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Sonic CD and Going Fast


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       Sonic CD is known for it's interesting stage design, which manages to schism the fanbase on their opinions of Sonic CD as a whole. The game is catered on one specific mindset on how to play a Sonic game; the stages are built for experimentation first and foremost. With this experimentation comes the goal of the game; you must find the appropriate signpost and activate it, then maintain maximum velocity to make Sonic produce white orbs for several seconds. If this is achieved, Sonic will change times and go "up, over, and gone" to find a robot generator and obliterate it. 
        The hostility towards CD all comes from the concept of making Sonic maintain speed for as long as possible. This is because Sonic CD's stages explicitly make it a challenge to keep speed. This is a true statement and becomes obvious the moment the player decides to achieve good futures in this manner. However, this statement has become twisted over time into claims that are incomplete and unfair. These include "the game punishes you for going fast", and "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast". These are things that are simply untrue. Most of the people who like to state this are most likely used to Sonic 2 stages which are relatively quite flowing in nature. 
       It has to be remembered that Sonic CD was in development at the same time as Sonic 2, with a different team. Sonic 2 was developed by SEGA Technical Institute in the United States, while CD was directed by Oshima in Japan. With that comes this from Oshima himself, "Sonic CD wasn't Sonic 2; it was really meant to be more of a CD version of the original Sonic. I can't help but wonder, therefore, if we had more fun making CD than they did making Sonic 2 [because we didn't have the pressure of making a "numbered sequel"]. This is an important thing to remember. I will now quote Naka on the concepts of speed in Sonic 1 itself. "I like fast things and I thought that it would be nice to create a game where the more skilled you become, the faster you can complete a stage. Games back then had no backup or saving system, which meant that you had to play right form the beginning every time...As a result, the very first stage would be played time and time again, making the player very skilled at it. So we thought it would be nice if this would enable the player to complete those stages faster and that's the basis of Sonic's speed. We also thought this feature would help differentiate Sonic from Mario." It has to be remembered that while Sonic 1 was based on a naturally fast playstyle, it still was a matter of skill and strategization to maintain speed. While a novice player could be amused by the speed the game gives to the player via the more dramatic and setpiece elements like loops and springs, a skilled player was the one who remembered how the levels worked and know how Sonic works in context to his environment to the fullest and can plow Sonic on without much problems. For some zones at least. 
       With this mindset, Sonic CD is just Sonic 1 taken to its logical extreme. While maintaning speed in Sonic 1 was simply for style and high score, in CD it is an integral part of getting the good future. A skilled player of Sonic CD has to know the stages and take advantage of the terrain with Sonic's actions to maintain speed to change time zones. Sonic CD will challenge the player with stages that don't flow as seamlessly as in Sonic 2 or 3. Indeed, the stages are playhouses where the only one who can master their nature is the experienced player who can plan ahead and scope out what's to happen to them if they decide to take off here or there. Is this a good idea? If I jump off that convex rump right there, will that be smoother than staying on the ground? Should I go in ball form or stay upright here? If you just expect to stay in motion in one direction forever, most likely what will happen is you will be thrown into a wall or pushed back, losing everything. The game doesn't "punish you for going fast", it will punish you for going fast without thinking. Any of the 2D Mega Drive Sonic games will do this to you. Sonic CD due to it's mentality is not as forgiving as the Sonic CD has different objectives than a standard Sonic game. Anyone who thinks speed itself is impossible in CD hasn't played it. There are countless moments where you can reach maximum speed, both via setpiece style elements like springs and bumpers, and flatter flowing terrain, often both things combined. The thing is, can you keep Sonic going like that? If not, then it's more often than not your fault as you don't take the game's expectations into account. 
        In the 2D Mega Drive games, it is often remembered that the "best paths" are achieved by skill. An example of this is in Green Hill Zone where some more tricky platforming will get you onto the upper paths which are not necessarily faster than what's happening underneath but tend to be simpler and give you a good sense of speed. Sonic CD's way of getting to different time periods are exactly analogous to this. It takes some realization and skill to maintain the speed, and to do this often takes advantage of the simpler parts of the stages, but the right speed can be achieved and maintained in all sorts of ways and in all parts of the stages. 

