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Best & worst alternate gameplay styles

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Probably quite a few of us (including me) agree that "alternate gameplay styles" were a very bad idea that should never be used again. On the other hand, most of us probably got some level of enjoyment out of them - maybe tiny, maybe substantial, maybe somewhere in-between. But which ones are the best and worst? Would you rather play Amy in Sonic Adventure or the Werehog? Do you like Gamma better than the Egg Walker and Tornado Cyclone? We all probably have different opinions on which were most and least enjoyable, so that's what this thread's for.

...One could argue this isn't exactly the most needful thing, especially since many of us think that they were a bad idea to begin with and shouldn't be used in the future. But it's a subject where I feel like there'd be a lot of different opinions, and I guess I'm just curious on what they would be and the reasons behind them. It'd be nice knowing what exactly annoys each individual person about the different forms of gameplay...and I know there are also people who actually really liked some of the alternate styles, and it'd be nice hearing their opinions too. I guess I'm just, well, curious where you guys stand.

Here are my own opinions on the one's I've played:

Tails (SA)

On the surface, this looks like it may be one of the best gameplay styles since it's so similar to Sonic's. The disadvantage is that they sort of just feel like shorter, weaker versions of Sonic's levels for the most part, with a racing gimmick that neither detracts nor contributes in a truly significant way. It may not have particularly negative aspects, but it also doesn't really add much anything either. They're certainly not bad or anything, and enjoyable enough to play, but at the end of the day, if you have to have a different gameplay style, it should probably be a little more interesting than essentially just a somewhat weaker version of the primary style.

Knuckles (SA)

Fairly enjoyable. Even if I would've preferred him having the same get-to-the-goal style of levels, the treasure hunting is kinda fun, and certainly much better than the SA2 treasure hunting. Knuckles' abilities get plenty of usage, the radar works well, the hints are simple, the emerald shards are nice and big. It feels much more forgiving and intuitive and much, much less tedious than its successor. The fact that you can collect the emeralds in any order and don't have to rely on hints and radar to find a very tiny little area makes it feel so much more "natural". The downside is that the levels are pretty easy aside from the last one, which sort of helps me understand why they made the changes in the sequel. In short: bad idea, decent execution.

Amy (SA)

Can definitely be annoying in some ways, but I think they're reasonably fun overall. Overall, I really don't think they're that bad, though I can definitely understand where others are coming from. At least the basic format is platforming get-to-the-goal stuff, similar to Sonic. And some of her abilities are fun...if only there were more opportunities to use them. I especially wish there were more opportunities to use the hammer jump, as I love it. Her slowness does decrease the enjoyment of playing significantly, though I used to like her being different from Sonic :P

Big (SA)

Haven't played in a long time, honestly, due to how uninterested I am in the basic concept. Probably one of the worst ideas for an alternate gameplay style in a Sonic game ever, but I don't remember well enough to really comment on the execution.

Gamma (SA)

Also haven't played in a while, so I'll refrain from commenting much for now. I do remember that there are several things which make it feel more "Sonicy" than SA2's mech stages, such as Gamma feeling lighter and spry-er. Still pretty far from controlling like Sonic in some other ways, though, which is a bit of a turn-off...but I don't remember well enough to say whether or not there's anything wrong with it aside from that.

Tails / Eggman (SA2)

Far from horrific, but also so far from being anywhere near as fun as the Sonic / Shadow stages, and so far from being anything remotely Sonic-like. The clunky, heavy feel of the mechs feels like the antithesis of what I expect to be able to experience in Sonic, and I personally don't enjoy it as much. Plus, the fact that you have to get through them to get to more S / S stages, instead of choosing to play them when you're more in the mood, is more of a turn-off. I'd rather just be able to play the much more enjoyable levels as much as I want, and then go back and eventually do the less enjoyable ones if and when I feel like it. (This complaint also applies to the Knuckles / Rouge stages, of course, perhaps even more so.) Don't get me wrong, they honestly can be fun, but they're not the greatest.

Knuckles / Rouge (SA2)

Tedious and annoying in so many ways, and much, much worse than their SA counterparts. I absolutely hate the way they nerfed the radar and force you to collect the emeralds in a particular order, as far as I can tell, just to facilitate the hints. The latter feels so unnatural and unnecessary that it just angers me. And I hate that you have to rely on the text hints and can't use the radar as much. I know they probably felt that they had to make them harder, but the end result is not pretty.

That being said, I don't feel like these levels have nothing to offer or anything like that. They can be fun...it's just that the annoying aspects get under my skin, and there's so much in them that I have to endure rather than enjoy. Not irredeemably bad, but also not the kind of thing I want to play. I wish I could like them, but it's hard to look past all their weaknesses.

Werehog (Unleashed)

To me, the best way to describe them is tedious, but fun. Beating up the baddies is satisfying and they do some fun and interesting things with the stretchy arms. I honestly do think they're pretty fun, but yeah...they're also pretty tedious. Kind of hard to endure in any remotely large quantity. I dunno, if only they could've streamlined them, or made the frustrating bits less frustrating, or something. I've only played the Wii version and haven't played a lot of levels, by the way...this is just my impressions.

