i really like talking about video games but i also write sonic fics so my opinion is irrelevant
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Favorite Games

Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Sonic Triple Trouble 16-Bit
Sonic Triple Trouble 16-Bit


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Played in 2023


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This review contains spoilers

Now, before anyone attempts to kill me, hear me out.
In terms of enjoyment, this was, without a doubt, one of the most addictive and enjoyable experiences I've ever had in my life. Having already grown fond of BoTW, Tears of the Kingdom genuinely felt like BoTW+ in so many ways, but also quite literally. Perfect 10/10 in terms of how much I enjoyed my playthrough. I fucking screamed when I made my way to the bottom of the Forgotten Foundation and found Zelda’s fucking torch from the very fucking beginning of the game.
The difficulty was a solid step up in many ways, with many overworld enemies capable of killing me in a single hit upon landing. This, overall, made ToTK much more demanding of the player in terms of how they gathered and managed their resources to overcome the challenges.
Which is why I think Fuse is the most fun Rune to play around with in my playthrough, primarily due to the sheer diversity you have in terms of weapons thanks to it. For once, monster loot drops actually serve a purpose other than Rupee fodder, because using them in tandem with your weapons actually gives you a varied array of choices in terms of how you want to customise your weapons. Obviously, there are some caveats and that’s the fact that most of the time, you’d want to opt for raw power (the Black Horns are super good for most of the game), but there are some merits to the Fuse ability by farming Lizalfos in various regions, as Fire/Electric/Ice Breath Lizalfos add their respective elemental effect to any weapon you fuse them with, essentially giving you the Frostblade/Flameblade from BoTW… but not as good, admittedly. Personally, my biggest gripe with Fuse is the tedious menu scrolling you have to do sometimes looking for a specific item in your Materials section. Couldn't they have, like, added a 'Favourites' section for stuff that I actively use to Fuse with my arrows and weapons?
I'd like to also give some praise to the dungeons in this game, which, while easier than I wished they were, actually feel like they have core identities to them now. While BoTW's Divine Beasts mostly followed the same archetype and required the player to usually just 'rotate the beast', the Temples are all distinct in their own way, each having their own specific and unique gimmick to traverse it. I vividly remember solving one puzzle in the Lightning Temple by literally backtracking to the basement and using Ascend to cheese my way into my objective... only to realise that it was completely unnecessary since all I needed to do was remove a few hidden blocks to access the objective. Fuck. But I do think that it's genuinely a great touch that the game designers took into account this method of solving the puzzle, and kept it in for the more creative-minded people. Another thing I really admire is how a good number of the dungeon puzzles actually take from the shrine puzzles - it really ties the experience together, giving the shrines a bit more significance by saying 'OK, you've done this shrine before the dungeon - now what have you learnt?'.
More of my praises, really, go to the pre-dungeon events, as all of them clearly took a bigger enhancement in terms of sheer scale. In particular I'd like to denote the Zora puzzle, which, while much shorter than the other pre-dungeon set pieces, was clearly crafted with old-school Zelda puzzles in mind, and actually tested my intelligence and game knowledge to a surprising degree.
And of course, come on, this is BoTW+. It's literally BoTW but with so much more to do, from the Depths, to the Skies, to all the fucking caves and the treasures, even the callbacks to every other Zelda that came before, hello? The sound design is immaculate and arguably a massive step-up compared to BoTW, and visually (discounting the performance issues) this game fucking slays with how well put together some of the cutscenes and visual aesthetics are. This is still very much THE game for everyone, from those who like slightly brainless button-mashing combat, to those who like exploring a vast, open world, to those who like finding secret areas and solving puzzles, and to those who like Minecraft because they introduced Ultrahand-
I did not like Ultrahand.
