Single Status Update
Generations is just the worst in terns of choosing stages.
Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Sky Sanctuary, Speed Highway, City Escape Seaside Hill, Crisis City, Rooftop Run Planet Wisp....
All of these stages are so... SO vanilla. There is nothing that really stands out, they just chose the most popular stages instead of actually choosing some good variety
There is basically FOUR city stages plus two industrial ones.
If i had to choose I would do this
Green Hill - first level
Hill Top - mountains (Hill top and Green Hill are pretty different if you think about it)
Carnival Night - casino (use proto track)
Final Egg - base
City Escape - city
Hang Castle/Mystic Mansion - haunted level
Kingdom Valley - ruins
Windmill Isle - village
Aquatic Park - water park
What would be your choices?
I mean, when you're making a greatest hits game, you choose the greatest hits. I actually think they made really good choices with the stages for choosing what would be the most memorable for those who enjoy those games, and while on PAPER there are a lot of shared tropes, they do a good job to make them different. The four city stages are really different too, with Speed Highway and City Escape being very different in feel (and both being way, way too iconic to not include), while Crisis City turned up the emphasis on lava to make it into a firey stage while Rooftop Run added the festival theme and touched upon the air fortress theme just a little for good measure.
I feel the only stage I'd swap out in Generations personally would be Seaside Hill - since I'm personally not a fan of Heroes, I feel it's a worthy sacrifice to choose a "for variety" stage over a "for iconicness" stage, and agree with your selection of Hang Castle for that purpose. Having said that, Sonic Heroes was the entry point for many younger fans due to it being the first multi-platform Sonic - Seaside Hill is THEIR Green Hill. And to be honest, again, the team did a great job by dialling up the oceanic themes and turning it into a water stage.
On my dream list as well, I GUESS I would do Twinkle Park for Sonic Adventure, using the opportunity to put a bunch of Casino trope things into Classic Sonic's stage, while including a city area and the iconic skyscraper run into Modern Sonic's stage. But you could do this the other way round just as well - put a bit of Twinkle Park into Speed Highway. Having said this, the Casino Night DLC is very fun as is and does cover the casino trope as is.
Can't say I'm a huge fan of your list. Hill Top would be way too similar to Green Hill one after another aesthetically speaking and tbh Chemical Plant & Casino Night are way more fun AND iconic. Also not a fan of how bottom-heavy it is on watery-ruins aesthetic stages you've got for 2006/Unleashed/Colours at the end. While the stage itself was a bit underwhelming, I do think Planet Wisp is the perfect choice for the final stage - mixing the Green Hill and Eggman Base themes together. Carnival Night is literally my least favourite Sonic 3 stage and on a pedantic level, it would annoy me to have a stage with "Final" in the name halfway through the game lol.
So in short: Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Sky Sanctuary, Speed Highway*, City Escape, Hang Castle, Crisis City, Rooftop Run, Planet Wisp
*With some Casino theme/Twinkle Park areas added for each respective act, or vice verca
Yea, the lack of variety really hurts the game. I get the levels are iconic, but yea. If I had to choose themes that weren't chosen.
Green Hill - Obviously
And an original final zone to cap off the game.
Green Hill Zone
Emerald Coast Zone
Cool Edge Zone
Green Forest Zone
Hill Top Zone
Egg Fleet Zone
Flame Core Zone
...If you haven't figured it out, Yes, I put in stages that have the same theme and order as the generic NSMBs world themes
There are way too many potential stages for me to bother creating my ideal list. There are so many options and different ways to balance the variety of themes. If I could have it entirely my own way, I wouldn't have included either Unleashed or Colours in the line up. Both games were too recent (Colours especially with it being less than a year old by the time Generations came out), and seeing those environments remade wasn't at all exciting. You could replace the Unleashed and Colours with a second level from S1 (because GHZ such a necessary but boring choice), S3, CD or Rush (or ShTH at a real push).
I don't think Hill Top would be much like Green Hill at all, if anything I see a more "Mountainous" take on the level.
I also don't think Casino Night is better than Carnival Night, but eh, is either one or another. Maybe I would keep Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary as it is.
