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Old 12-23-2019   #1
Snowy
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Default Metal Sonic: The good and the bad (in my eyes)

Forgive me if this seems a bit cluttered or worse for wear, I haven't used forums in quite a while. Anyway, onto the main point.

Metal Sonic, the last boss before Black/Brak Eggman. The good ol' duplicate. I think he's in need of a rework of some sort, though possibly not a major one. Below are the good and the bad of the battle itself, as I can see them. Please do correct me on anything, I'd like to actually discuss this. And yes, I know that ERZ has not been touched in 2.2, but I'd still like to get my thoughts out.
The examples I'm going to use is purely based on Sonic- Tails and Knuckles are ignored as they trivialize the bosses of SRB2 anyway.

I'll start with the good;
The fight concept itself is perfect for Metal Sonic, or perfect enough. Move fast to make him dodge and spiral out of control, then jump into him and deal damage. Rinse and repeat while dodging energy spheres, charged dashes, etc. It's a very hectic boss encounter that rewards fast movement and good reaction times, while not being too fast that it ends up confusing the players as to what they have to do. They see him dodge and spin in place, and naturally jump again. They hit him, and now they know how they have to hit the boss itself. This is a good back and forth and makes you feel like you're outspeeding Metal in combat, while not making it just a "Hit him and you succeed" deal with an annoying target.

And now the bad.
The arena sucks. Flat-out. It's horrible for the flow this boss is seeming to aim for. What should be a fast paced boss filled with quick reactions and careful maneuvering is instead turned into a painfully slow-moving and almost unfairly punishing boss fight that can test one's patience.
Moving fast is how you hit Metal in the first place, but due to how SRB2 handles momentum and impacts with the bosses, you always end up soaring backwards at roughly the same speed you attacked with, which can cause one of two things to occur if you fight this boss fast, like how all the signs seem to demand you do:
1: You're launched backwards into the electric gates, and take a hit of damage after landing a hit on Metal Sonic himself. Goodbye guard bonus for perfectionists, and goodbye multiple rings for anyone who just hit Metal.
2: You're launched straight into the death pit with pretty much no way to recover (Granted, this is if you move TOO fast) and as a result, that's a goodbye to all of your progress. Need I point out having to wait out his charges in phase 2 over and over and over again if you're unlucky?

As it is, this forces the player to move slowly. This is not a bad thing in itself, as that's not something this game hasn't done before- Looking at you Egg Colosseum. However, Metal Sonic requires you move fast to make him vulnerable... Which means you have to wait for Metal to move into a good position, while positioning yourself, as he circles you, then get up JUST enough speed to not fly off and lose a life, or get hit. Then, you have to rush over, hit Metal Sonic, and not move so fast the game sends you soaring backwards and, again, causes you to get hurt or lose a life.

This, again, doesn't seem so bad. Until the final hit comes into play.
Very small window of time to trigger vulnerability, very small window of time to hit Metal Sonic while he's vulnerable. Which means you have to move fast. Which means you have to risk the previously stated chances to get hurt or fall into the death plain. Which means having to restart the entire fight over potentially.

All in all, I think the issue may boil down to this:
The Arena and boss fight do not agree with eachother. They conflict with eachother in a bad way, that causes the fight as a whole to be unfun, or just "Meh". This is in contrast with Brak/Black Eggman, who has a massive arena that doesn't enforce death pits until phase 2. But even then, you have a large amount of area to move, so speed is easy to achieve at a fair risk. This overall makes it more fun to build up massive speed when striking, as you should, given the limited time you have to hit him, as you almost always feel like you can recover from such a powerful bounce-back.

Solutions?
Apart from reworking the boss itself, I feel like the major solutions would come from reworking the arena Metal is fought in itself. Possibly making it larger to allow for a slightly bigger amount of speed than what is presently allowed, or changing the penalties for moving too fast to something slightly less punishing, so that players feel like there's a fairer risk and reward.

