Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Sonic Mania

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  • #220860
    Ben Kirkham
    Participant

    Blah blah blah DRM blah blah Denuvo blah blah. There’s definitely a point to be made there – you should be able to play offline.

    But I’ve not heard anyone talk about the game itself yet. I’ve been playing for a couple of days, and I’m really enjoying it. A smart and clever synthesis of the first four games, with a bit of Sonic CD, Sonic 3D and Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine thrown in for good measure. A bit like being 8 years old again!

    Opinions?

    #220861
    RickLee84
    Participant

    I love it. I have it on my Switch. As someone who adored the MegaDrive games, this is the Sonic 4 we should have got and not that pile of wank that was the mobile game.

    #220862
    Dave
    Participant

    It’s fantastic. I’ve been playing it daily since release and I haven’t tired of it yet.

    While it trades quite a bit on nostalgia, there’s actually a huge amount of innovation here (with some cracking new gimmicks), but it’s all perfectly integrated with the old stuff and feels completely seamless. I already love some of the new levels as much as the old ones, and the music is cracking.

    Plus, the physics are perfect again. This feels like a Sonic game in a way that nothing really has since S&K.

    #220869
    Moonlight
    Participant

    As a longtime fan from childhood, I’ve obviously been waiting quite a while for a new Sonic game that wasn’t one of those tedious “Hold A-to-Win” boosting-based Modern Sonic ones they’ve been making for the past decade. Of course, it took hiring talent from the fanbase to make that happen, because SEGA has long ago lost its heart and soul and is just struggling in vain to replicate past games without any kind of understanding or insight on what made them fun to play.

    Mania is well so designed it’s actually making me spot flaws in my beloved Sonic 3 & Knuckles that never occurred to me before; to name a more harmless example, how boring a level Angel Island is. I always considered Sonic 2 to have the unequivocally best level design of the Genesis trilogy (Sonic & Knuckles is literally Sonic 3 Part 2, not a fourth game), but Mania beats it out not only in what made it good but with a design complexity the Genesis could never have achieved on its meager double digit kBs of RAM.

    The bosses are wholly more clever than anything from the original Genesis games, with the vast majority requiring you to figure out the gimmick/work out a way to indirectly attack Eggman’s robot. You can’t just jump on him easy peasy 8 times the way you can in practically all the old bosses. They’re great, and an actual challenge at times.

    I could go on forever about what I love about Mania.

    Mania is the real Sonic Generations, and the Sonic game we all should’ve gotten on the Saturn in 1996. God help me, I love the new Sonic game, but before Mania was announced I never thought I’d say those words again.

    The best level design in Mania came from the original levels/new sections of old levels, so all SEGA have to do to top this is do what Christian “Taxman” Whitehead knew to do from the very beginning: just make a wholly new 2D Sonic game, all original levels and elements. You finally know for sure it’ll work, you don’t need to keep rehashing levels and other stuff from the past as a crutch any more.

    #220872
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes. I hope Mania paves the way for a sequel that’s 100% original. Press Garden and Studiopolis are two of the most fun levels in the game, and Titanic Monarch is maybe the most challenging a traditional Sonic game has ever been (but satisfying with it).

    #220873
    Dave
    Participant

    Oh, and the Special Stages are rock hard (especially number five) – it took me quite a few goes to crack them.

    What did anyone else think of the ‘good’ ending? Don’t want to spoil it if people haven’t got there yet but it’s an interesting one.

    #220875
    (deleted)
    Participant

    Careful what you wish for though – I remember how long and hard we all prayed for a new 2D Mario, and once they started the fuckers wouldn’t stop, to the point where I started to wish they’d never bothered.

    #220878
    Dave
    Participant

    The new 2D Sonic is better than any Sonic game since the 2D era, though. I don’t think the same is true for the Mario games, which made the transition to 3D (and other game types) far more successfully than Sonic.

