After a brief announcement, Guillaume welcomes veteran Anand and rookie David (a.k.a. Davoid) on the podcast's 31st episode. Amongst the games discussed: GNOMZ, Kid Icarus 3D Classics, Xenoblade, Etrian Odyssey, and more!
The gang then discusses what "Nintendo magic" is (and bashes Sega mercilessly along the way) and Nintendo's different shows and faces of PR. Someone sets the living room carpet on fire.
As usual, the theme music comes from Negative World's owner and dictator, Zero. The music throughout the podcast is taken from Kid Icarus: Uprising on 3DS.
@Guillaume Ah... the infamous drums. I was stuck because of that for a minute or so as a kid. I thought the key was to jump on it and build up the momentum that way. The actual solution was so much simpler - when you know.
@nate38 I don't disagree with you. I personally prefer S3&K myself, but I can understand why the masses perfer Sonic 2.
I think everyone thought the key was to jump on it, the first time they made it there. Because pressing up/down is something that never came into play in the series before, nor since. And because jumping looked like it could work. Really poorly designed/tested obstacle.
Sega's games certainly have a distinct quality to them, one that differs from Nintendo, so I could see why someone would think they are inferior to Nintendo games (or vice versa). Sonic's stage designs certainly can feel spastic and aimless, but I felt the first two games did a good job with it. But Sonic 3, and then Sonic and Knuckles even more so, felt like no real care was put into the levels. This kind of level design needs attention to detail to make it work well, and they really suffer otherwise. I gave up on Sonic and Knuckles because the levels were just too confusing.
It's a shame that the unlock system was so terrible in Sonic Mega Collection, so I have never played things like Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
@Guillaume Agreed. This was a case where the mechanic itself was simple, but there needed to be something that would teach you the mechanic. Perhaps a bried cut-scene at the beginning of the stage where you watch Knuckles use it or something. In the absence of such a thing, the mechanic was counter-intuitive to Sonic fans. Building momentum from increasingly higher jumps or half-pipe rolls was something we had been trained to expect for 2 and a half games up to that point. I'm going to go ahead and call that the weakest link in the series of games.
@nate38 Ha ha I hesitated to post my views as it was a gift and I didn't want anyone to feel bad but hey... gotta talk about Sonic eventually. And it's not like it was a poor gift, it's a pretty good gift, I just got annoyed by one part and stopped. I'll probably go back someday.
@Zero No problem, I ended up being a bit disappointed with every one of my secret santa gifts as well. So it's like a tradition, really! Anyway yeah, if you make it past Hydrocity you'll be up against Marble Gardens next, and that's...also kind of weird. Very slopey. You may hate it. Fair warning!
Anyway I ended up playing a bit of Sonic 3 and Knuckles today. Played through the end of Marble Gardens. I found at least one thing in each Zone that I had never found before (or at least don't remember ever seeing before). Even after playing through the game dozens of times over the last eighteen years, there's still more secrets...so cool.
Just to put my Mario Fan Club Membership Card on the table, SMB3 is my favorite game of all time. I think it's damn near perfect. I wouldn't take any other game in history over that one. (Sonic who?) And Mario is also my favorite video game franchise of all time. And favorite video game character. So I love Mario. Period.
And I love SMW. But that game, while certainly a world-class experience, doesn't really add much to the Mario mix, other than better graphics, the ride-a-dinosaur mechanic and a few new secret exits. It's still a great game by any measure, but it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary. By contrast, the initial Sonic games were revolutionary. I'd never played a game like Sonic before, so it blew my mind in a way SMW just couldn't.
Granted, it's a 3 against 1 situation, there. I doubt you could get me to admit than any single Sonic game is better than SMW. Even at their best, SEGA was never quite in Nintendo's league. But taken together, I think the Sonic games do the job. If Nintendo had released more than one Mario platformer during the SNES era, I'd give SMW some back up, but that's the entire Mario output for the SNES. (And, no, I don't think Yoshi's Island counts.)
Now, Donkey Kong Country? Puh-leez. You already know I've got that famous Miyamoto quote ready to rip:
“Donkey Kong Country proves that players will put up with mediocre gameplay as long as the art is good.” - Shigeru Miyamoto
Ain't it the truth, Shiggy? Easily the most overrated series Nintendo ever produced. Dull, plodding platforming that I've just never been able to get into. And I own all three games on SNES cartridges, so it's not like I haven't tried.
Now Retro's DKC game? That rules. That's as good as any platformer ever made. But I don't put the original Rare DKC games in the same class. No way, no how.
