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batson

Was Sonic ever really in a good state after the Mega Drive era?

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Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 both got good reviews on the Dreamcast, I remember because I read the reviews when they came out. But they both received a far more critical reception only a few years later (and in the case of SA2, only around half a year later) when they came to Gamecube. I think it was partially because people wanted a better game experience on the new console. I read a review for SADX which said it was a fun game and praised it, but only marked in the 60% bracket because they wanted a more impressive game, or for it to be more substantially upgraded, for Gamecube. The design flaws of SA1 and 2 were also more apparent when they weren't so technically impressive anymore.

But even on the Dreamcast, they were recognised as flawed games. I read a review for SA2 on Gamesmaster UK which gave it 90%, but criticised the Rouge/Knuckles levels and the camera. I think they gave Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast a score of 82%. The IGN review of SA1 similarly points out the game's glaring flaws.

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I kinda feel that it would have been better if SA1 had been the game to introduce a new generation to Sonic as opposed to SA2. Namely because SA1 is more in line with the classic games in terms of tone and feel. SA2 is a darker game by comparasion, and it introduced Shadow, a character so over-the-top "edgy" as to border on the ridiculous. And since this is the game that introduced so many to the franchise, it remains the game that many younger fans hold up as the example of what they want Sonic to be, which in turn put them at odds with classic fans. If they had held up SA1 as the gold standard instead, their views would have been slightly more compatible with the views of classic fans regarding the desirable tone of the series. In other words, the divide between classic fans and Adventure fans would have been slightly smaller, at least specifically regarding the subject of tone.

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I think this overall concept illustrates how exciting it is, and simply helpful to contemplate: that at least in the realm of Sonic, fangames are a part of the actual reality of the series in each era!  Whether they are a continuation of an era, offering alternatives to an era in progress, or creating overall new directions, they are how Sonic really became a vast creative ecosystem!     

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2 hours ago, batson said:

SA2 is a darker game by comparasion, and it introduced Shadow, a character so over-the-top "edgy" as to border on the ridiculous. And since this is the game that introduced so many to the franchise, it remains the game that many younger fans hold up as the example of what they want Sonic to be, which in turn put them at odds with classic fans. If they had held up SA1 as the gold standard instead, their views would have been slightly more compatible with the views of classic fans regarding the desirable tone of the series. In other words, the divide between classic fans and Adventure fans would have been slightly smaller, at least specifically regarding the subject of tone.

Shadow really wasn't that edgy in his debut. I think people confuse how he acts with post SA2. Yes his backstory was tragic, but so were things like Knuckles and Gamma. I think if it had only been hinted at the reaction would be less extreme. He honestly reminds me of Japanese Mewtwo from the 1st pokemon movie, but I see that praised far more despite the darker tone compared to the anime.

I don't know why I bother sometimes as people will always view him like his game. I'm honestly starting to wonder if that game was Iizuka trying to make Shadow his own. We've known Shadow was co created by Maekawa and Iizuka. Maekawa did the writing for Shadow in SA2. Then comes Shadow's game and Maekawa is downgraded to the vague "Development Support" role, while Iizuka has main control and writing roles. Before I was confused as to why they'd downgrade Maekawa, but now seeing who replaced him it makes sense. Then 06 comes around and Maekawa gets to write for Shadow again. I might look further into this as while I might not be able to get the full details, I'm curious if I can find any reasoning of why this swap happened.

I played both SA1 and SA2, and the order didn't impact it as much as you'd think. Some people will like some parts more than others no matter what order. SA1 made me care more about Tails and Knuckles than in SA2 as well. Both games are still out there, it's not like SA2 erased SA1 from existing. There were a few nods to SA1 even if it wasn't as many as some would like.

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2 hours ago, DryLagoon said:

Shadow really wasn't that edgy in his debut. I think people confuse how he acts with post SA2. Yes his backstory was tragic, but so were things like Knuckles and Gamma. I think if it had only been hinted at the reaction would be less extreme.

