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Thread: Themes among different games in MD lifetime

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Question Themes among different games in MD lifetime

    This is just something that Iíve thought about, once in a while. How there would seem a few themes in SEGAís different titles, even unrelated titles. So these are more like themes of the 16-bit era or something.








    Time-Travel
    was approached by several first-party games.

    All Ecco games feature time-travel.

    Sonic CD has it, and brought it to the Sonic series, where it could have remained a big part of future games (but it didnít).

    Eternal Champions is based on time-travel, in the fighter genre, quite creative / unique for the genre.











    Bringing comics to life was approached by several games, from Chakan, to maybe that Garfield game, and whatever else. But executed brilliantly with Comix Zone.




    Nature simulation was basically limited to the Ecco series, although 32x Kolibri actually is like a semi-sequel, with beautiful, colorful nature graphics (on the dry side). Kolibri also continues Eccoís relaxing New Age music. But it gets overlooked because you have to turn off the sound effects before you can enjoy the music and realize that itís a decent game. I think the Ecco series has done nature-simulation the best, and Iíd definitely include Kolibri in there.

    What other larger themes have you noticed among different, unrelated games? Iím not trying to list off everything possible, but more just curious if you guys have noticed similar larger themes like this?
    Last edited by Ecco; 01-30-2019 at 01:52 AM.

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    Zebbe's Avatar
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    Sega really did have a time travel flu in the early 90s. Sonic 2 also had time travel planned. The zones were originally envisioned to have one future and one past version. Remains of that can be seen on the Emerald Hill and Hill Top Zones, as they share some tiles. There is some time travel in Phantasy Star III as well, which connects it to its prequel.

    Other than that, I think the most major themes were 'tude, mascots and violence back then.
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    Adding to Sega's time travel theme, don't forget about Gain Ground and if we leave the Mega Drive and only consider the arcade, we could also mention time soldiers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    Sega really did have a time travel flu in the early 90s. Sonic 2 also had time travel planned. The zones were originally envisioned to have one future and one past version. Remains of that can be seen on the Emerald Hill and Hill Top Zones, as they share some tiles. There is some time travel in Phantasy Star III as well, which connects it to its prequel.

    Other than that, I think the most major themes were 'tude, mascots and violence back then.
    I never realized that about Sonic 2 but looking at the zones now you are right! Are there any other time travel remnants in the game? Hill Top could be Emerald Hill in the past, Mystic Cave could be past too. Chemical Plant and Casino Nights could be present day, then Oil Ocean and Metropolis are in the future? Maybe Aquatic Ruin would have had another zone that showed an older, still intact city?

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    I never realized that about Sonic 2 but looking at the zones now you are right! Are there any other time travel remnants in the game? Hill Top could be Emerald Hill in the past, Mystic Cave could be past too. Chemical Plant and Casino Nights could be present day, then Oil Ocean and Metropolis are in the future? Maybe Aquatic Ruin would have had another zone that showed an older, still intact city?
    I think it's mainly because Sonic CD and Sonic 2 were both basically started from the same general ideas...

    Then teams split up, and both were made like each is an alternate sequel to Sonic 1.

    Sonic CD took the time-travel ideas and ran with it, while Sonic 2 focused on its speed and different stage gimmicks...

    Anyway I don't think Sonic 2 really has time travel remnants, I think it was more in the very beginning phase of brainstorming ideas...

    Sonic 2 does have the remnant stages of Hidden Palace Zone (accessible w/ Game Genie but glitched out), and then apparently scraps of other stages which are barely there at all...

    I thought that was about it for remnants but someone correct me if there's more...?

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    The Future is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingESWAT Veteran Leynos's Avatar
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    I much prefer the time travel in comparison to Nintendo's obsession with the light & dark world that they still do. Then again so does SEGA....technically. Sonic Generations & while not developed by them nor published by them they are the IP owner in Bayonetta 2 has a lot of time travel. Dunno if I count Sonic Mania. As for Genesis. Sci-Fi was a big thing for SEGA then. From a Sci-Fi setting to a Sci-Fi twist ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SegataS View Post
    I much prefer the time travel in comparison to Nintendo's obsession with the light & dark world that they still do. Then again so does SEGA....technically. Sonic Generations & while not developed by them nor published by them they are the IP owner in Bayonetta 2 has a lot of time travel. Dunno if I count Sonic Mania. As for Genesis. Sci-Fi was a big thing for SEGA then. From a Sci-Fi setting to a Sci-Fi twist ending.
    In the old days I think a lot of it was to save on ROM space and development time. Having the same area with minor changes and calling it light/dark or past/present is easier than making two totally different areas. Plus time travel was just popular at the time -- we had Back to the Future, Bill & Ted, Turtles in Time, The Terminator, Land of the Lost, etc.

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    Shakespeare

    There's also the rather obvious element of speed, which Sonic games made popular, and many others did the same. Besides all the mascot clones, there were a couple games which did it really well, like the Roadrunner game on Genesis, it plays very similar to a Sonic game, and it's probably the best Looney Tunes game on MD. And the Ecco games incorporated speed-dashing in its own unique context.