    #220893
    Ben Kirkham
    Participant

    Dave Wallace, completely agree. This feels like it should have been after S&K. I love the original spin they’ve put on some of the classic levels. Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 is wonderfully quirky, and there’s a richness to the level design that makes me want to go back and explore even more. Exactly what I want from a Sonic game. Never felt warmly to the more modern games like Generations.

    I’m also surprised that it’s actually a good deal harder than I expected it to be. It’s a bit like a greatest hits in its game structure.

    #220896
    Dave
    Participant

    Yeah, it’s very hard in places, especially some of the bosses like KyoSo says.

    Chemical Plant Zone act 2 is a great example of taking the basics of the original level and adding a huge amount of new stuff and imaginative level design to it (and not just the big new gimmicks like the bouncy gel and the purple lifts – I also love the smaller stuff like the switchbacks on the helix platforms that send you back in the opposite direction on the other path). It’s my son’s favourite level and he asks for it repeatedly.

    Also,exploring is well worth it, especially with Knuckles (for levels you’ve only played as Sonic or Tails). The Knuckles paths are often so different that they feel like different levels altogether.

    #220902
    Phil
    Participant

    It’s super good, but the difficulty complaints are kind of surprising to me! I struggled my way through Sonic 1, 2, and 3 at various points in my life, but didn’t have any issues with this one until the final zone.

    And, to be honest, the final zone felt like a massive load of BS after the graceful level designs that preceded it, but maybe I’ll change my mind on a replay.

    Also, I know folks have (probably rightly) grumbled that so many zones were reused from previous games, but I honestly didn’t mind. I haven’t played the previous games enough times to remember layouts or anything, so it didn’t affect me at all. Outside of Green Hill and Chemical Plant, I barely remembered anything about the originals.

    I really enjoyed this one.

    #220907
    Moonlight
    Participant

    I know those old layouts like the back of my hand, and I didn’t mind. The majority of the game is new content, and it’s good stuff.

    Tying this into Red Dwarf, I’m currently writing and producing a Sonic parody in which Tails is heavily influenced by Rimmer. He’s deeply resentful of being stuck in the sidekick position, power hungry, ignores his real talents in favor obsessing over what he doesn’t have, and hates that an airhead like Sonic is allowed to get all the praise while he (thinks he) does all the work.

    Or maybe _I_ am just kind of like Rimmer. That would probably explain why I like writing the character type so much.

    #220911
    Dave
    Participant

    It’s super good, but the difficulty complaints are kind of surprising to me! I struggled my way through Sonic 1, 2, and 3 at various points in my life, but didn’t have any issues with this one until the final zone.

    I think part of this is the changed nature of gaming today, which is less reliant on fast reaction times and memorising level layouts than this type of gaming in the ’90s. I’ve seen quite a few complaints from young gamers of this generation that parts of Mania are incredibly unfair and almost impossible –

    #220912
    Dave
    Participant

    It’s super good, but the difficulty complaints are kind of surprising to me! I struggled my way through Sonic 1, 2, and 3 at various points in my life, but didn’t have any issues with this one until the final zone.

    I think part of this is the changed nature of gaming today, which is less reliant on fast reaction times and memorising level layouts than this type of gaming was in the ’90s.

    I’ve seen quite a few complaints from young gamers of this generation that parts of Mania are incredibly unfair and almost impossible – like the Oil Ocean Act 2 boss, which is just a remix of a couple of classic bosses really – which I found amusing.

    The only bits of this game that I found genuinely challenging were the fifth Special Stage (never have I been more relieved to get a Chaos Emerald after so many tries) and parts of Titanic Monarch (but even then I got through it at a first attempt, once you work out the gimmicks).

    The final final boss you get with all the Emeralds is a bit tough at first, but not too bad once you work out a strategy.

    #220921
    Moonlight
    Participant

    I somehow managed to beat the Oil Ocean Act 2 boss with no rings. It was a total million to one fluke and I wish I had it on video.

