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
    PFML84
    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
    Katydid
    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)
    Member

    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
    Katydid
    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
    Katydid
    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
    Tranter
    Member

    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
    #221115
    Dave
    Participant
    #221147
    PFML84
    Participant

    A few times on the Special Stage I have jumped for the ring bonus that’s over the pi and whilt I have hit it, the game acts like I’ve just fell down the pit and I get a lovely revolving aerial view of the stage until it kicks me out. It’s probably the only glitch I’ve come across so far. I do have a completed Sonic file with all the medals but only 4 emeralds and am now trying again with Knuckles but I do intend going back to the Sonic file and finding all the emeralds and seeing what Super Sonic is like.

    #221150
    Katydid
    Participant

    Sonic Mania needs to be Sonic’s Back to Earth.

    #221156
    Dave
    Participant

    It’s far too good for that.

    #221168
    Katydid
    Participant

    I want a Sonic Series XII.

    #221178
    Dave
    Participant

    I think Sonic 1 is very much the first series of Red Dwarf and Sonic CD the second. Sonic 2 acts as the III-IV era and Sonic & Knuckles is V, with Sonic Adventure playing the part of series VI.

    Not sure what would be VII but Sonic ’06 would have to be VIII.

    BtE would probably be Generations or something.

    #221203
    McAleeCh
    Participant

    Love this game – just finished marathoning through it with all characters over the last weekend. Feels pretty spot-on compared to the Sonic games of old, and I like that the level layouts are more flowing similar to Sonic 2’s, but with the expanse and hidden secrets of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I’d been a little annoyed at the announcement we’d be getting reimaginings of existing Zones, but the team have snuck enough new stuff into them that a few of the Acts do feel more like a new Zone with an old coat of paint, so to speak.

    Presentation-wise, the Zones are all looking pretty slick – the reworked graphics for the returning stages look nice and slick with some very heavy updates to some (Stardust Speedway Act 2, I’m looking at you!), though the real stars of the show are the all-new Zones – let’s have a full game of these if there’s a sequel please, SEGA…! Music-wise, Tee Lopes has done wonders with the soundtrack, with some rather funky remixes for the returning stages and some nicely funky tunes for the new – even if a couple do lack a little of the ‘hummability’ of the older tunes, they’re still nicely memorable and have been bouncing around my head in work for the last week or two. I do wish they’d been able to add transition animations between all the Zones – looks like they ran out of time in that regard, as some have them and others don’t, and a few leftover graphics found within the game suggest a couple might have been abandoned in-progress. Hope they get the opportunity to add in the missing ones and patch them in during an update or something.

    Story-wise, the Hard Boiled Heavies are a pretty charming addition to the canon – love the idea of Eggrobos which have developed individual personalities due to the Phantom Ruby’s influence. Some of the story leaps are a little confusing in the later stages – mostly due to those few missing Zone transitions – but overall after reading the manual first I had a pretty good idea of what was going down as I played through the game.

    The new Special Stages are probably my favourite in the series – they have a simple easy-to-pick-up premise, a good difficulty curve and the increased control the player has compared to some of the previous Special Stages means that once you’ve practiced you can really experiment with trying to figure out the most efficient ways to run (and shortcut) through the stages on repeat play-throughs. On my first run (Sonic & Tails) I only managed two Emeralds before the end of the game; by run three (Tails alone) I was able to get all the Emeralds by the end of Flying Battery Act 1.

    Blue Spheres are as frustrating as ever, but at the same time it’s so satisfying to finally crack a stage you’ve been stuck on! Love the updated graphics, though I do think they break the pacing a little as a Bonus Stage – for any sequel, I’d prefer to see some Sonic 3 & Knuckles style bonus stages that are a little more quick-fire but can earn you rings/shields to take back to the level. I like the idea of using Blue Sphere to unlock extras, though, and I’m not sure how you’d work that in without being able to access the stages directly from within the main game.

    Speaking of which, still not really had a chance to delve into any of the unlockable extras yet – something to do next time I have some free time…!

