Jump to content
The 3rd Option

The idea that the other characters need to "play like Sonic (with an extra ability)" is narrow-minded and limiting

Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

It's a complicated beast to be sure, but perhaps part of the problem with the Sonic's cast of characters in the first place is that the are too diverse and distinct for a traditional video game format lending themselves better to a more flexible narrative medium.

Yeah, even back in the classic 2D games, Tails and Knuckles are designed with some poorly thought-out abilities when you think about it. Sonic games are supposed to be platformers, yet Tails and Knuckles are designed in such a way that they undermine actual platforming altogether in a way that Sonic doesn't. Sure, 3&K and Mania have a lot of vertical challenge to mitigate it, but then you have the Advance games, where the levels clearly are designed for Sonic, yet only Amy really feels well-designed since she doesn't have an ability to utterly break the game.

So I guess the only two options here are to severely nerf the gliding and flying a la Heroes or to keep their abilities as powerful as they are but design around them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, The 3rd Option said:

Yeah, even back in the classic 2D games, Tails and Knuckles are designed with some poorly thought-out abilities when you think about it. Sonic games are supposed to be platformers, yet Tails and Knuckles are designed in such a way that they undermine actual platforming altogether in a way that Sonic doesn't. Sure, 3&K and Mania have a lot of vertical challenge to mitigate it, but then you have the Advance games, where the levels clearly are designed for Sonic, yet only Amy really feels well-designed since she doesn't have an ability to utterly break the game.

So I guess the only two options here are to severely nerf the gliding and flying a la Heroes or to keep their abilities as powerful as they are but design around them.

Flight in itself is a questionable gimmick for a platformer though just designing levels with that ability in mind in the first place does help mitigate its overpowered nature. Of course that is significantly easier in a 2D space than a 3D space. Stranger still, Tails' flight was originally just meant as a way for Tails to catch up with Sonic if left off screen without being a playable component while Knuckles had none of his abilities in 3. Knuckles' gliding is even stranger in retrospect when his character description highlights his ability to find and use secret passages, not soar over Angel Island from above.

Now Amy being well designed in Advance 1 I can't really speak to as I've never played, but I do know that the level design is questionable since the casual player cannot ascend the plethora of slopes with her without the aid of speed platforms due to her lacking a Spin Dash equivalent, leading many I've seen to blame her for the games reliance on them. Additionally, while she fits within your range of acceptable deviation like the Avatar in Forces it is still questionable from a design philosophy stance. The reason being is that Sonic is traditionally a run and jump style of platformer while Amy's advance gameplay is kind of a strangely balanced hack and slash with the Avatar being a run and gun platformer style.

Comically , the main hedgehogs actually all represent a different style of platformer. Sonic is run and jump (flavored with rolling and pinball physics), Amy is hack and slash (or smash if you prefer 😅), Shadow is run and gun (gun's in his own game and chaos powers and vehicles in 06), and Silver rounds things out with puzzle platforming being his thing. So as I said before it's not even that diversity in gameplay is not present in the series, especially considering if any characters should be Sonic clones it's the hedgehogs, but rather that it is handled poorly, from the conceptual stage through development and all the way into marketing. The results are frequently horribly messy and brings little surprise when critics blame the other characters for bad games with Sonic Team's obsession with making a separate game effectively for each of them shoehorned into a run and jump Sonic platformer.

Still... I'm kind of a sucker for the hedgehogs (Metal and Mephiles included) and would honestly gladly play a hedgehog focused game, even if (or perhaps especially if) they actually built each character and their stages around their individual platforming styles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Knuckles doesn't really undermine the platforming at all...not in that game anyway. He may skip some sections, but most of the platforming in Sonic 3 is vertical anyway.

And therein lies the problem. Unless the game is focused on precise reflexes like Mega Man, vertical platforming doesn't emphasize the speed-focused design of Sonic at all. Tails and Knuckles are really fun to control no matter what, but just shoehorning their flagrantly anti-Sonic abilities onto Sonic's levels just isn't a good idea.

