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Sonic Characterization at its Best, Worst, and how to move forward.

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I’ll add my own more detailed thoughts at another point, but I do feel the need to say that from what I remember, Chronicles of all games tried to keep things alive from Adventure’s characterisation. It had the interesting idea you could run with your preferred Sonic too, right down to full on snarky dick, or gold hearted hero, or somewhere between.

There was also Knuckles being a proper guardian again and needing to deal with a lot of pain with the Nocturnus, Tails following on from his independence backstory in Adventure by becoming the hero of Station Square and actually making his own workshop from there. Amy....eh. If anything, I kind of hated how manipulative she got in Chronicles with the fake boyfriend story.

Even Eggman gets some pretty slick characterisation, not only getting into the interesting dynamic of working with Sonic and co for a prolonged amount of time, where they’re forced to spend time together even in quiet moments (as opposed to SA2 where it was a full moment of crisis and Lost World...which just did it badly) but on top of all that, Eggman successfully manipulated the heroes and took over the world by the end of the game.

I can’t really talk in specifics, it’s been forever since I played Chronicles, but I honestly find it really neat how many ideas were there to at least add something to the personalities, although I can’t speak for how well it was done.

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Sonic's at his best when his full range of emotion isn't ignored for the sake of living up to the meme that he's all just like "HEY GUYS! IT'S ME SONIC! WHOA! HEHHEH! CHILI-DOGS AMIRIGHT?!" I appreciate the parts of his character that go towards expressing just how much he doesn't play by anyone's rules except his own and does it in a way that doesn't spell that out by having him say it in a lame way. In Adventure 2, he didn't wait for due process to take its course. He broke out when they tried arresting him because fuck that. He didn't do anything wrong and he doesn't owe the military anything. In Black Knight, he straight up said that he doesn't mind being the bad guy every once in a while, which I take to mean he doesn't mind going against what society says is the right thing to do so long as he thinks it's the right thing to do. That's a sentiment I agree with since I'm someone who doesn't necessarily believe that just because something is considered a law doesn't mean it's the correct thing to do. 

I also have fondness for what Sonic Lost World, attempted to do with his character. One of the biggest missed opportunities with that game still remains the way Sonic, Tails, and Eggman were handled. Tails especially but seeing them get so much right about Sonic and Eggman only for it to fall apart as the game went on has got to be the biggest blow towards them ever. I still really love that scene where Sonic is confident in what he's going to do and doesn't wait for the advice of his best friend and trusted partner before kicking away the Magic Conch shell and fucking everyone over. It would have been great had the game stuck with the emphasis on it having been Sonic's fault instead of shifting all the blame on Eggman. I agree he deserves his share of the blame but the fact of the matter still remains that Eggman's initial plan wasn't as hazardous to the planet as what the Deadly Six were doing with the machine and it could have been resolved a lot cleaner than what ended up happening had Sonic stayed put. 

The fact that the game only mentions Sonic doing something stupid once after it happens and then treats his next screw up as a fault of him "not being fast enough" when the reason Tails got captured was because was TOO FAST is baffling beyond belief. In the end, he apologizes to Tails for the wrong thing.

--

Tails was at his best in the Sonic Boom TV Show for me. I'd have loved to have plucked his character from that show and put him in the games because it would have been perfect. He's a lot more fun and child-like but he's also very timid and scared. His self-esteem is low and he's worried quite a whole lot about his self-importance. Despite that he's still a fighter and has a lot to contribute to the team. He doesn't shy away from getting into fights with Sonic whenever it's necessary and understandable but they make up in a believable, well-written manner that doesn't make him look like a pompous jerk with an ego bigger than Sonic or Eggman's combined. 

It's odd how when Pontac and Graff were given the go-ahead to write their first story about Sonic with Lost World (not just translate it like with Colors and Forces) that the one they decided to make the most egotistical and proud was Tails. There had to have been a serious misunderstanding or mix-up in terms of which character they were writing for because he's the last person who should have been bragging about doing absurd impossible tasks in response to Sonic merely asking if he was done fixing their busted plane. 

Then in Forces, the Japanese team wrote him the exact opposite way. In Lost World he was angry and sassy when the Deadly Six caught him (two-finger salute to Zor) but in Forces, Chaos 0 shows up and he thrusts his butt at him calling for Sonic to help him. No, it's not because he was shaken by Sonic's loss. Tails did nothing when Infinite and the other baddies showed up to fight Sonic either. When Tails thought Sonic was dead in Adventure 2, he was sad, but there was an immediate threat in front of him and he screamed that he wasn't going to give up and then kicked Eggman's ass for him.

Tails' problem before all these weird writing snafus was honestly just that he was a bit too bland. Boom did a great job of making him feel like an actual kid while keeping all the other stuff I loved about him in tact. Had they stuck with that, we'd have the perfect Tails in my opinion. Flawed, fun, loveable, and nerdy. 

It's a careful balance to have but that's usually how it goes when you're dealing with characters that have more than one trait to their personality. Suffice to say, I'm glad that none of these guys feel one-dimensional within the nature of their conception. On the surface, they could come off that way, but they really aren't. You can't just do whatever you want with them and call it a day.

--

Dr. Eggman honestly hasn't had it all that rough. Every game he's in, he's usually able to stand out. The only ones he hasn't, so far, have been 06 and Forces as far as I'm concerned. Well, personality wise he didn't stand out in 06. Design wise he did. Sonic Lost World Eggman was written in a way the genuinely impressed me back to back until the end where they, for no reason, gave up. It's the one thing I continuously praise about Pontac and Graff's handling of his character. He had the best lines and carried himself with the most dignity out of anyone there.

