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Old 10-23-2020   #1
Pyrakid Wolfo
 
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Default Special Stages Thoughts and Criticism

Magma Caves... everything is so red it's disorienting. I can't see anything when i'm going faster than normal speed, and the whole point of special stages is to have a good momentum and challenge the player... I think. Also that beginning section with the falling lava is to me the hardest part because it's the only part i get hit on... I still have plenty of time so the hit penalty isn't too bad.
Oh and I always hit a wall and bounce up into the lava after the speed boosters, I cannot see anything so i guess i should slow down at that part. Why is lava the ceiling anyway. Not saying i don't want lava the ceiling but it is odd. I always found the last special stage easier than Magma Caves.

Arid Canyon... I think it could be less strict on the blue spheres. I always found it surprising when i have 79 blue spheres and it needs 80. Just unexpected. My fault is to blame though.

Black Hole Zone... no
give us harder special stages but black hole is just a perfect mess, but still a mess i guess.

Special Stages themselves seem pretty easy to beat. Maybe how the special stages work could be changed. For example, less time, but passing the chaos emerald gives you extra time for A Ranks. Not saying that would make the stages harder, but if you have any ideas to make the special stages harder without changing the levels (though changing the levels slightly may be a good idea) than leave comments.

Also just wanted to say I can get Rainbow A ranks on Floral Fields and Toxic Plateau.
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Old 10-23-2020   #2
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The special stages in SRB2 could honestly afford to be a tiny bit harder, maybe introducing hazards in the second special stage instead of the fourth. They are very fun to speedrun and score attack, but can feel like a chore in the main campaign once you know how to play them.

Dusty Wasteland is most certainly an oddball when it comes to sphere count, requiring you to be more careful to collect every sphere than prior special stages. I actually like the difficulty in that and somewhat wish the next two did similar things.

Magma Caves, in its current design, is an absolute mess of grating red, and really could afford a visual makeover, as well as not making the majority of the spheres obtainable through a super paraloop.

Egg Satellite is a gauntlet of hazards that is a worthy finale to the special stages, but for some reason I just think it overstays its welcome after the capsule a tiny bit, specifically in the section with the stationary lasers.

Black Hole is definitely more fun than either of the last two special stages, and is a challenge stage done right. The stage truly requires you to master NiGHTS gameplay with all the hazards, and having to A rank all the prior stages prepares you well for it. You have to know how to best get through hazards, when to drill at top speed, when to do cool paraloop tricks, when to take it careful, and when you can catch your breath.
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Old 10-23-2020   #3
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I'd probably prefer they don't get harder. I've never really been all that great at NiGHTS gameplay style, nor do I find it super enjoyable. Aside from the 6th emerald, which I often struggle on, they feel just about the right difficulty. The 7th emerald I always seem to finish with only like, 20 seconds left, which when it comes to these stages can easily feel like a close call.

For those that crave the challenge though, perhaps harder versions of them could be made available as an option in NiGHTS mode?

As for the other NiGHTS mode stages, I don't really play them very often, so I don't have much to say about them specifically.
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Old 10-24-2020   #4
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So my brother had gone long enough without touching this game to consider the NiGHTS stages to be new. His first impression of them was not positive, though that's probably because he'd never played NiGHTS before. Neither had I, but I got used to it after some practice...and watching other people play them.

Please, for the love of Chaos, don't make them harder. lol. They're hard enough, IMO. They, and Fang's Aerial Garden emblem are basically the only things between me and 100% completion right now.
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Old 10-24-2020   #5
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I don't like NiGHTS mode in SRB2.

The way that I think of it is:
- SRB2 Vanilla is a huge step up in design over commercially available Sonic games, providing something totally new and different
- SRB2 NiGHTS is an imitation of a commercial product that already exists, and the original game is better

SRB2 NiGHTS was a novelty when the original game was unavailable to me. NiGHTS into Dreams is now on Steam, so the authentic original is now widely available.

Journey of Dreams was also a novelty when it was available, but after playing the original, JoD's changes to the mare system hurt its replayability for me. (JoD was also designed for a campaign playthrough rather than for each individual stage to be replayed over and over again, but that's not what this thread is about.)

Also: SRB2 NiGHTS handles best on an 8-way directional input scheme. I'm a dedicated controller player, and I can't play SRB2 NiGHTS on my control stick. I had to bind my D-pad to WASD for the NiGHTS stages.

