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A retrospective on things within Sonic games


KHCast
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Basically as the title says, this is meant to be kind of a look back on Sonic elements or details within the games you perhaps thought one way about, but over time those views changed, be they positive or negative. 

I guess to start, I’ll say something that only very recently began to think. Planet Wisp Modern in Generations really wasn’t as bad/lazy as I initially felt.

I mean don’t get me wrong the second half was still annoying, and it’s nowhere near a favorite stage of mine, but looking at the main act from Colors, it actually kinda looks like there was more effort put into this iteration compared to the meaty colors stages for it. There’s certainly for example a larger focus on the nature elements creating a better balance of nature to industrial complex.

558997-sonic-generations-windows-screens

Sonic-Generations-Planet-Wisp-Screenshot

In colors act 1, it’s literally just 5 seconds of that before jumping into the industrial area for the rest. On top of that especially compared to colors its 3D sections were fairly enjoyable. And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t seem to find the Wisps nearly as distracting anymore. Do I wish they used more than just rocket? Yes, it gets repetitive just using one, but it’s manageable, and I at least don’t need to use it as frequent as spikes. I still found it to be one of the weaker stages in Gens, but I don’t outright despise it like I used to, and even found some things to appreciate in it.(though I still would have taken Sweet Mountain or Aquarium Park tbh over it) Hell, even the Gens remixes, while not as natural feeling like the original, have slightly grown on me. They do a decent job at keeping the energy up, and the techy vibe serves as a nice contrast to the original, almost like this is “Planet Wisp, Eggman perspective”.

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Yeah, the whole "Eggman's perspective" design choice should have been used throughout Generations. There's quite a few details in Sonic 3 and Knuckles that are very subtle but I managed to notice, mainly in its boss artwork. The Egg Golem's face area does resemble the face of an Echidna. This was probably done to blend in with the surroundings of the boss, and make it look inconspicuous to Knuckles. It even has fist-spikes, something common to the Knuckles Tribe.  The whole boss is elegantly done. The Doomsday Zone bosses are clearly the same mech, with the first phase being an outer shell for artillery and acceleration, that you must break, to reveal the vulnerable core. The Big Icedus's upper half has a face resembling a Haniwa's face. In fact, a lot of them have subtle, mechanical faces hidden on their bodies, somewhat like Mega Man Zero's Mythos Reploids, except more reliant on pareidolia to make players see faces if they look closely. All of the Sonic 3 mini-bosses are emblazoned with primary or secondary colors on their body; purple, red, orange, green, blue, yellow. In fact, considering the concept of complimentary colors, each color is fought at the inverse of its opposite. 

 

All of the end-bosses in the Classic games are evolutions of one another. We go from a simple set of crushing pillars, to a more complex machine that rotates to crush targets, to a humanoid machine in Eggman's shape with a variety of attacks, and lastly a kaiju-sized Eggman mech able to smash Sonic with its fingers. Even the Doomsday Zone boss follows this. Also, I noticed Eggman insignia throughout Chaos Angel. Is this why Knuckles was so fast to trust Eggman?

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Character interactions, characterisation, showing and not just telling a story in their racing spin-off games.

Sure, the stories in the Sonic racing games were never amazing (heck, none of the mainline Sonic game stories are amazing, especially these days), and there is a point in asking why do silly, gimmicky racing games need a story to begin with, but looking back at Sonic Riders and Zero Gravity, I appreciate what they were doing (or trying to do) a lot more, now that SEGA has gone super cheap with their story telling (Sonic Free Riders, Team Sonic Racing), going back to using static images and walls of texts as cutscenes like it's some damn GBA game (where technical limitations were actually a valid reason for such cutscenes).

Characters were actually shown doing things, interacting with each other, showing various emotions we rarely see from them. We got to see Tails, who is always portrayed as a technical genius, get dissed by Wave in front of his friends for his gear, and see Tails get so pissed he started shaking with anger. We got to see Sonic owned by Jet on their first encounter, then Sonic losing to Jet in race (albeit with cheating), making Sonic genuinely pissed to the point he hits the ground with his fist.

We got to see a pissed Amy chasing Sonic with her hammer, Sonic using Tails and Knuckles as a shield from her wrath.

Just a bunch of character and personality driven things actually happening on screen. Things we'll likely never see again from Sonic Team.

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