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For someone like myself, who has played Sonic CD. It's pretty much as stated above. I'll admit as a kid, I had a bit of an issue processing what to do. But looking at it today, I see the objectives Sega was aiming for with the creation of levels. I am not the most skilled played in CD, but once I got what they were aiming for. Then stuff happened a bit easier.

But yeah, I can say without a dought that the whole accusation that Sonic CD punishes you for going fast is quite bogus. Then again, I highly dought anyone expected a game which required a lot of thinking. Though I should bite my tongue since I avidly played Sonic Spinball and got godly good at all the stages, but the last one.

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I agree that people are unfair on CD from an objective standpoint, while also understanding very clearly why it's a divisive game from a subjective standpoint.

I do think what you talk about in the OP is a strength of the game and unique to it, however, there is ONE small factor that I think gets glossed over in praising what Sonic CD is going for...

Even when you achieve going fast, only an absolute master speedrunner can likely maintain going fast.

When I play Sonic CD going for Good Futures, I feel more like I'm completing a series of small navigational/terrain-based puzzles.  Find the places where you can go fast for 10 seconds - perform the maneouver required to achieve going fast for 10 seconds, time travel occurs, and now that I'm in the past, do I continue going fast or get to settle in to a challenging but smooth-flowing platforming experience like Sonic 3 provides?  Not really no.  I stop, get my bearings, and methodically go about making my way to the robot generator.  Now that I've made it to the time zone I want to be in, going fast is the last thing on my mind, lest I accidentally run through a Future signpost and then hit an automated gimmick that gives me a free ride into time travelling without any way to cancel out of it (such as a powerful spring or a zoom tube, etc).

Now I have no real issue with this, because I enjoy the methodical platforming that CD provides too, and there's lots of spots where it utilises the classic Sonic physics system in fun ways.  But I do think, for most players, "going fast" isn't really a reward.  It's not like the game suddenly turns into silky-smooth Sonic 3 stage design once you know how and where to manipulate Sonic.  For most players, you figure out one of the various "puzzles" to activate time travel in each act, perform it with skill, go fast for 10 seconds, and then once the time travel is achieved, you slow back down again.  Maintaining speed for the entire experience, even when it's unnecessary, still involves fighting tooth and nail against the stage geometry as much as it does for the very casual Sonic CD player who is just going for the goal on each act.

 

Of course, all the above is still subjective on whether it's fun or not.  As said, I enjoy Sonic CD a lot for what I experience it as - a more puzzley take on Sonic with unorthodox stage designs which are just fun for how different they feel to move through compared to the stage designs of the mega drive games.

 

On that note, a random recommendation (in spoiler to keep my post tidy):

One of the most fun "playthroughs" I ever had of Sonic CD was something I came up with when lamenting that there are some act/time period combinations I just never really get to experience in a regular playthrough, in particular you rarely get to experience the stage layout for the first quarter of an act in anything other than the present time period.  I decided to use the stage select to play through every single time period of every single act from beginning to end, with the challenge of collecting - and holding onto - 100 rings before proceeding to the goal, which would force me to explore around rather than just basically be playing time attack mode with slightly different level layouts.  If you enjoy that slower-paced, methodical platforming mentioned and want to spend some more time in the individual maps that make up the overall time travelling experience, one at a time, I recommend trying it out.

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You know what ? I didn´t properly go through the Sonic CD until the release of Taxman´s remake. There is one statement to say: "The more you play CD, the more you like it." That s present through all classic Sonic games and even some of the Dreamcast era ones. The design of CD levels is quite tight, but once you know where to activate and with what signpost the time travel, you have both - good future for Act 3 secured and a very good time.

Now I am skilled enough to both get all 7 Time Stones and going into Good Future after destroying the robot generator in Past in any level.

 

Two things I have to admit. Bosses are utter joke and Collision Chaos is pure trial and error. (If one wanted to make a status update about the best time in CC boss, I am in.)

In conclusion, need to add that the remaster´s tight collision detection enables anyone to attack Metallic Madness boss with all 4 blades, without losing rings.

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4 hours ago, JezMM said:

Even when you achieve going fast, only an absolute master speedrunner can likely maintain going fast.