I never really thought much of the original DKC, it IS plodding and way too focused on making you collecting 100 shiny golden thingies to gain lives. The secret areas seemed arbitrary, and they were all boring.
I think DKC2 is a stellar platformer, however. I didn't think so back when it released and I had only played the first world, but recently on the VC, I finally got through the game and it was just a top platformer. The secrets were more fun to find and more fun to play, the rewards were better (secret levels!), the level design was more interesting, the action faster... It's a great game.
SMW blew my mind back in the day. Sure, Yoshi was cute and fun to ride, sure my brain was probably dazzled by the sparse use of the mode 7 effects, but the secret exits in so many levels added so much to that game. You literally didn't know what to expect. It was a surprise to find them, and you couldn't wait to see what you had just unlocked. Love that game, still.
Sonic, well, I've already spent way too much time downplaying its quality. I recognize that someone who grew up with those games are much better at it than I am, but I'm with Anand here: too many times I'll try to jump to attack an enemy and simply miss. I may never get used to the controls, the way he moves in mid-air. Heh. But then again, I didn't grow up with it. To me, Sonic is the game which I'd play at my friend's house until he got tired of seeing me waste my time with the pinball/slot machines in the Casino Night Zone.
1. Super Mario World - It didn't have all the bells and whistles of Super Mario Bros 3, but what was there came together so perfectly in a way that SMB3's hodge-podge of fun experiments never quite did. God, those secret exits were excellent. What a game. 2. Sonic 3 & Knuckles - Ridiculous amount of secrets, extras, level design creativity, and polish in one (combined) package. If 2D Sonic games weren't fundamentally limited by the glaring inadequacy of such limited screen size for a fast/huge game, it would be on top for sure. 3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - A more "traditional" Sonic, but Sega really upped their game from the original and let the hog stretch his legs a bit. 4. Donkey Kong Country 2 - Teeters on the edge of being a collectathon, but hits the right mark between creativity, gimmicks, and difficulty. I don't get the urge to re-complete the game like I sometimes do with Mario and Sonic, but I'm glad I went the full-complete one time. 5. Super Mario Bros. 3 - Huge step up from SMB1, it's hard to believe the two games are even on the same system. Ridiculous amount of powerups and secrets and level gimmicks, but so much of it feels...I dunno, disparate? Pointless, maybe? I'm all about the game, and have played it tons since it came out, but I never get the urge to re-play it like I do for SMW and Sonic. 6. Donkey Kong Country - A solid first outing, though everything it did was outdone in the second game. 7. Sonic the Hedgehog - see above. 8. Super Mario Bros. - Obliterated any game that preceded it, but outclassed by every (major) Mario that followed it. 9ish. Sonic CD - Haven't played through the game enough times to really get a feel for where I'd put it...but part of that is because it's so strange. Some of the level designs are really bizarre (Wacky Workbench's super-spring floor? Metallic Madness' weird shrinking gimmick?) and the time-travel ability was too ahead of its time. The load-times between time-jumps are a travesty. If the change was instantaneous, it might have been really cool. 10. Yoshi's Island - Never even bothered to go past the third World. The game just never really drew me in. Collectathon feel, odd controls, and the muddy visuals and cramped screen space on the GBA port just killed it for me. 11. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels A cheeky exercise in frustration and precision platforming. Rewarding to beat, but more trouble than it's worth. 12. Super Mario Bros. 2 Actually I haven't played this in a very long time. Not sure how I'd feel about it now. But I remember thinking it was just too strange when I last played it (maybe ten years ago?) 13. Donkey Kong Country 3 Just gross. I had enough after finishing the first world. Maybe I shouldn't have jumped right into it after DKC2, but the drop in quality was immediately apparent.
I will admit that I've played the original DKC game significantly more than the other two. I did get pretty deep into DKC 2, though, and never found it to be a top platformer. I trust your judgment, but I'd have to really go in hard if I wanted to try to reevaluate it. The third one, I'm just not sure about. I've played the first couple of maps, but it just seemed like more of the same, except with less appealing characters.
What's the deal with the cast changes in those games, btw? Two of the three Donkey Kong Country games don't have Donkey Kong as a playable character. That always struck me as an odd choice. Was it just Rare trying to develop their own stable?
I'll give you Donkey Kong Country 3 since I didn't find that to be enjoyable much at all. That Kiddie Kong was just... plodding. Too heavy and dumb to really be helpful.
