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Combat/Enemies in Sonic


SilentDoom
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Imagine this.  You encounter a sort of Motobug like enemy in the mid to late game (a little larger and stronger but still with that driving on one wheel basis).  Now you could just use the Homing Attack on the enemy and defeat it, but it may try to retaliate and if it doesn't and you kill it but you get minimal points.  So instead you use a weaker attack (something like some kind of melee attack), work your way behind the enemy and then leap on its back and start riding on it like in the Sonic CD FMV.  From there you can continue driving it controlling it like some kind of car, leap off it and let it ram into a wall or drive into other enemies for a greater reward.  Pretty crazy idea I know, but still I think it could be damn cool.

Sonic the Rodeo Clown. I can see it now...

 

Seriously, though, that seems like a good idea. As far as enemies go, Motobug gave me an idea for different themed versions of him. Like, maybe a fiery Motobug that leaves a small, damaging fire trail behind it, or a Motobug that fires a paralyzing/freezing bullet that can make it easier to ram into you?

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Now I see what you mean, but I mean didn't you notice as you progressed further some of the enemies git harder, although egg flyers the ones that shoot the lasers don't count, because if you home in too soon you get hurt. Unleashed had enemies that never hurt you if you walked into them. Faster and more aggressively (this a series for kids you know) they need to add challenge acts for that. Unique enemies per act…no per zone is fine also adding that seal was an unfair move, because you get trapped, that's a rediculous difficulty spike.

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I think these ideas are really cool, but only if they don't affect the pace of the game. You should never have to actively slow down or stop just to defeat an enemy, then we get Heroes's and 06's problems. All this extra stuff would have to be implemented in a way that didn't break the flow. 

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Oh yeah definitely.  I personally don't approve of segments in a Sonic game where you're forced to deal with a group of enemies just to progress.  You should tackle the enemies only if you feel like getting a better score or exploring new areas.  There were very few instances in the classics (if any as far as I can remember) where you HAD to kill an enemy.  You could've evaded it in some way so you kept all your forward momentum.  

 

The enemies should be used as a way to vary level design rather than hinder pace.

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Every Sonic fan wants to be able to do what he does in the Sonic CD outro. I'm with you when you say enemies can have purposes beyond just being obstacles (or stepping stones as the series used them in the past). Motobug riding would be awesome. Something like luring enemy missiles to open new paths wouldn't be bad design. Enemies that double as bumpers/bouncers with an actual purpose would be okay. And riding a Buzzbomber would be damn cool.

 

I'm not sure of actual Sonic combat because Sonic Team dicked this all up in Heroes where combat was, see one enemy, perform one move, in a rock-paper-scissors fashion. It's clear Sonic needs something aside from the homing. Colors was cool because many Wisp abilities doubled as ways to deal with enemies but we should have something more permanent than a power up. But I'm also concerned that a moveset you could actually call combat would be too hazardous for Sonic's current level build. Acrobatics are more suited to open space, and Sonic still plays in lanes. If it managed to be fast and frantic similar to the Rush trick system I'd enjoy that. Maybe a version of Shadow's attacks from '06, where one move leads into another move, or a small tree of moves comboing out from a basic jump dash. Let's take this concept for a second - if the homing did no damage, or there was a targeting move in addition to the homing that let Sonic cling to enemies. Sonic jumps on a guy - and now you got all these options - will you buzz him in pieces, hijack him, fling him away as you jump to a new enemy? However all these moves should work with a flow of moving Sonic forward - stop and go combat has already proven to be useless in a series like this. Some moves could be used to reach new parts of levels. I dunno if this is what you're talking about but that's my couple of ideas.

Edited by American Ristar
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sandworm.jpg

If we could get more Badniks like Sandworm here, I'd be happy.

 

Of course, they need some type of weakness. Sandworm here is pretty much the only enemy in 4 Episode 2 that can't be destroyed. Not even Super Sonic can take it out.

Edited by Son1ctrainer
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I don't think enemies necessarily need to be more aggressive. They could stand to be more threatening, but aggression I'm not sure is the way to go about it.

 

I think it's worth thinking of enemies as more complex obstacles and gimmicks rather than "bad guys who will shoot at you/run up and try to hit you". More stuff like suggestion 4, that is. Straight up combat doesn't really exist in Sonic games; good use of enemies has generally come down to them being obstacles to be avoided and/or potential tools for the player, rather than being a bunch of killbots. Instead of thinking of enemies in terms of "how is this going to attack?", think more "how is this going to make Sonic move?"