~

So, uh...wow! That was really long! I feel like some of my opinions aren't the best informed, as I haven't played as much as others, but...those are my impressions, and I'd lik to hear yours! What do you guys think? :P 

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Let me have a crack at it! 

Sonic Adventure:

Tails' gameplay was boring and slow. His Tornado levels were fun however because it fit him. Tails loves to build planes and is good at it and shooting stuff on the Tornado was very intresting. Racing Sonic is okay and it felt good to beat him without running faster than him. They should have him do more plane levels or make him use his tails more. 

Knuckles' gameplay was very intresting because I got to climb on the walls. Find the pieces of the master emerald was okay but it going confusing for a while and it got a little boring. I like how you can dig. Maybe have him punch more.

Amy's gameplay was good. I thought the hammer moves were intresting and I was odd that I didn't curl up in a ball but at the same time, I liked it because I felt I was playing a different gameplay than Sonic's. She was slow and I think she should make her (and Tails) a little faster. The levels were easy and I liked it. 

Big's fishing at first got me confused and disorianted because of the controls and Froggy was hard to catch. But I understood and I was getting the hang of it. I like these fishing levels. They were a fun game and it was different then “run to the goal and beat up robots”. It was a relaxing gameplay. One thing, they should have made him fight the Chaos 6 instead of just catching the frog but then it was different. 

E-102 “y”'s gameplay was my second favorite in this game. I love the shooting and it made the levels fun and intresting. And I was surprised when a robot character was fast. They should make the shooting controls less slippery. More shooting like this in future games! 

 

Sonic Adventure 2:

Tails and Eggman. Tails gameplay is way better in this game and was fun! The shooting was more like E-102y in Sonic Adventure but had different powerups. You also had more powerful shooting for shooting those metal boxes and you can lock on to robots to get bonuses. The shooting was a smooth and fun gameplay that fit Tails and it made me love him as a character. Dr Eggman had the same fun gameplay like Tails, except for one thing, he had powerup that made the egg walker resistant to attacks longer. So it made the gameplay a lot better. Also, I loved playing as Dr Eggman, the bad guy! 

Knuckles and Rouge. Knuckles was fun to play as. The treasure hunting was good but it took a long time and it became very diffcult. But he had his powerups such as digging and iron, it made it enjoyable. The only thing is that I with they made more use of the airnecklece. It was such an awesome powerup because Knuckles can hold his breath for as long as you stayed under water. But it was only needed in the last stage. I would make him punch more and give him more attack moves. Rouge was also fun like Knuckles. But she didnt have many powers like Knuckles. She has her kicking but I think they would use that more like give her the tornado kick she had in other media. 

 

Sonic 06:

Silver's gameplay, when I first played at him, I was confused but then I grew to love it. It was fun to use the phsycic powers and throw missles and boxes at the robots. I can also throw robots at other robots! I think they could make him a little faster, like Knuckles. He doesnt have to be as fast as Sonic because he doesn't need to run in his future but just a little faster. The puzzle was easy on the second try. I also liked that I can use my powers to move logs and the bosses as him were really fun. great gameplay overall. 

Amy was okay to play as. I didn't understand why she had invisiablity powers when in the games before, she was just a little girl with a hammer. But it was fun to sneek up on the enemies and attack them. I didn't like the way she attacked with her hammer. I could only attack on the ground. When I played Sonic Adventure i think Amy should play like in Sonic Adventure but faster. The double jump I liked. It was okay overall. 

Omega was fun to play as. Because of him and E-102y, I like to play as robot characters. The shooting was alot of fun and the hovering was great. I do think that they should give in lock-ons to make the shooting better. 

 

Sonic Unleashed:

The night-time stages were awesome. At night Sonic changes into a warehog and has different moves. He is slower but not too slow, just right. In this form, Sonic still had the moves like an acrobat. He can spin on poles to go to high places and he can use his arms to go faster for dashing. Sonic can double jump and hang on ledges. He can also use fighting skills. He can punch and spin his enimes to the ground. He collects force called Gia force to be stronger and get more moves. Sonic can also grab monsters and slam them to the ground and he can even use them to get across to higher places. This gameplay was alot of fun and it was different and one of the best ways to show Sonic and his skills. 

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Firstly I absolutely love the Mech levels from Sonic Adventure 2, that gameplay style was pretty awesome for that game. I also kind of loved it in Sonic Adventure, but the levels were two short in my opinion. Also the first criticism these gameplay styles have is well, Why is this in a Sonic game? Well the answer is simple, Sega wanted to try something new, and in my mind I think this was an all right choice for the Sonic series, I wish they bring it back to be honest.

Secondly from Sonic Unleashed, I absolutely loved playing as the Werehog in that game. Even though many people make fun of it calling it a God of War clone, while that claim maybe true? I still love the Werehog style of gameplay anyway. Most complains I hear about this gameplay style is that the levels drag on for far to long or the Werehog is just a stupid character, etc. Well some of these complains I may agree with I don't let that stop me from playing what I want to play. I also wish they implemented more of the Werehog to be honest. Because it was his very first appearance in a Sonic game, which would only make sense! But that's just what I think.

