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Story Discussion: Is world conquest too low-stakes these days?


Dr. Mechano
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(Spoiler: For me, it isn't.)

 

But hey, I want to know what SSMB thinks! The simple question is this: As Sonic stories go, do you only take end-of-the-world scenarios seriously? Is the threat of world domination still a credible threat, or is it "apocalypse or bust" for you?

 

Before we start this discussion, let's take a stroll down memory lane, and consider the stakes of the series thus far.

 

Classic Era

With the odd exception (Tails Sky Patrol, Tails Adventure, etc.), nearly every classic game ultimately boiled down to this premise: "Dr. Eggman wants to take over the world, and it's up to you to stop him!" Sometimes he used space stations, sometimes he used time travel, sometimes he just used little more than an army of robots, but each game's looming threat was always Eggman's victory and subsequent domination of the planet.

 

Sonic Adventure - Sonic Unleashed

Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 both shook things up a little. Adventure's stakes were suddenly less about fighting order, and more about fighting Chaos - both the character and the concept. Chaos was a destructive beast, not a conqueror, and demonstrated this by utterly wrecking Station Square and (we presume, if he were left undefeated) later the rest of the world. Adventure 2 ramped this up by having a space colony threatening to wipe out all life on Earth via impact.

 

Heroes went back to a standard world conquest story, except with Metal Sonic playing the role Eggman usually plays (right down to disguising himself as Eggman for most of the game). Metal's desire was to turn the world into his own "robot kingdom," so it was basically to create the Eggman Empire (sans Eggman).

 

Shadow the Hedgehog and 2K6 both had dark, all-powerful beings of evil attempting to destroy the world (either by merely colonizing Earth and destroying all humans, or by destroying everything flat-out). Unleashed had Dark Gaia threaten global destruction as well.

 

During this time, the only world-conquest plots were limited to handheld titles, such as the Advance and Rush series, which still usually featured Eggman (and sometimes Eggman Nega) as the antagonist. Advance 3 changed the formula a bit, but this was otherwise the case.

 

Colors, Generations

In both games, Eggman's back as the main antagonist, and he wants to take over the world. Without a bigger bad to overtake him this time, he serves as the final threat in both games. In Colors, he plans to brainwash the world's population, and in Generations, plans to use time-travel to achieve planetary domination and the demise of his nemesis.

 

(I won't say anything about Lost World, since that's not out yet.)

 

The Discussion

 

Here's the thing. Some people have gotten so used to these dramatic doomsday plots that they can't seem to take "supervillain seeks to rule the world" seriously as a premise anymore. I can, and rather enjoy returning to Eggman's world domination schemes as a focal point in the game's stories, but the opinions are definitely wide and varied. I want to also point out that I'm fine with the occasional doomsday plot as well, but I don't think it should be used too often, and definitely not in every single game.

 

Where do you stand? Can a story about Eggman trying to rule the world meet your criteria for "serious?" Or are such plots too low-key to be taken seriously after the Adventure era, in your opinion?

 

No right or wrong answers here, I'm just looking for opinions.

Edited by Count Mechano
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One of the most annoying things nowadays is that people don't see Eggman as a credible threat because of his more recent focus on his goofier side (which was always there, really), coupled with less apocalyptic doomsday scenarios, people feel underwhelmed. In a way, the Adventure-Modern eras spoiled the beautiful simplicity of world conquest for the sake of edginess or shock factor. After a while, planets getting blown up doesn't seem as out-of-place, and in fact is seen as a sort of status quo, as far as endgames are concerned.

 

Not to say that doomsday scenarios are a bad thing, but when people belittle the traditional set-up of Eggman looking to conquer the planet, I feel as if they're either acting entitled to a story tone that doesn't need to be shoe-horned into every game in the first place, or they just entered the fandom around the time of the Adventure days, where that sort of endgame was common. 

 

As for me, I'm totally fine with less "high-stakes" setups. If it would help, a game where we see a reality (future or alternate) where Eggman does win, and how it negatively effects the entire planet at a more palpable level (something a little more decrepit than a volcanic carnival), then perhaps it could help the player associate something as "low-stakes" as world domination with a more realistic evil and deplorable outcome. Show us how bad Eggmanland actually is, rather than just build up to a theme park with robots in it. 