When I play Sonic CD going for Good Futures, I feel more like I'm completing a series of small navigational/terrain-based puzzles.  Find the places where you can go fast for 10 seconds - perform the maneouver required to achieve going fast for 10 seconds, time travel occurs, and now that I'm in the past, do I continue going fast or get to settle in to a challenging but smooth-flowing platforming experience like Sonic 3 provides?  Not really no.  I stop, get my bearings, and methodically go about making my way to the robot generator.  Now that I've made it to the time zone I want to be in, going fast is the last thing on my mind, lest I accidentally run through a Future signpost and then hit an automated gimmick that gives me a free ride into time travelling without any way to cancel out of it (such as a powerful spring or a zoom tube, etc).

Now I have no real issue with this, because I enjoy the methodical platforming that CD provides too, and there's lots of spots where it utilises the classic Sonic physics system in fun ways.  But I do think, for most players, "going fast" isn't really a reward.  It's not like the game suddenly turns into silky-smooth Sonic 3 stage design once you know how and where to manipulate Sonic.  For most players, you figure out one of the various "puzzles" to activate time travel in each act, perform it with skill, go fast for 10 seconds, and then once the time travel is achieved, you slow back down again.  Maintaining speed for the entire experience, even when it's unnecessary, still involves fighting tooth and nail against the stage geometry as much as it does for the very casual Sonic CD player who is just going for the goal on each act.

This is an absolutely fantastic point and I appreciate the way you describe it as "a series of small navigational/terrain-based puzzles." That's actually absolutely what stages in Sonic CD are. More often than not these separate puzzles aren't meant to mesh with each other extremely well which is exactly why none of the stages are "silky smooth Sonic 3 stage design". 

I guess I should have elaborated on my use of "maintain". I was using it in a referential sort of way, back to the philosophies of Sonic 1. In Sonic 1 you definitely can keep speed up for longer than CD because that's how the game is built (in several stages at least), and this concept is returns in the altered form of a much more objective one; changing times. Maintaining speed for CD for me is basically a translation of taking advantage the longer winding sections of Sonic 1, 2, 3K for speed and condensing them considerably into small stretches, sometimes quite obscure in nature. 

This objective goal may have become somewhat conflated in my head with the simple fact that there are legitimate sections, like the top level of Palmtree Panic, lots of Collision Chaos if you stay closer to the tops, tops of Tidal Tempest, and large chunks of Quartz Quadrant where speed can be reach incredibly easily and kept for a while. It should be said that three of the four I mentioned above are mostly flatter simpler areas similar to the "fastest paths" in other games. The difference is that all four of these fast areas actually feel more like "hub areas" in a way, as they always have multiple ways to lead down into the more complex areas, so they are just quick ways to jump back into the action. It least that's how I interpret it.

This contributes even further to the concept that the stages are really a series of puzzles. It's quite interesting actually as this concept makes the layout of the stages themselves into big puzzles. A lot of the stages are actually really just large circles, where you often have to go right on a lower path to find a way back up (always lots) and when you make it to the top, you often go left to find other things. If you drop back down from the upper sections, you often have to go back around the "loop" to find a way back up. Like I said though the highest path is usually more just an easy way to drop down close to wherever you want to be. 

I find that I don't really go fast that much either when I've achieved whatever time I want to be in as I got shit to do and don't want to mess that up. With most of the hardcore players of CD, this really isn't a problem as they like that sort of style, but it of course still is possible to achieve really fast speeds if wanted. 

Sonic's speed is really just more of a medium than anything, and this I think is actually brilliant in itself, as more than any other Sonic game of the period it has to be a conscious decision if flooring it is really a worthwhile idea as it can end up in disaster to several different magnitudes. 

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As Sonic CD is easily my favorite game ever, I actually find it easy to understand why it is divisive and the description here of physics puzzles built around Sonic's gameplay is easily the best way to describe it I think I've ever seen. Too most people the reward of speed is the end goal of their efforts and solving puzzles to pull that off in conjunction to just learning the levels is a bit of a turn off.  To me though, over coming the challenge of the puzzles and eventually learning how to circumvent them completely is one of teh most satisfactory things I can accomplish in any game.

