The Thursday Inbox has some new theories for Smash Bros. Ultimate’s final DLC fighter, as another reader reminisces about the Master System.
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I found the news of the Sonic The Hedgehog Minecraft DLC fascinating not only because it looked good (and for the first time ever made me want to try the game) but because it posed the question what is the best 3D Sonic game? Or, more importantly, is there a good 3D Sonic game?
There are two clear contenders for me: Sonic Adventure and Sonic Colours. I’m not sure Sonic Colours really counts though as most of the gameplay is 2D and the bits that aren’t are the worst part of the game. Sonic Adventure, on the other hand, was obviously flawed when it first came out and barely playable nowadays.
Apart from Sonic Adventure 2, which is arguably worse, you’re then immediately into the dregs with so-so efforts like Sonic Generations and Sonic Heroes. And those are the good ones! To be honest I don’t know why I kept playing them for so long and I’m kind of glad there hasn’t been a new one for a while because it saves me the pain of going through the Sonic cycle of underserved optimism and inevitable disappointment.
The same but different
The 25th anniversary of Super Mario 64 reminded me of an often overlooked aspect of Nintendo’s achievement in taking Mario from 2D to 3D: managing to retain the essence of the series charm whilst being, fundamentally, a quite different experience.
Whilst 2D Mario was all about very precise mechanics and platforming, EAD were wise enough to identify the challenges of attempting to translate this into 3D space; perhaps chief amongst them, the design of a functional and unobtrusive camera.
Rather than challenging the player to negotiate an intricate 2D obstacle course, involving perfectly timed jumps, the essence of 3D Mario was the simple joy of movement. Of course, by the time of Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo’s confidence and understanding of 3D space was considerably more advanced; Super Mario Galaxy 2 arguably having much more in common with Super Mario World, not least in terms of its pace, linearity and precision, than Super Mario 64.
PS: A quick mention for a little gem of a title that seemed to slip under the radar a few years back: Bad North. It’s punishing, yes, but also hugely compulsive.
Is it me or is Silent Hill a really weird franchise to be talking about all these years later considering it was never a big seller and everything after 3 was somewhere between average and awful? If I was Konami, a company that barely seems interested in making any video games nowadays, it’d be absolutely last on my list of franchises to try and bring back.
Serious and scary survival horrors don’t sell in any kind of major way and if I was them I’d just sell the franchise to some indie developer or something, maybe keep a percentage of the profits or something.
Castlevania seems a much better bet given the Netflix series and I do expect to hear something about that in the next year or so, but even that will probably get outsourced to someone else (MercurySteam probably).
I don’t even know what they’d do with a new Silent Hill after all these years, other than do a remake and call it a new game.
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Finish the fight
Thanks for the Alex Kidd In Miracle World DX review. I have to say it almost brought a tear to my eye to see this forgotten gem remade for 2021. It was the first console game I ever played, on my sixth birthday to be precise. (I never did finish it.)
The Master System is often overlooked due to the fact that hardly anyone bought it in Japan or the US, but finally it seems that publishers have woken up to its potential audience in Europe and other territories. I just hope it sells well.
What other remakes/remasters would GC readers like to see from the Master System? As unlikely as it is, I’d love to see Master System Sonic 1 and 2 and the original Asterix given the same treatment one day.
Owen (NongWen – PSN ID)
That story about Nintendo suing those leakers, and the lengths they went to to get them, did make me laugh. What were these people thinking? Their five minutes of internet fame cost them £100,000 and presumably their jobs, which I’m guessing they don’t feel was worth it so that people got to find out about Gigantamax, or whatever it was, a month early.
The thing that I find really odd though is the fan projects, like the Metroid remake and the fake Pokémon sequels. Why do people do this? How can you be so clever as to make such things and not realise that Nintendo are going to shut you down? They don’t just make them stop either, but prove they’ve wiped their hard drives, etc. so I really don’t get it.
