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Dusty Desert Zones: Desert Levels in Sonic Games


Sonictrainer
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(Textless Cover of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog 218)

Deserts are 1 of 4 variants of the Earth theme in the Sonic Game Universe. Starting with the Sandopolis Zone in the Genesis Era, Desert Zones have mostly appeared as just another subdivision of the Ruins themed Zones alongside Water, Wind, and Fire. It wasn’t until the Modern Era when we started seeing more variety, with levels like Sand Oasis, Frontier Canyon Zone, and Oil Desert Zone and even in Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, with Mirage Saloon Zone and a fusion with the Green Hill Zone. As we travel these harsh environments, be careful not to get a sand rash…

NOTES: 
1. All entries in the opening post are:

  • Dusty Desert from Sonic the Hedgehog 2006
  • Zones and Hubs with the words “Desert”, “Mirage”, “Pyramid”, or “Sand” in their names

2. If you have a favorite Desert themed Level/Hub that fits Note #1, know an awesome Desert level from a Sonic fan game that fits Note #1, know a desert level that follows the theme that I missed, or have a level you feel can be debated as a Desert Styled level, feel free to talk about it in the topic.


Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles: Sandopolis Zone and Desert Palace Zone

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The Sandpolis Zone is a desert located on Angel Island, where Sonic and Tails land after jumping from the Flying Battery. Act 1 has Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles explore the desert while rock climbing down the sides of stone walls while holding onto a pulley, pushing stone blocks onto small gears to use as platforms, slide down and ride streams of quicksand, bouncing off of special bungee cords, and spinning through shuttle loops twice to get more air. In Act 2, they explore the inside of one of the pyramids that leads to the Lava Reef Zone. However, they accidently released ghosts from a Prison Capsule that get really aggressive when it gets dark and they have to use light switches to make them disappear. Also, there’s a number of switch activated sand doors and 2 areas where sand will start to fill up the ruins. The Badniks shifting through the Sandopolis Zone are Skorps, a robot scorpion with a spike ball as a stinger and a very long tail, Rock’n, one of the new Mimic robots disguised as a rock that can only be destroyed by rolling into it, and Sandworm, a version of Catakiller specialized for the desert that swims in the quicksand like a Chopper. The Sub Boss of Act 1 is a Golem that can only be defeated by tricking it into the quicksand. The main boss in Act 2 has Eggman and Egg Robo rocking stone armor, 2 giant arms and fists, and a laser. Fortunately, hitting the armor in the head knocks most of it away, temporarily stalls the laser, and leaves Eggman and Egg Robo wide open.

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The Desert Palace Zone is an area in or close to Sandopolis Zone on the Floating Island. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles use the area as a racecourse in Competition Mode. The trick of this stage is that one of the bridges will collapse after a character runs over it and reform momentarily.


Sonic Blast: Yellow Desert Zone

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The Yellow Desert Zone can easily be described as Sandpolis Zone Lite. The only unique thing I can talk about is the crater hopping areas in Act 2, where Sonic and Knuckles can jump between holes in a wall. In Act 3, Eggman appears in his Monkey King (aka Sun Wukong) Mech that has a staff and can ride a cloud. Not sure what purpose the ponytail serves, though…


Sonic Drift 2: Desert Road 1 & 2

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Desert Road 1 is a regular looping track that appears as the 5th course of the Purple GP and has inclines on certain curves that racers can drive on to get ahead of opponents. 

Desert Road 2 is a non-looping track that appears as the 1st course of the White GP and has tunnels.


Sonic R: Regal Ruin

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Regal Ruin is a sandy island of ruins hiding 5 Sonic Tokens and 2 Chaos Emeralds. Collecting all 5 Sonic Tokens and getting at least 3rd Place will allow players to challenge Egg Robo.


Sonic Arcade (aka SegaSonic the Hedgehog): Desert Dodge

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Desert Dodge is the 3rd area of Eggman Island where Sonic, Ray, and Mighty have to run through a desert while avoiding sinkholes, twisters, a giant robot insect with a spike ball for a tail, underground jump ropes, and quicksand.


Sonic the Fighters/Championship: Flying Carpet

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Flying Carpet is the second stage of the game in Arcade Mode, where players fight Amy.


Sonic Adventure: Sand Hill

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Sand Hill is a desert in the Mystic Ruins that Tails had to surf through to find Chaos possessed Froggy and retrieve the Red Chaos Emerald he ate. There are no Rings here and Tails can go through Point Gates to make a combo.


