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Old 03-12-2019, 10:41 PM
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Default This is a thread about Big the Cat.

Listen. I know you don't want to be here. But you are here. And I am here. And I should be going to bed. But out of spite for the powers that be, we're going to talk about Big the Cat now.



Big the Cat is one of the many useless auxiliary characters introduced into the Sonic series, appearing in the Dreamcast title Sonic Adventure. For those unfamiliar with the game, as I expect many of us are since there have been no recorded instances of any living soul owning a Dreamcast, it takes a slightly different direction from the usual flavor of Sonic's adventures (i.e. furry Dragonball) and turns to the focus of Dr. Robotnik (henceforth: Eggman) awakening an ancient water god that then floods and destroys a major population center. You play as Sonic and a few other characters during the leadup to these events, attempting (and failing) to stop him from collecting the Chaos Emeralds necessary to do so.

Despite the many entirely deserved complaints about the superfluous and growing (at the time) cast of the Sonic games, it's not really hard to see why they went with as many as six playable characters. The Sonic series prior to that point had been all about demonstrating new playstyles and capabilities beyond what the Blue Blur himself could achieve. Even as early as the second game in the series, Tails was just as playable as the main character, and arguably got more spotlight than Nintendo's similar sidekick character, Luigi. And five of the six modes in Sonic Adventure made decent usage of these alternate characters, with differing game modes and movesets to set them all apart, plus a different story perspective for each one.

Big the Cat, on the other hand, represents the hubris of the developers. While the rest of the characters still maintained fairly speedy gameplay that everyone has come to expect of the Sonic series, Big the Cat's gameplay is based entirely around fishing. His story is that he wakes up one day, discovers his pet frog has grown a tail and eaten his lucky charm (which is, inexplicably, a Chaos Emerald), and resolves to reunite with his pet frog the only way he knows how: fishing.

Of all the sports in the world, the one most diametrically opposed to the concept of speed is fishing. Even chess requires a quickness of the mind, even sports with heavy downtime like baseball or bowling still ask for decisive and quick movement when the time is right. If you have to move faster than a saunter when you are fishing, you are doing it wrong.

The developers tried with all of their might to make this work. Even Big's plot arc moves at a glacial pace, as all of the other primary characters can be seen around him, actually doing the things they are expected to do to progress the story (track down the other Chaos Emeralds, clash with Dr. Eggman). It's something we've seen in stories before, with even such illustrious examples as The Hobbit taking a character who is entirely ordinary and placing them among heroes and villains. Ordinarily, these characters actually interact with the heroes and villains and main plot, but such was the writers' commitment to Big's leisurely pace that he demonstrates absolutely no knowledge of the apocalyptic preparations around him.

This culminates in Big's first and final boss fight against Chaos 6, the almost-completely manifested ancient water god of destruction. Chaos 6 has absorbed the pet frog, Chaos Emerald and all, into their body, and Big the Cat is tasked with the trivially easy job of fishing the frog out. In no way does this impede Chaos 6. Sonic registers this non-person attacking a herald of the end times with a fishing rod, but doesn't have any idea why they're here, and as soon as they retrieve the frog, Sonic requests for Big to escape to safety and leave Chaos 6 to him. Big obliges in the only way he knows how: incompetently, by stealing Tails' plane despite being unable to fit in or fly in it.

Even among the expanded cast of future Sonic titles, Big the Cat is an oddity. Every other added character beyond him is played up explicitly for their cool factor, bringing edginess and superpowers and an all-too-serious attitude to the table. (Except Rouge the Bat. She's in her own category.) Big the Cat is dopey, slow, and barely cares that the plot is going on. They are, in spite of and due to their design as being completely irrelevant, important and worth remembering.