I like Shadow in SA2, but he was edgy in that game. He keeps going on about how he's the ultimate life form and has that whole "yeah, I'm a cool guy" voice going on. There are loads of little things too, like when you hit him as Sonic he says "ugh, I'm the coolest" in a really ott way. He's designed to be a conventional badass anime style anti-hero.,

Gamma was tragic, but he was far more restrained in the way he acted, when he dies at the end of SA1, you just get quiet music and see him silently explode. His inner turmoil about the fact he sees Beta being experimented on is only subtly presented by his memories and he doesn't say anything about it: you are trusted to infer it. 

Shadow, in contrast, gives a final wish line to Maria when he dies and his death is directed in a far more conventionally dramatic style than Gamma's. Also, his turn to the light side is made for more obvious and direct than Gamma's: he talks out loud essentially to the player about how he misunderstood Maria.

Not to say that Shadow's arc didn't have any subtlety in SA2. The way the characters react to his death is very nuanced, Sonic doesn't start screaming when he dies but quietly pays his respects to him at the end of the game. That whole epilogue scene is fantastic and would never feature in a Sonic story post SA2. But overall, his plot is heavyhanded and melodramatic. It's not bad, but the elements were there to ruin in Shadow The Hedgehog.

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I'm honestly starting to think some of you are using "edgy" as a buzzword for "I didn't like this character's story, but I'm going to use another word to make myself look objective". What is so difficult about just saying that you didn't care about Shadow's story and leaving it at that instead of trying to sound like you aren't being biased. 

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23 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I'm honestly starting to think some of you are using "edgy" as a buzzword for "I didn't like this character's story, but I'm going to use another word to make myself look objective". What is so difficult about just saying that you didn't care about Shadow's story and leaving it at that instead of trying to sound like you aren't being biased. 

I just said that Shadow's story had subtle sides and that I liked him in SA2, so I have no idea what you are talking about 😛 

Shadow was edgy in SA2, but that doesn't mean I think he's bad. I think it's comparable to the way people try to rewrite history so that Knuckles wasn't dumb, even though he always was, even in Sonic 3. People do it with Shadow and say he wasn't edgy in SA2 and it started in Shadow. It got worse in Shadow, but he was always pretty edgy in SA2. It's annoying when people keep saying he isn't when he so obviously was.

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1 hour ago, Plasme said:

I just said that Shadow's story had subtle sides and that I liked him in SA2, so I have no idea what you are talking about 😛 

Shadow was edgy in SA2, but that doesn't mean I think he's bad. I think it's comparable to the way people try to rewrite history so that Knuckles wasn't dumb, even though he always was, even in Sonic 3. People do it with Shadow and say he wasn't edgy in SA2 and it started in Shadow. It got worse in Shadow, but he was always pretty edgy in SA2. It's annoying when people keep saying he isn't when he so obviously was.

Any time a person unironically uses the word "edgy" nowadays, it is more often than not, in a derogatory and insulting sense. Because the actual word edgy does not mean anything that you said.  All of those "examples" that you pointed out feel like you're trying to grasp at straws to show....what exactly?

So forgive me if I don't really take you seriously when you say that you like him, but then list rather superficial examples of him being "edgy". It sounds more like you're calling him a tryhard. 

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2 hours ago, Plasme said:

I like Shadow in SA2, but he was edgy in that game. He keeps going on about how he's the ultimate life form and has that whole "yeah, I'm a cool guy" voice going on. There are loads of little things too, like when you hit him as Sonic he says "ugh, I'm the coolest" in a really ott way. He's designed to be a conventional badass anime style anti-hero.,

Gamma was tragic, but he was far more restrained in the way he acted, when he dies at the end of SA1, you just get quiet music and see him silently explode. His inner turmoil about the fact he sees Beta being experimented on is only subtly presented by his memories and he doesn't say anything about it: you are trusted to infer it. 

Shadow, in contrast, gives a final wish line to Maria when he dies and his death is directed in a far more conventionally dramatic style than Gamma's. Also, his turn to the light side is made for more obvious and direct than Gamma's: he talks out loud essentially to the player about how he misunderstood Maria.