3 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Now Amy being well designed in Advance 1 I can't really speak to as I've never played, but I do know that the level design is questionable since the casual player cannot ascend the plethora of slopes with her without the aid of speed platforms due to her lacking a Spin Dash equivalent, leading many I've seen to blame her for the games reliance on them. Additionally, while she fits within your range of acceptable deviation like the Avatar in Forces it is still questionable from a design philosophy stance. The reason being is that Sonic is traditionally a run and jump style of platformer while Amy's advance gameplay is kind of a strangely balanced hack and slash with the Avatar being a run and gun platformer style.

Advance 1 Amy definitely had that problem, but I really do think that she was well-designed with the levels not exactly handling her Step Dash all too well. Oddly enough, Advance 2 and 3 improved Amy a lot by giving her her own Peel-Out Dash, but the level design got a lot worse.

At this point, I think the best option to lessen the load on the developers is nerfing the aerial abilities. Perhaps if Tails' flight was limited to a few "jumps", and Knuckles' gliding was more like Blaze's in Rush without climbing, they wouldn't have to ignore the speed focus of Sonic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

And therein lies the problem. Unless the game is focused on precise reflexes like Mega Man, vertical platforming doesn't emphasize the speed-focused design of Sonic at all.

Uh...why? The series' slope physics let you convert vertical speed to horizontal speed and vice versa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adventure 1 and 2 are by far my favorite games in the series, with CD, Sonic 2, and Generations as a close backup, so while I have a soft spot for those first two 3D outings I at least feel like I have some love for everything in the franchise. I'm leading with that so I can talk about some of the positives and negatives I see with all of these various play styles.

I think the biggest thing to get out of the way is how different the boost games operate from the rest of the series. The boost gameplay is about portraying a sense of speed that Sega feels gamers expect from Sonic titles. While the level design restrictions this format affords has been discussed plenty, I think there really isn't a good way of implementing other characters into this style without sacrificing that speed factor.

Even ignoring the character perspective that folks like Amy or Big aren't supposed to move as fast as Sonic, implementing the abilities of other characters into the boost formula doesn't seem realistic. If Tails flew in the boost style, he'd essentially stop interacting with the ground level and only interact with airborne enemies, which would necessitate developing a level essentially on top of the existing level, or a new level meant to primarily or exclusively played at this upper portion. This becomes unfeasible given the amount of work is needed to build boost style levels. If Knuckles were to stop and climb up a structure, the speed conceit of the boost formula would be utterly compromised.

The only real characters that can be added to a game like this are characters like Shadow and Blaze, who's unique abilities can be pulled off on the move such as a Chaos attack filled up by a meter or turning into or launching flames. Maybe Silver with psycho kinesis moves, but that would require a total rework of his gameplay from 06. The point is, you're looking at characters often cloning Sonic's gameplay with one or two differences, which to me doesn't seem like an enjoyable variant of the boost style.

Slowing down the game ala the Adventure or Classic method allows the character move set and it's interaction with the platforming and level design to feel more natural and unique between experiences. To touch on the Classic formula briefly, as it is largely considered a perfect formula for this: I decided to stop playing Mania about a week ago. I like how all of the characters play - Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray all feel wonderful and each have their own unique gimmicks that make me want to play as all of them (though Knuckles jump is always annoying), but the levels themselves made the game an awful chore. The fact they were mostly recycled from the 90s games didn't help, but what particularly soured me was going over the same terrain with minimal differences five times, mostly on repeat as I wanted to switch between playthroughs because I liked the variety of gameplay styles.

I'll get into this when I talk about the Adventure games, but the Classic method of designing one level with optional alternate pathways only reachable by a certain character does not appeal to me in the slightest. Even if I discover a path I can only reach by climbing with Knuckles, that pathway isn't going to make the level feel like something new and different to the degree I want it to. Playing the same level five different times with minor changes just isn't fun for me. While I think the classic gameplay is really solid and fun, the level design has to make those levels just as unique to justify using all those characters. Mirage Saloon Act 1 is great, but it has to be the norm, not the exception.

