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Dude, where's my shield?

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Once I see that a platformer has a double jump I usually stop taking it seriously as a platformer. Really boring platforming and double jumping tend to appear together. It always just seems like in any game with a double jump you never single jump, and the physics never feel fun in their own right, never fluent or even particularly responsive. What I think is funniest is in games like God of War where the character is supposed to be about serious business or something and Kratos's double jump animation is this goofy little flip.

True

But the general lack of powerups mostly speaks to how so few designers seem to understand how to balance powerups anymore. Even Mario has been guilty of this recently. You will never get a powerup in a level that does not specifically require it. I understand having area specific powerups, but they aren't really powerups when there are none that are not area specific. It really turns them more into puzzles. Colors had this problem, and it only contributed to its chronic "play by algorithm" issues.

See when you have a power-up that provides an ability that is not related specifically to the area its needed in, then it could potentially become over powered.

For instance, in S3k,the only powerfup that was not area specific, was the lightning sheild. That's ability was the double jump. The double jump was also designed so you could not only keep your momentum, but you could change direction and maintain momentum. It also attracted rings for you. If you were careful enough not to lose it, it allowed you to cheese your way through any of the challenging platforming. As you mentioned above, the double jump makes things a little too boring and removes most of the challenge.

As for the other powerups in S3K. The fire-sheild had a slightly useful air-dash but it could also throw you head first into an oncoming obstacle. It was only really useful when there was lava, as it allowed you to walk on it. It essentially removed all the challenge and sense of danger that lava provided. It made Lava Reef, the 3rd last zone in the game a cake-walk.

The bubble sheild was largely useless outside of watery levels. It turned Hydrocity, a pretty easy level, into a complete joke. Gone is the danger of drowning. You'd rarely, if not, never find a bubble sheild in an area which didn't have water in it.

I don't give a toss if its fun though. To me the enjoyment factor is what makes the power-ups and gimmicks good. If they make things more fun, the its a good thing. It doesn't matter how it adds to the fun, just as long as it does add to the enjoyment.

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WOAH i havent noticed how much the shields have gone, and how much the boost is overtaking everything!! i miss the green sheild and magnet shield..... :/

i hated the boost in sonic rush.... it just destroyed things and made even jumping sometimes obsolete...

but i think shields work much better in 3D sonic than 2D sonic.... not sure about the different kinds of shields, but at least calm the boost down a bit SEGA... it is far to overusable. (i know thats not a word XD)

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Like Phos mentioned, this is more about power-ups for me. I think lack of them hurts a platformer, and while I'd have agreed with the topic before Colors, the Wisps were just right. Taking abilities like the light dash and assigning them to place and purpose functions is how it should've been to start with.

I seriously couldn't disagree more. I HATED how Colors removed the Light Dash in favor of the yellow Wisp. Powerups should exist to EXPAND Sonic's abilities, not to LIMIT them by making some of Sonic's moves usable only when having a specific powerup. Previous games allowed you to Light Dash on any group of rings and Spindash at any place, and Colors removed those abilities in favor of adding them to the yellow and pink Wisps respectively. Well, the Spindash I can forgive, as the Boost makes it redundant; but the Light Dash is a perfectly useful move in 3D Sonic games that should be available whenever the player wants to use it.

I also hated how Colors limited the use of quick step and drifting to specific areas, and the same goes for Generations doing the same to the Light Dash and wall jump. What on Earth is wrong with having those moves available all the time? Is Sega afraid that players will get confused with so many moves? Because I don't remember that ever happening to me when playing Unleashed, and don't see it happening to people when they play 3D Mario games. I thought that Unleashed nailed Sonic's 3D moves perfectly, and Colors (and to a lesser extent, Generations) was a huge step back in that aspect.

At the same time I hope not all future games will be as fast and reckless as Unleashed gameplay. I don't want to only boost. So that's where I think power-ups like these belong. I wouldn't say it's redundant at all.

Funny. I enjoyed Unleashed's hedgehog stages (and Generations' modern gameplay) much more than Color's gameplay, as the enforced use of Wisps that made the game too slow-paced, and the over abundance of platforming sections that didn't allow you to keep running for more than half a minute, made me feel like I was playing an average Platformer rather than a Sonic game. If I wanted this kind of gameplay, I would play Mario, a series that handles the powerups and platforming much better than any Sonic game, thank you very much. Sonic games should capitalize on the series' strengths and unique aspects (ie: SPEED), not downplay them in favor of making the gameplay more generic and similar to that of the average Platformer.

Edited by Dere

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The funny thing is Unleashed was going to have shields at some point due to a green item bow with a shield icon popping up during the Rooftop run trailer. I think at one point during unleashes development the boost wasn't gonna be super sonic lite and that a shield would have been needed to achieve the aura of invincibility that appears around Sonic when he boosts.

