections of the game and kind of wish the game leaned more on it. This is probably the most consistent set of bosses the series has had. They kind of peaked early in terms of framing with the rock concert but they're all pretty intense challenges that I got a kick out of.
I also generally liked how hard it was even if it could feel cheap at times. The obvious thing to do with a new Crash game is to tone it down a bit but I liked that they just tossed out the lives system and cranked it up instead. Levels are usually fastballing two or three new gimmicks at once at you instead of just slowly rolling out one and I thought this was great. I actually played most of the game with lives on but with how many fruits are in each level it just doesn't make that much of a difference. There's also a lot of incentive to get good if you really want to through the gems system this time around. I have some problems with it that I'll get into later, but the hidden gems or the ones that come from getting a lot of fruit or finishing with less than 3 deaths are pretty satisfying to collect.
The biggest problem I had with it was the padding. Crash 4's mainline campaign is a pretty tightly woven 3D platformer that gives you an insane amount of new ideas before tapping out as soon as it runs out. It's surrounded in layers and layers of content designed to wring as many replays out of you as it can, and I don't like it. Costumes, some extra cutscenes and other content are locked behind replaying large chunks of the game over and over to either get perfect runs, time trials or finishing off "Inverted" versions of each level that don't change anything beyond throwing up a filter. The increased amount of boxes doesn't work at all with the blown up size of the levels. You'll be playing over and over again looking for the 10-20 that aren't out in the open. Your choices when it comes to unlocking costumes come down to literally perfecting one run in the main level or doing two "good enough" runs in the regular and inverted levels. I'm just not sure what the point of the inverted stuff is when every version I've played so far has been really similar. They should have just lowered the gem requirement instead.
The extra characters all feel kind of half baked in their implementation. I think Tawna came out the best because she's basically Crash Lite, but her grappling hook isn't really all that satisfying to use. There's not much to Dingodile's gameplay aside from launching explosives. Cortex probably has the most interesting level design but I can't get over how limited his movement is.
It basically feels like somebody up high was insecure about the game's length so a lot of content that's not so great slipped in to make up the difference. They were careful enough to make most of this stuff optional so it's not a huge deal, but it's still a shame when you have a game that's otherwise amazing. I would have had a lot of fun 100%ing this if they showed more restraint.
But yeah, I dunno. I knew it would be great when I first saw it and it mostly delivered. It was nice to play a Crash game that knew exactly what to focus on. It revives and expands on the core gameplay in all the right ways. Hopefully they can keep this up. I wasn't a big Crash guy before this but they may have just made a fan out of me with this one.
Sean got a reaction from Oneira in There Is An Entirely New Generation of Consoles Coming...
There is a pandemic
Sean got a reaction from Redemption in Sonic 3: Angel Island Revisited (A.I.R) - 16:9 Support, Achievements, Drop Dash, Oh My!
I played a few levels of this and it's pretty excellent. It reminds me of Doom 64 EX, another pseudo-source port that uses the original game's ROM for its assets. It's mostly what you'd expect from a Taxstealth-helmed port of Sonic 3, even right down to having smoother Special Stage graphics. If anyone is wondering whether or not it's better than Sonic 3 Complete or that it usurps it as the definitive version of Sonic 3, I think both versions of the game complement each other well and have their own unique advantages, so anyone who is a mega S3&K fan should find value in having both on hand. I'm sure I'll find myself going back and forth between Complete and AIR in the coming years depending on my mood.
Sean got a reaction from Mr Silvia in What are some mandates by Sega you don't agree with?
lol get a life
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Sean reacted to Wraith in The dichotomy of 2D and 3D platformers.
I've always preferred 2d platformers but I don't know if it's really a fair comparison. 3D platformers require way more of a kick off just to get started and the industry has been kind of hamstringing them these past 15 years or so.
I remember when the genre was initially on the decline and Nintendo did everything they could to remove the second stick from the equation, along with countless other layers being peeled back until the 3D Mario games were basically top down versions of the 2D ones. This was all because they were scratching their heads at how NSMB could run laps around the 3D titles, sales wise.