So onto the Adventure formula and why it's my favorite. Each of the characters in SA1 have a unique feel to them that makes me feel like I'm getting a genuinely unique experience no matter who I'm playing as. I enjoy playing as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Gamma, and even Amy and Big, though I think Amy should be faster. Each level also feels designed with the character playing it in mind with specific changes to compliment each change in who's playing the level. This can be simply limiting what part of a level you play through and added objects designed for that character like with Tails in Windy Valley and Speed Highway, or completely unique places to visit like Hot Shelter or Big's section of Emerald Coast. I never feel like I'm repeating something. SA2 obviously has the Hero and Dark characters playing virtually the same, but each level is even more unique than in SA1, keeping that unique aspect front and center.

That being said, the negatives for the Adventure formula are obviously the change in objective for several characters as well as the necessity to play as a character to complete the story which isn't a factor for the classic and boost games. As far as the "genre roulette", while I like Big's levels in SA1 and the treasure hunting, I'll admit that they do change the core concept of getting to the end of the level. I think both would be more palatable as mini games rather than the expected level format for those characters. I'd like to see Knuckles navigating full levels with the climbing there to offer opportunities to explore - I think 06 is a good model for how this can be accomplished, such as when he goes into Tropical Jungle during End of the World. Big meanwhile has a fun gameplay style in Heroes that I wouldn't mind regular levels being based on. Heroes as a whole shows unique ways to implement these characters into the standard format of Sonic levels, just with the team dynamic needing to be ditched (the team dynamic gives Heroes a unique style overall which I think isn't bad, just not what I'd prefer or want to see as the norm). I don't think anything needs to be done for the Gamma/mech levels in terms of design - just don't have Tails in them as he's more fun in SA1.

One thing to definitely implement from the classic games is making the other characters superfluous to the regular plot. While I love the concept of a "Last Story", most regular gamers don't want to be expected to play as a bunch of characters to get to the end of the game. Having a Heroes-esque special stage to get the Chaos Emeralds and unlock a Super Sonic ending for Sonic's play through would be neat, but otherwise just let each character's play through model after SA1 or Mania in having each play through tell a complete story independent or requiring to  play as anyone else.

So... the topic is about how limiting it is that a character is expected to play like Sonic. While I agree that putting a slightly different character into the same level isn't fun, I also think that changing the objectives of what a character does to complete a level is probably too far even if it's still enjoyable. My ideal Sonic game would have characters that all have their own unique abilities romping around levels custom made for those abilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting take on things @GentlemanX, and  can definitely see where you are coming from. What stands out most to me here is actually your dissatisfaction with Mania's levels. While I could have misinterpreted things, I actually find it funny that we kind of a share a similar reason for not playing Mania right now. In my case though, I just don't like the way the level layouts in general more so then the boredom of replaying them with little differences regardless of character. I find them too long and am frequently left feeling like they drag on especially as outside of a few levels I find even my best efforts just leave me always taking the same 3-5 minute route. To me that is on the level design itself being just plain boring rather than not diverse enough for the characters. Playing a level in even a slightly different way is usually more than enough to keep me happy and the character diversity of Mania is great in that regard. I don't personally need different levels for every character as long as the levels themselves are always fun, which for me, Mania fails in the long run. Perhaps it's because they are too long, or even that for the way that I play the other routes are too tedious to reach, or maybe even just because the game seems to have it's own idea of where it wants the player to go, regardless though, at no point has it ever been a lack of things to do with the other characters. I love just running through with Sonic, finding ways to exploit Tails' flight, seeing how high Knuckles can climb and how far and he can glide, Seeing how long I can maintain gliding as Ray, and just relishing that one hit spike invincibility of Mighty. To me there is no need to have different levels to enjoy that, but rather a more sandbox approach to level design like the original and Sonic CD had to an extent. Mania's levels suffer from tunnel vision in my opinion and that is what makes playing the levels with there massive size rather tedious for me and unique levels for each character would not solve that fundamental problem.

Funny though, your succinct explanation of your view on things actually helped me see why I get so bored playing Mania. Thanks for the insight into both my own opinions and yours.

Share this post


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

Adventure 1 and 2 are by far my favorite games in the series, with CD, Sonic 2, and Generations as a close backup, so while I have a soft spot for those first two 3D outings I at least feel like I have some love for everything in the franchise. I'm leading with that so I can talk about some of the positives and negatives I see with all of these various play styles.