Sonic Adventure 2: Hidden Base, Pyramid Cave, Death Chamber, Sand Ocean, and Egg Quarters

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Hidden Base has Tails start off Team Heroes’ infiltration of Eggman’s desert base, blowing up Badniks and G.U.N. robots to find the entrance. Tails can return here to get the Mystic Melody once he upgrades the Cyclone with the Bazooka.

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Pyramid Cave has Sonic rush through the inside of the pyramid while fighting Badniks, collecting the Bounce Bracelet and doing bounce attacks to reach higher areas, finding keys to switches, and quickly use Hourglasses to activate time sensitive doors.

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Death Chamber has Knuckles find 3 keys to unlock the door to Eggman’s shuttle and collect the Hammer Gloves to allow him to break Steel Boxes. After finding 3 Keys, Knuckles will have a Boss Fight with King Boom Boo and afterward Sonic will fight against Eggman’s guardian robot, the Egg Golem.

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Sand Ocean is the path Eggman used to head back to his desert base after releasing Shadow. It seems that he was followed however, because G.U.N. robots are swarming the place. Eggman must blast his way to the entrance of his HQ while avoiding the Quicksand. His Mystic Melody is also somewhere in this area.

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Egg Quarters is Rouge’s version of Death Chamber where she has to find 3 Keys to enter Eggman’s base and collect the Pick Nails to allow her to dig holes.


Sonic Rush: Mirage Road Zone

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The Mirage Road Zone is a desert filled with ruins that Eggman and Eggman Nega have taken over. It’s the 3rd Zone for Sonic’s Story and Blaze’s Story and is kind of like a Modern remix of Sandopolis Zone but with Grind Rails, more room to run, a cart and river ride, a Special Stage to get the Yellow Chaos Emerald for Sonic, the Yellow Sol Emerald for Blaze after defeating the Boss, and no darkness loving ghosts. Unfortunately, there are areas where Sonic and Blaze have to stop and defeat a wave of Egg Pawn Series robots to continue. The Boss of Mirage Road Zone is the Egg Scarab, a giant bug that can create 


Sonic the Hedgehog 2006: Dusty Desert

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Dusty Desert is a desert in Soleanna with the world’s fastest quicksand. Sonic runs through the sands as Elise uses her “Soul Shield” to prevent them both from being sinking into the bottomless quicksand. As for Shadow, this is his last level in the game as he teams up with Rouge and Omega to take down Mephiles. Finally, Silver has the worst version of this level where he has to deal with the exploding, number ball puzzle.


Sonic Riders: Sand Ruins and Dark Desert

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Sand Ruins is a course going through a desert and a temple that may have been created by the Babylonians. In Story Mode, this is the final race in Eggman’s Grand Prix, where Sonic races against Tails, Knuckles, and Jet. Unfortunately, his Extreme Gear, the Blue Star, was sabotaged by Wave’s miniature explosive and allowed Jet to win the race.

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Dark Desert is a different course of Sand Ruins that takes place during a Solar Eclipse.


Sonic Rivals: Death Yard Zone

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The Death Yard Zone is a desert on Onyx Island where factories and junkyards have been built. It could also be a future version of the Sandopolis Zone, since Onyx Island is a future version of Angel Island. Here the matches are Sonic VS Knuckles and Shadow VS Silver. Instead of a Boss Battle, everyone will race Metal Sonic 2.0.


Sonic Rivals 2: Frontier Canyon Zone

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The Frontier Canyon Zone is an “old western” style desert that conventionally has racecourses and arenas. Here the Story Mode matches are Sonic VS Espio, Tails VS Silver, Knuckles VS Metal Sonic, and Rouge VS Shadow. In the Frontier Canyon Zone, Rivals will spin inside lassos across bottomless pits, dodge twisters and tumbleweeds, and ride and operate a handcar while jumping over Boxes. The Boss of Frontier Canyon Zone is the Egg Bull, a giant robot bull that chases Rivals down until it comes to a stop and whoever can use the platforms quickly can score a hit on its head with a Spin Jump.


Sonic and the Secret Rings: Sand Oasis

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Sand Oasis is a desert city where King Shahryar, the Arabian Nights’ Version of Eggman, lives with his guards and servants. While running through the sands of the city, Sonic will avoid giant harpoons, dodge fire and flamethrowers, break or avoid jars, grind on rails across the oasis waters, and collect the mysterious Fire Souls. Sonic will also return to fight the Sand Scorpion, a giant magic scorpion with eyes in its stingers and mouth, and retrieve the Yellow World Ring, which represents Joy.


