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Old 04-07-2020   #1
Seaballer
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Sonic's thok has always really been a small point of controversy in the abyss of the SRB2 community. There's this really persistant vocal minority that absolutely despises his double-jump ability. Some people are more passive-agressive than others, but seeing as not only has the community increased after 2.2's release, but the topic of Sonic's double-jump ability being brought back into discussion (in Suggestions, of all places) a few days ago, I decided to create this thread so we can chat a bit about it.
While I don't really mind the thok myself, I'd like to hear your general opinion about it and I'll even give in some questions for y'all to answer so this can liven up a bit. So, on with the thread...

1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?

I'll be taking a look at these later.
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Old 04-07-2020   #2
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Originally Posted by Seaball View Post
1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?
I think that the thok is quite iconic. I don't feel as though it is unbalanced, though it's not the best thing for a beginner to start with.

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2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?
I do not feel as though it needs any replacing, however if custom 1 were to start being used by some of the vanilla characters the insta-shield would make for a fantastic secondary ability. Alternatively, perhaps it could be mapped to spin and replaced by the hover when he turns super.

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3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
As I recall, when I was just starting out well over a decade ago I generally smashed into walls a lot while getting used to the thok, though I don't remember this bothering me much if even at all. I would simply steer myself back on course and continue playing.
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Old 04-07-2020   #3
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok?
I don't know what balance looks like, but the thok just isn't very good IMO. It's incredibly imprecise, the only times I find myself using it are to get off the mark quickly at the start of levels and as an emergency escape when I've messed up a jump, and it's just as likely to get me into trouble as it is to get me out of it.

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could?
I have no ideas of my own to suggest. I've been really enjoying Cobalt's double jump mod, though.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle?
I first found this game some time around 2005, 2006, when I was about 12, and Sonic's ability being so bizarre and uncontrollable compared to the others put me off even trying to play as him for almost a decade. By the time I started playing as him, I already had a pretty good feel for the game's basic movement, so I just relied on good jumping and tried to never need to use the thok. The first time I reached the end of the game - of any version of the game - as Sonic was about six months ago. Draw whatever conclusions you like.
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Old 04-08-2020   #4
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok?
I like it a lot, really. Beginners can use it for a simple quick speed boost, but overuse or blind use of this is appropriately punished; from there, you learn to use it to keep your momentum going around corners, start undershooting jumps so you can thok into a landing for more speed. Advanced players do insane bounces with it, using the maintained air momentum to carry them miles ahead of anyone else and skipping pits that'd normally take a fair amount of slower platforming to do.

If anything, maybe it's a bit too easy to spam. Newer players only see the speed and think they have to do it 24/7, causing said punishments, and a lot of races revolve around being able to thok more often than another Sonic player.

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could?
No, not at all. It's a great way to balance out between Tails's true flight and Knuckles' climbing and gliding; the Thok gives the least direct mobility for retaining the most momentum, and higher level play can rival both other abilities without much question in most scenarios. It would be nice to give him an air-spin ability, though, but that's probably just me being spoiled by add-on content.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle?
Aside from figuring out the normal controls, I want to say getting used to this was rather easy. It helps that I came in near the end of 2.1, where the controls were already becoming easier for newbies to get used to. It may have been much harder to get used to Sonic if I'd chosen the Sonic & Tails duo instead of solo Sonic, because from what I've seen it's extremely tempting to just call on Tails and skip all the challenges - Solo play means I effectively forced myself to get used to how SRB2 played without a safety net. The levels are designed mostly around him anyways, y'know?
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Old 04-08-2020   #5
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?

It's not unbalanced, but it is unwieldy. It is the hardest move to master and therefore makes Sonic the Hedgehog the most difficult character, instead of the most accessible.

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?

I wouldn't get rid of the Thok, but I would supplement it for the benefit of newer players.

Jump+Jump = Doublejump/Homing Attack. (This can be disabled for experienced players, like Autobrake).

Jump+Dash = Thok. (Shield powers override this when active). Though this remapping might be odd for experienced players at first, I think it would be extremely intuitive for all players. The Thok is a Jump Dash.

This would make Sonic the only character with a Jump+Dash ability without shields, which thereby makes him more powerful than Tails / Knuckles (and, shouldn't he be?), and therefore more accessible. By default, Tails and Knuckles would become even more distinct play-styles.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?

It's very challenging to control, at first. I'm used to it now, but it still feels like Sonic is incomplete. I highly recommend watching Woolie's SRB2 playthrough to see how much a beginner can struggle playing as Sonic and ends up shooting themselves in the foot by relying so much on Tails' air assist. The reason Tails is "easy mode" is because he has the best recovery ability. But, his flight powers add the complication of getting lost in the levels. It's much more fun (and feels truer to Sonic) to be able to recover from an error, than to die and retry.