I think the biggest thing to get out of the way is how different the boost games operate from the rest of the series. The boost gameplay is about portraying a sense of speed that Sega feels gamers expect from Sonic titles. While the level design restrictions this format affords has been discussed plenty, I think there really isn't a good way of implementing other characters into this style without sacrificing that speed factor.

Even ignoring the character perspective that folks like Amy or Big aren't supposed to move as fast as Sonic, implementing the abilities of other characters into the boost formula doesn't seem realistic. If Tails flew in the boost style, he'd essentially stop interacting with the ground level and only interact with airborne enemies, which would necessitate developing a level essentially on top of the existing level, or a new level meant to primarily or exclusively played at this upper portion. This becomes unfeasible given the amount of work is needed to build boost style levels. If Knuckles were to stop and climb up a structure, the speed conceit of the boost formula would be utterly compromised.

The only real characters that can be added to a game like this are characters like Shadow and Blaze, who's unique abilities can be pulled off on the move such as a Chaos attack filled up by a meter or turning into or launching flames. Maybe Silver with psycho kinesis moves, but that would require a total rework of his gameplay from 06. The point is, you're looking at characters often cloning Sonic's gameplay with one or two differences, which to me doesn't seem like an enjoyable variant of the boost style.

Slowing down the game ala the Adventure or Classic method allows the character move set and it's interaction with the platforming and level design to feel more natural and unique between experiences. To touch on the Classic formula briefly, as it is largely considered a perfect formula for this: I decided to stop playing Mania about a week ago. I like how all of the characters play - Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray all feel wonderful and each have their own unique gimmicks that make me want to play as all of them (though Knuckles jump is always annoying), but the levels themselves made the game an awful chore. The fact they were mostly recycled from the 90s games didn't help, but what particularly soured me was going over the same terrain with minimal differences five times, mostly on repeat as I wanted to switch between playthroughs because I liked the variety of gameplay styles.

I'll get into this when I talk about the Adventure games, but the Classic method of designing one level with optional alternate pathways only reachable by a certain character does not appeal to me in the slightest. Even if I discover a path I can only reach by climbing with Knuckles, that pathway isn't going to make the level feel like something new and different to the degree I want it to. Playing the same level five different times with minor changes just isn't fun for me. While I think the classic gameplay is really solid and fun, the level design has to make those levels just as unique to justify using all those characters. Mirage Saloon Act 1 is great, but it has to be the norm, not the exception.

So onto the Adventure formula and why it's my favorite. Each of the characters in SA1 have a unique feel to them that makes me feel like I'm getting a genuinely unique experience no matter who I'm playing as. I enjoy playing as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Gamma, and even Amy and Big, though I think Amy should be faster. Each level also feels designed with the character playing it in mind with specific changes to compliment each change in who's playing the level. This can be simply limiting what part of a level you play through and added objects designed for that character like with Tails in Windy Valley and Speed Highway, or completely unique places to visit like Hot Shelter or Big's section of Emerald Coast. I never feel like I'm repeating something. SA2 obviously has the Hero and Dark characters playing virtually the same, but each level is even more unique than in SA1, keeping that unique aspect front and center.

That being said, the negatives for the Adventure formula are obviously the change in objective for several characters as well as the necessity to play as a character to complete the story which isn't a factor for the classic and boost games. As far as the "genre roulette", while I like Big's levels in SA1 and the treasure hunting, I'll admit that they do change the core concept of getting to the end of the level. I think both would be more palatable as mini games rather than the expected level format for those characters. I'd like to see Knuckles navigating full levels with the climbing there to offer opportunities to explore - I think 06 is a good model for how this can be accomplished, such as when he goes into Tropical Jungle during End of the World. Big meanwhile has a fun gameplay style in Heroes that I wouldn't mind regular levels being based on. Heroes as a whole shows unique ways to implement these characters into the standard format of Sonic levels, just with the team dynamic needing to be ditched (the team dynamic gives Heroes a unique style overall which I think isn't bad, just not what I'd prefer or want to see as the norm). I don't think anything needs to be done for the Gamma/mech levels in terms of design - just don't have Tails in them as he's more fun in SA1.