    #220922
    Phil
    Participant

    “parts of Titanic Monarch (but even then I got through it at a first attempt, once you work out the gimmicks)”

    I’ve finished the game twice and I still don’t think I worked out the gimmick! I just seem to amble around in circles, especially toward the end of Act 2, and then finally a big portal opens and I can go to the boss. I honestly don’t know how to trigger the portal…it just eventually seems to happen.

    The Oil Ocean boss is weird, and I wondered if something was glitched. Every so often I’d just die for no reason, usually during or after the platforms were sinking into the oil. I’d just be hopping around down there and die, without anything (as far as I can tell) there to kill me. Maybe it’s a collision issue, or maybe something was hitting me from below, but there didn’t seem to be any indication of what was killing me. A little frustrating, but not bad.

    Doing a run through with Knuckles now, and man, it’s so much easier to find those huge rings that lead to the special stages. I have three chaos emeralds! Two more than I’d gotten on my previous runs!

    #220929
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes, there is a bit of a glitch on the Oil Ocean Act 2 boss where you can die if you’re in the oil at a certain point. A shame as hiding in the oil is a good strategy in places.

    As for Titanic Monarch Act 2…

    ….spoilers, obviously…

    …the level is made up of four different sub-levels that you can access in any order from the hub with the four portals. Each sub-level requires you to make it all the way to the end, where there is a glowing orb that you can use to shoot you through a portal that takes you back to the hub and closes off the level you completed. But there are lots of portal traps along the way that will take you back to an earlier point in the sub-level and make you redo it until you get to the end. Then, once all four sub-levels are complete, a circular portal opens to take you to the boss.

    #220930
    Dave
    Participant

    The word “portal”, there.

    #220945
    Phil
    Participant

    Ahh, that makes sense. My first time through, I actually ran out the clock…which shocked me because I forgot it was possible to die that way. The second time I figured it was just some kind of big maze, so I sprinted around and eventually made it through. It didn’t occur to me that it was actually a series of four smaller mazes that each needed to be completed. Thank you. That helps a lot!

    #220946
    Dave
    Participant

    No worries, it took me a while to get my head round it too.

    I ran very close to the time limit on my first run through too. Luckily the stage timer resets for the boss fight!

    #220977
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Why do they always go backwards?

    There’s a whole world of potential in a properly realised 3D Sonic game. Look at Mario 64, Nintendo got that right on the first go.

    Sonic just can’t seem to get the right developers.

    #220988
    Dave
    Participant

    Sonic Adventure is arguably the best of the 3D Sonic games and it was the first proper 3D game in the series.

    #220993
    Phil
    Participant

    “There’s a whole world of potential in a properly realised 3D Sonic game. Look at Mario 64, Nintendo got that right on the first go.”

    As Dave said above, though, that’s the major difference. Nintendo did just fine translating its franchises to the third dimension, Mario chief among them. Sonic has yet* to be translated successfully, even now, several generations after 3D levels have become the norm for game design.

    They “go backwards” (if I understand your meaning properly) because they’ve tried a dozen or so times to go forward and keep meeting with popular and critical failure. When they go backwards — as they did here, in Sonic 4, and partially in Generations — the critics and public make it very clear that that’s where they should spend their time.

    And in fairness to Sonic (which largely doesn’t deserve fairness, I admit), they’ve tried going forward more often than they’ve tried going back. It’s just that only one direction seems to work for them.


    * I’m by no means a Sonic completionist, so I’m speaking from the general sense of dismay that surrounds Sonic’s 3D outings. I haven’t played most of them, but the overall reception of those games is clearly pretty dire. Personally, though, I can say that I really liked Sonic Lost World, and I genuinely think it gets dismissed because people assume it’s as bad as most Sonic 3D games are.

    #220995
    Ridley
    Participant

    I really need to get round to Lost Worlds.

    Sonic’s problem is that he’s ‘only’ a fast hedgehog. Mario’s whatever the game needs him to be. And a plumber.