"I'm a compassionate man. If I weren't, I would have thrown you into a bottomless pit by now."

"You. Fat one. Go take care of that blue pest."
"Hey! Who're you calling fat."
"You."

"I still can't figure you out. One minute you're contemplating genocide and the next you're saving one of your worst enemies."
"I'm a complicated guy."

"The machine is still unstable. We just want to borrow some of the planet's energy. We don't want to destroy it."

"Pity about the damage down there but there's still enough left for me to conquer."

"I will BURN your worlds you rebellious scum. I will destroy everything you love and make you WATCH! I'll... I'll.. I'LL...!" *Punches down an Ice wall*
"Boss. Your hands!"
"As long as I can still strangle a Zeti, my hands are fine."

I mean goddamn! HOW! How'd they manage to get him so right? His concern for the planet. The emphasis on wanting to conquer it and not destroy it. The intense rage at the Zeti. The fairness he expresses when honoring their alliance by saving Tails' life, even after Tails, for no reason, started a petty fight with Eggman over nothing. 

I was astonished. I still am. I can't believe they wrote Eggman this way. It was thrown in the garbage at the end game of course. The twist where he was the bad guy the whole time could have been handled better and the fallout from what he said he would do doesn't come to fruition at all. However, I appreciate pretty much everything that came beforehand.

I like Eggman the most when he's evil and conniving in a fun way. He gets angry and upset when things don't go as planned but is able to compose himself long enough to fix it. He tries to carry himself in a dignified enough manner and despite being a bit of a bumbler at times, he's got back up plans for his back up plans to make himself a worthy adversary and not just someone Sonic needs to clown so that he can look cooler. I didn't realize how much I could love Eggman until I saw him in Sonic X. My excitement for Sonic was at it's all time high when I randomly discovered the anime on TV flipping through channels on a boring Saturday morning as a kid. Flashing by Sonic's face, doing a double take, then changing the channel back to him was the most shocking feeling in the world. I couldn't believe it. Eggman was such a delight whenever he showed up to. I had been familiar with Adventure 2 and Heroes up to that point and not much else aside from a VHS tape that had two episodes of AoSth on it. I didn't know Modern Eggman could be so fun loving and smiley. He smiled on the box cover of SA2 and there were times where he laughed but for the most part, his sinister side was played up way more than his bouncy, chauvinistic side. 

He made being evil so much fun. 

Fun and competent. Obviously he can't be perfect, otherwise he'd win, but if he's going to lose, have his attempts towards winning give Sonic a run for his money. You might as well if he's going to lose anyway right? 

--

I could go on but I feel covering the big 3 works well enough here. 
 

 

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I'm going to argue again that I like Sonic as he currently is. I like that he's sarcastic and snarky but still cares. Everyone always says he doesn't take the situation's seriously but I don't see it that was at all. The way he get's angry or has that moment in Lost World where he tries to call Amy and Knuckles and get's no reply show he does care about the situation.

He's confident maybe a little Cocky but I've never really gotten this "LOLZ he just cracks jokes and doesn't care about anything" vibe everyone seems to see.

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I honestly do get the feeling that Eggman is Pontac and Graff's favorite character to write for considering the care that goes into his character that I just don't see in their Sonic or Tails.

 

His jokes are better than Sonic's and he fits the ego driven genius archetype better than Tails.

 

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14 hours ago, ThePrinceOfSaiyans said:

His best incarnation is classic Sonic. I'd argue he appeals to a larger audience, given he isn't given the opportunity to spout cringy dialogue. His actions do the talking, and that's probably for the best.

My favorite is his Sonic Adventure 2 incarnation. I like this Sonic the most because he's heroic, has attitude, and can speak without making me cringe. 

The worst is how he's currently portrayed and has been portrayed since Colors. This incarnation of Sonic is pure cringe. That wink wink nudge nudge approach to dialogue is infuriating, and the actual jokes themselves never land. I can't think of a single funny line from not only Sonic, but the rest of the cast, which is a problem given comedy is the focus of this era of Sonic. If you're gonna try and be funny, actually be funny please. 

Going forward, I'm not sure what the ideal approach would be. Sonic speaks now, and I'm sure getting rid of the voice acting is unlikely. I know I want the comedic approach to go away, and I'd like a more dramatic approach ala Sonic Adventure 2, but I also don't want it to devolve into Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic '06 levels of nonsense again. 

This. Pontaff has no idea how to write these characters. Why are they still here?

12 hours ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

I like my Sonic as the provocative cocky type when battling friends and rivals and yet still cares for them, but takes serious matters...well...seriously. It's pretty hard to try to pass off games like Forces as a serious story while having Sonic cracking cringeworthy and somewhat dated jokes at the most inappropriate of times. Tails should be trying to be his own hero, not some little boy who needs Sonic to tuck him in at night. With Knuckles, eliminate the "dumb jock" aspect of his character. He's pretty much a laughing stock now. It's kinda weird how his Modern personality contradicts his Dreamcast era personality. In the Dreamcast era, he was more chill and laid back, albeit still a gullible. Now? He's basically the Raphael of the Sonic series, throwing temper tantrums left and right. Amy, is okay. She's no longer the obsessive stalker she once was. Shadow needs to stop trying to be Vegeta. Always standing in the back with his arms folded and being all like "Hmph! No one can match my power."

What cringe joke has he done in Forces or Lost World?