This turned out to be the wrong approach because Mario Odyssey is on track to outsell the entire mainline series and introduces just about every "no-no" back into the series and adds even more layers. "Interruptions" from the main gameplay style are even frequent in the form of captures. a host of improvements were made from Sunshine to Odyssey but a lot of the same spirit was kept. I liked Galaxy and 3D world a lot, but Nintendo's idea that something was inherently wrong with 3D platformers that needed fixing was just an incorrect assertion.
Aside from the quality of mainline Crash, Spyro and Sonic games basically tanking all at the same time, I think the thing that made 3D platformers fade away for a bit is that there was just more money to be made elsewhere. Jak money is fine, but Halo or Uncharted money was much more appetizing. AAA publishers wanted one or two franchises they could recycle and exploit endlessly, which lead to a lot of genres that did more than well enough to justify their existence but not quite well enough to compete going on a decline. Platformers are one of the most notable victims, but they were hardly the only ones. Try hunting down a new racer or extreme sports game that's not an indie.
I don't think anything actually contributed more to their resurgence than talent and marketing budgets actually being thrown at those projects again. Compare Activision committing fully to the explosive return of Crash this gen by putting three of their studios on different projects to the IP to that Sly game Sony passed over to a shovelware studio and just kind of farted out with no real marketing or the sloppy handling of LBP3 or fucking Knack. That new Sackboy game and Astro bot both look pleasant, but I'm not sure just yet if it's the start of something or an anomaly.
The genre needed games besides Mario that were worth playing, and now we're starting to get them at pretty regular intervals again. Now that they've actually been given the chance to iron out their kinks it's hard to find any fault with them. Crash 4 remixes running and jumping on crates endlessly without ever taking the spotlight off of it and AHIT is straight up one of my favorite platformers ever. I haven't found a 3D game game I like as much as Tropical Freeze, Celeste or Dustforce yet but odds are they'll get there sooner rather than later.
Sean reacted to YuTwo in Sonic Mania Introduction Manual Complete Scan
Hey folks I managed to get my hands on the Sonic Mania Introduction Manual. This was an item that was only given out during conventions like the 2017 Comic Con Panel or PAX West. It was never sold anywhere else and is only obtainable by second hand sellers. Of course that means scalpers gonna scalp and the prices for the manuals, that were given away for free might I add, were ridiculously high. The prices ranged above 100 dollars or more.
I think I share the same sentiment that Matt Manheimer, formerly of Tails Channel, had about this during the time it was happening:
https://twitter.com/mattmannheimer/status/889942792751001602 https://archive.vn/idYMC I always wanted to see the contents inside this manual clearly as I was only able to see it through video or camera pictures. I specifically wanted to see the little writings the Mania staff wrote. I assumed when it first released that someone would scan this and I could see it that way. Three years later and it still hadn’t been scanned. I couldn’t believe that no one who had this manual ever even bothered to try and scan this. Admittedly, I feel I was a part of the problem since I did have it as well for over a year (and a half I think?) and never got around to scanning it myself. One day after my usual search for a sale I finally found one at a reasonable price. I immediately swooped in and bought it. I would like to give special thanks to the ebay user who sold it for just 15 dollars. I would give proper credit but unfortunately I don’t have the exact username anymore and it doesn’t appear in my purchase history either for some reason. All I have is their actual name which was on the cardboard postcard it was sent in. I’ll just say that their first name was Alli. So thank you very much Alli!
The manual itself was in a clear plastic sleeve and there was this cute little hamburger sticker where Alli wrote their thanks on it. I thought I would share this too:
Enough of the personal story though. I scanned the images at 600dpi and then exported them as PNG images.
I have uploaded the whole manual over at archive.org. One version has the pages individually:
The other has the pages together:
If you want the raw images at the highest resolution then there is a zip file download in the gray box where it says DOWNLOAD OPTIONS. Click on the link that says GENERIC RAW BOOK ZIP.