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All nice ideas; I like them!

 

On the style system - so long as it doesn't restore their health like it did in Unleashed (which basically made it more efficient to just smack the enemy into submission the traditional way), I think it could be very nice. Just three or so quick button presses to completely and utterly own an enemy.

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A Badnik handled poorly is a way of slowing Sonic down.  I think we should work on the inverse of this - that handling a Badnik well is a way of speeding Sonic up.  I guess absolutely the laziest way of doing this is to make a Badnik's defeat release whatever it is that's fueling the Boost Gauge, be that rings or just a gauge increase, but I'm thinking more like the discussions that have been had on improving the Homing Attack - that you keep your momentum whilst attacking and bounce through the enemy and onwards rather than straight up.  I assume that the "let's bounce straight up" formula is for a way of giving you opportunity to lock onto the next enemy or to make rising enemy chains that will lead you to a higher platform.  So you could replicate the same thing by causing added upward movement as well as forward movement and just making sure there's enough space between enemies to be able to notice and lock onto the next one, if homing attack chains are what you insist on including.

 

The idea of a "style" system for dealing with enemies I think would have to be handled carefully to prevent enemies from stopping you in your tracks whilst you do something cool to deal with them.  The idea of Motobug riding would be good if you were at a point where you had little momentum and wanted to pick up more, but otherwise you should have the option of just swatting through it and moving on.  With this in mind, perhaps "style" could be integrated with a trick system, such that you can't just trick after spring-jumps, but can also trick on enemies when in suitable proximity - so you jump towards it or homing attack it or whatever, press the trick button at the right moment, and this causes some enemy-specific interaction, like the Motobug riding or hurling a sandworm over your head.  The important thing is that it keeps you moving forward and either increases your speed or makes navigating the environment easier, but not in a blatant "kill all the enemies to move on" way.  I think only the last level of Sonic CD did that, in terms of the classics, incidentally.

 

Enemies playing a greater role in affecting the environment sounds good to me.  If this could also take the form of them actively despoiling the environment, that'd be great - if we had for instance a larger Badnik ripping up trees to swing at Sonic.  It'd only have so many trees to rip up, but ideally you wouldn't notice as you'd be long gone by then.  Bursting out of cliffsides in a way that opens a new path just before you get there, or maybe ripping a rope bridge - cinematic things like that which aren't just one-note gimmicks but which are presented as regular occurrences.

 

I guess we come to how the business of speed affects bosses, as that's always been a problem in the Sonic series - going fast isn't really possible in boss fights unless it's a rolling boss, and those always feel a little contrived.  I think taking Sonic into "acrobatics" territory may be a good idea - something a bit like Kingdom Hearts 3D where you can spring off the environment in all directions.  Sonic is buzzing with energy.  Moving should always feel like the safer option than standing still, and taking risks should be rewarded.  So a bit less "wait for the weak spot," and a bit more the boss always being vulnerable but not necessarily easy to hit...  For bosses you can bring in the environment effects as well - as the battle progresses, trees or pillars or whatnot could be knocked down or ripped up.  Anything to make the boss arena feel more like a place and less like a line with background.

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  • 2 months later...

It sucks. Even compared to other platformers where enemies and combat aren't a big thing, It really kind of sucks.

 

In the recent games, the enemies have just become stepping stones. No variety. No movement. Nothing. They just sit there and get slaughtered by Sonic's boost or homing attack or whatever. That's no fun. They could literally be replaced by springs or balloons or some other inanimate object and have the same effect. It's like enemies are there now just because Sega feels obligated to throw them in. Sonic's new moveset lets him tear through anything and everything. There is no opposition aside from the occasional boss fight that maybe gives you a little bit of challenge like Perfect Chaos in generations. Even in Mario some of the enemies bother to put up a  fight. 

 

Basically, what I'm saying is that the enemies need to get tougher and more varied, and Sonic needs more ways to take them out. I'm not sure how one can actually apply a decent combat system or any kind of enemy  variety to the game when you're going so insanely fast though. 

 

How do we fix it?

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Gonna have to start from scratch with this one if you ask me. But that's kinda hard to do given the success of the current formula.

 

That and the amount of time it would take to blend speed and combat. I certainly think it's possible, but you're gonna have some time on your hands to make it work. Closest that got to this would be the 2D advance titles.

