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Despatche

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  1. Funny someone talked about the pinball games, because the greatest missed opportunity in this series by far is not having a real pinball table when pinball was sort of a thing. Sega even had a pinball division for a few years! A Sonic pinball would have been easy money, but it never happened. Mario had two, but the character partially based on pinball itself had zero. Honestly it's kind of a crime. Something not as great: Mania really should have introduced more than just the Drop Dash, a move mostly for speedrunning that only Sonic can use anyway. No new shields? No new type of item altogether? I've heard people say that Time Twisted is as interesting as Mania simply for things like how it handles time travel and the new shields. It might not be 100% balanced all the time, but Sonic shields aren't exactly balanced to begin with. Plus did right by bringing back Mighty and Ray in a big way, though Ray is sort of a cross between Tails and Knuckles as is. (Ray's Air Glide reminds me way too much of the totally overpowered Super Mario World Cape for my taste. Bubsy has that too, and it's just as ridiculous. Get a good jump, fly over the level, it's all fun and games until that's all the game boils down to...)
  2. I missed this somehow. This is very exciting, the recent retooled ports of Turok and Turok 2 are very nice. I just wish someone over there would do the same for Turok 3. I know, it doesn't have a PC port to start from, but it's still a great game that needs to be unearthed.
  3. Word? I remember all that mess of course, but I thought that was about something else. What I saw was a conversation that apparently happened a few days ago. I don't remember where I saw it, probably Twitter. Can't find it unfortunately, should have bookmarked it.
  4. The Mega Drive, the Saturn, and the Dreamcast are all really powerful machines that outdo the competition in a lot of fields. Because of the console wars, people like to think this isn't true. There's also the issue of untapped potential due to business pressures. I grew up with Nintendo, if anyone's wondering. Sonic CD is an alternative sequel to Sonic 1, and it developed out of a much simpler CD port of Sonic 1. The level theme choices greatly resemble Sonic 1's to the point where CD seems kinda like the remake it had been at one point. If CD had the Marble Zone-themed level that it was supposed to, this fact wouldn't be so uncommon. The 8-bit Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic Chaos were actually designed for the Master System and then ported to the Game Gear. The other 8-bit games were designed for the Game Gear first (except Spinball I think). This is particularly unusual when you factor in that the Master System was discontinued in Japan way back in 1988. Japan didn't even get the original version of the second Monster World game at first, they only had the Game Gear version and the PC Engine remake for the longest time. I'm not sure about Amy being meant as Sonic's "Minnie", but Amy was partially based on a character of the same name from the obscure Sonic manga that was going around in the early '90s. And by obscure I mean "it probably wasn't read that much even back then and it's hard to find even now". Scattered across issues of Sega magazines, only a few pages have been found. That manga was almost more like Underground, with a totally different Sonic that had a family, a girlfriend named Amy, some family of reptiles that antagonize Sonic as much as Eggman does, and all sorts of differences along those lines. Because of things like that, sometimes I like to believe that every little subseries of games is a totally different Sonic, not just the Classic and Modern we supposedly have now. I kinda wish the series had been done that way instead. Speaking of which, AoStH, SatAM, and Underground are all supposed to be totally different Sonics. Pretty wild, considering AoStH and SatAM were going at basically the same time with many of the same people behind both. Sonic is a gigantic jerk in the british "Sonic the Comic" series, and it is glorious. Go read that crazy series, if you get the chance. Amy is also a badass here well before her successor, Boom Amy. Although Boom Amy is closer to Sally, usually. The American release of Sonic CD is more than just a music replacement, it also added in a few small quality of life features. For example, the suicide code was added, so that if you ever get stuck you can always get unstuck at the cost of a Sonic. This makes the near-final release of the American Sonic CD with the original Japanese/European soundtrack all the more important.
