Discussion The first official "Sonic The Hedgehog is a Great Franchise" thread

GamerJM

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I'm a bit of an odd duck in that I have a lot of fondness for Sonic, but I've played most of the series and only really think Adventure and Adventure 2 are great, or at least games that I care a lot about. They have such a uniquely specific style and gameplay loop that nothing else really does. Weird hammy dialogue, incredible Crush 41 soundtrack, constantly changing gameplay styles. The Chao system which offers players a very tangible motivation to play the same parts of the game over and over again. I've stuck with the series over the years but the rest of it only has very small pieces of what I liked about the Adventure games, and my favorite other games in the series (Generations and CD) I like for their own reasons.

Even the 2D games don't do it for me at all, though I can at least sort of appreciate Sonic 2 a lot.

I've stuck with the series over the years and played almost every new entry but I wouldn't be able to say why I did that. I do think most of the other 3D games like Heroes, Secret Rings, and especially Shadow are overhated but they're also very flawed games I can't recommend to anyone who isn't like, under the age of 15 in the 2000s and willing to forgive jank specific to games of that era.
 

chocolate_supra

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Branduil

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Replayed Sonic Spinball yesterday on the Switch. Man, what a terrible, terrible execution of a solid concept. Extremely short, and the input lag is beyond unacceptable for what's supposed to be a pinball game. Sonic has never felt worse to control when in non-pinball form. It's bizarre how bad the game engine is, when Sonic 2 already had working pinball physics that felt great.

But ultimately the fatal flaw of the game is that it's a pinball where you can't SEE the top of the board, where you want to go. If the Genesis had been capable of Mode 7 that would have been a massive upgrade to the game by itself, because as it is the entire game is just firing Sonic pinballs blindly based solely on memory.
 

Quillion

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If I'm being honest, perhaps Sonic Team's greatest mistake wasn't making the stories too light or dark, having too many or too little characters, or switching up the main Sonic gameplay a bit too frequently.

I think Sonic Team's biggest blunder was giving Tails and Knuckles their flight and gliding/climbing respectively.
 

TreIII

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If I'm being honest, perhaps Sonic Team's greatest mistake wasn't making the stories too light or dark, having too many or too little characters, or switching up the main Sonic gameplay a bit too frequently.

I think Sonic Team's biggest blunder was giving Tails and Knuckles their flight and gliding/climbing respectively.
Disagree.

Giving those characters their separate abilities was not a bad move. If anything, Tails being ably to fly and Knuckles being able to climb plays right into the very notion of how a) going for higher, more difficult routes in Acts is rewarding, and b) also gave reason to explore levels again because either of the two characters may have exclusive routes that Sonic couldn't get to alone.

The problem, in my eyes, is that their specialized talents requires a certain school of thought when it comes to level design in a Sonic game. Perhaps if Sonic Adventure had just focused on this same dynamic of having Knuckles and Tails access other routes within Sonic's stages, maybe we wouldn't have to deal with the likes of Gem Hunting for Knux and Tails being stuck in a Mech.
 

Quillion

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The problem, in my eyes, is that their specialized talents requires a certain school of thought when it comes to level design in a Sonic game. Perhaps if Sonic Adventure had just focused on this same dynamic of having Knuckles and Tails access other routes within Sonic's stages, maybe we wouldn't have to deal with the likes of Gem Hunting for Knux and Tails being stuck in a Mech.

You see, that's exactly why I think giving Tails and Knuckles their aerial abilities was a big mistake.

I feel like the only reason we even had alternate gameplay like racing Sonic and shard hunting was because Sonic Team struggled so much to fit those aerial abilities into Sonic's gameplay. They wanted to bring those abilities into 3D wholesale, but they decided to design goals and levels too much around those differing abilities rather than compromise them to fit them into Sonic's gameplay.

And honestly, the struggles actually showed themselves in S3&K itself. S3&K's levels are very vertical and windy, and therefore slower, than Sonic 2's levels. This is because S3&K was trying its damndest to keep Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles "balanced" whereas Sonic 2 only had to design for Sonic's speed, jumping, and lack of flight/gliding alone.

People like to accuse the "alternate gameplay" like treasure hunting, shooting, Amy stealth, fishing, and Werehog of not fitting Sonic, but really, Tails and Knuckles' abilities were made for a slow exploration-based game, not a platformer where you can run as fast as the physics engine allows. It seemed cool in S3&K, but I think the Sonic characters' aerial abilities have proven to be a gigantic design headache in the long run.
 

TreIII

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You see, that's exactly why I think giving Tails and Knuckles their aerial abilities was a big mistake.

