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The 8-bit Tetralogy


JezMM
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You know, I never quite understood why the four main Sonic Game Gear games are so looked down-upon. I've only ever played the Game Gear versions on SADX whilst I've played Sonic's 1, 2 and Chaos on the Master System many years ago. Isn't the screen resolution on the Game Gear console supposed to be so bad that these versions of these games are much harder? That's what I recall hearing.

Sure quite a few levels tend to be short in this quartet of games but I think they're really cool anyway. Always had a strange soft spot for Sonic 2 GG/MS because it has some aesthetically unique stages like Gimmick Mt, Scrambled Egg, Crystal Egg and Aqua Lake, interesting gimmicks like the hang glider, mine cart and large bubbles and it's soundtrack has always been very appealing.

The other games in the quartet are also cool and had some great ideas that would've been interesting to see in their Megadrive game cousins.

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Good write-up, Jez. wink.png You gave your opinions to the 8-bit Sonic games.

So what are your thoughts on the 8-bit platformers?  If you loved them or hated them, why?  And either way, what ideas would you like to see from them return in future titles?

I pretty much don't like the 8-bit Sonic titles because it's hard to beat those games without cheats. sleep.png  But I would like to see the rocket shoes and attached springs from Sonic Chaos  to return in future Sonic games. wub.png

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Say whatever the fuck you like, but I genuinely enjoy this game:

mastersystem_sonic_blast_2.gif

 

If I could ever find a boxed copy of it, it'd sit as one of the most special pieces in my collection, alongside the Generations CE and Knuckles Chaotix. Tails Adventure too, actually. I like the other regular 8-Bit games as well. A couple of years ago I bought a GameGear with S1, S2, SC and STT (best of the bunch) solely so I could play them as originally intended. They not really particularly good games, but they're enjoyable in their own right.

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The final game in the 8-bit series (YES THE FINAL ONE THERE IS NO 5TH 8-BIT PLATFORMER PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN) is Sonic Triple Trouble. 

 

sonic-blast-review-sega-game-gear-1.jpg

 

*Laughs maniacally*

 

No? You won't go over this? Then I will. tongue.png

 

Sonic Blast was a mess, to be blunt. It was slow. It was clunky. The giant sprites barely fit on the Game Gear's screen, and the pre-rendering looked... eh. 

 

However, it did at least bring a new story to the table- Eggman's new fortress, Silver Castle was introduced, and it let players use Knuckles in a Game Gear game for the first time!

...unfortunately, as I implied it sucked. Oh well.

 

Anywho, I'm actually rather partial to Sonic Chaos. It's perhaps my favourite of the 8 Bit games, though I will agree it can be quite off in the  gameplay department.

 

...also woo Blue Blood ninja'd me as I posted this. But hey, each to their own-if people enjoyed Sonic Blast, I'm not here to stop them.

Edited by Tracker
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This is a good thread. I like the simplicity of Sonic 1 the most, where it's very straightforward but the emeralds are tricky to find, and the version of Scrap Brain with it's maze and Sky Base's relative scope and cinematic nature between the acts makes it really cool, especially with the music.

 

Sonic 2 is good as well, but inconsistent with it's difficulty pattern.

 

Not too fond of Chaos, Triple Trouble is probably the most consistently good, despite that I prefer Sonic 1, and Blast is dicks.

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I just have one thing to say about the 8-bit games. The skimming across water should return.

Ok, I have more things to say, while they are not as good as their Genesis brothers (totally my opinion), I find both Sonic 1 and 2 very enjoyable, especially because of their unique and great soundtrack. Sonic Triple Trouble, it's probably my favorite of all fiv... I mean, four 8-bit games smile.png I really like the power-ups, especially the rocket shoes smile.png

Edited by Jango
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Nice thread!

 

I fuckin' loooooooooooove Sonic Chaos. It was one of the first games I played and I really appreciated back then that I could play as Tails and fly around! (I played it before Sonic 3 came out.) I liked the pace of the levels, the unusual bosses (minus Robotnik piloting them) and how to access the Special stages. Also some of the power ups I thought were quite imaginative such as the rocket shoes. The music stuck in my head for ages, as well. Gigapolis Zone's and Mecha Green Hill Zone's themes especially.

