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Whatever the WhoCares

Character deterioration

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In light of Tails' dogshit characterization in Sonic Forces, I thought it would be cathartic for us to point to various Sonic characters that have rotted away and share our thoughts. Feel free to bring up Tails as much as you want, he deserves it.

Other than him, my go-to example would be Knuckles. While it's nice that he gained like six IQ points for Forces, he's still a loud mouthed moron. Compare this to Attitude Era Knuckles. He was naive and gullible, but he wasn't dumb. When Rouge busted the Master Emerald, he knew where to look and what to do. When he was tricked into hampering Sonic, he actually did it in some clever ways. He was also a lot more quiet and reserved, his insecurity being implied as a product of putting all his self-worth into his job of protecting the Master Emerald. You felt kinda sorry for him in SA1 and 2, because more than everyone else, he just really really wanted some peace and quiet. He was also the last of his kind, making his quiet determination all the more poignant. 

Now? Fuck that shit, he's barking out one-liners and thinking of plans in "about a minute and a half" that immediately result in "80% of our forces have been wiped out!" To be fair, this has been an issue since Shadow in 05, but that doesn't make it any less egregious. He's a completely different character than he used to be. A much worse character. 

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"Flanderization". The word you're looking for is Flanderization.

On that note, Amy used to be pretty much the textbook definition of this - especially around Heroes and Sonic Battle days, where she ranged from obsessive to literally psychotic. But Sonic Team seems to have dialed that back somewhat in recent years. Is it for the better? I can't tell yet, because I'm struggling to remember any moments from Lost World / Forces that really clicked for me.

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6 hours ago, Whatever the WhoCares said:

 

Other than him, my go-to example would be Knuckles. While it's nice that he gained like six IQ points for Forces, he's still a loud mouthed moron. Compare this to Attitude Era Knuckles. He was naive and gullible, but he wasn't dumb. When Rouge busted the Master Emerald, he knew where to look and what to do. When he was tricked into hampering Sonic, he actually did it in some clever ways. He was also a lot more quiet and reserved, his insecurity being implied as a product of putting all his self-worth into his job of protecting the Master Emerald. You felt kinda sorry for him in SA1 and 2, because more than everyone else, he just really really wanted some peace and quiet. He was also the last of his kind, making his quiet determination all the more poignant. 

Now? Fuck that shit, he's barking out one-liners and thinking of plans in "about a minute and a half" that immediately result in "80% of our forces have been wiped out!" To be fair, this has been an issue since Shadow in 05, but that doesn't make it any less egregious. He's a completely different character than he used to be. A much worse character. 

Knuckles being deceived by Eggman in Sonic Adventure 1 is probably the stupidest thing he's done, only contested by the thing Diogenes mentioned above. The fact that those were treated as serious plans of his kind of makes it worse.

Knuckles is...a little on the slow side, guys. Always has been.

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Yeah, I'd argue the Adventure era is where he was at his worst (not counting Heroes where he was genuinely okay), even before Sonic X came in and took a wrench to his characterisation.

Sonic X tried to take a wrench to most characters, that being said. Some avoided carrying the X characterisation (although it still stained their reputation), and some got affected by it before taking years to recover from it. 

Meanwhile, Tails' current characterisation problems started back either in Unleashed or Colours, depending on your perspective, so this is hardly a new issue for him.

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7 minutes ago, VEDJ-F said:

Yeah, I'd argue the Adventure era is where he was at his worst (not counting Heroes where he was genuinely okay), even before Sonic X came in and took a wrench to his characterisation.

Sonic X tried to take a wrench to most characters, that being said. Some avoided carrying the X characterisation (although it still stained their reputation), and some got affected by it before taking years to recover from it. 

Meanwhile, Tails' current characterisation problems started back either in Unleashed or Colours, depending on your perspective, so this is hardly a new issue for him.

Yeah, X really messed with some characters like Amy and even Cream from time to time.

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4 hours ago, Blacklightning said:

"Flanderization". The word you're looking for is Flanderization.