  5. There's some junk going around about how Flynn is this terrible person, because someone got in touch with a former co-worker who talked about Flynn making some administrative decisions that upset a few people. Even the person who spilled the beans still thinks Flynn is pretty alright and made the right calls. From what I've seen of it, and assuming that it's true, I agree with the co-worker. The core of it is that supposedly Flynn had wanted to end the Freedom Fighters as they were, and also that he doesn't really want to finish the old story. Some of this involves certain design mandates that were his idea, not Sega's. It's confusing and I don't know how much of that is true (a lot of it seemed like conjecture), nor do I know whether or not this was Flynn wanting to steer the story in a certain direction or having to steer the story in a certain direction in order to solve some business-related problem with Archie or Sega. The problem is that Flynn has had a hatetrain against him for a LONG time, so it's very hard to take this "exposure" seriously. I'm more skeptical of people like that than anything Flynn's supposedly doing. There are an awful lot of people like that, and I do mean "awful".
  6. Totally forgot I had an account here. I'm not happy at all with the replies to my posts years ago, as I feel like people weren't really reading what I was saying and were trying to read around it to find some weird motive. Much as I'd love to respond to those, that was years ago and I don't think anyone really cares anymore. If anyone wants to talk about that topic (the merit of Special Stages in Sonic games), I am open to any questions. Instead, let's try something different. Something you can't just read around without clearly showing yourself to have not read it. Hi there! I have a dilemma. There's this video game series I like, but most of the people I get to talk about it with treat their series in a way that no other fanbase treats any other series, which makes it very difficult to have real conversation. When I attempt to call people out for this, I get called a "contrarian" because (surprise) I'm the only person actually willing to challenge what is a terrible status quo. There are multiple people in this community who have zero issue making things up about me from scratch to attack my character, solely because I seem to be the only human being on the planet who's able to tell these people that they need to take a step back and reevaluate their attachment to this series. (Part of this is because Discord and chat rooms are a terrible place to have real discussion, and they should never replace a real message board.) Guess what video game series I'm talking about! I came here because this is the only place on the internet that would ever have a topic asking this question. Everything I'm about to tell you is the truth. It's not my own opinion; my opinion is irrelevant to everyone else and to myself. Sonic fans have no idea what they actually want. They think they do, and that's a big problem. Thinking you know what you're doing has always been worse than being willing to admit that you don't know what you're doing. Whenever people talk about Sonic Team, and Lost World and Forces, it is always with language that boils down to "Sonic Team is incompetent, Lost World and Forces are low quality product". The idea that Lost World or Forces are actually good games and not at all what people describe them to be is not allowed to be spoken. Lost World and Forces being errors is supposed to be a fact that we're all just supposed to accept. I can't accept it, because I know it to be untrue. I know it to be untrue because I've actually played the games and compared them to other games in the series and other games period. The crimes people charge these games for are things the games aren't actually doing, or things that previous games had done without any real issue (things that aren't actually crimes, in other words). I'm not gonna say that Lost World and Forces are better than Mania. I'm not gonna say "Sonic was never good", because that's a boring meme. However, I also won't say that Mania is better than Lost World and Forces. None of these things can really be true. The truth is far more complicated than that, and is not really for this topic. I'm also not gonna mention Boom because that's a topic of its own (it's not what people think it is); funny enough, I don't think Boom was ever mentioned in this thread. That aside, there are a few things that are flatly untrue and really need to stop being said: 1. "Mania was made by fans, so clearly fans need to take over Sega." Mania was not made by fans, it was made by newly-minted professionals who were hired for a particular set of skills. To call them "fans" is to insult them and to insult their work. Mania is also the product of a fairly large team and had a solid budget for what it was supposed to be. Letting "fans" take over Sega will lead to more things like Sonic 06 and less things like Mania, I can already tell you that right now. I can go on and on about this topic. 