Monday, March 9, 2015

Sonic Lost World

I didn't choose the Freedom Planet Life. The Freedom Planet Life chose me

With my recent rant against SEGA's sociopath-like actions, some may ask "what's with the Sonic background?" My answer, I'm still interested in Sonic as a universe. Not so much in the franchise of games. And it's thanks to Sonic Lost World, one of the most utterly DIRE games I have ever had the misfortune to play (up there with F-14 Tomcat on the GBA), and the biggest piece of shit I have received for Christmas.

The worst factor is that I was utterly excited for this turd on first announcement. When first revealed, we were given a picture of a mysterious planetoid made of hexagons, that appeared to be falling apart, and Sonic and Tails were approaching it in the Tornado I.

This new location seemed interesting. Its biomes seemed consistent with deleted levels from prior Sonic games. With its status as a "lost world", could it have those ancient levels? Initial suspicious levied at the game included being exclusive to a failing system, and looking too Mario-ish. Others joked about these whines.

Then they unveiled a group of guardians, who looked "very cartoonish, like something from Rayman". They were shown in silhouette only.

Mysterious and spooky.
What were they? Were they friends or foes? Would they be playable? Were there more? People's excitement continued to boil, as fan-made logos were crafted, interpretations of the six were made, and plenty of guesses about the game's plot were posited.

Better than the official one by far
People were wanting to see the Chaotix, Tikal, Nack, and many other characters get involved after years of Sola Sonica. They hoped for an intriguing tale to shiver the bones after the joke plots of Colors and Generations. And then the trailer dropped.

Hey look, the Animal Friends! It seems that my theory about them having their own language is confirmed. And they're in... Green Hill Zone? The real thing? Wheeeeew... SLAM! Here come the "guardian" fellows.

They look pretty nasty, but not that bad. Definitely not "big bad" material, but fun bosses anyway. Maybe there's a bigger threat in here? Ah, here comes Sonic. 

Round 1, Fight! Sonic whooshes off into GHZ. It seems oddly... fake. Why's everything so cubist/paper-mâché? Why's the grass blocky paper? How come the Badniks look EXACTLY like the Genesis ones except for a few color differences? 

Hey look, Galaxy-ish parkour skills! Is that the gimmick? It looks kinda fun, and fits with Sonic, too. I noticed how he could run up walls in the classic games and especially the Adventures. 

Only Sonic is playable... Again. Why? We're tired of Sola Sonica! Can you give us one other character to play as?  Well, it seems they're in the story, at least, and more of them too.

That red dude said "Your fate is to be destroyed. Why don't you accept that? Lie down and die!" Wow, he's kinda threatening, expected him to be a total joke. WISPS? They're back? Why? They were left on their home planet at the end of Colors, how could they return to Sonic? Why pick Wisps, and NEW ones at that, over our favorite characters? The Eagle looks cool, but that musical note one... way too gimmicky and specific.

Ugh, Pontaff is back. Why them? Can they even bother with a serious tale? More gameplay. It's kinda finicky, hopefully it shall be fixed by release. At least the levels seem very varied. Even the gameplay types tend to change up, and there's a lot of level archetypes not previously seen in Sonic.

I theorized that each of these Deadly Six was actually a parody of a known Sonic hater:

  • Zavok: GameInformer. His size reflects their professional status and sheer reach through their magazine. He also is quite threatening to Sonic with his above lines.
  • Zazz: Mariotehplumber. He lurks in the GHZ ripoff, wants to "pound his sorry blue butt", and is rather spastic and thin.
  • Zeena: Hoggys2much. The token gal gets compared to the nasty old womanizer. Zeena's cold home reflects Hoggy's cold heart and cold domain of lawless social networks.
  • Zor: Gligar13Vids. His emo nature reflects Gligar's lust of dark content. 
  • Zomon: Konata1000. They both look pretty wonky.
  • Zik: Zero Punctuation. Fits by being the oldest and most curmudgeonly. 

Zeena is getting a ton of fan art, plus more than a few group shots as well. Meanwhile, Conflicting Views as a few other places started complaining that the game was "kiddie" and referring to it as Sonic Lost Mind. They were weeding out everything that was "un-Sonicy", like Dessert Ruins 3. They kept on screaming "The Nintendoization of Sonic!"