    Overall a great game and a love letter to what made the classic Mega Drive Sonic games work so well. A couple of small presentational niggles, but overall a great continuation of the series and a worthy successor to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The only thing which stops it being pretty much perfect in my estimation is those few missing transitions, and reimagining past stages – something an all-original sequel could easily fix…! (Hint, hint, SEGA… because we know you all read the G&T forums, haha. ; P)

    #221204
    McAleeCh
    Participant

    Agh, can’t edit that post for whatever reason. One other thing I meant to add – I do think the Flying Battery boss was a bit unintuitive on the first run-through – it’s not that clear when it’s solid and when it’s not, and it’s a bit jarring that the cockpit’s completely intangible rather than just bouncing you back or something. Solidifying the cockpit and armouring it up so it’s clear you can’t damage it, and darkening/moving the machine into the background slightly when it’s intangible would fix the issues I had with this. It’s fine on repeat playthroughs once you know what to do, but it breaks a lot of rules established throughout the rest of the series as to when you can/can’t damage things which can be a little confusing first time around!

    #221211
    Dave
    Participant

    I do wish they’d been able to add transition animations between all the Zones – looks like they ran out of time in that regard, as some have them and others don’t, and a few leftover graphics found within the game suggest a couple might have been abandoned in-progress.

    I’ve seen suggestions that the zone order was rejigged a little bit, fairly late into the process, which would maybe account for this (as well as the slightly erratic difficulty curve).

    I’m not sure how much truth there is to that, though.

    #221222
    Phil
    Participant

    Finished my Tails run. I saved it for last because I kept hearing that Tails was “easy mode,” and I wanted to play the game properly before I went easy on myself. But I’d actually disagree!

    I guess it depends on what someone means by “easy.” For instance, if they had most of their trouble with platforming, Tails would certainly help there. But I guess I didn’t because I struggled with him more than I did with Sonic or Knuckles, and died in places I never even took damage before. In fact, I died to the last boss for the first time ever!

    I did collect all but one Chaos Emerald. The last bonus stage is hard as heck, as if you build up too much speed before catching the UFO it’s super easy to just fly off the track. I’ll get it…but I need a break.

    Thank you for letting me know you can dip back into stages on your completed save file to farm for emeralds and medals. I honestly didn’t even think to try that!

    #221224
    Dave
    Participant

    That’s the only way I’d get them all, I think. I didn’t think the final Special Stage was that bad, but number five was an absolute bastard.

    I’m very close to the end of my Knuckles run (and I have four emeralds so far on that save) – like you, I’ve saved Tails for last.

    #226499
    Dave
    Participant

    So has anyone given Sonic Forces a try?

    I saw it was on sale on Amazon for £14.99 over the Christmas holidays so I’ve given it a punt.

    It’s very much in the mould of the modern Sonic games (feels similar to Generations in a lot of ways) but they seem to have done a bit of a better job of removing the frustrations (like instant deaths from falling off the stages). So far, anyway.

    The kids love it and have particularly enjoyed the character-creator element that allows you to make your own unique Sonic-style character.

    For me, though, it’s no Mania. I always find the serious Sonic storylines a bit laughable, and this is completely overwrought in places (the opening setup is that Sonic has been captured – and *tortured* – for months after Robotnik succeeds in taking over the planet. Yes.)

    Plus there’s been some obvious cost-cutting in places, with some of the animated cutscenes strung together with plain text screens to fill gaps in the story, which is a bit naff.

    But at a budget price – £15 is cheaper than Mania, and for a physical release – this isn’t too bad, and the kids love all the bells and whistles.

    #226500
    Dave
    Participant

    Oh, incidentally, it wasn’t until mid-December that I finally fully cracked Mania (ie. getting complete save files with Sonic, Knuckles and Tails, each with the full seven chaos emeralds, as well as completing all the Blue Sphere levels), so that game ended up providing a huge amount of value for money.

    #226518
    Phil
    Participant

    I thought about getting Forces but…eh. I’m not as interested. If it went on sale for a cheap enough price, I’d probably grab it for the hell of it. I know you mentioned it’s less expensive than Mania, and that’s nice, but I think it would still need to be cheaper still to interest me.

    Mania, on the other hand, has had some real staying power with me. I’ve played through it a few times and diddled around with it even more. I’m far from finishing all the Blue Sphere stages and I may not ever, but that game impressed me way more than I expected to be impressed as a casual fan of the series.

