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What ISN'T needed for a Sonic game?


Blacklightning
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DISCLAIMER: It is not my intention to start a fanboy war here - all I'm looking for is a discussion and/or debate with a change of pace. If the staff of SSMB feel otherwise, they are free to lock this thread at their leisure. Otherwise, I'm going to save them the trouble and ask of all of you, right now, if you are even thinking about starting a modern vs classic debate, or starting up a rant based on your indignant self-riteous opinion of the "perfect Sonic game", or anything at all along those lines, do us all and our sanity a big favour: kindly fuck the hell off and don't come back. Otherwise, please keep your arguments civil and your opinions as unbiased as humanly possible. Thank you.

Now that we've got that out of the way, what are we here for? Well quite simply, I thought I'd work the opposite direction to the obviously widely hated trend we've had going lately - we all know we can't rely on one man's definition (or for that matter, even a small group's) definition of a perfect Sonic game, because no two people have the same definition of what makes Sonic great in the first place, thusly you can't cater for the wide audience expected of one. My theory is, if we can establish what isn't strictly necessary in a Sonic game perhaps we can boil the formula right down to its core basics and work up from there, because the way I see it, anything's a Sonic game as long as the basics are fulfilled and everything else compliments them.

(note the usage of the word THEORY. This is an experiment, so I'm not giving any guarantees.)

Now before you step on my toes, let's get another thing out of the way. Just because something isn't necessary doesn't mean it's bad - you just have to admit that the franchise can function without it and still pass off as a Sonic game. As I've said time and time again, the approach to it is the key. A positive example would be the Spindash, which even though a game can still function without it (Sonic 1), it does work like a charm and complimented the classic style of gameplay perfectly. A negative example would be, as much as I'd hate to admit it, gunplay. It COULD have worked for a good game, no question about that. But not only did they fail to take into consideration any kind of aiming mechanic to make the gimmick usable (you can't even tell WHAT you're going to shoot at, let alone choose), but said lack of aiming often forced you to stop and align yourself with a target manually, bringing a result at the detriment of a gameplay style that was already aging horribly.

Okay, hard part's over, so let's get the ball rolling. Here's a few more examples on my part to start off:

The Boost: You should know better than me - for the most part it's there for cheap thrills and over-simplification to prevent Sonic Team from having to develop a reasonably complex game. It does its job far better than the Spindash to be sure, but often there are complaints that the boost is far TOO omnipotent as far as speed and invulnerability goes. Its almost mandatory usage in certain games often removes the need to explore beyond brief off-ramps, which is another big strike against it if you're a fan of multi-tier levels ala Genesis.

Change/revert of design/voiceover: Just getting the obvious out of the way here. This kind of thing is grossly unnecessary for the most part and doesn't serve to improve the franchise at all beyond a small group of vocal fans who think it'll save a Sonic game with shitty gameplay. Furthermore, it only serves to divide the fanbase even more than it already has been, and the fanbase division is bad enough as it is at the moment. Exceptions are very few and far between.

Pinball physics: As much as a certain person is likely to disagree with me, we only need enough physics to know we can't pass through a loop at low speeds (Sonic '06's hilariously infamous upside-down-loop approach DOES show, though, that a game without player physics, period, is disastrous). It need only be there if there is no other alternative to pick up speed (the boost compensated for its lesser presence in Unleashed, less so in Rush games). It can also prove incredibly cumbersome in some circumstances (ever tried walking up a hill fruitlessly, then crouching in expectation of a spindash only to roll all the way back down to the bottom again?) but nevertheless can compliment most styles of play as long as the level design doesn't work against you.

Hubs: This is a mixed bag, but the fact remains that it isn't a mandatory requirement simply for the fact that you don't need a central hub to advance from level to level. To some it is seen as an obstacle between them and, to quote Yahtzee, "the GAME part of the fucking game" - others see it as a relaxing change of place between X button hold-a-thons and otherwise potentially stressful activities. Making them optional is a good idea, but Sonic Team have yet to come up with a fantastic reward for putting the player through the trouble of enduring them beyond a crappy sidequest or two.