SRB2 NiGHTS design (ever since Botanic Serenity) has been a straight line of rings/spheres/hoops that players just collect all in a line. Maintaining a combo is a relatively simple thing in SRB2 NiGHTS. NiD made players work for it. Getting a combo was hard. SRB2's Dream Hill is close to this ideal (you have to bob and weave to keep your combo going), but it still feels too easy to keep a combo. Maybe the movement system is too responsive?

SRB2 NiGHTS is definitely a great technical achievement. NiD fangames are rare (I believe? not super well-versed in NiD fandom).

I'm personally uninterested in SRB2 NiGHTS without some major overhaul. Which could happen? But I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 10-24-2020   #6
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When I say harder I don't mean unfair at all. I've never played a NiGHTS game, even though I have NiGHTS on the wii, i never touched it. I find SRB2's special stages to be well designed and fun, but i welcome improvements.
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Old 10-24-2020   #7
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IIRC, the NiGHTS special stages were largely a product of people who are no longer in the dev team, so the real question if they're gonna stay in the game at all from 2.3 onwards.
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Old 10-24-2020   #8
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SRB2 NiGHTS is certainly a technical marvel for doom engine modifications. At the same time, I think it's gameplay is pretty average on the whole and not something I ever had a huge amount of excitement.

It's one of the few things we have that are 100% complete so I'm not quick to call for any redos. But it still pains me to think that as much blood and sweat went into it that could have gone into making three times the amount of content on something more interesting. While I've not tried to map a NiGHTS map myself, I have heard plenty of horror stories of how painstaking the process is. From a feasibility and implementation standpoint, NiGHTS mode seems like it was incredibly poorly planned.
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Old 10-24-2020   #9
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I'm personally not really interested in seeing NiGHTS mode outright removed from the game. If something other than NiGHTS was decided on for special stages moving forward, I would at least like to see the current stages continued in the form of a legacy add-on (With Multiplayer support), even if it meant they didn't get the same updates to quality as the rest of the experience.

If the decision to replace NiGHTS mode for the special stages was made, I'd probably prefer that something that plays more like the rest of the game take it's place, but not the old stages since those were rather poorly balanced in terms of design later in and could be outright infuriating in some cases. Either way, I'd at least like to see NiGHTS mode remain as it's own optional game mode for those that do enjoy it, especially since it would be a real shame for such a fleshed out game mode to be outright scrapped.
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Old 10-24-2020   #10
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When i first played SRB2 NIGHTS (that was in 2.1) i've struggled on Special Stage 7 and could only complete it with help from other players online, i managed to get the 7th Chaos Emerald in 2.1 by myself with some practise and when the 2.2 came out, i started to like the special stages design (but got a bit dissapointed in the fact that Magma Caves wasn't that changed since the only thing i noticed that it changed were the flamethrower directions but managed to make me save time and beat the Special Stage even faster. Black Hole was an enjoyable experience but an nightmare when it came to get the A rank emblem, i was always strugling in a part where i needed to plan it right and i needed to watch someone get the A rank emblem in order to make the same, i did it tho with also the other unlockable levels (and i actually found two of those a worse nightmare than Black Hole lol). For me Nights is fine by me, it was a cool and unexpected experience for me althrough i never played Nights and we always have those multiplayer special stages in case we want something more original and "chalenging" if we're speaking of platforming (but i find the last mp special stage really hard)
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Old 10-25-2020   #11
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Maybe I'm a heretic, but I honestly never liked any form of special stage for Sonic, not ones that change the gameplay, at least. I feel like unlocking more stuff in a game, especially when it's the true ending, should require adept skill at the mechanics the game itself has taught the player throughout its main campaign. Collecting X number of blue spheres or rings was just a tired, easy-to-mess-up exercise of annoyance if you'd already finished a previous Sonic game and just wanted the real ending.

I doubt I'm going to see the entire idea of special stages thrown out of the game, so I'll just say no, you most certainly fucking shouldn't make them harder. Both NiGHTS mode and special stages in general are kind of a drag, so the least they can be is easy enough to not be frustrating.
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Old 10-26-2020   #12
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Originally Posted by BlueZero4 View Post
the original game is better
as an avid NiGHTS fan I'll cut in on that and say that my in my experience I've found SRB2's NiGHTS mode to be much more enjoyable and fun. It's a shame we don't have many custom NiGHTS stages though, that'd help making my point clearer....


now, on the topic, please don't make the NiGHTS stages harder lol
it's already a whole new mode new players have to get used to. If anything I'd vouch for SS6 and SS7 getting easier or more streamlined. SS6 could have tweaked item placement and a visual overhaul because I absolutely hate the amount of red in it, and SS7 needs to be revamped or entirely remade because that one is legitimate bullshit