1 hour ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic's at his best when his full range of emotion isn't ignored for the sake of living up to the meme that he's all just like "HEY GUYS! IT'S ME SONIC! WHOA! HEHHEH! CHILI-DOGS AMIRIGHT?!" I appreciate the parts of his character that go towards expressing just how much he doesn't play by anyone's rules except his own and does it in a way that doesn't spell that out by having him say it in a lame way. In Adventure 2, he didn't wait for due process to take its course. He broke out when they tried arresting him because fuck that. He didn't do anything wrong and he doesn't owe the military anything. In Black Knight, he straight up said that he doesn't mind being the bad guy every once in a while, which I take to mean he doesn't mind going against what society says is the right thing to do so long as he thinks it's the right thing to do. That's a sentiment I agree with since I'm someone who doesn't necessarily believe that just because something is considered a law doesn't mean it's the correct thing to do. 

I also have fondness for what Sonic Lost World, attempted to do with his character. One of the biggest missed opportunities with that game still remains the way Sonic, Tails, and Eggman were handled. Tails especially but seeing them get so much right about Sonic and Eggman only for it to fall apart as the game went on has got to be the biggest blow towards them ever. I still really love that scene where Sonic is confident in what he's going to do and doesn't wait for the advice of his best friend and trusted partner before kicking away the Magic Conch shell and fucking everyone over. It would have been great had the game stuck with the emphasis on it having been Sonic's fault instead of shifting all the blame on Eggman. I agree he deserves his share of the blame but the fact of the matter still remains that Eggman's initial plan wasn't as hazardous to the planet as what the Deadly Six were doing with the machine and it could have been resolved a lot cleaner than what ended up happening had Sonic stayed put. 

The fact that the game only mentions Sonic doing something stupid once after it happens and then treats his next screw up as a fault of him "not being fast enough" when the reason Tails got captured was because was TOO FAST is baffling beyond belief. In the end, he apologizes to Tails for the wrong thing.

--

Tails was at his best in the Sonic Boom TV Show for me. I'd have loved to have plucked his character from that show and put him in the games because it would have been perfect. He's a lot more fun and child-like but he's also very timid and scared. His self-esteem is low and he's worried quite a whole lot about his self-importance. Despite that he's still a fighter and has a lot to contribute to the team. He doesn't shy away from getting into fights with Sonic whenever it's necessary and understandable but they make up in a believable, well-written manner that doesn't make him look like a pompous jerk with an ego bigger than Sonic or Eggman's combined. 

It's odd how when Pontac and Graff were given the go-ahead to write their first story about Sonic with Lost World (not just translate it like with Colors and Forces) that the one they decided to make the most egotistical and proud was Tails. There had to have been a serious misunderstanding or mix-up in terms of which character they were writing for because he's the last person who should have been bragging about doing absurd impossible tasks in response to Sonic merely asking if he was done fixing their busted plane. 

Then in Forces, the Japanese team wrote him the exact opposite way. In Lost World he was angry and sassy when the Deadly Six caught him (two-finger salute to Zor) but in Forces, Chaos 0 shows up and he thrusts his butt at him calling for Sonic to help him. No, it's not because he was shaken by Sonic's loss. Tails did nothing when Infinite and the other baddies showed up to fight Sonic either. When Tails thought Sonic was dead in Adventure 2, he was sad, but there was an immediate threat in front of him and he screamed that he wasn't going to give up and then kicked Eggman's ass for him.

Tails' problem before all these weird writing snafus was honestly just that he was a bit too bland. Boom did a great job of making him feel like an actual kid while keeping all the other stuff I loved about him in tact. Had they stuck with that, we'd have the perfect Tails in my opinion. Flawed, fun, loveable, and nerdy. 

It's a careful balance to have but that's usually how it goes when you're dealing with characters that have more than one trait to their personality. Suffice to say, I'm glad that none of these guys feel one-dimensional within the nature of their conception. On the surface, they could come off that way, but they really aren't. You can't just do whatever you want with them and call it a day.

--

Dr. Eggman honestly hasn't had it all that rough. Every game he's in, he's usually able to stand out. The only ones he hasn't, so far, have been 06 and Forces as far as I'm concerned. Well, personality wise he didn't stand out in 06. Design wise he did. Sonic Lost World Eggman was written in a way the genuinely impressed me back to back until the end where they, for no reason, gave up. It's the one thing I continuously praise about Pontac and Graff's handling of his character. He had the best lines and carried himself with the most dignity out of anyone there.

"I'm a compassionate man. If I weren't, I would have thrown you into a bottomless pit by now."

"You. Fat one. Go take care of that blue pest."
"Hey! Who're you calling fat."
"You."

"I still can't figure you out. One minute you're contemplating genocide and the next you're saving one of your worst enemies."
"I'm a complicated guy."

"The machine is still unstable. We just want to borrow some of the planet's energy. We don't want to destroy it."

"Pity about the damage down there but there's still enough left for me to conquer."

"I will BURN your worlds you rebellious scum. I will destroy everything you love and make you WATCH! I'll... I'll.. I'LL...!" *Punches down an Ice wall*
"Boss. Your hands!"
"As long as I can still strangle a Zeti, my hands are fine."

I mean goddamn! HOW! How'd they manage to get him so right? His concern for the planet. The emphasis on wanting to conquer it and not destroy it. The intense rage at the Zeti. The fairness he expresses when honoring their alliance by saving Tails' life, even after Tails, for no reason, started a petty fight with Eggman over nothing. 

I was astonished. I still am. I can't believe they wrote Eggman this way. It was thrown in the garbage at the end game of course. The twist where he was the bad guy the whole time could have been handled better and the fallout from what he said he would do doesn't come to fruition at all. However, I appreciate pretty much everything that came beforehand.