Not to say that Shadow's arc didn't have any subtlety in SA2. The way the characters react to his death is very nuanced, Sonic doesn't start screaming when he dies but quietly pays his respects to him at the end of the game. That whole epilogue scene is fantastic and would never feature in a Sonic story post SA2. But overall, his plot is heavyhanded and melodramatic. It's not bad, but the elements were there to ruin in Shadow The Hedgehog.

This is partly my personal opinion but Shadow comes off as over compensating with confidence. I can't recall if that line was English only or not. I see people make this comparison but Modern Shadow being written like he's just Vegeta feels off. 

Considering the things in SA2 that weren't stated outloud are often overlooked it's probably for the best they did.

I feel like I'd just be repeating myself so I'll leave it at that. 

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No, the "I'm the coolest" line is only in English.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference obviously, but there's nothing tongue-in-cheek or really "tryhard" about Shadow's story in SA2. It's played completely straight from start to finish. Being a reflection of Sonic, he's not completely humorless (he does make a few quips of his own), he just conducts himself in a professional like matter when it comes to handling business. 

But there's no cursing, guns, motorcycles, or dark aesthetic or pretty much anything from his game that can really be levied as being "edgy" in SA2. Which is why it's weird to try and retroactively make that connection to say "oh he was always edgy". But once again, personal preference. 

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13 hours ago, Wraith said:

SA1 wouldn't have blown up like SA2 did. It's creative choices are as much of a part of its popularity as it's timing.

Could you explain which creative choices you are referencing specifically? Personally I fail to see why we would asume that SA1 couldn't just as well have been the game to spark the interest of a new generation.

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4 minutes ago, batson said:

Could you explain which creative choices you are referencing specifically? Personally I fail to see why we would asume that SA1 couldn't just as well have been the game to spark the interest of a new generation.

Sonic Adventure 2 embraces more modern sensibilities like graffiti for the artwork and a send up to extreme sports that runs throughout the entire game's DNA. It introduces Shadow when the dark version of the main character trope is basically a home run unless you really screw it up. Quieter moments like hubs and slower more atmospheric levels were stripped out for a newfound, streamlined focus on action and setpieces. Sonic Adventure had already started to ditch the Jpop sound for something that would be cooler to a younger audience but SA2 doubles down on that with rap, dnb, and industrial music alongside Crush 40's wailing guitars. In terms of making a Sonic game feel 'modern' and be more immediately exciting to play they had hit all the right notes.

If that wasn't all enough on it's own, the biggest reason why it stayed in my rotation after all the other Sonic games were cycled out was because it had the most effort put into the multiplayer mode in the series by far. Every stage in the game was free for you to poke around in some capacity and there were twice as many characters to play as as there were in single player. Anyone who had siblings remembers this mode fondly because they put the effort in to make it lasting.

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4 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Sonic Adventure 2 embraces more modern sensibilities like graffiti for the artwork and a send up to extreme sports that runs throughout the entire game's DNA. It introduces Shadow when the dark version of the main character trope is basically a home run unless you really screw it up. Quieter moments like hubs and slower more atmospheric levels were stripped out for a newfound, streamlined focus on action and setpieces. Sonic Adventure had already started to ditch the Jpop sound for something that would be cooler to a younger audience but SA2 doubles down on that with rap, dnb, and industrial music alongside Crush 40's wailing guitars. In terms of making a Sonic game feel 'modern' and be more immediately exciting to play they had hit all the right notes.

If that wasn't all enough on it's own, the biggest reason why it stayed in my rotation after all the other Sonic games were cycled out was because it had the most effort put into the multiplayer mode in the series by far. Every stage in the game was free for you to poke around in some capacity and there were twice as many characters to play as as there were in single player. Anyone who had siblings remembers this mode fondly because they put the effort in to make it lasting.

Hmm. Well, maybe your right. I suppose it's possible that SA2 did tap into some kind of zeitgeist in a way that SA1 didn't do to the same extent. I still think it's a shame though that the generation that got introduced to Sonic through SA2 ended up having such a differeing view of the franchise from those of us introduced through the classics. But with that said, I fear even more when the generation introduced to Sonic through, say, Lost World or Rise of Lyric starts making their voices heard. I dread the day when we have a large group of fans who will think that a Sonic games narrative's foremost job should be to make people laugh... That's just not what Sonic is about.

