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How should Tails and Knuckles play in a 3D Sonic game?


Detective Kaito
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If we had a game that's entirely like SA1's Sonic gameplay with bigger level design, or just a game like Sonic Utopia, how would Tails and Knuckles play without breaking the game?

Looking at a lot of hacks and mods, Tails and Knuckles absolutely break every level Sonic goes to by simply flying and gliding, especially in stages like Windy Valley. I think that's why Knuckles only had Treasure Hunting stages in the Adventure games.

Sonic 06 was unfinished and Tails and Knuckles were heavily nerfed in this game and were simply not fun to play as (according to people who played the game as I have never played it myself).

So how do you think these two should play?

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I'll stick my neck out and say giving them seperate goals based on their abilities like in the Adventure games may not have been a bad idea. It's either that or nerfing them.

Just stick to the classic playbook and don't do anything like shooting shit and it'll work out a lot better I think.

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Well, the biggest thing would be making them slower than Sonic.

So that, if they can fly over a space which Sonic needs to go out of his way to traverse, they're slow enough that it ends up being fairly well balanced.
So Sonic isn't much slower than them in clustered areas and is faster than them in more straightforward areas.

I'm very partial to the idea of Sonic being the hardest to master, but also the most rewarding character. It's a bit counter-intuitive to do that with the main character. But it's the way the series naturally leans with their designs.

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For tails, I would make him slightly slower than sonic. Give him a flight move that activates when you tap the jump button twice and he bursts straight up, kind of like how mario uses his propeller hat in new super Mario bros wii. Give him an alternative to a rolling attack like a tornado tail. He whips his tails in a 360° motion to destroy enemies.

 

For knuckles, give him a homing punch attack on the ground and air. Also, give him a 3d dig move so when he activates it, the camera goes into top down view so you can see the digging trail. Give him limited digging stamina as well. Id also make his glide work how winged cap mario worked In super Mario 64 but slightly nerfed.

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Exactly as they did in Adventure 1 - nothing more, nothing less. It astounds me that to this day this seems to be nigh on impossible for SEGA to do.

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For Tails, the main reason his flight was so broken compared to the side-scrollers was because of how different it was. As long as you "pumped the gas" slightly instead of constantly holding it, your airtime was ridiculous. If you just made his flight more like its classic self with a strict time limit and slow (yet steadily speed gaining) descent afterward, it should theoretically work out.

 

 Aa for Knuckles, I think Diogenes had it right with gliding. Just make it to where gliding loses more and more altitude the longer he goes and it shouldn't be too OP then. Also, certain walls could be distinguished by coloring or patterns if their climbable, I suppose.

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1 hour ago, Potada said:

For Tails, the main reason his flight was so broken compared to the side-scrollers was because of how different it was. As long as you "pumped the gas" slightly instead of constantly holding it, your airtime was ridiculous. If you just made his flight more like its classic self with a strict time limit and slow (yet steadily speed gaining) descent afterward, it should theoretically work out.

I dunno, I think the fundamentally more open nature of 3D still makes Tails' flight a big issue. In 2D it's a lot easier to close the player in without levels feeling claustrophobic, but in 3D any kind of turn or corner in the overall level design is opening up opportunities to skip stuff unless the level's indoors or full of invisible walls.

Plus, in the Genesis games sustained flight is the most boring part of playing as Tails. It's fun in short bursts and when you're trying to reach somewhere specific, but a full 8 seconds of tapping A and then however long it takes to fall back down feels like an awful long time not doing much of interest when the series is otherwise pretty quickly paced. So I think it's worth exploring other interpretations of the ability to try to smooth out the gameplay and make it flow more with his other moves.

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Tbh, another thing I'd been thinking of is giving Tails the ability to go back into a ball so that if there were long stretches similar to Sonic's homing chains, Tails can skip past some of them, dive bomb an enemy to "reset" his flight, then continue on. Though, like you said, his flight might still need tweaking to implement something like this.

Actually, what did you think of his Sonic 4 Ep. 2 flight via teamwork?

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On 09/10/2017 at 3:07 AM, Stephenb19 said:

Exactly as they did in Adventure 1 - nothing more, nothing less. It astounds me that to this day this seems to be nigh on impossible for SEGA to do.

Many people don't want to treasure hunt as Knuckles.

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Tails and Knuckles should play like they did in Adventure, but have the same level structures as Sonic, just race to the finish. They should be given some new and improved abilities as well.

Tails should still have the ability to fly by holding the jump button, but should maybe have a button which allows him to descend faster, or cancel flight , that way,  players can have better control of flying and landing.

Maybe give Tails a long jump ability, kind of like in Super Mario 64. It could be fun to see Tails thrusting his tails to make him do a stylish long jump. A long jump isn’t necessary, but it would still be fun. Bring back Tails’s tail whip attack as well.

Knuckles should still be able to glide, climb, punch, and dig. Knuckles should be allowed to wind and charge his punches for stronger attacks. Knuckles should be given a ground pound attack, which can cause small earthquakes.

It would also be neat for Knuckles to be able to punch while climbing. It would be neat to be able to fight off bad guys while climbing, maybe even give Knuckles a boss fight against a mechanical spider, and have climb on the robot’s limbs, and punch them off.

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5 minutes ago, SpongicX said:

Knuckles should be allowed to wind and charge his punches for stronger attacks.

