Jump to content
Detective Kaito

What's the best 3D Sonic Stage in terms of Level Design?

Recommended Posts

With Sonic Forces' underwhelming level design, I would like the members of SSMB to shed some light on 3D Sonic Stages that have the best level design. Stages that have the most balanced mix of speed, platforming, and exploration.

My pick would be Seaside Hill Act 2 for Sonic Generations.

Honorable mentions: Final Rush from Sonic Adventure 2 and Egg Fleet from Sonic Heroes.

Feel free to explain why you picked these stages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The majority of Sonic's levels from SA1 really tried their best to implement a physics based system similar to the classics. The most obvious examples of this that come to mind are Windy Valley, Speed Highway and Final Egg. Sonic Adventure really did feel like the best transition from 2D to 3D in terms of gameplay for Sonic. Rolling in Sonic Adventure felt so natural because you would gain speed at an expected rate and you could still control him reasonably well given the high speeds you were moving at. I can't emphasize enough, the Sonic adventure had great controls. Perfect control over the character is something that every single Sonic game since has screwed up, even Adventure 2. That's not saying post SA games aren't fun, but they didn't have the perfect controls Sonic Adventure had. SA1 had automation, but going in loops, the speed at which you go through loops and what-not still felt natural and not forced. There were exceptions, but I really did feel like I was in control of every single thing I did in SA1, even the loops. If I feel off a loop, it's probably because I didn't have enough momentum.

If you had to make me pick a favorite level from SA1, it'd probably speed highway for demonstrating how well physics-based gameplay can work for Sonic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

It's a level that, unfortunately, not a whole lot of people have played.

The beta version of Windy Hill (specifically the third section) is by no measure a perfect level, and SA(DX)'s jankiness certainly doesn't help, but the philosophy behind it, most specifically in how it uses slopes/curves and alternate paths, easily beats out anything Sonic Team's attempted since. Just check out these three runs; the tiered, organically interwoven paths and the wall runs in the third one are just beautiful. That wallrun path at 2:10 in the third video, especially, is one of the most perfect examples of good 3D Sonic level design I've ever seen.

 

I think you mean Windy Valley, right? :P

Anyways, yeah you're right, I completely forgot about that stage. I hope that in the future we'll get level design like that with gameplay that accommodates it.

Are there any other 3D stages that you think have good level design?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Detective Kaito said:

I think you mean Windy Valley, right? :P

...fuck.

8 minutes ago, Detective Kaito said:

Are there any other 3D stages that you think have good level design?

Ehhh, nothing that stands out as much as beta Windy Valley, but SA's finished levels are generally on the better end of things. Emerald Coast has that nice big wallrun opportunity at the start of the second section. The castle part of Twinkle Park and inside the volcano in Red Mountain are both built around a rising spiral sort of path, so the level kind of builds on itself to create a real 3D space instead of just being one long line. Similarly the end of Lost World is a big puzzle room that (if you take the "intended" path and don't just break it by knowing where to spindash jump) has you moving all around within it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of early Windy Valley: Unless that's something the recreation did, I think the paths are far too wide and empty. It causes the same "Tiny Sonic" problem that plagues 95% of 3D fan-stages, but despite that it does have quite a bit more freedom than the final version I guess.

(Also I wish the camera wasn't so godawful in the recreation because you can't see ahead of you too well with how Sonic is centered all the time.)

I'll agree that SA1 has the best examples of 3D Sonic level design though. There's way more alternate paths in that game compared to others in the series (Including SA2). It was only a few weeks ago I found out you could light dash a trail of rings in Red Mountain 1 to find a rocket that lets you skip the last mountain.

That's not to say alternate paths are the only factor in good level design. In SA1 there's a lot of places where you can really learn how to invent your own shortcuts, like spindashing off the first bridge in Emerald Coast to get to the higher path sooner. In most later titles you never really feel like you're figuring this out and exploring for yourself - the games lay out all the paths for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Windy Valley beta is easily the best 3D Sonic stage ever, Diogenes has already gone a long way to say why.

I'd put Emerald Coast or Seaside Hill modern from Gens in second position, but even then, they're very linear and the latter lacks consistent use of physics.

So, yeah, WV beta is the best, nothing ever came close to that. And that's the standard I would like to see them reach in the future.

With better physics of course!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned it on someone's status recently but Generation's Seaside Hill is the standard I hold all other Boost gameplay levels to, but even outside of the boost games it's still a very good Sonic level. It provides multiple deviations that can all be interpreted as the main path, and it rewards skilled players for mastering the level with shortcuts, both of which are elements that the best levels of this game series all share.

Actually I'm not quite sure what 3-D Sonic level I would consider the best. Seaside Hill Gens is great but there are other levels I could rate just as highly, if for different reasons considering how broad of a spectrum the term "best 3-D Sonic stage" is. The same applies to 2-D Sonic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jungle JoyRide Day act1 from unleashed. It was just the best stage (personally) in the BOOST era. I hated everything in Colors. And Genz while attempted some really good stages, didn't stick. JJ was just excellent besides the framerate.