I like Eggman the most when he's evil and conniving in a fun way. He gets angry and upset when things don't go as planned but is able to compose himself long enough to fix it. He tries to carry himself in a dignified enough manner and despite being a bit of a bumbler at times, he's got back up plans for his back up plans to make himself a worthy adversary and not just someone Sonic needs to clown so that he can look cooler. I didn't realize how much I could love Eggman until I saw him in Sonic X. My excitement for Sonic was at it's all time high when I randomly discovered the anime on TV flipping through channels on a boring Saturday morning as a kid. Flashing by Sonic's face, doing a double take, then changing the channel back to him was the most shocking feeling in the world. I couldn't believe it. Eggman was such a delight whenever he showed up to. I had been familiar with Adventure 2 and Heroes up to that point and not much else aside from a VHS tape that had two episodes of AoSth on it. I didn't know Modern Eggman could be so fun loving and smiley. He smiled on the box cover of SA2 and there were times where he laughed but for the most part, his sinister side was played up way more than his bouncy, chauvinistic side. 

He made being evil so much fun. 

Fun and competent. Obviously he can't be perfect, otherwise he'd win, but if he's going to lose, have his attempts towards winning give Sonic a run for his money. You might as well if he's going to lose anyway right? 

--

I could go on but I feel covering the big 3 works well enough here. 
 

 

Some are lines are too edgy. Genocide? Strangle? Really?

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1 hour ago, ShadowSJG said:

Some are lines are too edgy. Genocide? Strangle? Really?

They're fine. I'm not going to overreact and say that the use of those words immediately constitutes being "edgy". Especially when it comes to the word "strangle". Cartoon violence has that happen often regardless.

The lines in Forces were worse and more out of place because of how badly they were woven into the dialogue. "None of this is good Vector, that's why it's called WAR." is one of the worst written bits of dialogue ever. Not because of the mention of war, but because of the pretentious delivery, sentence structure, and the weird over-inflated self-importance it has.

Eggman making those declarations the way he did was awesome. It fit the mood of the scene and was appropriate for what was currently being expressed by his character. It felt genuine and badass where as, in Forces' case, a lot of lines felt fake and forced. Especially concerning the likes of Infinite who was a walking punchline.

So I disagree with the assertion that the mere mention of those things is what counts as an issue. We restrict ourselves far too harshly and insult the intelligence of the audience, children or not, when we start thinking like that in my opinion. 

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Once again I will have to throw my pro SatAM stance into the fray and say in my opinion SatAM's Sonic is the best characterization of Sonic.

My logic that while yes he was arrogant, a bit bone headed and was a bit of a loud mouth he still had signs that he had emotions other than "cocky arrogant prick" as he is often portrayed as.

Simply put he showed both fear and sadness, emotions he rarely showcases in other media with the closest being Sonic X (probably ther only other Sonic media to give Sonic and pals something)

I really wish sega would bring back complex emotions back into Sonic and his pals, I am not asking for bloody Shakespeare or Tolkien here but at least give me something.

Even J. Michael Straczynski will do.

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31 minutes ago, MadmanRB said:

Once again I will have to throw my pro SatAM stance into the fray and say in my opinion SatAM's Sonic is the best characterization of Sonic.

My logic that while yes he was arrogant, a bit bone headed and was a bit of a loud mouth he still had signs that he had emotions other than "cocky arrogant prick" as he is often portrayed as.

Simply put he showed both fear and sadness,

Yeah going to disagree so hard here. SatAM Sonic is an unlikable moron who only cares about his looks and Chili Dogs. Never once does he display any likable personality traits. 

Oh, he was afraid once? He cried about his Uncle? Big deal those are two examples put of 26 episodes of him being a self involved conceited jerk.

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2 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

So I disagree with the assertion that the mere mention of those things is what counts as an issue.

People having problems with just the mention of those words is just a standards thing...not even particularly related to demographic.

Sometimes people are just a bit too picky about stuff like that. It's not even the words that matter most of the time, it's what's shown, so it makes less sense when people say the use of a word like "kill" is edgy.

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34 minutes ago, SBR2 said:

Yeah going to disagree so hard here. SatAM Sonic is an unlikable moron who only cares about his looks and Chili Dogs. Never once does he display any likable personality traits. 

Oh, he was afraid once? He cried about his Uncle? Big deal those are two examples put of 26 episodes of him being a self involved conceited jerk.

So says the person who defended how Sonic is right now, at least SatAM Sonic knew what a emotion is.

I mean really being tortured apparently meant nothing to Sonic in forces, I guess it was just "Eggman" tickling him or something.

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30 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Maybe because he was never tortured and that was a bad mistranslated line added only for the English release.

You're quite correct. He was never tortured. He was, however, imprisoned for half a year while the entire planet was taken over by Eggman, with neither of these facts having much in the way of a meaningful impact on him. 

1 hour ago, SBR2 said:

Yeah going to disagree so hard here. SatAM Sonic is an unlikable moron who only cares about his looks and Chili Dogs. Never once does he display any likable personality traits. 

Oh, he was afraid once? He cried about his Uncle? Big deal those are two examples put of 26 episodes of him being a self involved conceited jerk.

What show did YOU watch? I've seen virtually every iteration of Sonic out there, and what you describe doesn't line up to ANYTHING I've seen, anywhere. 

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7 hours ago, StaticMania said:

I would hope you mean since SA2...similar development aside.

Considering that was the start of him being written poorly.

