A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games
August 4, 2006 Page 22 of 31
Permanenet Upgrade Types
Some characters are improved indefinitely. Rayman and Sonic – both 2D and 3D versions – are the only characters that receive indefinitely altering power-ups. Of note, Sonic 2 (2D) only grants its permanent upgrade as a reward for collecting seven bonus tokens, which take over half the game’s play time to secure.
Mario Sunshine has one permanently affecting power-up, but you receive it in the first five minutes of gameplay. It’s occasionally removed when playing the stages known as ‘challenge levels’. It also acts as the core hub for all other power-ups. All in-game power-ups are permanent until swapped over – bar the first - and then those power-ups are interchangeable indefinitely.
Sonic Adventure’s upgrades happen as part of the story and only one or two are hidden.
Using indefinitely affecting power-ups is not a dominant idea throughout the titles analysed herein, but it is an idea that could be explored with breaking new ground in mind.
Location of First Power-Up
Six of the seven games chose to have the first power-ups located almost immediately – possibly to allow to the player to get used to the game world and it’s rules before the truly intended range of challenges are introduced.
Rayman, which has its first power-up located far later than all the other games, coincidentally received the lowest review score, although inversely sold 4 million copies worldwide and has gone on to become a successful 13million+ selling franchise.
This could be due to journalists only judging the first 30 minutes of the game, as it is well known that journalistic accuracy can fall victim to lack of time resources when approaching strict publishing deadlines.
Another factor lending weight to this idea, is that within the first 10-15 minutes, you can’t defend yourself against any enemies and have to use avoidance tactics rather than confrontation. The first power-up available is Rayman’s attack action and is located a few sub-stages into the game.
This can give off a negative first impression to anyone. To feel defenceless from the first instant can be displeasing and frustrating - unless you know that you’ll be gifted with attack ability at some point in the near future. Unfortunately, this is never eluded to, or suggested unless one reads the instruction manual.
Page 22 of 31