Sonic Chronicles The Dark Brotherhood: Kron Colony

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The Kron Colony is the 1 out of 5 Colonies trapped in the Twilight Cage. It is home to the Kron, a race of alien rock people who work as miners. After the Blue Cyclone crashed there after leaving their world, Sonic and his friends went to find Foreman Krag, the leader of the Kron, and convince him to join them to create an alliance against the Nocturnus.


Sonic Unleashed: Shamar/Arid Sands

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Shamar is a desert Country based on Middle Eastern countries, such as Petra, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Qatar. During Sonic’s adventure, the adults of Shamar are partaking a tradition where they sleep during the day and stay awake at night. After restoring 4 Chaos Emeralds and reconnecting Apotos, Chun-nun, Spagonia, and Holoska, Professor Pickle has everything (except his Gramophone) transferred to his Shamarian Laboratory.

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In the PS2/Wii Version of Sonic Unleashed, the city and desert ruins are very spacious and have Sonic running through streets, canyons, and even a small oasis. Even the Bobsled returns in one of the Day Acts.

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In the HD Versions, Sonic finds his Light Speed Dash Shoes during the Daytime and goes through Arid Sands Day Act 1 to grab the Shamar Day Gaia Key after clearing a desert canyon. At Night, Sonic fights against the Fire Masters for the first time and brawls until he finds the Titan holding the Shamar Night Gaia Key. The Boss of the Shamar Gaia Temple is Dark Guardian, a giant Nightmare covered in armor, wielding a hammer, able to strike the ground with lightning, and powered by a tablet…with guts and organs… In the PS2/Wii Version, Sonic simply has to beat the crap of Dark Guardian to win. In the HD Version, Sonic has to actually break down the tablet by pushing 3 crates with varying weights before fighting Dark Guardian to prevent it from healing itself. After defeating Night Guardian, Shamar’s Planet Piece and the Yellow Chaos Emerald are restored.


Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Oil Desert Zone

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The Oil Desert Zone is a desert rich with oil that is currently being refined by Eggman on Mirage Island. In a way, it’s like a fusion of the Oil Ocean Zone and Sandpolis Zone. The Badniks digging for oil in the Oil Desert Zone are a new model of Sandworm, a upgraded version of Catakiller that’s now bigger and is literally invincible, Flamer, a type of Orbinaut that’s equipped with flamethrowers instead of spiked balls, fireballs, or sharp snowballs and can set some of the oil ablaze, and Scarabesque, a new dung beetle Badnik that rolls a bomb around. At the end, Sonic and Tails fight Eggman using a robot made up of garbage and scrap metal.


Sonic Lost World: Desert Ruins (Wii U Zone 1 and 4) and Sky Road (Wii U Zone 4)

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Desert Ruin is the desert region of the Lost Hex, where Eggman sent Zomom to fight Sonic, Sonic released the Deadly Six from Eggman’s control, and the Deadly 6 released their rage. In the Wii U Version, Zones 1 and 4 are the only desert themed Zones in the area. Desert Ruins Zone 1 has Sonic sliding through quicksand and avoiding giant cacti with faces, rushing through the ruins while dodging the mouths of the Lost Hex Sandworms, and teaming up with the Crimson Wisps and using their Color Power, Crimson Eagle, to fly. In Desert Ruins Act 4, Sonic runs through a 2D level while avoiding a sand twister, teams up with the Yellow Wisps to dig underground as the Yellow Drill, and fights Zomom in an arena of blocks. The Badniks buried in the sands of Desert Ruins Wii U are Motobug, who appears in groups as fodder for Sonic to roll through or Homing Attack, Crawlton, who has been given Catakiller’s paintjob and stills like to pop out of the ground to sneak attack, Snail Blaster, who doesn’t appear on walls in this game, Grabber, who appears inside the ruins during Zone 1 and move across the ceiling on a track, Sol, whose fireballs have been upgraded to home in on Sonic if he gets too close, and Antlion, a new Badnik that’s underground when Sonic uses the Yellow Drill and is protected by its claws and bumpers.