One thing to definitely implement from the classic games is making the other characters superfluous to the regular plot. While I love the concept of a "Last Story", most regular gamers don't want to be expected to play as a bunch of characters to get to the end of the game. Having a Heroes-esque special stage to get the Chaos Emeralds and unlock a Super Sonic ending for Sonic's play through would be neat, but otherwise just let each character's play through model after SA1 or Mania in having each play through tell a complete story independent or requiring to  play as anyone else.

So... the topic is about how limiting it is that a character is expected to play like Sonic. While I agree that putting a slightly different character into the same level isn't fun, I also think that changing the objectives of what a character does to complete a level is probably too far even if it's still enjoyable. My ideal Sonic game would have characters that all have their own unique abilities romping around levels custom made for those abilities.

This is a fantastic write-up, and thank you for expressing your love for the variety of the Adventure games.

As @Sonic Fan J said, the most common design philosophy for video games in general is to have the characters play similarly with only a few differences in stats and/or abilities, but that just forces you to play the whole campaign from start to finish over and over again to get the complete experience of the game. Yes, the other characters are "optional", but people pay for the complete experience of a game, optional or not. If they're just going to do the same things over and over again with slightly different abilities, they'll just get bored of the game.

And I also totally agree that while the boost gameplay is a thrill, it's just limiting to design around in practice. There's no way to implement flight, gliding, and climbing when the boost gameplay has such massive focus on running on what are essentially racetracks.

That said, I can also get behind this:

2 hours ago, GentlemanX said:

I also think that changing the objectives of what a character does to complete a level is probably too far even if it's still enjoyable. My ideal Sonic game would have characters that all have their own unique abilities romping around levels custom made for those abilities.

As I've been saying earlier, it seems that people agree that Forces' Avatar is a nice compromise between "Sonic+X ability" and "alternate gameplay". I'd love to see more characters like this if Tails and Knuckles can have levels designed around flight and gliding while still being fast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Knuckles doesn't really undermine the platforming at all...not in that game anyway. He may skip some sections, but most of the platforming in Sonic 3 is vertical anyway.

Knuckles sort of balances because he has at least some sort of key weakness Sonic hasn't, namely short range jumps. Now Sonic 2 is obviously more linear in level design so this isn't much of a problem at first, the first few levels are in fact laughably easy, but then the levels get more complex in the final hurdle, with well timed jumps and quick vertical steps that a glide or climb can't always skip through being more necessary, meaning there is still some sort of difficulty curve for Knuckles, just a more blunt and drastic one than Sonic's, which fits a character with loads of perks also having serious downsides. It almost punishes you for getting complacent with all his abilities, which is kind of impressive for a game not designed with that character's abilities in mind.

 

Concerning SA1, I think the problem stated isn't just the changes but the case of them feeling half baked. As mentioned above, some of them feel more suited to mini game material. Tails' mode in particular almost feels like a sub mission for Sonic's levels akin to the ones you get in SA2. If they had spent more (sadly minimal) time developing on the characters' levels and objectives to suit that it might have felt more balanced.

Say rather than just spamming loads of boost rings, Tails could fly to find more developed alternate paths and short cuts, making his ability more of an expansion rather than a simplification, and Big and Knuckles' levels had some proper lead up platforming before or after their unique objective so their gameplay wasn't as confined to one note.

Amy and Sonic's are the most developed levels due to following the usual A to B structure and their layouts both play well to their mechanics. Gamma's are the mid point, they have an A-B structure, but it's often much smaller than Sonic and Amy's and while there's an extra objective in the form of the targets and bosses, they're often too simple to obtain to compensate for that. Hot Shelter is a good example of Gamma's gameplay fully developed, with a well spanned level well tailored to his mechanics, and a semi-unique and more aggressive mini boss. Windy Valley and Red Mountain I could argue were almost there, I remember them being the point I started to really have fun as Gamma, but Delta and Epsilon were pathetic bosses that didn't really balance the shorter level designs.

SA2 was this but maybe too far in the other direction, in that while the other modes were more developed, they were to a point they didn't recycle enough of Sonic's mechanics to feel uniform, and emphasised their unique obstacles and objectives to the point of being rather tedious and convoluted at times. Where SA1's treasure hunting felt like a patronising mini-game, SA2's felt obtuse and never ending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this topic concerned characters like Advance 1 Amy when I read the title. Those characters still played in the same levels but with different mechanics and rules. I think that would be better than full-blown alternate gameplay. 

