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Cosmos Rogue

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  1. I've been replaying Sonic Adventure for the first time in years. After growing up with the GameCube version I'm now playing the Steam port, modded to be more like the Dreamcast version of course. So far I've beaten Sonic and Amy's stories and am halfway through Big's.

    Some thoughts about the game so far:

    Sonic's stages have a great deal of variety to them, more than I remembered. Honestly Sonic's gameplay in SA1 might be more varied than in the rest of the 3D games combined. This is a double edged sword however. While all of the variety is great for keeping the gameplay fresh and giving each stage a unique feel during the story mode... I really have no interest in going back and playing Casinopolis or the first part of Twinkle Park again. More straightforward stages like Emerald Coast and Speed Highway I do enjoy replaying, so I understand why subsequent games play more like those stages.

    The camera almost singlehandedly ruins Sky Deck. At best it's slow to reposition itself, forcing you to wait before you can proceed without having to make a blind jump. At worst it never gives you a fair vantage point of where the next platform is, forcing you to make a leap of faith while guesstimating how far you need to jump.

    I don't know what exactly the problem is, but the way Sonic will briefly come to a complete stop if he rubs up against a wall or even runs on some pieces of floor is in my opinion the single biggest short coming in the game. It just makes the most basic action in the game - running - feel unreliable and bad. There is a good action platformer in SA1, but this issue spoils a lot of fun moments.

    Amy's gameplay was much more enjoyable than I expected. The level design is pretty consistently engaging, and her hammer jump is a really fun move to use. The only problem, and it is a big one, is how slow Amy is to accelerate. Not only does it make her feel sluggish even compared to non-Sonic platform characters, but she really struggles just to walk up a gentle slope. If Amy could get up to her more acceptable top speed quicker, I think her gameplay would have been a lot better received by fans and critics alike. Sonic Team, you and Sega treat her as one of the main characters, on par with Tails and Knuckles. Please actually give her another chance to shine at some point.

    Big's gameplay is bad, but you knew that already. Something I do like about his narrative (as well as Amy and Gamma's) is it does give us the perspective of someone actually being hurt by Eggman's evil schemes. Even though Eggman is ultimately upstaged in SA1 by Chaos, he remains a credible villain because the things he does do in the game actually get people/adorable little critters hurt.

    Holy crap is the Dreamcast version of SA1 much better looking than the GameCube version. It's hard to say the critics have been wrong to savage that version of the game when everything about SADX's visuals are broken and terrible. I don't think Sonic Adventure is a good game, but it definitely deserves a better legacy than what it has received.

     

    1. Blue Blood

      Blue Blood

      I'm just gonna reply to your paragraphs in order cause I'm feeling lazy...

      The first part of Twinkle Park is a chore, and it's such a shame because Pleasure Castle is such a brilliant stage. It's one of the slower areas, but the platforming is rich and varied. It's a great level. Casinopolis is a trainwreck though. The pinball tables are kinda nice, or at least the would be as minigames. The fact that they make up the entire level though, unless you go down to Dilapidated Way, is so tiring. 

      Personally speaking, Speed Highway is like my least favourite game in the stage after Casinopolis (but I don't count that because its barely even a proper level). I'm still salty that they picked it for Generations and then cut At Dawn, the only part of the level I actually enjoyed and found interesting. My favourites would easily be Red Mountain and Lost World. Those levels are so cool. Tons of variety within them and they're more platform-orientated, but speed is woven into them in a very natural way. I just think they're fantastic examples of how to design 3D Sonic levels. Guess I just like platforming levels a ton. Sky Deck would be up there too if not for the camera issues, and the middle section being a bit of a crapshoot at times.

      The physics in SA1 are notoriously twitchy. Brushing against walls makes the characters stop suddenly or in some cases lift off the ground briefly. It's so obvious in Windy Valley's third section. You think you'd be able to roll down those huge paths and gain some great speed, but you'll just clip the wall and Sonic will start running instead or, if you're unlucky, he'll fall upwards for a moment and over the edge if you don't catch him in time. Characters enter a "falling" state too quickly in SA1. When you get the ability, charge up Knuckles' Maximum Heat Attack in Station Square and then walk off a curb. He loses the charge because technically he was airborne for like 0.1 seconds after going off the curb. You hear the sound effect of the characters landing all too often, notably after brushing against a wall like you said. 