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Ah yes, the humble shields. Or as I used to call them back in the day, "The Mwaa." Because of the noise that you hear when you would collect one.

When the homing attack first arrived, I though that was similar to the fire shield, as it gave you a burst of speed moving forward. The Boost would later improve that, thanks to being able to boost in mid air. Only difference is that lava would still hurt. I would always seem to fall into the lava after doing a mid air boost in generations.

Sonic also has a move that is similar to what the water shield would do with the bouncing. Only difference is the "stomp" move is best for sudden stops, taking out enemies under you or lowering platforms. You already mentioned how the boost would draw in rings, so I think we still have parts of them featured, just not in the same light.

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06 mentioned them in the manual but they ultimately weren't in the game, and Unleashed/ Colours just outright didn't use them.

The little red enemies curled up and stopped you from hitting them. the ones that traveled in groups and had the red leader that gave you bonus points.

Unleashed Wii had enemies with sheilds. Not so sure about Colors.

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I also hated how Colors limited the use of quick step and drifting to specific areas, and the same goes for Generations doing the same to the Light Dash and wall jump. What on Earth is wrong with having those moves available all the time?
Most of the moves you just listed are literally useless until you get to the areas they're expected to be used anyway, so it kinda begs the question of why the bloody hell you'd want to quickstep outside of ridiculously linear boost corridors with obstacles scattered across three distinct lanes. Or why you'd ever want to lightdash when there isn't a trail of rings to shuttle you someplace new. This isn't a matter of Sega restricting your options, it's a matter of Sega designing too damn many techniques in your moveset that overspecialize to the point of absolute ridiculousness.

To be perfectly fair though, limiting the wall jump to specific surfaces in Generations was a bit silly, but only because there actually existed other areas in the game where it would've been perfectly servicable.

Edited by The Cheese

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Most of the moves you just listed are literally useless until you get to the areas they're expected to be used anyway, so it kinda begs the question of why the bloody hell you'd want to quickstep outside of ridiculously linear boost corridors with obstacles scattered across three distinct lanes. Or why you'd ever want to lightdash when there isn't a trail of rings to shuttle you someplace new.

Because why not?

You could light dash any little insignificant trail of rings in Sonic Adventure 2 despite how pointless it was. I just don't really see the issue.

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At the very least, the Light Speed Dash was useful for getting Sonic back in a straight line as well as attacking certain enemies and bosses in the vicinity. I can't be the only one who abused the ring trails on Sonic vs. Shadow 2.

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Because why not?

Because it's practically the textbook definition of context sensitivity, and a borderline Quicktime Event. When it's used as a component of level design, it consists of pressing one button when prompted, and allowing the game to play itself for a few seconds. Even the homing attack is more involved than that, for fuck's sake. Not to mention when it's actually useable outside of route finding, it causes more harm than good - especially in SA2, where it killed all of your momentum and made you an easy target. Pyramid Cave probably being the best case in point off the top of my head.

The point I'm making is that right at it's core, the lightdash is so overspecialized that it's completely useless whenever the level design decides it is. So it begs the question as to why it even has to exist as its own move in the first place, rather than, oh say, integrating lightdash behaviour into the HA, or just getting rid of it and ring paths entirely and just placing a fucking spring when you need to add pathing options in such a way that you can't afford to have player involvement screwing it up. I'd much rather a control scheme streamline itself like that rather inventing a completely seperate move that's going to be either redundant or useless 80% of the time.

At the very least, the Light Speed Dash was useful for getting Sonic back in a straight line
We've got boostpads for that.

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I didn't say that. You said that it was useful for re-aligning your character to face straight forwards again - I countered by pointing out that boostpads already do that. Please don't put words in my mouth.

But let's be honest here - what else is it supposed to do? As a pathing option? Springs already cover it, even when you have to HA them in midair. As an attack option? We've had at least three different moves that do the same job, notably the boost and spindash (there's SA2's somersault and Unleashed/Generations sliding too, in case keeping momentum low happens to be important), and that's to say nothing of simply jumping into the bastards. As a quick means of gathering rings? Doesn't the boost already act as both an increased ring-collecting hitbox and an actual ring magnet? Every single purpose the lightdash has that I can think of, another mechanic does the same job better without being a complete single-purpose, single use move in the process, so you'll have to forgive me if I don't understand why it should even exist, much less as its own move.

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Because the only thing the Light Speed Dash does is act like a boostpad?....
Pretty much...a boostpad, a spring, or a series of either/both. I'm honestly having trouble thinking of any differences, aside from the very rare instances where you can attack with it...though, boostpads do tend to throw you into a spin these days...