    I put it in my top 10 games list for the year: http://noiselesschatter.com/2017/12/31/my-10-best-games-of-my-2017/

    If Forces ever dropped to around $5 I’d grab it, if only for the novelty of character creation (which I hear is fairly deep), but for now I’ll just wait patiently for Mania 2 (feat. Starlight Zone).

    #226525
    Dave
    Participant

    Yeah, there ‘s lots of fun to be had fiddling about with the character creator if you like that kind of thing.

    #226599
    Katydid
    Participant

    (the opening setup is that Sonic has been captured – and *tortured* – for months after Robotnik succeeds in taking over the planet. Yes.)

    A staple of faux-serious writing: just claim something terrible happened to somebody off screen, but don’t let it impact the character in any way whatsoever.

    Forces has fucking rubbish level design. I’ve always disliked the gameplay of the boost system, but Forces brings it to new heights with just absurdly short and linear levels. Sonic was a platformer that made you EARN your speed by playing well, which could for example let you skip over underwater sections in levels like Hydrocity in Sonic 3. That’s almost the polar opposite of how the series now works.

    The boost system has always struck me as an overglorified “hold A to win” set up; just press the button and watch Sonic go. The enemies aren’t even obstacles, they’re usually cannon fodder to charge through or a path through the air to traverse with the homing attack. It’s just so simple and unsatisfying to me. It feels like the game is almost playing itself in many sections, and I as the player have very minimal impact beyond holding the boost button. It doesn’t help that the level design is in the boost games is way more worried about making sure you’re always moving as fast as possible as opposed to actually being fun.

    The 2.5D segments suffer the most, because the game engine is incredibly poorly designed for platforming. Because all your speed comes from holding a button to automatically max it out, not from actually building momentum, they don’t play anything like the genuine 2D games. Even the Classic levels lack slopes, but Generation’s faux-classic style was always a facsimile that was only superficially like playing the Genesis games. The physics and controls suffered from operating on the same engine as the Modern gameplay, which meant that the actual level design couldn’t really work anything like the Genesis games either.

    Mania genuinely works like the Genesis games and in many ways outdoes them, particularly in level design. The levels achieve complexity beyond what the Genesis could have done on a meager 4 MB cartridge, and it makes them so much more replayable.

    I don’t think Sonic Team has any clue how to make a Sonic game any more. The most passionate people have either left or were lost in the mass firings after the ’06 debacle, even though SEGA forcing the game to be rushed for Christmas was arguably the biggest factor in its failure. Mania has not only outperformed every single Sonic game in the past 15 years, but it was universally critically well received; even by outlets who normally have nothing but disdain for the franchise. And this was the game that was headed up by Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, a fan developer, not by Sonic Team itself.

    Sonic Team needs new blood. The people in charge don’t understand the franchise, and ever since Generations they’ve been desperately pandering by rehashing old content while demonstrating they had no actual idea why those games worked in the first place. If nothing else, I want to see Taxman in charge of a subsection of Sonic Team devoted to making more classic-style 2D installments.

    This franchise was my childhood. For the first time in over a decade they’ve released not only a game I liked but a game I _loved_, and I desperately want to see that trend continue. Mania was as big a deal to me as Back to Earth was back in 2009. One of my favorite things ever that I never thought I’d ever see more of, back from the dead long after any reasonable hope had died off.

    Oh, and the Sonic Boom cartoon is shit. I just needed to add that because everyone on the internet seems convinced that lame, pandering garbage is somehow incredibly smart and sophisticated. It’s terrible at being Sonic, and it’s a mediocre sitcom at absolute best. I’m glad the damn thing got cancelled.

    #226605
    Dave
    Participant

    My kids quite like Sonic Boom. I think maybe it works better as a kids’ show than a show for adult Sonic fans. They find it quite funny, and from the bits that I’ve seen I like that it’s prepared to be silly and comedic rather than taking itself too seriously (see: Sonic Underground).

    I agree with you on the Forces level design anyway. There’s not much to it and the levels are very short and simple.

    Mania coming out this year has made Forces appear worse than it might have otherwise. It’s still an ok game but Mania is the kind of Sonic game that I always hoped for, while Forces is the kind of Sonic game that I always expect.

