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Scritch the Cat

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Everything posted by Scritch the Cat

  1. Funny how merely letting us play as other characters would override the technicalities of plots not really needing them, especially when plots take a backseat in general. Now that I think of it, you could exclude Tails from the plot of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and very little would change. Some of the gameplay would be different, but aside from the plane stage, the whole scenario could work with Sonic only. But playing as Tails offered new experiences (at least in multiplayer), even if back then, he couldn't fly when under human control.
  2. I've always wondered this; from the very first moment I heard it back in the early 1990s. There were probably other games at the time that had their victory themes in a minor key, but none I can recall playing and certainly none with a mostly upbeat tone like Sonic The Hedgehog. That sort of ending music would make sense if it came in a scenario wherein the hero won a victory, but at a cost, or without any reason to believe there would be more victories. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but to me it seems hard to fathom why a composer wouldn't make a victory theme sound happy unless there was some other factor besides it being a victim theme. Really, though, I might just be whistling in the dark. I'd like an answer but if nobody has one this is just something to think about. Either way, I'm happy the theme was replaced Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  3. Here's the rub, though: What sort of actions are cool? Running fast? If that was cool Sonic would be super-popular again. Exploration-heavy platforming? Maybe, but modern Sonic games don't do that much. Memes? Probably are cool to some people, but relying on memes for attention hasn't necessarily made Sonic sell any better.
  4. No, but then, I thought even worse was coming. When they were boasting about removing characters, even when they were only specifically referring to them being playable, I was predicting they wouldn't even be present anymore. I did suspect characterization was going to get bad, given the precedent set by Shadow the Hedgehog. As to Mighty, Ray, and Classic Sonic, I hadn't really expected to see either of those again, after the unenthusiastic response to Sonic 4. Well, moving right along, the haunting question Sega might have to consider is, "What if making Sonic cool again isn't the best way to make games profitable?" Tastes change, so in order to keep up, they either have to rely on a different character to keep up with the times (Shadow The Hedgehog was an attempt; it failed), revise Sonic's own personality to fit new trends better (arguably it's been attempted many times, with debatable success), or just focus more on making games good.
  5. Speak for yourself; I saw that coming way in advance, because I was downwind of critics and other whingebags who were making an enormous stink about the extra characters; it was impossible for Sonic Team to ignore, so all it took was one indication they were catering to that to tell me where things were headed. I'm not sure what you mean by "dad jokes". I remember Roger Van Der Veide using that term to refer to the Sonic Boom cartoon, and there I assumed he meant "referring to things only older people who remember past incarnations of Sonic will find funny"(i.e., Tails ascribing "blast processing" to his invention or Sonic mentioning SonAmy fanfiction). Why you'd call the same thing "kiddy, faux-Mario-esque" also confuses me, though I'm not sure whether the main series has the same sort of humor. Pontaff has a reputation for not knowing enough about Sonic's past, instead. However, speaking of Mario, it's funny how Nintendo doesn't ever worry about him being overshadowed by other characters in his own series; even though Mario isn't conveyed as a "cool" character.
  6. I would certainly like for Sonic Team to prove me wrong, but I feel like I won't like Sonic Team unless they prove me wrong. Proving me wrong, I must restress, isn't just about talent. Of course there are many, many people who are worse at making games than Sonic Team is. However, most of those people aren't making games, and when people make fangames, even if the fangames aren't good, at least I didn't have to pay to play them. Bad official games are different. The reason I'm so skeptical of Sonic Team/Sega is not because absolutely everything they've released since 2006 is total garbage; they've had moments of competence even if the concepts they tried for games aren't the ones I'd prefer. Obviously, they don't intend for Sonic games to suck. However, the more recent release of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric implies that if a game does end up sucking, on an objective, technical level, they're still willing to release it for money without fixing it, and act as though nothing is wrong. (Note: Because I'm talking about the bad ethics of releasing unfinished games, I can include games based on the Sonic brand even if Sonic Team didn't personally make them.) While having even one humiliating moment like that was terrible, I might have warmed to them since if only they genuinely demonstrated they were sorry and turned over a new leaf, but no; we got another humiliating moment like that. We may get another still. We also may not, but even if the next few games we get are decent or even good, that doesn't absolutely put Sonic Team in the clear to me, because people thought Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations were decent or even good, and then Sonic Team still went on to release Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. What would do much, much more to redeem them in my opinion would be Sonic Team becoming more transparent to consumers; doing a multitude of things to let people test early builds of their games and report bugs; not just to the game creators but also to the public. Even if the reports that emerged revealed a currently terrible game, making that known would do a lot to show Sonic Team was willing to be better instead of just look better. Note: I am aware that Sonic Team has been merged with another division of Sega, meaning it technically doesn't exist. I use the term out of convenience because it still encompasses "the people who control the fate of the Sonic brand". Saying "Sonic Team must take responsibility for Sonic going in a good direction" essentially means that the people or sort of people (based on company position) who handed Archie a list of demands for revamping their adaptation to prevent any more harm of the sort Ken Penders caused, need to apply that sort of oversight to the games, as well.