He's fine in SA2. He's more independent and resourceful but is still loyal to his friends. He's capable of making mistakes. Sometimes very big ones. It's fine. It's not the sheer genius of taking that cute, earnest kid from the classics and making an arc out of him having to fend for himself, but it's fine.

But after that Tails sucks. He either doesn't really have much in the way of agency at all or uses it to sass people and sit around. He becomes the "tech guy" or really the guy who just gives exposition or gives characters the magical machinery they need to move the plot along. This is, at best, really fucking boring. He's here to serve a plot or gameplay function than to be a character. 

The Pontaff games kind of fall flat in trying to round him out a bit more. I don't really mind him and Sonic sharing jabs, but in Lost World he was out of line and the game never really calls him out on it. The story goes out of it's way to poke and prod at Sonic but none of that punishment is given to Tails, who turns out to be right all along. Tails is very much the tech guy in Sonic Adventure 2, but he makes some pretty big fuck-ups when people are counting on him which makes it ten times more interesting. The poor kid can't be on the ball  ALL the time. 

There's also Forces. I guess my hot take is that I don't really have a problem with Tails being scared considering circumstances. It's presented in a silly way but it's a fine idea to have his confidence a bit shaken in the wake of everything. He doesn't really do anything else in this game though besides default to exposition fairy mode so it's not that I have a whole lot nice to say about it.

He's just kind of a wet noodle of a character now? It's kind of a shame because from the Classics to SA1 he's one of the more unique and endearing parts of the series. Now he's just boring. 

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4 minutes ago, Wraith said:

He's fine in SA2. He's more independent and resourceful but is still loyal to his friends. He's capable of making mistakes. Sometimes very big ones. It's fine. It's not the sheer genius of taking that cute, earnest kid from the classics and making an arc out of him having to fend for himself, but it's fine.

I guess I just see that as the true start of his bland exposition characterization, but only because happens more than his personality and flaws actually showing. Plus it was only 2 mistakes, forgiven.

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2 minutes ago, Wraith said:

He's fine in SA2. He's more independent and resourceful but is still loyal to his friends. He's capable of making mistakes. Sometimes very big ones. It's fine. It's not the sheer genius of taking that cute, earnest kid from the classics and making an arc out of him having to fend for himself, but it's fine.

But after that Tails sucks. He either doesn't really have much in the way of agency at all or uses it to sass people and sit around. He becomes the "tech guy" or really the guy who just gives exposition or gives characters the magical machinery they need to move the plot along. This is, at best, really fucking boring. He's here to serve a plot or gameplay function than to be a character. 

The Pontaff games kind of fall flat in trying to round him out a bit more. I don't really mind him and Sonic sharing jabs, but in Lost World he was out of line and the game never really calls him out on it. The story goes out of it's way to poke and prod at Sonic but none of that punishment is given to Tails, who turns out to be right all along. Tails is very much the tech guy in Sonic Adventure 2, but he makes some pretty big fuck-ups when people are counting on him which makes it ten times more interesting. The poor kid can't be on the ball  ALL the time. 

There's also Forces. I guess my hot take is that I don't really have a problem with Tails being scared considering circumstances. It's presented in a silly way but it's a fine idea to have his confidence a bit shaken in the wake of everything. He doesn't really do anything else in this game though besides default to exposition fairy mode so it's not that I have a whole lot nice to say about it.

He's just kind of a wet noodle of a character now? It's kind of a shame because from the Classics to SA1 he's one of the more unique and endearing parts of the series. Now he's just boring. 

I believe apart of why Tails falls flat in Lost World, bar the obviousness of being out of line, never getting called out on it, being considered "In the right" etc. I feel like the game's writing severely breaks the suspension of disbelief regarding the character, and ups his annoyance factor by removing his ability to make mistakes.

To word it carefully, given we're also talking about a eight year old fox boy genius, we've somehow moved on from Tails just being a mechanical prodigy to just a Deus-Ex Machina machine. We went from the guy just building a workshop and a few bi-planes, a walking mech at worse, into somehow being able to miraculously build TVs out of paperclips, and reprogram supercomputers with washing liquid and a toothpick. It's already a bit tough to swallow Tails being at a level that he can make planes and such, but at the very least you can argue he has the engineering skills, and knowledge to actually place them together in a fashion that works.

Lost World's issue, even if it's just for a cheap joke, which it isn't because it comes back later as an plot device and an important one at that - Tails moves on from the hard-working effort required to build a device like the Tornado, to seemingly being able to magic up televisions made entirely out of paperclips, or being able to reprogram Eggman's devices with only his tail and within a few seconds at that. It takes an already kind of shaky idea that could get away with suspension of disbelief, and even be somewhat endearing to his personality, only to drive it so far down the path of complete and total nonsense that it shatters the disbelief altogether, and leaves Tails on even more shaky ground. 

Even with his most "extreme" example in SA2 with making the fake emerald, Tails had already been established to have researched the emeralds before, which was the beginning of SA1's story since he tinkered with it to supercharge the Tornado, and even at that, Tails couldn't come close to replicating a real emerald, all he could do was basically connect it with the Chaos and Master emeralds retrospectively, and even when Sonic used Chaos Control on it, it clearly took up Sonic's own energy to do it, as opposed to Shadow who can do it effortlessly. 

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One thing that grinds me over Tails in Forces losing faith and being too scared to fight after Sonic got trounced was...he seen much worse happen before Forces.

In SA2, Tails watches as Eggman seemingly launches Sonic to his death in the vacuum of space. Obviously Tails is distraught, but rather than flip out like he did in Forces, he takes all if his love, his anger, and all of his sorrows and takes up Sonic’s mantle to save the world when he believed his friend had fallen for good and kicks Eggman’s ass.