2nd Place would probably be Final Rush mostly for the reasons everyone has already said.

Honorable mentions are Genz Planet Wisp, Crazy Gadget (Sa2b), and OG Sky Sanctuary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's kinda sad that the level that seems to be unanimously considered the best didn't even make it into the final game. Does anyone know the reason for that, was the level unfinished, so they went with something more basic? Or was the gap in quality too significant for the level to fit in? Or was it just unfinished?

It feels weird for them to come close to getting it right BEFORE their first attempt and then seem to get farther and farther from it since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eggmanland for all its fuckery had some really great level design in terms of organically branching pathways in the very first Boost section. It felt like an actual place, with constantly diverging and converging pathways where you could see other playable parts of the levels as you ran through one of the paths. The only problem I have with it, is that its a little too easy to sort of....cheese yourself onto the fastest path, but other than that it was great. Each path had varying lengths and difficulties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People are probably going to bat an eye at this one but sky road act 3(3DS) in SLW is the one i'd pick. Everything in that level from the way it pushed you to maximize the parkour's efficiency, to the rocket riding antics at the beginning of the stage (which imo is the BEST possible way you can open up a level by the way) was just exciting from beginning to end and its the level that really made me see just how much potential the whole parkour system could've had if sega kept with it instead of ditching it the next game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it's the level design of Sonic Colors or Sonic Generation. Mostly because it is the least glitchy and buggy I played. I never run into a major glitch. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/20/2017 at 5:35 PM, Diogenes said:

...fuck.

Ehhh, nothing that stands out as much as beta Windy Valley, but SA's finished levels are generally on the better end of things. Emerald Coast has that nice big wallrun opportunity at the start of the second section. The castle part of Twinkle Park and inside the volcano in Red Mountain are both built around a rising spiral sort of path, so the level kind of builds on itself to create a real 3D space instead of just being one long line. Similarly the end of Lost World is a big puzzle room that (if you take the "intended" path and don't just break it by knowing where to spindash jump) has you moving all around within it.

:P

To the OP, it really depends on what you prefer and how the game accomplishes 3D design to fit Sonic naturally. 

But I won't get too overly complicated about it. 

To be honest, every 3D sonic game has done a good job on at least one 3D stages to fit Sonic. Even as flawed as adventure, Shadow or 06 did that. I can't really name which is my favorite because different games offer different interpretations of Sonic's design. I guess the most basic you can apply to all of them is how open they are, do they compliment Sonic and are they designed well. 

So I'll just pull each one from different games..

Sonic Unleashed-Jungle Joyride.

This stage is actually really great for an end game stage. Upon the opening stage, you get this quick step section with different paths to go on and hazards to dodge. This is rad since you can actually fall off this time in the water but the cool thing is that if you do, you can just boost your way to the island. Once you hit the first jungle section, you have two very different paths to take to get medals. Later down the line in the level you get this giant water section that is explore heavy. Different set pieces, paths to go on, collectibles to find if you choose to explore etc. While the stage lacks the high emphasis on interacting with gimmicks, It was pretty damn good when it came to structuring. 

Shout out to Eggmanland! Love that one even more because of how giant it is..

Generations-Seaside Hill

While Generations was good, I felt that they messed up his physics from Unleashed. Still, this stage is damn great. A ton of diverging paths here and you can actually skip most of the 2D sections in the first half of the level. And once again, Water. It's a broken thing in the boost games but I love running across it to find other gimmicks to interact with. You can also finally go on top of a loop! I found that pretty sweet when I first saw it.

I would say it's the best "3D" design of the boost games but I found the actual level not *that* amazing compared to Unleashed's levels(most of them anyway). Sure it gets the open level design and alternate paths right but the gimmicks are sadly the ones from Unleashed and the original seaside hill. There aren't any challenges to this stage at all, which is disappointing. It's fun to play around it most definitely but disappointing at the same time.

Sonic Adventure-Windy Valley

Felt that Adventure levels never really got it down pat(it was the first 3D game so I'll give it that) but Windy Valley was definitely a great stage. Since it was already discussed, I won't go further.

Sonic Next Generation-Wave Ocean

A nice homage to Emerald Coast. For what it is, it's a really fun and simple stage. I don't consider this in the same league as the others but with the Blue gem, it makes it a better to run through.

Sonic Heroes-Casino Park

What can I say? I love this damn level. The entire theme and gimmick is a big call back to Sonic's good ol pinball roots. 

And last; Colors....

Lmao...

City Escape actually....This might have been a complete design change from Adventure 1, the level fits Adventure 2 Sonic perfectly. I quite love running downhill at high speeds and making sharp as hell turns only Sonic can do. Satisfying....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.