  7. No, that meme exists because its creator was a fucking moron who proposed that one could extrapolate a cycle on the basis of one game and that most of the fanbase still consisted of Genesis purists; a big fallacy when Sonic Adventure 2 was the best-selling non-Nintendo game on Gamecube and a lot of people still love its characters. Posting it is banned here for good reason. The ire about side characters was originally directed at very niche cases like Big the Cat; almost never at Tails and Knuckles, and while Sonic Heroes probably exacerbated the backlash against extra characters due to them being used to pad the game out, there was never a sense that putting in unnecessary characters led to a glitchy game. And it didn't with Sonic 2006, either; that game is a broken mess because they didn't finish it. Had they done so, it would probably have been well-received, but some fuckwad suits at Sega made Sonic Team rush it out for Christmas and Sonic's fifteenth anniversary, and Sega deciding to start sucking off the "shitty friends" crowd was a convenient way to downplay that their execution was what stank, not the concept itself. If you need any greater proof, just look at the Game Boy Advance port they made of the first Sonic game on Genesis; only Sonic playable, a very short game whose levels were already designed, and its execution was still fucked up. Same with Sonic 4: Episode 1. The problem isn't other characters. The problem isn't even other playstyles. The problem is that Sega is willing to release unfinished shit and charge full price for it, and needs to be brought to terms with that fact by the whole fanbase. How to do that? With those fangamers you wrongfully disparage. Remember that awful GBA port I mentioned above? Fans did it correctly the VERY NEXT YEAR! The same group went on to make the mobile ports of several Classic Sonic games, and then Sonic Mania. Sega itself has given lie to your notion that they're more dependable than fans when it comes to getting Sonic right, given that they hired those people and still aren't as good at replicating Sonic's old engine when they try. Most of the times, in their 3D games, they don't try. Fanmade 3D games have actually gotten the physics pretty close to the ones in Genesis games; boost Sonic can pussyfoot out of that responsibility. They even showed it's possible to make Sonic 06 not suck. As to characters, 3D fangames haven't implemented them well-enough for my tastes, yet...but they're trying, which is far more than I can say for Sonic Team. Not getting it right yet isn't a valid criticism because almost no developers get it right initially; almost every computer program goes through a lot of crap mid-development; people test them, find bugs, report bugs, programmers fix bugs. Sega could make more ambitious Sonic games with more characters if they were willing to do more of that and not charge money until they've got it finished, and a big way to avoid a backlash would be to allow fans to come test early builds of games. Thus, no ex-post facto blaming it on ambitious ideas. Or if they have to blame it on ambitious ideas and scale back on them, they can at least save face by not releasing the game for money with those problematic bits still in. As to the excuse about needing to get Sonic's own gameplay right before adding other characters back in, look; even if that had been valid at the time Sega started saying it after 2006's wipeout--and I'd argue that it wasn't too valid, since Sonic played pretty great in Sonic Adventure 2--if they're still saying that over a decade later when they still haven't added those other characters back in, it's probably safe to assume Sega will never get Sonic's own gameplay right. The sad reality is that while now it is pretty obvious how to get Classic Sonic's gameplay right (though maybe still not obvious to Sonic Team), Modern Sonic's identity crisis is such that what "right" is for that is subjective. Boost is probably a bigger base-breaker than other characters ever were, and if it's not, it should be, since it's a fundamental change to how Sonic himself plays, and if successful, will necessitate a wholesale departure from Genesis-style Sonic gameplay. There are also entirely too many times when, as Roger Van Der Weide puts it, Sonic Team would rather burn down what isn't working than fix it. Having recently replayed both Sonic Adventure and Sonic Colors, a good example of this is camera. Granting that they never quite got camera controls working, completely removing controls and instead using automated camera angles that are often either too close or too far to interpret things easily was not an improvement. Moving along to Roger's other points, though, if Sonic Team defines "getting Sonic's own gameplay right" as making the game more straightforward, then I absolutely will not invite them to get it right before they add Tails and Knuckles back in, because that sort of design reduces the utility of such characters. Getting Sonic's gameplay right should mean his gameplay should utilize more exploration, too; except his specialty would still be speeding forward while Tails and Knuckles would be better for exploration. However, whether they're actually done, in their or other people's opinions, if Sonic Team thinks they're ready to make games with Classic Sonic and a character who uses grappling hooks in them, then they have at least some places that Tails and Knuckles can fit in, too. If not in their 3D segments, then at least in their 2D ones, of which for better or worse, there are still plenty. It's a start. It's not a finish, but it would be better than they've done in a main game for over a decade.
