Oh Sonic, why must you disappoint me like this?

(Perhaps I'm the one at fault, though.) No, I can't be at fault, not this time. This was back when Sonic was good. *notices you reading this* For those who can't read my mind (IE all of you), I speak of a game called Sonic Labyrinth. Even mentioning that name gives me awful memories. It was a game for the ill-fated Game Gear (or as I call it (OK, I don't), Battery Brick), and it was more of a dungeon crawler than an actual platformer. Already, I feel things adding up for this game.

Back to the dungeon crawl thing, the goal of this game is to find keys in each level. I don't know how that relates to speed, and I don't see how Sega could've passed this off as a Sonic game (especially since there were already some half decent Sonic games that followed the formula much closer). Whatever, I'll address it on the merits of the actual gameplay, which is...not that good. The level design is awful (but more on that later), and you must have ALL the keys to finish the level. It's not like Sonic 3D Blast, where you could drop off the Flickies one at a time.

The final boss: Kaiser von Eggman.

That wouldn't be so bad if it was a bit easier to kill enemies (or if you didn't lose all your keys with one hit), but no, it's not that easy. You have to roll into your enemies head on at breakneck speeds. You can't directly jump on them, like in other Sonic games, because Eggman, being the genius that he is, decided to pull a Samson on Sonic and steal his super powerful shoes. What does he do then? Replace them with heavy metal boots, thinking Sonic isn't smart enough to buy some new shoes or go barefoot. And he was right!

Back to the combat, the "no jumping" rule seems arbitrary and incredibly limiting. There were two buttons for the Game Gear, so you'd think one of them would be jump. But no, you're left with a spin attack that sends you spinning all over the place, the only way to stop being delayed by a second. I know Sonic's main thing is speed, but what made that work on the Genesis was tight, responsive controls, which Labyrinth doesn't have. Also, an isometric view doesn't help.

However, none of those even compare to the biggest problem: the level design. Oh dear god, the level design. The levels are each a confusing mess, and the navigation-based gameplay only exasperates it. Don't think the problem fixes itself over time; if anything, it gets worse. Doors are introduced, and they feel like random warp points more than doors. Oh, and there are actually random warp points in the game, and many other things that will have you snapping the Battery Brick in half before the power dies.

So is there anything good about this game? Well, the graphics are kinda decent; everything is colofrul and detailed and looks good by Battery Brick standards. And the fourth act "Sonic rolls down a hill like a bumbling moron" levels, while completely unneccessary, are at least more fun than the rest of the game. Yet I could hardly call that one feature enough to warrant playing this game. If you want a decent isometric Sonic, check out Sonic 3D Blast on the Saturn. Trust me, it's much better. Sonic Labyrinth, however, is not, so I am forced to give it the I Had to Listen to Outside Music Award. Because the music in this game is so forgettable.



Another classic video I found:

  


Complainin' 'bout the length...that's a paddlin'. Tellin' me to review less obscure games...that's a paddlin'. Saying "tldr"....that's a paddlin'. Mentionin' Halo 3....oh, you better believe that's a paddlin'.



Well, we spoke of a merely semi-obscure game that I didn't like. Now you watch as I babble on and on about a completely obscure game that I actually kind of liked. The game, in case you haven't already predicted it, is ShockMan, a Mega Man esque platformer (among other things) released for the underrated but underdeveloped TurboGrafx-16.

What the hell am I playing?
Like any decent Mega Man rip-off (except for Cocoron, a FANTASTIC Mega Man rip-off), the plot seems to be, for the most part, directly ripped from the pages of the Blue Bomber himself. Sometime in the future, a robot boy finds out that his robot girlfriend and creepy professor daddy were both kidnapped by an emperor dude. Why? He was getting lonely, and ShockMan's doppleganger wasn't good enough company. So ShockMan has to rescue his girfriend and his creepy mentor.