Credentials: I have never played Sonic Adventure, but I did 100% complete all of Knuckles' missions in Sonic Adventure 2. Only Knuckles, though. Don't ask why, as I don't know either.
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:12 PM
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Even among the expanded cast of future Sonic titles, Big the Cat is an oddity. Every other added character beyond him is played up explicitly for their cool factor, bringing edginess and superpowers and an all-too-serious attitude to the table. (Except Rouge the Bat. She's in her own category.) Big the Cat is dopey, slow, and barely cares that the plot is going on. They are, in spite of and due to their design as being completely irrelevant, important and worth remembering.
And this is why I love Big the Cat even though I hate that his fishing sim gameplay is pretty half-baked and that he's just too big for Ice Cap. He's no mid-teen snarker or adorable child, he's just there. Enjoying a nice, lazy life with his pal Kaeru-kun, fishing.

It doesn't make sense that he would take up standard platforming in Sonic Heroes. Though it does make sense that he would team up with Amy and Cream, given that they're closer to regular civilians than most Sonic furries despite being incredibly skilled with a hammer and Dumbo flying (with a side of Chao familiar) respectively.

On the subject of Rouge, I think her design basically began and ended at "Black Cat Clone + Baton Rouge anagram" (Rouge no Bat(to)).
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:09 AM
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I maintain that Rouge exists because someone on sonic team dared someone else to put Jiggle physics in the game as a joke, and somehow nobody removed it before the final release.

Last edited by BEAT; 03-13-2019 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:20 AM
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Sonic Adventure is the Launch game to end all Launch games.

It's amazed at the fact that it exists, and desperately strives to do as much with its existence as it possibly can. It is not content to simply try to be "Sonic but in 3D", it wants to be EVERY video game, and that's why it contains a Fishing Simulator.

It also contains two starfox levels, a kart racer, a shooting game, an exploration-based platformer, and a sad story about a robot that has to kill itself so it can be a bird again.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:20 AM
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I think Big would work if they had given him a quiet dignity. He's just a cat. A big cat. Just trying to live his best life, caught up in events even bigger than he. But nope, they tried to make him into a comic relief with a dopey voice and the brain of a toddler. I would spend several hours fishing with a big cat, but a stupid "duhhh I pooped my pants" baby? That's a far ask, Sony.

However, Big did give us a very fine Gamed Grumped, and if nothing else for that he deserves our love and respect.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:29 AM
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Sonic Adventure also had every single character brought back in time temporarily to receive visions of the ancient Echidna civilization, populated by a vast number of Knuckles-brand echidnas.

Big the Cat has absolutely no reason to receive these visions, nor a context to put the info from them into. But he gets these visions anyway. And he does the exact expected thing in response to them: completely ignore them and resume fishing.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I think Big would work if they had given him a quiet dignity. He's just a cat. A big cat. Just trying to live his best life, caught up in events even bigger than he. But nope, they tried to make him into a comic relief with a dopey voice and the brain of a toddler. I would spend several hours fishing with a big cat, but a stupid "duhhh I pooped my pants" baby? That's a far ask, Sony.

However, Big did give us a very fine Gamed Grumped, and if nothing else for that he deserves our love and respect.
He’s Baby Huey

Nobody wants Baby Huey.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:45 AM
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At least Baby Huey had the decency to glance in the direction of humor.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:49 AM
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He did not and you know it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I think Big would work if they had given him a quiet dignity. He's just a cat. A big cat. Just trying to live his best life, caught up in events even bigger than he. But nope, they tried to make him into a comic relief with a dopey voice and the brain of a toddler. I would spend several hours fishing with a big cat, but a stupid "duhhh I pooped my pants" baby? That's a far ask, Sony.
I get what you're saying, but at the same time I think the closest thing to Big's archetype in mainstream children's storytelling is probably Patrick from Spongebob. Despite his somewhat dull-seeming personality Patrick is often quick-witted in service of plot or jokes and secretly much more competent at things than the show likes to let on. Even then he is still fundamentally a simple man with simple tastes, who just wants to hang out under his rock and sometimes partake in jellyfishing.

SA2 shows the surprisingly hyper-competent comic-relief side of Big by giving us the cameos throughout the levels. Big the Cat is yet again on the hunt for Froggy, and he manages to make his way from the city to the pyramids and all the way to space. On his own! This was hinted at a bit at the end of his story in SA1 where he also flies the Tornado off the egg carrier on his own without any known prior flying experience.