The separated page version is 341MB. The full version is 332MB.
I will also provide PDF links for both:
If any of you think you can do a better job at scaling, cropping, or just editing it in any other way than I could (which I’m sure any of you can since I’m not that proficient with image editing) than I also have a zipped file folder containing the uncropped versions of these scans:
Here’s a sample of what the uncropped version of the manual will look like if you try. The white space is from the scanner:
(The preview image has to be reduced due to file size limitations for this forum so it’s not the actual size)
Scanning it was a tedious process of scanning a page and reviewing if they came out very clean because at times there would be very noticeable spots of dirt or small hair on the pages which would frustrate me to try again. I would wipe the scanner so many times just so I made sure nothing would get caught in it but no matter what there would always be a piece scattered here and there so I would just choose the cleanest scan with the least spots to be a part of the final manual scan. This is one of the reasons why it took me this long to scan the entire thing in the first place.
As the one who scanned this I can honestly admit that I don’t think I did a great job in scanning it since I had to sacrifice some of the pages edges getting cut but I was tired of it not being anywhere online so I just did the best I could do with this.
Now here's some bonus stuff involving the manual
According to Aaron Webber the manual went through over 20 revisions before finalizing. He also showed the old B&W printout they ran around for approval:
Simon Thomley (AKA Stealth), one of the developers of Sonic Mania, signed a manual and left it at a Target on the edge of Moreno Valley and Riverside, CA
The video quality is not that great so I decided to transcribe what he had written on it the best I can.
So if you're curious here's what the manual says from the way I can see it:
"Hello, Sonic fan! I'm sorry that Mania Plus is currently not available here.
If you were lucky enough to find this first please take it as a consolation prize!
Thank you for playing. Simon "Stealth" Thomley"
Here's a Youtube version in case the tweet gets deleted:
He left another at a Best Buy
During E3 2018 a sign for Sonic Mania Plus was right near a hand sanitizing station so the Mania developers (which include Christian Whitehead, Simon Thomley, Brad Flick, Hunter Bridges, and Tom Fry) made a joke about it
This made them sign a manual with encouraging messages to sanitize
Here's the image itself:
Well that's all the bonus stuff I could find I hope you enjoyed.
Sean reacted to Diz in HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY TSS/SSMB! Our Fondest Memories!
Happy 20th anniversary, SSMB!!
I was really into the games' soundtrack, and TSS was where I managed to google myself to find those resources at one point. It allowed me to download tracks from the various older console games, and the next time I stumbled upon the site, I felt so grateful for all the provided tracks, so I wanted to honor the site by creating a user account, which I believe was sometime in 2003 or 2004. This was the time when one had to post a secret word from the rules list or so, just to ensure that one had read through everything if I recall correctly. This was at a time when I was unable to communicate in English, but I understood enough basics to locate the secret word. Memory is faint from those first few moments, but one only had access to the introductionary section, and each new member had to be manually approved by the higher ups. Roarey Raccoon, above me in this topic at the time of this typing, was the one to grant me access. With that, I was allowed to browse the boards.
For a long time which felt like an eternity, I was just a lurker. I did not know enough English to post according to the basic grammar rules, and I was too shy to try even if I could. I read through a lot of user content, thankfully it was relatively easy to understand most users. I got to know a few people, it would feel as if I had known them for a long time along with their friendly relationship with other users, but at the same time, it was weird to feel like that, because I had never said a word to any of them before, nor posted.
There was a Fluff & Party Forum section where I basically lived for a while, even if it was never intended as a main feature. Certain topics were approved for games and short replies, which built up my confidence a little, and I had the chance to overcome shyness and interact with others. Back then, I had a yellow Sonic avatar. One of the games in that one forum section was captioning the above user's avatar picture, and multiple users would respond to my animated Sonic GIF with "I wear no pants!" which I never saw coming, but thinking back at it makes me laugh.