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While I feel making amusement parks has been a charming in-character thing for Eggman since it's just another excuse to plaster his face on because he's that damn egotistical, it also probably took away his world conquest for most past games. In Unleashed, he wasn't focusing at all about world domination but rather just building Eggmanland. That's fine and dandy considering what he had to do to get what he needed to get it started, like waking Dark Gaia to begin with, but in a way, made most forget that he's a mad scientist that wishes to conquer just so he could get more attention and power. As much as I like Unleashed for it's plot, that was one thing it kind of missed regarding what has always been Eggman's real ambition since Day 1.  

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If the characters don't take the world domination bids seriously, why should I?

 

That's the problem with this specific plot lately.

 

In Sonic Adventure, Eggman was characterized as a villain who was determined to level Station Square in order to build Eggmanland. He never put this beloved vision on the backburner even after Chaos failed, instead turning to firing a missile to get the job done with no thought for his potential victims. He was a very dangerous man who knew what he wanted and got his hands dirty to achieve it, coming this close to committing crimes that could very well have crossed the moral event horizon had some mere technicality not scuppered him. And even then at the end of the day, Eggman freeing Chaos in the first place was the catalyst that ultimately led to Station Square getting flooded.

 

The same thread of ruthless ambition was present in SA2 in which he once again gets off his ass and actually performs terrorist acts to not only show the planet that he isn't fucking around but to show how far he will go to accomplish his aims, blowing up an entire island to cover his acts being just one of them. You could tell clearly that the characters took the threat Eggman posed seriously, it's prevalent many a time. Sonic even delayed the plan to throw the emerald into the cannon the second he was aware that the doc had taken two of his closest friends hostage even though he could've thrown the emerald into that console and be done with it there and then.

 

Even though Sonic treated Eggman's plan in Heroes as a means to party, he seems fairly put-out by the fact that the Bullet Station boss was a trap to stall him for time, proving that he at least took the 3 day time limit fairly seriously and did not appreciate being delayed because he knows that Eggman means business.

 

There's nothing really wrong with the 'world domination' plot point. It's the motivation for Eggman's actions and it can bring a palpable sense of tension when it's done well a 'la SA2, primarily because Eggman was actually competent and also because his actions and aim was taken seriously. As of Colours, no character treats Eggman's ambitions with anything other than a pinch of salt and the doctor's primarily 'behind the scenes' actions seriously detract from the ability to take him truly seriously, very unlike the character that seemed to enjoy being a thorn in the heroes' sides and who was far more 'hands-on' with his plans. This is not helped by stories that place 'comedy' above suspense and danger and then failing to monopolize on plot points that did show Eggman opportunistic bastardy i.e Tails being mind-controlled, completely diluting the threat factor even more.

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As for me, I'm totally fine with less "high-stakes" setups. If it would help, a game where we see a reality (future or alternate) where Eggman does win, and how it negatively effects the entire planet at a more palpable level (something a little more decrepit than a volcanic carnival), then perhaps it could help the player associate something as "low-stakes" as world domination with a more realistic evil and deplorable outcome. Show us how bad Eggmanland actually is, rather than just build up to a theme park with robots in it. 

In a way, Sonic CD sorta did this.

 

Stardust Speedway seems to be the "capital" of Eggman's conquered Little Planet, a metropolis of neon-lights, polished gold statues in Eggman's likeness, and a generally bombastic, almost "fun" atmosphere.

 

But beyond the outskirts of this one city, the rest of Little Planet is poorly-managed, and is an utterly desolate wasteland. Garbage, waste, and dying plantlife abounds. Even Eggman's own Badniks are broken-down and function poorly in the bad futures, showing just how poorly-controlled the planet was under Eggman's rule. The big city-wide testament to Eggman's likeness seems to be the only place getting any regular maintenance, with the rest of the world having fallen into severe, crushing environmental neglect.