I feel like the only reason we even had alternate gameplay like racing Sonic and shard hunting was because Sonic Team struggled so much to fit those aerial abilities into Sonic's gameplay. They wanted to bring those abilities into 3D wholesale, but they decided to design goals and levels too much around those differing abilities rather than compromise them to fit them into Sonic's gameplay.

And honestly, the struggles actually showed themselves in S3&K itself. S3&K's levels are very vertical and windy, and therefore slower, than Sonic 2's levels. This is because S3&K was trying its damndest to keep Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles "balanced" whereas Sonic 2 only had to design for Sonic's speed, jumping, and lack of flight/gliding alone.

People like to accuse the "alternate gameplay" like treasure hunting, shooting, Amy stealth, fishing, and Werehog of not fitting Sonic, but really, Tails and Knuckles' abilities were made for a slow exploration-based game, not a platformer where you can run as fast as the physics engine allows. It seemed cool in S3&K, but I think the Sonic characters' aerial abilities have proven to be a gigantic design headache in the long run.

But in all honesty, I think it's more than fine when you consider that the whole nature of 2D Sonic as a platformer is that it can work as both a speedrun gotta-go-fast game, while also lending itself well to an honest-to-goodness exploration-based game. Obviously, the three characters have kits that are on a sliding scale of how well they perform in either niche. Even so, the notion that Super Sonic and the Best Ending(s) are there as a reward for Sonic proves that even with him, exploration is encouraged. And he can more than manage that much perfectly fine on his own, too.

Again, I still largely lay the blame squarely at Sonic Team's feet. They created the issues themselves when they pretty much designed 3D Sonic's stages as more like thrill rides with scripted triggers, instead of stages that still put more emphasis on finding the ideal routes for speed and/or exploration for acquiring collectibles.

Perhaps the number one thing I dig about Frontiers, thus far, is that it seems like the "Open Zone" level design is Sonic Team finally tapping back into that exploration aspect of Sonic that has largely been neglected, unless you count the "hubs" offered in Adventure, 06 and Unleashed. They get at least a good groundwork set for that, and maybe, just maybe, we have something that could serve as a window for Tails, Knuckles and more being added back in for the 3D side of things. Doubly so if the combat actually ends up being decent to good!
 

Quillion

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But in all honesty, I think it's more than fine when you consider that the whole nature of 2D Sonic as a platformer is that it can work as both a speedrun gotta-go-fast game, while also lending itself well to an honest-to-goodness exploration-based game. Obviously, the three characters have kits that are on a sliding scale of how well they perform in either niche. Even so, the notion that Super Sonic and the Best Ending(s) are there as a reward for Sonic proves that even with him, exploration is encouraged. And he can more than manage that much perfectly fine on his own, too.

Again, I still largely lay the blame squarely at Sonic Team's feet. They created the issues themselves when they pretty much designed 3D Sonic's stages as more like thrill rides with scripted triggers, instead of stages that still put more emphasis on finding the ideal routes for speed and/or exploration for acquiring collectibles.

Don't get me wrong, I think exploration is good in Sonic.

...But I also think Sonic is best suited for a certain type of exploration: the ability to find alternate paths and shortcuts through skill like you said.

Feeling around walls trying to look for hidden alcoves that hold Special Stage Rings, power-up/ring caches? Not so much.

TBH, I think this is why quite a bit of people opine that Sonic 2 has better level design than S3&K, since Sonic 2 is designed to support the former type of exploration alone since it operates on the "50 rings at checkpoint" mode of entering Special Stages. S3&K on the other hand tries to have it both ways and perhaps stretches itself too thin.

And S3&K is my favorite Sonic game while Sonic 2 is my least favorite of the Genesis games (though I still enjoy it quite a bit).
 

chocolate_supra

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Quillion

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Just wondering:

I thought the first Sonic movie was a good annoying-but-endearing buddy movie but a bad Sonic adaptation. Does the second one change any of that?
 

Mekanos

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Just wondering:

I thought the first Sonic movie was a good annoying-but-endearing buddy movie but a bad Sonic adaptation. Does the second one change any of that?
It has a lot more Sonic characters and lore, with less human stuff, though the human stuff that is there can be a drag.

I'd say it's still pretty unequivocally the best video game movie adaptation. The third act is pure fanservice for Sonic fans.
 

chocolate_supra

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Just wondering:

I thought the first Sonic movie was a good annoying-but-endearing buddy movie but a bad Sonic adaptation. Does the second one change any of that?
Very, very yes.