I genuinely want to enjoy this fight, but I can't due to the above reasoning. Anyone have better thoughts? Arguments against me? Am I just complaining?
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Old 12-23-2019   #2
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Honestly I have gotten used to the fight well enough that I can hit him fast without too much risk of flying backwards into the electric fence or the death pit. However, if I was to make one change to the fight, I would also make the electric fence count as a solid "wall" so that hitting it still damages you, but your rings don't fall off the platform. The solid portion would only extend up as high as the visibility of the fence, so you could still jump over it and fall into the pit below if you aren't careful.
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Old 12-23-2019   #3
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I have no problems with this fight. And I even play using wasd (a and d to turn left and right) and spacebar to jump. So you can imagine how harder it is for me. I only had a hard time hitting Metal when he was circling around me, but I know that was due to my control scheme. I just don't like playing with a mouse.

I really don't think it needs changing. This boss fight tests your understanding of your character and your ability to control it. If by the time you get to Metal you still haven't learned to control your speed, then... you just need to git gud :p

Is it a tough fight that punishes reckless behaviour? Of course it is, you're fighting Metal Sonic! You just played through at least 14 stages and 5 boss fights to get there. If it was any easier, I would be disappointed.
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Old 12-23-2019   #4
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I'm really having no problems here. I don't really get knocked back that far when I hit him even if I'm not holding any movement functions, helps I'm usually already close to him when I need to hit him.

I do agree that all your rings just falling off if you get hit at the "wall" is annoying though.
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Old 12-23-2019   #5
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I also don't like the arena.

I will say though that the fight was definitely not fast-paced for me, but more of one of those "make the smallest movement possible" kind of encounters to make sure I never over compensated, that Metal was never too close to the wall when I finally got him somewhere that I could hit him, and had enough space to dodge his next attack. When I was just trying to move fast, I usually died and could not consistently get hits in. A better arena might make it a little easier to just go wild and speed up, but it still feels like Metal is intended more as a puzzle "Shadow Link" type of boss.
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Old 12-23-2019   #6
Goldenhog
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You just gotta pace yourself, Snowy. The entire game is teaching you to control your momentum and Metal Sonic is like the final exam.

My only issue with the battle is the pinch phase. When you know what to do, it's just a boring waiting game. The devs said they were going to look into it back during the 2.1 era but it's still the same... Maybe they're waiting until ERZ gets its full overhaul. That'd be fair enough, but it still leaves us with a fight that starts off very strong but ends with something that's either hectic enough to be practically luck-based, or something extremely dull.
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Old 12-23-2019   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenhog View Post
My only issue with the battle is the pinch phase. When you know what to do, it's just a boring waiting game. The devs said they were going to look into it back during the 2.1 era but it's still the same... Maybe they're waiting until ERZ gets its full overhaul. That'd be fair enough, but it still leaves us with a fight that starts off very strong but ends with something that's either hectic enough to be practically luck-based, or something extremely dull.
What might help with that would be if they took inspiration from Generations and made it so if you jump at just the right time, you can actually land a hit on him, but if you are standing on the ground he hits you instead. Would reflect the fast paced, fast reflex nature of the overall fight quite well I think.
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Old 12-23-2019   #8
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This fight was way more tolerable over the abomination of 2.1. His pinch phase attack is significantly shorter in this version.
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Old 12-23-2019   #9
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Honestly, to me, the boss has some cool concepts but they're mostly executed rather poorly.
  • The way Metal Sonic floats around the player makes it hard for the player to trigger his dodge at times. I still run into this on a semi-regular basis.
  • The pinch phase, as Goldenhog previously mentioned, is a boring waiting game. However, I have noticed that it is slightly more fast-paced than it was before. The third round, however, still lasts too long for its own good.
  • As mentioned before, the vulnerability time for Metal Sonic after getting 7 hits in is rather tight. So far I've always managed to get the final hit in, but I can imagine it being extremely frustrating if you miss the window of opportunity and you have to go through the long pinch attack again.
I don't, however, find any problems with the arena. It's not good, but it's not bad, either. The one good point I can give to the fight, however:
  • Metal Sonic now telegraphs his attacks better. Neat!
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Old 12-23-2019   #10
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My own thoughts:

* Pre-pinch projectiles should be destroyed once they hit the ground. This is for no reason other than the current functionality makes the projectiles confusing to look at in software mode, especially considering the game's already existing problems with depth perception
* Probably make the speed of Metal Sonic's strafing progressive with the amount of hits he has already taken. I'm fine with him being hard to hit, but I think there should be a way to ease the player into it.
* I agree with making the sides solid, if only because Metal Sonic already treats them as if they were "solid". Probably would feel more fair to the player that way.
* I wonder how the arena would play if it was more of a circle than a square? Just a random spitball.
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Old 12-24-2019   #11
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I don't personally think the fight itself needs changing, its the penultimate boss, and honestly kinda easy once you've grown comfortable to bopping him. or maybe I just play the game too much.