  8. I agree. One of the most absurd bits of news for me was that a lot of time and maybe money went into developing a new lighting engine for sonic Forces. Why?! I will grant that the resulting game is pretty, but do they really expect this series to make a big splash with great graphics when such are all over gaming today? Sonic games were already pretty; that was a dumb priority. The truth is that while Sonic Team or its ghost may not be as good at programming physics as Taxman, they still utilize platforming in their games. It's often in blocky, forced 2D sections, but that's enough for Tails and Knuckles to come back since they're good at vertical movement.
  9. I'd argue that unfortunately, the problem is deeper and older. The problem with Sonic Team, and furthermore, with the Sonic series, is that its primary concern has always been looking cool. I don't know how much Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima were looking specifically at Western trends when conceiving it, but these extreme sports dude trends happened to fit the series and character well, so that's what we got, along with a first zone designed to play up this specialty, followed by ones that...were spotty at doing so. Later Sonic games would get closer to this ideal of going fast through environments set up like skate parts, but they had the benefit of of being released when all of that was still cool. Trends change, though, and that's probably why they shat out Shadow the Hedgehog. Focusing on hatred of the supporting cast, and then on the mockery of the series and the popularity of memes, are just further episodes in this ongoing quest to appeal to what's cool, as opposed to investing enough in making a game that actually influences a broad consensus of what's cool. On that note. I need to ask: Does Sega not have faith in Sonic these days? Based on what I've heard, they seem to have been downsizing its development staff for a while and Sonic doesn't seem very popular in Japan. He isn't necessarily popular in the Anglosphere either these days, but he's still the first thing many think of when they hear about Sega, compared to Japan where people are more into Sega's animesque human characters. It may well be a blessing that now, Sonic is exclusively handled by American and Australian developers, but that is still hanging on their ability to fund a good game.
  10. Fuck yeah; it's a detriment, but I think the OP is wrong about one thing. Based on every Sonic game I've ever played, alternate playstyles are necessary. Or if they aren't, at least Sega thought so, because this didn't actually start with Big the Cat; that's just the point when it got so alien to the core Sonic experience that it was the most noticeable example of forcing in an alternate, slower playstyle--it helps that it's a whole, separate story, which inherently fuels arguments that the game can be improved just by taking that out. However, from the very first game, they made excuses to slow the experience down, whatwith Marble Zone and the Special Stages being a totally different type of gameplay than the signature Sonic speed. They added to the slowdown in subsequent games by making you explore and play methodically to get the Chaos Emeralds/Time Zones/Good Future. Also these games were packed with "no going back" mechanics meaning that if you didn't get something write the first time, you'd have to replay a bunch of stuff to get another chance. I hated that part of Classic Sonic and hated seeing it return in Sonic Colors--especially since that game is full of invisible walls, speed pads and forced dimension shifts, putting me further at the mercy of the developers' insistence that I do things their way or not at all. The bottom line is that no mainstream Sonic game I have ever played is totally content to let you speed through everything to complete it fully. All of them demand some form of slowing down at points in order to complete 100%, and I think the reason for this is that being all speed would make the games too short; that or make them take an absurd amount of time to develop. Also, while some people say they'd love to see a Sonic game that was all-speed, all the time, unless Sega somehow discovers a way to give Sonic the same level of control while at full speed that normal characters have when going slower, it seems there's a very limited amount of things Sonic can actually do when going fast, which would lead to a very repetitive game. My take on the base concept of Sonic going fast is that its novelty wears thin if it's not well-rationed. You need some other sort of gameplay to break it up, but Sonic himself isn't as well built for platforming, combat, etc, so it makes sense to bring in some other characters who are better at it. The key for me is this: Other gameplay styles don't have to be as fast Sonic's ideal established in Green Hill Zone, but they have to be fun and the characters have to have some really impressive abilities to justify their existence The problem with Big the Cat is that his gameplay isn't what many gamers consider fun, and his athletic skills (at least originally) start and end at being able to lift heavy things, which is only used a very little bit in the game. Yet none of the ire aroused by Big the Cat, even when directed at other post-Genesis characters, ever hit Tails and Knuckles until maybe 2006 botched them, but it botched Sonic, too.