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We can't give them health bars because that'll slow down the pace of the game; sluggish battles should be reserved for bosses.

 

What we CAN do is make it so there are more innovative ways to take down enemies. In Grand Theft Auto, a kill's a kill, but you can light someone on fire, run them over, shoot them with a variety of weapons from a distance or point blank... there's a lot of variety and that's half the fun of it.

 

Colors did this idea well - you could use your Wisp powers to tear enemies apart in a wide selection of ways. We likewise need something like that in newer titles - have it so he can homing attack them away, run through them, do the stomp and crush them flat, or even have it so it so a two-button combo gives him a special move to destroy them with.

 

Two-buttons would be quick and easy enough to add lots of variety while avoiding dragging the sense of speed down too much. It'd also fit his smugger personalities since it'd allow him to show off.

 

Most importantly keep it so the actual combat is optional and you can just boost through them anyway.

Edited by Ogilvie Maurice
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It was never really about pure "combat" so much as the enemies were obstacles to avoid and bop in the right area or at the right time or whatever. The only game to really attempt to do this recently is Generations. The Iblis Birds occasionally fly around making for a slightly more difficult homing attack target, especially when they shoot fireballs at you. There's also the Planet Wisp Egg Pawns which throw their pickaxes at you very quickly - in 2D sections anyway. In 3D they're still pretty slow but they're also easier to avoid. And then there's the black Eggrobos in Modern Sky Sanctuary that immediately fire missiles at you. There were the sandworms, but only in 2D and they're not really an issue. Enemies overall are still far too easily dealt with though outside of the select few circumstances I've noted above.

 

I think the thing is is that not only is Sonic really strong now, but enemies are just easier to deal with in 3D thanks to not only the homing attack, but being able to manouver around them a lot easier in combination with being able to see them coming more easily thanks to the perspective. Generations really showed this in how I felt Classic had a harder time with most of the enemies than Modern did.

 

Sonic 4 Episode 2 also put more thought into this, with the Steelion and Scarabesque enemies which really fucked you up if you weren't careful, but they were a little too far on the dickish side. These guys would have benefitted with the opposite to Generations, where they give you a little MORE warning so you don't get cheaply fucked over by them.

 

So yeah, focus on them as obstacles more than homing attack chains and boost fodder, make them attack a bit faster (the only threatening enemies in Generations were the ones that attacked the quickest, but if you're good you can still get the jump on them before they do on you, but at least it takes practise), and add more variety in how they attack. They're beginning to get the right idea, but they need to balance it in order for them to have the right mix of not being simple fodder and not being "Demonic Spiders" as TVTropes calls them.

Edited by Semi-colon e
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This is why Shadow comes in. While Sonic has the usual method of dealing with enemies, Shadow can destroy his enemies with his Chaos Powers.

 

We need to make some kind of combat foundation for the main character before we start on what the others can do.

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I think there aren't nearly enough flying enemies that can follow Sonic. Sonic can just tear through the normal Egg Pawns, why does Eggman keep making them?

If there were enemies that could follow Sonic and fire at him, there'd at least be a bit more variety aside from Sonic just crashing through them.

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In the recent games, the enemies have just become stepping stones.

To an extent, I don't think this is the wrong way to go about it. Sonic games are platformers, they're about movement, and usually pretty fast movement. Any kind of "combat" needs to be balanced with the possibility of simply running past an enemy, and engaging an enemy is generally not beneficial.

So rather than focusing on the idea of Sonic fighting enemies, I think it's better to think of enemies as either obstacles, platforming gimmicks, or both. If movement is the point, how does this enemy make you move? How do you dodge it? How can you use it to your advantage? Enemies with springs on them kind of work into this, but they haven't been used particularly well.

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Maybe the enemies should do more than just stand around..

 

Indeed. The Motobug chases were a nice touch since they changed things up some. They were still easily destroyed but you did so by different means. Different methods of one-hit kills are the key to making it fun and refreshing.

 

OK, what if SEGA brought back Sonic Wind or the tornado attack from Heroes? Or Sonic could do some martial arts or something. 

 

Okay, now that's definitely a fun idea that would be nice to see implemented at some point.

 

If we used my idea of having two-button combos, I'd definitely be for having this be one of the various methods he can use.

 

Sonic Team could give Sonic the ability to ride a Motobug straight into a wall.

 

... and go from there.

 

One of the things the fan film definitely had a good idea about.

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