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Things that make "Sonic" "Sonic"



Lately I've been discussing and re-beating the entire Sonic series with a group of local friends. From Sonic Mega Collection to the Museum Gamecube game which included Sonic CD (A game we all agreed disappointed but delivered on some level, it's seriously not "the" best or no where near "the" best Sonic game ever made as so many claim) . I am however the only one in the group to have beaten "Sonic The Hedgehog 06", and because of this reason and the fact that I introduced and sparked curiosity in the group (I mean Sonic 2 for the MegaDrive was my first true video game experience) I've sort of have become the guy you go to ask questions. The most common of questions is "How would you make a 3D Sonic work?".


Well I'm listening to the Sonic 3/Knuckles doomsday beat and am pondering the answer to that question right now, and it seems to be impossible to get any Sonic 3D game to work the way it should. First SA 1/2 both did an OK job, but speed isn't as present as I'd like it to be. Second the Super Sonic sequences (which I've come to realized is something that is *extremely* important for a Sonic game to work) are mediocre. Third the camera angle is at it's primitive "you might die" stage (though updates shouldn't be done if your actually going back a step, I'm looking at Sonic Heroes and Sonic 06), and there are some levels that are trying extremely hard to appeal to the Mario category of gamers (Knuckles gtfo the Sonic series if you can't go back to kicking ass with your fists and not finding treasure like a fag).


So how do you make a 3D Sonic game work, on paper at least, is it possible? Here's the scenario I'm running in my head right now, since it is the doomsday song I'm listening to I'm thinking of how a "Near Game End" boss fight would go about. Sonic is mid screen when the level starts, the level title "Robotnik's Spider Trail" appears right above his head as the beat starts kicking in. The camera steps out for a second in order to show a cinematic, and Robotnik is stepping into his machine behind Sonic as he says a one liner. The machine is a spider hooked up to rails, and right before the cinematic ends, the spider goes under the track that your standing on. Around your view you see sort of like a space ship texture, with windows here and there representing Earth on one side and Mobeus on the other (this has to do with the story I'm making up). Now Robotnik runs past you (still under you on the track) as you see the spider legs connected to the trails (your target to hit, there are 8 legs hooked up). Now Robotnik moves forward at high speed and this is where the speed part kicks in, every now and then a Snake head (a form of the snakes he used in Sonic 2 during the Oil zone) will come out and either shoot you or run horizontal across the track as a method of knocking back your rings, and with that, his Spider Machine legs every now and then have a tendency of extending up and smashing down on the track. Rings appear on the track every now and then as a means of letting you defend yourself, and his moves will be setup in a Mega Man fashion, hard at first but once the pattern gets down you'll be able to 1-2 the guy (just like the old school Sonic games). This is where the problems start kicking in though, the biggest one would be "How do we control speed?". Sonic 06 attempted the "Lets make Sonic run without stopping" approach, and that was horrible, I remember wasting 10 lives on the later tracks remembering every little thing because if you didn't know it before-hand you where screwed (this is the point that a game goes overboard). If the speed is controlled by you, then how is Robotnik's speed controlled? If Sonic is going slow, then Robotnik will go slow, and that will make the game dull (something no game should ever be). What if we mix it up? Then balance becomes the issue, if your going fast 10 seconds, then it switches to old school Robotnik fight for 5 seconds, now the game becomes a nuisance, this is worse then dull, because reviewers will do a considerable amount of bashing on that concept of the game alone. Camera becomes even a worse variable, sure you can leave it classic 3rd person, but chances are the player will occasionally be caught off guard in the direction that he's not looking, unless the Camera's fixed, and then the essence of "speed" becomes something hard to give of.


I have a few views on how to tackle the issues, but none really worthy of 5-star, on another note, I'm pretty tired, so I'll continue this later, peace.


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