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batson

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

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On 4/25/2020 at 1:05 PM, batson said:

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. 

Are you talking about Maria getting shot and killed? Even though there was no blood or visible wound? G.U.N. being around even though our world has organizations/militaries like the U.N.'s peacekeeper forces and N.A.T.O.?

I've this talk over on the /chans/ and I don't buy it. Chaos and Shadow both even serve the same overall role of being a foil to Sonic (Shadow more obviously one) who was wronged in the past and seeks revenge on the world for it while using Eggman as a pawn.

On 4/25/2020 at 1:05 PM, batson said:

 

22 hours ago, Plasme said:

 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.

That was a dub only line. He said "interesting" in the JP version.

On 4/25/2020 at 1:05 PM, batson said:

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.

And how many of those Classic fans aren't also fans of say, SatAM? I ask this since from my knowledge, much of the so-called opposition in tone and world and so on between "Classic" and "Adventure" roots more in headcanon and being too attached to non-game interpretations than strictly what's in the games, statements from Sonic's fathers, art made by Ohshima...

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8 hours ago, Kuzu said:

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. 

 

Sure, but where are you getting your definition of "edgy" from? It's a slang word and there's no "real" definition for it. I mean there are no fixed definitions for any word, but especially with slang.

But yeah, I'm using edgy in the way everyone uses it when referring to Shadow. Edgy the Hedgey and all that. Tbh, I think some people use it about Shadow in an endearing way rather than completely negative.

8 hours ago, Kuzu said:

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".

We don't have to say tryhard per say, but he definitely covers up his emotions and identity issues with his big, strong, ultimate life form act. You are right that he deflects most back and forth with Sonic and co, but that's only small quips. He absolutely overcompensates at various points in the story. I've already talked about Rouge (the key scene), who he cannot admit he saved because he cared about her and has that whole "hmph I was only here for the emeralds" shtick.

In a way, his entire dark demeanour is him overcompensating for his inability to process Maria's death and his uncontrolled anger which he doesn't properly contain. The whole point is that he doesn't know what he was created for - at least in Maria's eyes. Gerald wanted him to cause havoc when Maria's died, but Maria never wanted him to do so. He's probably not really like the dark persona he adopts usually, but he's making up for deep-rooted insecurities. Maria is the one anchor he always holds on to, and I don't think it's just because he cared for her, but it's also because she's the one symbol of goodness he has in his past.

And actually I agree with you that Sonic overcompensates at times in their fights too, and he has a history of being arrogant and "cool" in the Sonic franchise generally. I like the way SA2 parallels Sonic and Shadow as ott cool and edgy respectively, especially in their fight scenes. But deep down they are both more complex characters than they seem. Sonic would sacrifice himself for his friends (as at Colony Ark), and Shadow actually ends up doing so with his death (at the Ark no less).

---

Actually speaking with you on this has helped deepen my appreciation for SA2's story, and I've always preferred it to SA1's. It definitely has some goofy moments (like with the president), some poor dialogue, a bad translation and the plot is probably not what anyone had in mind when they played Sonic 2. But the game's story stands fairly well under scrutiny and Sonic and Shadow's relationship is well explored.

I guess I would say now that Shadow does act "edgy", or dark, or is overcompensating - whichever way you want to put it - but that's the point. It what makes the story interesting.

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10 minutes ago, Plasme said:

Sure, but where are you getting your definition of "edgy" from? It's a slang word and there's no "real" definition for it. I mean there are no fixed definitions for any word, but especially with slang.

But yeah, I'm using edgy in the way everyone uses it when referring to Shadow. Edgy the Hedgey and all that. Tbh, I think some people use it about Shadow in an endearing way rather than completely negative.

Because edgy is an actual word in the english dictionary...which is something I didn't think I'd have to explain, but here we are.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edgy

Quote

edgy adjective


Definition of edgy


1: having an edge : SHARP


2a: being on edge : TENSE, IRRITABLE
b: characterized by tension
edgy negotiations 


3: having a bold, provocative, or unconventional quality
an edgy film

 

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Sonic Adventure 2's Shadow is to Sonic what Wario was to Mario back in Super Mario Land 2: An exaggerated version of the character done in such a way to be the villain. 

