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Socket: World 1 - Emerald Forest

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Description

Socket is a Sonic ripoff. He looks similar, and his engine has a sense of momentum. It doesn't help that a big part of his engine is navigating curves.

That said, it can still be a fun time. There are several maze stages, and the platforming never gets intense, but on the whole it's inoffensive enough to be a nifty game.

High Speed Area 1:
The High Speed Areas transport you to different time periods throughout Socket. These are always flimsy, run-as-fast-as-you-can affairs. There's plenty of invincibility powerups to keep you running straight through enemies. Zippers will help you along--they're the things that fling Socket forward at an incredible speed. Annoyingly, zippers have on and off phases, so if you time it wrong, you'll be waiting around for the zipper to start working again. A minor inconvenience.

Emerald Forest - Athletic Area:
Yes, it is incredibly easy to confuse this for Green Hill Zone. It even has a similar sense of paths: the top path is full of gaps, the middle path offers a lot of safe ground, and the bottom path is full of spike pits.
Get used to these enemies, because you'll be seeing them in every stage for the rest of the game. Enemy variety is not Socket's strong suit.
At 2:57 you'll see some strange balloon platforms. They act like donut blocks: stand on them too long, and they'll fall. Get ready never to see them in the game again. It's a weird addition, and it really feels out of place.

Emerald Forest - Labyrinth Area:
The labyrinth areas will make or break Socket for you. Unlike Bubsy 2's arbitrarily structured mazes, these typically have a trick to them. And even if they don't (as is the case in Emerald Forest), it's pretty easy to get a hang of the structure.
So, as long as you're up for some simple mazes, this should be a fun time.
Here, it doesn't matter what path you take. They all funnel you to the door that I come across at 4:31, which you need to take to progress.
This sets the stage for future labyrinth areas. There's a multitude of intertwining paths you can take, and none of them necessarily feel like they go forward (as in left to right). In addition, the door--the conclusion of the maze portion--is in an innocuous place that doesn't really feel like the end of anything. It's not at the end of any of the paths, but instead, it's halfway down a large vertical corridor; it's in the middle of a path.
This also shows you that doors, no matter what, take you forward. Doors will always help you get your bearings, which can be helpful, since Socket's stages can sometimes be short on direction.
Doors always take you into a warp zone. What kind of warp zone will depend on the door you go in. In this particular type of warp zone, you hit a switch and it'll generate a path forward. Choose the wrong one, and at the end of the course, you'll get sent back down. It's not entirely fair, but I think in this type of warp zone, switch 3 will always let you progress.
After the warp zone is a linear obstacle course straight to the boss. Taking a door doesn't always make navigation this easy, but the point is that doors will simplify things for you. Also, not every door in the game is required, but this one is.

I should mention that your health slowly drains over time. This can make labyrinth areas a little frustrating your first time through, since you can basically time out if you get lost.

The boss is nothing worth mentioning. As with most bosses in the game, you can just kick him a lot and he'll die before you know it. Of course, if you get lost in the maze, you'll be low on health, and you might need to play it safe. I, uh, don't know what to do in that case. Bosses look easy enough anyway?

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