New character introductions: Not to be confused with excessively big character rosters, which I'd rather not bring up at all. The simple point is, there's no real point in introducing a brand new character when an existing one can already fulfill its intended purpose just as well, if not better. Don't get me wrong, you CAN introduce a new character without stealing somebody else's spotlight, and believe it or not we DO have examples of that (you'll have to search for them though XP). But making brand new stuff that old stuff can already do better just comes as incredibly redundant in this case. And no, making the new guy a one-shot does not excuse it.

That's all from me for now, so let's hear your suggestions. And remember, keep it clean or risk getting whacked in the face with a plunger. ;)

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The Boost: You should know better than me - for the most part it's there for cheap thrills and over-simplification to prevent Sonic Team from having to develop a reasonably complex game. It does its job far better than the Spindash to be sure, but often there are complaints that the boost is far TOO omnipotent as far as speed and invulnerability goes. Its almost mandatory usage in certain games often removes the need to explore beyond brief off-ramps, which is another big strike against it if you're a fan of multi-tier levels ala Genesis.

I miss the shields. They were able to give Sonic flashy special powers without taking away the complexity of the game.

I like the homing attack, though. Feels like sort of a modified version of the fire shield's dash attack.

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I think that the boost should return, but only as a reward you get in certain areas via an item box. It'd be pretty much like the speed-up item from all the other Sonic games, only much faster and it works exactly like it did in Unleashed.

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I think that the boost should return, but only as a reward you get in certain areas via an item box. It'd be pretty much like the speed-up item from all the other Sonic games, only much faster and it works exactly like it did in Unleashed.

Basically the speed box and invincibility box combined! :lol:

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The Homing Attack... If Sonic Team can do something better. Actually, pretty much anything is better than the homing attack. I liked Black Knight, for one. The homing attack was excusable in SA, but now it's a centre of unfair death complaints, and it's a rather unimaginative and lazy way of doing things, practically a cop-out. I'd prefer the devs to come up with a more interesting way for Sonic to do high-speed combat.

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The Homing Attack... If Sonic Team can do something better. Actually, pretty much anything is better than the homing attack. I liked Black Knight, for one. The homing attack was excusable in SA, but now it's a centre of unfair death complaints, and it's a rather unimaginative and lazy way of doing things, practically a cop-out. I'd prefer the devs to come up with a more interesting way for Sonic to do high-speed combat.
To think the HA wouldn't even need to exist if a Sonic game actually had a lock-on function. XD
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The boost is fun for blasting through the stage, but it's just abusable in Unleashed. I think the player should be free to use it, but not feel an obligation to.

While I agree the pinball physics aren't completely necessary for a good Sonic game, I still think that they make it feel more natural and fluid. I like to use Super Monkey Ball as a frame of reference for 3D pinball physics, only it shouldn't be as extreme in Sonic games. Basically I just think the emphasis should be more on momentum than gravity itself.

The hubs should definitely be optional, but I think they can also have uses and attractions other than side quests and missions. Perhaps Easter Eggs or unlockable items, etc. Sonic 06, for example, had extra moves purchasable at shops. Perhaps as a compromise, the boost can be such a move.

Not only are new characters unnecessary, but at this point they'll most likely just become deadweight. The series is juggling a lot of characters at the moment, and I think they should develop and improve the ones that already exist before bringing in anyone new.

The Homing Attack... If Sonic Team can do something better. Actually, pretty much anything is better than the homing attack. I liked Black Knight, for one. The homing attack was excusable in SA, but now it's a centre of unfair death complaints, and it's a rather unimaginative and lazy way of doing things, practically a cop-out. I'd prefer the devs to come up with a more interesting way for Sonic to do high-speed combat.

The homing attack would probably be difficult to remove. It's much harder to jump on enemies at Sonic's pace from a 3D angle. I don't think the homing attack is the problem so much as the physics itself.