 

Also, a Tikal spin-off could use the mechanics from Mario Oddysey, such as using Tikal to possess enemies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advance 1 Amy I thought was a good idea on paper, a more complicated mechanic that looks weaker on paper but when mastered has hidden advantages over the others. The only problem was that Amy's signature abilities were nerfed a little too much to really take heavy advantage of (the giant steps function was good on paper, but executed far too weakly). Regardless I enjoyed playing as her in that game. Fresh feel while still reasonably loyal to the usual physics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/10/2018 at 11:04 PM, E-122-Psi said:

Advance 1 Amy I thought was a good idea on paper, a more complicated mechanic that looks weaker on paper but when mastered has hidden advantages over the others. The only problem was that Amy's signature abilities were nerfed a little too much to really take heavy advantage of (the giant steps function was good on paper, but executed far too weakly). Regardless I enjoyed playing as her in that game. Fresh feel while still reasonably loyal to the usual physics.

I can definitely see where you're coming from. Perhaps it would be best if either they designed the levels so that the spin dash isn't necessary, or that every character has an alternative to the Spin Dash that isn't safe.

I also would like Tails and Knuckles to be more differentiated from Sonic in the future, regardless of whether they have the same levels or not. I personally think they should both get Amy's "peel out" instead of the spin dash so that their speed isn't quite as safe/emphasized as with Sonic. It would also be cool if they don't have the ball jump either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking the spin jump away from everyone is way too limiting. Going fast is integral to Sonic games, even if not everyone is as focused on speed as him, and the protection that the spin jump offers is part of what makes going fast viable. You could get away with it for maybe a couple of characters, if you intend for them to be trickier to use or find some way to compensate for its absence, but it's not a good idea to set it as the default.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Taking the spin jump away from everyone is way too limiting. Going fast is integral to Sonic games, even if not everyone is as focused on speed as him, and the protection that the spin jump offers is part of what makes going fast viable. You could get away with it for maybe a couple of characters, if you intend for them to be trickier to use or find some way to compensate for its absence, but it's not a good idea to set it as the default.

The other characters absolutely should be trickier to use, though, especially if their unique central mechanics undermine platforming the way gliding and flight do. A measure of speed is fine (heck, actually desirable) for balancing unity and variety in Sonic. But if such powerful aerial abilities are left unchecked, the characters just become "Sonic, but better" rather than having their own actual playstyles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tails, Mighty, Knuckles, and Shadow can keep the emphasis on spinning(with Blaze, Espio, and maybe Vector somewhat keeping their equivalents), but characters like Amy can get distinct variations/deviations if necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

The other characters absolutely should be trickier to use, though, especially if their unique central mechanics undermine platforming the way gliding and flight do. A measure of speed is fine (heck, actually desirable) for balancing unity and variety in Sonic. But if such powerful aerial abilities are left unchecked, the characters just become "Sonic, but better" rather than having their own actual playstyles.

If your problem is with flight and gliding, your first step should be to address those abilities directly, instead of assuming they'll always be broken. But even as far as altering other moves to try to balance them goes, taking away the spin jump is counterproductive; the spin jump arguably offers more protection than flight/gliding, and flight/gliding offer more protection than a non-spinning jump. If you take away the protection of the spin jump, that's one less reason to not fly/glide as much as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The 3rd Option said:

I can definitely see where you're coming from. Perhaps it would be best if either they designed the levels so that the spin dash isn't necessary, or that every character has an alternative to the Spin Dash that isn't safe.

I also would like Tails and Knuckles to be more differentiated from Sonic in the future, regardless of whether they have the same levels or not. I personally think they should both get Amy's "peel out" instead of the spin dash so that their speed isn't quite as safe/emphasized as with Sonic. It would also be cool if they don't have the ball jump either.

I think the bigger problem with Tails and Knuckles in Advance is that they downplayed Sonic's perks (insta shield and elemental powers) and increased theirs (eg. Knuckles being able to float on water) making them feel overpowered. I don't remember if Knuckles' nerfed jump was still there but I remember it being far less of a hindrance either way, so their flaws weren't really emphasised to balance it out. In fact I don't remember a lot of areas in the game that were made to befit Sonic and Amy besides those odd superfluous grinding rails.