I was asked if I wanted to be an SSR radio DJ at one point, something which was a huge leap for me. I decided to push on and give it a shot. I would play Sonic soundtrack and other random songs alike, with some commentary in-between the songs. I made it into a show called the Super Secret Zone, featuring a logo with a large ring, as I was a big fan of special zone levels in Sonic games and the Chaos Emerald challenges. In 2007 (?) there was a Summer of Sonic event, and I was scheduled as one of the DJs. My show was to play the entire Sonic 3 (& Knuckles?) soundtrack, and after each track, I would talk about the various secrets hidden in those levels. Being live felt amazing, and while scary and terrifying at the start of a session, I felt increasingly fluent and controlled as I went on. I still have some of the recordings from when I was an SSR DJ.
At one point, SoniClans were introduced. These were three subsections, or houses if you will, and a user could apply for one of them. If memory serves correctly, the three clans were based on Sonic, Tails (or Knuckles) and Shadow. There was a common section for all the clan users to interact together, along with an isolated section where members of the same clan could enjoy their company and take part in light-hearted topics and games, with minor arrangements being made from time to time. I cannot remember exactly what happened, but the clans needed new leaders, and I was among those given that responsibility. This was exciting, as I always liked the idea of having "powers" in order to organize things, set examples etc, and I now had limited moderator abilities within the SoniClan forum section. Amazing!
One Christmas not long after, the staff had reason to suspect a large attack on the site, including new users with malicious intent (at this point in time, users could sign up and start posting freely). I was asked if I would like to be an extra layer of protection the site for the holidays, to extend my SoniClan moderation abilities to count for the SSMB as a whole. I certainly did! JJ and myself became "undercover" staff for a limited time, with white usernames. There was no access to staff forums, and I believe reports were not directed to us at the time (reports were sent as automated private messages at the time, compared to today's report center and administrative tools), but we were otherwise very active in scanning topics at the time regardless, and any malicious user causing havoc would be spotted relatively quick.
Thankfully, the anticipated threat did not become reality. Not-so-fortunately, the SoniClans system was announced to be removed. I remember I was chatting with forum administrator Roarey Raccoon, and I felt it was a shame that SoniClans were to be no more. I had poured a lot of love and work into it, and without it, I was ready to revert back to regular membership. He said, not necessarily, and asked if I was interested in being converted to a permanent member of staff. I was one of few, if not the only one entering the team this way. Usually, a member would have to be voted for and elected by the members of forum staff, and I was an unpopular option amongst them, so the administrators promoting me seemed to be a shock to most of them, but I think it worked out quite well, and I was euphoric being able to help out my online home.
In 2009, the SSMB was wiped off the Internet. I am not sure entirely what happened, but I heard it was related to a misunderstanding somewhere, and the site hosting services pulled the plug, with little to no recoverability. The SSMB was shortly rebuilt from scratch, using a different provider if I recall correctly, and it quickly grew its userbase over again, and the site you are browsing this very moment is evolved from the one that was rebuilt at that point in time.
Many years have passed since then. Users come, users go. New forum sections arise, some are moved around, merged with each other, and new topics and discussions arise. I am far from as active as I used to be, lurking through the boards as I once did, maybe some cleaning and organizing in the background. Most users that are here today may not know me or might not have seen my name around here much while I lurk around.
There was once an SSMB Christmas calendar that the staff made for the community, and one of the calendar entries, as mentioned by Dreadknux in the opening post, was a Christmas sing-a-long, sung by members of the staff. The song was The Chipmunks' Christmas Don't Be Late, edited and put together by Flint. I sang two portions, one as myself and one as a silly mystery chipmunk.
I have a warm and happy history with SSMB. I am glad that I was allowed access to the site all those years ago. Thanks to the SSMB and all the content here, I am able to communicate using English today and can enjoy content and contributions by other members. Thanks to the SSR, I can now record and/or livestream immersive gaming content without fear, but feeling fluent and proud. Thanks to the admins and staff, I am feeling confident and believe in myself. A big thanks to all users, and basically everyone in the community, including past, present and future, for being here, and for participating in a friendly and constructive environment we may enjoy call home. Happy 20th anniversary!