Edited by SuperStingray
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Well I go by Sonic Unleashed for this.

Taking away the Ring energy dash. If you took that away the day time levels would go alot longer and be more enjoyable.

Not getting rid of the spin dash, homing attack, and speed element. It's what Sonic is really in my opinion.

And then finally, losing all the gimmicks that weigh a good sonic game down.

This is all just pure opinion and not to be stated otherwise *nods*

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Those crazy speed stages you do with Sonic in SONIC 2006

I'm sorry, but these stages where literally infernal. They're not really stages but areas in stages where you go in break-neak speed. The only problem with this mode is just that you so fast you're incontrolloable, not only that, but if you jump or do any sudden movement you can collapse and die. I don't think these stages are all too obsolete, though. I would like them if they would actually re-introduce them with more control in mind and not as confusing and/or frustrating.

Escessively confusing storyline with no sense at all

After the adventure games (and even the adventure games had some share in this), the Sonic plot starting getting a lit bit out of hand. What do I mean by this? I don't know, but the whole time travel thing in SONIC the hedeghog was way confusing and debates related to the game's story have yet to cease; same goes with Shadow the Hedgehog's game. What I propose is just a simple story that isn't too hard to follow nor too easy to follow; or if it where to be complex, just take out all the random plotholes in them. The grand problem with Sonic Heroes' storyline is that it's too simple, and it provided the sonic fandom with one thing more to debate about, the re-introduction of Shadow. Come on, it can't be that hard to follow a simple plot!

Edited by Oscar Wilde
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Taking away the Ring energy dash. If you took that away the day time levels would go alot longer and be more enjoyable.

Well, technically, you can just avoid using the dash during Unleashed.^_^;; While I was playing the PS2 version, I was causing myself unneccesary boredom 'cause I let myself get brainwashed the grading system at the end of the level into trying to blaze through to the end all the time. I felt a lot better about the day stages once I realized that it was my choice to take it slow and steady, and thus have more fun.

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The boost is fun for blasting through the stage, but it's just abusable in Unleashed. I think the player should be free to use it, but not feel an obligation to.
Personally, I think there should be some distinction between where it'll do you good and where it'll get you killed, so the game might actually encourage you to be smart about using it and not duct-taping the X button down like a retard (this is coming from someone who almost never lets go of it, too). But to each their own, I guess. Either way could work.

While I agree the pinball physics aren't completely necessary for a good Sonic game, I still think that they make it feel more natural and fluid. I like to use Super Monkey Ball as a frame of reference for 3D pinball physics, only it shouldn't be as extreme in Sonic games. Basically I just think the emphasis should be more on momentum than gravity itself.
"Extreme" is definently the right word for it. Hell, if it existed in Unleashed to the same degree it did in a Genesis game, Eggmanland would almost literally be impossible (fuckin' pipes). Indeed, it's not quite a bad thing, but a 3D game needs to be a lot more lenient as far as slope physics go. It seems obvious in 2D, but in 3 dimensions there's a lot of factors that a player won't be able to take in fluently, and they'd most likely end up spazzing all over the place without a clue of what the hell is throwing them around.

A spinball Sonic, though, is a different question. They'd be free to do something closer to 1:1 physics in that case just as long as the player can get back to standing state quickly without jumping so they don't go flying off edges by accident.

The hubs should definitely be optional, but I think they can also have uses and attractions other than side quests and missions. Perhaps Easter Eggs or unlockable items, etc. Sonic 06, for example, had extra moves purchasable at shops. Perhaps as a compromise, the boost can be such a move.
Fuck yes Easter Eggs. The Sonic and Chip shorts in Unleashed were well worth the effort of stuffing that little thing's face constantly and I was just disappointed there weren't more of them. If they wanted to save effort though, a collection of lolsome snapshots would suffice too. Just don't make us have to work our asses off to unlock stuff we already saw previously in the game, ST. That's just not fair. :(

The homing attack would probably be difficult to remove. It's much harder to jump on enemies at Sonic's pace from a 3D angle. I don't think the homing attack is the problem so much as the physics itself.
Who says you have to jump on them? Why do that when you can kick them in the face instead? That sounds a lot more convenient if you ask me, classicism not withstanding.