And finally the Big The Cat gameplay style in Sonic Adventure(Oh no!). I really did not like this style of gameplay in SA1. Because why do I need to fish in order to get to the final boss, and why does Big's story exist in the first place in SA1? These questions may never be answered, but I digress, the gameplay should have not been there in the first place. And the same can be said about Amy's and Gemma's missions, but I prefer these any day over fishing.

So yeah, that is what I think are the best and worst gameplay styles.

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Ok, let's see:

Sonic Adventure:

Tails: I honestly like playing as Tails more as I like playing as Sonic and that's saying a lot. One of the main reasons for this is that  it really feels like taking Tails from Mega Drive games and making it 3D. I just wish that he would have a longer stages. And the whole racing gimmick? Only one that is a real threat is Eggman in Speed highway, which to me is a best level for Tails because there is so much room for taking different routes. Not to mention it seems that it was to most unique level for Tails. I guess that it's because other levels had to be desinged so that Sonic can make through them.

Knuckles: When it comes to the controls I have no complains but the whole emerald hunt. I would have much preferred him to a get to goal -levels like Sonic and Tails but these aren't bad because they are desingned well. I really like playing his levels.

Amy: Why is she so slow? I mean, if they would have taken Amy from Sonic Advance I would have no complains. The hammer things are fine but the whole robot is chasing you is just annoying, especially in Hot Shelter where you already have to stop so many times to do something like putting cubes in holes and the robot just interrupts yoy

Gamma: Better than Amy and something I always enjoy. But not as much as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Gamma has two flaws that Tails also has 1. most of the time levels are just part of Sonic's levels and 2. it is so easy, there is only one level I hava had problems with the time limit. And do I even haveto mention the bosses?

Big: Honestly, it's not that bad. I mean, it's not hard at all just boring. What I mean is that every level is the same exact thing and Bigis just pointless in the overall story. At least it is the shortest story so I don't complain too much.

Sonic Adventure 2:

I sum it like this: take gameplaystyle from SA1 and make it worse. Tails and Eggman: first of all, Tails is in a mech, there is already so many things wrong with that. Secondly, I get that they were trying to improve Gammas style and mech-levels are not so easy but there is two huge problems: 1. the controls, mech just feels somuch stiffer than Gamma and 2. speed, the mech is also slower than Gamma who wasn't that fast to begin with.

Knuckles/Rouge: Problems with these have been brought so many times that I don't have to go on details, 1. butcherd radar 2. worse hint system 3. overall worse level desing

Sonic 06:

Shadow: Pretty much inferior Sonic whose levels consist mashing X-button over and over again. It gets old very quickly. And the vehichle are better than in ShTH but that's not saying lo

Silver: Concept is interesting but there is just so much missed potential (I think it's pretty much the theme with pretty much every alternative gameplay style). Again, just grapping boxes and throwing them gets old and while the later upgrade makes thing better, it comes too late. Why is he also so slow? Speed is an important factor in Sonic so why make a playable character who doesn't have it at all?

Tails: Lack of speed, ring bombs are just stupid, pushes always forward when flying, drops like a rock.

Knuckles: Lack of speed, gliding doesn't feel as good as before, hit detection makes his combat skills pointless (and they are also delayed), getting stuck on walls.

Rouge: Same thing as Knuckles but she has bombs and again, why?

Omega: How his gun is suppose to work? I just jump and shoot because it's much more realiable than trying do it in ground. Also his broken hovering makes things so easy

Amy: Even slower than in SA1, hammer is so delayed, double jump which removes momentum, invinsibility is pointless and why she has that?

Blaze: pretty much Sonic without gems and homing attach which just acts weirdly sometimes.

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Tails' racing style from Sa1, he controls well and it's just what I'd like for having classic Tails in 3D. This works in a Sonic game, but you can tell that they couldn't think of anything else for Tails with this. While it does work in context, this really works better as some optional extra, not an entire campaign of a game. 

Knuckles' treasure hunting game-play was fine, it didn't do much harm by being in the game. I actually do like playing as Knuckles in Sa1 because I believe that Sa1's control for pretty much everyone works the best in open areas like in the Knuckles stages. They can be beaten quick and easy like and the radar's allowing you to find any Emerald is the best design choice for this type of game-play.

E-102 Gamma's shooting game-play style was a fun one. It's significant speed and light jumping weight along with having some pretty loose control is actually a nice combination that makes him enjoyable to play.  The timer gimmick I think was a nice addition since it added some tension, but it's not strict. Almost inconsequential.

The decision to have them go Slow, heavy, with tighter control was not enjoyable at all, that combination just makes the mechs feel twitchy and almost un-responsive...that's not to say they are, but the level design also suffered from that decision. It was just so slow and uninteresting.