 

I could easily see that concept translating well to a 3D game. Eggmanland, a theme park devoted to its creator, may be festive and comedic, but I imagine the rest of the world (conveniently the part of the world Eggman isn't comfortably living in) wouldn't be so brightly-lit and amusing. Granted, Eggmanland itself is a pretty dangerous place as it is, but you get the idea.

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One of the most annoying things nowadays is that people don't see Eggman as a credible threat because of his more recent focus on his goofier side (which was always there, really), coupled with less apocalyptic doomsday scenarios, people feel underwhelmed. In a way, the Adventure-Modern eras spoiled the beautiful simplicity of world conquest for the sake of edginess or shock factor. After a while, planets getting blown up doesn't seem as out-of-place, and in fact is seen as a sort of status quo, as far as endgames are concerned.

 

The reason nobody takes Eggman seriously is because the games themselves do not. How can I take a villain seriously when half of their screentime is them being made fun of by the heroes and not doing anything truly threatening?Its not just the focus on Eggman's goofy side that's the problem, its that it is coming as a detriment to his status as a villain. I can appreciate a "world domination" plot just as much as a "apocalypse" plot, but not if the threat factor isn't really there. The Adventure games knew when and how to treat its threats seriously and added more tension to the plot as a result. The Modern games do not do this, or at least at least do a very poor job at it.

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Spoiler'd, since SLW talk.

Another current problem I guess I could say is that the current story formula they're sticking to seems to be the "is Eggman really all that bad / behind this?" thing. Which isn't bad until it started getting formulaic with more than two games doing it.

Colors pretty much tried to make you think if Eggman's Interstellar Amusement Park was really all that awful, or if it was really a sense of apologizing for his previous deeds. Although it was sorta obvious, he ended up being as bad as we all thought. In Generations, he's gone from the picture most of the time and is thought to be sucked up by the Time Eater (and thus a guy to save), but it ends up both him and his younger self were the Time Eater all along. See the pattern?

It's happening a third time in Lost World, with him apparently teaming up with you to stop stuff from being so terrible, and then turns it around at the end to where "lol I'm the big bad boss, surprise". Now since we haven't got to see about how this folds out yet, we don't know what exactly happens. But at the same time, it follows the same pattern as the previous two games and its sorta..boring in concept, I guess?

I mean I'm super happy he makes it as a final boss for three games in a row, but it could be achieved in a much more interesting way. For example, Verte makes a good point on how he needs to be less in the background as a joke and treated more as a respectfully dangerous villain. I know people love to imagine Sonic and Eggman having their sassy snarkfests against each other, but I'd rather have a thrilling and compelling story with that as its undertones rather than that lead the entire narrative.

Once again, I don't know all about SLW's story, and would like to know more. But from what I can tell, its doing the same kind of thing as before. Would like a curveball or two to throw me off, though. tongue.png

Edited by Aspoopkara
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The reason nobody takes Eggman seriously is because the games themselves do not. How can I take a villain seriously when half of their screentime is them being made fun of by the heroes and not doing anything truly threatening?Its not just the focus on Eggman's goofy side that's the problem, its that it is coming as a detriment to his status as a villain. I can appreciate a "world domination" plot just as much as a "apocalypse" plot, but not if the threat factor isn't really there. The Adventure games knew when and how to treat its threats seriously and added more tension to the plot as a result. The Modern games do not do this, or at least at least do a very poor job at it.

 

Admittedly, that seems like more a problem with how Sonic is written than how Eggman is.

 

Eggman's going through all the right motions: The plans, the robots, the grandiose speeches and maniacal laughter, it's all there. Sonic just reacts flippantly to it (which is arguably how he reacts to most threats, Eggman or otherwise). 

 

I can appreciate the heroes' reactions being an important element here, and admittedly I'd like to see Sonic treat Eggman's schemes with a little more gravity, but I'd argue that a villain can still be credible to the audience even if he isn't to the protagonist. Sonic's a snarker, and I don't see him giving up his irreverent, jocular nature anytime soon. Maybe scale it back a bit, sure.

Edited by Count Mechano
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No. In fact I'd say the world conquest idea has kind of been run a little too frequently. I'd like to see Eggman do something smaller scale, like try to take over an island or small country (because he can't afford to do the whole world yet, after his latest failure).