Sonic is supposed to be aloof and something of a loner so we have Shadow. He has jet skates instead of just running just as how Wario is a brute instead of how Mario is graceful.

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17 minutes ago, Plasme said:

 

We don't have to say tryhard per say, but he definitely covers up his emotions and identity issues with his big, strong, ultimate life form act. You are right that he deflects most back and forth with Sonic and co, but that's only small quips. He absolutely overcompensates at various points in the story. I've already talked about Rouge (the key scene), who he cannot admit he saved because he cared about her and has that whole "hmph I was only here for the emeralds" shtick.

In a way, his entire dark demeanour is him overcompensating for his inability to process Maria's death and his uncontrolled anger which he doesn't properly contain. The whole point is that he doesn't know what he was created for - at least in Maria's eyes. Gerald wanted him to cause havoc when Maria's died, but Maria never wanted him to do so. He's probably not really like the dark persona he adopts usually, but he's making up for deep-rooted insecurities. Maria is the one anchor he always holds on to, and I don't think it's just because he cared for her, but it's also because she's the one symbol of goodness he has in his past.

And actually I agree with you that Sonic overcompensates at times in their fights too, and he has a history of being arrogant and "cool" in the Sonic franchise generally. I like the way SA2 parallels Sonic and Shadow as ott cool and edgy respectively, especially in their fight scenes. But deep down they are both more complex characters than they seem. Sonic would sacrifice himself for his friends (as at Colony Ark), and Shadow actually ends up doing so with his death (at the Ark no less).

---

Actually speaking with you on this has helped deepen my appreciation for SA2's story, and I've always preferred it to SA1's. It definitely has some goofy moments (like with the president), some poor dialogue, a bad translation and the plot is probably not what anyone had in mind when they played Sonic 2. But the game's story stands fairly well under scrutiny and Sonic and Shadow's relationship is well explored.

I guess I would say now that Shadow does act "edgy", or dark, or is overcompensating - whichever way you want to put it - but that's the point. It what makes the story interesting.

Its honestly hard to say because we don't get much of a glimpse at Shadow's personality before the Ark incident; you are correct though, right before the scene with Rouge, he's shown contemplative of his existence and what exactly he was created for, and his identity issues are a key point of the Amnesia plot in subsequent games. His memories and his name were all he had, so they are the things he chooses to define himself as.

Since we're talking about Sonic, you made me remember that he tends to hide how he really feels too; after Shadow's "death", he's pretty contemplative about it but when Amy tries to see how he's feeling, he downplays it and gives her a signature quip before saying goodbye out of anyone's sight. It's one of the rare moments of subtly in Sonic's character. 

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On 4/25/2020 at 1:05 PM, batson said:

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.

No I think this is mostly misreading what Classic fans dislike about Adventure. 

I'll speak only for myself but I don't think these opinions are anything unique--

1) The distaste comes 99.9% from the gameplay, which is significantly different to the feel of the Mega Drive games in terms of momentum and gameplay, and is not entirely successful even on its own merits. (The camera is an awful, awful mess, for just one game breaking flaw.) Conceptually, there are a lot of merits to what SA does with Sonic and Knuckles abilities in 3D space, at least. It always feels like it should be more fun to play, and sometimes (especially if you're a kid and really into the story) you can tell yourself you're having more fun than the game actually allows.

2) The lore / story content of SA2 was well liked, both at the time, and now, by all Sonic fans. Conceptually, the story is fun and weird and cool and epic. Eggman blows up the moon, and this time it's his grandfather's space station that's going to kill everyone, not a new Death Egg. It's all pretty great, in the broad strokes.

3) The execution is what's disliked. A lot of the stupid specifics, like the President or Knuckles punching the Master Emerald. But it's more than any one decision. The acting, the animation oddities like Rouge's boobs, the lip syncing, the clunkiness goofiness in general. I think there's mostly agreement in the ways in which SA2 is flawed, bc the flaws are obvious, but the degree to which you are affected by it is different. If it's your first Sonic game in particular and you're the right age, it all goes down much smoother.