      Amy's levels are super fun. The crime is that there are so few of them and that her speed is ridiculous. I don't mind her being slow either, but she's too slow and can barely get up the slightest of inclines. It makes her go from a welcome, interesting change of pace to an absolutely chore. Jump > run > hammer jump. It's the only way to gain and maintain speed as her. The only other change she needs is the ability to attack whilst moving, without going into a jump. If she's walking and swings the hammer, she'll come to a dead stop.

      Yep. I love Big and I like his story. But his gameplay is stupid. It was a bad idea, and it wasn't even remotely fun. Nothing more to say.

      I grew up with SADX, the PC version. It's got absolutely nothing on the DC visuals. I played through the Steam version with all the DC mods as you're doing last year and it really enhances the experience. I hope that some day SEGA will actually create a port of the DC game, rather than the lazy, broken SADX PC port again. SA1 might have aged, but SADX was already a mess from the start. 

    2. Cuz

      Cuz

      I've always enjoyed Amy's section, and never quite understood the flack it got, but I have to admit I do instinctively jump and accelerate midair every single time. xD 

    3. Cosmos Rogue

      Cosmos Rogue

      @Blue Blood Agreed about Lost World being one of the high points in the game. There's a real sense of moving deeper and deeper into ancient ruins as you explore the level. There's a sense of progression to the level that the series has struggled to recapture since. The good part of Twinkle Park is also great, offering a verticality that the series has rarely provided.

       