    #226668
    Katydid
    Participant

    and from the bits that I’ve seen I like that it’s prepared to be silly and comedic rather than taking itself too seriously (see: Sonic Underground).

    There is a huge middle ground between being too serious and being so focused on silliness that you don’t even try to write decent plots or characterization.

    I think maybe it works better as a kids’ show than a show for adult Sonic fans.

    The writers of the show have made it very clear they feel it’s a sophisticated cartoon for all ages, and that’s why I’m so harsh about it. It gets very unearned high praise, and because I know so many people in the fandom I was always stuck on the periphery of a circlejerk of adults in their late ’20s touting it as one of the smartest cartoons on TV. People who are WAY too old to be impressed by base-level meta humor that was already being far outdone by shows like Animaniacs when they were little kids. And Animaniacs never explained the punchline to you.

    #226670
    Dave
    Participant

    I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to any other adults about it so I don’t have that context of it being overrated.

    I’ve seen so many Sonic cartoons over the years, and the bad ones have outweighed the good to such an extent that seeing a half-decent one like Sonic Boom is welcome.

    #229870

    Sonic Mania Plus coming this summer with new characters, encore mode, 4 player split screen and physical release
    https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/16/17131294/sonic-mania-plus-release-date-new-characters-encore-mode

    Hmm I wonder what encore mode will entitle. Hoping each new character has a new old school zone to play in.

    I do hope in the future they either ditch the 10minute time out/death or extend it, as some zones I found I was running out of time in, plus if you want to explore more as well.

    + new Megadrive Collection coming end of May with online multiplayer!

    Sega Mega Drive Collection is releasing on PC, PS4, and Xbox One

    #229871
    Dave
    Participant

    It’s milking it a bit but I’ll probably pick up the update as DLC. While I’d like a physical copy I’m not going to pay full-price for a game I essentially already own.

    #229911
    PFML84
    Participant

    I’m keeping all the games on my Switch digital only, so a physical release means nothing to me. Just need to get a bigger SD card in the future.

    I hope that Mega Drive collection gets a Switch release too. Haven’t played Golden Axe or Streets of Rage in ages… but no Revenge of Shinobi?? Used to have all 3 on the one cartridge and played the shit outta it and Sonic 2 when I was a young’un.

    #229912
    Dave
    Participant

    Revenge of Shinobi is on there.

    Surprised that Sonic 3 and S&K aren’t.

    #229916
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    The advent of digital only games coincided nicely with me running out of shelf space to store any more physical media so I made the switch pretty willingly

    #229918
    PFML84
    Participant

    Shinobi 3 is on there, not the original Revenge of Shinobi.

    #229919
    PFML84
    Participant

    Because editing posts is borked, I’ll post again instead –

    The list Remeses Niblick The Third posted for VG247’s site gives Sonic 1, 2 and 3 on the cart as well as S&K and Pinball, with Shinobi 3. Not sure what list/release you may be referring to Dave.

    #229920
    PFML84
    Participant

    Oh, balls. Turns out the list is what was on a release for the last gen and the games on this could be different, but nowhere seems to have a definitive list.

    I need to go back to bed.

    #229921
    Dave
    Participant

    There seems to be a bit of confusion here.

    Here’s a link detailing what games are on this new release.

    https://blog.eu.playstation.com/2018/03/14/sega-mega-drive-classics-featuring-over-50-iconic-games-hits-ps4-on-29th-may/

    #229922
    Dave
    Participant

    The list in full:

    PlayStation.Blog

    Search the blog

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    Posted 14 March 2018

    Sega Mega Drive Classics, featuring over 50 iconic games, hits PS4 on 29th May

    Get a look at the full list of titles, plus details on the all-new emulation features

    By Ibrahim Bhatti
    Community Manager
    Hi everyone, my name’s Ibrahim Bhatti and I’m Community Manager at Sega Europe. Today we’ve got a real treat for retro Sega fans as we’ve just announced that Sega Mega Drive Classics is coming to PS4 on May 29th!

    The collection has over 50 classic games from the Mega Drive era for you to enjoy across pretty much every genre. RPG fan? We’ve got you covered with Shining Force and Phantasy Star titles. If Shooters are more your thing, then how about Space Harrier? Or if side-scrolling face punching is more your bag then all three Streets of Rage titles are included in the set!