I think the two are balanced out a bit better in recent games because now both classic and modern era have some sort of exploitable signature ability for Sonic that the others don't (classic has Drop Dash, modern has Homing Attack). SEGA AGES are even updating the old games so Sonic has the Drop Dash, it's becoming that connected to him since Mania.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This conversation took an interesting turn since I was last in here. While I expected further discussion about flight mechanics in a run and jump platformer I did not not expect to see anyone say that the Super Spin Attack should be removed from the other characters. That is one distinction with Sonic's gameplay I will always argue to have included with ever character as it is part of what gives the franchise it's unique identity as a platformer to me. Not only is the Super Spin Attack, whether jumping or rolling, a great visual cue in telling the player that they are safe to bump into enemies and travel like a rolling ball, it is also part of the original design philosophy that to date is not shared by any other platformer that I am familiar with; allowing the player to bump into the enemy to defeat them. It's such a hard contrast to every other platformer where you have to attack in a specific way to damage your foe with just bumping into them leading to your defeat and plays to Sonic's strength as a platformer focused on continuous movement. It's why I dislike it when anyone says X character should have hack and slash platforming abilities, or run and gun platforming abilities, or even puzzle platforming abilities, etc., etc. The majority of those other styles do not benefit the sense of movement and freedom afforded by Sonic's distinct classic formula (and even the boost to some extent). It's not that they are not fun on their own, but they are not what Sonic is from the franchise's fundamental concepts.

Expanding additionally on the statement of a lack of extreme gameplay diversity being boring, I will personally always argue that if you have a solid gameplay concept that works like Sonic's, then what you need to keep things fresh is minor tweaks every now and then but far ore importantly; spectacular level design. No matter how much it is argued that the other characters need their own gameplay and levels that better take advantage of their characters you still are going to need to have good level design to make it worth while. Generations showed with certain levels that the Boost, most frequently argued as hold boost to win (part of the reason people probably have so much trouble with Eggmanland in Unleashed), with good level design can be an engaging, exciting, and diverse beast that makes playing extremely exciting and fun. It's only when outside of those well designed levels does the boost's inherent problems become apparent. And really, that should be self evident. Just look at how much Tails and Knuckles levels are complained about in Sonic Adventure. It's not their gameplay, but dull uninspired levels that are a bore to play. So I have to ask; what good is diverse and distinct gameplay if the levels made for those gameplays are still going to be as uninspired as what is made for Sonic these days? 

I have to apologize for getting riled up here, but Sonic's original gameplay and the concepts behind it with the execution that followed are still part of what makes the franchise distinct to me compared to his competition. I understand that everyone wants to see their favorite characters executed to their full potential, but at the cost of what makes the franchise distinct? Maybe it's just because the more games evolve and become more overly complex the more I appreciate simpler games from back in the day when creators had to be creative within a defined box and worked miracles of creativity that is to date still worth revisiting again and again. Maybe it's just my age showing. Really I can't say anymore. All I really know is that where I see everyone asking how they can cram as many styles of platforming and more into a single game bearing Sonic's name. I've always asked how can the other characters be tweaked to better fit the franchise they were created to be a part of. Is that limiting? Sure it is. But that limitation is a necessity to maintain a brand identity and consistency. I guess it's times like this that I'm partly reminded why Sonic is so important to me as a character and is my favorite in the franchise. It's his franchise, he's the face of it, it's his gameplay, it's his story,  and he's the reason the franchise took off in the first place being the only character in it to ever be singularly almost as globally recognizable as Mickey Mouse. There's a reason a number of the other characters get offhand referred to as simply different types of Sonics. To me that identity should be embraced and not discarded for the supporting cast. Sorry again about letting myself get riled up, it's just this is one of those instances where I overreacted to seeing how others would address things but decided to carry through in the hopes of making my passion and stance clear. I hope I accomplished that and again apologize if I went to far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/12/2018 at 3:02 PM, Diogenes said:

If your problem is with flight and gliding, your first step should be to address those abilities directly, instead of assuming they'll always be broken. But even as far as altering other moves to try to balance them goes, taking away the spin jump is counterproductive; the spin jump arguably offers more protection than flight/gliding, and flight/gliding offer more protection than a non-spinning jump. If you take away the protection of the spin jump, that's one less reason to not fly/glide as much as possible.