On that note, Amy used to be pretty much the textbook definition of this - especially around Heroes and Sonic Battle days, where she ranged from obsessive to literally psychotic. But Sonic Team seems to have dialed that back somewhat in recent years. Is it for the better? I can't tell yet, because I'm struggling to remember any moments from Lost World / Forces that really clicked for me.

Yeah, Amy definitely has improved, but it’s a shame the games barely give her anything to do anymore, she’s just there. Ever since Unleashed, all she does is make appearances, yet doesn’t contribute to the plot. Sonic Riders Zero Gravity was the last game I recall to really have her stand out, yet the game randomly dropped her from the final chapter, only to have her show up at the end cutscene, that was really wierd. 

It may not have been an official game, but Amy was barely included in Lego Dimensions, yet I’ll admit they made up for it. They had her show up at the end, knock Eggman out, and give Sonic the last emerald he needed. That’s more of the Amy I wanted to see in Forces, where she is very useful, and can surprise the characters and players  with how useful she really is.

Amy went from damsel in distress to a heroine in her own right over the years, yet we never see her doing much anymore. Sonic Forces didn’t make it clear what her role was. She was just at a computer giving intel and coordinates, but it really felt out of place for Amy. Amy isn’t a computer wiz or expert navigator (except when tracking down Sonic on her own.) Plus, the game never established what Amy’s role was. (Or anyone besides Knuckles for that matter).

We didn’t see a character say “maybe Amy can help, she is our navigator  afterall.” The game never bothered explaining what Amy does. Amy could have been doing anything on that computer, but the game never bothers establishing what anyone’s role is. It doesn’t help when all we do is hear the characters talk throughout the game, yet never see what they’re doing besides that. We want to see them fighting, not blabbering throughout.

I really wanted to see more of these characters in Forces, not just hear from them. I really hope the next Sonic game can not only let these characters stand out heroically again, but I hope more of them are playable as well.

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47 minutes ago, SpongicX said:

I really hope the next Sonic game can not only let these characters stand out heroically again, but I hope more of them are playable as well.

That's why I'm itching for good spin-off games focusing on the others characters like what the Mario franchise did with Luigi, Yoshi, DK, and Peach.

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I actually don't agree that Knuckles was bad in Sonic X like everyone else seems to think. At least not in the first series up to episode 52. It wasn't until episode 53 and onward where they took one of the traits that he DID always have and used it a bit too much to the point where he came off like a blithering idiot instead of just someone who was brash, serious, but still a little on the slow side.

I remember Knuckles being at the height of his coolness when I was a kid watching Sonic X. He never seemed to just be around. He would always show up at more random points and was mostly alone throughout all of it, which I thought was cool. Everything about how he acted in Episode 3 kind of highlighted everything I love about him. Even the comedic side. And that moment where he lets go of the ladder when they escape to be on his own because he does things his way was pure bliss for maximum coolness for me watching that show as a kid. I still have a lot of admiration for that kind of portrayal of him since it did kind of piggyback of how he was in Adventure 2. For a while then after I just figured that's what Knuckles was supposed to be.

So him being stuck with everyone in Season 3 and him being tethered to Sonic and Tails in Heroes felt a bit like a jump back for me on that end. I suppose I didn't really start to have any real immediate issues until Sonic Riders where he literally had no reason to be there. Heroes and Shadow, I at least saw the immediate threat and could put it together in my head why he joined but why the fuck is he looking for a Chaos Emerald with Sonic and Tails in Future City? 

Amy, I don't know who to blame for. She was kind of already heading down the obsessive path in both Heroes and Sonic X regardless. I don't remember hating her in either instance but again, it was something that was easy to notice more and more as time went on. It reached ultimate annoyance in 06 and then scooted back to something more adorable in Unleashed. And now she seems to be carrying her Boom personality over a little into the games with only one or two lines being about how much she's got it on for Sonic. 