    TITLE

    Here’s a full list of the games featured in the collection.

    Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
    Alien Soldier
    Alien Storm
    Altered Beast
    Beyond Oasis
    Bio-Hazard Battle
    Bonanza Bros.
    Columns
    Columns III: Revenge of Columns
    Comix Zone
    Crack Down
    Decap Attack
    Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
    Dynamite Headdy
    ESWAT: City Under Siege
    Fatal Labyrinth
    Flicky
    Gain Ground
    Galaxy Force II
    Golden Axe
    Golden Axe II
    Golden Axe III
    Gunstar Heroes
    Kid Chameleon
    Landstalker
    Light Crusader
    Phantasy Star II
    Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
    Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
    Ristar
    Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
    Shining Force
    Shining Force II
    Shining in the Darkness
    Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Sonic Spinball
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Space Harrier II
    Streets of Rage
    Streets of Rage 2
    Streets of Rage 3
    Super Thunder Blade
    Sword of Vermilion
    The Revenge of Shinobi
    ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
    ToeJam& Earl
    Vectorman
    VectorMan 2
    Virtua Fighter 2
    Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
    Wonder Boy in Monster World

    Some absolute gems on there, as well as one or two stinkers.

    #229925

    No Sonic 3 & Knuckles though which could be because of the Micheal Jackson music rights issue, or more likely the team behind Sonic Mania who were working on a HD port which subsequently turned into Sonic Mania are going to release a port for the 25th anniversary next year?

    #229926
    Dave
    Participant

    Yes, like I said earlier I was surprised that Sonic 3 and S&K aren’t on there. I also wondered whether there might be a new port in the works to accompany the recent Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Sonic CD ports. We’ll see.

    From memory, the similar PS3 mega drive collection included both Sonic 3 and S&K separately but not as a combined S3&K, which would be rubbish, so at least we didn’t get that.

    To be honest though I’ve got so many copies of the Sonic games in various places that I don’t really need them here (the Sonic Classic Collection on the Nintendo DS is probably my favourite compilation), although it would be nice to have S3&K on here for completeness.

    #229927

    Yeh but it will be worth getting for the online multiplayer alone. Hoping I can co-op Streets Of Rage!

    #229928
    Dave
    Participant

    With this and the Street Fighter II collection coming out on the same date I’m going to be spending a lot of money on decades-old games that day.

    Frankly though it’ll be worth it to let my kids discover some of these games for themselves, and for me to get to grips with stuff like Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Alien Soldier and Decap Attack all over again.

    #229974
    Katydid
    Participant

    I maintain that Sonic Mania Plus is just the release we would have gotten in the first place if SEGA had any idea that Mania would outsell Forces, even though Forces was absolute fucking garbage. I mean it was so bad that people who adore the Modern games were leveling some of the accusations I have about why they inherently don’t work as reasons Forces sucks.

    I’m a little disappointed to not see any brand new levels included in Plus, which is why I suspect they threw together just enough of an upgrade to warrant a new release so they could do a proper disc.

    I’m still going to buy it. Mania is a fucking gem and I wanted a Genesis-style case for it from day one.

    #229975
    Dave
    Participant

    Forces is ok, especially for kids.

    It was never going to be more appealing to adults that the nostalgia-fest retro throwback game, though. Unfortunately Mania is so brilliantly done that Forces inevitably looks even more disappointing in comparison.

    But the kids still regularly play Forces today, even after their enthusiasm for Mania has worn off.

    #230677
    Dave
    Participant

    Just jumped back on Sonic Mania, and noticed that the menu system is changed and a few new options had opened up. Apparently the latest update (in anticipation of the Sonic Mania Plus DLC/physical release) has added quite a bit.

    Sonic Mania update adds extra stage transitions, a new boss and other new features

    Love the hanglider from Master System Sonic 2.

    #231074

    that accidentally leak, what a shit show as is the release date of July 17, 2018.

    #244218
    Katydid
    Participant

    https://www.speedrun.com/sonicmaniaplus/Green_Hill_1#Sonic

    My time on Green Hill Act 1 is 36s 080ms. I managed to get myself in 18th place. I now have scientific proof that I am extremely good at Genesis Sonic.

    I’m glad this site exists, because the in-game leaderboard is full of cheaters. We’re talking well over the top hundred people having no time at all with –‘–“– before we even start hitting impossible times with actual numbers in them.