Big is the best Sonic character.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:15 AM
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Sonic Adventure sounds absolutely batshit and now I really want to play it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BEAT View Post
Sonic Adventure is the Launch game to end all Launch games.

It's amazed at the fact that it exists, and desperately strives to do as much with its existence as it possibly can. It is not content to simply try to be "Sonic but in 3D", it wants to be EVERY video game, and that's why it contains a Fishing Simulator.

It also contains two starfox levels, a kart racer, a shooting game, an exploration-based platformer, and a sad story about a robot that has to kill itself so it can be a bird again.
You forgot the snowboarding (and sandboarding) levels.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:57 AM
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Sonic Adventure sounds absolutely batshit and now I really want to play it.
It's delightful. It's weird to say that the old 2004 PC release is the definitive one, but it's the one with mod support, so you can basically play the original Dreamcast version with all the nice enhancements one might expect out of a more modern platform like increased resolution and a consistent framerate. The chao garden stuff is also much better in the ports as they retain features from SA2. It also has all the Sonic game gear games, with 2P link support for the games that have that feature, if that's a thing you'd even care about -- a feature not retained in the later re-releases, incidentally.

If you get the version on Steam, there are installers to update (downdate?) the program to the 2004 release, allowing you to use the mod loader, etc. with it.

Playing "vanilla" SADX is not advised; while there are a few things that are OK about the game, it is a much more lifeless experience. This is mainly a result of the fact that no solution was made to deal with the hardware lighting effects or the Dreamcast's support for order-independent translucency, so a lot of things look unshaded and there are a lot of graphics priority glitches that show up. There are also a lot of textures that were badly recompressed, too (there were a significant number of texture changes; I think a few levels like Casinopolis wind up looking, for better or worse, a little less gaudy, but Ice Cap and Twinkle Park definitely suffer).
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:32 AM
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Playing "vanilla" SADX is not advised; while there are a few things that are OK about the game, it is a much more lifeless experience. This is mainly a result of the fact that no solution was made to deal with the hardware lighting effects or the Dreamcast's support for order-independent translucency, so a lot of things look unshaded and there are a lot of graphics priority glitches that show up. There are also a lot of textures that were badly recompressed, too (there were a significant number of texture changes; I think a few levels like Casinopolis wind up looking, for better or worse, a little less gaudy, but Ice Cap and Twinkle Park definitely suffer).
If you have no choice but to play vanilla DX though (i.e. don't have a computer, don't have a good computer), I'd recommend the 360 or PS3 version over the GameCube one simply because they have far less framerate issues. Also they're cheaper and easier to get than GC too since they're on the digital storefronts. You'll be missing out on the Game Gear games, but those were bullshit to have to unlock with emblem OCD anyway. Like, just slap a Sega emulator on your phone and cherry pick the ones you really want to play.

BTW, don't bother with the DLC on 360 and PS3. Without the old Sega tapes an an incentive to endure it, it's just a really half-assed mission mode with a Metal Sonic that you are never going to unlock.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:36 AM
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I will say though -- don't need much of a computer to play the game seeing how it's 20 years old now. If it's from within the last decade (maybe the last...5 years? if it uses only integrated graphics) the game should run well.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:17 PM
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It's delightful. It's weird to say that the old 2004 PC release is the definitive one, but it's the one with mod support, so you can basically play the original Dreamcast version with all the nice enhancements one might expect out of a more modern platform like increased resolution and a consistent framerate. The chao garden stuff is also much better in the ports as they retain features from SA2. It also has all the Sonic game gear games, with 2P link support for the games that have that feature, if that's a thing you'd even care about -- a feature not retained in the later re-releases, incidentally.

If you get the version on Steam, there are installers to update (downdate?) the program to the 2004 release, allowing you to use the mod loader, etc. with it.