 

In any case, its not really the magnitude of what's at stake, its the significance. If the world is being taken over but the characters don't even bat an eyelid, and continue on trying to stop Eggman like its just an ordinary Tuesday, then it won't feel like much is at stake at all. 

However, Eggman attacking one small village could send the characters into a craze of fear and anger and sorrow, and the whole situation would feel like it is so much more significant and impacting.

 

Admittedly, that seems like more a problem with how Sonic is written than how Eggman is.

 

Eggman's going through all the right motions: The plans, the robots, the grandiose speeches and maniacal laughter, it's all there. Sonic just reacts flippantly to it (which is arguably how he reacts to most threats, Eggman or otherwise). 

 

I can appreciate the heroes' reactions being an important element here, and admittedly I'd like to see Sonic treat Eggman's schemes with a little more gravity, but I'd argue that a villain can still be credible to the audience even if he isn't to the protagonist. Sonic's a snarker, and I don't see him giving up his irreverent, jocular nature anytime soon. Maybe scale it back a bit, sure.

 

This is why I'd like to see Eggman attempt world domination infrequently.

I mean the whole thing could even be set up as a multiple-game story arc. Eggman tries small-scale hostile takeovers. Sonic beats him and snarks at him as we've seen him do in recent games. However, towards the climax of this multi-game arc, shit suddenly gets real, and it turns out that those small-scale invasions were only part of a bigger plan. Some battles did cause Eggman some setbacks, while other fights were mere diversions for the global scale assault that would take place later. 

This time Sonic underestimated Eggman and him and his friends find themselves up against the wall and suddenly, things aren't funny any more. That would be a pretty good (if basic), way of setting up some tension between Eggman and Sonic. 

Edited by Scar
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Admittedly, that seems like more a problem with how Sonic is written than how Eggman is.

 

Eggman's going through all the right motions: The plans, the robots, the grandiose speeches and maniacal laughter, it's all there. Sonic just reacts flippantly to it (which is arguably how he reacts to most threats, Eggman or otherwise). 

 

I can appreciate the heroes' reactions being an important element here, and admittedly I'd like to see Sonic treat Eggman's schemes with a little more gravity, but I'd argue that a villain can still be credible to the audience even if he isn't to the protagonist. Sonic's a snarker, and I don't see him giving up his irreverent, jocular nature anytime soon. Maybe scale it back a bit, sure.

 

But like Verte said, Eggman is too behind the scenes to be considered a threat either; The past three games have him rarely do anything active within the plot. In Unleashed he starts off by unleashing Dark Gaia and breaking the world, but then remains completely inactive till about the last 4th of the game where he comes with the idea of gathering Dark Gaia's pieces.

 

In Colors, the only attempt at being active comes with mind controlling Tails, a plot point that goes absolutely nowhere. He then does nothing as Sonic continues to destroy generator after generator, and then his plan literally blows up in his face.

 

Generations, he still isn't doing anything but flying around and roaring, until the ending.

 

 

The problem with Eggman nowadays is that they're telling us that he's a threatening villain who needs to be stopped, but they are showing us him being completely inactive and passive until he shows up for the obligatory final boss.

 

Sonic doesn't take Eggman seriously because Eggman hasn't done anything for Sonic to truly take seriously. 

 

In Sonic Adventure, Eggman is out collecting the emeralds, kidnapping damsels, and just generally getting in Sonic's way. Sonic has a reason to take him seriously as a result, we're shown how much a threat Eggman is. Which is why he's much more effective there.

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But like Verte said, Eggman is too behind the scenes to be considered a threat either; The past three games have him rarely do anything active within the plot. In Unleashed he starts off by unleashing Dark Gaia and breaking the world, but then remains completely inactive till about the last 4th of the game where he comes with the idea of gathering Dark Gaia's pieces.

 

In Colors, the only attempt at being active comes with mind controlling Tails, a plot point that goes absolutely nowhere. He then does nothing as Sonic continues to destroy generator after generator, and then his plan literally blows up in his face.

 

Generations, he still isn't doing anything but flying around and roaring, until the ending.