 

Now @A crocodile I would like to argue your point of Sonic CD only having one way to play the game with one objective because I feel this is erroneous. Parrt of teh reason that Sonic CD is my all time favorite game is because of the versatility of play options. You can play the game as a time attack run, like Sonic 1 where you aim for the bonus stages at the end of the acts, as a time traveling hero out to save the world, as an explorer of time who desires to see how the world has and will change with and without your influences, as a puzzle adventure game where you seek out more and more puzzles to learn all of their tricks and conquer, etc., etc. To me Sonic CD is a brilliant sandbox where anytime I turn it on I can approach from a different perspective and enjoy it for a completely different reason as it is indeed a sandbox of great diversity. My gushing aside, this diverse sandbox openness is rarely what people look for when playing the classics and as a result the plethora of possibilities and approaches can leave the game feeling muddled and as though it has an identity crisis leaving it the black sheep of the classics for more reason than just being that it went larger unplayed due to requiring a hundred dollar plus add on for your console (so glad my dad owned it back in the day though ^_^).

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1 minute ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Now @A crocodile I would like to argue your point of Sonic CD only having one way to play the game with one objective because I feel this is erroneous. Parrt of teh reason that Sonic CD is my all time favorite game is because of the versatility of play options. You can play the game as a time attack run, like Sonic 1 where you aim for the bonus stages at the end of the acts, as a time traveling hero out to save the world, as an explorer of time who desires to see how the world has and will change with and without your influences, as a puzzle adventure game where you seek out more and more puzzles to learn all of their tricks and conquer, etc., etc. To me Sonic CD is a brilliant sandbox where anytime I turn it on I can approach from a different perspective and enjoy it for a completely different reason as it is indeed a sandbox of great diversity. My gushing aside, this diverse sandbox openness is rarely what people look for when playing the classics and as a result the plethora of possibilities and approaches can leave the game feeling muddled and as though it has an identity crisis leaving it the black sheep of the classics for more reason than just being that it went larger unplayed due to requiring a hundred dollar plus add on for your console (so glad my dad owned it back in the day though ^_^).

I have never said that the game has only one way to play. I have talked about how the game simply caters more to one style of play than the other. Trust me, the sandbox style this game has is absolutely apparent to me and is another reason why CD is Sonic 1 taken to it's extreme. Sonic 1's more open stages are some of the most open in the whole series, particularly Starlight Zone which contains up to five levels in some acts, some going left and others going right. Sonic CD doesn't just have open stages, but four different versions of each with nearly infinite ways of scaling them as a result. 

With hardcore players of CD, the question of speed tends to be more about achieving maximum speed by taking advantage of the level geometry and previous planning and memorizing (just like Sonic 1, with a different result for high speed. In Sonic 1 it was simply for the feeling, in CD it is to change time). You can play it as a "time attack" run, where memorizing the stages in integral as you really do have to strategize which paths and path changes are the easiest to use for maximum speed, and trying to avoid the segments that will send you to the left.  It's like Sonic 1's open stages except there is a larger degree of dissent coming from the stages towards throttling it for a long time. The thing is that the stages themselves aren't extremely long if you are just going from A to B, since the game is explicitly designed for searching every nook and cranny but the same concepts apply to flying through either for changing times or going to the goal post. 

The sandbox nature is one of the things that attracts me to CD. 

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11 minutes ago, A crocodile said:

I have never said that the game has only one way to play. I have talked about how the game simply caters more to one style of play than the other. Trust me, the sandbox style this game has is absolutely apparent to me and is another reason why CD is Sonic 1 taken to it's extreme. Sonic 1's more open stages are some of the most open in the whole series, particularly Starlight Zone which contains up to five levels in some acts, some going left and others going right. Sonic CD doesn't just have open stages, but four different versions of each with nearly infinite ways of scaling them as a result. 

With hardcore players of CD, the question of speed tends to be more about achieving maximum speed by taking advantage of the level geometry and previous planning and memorizing (just like Sonic 1, with a different result for high speed. In Sonic 1 it was simply for the feeling, in CD it is to change time). You can play it as a "time attack" run, where memorizing the stages in integral as you really do have to strategize which paths and path changes are the easiest to use for maximum speed, and trying to avoid the segments that will send you to the left.  It's like Sonic 1's open stages except there is a larger degree of dissent coming from the stages towards throttling it for a long time. The thing is that the stages themselves aren't extremely long if you are just going from A to B, since the game is explicitly designed for searching every nook and cranny but the same concepts apply to flying through either for changing times or going to the goal post. 

The sandbox nature is one of the things that attracts me to CD. 

Ah, my apologies, it seems I misinterpreted your words. Sorry about that.