Look, I get why the creative-minded fanatics are fawning all over this thing, but for me? I’ve very much been a ‘play it simple’ type of player, and Ultrahand felt like Minecraft crafting but with 10 trillion extra steps. Just the way that you have to always craft mostly the same thing over and over and over and over by dragging the item manually in a slow and tedious fashion and then manually adjusting them so they fit exactly where you want them to be constantly is incredibly draining and time-consuming. This is where Autobuild would’ve solved these issues, until you realise that they only allow you 8 favorited contraptions. Not really a practical solution when you’re forced to build slightly different renditions of the same fanplane 1 million times. Maybe it’s just an issue of personal taste, but I genuinely don’t see the appeal of Ultrahand the way others do. Maybe I’ll like it more when I actually do get to torturing Koroks, though.
The game actually did take a tank into my enjoyment as well with the Spirit Temple as a result. With me not already being a huge fan of Ultrahand to begin with, having an entire dungeon revolve exclusively around Ultrahand and its finicky control scheme rubbed me the wrong way. Fuck the Left Arm Depot and the stupid Big Wheels in particular. Not to mention that the later traversal to the actual temple heavily pushes for you to use Mineru’s construct rather than go past it through your own means. The less said about the boss fight, the better because as long as you have an iron ball and a Blaster you can basically win without taking damage because your attack pattern is the exact. Same. every. Time. with. No. Difficulty. Whatsoever.
I literally couldn’t care less when she fucking died but couldn’t even do that because they left me wondering who the fuck is inheriting her spirit stone.
Speaking of, the story in this game was kindaaaaaaaaa ass……… yeah, I know, I’m sorry, but while BoTW’s main story isn’t as ambitious in terms of scale and plot, at least it was serviceable. Here? Not as much. Some positives first: I think the whole Imprisonment War arc itself was fine, and piecing together the fragments of story you get via the Dragon’s Tears quest was a fun time (certainly a lot more fun than BoTW’s memory hunting). I like the concept of Zelda sacrificing her free will to restore the Master Sword by becoming a dragon purely out of her sheer faith in Link’s ability to defeat Ganondorf once and for all. The shit revolving around Zelda was incredible, really, very powerful, and that applies to the ending as well as she laments on how elated she is to finally be restored back to her own timeline… home. But uhm ackshually she never powered up the Master Sword since when you retrieve it it still only does 30 base power so 0/10 game no consistency-
The problem? I finished The Dragon’s Tears before even attempting a second dungeon. And by doing so, I completely broke the story structure and the pacing. See, by the time you finish the quest, it’s super obvious that Zelda is, in fact, the Light Dragon (if the Silent Princesses that spawn after you obtain the 12th tear wasn’t a telling enough clue I don’t know what is). And while the scene itself is really emotional, it actively hurts the fake Zelda sideplot, because as I trudged through the other 3 dungeons, my mind kept asking why Link doesn’t just explain that the Zelda they’ve been seeing is a fake. Either that, or Link doesn’t read context clues like we do and is a fucking idiot. In fact, Link never addresses the fake Zelda thing through his discovery from this quest ever, because the game does it for you anyway when you storm Hyrule Castle.
Then there are the 4 regional side-plots. Look, I love all 4 of them, I really do, but something about them just really doesn’t sell me the way the Champions did in BoTW. I think part of that comes down to the fact that we really don’t get to establish the bond between Link and these characters enough. Sure, they did show up in BoTW to help you get on the Divine Beasts (which isn’t even the case for Tulin since it was his dad that helped us instead), but ultimately they play second fiddle in terms of importance because the game chose instead (rightfully) to focus on the Champions, who each have their own distinct relationship with Link (Mipha being his simp, Daruk being that badass chill friend, Falco being the edgy rival and Urbosa being kinda the strong mom vibe of the gang?). Another important thing to note is that BoTW does show Link vibing with the Champions, which, while not really as substantial as most games, is serviceable enough to emphasise that these are, in fact, close friends of Link.