    #220997
    Dave
    Participant

    I think a big part of the problem is that high-speed gameplay and 3D often don’t easily mix – too many opportunities to go off-course in a way that doesn’t happen with more linear 2D games by their very nature – and Sonic’s appeal has always required an element of that in a way that Mario doesn’t. I don’t think a Sonic game has ever really made the high-speed sections totally satisfying in true 3D.

    That’s not to say that Sonic is just about speed, of course – I often see (especially recently with the release of Mania) Sonic’s original 2D games written off as on-rails speed games where you have to do little more than push right to succeed. Sonic has always been a mean platformer as well as a thrillingly fast speed ride, with lots more to it than running quickly. But the speed parts are important.

    #221021
    Phil
    Participant

    Finished my Knuckles run. Additional thoughts:

    1) Got four Chaos Emeralds! But…frankly, I don’t know how I’ll ever get all eight without using Knuckles. I feel as though the giant rings I found were almost exclusively due to my ability to explore with him.

    2) I don’t think I’m a fan of how the blue sphere levels are implemented. You don’t need many rings to activate them at goal posts (25?) meaning I keep going into the blue sphere sequences frequently, breaking the actual flow of the levels. Every minute or so, I feel like I’m in a blue sphere level, and that’s just too much. Yes, I know I can choose not to visit them…but I do need those medals, so…why not? Either I’m breaking the flow too often, or I’m abandoning a chance to get a medal I need. Neither is ideal.

    3) The Oil Ocean boss stinks. Mainly it’s the glitchy deaths that get to me, but the main issue is just how long it remains invulnerable. The cycles between opportunities to hit it are way too long. You wait, then you avoid the spiky tail thing, then you wait, then you avoid three very slow lasers, then you wait, then the boss appears. It’s a lot of waiting. I know you are jumping around to avoid the other hazards, but they’re not difficult…they’re just time consuming. Considering you essentially need to avoid both turrets or whatever they are before you can even attack the boss directly, that’s a fight that’s far too long and dull for my tastes. Oh, and the game may glitch and kill you for no reason and you’ll have to do all that fighting and waiting again. B-)

    4) Speaking of glitches, this is the first time my game softlocked. I’d heard about it before, but it finally happened. No idea why. I was just playing a level, the music stopped (though I could keep playing) and then it finally just crashed and I had to reboot my console. Also, I went out of bounds and died at least twice, just by playing the game normally. I’ve heard you can get out of bounds easily with Knuckles, but I wasn’t even trying to. It just happens. I have faith Sega will patch this stuff, though.

    5) The game is truly awesome. I really love how every level integrates major speed segments. As Dave mentions above, Sonic’s always had a bit of a split personality when it comes to speed: it’s all about speed / no it isn’t. This game provides both experiences in what I think is a really natural and rewarding way. There are plenty of games I’ve played through three times, but very few of them I’ve played through three times so close to release.

    Next is a Tails run. I’m not even a huge Sonic fan, and I’m loving this game. It’s great. And that soundtrack is almost obnoxiously good.
    5)

    #221022
    Dave
    Participant

    Got four Chaos Emeralds! But…frankly, I don’t know how I’ll ever get all eight without using Knuckles. I feel as though the giant rings I found were almost exclusively due to my ability to explore with him.

    You can actually go back and add emeralds to a completed save file by replaying a level and finding an special stage and completing it. So you can build up a completed save file with only a few emeralds (or none!) to a save file with all emeralds pretty easily, by replaying levels with easy-to-find giant rings.

    The great part is that the giant rings come back each time you go back into the save file on a completed save, and emeralds register to your save file as soon as the Special Stage is completed – you don’t even need to finish the Act. So if you (say) play through Green Hill, go to the first giant ring, and then come out of the game, you can keep reloading the level and doing the same thing until you’ve got them all.

    #221023
    Dave
    Participant

    And that soundtrack is almost obnoxiously good.