  11. I can't speak for the last two of those, but while The Shape of Water isn't a comedy, it shares with Who Framed Roger Rabbit that its central couple is still weird. It's not a film about an alternate reality where everything is super-different and interspecies romances are normal; rather it's a period-piece which exaggerates the 1950s' desire for conformity and sets the romantic leads against that. The film posits that it can work, but it doesn't pretend it isn't a struggle against norms. Moreover, while I have no familiarity with the others you mention, I can say that every well-received story I know of that has involved interspecies romance does this. The Frog Prince, Beauty & the Beast, Shrek, etc, all are about convincing people that interespecies couples are valid, but none of them starts assuming their audience is already convinced, and even though they're fairy tales, plenty of their characters aren't, either. That is because while the rational side of our brains can conclude that the key to a good romance is mutual consent, and thus this would be possible between different species if only they could communicate, and the idealistic side of our conscience says that true love is about more than sexual attraction, there's always going to be an instinct, formed in our world where multiple highly communicative species don't exist, that makes us understand the mindset of the "Gaston" figures, and accept that they're always a fitting obstacle in such stories. The only work I've found where interespecies couples are considered normal by default is BoJack Horseman, and these couples still go through turmoil calling their compatibility into question; I've read it argued that they're made different species as a metaphor for such personality clash. Sonic 2006 doesn't do any of this, though. None of the expected uneasiness of the relationship, based on either the leads' nervousness or opposition from elsewhere in society, is present. They just click together as personalities, Eggman and Silver complicate things but not because either shows any objection to such a romance, and if they weren't there the romance wouldn't have places to go because it was already apparently there. Beyond even that this relationship carries some inherent "yuck" factor for many people, it's just plain boring. The plot would arguably be better-received if there was never any romance to it and Elise was merely a damsel-in-distress; sure that trope is boring and cliche, and most such damsels tend to be really lame characters, but if Sonic wasn't romantically invested in such a character it would come off so much more as him doing this because it's the heroic thing to do and not because he has a self-interest in doing so. In fact, Sonic X had an episode with Sonic befriending a little girl bound to a wheelchair, taking her an a trip to see places she walways wanted to go but couldn't, no romance involved, and it's considered one of the better moments of the show. The thing about adding romantic relationships to Sonic's plots is that even if good enough writing could make almost any of them work, they're normally so absent from this series' premise that they'll face a wall of skepticism when they're introduced, in a way that they wouldn't in stories that are about romance by default. Sonic doesn't usually act like the settle down and raise a family type; he's a good guy but a very adventurous good guy whose good deeds take the form of charging in to save the day, falling in with allies who are already fighting the good fight or showing the depressed how to have a good time. All of such actions fit with Sonic's personality. Good writing might turn Sonic into a good romantic lead, but it might have to change so much in the process that he might lose some of what appeal he has. Not to mention how the gameplay would have to chance to accommodate this.
  12. Incidentally, The Geek Critique made a video review of Sonic 2006 making a strong case that it is substantially different from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. See, even WFRR doesn't portray their relationship as normal because that's the joke. Even living all his life in an alternate world where humans lived and worked with cartoon characters, Eddie considered that marriage weird, and he probably still would if they were the same species but still very different art styles and personalities. That story element doesn't work if it isn't weird, and because it's a comedy it doesn't have to delve deep into how they make it work; a couple constantly feeling awkward is a funny couple. Sonic 2006 is not a comedy. Its central couple has no quarrels, no turbulence caused by their personalities, nothing to make the couple's affection for each other feel real or endearing despite all that, so it's impossible to overlook the inter-species factor that makes it feel icky; however much a better-written plot could rationalize it--and putting such a plot in that game would have hogged even more time. On that note, I have been on TheTechnodrome.com since even before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012, and trust me, the relationship between Donatello and April (if you can even call it that) was controversial from the start. Not just because they're different species, either. Besides his usual machine-doing ways, 2012 Donatello was basically Brief from Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt in how he handled his crush--with two exceptions. 1, while neither character really considers that his romantic fantasies about his first crush might be based on nothing more than shallow, potentially downright predatory lust, PSG itself recognized and lampooned those quirks, and 2, it was made for adults who understand the problem with that sort of thinking. TMNT2012 was made for children who don't inherently understand empathy or personal space, treating constant stalker behavior as a precious part of childhood to mollycoddle, rather than correct. They were not handling that anywhere near well-enough to sell people on the idea of interspecies romance, and tellingly they just gave up eventually. They didn't even do it in the predictable manner of getting April and Casey together, either; they just dropped the romance angle entirely. Are you kidding?! There is absolutely no indication in any game that Shadow sees Maria as anything other than a sister. In fact, I don't remember any indication Shadow has romantic feelings for anyone. He gets along well with Rouge by now, but compared to how she and Knuckles momentarily interacted after their second fight and how Amy sees Sonic, that simply isn't part of Shadow's character. I'm not saying it's wrong to ship him with...someone, but don't act like his motivations being tied to his only friend being murdered somehow sets an official precedent for a human-hedgehog kiss to feel normal. It doesn't.
  13. Scritch the Cat