 

8-bit Sonic 1 has some nice levels such as Bridge Zone and Jungle Zone and I like the island map that shows your progress, but I didn't like Sonic 2 much due to said lack of Tails, and the opening level being so gruelling. I used level select frequently with it. I'm sure now I could appreciate it more but back then I guess the shininess of the Mega Drive games distracted me!

Edited by MamboCat
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The only 8-Bit game of these I own is Triple Trouble, and I enjoy it. The level design (in my opinion) can be a tad confusing but once I know where to go it's all the more satisfying.

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Haha just to give my real opinion on Blast, I do just simply don't find it fun.  The visuals are ugly and the level designs were really bland and boring to me.  The music was "okay" at best, from as far as I played.

 

 

The MAIN reason I didn't include it here wasn't out of personal bias, but just because it's so wildly different from the first four games.  It would sort of feel like including Sonic Unleashed in the same era as Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Riders just because all these games were on the PS2.

Edited by JezMM
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I like the original the most. I've only played the Game Gear version of the second one, so that's out. I think the original knew its limitations better and was able to design the game around that whereas games like Triple Trouble tried too hard to be the 16bit games and so their limitations showed more. I liked collecting the emeralds too; you just felt so clever once you got one like getting that one in Bridge Zone where you have to jump from a collapsing bridge.

I just like the simplicity of the original one as well as the fact that the physics are better in the original than in games like Chaos and Triple Trouble. I mean in Triple Trouble if you try to roll down a hill, often you will come to a stop and trying to roll up a hill you will often get knocked back down as if you hit a wall.

 

That said I have downloaded Triple Trouble for my 3DS and I have been playing it quite a bit lately so I've developed a fondness for it, now it's probably my second favourite of the Game Gear titles.

 

But what's with those Special Stages!? Those things are SO cruel!

There's one level where you have to jump from one spring to another but you can't see where the springs are when you're in the air so you just have to guess.

Then there's another where you have to jump on invisible platforms (which is easier as Tails as he just flies over them).

Then later you have to fall into a certain pit but you can't tell which one until you're in it. And you have to walk or spring yourself into the pit otherwise you break the floor and fall into a bottomless pit, ending the special stage. Who puts bottomless pits in a special stage!?

Oh and then you have to break the wall in front of you without breaking the floor below you which is harder than it sounds.

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Re: Further Blast commentary and other spin-offs:

 

I... was just going for 2D platformers here lol.  The "main" 8-bit series.  Sonic Blast would be worthy if I was being pedantic about including every title, but, as in the Sonic Unleashed PS2 example above, I didn't think it really fit.  Pretty much 90% of posts would have to have a mandatory "oh but this opinion doesn't apply to Sonic Blast I hate that one".  I figured it'd be better to focus on the games that at least share many similarities with the one that came before (even if Sonic 1's evolution into Sonic Triple Trouble made for wildly different games at either end of the spectrum).

 

 

 

@Nattala

 

I never really went into detail on my opinion of Triple Trouble in the first post, but this is totally how I feel about it too.  It tries a little too hard and suffers for it, especially in literal game performance on the low-end hardware.

Edited by JezMM
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I never beaten any of the Game Gear games because the physics are too different from the Genesis games for me to enjoy them properly. As a kid I didn't know what a Game Gear was so when I reading the "other game" info in S&K Collection (which didn't provide screenshots), I assumed these were all adventures that resembled the Genesis games in design and graphics.

I think Sonic 1 has an amazing soundtrack though and I think it's so adorably quaint considering it was made before anyone really figured out what Sonic's style of music should be.

Also guys, this topic is about the four games that Jez detailed in the opening post, not the other ones like Labyrinth or Blast. Try to keep on topic.

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I had these four on Game Gear, but only really consistently enjoyed Triple Trouble. I dipped into the others occasionally but I can't remember whether I actually finished any of them. Even back then though, through the eyes of a Sonic-crazed child, the way all four played prevented me from loving them. They were just all right, really. Some of the extra power ups and bosses were pretty cool though. Oh, and I'm sure Nack/Fang was part of the reason I returned to TT more frequently.