Spin jumps are only safe in regards to enemies. In regards to platforming, which is by far the greater element, flight and gliding utterly destroy it.

I think making Tails and Knux worse at fighting enemies to compensate for their exploration feels like a better trade-off. They still should have their methods of fighting: Tails can do his tail spin and Knux can have his punching, but they should be less safe at combat than speed-emphasized Sonic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

Spin jumps are only safe in regards to enemies. In regards to platforming, which is by far the greater element, flight and gliding utterly destroy it.

So, again, you're suggesting taking away one of the reasons to not fly/glide, as a means of addressing how brokenly good flight and gliding are already.

3 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

I think making Tails and Knux worse at fighting enemies to compensate for their exploration feels like a better trade-off. They still should have their methods of fighting: Tails can do his tail spin and Knux can have his punching, but they should be less safe at combat than speed-emphasized Sonic.

All this does is make the characters less fun to play, as they're now set up to take damage more often while their special abilities still break platforming just as much. It's the exact wrong way to tackle the problem.

Share this post


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

All this does is make the characters less fun to play, as they're now set up to take damage more often while their special abilities still break platforming just as much. It's the exact wrong way to tackle the problem.

Being "less fun" is just your opinion. Sure, they can't be played as aggressively fast as Sonic... but shouldn't that be the point of Tails and Knuckles already?

The problem with their classic implementation is that, yes, they can be played aggressively fast since they have the spin jump, spin dash, and spin attack. I don't mind Tails and Knux sharing Sonic's ability to pick up blistering speed from slopes nor do I mind them running almost as fast as Sonic, but giving them such meager drawbacks to their abilities is just really bad gameplay balance.

Again, I can appreciate how S3&K and Mania do their best to mitigate the advantages of those aerial abilities thanks to its smart use of walls and verticality. But I still don't find it conducive to good gameplay balance or design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

Being "less fun" is just your opinion.

Well when you're saying their abilities "undermine platforming" and your suggestion only serves to make them more vulnerable to damage rather than addressing that, I am left wondering where the fun is supposed to be.

4 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

Sure, they can't be played as aggressively fast as Sonic... but shouldn't that be the point of Tails and Knuckles already?

In a relative sense, maybe, but "aggressively fast" should be the baseline for all Sonic characters, in the same way all Mario characters can jump good and all Mega Man characters can shoot and get new weapons. Not having that basic level of protection in a Sonic game really hurts, and while you might be able to get away with it for one or two characters, it doesn't work as the default.

4 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

The problem with their classic implementation is that, yes, they can be played aggressively fast since they have the spin jump, spin dash, and spin attack. I don't mind Tails and Knux sharing Sonic's ability to pick up blistering speed from slopes nor do I mind them running almost as fast as Sonic, but giving them such meager drawbacks to their abilities is just really bad gameplay balance.

Okay, so like, how about we address how the abilities actually work, instead of just making the characters less fun to play as? Tails is always gonna fly and Knuckles is always going to glide, but the exact mechanics of those moves aren't set in stone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really convinced Tails "undermines platforming" all that much anyway, at least as far as the genesis style handling of him goes. His flight is slow as hell without a spindashing start, he has very little control over his inertia even then, and he loses out on a lot of the safe attacking potential he'd otherwise get from a regular jump. It's not the first solution to most problems simply because there are usually better short term solutions to gaining height without open airspace - people who use flying as a crutch rather than a tool ultimately lose out because of this, but if they're that willing to sacrifice pacing for their safety and comfort then frankly that's their own fucking business.

Most of Knux's strengths depend on the level design, as should any character really - he can shine in say, Hydrocity, because it gives him a lot of open air to glide without much in the way of obstacles, and although climbing is super slow the time saved can potentially make up for it. But the moment you put him in a more enclosed stage or add overhangs to the top of walls, those perks lose out to Sonic and his drop dash. In fact a core problem I'm seeing with this argument is that it seems to assume that characters benefit from their abilities uniformly, when this kind of stuff tends to only get unmanageable when level design does nothing to rein it in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

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.