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7 hours ago, Tornado said:

Shadow is basically just a no nonsense dickhead in Adventure 2. Nothing more, nothing less. Him getting Sasuke'd up didn't happen until his own game came out.

I agree with you that he's very focused on his mission during SA2, but to say that he is nothing more than that would be overlooking other parts of his character. 

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37 minutes ago, batson said:

Hmm. Well, maybe your right. I suppose it's possible that SA2 did tap into some kind of zeitgeist in a way that SA1 didn't do to the same extent. I still think it's a shame though that the generation that got introduced to Sonic through SA2 ended up having such a differeing view of the franchise from those of us introduced through the classics. 

I don't think this is really true. I think people put too much stock in how fringe Sonic fans tend to tribal online. I'd actually argue that most Sonic fans are more accepting of different takes than anything, they just don't feel the need to talk about it online that much. The movie was as different as it gets and yet it was the Sonic fans I was talking to that were the most excited about it. The only actual data we have implies that a lot of the same people were buying these games since sales remained so stable for so long and a lot of us actually own most of these games and enjoy a large amount them to some capacity, even if most of them are deeply flawed and some of them are even unfinished. 

I'll let you in on a little secret that I deliberately kept out of the argument on the previous pages: Sonic Adventure 2 was like my fourth or fifth Sonic game despite me being apart of the supposed "nintendo kids" generation. I played the classics first. I think most of them are better games. I think SA1 is a better game than SA2. I think Sonic Unleashed(a lighthearted modern game!!!) is a better game. I don't think Generations is a better game but I can see why people feel that way. Most of my experiences with the franchise don't fit into any of the groups or niches described in this thread by certain boomers repping classic sonic iconography. They never have. I imagine most of the SA2 kiddies have a similarly scattered perspective. Some of them played SA2 first. Others played it really late. 

The only thing we know for sure is that it's a popular game. I'd be more interesting in discussing how they managed that spark than beating back the idea for the 1000th time that Adventure fans have brain worms and refuse to accept what the real GOAT Sonic games are.

 

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Okay, haven't been following the thread, I'm honest. 

I can argue... was Sonic EVER in a superstar state? Even in the Mega Drive era. I admit we got dark ages, pretty bad ages, even recently, but I also think it's the usual viewpoint "good in the past, because nostalgia, bad now, because I grew up".

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3 minutes ago, Jack at Home said:

Okay, haven't been following the thread, I'm honest. 

I can argue... was Sonic EVER in a superstar state? Even in the Mega Drive era. I admit we got dark ages, pretty bad ages, even recently, but I also think it's the usual viewpoint "good in the past, because nostalgia, bad now, because I grew up".

...yes? Like, you don't need to have been born in the Mega Drive era to be aware that Sonic was a massive series at that time. 

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3 minutes ago, Wraith said:

I don't think this is really true. I think people put too much stock in how fringe Sonic fans tend to tribal online. I'd actually argue that most Sonic fans are more accepting of different takes than anything, they just don't feel the need to talk about it online that much. The movie was as different as it gets and yet it was the Sonic fans I was talking to that were the most excited about it. The only actual data we have implies that a lot of the same people were buying these games since sales remained so stable for so long and a lot of us actually own most of these games and enjoy a large amount them to some capacity, even if most of them are deeply flawed and some of them are even unfinished. 

I'll let you in on a little secret that I deliberately kept out of the argument on the previous pages: Sonic Adventure 2 was like my fourth or fifth Sonic game despite me being apart of the supposed "nintendo kids" generation. I played the classics first. I think most of them are better games. I think SA1 is a better game than SA2. I think Sonic Unleashed(a lighthearted modern game!!!) is a better game. I don't think Generations is a better game but I can see why people feel that way. Most of my experiences with the franchise don't fit into any of the groups or niches described in this thread by certain boomers repping classic sonic iconography. They never have. I imagine most of the SA2 kiddies have a similarly scattered perspective. Some of them played SA2 first. Others played it really late. 