When it comes to characters that I think X actually damaged, I'd say Vector personally. I loved their role in the show and especially loved their escapades in Season 3 as this lone ship of renegades floating through the galaxy but christ when they played off of Vector's comedic side they really just took a torch to everything else about him and kicked the obliviousness up to 100. He's almost a completely different character in X than he is in Heroes and I don't really understand why...

 

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3 hours ago, Ratcicle King said:

Knuckles

He still comes off as Team Sonic's Dr. Zoidberg. Like with Rouge and Sonic overriding his plan to attack a base without intel.

2 hours ago, SpongicX said:

Yeah, Amy definitely has improved, but it’s a shame the games barely give her anything to do anymore, she’s just there. Ever since Unleashed, all she does is make appearances, yet doesn’t contribute to the plot. Sonic Riders Zero Gravity was the last game I recall to really have her stand out, yet the game randomly dropped her from the final chapter, only to have her show up at the end cutscene, that was really wierd. 

It may not have been an official game, but Amy was barely included in Lego Dimensions, yet I’ll admit they made up for it. They had her show up at the end, knock Eggman out, and give Sonic the last emerald he needed. That’s more of the Amy I wanted to see in Forces, where she is very useful, and can surprise the characters and players  with how useful she really is.

Amy went from damsel in distress to a heroine in her own right over the years, yet we never see her doing much anymore. Sonic Forces didn’t make it clear what her role was. She was just at a computer giving intel and coordinates, but it really felt out of place for Amy. Amy isn’t a computer wiz or expert navigator (except when tracking down Sonic on her own.) Plus, the game never established what Amy’s role was. (Or anyone besides Knuckles for that matter).

We didn’t see a character say “maybe Amy can help, she is our navigator  afterall.” The game never bothered explaining what Amy does. Amy could have been doing anything on that computer, but the game never bothers establishing what anyone’s role is. It doesn’t help when all we do is hear the characters talk throughout the game, yet never see what they’re doing besides that. We want to see them fighting, not blabbering throughout.

I really wanted to see more of these characters in Forces, not just hear from them. I really hope the next Sonic game can not only let these characters stand out heroically again, but I hope more of them are playable as well.

The Resistence was forced in from an attempt to make a Sonic Generations 2 that also aped how Sonic in Western universes pals around with Freedom Fighters against an Eggman who's conquered the shown world. Unfortunately, Sonic Team is still in the "Sonic is the most bestest biggest hero who saves everybody" phase so it falls apart with only like 2 of them besides OC being really helpful.

As for Knuckles, he has the issue (one shared with Blaze and Silver actually) where the core of the character was designed for a particular game (or game set) with a particular setting. He was only an enemy from Eggman's trickey to begin with, so later games had to do it again or just up the aggression (Sonic Rivals) to have him be Sonic's "rival." The Master Emerald and Angel Island haven't been relevant in awhile, but he's one of the sacred characters so of course he shows up.

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1 minute ago, Almar said:

He still comes off as Team Sonic's Dr. Zoidberg. Like with Rouge and Sonic overriding his plan to attack a base without intel.

The Resistence was forced in from an attempt to make a Sonic Generations 2 that also aped how Sonic in Western universes pals around with Freedom Fighters against an Eggman who's conquered the shown world. Unfortunately, Sonic Team is still in the "Sonic is the most bestest biggest hero who saves everybody" phase so it falls apart with only like 2 of them besides OC being really helpful.

As for Knuckles, he has the issue (one shared with Blaze and Silver actually) where the core of the character was designed for a particular game (or game set) with a particular setting. He was only an enemy from Eggman's trickey to begin with, so later games had to do it again or just up the aggression (Sonic Rivals) to have him be Sonic's "rival." The Master Emerald and Angel Island haven't been relevant in awile but he's one of the sacred characters so of course he shows up.

I know this would probably tick a lot of fans off, but in order to give Knuckles some development and a reason to stick around, I think we need a game where Knuckles has to make a choice to save the master emerald, or save his friends. Imagine if there was a point in the series where Knuckles was put in a tough spot, to either save his friends, or the master emerald. In the end, Knuckles makes a hard decision, and saves his friends. In the process, the Master Emerald gets permanently destroyed, and Angel Island sinks into the ocean. Knuckles suddenly wouldn't know what to do with his life, but he sets out to try and enjoy life. 