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In the 3DS Version, Desert Ruins Zone 1 has Sonic team up with the Indigo Wisps and carefully fight and outrun the Lost Hex Sandworms. Desert Ruins Zone 2 has Sonic explore inside of the ruins in 2D while teaming up with the Yellow Wisps and doing puzzle with a moving ball with a face. Zone 3 Sonic slide across elevator like quicksand to defeat enemies and in a complex switch maze and dodge Zomom’s blocky Ganondorf head. Finally, Sonic can team up with the Indigo Wisps again to take down Zomom and his blocky Ganondorf head on a small planetoid. The Version Exclusive Badniks buried in the sands of Desert Ruins 3DS are Buzz Bomber and Spinner, who act as stepping stones for Sonic’s Homing Attack.

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In the Wii U Version, Sky Road Act 4 has Sonic climb through a stormy version of Desert Ruins while avoiding Boos.


Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal: Shadow Canyons

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The 4th Island in the game has Team Sonic traveling through a canyon, racing a mind controlled Shadow, and racing through another Worm Tunnel to collect Crystal Shards and find more clues from Amy’s research.

 

Sonic Boom Fire & Ice: Thunder Island 
Coming Soon


Sonic Runners/Sonic Runners Adventure: Desert Ruins

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In Sonic Runners, Desert Ruins was a Sonic and the Secret Rings Event Stage involving Sand Oasis from the Arabian Nights Storybook World appearing in Sonic’s world.

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In Sonic Runners Adventure, Desert Ruins is the second area of the game and is ideal for Flying Characters like Tails.


Sonic Mania: Mirage Saloon Zone

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The Mirage Saloon Zone is a fusion of the cancelled levels Dust Hill Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Desert Dazzle Zone, a brand new Zone created for the remastered Version of Sonic CD. Even though Mirage Saloon Zone is a desert level, it has elements of the amusement park themed zones such as pinball flippers, piñatas, and the piano keys from Music Plant Zone. The Badniks hanging around the Mirage Saloon Zone so far are Catakiller (or Sandworm), that has a new green paintjob and spins around cacti before launching at Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles like a Crawlton, Roller, a armadillo Badnik first used in the Spring Yard Zone that has been repainted to red but still spins around, a brand new or redesigned hawk Badnik, that stands on top of cacti and will swoop down to attack Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and a new buffalo Badnik, that has a bumper protecting the top of its body. As far as Bosses go, one of the Hard Boiled Heavies is in the area but we don’t know its name yet.


Sonic Forces: Green Hill Zone

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After Eggman took over the world, the Green Hill Zone began to dry up and turn the tropical coastline into a sandy desert. It seems Eggman is also constructing something here. For some reason, Classic Sonic has returned and runs through the Zone while dealing with the Sentinel Series versions of the original Badniks and facing off against Eggman’s buzzsaw and the Egg Dragoon.

Meanwhile the Resistance tried to prevent a giant blue crab Sentinel from leaving the Green Hill Zone and making its way to the Chemical Plant Zone. Rookies will have to jump and dodge giant mechanical legs, use the basic functions of their Wispons to destroy Badniks, and team up with Color Wisps to use their Color Powers to reach higher areas. At the end of the level, they’ll have to outrun the giant blue crab mech, quickstepping to avoid debris, and wait for the right moment to use their grappling hooks to swing around it, tie up its legs, and bring the giant blue crab mech crashing down.


Discussion Questions
1. What is your number 1 BEST Desert Level in a Sonic Game? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your top favorites?

2. What is your number 1 WORST Desert level in a Sonic Game? Or you can’t pick one, what are your least favorites?

3. What are your favorite Desert Level Music Tracks?

4. What are some old or new ideas you'd like to see in future Desert themed Levels in Sonic games?

5. What's another level theme you'd like to see fused together with the Desert themed levels, that haven’t been done yet, in Sonic games?

6. Would you personally like to see a new or remixed returning Desert Level in a future Sonic game?

M. What are your thoughts, opinions, and reactions to Mirage Saloon Zone in Sonic Mania?

F. What are your thoughts, opinions, and reactions to the Desertification of Green Hill in Sonic Forces?

 

Coming Soon: Gimmick Mountain Zones (Canyon, Hill, and Mountain Levels in Sonic Games)

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Sonic games seem to have consistently bad desert levels. It says a lot that Sandopolis, one of the worst levels in 3&K, is one of the best, though I like Pyramid Cave and Sonic's Dusty Desert too - but only Sonic's Dusty Desert. Because good lord, Silver and Shadow's Dusty Desert levels are horrendous. Death Chamber is ass on your first run, Egg Quarters is a little better, Hidden Base and Sand Ocean suck, Yellow Desert in Blast is blah like the rest of the game, Mirage Road is easily the worst level in Rush because of all the waiting and enemy killing sections, Shamar has the worst Night stage and one of the more awkward Day stages, Sand Hill and Desert Palace are just minigames, and Oil Desert has really really annoying enemies and the duck noise. Desert Ruins is eh.