Here… not so much. Ultimately I think Sidon’s story in ToTK is by default the best one since there is a justifiable (but still iffy) motive for his character growth (he needs to let go of the burden and fear of losing the people he loves), and the fact that out of all the characters that last showed up in BoTW, he’s perhaps the one who shares the most screen time alongside Link. But even that plays second fiddle in this game to his destiny as one of the Sages. In fact, the same applies to all 4 sages, and it’s fucking egregious. Once you’ve seen a cutscene of Link and his companion obtaining a Sage Stone, you’ve basically seen all of them. This is where I think ToTK’s open nature hurts its storytelling the most: because the game has to assume that any of these 4 dungeons could’ve been your first, every cutscene has to play out the same way - ancestor shows up, successor comments on how they’re the voice they’ve been hearing, ancestor explains that they helped Rauru in the past as a sage, they lost to ganon, zelda comes in to tell the ancestor to help link, successor hesitates but accepts their role and gives lonk they’re powers bla bla bla fucking bla when you see the same cutscene four times it gets super boring.
This especially hurts because other than their ‘destinies’, each character actually has their own self-contained character arc going on. I’ve mentioned Sidon earlier, but frankly, his character arc is the most acceptable one. Riju’s problem is that as chief of the Gerudos, she has a lot of weight to bear and wants to be strong enough to carry her people, but is still too young and needs help. Then Link comes in with his arrows and… the problem is solved? Like girlie still ends up not being able to use her lightning powers without Link’s assistance and the problem is solved? She really needs to just drop the scimitars and take up archery. Tulin is the direct contrast of this: he’s also super young, but super capable and incredibly talented, and desperately wants to prove himself to his father as an independent figure. And while I think the message of ‘working as a team’ is a nice message to deliver, it doesn’t really matter much when Link is still doing most of the heavy work? Like I was the one beating Colduga for the most part? And then apparently the problem is solved, too, because upon his return his dad sees him as finally worthy of Falco’s bow or something idk it’s better than Riju’s I guess.
Yunobo has it the worst, though. His character arc was… artificially induced because we could’ve had a really deep introspective look at a young man who started a company with the goal of helping others, only to get in over his head with greed and be consumed by his desire to make money selling drugged meat. But nope, that conflict was induced by fake Zelda giving him a mask or something and when he’s broken free of it boom problem solved! There’s not even time for Yunobo to reflect on his mistakes or anything, we gotta make him the Fire Sage!!! Because that’s so fucking cool! Destiny! What a thing, right?????
And finally, there’s the heavy lack of payoff that these Sages provide in terms of the story. In BoTW, when the four Champions exert their payback on Calamity Ganon on the Divine Beasts they were killed on, it felt earned. It felt like justice was finally being served on evil as light took one step closer to ultimate victory. It had a profound impact on actual gameplay as well, since their attacks actually delete half of the final boss’ health bar. In ToTK? Well they show up to help Link fight common enemies, and then step in when Ganondorf summons shadows of himself to distract Link, but… that’s about it. They then also get gracelessly tossed aside for Phase 3 of the Ganondorf fight, and never actually show up until the final cutscene of the game. To their defense, the Champions are well… Champions with years of combat training and the Sages, despite their powers, are literally just a group of dumb fucking kids, but it still sucks that they could’ve had so much more impact on the endgame than they actually did.
But hey, by clearing a dungeon, each of the sages will have their spirit follow you around in the overworld! Which is… honestly a mixed bag. First thing to note is that I think 4 out of the 5 sages have really cool abilities - Tulin’s ability gives you an extra horizontal push when you’re trying to explore a new location in the skies (it also helps you quickly rush over to another platform, reducing the stamina consumption needed to climb it), Yunobo’s ability makes cracked walls significantly easier to break, and also has the niche of being able to OHKO Ice Breath Lizalfos. Sidon’s ability is an AOE water attack but more importantly, a free parry, and Riju’s ability is a cool AOE lightning strike, much like Urbosa’s. What makes these abilities much better to use is that unlike BoTW’s power ups, these abilities have relatively low recharge time and are much more useful in normal gameplay (Mipha’s Grace and the Remote Bomb are sorely missed, though). And all of the sages have the additional perk of being able to do damage with their weapons. This can lead to really cool shit like you and a group of people beating the ever-loving shit out of a bandolier of monster pirates, and also really funny shit like you and a group of people ganging up on a stupid villain in a stupid costume (yes, I’m talking about you, Kohga.)
