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Why Are GHZ and CPZ Staples Now?

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The reason that Chemical Plant and Green Hill have become franchise staples lately is because they actually represent the Sonic dichotomy boiled down to its purest form; nature versus industry. Even Forces, as misguided and downplayed as it was, had a GHZ under attack by technology and a CPZ being reclaimed a little by nature (ice), showing in a rare instance that too much nature can easily be a bad thing. This Tao of Sonic can be completed by incorporating other common level motifs, such as ruins and cities, along with special stages. GHZ even shows ruins and CPZ shows a city, making an “ancient and modern” conflict. The ruins and cities represent “man”, turning this into more of a three-way question. What shall sapient life do to handle the problem of balance? Lastly, the Special Zone may represent “magic” against the “science” of the other levels, but that is probably a topic for another day. 

 

I may be overthinking this, but what are your thoughts on the subject at hand? Do you agree that their recurrence has a point? 

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As great and iconic as these levels are, I don't think we need to see them again in any more Sonic games going forward. Green Hill in particular has been reused so much lately without much reasoning. In my opinion it's really getting tiresome seeing these levels over and over again rather than having some new, original levels.

The Sonic series needs to move forward, not backwards.

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The new hook with Sonic is to remind people of when they actually liked Sonic at every opportunity. I think that's the long and short of it. I don't give them enough credit for there to be a wider symbolic reason. Especially since almost every game starts off with a grass/beach level and has industrial levels later on anyway. 

I'm not too bothered by it. Depends on how it's done. 

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47 minutes ago, Wraith said:

The new hook with Sonic is to remind people of when they actually liked Sonic at every opportunity. I think that's the long and short of it. I don't give them enough credit for there to be a wider symbolic reason. Especially since almost every game starts off with a grass/beach level and has industrial levels later on anyway. 

I'm not too bothered by it. Depends on how it's done. 

They do this for the Classic fans but how about Adventure fans? Where is Station Square, emerald coast, pumpkin hill...

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It's true that these zones occupy entirely different niches, but it might just be a lucky break that they happen to encapsulate the nature/technology dichotomy in the way you've identified; their "iconic," recognisable status has a lot more to do with it, I think.  I wouldn't mind if they brought back old levels from time to time; but hammering on at the same ones over and over makes the series feel stale, uncreative, repetitive.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder; familiarity breeds contempt.

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When people think of Sonic zones, people think of Green Hill. It was a pretty big thing since it was a leap above most platformers of the time due to the graphic design, level design and the music adds to the experience. For Sega it took months to do this zone as a good first impression. It's why there have been Green Hill alikes for a first stage in most Sonic games; many either patterned like Green Hill, called a variation of the name usually with Hill as its name (partial exception is Neo Green Hill, both Aquatic Ruin and the Sonic Advance with the latter is more like Emerald Coast) or have a similar tone like Windmill Isle. It is easier to name Sonic games that don't have a Green Hill style zone.

With Generations and Mania to a smaller degree it is down to being the type of game while Forces put a spin on the zone. It is getting overused though so maybe have a different first stage then go back to this or an inspired zone to prevent a too much of a good thing happening.

Chemical Plant is considered a fan favorite in Sonic 2 due to its level design and speed, a camera bug where it made the zone faster than it seems. It is along with Casino Night, one of the zones that people outside of the fanbase remember from the game.

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6 hours ago, Marco9966 said:

They do this for the Classic fans but how about Adventure fans? Where is Station Square, emerald coast, pumpkin hill...

Only because Sonic 1 and 2 are much more popular and historically relevant than the adventure games. Adventure fans remember adventure levels but most people who are old enough to have played a video game since the early 1990s remembers sonic 1 and 2 to some degree. That's all this is about, not more complicated than that. Those two levels are the most iconic levels of the entire series from the time when the series was at its height of popularity. If the adventure games were in the same position, they'd be the ones with content reused all the time.

Do I think they should be reused all the time? Of course not. But they will reappear from time to time, as much as any other big series reuses it's most iconic content. And theres nothing wrong with that.

It has nothing to do with "why cant X group of fans get a turn?" Classic fans aren't any more important than any other fans. The series just reuses it's most iconic stuff just like any other.

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What do you mean now?