EDIT: Actually, come to think of it, that's exactly what we had the Somersault for in SA2.

Edited by Blacklightning
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New character introductions: Not to be confused with excessively big character rosters, which I'd rather not bring up at all. The simple point is, there's no real point in introducing a brand new character when an existing one can already fulfill its intended purpose just as well, if not better. Don't get me wrong, you CAN introduce a new character without stealing somebody else's spotlight, and believe it or not we DO have examples of that (you'll have to search for them though XP). But making brand new stuff that old stuff can already do better just comes as incredibly redundant in this case. And no, making the new guy a one-shot does not excuse it.

I've basically said this before, but I'd like to see a game just focusing on Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knux, and Eggman, and the fleshing out of said characters, though all but poor Tails(Unless we're counting Chronicles) seem to have greatly improved as of late.

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Speed, speed, speed (which includes the boost) - if one thing is absolutely unneccesary, it's the series trying to focus solely on speed. Sonic began as a platform, one who *gasp* had to make certain stops, turns, and MUCH careful manuvering. Don't get me wrong, I love crusing through stages at 760 mph, but if that's going to be all there is too the game, then it's just going to set itself up for failure when it comes to replay value. The thrills given from the boost in Unleashed wear out so quickly when you're barely challenged by anything but a wall that quickly puts you to a stop.

If you're going to bolt in the stage at Mach 1, it should be something you earn when you perfrom well in the stage. Like trying to execute the Million Stab combo with Dante in DMC, or a Shoryuken attack with Ken in Street Fighter, sure it can be easy to do, but make a slight fuck up and you won't do perform the attack the way you want and wind up doing something else.

Enemies giving an actual CHALLENGE - there's no point in having enemies who'll just stand around and wait for you to attack them, or ones who move slow even at walking pace. If you're going to have any type of enemy in the game, be it a stick figure, an Egg Pawn, a Caterkiller, yo mama, whatever they've got to at least put up an effort in tailing you while you move.

That's something Sonic 06 (slightly) did right, the enemies had jetpacks on them that allowed them to follow despite how "fast" you moved in that game. The only enemies that ever came close to this in Sonic Unleashed are those Aero robots that released lasers and missiles at you while you side step out of the way, and that larger robot that released shockwaves and lasers while it tailed you from behind.

I got more, but I don't exactly know how to lay them out yet.

So give me time...B)

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic
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Who says you have to jump on them? Why do that when you can kick them in the face instead? That sounds a lot more convenient if you ask me, classicism not withstanding.

EDIT: Actually, come to think of it, that's exactly what we had the Somersault for in SA2.

Perhaps, but I had aerial enemies in mind. Those might be harder to attack without the HA.

I've basically said this before, but I'd like to see a game just focusing on Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knux, and Eggman, and the fleshing out of said characters, though all but poor Tails(Unless we're counting Chronicles) seem to have greatly improved as of late.

I don't think Knuckles has been improved very much either. After SA2 (with the exceptions of Battle and Chronicles) he just seems to be present for no reason other than the sake of being there.

Edited by SuperStingray
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Who says you have to jump on them? Why do that when you can kick them in the face instead? That sounds a lot more convenient if you ask me, classicism not withstanding.

AMEN. Sonic knows capoeira for Christ's sake. Why not give him that insane axekick he would do in Sonic Battle. I mean you can still pull of moves while still in motion.

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Boost: Sonic should stick to what Sonic does and not step on NiGHTS's toes.

Boost Pads: They serve only to automate changes in speed and direction, having the player control these two things is the point of a platformer.

Pits: They serve only to punish exploration and add frustration.

Quick Time Events: If you're just going to put the button right there on the screen, why bother showing anything else?