2. "The Sonic base is fragmented. The games, too, are fragmented." Neither of these are any more true than for most game series in existence, especially very long-running ones like Sonic. "Fragmented" is also a very loaded term that does not begin to consider the idea of releasing different games for different people. In fact, that's what many Sonic fans keep thinking they want: for Sega to keep making a very limited kind of game that caters to them specifically. 3. "Lost World and Forces are inconsistent and try to cater to everyone." As I said before, they simply aren't the low quality games people keep saying they are. This is simply untrue information. Lost World builds heavily on Colors to the point where you could have called it "Sonic Colors 2" and it likely would have gotten far better reception. Likewise, Forces was even understood by most to be a direct followup to ideas from Generations, yet it was still called "inconsistent" even though the vast majority of the game is patterned after Generations. It is not physically possible for games that are so much like the previous games to be "inconsistent and trying to cater to everyone"; there is simply too much of Colors's and Generations's DNA in Lost World and Forces for this to ever be true. Anything beyond this is whining using one's own personal opinion. Noone should really care if you don't personally like the Deadly Six. I don't particularly care for the Deadly Six myself, because I think they could have been handled a little better. I think the whole series could have been handled better, from start to finish. That's called hindsight, and it's unreliable in how clear it seems to be, because you don't necessarily have the context behind the original decisions. It is almost as irrelevant as personal opinions. Fans do need to take a step back and think a little harder about why they hate what they hate and what about this series keeps them invested. I can answer this question for myself: it's a decent series that's had mostly ups and not a lot of downs, and the developers/partners mostly do good work. I don't really agree with some of the fundamental design, but I respect that the developers have taken it in various ways and over such a long period of time. It's very hard to really hate most Sonic games and very easy to like them. Pretty much all of them are at least inspiring even if I may dislike a specific game. If I can be this measured, why can't anyone else? Why do fans hold this series to an impossible standard that no other fanbase ever holds their own series too? The only thing this kind of behavior does is hold the series back in a way that Lost World and Forces never could, no matter how "bad" they supposedly are. I am not saying that Sonic Team are perfect and unfallible, I'm saying they do good work even though everyone swears they don't. This can be verified by putting aside that "ideal" Sonic game in your head (would you like to see mine?) and actually playing the damned games in front of you. I'm writing this because I'm tired of being asked to "explain myself" and then twenty people start talking over me. When people ask me that from now on, I just want to be able to link this post. If that's not enough of a reason to have real forums, I don't know what is. Thank you for reading.
  7. I ask that you reconsider how you approach Sonic 2's Special Stages. Not only is the basic mode of Sonic 2 a "two-player game", but it's very likely that the Special Stages were always meant to be played with that extra help. This might also have something to do with why the Special Stages in games like Sonic 3D are so much more lenient.
  8. There's been very little of it because so much of both the Sonic community and everyone else runs on longstanding and seemingly unshakable memes about the series's "badness". So many other factors play into and out of this to the point where, sometimes, it becomes miserable to even think about talking about this series with other human beings. I'm trying my best to enjoy myself despite it all. The best I've been able to hope for is playing the games myself and learning interesting new things about them that I didn't know previously. Maybe one day I can put any of this research to use.
