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Casino Night Zone (Sonic 2)


Cyberblade
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So I was having a bit of a debate with a friend of mine over MSN about a level in Sonic 2 that I know is liked by a lot of people. Obviously, I'm talking about Casino Night Zone (Well, obviously if you read the title.).

Casinonight.png

Image Courtesy of Sonic Retro wiki.

Now, I know this is a very popular level, a lot of people love the Casino Night. But I absolutely hate it.

In my honest opinion Casino Night is the most boring level in all of Sonic 2. It's a dead zone of the game. Now, the first 3 levels are admittedly not the biggest challenge, but at least in them there is a chance to get hit. A rogue Buzzer/Coconuts/Spiny can still hit even the most experienced players. Heck, Chemical Plant and Aquatic Ruin even give a chance for drowning. But then along comes Casino Night, where there is one type of enemy that you almost never see and can only damage you if you're not paying attention, has a half a dozen crushing hazards between both acts that are all easily avoidable, and maybe another half dozen spikes.

Now, I can see why some people might find it fun, theres a lot of bouncing around, a ton of rings to be had in slots, and a couple of hidden passages, but I just can't get it. It's like a slap in the face in the middle of the game to me. The equivalent of making a level in Super Mario World a third of the way through that is perfectly flat with a bunch of springs, no pits, no koopas, and a single goomba.

Part of Sonic's basic design is the danger that comes with speed. As you gain rings, anxiety grows since you'll never get them all back if you lose them. But Casino Night lacks it entirely. If you lose them to anything, play the slots for a few minutes, you can have a couple of hundred rings with no issue. Considering theres maybe 5 spikes through the entire 2 acts, and about a half dozen Crawls, you're not bound to lose them very often if ever even on the first time through.

Both Scrap Yard and Carnival Night did bouncy levels better. Carnival Night did everything Casino Night did (If you count the slot mini game at sign posts,) and did it while retaining the anxiety and challenge that preceded it. I'm all for fun bouncy zones, but it really seems rather stupid to me to remove all of the danger from a level.

So what are your thoughts about this admittedly popular zone that obviously influenced many levels in later games in the series? Was it one of the best in the series? Mediocre? Or did you think it was just terrible?

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I don't think danger is required to make a fun game. It's certainly useful to do so, and is at the core of most gameplay, but lacking it isn't an automatic negative in my book.

Casino Night's challenge doesn't come in the form of death or damage, but simply trying to get from start to finish in a level full of bouncy springy objects that will hurl you every which way if you're not careful. There are still challenges to overcome and points where you'll lose ground for failure, just in a different form than usual.

And even without that, I'd say that being "challenging" isn't necessarily required for fun, either. A little bit of risk and reward, yes, but not what the average player would call difficult. I think it's fun enough to spend time bouncing between bumpers, rolling down halfpipes, and throwing myself around with the pinball flippers without needing to work for it. Just being in the context of a basic "get to the end" platformer gives it enough structure to keep being fun; I've got a goal, to get to the end of the level, and I can have fun getting there at whatever pace I choose.

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Apart from how I used to occasionally get stuck inside of walls, I think it's the best zone in Sonic 2 because it has no anxiety. You can just bounce off of whatever you want without worrying about it.

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I never thought about why I dislike this level so much but I think you nailed it, Cyberblade.

First of all, it's a chunkier level with lots of angles, which have always been less fun to me. The bouncy stuff will also throw you around a lot, and that's irritating. Not that I don't like being thrown around because I enjoy Collision Chaos over this level. I dunno what it is but I just want to get to the end of this zone as fast as possible. There just isn't a lot to do except mess around with Sonic in the slots, I find the music irritating (except the 2-player version and DJ MAX-E's remix are both hot), and the color scheme annoys me. Casino Night is my least favorite pinball level up there with the one from freaking Advance 2.

I think as kids we were all excited with the idea of trying to get jackpots and not Robotniks in the slots and grew to love this level. I always groan when I hear the music start, stay to the top of the zone and try to get out ASAP. Plus Casino Night's boss is a bitch.

Edited by Badnikz
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It's okay, but not that good imo. I prefer normal pinball/carnival zones to casino zones, as they just tack it on. Carnival Night imo was way better, same with Collision Chaos, and even Circus Park in Shadow I enjoy more. Level specific gimmicks are good, but I just prefer them in the other stages.

But really? I don't think it's BAD per se, it's just not one of my favourite stages.

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I only really get aggravated occasionally when I just keep looping round because I just can't squeeze past a certain bumper at various points.

Other than that it's a pretty fun stage, and makes me wish Sonic Heroes could have just worked like this one does.

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The only thing I like about the zone is the beautiful, sparkling city background. Everything is a tedious play thru for me. All I want to do is move foward, yet the stupid bumpers always seem to be in the most ridiculous positions. And there's no point in going in the slot machines. Also, many sections of the levels loop. The parts where you get to run make me feel cramped. This and the casino levels in Heroes are some of the least enjoyable in a sonic game.

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I think that the level it self is really cool: the background is colorful, the music is fantastic, and it's nice to have some fun bits in the stage. But over all the stage is just kind of a drag. Some parts of the level just seem to drag on, and who honestly loved the boss on this stage? The stage was fun the first time around, but as you go for time trials or no death runs, it's just a level that slows you down.

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I do think the boss was hard for how early on it was, but it's a good boss. Tricky to master, but so satisfying when you do and get the rhythm down. And even then the rhythm is flexible, so you still have to work to keep it up.

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It's not my favourite zone in that game, but I'd take it over Chemical Plant zone any day.

Whoa. Over Chemical Plant? That's my favorite level in the game. It's one of the few early highway stages along with Flying Battery, and the suspense on the rising water parts is great. I would say most of Sonic 2's best zones are at the beginning of the game.

Even though I don't like the Casino Night boss because I think it's a pain, I have to give it credit for being one of the most original bosses in Sonic 2. Much better than the generic diving Robotnik bosses in Hill Top and Oil Ocean, even if harder.

Edited by Badnikz
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My favorite zone in any sonic game, I LOVED this level, I didn't care about the lack of enemies, it was just plain fun to goof off and run around hitting bumpers and springs. I loved the music, and the boss was awesome.

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I liked the slot-machine Bonus Stages in Sonic&Knuckles much better than the Casino Night level in Sonic2, because they had a more lively background music and because the constant rotation of the screen gave me quite the exciting challenge.

Edited by DarkJedi188
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Casino Night happens to be my all time favourite Sonic zone. I absolutely love the background, there's just something about it I love. The level itself is fun to play as well, and easy, but it's the background which does it for me.

I must admit, I do dislike the music though, and the boss is a pain to beat. >.<

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Casino Night's boss was like the easiest thing ever, what.

None of Sonic 2's stages stick out to me as being anything special (I guess that's why it's my least favorite of the classic series), but I enjoyed the bright visuals.

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I like it, but mostly for the music and interesting sound effects. The stage structure, though, felt very sluggish. And I agree with Lounge about how the sections seemed to loop and lack variety. At least, I'd play that over the overly boring Sky Chase Zone (my least favorite zone in that game).

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