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I think I find Desert levels very dull due to the weird sense of surpression and exhaustion the implication of a hot climate has, combined with the fact that yellow everywhere is a super bland colour scheme to stare at for a while.  In this regard, Mirage Saloon is absolutely a desert level done right, with plenty of indoor and outdoor areas and colourful decorations to break up these negative elements.

As far as typical desert levels go though, I have a great fondness for Dusty Desert due to it's music.  I love how the percussion builds up from a very typical "desert level" instrumentation into having a solid, quite fast beat that sounds cool yet somehow doesn't intrude on the "slow" "deserty" pace of the song established at the start.

But what I love most is the lovely little melancholy segment before the loop.  Act 1's starts at 2:14 and has a really nice "hopeful" kinda vibe, while Act 2's starts at 1:43 and is much more sombre.

 

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The desert trope is usually a tricky one, because of how easy it is to basically just phone it in. There doesn't have to be much creativity when it comes to designing a level out in the middle of the desert. There's gonna be sand, there is gonna be quicksand and there is going to be a lot of yellow.

However I think when the dev's actually break away from what we can expect from the typical desert stage, we've gotten some of the more memorable levels in the series.

Sandopolis was a by the books desert stage, and then Act II appears and change the script by introducing you to the inside of the pyramid. All of a sudden your fighting the dark and the ghosts that feed on your fear and panic. Short of drowning, there isn't a more panic inducing feeling than the encroaching darkness and the onset of the ghouls that come with it. Looking back, we got sand death traps, crumpling roads and scorpion-bots. Actually not a bad romp for the series first attempt.

Sonic Riders Dark Desert is just an awesome setpiece of a stage. It really amps up the intensity and provides a nice bit of closure to the EX grand prix. Not to mention, by cloaking the stage in darkness, you effectively shift the color palette. Sonic games rarely take advantage of true darkness. The Blue sky's are a constant in the series, and most of the stages that do block out the sun do so via weather effects (like Heroes Final Fortress). While a Solar Eclipse is another nighttime cop-out, it is still a refreshing change. And riding up the stadium  stairs and tricking into a backdrop featuring a full on Eclipse sends almost as many chills down my spine as the opening into to the stage where the eclipse takes its full effect and drops a "shit just got real" moment in your lap.

And you know what, I'd be amiss if I didn't give Sonic Lost World some props for this one. I think its Desert Ruins levels provided some of the best 2D and 3D gameplay to be found in the entire game. The 3D segments utilized creative sand slip streams to design some speedy platforming and light puzzle solving. Littering the landscape with effective badniks made speedrunning those sections a joy (and made them the hands down best 2P challenge). The terrain remained varied, giving you plenty of ramps to jump off and the natural freedom of the negative space being filled with quicksand meant that the player was free to explore the full space with the only penalty to failure being to your speed. As it should be. The 2D sections gave us rising sand death traps and some seriously vertical platforming challenges. A good change of pace mid stage. As far as desert levels go, I think DR ranks in 2nd right behind the original Sandopolis. (Mirage Saloon will have something to say about that in August though).

 

When you think desert stage, you think Hot Sun, sand and quicksand. The stages that buck that trend, and offer up a little bit more beyond that are the ones that stand above the rest. I'd call desert stages one of the weaker tropes overall, with the Original Sandopolis being the only 5-Star example of the trope due to its uniqueness and memorability.

but then I'll throw in a monkey wrench and say that if you are looking at true "Desert" stages, then we are leaving a few candidates off the list. If you want to get cheeky, a Desert is anywhere where there is a certain severity of rainfall disparity. Some of the best desert stages in the series use the cold desert formula, in lieu of the traditional sand model we all think of.

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If you want to talk true desert stages, than the traditional sand and sun model probably does not even crack the top three. Shoot, you could twist my arm and I could make an argument that It may not even crack the top five. The Ice stages are one of this series strongest tropes and really show off what the devs can do with a barren desert trope quite well.

While I am here, I would like to throw honorable mentions to Lost World's Desert Ruin and Ep II's Oil Desert for really playing up sandstorms. Its a nice touch.

So yeah. Thats my take. Desert levels are awesome when the Devs think outside of the box. You could probably say that about every trope, but I think that it holds more important here, since there is often less to work with.