  9. When people fail to understand a thing at first, they tend to immediately blame the thing for not explaining itself clearer, and allow that first impression to color any further attempt to interact with the thing. When you claim that something's "flawed" or make any sort of judgement call, you go beyond simple opinion. You have to start bringing facts to the table to back up your opinion, and those facts need to be checked and scrutinized. I'm absolutely not saying that you could simply hack the Last Story out and the game would be "complete" as is, I'm saying that Last Stories are not "logical" or "supposed" to be in the game any more than the six game types Sonic Adventure provides. The Last Story and how it plays it out is specifically based on two things: how Sonic Adventure was put together, and the concept of a "secret bonus stage" taken from Sonic & Knuckles. Sonic & Knuckles had multiple endings based on what you did precisely because The Doomsday Zone was a bonus with variable effects. Sonic Adventure also has multiple endings: each character's story. The Last Story is icing on the cake and could easily have been integrated into the normal game, but Sonic Adventure was put together in a way where they could have this complicated plot capped with a cool bonus if you're good enough at the game to take out six different game types. Sonic 2's default is inherently a two player mode. Tails isn't even AI-controlled; the AI simply returns him to where he needs to be if it doesn't detect input on the second controller. If only one player is playing, they should be using the one player option. ...Yes, because that leads to the good ending. A secret hidden in the game. There's a reason why Sonic 1 did not have any special effect for collecting the Emeralds besides an extra graphic at the end, and it has nothing to do with time constraints. Then Super Sonic happened, that wonderful bonus that completely trivializes the games further. Then they decided to add a secret stage, as collecting the Emeralds became more than a typical secret by this point. The first loops of Donkey Kong and Jet Pac are very easy; everything else in the game should be making you ragequit long before these simple challenges do. See point 1 at the top of this post. Sonic 1 may use game assets, but nothing in those Special Stages are encountered in actual gameplay. No amount of studying the jump physics can prepare you. I'm not taking anyone's opinion personally, I'm taking issue with how this discussion is playing out. There are opinions being thrown around everywhere making strange judgements about developers and games, and trying to convince people of things that may or may not be true. So much discussion in so many places of the world is handled just like this. I'm here to put the opinion in its own box and bring actual facts to what is supposed to be a debate (and one that attempts to throw a fundamental part of the series under the bus). Simply incorrect. Most of my post above was either plain fact (no opinion behind it) or assumptions based on my own research and long talks with others (still not opinion). At no point am I concerned with "I like/dislike this" except when I mentioned that I dislike a number of aspects of classic Sonic, entirely as a sidenote, because it was offtopic and I didn't want to get into it. The terms are inherently negative because the world has always assigned them negatively. The entire point of the term "artificial difficulty" is that something about it is supposed to be "inorganic" and somehow cheats the player. The entire point of the term "filler" is that it's taking up "space" that could be used for other things, or taking up people's time. These are not my definitions as I don't even use these words; these are the time-worn definitions that have been used for countless years now by everyone else on the planet... except for certain people in this thread, apparently. You misunderstand what's happening, and this is exactly what happened to lives, by the way. It takes a very specific kind of person to actually stick with a game and get good at it beyond the resources given. This did not used to be the case, because we used to live in an era where people were given a reasonable amount of resources to play a game with. Resources were trivialized so long ago that noone really remembers what it's like to design resources well. Challenge means nothing except to speedrunners and other so-called "hardcore" gamers; nowadays, you slog and grind through a game once, and maybe play it again in some distant future, largely based on your very specific first impression more than anything else. So, the idea of getting through on one chance is completely out because noone really cares. Resources now matter. Giving you three chances would make it more difficult because you would have to actually learn to play and to play well, rather than blasting through the game every time you boot it up until you get bored. The game is already "repetitive and stale", and your entire experience is running on the fumes of your fundamental "like" of the game (again, based largely on things like first impression, peer pressure, etc). Only shorter single player games like Sonic and Mario suffer from this. Things like RPGs turn grinding into an artform, and multiplayer games completely sidestep this entirely