Not that I’m saying Nintendo are right or wrong to be so aggressive about this stuff but it’s their games and they can act like that if they want, so I really don’t know why people keep testing them like this.
So now we know Tekken is the penultimate game to be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate what is going to be the last? It really is very hard to say and I’m not even sure if Nintendo will see it as important to ensure the last one is a megaton. I think they will, but this is Nintendo so we know it’s best not to take anything for granted.
Assuming that they do want to go out with a bang though, especially as Sakurai is talking about retiring, then logically it can only be a major third party you’d previously think impossible or a brand new Nintendo character. Why do I say brand new? Because I can’t think of any Nintendo character that isn’t already in it that would be major enough.
Unless they did something crazy like making Shigeru Miyamoto a fighter (which isn’t a bad idea, now I think of it) adding a new character from an upcoming game they haven’t announced yet seems like a great idea, since they wouldn’t be able to add it later as there’s not going to be any more DLC.
For the third party option I still think Master Chief is the most exciting and not impossible. He’s no more violent than Solid Snake and I’m sure Microsoft would love it. If it’s not him then I predict Lara Croft or Crash Bandicoot, which would be cool but not nearly as brain-breaking.
Crazy the amount of effort they’ve put into the PC version of Lego Builder’s Journey, when it doesn’t seem like it needed it at all. Not that I’m complaining but, since it’s cheap, it did make me wish there was also a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X version.
I don’t feel we’ve really had a proper comparison between a high profile multi-format game on both the new consoles and PC. Maybe there’s something I’m not thinking of but I’d be curious to see how close the new consoles could get to all the effects in Lego Builder’s Journey, especially as it’s not an action game so all the horsepower could go on the ray-tracing and DLSS.
Quake in your boots
As weird as it is to have Sonic, the N64, and Quake all celebrating major anniversaries on practically the same day I suppose that is the logical upshot of publishers constantly releasing games at the same time as each other. Something that has clearly been going on for a very long time and they still haven’t realised what a stupid idea it is!
Clearly all the attention is going to be on Sonic and Super Mario 64 but I would also like to give a shout out to Quake, which has been kind of forgotten nowadays because they’ve managed to work out a way to do a successful reboot like they have for Doom and Wolfenstein. But Quake was not only the first high profile all-3D game but it also spearheaded the use of dedicated 3D graphics cards (graphics acceleration, it was called back in the day).
I’m sure it’s hard for younger gamers to imagine how graphics used to be back in the day when textures were considered a luxury and games that looked like Minecraft were considered state of the art. Crazy to think how far we’ve come in 25 years but the jump from Doom, which was only three years prior, is unreal (no pun intended).
I do hope id Software have another attempt at a reboot though and this time start with something that resembles the original: a single-player horror shooter with a Lovecraftian theme. Other reboot attempts have focused too much on the multiplayer and I just don’t think that will have the mainstream appeal it used to. Doom shows that everyone loves a good shooter campaign though and that’s what Quake should be aiming for, in my opinion. You can always add the multiplayer on later.
After reading yesterday’s Inbox I tried to get an Xbox Series X on Argos as I live in the North East but no joy. However, I was able to get one on Very, so if people are looking that’s a place to try.
Horizon Chase Turbo and Sonic Mania are free on the Epic Store from today at 4pm.
PS: For anyone interested you can get a collection of Castlevania games on Limited Run’s website until this Sunday for Switch and PlayStation 4, it includes eight Castlevania games.
This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was inspired by reader Andee, who asks what’s your favourite video game soundtrack.
We’ve run similar Hot Topics a few times in the past so to ensure the discussions is different your musical choices can only be from the current and previous generations (i.e. PlayStation 4 and 5). What has been your favourite soundtrack from that period and how does it compare to other classics?
Do you listen to the soundtrack separately to the game and do you enjoy the whole thing or just a few tracks? What do you think of current standards in video games music and what are you looking forward to in the new generation?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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