 

On the nature of Sonic CD's sandbox nature though and the plethora of ways to play through the game, I think my enjoyment of that diversity is also why I can find the other classics (1-3&K) to come across as a redundant and/or boring sometimes since I will always play through the same. At least 3&K has an enjoyable pantomime story and great presentation which makes playing through it a blast even when it feels redundant.

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8 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Ah, my apologies, it seems I misinterpreted your words. Sorry about that.

 

On the nature of Sonic CD's sandbox nature though and the plethora of ways to play through the game, I think my enjoyment of that diversity is also why I can find the other classics (1-3&K) to come across as a redundant and/or boring sometimes since I will always play through the same. At least 3&K has an enjoyable pantomime story and great presentation which makes playing through it a blast even when it feels redundant.

I implore you to play around with Starlight Zone as it's really just the template for Sonic CD. There are so many ways to complete each act and the paths intersect so much that it will show you where CD type stages originated. There's even the basic pattern of often being blocked from going back on lower paths and so going up is the only option along with going left on lower paths to get higher above that CD stages often utilize. The upper paths of Starlight Zone even seem like predecessors to the upper paths in CD stages as they always allow moments to go down if chosen. They're not segregated like how Sonic 2 and 3 stages often are. 

CD stages are just like Starlight Zone except they are designed to go in circles instead of simply going right. In a CD version of Starlight those areas with the fans that block you from going left would still exist except there would always be a guaranteed way to get back to before the blocking fan.  And with more complex obstacles. 

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CD is not a Sonic game that was fully developed when comparing it to the Original 3. It's style is certainty evocative, dream-like and very abstract, which indeed spills into the gameplay also. The quirky awareness is also something I cherish in CD. However....

I genuinely and respectfully say; Fuck puzzle-based gameplay in a Sonic game, specifically mixing it with Sonic's playstyle. If one were to find some way to simplify/homogenize it, I'd be fine with it but I don't like it here nor much of the Stage designs meant to be exploration-based than your free flowing-fast paced obstacle course-esque gameplay that is tailored just right for Sonic. Sonic CD is attempting to turn itself into something else...Something elusive...Even the music of Sonic CD is more representative of the 90's hip-hop-techno beats rather his own classic cartoonish rhythm. To me, it does not resemble Sonic as a whole lot.

The soundtrack by itself is quite acceptable, even extremely catchy imo. I love it.

 

My perspective on CD isn't as harsh as it was last year yet I still think this was a horrible direction to take Sonic in. To obsessed with platforming and not enough fluidity..

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The problem is, if most of your enjoyment in Sonic 1 (and its sequels) derived from the great flow and speed of the stages, Sonic CD is not for you by its very design. And "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast" is true: the stages are designed to only allow time travel in certain spots that you have to discover as you said. Since there are not that many of these places, for a big chunk of the stages "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast" is very true. If 80% of the stage doesn't allow you to go fast due to its design while 20% does, then overal it's fair to say "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast".

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14 hours ago, A crocodile said:

I implore you to play around with Starlight Zone as it's really just the template for Sonic CD. There are so many ways to complete each act and the paths intersect so much that it will show you where CD type stages originated. There's even the basic pattern of often being blocked from going back on lower paths and so going up is the only option along with going left on lower paths to get higher above that CD stages often utilize. The upper paths of Starlight Zone even seem like predecessors to the upper paths in CD stages as they always allow moments to go down if chosen. They're not segregated like how Sonic 2 and 3 stages often are. 

CD stages are just like Starlight Zone except they are designed to go in circles instead of simply going right. In a CD version of Starlight those areas with the fans that block you from going left would still exist except there would always be a guaranteed way to get back to before the blocking fan.  And with more complex obstacles. 

Ah good ol' Starlight Zone. One of my favorites from the franchise for both the freedom of speed after Labyrinth Zone and for that absolutely lovely music. Funny thing is though, much as I know what you're referring to with the level layout I just know if I turned the game on and played I'd instinctively go high just to avoid the bombs, fan, seesaws, and bottomless pits that plague the lower routes. It's a horrible habit I have when playing Starlight Zone in comparison to Sonic CD where I always feel rewarded for diverging from a set playstyle. Plus the view from up top is so much more enjoyable XD.