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My best would be *( I'm in the minority) would be sandopolis zone. I love this zone actually. The level design is so open in act 1 and there is lots of places up high to explore. I love the build up to the sand golem miniboss. I thought that was so epic when I was a kid. 

Act 2 was just so intense to me when I was a kid. I loved the challenge of finding your way to the end while dealing with those ghosts. And man, the boss was so cool. A giant golem that eggman piloted that almost took up the screen! It was like a loose preview of the final boss in sonic and knuckles.

My worst is desert ruins from lost world. It was just....boring to me.

My favorite music goes to pyramid cave. Hearing that song in that level just screams "it's time to shut eggman down."  I also like ethno circus for being so upbeat in a desert level. And I'm loving the mirage saloon theme.

I'd like to see a sandstorm in a desert level again.

I'll answer the others later.

 

 

 

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

What's another level theme you'd like to see fused together with the Desert themed levels, that haven’t been done yet, in Sonic games?

I'd like to see a desert/futuristic zone. A desert with futuristic buildings and glass highways with sand slides and an amusement park in the background. And throw in a oasis with a water pipe puzzle.

 

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

. Would you personally like to see a new or remixed returning Desert Level in a future Sonic game?

Not gonna lie, a remixed sandopolis zone would be sick but lost world ruined that with sky road zone 4. I'll just settle for a mirage saloon in hedgehog engine 2.;)

 

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

What are your thoughts, opinions, and reactions to Mirage Saloon Zone in Sonic Mania?

I love it. It's like the first classic themed level with a wild west motif. It gives off a fun yet eery vibe with those portraits of the heavy and the fact that it's based off of two long-forgotten and scrapped classic zones.

 

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

What are your thoughts, opinions, and reactions to the Desertification of Green Hill in Sonic Forces?

Hey, it's the first level, I get the level design isn't gonna be that inspired (like they could've used the sand as a gimmick) but I'm cool with it now. Hope the music will get improved for both acts though.

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  • 3 months later...

I’m really one for the Desert Palace, due to its lovely music and collapsing sand bridge. It also seems to tie into Sandopolis into a nice way, with it evoking the glory days of the Middle Kingdom as opposed to Sandopolis’s decaying Old Kingdom vibe. Almost reminds me of “The Prince of Egypt”. I like how all of the desert zones back in the day were somehow connected. 

 

I HATE, DESPISE, and FEAR Desert Ruins. It’s so generic and is barely a desert, including nonsensical themes in the other two acts that could be done much better. The ruins seem so artificial and contrived, yet they’re trying to play them up as real. 

 

I’d vouch for Wild Canyon and Dry Lagoon to be considered desert levels. Maybe Sky Canyon and Rail Canyon/Bullet Station as well? Or could Canyon levels be more of its own thing? Has the series ever featured a polar desert (ala Antarctica) rather than the usual tropical variety? 

In the future, i’d Like to see something inspired by the Gobi desert of Mongolia, one of the desert types not yet covered. We’ve had Latin America-like deserts, Egyptian deserts, Arabian deserts, and a generic mishmash in Lost World, but not the Outback? The Outback, The Gobi, The Tabernas, and especially the Atacama all seem like great source material for a desert stage. Steppes and cold deserts sound like good ideas as well. 

For hybrid zones, a salt plains would be an interesting level. Would be an interesting, fresh take on the Western sub-theme. Could also use large salt crystals reminiscent of Quartz Quadrant as well, perhaps even including something similar to Ice stages with the crystals. Obviously GHZ elements should also be put in this plains, but not too many, just enough to be familiar. And a desert/Casino/city fusion ala Vegas opens hundreds of opportunities. Potential hybridization with even more types of levels due to the themed casinos, such as Egyptian-style desert and Arabian in addition to the North American. Or underwater ruins (Mandalay Bay), castles (Excalibur), Techno Wreckage (Neon Boneyard), carnival and/or horror (Circus Circus)...

The Clown part seems most interesting. Imagine that this clown head swallows you, taking you into a Womb Level inside, with haunted elements, in addition to the overall twisted carnival feel. Kinda like “Villi People”, or the climax of SoR2 stage 3.

Oh, and with the knowledge Dust Hill was a junkyard instead of a desert, i’d like to see that acknowledged in a game, unless Final Egg counts.

