So time and time again video game music pops into my head. Today, Sonic The Hedgehog 2's Casino Night Zone theme came into my head which then meant I would continue to think about Sonic all day... and it got me wondering... what is YOUR favorite classic Sonic game?
I'm limiting it to the first four because of the age and the fact that S&K linked with the other three.
My favorite has always been Sonic The Hedgehog 2 but I've admittedly never really invested much time into Sonic 3. I've beaten the first and second though. I don't think I've ever beaten S&K either but I used to love it... maybe its time I get my Genesis back out again... as if I didn't have enough games to play.
I always thought Sonic 2 added the right amount of new stuff and did a great job with the splitting up of Zones (two per stage instead of Sonic 1's 3). This led to a lot more Zones than the first game, and I remember feeling that I was never sure when the game would actually end while playing the later stages (Metropolis, the plane one, etc). Sonic and Knuckles had the cool lock-on thing, but beyond that, it wasn't all that memorable to me as a game.
I still think the first one is the best. It contains the most amount of “standard platforming” and the fewest uncontrollable thrill rides, or whatever you want to call them, so basically, it’s the Sonic game that’s most for me.
Sonic 2 and 3, to be honest, start being a little bit too tough for me. I got through 2 on a Genesis collection, and only because of save states. I don’t know how you can play through that game without them and not be completely frustrated at every unfair death, especially in that airship level.
I do want to play Sonic & Knucles eventually, though, if simply because the last boss just looks friggin’ epic. But I doubt I’d ever make it that far.
I played a lot of Sonic 2 and a little bit of Sonic 3. I seem to remember liking the little bit I played of Sonic 3 more than Sonic 2, but because of how little I played of it, I'm hesitant to vote for it over 2.
EDIT: I may be confusing 3 with Sonic and Knuckles though.
I can't vote Sonic 1 because I think without the spin dash, the game is incredibly frustrating. There are too many times in the game where I don't have enough momentum to get up a hill, and I have run alll the way back just to get some momentum going.
I can't vote for Sonic 3 because I feel like it's a little weak in its amount of content. The game feels really short, and doesn't really feel complete to me without being linked to Sonic and Knuckles.
Sonic and Knuckles as well, just...I don't know, it doesn't feel like a complete game.
So, I guess I'll go with Sonic 2, which is the game I have the most experience with. I could maybe put S3&K over it, but Sonic 2 has a certain simplicity that I've always liked.
If I absolutely MUST keep Sonic 3 & Knuckles separate...
#4: Sonic the Hedgehog It's not a bad game at all, but it's also the least Sonic-y of them. It mostly sticks to regular flat platforming, though there are some half-pipes and ridges and bumpers and whatnot to exploit every now and then. It also has the most bottomless pits by far and forces you into a lot of slow sections, like the Marble and Labyrinth Zones. Labyrinth Zone is especially heinous because the following three games almost never require you to take a dip at all. Most of the time, there's an alternate path or quick solution to avoid their water sections entirely.
#3: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Sonic 2 plays like a very improved Sonic 1. More physics- and momentum-dependent shortcuts and solutions are sprinkled through the stages, there are hardly any necessary slow sections. It takes a pretty big nosedive near the end, though: Sky Chase is clumsy and boring, Egg Fortress is full of instant death, and Death Egg isn't THAT tough but leaving you to fight two dangerous and gimmickless bosses with no rings when the rest of the game was nothing like that is just bad design. It has easily the coolest special stage, even if it is kind of tough with the 2D graphics. Even today I sometimes have trouble getting all the Emeralds...
#2: Sonic & Knuckles Though Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the right way to go, one of the two halves is clearly inferior. Sonic & Knuckles features a LOT of what makes Sonic 3 so excellent, but it's the weaker game on its own and feels more incomplete without its other half. Knuckles especially suffers, essentially only having eight stages for himself. And you can't even select those stages! The game has no save files. And then there's Sandopolis Zone, which is just scary, man, and balances out the pure excellence that is Flying Battery. Fun fact, the game has no water in it at all. Fun fact #2, you can move the spikes (Dillo).
#1: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 AWWWWW YEAH SON. Sonic really went out on its own here, and that's why I love it. Every single stage is stuffed with unique little gimmicks (ziplines, water-skimming, floating spin-tops, skidding icebergs, sticky spinny cylinders) and the momentum-based platforming is at its height, leaving tons of secrets to find by exploiting the shape of the land (I am still finding new ones TODAY). There are water sections in EVERY STAGE and yet you practically never need to go in it somehow! (The only exception being the bone dry Marble Gardens which is the weakest zone anyway and even that has MUD which is just adventurous water). Hydrocity is far and away the best water level in the series, and even more surprising is a water level that's actually likable. Hedgehogs move higher up the food chain as bottomless pits join the endangered species list! And oh, hey, stage select and save files! The game has a tremendous sense of continuity throughout, thanks to all the little cinematics (Knuckles and his DAMNED switches everywhere). The special stages weren't bad, either. The elemental shields essentially give Sonic powerups similar to Mario without actually changing the game that much. The music is the best. And oh yeah TAILS CAN FLY FUCK YEAH TAILS YOU CAN FLY HOMEY. And holy shit, Tails can pick Sonic up and fly his inept ass around if need be! This game should have been called Tails The Freaky Deaky Foxocopter And His Weird Blue Uncle Or Something.
So yeah GTFO Negative World, all y'all SNES fanboys might have had DOZENS of excellent, legendary games for your stupid grey system, but your childhood wasn't complete unless you played SONIC every day after school and then pretended you were SONIC when you were running around the neighborhood and rolling into the other kids like you were SONIC.
A colorful and very enlightening recap of the games. I don't remember how much of Sonic 3 I've played but I gotta go back for it. Bummer though is I wanna play Sonic 3 and Knuckles, but I don't have a means to buy a Sonic 3 cart, and I don't wanna re-buy S&K for the Virtual Console. Hmm..
Can you clarify the whole Sonic 3 + Knuckles thing? I have the Genesis Collection on the GCN and played through all four of the games separately. What's different when playing Sonic 2 + Knuckles and Sonic 3 + Knuckles?