because challenge is derived from pitting resources against each other. The idea of balancing a game is not so "abstract" there as it is with single player games. TMs and especially HMs were never a good idea no matter how it could possibly be rationalized. By itself, it irritates the item issue you're talking about, and both makes balance much more complicated (usually resulting in balance being affected negatively). Pokemon single player was always as easy as it is now, it's just that in gen 1 you had things like Psychic and Normal. The basic single player "campaign" of defeating the champion is a very small part of both what Pokemon is and what it's meant to be. Resources given has very little to do with specific level design. No amount of lives will save poor level design; it is usually argued that an abundance of lives is meant to "fix" poor design. Wow, yet another reason why this "resource inflation" is a terrible idea. The purpose of resources is to allow an alternative to forcing players to play perfectly all the time; with resource design, you get levels of skill, wiggle room, baby steps on the road to being skilled. Note that "resources" also refers to things like, say, items in monitors. This is the part where I sympathize with people having issue with the "obstacle course" concept. The problem is that games rarely emphasize the use of a level select as a training tool to help you practice parts you have issue with, or just so that you can experiment with other levels for a while, so that you won't be stuck hopelessly grinding away for that half minute you would get to Metropolis Zone before you die. In something like Sonic, level selects were always seen as cheats, and this simply goes hand in hand with resource inflation. It's all one big package of degradation in game design, and it all stinks. I already covered everything about Sonic Adventure above, and it largely stems from a very specific point; we don't have the same definition for words like "self-contained" and "bonus". I don't know what I could do to help this conflict. I also covered the Sonic 2 situation above. People have been bred to hate "trial and error" and "memorization". They have created new game-specific definitions for these terms, completely ignoring their core definitions for the purpose of video games. In doing so, they throw out any foundation in their ranting about "skill" and "cheapness"... when it really just boils down to them not really wanting to be good at the game, because they've been bred to believe that being good at games doesn't "matter". At the end of it all, you say that you have problems with Special Stages, but are they simple dislikes, or do you legitimately challenge the developer's better judgement? As I said earlier, I take issue with the frequent confusion of these two things by what seems to be every other human being in existence. It goes well beyond Sonic, and it definitely goes well beyond video games. It's impossible to have a serious conversation about anything when you're constantly having to puzzle out whether someone's just mad at a thing, or whether someone is legitimately trying to explain and solve a problem. It matters even more because this is the Sonic community, where problems tend to be meaningfully solved in ways that very few other series can attest to, because the healthy fangame and hacking aspect can make solutions real. This isn't as off-topic as it appears. It has a lot to do with why something like Special Stages manages to persist time and time again. As I explain above, a level select can go very well with a proper resource system if you advertise to people what it's for, rather than make it out to be some secret or cheat. Things "change" because ideas are forced. The "old" ways could be forced back just as easily as they were forced away. The merit of any given thing, good or bad, is rarely considered. The problem is that people are not clearly being told the rules on what they're "supposed" to be doing. Newer games have taken resource inflation to such an insane degree that having to puzzle out how to play a game well should no longer be an issue, but somehow it still is. Somehow the meme of a game being "too easy" simply because of resource inflation still persists after all these years. The greatest irony is that we still talk about "beating" games so extensively, yet there's so little about these games being learned and so little "beating" actually being done. The way this CloudBuilt does things is clearly wrong, and it is exactly how the system was destroyed. You're not supposed to get resources for playing well, or lose resources for playing worse; experts need resources less and less as they get better at the game (though I do NOT recommend losing resources for playing better). Every type of player needs to be given the same chances, given to them "outside" of normal gameplay. It seems rather silly to compare the results of a TAS to any particular thought on stage length like that. You have to consider that the Special Stages aren't really "designed" for the absolute expert player who can tear through levels in ridiculous times (if they were, you'd REALLY hate Special Stages). After that, you have to consider that there are tons of zips and other weird tricks in all the games; just have a look at the beauty that is Marble Zone Act 3.