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On 7/9/2017 at 6:12 AM, JezMM said:

I think I find Desert levels very dull due to the weird sense of surpression and exhaustion the implication of a hot climate has, combined with the fact that yellow everywhere is a super bland colour scheme to stare at for a while.  In this regard, Mirage Saloon is absolutely a desert level done right, with plenty of indoor and outdoor areas and colourful decorations to break up these negative elements.

As far as typical desert levels go though, I have a great fondness for Dusty Desert due to it's music.  I love how the percussion builds up from a very typical "desert level" instrumentation into having a solid, quite fast beat that sounds cool yet somehow doesn't intrude on the "slow" "deserty" pace of the song established at the start.

But what I love most is the lovely little melancholy segment before the loop.  Act 1's starts at 2:14 and has a really nice "hopeful" kinda vibe, while Act 2's starts at 1:43 and is much more sombre.

 

I agree. Sonic games have done a horrible job when it comes to Desert Zones.  The level structure of many of them(Unleashed, 06, Adventure titles etc) are actually pretty good. Aesthetically they are a little boring.

Even Salon Zone suffers a bit from bright/bland color conflicts.

Worst desert stage goes to Sonic 3K. It's basically Marble garden at a lamer pace.

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On 12. 7. 2017 at 1:43 AM, Booblur99 said:

My best would be *( I'm in the minority) would be sandopolis zone. I love this zone actually. The level design is so open in act 1 and there is lots of places up high to explore. I love the build up to the sand golem miniboss. I thought that was so epic when I was a kid. 

Act 2 was just so intense to me when I was a kid. I loved the challenge of finding your way to the end while dealing with those ghosts. And man, the boss was so cool. A giant golem that eggman piloted that almost took up the screen! It was like a loose preview of the final boss in sonic and knuckles.

And you are not the only one for sure. I absolutely dreaded Sandopolis Zone when I was a kid and even feared playing act 2 for quite a long time. Now I think that Sandopolis is my close second from the first half of S&K Stages (Flying Battery being the 1st).

On 1. 11. 2017 at 8:40 PM, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

Worst desert stage goes to Sonic 3K. It's basically Marble garden at a lamer pace.

Totally disagree. Marble Garden minus from the gimmicks used in Mania´s Stardust Speedway is the most lame anyone could do, actually. The only good thing it is that it doesn´t have infinite looping in the level design. Sandopolis has pretty much one route in Act 1 and one route (though diverging sometime) in Act 2. Marble Garden has spinning top, pretty miserable gimmick. Sandopolis has (apart from the time-out tendency in Act 2 due to not figuring the correct progress or not memorizing it) pretty decent platforming and even some speedy sections á la Hydrocity or Carnival Night. 

Yes, both acts are quite too long, but it´s not that much of a crappy level as you try to make it look like. And it´s my second due to Lava Reef being even worse than this. 

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16 minutes ago, superman43 said:

And you are not the only one for sure. I absolutely dreaded Sandopolis Zone when I was a kid and even feared playing act 2 for quite a long time. Now I think that Sandopolis is my close second from the first half of S&K Stages (Flying Battery being the 1st).

Totally disagree. Marble Garden minus from the gimmicks used in Mania´s Stardust Speedway is the most lame anyone could do, actually. The only good thing it is that it doesn´t have infinite looping in the level design. Sandopolis has pretty much one route in Act 1 and one route (though diverging sometime) in Act 2. Marble Garden has spinning top, pretty miserable gimmick. Sandopolis has (apart from the time-out tendency in Act 2 due to not figuring the correct progress or not memorizing it) pretty decent platforming and even some speedy sections á la Hydrocity or Carnival Night. 

Yes, both acts are quite too long, but it´s not that much of a crappy level as you try to make it look like. And it´s my second due to Lava Reef being even worse than this. 

Act 1 was actually decent. Again, a little too long but not bad overall. Act 2 was too long is what I had a problem with. That stage could have been cut in half and the boss did not help at all.

And I was merely speaking Desert Stages, not 3k stages overall. 

Though I agree that Marble garden(Carnival night is bad too).

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26 minutes ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

Act 1 was actually decent. Again, a little too long but not bad overall. Act 2 was too long is what I had a problem with. That stage could have been cut in half and the boss did not help at all.

And I was merely speaking Desert Stages, not 3k stages overall. 

Though I agree that Marble garden(Carnival night is bad too).

Carnival Night had at least few decent moments beside barrel. Marble Garden had nothing apart from a relatively good background and music. 

But I´m off-topic. I haven´t played any of SA1 - LW apart from Heroes. I like Mirage Saloon act 2 in Mania. But after completing Hydrocity 99% of the time ST Act 1 pisses me off.

