Whack the Workbench!
Wednesday, 17th June 2009, 9:05pm (BST), 2 Comments
Update: Wacky Workbench added to the Sonic CD section
Wow, only a week and a half later and another level, you lucky people! Oh Wacky Workbench, with your silly name and your annoying bouncy floor and your weird crushers and your secret angel room. How we love you. You know, I was reading someone's analysis of Sonic yesterday and they claimed Quartz Quadrant and Wacky Workbench as 'dull'. To say the least, I highly disagree. For a factory level, Wacky Workbench is far from dull and Quartz is a work of art.

Speaking of great levels, I'd like to flag up an official poll being held by the Sonic Facebook page, which I've already been a little vocal about. Their poll presents you with lists of all the levels from the ten primary Sonic games, plus Secret Rings and Black Knight, and asks you to pick your favourite from each. It's fantastic to see an official poll focus on what I always argue as the very most crucial part of all of Sonicdom, levels, goddamn it! Nevermind about characters and plots and all that. It all comes down to stages, and now we've a chance to see what the most popular ones actually are, so I'd urge everyone to participate, as an experiment more than anything. I'd be very very interested in a complete list of results for this, it would be great to see an exact order of popularity for the levels of each game. There's a "no preference" option too for people who haven't played a given game (or perhaps refuse to accept it as having any levels of merit), so it'd be interesting to see exactly which games are the most-played amongst the community.

For those dying to know what I picked myself (and that's all of you, I can tell) - Star Light Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Quartz Quadrant, Ice Cap Zone, Lava Reef Zone (..or may have been Sky Sanctuary, I can't remember, but both worthy anyway), Lost World, City Escape, Rail Canyon, Crisis City, Skeleton Dome, Cool Edge, Molten Mine. Almost all choices were very difficult as there are so many other levels that I love just about as much as the ones I chose. You'd think with all the time I spend thinking and writing about these levels I'd have firm favourites cemented in my head, but clearly not. I think most choices though were based on the overall enjoyment factor that I get from them, rather than appreciation for clever design. Ultimately, that's all a great level needs to do I guess - make you feel good when you play it. For me, the music actually plays an extremely vital role in that too. Anyway, I'll be interested to see how that all turns out and may put together a short analysis in a later blog, providing that the full details are published.

I've finally been able to get my Xbox back online and so have proceeded to purchase every Sonic Unleashed adventure pack, and I can't say I've been disappointed. Each pack adds an additional set of acts for both day and night and although by throwing in a few floating platforms in an extra act, or having it loop in laps doesn't really properly feel like a stage in itself, they can still be long enough and filled with sufficient content and interesting ideas to be entertaining (I particularly enjoyed Apotos' extra offerings), and I do generally like this recent "mini acts" approach to Sonic games, which started with Sonic Rush Adventure's Hidden Islands, of course. Sure, there's a few stinkers in there that I would never really want to play again after completing them, like the acts where you must just drift round corners before time runs out, but there's a lot of interesting platforming ideas to be found too, particularly those that require very precise timing on exactly when to hit that homing attack, for example. Even many of the werehog levels can be fairly enjoyable (by werehog standards anyway), not to mention pleasantly short! I also like that the nature of the daytime levels means that the "hard mode" versions of the main stage can't just get away with having more enemies this time. Although I would liked to have seen more variation in terms of routes in these, which the DLC for Sonic '06 did quite well at, I thought, there's still a lot of changes made to the object placements such that they feel like whole new challenges. Can't say that in an ordinary play-through I'll pick them over the original versions, as I rather like to soar through levels nice and neatly, but the options are always nice to have.

I was considering providing something of a short review for each and assessing which are the best buys, which I still might do if I find myself with nothing to do any time soon (VERY unlikely), but they're all about as good as each other really, so if you can only go for a certain amount of packs, just pick your favourite levels.

I think I might put up the gameplay page for Sonic CD next. Generally I go through all the levels first but it struck me there's a fair few mechanics you should probably know about Sonic CD before attempting to play it, and for those that aren't so familiar with those, it might be best to ensure they're covered. Better late than never, eh? It's "Sonic Day" on Tuesday too, so what the hell, I'll aim to have it up then.
Comments   2 Comments have been posted.
#1. Comment posted by Meph on Wednesday, 17th June 2009, 9:28pm
Great! I can't wait to have a look at the Wacky Workbench stuff!
#2. Comment posted by supersonicsmash on Friday, 19th February 2010, 11:21pm
What's skeletion dome? since its between about 06 (do I really have to spell it out) and 08 (unleashed) I'd say its on Sonic and the secret rings.
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