The story goes that the writers/director/cast are pretty serious Sonic fans (the director himself actually worked on animation for the Shadow game) and they wanted to make a faithful, lore-filled Sonic movie but the studio kept making them shave all the references and lore out of the original script (which they said already had Tails and the Chaos Emeralds) until we got.. what we got. Because they were afraid the core fans wouldn't be a large enough audience to make a faithful Sonic movie a success, so they wanted to lean on the Garfield/Chipmunks/Smurfs boilerplate. And after the backlash to the first trailer ("ugly Sonic"), followed by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the redo and subsequent success of the movie, the studio finally went to the writers/director and said "Okay fine, do what you want now."

And they did.

Sonic 2 is essentially the movie they wanted to make the first time, but weren't allowed to. In hindsight Sonic 1 is more of a watered-down origin story of where Sonic and Robotnik came from, but Sonic 2 is the actual movie. Is the way I look at it.

TL;DR: Sonic 2 is an actual Sonic movie. It uses the earth characters and situations from the first film as a springboard into an actual reference-filled Sonic adventure (heh), and is a love letter to the Genesis and Dreamcast entries.
 

Quillion

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Very, very yes.

The story goes that the writers/director/cast are pretty serious Sonic fans (the director himself actually worked on animation for the Shadow game) and they wanted to make a faithful, lore-filled Sonic movie but the studio kept making them shave all the references and lore out of the original script (which they said already had Tails and the Chaos Emeralds) until we got.. what we got. Because they were afraid the core fans wouldn't be a large enough audience to make a faithful Sonic movie a success, so they wanted to lean on the Garfield/Chipmunks/Smurfs boilerplate. And after the backlash to the first trailer ("ugly Sonic"), followed by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the redo and subsequent success of the movie, the studio finally went to the writers/director and said "Okay fine, do what you want now."

And they did.

Sonic 2 is essentially the movie they wanted to make the first time, but weren't allowed to. In hindsight Sonic 1 is more of a watered-down origin story of where Sonic and Robotnik came from, but Sonic 2 is the actual movie. Is the way I look at it.

TL;DR: Sonic 2 is an actual Sonic movie. It uses the earth characters and situations from the first film as a springboard into an actual reference-filled Sonic adventure (heh), and is a love letter to the Genesis and Dreamcast entries.

Ouch. I just hope Illumination's Mario movie series won't start out watered down for general audiences.

But I'll definitely check out Sonic Movie 2 if it's the actual Sonic adaptation I thought we'd get at first.
 

chocolate_supra

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Ouch. I just hope Illumination's Mario movie series won't start out watered down for general audiences.

But I'll definitely check out Sonic Movie 2 if it's the actual Sonic adaptation I thought we'd get at first.
Likely not, since Miyamoto is actively involved in the production, whereas Sega definitely was not hands-on involved with Paramount's Sonic. I'd expect this is very much Miyamoto's movie just made by Illumination.

I hope.

because if it ends up being a borderline unwatchable acid trip at least it'll be what the creator intended, instead of it being because of studios cutting the creator out like they did with Dragonball or others.
 

VolcanicDynamo

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You know, I gotta say, when I think about the Sonic movies, I'm...kind of more impressed by the first one? I really think expectations played a big role in that. That first trailer left a terrible impression, and even after the revamp the most notable thing about it was that it wasn't an unmitigated trash fire, that it was surprisingly good. So I finally watch the film a little bit before the second comes out, and it wasn't much of a "Sonic" movie beyond the basic "Sonic vs. Robotnik" presence, and said main characters are quite different from their game counterparts...but they also gave their version of Sonic a compelling and relatable arc about loneliness and connecting to others, and they managed to establish a good rapport between Sonic and Tom, and they set up a great found family dynamic. I wouldn't call anything in the film novel or original, but there's a solid execution of a well-worn (if trite) formula.

Meanwhile, the second film is much closer to the source material. Tails and Knuckles were beautifully adapted into the existing universe while keeping in the spirit of their game incarnations. Game-centric references and locations make for a bigger chunk of the production, and the humans that were seen as the weakest portions of the original film were downplayed for the more typical Sonic style adventure. And if you're a fan especially, there are a lot of hype moments. Even knowing the twist going into it, I still got hype for Super Sonic and the Shadow post-credits scene. Seeing the biplane at the wedding and knowing that it'll be used as the "Tornado," the Siberian locations being a throwback to Ice Cap, the Master Emerald ruins being Labrinth Zone, the Sonic Heroes-like team up at the end of the film, Robotnik's final mech being the Death Egg Robot...these are all so great! But thematically, what I end up really enjoying are extensions of the thematic elements introduced in the first movie. Tails and Knuckles extend the themes of loneliness and connection established by the movie's version of Sonic, and the found family with Tom and Maddie is reinforced and ultimately strengthened. I almost miss seeing Sonic and Tom talk and interact, and I feel like I enjoyed the wedding scenes with the movie's human cast more than most! It's more good from the perspective of being a Sonic film, but I think it didn't surprised me as much as the first, and it's also pretty standard for what it sets out to do. Instead of being a "solid" trite CG animal/human road trip buddy film with some action, it's a "solid" CG animal action/adventure film with some human interactions.