That’s the Tails that I followed, and while it wasn’t as well presented as such in later games, it wasn’t as blatant and wangsty, if you get what I mean. I could excuse Forces portrayal of Tails cowering if it was presented better tho—in spite of the lack of bravery, it’s understandable of him not wanting to take on Infinite...provided you don’t use examples like his portrayal in Sonic X where he tries to take on Shadow (emphasis on “try”) to protect someone close to him.

...yeah, the consistency really sucks.

And hoo boy, don’t get me started on hiw they fucked up Knuckles and Shadow...

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22 minutes ago, Conquering Storm’s Servant said:

One thing that grinds me over Tails in Forces losing faith and being too scared to fight after Sonic got trounced was...he seen much worse happen before Forces.

In SA2, Tails watches as Eggman seemingly launches Sonic to his death in the vacuum of space. Obviously Tails is distraught, but rather than flip out like he did in Forces, he takes all if his love, his anger, and all of his sorrows and takes up Sonic’s mantle to save the world when he believed his friend had fallen for good and kicks Eggman’s ass.

That’s the Tails that I followed, and while it wasn’t as well presented as such in later games, it wasn’t as blatant and wangsty, if you get what I mean. I could excuse Forces portrayal of Tails cowering if it was presented better tho—in spite of the lack of bravery, it’s understandable of him not wanting to take on Infinite...provided you don’t use examples like his portrayal in Sonic X where he tries to take on Shadow (emphasis on “try”) to protect someone close to him.

...yeah, the consistency really sucks.

And hoo boy, don’t get me started on hiw they fucked up Knuckles and Shadow...

There were six months between Sonic’s disappearance and then. Maybe all those months broke him?

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The problem is too much of Tails' personality since the 3D games is 'say and don't do'. Even when there's something of a reasonable character arc in there he lacks much of a vibrant persona to vent it out with. Him being insecure without Sonic wasn't actually demonstrated much in SA1 until the very end climax of his story, with him being an exposition machine or making the same bad one liners most of the time, it was even worse in SA2 where his voice actor sounds utterly robotic.

Lost World was utterly hap-hazardous portraying him, though I'll give them credit for being about the one 3D game to TRY. With that said while most of the handling is poor, there was one minor detail I liked and that was Tails almost getting killed by his own Cubot abomination, specifically because he was over engrossed in his readings at the time. He is one track like Sonic, just in a different way.

I have to agree that Boom Tails is a step up from this because he's way more emotive and childish (but with characteristic reasoning), giving him foibles and quirks again, but also he sort of expands on that nice little detail I mentioned, he's too obsessed with his machines and making something awesome that he doesn't think everything through, and can make a very simple mission complicated because he obsesses on showing them off. This makes him a good foil to Sonic's 'on the fly' and occasionally reckless approach, showing there's extremities to being both spontaneous AND methodical. I also like how, in spite of this and some occasionally snarky interjections, Sonic is arguably the one guy to actually stick up for Tails whenever he screws up, they may not have the same approach, but Sonic knows he means well and trusts most of his plans are good on paper at least, while Tails is, well, still his loyal fanboy.

 

Concerning SatAm Sonic, while he had some nice details and displays of emotion, yeah, I do kinda agree he got too obnoxious. It maybe didn't help his foils of use in the show, since while it was the same basic archetype in all the DiC shows, the chemistry tended to overemphasise his narcissistic, abrasive side, especially by the end of the series. Sally was basically his straight man, and unlike with Boom Tails, the two were nearly always at war, and the lessons about balance and moderation rarely targeted Sally's methodical 'take it slow' approach (I don't think it ever did in the comics either, Sally could only ever screw up when she broke character and became reckless like Sonic). She was the 'always right female' most of the time, which obviously took its toll on Sonic getting to demonstrate his own more lucid side. Worse Sonic and Sally's banter took up a RIDICULOUS amount of time in the show, I think the writers considered themselves a lot more witty about their snark than they actually were (though maybe not as bad as Colours' writers, yeeesh). Antoine started off the snobby rival though slowly turned into just a generic dumb 'straw loser', they were unsubtle about this, like half the time Sonic was obsessively sneering angrily at the audience 'EEEWW, CHECK OUT THIS SO UNCOOL LOSER, AREN'T I WAY MORE AWESOME?', which slowly backfired on their intent and  made him look like an unlikeable jock (in one episode Sonic earnestly said good riddance to the guy getting captured, he REALLY hated him). Tails and Uncle Chuck I guess were meant to form balance and show his softer side but the problem was they appeared FAR less frequently, and Rotor and Bunnie were too bland to have much of a chemistry with him at all. So Sonic's two far most frequent foils basically existed to show what an arrogant and misguided jackass he could be.

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13 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

There were six months between Sonic’s disappearance and then. Maybe all those months broke him?

In theory that could be the case, but it doesn't really work given that Tails had been in a situation before where he was certain Sonic was dead, and worse, had seemingly seen the deed happen before his very eyes. It caused him pain and despair, but he was able to rally from it and face down Eggman to avenge his 'dead' friend. It is difficult to believe that the same TAils from Sonic Adventure 2 would respond to the scenario presented in Forces the way Tails within that game selfsame game did. 

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39 minutes ago, E-122-Psi said:

The problem is too much of Tails' personality since the 3D games is 'say and don't do'. Even when there's something of a reasonable character arc in there he lacks much of a vibrant persona to vent it out with. Him being insecure without Sonic wasn't actually demonstrated much in SA1 until the very end climax of his story, with him being an exposition machine or making the same bad one liners most of the time, it was even worse in SA2 where his voice actor sounds utterly robotic.