 

 

The problem with Eggman nowadays is that they're telling us that he's a threatening villain who needs to be stopped, but they are showing us him being completely inactive and passive until he shows up for the obligatory final boss.

 

Sonic doesn't take Eggman seriously because Eggman hasn't done anything for Sonic to truly take seriously. 

 

In Sonic Adventure, Eggman is out collecting the emeralds, kidnapping damsels, and just generally getting in Sonic's way. Sonic has a reason to take him seriously as a result, we're shown how much a threat Eggman is. Which is why he's much more effective there.

I can get behind this, actually.

 

As much as I like the almost slice-of-life nature of the cutscenes at Eggman's base in Unleashed and Colors, Eggman himself hasn't been directly interacting with Sonic all that much in recent games. You certainly won't get any disagreements from me on your proposal for a more active Eggman.

 

Seeing Eggman take charge and relentlessly dog Sonic throughout the game - while still making room for the occasional comic bit with his minions - and still end up the final boss, would be glorious. Eggman's at his best when he's a seamless combination of imposing and humorous, I always say.

Edited by Count Mechano
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Another thing is that Eggman's aim in Generations was to screw with the time-space continuum in order to undo his past defeats for the sake of presumably accomplishing his aim of world domination by preventing Sonic from interfering in the past.

 

But where is he ever shown attempting to do this in the actual story? What was the point of placing Sonic's friends into states of living death when there's no indication that he's accomplishing anything during their incarceration? Why is the bulk of Eggman's appearances in the story just to have him 'kidnapped' by the Time Eater? Is there ever a cutscene in which he's shown doing anything but taunting Sonic out of nowhere, bellyaching over his defeat or prattling-on about how 'nefarious' and 'intelligent' he is instead of, you know, really making use of the so-called advantage granted to him?

 

It's nothing more than villain and motive decay and like Colours, completely detracts from his status as a final boss because the story is so utterly ineffectual at treating him like the very active villain and real threat that he's been established as.

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Honestly, its Eggman's in-activeness is what prevents me from appreciating him as much as everyone else does. I can understand the general love for his character and all, but when I see people go on and on about how him being the final boss is some amazing feat despite not having nowhere near the tension behind it as previously, I honestly roll my eyes. This is no offense to anyone that does like him like that, its just how I feel.

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It's nothing more than villain decay.

I disagree.

 

Villain decay is Eggman playing the role of doctor-in-distress in Heroes, aimlessly shuffling between fighting Black Doom and petty ring theft in ShTH, repeatedly kidnapping and losing the same princess in 2K6, and getting effortlessly knocked away by Dark Gaia in Unleashed while screaming "WHYYY MEEE?!"

 

Generations may not be the best use of Eggman's villainy (He appears three times, not counting the after-credits bonus scene), but when you compare it to Eggman's recent track record, it's pretty good (if less so than Colors, by virtue of Colors' plot making more sense and actually showing what Eggman's doing).

Edited by Count Mechano
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The comedy factor is not so much what keeps me from taking Eggman seriously.  I'd rather him stay as he is now, honestly.  However, one thing that SatAM and Sonic CD did right is that it showed what would happen if Eggman did take over the world.  In every game we've had thus far, we know he wants to take over the world, but what does that entail, and how does each scheme that Eggman puts forth affect the way he would rule the world if he succeeded?

 

In SatAM, we see the affects of deforestation as a result of Robotnik's rule.  In CD, we see sort of a similar message, with much of the beautiful earth overridden with factories and technology.  That's what we need to see.  We need more motivation to stop him than just "he'll dominate the world."  Not so much that it becomes depressing, mind you, but just something to show that Eggman is, indeed, evil and is a force that must be kept at bay at all costs.

 

Of course, the near-apocalyptic endings are fine as well, but what makes them work is just as I stated above.  They have the advantage of not only showing but giving you a small sample of the experience that would be endured as a result of whatever entity Sonic must put to an end.  That is, complete destruction.