For Green Hill at least, it was never Not a staple zone. You've got Green Hill OG, Green Hill GG, Green Hills GG2, Emerald Hill which is the same despite toning down the checkerboard pattern, Green Grove Zone 3DBlast, the overworld in Sonic Jam, and Green Hill in Sonic Pocket Adventure.

Then you have Green Hill SA2, Seaside Hill aping off its looks, Sunset Hill doing the same even having the music, Forest Falls in Rivals aping the looks again, Sega All-Stars Tennis bringing back Green Hill again...

There has Never been a time where Green Hill wasn't the go to iconic stage for this series.

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41 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

What do you mean now?

For Green Hill at least, it was never Not a staple zone. You've got Green Hill OG, Green Hill GG, Green Hills GG2, Emerald Hill which is the same despite toning down the checkerboard pattern, Green Grove Zone 3DBlast, the overworld in Sonic Jam, and Green Hill in Sonic Pocket Adventure.

Then you have Green Hill SA2, Seaside Hill aping off its looks, Sunset Hill doing the same even having the music, Forest Falls in Rivals aping the looks again, Sega All-Stars Tennis bringing back Green Hill again...

There has Never been a time where Green Hill wasn't the go to iconic stage for this series.

I would say that a lot of those, and particularly the more direct revisits, have been about demonstrating what a familiar trope looks like on new and different (sometimes higher-powered, sometimes lower-) hardware; a case which doesn't feel particularly pressing at the moment.  But I think there's also a sense that the series has frequently made some effort to at least gesture towards originality.  A lot of zones in the series may just be reimagined Green Hill Zones (though the classics reimagined many more Sonic 1 zones than just that), but at least they take the trouble to reimagine; to come up with a distinct visual style and expression.

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While it's a neat observation that Green Hill and Chemical plant represent the nature versus industry themes, I agree with the others that that's a happy coincidence.
I never get the feeling they put any thought into it beyond "MEMBER LEVEL? THIS WAS WHEN SONIC'S GOOD SO THE NEW THING IS ALSO GOOD!"

And I wouldn't mind them reusing Green HIll Zone so much if they did it more tastefully, it's that blatent aggresive desperation in it's visuals that annoy me.
Not just a few checkerboard bits within a larger landscape, but CHECKERBOARDS IN YOUR FACE!!!
Iconic or not, the only thing that visual communicates to me at this point is Sonic team desperatly dangling keychains in front of me to try to hide something.
Instant suspicion that they still have no confidence, vision and/or a good game.

Chemical plant zone I don't mind, other that I weep for all the other iconic levels that are ignored.

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I don't mind the idea of using or bringing back older levels. So long as the context is right or they have a neat idea for it, why not? Green Hill's so annoying in its use particularly because they just shove it in there without any real need. Forces had a cool idea for it in its concept art that would have justified its use in that game but that was too interesting so they put some sand there instead.

Neat.

Personally, I'd like to see Station Square and the Mystic Ruins again. Seeing them in a game coming out for 2019 and beyond would be a bomb of nostalgia the likes of which can't be achieved from reusing the same levels over and over again. You also don't want to do it too much. If it becomes a pattern, it becomes trite. Season it in just right.

Nostalgia is fine but moderation is generally good with everything. I'm certainly not going to villify the idea behind it. SEGA and Sonic Team just suck at it really.

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17 hours ago, Marco9966 said:

They do this for the Classic fans but how about Adventure fans? Where is Station Square, emerald coast, pumpkin hill...

Because those things aren't particularly iconic outside the fanbase. More people have played Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone than have ever played either Adventure game. Probably combined actually.

The classics are just far more influential in the industry and far more widely appreciated than SA1 or 2. These two games are basically memes now.

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17 hours ago, Marco9966 said:

They do this for the Classic fans but how about Adventure fans?

City Escape is fairly frequently brought up, and Adventure 2 and Heroes (with Seaside Hill being a frequently referenced level as well) were the only ones of that era that had anywhere near as wide a reach as the first two games of the series.

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Well one can place both on two categories:

What zone to showcase sonics speed and what zone to showcase difficulty?

Both GHZ and CPZ are actually both great examples of this.

Sure green hill has had its difficult parts such as act 3 in Sonic 1 and Chemical plant had its high speed sections but both kind of compliment each other despite being from different games.

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