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Most of SA1's shortcomings were how short and dumbed down the difficulty and level span was, often making the new game plays feel more like mini games than whole levels. You could flail around blindly in Knuckles' stages and still find the emeralds pretty quickly most of the time. Similarly just bash Tails' flying button and you'll likely speed your way to the finish line. Gamma has a cool gameplay style and setup, it's just a shame most of his levels are just shorter versions of Sonic with absurdly easy bosses. Big's levels are usually just a pool placed in front you, essentially the same level repeated four times (oddly most of them do have dummied out pathways and puzzles however, suggesting they were supposed to be be more developed but thought gamers would be exasperated by the two different game modes).

Amy's levels seem the only one a lot of effort was put into the setup and gimmicks. Most of her level layouts are unique with lots of puzzles designed for her gameplay. The only shame is 1. There's only three of them and 2. She's absurdly slow, even slower than Big.

 

SA2 adds more development to the alternate character's pathways, but it's not always for the better. They now all have unique levels which compliment their move set, but resultantly feel less 'Sonic-y' and often kinda repetitive. The mech levels are usually just bland corridors which shove enemy after enemy at you, while the treasure hunting, in contrast to SA1, is tediously maze like and finicky and the limited radar makes it pointlessly linear and long drawn. It's worsened by the fact that, unlike SA1, it's not an alternative to Sonic's gameplay, you are forced to finish these game plays if you want to continue playing the standard levels.

Edited by E-122-Psi

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The only alternate gamestyle I like is Tails from Sonic Adventure and that's because he feels like a logical progression from the Genesis games. He plays exactly like Sonic, but can fly, and I think the race-element is a cool feature that separates him from Sonic whilst still feeling like a Sonic game, no crazy departures like Mech Shooting or Fishing. Even with Tails I don't think he was fleshed out enough, his levels are shorter and incomplete versions of Sonic's stages and he can't homing attack. It seems pretty stupid to make a move to facilitate 3D movement and then only give it to one character. I know they wanted to keep Sonic feeling unique but taking away basic controls from the rest of the cast seems pretty dumb. He also only has very few stages.

That said, I do like the direction they took Tails in. He certainly plays more how I imagine a 3D version of Sonic 2 or Sonic 3 would play rather than, say, Knuckles or Amy, who control similarly to Sonic but have boring slow-paced and frustrating objectives that are not like anything to be found in the Genesis classics.

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Top 3:

Tails (Adventure): Obviously the best alternate is the one that's the least "alternate". Tails has the same basic controls and physics as, and shares most of the same moves with, Sonic, trading the homing attack, spindash, and light dash for a tail swipe and his signature flight. He comes the closest to following S3&K's format of providing a variation of the main gameplay rather than being something completely different. Unfortunately you kind of have to choose to play like Sonic, as his flight is brokenly good and it's usually best to stay in the air as much as possible, meaning you're not applying the slope and momentum physics that I feel are so important to Sonic gameplay.

Werehog: Yeah, really. The black sheep of "good modern Sonic" is actually not that bad to play. Doesn't belong in a Sonic game, sure, but it's the only alternate gameplay that feels like it could stand as a game in its own right. In itself about the worst I can say about it is that it becomes kind of a grind over the course of the game, but it's competently programmed and decent enough at both combat and platforming, which puts it miles above most other attempts at alternate gameplay.

Gamma (SA): Clunky and kind of slow, but at least he's a better run-and-gun character than SA2's mechs or ShtH. The time limit gives you incentive to keep moving even if it never really becomes a threat. At least in the worst case his levels are pretty short so you can just blast your way through. Yeah this isn't exactly a glowing endorsement but that's what happens when you talk about alternate gameplay in Sonic games.

Honorable Mention: Amy (SA):  Yeah she's slow, further slowed by puzzles, and the stealth doesn't really work, but I can kind of see the potential there. I like the idea of her being chased giving her reason to keep moving. Bump her speed up a few notches and make the other aspects more "active" and I think it could've been fun.

Bottom 3:

Silver ('06): Everything is terrible. Psychic powers are cool in theory, but Silver is about the worst implementation they could've come up with. He's forced to play mostly defensively, reliant on reflecting enemy attacks or finding random junk to throw. This is gameplay I wouldn't be impressed with on its own, but it's an even worse fit for a series that is supposed to be about going fast. And of course this being '06, even once you get some ammo you can't be sure you'll even hit anything due to the game's terrible physics. He doesn't have any interesting platforming, either; he's slow, has a basic jump, a completely uninteresting hover, he can press a few switches that are flavored to be based on his psychic powers but just make platforms appear or open a door or whatever. And there's that box hover but that's slow and unfun and barely useful anyway. Also I think the word "billiards" probably still makes some players twitch involuntarily.

Treasure Hunting (SA2): Take gameplay that wasn't very good to start with and make it even worse? That's Sonic for you. SA2's gameplay was all about trying to refine some of SA's gameplay, but for 2/3 of it that meant pulling it even further away from Sonic's gameplay and wrapping it up in its own bullshit. The treasure hunting levels got bigger and the radar got shittier (seriously why would they not track all the shards at once? It doesn't even make sense, when you can stand right next to one and not even sense it). You just ended up running in circles either looking for TVs for clues or hoping you'd wander close enough to the next shard to start actually looking for it.