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3 minutes ago, superman43 said:

Carnival Night had at least few decent moments beside barrel. Marble Garden had nothing apart from a relatively good background and music. 

But I´m off-topic. I haven´t played any of SA1 - LW apart from Heroes. I like Mirage Saloon act 2 in Mania. But after completing Hydrocity 99% of the time ST Act 1 pisses me off.

Mania's levels in general tick me off to degree.

Carnival Night is a poor level because it tried to replicate Sonic 2's amazing Carnival Zone. In Sonic 2 the level was about physics rather than speed. No level is like this in future games(not even S&K3).

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8 minutes ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

Mania's levels in general tick me off to degree.

Carnival Night is a poor level because it tried to replicate Sonic 2's amazing Carnival Zone. In Sonic 2 the level was about physics rather than speed. No level is like this in future games(not even S&K3).

Yeah, I would say that Sandopolis is rather good in S3&K.

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  • 4 months later...

Oh man, did I forget to answer my own discussion questions to a Zone Topic?

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

1. What is your number 1 BEST Desert Level in a Sonic Game? Or if you can’t pick one, what are your top favorites?

latest?cb=20170822033810

Mirage Saloon Zone from Sonic Mania

Taking the original idea of Dust Hill Zone and then

  • making 2 different versions of Act 1, where Mirage Saloon Act 1 ST is a Sky Chase inspired level for Sonic & Tails while Knuckles gets a exclusive level that makes use of his abilities.
  • creating the Uber Caterkiller, which is a remixed version of the Boss from Gigalopolis Zone in Sonic Chaos
  • bringing back Team Hooligan and actually using them in a Mainstream Sonic Game again. Sure they were the Heavy Magician's illusions but it was still cool
  • giving it awesome music. Not only does Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2 sound awesome but both Act 1s have their own exclusive music.
On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

2. What is your number 1 WORST Desert level in a Sonic Game? Or you can’t pick one, what are your least favorites?

Silver's Version of Dusty Desert from Sonic the Hedgehog 2006

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

3. What are your favorite Desert Level Music Tracks?

All music for Shamar/Arid Sands from Sonic Unleashed

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

4. What are some old or new ideas you'd like to see in future Desert themed Levels in Sonic games?

5. What's another level theme you'd like to see fused together with the Desert themed levels, that haven’t been done yet, in Sonic games?

As far as ideas go, I do like the idea of sand boarding like in Sand Hill.

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Even though the Crystal Desert Zone appeared in one issue in the Archie Universe, I think a desert that mythical properties like crystal cacti would be an interesting idea for a level.

Also, an icy desert combo would be interesting as well. Maybe it could change to be fiery during the day and icy during the night?

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

6. Would you personally like to see a new or remixed returning Desert Level in a future Sonic game?

Sure. They don't appear too often.

On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

F. What are your thoughts, opinions, and reactions to the Desertification of Green Hill in Sonic Forces?

Lost Valley

  • was ok for an intro level.
  • Like many of the levels in this game, it was too short
  • the giant sandworm was a cool cameo but it would be cooler to have to fight or interact with it at some point

Arsenal Pyramid

  • This is actually a really fun level
  • The camera and homing attack recticle can be off here, causing a few unnecessary deaths
  • This stage needed much more to it. We infiltrate Eggman's largest ammunitions base and it just ends once we're far enough inside. There's no explosion or miniboss/boss fight. It just ends

Green Hill

  • You came up with the names Lost Valley, Arsenal Pyramid, and Guardian Rock for the other Green Hill Stages. Why in the world did you just reuse the same names for Classic Sonic? Green Hill: Green Hill sounds really uncreative.
  • I did like the use of the environment to show visual cues to warn of bottomless pits instead of the Dead Sonic Sign

Guardian Rock

  • the Death Crab was a enemy, obstacle, and cool objective, storywise. It felt like you really had to race this thing to the end before it escaped to the Chemical Plant. Maybe if it acted like the Mad Convoy in City Escape (Generations Act 1), it would been more fun.

All

  • Honestly, it felt like the stages were 90% Green Hill and 10% desert
  • I did like the look of the Sun flowers. They're dried out and instead of rotating clockwise, they're stuck and the petals go forward and backwards now
On 7/9/2017 at 4:03 AM, Sonictrainer said:

Coming Soon: Gimmick Mountain Zones (Canyon, Hill, and Mountain Levels in Sonic Games)

Stay Tuned! :D

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