Standard fare so far, right? Well, let's continue with that. Like Mega Man, you run through each level, shooting enemies with fluorescent red and blue gumballs. They can be charged to a regular charge shot, or super charged to an incredibly rarely used atom bomb shot. But I guess the rarity of it is for the best, as the only time I used it, the weapon just filled up the screen with beams that helps you even less than a reverse gun. The regular Mega Man charge shot works well, but I rarely used it; instead, I found that most enemies die from a combination of pea shots and a turbo button.

Speaking of shooting things with the turbo button, this game makes heavy use of side scrolling shooter sections. (Those who play shoot em ups would get the joke.) It seems that Hudson thought the best way to make this game would be to combine the two most popular genres on the system: shooters and platformers. The resulting game was not as good as it could've been. Both the platforming and shooting elements are too simple to make the game good; the shooting sections lack power ups or anything else that makes me like shooters, and the platforming sections focus less on the actual platforming and more on beating up enemies.

Well, at least they got one thing right with the shooting sections: reactionary gameplay. By that, I mean memorizing enemy patterns and dodging them at super high speeds. The patterns are predictable enough, but the amount of skill needed to kill these bosses makes up for it. And trust me, you'll need a high amount of skill in this game, eespecially since there are NO EXTRA LIVES!!! Yes, if you die in this game, it's game over. ShockMan doesn't care if it was just a mistake; he's got a zero tolerance policy for pussies who want another chance. Sure, you're given infinite continues, but you have to start the level from the beginning, so what's the point?

If you think things get easier from there, you're sadly mistaken. Enemies will be sapping you of health less than constantly (I don't know the word, but it's still semi-frequent), and there are only a few health packs throughout the game. There's a cheat to let you restore health at will, but that's a cheat. Can't I complete the game without resorting to cheats? No, you can't. And there's not much reason to play the game to begin with, decent concepts considered. As I've said time and time again, this one game has good ideas, but the execution needs some work. So I give it the Other Men are Better Award. Other men like Pulseman.
4 Comments
5 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

(Perhaps I'm the one at fault, though.) No, I can't be at fault, not this time. This was back when Sonic was good. *notices you reading this* For those who can't read my mind (IE all of you), I speak of a game called Sonic Labyrinth. Even mentioning that name gives me awful memories. It was a game for the ill-fated Game Gear (or as I call it (OK, I don't), Battery Brick), and it was more of a dungeon crawler than an actual platformer. Already, I feel things adding up for this game.

Back to the dungeon crawl thing, the goal of this game is to find keys in each level. I don't know how that relates to speed, and I don't see how Sega could've passed this off as a Sonic game (especially since there were already some half decent Sonic games that followed the formula much closer). Whatever, I'll address it on the merits of the actual gameplay, which is...not that good. The level design is awful (but more on that later), and you must have ALL the keys to finish the level. It's not like Sonic 3D Blast, where you could drop off the Flickies one at a time.

The final boss: Kaiser von Eggman.

That wouldn't be so bad if it was a bit easier to kill enemies (or if you didn't lose all your keys with one hit), but no, it's not that easy. You have to roll into your enemies head on at breakneck speeds. You can't directly jump on them, like in other Sonic games, because Eggman, being the genius that he is, decided to pull a Samson on Sonic and steal his super powerful shoes. What does he do then? Replace them with heavy metal boots, thinking Sonic isn't smart enough to buy some new shoes or go barefoot. And he was right!

Back to the combat, the "no jumping" rule seems arbitrary and incredibly limiting. There were two buttons for the Game Gear, so you'd think one of them would be jump. But no, you're left with a spin attack that sends you spinning all over the place, the only way to stop being delayed by a second. I know Sonic's main thing is speed, but what made that work on the Genesis was tight, responsive controls, which Labyrinth doesn't have. Also, an isometric view doesn't help.

However, none of those even compare to the biggest problem: the level design. Oh dear god, the level design. The levels are each a confusing mess, and the navigation-based gameplay only exasperates it. Don't think the problem fixes itself over time; if anything, it gets worse. Doors are introduced, and they feel like random warp points more than doors. Oh, and there are actually random warp points in the game, and many other things that will have you snapping the Battery Brick in half before the power dies.

