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The 3rd Option

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  1. Being "less fun" is just your opinion. Sure, they can't be played as aggressively fast as Sonic... but shouldn't that be the point of Tails and Knuckles already? The problem with their classic implementation is that, yes, they can be played aggressively fast since they have the spin jump, spin dash, and spin attack. I don't mind Tails and Knux sharing Sonic's ability to pick up blistering speed from slopes nor do I mind them running almost as fast as Sonic, but giving them such meager drawbacks to their abilities is just really bad gameplay balance. Again, I can appreciate how S3&K and Mania do their best to mitigate the advantages of those aerial abilities thanks to its smart use of walls and verticality. But I still don't find it conducive to good gameplay balance or design.
  2. Spin jumps are only safe in regards to enemies. In regards to platforming, which is by far the greater element, flight and gliding utterly destroy it. I think making Tails and Knux worse at fighting enemies to compensate for their exploration feels like a better trade-off. They still should have their methods of fighting: Tails can do his tail spin and Knux can have his punching, but they should be less safe at combat than speed-emphasized Sonic.
  3. The other characters absolutely should be trickier to use, though, especially if their unique central mechanics undermine platforming the way gliding and flight do. A measure of speed is fine (heck, actually desirable) for balancing unity and variety in Sonic. But if such powerful aerial abilities are left unchecked, the characters just become "Sonic, but better" rather than having their own actual playstyles.
  4. I can definitely see where you're coming from. Perhaps it would be best if either they designed the levels so that the spin dash isn't necessary, or that every character has an alternative to the Spin Dash that isn't safe. I also would like Tails and Knuckles to be more differentiated from Sonic in the future, regardless of whether they have the same levels or not. I personally think they should both get Amy's "peel out" instead of the spin dash so that their speed isn't quite as safe/emphasized as with Sonic. It would also be cool if they don't have the ball jump either.
  5. This is a fantastic write-up, and thank you for expressing your love for the variety of the Adventure games. As @Sonic Fan J said, the most common design philosophy for video games in general is to have the characters play similarly with only a few differences in stats and/or abilities, but that just forces you to play the whole campaign from start to finish over and over again to get the complete experience of the game. Yes, the other characters are "optional", but people pay for the complete experience of a game, optional or not. If they're just going to do the same things over and over again with slightly different abilities, they'll just get bored of the game. And I also totally agree that while the boost gameplay is a thrill, it's just limiting to design around in practice. There's no way to implement flight, gliding, and climbing when the boost gameplay has such massive focus on running on what are essentially racetracks. That said, I can also get behind this: As I've been saying earlier, it seems that people agree that Forces' Avatar is a nice compromise between "Sonic+X ability" and "alternate gameplay". I'd love to see more characters like this if Tails and Knuckles can have levels designed around flight and gliding while still being fast.
  6. And therein lies the problem. Unless the game is focused on precise reflexes like Mega Man, vertical platforming doesn't emphasize the speed-focused design of Sonic at all. Tails and Knuckles are really fun to control no matter what, but just shoehorning their flagrantly anti-Sonic abilities onto Sonic's levels just isn't a good idea. Advance 1 Amy definitely had that problem, but I really do think that she was well-designed with the levels not exactly handling her Step Dash all too well. Oddly enough, Advance 2 and 3 improved Amy a lot by giving her her own Peel-Out Dash, but the level design got a lot worse. At this point, I think the best option to lessen the load on the developers is nerfing the aerial abilities. Perhaps if Tails' flight was limited to a few "jumps", and Knuckles' gliding was more like Blaze's in Rush without climbing, they wouldn't have to ignore the speed focus of Sonic.
  7. Yeah, even back in the classic 2D games, Tails and Knuckles are designed with some poorly thought-out abilities when you think about it. Sonic games are supposed to be platformers, yet Tails and Knuckles are designed in such a way that they undermine actual platforming altogether in a way that Sonic doesn't. Sure, 3&K and Mania have a lot of vertical challenge to mitigate it, but then you have the Advance games, where the levels clearly are designed for Sonic, yet only Amy really feels well-designed since she doesn't have an ability to utterly break the game. So I guess the only two options here are to severely nerf the gliding and flying a la Heroes or to keep their abilities as powerful as they are but design around them.
  8. I get why that "everyone playing the same+distinct stats/abilities" is the common design for video games from then until now. As you said, it all comes down to the consistency being easy to execute. But just because "everyone plays the same" is easier to execute doesn't mean it's the right way to execute. I honestly can't think of any other games with more ability diversity among the cast than Sonic, and because of that, those abilities absolutely should be designed around them, and not by shoehorning them as well as their own "unique routes" onto Sonic's levels. Again, I do think Forces' Avatar is an acceptable, even excellent, compromise between "Sonic+X ability" and "alternate gameplay". Avatar and Modern Sonic do play fairly similarly, but have their own unique abilities, and said abilities have the levels designed around them. It gives a good sense of familiarity for those who like "Sonic+X ability" and variety for those who like "alternate gameplay".
  9. Then the better thing to do would be to *not* make the characters so similar to one another. Why does everyone have to be able to run nearly as fast as Sonic and curl into a ball anyway? It feels like it devalues Sonic's position as the series' top speedster. Knuckles' abilities should complement his gliding, and Tails' abilities should complement his flight. If both of them run fast in addition to their aerial abilities, they just feel like Sonic with some ability tacked on.
  10. No, I totally get you. I can understand why some people want the "Sonic+X ability" design for the other characters. I just disapprove of the idea that the other characters can *only* be "run to the end". Giving the other characters different goals is what gives the series its spice. It feels like you're using the abilities of the other characters to the fullest instead of using them to cheat Sonic's levels.
  11. Oh come on. Did Crash 3's multitude of vehicle levels kill the series right then and there?
  12. Frankly, I could honestly get behind this. If the Avatar marks the sweetspot between "alternate gameplay" and "Sonic+X ability", then I'm all for it. It would be a good compromise. Just design levels around Tails' flight and Knuckles' gliding, and don't give them literally the same stages as Sonic, and everything's good.
  13. But as Generations showed, building levels to be as vertical and multilayered as possible skews a bit too much towards quality over quantity. Yes, the levels are unquestionably the best of the boosting games, but there's just so little of them. Yes, there are Red Rings and abilities to add a bit of replay value, but it's only a bit. Besides, Generations' idea of "variety" was to do those lame-ass missions that were just small segments of the level with minor changes. I hadn't seen such blatant filler since the pre-dungeon fetch quests in Skyward Sword.
  14. The problem with heavily incorporating verticality into 3D is that, more often than not, it might come across as constraining. With low verticality, you can actually see where you're going since the way forward is clear. With verticality, you might not be able to see where you're going. Could you imagine if you're put in essentially a 2D Sonic level and the camera is behind the back? It would look awkward as hell.
  15. Do you remember this topic from quite some time ago? The reason the S3&K/Advance/Mania style works in 2D is because the verticality of the level design helps balance the characters' aerial abilities. Tails and Knuckles don't seem as blantantly better than Sonic since the level design never favors one over the other. In 3D, that verticality is gone. Meaning that the two only way to make characters both distinct and balanced is to give them alternate playstyles, or severely nerfing their abilities to the point where they don't matter as much. I'd rather go for the former since it has that variety that Sonic games need.

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