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My favourites were Chaos and Triple Trouble because I could actually play them, I only ever got to play the GG versions and I'm not sure I'll ever have a real opportunity to play the MS ones without paying a lot of money (VC..) but Sonic 1 and 2 were far too hard for me to enjoy. I celebrated Sonic 2's 3DS release by telling all my friends "the hardest game ever made just came out on 3DS"

 

that fucking first boss. :/

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I have sonic 1and Chaos.

I bought my friends Master system at one point, can't remember exactly when. I'd played Sonic 1 before and wasn't all that impressed but I'd never heard of Chaos and I was so excited to find a sonic game i didn't know about.

 

I loved it. Thought it was a lot of fun if a little easy. And rocket shoes. Man, those rocket shoes were awesome.

 

I've got all the games on the mega collection but I've not played them all that much apart from trying out the first couple of levels. I'll need to find a free day sometime and give them a proper go over.

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Only game I'm lacking of this particular bundle is the GG version of Chaos; got the MS version of it on my Wii, as well as both versions of Sonic 1 and 2 along with Triple Trouble.

 

Don't have many nice things to say about Chaos and Triple Trouble besides some of the music (Gigalopolis GG, Chaos' Final Boss, Sunset Park (not Act 3) and Meta Junglira in particular), but I have a huge attachment to these versions of Sonic 1 and 2 that makes me vastly prefer them to the originals, and this is coming from someone that absolutely hated them as a kid that found them borderline impossible and only came to appreciate them in the last few years. Made a post about Sonic 1 GG/MS elsewhere, so I'll copy that over;

 

Easily my favourite of all the GG/MS Sonic games, and one of my all-time favourites in the series. That feeling you get when you have over 20 lives, have the shield from Green Hill Act 2, gotten the sixth Chaos Emerald, rolled straight past Air Base’s cannons, beaten Eggman’s last machine without taking a hit and then jumped into the final teleporter ahead of Eggman is absolutely amazing. Then you get into the score tally after that delightful shot of the whole of South Island being ridden of Eggman’s influence, and all your hard work pays off with a huge score, that wonderful credits tune and that concept art-based pixel art.
 

The ideas behind carrying the shield across every level if you’re skillful enough (at least in straight/arcade playthroughs), a score tally at the end of the game that rewards you for balancing your rings and extra lives, finding the Chaos Emeralds in the levels without some minigame/gimmicky special stage (Labyrinth emerald’s requirement of the Invincibility powerup and making a mad dash for it was genius), restricting the annoying pinball/casino gimmicks to a short bonus stage and the overall difficulty were stellar ideas.
 

Also, the review neglects to mention differences between the GG and MS version such as the locked upward scrolling in Jungle not being presented in the GG version, Jungle’s emerald being easier to nab in the GG version, and the different Bridge boss and final bosses. Pretty important stuff, nevermind ‘minor’ things like the missing extra life in Jungle’s boss act for the GG versions (depending on whether you ‘need’/require it to boost your score tally/get another shot at the boss).

 

Maybe I'll dish out some similar praise for Sonic 2 GG/MS later... I don't have as many nice things to say about it as I do with Sonic 1 GG/MS, but I still think it's a much better continuation of the formula established by it's predecessor than Sonic 2 MD was of Sonic 1 MD, as well as rocking the original Sonic -You Can Do Anything- tune with Green Hills as a whole level theme.

 

Going to give Sonic 1 GG another run via the 3DS, actually! Currently got a end-game tally of 460830 noted down in the Game Notes, but I'm positive I've gotten close to 500000 back when I excessively played the MS version on the Wii, and  still have yet to complete this release still rocking the Green Hill Act 2 shield...

 

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I very much enjoy all the 8 bit platformers. 

I have both the Master System and Game Gear versions of Sonic 1, and I like both. They are just different enough from each other (Special stages, boss fights, a few level design changes) to justify owning both in my opinion. It's really a lot more like Sonic 1 Genesis than any other game in the series. Slowly and deliberately paced, same tropes, etc. 

