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First level syndrome


Rey Skywalker-Ren

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Many Sonic games has has a variety of levels, however in my opinion there were some where I liked the first level of the game and everything else went down hill. The best example I can give to you is: 

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I mean yeah this game has starlight zone but that is towards the end of the game. Green Hill is fast paced and then we move on to slower platforming to speedy platforming to more slowed platforming for two more levels. This is one of those games where I don't enjoy beyond the first level of the game. GHZ is a great level and to me, the others were pretty crappy.

So which games did you not enjoy beyond the first level?

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I wouldn't say any of them, even Sonic 1, as I like levels like Scrap Brain and Spring Yard alongside Green Hill and Starlight, but there are definitely games where the first few levels are some of the best. I find City Escape in SA2 is a great (or notable, perhaps) example of this. It's fast, fluid, and fun, most people love this level. Then you get the Tails and Knuckles levels, a handful of good Sonic levels, and yet more Tails and Knuckles. It really drags the game down until the end parts of Hero story, which ends on Final Rush, which is my favourite level in the game. But City Escape was such a strong start that it hurts even more.

 

Heroes has it for me as well, as I think Seaside Hill up to Grand Metropolis are all great, but it gets towards tedium by Power Plant as the levels start to drag. Similarly with Sonic 2, I think Emerald Hill up to Casino Night is fantastic, but then Hill Top is less interesting and I don't enjoy anything after Mystic Cave anywhere near as much as the early game (but Mystic Cave is awesome, and I don't really hate any Sonic 2 level). I also get this with 3&K to some extent, mostly due to preferring the 3 half of the game, but I think it's also the general length of the game, I start to get fatigued around Sandopolis. This is like a 2 hour straight game, it gets pretty long without a break.

 

Generations is for me like the opposite of this though. Green Hill is so short and is basically tutorial for the rest of the game and it didn't really interest me at all after playing the demo a bunch of times. It's Chemical Plant where I really started to appreciate the level design (and the fact they represented levels that weren't commonly rehashed like Green Hill).

 

It does happen a lot in games though, probably because the first level has to draw players in and more effort is spent on it. Even in Sonic 1, Green Hill's development took like 6 months or something insane compared to the rest of them.

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Goddamn Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. The first island is a damn near perfect example of open world platforming, but what follows it provided me no fun at all. There's Fire Canyon where you're forced onto that hovercraft thing, which controls horrendously both on the "ground" and in mid air, over the volcanic terrain to reach the next area, then onto Precursor Basin, where you gotta ride what's basically the same vehicle used in Fire Canyon, chasing that damn dragon for a power cell, that I swear is impossible to reach. All I got out of that was "oh, it's THAT kind of game." I only play around on the first island whenever I go back to the game, and I do not plan on finishing it.

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2 hours ago, Auto said:

Goddamn Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. The first island is a damn near perfect example of open world platforming, but what follows it provided me no fun at all. There's Fire Canyon where you're forced onto that hovercraft thing, which controls horrendously both on the "ground" and in mid air, over the volcanic terrain to reach the next area, then onto Precursor Basin, where you gotta ride what's basically the same vehicle used in Fire Canyon, chasing that damn dragon for a power cell, that I swear is impossible to reach. All I got out of that was "oh, it's THAT kind of game." I only play around on the first island whenever I go back to the game, and I do not plan on finishing it.

Since this is in Green Hill Zone, we should probably only talk about Sonic games. You could start a general thread on this subject in the Video Games subforum if you'd like.

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Sonic 2 on the Game Gear is mediocre at best for the first 2 acts of Underground Zone. Then you get to this monstrosity:

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And then the ENTIRE game devolves into a gimmicky, difficult, and unfun piece of trash. Every zone following this boss is terrible.

The hang glider sucks, the underwater level sucks, everything just sucks harder and harder as you go on. But the first 2 levels are ok, I guess?

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Shattered Crystal is probably the only linear Sonic game that I think falls under this category.  The first level isn't exactly the most fun experience, either, mind you, but it certainly isn't torturous enough for me to predict the rest of the game is going to be much that much slower and more daunting.  Once you get past the first level and you notice that the game is forcing you to backtrack to get collectibles, then the whole experience just becomes really tedious.  Not helped that every level is virtually identical in design, even with slightly different level gimmicks.