Final Egg is not my favorite but it would be better if it was it than Speed Highway. I would actually like Emerald Coast lol
Kingdom Valley is my favorite ruins level in any sonic game period due to it's aesthetic, and Windmill Isle feels like it would be a good break.
The thing about not being fan of the the stages, is that they are not actually my favorites, more that I think there is more room for improvement, Planet Wisp also was not all that good for Gens' final level.
My biggest problem are the four city stages, Speed Highway, City Escape, Crisis City and Rooftop Run.
I think the classic stages, for the time period Generations was released in, was pretty solid and gives you a bit of everything from the Genesis games. I agree that the modern selection was pretty lackluster and same-y though.
I'd prefer Windy Valley or Lost World for SA1, for SA2 I think City Escape is fine but alternatively I really like Green Jungle or Metal Harbor (if I'm restricted to Sonic's stages), for Heroes Rail Canyon/Bullet Station or Mystic Mansion. '06 probably Kingdom Valley as it's the one I associate with the game's advertising, Unleashed I'd used Cool Edge, Colors probably Asteroid Coaster.
Generations really is going to always be to me the game that could have used dlc the most.
Also, while unlikely as hell, I always thought in a game about time travel, it would have been marketing genius if they included a stage from a future sonic game (in this case, Lost World but LW was too far off unfortunately.)
Honestly I agree with Blue Blood that Colors and Unleashed shouldn't be in Gens, heck I would love a proper CD stage or a handheld one. Sky High? Sunset Park? Music Plant? Twinkle Snow? Dead Line? Coral Cave? Pirate's Island? 3 stages per era is so little....
@KHCastThat would be awesome, but i think seeing a lost world stage would underwhelm everyone lol
I don't know, I thought the choices were fine enough, they more or less picked the most iconic stages from the retrospective games. The only one I can say I really dislike is Crisis City. Planet Wisp too, but that's just because I don't like the Gens stage design and making 5-10 minute long levels. If they'd better designed Planet Wisp, I would've stuck with it.
I suppose if I had an ideal list, it would've been
-Chemical Plant (Act 2 is just far too good to remove from the game)
-City Escape or Metal Harbour
-Rooftop Run, or alternatively - Jungle Joyride
I'm fairly glad that Unleashed and Colours got in, mainly coz Unleashed is my favourite 3D Sonic game and I LOVED what they did with Rooftop Run in Generations. In a way I almost wish they had done the stages in a mixed order and ended on that one, since it had such an amazing celebratory vibe to it with the festival theme that was added. (Although I do wish they had somehow done a night time section, even if only in the missions - feels a shame to not get to experience the very pretty Rooftop Run Night as regular Sonic where we couldn't in Unleashed itself).
And... also it woulda just bugged me that it was only a celebration of Sonic's history up to half a decade ago, not the full history.
But yeah, it's tragic we didn't get DLC just to touch upon some of the missed games or add some more trope variety with some extra stages for games that had just too iconic a main pick to even consider anything else like Sonic 1 and Sonic Adventure 2.
If I were picking for diversity I'd go with:
Green Hill (Grassy)
Chemical Plant (Industrial)
Stardust Speedway (Futuristic)
Carnival Night (Casino)
Sky Deck (Airship)
City Escape (City)
Hang Castle (Haunted)
Sky Troops (Ruins)
White Acropolis (Ice)
Pirate Storm (Water)
Dragon Road (Jungle)
Molten Mine (Fire)
Starlight Carnival (Space)
If the stage selection really boiled down to stage variety vs. zone popularity, I would vouched for a third option. As much as I and others have given the game a ton of (deserved) crap for it, I would actually say that going the Sonic 4 route of having zones heavily rehashed from past stages would had actually been the better option. That way you could just have neutral zones of different settings that you could archive as much material (stage identities, gimmicks, badniks, bosses, etc.) into each zone across the series as possible, popular zones or not. And in the context of Generations being a nostalgia trip/anniversary game, the rehashing would be absolutely justified.
@KHCast regarding that "Lost World as a future zone" idea: Iizuka in some interviews said that a small team started prototyping work on Lost World when Colors wrapped, with the rest of the team going on to make Generations and then regrouping the LW team to finish that game. So maybe not an entire stage could be included, but I imagine some prototypes/concepts could had been snuck in as a special preview for what to expect for what would be the next game.