The problem, however, is how you use these abilities - you have to physically get close to the spirit whose ability you want to activate. And when you have 4 of these spirits running around trying to attack enemies as well, it becomes a problem. I suppose it does contribute to the realism of the chaos of a battle, but all it really does is create more headaches as you frantically run around being unable to focus on the fight while finding the spirit you want access to. Sometimes you’d also inadvertently contact the wrong spirit and end up wasting a gust charge (the one true downside of Tulin), or accidentally wasting Sidon’s parry on a fodder monster. Mineru’s arguably the fucking worst of the bunch, though, since her construct actually gets in the way a lot of the time (sometimes her attacks do a lot more harm than good) and for some reason even though she can move perfectly fine on her own when left to her own devices, boarding her consumes YOUR FUCKING CELL BATTERY FOR SOME REASON LIKE HUHHHH????????? ??? Fuck Mineru. Honestly this problem wasn’t even hard to solve, just free up a little more space on the radial wheel for runes, how hard could that have been?
Overall, though, I feel like this game’s biggest problem is how it tries to do a lot more… without actually giving much incentive to do all of it. Like sure, for those who love exploring the unknown, all this extra stuff is a fever dream for them, but then there’s the fact that there’s 1000 fucking Korok seeds, 152 shrines, 7 bargainer statues, 58 wells, a shitload of armor etc. and besides the armor and all the neat weapons you can find and the heart containers, nothing else really… incentivises you to get everything. Like, once I got the first Bargainer Statue and the subsequent Heart Container, I was done. Once I fully upgraded the Hylian Set and the Champion’s Leathers, I was done. Once I found enough shrines to get an additional stamina wheel and 20 more Heart Containers (a whopping 104 of them), I was essentially done with everything I wanted out of this game. I guess the reward for all this is the experience itself, but really it just feels bloated and overwhelming, as much as I hate to admit it.
There’s also the obvious issue of framerate drops, but I think that’s moreso a problem with the Switch hardware being fucking ASS rather than a game-exclusive issue. I think in the end, between ToTK and BoTW, I’d say I’d definitely return to ToTK simply because there’s so much more to do and so much more to see. It has a lot of significant flaws, yes, but that doesn’t cut into my enjoyment of it much. I’d be lying, however, in saying that ToTK is a better game than BoTW.
Because it simply is too flawed. But maybe that’s a good thing. Sometimes, it’s our flaws that make us whole.
P.S.: I’d like to say that Tulin is literally the most marketable plushie ever look at this fucker he’s adorable I’d literally buy a plushie of him if there ever was one.
Final rating: 6/10. 10/10 enjoyment tho.

30 Days of Sonic 2023
Day 8: Sonic Adventure DX (modded)
I popped off when I pulled off Casinopolis skip for the first time. Anyways:
I think above all else, Sonic Adventure was always supposed to be groundbreaking first and foremost. It's intentions were clear from the very get-go: to not only be the flagship title on a new flagship console to save a dying company, but to also showcase the technical capabilities of the Dreamcast.
That much is true when you actually really look at the contents of the game: Did Knuckles really need a treasure hunting-style gameplay? Perhaps so, when you consider that the horizontal mobility he can achieve through a singular glide, but hey, it's an excuse to showcase how the Dreamcast excels graphically at loading huge 3D maps, with detail beyond what most consoles were capable of at the time. Casinopolis sneers at Bob-omb Kingdom.
Then of course there's the obvious presence of Big and Gamma's playstyles: nowhere near the style of gameplay Sonic has modelled itself of during his Genesis days, but they certainly are great ways to show how capable the Dreamcast is at arcade-style shooter games! Heck, Rez was released on the Dreamcast 2 years later, and that game fucking rules. The same can be said for Big, whose fishing gameplay prompted the birth of fishing simulators and every single fucking simulator that came after (where's my cynical game critic simulator huh), or Chaos, which is basically a flashing neon sign saying "HEY LOOK AT OUR WATER EFFECTS! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN WATER THIS REALISTIC BEFORE???? THIS WATER IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!11!!1!!"