So is there anything good about this game? Well, the graphics are kinda decent; everything is colofrul and detailed and looks good by Battery Brick standards. And the fourth act "Sonic rolls down a hill like a bumbling moron" levels, while completely unneccessary, are at least more fun than the rest of the game. Yet I could hardly call that one feature enough to warrant playing this game. If you want a decent isometric Sonic, check out Sonic 3D Blast on the Saturn. Trust me, it's much better. Sonic Labyrinth, however, is not, so I am forced to give it the I Had to Listen to Outside Music Award. Because the music in this game is so forgettable.



Another classic video I found:

  


Complainin' 'bout the length...that's a paddlin'. Tellin' me to review less obscure games...that's a paddlin'. Saying "tldr"....that's a paddlin'. Mentionin' Halo 3....oh, you better believe that's a paddlin'.



Well, we spoke of a merely semi-obscure game that I didn't like. Now you watch as I babble on and on about a completely obscure game that I actually kind of liked. The game, in case you haven't already predicted it, is ShockMan, a Mega Man esque platformer (among other things) released for the underrated but underdeveloped TurboGrafx-16.

What the hell am I playing?
Like any decent Mega Man rip-off (except for Cocoron, a FANTASTIC Mega Man rip-off), the plot seems to be, for the most part, directly ripped from the pages of the Blue Bomber himself. Sometime in the future, a robot boy finds out that his robot girlfriend and creepy professor daddy were both kidnapped by an emperor dude. Why? He was getting lonely, and ShockMan's doppleganger wasn't good enough company. So ShockMan has to rescue his girfriend and his creepy mentor.

Standard fare so far, right? Well, let's continue with that. Like Mega Man, you run through each level, shooting enemies with fluorescent red and blue gumballs. They can be charged to a regular charge shot, or super charged to an incredibly rarely used atom bomb shot. But I guess the rarity of it is for the best, as the only time I used it, the weapon just filled up the screen with beams that helps you even less than a reverse gun. The regular Mega Man charge shot works well, but I rarely used it; instead, I found that most enemies die from a combination of pea shots and a turbo button.

Speaking of shooting things with the turbo button, this game makes heavy use of side scrolling shooter sections. (Those who play shoot em ups would get the joke.) It seems that Hudson thought the best way to make this game would be to combine the two most popular genres on the system: shooters and platformers. The resulting game was not as good as it could've been. Both the platforming and shooting elements are too simple to make the game good; the shooting sections lack power ups or anything else that makes me like shooters, and the platforming sections focus less on the actual platforming and more on beating up enemies.

Well, at least they got one thing right with the shooting sections: reactionary gameplay. By that, I mean memorizing enemy patterns and dodging them at super high speeds. The patterns are predictable enough, but the amount of skill needed to kill these bosses makes up for it. And trust me, you'll need a high amount of skill in this game, eespecially since there are NO EXTRA LIVES!!! Yes, if you die in this game, it's game over. ShockMan doesn't care if it was just a mistake; he's got a zero tolerance policy for pussies who want another chance. Sure, you're given infinite continues, but you have to start the level from the beginning, so what's the point?

If you think things get easier from there, you're sadly mistaken. Enemies will be sapping you of health less than constantly (I don't know the word, but it's still semi-frequent), and there are only a few health packs throughout the game. There's a cheat to let you restore health at will, but that's a cheat. Can't I complete the game without resorting to cheats? No, you can't. And there's not much reason to play the game to begin with, decent concepts considered. As I've said time and time again, this one game has good ideas, but the execution needs some work. So I give it the Other Men are Better Award. Other men like Pulseman.
Posted by LordAndrew

It's nice to see that even back then, Sega and Sonic Team were creating shitty Sonic games.

Posted by Video_Game_King

It's bad to see that they were 2D. But nice to see that the problem lie in the 3D gameplay.

Posted by Eder

I guess they where trying something different, I think it wasnt that bad. Sonic Chaos NOW THATS BAD.

Posted by Video_Game_King
Eder said:
"I guess they where trying something different, I think it wasnt that bad. Sonic Chaos NOW THATS BAD."
No, this was bad. It wouldn't have been good, even as a non-Sonic game.