Extensive Dialog:

(ever tried walking up a hill fruitlessly, then crouching in expectation of a spindash only to roll all the way back down to the bottom again?)
Unless it's a steep enough hill that you absolutely need some momentum beforehand, you can just jump to get past these. Sonic's mid air acceleration is greater than his ground acceleration in the classics. Plus, Sonic 3 raised the speed threshold for crouching, making it a non issue. Any Sonic game without pinball physics is going to be significantly worse off, because they go far beyond going through loops. There's more than just Speed focused and platforming focused levels in the classics, there were also numerous "physics toy playground" levels that wouldn't be possible without this type of physics.

Change/revert of design/voiceover: Just getting the obvious out of the way here. This kind of thing is grossly unnecessary for the most part and doesn't serve to improve the franchise at all beyond a small group of vocal fans who think it'll save a Sonic game with shitty gameplay. Furthermore, it only serves to divide the fanbase even more than it already has been, and the fanbase division is bad enough as it is at the moment. Exceptions are very few and far between.
Few things about this (These don't all follow one another, they are primarily separate points):

Changing the designs in the first place is one of the things that caused these divisions in the first place.

After being used in many crappy games, many people who are outside the vocal (posts on Sonic forums) fandom BUT still follow video games in general may associate these design with a general lack of quality.

Please stop acting like there are so few people who actually prefer the old designs.

You can't make a Sonic game without rolling and have it be comparable to the classics, there fore it must be included. When curled up, the new design's quills are too long to point outwards without making the ball lopsided, so they lie flat, making it no longer pointy.

Yeah, Sonic's design should be a lower priority than gameplay, but it's such an easy fix to make.

E: ninja'd:

Eggmanland would almost literally be impossible (fuckin' pipes).
The Werehog would not be a recipient of Pinball physics on account of being nonexistent ever anymore. Edited by Phos
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I don't think Knuckles has been improved very much either. After SA2 (with the exceptions of Battle and Chronicles) he just seems to be present for no reason other than the sake of being there.

You've actually got a good point there, sadly.^_^;;

I did like that they tried to do something with his personality beyond "Guy who comically gets angry" in Black Knight, though, even if that was an alternate version of the guy.

Here's hoping that was a step in the right direction.

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Perhaps, but I had aerial enemies in mind. Those might be harder to attack without the HA.

Oh, Indeed. That's a good point you bring up.

Well, the trick with the somersault is that it's actually semi homing - you still generally have control over which way you attack, but the direction will snap softly towards an enemy nearby the direction you're tilting the control stick. The same could apply for all attacks to eliminate the need for absolute precision, making even midair combat plausible without a Homing Attack. How about that?

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Oh, Indeed. That's a good point you bring up.

Well, the trick with the somersault is that it's actually semi homing - you still generally have control over which way you attack, but the direction will snap softly towards an enemy nearby the direction you're tilting the control stick. The same could apply for all attacks to eliminate the need for absolute precision, making even midair combat plausible without a Homing Attack. How about that?

Similar to an idea I had, mine was somewhat based off the Floor Funnel from Portal, but it ends up being much the same thing. The Homing Attack is unnecessary for pretty much the entire first half of Sonic's story in SA1, and it would be even easier if mid air physics worked how they did in the Genesis games (Why is that? Because you could correct your trajectory in the Genesis games, 3D games have reduced mid air control.

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Please stop acting like there are so few people who actually prefer the old designs.

There aren't few, but the split over the original and current designs is quite balanced. At least given what I've seen.

You can't make a Sonic game without rolling and have it be comparable to the classics, there fore it must be included. When curled up, the new design's quills are too long to point outwards without making the ball lopsided, so they lie flat, making it no longer pointy.

What does curling up have to do with the properties of the design? In the Adventure games Sonic could become a perfect ball.

The Werehog would not be a recipient of Pinball physics on account of being nonexistent ever anymore.