The first Donkey Kong Country didn't exactly re-invent the wheel - it was a simple platformer, through and through. It's the most polarizing game of the trio. Though I think it's better than most of the other shovelware crap platformers that plagued that generation. Perhaps I was wow'd by the graphics and music, but that wouldn't explain why I enjoyed Donkey Kong Land on the Gameboy so much. Of course, that could just simply be another case of a handheld game being better than its console predecessor. Regardless, I think it's quality. If a little too simple for its own good at times. But then I'd argue there's sometimes a unique joy that comes out of a game like that.
Donkey Kong Country 2 was phenomenal, though. One of the best platformers of all time. Seriously ranks up there with Super Mario World, IMO. (though still below it, natch)
Okay. Sounds like you guys are in agreement about the series, for the most part. DKCR was the first time I "got" the DKC series, and I haven't tried to seriously replay DKC2 since then. The next time I pull out the DKC carts, I'll put some time into the 2nd one. I'll tell you if it changes my mind.
No guarantees, though. I feel like I put enough time into it the first time to make a reasonable evaluation.
DKCR was like a weird hybrid of NSMB and DKC. A lot of the gameplay gimmicks that separated DKC from other platformers were almost completely dropped (animal helpers, barrel carrying/tossing) as the game was streamlined into more of a pure-and-simple platformer. It's a tough call for me between Returns and DKC2, but only because Returns is held back by its waggle and pace-killing collectables (stopping to blow everything was just awful).
Yeah, fair enough. Not every game is going to be for everyone - maybe you'll end up being one of the outliers that doesn't care for Diddy's Kong Quest. You'd be weird, but you'd be in (small) company at least.
DKC2 is really a different beast compared to the original.
Uh... So the trophies around the Sonic games in question in the Sega Genesis Collection on 360 are:
* Sonic The Hedgehog: Obtain a Chaos Emerald * Sonic 3: Collect 100 rings with Tails anywhere on Angel Island Zone * Unlock everything: One of the things necessary for this one is to beat the first boss in Sonic 2.
All of these are done or can be done on the first zone of their respective games. Now I'm not saying you haven't played past the first level, but you might not want to use the achievement point thing as evidence of this.
Good research! I'm impressed. I actually thought about looking up the achievements before I posted that, but I didn't think anyone would actually call me on it. Point: Nacthenud. Nevertheless, I did play to the third or fourth world of... one of them when I played the collection.
As for the slow-speed controls, they feel kind of... squirelly to me. Because that sense of momentum plays such a big part even at slow speeds, which feels a bit unintuitive. I have no doubt that many of you can flawlessly navigate the stages and make Sonic behave as you want him to, but I can't.
@kriswright I poke and prod, but I actually enjoy quite a few Sega games! Most of them have arcade, rather than home console origins, though. But Sega made some very good action, racing, and fighting games. Not quite as sold on the platformers, but I love stuff like Shinobi and Daytona.
As for DKC, I also liked DKCR quite a bit better than the original Trilogy, with the small caveats that Nate mentioned. That said, I haven't given much time to DKC 2 or 3. I bought DKC 1 on VC and completed it. It was okay, but nothing inspiring. Honestly, I'm glad that the animal buddies and barrels were dropped. But Miyamoto was still wrong! The best thing about DKC was obviously the music.
A lot of people say that Super Mario World was only a tiny step beyond SMB3, but I don't think that's true. The core mechanics may not have changed too radically (aside from the useless spin jump), but the Cape and Yoshi were two unique additions that really changed the feel of the game. More importantly, the whole game had a different emphasis than SMB3, since it was heavily focused on exploration. That's why even comparing the two games feels wrong to me.
For another perspective, I didn't play any of the Donkey Kong Country games until 2010. When Donkey Kong Country Returns was revealed, I decided to track down copies of all three DKC games on the SNES; platformer may be my favourite genre so I wanted to get an idea of what DKCR would be all about. With no attachment to the series, I agree that the original DKC is nothing special. It's a good game with some nice levels, but there isn't too much unique about it that makes it stand out. There are many platformers I'd name over it, and not just ones on the Super NES. However, I believe DKC2 to be one of the best games on the system. The level designs, the varying stages, the music, the controls, it all just comes together in an amazing way.
I played maybe a third of the way into DKC3, but I recall liking it more than the original game. I just got distracted and haven't gone back to it yet.
I haven't played DKC2 or DKC3 but my experience with the DKC series is the same as yours. I played DKC the Christmas after DKCR came out and while I LOVED DKCR, the original just didn't do much for me besides being a basic-fun game. I've heard 2 and 3 were better though but I have yet to learn this or not.