In general, I feel like most Sonic games don't suffer from the "First level is the high point."  For the most part, I feel like when a Sonic game is bad, it comes in the form of all or most levels being tedious and terrible.  Shadow the Hedgehog, for instance.  I wouldn't call Westopolis the high point, because the game is pretty boring all throughout to the point where I don't really feel like there is a "high" point.  The Wii and PlayStation 2 versions of Sonic Unleashed also suffer from each level being more than a bit monotonous, even during the day stages.

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7 hours ago, Person said:

Sonic 2 on the Game Gear is mediocre at best for the first 2 acts of Underground Zone. Then you get to this monstrosity:

 

 

That's your problem right there, playing the port of the Master System version, the level design doesn't change but the absence of screen crunch makes the boss extremely easy

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52 minutes ago, Komaru Naegi said:

That's your problem right there, playing the port of the Master System version, the level design doesn't change but the absence of screen crunch makes the boss extremely easy

Oh I know, I see your point.

It makes things easier sure, but the rest of the game is still tedious and unenjoyable :V

....

Side note just because I thought of it earlier

I can't speak for this one really because I haven't played the full game, but from what I heard, Lost World on 3DS fits this thread perfectly. I had an absolute blast with the e-shop demo that they put out, but the reviews I've seen say the game devolves into an incredibly long and boring puzzle.

Makes me sad to see, because I think if the 3DS version followed the Wii U one more closely, it could've been the superior of the two.

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"First Level Syndrome" is literally Sonic: Lost World in a nutshell for both versions.

The first act of Windy Hill is alright, though even that isn't that greatXD due to the boring level design, then things get kinda "bleh" from the next two worlds and then it gets downright awful from Frozen Factory and onwards. Funny that you mentioned Sonic 1 since that's actually one of the main reasons I pretty much hate that game as well. Even funnier that the reason I hate LW is because it feels like a 3D Sonic 1 with "Not Mario" gimmicks and gameplay added and janky Wisps that don't add anything.

God, I hate these two games. XD

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think this applies to Sonic 1 all that much, I generally enjoy all Sonic 1's stages except for Labyrinth zone.

Sonic heroes Suffers from 'First Level Syndrome' the most, I can't enjoy any of the stages past Grand Metropolis, they're all so tedious and boring as any team that isn't team Rose and don't even get me stated on Rail canyon, Bullet Station and Mystic Mansion, Oh God no.   

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Yeah, I personally really don't see Sonic 1 as being an example of this, though it should be noted that I'm a bit of an odd duck in that I don't really hate a single level in that game (though I can't say I'm fond of Labyrinth, lol). When I was a little kid, Marble Zone did stop me cold, but I didn't exactly try very hard with it. Nowadays, it doesn't really bug me too much; not the greatest ever, but fairly enjoyable. And I agree with Semi-colon e, Spring Yard Zone and Scrap Brain Zone are both very good levels. There might not be speed, but that's not all that Sonic is about to me - I really enjoy the platforming aspects, they actually make Sonic 1 feel very satisfying to play for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if it counts, but Sonic Chronicles really lost focus after the first few areas. When you go into the other dimension and leave Earth, it just gets tedious and I really wanted the game to be over already.

I also kind of like the first few levels of Sonic 3D Blast more than the rest of the game.

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If this were back in the day, I would've actually said Sonic 2. I HATED the Chemical Plant Zone with a passion after Emerald Hill, and because of the fact that I could never really get past that level, I didn't really enjoy the game all that much. My outlook on the game has definitely changed A LOT since then though. While I still don't like Chemical Plant Zone, I do like several levels that are after that one. :)

If I had to pick any more recent video game, I guess it would be Time Crisis 4 (even though that game came out over 10 years ago...) I really enjoy playing the first stage of the game, but then I just don't seem to have as much enjoyment after it's done. Maybe it's because I already dumped so many quarters into it at the arcade I play it at. :P 

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