Thursday, 4 October 2012

Sonic & Knuckles - Progress Report III - Sandopolis Zone

So we start buried in the sand. A better start we could not hope for. After shaking off the sand we come to our first new feature of the level...

I LOVE THESE THINGS! Because they make me bounce! Just run into the middle of it and it will launch you away. In this case it will only launch you into the 'sandfall', it's like a waterfall, but with sand. Keep jumping in one and you'll gradually climb up. It's pretty cool.

I haven't been trying to get the chaos emeralds, but I accidentally ended up in one. Now, after six or so attempts I gave up hope of even getting one. I decided 'why try?'. Naturally...


These enemies are disguised as the pointless sandrock piles. It would be a clever disguise if I had a warped view of what 'clever' is.

These slides, similar to the ones in Labyrinth Zone from the first game, are back. I'm cool with them, but I think there's a couple that infinitely repeat unless you jump (I just jump all the time on them out of instinct now).

Sonic does a little bit of abseiling. Sure, we maybe trying to save the world from an evil Russian inventor, but he's so incompetent that we can afford a little leisure time, surely?

Ah, moving platforms. This is as simple as pushing the block onto the rails and hopping onto it. There's occasionally some obstacle (mainly in Act 2), but it's still standard platforming fare.

Say hello to my new least favourite enemy in Sonic ever. This scorpion has a stretchy tail and I find it very hard to dodge him. The best way I've found is simply waiting for his back to turn and quickly spin dash into him. He still hits me more often than not though.

Hmm, this looks like the beginning of a pyramid. Let's see if anyone's at home!

This boss took an embarrassingly long time for me to figure out. You can't hurt him, there is only one way to defeat him. He will keep jumping in whatever direction you are. There's a quicksand pit just behind you. The solution is simple: lead him into it. Take a look at the time on that last picture and then take a look at the time on this one...

Two minutes of waffling about before I figured it out. Now, I've seen this boss before, I had no excuse! He still got me at his jump, luckily I have my "keep one ring at all costs" rule.

My, it's dark in here. Can someone turn on the lights? Hello? Fine, I'll do it myself, shall I?

Welcome to the gimmick. As you progress through the level, the light will slowly dim. You have to pull these switches to put the lights back on. I'm not a huge fan of this level pretty much because of this.

Here's the other reason, there are heaps of these switches you have to push. All of them will shut after a small period of time. It's the fact there are heaps of them I don't like, and combined with the switches and another aspect of the level we'll see later, it can make things a little annoying.

You are railroaded into opening this capsule which unleashes ghosts. Ghosts are not any bother most of the time, but as the room gets darker, they get bigger and 'scarier'. I don't know if they eventually attack, I never let them. Now, I'm wearing a thunder shield. If you're playing this level, a thunder shield is fantastic for this level for a couple of reasons. First for attracting the rings. Second we'll see in a bit.

Yeah, as I said, they get scarier as it gets darker. This is the "scariest" as I captured, mainly because the only time I let it get darker than this I was a little too busy running at the speed of light.

See that running flow of sand? There was a blockage in the way, but by tackling that out of the way you cause the sand the rise. This is good because it let's you progress through the level, but it's also timed and if you're too slow you will get crushed between the sand and the ceiling. This is where the thunder shield really starts to shine. It has a double jump, meaning you get get just that tad higher during your jumps, allowing you to jump to higher places slightly quicker as you don't have to wait for the sand to rise to a certain level. It's nice.

And here is photographic proof that the sand starts to rise. Just in case you thought I was lying. Though you can trust me, c'mon! Look at this face, you can trust this face? can't see my face, but imagine a trustworthy face. Yeah, you can trust that!

Not much else new happened in the level, another sand rises part, things got darker, things got lighter, switches galore, I got an EXTRA LIFE!!!! and ordinary stuff like that. So, I'm going to talk about this bonus stage.

Basically, it's like those toy machines, but instead of cheap toys you can't do anything with, you get potentially useful stuff. All three shields are available here, plus you can get "ring capsules" which gives you ten rings and you get 1up's as well. There are little bumpers to each side, and the bottom has springs (but if you use them once, they will disappear and falling down will end the stage). You want the 1up, but the rings or a shield is a good alternative. There are a couple of other capsules, one does nothing and another one forces you down, which is mighty rude of it.

I came across another one of these on the last post before the boss. Can you guess what I got in it?

AN EXTRA LIFE! Oh, every time I get one of those I feel just a little bit more alive!

Time to ruin that by fighting the boss!

This one acts very similar to the last boss of Sonic 2, he'll move slowly towards you and his hands will alternate back and forth. The way to do it is wait for the hand closest to the screen to prop out, stand on it and attack the green glowing "HIT ME" spot. This will happen...

Giving you a chance to hit Robotnik. Keep doing this, try not to jump into any of his spikes. He will charge up a laser from the forehead, but if you manage to attack him before he releases it, it will cancel the attack. However, I never was sure how to dodge the laser effectively...

My riches! All gone in an instant.

Still, the boss isn't too bad and less than a minute later...


So, I'll see you next time when we drop into... least it'll be warm!


Sandopolis Act 1 & 2

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