    Favourite tracks? I love what they’ve done with Lava Reef Act 2. And Press Garden Act 2 is lovely.

    (Flying Battery Act 2 is also pretty cool.)

    #221026
    Ben Kirkham
    Participant

    I’m incredibly frustrated that, at the age of 32, I am nowhere near as good at playing classic-style Sonic as I was at 7 and 8.

    My 8-year-old self is roundly attacking me using a spin dash.

    #221033
    Phil
    Participant

    “Favourite tracks?”

    I don’t think there’s a stinker in the bunch! Again, slightly cheating because a number of the tracks are recycled, but the remixes we get for Zone 2 absolutely justify it.

    My favorites are probably Mirage Saloon and Metallic Madness. The latter is super funky and so much fun. Press Garden and Studiopolis aren’t far behind.

    I went into Mania not knowing which zones were included, so now that I’ve been through it a few times I can share my disappointment that we didn’t get a remix of Starlight Zone. :(

    Also, secondary disappointment that there were no casino-themed zones.

    “I’m incredibly frustrated that, at the age of 32, I am nowhere near as good at playing classic-style Sonic as I was at 7 and 8.”

    I had my version of this disappointment in 2008 when Mega Man 9 came out.

    #221034
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    I love this game so so much. I agree with almost all of the reservations that people have mentioned (especially regarding the Oil Ocean boss and the way the Blue Spheres levels affect the flow), but for every negative, there’s about 40 positives. Unlike Sonic 4, which was a step in the right direction but ultimately just not very much fun, it feels like it was made in 1995 for the Mega Drive/Genesis, and that’s a very good thing. It transports me back to that time, and it’s a lovely feeling.

    #221035
    Dave
    Participant

    I went into Mania not knowing which zones were included, so now that I’ve been through it a few times I can share my disappointment that we didn’t get a remix of Starlight Zone.

    I call thee brother.

    I did exactly the same thing and had exactly the same feeling when it didn’t show up. For some reason I was sure they would do it, too. Only having Green Hill from Sonic 1 was a bit of a disappointment – hopefully something they can remedy if they do a follow-up. I’d be happy with Marble and Labyrinth too.

    #221036
    Dave
    Participant

    It transports me back to that time, and it’s a lovely feeling.

    I agree absolutely. And somehow – unlike some empty nostalgia exercises that actually highlight the flaws in old things that you enjoyed, and make you question your earlier experiences – this feels just as good as (if not better than) it was at the time.

    It was a smart choice to combine existing and fresh levels and to remix the existing stages in the way that Mania does. It’s the perfect combination of old and new: familiar enough to feel cosy and comfortable, but inventive enough that it can still surprise you and remind you how enjoyable the element of discovery was with those old games.

    #221037
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    Yeah, you can’t beat that first moment of “ah, Green Hill Zone Act 1, I know this like the back of my… wait, what the fuck is this bit?”.

    #221038
    Dave
    Participant

    Hah, yeah, that was fantastic.

    #221039
    Ben Kirkham
    Participant

    Yes Dave, I’d love to see a remixed Scrap Brain Zone in a sequel.

    I’m desperately trying to find a way for Sonic Mania to fit into Red Dwarf so I can justify asking Cappsy or Ian to do a playthrough?

    Well, technically Sonic is a BLUE dwarf so…

    #221040
    Phil
    Participant

    Spinball my nipple nuts

    #221042
    Dave
    Participant

    “It’s cold outside, there’s no winning that Blue Sphere…”

    #221044
    Ridley
    Participant

    Outrozone Act… … Uh, hang on…

    #221046
    Nick R
    Participant

    @KyoSo:

    The best level design in Mania came from the original levels/new sections of old levels, so all SEGA have to do to top this is do what Christian “Taxman” Whitehead knew to do from the very beginning:

    Not just what Taxman alone knew! The game has a pretty long list of credits, but I don’t like to see Stealth (Headcannon) overlooked. He, like Taxman, got his start in fangames and ROM hacks. His Sonic: Project Mettrix fangame represented what is AFAIK the first fan recreation of the Sonic engine for DOS/Windows that was programmed in C rather than using an application like The Games Factory/Klik n Play, and he also worked on an impressive ROM hack called Sonic Megamix. He knows a lot about how Sonic game engines tick.