At least I hope not; it's hard to tell given what Katano said a few weeks back. :/

Edited by SuperStingray
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Unless it's a steep enough hill that you absolutely need some momentum beforehand, you can just jump to get past these. Sonic's mid air acceleration is greater than his ground acceleration in the classics. Plus, Sonic 3 raised the speed threshold for crouching, making it a non issue. Any Sonic game without pinball physics is going to be significantly worse off, because they go far beyond going through loops. There's more than just Speed focused and platforming focused levels in the classics, there were also numerous "physics toy playground" levels that wouldn't be possible without this type of physics.
The unjumpable hills were exactly what I was talking about, actually. Marble Garden comes to mind, but there are other examples.

Changing the designs in the first place is one of the things that caused these divisions in the first place.
That was actually part of the point I was making in the first place. But the reality is, the damage is done and you can't just revert back. The modern designs have fans too don't forget, and arbitarily changing the design (note the usage of the word changing and not reverting - that's not classic bias) would just serve to piss them off instead. So you've got a choice of either pissing off people who hail the classics as a godsend, and pissing off the people who want to move forward and/or don't give a damn either way. Either way, you just can't win.

It's my personal belief that it's better to let old hate burn out and fade away than it is to spawn new hate by changing designs again, but that's just opinion.

Please stop acting like there are so few people who actually prefer the old designs.
I never inferred anything as such. Call me crazy actually, but I don't think I inferred anything on the subject of fanbase quantity at all.

The Werehog would not be a recipient of Pinball physics on account of being nonexistent ever anymore.
The bigger part of my point there was that anything beyond completely flat surfaces would be a megalithic nuicance to deal with if slope physics were translated to full degree. I guess I should have mentioned it. In any case, it just needs to be more lenient in the 3D games (at least whilst standing anyway) because I'm sure nobody wants Sonic to become a balance dexterity game.
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I used to prefer the new design, but I found that it wore on me, whereas the classic design grew on me. In the end, it seems like the design should be dictated by the game, watching the newer design going though old style motions is already kind of strange in Sonic Advance, and I can only imagine it getting weirder if it's in 3D. I also feel like a more classic design fits better with the direction I'd like the series to take in terms of story and tone.

I also think of it as a way to rid the franchise of a certain stigma. Assuming the aim is to make a game that recaptures the fun of the originals, using the old designs (or something close to it) would be a good way to make it obvious.

I never inferred anything as such. Call me crazy actually, but I don't think I inferred anything on the subject of fanbase quantity at all.
Sorry, I thought that was the implication.

Marble Garden comes to mind, but there are other examples.

Marble Garden's hills are so steep that you're not going up them, physics'ed or not. That seems to apply to every hill I can think of that can't be passed by jumping. Note: the jump isn't necessarily to clear the hill, it's to take advantage of the increased mid air acceleration to get enough speed that you can just run up it.

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I think the spindash should come back, but only in 2D or 2.5D games such as the side-view sections of Unleashed. I've seen how the spindash works in 3D games, and it's very hard to get it to work properly. It isn't that useful anymore in the 3D games anyways.

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I think the spindash should come back, but only in 2D or 2.5D games such as the side-view sections of Unleashed. I've seen how the spindash works in 3D games, and it's very hard to get it to work properly. It isn't that useful anymore in the 3D games anyways.
As much as I'm tired of hearing of pinball physics these days, I should probably point out that the Spindash was made useless in 3D because there was no slope physics to aid its functionality. So pretty much as of Sonic '06 it's a slide move you can charge. Could be a different story if you could actually get a boost using it downhill and there wasn't persistent boostwhoring to fag it up in the process.
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I would argue that the homing attack wouldn't be necessary at all if they would stop doing Shinobi-style death pits where linking is necessary to cross (or the "kill all enemies in this area or you shall not pass" bits).

Then they wouldn't even need to worry about aerial enemies that much, because a simple Z-targeting mechanism could be implemented then without really slowing anything down (or you could just ignore the flying enemies).

Edited by Tornado
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