I disagree with this actually; because it builds off something that started in the classic games. Tails was an orphan that Sonic took in, and it's confirmed that Tails was bullied for his his "deformity". You even get a flash of a despondent Tails before he meets Sonic and how his facial expression changes upon meeting him. Is it oscar worthy? Not at all, but that's a hell of a lot of characterization than he's had post-SA2 until Boom.

 

 

Tails tends to come off as bland because, like many characters of post-Adventure, all of the characters were pushed out of the spotlight to make way for the newer characters like Shadow, Blaze, and Silver but were never given any actual defined goals or roles to play. Even when he becomes a more prominent supporting character in Colors onward, he still doesn't really do anything and just stands idly by while Sonic does all of the actual work. It just makes Tails character feel extremely superfluous because he takes no initiative to actually do anything for himself anymore beyond just spot exposition. He's mostly just there as a soundboard for Sonic than a character in his own right. 

 

Its why I like him so much in the Adventure games, he actually does things. He takes the iniative to boot up the Tornado and chase after Eggman with Sonic, and when he's separated from Sonic, takes it upon himself to finish his project and when he doesn't have Sonic backing him up, he has to step up and take care of Eggman himself. In SA2, he also takes imitative in rescuing Sonic and creating a fake Chaos Emerald to sabotage Eggman's plot, but to show he's not perfect he has a momentary laps in judgment when he accidentally spills the beans on their plans and seemingly gets his mentor killed. While he is despaired, he still resolves to kick Eggman's ass and finish the job to make up for his fuck up. That's a hell of a lot more character he's had in two games than he has in the 10 years or so.

 

Boom is fine too, in fact I'd say Boom is a better portrayal because he's not as close to Sonic in that continuity, which means his character can stand out a lot more on his own and character more plots himself instead of piggybacking on Sonic. They're still clearly friends, but each of them have their own lives outside of each other. In fact, that's one of Boom's biggest strengths. Because of the Slice of life setting, Sonic doesn't have to take center stage as the big hero and the rest of the cast are able to show off much more personality since they don't have to play second fiddle to him. I personally find Boom boring as sin, but I do enjoy the characters when I watch an episode or two.

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1 hour ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Even with his most "extreme" example in SA2 with making the fake emerald, Tails had already been established to have researched the emeralds before, which was the beginning of SA1's story since he tinkered with it to supercharge the Tornado, and even at that, Tails couldn't come close to replicating a real emerald, all he could do was basically connect it with the Chaos and Master emeralds retrospectively, and even when Sonic used Chaos Control on it, it clearly took up Sonic's own energy to do it, as opposed to Shadow who can do it effortlessly. 

Yeah all he was able to do was replicate a mystic artifact of supposedly infinite power which is also designed to explode when used with the other emeralds in a way that makes it the perfect tool for them to sabotage the Eclipse Cannon, seemingly while they were on the run from GUN.

That's perfectly reasonable compared to uhh...reprogramming a machine from an awkward position.

Seriously, how is this the breaking point. How can this possibly be the breaking point. After all the cartoon superscience bullshit Tails has done, how is one of the most mundane "genius" things hes done the thing people think has gone too far. He's made spaceships and hoverboards and a boat that can travel between dimensions but heaven forbid he use a toothpick to press the keys on a keyboard.

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32 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Its why I like him so much in the Adventure games, he actually does things. He takes the iniative to boot up the Tornado and chase after Eggman with Sonic, and when he's separated from Sonic, takes it upon himself to finish his project and when he doesn't have Sonic backing him up, he has to step up and take care of Eggman himself. In SA2, he also takes imitative in rescuing Sonic and creating a fake Chaos Emerald to sabotage Eggman's plot, but to show he's not perfect he has a momentary laps in judgment when he accidentally spills the beans on their plans and seemingly gets his mentor killed. While he is despaired, he still resolves to kick Eggman's ass and finish the job to make up for his fuck up. That's a hell of a lot more character he's had in two games than he has in the 10 years or so.

I guess it's just the whole monotone execution of it for me. Even his voice actor sounds bored. I mean even in Sonic X he finally got a big arc with a very emotional climax, but I dunno, something about how Tails is executed in terms of characterisation around that era just feels too.....formal for lack of a better word. Usually when a character emotes it's through particular quirks, but until around Colours Tails it didn't feel like Tails had any specifically, even at his most intense, which is perhaps why a lot of games can go in and out with vices like cowardice and arrogance and it doesn't seem to effect much in the long run.

Boom Tails isn't just set up in role, he feels way more enthusiastic and playful, he's an actual friend rather than an acquaintance, and the way he represents that is developed and consistent to actually be a personality he emits constantly.

18 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Yeah all he was able to do was replicate a mystic artifact of supposedly infinite power which is also designed to explode when used with the other emeralds in a way that makes it the perfect tool for them to sabotage the Eclipse Cannon, seemingly while they were on the run from GUN.

That's perfectly reasonable compared to uhh...reprogramming a machine from an awkward position.

Seriously, how is this the breaking point. How can this possibly be the breaking point. After all the cartoon superscience bullshit Tails has done, how is one of the most mundane "genius" things hes done the thing people think has gone too far. He's made spaceships and hoverboards and a boat that can travel between dimensions but heaven forbid he use a toothpick to press the keys on a keyboard.