    #244219
    bloodteller
    Participant

    I never bothered with trying to get a good time on any of the Genesis Sonic games…except the Robo-Sonic boss fight at the end of Sonic 2. For some reason I was obsessed with speedrunning that one part of the game when I was younger- eventually I got it down to 13 seconds, as I remember.

    I think I only ever played Sonic for the boss fights really. Everything else was just fluff

    #244221
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Another speedrunner on G&T, I don’t believe it.

    Srcom is fantastic, yeah, even games that attempt to remove bogus times never really do so with 100%, or even 10% accuracy. I know a guy who had his legitimate times removed from the Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy leaderboards because he was too good, basically. And then there was that autistic person who got banned from Xbox Live because they were getting too many achievements too quickly. Reading that last story was actually pretty distressing to me because they must have put a lot of work into it, completely innocently, only to be punished without a trial and to have everything taken away from them. Sure, it’s only games, but it’s still pretty sad.

    I got around 140th in the official in-game leaderboards for Ocean View in Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, although the official world record (ie the fastest time with video proof) is only 109th, lol. Me and a couple mates grinded the hell out of that track trying to beat each other and only one of them managed to beat me, that person also happens to be a total beast and has held the world record for multiple Spyro categories

    #244222
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    My mate was kind enough to remind me that I got 29.551 -after- I posted the comment, with the world record being 29.338. My mate got 29.371, though. Unbelievably, frustratingly close, lol. That feeling when you shave another 0.002 off of your time after 40 attempts is unmatched by anything else, though.

    #244223
    Katydid
    Participant

    That feeling when you find yourself groaning at getting a time that not long ago you would have thought impossible.

    #244225
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    “Ugh, 29.624, fuck off that’s so shit” – me 2 hours after needing to change my underwear after getting a 29.7

    #244229
    Dave
    Participant

    I’m still playing Sonic Mania regularly and loving it. It’s a fantastic game, especially with the Plus update.

    #244240
    Katydid
    Participant

    Me too. God. I just. I fucking love this game. And it came at the best possible time, too. In 2016 I was falling away from the Sonic fandom outside of doing abridged series under the banner of Sonic Paradox, and Sonic Mania comes right along and answers my prayers.

    Now if they can just resurrect the Adventure games in the same vein as this did the Genesis ones, my fangirl dreams would come true.

    #244245
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    As the most casual of casual gamers, Titanic Monarch Zone can GET IN THE FUCKING SEA.

    #244257
    Dave
    Participant

    Ah, it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it.

    #244575
    Katydid
    Participant

    I actually really like Titanic Monarch. It doesn’t feel so cramped and spammy with the badniks as Launch Base or Death Egg Zone do.

    If anything, I feel it was a little too easy. Sonic 3&K can still kick my fucking ass on those final boss fights, I was hoping Mania’s final boss would be harder. It’s certainly well designed and fun to play, but I almost feel like doing titanic Metal Sonic from Chaotix as the Death Egg Zone Final Boss was the hardest point in the game for me in terms of dying repeatedly. Which Plus added, the original Metal fight was much easier. I guess I wish Mania got proper hard near the end. That’s something I assume will be addressed when they undoubtedly make a Sonic Mania 2, but this time it’s just an all-new Genesis Sonic installment. They’d be stupid not to do that with how well it sold and how highly it’s praised.

    Why don’t we just let Christian Whitehead make a real Sonic 4 so we can pretend the piece of cancerous garbage SEGA gave us under that title never existed?

    #244577
    Dave
    Participant

    I don’t actually mind the Titanic Monarch Act Two boss for a final boss, he’s just about tricky enough at first before you get the hang of him, and he’s long-winded enough to defeat that it feels like an ‘epic’ battle.

    I think I prefer it to the Egg Reverie final-final boss where you can win without much finesse, you just bounce around for a while between the two baddies until they’re defeated. It was a bit of an anticlimax, especially with that weird portal ending that leads into Forces (although I liked the fact that Mania Plus made it so that you can read it as leading straight into the Angel Island portal if you want to ignore Forces altogether).

    #244578
    Dave
    Participant

    Hooray, 100 posts in this thread means we get an extra life.

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