I'd already completed the game with Sonic & Tails before I tried any of the Mods, but I've found it to be so much more enjoyable to navigate levels when Sonic has doublejump/homing because it allows for those crucial mid-air adjustments.

Homing & Thok together as separate abilities (as distinct as the Spin Attack is from the Spin Dash) would be best of both worlds.

Last edited by Moose the Fat Cat; 04-08-2020 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 04-08-2020   #6
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?

I think the Thok, while certainly iconic, isn't very useful as anything but a "go fast" button, at least, for beginners. My biggest problem with it is that it has next to no usefulness in helping with platforming, something that SRB2 has much more of than the average Sonic game. I'd say it's unbalanced in that regard. It's focused almost entirely on speed and barely(if at all) on platforming.

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?

Pointy Sonic's Momentum Flip, without a doubt. It keeps the speed up, just like the Thok, but it also can save a beginner who made a mistake with the platforming, keeping that balance I mentioned earlier. Yes, that would make Pointy less unique, but hey, he's still got a lot of special traits. And to make sure that people don't cry out over the lack of the Thok, I'd say it would be best to move it to Metal Sonic, replacing the hover. It works well with his play style, in my opinion.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
It was pretty easy to get used to it, but that doesn't mean I had an easy time getting through levels. The platforming in SRB2 is not for beginners, and when the game's main character isn't beginner friendly either, it just seems like it's being unfair to someone playing for the first time.
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Old 04-08-2020   #7
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1) No not at all. Thok is a genuinely fine and simple ability. I seriously don't understand the 'controvery' around it. Thok is a pretty standard dash esq. move that is seen very often in platforming games. If anything, Tails' flight is ridiculously overpowered and has gotten even more ridiculous with 2.2's stat equalization.

2) No.

3) I've been playing SRB2 for well over 10 years now so my memory is a bit foggy. I do recall not having any issues with the thok initially. I played with keyboard only for the longest time (though recently I started using controller) and I believe the controls to be pretty simple. I think SRB2 controls get whacky primarily because of mouselook.
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Old 04-08-2020   #8
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I think SRB2 controls get whacky primarily because of mouselook.
On the topic of this specifically, what I have found to work for me is to have look up/down disabled while using the mouse, so that it's only used for steering. A few small sensitivity adjustments later using the mouse to control the camera feels really nice. This works well enough throughout the single player campaign.
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Old 04-08-2020   #9
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?

It is, by far, the most fun ability in the game. It's the main reason I play as Sonic 90% of the time. It's certainly not unbalanced.

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?

I think the thok should be unlockable or a settings toggle. Either that, or Metal Sonic should get Sonic's current moveset (with no changes), and Sonic should get a more accessible moveset.

As much as I love the thok, SRB2 is way too unforgiving for new players. Since it's impossible to convince new players not the play as Sonic in a Sonic game, he needs a proper double jump or something.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?

...I don't remember.
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Old 04-08-2020   #10
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1. I'm not quite a fan of the thok as it is now. You jump, press jump again, get some extreme speed and slow back down to running speed. I personally don't find good use for it apart from speeding through levels awkwardly. An ability that gives you speed you can hold on to longer without spamming would be nice.

2. Dropdashing. Works with slopes, offers cancellation and lets you hold on to some of the speed you gain as long as you're still spinning. It's much easier to handle than the thok. Maybe add a double jump to his moveset, too?

3. To be honest, I don't recall playing Sonic in a "first" playthrough ever. I didn't do any vanilla saves back then because I was getting carried away by the massive selection of mods. I came back with 2.2 to finish the game with Sonic. Don't think there was anything I had trouble with I can remember.
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Old 04-08-2020   #11
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?
Well, I'm not even sure what "unbalanced" means at this point? In earlier versions the thok was considered "overpowered," and Sonic was easily the fastest character for time attack and race, but through a combination of revamped level design and buffs to other characters that's not at all the case anymore.

I haven't played ringslinger properly in a long time - Sonic had a major advantage there as being the only character who could instantly shift momentum and I imagine that's still applicable. But I don't think game balance should revolve around the ringslinger meta considering the campaign-focused direction the game's gone in recently.

Balance issues aside, I love using the thok. It's a simple concept and has a lot of versatility. I've heard Sonic's gameplay criticized as being a thokfest, but in reality it makes optimal movement much more complex than if Sonic could reach max speed on the ground.

That said, I totally recognize the difficulty of use for new players as a significant issue.
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2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?
Recently there's been talks of moving Sonic's current moveset to Metal Sonic and giving Sonic himself new gameplay. The more I think about it, the more I'm on board with that - I can't imagine the thok ever going away but locking it behind an endgame character would be a good compromise.

A new ability for Sonic would have to accomplish three things: First and foremost, maintain distinct gameplay from other characters. Second, be a tool to assist in aerial recovery. I'll note that the thok already does this, in skilled hands. Finally, it needs to be easy for new players to handle - this is where the thok fails.