In the end, I can see why both movies got around the same critical reception despite fan reception being a lot warmer for the second film. They're both solid kids movies, nothing extraordinary but still entertaining worth your time. I could see the Mario movie ending up at a similar quality on a critical level. But for us here? Yeah, the second movie plays a lot better, and the third movie is gonna be a great time. I only hope that I can see the third in theaters, with fears of COVID behind me. I mean, two years, it'll be handled by then, right? Right...?

...speaking of that third movie, ain't it funny how its release date is the same as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle? Coincidence? Yeah, but it's an amusing one.
 

Quillion

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Likely not, since Miyamoto is actively involved in the production, whereas Sega definitely was not hands-on involved with Paramount's Sonic. I'd expect this is very much Miyamoto's movie just made by Illumination.

I hope.

because if it ends up being a borderline unwatchable acid trip at least it'll be what the creator intended, instead of it being because of studios cutting the creator out like they did with Dragonball or others.

TBH, I'm starting to think that Mario would be best suited to a short film rather than feature film. Mario has always been sparse narratively, speaking mainly through gameplay. The characters being simple-yet-memorable probably wouldn't be suited for a full-length feature.

It's the same reason why Disney hasn't made their "animated features" department do a Mickey Mouse feature yet, but Mickey is still trucking on with the "Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse" shorts.

Hopefully it isn't too late to change course to an animated series rather than a movie.
 

VolcanicDynamo

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Not to turn the Sonic thread into Yet Another Mario Discussion with VolcanicDynamo, but the way I see it, Sonic the Hedgehog is shounen manga/anime while Mario is Mickey Mouse or Looney Tunes. Aping the 2013/Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse formula of episodic shorts that place the Mario cast into a variety of situations would be the ideal Mario adaptation in my eyes. Especially if they are as creative as those Mickey shorts. What a great blend of loving the source material while still feeling fresh and fun, it's bar none the best thing involving the mouse and his friends in decades. I think you can do a Mario movie (heck, I think they could manage a Mickey film for 2028 if they really wanted to do it), but it takes a lot to take episodic and versatile and make a focused movie around it.
 

chocolate_supra

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Not to turn the Sonic thread into Yet Another Mario Discussion with VolcanicDynamo, but the way I see it, Sonic the Hedgehog is shounen manga/anime while Mario is Mickey Mouse or Looney Tunes.
I'm down with this perspective actually, yeah
I think you can do a Mario movie (heck, I think they could manage a Mickey film for 2028 if they really wanted to do it), but it takes a lot to take episodic and versatile and make a focused movie around it.
Mario and Mickey are similar in that I'd think the only way a good feature-length story would work is if you don't try to focus so hard on the main character and instead write it as a strong, strong ensemble piece. A movie all about Mickey? Weak. But throw Donald and Goofy and a plethora of other mainstream and obscure Disney characters into the mix and have their personalities/quirks/gimmicks bouncing off each other in a big Fellowship of the Ring style adventure? That could work. Same with Mario.

And oddly, I'd say the opposite for Sonic. Sonic stories IMO are better the more they whittle down and focus on the core characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy. It got wonky when they decided every character from Sonic Adventure 2 and Heroes had to be included in every storyline. The only time I ever liked "Sonic as an ensemble story" was in the Archie Comics and SatAM when it was the Knothole Freedom Fighters. That was a hell of a cast of characters. It's why I'm a tiiiiiny bit worried about them adding Grimdark Vegetavoice The Hedgehog to the third Sonic film, and possibly others. But we'll see.

Also I dunno if I've said it in this forum but if they do add Amy to Sonic 3 and she is voiced by literally anyone other than Jenny Slate, I will fuckin riot. Just fyi.
I already tweeted that at Ben Schwartz but senpai hasn't noticed me
 

VolcanicDynamo

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I'm down with this perspective actually, yeah

Mario and Mickey are similar in that I'd think the only way a good feature-length story would work is if you don't try to focus so hard on the main character and instead write it as a strong, strong ensemble piece. A movie all about Mickey? Weak. But throw Donald and Goofy and a plethora of other mainstream and obscure Disney characters into the mix and have their personalities/quirks/gimmicks bouncing off each other in a big Fellowship of the Ring style adventure? That could work. Same with Mario.