I also have both versions of Sonic 2 but in all honesty the Game Gear version is not good. It's not difficult by design, it's difficult because it's broken and that's not okay. The lowered screen resolution does not suit the level or boss design of the game well at all, and unlike Sonic 1 8 bit there is not a lot of difference between the Game Gear and Master System versions. The Master System version is a quality platformer and an enjoyable game.

 

I have played both versions of Sonic Chaos but honestly never saw the reason to own the Master System version. The game seems to have been designed with the Game Gear's resolution in mind and thus does not benefit significantly from the increased resolution on the Master System. The Game Gear's portability and increased color palette make it the preferable platform to play the game. I didn't like that most levels could be completed in under 40 seconds, but like the OP I appreciated that it provided a different sort of focus than what you would traditionally get out of a Sonic 2D platformer. And the increased vertical element and branching paths of the levels as compared to previous platformers in the 8 bit series is much appreciated. Unfortunately the game is quite easy (especially if you choose Tails) but the Chaos Emeralds present a decent obstacle.

 

Triple Trouble is obviously the peak of the 8 bit series, and few Sonic fans will argue that point. Designed exclusively for Game Gear, nice 2D sprite work, excellent boss fights. Not a lot to complain about here, and easily a top five handheld Sonic title (the other four being Sonic Pocket Adventure, Sonic Advance 1, Sonic Colors DS, and Sonic Rush; for me at least).

 

I also enjoy Blast. Like a lot of Sonic games, I think this one suffers from people projecting their ideal of a Sonic game onto it and evaluating it against that standard rather than perhaps looking at its own merits. Yes, it's slower than most other Sonic games. Yes, the physics feel immediately different. And yes, it's a bit jarring to look at the prerendered graphics as compared to the 2D sprite goodness of its predecessors. And if you don't like the game based on those factors, I respect that. But I contend that despite its strays from the commonly held conventional elements of a good Sonic game, it remains a well designed 2D platform game on its own merits. The level design is good and encourages exploration, the collision detection is for the most part reliable (and this is a criticism that sometimes is thrown at the game, but I would argue that Chaos and Triple Trouble have collision detection issues of their own that few acknowledge), the boss fights are varied and a lot more challenging than those in Chaos... it's just a solid game. Possibly the worst of the 8 bit Sonic games but a fun game in its on way, and in my opinion it is nice to have a game that strays away from convention every now and again. Some Sonic games are treated harshly because of their concept rather than their execution, and I think this is one of them (others being Labyrinth, Riders 1 and 2, Rivals, Knuckles Chaotix, Batte, Tails Skypatrol, Mean Bean Machine, and Spinball; as opposed to games that are disliked for their execution, such as Sonic Genesis, Sonic '06, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic Shuffle, SonicN, or Sonic the Fighters). 

Edited by famicommander
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I liked some of the mechanics that they introduced inTriple Trouble, such as the ability to roll into a ball after jumping on a spring, took me a whole to figure that out and defeat the first boss!

My brother used to have Sonic Chaos and Sonic 2 on his GG, haven't played them on years as he sold it years ago. I recently purchased TT on my 3DS and will be looking forward to buying Sonix 2, chaos and Tails Advevture on it too!

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Ah the 8 bit games, these were what first introduced me to the series back in 95'. I remember pouring as much time as I could into Sonic 1,2, and Triple trouble on the Game Gear before the batteries went out. If it wasn't for those games I probably wouldn't have tried out Adventure 2 and the Genesis version on Sonic 2.

Now While I feel that the Genesis version of Sonic 2 is FAR superior to its 8 bit sibling, the Genesis version of Sonic 1 is a different story, it just seems like I don't like the Genesis version of Sonic 1 compared to the 8 bit version. The difficulty goes up more gradually , the level tropes interested me a bit more, I like the music more. I just feel that the 8 bit ones simplicity helps it keep from doing too much at once. (But it is just my opinion)

Now I will agree with everyone when I say that the water skipping should be a series mainstay, that that was cool as hell to watch in Triple Trouble. I also believe that the ability to go into ball form after a spring is a feature that should return as well.

Overall I feel that the 8 bit games, while not as technically sound as their Genesis / Megadrive versions, are still fun time wasters that have enough differences to warrant having both them and the 16 bit versions.

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