 

@Jar Jar Analysis 1138 I'm kind of terrified to see how critical you used to be of CD. Out of the entire franchise, and gaming in general, it has always been my all time favorite game as described above and while I'm used to seeing criticism of game the way you tear into it is the harshest I've seen (I must be pretty lucky considering the nature of the internet). That said, as Sonic is a platformer I'm always surprised when I see someone who dislikes platforming in Sonic. Though I can't tell the degree to which you you prefer the level of platforming in a Sonic game to be from this one post alone, your choice of wording makes me feel like it you'd prefer something where most platforming is reaction based with finding alternate paths something you do on the fly rather than from taking the time to explore the fantastical world around Sonic. That's not to say I completely disagree with you, in fact, when approaching the modern games and yearning for a return of momentum based gameplay I always question why don't they take an obstacle course approach taking inspiration from the Tony Hawk, Skate, and similar franchises to make a fantastical multi-tiered skate-park-esque obstacle course. Of course in a franchise  with as diverse with audience expectations and desires as this a middle ground between exploration based levels and obstacle courses would probably be for the best.

 

On the matter of aesthetics, music, and general atmosphere, I am of the camp that prefers the Sonic CD approach over every other part of the franchise. No other game pulls me into Sonic's world like CD does and to date I still yearn for another game in the franchise to capture that atmosphere again. To me, every Sonic game that I turn that lacks that sense of whimsy that i get from playing CD is a disappointment I have to shove to the back of mind so that I can enjoy the rest of the game for all of the aspects of the Sonic franchise that I so enjoy.

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8 hours ago, Tarnish said:

The problem is, if most of your enjoyment in Sonic 1 (and its sequels) derived from the great flow and speed of the stages, Sonic CD is not for you by its very design. And "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast" is true: the stages are designed to only allow time travel in certain spots that you have to discover as you said. Since there are not that many of these places, for a big chunk of the stages "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast" is very true. If 80% of the stage doesn't allow you to go fast due to its design while 20% does, then overal it's fair to say "the level design simply doesn't allow you to go fast".

I disagree. Time travel spots are in a lot of places actually, sometimes they are just a little obscure and require analyzing your surroundings. You just have to decipher and survey the stages to realize which ones may be the most convenient to you, but if you can link the places where you can gain speed you absolutely can stay speedy for a bit. The stages as we have discussed are meshes of smoother spaces that allow great speed and the "terrain based puzzle" segments which are usually more blocky. You will have to go through a plethora of both in every stage, but there always is the reminder that the paths in these stages are so varied that you can usually find the smoothest ways to blow through (usually near the tops for reasons that have stated above) with some good thought and skill. Like I have said, the matter of speed is the same in philosophy as Sonic 1, but more aggressive in requiring skill. 

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1 hour ago, A crocodile said:

I disagree. Time travel spots are in a lot of places actually, sometimes they are just a little obscure and require analyzing your surroundings. You just have to decipher and survey the stages to realize which ones may be the most convenient to you, but if you can link the places where you can gain speed you absolutely can stay speedy for a bit. The stages as we have discussed are meshes of smoother spaces that allow great speed and the "terrain based puzzle" segments which are usually more blocky. You will have to go through a plethora of both in every stage, but there always is the reminder that the paths in these stages are so varied that you can usually find the smoothest ways to blow through (usually near the tops for reasons that have stated above) with some good thought and skill. Like I have said, the matter of speed is the same in philosophy as Sonic 1, but more aggressive in requiring skill. 

The "requiring skill" part unfortunately is way too extreme. The amount of trial and error it requires is very off-putting, for me personally anyway. The complexity of the stage design makes it harder to memorize for one thing (at least I felt that way).  Then you have to put in a lot more effort to explore the stages to find a section long enough or figure out a route how to maintain speed long enough for the time travel. Then, you have to find the proper sign post. However, when you find the sign post, you can't really experiment if your selected path is long enough, because if you start the run and slow down/stop during it, you lose the effect of the sign post..meaning you either have to find another one or just finish the stage without time travel (at least in the original, I don't know if they changed that in the re-release).

Put all of these together and you have the recipe for one frustration filled design that IMO puts way too many obstacles into the player's way.

Once you find and know all the paths, the locations of the sign posts, I'm sure it feels a lot easier, but the effort required to get there is just not worth it for me, especially since the stage design is just not to my liking to begin with.

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