Later on, Sonic Adventure even got DLC through online distribution, a common reoccurrence that in 2000 was still considered a rarity. No matter how you slice it, Sonic Adventure and the Dreamcast set out to break new ground upon release.
But the groundbreaking factor of SA1 extends beyond its technical aspects. The scope of the story increased, going from a mostly uninhabited island in the sky to a whole-ass city that ends up getting completely destroyed by the ensuing threat of Chaos (with zero casualties? the fuck-). With six playable characters, the developers somehow put in the effort to construct and weave these tales into one singular grand narrative that serves to tell the overarching plot of the main story at hand. And while it doesn't do a particularly great job of articulating certain plot elements (Knuckles sees other echidnas for the first time in his life and has zero reaction? the fuck-), credit has to be given for trying out something this ambitious for, at that point, modern 3D platformer standards (Klonoa did it better but STILL).
And then there's the self-contained storylines, which have a diverse range in terms of tone, from the melancholy of Knuckles and Gamma, to Tails and Amy's arcs of self-actualisation, to Big being the frontal figure of this game's overall campiness, and Sonic's usual kick-ass 90s edge awesome theme, SA1 has it all. To tell such a wide range of stories in a platformer can also be considered groundbreaking for a 1998 new-gen console title.
But there is more to SA1 than just merely 'groundbreaking', no - over the years, a dedicated group of speedrunners have taken a groundbreaking landmark in the gaming industry, and hundreds of new tricks have emerged popping out the woodwork, proving that SA1 wasn't just 'groundbreaking'. It was simply just 'breaking' apart. The culprit-in-chief being Sonic's spindash, which doesn't just enable Sonic to break the sound barrier, but apparently, even physical barriers and invisible barriers alike. The amount of versatility this move alone provided in speedruns was so notorious, Sonic Team had to actually nerf it come SA2. Ever wanted to see your childhood get destroyed in about less than 52 seconds? Go watch the speedrun world record for Emerald Coast and stare in horror as speedrunners mercilessly tear the level to shreds.
Honestly, though, that's a net positive on SA1's side, because the game is what I consider a prime example of being too 'groundbreaking' for its own good. While it sure is nice of Sonic Team to showcase the ability for an already varied game to also run pinball on the side, it's also super appreciated that Casinopolis skip exists so I don't have to waste 5 minutes of my time farming for rings.
Another thing that can probably be considered groundbreaking at the time was that Sonic Adventure introduced the Auto Camera, which allowed the screen to constantly follow along the characters during gameplay without the requirement of manual input from the player. Unfortunately, that seems to be the most broken part of the game today. Yet, it still doesn't take away from the sense of scope and spectacle the auto camera allows during the whale chase, for example.
They did not consider the fact that just a month before SA1's Japanese release, a little game called The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time released on the Nintendo 64, introducing a groundbreaking and now revolutionary camera control method known as Z-targeting. Ocarina of Time is now commonly regarded as THE greatest game of all time.
Talk about a heartbreaker.
Final rating: 7/10

30 Days of Sonic 2023
Day 7: 3D Blast (Saturn)
There are two types of difficulty: There's difficulty, and then there's a sub-machine turret in a 2.5D isometric platformer treasure hunting game with poor depth perception.
The Gimmick of the Week
3D Blast has an interesting design philosophy. Most games in this era implemented Badniks as obstacles, and most of the time players got to choose how they dealt with this obstacle; they'd either kill it, evade it, or sometimes even use it as an extra footstool for speedruns. However, as my earlier statement implied, Traveller's Tales and SEGA decided that for 3D Blast, they wanted to create the world's most frustrating isometric scavenger hunt experience of all time. And thus the game released, and lo and behold, save for one level, every level is reduced to a mini treasuring hunting map, where players have two options: kill Badniks and collect Flickies, or quit the game. Binary options in my Sonic game? No fucking way.