  2. Sega needs to do a better job managing the release schedule than they have been in the past decade, but yearly releases are not practical, desirable, or necessary at this point. Colors and Generations were released one year apart from each other, as were Lost World and Rise of Lyric. Worse, Forces was released just three months after Mania! Yearly releases create competition within your own franchise. At best, both games are well received but one outshines the other and the lesser title fades from the public's mind. At worst, you pump out two more bad games that confirm many people's priors that Sonic is a trash series - and if the series is producing annually poor games, who can argue otherwise? If Sega can get to a point where a new Sonic platformer is coming out every 2 or 3 years, ideally cycling through the many different styles of games the series has produced over the years, then I think Sonic will be in a good place. Presuming the quality improves, natch.
  3. It depends on how much that is something they actually believe, and how much is performative clickbait. The former group will believe what they believe, while the latter will have to move on to some other low hanging fruit or face diminishing returns. That said, if a generation of kids grow up with unquestionably good Sonic games - and contrary to what a lot of Sonic fans believe, most people (including critics!) are willing to give this series a fair shot - then someday the mainstream narrative about Sonic will shift in a positive direction.
  4. If Sega announced that they are done making Sonic games - and they never would, they would at least want to leave open the possibility of a Crash/Spyro style revival down the line - it would generate headlines in major gaming outlets. But the fact is that Sonic games have barely made any noise in a decade. Sonic Forces was released on the heels of a game that won universal praise, and it couldn't do more than generate a collective shrug by the broader game community. The positive feelings this series generate evaporate quickly in market that is more competitive than ever, and the "LOL SONIC WAS ALWAYS BAD" meme market is already oversaturated. Sonic is little more than a curiosity (or an overused punchline...) at this point to most people, and so they would move on with their lives very quickly. Fortunately, I agree that it is unlikely that Sonic is going anywhere anytime soon. The series still rakes in money - in multiple formats, no less - and so Sega still has incentive to keep the lights on.
  5. I think you're on to something, although I wouldn't want them to make a "small" game that serves as the basis for all of the DLC (although small games do seem to be the default for the series at this point). A big missed opportunity in my mind was that we didn't get more DLC for Generations and Mania, which were really perfect platforms for map packs. What we did get with Mania at least is DLC characters. With how many characters this series has accumulated you're never going to be able to include everyone's favorite character at launch, but if you take the approach of a fighting or hero based game, you could release a couple of new characters (and levels) every year to help keep the last big title alive and fresh during the interminable wait for the next big Sonic game.
  6. Given how long game development takes*, whatever direction the next Sonic game takes is almost certainly set in stone already. Sega chases successes and flees from failures, but it'll be the success or failure of Sonic 30 that inform the direction the series takes afterwards. *When responsible publishers are involved...
  7. That looks a lot like the Sonic Team logo. Are we sure ST didn't just make a slight update to their logo?
  8. Younger fans just getting into the series. Older fans who are revisiting the series for the first time in years. Fans who have played the games 16,856 times already and would like their favorite games to be conveniently accessible on modern platforms.
  9. I doubt we're getting a rerelease of Generations anytime soon. Rereleasing it this year would risk it competing for sales with Colors, and both games under performing as a result. They could of course release them as a collection, but releasing them separately a couple of years apart would theoretically allow them to make twice as many sales. As for what the next major Sonic game is... we're kind of in uncharted waters here. Sega's management of the series has been highly reactionary since at least Heroes, and it's a problem that has only grown worse over time. While it's usually pointed out when they run screaming from any failure - most notably the death of the Adventure formula following Sonic '06 - they do try to repeat what successes they have. Classic Sonic's presence in Forces is an attempt to repeat the success of Generations, for example. So what is Sega to do in the wake of Sonic Mania, one of the series biggest successes, and Sonic Forces, one of it's biggest failures? There has been much consternation in the fanbase about Classic Sonic's presence in Forces... but it was also the Classic Sonic title that everyone loved. Why would Sega run away from something successful? Further complicating matters is that Sonic Forces apparently was a commercial success, if Sega's own statements are to be trusted. So, my guess as to what we're getting: Colors Ultimate sometime in the Summer, some sort of Mania followup as the big holiday season title, and Sonic Boost 5 next year. They'll finally do what they should and allow the classic and modern series exist in parallel, similar to the New Super Mario Bros. and 3D Mario titles. (The Whitehead versions of Sonic 1 and 2 getting ported to more platforms would also be nice.)
  10. Sonic's favorite vacation spots: a tropical island, a lush forest, and a dystopic toxic chemical factory.
  11. @King Conne Unfortunately, there aren't any real handheld systems - with low definition graphics and the lower production costs that came with them - left. The handheld games of the 2000s did a lot of good for the series, but that era of gaming is gone. But yeah, no more anniversary games. What would a 30th anniversary game even celebrate? The previous anniversaries?
  12. Was Sonic Heroes even intended for new audiences? The game is Sonic's first multiplatform release, but the game itself is bogged down with convoluted game mechanics and superficial appeals to fans of the classic series. By giving the player three characters to play as at the same time Heroes triples the number of moves the player has to learn how to use properly. Heroes then pushes this to the breaking point by making it possible to level up the characters, which means there are four different versions of each move you have to learn. An unleveled Sonic might be completely incapable of hurting an enemy that is carrying a shield, forcing him to use the Blue Tornado to blow that shield away before switching to Knuckles to dispatch the enemy with a quick punch attack. A level three Sonic however can knock that shield away with one Homing Attack and then destroy the enemy in a single hit with a second. How much damage your characters can do to the enemy constantly changes, as does what strategies you have available to you. You're doing much of the same things you did in the Adventure games to fight enemies, but with additional game mechanics (thoughtlessly) layered on. It's not Sonic 101 the Game. Further indicating that existing Sonic fans were the primary intended audience for Heroes is the drastic tone shift the game represents following the Adventure titles. Even as early as Sonic Adventure 2 you had fans of the classic titles who didn't like the multi-genre gameplay and character driven melodrama of the Adventure titles. Compared to the Adventure games Sonic Heroes has shorter cutscenes, brighter visuals, and a simpler narrative - theoretically things many Sonic fans were asking for at the time. This doesn't even get into the return of classic stages, Shadow, or the Chaotix, things that only existing Sonic fans would have cared about.
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