Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sonic the Hedgehog - Progress Report III

Star Light Zone

The fifth level of Sonic the Hedgehog is this lovely night-based level. Sonic's speed is highlighted here due to the roller coaster aspects of the levels. There are loops, platforms that turn into staircases, unkillable enemies that will explode shortly after you approach them and overall it makes for a fun level. None of the acts last very long. 

This is the first ever time I've played Star Light Zone. I started with 2 continues and 7 lives. By the end of Act 3...I still had seven lives but I should have been down to about four. Three times I should have fallen to a bottomless pit I was saved by a platform that I miraculously landed on as well as once I landed on a see-saw. The see-saw's look like this:

The idea of these is that you jump on one side, the spiked ball jumps too and lands on the other side, which launches you higher. You can do this a few times for extra height. I like them, in fact I really like Star Light Zone as a whole. The boss is also interesting...

Robotnik will go from side to side dropping mines. All you really need to do is jump on the opposite sides of the mines. You can either use the mines to launch yourself into Robotnik, or if you're good at timing, launch the mines themselves back into him. Easy enough, but still interesting.

I should point out something I found out. After Act 2 of Star Light Zone, you do not get another chance to obtain a Chaos Emerald. Oh yeah, I still haven't explained them, have I?

Special Stages

Most Sonic games have Special Stages, something optional to allow you to gain a 'Chaos Emerald'. If you collect all the Chaos Emerald, you can gain awesome powers and basically be a god! Except in the first game...where all it gives you is the 'best ending'. To get into a Special Stage, you must finish Act 1 or Act 2 with at least fifty rings then jump into the giant ring. If you're like me and you're not great at these Special Stages then don't worry, it's not a huge deal. That said this run gave me the best total of Chaos Emeralds yet...

FIVE! Out of six! Not too shabby! Unfortunately I didn't quite have enough sense to actually record an attempt at one of these Special Stages, so here's a video of them all played by some guy:

If you actually watch the video, you'll notice that the special stages are freakin' weird! They're also annoying. When you first play them, you'll think you need to collect as much rings as possible then hit the things that say "GOAL". Never hit the things that say "GOAL" that is not your GOAL. Your GOAL is to find the Chaos Emerald, usually encased in little barriers that you have to break down. The feeling of getting an Emerald is immense. Maybe next time I'll try to get six Emeralds. But for now, let's just concentrate on finishing the game.

Scrap Brain Zone

Now, after the deathless run through Star Light Zone, I was pretty damn confident! Until I died in Act 1 of Scrap Brain Zone. In ten seconds. That's when I crashed down to Earth and realised that maybe it won't be as easy as I thought.

Still, Scrap Brain maybe the hardest level filled with traps that will wreck your crap if you're not careful, but it's not frustratingly difficult. There are saws, flames, pigs throwing balls at you, platforms that will disappear and some that will rotate and throw you off if you stay on too long. Yet, the first two Acts are fine, I died a few times (three, to be exact). However, at the end of Act 2 there is no sign post to signal the end of the level. Instead, you bump into this asshole:

Dr. Robotnik! He will jump on that switch and send you into the depths of Hell itself. Or, as it's otherwise known...

GOD DAMN LABYRINTH ZONE! Instead this time it's harder and it's got purple water. It's still technically 'Act 3', but it's clearly Labyrinth Zone. I hate this Act. It's the worst. The air bubbles are not as frequent as they were before, so drowning can be a real problem. There is nothing more tense in this game than the drowning music starting whilst you're trying to dodge enemies and traps just to find an air bubble. Then reaching that air bubble. Then it not appearing until the countdown reaches '0' and you drown, and there is appears, an air bubble mocking you as you curse it and you become obsessed with getting your revenge on it. I can't have a bubble bath any more without wanting to kill all the bubbles in the tub.

OH YEAH the boss. There isn't one. You reach a row of springs at the end of the level and it takes you directly to...

Next time: The Final Zone

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