Colours/Boom era Tails I think if anything is more fallible since they play off of the fact that not all of his inventions work (the start of SA1 I suppose does also get credit). I think a lot of his stuff originally was also far more mature and elaborate in how it was manufactured even if it's motive maybe wasn't as ambitious, while a lot of his stuff in the later works are more cartoony and silly toys which often have a defect in spite of doing bizarre things. Compare a huge all purposes spaceship that looks straight out of an anime sci fi to a goofy looking tablet that (tries to) translate another language.

If anything I think that helps because it makes his niches a foible as well. He's not just 'a genius' he's a tech obsessive and it drives a personality, similar to Eggman.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Yeah all he was able to do was replicate a mystic artifact of supposedly infinite power which is also designed to explode when used with the other emeralds in a way that makes it the perfect tool for them to sabotage the Eclipse Cannon, seemingly while they were on the run from GUN.

That's perfectly reasonable compared to uhh...reprogramming a machine from an awkward position.

Seriously, how is this the breaking point. How can this possibly be the breaking point. After all the cartoon superscience bullshit Tails has done, how is one of the most mundane "genius" things hes done the thing people think has gone too far. He's made spaceships and hoverboards and a boat that can travel between dimensions but heaven forbid he use a toothpick to press the keys on a keyboard.

My problem with that scene was that Zomom left his sandwich there to begin with. Zomom would NOT have left his sandwich there. Fat boy would have eaten it AND the goddamn toothpick. Probably half the operating table too.

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8 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Yeah all he was able to do was replicate a mystic artifact of supposedly infinite power 

Except the fake had literally none of the "infinite power" inside of it. Literally all the emerald was - as created by Tails is a hollow shell that looks close enough to fake others and operates on the same wavelength as the other emeralds - as in simply being connected to the rest of them. Given enough time, there's no particular reason why Tails couldn't research an emerald enough to at least get the basic properties of it down in order to make a fake version. 

There's gaps in the logic there, but we don't know how a Chaos Emerald operates. We don't know what it's made up of, or created with, or even gains it's power apart from a connection to the Master Emerald. For all we know, there could be a way to replicate it, and given the time and research, Tails could do so.

11 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

explode when used with the other emeralds in a way that makes it the perfect tool for them to sabotage the Eclipse Cannon

They never explain how it causes the Eclipse Cannon to explode, but you can infer an answer relatively simply. The cannon needs the power of all seven emeralds to do the job Eggman and co are attempting to do. Hence why they tried to get all the emeralds beforehand. The fake emerald only has a wavelength that's the same as the rest, it doesn't have any power inside of it. The emerald's wavelength tricks the Eclipse Cannon into accepting it as real. It attempts to use up more power than it can afford, since it only has six emeralds but believes it has seven, causing a series of errors that would likely destroy the cannon. 

13 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Seriously, how is this the breaking point. How can this possibly be the breaking point. After all the cartoon superscience bullshit Tails has done, how is one of the most mundane "genius" things hes done the thing people think has gone too far. He's made spaceships and hoverboards and a boat that can travel between dimensions but heaven forbid he use a toothpick to press the keys on a keyboard.

No, that's not the breaking point, that's the point where his earlier comment come backs into play that breaks the element of disbelief. Building planes, boats, even a mech is one thing. Building a fucking fully functional television set out of a set of paperclips. Something that is a real life object that we know how it operates, is created, and works. You can have sustainable disbelief that the other things Tails has built have worked on some kind of weird Sonic logic, or have worked on stuff we already know about (Planes, boats, and whatever else doesn't show any unrealistic elements that would throw us off). 

When Tails makes this claim, which is then validated by Sonic, it quickly steers off Tails' at least somewhat grounded mechanic skill so far deep into the realm of complete nonsense that it broke the suspension of disbelief that gave Tails leeway in the past, because we know for a downright fact that what he's claiming to have done is total nonsense. 

The point with the "mundane science" is what backs this up. It's the sheer fact that it isn't even just some quick one-off gag, it literally comes back later as a foreshadow of a very important plot element that operates as a measure of how smart Tails somehow is. Not to mention his original comment doesn't even make much sense in hindsight (Why on earth would Tails need cleaning liquid to reprogram a computer for one?). 

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17 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

My problem with that scene was that Zomom left his sandwich there to begin with. Zomom would NOT have left his sandwich there. Fat boy would have eaten it AND the goddamn toothpick. Probably half the operating table too.

Maybe in an alternate LW, Tails realizes how insatiable Zomom is, and takes advantage of it.

Like say Zomom decides to stick around in the room telling Zavok that he’s keeping an eye on Tails to make sure he doesn’t escape, when really it’s partially because he wants to be less of a failure (tying into his comment about his mom saying he was a failure in his final boss fight), and because he didn’t get to finish his snack while fighting Sonic, and wants to be able to eat in peace. Tails realizes this and tempts him by describing how delicious foxes are (Zomom imagines a roasted Tails corpse surrounded by food garnishment with an apple in his mouth for black comedy) using Zomom’s wondering of how tasty hedgehogs are in his fight against Sonic, until he gets Zomom to try to take a bite of him, Zomom figuring that they can just replace the missing limb with a robot part. Tails takes advantage of this and uses this moment to free himself after Zomom damages something that keeps Tails in place, allowing him to flee. Zomom tried to capture him but ends up making a big mess and maybe causes problems with the machinery/fails to capture Tails. In his panic, Zomom tries to cover up his failure to Zavok by claiming he ate him later on, coincidentally in earshot of Sonic, thus giving Sonic a very personal reason to deal with the Zeti, unaware that Tails has escaped (maybe Eggman taking advantage of things by conveniently keeping Sonic out of the loop to set up his return as the big bad later).

...I don’t know where I’m going with this.

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