Big (SA): I feel like everyone already knows and agrees with everything I could say about this. I still think he's a likable character, though.

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The best alternate gameplay styles are the Werehog, Tails and Gamma in SA1 and Blaze in 06.

The Werehog does take a while to max out his levels (unless you're using the Wentos Ring exploit) but when you fully max out on the Werehog, he's a beast. The Werehog has quite a lot of moves as well so I make use of a good amount of them but nothing is more sweet than 1 hitting the Dark Gaia Phoenix with a maxed power fully charged Comet Punch, though the platforming is pretty basic but I didn't found it too tedious to deal with except in Skyscraper Scamper.

Tails in SA1 has definitely has great controls but the design for his levels were pretty lame and mediocre, I don't really enjoy playing his levels all that much since there's nothing much to them. But he control well. :/

Gamma, I personally found to be a really fun gameplay style, probably my second favorite gameplay style in SA1. I love blowing shit up and getting time bonuses for doing multi hits is pretty sweet too! I'd put Eggman in SA2 here as well since his levels were better designed than Tails' and Cosmic Wall was a pretty fun level to play as well!

Blaze in 06 was actually pretty decent gameplay style since it's the most consistently fun gameplay style in the game (yeah, even better than Sonic's, fuck those Mach Speed Sections). She's fast, her attacks are quick and doesn't break the pace, my only complaint is that you rarely play as her in the game which really sucks (oh and she really has no reason to be in the game storywise)

The worst....

I'd say the other gameplay styles in 06, they were all terrible. Shadow and SIlver's attacks are just spamming the the attack button non-stop (or grabbing random stuff and throw it at enemies for Silver), I seriously find them to be worst combat mechanics implemented in the series' history (yes, RoL had MUCH BETTER combat mechanics than 06's). The others were just painful to control or just not very interesting to play.

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I don't get the appreciation for the Werehog. It's not as bad comparatively as the lowest points for alternate-gamestyles in Sonic games but that's not saying much. The Werehog is literally just a lame knock-off take on God of War. It doesn't even try to hide the similarities.

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I don't see the appeal in the Werehog when it is just an inferior copy-cat version of another game. Compared to God of War, the Werehog is an absolute joke. No stunning mammoth vistas, epic monsters and no variation in weapons. It's just a poor man's God of War.

I mean, I get it's not completely broken, but I wouldn't call it good either. The animations and graphics are beautiful, I'll give it that. But that's more on the presentation of Unleashed.

Edited by Regen

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It is true that the Werehog is an inferior ripoff of God of War but if you're gonna rip off of someone, atleast rip off from the best. The Werehog is a pretty good ripoff IMO.

 

Wouldn't it be better to make a game that isn't an inferior rip off though :P

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As a Werehog fan, I don't give a shit about God of War. If I did, I would've played an actual God of War game by now. But I haven't, so as far as I'm concerned Kratos can fuck off not having a wife and kid still. The Werehog just works decently as a platformer and brawler in its own right regardless of its gameplay origins, and in the context of the overall series works and feels better mechanically than most gameplay styles which in themselves are probably not that removed from other games and genres either (hence the point of being alt gameplay styles). GoW just isn't relevant in that regard.

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As a Werehog fan, I don't give a shit about God of War. If I did, I would've played an actual God of War game by now. But I haven't, so as far as I'm concerned Kratos can fuck off not having a wife and kid still. The Werehog just works decently as a platformer and brawler in its own right regardless of its gameplay origins, and in the context of the overall series works and feels better mechanically than most gameplay styles which in themselves are probably not that removed from other games and genres either. GoW just isn't relevant.

That's like playing an inferior knock-off clone of Mario Kart and not recognising how much of a superior game Mario Kart is because you have no interest in Mario Kart. I'm trying to understand where you are coming from because it makes absolutely no sense to me.

So, you like the Werehog, and the Werehog is without a doubt an inferior clone of God of War, but you have no interest in God of War. That makes...no sense.

So imagine if you were a fan of Poppy Kart

Now I could come over and say that the above game is a lame knock-off version of Mario Kart but, as someone who appreciates the game, you then claim to have no interest in Mario Kart, despite Mario Kart being the original and far superior in every imaginable way. It's the exact same case with the Werehog and God of War.

And you go further and say God of War has nothing to do with the Werehog. That's like saying Mario Kart has nothing to do with Poppy Kart.

What?

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I'm not sure that all of these should be classed as alternate gameplay but, putting that aside, the most fun I had was with:

Gamma (SA) - Destroying chains of enemies to gain more time is probably my favourite gimmick of all of the alternate playstyles. He does feel a bit clunky and ill-suited for a typical Sonic level though.

Knuckles/Rouge (SA2) - While the change to the radar was a downgrade, I thought the size of the levels was a massive improvement over the SA versions. Mad Space was the only one that really gave me much trouble. I'd have been perfectly happy with these levels had the radar remained the same and the camera wasn't so damn finicky in tight spaces.

