Throwback Thursday - Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Sega's Only Accomplishment
As a child who grew up in the 80's and 90's, I was heavily involved in skirmishes during the heated console wars. Nintendorks like me verbally rallied against the Segaphiles and all they stood for. It was good training for what American politics looks like today, except we at least acted our age (zinger!). During this time, I loathed all things Sega, but the 16-bit Genesis offered one diamond in the rough I not only enjoyed but cherished: and that game was Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Sonic & Tails.
Here's how deeply my digital party lines ran: I loved the experience of Sonic so much that I hunted down and repeatedly rented Bubsy the Bobcat. Bubsy, tho? Yes. I desperately wanted to recapture the bright, energetic and unbelievable speed of Sonic 2, but nothing on SNES compared (and putting the beloved Street Fighter 2 on Turbo did not count).
What was it about this game that made it so sensational? Well, pretty much everything. The levels were suitably difficult but still fun, the colors were bright and bold, and the music was fantastic. Plus, Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik were just fun characters. Of course, a lot of games from this time (most of them on the SNES), had all these elements, so Sonic 2 must have had something else, something more. It was called a HALF-PIPE!!!!!!!!! Yes, friends, you know of what I speak: a bonus level unlike anything else available at that time.
See, Sonic 2 is your fairly standard 2-d side-scroller on NOS; but when you get that bonus level to collect coins in the half-pipe, you are not just getting some extra goodies. The experience is akin to being teleported onto another game on another console. "What is this advancement in technology?" I would ask myself. "If Genesis can look this good, why do I loathe everything else it touches?" ("Bitterness" is the answer). As I've become older and less foolish (yet, not necessarily wise), I've come to appreciate Genesis' graphics engine far more than I once did. Even seeing Sonic 2 today on a TV much too large for it, that Half-pipe impresses me.
--Old School C.J.
(Editor’s Note: It is nice to see you admit when you are wrong…dork)