4) Shadow was not universally well-liked, then or now, but Shadow probably has the best fans now than before. Partly because we're out of the Shadow age of Everything Shadow. Partly because the obnoxious ones are a little older and little less obnoxious, maybe. Shadow fans seem more creative than 10 or 15 years ago, I guess is one vaguely observed example. And yes, his "exxxxxtreme" design is over the top, but most kids/teens were into it at the time. The kids bopping to Korn and Limp Bizkit on the top 40 radio station were totally into Shadow. A lot of "modern rock" pop culture was dark edgy bitchin cool in that late 90s/early 00s period and that's what Sega thought they were in some ways. They wanted Sonic to be Sega's perception of MTV.

5) Part of the dislike toward Shadow, then and now, from the more "hardcore" Classic fans is that he functionally replaces Metal Sonic as the "Dark Twin" equal in ability. Sonic Heroes aimed to resolve that with Neo Metal Sonic as the big bad, although ironically Shadow's storyline was again very similar and better suited to Metal with the clone/identity issues. Also Heroes was even worse, gameplay wise, and further away from the Mega Drive games. So by that point there is a cut-off point between "Classic" and "Modern" because it's clear that the Sonic series was just being built with fundamentally different goals and ideals in 3D, particularly after Adventure.

 

All that said -- I think it was mostly agreed SA2 was better than SA1 at the time by the classic Sega fans playing on Dreamcast. And then that compounded with the Gamecube SA2:B being a quite separate entity in how it introduced so many kids to Sonic. 

The issues are still largely the same, but there's some refinement, the replay world map is a nice touch, the chao are more interesting, the Sonic/Shadow stages are more fun than Sonic's campaign in SA1.

SA1 being better has probably always been the minority opinion. But it's one that I happen to actually agree with -- simply because of the adventure fields. There's no other stage in Sonic/Shadow levels in really either Adventure game where you can just run around. Some parts of some stages, but mostly it's a roller coaster on a straight line. The adventure fields are not good. They are very enclosed, small, mostly flat, and dull. But you at least have room to run around!

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The ideal 3D Sonic game would have a hubworld that expands on adventure fields but makes them interesting. You take Sonic Utopia's one stage, call it South Island.

You boot up the game, immediately that's what you're doing. Instantly, Sonic is immediately fun just to zip around doing nothing but going fast and collecting rings and jumping on springs. There are no enemies.

Around the island, there are different locations of Warp Rings that take you to the different Zones, aka levels. Like the paintings in Mario 64. But instead of the castle, it's the gigantic Sonic Utopia island(s; we want more!).

At first, you only have enough Chaos Energy to travel through one Warp Ring. As you complete more stages, more Warp Rings / levels open up around South Island.

So, take Sonic Utopia, add Warp Rings as the functional level select. Now let's build a campaign just from what we have just from Adventure 1 and 2.

1. City Escape

2. Speed Highway 

3. Metal Harbor

4. Emerald Coast

5. Green Forest

6. Windy Valley

7. Red Mountain

8. Pyramid Cave

9. Lost World

10. Ice Cap

11. Twinkle Park

12. Final Egg

13. Crazy Gadget

14. Egg Viper 

15. Perfect Chaos

There's still a narrative flow and progression with the levels. We begin in the city, make it to the coast, up a mountain, in a cave, find a secret ancient civilization, escape out of the other side of the mountain's ice cap, make our way down to the base where there's an amusement theme park, which is hiding Eggman's final base, which teleports them to his base in space where you beat his ultimate weapon, then return to the city after Eggman unleashes his other attack successfully and defeat it as Super Sonic. The end.

And yet the Utopia hub is like a level select / free space that you can always return with a Warp Ring. Maybe even instead of a pause menu, Sonic throws a Warp Ring and returns to South Island Utopia. Once you've played a stage, you've unlocked the level select / "Emerald Coast" Warp Ring to return from South Island Utopia. Like the Mario 64 paintings, the level selects are done with visuals instead of text.  A spinning Warp Ring shows a visual of Emerald Coast; that's where that one takes you.

 

DANG that would be a pretty good combo

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19 hours ago, Jack at Home said:

was Sonic EVER in a superstar state? Even in the Mega Drive era.