    (Sometimes I think that the Ecco series was vaguely related to the Sonic series, like a real-life context of speed-dashing and exploring, in a different context of underwater.)

    Ecco was like a quieter mascot of Sega.

    And of course both series include giant crystals, both characters have a similar name structure, with character named after its actions (Sonic refers to speed, and Ecco refers to sonar, etc.), and the name is followed by the type of creature: ***the hedgehog, and *** the dolphin.

    As mentioned above both series involve time-travel...

    I was also just thinking how on Game Gear, the first Sonic game and the first Ecco game, are color-enhanced over the Master System original. But then the sequel of each one, seems a nearly unchanged port of the MS game (for Sonic 2, and Ecco: Tides of Time on GG). ...It looks like they started out with a lot of effort, but each sequel was like a lame, cheap cash-in, without effort or care. Someone obviously didn't want to spend the same $$ as the first games lol.

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    Sonic

    Hmm also "Ristar the Shooting Star" shares that name structure, with "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Ecco the Dolphin," "Knuckles the Echidna," etc.

    Also I like how the different game universes never contradict each other... and all the game universes can coexist with each other.

    For example, Sonic's series is based around Mobius, Angel Island, etc. but he keeps to his own unique planets, in space.

    So then, Ristar can coexist in his completely different area of space, with its own planets etc.

    The Phantasy Star series also keeps to its own areas in space, the Algo solar system etc.

    So all these series can coexist, harmoniously, at the same time. Because they're in different parts of space.

    Ecco's series is in the distant future of Earth, apparently (after humans are extinct)... so future-Earth is Ecco's domain, which again coexists harmoniously with the other game series universes (Sonic on Mobious etc., Ristar in his galaxies, etc.).

    In other words, Sega's big series don't overlap the same setting in a way that they'd contradict each other. Which is nice, that they can all coexist, in concept...

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingOutrunner Stifu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    both characters have a similar name structure, with character named after its actions (Sonic refers to speed, and Ecco refers to sonar, etc.)
    Actually, they both have a name related to sound.

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    Appearance vs reality. It may look like sonic is smashing robots but inside are fuzzy animals, an analogy for the inner innocence of mankind which can be easily corrupted into death machines by powerful evil agents like Eggman. Similar to The Ooze where the protagonist may seem to be an evil destructive Ooze monster but is really a nerdy scientist who just wants to do the right thing. Its a metaphor for the era of modernity where morality is overshadowed by the destructive elements of social isolation and nihilism.

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    ^Hmm maybe lol

    This thread didnít go very far, but oh well.

    I just wanted to mention that ó POSSIBLYó there might be some unofficial cameos of Ecco the Dolphin, in some other games...

    For example, in Sonic 3ís ending, we see dolphins jumping in the air, and itís basically the only living creatures in the game, aside the protagonists, and their enemy Robotnik, and the little flickies etc. which are freed.

    So in other words, the dolphins in the ending, seem the only living creatures ever seen in Sonicís classic series, beyond the main characters. So those dolphins are very anomalous and Iíd guess that they represent a cameo by Ecco (because why else would they be there).

    Similarly, that one Genesis art-game shows cover-art of Sonic painting a dolphin...

    And I havenít played it but iirc sonic adventure 2 has a few dolphins seen in aquariums that sonic runs through (or something like that).

    So I vote that it represents Ecco when we see dolphins in the classic Sonic games, considering the lack of living creatures, or maybe Iím completely off-target lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stifu View Post
    Actually, they both have a name related to sound.
    Sure, Sonic refers to speed, as referred to by the speed of sound, I guess.

    Sometimes I wonder if Sonic would have been named differently if devs were more familiar with English? But itís a great name anyway.

    Itís just a bit convoluted to refer to speed by its ďsonicĒ speed though lol.

    Maybe they were inspired by planes that break the sound barrier and create a real sonic boom (explosion of sound from going so fast).

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    There were also several games with environmental messages, which was in general w very omnipresent theme throughout the nineties. From the annoying (Awesome Possum) and too on-the-nose obvious (Global Gladiators, Captain Planet) to the more subdued (Ecco).

    Of course, during the nineties games also had to be edgy, extreme, dark and vaguely apocalyptic (Robocop vs Terminator, Alien 3, Judge Dredd, Contra Hard Corps), but those were mostly manifestations of general trends rather than just limited to the Genesis.
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    ^Cool, those are good points re: those themes in the 90ís.

    Sometimes I wonder about why / how there was such a push for environmentalism... and then the trend stopped, at some point, after the 90ís, itís really bizarre.

    Re: games: I wanted to mention that Ristar has bird-characters in one stage, and they seem to be Nightopians from NiGHTS, released the next year.

    They also function similarly, as Ristar gives them an item which makes them sing, and so the music evolves in that one stage.

    Quite similar to the actual Nightopians in NiGHTS, who have an advanced system of their own happiness, which makes them sing and evolve all the music in NiGHTS.

    So I think Ristar has a small bit of a preview of the Nightopiansí singing and evolving the music.

    Although different development teams, iirc there was the same music composer in both games, and possibly some other same people, maybe (to explain how the two games seem related but made by diff teams).

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