 

Somewhere in the middle:

Tails (SA) - Following the story for the first time, I found myself enjoying these levels. Replaying them sucks, however. They're just stripped down versions of Sonic's and if that's not bad enough, you actually have to skip past a lot of it with what is probably the most boring use possible of his signature ability. He may be the most similar to Sonic, but I think in some ways this is one of the worst alternate play styles as it gives you very little reason to play as him.

Amy (SA) - Amy's would be really fun if she wasn't so damn slow. This was kind of the opposite experience to Tails in that I dreaded having to put up with her lack of speed (especially when you had to move uphill or "solve" puzzles) in my first run through. On subsequent playthroughs, I can predict Zero's movements and have more of an appreciation for the good ideas in this one. At at a conceptual level it's the best and most well-suited style but it's let down in a big way.

Knuckles (SA) - I personally think that SA2's are a hell of a lot better, even with the shitty radar, because these are so short that it barely feels like I've achieved anything. That said, they're all right.

Tails/Eggman (SA2) - Enemy health would have made this unbearable, but thankfully they didn't go down that route. I thought it made for a pretty fun score attack mode and the level design at least made more sense for them than Gamma's did for him. The linearity and repetitive nature make it a lot less replayable though.

 

And I had the least fun with:

Big (SA) - Mercifully short is the best thing I can say about this one. Froggy was rarely difficult to find and thankfully I grasped the technique to fishing him out pretty quickly. Fishing..... in a Sonic game though? This is easily the most conceptually bizarre choice and the one that I would have thought would have been canned as soon as the idea left someone's lips.

Silver ('06) - An interesting idea in theory, but for some reason he has to move as slow as a Sonic character in mud. He also can't attack very well on his own, making him almost feel like an anti-Sonic. Having said that, I've actually been back to this style in the last few years and found that it wasn't as bad as I remembered; when taken out of context anyway. It's still pretty shitty though.

Werehog (Unleashed) - This has to be the most ill-conceived of them all (outside of Big). Enemy health, to begin with, is a fucking terrible idea in a Sonic game. It keeps you locked in one space for far too long, mindlessly mashing buttons in a series that doesn't specialise in combat and when it's not doing that, it's trying out some rather basic, extremely boring, precision platforming. What sucks more is that the combat could have been more bearable had the developers just given you most of the abilities from the start. What sucks even more than that is that this style couldn't have arrived in a less appropriate game - Sonic's fastest one ever. No gameplay has felt so at odds with Sonic than this one for me (except for Big) and to top it off, it's the bloody longest. If I could say something in it's favour, it's that the animation looks nice. It definitely has the most thought and effort put into its presentation, so that's...  something.

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Speaking of kart games, back in my day when game companies didn't try to fuck over you whippersnappers with microtransactions in $60 AAA titles, did you know I actually had multiple kart games at the same time? Yes siree Bob. In my house I had Crash Team Racing, Diddy Kong Racing, and Mario Kart 64 all in the same cabinet. I know; amazing. And guess what? I actually played them all, despite the fact that I personally felt Diddy Kong Racing was the best of the bunch by far.

But eh, I'm just fucking old I guess.

I'm not saying you have no right to like the Werehog. I'm confused why you wouldn't like God of War when it's literally exactly the same as the Werehog in game mechanics terms but better in every conceivable way. Okay, you aren't a big fan of the Classical aesthetic, fair enough, but I think it's a bit closed-minded to outright decide not to play God of War just because of the art-style and mythos. I mean, you liked the Werehog and God of War is just exactly the same but better.

I'm not a whippersnapper, I'm 24, so we are probably around the same age ;) . With that said, trying to use an assumption of your older age as a platform of authority, even if a half-joke, to shut down arguments is a tad immature.

I also owned those Karting games so I'm aware that we shouldn't be just outright not playing games that aren't the best in their respective genres. The analogy you've used here isn't very appropriate, because these games are all very different and independent to each other, they are just in the same genre. On the other hand, the Werehog isn't just in the same genre as God of War, it's absolutely identical and does nothing unique that God of War doesn't do better.

This is why I used Poppy Kart racer as an example. It's not like CTR or DKR, it doesn't have any unique elements that separate it from its inspiration. The Werehog is more like Poppy Kart Racer, it's just a copy-cat clone.

And again, I'm not saying you can't like the Werehog. I was just initially sceptical for the enthusiasm for the Werehog, seeing as there is another game that is exactly the same gameplay-wise but mechanically better. I don't like seeing a game series completely ride off the cuff-tails of a competitor and come off as a cheap second best. I then moved to address your opinion, as I think it's a bit closed-minded to not play God of War even though it's a proven fact you would like the gameplay (seeing as you've said you like the Werehog). Sure, I understand more why you don't like it now I know you don't like the mythos and aesthetic, and you're entitled to not play it, but I'd say you definitely should give it a go if you like the Werehog.

Edited by Regen

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The Werehog (x360) is actually my favorite of all the alternate playstyles; it has much more variety and atmosphere than Mech-shooting or treasure hunting. I know its inferior in many ways to God of War, the atmosphere and design of God of War is technically superior, but the design and atmosphere don't appeal to me.