Granted, the level designers at least had the restraint of making the player search for these stupid fucking birds 5 at a time, and thus each level is split into 2-3 mini segments where the objective is always the same: find the birds, go through the hoop, onto the next part. On paper this doesn't sound too bad - with only 5 Badniks per area, all I have to do is platform, kill them and get to the hoop, right?
Well, obviously that wouldn't be the case, doing this would make the game far too easy. So the game designers had a few decent options:
Make each Badnik its own miniboss that requires 3 hits to defeat, then you get a Flicky. Simple, and you can get really creative with the miniboss design. This is an option that Frontiers would later adapt when it came to their enemy design.
Have the player use their brains while navigating these mini-areas: maybe have a more difficult platforming segment that leads to the Badnik? Or maybe stash the Badnik away behind a visibly cracked wall? This option DID make it into the finished product, actually… for the special stages.
So you may be asking: what was Eggman cooking?
Well, to deter Sonic’s progress through Flicky Island, Eggman deviously concocted three things: a whole lotta fucking traps and natural hazards, baffling movement physics, and the worst depth perception known to mankind.
The Three Musketeers of Frustrating Isometric Platformer Design
It’s impossible to discuss any particular topic separately, as in reality, pointing the blame at one aspect tends to tie heavily to the others anyway. On paper, these traps aren’t too bad. You’ve got exploding mines, exploding snowmen, electrified floor tiles, spears protruding from the ground, lava, rotating fans- wait, rotating fans? This game is fucking weird man what can I say. And for the most part, you’d be right! You can dodge the exploding everything as well as the electrified floor tiles and Spring Stadium spike traps by simply jumping past them. And that’s mostly owing to Sonic’s superb air control, since his air speed is so fast you can actually jump past entire pits at will, much like in the Genesis titles!
Unfortunately, I should emphasise ‘for the most part’. Because while you can jump past these obstacles, you will get hit by the exploding mines, you will get hit by the spears, and unless you have a Red Shield, you will constantly lose rings in Volcano Valley. And that’s primarily owing to the depth perception in this game, because holy fuck is it as awful as you’d expect a 2.5D isometric platformer to be. Usually, in a full 3D game, you have a clear view of what’s ahead of you, and can therefore react accordingly and do exactly what you need to cross a certain obstacle.
However, that luxury is taken from you when you remove ½ from that number, and most times it’s hard to predict Sonic’s trajectory off a jump. You could randomly get hit by an exploding mine projectile you’d think you cleared, or miss a platform entirely and be forced to redo an entire platforming section. As you’d expect, the shadow quality does not help in the slightest, so Sonic can even struggle with basic things such as jumping on an item box. Or a Badnik. Which can still damage you if you land too close to it after missing a jump. Yeah no this shit’s fucking terrib-
Fear not, because Sonic’s toolkit actually helps make things easier! For once, rolling is actually the optimal method of defeating Badniks, since you don’t risk the chance of missing your jump and getting hit for it! And it’s pretty easy, too - simply press the B button while moving and you’ll be dunking straight into the Badnik! Hell yeah! Those nasty platforming sections in Rusty Ruin? Don’t worry, the Spin Dash jump also works in this game! Just hold B in a standstill and Sonic will automatically rev up his Spin Dash for the first time in Sonic history (hey that’s something SA1 and SA2 adapted!), and with a well-timed jump those platforming sections are solved in one fell swoop!
If only Sonic’s ground movement was good! Sonic’s stellar air physics might be compensation for how awful he feels on land. One word: slippery. Half the time Sonic would be skidding all over the map without much of the restraint that made him fun to control in the main Genesis games, and due to this he’s much more prone to the aforementioned hazards and traps unless he opts to Just Jump. Which honestly feels like the biggest bit of advice I could give to a newcomer who wants to play this game. When in doubt or in danger, just jump. It’s much better than actually running.
