Well, saying that you covering this game was a surprise is a understatement, I mean, you could've made a episode on the arcade game since it's one of the obscure ones besides Sonic Schoolhouse (that, by the way, was done to death). And since Sonic is the main subject, I have a LOT to talk, so bare with me.
At one point I considered myself a Sonic fan. I grew up with the classic games for the Genesis and the cartoon (SatAM), also I torrented the japanese Sonic X with subs because 4Kids sucks. But even then I could say I was a heretic in the whole "cabal" thing, because I still have my own will and was not brainwashed by the "blue hivemind" so to speak.
First, let's talk about your experience with the game. I know that you admitted that most of the fails were your fault, but I didn't remember the game being this bad with the physics. And I've played the PS2 version, which they say is the one that's most janky, maybe it's the PC version (that I had no idea it existed by the way) that's even worse.
You asked very interesting questions about Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, but I can only answer you this: His entire endgame goal is actually simplistic, as far as villany goes. He wants to dominate the world and build Eggmanland, which is basically an "ego" metropolis. Yep, he's incredibly egocentric, he even had a Death Star knock-off that was practically his face for crying at loud! He used to put animals inside the robots (and even plants in Sonic CD) to serve as a power source, and I say "used" because most games tend to forget that, lore building in general in this franchise is incredibly inconsistent (even thought it wasn't supposed to be the case). And a fun fact: When Sega was brainstorming the franchise to compete with Mario as their mascot (and toss aside Alex Kidd since he wasn't as popular as a mascot) he was going to be the main character at first, but they scraped that since that would make him way too similar to Mario, which is what they were trying to avoid. Also, he was apparently based on Theodore Roosevelt.
About Amy... I used to hate this character. Actually, I still hate her, but nowadays I feel more pity than hatred because I feel the problem is on the writing more than the character itself. When Amy first appeared she was just a Sonic fangirl, but it was more played for comedy and to be "cute". But then all the games after that just flanderized her to the point of making her a obsessive stalker, to the point where the joke is not even funny anymore. And if you think she's bad in Heroes (where her flanderization started to kick in), she's even worse in Sonic Battle. But this is not a problem exclusive to her, all characters got flanderized as the games went on, even Shadow wasn't too bad in the game he debuted.
And speaking of Shadow, another fun fact for you: He was intended to be a one-shot character, but he became so popular (because tryhard edgy characters are popular among nerdy angsty teens) that they decided to bring him back, even though he died in the game he debuted. And well... Even some Shadow fans think that this was a bad idea, not just because he got flanderized, but also because they screwed his backstory in his spin-off game. In any case, if you think he's bad, then I guess you didn't played Freedom Planet, because I find Spade (which is a character that was clearly inspired by Shadow) to be even worse. While Shadow is trying way too hard to be cooler than Sonic, Spade is trying way too hard to be cooler than Shadow, which is a level of tryhard that I thought was impossible to achieve.
But I lost my interest on this franchise a long time ago for many reasons. I stick only with some of the classics but NOT because of nostalgia, it's because Sonic Team lost their touch. You know when a franchise gets stale and don't try to push any innovation at all? Sonic Team did the extreme opposite, and in my opinion it's worse because at least a stale franchise retained some quality. You complained about the team mechanic in Heroes, but that game didn't go too crazy about introducing gimmicks in a attempt to stay fresh. I saw one person saying in a Youtube comment session some time ago (don't remember where and when) that Sonic Team had a "shotgun design" mentality, where they have too many ideas but instead of sticking with some that may work and what is feasible for them to work on, they decide to cram as many as they can in hope that some shots land (like shooting a shotgun at long range), and I can fully agree with that since it really describes the inconsistent quality of the games over the years. Sonic Team always tried to bite more than it can chew.
And this mentality also extends somewhat to the writing and characters. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the storylines they tried to pull off in the 3D games for many reasons. I tried to give them a chance, but they are so pretentious. One reason being that, like you said, the old Sonic games had a universal appeal, but when Sonic Adventure came out... Let's just say they become indecisive about who they wanted to appeal. Remember that you said in the A New Beginning episode that you felt you were witnessing a identity crisis because it tried to have a more serious plot but with characters and writing from a saturday morning cartoon? Also in The Crew episode were they tried to inject a more dramatic story in a game that didn't needed it, and also said story being too bland to even care? Those are the kind of the same feelings I have with this franchise. You can't notice it much from Heroes, since it's one of the few from that time that tries to be aimed more to kids, but the other games tried to push of plots more complex than "defeat Robotnik and save the world", which I woudn't mind if they done it RIGHT (again, "shotgun design"). I would go into specific details, but it would make this post longer than it is, and also SomecallmeJohnny already did many Sonic reviews, including the plots, so I recommend giving his channel a shot. To make it simple, I will say thay many Sonic games that are more story heavy have these elements in common:
- Melodrama paired with lack of tone balance that makes you question how someone can take this plot seriously;
- Robotnik/Eggman trying to take control of some eldrich god and/or something beyond his control, and then making you question if is 300 points IQ (and yes, this information is canon) is legit since he's making the same dumb mistake over and over;
- Flanderization over actual character development/growth;
- Introducing a villain (or group of villains) other than Robotnik that a more sane person will forget they exist because of how boring and/or pretentious they are;
- Introducing new charaters that would be either flanderized or forgotten in later games;
- Trying to have a continuity and worldbuilding but doing a really bad job at it; (at least Games Workshop tried to save face saying that any lore inconsistency could be explained as "Imperial propaganda")
- Being way to complex for it's own good, because apparently a good story is all about being complex, and not how it's premise is executed and how likeable are the characters;
- Some elements of the fanbase still wondering why the rest of the world "underappreciates" these misunderstood "masterpieces" (especially SA2), even thought there's more than enough reasons why. (others just enjoy them like people enjoy The Room, because they are really good meme material all things considered)
It may not look like it but like Ross I can be kind of easy to please, I only get critical based on what said piece of media tries to be. And since Sonic Team wanted to write more complex stories and characters, I will judge them as such. In retrospective, I think the only time I really liked the plot and didn't mind Sonic speaking was the saturday morning cartoon where he was a freedom fighter, and even I can admit that show wasn't perfect. (*cough* Antoine *cough*)
On 9/23/2020 at 4:50 PM, Steve the Pocket said:
On Shadow: I think he would work better if they intentionally wrote him as someone who's trying too hard to be cool.
On 9/23/2020 at 4:31 AM, RocketDude said:
Okay, fair enough!
Also, re: Tom White being Peter Chimaera...is that really true, or is this just a joke? I feel like Peter Chimaera's real identity is a total mystery, just like that of My Immortal's author.
It is true, Tom himself said he was Peter in many occasions. It's no secret now.
On 9/24/2020 at 2:16 PM, Im_CIA said:
what's the difference between eggman and dr robotnik
Localization. To be more specific, Dr. Eggman was his name in the japanese version, but the american version changed his name to Dr. Robotnik because they felt that Eggman wasn't intimidating enough, much like the case with M. Bison/Vega in the Street Fighter series, but less confusing.
However, when the Adventure series came along, they decided to merge the two names, making Dr. Eggman his alias and Dr. Robotnik his surname. His real name by the way became Dr. Ivo Robotnik.