So would enemies have HP, then? I'm not sure what the purpose of charged-up attacks would be otherwise, but enemies having HP has not worked out terribly well for Sonic games in the past.

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On 10/8/2017 at 7:56 AM, Detective Kaito said:

If we had a game that's entirely like SA1's Sonic gameplay with bigger level design, or just a game like Sonic Utopia, how would Tails and Knuckles play without breaking the game?

Looking at a lot of hacks and mods, Tails and Knuckles absolutely break every level Sonic goes to by simply flying and gliding, especially in stages like Windy Valley. I think that's why Knuckles only had Treasure Hunting stages in the Adventure games.

Sonic 06 was unfinished and Tails and Knuckles were heavily nerfed in this game and were simply not fun to play as (according to people who played the game as I have never played it myself).

So how do you think these two should play?

Tails and Knuckles' ability to break a level depends on the level design. If levels are big, open sandbox types with no set path like Utopia, they will fly / glide / climb over everything. But if the levels are more path based, it will be more like they were in the classics. Creative use of walls and sometimes ceilings and such will make it impossible for them to cheat the paths, and Knuckles should not be able to climb every freakin wall. Large, more intelligent enemy AIs and obstacles will make just recklessly flying / gliding around dangerous (most Eggman robots should not be smaller than Sonic anyway).

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20 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

So would enemies have HP, then? I'm not sure what the purpose of charged-up attacks would be otherwise, but enemies having HP has not worked out terribly well for Sonic games in the past.

Who says it has to be just for enemies? It could be for breaking obstacles and finding shortcuts, secrets, and powerups.

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1 hour ago, SpongicX said:

Who says it has to be just for enemies? It could be for breaking obstacles and finding shortcuts, secrets, and powerups.

Badniks with more HP than 1 hit kill is bad for Sonic games - it kills the flow. The only acceptable enemies in Sonic to have more HP than 1 hit are bosses and mid-bosses.

But I would still give Knuckles an attack that can take more HP from a boss / mid-boss than 1 hit, and if Knuckles uses it against regular Badniks, it acts more like his Maximum Heat Knuckle Attack from Sonic Adventure (or Sonic's Light Speed Attack for the uninitiated) with complete homing ability.

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  • 2 years later...

I think project hero managed this pretty well:

  • Tails and Knuckles can roll, spin dash, vault off palm trees, and use elemental shields like sonic can.
  • Tails' flight has been nerfed a lot, he can't really gain a lot of horizontal movement, but the trade-off is he can go a lot higher, and the best part is that it doesn't last for too long. to add to this, when you press the A button twice while flying, tails flies in the horizontal direction instead of vertical, the trade-off to this is that when you press A twice again, he can't go back. he can also tail whip to beat enemies while running, and use a bomb to both damage enemies and launch him high into the air.
  • Knuckles is able to glide and punch like in the other games, but more defined and smoothed out.

personally, I think one day (not today though since they're already working on their new game) Sonic Team should use this framework for all of their future games after the one we're getting next year. it can save them a lot of backlash, but I highly recommend sonic island physics preview as well If another option is necessary.

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I just think that they need to make stages made for said character for Tails around his ability to fly.

 

With Knuckles it could be more refined emerald hunting like missions with exploration or again levels made for his gliding and climbing like more plat-forming based stuff.

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My take on how to incorporate Tails and Knuckles into gameplay is simple. And this also applies on how i think Sonic level design has gotten on the wrong track for the sake of just going fast.

Just don't make levels that go down vertically. 

Levels going down vertically? How so? Heck, just look at the second half of Windy Valley!

Spoiler
On 10/8/2017 at 7:43 PM, Detective Kaito said:

But with the same level design as Sonic's, Tails and Knuckles would break the game.

 

 

or most of Sonic's and Shadow's stages in Adventure 2!

Below: City Escape Level Layout

Spoiler

spacer.png

These kind of level designs are meant just for going fast with minimal platforming, and are going to be completely broken if you have a character with any sort of flight ability.

Instead, introduce levels that go up vertically instead. They work well with multiple playstyles and was closer to the spirit of 2D Sonic games. 

A good example from Adventure 1, and also one of my favorite stages in the game, is Sonic's Red Mountain. It challenged the player as Sonic to go upwards quickly using his skillset and experimentation. The level also taught me to do spindash-jumping on slopes to reach the top of the peaks to reach a faster route (you are even rewarded with Item Boxes for succeeding!).

With a level that goes up, If you play as Tails, with limited flight ability you still cannot really reach the top easily without having to do some platforming but could be designed as the easiest character to play as, with Knuckles you are forced to do some climbing, or maybe even some digging through ground to find shortcuts and secrets. While as Sonic, if you go fast, then you can reach the top route. In my opinion, using that as a design direction really brings back the Skill = Speed spirit that classic 2D Sonic has. Each character is also balanced in a race because each has their own way to get to the goal without breaking the game.

Another good examples of levels that go up in 3D Sonic games are Sonic Heroes (mainly because there are flight leader segments), and the fangame Sonic Robo Blast 2, which really has the Skill = Speed thing going on. 

Contrary to something i've heard a lot of people say, you DO NOT need vast open world stages to do this. With some clever emphasis on verticality, all three playstyles can work fine. In fact, going open-world/sandbox means that balancing is gonna be way harder because that means there are going to be so many things the player could do to break the level. Unless the game is designed around exploring or treasure hunting, why bother making open world stages if you're gonna take the fastest route anyway?

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