  10. The thing about criticism is that it needs to be based in fact. I actually dislike quite a bit of classic Sonic design, for fundamental game design reasons. Meanwhile, this thread seems to be more about getting mad at games. A lot of this thread isn't really trying to be opinion at all; it's mostly people acting like special stages are some fundamental flaw with the series that needs to be removed. Big difference. If you simply dislike special stages, you could just say that instead of coming up with this large-reaching rationale that doesn't really work out. Terms like "artificial difficulty" and "filler" are inherently negative. Indeed, you continue on with talk of "more difficult than they need to be" and being "outdated". Neither of these things are true. You completely misunderstand the purpose of lives. Lives give a player a set of chances ("three strikes and you're out") to play a game. Give the player only one or two chances, and the game's too hard. Give the player too many chances, and there's no challenge. It worked in arcade games because they didn't hand lives out for years like console games typically do. Lives, when done right, only lose meaning to the best players who can beat a game without ever dying. These games are like obstacle courses; mess up, and you may just lose the race. Beating something once doesn't "prove" that you can do it again. The best players make mistakes all the time. The various sections of the Adventure games are pretty self-contained. In SA, you would never know about Super Sonic and the Last Story until you did beat everything (or you just spoiled yourself and looked it up); that's why the Super Sonic section is marked with ???. SA's ??? section also just kinda happens, independently of everything else in the game. SA2 Last Story does follow Dark Story, but Dark Story itself is technically a different timeline from Hero Story entirely. Again, there's that claim of "fairness". There's nothing "unfair" about the concept of special stages. The thing to keep in mind is that the developers could very well have not added The Doomsday Zone and Last Stories at all. They also could very well have never had special stages at all. They are added entirely as bonuses, which is also why they tend to play differently from the rest of the game. The Last Stories were added to make the idea of collecting Chaos Emeralds more interesting than simply having a Super form to cheapen the rest of the game with. It seems awfully presumptuous to make such a massive conclusion from a one-and-a-half-page thread on a very specific forum, especially when there are multiple posts in this thread challenging your idea. I will not agree, because it's not true. This is actually the first time I've ever seen anyone outright dislike special stages, other than making of Sonic CD's or getting angry at Advance 2's being so difficult just to reach (and having to do it all four times). I posit that the vast majority of criticism against Sonic 2's special stages would only come from foolishly playing the Sonic+Tails mode single player. Someone who's never really played the game wouldn't know, but Sonic fans (the subject of this thread) would know better and would not suffer from this. With that out of the way, the whole point of tradition is that it's safe, that there is no risk to it. I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Special stages do not "take slots" from the rest of the game, and a single special stage is definitely easier to design than making an entire level. Game design-wise, mind; physically creating each of the Mega Drive special stage designs was probably quite the endeavor, with all the graphical tricks and assets used. That's not really an issue anymore. Lastly, I think Nepenthe's "special stages are fundamentally pretty easy to understand" needs to be repeated. Any talk of the special stages being different from the main game being an issue because they're "hard to understand" is out.
  11. The original Sonic the hedgehog, of course. Starting anywhere else, and otherwise playing the games out of order, gives you a pretty poor picture of how the series develops over time.
  12. Does anyone know what's going on with Lost Hedgehog Tales? Last I heard, part 2 was almost done... back in 2014... Seems like Sonic has this thing about being unfinished... Scrap Brain act 3, Hidden Palace and co., Sonic CD, the Sonic 3 project, Heroes, 06, SatAM, STC being canceled, poor old Other M and co., the entire Penders situation... such cruelty against this poor series.
  13. A friend bought me the Bundle, and I decided to finally watch SatAM and read the comics like I had wanted to do forever ago. I also considered working my way through all of SA2, but I've kinda given up after finishing Hero Story... too much for me, I guess. Considering going back to Mega Drive 1CCs as well.
  14. Hello. TIL there's so much hate for special stages. Special stages were a good idea from the very start; the alternatives aren't all that great. Most arcade games do not actually have any sort of bonus stages; they really only took off with console games, particularly platformers. Both always had them for the same reason: variety, plain and simple. It's unfair that you get to speak for all the people who do like special stages. How negative. How about, instead: "Here are some optional challenges to break away from the main game; if you complete them all, you unlock some secrets". How cruel. I don't know which self-respecting game designer would call this "artificial difficulty" and "filler", but I wouldn't trust them to make a good and varied game, that's for sure. You don't need to be all that great at the actual game to knock out the special stages. Lives are absolutely not an outdated concept, it's just that so many game designers have forgotten how to use them properly. Arcade game designers were usually pretty good about life system design. The Game Gear games dodge the issue entirely by putting the Emeralds in the actual stages. It's not a good alternative because there's not much to finding them; they're just kinda... there. Remember that Chaos Emeralds are to promote the special stages, not the other way around. That's exactly what these "true final bosses" are: optional stuff. Very odd to draw a line here. Related: the funny thing about the Sonic Adventures is that you don't even have to play more than one of the stories; certain annoying persons would even tell you to do exactly that. Any of them is a proper story with a proper end (more so in SA2), with the Last Stories just being extra parts of the game.
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