    Change a character’s personality

    I have played a lot of Sonic 1, 2, and CD recently since getting them for my iPad, and something I notice is that the sprites convey more emotional range than the talk here about how inherently simple a character he is would make one assume. When you don't press anything, he gets impatient, when he nearly falls off a ledge, he looks nervous, and while official art has his eyes rounded, in-game they're often scrunched in a triangular shape more like Shadow's, implying he's angry and determined to set off to save the day. Naoto Oshima's art also gave him different expressions, as did the Toei cutscene in Sonic Cd. Only American box and publicity art seemed to focus only on smiles. The point of the above is that Sonic can feel negative emotions, and at some points he should. There's nothing wrong with Sonic having a sense of humor; in fact I think it's a big part of why the character has aged so well and one of the few official Sonic-related things I have enjoyed in the past few years. However, going too long without showing that anything the villains are doing ever makes Sonic sad, or mad, or worried, etc, eventually makes it feel like he's only in this for the thrills, and whenever evil strikes again, instead of having any real aversion to it, he seems delighted that it gives him another chance to have fun. That can get annoying, although a bit less when plots don't feel serious. The reason I don't accept the rationalization that Sonic acts all happy and comical because he's just that sure of himself, is because Sonic isn't the only person that exists in this universe and he knows it. Maybe he's not worried for himself, but he should at least worry for others. The others would originally be the animals inprisoned in the robots and capsules. Sonic may not be deep but in this case he didn't have to be; he was mad because he's an animal too. That he himself wasn't caught or imprisoned didn't stop him from empathizing with those who were. This was a simple plot and maybe subtly conveyed, but still it provided a precedent for Sonic as someone troubled by innocents coming under harm. Unfortunately, we shouldn't expect Sonic to treat anything as if it's at stake when his series doesn't, either. I'm not just talking about the Pontaff writing, either; also the irritating "continuity bubble" policy that prevents a large mythology from forming. Why care about saving the world when a world barely exists to need saving?
  14. Confession time: I have played all four of those games a fair amount. However, the only one I've actually beaten is Sonic the Hedgehog, and not with all of the Chaos Emeralds, either. Since then, I've gone on to complete both Sonic Adventures, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 2006 (with great pain), and most of the Dimps games--the last of which, I'm a rather severe critic. Like many people, I'm delighted by the prospect of Sonic Mania , seeing it as a genuine return to the good old days of Sonic, well-warranted after so many touted-but-not-really returns, and I figured now, in anticipation, would be the perfect time to back and play the classics. I've gone back and played them (just two of them, so far), and it's reminded me of a big reason I didn't complete them before: Because they're hard! Not only that, though, I think a big problem is they're hard for a lot of the wrong reasons. I've certainly completed my fair share of games I considered hard, but in those cases, conquering the challenges was largely a matter of being skilled. Far too often in Sonic 1 and 2--I haven't retried the others yet--I encounter challenges that seem like they require not skill, but memory to pass. Slamming into spikes because I wasn't nimble enough to evade them when I saw them can be frustrating, but it's fair. Slamming into them just because I didn't know they were just above a hill before I decided to spin-dash up it, is enraging. What makes it even worse is the reward for learning where those hazards are, and keeping rings, is getting to visit special stages, which also take memory into account! Then on top of all that, there's only a limited amount of chances to get into these special stages, and there's no level-selecting, saving, or retrying, so the presumed intent seems to be that gamers just play the games over and over again until they know them in and out so well they finally do it. With the amount of irritation this is giving me right now, I must say that I'm not sure that's worth it to me. I like Sonic. I like many Sonic games, and some other Sonic media, and these are among the games I do, in fact, like...but I'm really worried that if I actually try to buckle down and complete these things, on their questionable terms, I'll have spent so long doing it that I grow to hate