And oddly, I'd say the opposite for Sonic. Sonic stories IMO are better the more they whittle down and focus on the core characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy. It got wonky when they decided every character from Sonic Adventure 2 and Heroes had to be included in every storyline. The only time I ever liked "Sonic as an ensemble story" was in the Archie Comics and SatAM when it was the Knothole Freedom Fighters. That was a hell of a cast of characters. It's why I'm a tiiiiiny bit worried about them adding Grimdark Vegetavoice The Hedgehog to the third Sonic film, and possibly others. But we'll see.
I think that works extremely well for Mickey and Mario because both of them have big supporting casts to begin with. Mickey's got Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto as his main squad, then you got rivals like Pete and Mortimer, then you got even further extended cast members like Horace and Clarabelle, the other Ducks, etc. Meanwhile Mario's got a similarly large main squad - the mainstays of Luigi, Peach and Toad, enemies with Bowser and his minions, Wario & Waluigi as rivals, and a bunch of more friends (Daisy, Rosalina, Toadette) and enemies, let alone diving into deep cut references and the wider Mario extended universe. You can easily build a big ensemble with plenty of room to spare out of either franchise. The other way I could see a plot with this kinda lead working is have it focus on the effect the lead has on the world - a flat character where the world around him and the people they meet are the ones with the arc instead. But I don't think they'd go in that direction.

Meanwhile, Sonic's core set have very strong character bases and the films have set them up for very clear arcs. Add too many characters on the same level and you don't have any time to dedicate to the rest. Someone's bound to be a less developed or interesting character at that point.
Also I dunno if I've said it in this forum but if they do add Amy to Sonic 3 and she is voiced by literally anyone other than Jenny Slate, I will fuckin riot. Just fyi.
I already tweeted that at Ben Schwartz but senpai hasn't noticed me
But now if that happens, all I'll be able to think about is her bit role from Everything Everywhere All At Once, which creates a very interesting mental image in my brain...
 

VolcanicDynamo

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We seriously need a Mario Movie StarTopic where we can take this discussion further. Do we have one already?
We do not. I'm sure we'll have a Mario movie thread once we get a trailer, but that's about it so far. I could make a Mario general ST if there's interest, but I'll need some time to work on it.
 

CyberWolfJV

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Mecha Sonic is returning on a comic arc, apparently.. cool to have him around, he's been always my favorite design for a robot doppelganger of Sonic, but makes me wonder why the sudden change of heart of referencing "Classic material" on the Modern continuity.. not that SEGA has been consistent all these years, but I really thought they wouldn't walk back on this so soon...

Or, you know.. is just that the Classic continuity is limited to what they can refer to, but the Modern side can do whatever they feel like (which is dumb... the whole separation is dumb, actually);

In fact, I didn't make much of a big deal before, but the Minecraft DLC pack had skins for not only Mecha Sonic, amongst all the Modern characters, but also Metal Knuckles and Mighty & Ray on their Archie comics modern designs..

Really wish they just would forget about all this whole separation and just went back of pre-Generations days where these were simply redesigns.. not younger and older versions of characters, or two separate dimensions or timelines.
 

Quillion

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Mecha Sonic is returning on a comic arc, apparently.. cool to have him around, he's been always my favorite design for a robot doppelganger of Sonic, but makes me wonder why the sudden change of heart of referencing "Classic material" on the Modern continuity.. not that SEGA has been consistent all these years, but I really thought they wouldn't walk back on this so soon...

Or, you know.. is just that the Classic continuity is limited to what they can refer to, but the Modern side can do whatever they feel like (which is dumb... the whole separation is dumb, actually);

In fact, I didn't make much of a big deal before, but the Minecraft DLC pack had skins for not only Mecha Sonic, amongst all the Modern characters, but also Metal Knuckles and Mighty & Ray on their Archie comics modern designs..

Really wish they just would forget about all this whole separation and just went back of pre-Generations days where these were simply redesigns.. not younger and older versions of characters, or two separate dimensions or timelines.
I'm fine with the Classic designs just being their younger selves, but the alternate dimension thing is nonsense.

I'd like to see Mania-timeline Sonic age up to his own "modern" self tbh.
 

Nabbit

Heading to Lorule? Rent your equipment here!
The 3DS/Wii U eShop thread has me thinking...apart from games included in Sonic Origins (since I plan to get that), are there any Sonic games on 3DS or Wii U that are must-plays for someone interested in getting into the series? (And I realize I've been saying this for ages but it just takes me forever to get to games...πŸ˜…)
 


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