Oh absolutely. I mean, insofar as any video game character in history has ever been worthy of the title "superstar", Sonic was it. Trust me, I was there! There is no dobut in my mind that Sonic was the most popular video game franchise in the world for a time. I'm sure there were other individual games that sold even better, but I'm talking about the scope of the Sonic phenomenon. Much like how Pokémon was huge in the late 90's/early 00's even among kids that never touched a Gameboy, so was Sonic huge even among those that never actually played his games, as they saw him on the cartoons, the comics, the merchandise ect. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I remember how Sonic was one of those things that practically all the boys around my age at my school liked, even those that owned a Super Nintendo as opposed to a Mega Drive.

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8 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Because edgy is an actual word in the english dictionary...which is something I didn't think I'd have to explain, but here we are.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edgy

 

We should drop this because it's a pointless convo, but that's a different word than the slang 'edgy' people use online. No one calls Shadow edgy because of his pointy spikes.

I mean come on, I know that edgy can be used in that way.

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SA2 was definitely edgy compared to what the series had seen before. I mean, it's story involved child murder. I mean, we're all used to it at this point, but really take a step back and think about it: the story in a Sonic the Hedgehog game involved child murder.

 

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9 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Because edgy is an actual word in the english dictionary...which is something I didn't think I'd have to explain, but here we are.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edgy

 

Dictionaries are never 100% of a language or how it is used though. There's always new words coming into use and existing words being used in new ways that haven't made it in yet.

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To answer the topic title, yes. The (very) early 2010s and the early 2000s. Especially the latter. You point out the Dreamcast being a financial failure, but as a person in his mid-20s, I can tell you that Sonic Adventure 2: Battle was the shit back on the GameCube. From the moment I saw it in a booth at Toys R Us, this game was synonymous with the console. To this day, when I visit someone’s house and they have a GameCube lying around, SA2:B is almost always among their game stack.

Yes, it had its shitty levels, but we all knew to avoid them when we set out to get drives for our Chao. And so we played the good levels, over and over, for what was admittedly more of a grind than it should’ve been- and those levels are what stuck in our hearts and minds. I’m about to go on a tangent about how crucial the chao really are to 3D Sonic, but I’ll just leave it at this: every single time I bring up Sonic to people, they might not even remember the name of the GameCube game they played, but they ALWAYS remember the Chao. 

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On 4/27/2020 at 4:52 AM, batson said:

SA2 was definitely edgy compared to what the series had seen before. I mean, it's story involved child murder. I mean, we're all used to it at this point, but really take a step back and think about it: the story in a Sonic the Hedgehog game involved child murder.

Technically, every game since Sonic 2 has featured Eggman trying to murder a child. SA1 had a whole race getting genocided and a city suddenly getting hit with a massive flood/kaiju attack (and unlike Sonic X, Adventure never tries to claim that nobody died). You might say those are different because the games don't dwell on them too much, but neither does Adventure 2. All else being as it is, if SA2 were truly "edgy" in the sense that, say Shadow the Hedgehog is "edgy" (i.e. gratuitously dark, violent, and angsty for no reason other than to appear superficially mature) it would have hammered down hard on the "child murder" angle and never let you forget how dark and tragic it was. As it stands though, nothing graphic is ever shown (we don't see Maria actually get shot or expire on-screen in SA2) and Shadow doesn't really angst about her death at all, he has a few flashbacks which fill the player in on his motivation, but they almost always spur him to action rather than cause him to wallow in how terrible his past is; the one time he is caught ruminating it's over a happy memory of Maria, unrelated to her death. As far as the game is concerned, Maria is simply an origin story death that motivates those who were close to her, it's not really interested in exploiting the darker implications beyond its narrative function. Hell, you wouldn't even know Maria was a child just by playing the game. Her official age is only given in supplementary materials and her voice and design are vague enough that she could pass for a girl well into her teens.

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Yes there were several good periods. The Adventure era in particular is a highlight in the series next to the classic era.  The classic era was the longest and most consistent. The Adventure era was short due to the Dreamcast being discontinued

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Everything has ups and downs but it has stayed relevant and popular with old and newer fans for 30 years in games, cartoons, books and a very successful first time movie. That tells me it’s always been in a good place. That goes for any franchise with a similar track record imo.

 

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