I'm kind of 'meh' on a simple doublejump - a lot of the campaign is balanced around Sonic's jump height and this would break massive swaths of platforming. It also cheapens Amy, as one of her defining characteristics is the extra jump height.

I really dig the momentum flip from Pointy back in 2.1, as it accomplishes a lot of the same things the thok does (simple concept, versatility, aerial recovery), but the finer details of how it works may still be difficult for a newcomer. So really, I don't have a good idea of what Sonic could use.
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3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
My memory's fuzzy, but I believe I used Knuckles almost exclusively in the final demo days until I started netgaming and learned Sonic through ringslinger - I don't recall if it was specifically because Sonic was difficult to use or just because I liked the flexibility of Knuckles at the time. Around the later days of 1.09.4 and ever since 2.0 came out Sonic's been my main choice for all game modes.
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Old 04-08-2020   #12
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Originally Posted by Seaball View Post
1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?
I like it. It's nice and fast, but not fast enough to skip too large gaps, yet also not slow enough to let the player use it mindlessly without consequences.
The way that it directs your new speed straight ahead also lets you instantly turn around a corner if you know where to aim and when to thok, which feels nice to do if you get it right.
It may not automatically lock onto enemies, but in SRB2's case, that works to the game's advantage, in my opinion. I respect that some other people would prefer a homing thok, but I personally like it as it is.

I should note that I speak from a purely casual point of view; I don't like online multiplayer (just in general, not specifically in SRB2), so my thoughts are based primarily on single-player modes, while split-screen co-op also doesn't change my mind about it.

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2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?
I would not.

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Originally Posted by Seaball View Post
3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
I don't remember; I first played SRB2 well over a decade ago (before v2.0's release in 2009).
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Old 04-08-2020   #13
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1. It's great and perfect as it stands. I'd go so far as to say it's the perfect double-jump ability for Sonic to have in 3D and fits well with his role as the fastest one of the group, who's more difficult to master than Tails and Knuckles, but incredibly satisfying once you see the power of his moves. You can do so many clever things with the thok that allow you to skip portions of levels or preserve momentum (much like Mania's drop dash) in ways no other character can.

2. Absolutely not.

3. I started playing SRB2 as Tails because I knew the game's control scheme would be somewhat difficult to pick up and Tails was listed as recommended for beginners. By the time I tried out Sonic, I was pretty much used to the game's camera-based controls so Sonic wasn't difficult to pick up, and having the thok go in the direction of the camera was very easy to get used to.
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Old 04-08-2020   #14
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?
It really is unbalance, it generates horizontal momentum out of nowhere and no character can beat that (Vanilla chars.)

2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?
Jump Thok wtih falling frames, because I like it and is better for platforming.

3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
I actually didn't like playing as Tails, I played as Sonic or Knuckles, Knuckles cause I liked the sprites and Sonic cause he was faster and all that.
I started playing as tails in 2014 because I found out that Tails' flight was really good to skip the whole game if you spindash first and use the momentum from the spindash.
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Old 04-08-2020   #15
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1. Outta here. I want to actually have to deal with platforming
2. I think the drop dash would be a good fit. It still gives a burst of momentum but you now have to actually platform n' such.
3. Can't answer this, don't remember
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Old 04-08-2020   #16
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1.
Thok completely obliterates the idea from older sonic titles of needing to play well to get and keep high speed, by letting you instantly get faster than the character's top speed in any circumstance.
In MP it's probably still completely busted but I haven't tried MP in v2.2 much. The ringslinger gamemodes at least need to be replaced with something that isn't a weird FPS mode to even start balancing it.

2.
Something that gives a little bit of recovery, and gives some speed, up to top speed. But allows maintaining speed if above top speed.

3.
It's been too long, I can't remember. I likely didn't start out with Sonic anyway.
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Old 04-08-2020   #17
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Ah, this thread again. Welcome back, old friend.

The game is and has been designed around thok for 20 years. To replace it implies (to STJr, at least) remaking every map in the game and throwing out 20 years of muscle memory for the entire community. Multiple attempts have been made to replace it, with no consensus ever being reached.

To put it simply, changing Sonic's ability is simply not a risk they are willing to take.

A good chunk of the team is for replacing it anyway, including myself, but it will still take a miracle for it to happen.

Best bet is to stop discussing it and start prototyping a replacement. I find in most projects regarding this game, discussion leads nowhere 99% of the time. You either come out of the woodwork with something great, or at least workable, or you get stuck with what's already implemented.

I wish the community luck in creating a fun replacement for the thok that works well in the current set of levels. (You can skip over double jump, jump thok, and drop dash; these have been shot down multiple times.)