The only thing we know for sure is that it's a popular game. I'd be more interesting in discussing how they managed that spark than beating back the idea for the 1000th time that Adventure fans have brain worms and refuse to accept what the real GOAT Sonic games are.

 

I don't think anyone said definitively that all Sonic fans of a certain generation were introduced to the series by SA2. But a lot of them were, and even among those that were initially introduced to Sonic through some other title, SA2 seems to be the one that stayed with them the most. As others have said, the game seems to occupy the place among one generation that Sonic 2 occupies among an older generation.

On another note, refering to anyone over 25 as "boomer" regardless of their actual generation makes me a sad panda. I just saw someone on Youtube refer to a 98 year old as a boomer, and it grinds my gears.

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34 minutes ago, batson said:

On another note, refering to anyone over 25 as "boomer" regardless of their actual generation makes me a sad panda. I just saw someone on Youtube refer to a 98 year old as a boomer, and it grinds my gears.

I call people that are younger than me boomers if they're acting like boomers

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10 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Any time a person unironically uses the word "edgy" nowadays, it is more often than not, in a derogatory and insulting sense. Because the actual word edgy does not mean anything that you said.  All of those "examples" that you pointed out feel like you're trying to grasp at straws to show....what exactly?

So forgive me if I don't really take you seriously when you say that you like him, but then list rather superficial examples of him being "edgy". It sounds more like you're calling him a tryhard. 

You don't have the ability to read minds so please don't speak as if you do 😛 

You can like characters and stories while also being aware of elements that are not very good. I've been replaying FF7 (original) lately and love the game, but have been disturbed by Don Corneo and how the game makes comedic light of very serious issues. That doesn't mean I don't love FF7, it just means I accept it has flaws.

Or in the case of Shadow, you can be aware of aspects of characters/stories which some people don't think are good (but I do).

I like Shadow in SA2, but I also accept that he's edgy. These aren't "superficial examples". Shadow is a conventional anime style badass anti hero. He has time-control superpowers, he calls himself the "ultimate life form" and he wants to wreck revenge on the entire human race.  He has that over the top "dark" voice and comes out with ott statements and quips all the time (I listed above "hmph, I'm the coolest"). If you define someone being edgy as trying too hard to be dark and rebellious, then he definitely fits the bill. The problem is that there's no clear definition for 'edgy' and so people think different things about it.

And you know what, I think it's the whole point that Shadow is 'edgy' in SA2. When he saves Rogue, he does his whole tough man "edgy" thing of saying "hmph, I only came back for the emeralds", but he's not telling the truth and she knows it. Similarly, he respects Sonic a lot more than he lets on and his whole act of "oh, I'm far cooler and better than you" is probably related to his insecurity around his identity. He's always trying too hard to be this ultimate life form revenge fest when in reality he's nothing like that and he's just traumatised.

So yeah, I think he is definitely "edgy" in SA2, but I don't mean it as a criticism, because that's the whole point. It's the same way that I think Knuckles is dumb in Sonic 3, or that Sonic is an arrogant jerk in Lost World. In all examples, those traits are a part of their character.

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You're using the modern, meme version of the word "edgy" that people use to mock these types of characters, instead of the actual definition of the word.

I'm not gonna argue semantics at all, just throwing that out there. 

 

As for Shadow; I agree that he is traumatized and not really good at communicating how he feels, but I don't think those are the traits of a tryhard at all. A tryhard is someone who is overcompensating for something that they may lack, but Shadow never gives that impression at all; when he's told that he might be a fake, he just soldiers on like nothing. He knows what he was created for and goes out and does it. Like Tornado said, he's more of a no-nonsense dickhead than what later games would characterize him as.

The only insecurity and petty shit he might have is against Sonic, but that's the point as you said, but I don't think that makes him "edgy", otherwise wouldn't that make Sonic a tryhard too since he's the one who shows initial hostility for Shadow being a "faker".

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8 hours ago, DryLagoon said:

I agree with you that he's very focused on his mission during SA2, but to say that he is nothing more than that would be overlooking other parts of his character. 

He was arrogant, but that was more part of him just being a dick to everyone and not caring how they responded rather than manifesting itself as it did later (ie. Dime-store Vegeta).

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