Well, this game's going to prove pretty fun, right? I enjoyed the Unleashed Trilogy, how can this be any worse? It's gonna be like those with more exploration-based gameplay and a somewhat darker story.

And then the game dropped. Mediocre reviews? What is this? Maybe they were right, I ended up with the game for Christmas. And oh boy, did it suck. Hard. It was so rancid it put me off Sonic games.  Well, let me sum up this hunk of junk in one witty sentence:

This Is Your Sonic On Drugs

The gameplay is a broken mess of gimmicks, bad controls, half-baked ideas, glitches, unforgiving difficulty,  and general tedium. The story tried to be decent, but fell flat on its face with unlikable characters. The visuals are forgettable at best. The music is so un-Sonic it can be described as anti-Sonic.

Actually, this applies to the whole game. This game tortured me with horridness.

First, let us discuss the "Deadly" Six, who feel like more of a nuisance than a threat regardless of how much the story tries. You almost feel sorry for them (and there's a few fans that did). They're also a horde of stereotypes that border on the offensive at times, and nothing else. Particularly aggravating is the fact they apparently die in Lava Mountain. Eggman is just as pathetic. The poor fellow is officially a complete Squidward.

He falls victim to Sonic's heroic antics, causing catastrophe to happen to him, and at the end, is still treated as a villain and given a karmic punishment. Even the boss battle couldn't make him a threat: hear this spicy POLKA music to battle him against as he fights you in a clone of the Egg Nega Wisp without any of the tension, excitement, or surprise.

And Knuckles? Knuckles has officially become a total Butt Monkey. All he does is get shoved by Amy and carried off by the Animal Friends. Poor guy, especially with the Pendering (induced largely by SEGA) destroying much of his remaining relevance. It's a good thing he wasn't around to experience the horrors of the later levels, especially that fucking snowball one. But I didn't get to experience most of this bullshit. I was already put off.

I was put off by the aggravation apparent in the crap level design. And Tails the primadonna. And the shit music.  Well, let's start with the opening cutscene. Sonic and Baldy McNosehair have a dogfight in the air. Sonic wants Baldy to "drop the critters". He complies, and sends them hurtling down off his Egg-O-Matic. They land on a planetoid called Lost Hex. Tails tells Sonic "It's the Lost Hex!" as if the both of them have known the place for a long time. We land, and basically the first glimpse of this "lost world" is practically Green Hill Zone. Way to start your new alien world, Izuka.

After a bit of simple parkouring and fidgeting to get used to this new style, we encounter these "deadly"  weirdos. Baldy tells sonic "They are no-one's friends!" "These are the Deadly Six,and they are your worst enemies!"  And then the thin pink creep says some sociopaths things to Sonic. Lets see how you turn out, pinky! He's weaker than Cut Man. Stinking Cut Man! Next, we fight him again after a finicky cave level. Hasn't grown a bit. Next is Desert Ruins. How compelling.

Our next baddie is Zomom after an admittedly fun Mach Speed area. His battle's actually pretty innovative and cool, with him shifting the little blocky head about before butt slamming IN 3D!
After that, however, things go to utter shit fast. Welcome to candy land. That zone made no sense. Why do the donuts float and spin in synchronization? Why is the road just licorice? Why all the arbitrary platforms? Next comes a lousy chase stage with Zomom in a tornado. After a super-gimmick battle, the Six betray Eggman, and then Sonic teams up with Baldy to stop them. 

Tropical Coast was mostly lousy and forgettable, except for the excellent Act 3, a highlight of the game. By Act 4, I decided "This is absolutely not Sonic." And I never played it again.

Lost Mind? Lost Sanity? Lost Cause? Lost Balls? I have a better name for this shit:

Sonic Ordeal

"ATTITUDE is the difference between an Adventure and an Ordeal". This is one of my favorite messages I have discovered.

Here, we have a Sonic game with no attitude whatsoever:

Ow the Lack of edge!
The characters act like they're in a Seth MacFarlane cartoon, uncaring of the "crisis" at hand. The music is varied but unfitting. And the graphics are eye-bleedingly doofy and neon. 

I now support the Adventure Spirit.