    (Fortunately Sonic Mania has much better level design than Mettrix or Megamix.)


    @Dave
    Wallace:

    It was a smart choice to combine existing and fresh levels and to remix the existing stages in the way that Mania does. It’s the perfect combination of old and new: familiar enough to feel cosy and comfortable, but inventive enough that it can still surprise you and remind you how enjoyable the element of discovery was with those old games.

    Yes! There are so many moments throughout the game where one classic level incorporated elements of another in ways that seemed obvious in hindsight. Making the exterior of Flying Battery based on Wing Fortress; giving Oil Ocean aspects of Sandopolis.

    Those combinations were some of my favourite things about the game, alongside the imaginative boss fights.

    @Ben Kirkham:

    I’m desperately trying to find a way for Sonic Mania to fit into Red Dwarf

    Nigel Kitching worked on both the Smegazine and Sonic the Comic. Will that do for a connection?

    #221047
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes! There are so many moments throughout the game where one classic level incorporated elements of another in ways that seemed obvious in hindsight. Making the exterior of Flying Battery based on Wing Fortress; giving Oil Ocean aspects of Sandopolis.

    Yes, exactly. On top of those, the addition of Hill Top elements to Lava Reef worked really well for me. And some of the redeployment of certain badniks (like the bats from Marble Zone cropping up in the caves of Green Hill) and gimmicks (like the Marble Garden pulleys and speed-dash wheels in Stardust Speedway) felt so natural that it took me a minute to remember that they weren’t originally like that.

    Even though only a handful of original levels were included by name in Mania, I think every single one was represented to some degree in this way.

    #221048
    JamesTC
    Participant

    With regards to special stages and bonus stages you can do them in a complete save file.

    A special ring is very early in Press Garden Act 1 which you can use over and over again. Just go down and left after the robots throwing a saw back and forth to find it.

    The bonus stages reset all of the starposts aside from the one you entered every time you use them so you can just go back and forth two of them. There is a place early in Green Hill Zone Act 2 in which you can easily access two of them with only a few seconds to get to each. One is on the low route and one on the high route and they are separated by three platforms to get up to the high route.

    #221049
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Well, you lot have convinced me to buy this. Just as soon as I stop playing Breath of the Wild. At current estimates; that’ll be some time in the next 2 years. Probably.

    #221057
    Phil
    Participant

    I’m looking forward to digging into Breath of the Wild, but I’m holding out until I get a Switch. Which probably won’t happen until they make a Mario Odyssey bundle, but I’m okay with that.

    I haven’t been a fan of any Zelda since The Wind Waker (with the glorious exception of A Link Between Worlds, which is another throwback game MAKING IT RELEVANT TO THIS THREAD), so I admit I’m a bit skittish. But everyone seems to be enjoying it so far.

    #221081
    Dave
    Participant

    A great interview with Christian Whitehead on Sonic Mania:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/features/a-chat-with-fan-turned-creator-of-sonic-mania-w501581

    (I wonder which Zone he’s talking about when he refers to the one that a lot of fans typically dislike?)

    #221082
    Dave
    Participant

    On second thoughts, it’s Oil Ocean Zone, isn’t it?

    #221083
    Ridley
    Participant

    >Ristar Mania

    That would be neat.

    #221084
    Dave
    Participant

    As long as he does it after Streets Of Mania.

    #221086
    Ben Kirkham
    Participant

    Aaargh! My PS3 Controller doesn’t work when I hook it up to the PC (downloaded all the appropriate software)! I can’t keep using the keyboard, it just isn’t the same.

    Any help/ideas guys?

    #221114
    Dave
    Participant
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