Edited by Spooky Akita
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I always sort of assumed that the decrepit world of CD's bad future was more due to neglect than an intentional love for pollution and desolation (ala SatAM Robotnik). Again, even Eggman's own robots are broken-down and carry sad facial expressions in the bad future scenarios, so it could be that controlling the affairs of an entire planet was just too much for one man to effectively keep up with. So he just didn't bother and mainly focused on his base and self-aggrandizing city, letting the rest of the world rot.

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I always sort of assumed that the decrepit world of CD's bad future was more due to neglect than an intentional love for pollution and desolation (ala SatAM Robotnik). Again, even Eggman's own robots are broken-down and carry sad facial expressions in the bad future scenarios, so it could be that controlling the affairs of an entire planet was just too much for one man to effectively keep up with. So he just didn't bother and mainly focused on his base and self-aggrandizing city, letting the rest of the world rot.

Which is still a good motivation to keep Eggman from winning in the first place.  Actually, it adds a great deal of complexity when you put it that way.

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It's not necessarily Sonic being dismissive of the threats at hand, and although Eggman is less active you cannot pin the blame entirely on him either, nor smaller world domination plots. I think this boils down to a simple factor of the narratives not framing the situations in a light where we're supposed to get invested in the conflict at face value. Everything's supposed to be juvenile, fluffy, and tongue-in-cheek- a blatant joke- which simply doesn't jive with the elements pertinent to the series' identity nor even the series' history. Forget the Adventure era; the Death Egg saga asked for more investment than the current stories do, even within its limited narrative framework and storytelling methods. It wasn't a Bubsy the Bobcat affair. The series merely had faith in its concepts as actual adventure stories.

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No, world conquest is never too low stakes.

 

Whether it's the world, a floating island, or a small city, size doesn't really matter; you can make the stakes just as intense as each other or even more intense. And really, that's the missing ingredient to the stakes anyway: intensity. Without it, we get plots that feel "low stakes" regardless of where we are.

 

This is just another classic case of it being how you write the stakes rather than telling us what the stakes are. Sonic treating Eggman like as nothing serious, or Eggman simply being a goofball isn't really a problem with the stakes. In fact, you could very well make that work for the stakes by twisting that lack of respect of Eggman as a threat and show the consequences of that by having Eggman succeed. That's precisely what they did in the opening of Unleashed, although things didn't reach a similar level of tension until Eggmanland.

 

You want to up the stakes? Well first things first, you're gonna need to let Eggman cross a few more lines as a means to an end. I'm not saying he should up and succeed in murdering people (on screen), but he shouldn't be above trying to physically destroy anyone causing him problems like he always tries to do with Sonic on his tail. Even further, let and show him physically destroying and ruining cities as people try to escape his attack, let him actually win a few battles. You can make this a global thing, or a regional thing, but the point here is to really make these things intense and heavy to add to the stakes. Essentially like they did with SA1, when Eggman succeeded in collecting most of the Chaos Emeralds and it was only a matter of time before he got a hold of the 7th, which he never got and made things feel like a satisfying conclusion...until Chaos managed to get them all and flood Station Square.

 

But you don't have to let go of Eggman's goofy and jolly attitude as he currently is. If anything, that can enhance him as an antagonistic character. But all in all, if you want more stakes, you're going to need more intensity and risk, as well as more severe consequences of what would happen should the heroes fail. Balance is key: if you treat everything juvenile, then it's gonna come off as juvenile. If you give it a balance of juvenile and seriousness, then you have something much more well rounded that can come of as shocking when mood whiplash hits.

Edited by CreepySpiritSonic
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It's not necessarily Sonic being dismissive of the threats at hand, and although Eggman is less active you cannot pin the blame entirely on him either, nor smaller world domination plots. I think this boils down to a simple factor of the narratives not framing the situations in a light where we're supposed to get invested in the conflict at face value. Everything's supposed to be juvenile, fluffy, and tongue-in-cheek- a blatant joke- which simply doesn't jive with the elements pertinent to the series' identity nor even the series' history. Forget the Adventure era; the Death Egg saga asked for more investment than the current stories do, even within its limited narrative framework and storytelling methods. It wasn't a Bubsy the Bobcat affair. The series merely had faith in its concepts as actual adventure stories.