I'm aware that this could tick a lot of people off, but I think it would be interesting. We never see anything about the Master Emerald anymore, and there are times where I can't help but question why Knuckles has to guard it. We never learned how Knuckles found out he is the last of his kind, or learned why he has to guard the Master Emerald. Sure, Angel Island would be gone, but it doesn't mean Knuckles's ancestors will be forgotten forever. It would be interesting to see Knuckles realize he's wasted his whole life doing stuff that really didn't amount to much. Knuckles deserves a chance to experience freedom. We could see the development of Knuckles going from feeling bad for what he's done to the Master Emerald, and Angel Island, yet grow to be thankful that he risked them for the sake of saving his friends, and the world. 

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With Knuckles, I agree with Dr. Detective Mike that Sonic X version was awesome (ignoring the few gullible moments). Most of the time they had a perfect balance between making him clever, dumb or being punching bug to the world. While games Knuckles tired me with his stupid recently, I don't love Archie/Fleetway versions either, as they are too 'dry' for my taste. No matter how Flynn tried, nothing his Knuckles did impress me as much as Knuckles solo episode in X or flying on torpedo to Eggman's base.

Speaking of making Knuckles too serious, Sonic Forces. Obviously, it's still best Knuckles in years, but making him 'that's why it's called war' is a step too far. Still, from my perspective Knuckles isn't a strategic genius in this game. Most planning is done by everyone, with him giving the final word. I like to think that Knuckles was chosen as a leader for exactly the same reasons as in real world: marketing. With Sonic gone, Tails 'losing it' and Shadow doing god knows what, Knuckles is the best face to boost morales. People know him, trust him and he's this super cool guy from floating Island. I doubt people would follow Vector, the guy who owes me money and solved the riddle of missing cat. (Who also plays the role of dumb guy in this game).

I have a similar philosophy with Amy: yes she shouldn't be a psychopath, but removing her crush on Sonic makes her most dry and generic of all Sonic characters. It giver her passion, energy, drive. Without it, she's just a girl. I don't think anyone made 'ultimate version of  Amy Rose' but Adventure titles were pretty okay at it and Ian Flynn nailed it for a majority of the time.

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6 hours ago, Diogenes said:

You mean Knuckles. Knuckles busted the Master Emerald.

And I remember him getting so much shit across so many discussions for how stupid it was that he broke his own emerald, scattering the pieces halfway across the continent, making a mess for himself that would take the rest of the game to clean up, instead of just aiming slightly higher and smashing the eggmobile until it dropped it.

Time's a funny thing.

I never understood that. The game makes it pretty clear that the Master Emerald is at the absolute apex of his jump, and even then the Master Emerald is almost the diameter of the Eggmobile itself.

Ignoring that, this is an example of people taking things too seriously. It communicates its point clearly enough, Eggman forces his hand, and Knuckles smashes the Emerald because he can restore it anyway. That's not a stupid decision, that's just one people happen to disagree with. I mean, the game even fucking acknowledges its point when Rouge admonishes him for smashing the emerald.

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I don't recall seeing anything nowadays suggesting Knuckles is especially respected among Sonic's great growing posse. Let alone the hoards of nameless anthros to recruit for the Resistance (or even known). I mean, assuming the Genesis to Adventures to 06 games' events are still canon Knuckles would just be some hermit on Angel Island that fought Sonic a few times, was running around Station Square looking for jewelry, went on the run with Sonic, beat up black aliens, and whatever else happened. Hardly stuff that makes him more qualified to lead.

And besides, he's still treated by his subordinates like a fool rather than a respected general.

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Eggman's gone down the tubes too.

Only ten years ago, Unleashed specifically noted that Eggman "wasn't that cruel," in Tails's own words, and that he was morally above starving or torturing his prisoners. Forces sure threw that out the window, didn't it?

