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My my, how things changed


batson
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So like the narcissist I am, I was going through old threads that I've started on this board over the years, and I came upon a thread from 2009 where I pointed out how the new Sonic games neglected to make references to the classic games. And my, how things have changed since then. Here in blue is my original post from that old thread:

 

You know, sometimes it almost feels like the post-Sonic Adventure games take place in a completely different continuity than the 16-bit games. The entire world of Sonic looks and sounds so different. And even if Sega insists on doing the new games in a different style than the classics, couldn't they at least insert a few more references to the old games storywise?

The first Sonic Adventure is the only 3D Sonic game that, in my opinion, actually feels like it takes place in the "old" Sonic universe, despite the graphical changes. For one thing, the story largely concerns elements introduced in the classics, like the whole thing with Angel Island, the Master Emerald and the lost echidna race. And also, Gammas story expands on the iconic scenario of Eggman imprisoning animals inside robots (which was such a major part of the classic games, and in fact pretty much the entire story behind the first game). And there were also so many little things, like Sonic's classic jumping sound-effect, the capsules with animals inside at the end of every level, ect. And to this day, this game remain the only 3D Sonic game where the characters make direct references to specific events in the classics namely Amy remembering the events in CD and Sonic commenting that Knuckles had been fooled by Eggman before. Also, there was Tails flashback to when he first met Sonic, which was pretty much a re-enactment of a scenario mentioned in the Jpanese Sonic 2 manual. Oh, and lets not forget Metal and Mecha Sonic's cameo.

I just dont get it. Why dont any other new games reference the classics like this? I mean, they often reference events that happened in other new Sonic games. Why cant they ever have Sonic mentioning Green Hill Zone, or Eggman re-building his Egg Robo's? The only other new Sonic game that had a mentionable number of references like these was Chronicles, and that wasn't even made by Sega...

 

...and then here we are, a decade after that post was written, and we now live in a world where SEGA can't get ENOUGH of references to classic games. Sonic 4 and Sonic Mania are just the tip of the ice-berg, since there are also the countless re-visits to Green Hill Zone, the re-emergence of the Death Egg and Classic badniks, ect ect. References to the classic games went from being neglected to, if anything, being over-used to the point of exhaustion. Back in the day we had classic fans (such as myself) feeling neglected while nowadays the classic fans are pandered to while the Adventure fans are feeling neglected! I dunno, I just find this complete shift to be interesting. Thoughts?

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As a classic fan, I don't feel pandered to at all.

Mania was excellent, but most of the other nods to the classic games feel shallow and hamfisted. Shoehorning Green Hill Zone into every game, continually re-using old bosses and zone themes, etc.

A big appeal of the classic games was their inventiveness. How they'd come up with new Badniks, new zones, new ideas - all building on the games that came before them. Mania - despite revisiting old zones - does this masterfully. I'd love to see a Mania 2 with all original zones.

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I personally disagree with the idea that the games from before 2009 taking place in a world that felt inconsistent with the classic era.

There's stuff like the Barrels of Doom showing up again in Shadow the Hedgehog, but also less overt things, like how Heroes harmonized the gameplay and narrative structure of the MegaDrive games with Sonic Adventure's worldbuidling sensibilities.  And of course the Advance trilogy and Rush actually brought back some 2D platforming and revived the old zone environments (without needing to nakedly recycle entire stages from previous games, might I add!).  Not to mention that in those games they still used familiar characters and locations like the small animals, badniks, Angel Island, and Green Hill- while updating them to match the style of Sonic Adventure.

2006 to 2008 is more arguable.  Unleashed for example doesn't even feel that connected to the Adventure games.  On the other hand Sonic 4 came out around that time.  We also got Rush Adventures and Chronicles which had a ton of throwbacks to the storytelling of the older games.

If anything it's the recent attempts at mining classic nostalgia that feel divorced from the world of the older games.

Like the classic stages in Generations don't even feel that similar to the 2D stages, the aesthetics are all wrong.  All the shoutouts are really shallow and obnoxious compared to the references to MegaDrive and Dreamcast era stuff in Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic 06, which were handled a lot more subtly.

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2 hours ago, Ivo-goji said:

I personally disagree with the idea that the games from before 2009 taking place in a world that felt inconsistent with the classic era.

There's stuff like the Barrels of Doom showing up again in Shadow the Hedgehog, but also less overt things, like how Heroes harmonized the gameplay and narrative structure of the MegaDrive games with Sonic Adventure's worldbuidling sensibilities.  And of course the Advance trilogy and Rush actually brought back some 2D platforming and revived the old zone environments (without needing to nakedly recycle entire stages from previous games, might I add!).  Not to mention that in those games they still used familiar characters and locations like the small animals, badniks, Angel Island, and Green Hill- while updating them to match the style of Sonic Adventure.

2006 to 2008 is more arguable.  Unleashed for example doesn't even feel that connected to the Adventure games.  On the other hand Sonic 4 came out around that time.  We also got Rush Adventures and Chronicles which had a ton of throwbacks to the storytelling of the older games.

If anything it's the recent attempts at mining classic nostalgia that feel divorced from the world of the older games.

Like the classic stages in Generations don't even feel that similar to the 2D stages, the aesthetics are all wrong.  All the shoutouts are really shallow and obnoxious compared to the references to MegaDrive and Dreamcast era stuff in Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic 06, which were handled a lot more subtly.

The references nowadays are so common, so badly done, that even the few well-done references we get are thrown under the bus as a result. “If you were in a room full of rotten eggs, you wouldn’t want an omelette even if Wolfgang Puck made it.” 

 

And some of the subtler references are even wasted on games not worth giving a tribute to, such as Lost World’s sandstorms making an unexplained cameo in Forces.  

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