...don't remake black hole that stage is great

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Also just wanted to say I can get Rainbow A ranks on Floral Fields and Toxic Plateau.
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Old 10-26-2020   #13
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I'm personally not keen on NiGHTS as special stages but the reason I don't reject them outright is a lack of better ideas. I think that the amount of resources that go on NiGHTS mode could be completely redirected to something different though.
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Old 10-26-2020   #14
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I'm personally not keen on NiGHTS as special stages but the reason I don't reject them outright is a lack of better ideas.
High effort would probably be to try to remake a functioning version of something from the official games, such as the Sonic 2 Halfpipe (which probably has been reused the most and seen the most innovation since it's original appearance, and also probably would work best for coop) or the Advance 3 Airplane (Which could also support two player coop with one player flying the plane and the other collecting the rings, other players would be paired into two as well aside from when there's an odd number of players).

What might be more practical however would be for special stages to play more like the regular levels, but count as challenge stages. Perhaps "Get to the end of the act within the time limit while holding a certain number of Blue Spheres" or something. Have no actual enemies present, but include hazards such as drowning, spikes, and bottomless pits, with death being either instant failure or simply respawn the player nearby with a time penalty, depending on what works better.
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Old 10-26-2020   #15
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1. I do NOT want to play Sonic in special stages. I want a different gamestyle and gameplay for special stages no matter what. If I have to play a 3D platforming stage after beating a 3d platforming stage with a token or two or three or four, i will never collect tokens. It'd be insanely boring, and would take from the whole "taking a break from the actual gameplay" and "doing something unique" trope for special stages.
2. I never found SS7 bullshit, to me it's pretty easy.
3. Sonic 3 Blue Spheres Multiplayer? Sounds neat other than other people messing up your perfect XD.
4. Halfpipe with 5 characters sounds very interesting.
Not really interested in removing NiGHTS though.
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Old 10-26-2020   #16
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I love them. Best special stages in any Sonic, I think. I want more to get Super Emeralds, lol
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Old 10-26-2020   #17
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i don't particularly mind NiGHTS special stages, i think they're fun personally. 6 and 7 are quite a spike in difficulty if you get multiple tokens in a row, but nonetheless i think they're a good special stage concept.

if you replace them dear god don't replace them with halfpipe i'll do anything to not have another halfpipe
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Old 10-26-2020   #18
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if you replace them dear god don't replace them with halfpipe i'll do anything to not have another halfpipe
Forreal. Such an overrated special stage!

I don't think the NiGHTS stages should be replaced, I think the gameplay is a perfect fit for special stages and a great homage to Sonic Team's legacy beyond that of Sonic itself. That being said, I am not opposed to implementing another special stage in the game accessible via the starposts ala Sonic 3. Just something to help you rack up rings/lives/shields/etc.
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Old 10-26-2020   #19
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I think the weirdest thing about NiGHTS special stages for me is probably that they don't quite have the frantic, exhilarating feel of other Sonic games' special stages where you can barely make it or barely not make it. With NiGHTS stages, the only way to lose is running out of time, the only way to increase time is with the Extra Time powerup, and the only way to lose time is to get hit by a hazard, which costs you 5 seconds (and can't happen at all in the first three stages!). This makes the stages feel more like chores than exciting challenges once you know how they work (for me at least) when playing them as part of the main campaign.

The SRB2 special stages in their current state are definitely well-designed levels, but I find them far more fun to play standalone than as interludes between regular levels.
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Old 10-29-2020   #20
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as an avid NiGHTS fan I'll cut in on that and say that my in my experience I've found SRB2's NiGHTS mode to be much more enjoyable and fun. It's a shame we don't have many custom NiGHTS stages though, that'd help making my point clearer....
Can you elaborate on this? I just played NiD -> JoD -> SRB2 NiGHTS back to back to back this past weekend. I think SRB2 NiGHTS is much more fun than JoD, but I'm still not sure I'd pick SRB2 NiGHTS over the original NiD.

Specifically, what kind of control scheme do you use for SRB2 NiGHTS? A lot of the special stages require "hold right at a perfect 90 degrees" which I can't quite manage on a control stick. (This is why I play on a D-pad, mostly.)

I've considered making custom NiGHTS stages (but who knows if I ever actually get back in the habit of mapping), but I lost interest after spending more time with SRB2 NiGHTS mode. If you can change my mind, maybe I'd be interested again in making custom NiGHTS stages.

(I actually did make a couple WIP NiGHTS stages back in the day, so I have a taste of what it takes to map for NiGHTS technically, but those never really saw the light of day.)

Last edited by BlueZero4; 10-29-2020 at 05:14 AM.
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