Which is genuinely unfortunate, because this game actually has… slope physics?! Sonic’s movement speed on the ground is actually relative to the indent of the slope he’s on, much like in the Classic 2D games - he slows down uphill, goes faster downhill, yada-yada. And this somehow simultaneously gives this game much more realism and speed, but also further hampers your movement more because even the smallest indent can cause Sonic to slide ever so slightly, possibly even getting hit in the process. And then this net positive completely falls apart when you realise Sonic’s momentum physics do not translate when he rolls - he still rolls at that same awkward speed unless it's one of those automated sections that transition you between parts of the level.
This gets even fucking weirder when you find out that the fucking Special Stages have momentum physics as well! And they’re even more accurate since Sonic actually gains massive speed down a slope! Tragically this doesn’t even get put to good use unless you’re passing through a speed gate, because while the music fucking slaps and the halfpipe design is much better than in Sonic 2 (there’s much more bells and whistles like the aforementioned slopes, high paths and low paths, speed gates and speed boosters, as well as stellar sound design because the sound effects actually get muffled when you’re in a tunnel), the problem of limited field of vision still persists and you’d wind up accidentally careen into a row of bombs at high speeds, possibly even costing you the special stage in the process.
Speaking of accidentally careening into traps, honestly Eggman should just quit the Badnik industry and focus instead on these inhumane ass traps since those seem to do a much better job at getting me to press Alt + F4. See, these traps don’t just hit you, they can hit the Flickies you collected as well. And after you get hit, they scatter. The Blue and Purple Flickies aren’t much of a hassle to recollect since they stay close to Sonic anyway, but then there’s the Red Flicky. Fuck him. Fuck his emo looking hair and the way he constantly jumps around. You wanna pick him up? Have fun trying when the depth perception constantly gets in the way and you’re constantly missing his obnoxious ass. The Green, fat bastard can also fuck off too, for similar reasons.
Now to actually discuss the traps in question: all of the aforementioned traps aren’t really a problem once you get used to the controls (yes, you can get used to them). But then, in the penultimate level of the game, Eggman decides to unleash literally Satan’s hellspawn onto the planet: a single turret, with semi-automatic firing speeds, 360-degree rotation and bullets the size of fuck you. The level designers must’ve realised that they needed to increase the difficulty scale of the game to keep the gameplay loop fresh. And instead of naturally raising the difficulty, they chose to spawn 1, sometimes even 2 Badniks next to this fucking piece of shit. Imagine you have 4 Flickies, and the last one happens to be wandering around one of these Turrets. You either get hit by the Badnik due to dodgy slippery controls, or you miss a jump, or you can get hit by the turret. Now you have to recollect all 5 Flickies in that singular area, All while the turret mercilessly fires its bullshit at you. The worst part about this? Most of the Flickies you collect are the Red and Green fucks. GRAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-
Everything Else
The boss fights in 3D Blast, are without exaggeration, the most bipolar series of bosses in the entire series. First there’s Green Grove’s boss fight, which is your standard mediocre ‘stand and wait until the boss makes himself vulnerable’ battle. Of course, depth perception makes every hit on Eggman a 70/30, but it’s relatively easy in the long run.
Then the game fucking hardcuts to Rusty Ruin’s boss, which involves you waiting for Eggman to slam one of the paws on this ancient mech so that you can follow it as it rises to hit him. Not a particularly difficult task from the sound of it, but then you actually play the fight and realise the depth perception fucks you over because of course it does. It doesn’t help that the ring drops fucking suck in this game as well, because the game is inconsistent with how long they remain for Sonic to collect. Half the time they work as intended and only vanish after a few moments; the other half they just disintegrate immediately after you get hit. This is a significantly worse problem in boss fights when you only have a limited resource of rings to go by.
The game continues to flip-flop between both sides of the spectrum - Spring Stadium’s fight is more of the same with Green Grove, another fight where you run around waiting for Eggman to make himself vulnerable before hitting him. The same applies to Diamond Dust, but this fight is much better (and easily the best boss fight in the game) since you can make Eggman hover back down immediately by blowing up the exploding snowman he drops. And most of the time, it’s a free hit.