I'm sure I come across as cold in this response, but I really am hopeful for a change to thok. Ideally I'd like SRB2 to be a game about Genesis style platforming and physics, and giving Sonic a more appropriate ability -- or even no ability -- would go a long way towards that.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if SRB2 is just a starting point for something else entirely; something better...
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Old 04-08-2020   #18
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1. What are your current feelings on Sonic's thok? Would you say with certainty that it's an unbalanced ability?
The issue I have with the thok is simply that there's no sense of earning speed, you just double jump and get an instant burst of near double your top speed no matter what speed you were going at before using it. Thokking also completely invalidates running because you don't even keep the speed on the ground, forcing you to indulge in painful frame perfect jumps / spins (For some reason you can't hold the spin key after thokking unlike in any other scenario) if you want to keep your speed.

Because of the thok's ridiculous instant speed burst, it's also possible to abuse slopes to gain a lot of height without earning any speed prior to it which can also negate Sonic's main weakness (being that he's not good at verticality) since slopes are prevalent in many levels now.

The thok also completely invalidates the spindash which is barely any faster than it.

With all of the above said, the thok is mostly harmless in Singleplayer but really dumbs down Sonic's playstyle to mindless buttonmashing IMO.
While multiplayer isn't really the focus of 2.2, I will still add that it is by far the most annoying ability to play against in anything ringslinger related.

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2. Would you change Sonic's double-jump to something else if you could? If so, what would you replace it with?
The idea of a dash forward is fine, but honestly its speed should be lowered. If the speed was relative to your current speed but capped at 48, it would be fine then to be able to redirect the momentum that you've EARNED by using the ability. I'll keep saying it time and time again, but you should also be able to carry that speed on the ground. Frame perfect inputs being a requirement to keep momentum is a big yikes from my perspective.

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3. Everyone has already been a beginner once. So, in your first ever playthrough of SRB2, how hard was it to get adjusted to Sonic's playstyle? Was the thok so weird you were forced to play as Tails first, or could you handle it normally?
My first full SRB2 experience was with Tails back in 2.0. Sonic is obviously the hardest pick seeing as you aren't cheesing any of the platforming challenges.
Everything mostly boils down to simply understanding the jump physics as the thok isn't any good to make any small platforming adjustments so I had gotten the hang of it by the time I reached the end of the game after getting accustomed to the strafing keys. (Which didn't prevent me from gameovering multiple times in 2.0's brutal Egg Rock)
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Old 04-08-2020   #19
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Thok is a terrible design decision as well as a lazy, uncreative ability in itself that has only stood the test of time through the game's development because of it's age. Taking even less effort and maybe even less risk in some cases, it's the equivalent of a spammable boost button, except airborne. I can't believe you can fling to 60 instantly at a push of a button, but what i can't believe even more is lowering that number without changing anything else worthwhile and just ending up with something...whelming.

The argument constantly given against this is that it's "unwieldy" to use, which I find a shot in the foot anyways...but even moreso badly thought out because it doesn't consider at all the fact that you should always design the around both the skill floor and ceiling of your game. Players will always lab stuff out, and when stuff gets labbed out hard (a majority of the players who use Sonic) you get "thokfests" (name origin); killing an ENTIRE gametype based around racing in a Sonic title and leaving us with the unfittingly clunky donut tossing mini-game that I don't see anyone care about anymore.

...It also does nothing but further accentuate the uncomfortably slippery and exponentially gained acceleration SRB2 struggles to pull new audiences in with, being another reason to bash the controls on first touch. It was known people would touch Sonic first... so I'll never understand why.


EDIT: Oh, also, the instant gratification of going more than double your running speed (yes, running in a Sonic game...) on top of the floatier gravity meant slope physics and launches had to be nerfed upon their implementation pretty heavily, I was actually there for that. So...thanks again Sonic.
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Old 04-08-2020   #20
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Don't really like thok

It's the boost from modern games, but with more inputs. Not harder inputs, mind you, but more inputs. There's a distinction. Instead of holding a button, you mash a button. You can negate the speed almost instantly with SRB2's wacko acceleration, so it's as non-committal as boost while being more punishing to newbies that don't know that trick. Worst of both worlds. The only part that is more committal (which I like) is that you're in the air for it, which means doing it off a cliff is devastating. But if you have a stretch of ground, there's no reason not to.

You could say you could only use it when you need to, which you're right, I do that for the sake of my thumbs. But it's the "non-optimal" way to play -- you are intentionally holding yourself back in Record Attack and every competitive mode. Besides, I don't think telling people "if you don't like it, just stop playing optimally" is a good solution for the game not being fun at its most optimized. In that regard, it's a lot like Sonic Adventure 1's Sonic being able to spindash all of the time. That play-style has been nicknamed "playing like a degenerate" for a reason.

The only reason I play Sonic is to experience the normal path in levels without the cheese of Tails and Metal. Otherwise I avoid him like the plague
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