Monday, August 1, 2011

Top 50 Video Games: Number 37

Stats of Import

Platform: Sega Genesis
Absurdly Specific Genre: Hedgehogs Running Fast
Difficulty: 4, ramping up to 6 in the end.
Beaten: Yes. A couple of times

The Sonic the Hedgehog series epitomizes "style over substance". Take out the loop-de-loops, the crazy S-Curves, and insane speed tubes that seem to be everywhere in the first game, and you've got... a decent, but short platformer.

The second game is where everything came into focus. There's still parts that feel flashy without anything to be flashy about, but there's so much more depth. There's alternate paths everywhere, interesting enemies, and actual full level design, rather than just a bunch of speed zones tenuously connected by some minor platforming.

There are also those weird/useless mechs that Robotnik loves so much.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the game is actually pretty easy (right up until the end), but that never bothered me. The world that Sonic 2 inhabits is just fun to be a part of. It was easily the most beautiful game I had ever seen when it first came out, and the years have actually been pretty kind to its graphics.

In addition to everything else, the versus multiplayer was a lot of fun , and this was one of the first games that my brother and I played against each other. They only had four stages, but we played those four stages dozens upon dozens of times. Co-op was alright, too (having another player controlling Tails was a huge help in defeating bosses and cleaning up on the special stages).

CPU-controlled Tails, on the other hand...
It's a little sad to me (and a lot of other people) that the Sonic series took such a nosedive after this installment. Sonic 3 was fun, and the Sonic Adventure games on the Dreamcast were supposedly pretty good, but the flagship platforming series never reached this high water mark. With Sonic 4 making the move back to 2D platforming suggests that this is known universally. I think that in the end, Sonic 2 was something special, and I doubt anything Sonic-related will ever top it.

Other Notable Sonic Games: The original Sonic the Hedgehog game would likely have fallen just off of this list. It's really short, and pretty easy in general, plus the lack of spin-dash really sucks when you just know you're supposed to have it. Sonic 3 was flashy and cool, but for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, it left me cold.

The 2006 X-Box 360 game, also called Sonic the Hedgehog, is - bar-none - the worst game I've ever played. Maybe after this list is over, I'll make a 'bottom ten' and go into further depth about why it's so awful, but for today's purposes, just know... there is none worse. It makes Superman 64 look playable.

1 comment:

  1. I have a feeling this is harder than "4, and 6 at the end." It might be because of playing it over and over that you give it a break.

    I say this because I'm pretty damn good at videogames, and I played this recently for the first time since it came out, and it sorta ate me alive.