Years ago, I knew a few folks who preferred Crash Team Racing over Mario Kart. Mario Kart was the superior product, but they preferred the aesthetic of CTR. The same principle applies here for me.

As for the other alternate styles, such as the afore mentioned Mech-shooting and Treasure hunting; they're okay, I don't dislike them, but I usually don't spend a lot of time on them either.

I'm really in the minority in this, but at times one of my favorite games is Shadow the Hedgehog, because I feel it greatly combines elements of the slow clunky mech-shooting with Sonic's platforming.

.

Edited by DarkDefeater

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How in the world is it close-minded to say I don't want to play God of War if I admitted that God of War is a better game despite not having played it to be able to rationally have that opinion in the first place? I'm not here saying God of War is definitely shittier than Unleashed because Kratos isn't a hedgehog. I'm saying that the things I've learned about it don't inspire me to go out and play it while Unleashed's aesthetics did. It's possible to appreciate art from a distance or in theory while admitting that you are not personally moved as a living, breathing human being with biases and tastes and preferences to experience that art personally for yourself. That's not being close-minded. No one is obligated to play everything.

And once again, the main mechanics of a game and its degrees of difference from other titles aren't the only thing that matter to me when I look for something to play. I care about the characters, the art design, and narrative along with the gameplay as well as how these things work together to inform the context of a whole experience. If not ever playing a clone is the only or the most important thing that matters to you, then good for you. I hope you have a shitload of fun with the God of War in the future. But acting like Werehog fans are somehow incomprehensible or close-minded or dumb for ignoring the proven fact that they would like God of War (proven fact? Fuck is this shit?) if only they'd just play it is deliberately ignoring every other facet of the Werehog and ultimately Unleashed that is unique onto itself, and I personally don't buy that that's a healthy way to look at games. I don't care to dumb them down to direct comparisons of animation and numbers.

tl:dr: Werehog fans like the Werehog because it's a fucking werewolf-hedgehog. Peddling something to us that's not a werewolf-hedgehog just because it also happens to break shit like the werewolf-hedgehog doesn't matter to us in the long run, even though we're smart enough to know that the werewolf-hedgehog isn't the only thing that breaks shit without you or anyone else telling us. Furthermore, acting like we'd see the light of the facts if we'd only just engage with the other thing that breaks shit is patronzing as all hell.

Edited by Nepenthe

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How in the world is it close-minded to say I don't want to play God of War if I admitted that God of War is a better game despite not having played it to be able to rationally have that opinion in the first place?

Because you like the gameplay of the Werehog which is literally exactly the same as God of War. I think it's a bit closed-minded to not give God of War a go when you would almost certainly ike the game if it wasn't for the fact the art-style and aesthetic is putting you off.

But acting like Werehog fans are somehow incomprehensible or close-minded or dumb for ignoring the proven fact that they would like God of War (proven fact? Fuck is this shit)  if only they'd just play it is deliberately ignoring every other facet of the Werehog and ultimately Unleashed that is unique onto itself, and I personally don't buy that that's a healthy way to look at games. I don't care to dumb them down to direct comparisons of animation and numbers.

It's a proven fact because God of War is exactly the same as the Werehog. So, if you like the Werehog then you like God of War, at least from a gameplay standpoint. As far as I'm concerned it's a proven fact.

I've never said fans of the Werehog who wouldn't give God of War a go are 'dumb', I think it's a dumb decision and closed-minded.

That's not being close-minded. No one is obligated to play everything.

You have no obligation to play it, I just think it's a crying shame that you like the Werehog, despite its many flaws, but won't give God of War a try even though it's exactly the same but far superior. I know art-style and aesthetic are a big reason for people liking games, but I hold that it's closed-minded to not play something you would almost certainly like if not for the subjective opinion of the presentation. Even if you are not used to it or personally like it you should give it a go. You never know how you might feel when you complete it!

That's all I really have to say on the matter and I'm not even a fan of God of War.

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Tails (SA1) - a prime example (among 3D games, that is) of alternate gameplay that feels like Sonic yet is "alternate" enough to not be a second Sonic. It is fun, but... SA1 approach was really lazy. I mean... boost rings? Was ability to fly not good enough by itself? And that's pretty much the only thing that adapted Sonic's levels for Tails. You can skip crazy-huge chunks of levels by taking risks and flying in an off-camera direction, and that doesn't give you a feeling that you are skilled or something - it's literally gamebreaking.

With that said... I really want this concept to be revisited in a proper way. I want it to have a slightly bigger focus on exploration (while retaining speed capabilities, of course). I want levels to be generally more vertical. Imagine Tails in Sonic 1, and then imagine him in S3&K. Tails in SA1 is like former, I want something like latter next time.

Treasure Hunting (SA1) - you are running around, hitting things, jumping... Still feels like Sonic, the only real difference is that it's not linear. Stages are small, radars are helpful - finding things is not really an issue. Looking for emerald pieces is just a premise to make you navigate through the same map in a different manner.