Playing "vanilla" SADX is not advised; while there are a few things that are OK about the game, it is a much more lifeless experience. This is mainly a result of the fact that no solution was made to deal with the hardware lighting effects or the Dreamcast's support for order-independent translucency, so a lot of things look unshaded and there are a lot of graphics priority glitches that show up. There are also a lot of textures that were badly recompressed, too (there were a significant number of texture changes; I think a few levels like Casinopolis wind up looking, for better or worse, a little less gaudy, but Ice Cap and Twinkle Park definitely suffer).
If my old Dreamcast that's in storage still works and I can find an affordable copy would you suggest playing it that way?
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Old 03-13-2019, 05:29 PM
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Disappointed. I thought we were talking about:
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:38 PM
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No, that's the Big Sleepy Cat - entirely different thing.
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:51 AM
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If I recall another launch title for the Dreamcast was Sega Bass Fishing. Sega was even pushing special (awesome) fishing rod controllers to be used with their new system. I've never really understood what the fascination with fishing was for Sega. I know it was a fad in Japan for a while (see also: Ocarina of Time), but I'm guessing some Sega executive was really into it and that's why we got Big the Cat.

Programmer: "So you see, sir, that we've made the camera follow Sonic as he moves around the city. We just need to fix some of the bugs."
Exec: "Yes, yes, but what about the fishing?"
Programmer: "The what, sir?"
Exec: "Fishing. Kids love fishing. All they talk about these days. Sonic should be doing more fishing and less running."
Programmer: "Wait? You want us to add fishing to this game?"
Exec: "Yes, make it your top priority. Nobody cares about camera angles in games anyway."
Programmer: "Yes, sir."
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:23 PM
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If my old Dreamcast that's in storage still works and I can find an affordable copy would you suggest playing it that way?
It's actually one of the better experiences, if more than a bit dated. Probably second-best to running the Dreamcast-version mods for the PC version. Just be prepared for frame drops. Other main reason your mileage may vary is your opinion on the standard Dreamcast controller vs. the modern designs that the PC version would be compatible with.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:26 PM
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Always found his large headlight esque eyes very striking in-game and in dreamcast promotional material.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:40 AM
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Also, Big's story does not actually make use of the fishing controller, so don't bother trying to use it or getting one if you don't have it.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:48 AM
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There must be some fetish angle to Big. I don't know what it is and I don't want to know, but it's obvious it's there.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:02 AM
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Sonic Adventure sounds absolutely batshit and now I really want to play it.
god i never really thought about it before reading this thread but it absolutely is
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:52 AM
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Bob actually nailed it correctly on the new r'nauts FF7 podcast episode: Sonic Adventure makes perfect sense if you look at it as built on an RPG released in 1998. Even compared to the other games in the series, FF7 loved its weird, one-off minigames derived from specific moments in the story. Sonic Adventure is the same way, in a lot of regards, and its origination as an RPG means it was inspired almost immediately in the wake of FF7.

Big the Cat then feels like an attempt to bring some of that Big Nier Energy to the franchise. Not because his game would be a particularly strong mesh with what we'd think of as traditional Sonic mechanics, but starting as an RPG means we don't need to think about how things work with traditional Sonic mechanics since we're throwing those out the window. Instead we get a cute little story about a simple cat and his mission to rescue and protect his froggy friend, no matter what the risk to himself is.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
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Sonic Adventure sounds absolutely batshit and now I really want to play it.
I've seen SO MANY people claim the game is "Not good", and I have no fucking idea how any of those people rank the goodness of games, because it's both a lot of fun, and a wild ride.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:10 PM
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I still like Sonic Adventure a lot, even though I loathe the shoddy camera and wish that Big the Cat's fishing gameplay was far more fleshed out than it is.
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Old 03-15-2019, 04:23 PM
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People who don't like Sonic Adventure probably came to the party late. In 1999, that shit was a revelation.

Also, Big the Cat was the single best part of that game. I used to get into fights over this.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:05 PM
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People who don't like Sonic Adventure probably came to the party late. In 1999, that shit was a revelation.
Yeah, it was definitely quite well-regarded at the time, and holds up quite competently to many of its peers. It definitely compares favorably to Crash: Warped and Donkey Kong 64 in my opinion. It's just that 20-odd years of platformer best-practices have gone a long way to making it feel really stodgy and dated, and the issues with the presentation (the voice acting was not well-directed at all) don't help either.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:33 PM
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Sonic Adventure does give you the option to play with Japanese voice acting, though. It's an option that not many games offered back then.
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