A little more variation to the arena could be spicy though, drop some debris on the elevator to make his charge attack more erratic in the last phase.
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Old 12-28-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CobaltBW View Post
My own thoughts:
* I wonder how the arena would play if it was more of a circle than a square? Just a random spitball.
Then fang wouldn't be able to cheese it by pogo bouncing on the corners during Metal's pinch phase attacks.

I think the fight is fine but agree with your points.

Now, if you really want to make it difficult and add spice to his attacks. I think it would be neat if he had an electric trail similar to the fence left in his path when he's in his pinball phase.
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Old 12-29-2019   #13
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I can reliably beat the fight in one try now as just about anyone but I don't think it's fine.

His tracking isn't fun, even though the idea of getting in front of him before he recovers from damage is thrilling, getting him when he's rotating around you or when he's just hovering outside of your range is actually aggravating as hell and it needs to be modified so he doesn't just get on fidgety patterns between attacks.

The tell for his energy attack took me a while to be able to spot but it feels like the tells could be better and the hitbox of the orbs could be improved and the speed of the attacks altered or something. Sonic games are difficult but they're also easy once you learn them and that's where alot of satisfaction comes from, but even though I can always get metal sonic, most of that is because i figured out how to skip most of his first phase by nailing him with 3 and then 2 attacks and only dealing with one ball attack volley. If the fight is only enjoyable by skipping most of it then there's work to be done.

The arena is bad. The fence works for him differently than it does for you which feels awful. The suggestion of invisible walling you in is probably the best one (especially because if you're high enough up you'd be able to accelerate back in without hitting the ropes, which would feel cool every time to do I think)


The Pinch mode is the easiest one because all you gotta do is stand under him while he charges and then pick a corner and listen for his wind up so you can just jump over it when he comes for you. It's actually one of the better parts of the fight but could probably still use some work. It feels alright but the best way to engage it is again to pick the option where you're engaging him very little.

The fight has cool ideas but it's a miserable fight that's only tolerable when you're cheesing it. A revamp could do so much good because every other boss in the game is a good time with strong patterns and pinch modes and methods of no-hitting them as normal characters.
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Old 12-29-2019   #14
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I've always enjoyed the Metal Sonic fight myself, but that might just be me.

On the topic of Metal Sonic, but more about the race, I was watching a friend play through SRB2 for the first time yesterday. This friend wasn't very familiar with the Sonic franchise and didn't understand that Black Core 1 was a race at first, which caused them to die several times and not understand what had killed them.

I think currently there's kind of an assumption of player knowledge as to what Metal Sonic running away from the player means. The player, in this case, interpreted it incorrectly as foreshadowing a future boss fight and not realizing that it meant they were in immediate danger from having to race. And when the end of race countdown kicked in they were trying to figure out where the space countdown was coming from for the first few deaths before they realized it was always happening at the same time regardless of their position. If the Metal Sonic race is going to be worked on in future, might be worth giving the Metal Sonic introduction a little more flavour and immediate threat to illustrate that it is a race to a player who isn't familiar with Sonic CD (or other games with a Metal Sonic race).
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Old 12-29-2019   #15
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It's not even much of a race, you can still win even if he beats you to the goalpost.

This is probably too much, but maybe the areas can break apart while Metal Sonic passes by them? Like the glasses breaking, exposing the hallways to outer space, for example. Then the space countdown starts and keeps going until the player moves on to the next area. That wouldn't convey to the player that they're in a race but it'd convey to them that they need to keep up with and/or get ahead of the blue robot.
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Old 12-29-2019   #16
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I've said this on the Discord, but maybe the level could collapse or fall apart as the race goes on. Afterall, the race in CD had Eggman's laser giving you a clear sense of "Run, you fool!", while this race does not have that. I'm not suggesting anything to increase the actual difficulty either. If you are on pace, you'll survive, just if you take too long in a specific section, you die, which honestly sorta is more merciful anyway, because nothing hurts more than that false hope of "I can still catch up", only to realize too late the truth.

And as an added bonus, it would kick off Black Core Zone with so much more tension.
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