But the classics also did a good job conveying what would happen if you didn't stop him.  Even if you beat the game, Angel Island will still fall into the ocean if you don't retrieve all the Chaos Emeralds.  In the Game Gear version of Sonic 2, if you don't collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you also fail to rescue Tails.  Otherwise, though, they do splendid job making you care about the concept of world domination alone, but they have the advantage of being much more simple by nature.  You generally have to care about a bare bones concept in order to enjoy the story to most early 90's platformers.

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But the classics also did a good job conveying what would happen if you didn't stop him.  Even if you beat the game, Angel Island will still fall into the ocean if you don't retrieve all the Chaos Emeralds.  In the Game Gear version of Sonic 2, if you don't collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you also fail to rescue Tails.  Otherwise, though, they do splendid job making you care about the concept of world domination alone, but they have the advantage of being much more simple by nature.  You generally have to care about a bare bones concept in order to enjoy the story to most early 90's platformers.

 

True true. I actually forgot about those, but I would go further and say that showing the consequences was icing on the cake, especially since the games actually have canon endings where we know Sonic was successful in getting a Good Ending. And generally, the games that came afterwards were devoid of these little snippets by design, instead thriving on their own advantages of an increasing number of storytelling tools. You don't need to see the planet getting blown up to feel a sense of dread, because you've seen the doomsday device used on the moon. The latter foreshadows the former and thus creates a call to action.

 

And while I agree that one needs to be invested in the basic plot of early Sonic games, said plots just kind of invite that onto themselves because there are high stakes already in the framework. Eggman's taking over the world after all. Similarly, a story about Sonic and Eggman teaming up to stop six evil magical guardians from destroying the world isn't boring either. But it's the presentation of every plot point that counts, and the presentation is so wholly divorced from something like Adventure and S3&K in tone that subsequently I'm not going to treat it like Adventure or S3&K.

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True true. I actually forgot about those, but I would go further and say that showing the consequences was icing on the cake, especially since the games actually have canon endings where we know Sonic was successful in getting a Good Ending. And generally, the games that came afterwards were devoid of these little snippets by design, instead thriving on their own advantages of an increasing number of storytelling tools. You don't need to see the planet getting blown up to feel a sense of dread, because you've seen the doomsday device used on the moon. The latter foreshadows the former and thus creates a call to action.

Well, I don't mean literally showing the consequences for failure.  Showing a device that looks devastating is sufficient cause for heroism.  Similarly, in Sonic 3, we see Robotnik intent on completely destroying Angel Island, so we know what kind of conqueror he is based on his ruthless actions.  Some of the more recent games seem to forget about that and develop Eggman as little else but context for a pre-designed boss.

 

 

 

And while I agree that one needs to be invested in the basic plot of early Sonic games, said plots just kind of invite that onto themselves because there are high stakes already in the framework. Eggman's taking over the world after all. Similarly, a story about Sonic and Eggman teaming up to stop six evil magical guardians from destroying the world isn't boring either. But it's the presentation of every plot point that counts, and the presentation is so wholly divorced from something like Adventure and S3&K in tone that subsequently I'm not going to treat it like Adventure or S3&K.

 

 

I'll agree to that.  I think one thing it mainly boils down to, though, is consequence.  You need to feel like your gameplay has an impact on the world around you, which is strangely something that only the classics seem to have mastered, but pretty much every game does a better job at this particular aspect than ShTH where nothing you or anyone else does even matters.  In fact, just the other day I was playing ShTH and I couldn't believe I only just now noticed that there's a scene where Shadow literally steals a Chaos Emerald from Sonic and friends.  Yet, somehow, despite the alarm going off to indicate that said Emerald had been stolen, nobody pays mention to it, and Sonic is even seen in the following stage working alongside Shadow as though it never happened.  It takes true skill to make a plot so loose and inconsequential, despite having the processing power to convey a wide spectrum of action and emotion.

 

Anyway, what I'm saying is that there needs to be weight on both sides.  Eggman needs to look like a destructive force, while Sonic needs to look like a peace bringer, or something like that.  Without weight and consequence, you have... well, ShTH.

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