Treasure Hunting (SA2) - now here you have to put effort into actual searching... And it can get really annoying. This is where you can find yourself running through the same places over, and over, and over... You are doing same repetitive task over, and over, and over while having no idea why.

Amy (SA1) - it would be much better if Amy was just a little bit faster. Also, level design rarely (if ever) makes you use top-speed flip to reach higher places or especially shortcuts. Those are the only real issues I have with SA1 version of Amy. Still, I think Sonic Heroes (where nobody was alternate) and Sonic Advance 3 (where everybody was alternate) handled her best.

Mech Shooting (SA1) - it's fast, maneuverable, chaotic - sound good enough for Sonic, doesn't it? And timer gimmick also encourages chaos by making you blow everything up faster.

Mech Shooting (SA2) - it's not just inferior to Gamma because of speed or maneuverability. The "chaotic" bit is lost, because level design becomes very linear, with lots of corridors. At times you have to destroy everything in the room in order to progress. That limits your freedom, meanwhile Sonic is about freedom.

Shadow (the Hedgehog) - well... The level design in the game is somewhat boring, and having Shadow using a gun makes no sense in terms of lore... But you have to admit: momentarily destroying enemies with long health bars is incredibly satisfactory. Sonic games really lack depth when it comes to interraction with enemies. In 2D games "jump to kill" combat was good enough, because 1) it went with the flow of main task - platforming; 2) lack of 3rd dimension limited your ability at approaching enemies. Sonic Heroes finally added a necessary strategy element to enemies (especially bosses), but all combat-related tasks eventually turned into "destroy your controller"-type of button mashing. Variety of guns added meaning to the combat in ShTH, and in boss battles you could also utilize various features of boss arena to your advantage. It's not "hit 8 times to kill" anymore, you have to put some thought into combat, and that improves your interraction with the game and immersion. Those are important for any type of games, those are reasons why games are so good.

There was no reason for enemies in '06 to have health bars - players lost abilities to make those work. It's good that Unleased (daytime) and Generations don't use health bars, because enemies are not as much obstacles as they are "flow helpers". Lost World... it's weird.

Werehog - I don't want it to come back. It's not bad by itself, really. It's engaging, it feels polished - it's not bad, but it's not Sonicy. And there was too much of it. It's good enough for one game. It was fun while it lasted, but it's good that it's gone.

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I loved the majority of alternate playstyles. Though they definitely could have all used some refinement or been fleshed out more or whatever.

I'd really love to see treasure hunting come back. I've always thought it was so fun to explore large worlds and Knuckles' moveset suits this perfectly. Probably better than Sonic's levels for Knuckles since I've always thought about him traversing Sonic's levels and I thought his gliding and climbing skills would be almost broken in normal Sonicy type levels. At least in a 3D environment. SA1 had a better radar, but SA2 felt so much better to control in my opinion. I loved drilling from great heights. I liked mech levels too, and I seriously think they suit Tails very well. And at this point maybe even more than him running around on foot with him being more of a walking toolbox now. Amy's gameplay in SA1 I thought was fun, and it might even be my favorite if they actually made her fast, which she has been since Sonic Advance so that's cool. I even loved Big's fishing levels and I personally would love to see his gameplay more fleshed out and fine tuned. Plus Big needed more platformy bits. I really loved his Hot Shelter and Ice Cap for having platforming, optional or not. Not that it matters since he probably won't ever do anything important in a main game again. Sigh. Werehog was alright, the combat could have been more intuitive I think and it would have been more tolerable if that theme didn't play every time you fought enemies. The theme was nice but not when it interrupts the levels music more than half the time. In general I think Unleashed was a great game.

But speaking of combat I actually LOVED the combat in Sonic Heroes. I know I'm probably in the hyper-minority but I didn't mind enemies having health. Destroying huge groups of enemies with a level 2 or 3 power character was the most satisfying thing in the world to me. Even just jumping and slamming your team mates into enemies was fun. The huge explosions and the sound effects, they all felt so strong. Power is defenitely my favorite character type <3. Still having a level 2 or 3 fly character and destroying tons of enemies with thundershoot or beating enemies with homing attacks was cool too. Something about the way Heroes did it just felt right to me. I feel no other Sonic game ever came close to a fun combat experience as Heroes did IMO. So I'm at least glad it exists and I can play it whenever I feel like.

I've always been really open minded when it comes to Sonic and I find all of the different styles of play really nice. This series has such a cool and colorful cast of characters with unique abilities and it's such a shame that it was ruined with games like 06. Though maybe genre roulette started off on the wrong foot to begin with. Since every game after Sonic 1 added a new character with a new style has been added to the series, which is nice but maybe it was taken too far and the series ended up where it did. Still, me personally, I loved the Adventures, Heroes, Secret Rings, and Unleashed. I know I'm not alone, even if it might be a minority opinion. It's been nothing but Sonic for a long time now, and I was actually really glad they brought Tails, Knuckles, and Amy back for Rise of Lyric before it came out, but we know how that turned out. So it doesn't really leave me hopeful for others being playable for actual main series games. 

Edited by monkokaio

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