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If it acts like a spring, a boostpad, or a series of either/or, then that logically means it doesn't act like just one single thing. But I reiterate: I was making an innocent observation about its abilities in SA2, not calling the Light Speed Dash useful or unique. I don't have the interest nor energy to argue with anyone a position I don't even hold, (fyi: I don't think the Light Speed Dash is useful).

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I'm just gonna chime in and say I don't see why stuff like the light dash needs to be context sensitive (aside from Hover wisp), but at the same time the light dash was so pointless in Generations that it was essentially worthless. There are so few places it's usable in you may as well not bother. It's like the Hyper Grapple in Metroid Prime 3, but that's due to being super late, and even then it earns it's keep in the final section of the game. The Light Dash has neither excuse.

I did find the Light Dash in Unleashed worked well when you needed to straighten yourself out on water though, but that may have been partially due to overly loose controls.

Edited by Semi-colon e

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the balance of speed and platforming has never been better than in Colors and UnWiished.

Are you kidding me?

...in fact, the the 3D games, a hundred rings doesn't even give you an extra life half the time anymore, does it?

That's only in Unleashed HD, not sure about Wii/PS2 though...

***

I don't miss shields all that much. Of course if future Sonic games decide to come back to Adventure-like formula shields and power-ups in general will be pleasure. But now when we have SUPA-POWAH-BOOOST that is pretty much all the power-ups from classic Sonic games in one move? No, thank you very much. Games are easy enough now, with shields they would be even easier.

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Well, if generations is any indication, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of those shields real soon. Hopefully.

The flame shields, and really, every shield from Sonic 3 was implemented brilliantly, and updated to modern standards, so I really would be a shame to see them be a one time gig.

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Y'know I never thought of it much after Sonic 3, but I did after Sonic 4 (Episode 1) and even more now after Generations.

I really don't get it. They completely removed ALL the power-ups in the Unleashed style. Not just the SHIELDS. I mean, I guess I can understand why everything else was removed, but even just the regular shield was removed. I mean, that still has a reason to be there...

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Or why you'd ever want to lightdash when there isn't a trail of rings to shuttle you someplace new. This isn't a matter of Sega restricting your options, it's a matter of Sega designing too damn many techniques in your moveset that overspecialize to the point of absolute ridiculousness.

I have to agree that the ring dash is useless now, because it does nothing to help your score. In SA2 and Heroes, for example, where combos, ring dashes, and ring count were the biggest contributing variables to the final score, it was important. Whereas now, when time score is #1 and ring count comes next, nothing else matters. I really prefer the other way, because I love getting combos, and the ring dash was my favorite move.

But let's be honest here - what else is it supposed to do?

Give you a better score for the older games, as I just explained. But now it's useless.

Edited by BlueBlurMe

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I don't really miss shield too much in current 3D games mostly because the enemies are an absolute joke. Seriously, Sonic has such an easy time disposing them that he doesn't need any additional defensive add-ons. This is down to a mix of enemies being extremely slow and idiotic when it comes to actually attacking you, and the fact that Sonic has a number of tools to dispose of them with. In the classics, you could just roll/spindash or jump. In games like Unleashed, Colours and Generations you have the Homing Attack, Slide, Boost, Stomp as well as jumping to kill enemies (with the Homing Attack and Boost being extremely effective and powerful ways to take them down).

Of course, I'm only talking about the generic shield. If they bought back stuff like the Elemental Shields, or made new powers to add on to Sonic's plethora of moves then I'd be game for that. Though honestly, I'd prefer them to incorporate proper rolling mechanics back into the series first.

Edited by SiLeNt PyRrH0n

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I don't like the idea of not using shields. You can do special things. It made every stage a bit more interesting. I like having the powers that go along with having a shield. You don't have to lose all your rings when you take damage, and a special ability comes along with it. Plus, the new games are losing more and more of the original aspects of the game. I think the shield would be a good thing to keep using in the games. It's not like in Colors where you use the ability where it wants you to. If you lose the shield, the game does not have any more in this area that it could be advantageous in. In Colors, the wisp usually keeps appearing because you need to use it's special ability. The whole idea of a shield is not to be able get places you have to go to in order to complete the stage, it's supposed to be something that gives you an easier time getting through the stage. Sometimes it can be used to go places you can't without it. That's the fun of it.

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I have to agree that the ring dash is useless now, because it does nothing to help your score. In SA2 and Heroes, for example, where combos, ring dashes, and ring count were the biggest contributing variables to the final score, it was important. Whereas now, when time score is #1 and ring count comes next, nothing else matters. I really prefer the other way, because I love getting combos, and the ring dash was my favorite move.

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