Then Traveler’s Tales decides to throw good boss design into the bin for the rest of the game because Volcano Valley is easily a bottom 10 Sonic boss, in my opinion. This boss requires incredible precision in not just avoiding the auto-aim flame projectile (how the fuck does that even work), but also in not accidentally jumping into lava when landing on the super-thin pipes that give you a clear shot at hitting Eggman. AND you have to pray to God that you don’t randomly get hit by the fire spewers guarding Eggman, AND pray that your rings don’t FUCKING disintegrate immediately when you try recollecting them, THEN pray your next jump actually lands you back on the pipe.
Gene Gadget then merges the ‘run and wait’ boss design with a treadmill and garbage depth perception, since weirdly enough the only way to guarantee a hit on Eggman is by hitting the cockpit from the front - even hitting him from the sides is more likely a miss or the reversal where YOU get hit. After these two fights, Panic Puppet and the Final Fight can be painfully cheesed by standing in a corner or running around for most of the fight and waiting for Eggman to make himself vulnerable.
Graphically, I’m mixed. On one hand, the attention to detail is gorgeous - the levels are all spruced to life in the Saturn release, with small additions like mice popping out of the large vases in Rusty Ruin, the way the tiles glow whenever you step on them in the Final Fight, and all the various weather effects like rain and fog in Rusty Ruin, and the snow in Diamond Dust. However, the sprite work in general is less than stellar (in the main gameplay). Sonic in particular looks limp, shiny and lifeless, with all his main animations feeling more stilted and awkward. Sure, he, Tails and Knuckles look far better when you enter a Special Stage, but that’s just a momentary feeling of aesthetic pleasure before you’re forced back into terrible pre-rendered model land.
However, I will say that this game is probably the most 90s aesthetic ever. The whole game just has a very awkward, mid 90s early 3D vibe to it, and its age has definitely shown. But there was clearly effort put into it - the pause menu in each stage is different, and each and every one of them screams 90s right at your face.
And then there’s the soundtrack.
It definitely contributes to the overall 90s vibe of 3D Blast Saturn further, but don’t let that make you believe that it doesn’t hold up today, because it absolutely does. Both acts of Green Grove, Diamond Dust Act 2, Rusty Ruin Act 2, Gene Gadget Act 1 and the Special Stage music serve as the best the soundtrack has to offer, with each of these pieces extenuating and oozing with classic 90s disco/pop/hip-hop charm. The same goes for the other unmentioned stages, as they all are great in their own right.
Except for Spring Stadium Act 2. We don’t talk about Spring Stadium Act 2.
But to me, that isn’t even the main draw of the soundtrack. Richard Jacques and TJ Davis collaborated for the first time with the Saturn release of 3D Blast, creating the main theme of the game “You’re My Hero”.. While the song itself is unremarkable compared to the rest of Sonic’s vocal theme library and especially pales in comparison to their later work in Sonic R, note how the link I redirected you to explicitly takes you to the 48th second of the video, where the chorus begins. Now I need you to listen to the keys that play when TJ Davis sings “cause’ you’re my hero”, because that is incredibly important to this massive revelation I’m about to deliver. Richard Jacques was also responsible for composing the soundtrack of the game, and as he did so, he ended up implementing the beginning of the chorus to every single level theme in the game. This, as it turns out, made 3D Blast Saturn’s soundtrack the first in the Sonic franchise to incorporate a leitmotif throughout the entire game.
Don’t believe me? Listen closer.
Every single one of those characters sends you to videos of every level in the game, and the exact second you can start hearing the leitmotif. The fact that no one has ever really mentioned this is shocking to me, and this is one aspect of 3D Blast Saturn’s soundtrack that I believe is heavily underappreciated, even for an album of such quality. And for that, I have to give Mr. Jacques massive respect.
Oh, and the leitmotif was used in almost every level. Guess which level didn’t use the leitmotif.
Final rating: 5/10
(p.s.: play the Director's Cut version. It's so much better it's not even funny.)