them, and want nothing more to do with Sonic as a whole for a long time. In particular, feeling my attitude towards the music shift seeded that worry. I like the soundtracks of these games; enough that I'll even listen to the songs on my computer while I do other things like my work. That should have been an incentive to play the games, but in fact, having to spend the amount of time needed to learn to play these games well has forced me to listen to these songs so long that some of them have gotten unbearable; prompting me to turn them down and load YouTube videos on my phone instead. Believe me; it pains me to say this sort of thing when a few too many critics now include these classic games on their ever-growing list of allegedly terrible Sonic games, but I really don't think they're a perfect act to follow as of now. They're not terrible, of course; they're not even bad , but as someone who has spent a lot of his time arguing about how the Sonic series shouldn't be bastardized, I feel kind of pathetic experiencing its oft-touted gold standard and finding it wanting. I don't hate these old Sonic games, but I hate that I don't love them; at least, not from what I've seen so far. So I've got some questions. Am I alone in this sentiment? Am I a failure as a Sonic fan for thinking this? Should I dare to live with the shame that comes of seeing Shadow the Hedgehog through but giving up on the classics? Or alternately, does it get better? That doesn't mean, do players get better, because I already feel myself getting better, but rather, is the exhilarating pride of finally being able to pull this stuff off fun enough to offset how sick I'll be of the games by that time? Is there something I'm missing about the proper way to play these things? Answer however you see fit.
  15. I would love to use these in fan projects. I've been looking, but I haven't found any that are free of other sounds like music, sound effects, etc. Does anyone know of a source for these?
  16. The examples you gave for Nintendo are pretty isolated. Zelda tends only to reuse the title character, Link and Gannon because they're characters who get reincarnated across generations. Donkey Kong, meanwhile, seems like it was affected by an anti-Rare backlash beginning with the moment the Stamper Bros sold out Rare to Microsoft, leading to (some) future developers axing what Rare had added even when making games that could use them just fine. (Like replacing Rhambi with Hoofer.) Neither of these, though, are Nintendo's standard. Their standard approach to characters is that they'll keep showing up so long as they fit into a gameplay niche that is still around. If that niche vanishes, the characters do, if it resurfaces, so do they. But more than that, some characters do stick around, regardless of mechanics. Bowser is almost always the villain of Mario games, even when how he fights changes, and even in games where he's not the villain, he's still usually there.
  17. Possibly Unpopular Opinion I Hold: Sonic's portrayal in Sonic 2006 was good: For all the many, many problems with that game's plot--not to mention other things about that game--the sort that came afterward actually made me appreciate this version of Sonic. I grant it was different from what Sonic was before; probably a bit more subdued in personality, but compared to how he acts in the more recent, more humorous games, I like how this version of Sonic emphasized that he's a hero. I accept that the fun-loving, wise-cracking side of his personality was, is, and probably always will be more marketable, and I like it, too, but it gets grating when no matter what sort of bad thing is happening in the games, he seems to treat everything as just another excuse to have fun, as if he's unaware that anyone else is suffering and he's little more than a rival to Eggman--a trend so obvious that Sonic Boom mocked it cosntantly. 2006 Sonic still has his fun side, but instead of it making him an oblivious buffoon, he notices that Elise is unhappy and tries his hardest to cheer her up against all odds; not by pretending nothing's going wrong but by trying to be the one thing that goes right for her. Then, at the end of it all, despite having a good time and them having gotten very close, when Sonic learns that the only way to save everything is to erase these events from history, he does so. Sonic loves doing what's fun, but he won't do it at the expense of doing what's right, painful though it is. It's a real shame that this was all linked to an awkward romance that people hated and Elise herself wasn't a good enough character to make it truly work, but I do feel that had they put in a different sort of companion, the plot would have gone over much better--though I'd hate for it to become the series norm.
  18. Scritch the Cat

    Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

    I haven't played Sonic Generations, so I can't opine on how easy it is, but grant that plenty of games in which it's obvious that pits are bottomless aren't considered easy. The mere presence of pits can be plenty challenging, when the challenge is in not falling into them. The thing with Sonic is that at least in the 2D games, none of the pits really offer much challenge once you know where they are, so arguably they belong right alongside limited chances of getting Emeralds, Fishing and the Werehog as things that are there just to make the games longer without putting in a lot of extra levels, which for this series is unfortunately understandable as speed-focused levels have to be huge. Still, these bits have fallen prey to critics once it became fashionable to diss Sonic, and while I think it's pretty crummy how critics seem to like kicking developers when they're down, they have a point here. To play a Sonic game is to invest time into something that often has less real content than its peers, so you'd better really like Sonic to choose it over something else.
  19. Scritch the Cat

    Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

    Going back to Scrap Brain Zone, the weird thing is those first two pits beneath trap doors are at the beginning and a bit of a false precedent for the rest of the level. Often later, falling isn't fatal, and in fact, there are some useful things down beneath the main path. Arguably an example of trial and error, but you don't necessarily need those items.
  20. Can we just take a moment to remember that in real life, echidnas have four-headed penises? I think Penders incorporating that into his story would be hilarious.
  21. Scritch the Cat

    Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

    To be fair, I didn't 100% complete any with all the Emeralds and whatnot, but some of the main games, I did find a bit too easy, owing to too many times when you can just hold right to win. Sonic Rush, I think that one is genuinely good. I have a hard time praising it, though, since it introduced the boost.
  22. So do I, personally, but that's like saying I hate "noise music". Sometimes things have such purposeful resemblance to other things that complaints can't really amount to much more than a grudging "Mission Accomplished". Although speaking as someone who was made to watch it too much as a result of everyone else being a fan, I will say that not even the awkward, hesitant and repetitive cut-scenes of Sonic Adventure are as boring as the internal monologue sections permeating the 1990s cut of DBZ!
  23. Scritch the Cat

    Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

    This might be wholly down to opinion, colored by certain experiences and factors we don't necessarily even remember. However, in general it seems to me that Sonic 1's levels are better at conveying what they're mainly about via their design, and even though it's intended to be hard, Scrap Brain Zone is no exception. It's full of right-angles, narrow corridors, things that squish, burn, cut, and zap, and at least most of it is foreseeable, so it signals that it's the sort of place you can't just be reckless. Speed still matters, but in this case it's not for continuous running, but rather, getting through danger zones before it's too late. Pits, I will concede, are always annoying in 2D Sonic games, but they're a little less annoying when they're covered by doors that open and shut, implying you don't want to stay on when they open--that's at the very least, a better alternative to pits suddenly being deep into Spring Yard Zone and Mystic Cave Zone when earlier sections of the zones suggested they wouldn't be. Scrap Brain Zone also has a very clean appearance that makes it fair; initially you might run into a flame spurting from an open pipe, but after that it becomes clear that you will want to avoid said pipes, and they are highly visible. Sonic 2 zones may have more distance between their traps, but a lot of them are built in such a way as to encourage running. When I see a curve, hill, or any terrain that isn't straight horizontal or vertical, I want to exploit it; I want to send Sonic plummeting down any terrain with an inverted arch at the bottom just to see how much it will accelerate him and what it will send him up; a want especially encouraged by how much more exploration-heavy the game is and how entering its special stages requires hunting for rings. But enemies are constantly ambushing. Making it worse, the look of most stages is much, much busier, leading to enemies and traps hiding behind foreground decorations a few too many times. It also seems to me that Sonic 1 doesn't impede forward momentum as much; obviously things have to be dodged but it seems that more of them are dodged vertically, meaning graceful jumpers can keep moving forward. Sometimes you'll have to accelerate or decelerate, but not outright stop or reverse course as much as in Sonic 2. Sonic 2's levels being so curvy and maze-like also detracts from being able barrel through. In an odd way, it feels like Sonic 2's design is applying too much realism at the expense of fun; as if the level designers were actually thinking to themselves, "Hmm; if I was Eggman, how would I kill someone who loves moving quickly?" It might even have been a valid design strategy if they gave Sonic something to help bring the odds back into his favor, and make no mistake, things can go far in the opposite direction, such as moments in modern games when enemies stand in a neat line parallel to the road Sonic on just so he can boost through them easily, but the key point here is for a game to be fun. Giving a hero more things to play with is fun. Difficulty can be fun, but it can be annoying instead when it's due to how unpredictable and unfair a scenario is. This is why I compared Sonic 2 unfavorably to Mega Man, and also to Sonic games that came after; both give you more things to play around with, rewarding you for your hard work. When I said earlier that in Classic Sonic games, the reward and punishment are basically the same thing, what I mean is that these games are meant to be played repeatedly; whether you get a Game Over, beat them without all the Emeralds, beat them with some Emeralds, or beat them with all Emeralds, a big part of the design philosophy is that players get better and better, and feel proud of themselves when they finally are good enough to speed through it all. I notice such improvements even in myself, and Geek Critique adores Sonic 2 for that reason, so clearly there is some validity to that design strategy. However, all of it is founded on a very reaching assumption: That what people are good at doing and what they enjoy doing are the same thing. That is what we call "A big if". If you still enjoy Sonic 2 after enough repeated playthroughs to have perfected it, you might love the feeling of playing it perfectly. For people like me, though, there just isn't enough to like in the game for that to be the case. If I kept at it I could conquer the challenges, but when the challenges are the only thing it feels like the game adds to the core Sonic formula, I'm not sure why them not being challenging anymore really improves the game, since logically that just reduces it back down to the bare-bones. I keep getting better, but in my opinion, the game doesn't. The series does, but not Sonic 2.
  24. Scritch the Cat

    Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

    So another update: I spent about $100 to get a controller to play the Taxman port of Sonic 1. It instantly felt much better than the touch controls (I hate touch screens in general), and I got better at the game in a hurry. By my second time through I was able to breeze through Marble Zone without taking a hit. By my third time through with a new file, I was able to get the Chaos Emeralds well in advance of the last level. (Not that they do much in that game.) My opinion of Classic Sonic thus risen with modern conveniences that fit it into my lifestyle, I was thus eager to try the Taxman port of Sonic 2. I still don't like it much. Even with a save, even with limitless continues, even with my now well-established ability to get better at the game, almost the whole thing is just such a bad combination of terrain designed to encourage speed and a clusterfuck of hidden enemies and traps to cockslap said speed, that it makes Shadow the Hedgehog look pleasant in comparison. Yes; I went there! For all that the first Sonic game gets a bad rap these days about (allegedly) betraying the ideal it sets forth in Green Hill Zone almost immediately after, even the more blocky levels lend themselves well to speed-running once I got better at it. However, getting good at Sonic 2 so frequently means knowing when to slow down and proceed with caution that it barely feels like a Sonic game anymore. And trying for the Special Stages slows things down even further.
  25. Scritch the Cat

    Should Sonic take a break?

    I don't want them to stop working on Sonic games. But I'd like them to keep working on a game until they can make it something really great. Of course, the problem with this approach with regards to Modern Sonic is that it might not have a unified enough identity to give them a good idea of what makes it great. Unless they settle on the boost, in which case making next game will be a matter of choosing what other gameplay gimmick they want to pad it out. Meanwhile, Classic Sonic has a definitive enough identity, and 2D games are easy enough to make, that sequels to Sonic Mania can be released more frequently to keep making money and keep reminding people Sonic exists.

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