While Eggman was always willing to kill if it helped him accomplish his goals, he was never portrayed as a callous omnicidal maniac who wantonly disregarded all life. In fact, going back a bit farther to SA2 and Shadow, Eggman seemed heartbroken to learn that his grandfather had gone so insane that he tried to destroy the world. In Forces, Eggman's plan is to literally destroy the world that he's already conquered so he can conquer it again (???).

I know that the Eggman of the games has never been a saint. Even at his absolute most nuanced, he was still a very bad person who recklessly endangered the lives of innocent people for his own selfish ends. I understand that X and Boom created a more sympathetic Eggman that wasn't really reflective of the character from the games. But even still, he was never a generic one-note monster who just wanted to kill everybody. The Eggman remember was a self-aggrandizing glory-hound who wanted a planet of subjects to adore him, not an empty planet stripped of every life but his own.

They've effectively turned Eggman into a slightly hammier SatAM Robotnik, and I really don't think it lines up with what the older games established about his character.

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I've actually had the idea of Knuckles having an arc where he ends up giving up the Master Emerald and embraces life as a treasure hunter for a while. It would put the character in a better spot to do things and seems like the next step after SA1

SA1 pushed the cast forward a little bit but most of the games after didn't know what to do next and didn't commit to it.

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3 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

With Knuckles, I agree with Dr. Detective Mike that Sonic X version was awesome (ignoring the few gullible moments). Most of the time they had a perfect balance between making him clever, dumb or being punching bug to the world. While games Knuckles tired me with his stupid recently, I don't love Archie/Fleetway versions either, as they are too 'dry' for my taste. No matter how Flynn tried, nothing his Knuckles did impress me as much as Knuckles solo episode in X or flying on torpedo to Eggman's base.

Speaking of making Knuckles too serious, Sonic Forces. Obviously, it's still best Knuckles in years, but making him 'that's why it's called war' is a step too far. Still, from my perspective Knuckles isn't a strategic genius in this game. Most planning is done by everyone, with him giving the final word. I like to think that Knuckles was chosen as a leader for exactly the same reasons as in real world: marketing. With Sonic gone, Tails 'losing it' and Shadow doing god knows what, Knuckles is the best face to boost morales. People know him, trust him and he's this super cool guy from floating Island. I doubt people would follow Vector, the guy who owes me money and solved the riddle of missing cat. (Who also plays the role of dumb guy in this game).

I have a similar philosophy with Amy: yes she shouldn't be a psychopath, but removing her crush on Sonic makes her most dry and generic of all Sonic characters. It giver her passion, energy, drive. Without it, she's just a girl. I don't think anyone made 'ultimate version of  Amy Rose' but Adventure titles were pretty okay at it and Ian Flynn nailed it for a majority of the time.

Really? I agree with Knuckles prereboot, but I think post reboot was a good job done by flynn

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4 hours ago, Super Mechanio said:

In Forces, Eggman's plan is to literally destroy the world that he's already conquered so he can conquer it again (???).

Was that his plan? I thought his plan was... (spoilers)

Spoiler

...to create an illusion of a sun which would fall on the resistance. Since the sun was an illusion, it wouldn't actually destroy the world, it would just kill everyone who was there to witness it. So, Eggman would only be destroying the resistance, which seems to be much more in character for him than omnicide.

 

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26 minutes ago, Kellan said:

Was that his plan? I thought his plan was... (spoilers)

  Hide contents

...to create an illusion of a sun which would fall on the resistance. Since the sun was an illusion, it wouldn't actually destroy the world, it would just kill everyone who was there to witness it. So, Eggman would only be destroying the resistance, which seems to be much more in character for him than omnicide.

 

He says he wants to burn the world to ashes.

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3 hours ago, Josh said:

I've actually had the idea of Knuckles having an arc where he ends up giving up the Master Emerald and embraces life as a treasure hunter for a while. It would put the character in a better spot to do things and seems like the next step after SA1

SA1 pushed the cast forward a little bit but most of the games after didn't know what to do next and didn't commit to it.

So a Guardian sabbatical?

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