Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review

20160802204946_1Continuing my quest to revisit the mainline Genesis era Sonic games, one done simply for my own curiosity, I am brought away from the disheartening Sonic The Hedgehog and towards its far more beloved sequel Sonic The Hedgehog 2.  A game I fondly remember playing at my dentist’s office while I waited for her to clean my teeth and tell me how many cavities I accumulated over the past six months.  Good times.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review
Platforms: Sega Genesis, PC(Reviewed), and a dozen more
Developers: Sonic Team and Sega
Publisher: Sega

Being a sequel released only a year after the original, the core foundation of Sonic 2 is effectively the same as Sonic 1.  Sonic is a fast blue anthropomorphized animal with sneakers who traverses around a series of speed based platforming levels while collecting rings he loses whenever hit and avoiding various pits and enemies placed along the way before fighting a series of bosses at the end of every other level.  Eventually foiling the antics of the nefarious ne’er-do-well Dr. Robotnik, or Dr. Eggman if you want to use the modern name that was implemented by Sega of America.  That all remains true, except Sonic now has a two tailed fox following him around nearly every level, creatively named Tails.  A character who, to this day, I think was only included so one’s younger brother could play the game with them.20160730193830_1

From this familiar foundation, the game proceeds to make some major improvements over its predecessor, with the first being the general handling of Sonic himself, as he no longer moves around like he is on ice, and platforming is nowhere near as tricky because of it.  In fact, combined with the spin dash, a series staple that unfortunately can only be charged when Sonic is standing still, the game feel here is actually pretty good, and I enjoyed going through a lot of the game because of that.  Everything is responsive, and I very rarely felt the controls hindered my enjoyment, even though that should be viewed as a standard for all video games.

However, the hectic and often obnoxious nature of the first game unfortunately still stands true, and there is plenty to find annoying in this game.  With the limited screen size and level design that often has Sonic rushing into danger before the player can reasonably react to said danger being the two big ones.  An understanding of the environment and ability to properly react to hazards are an essential of pretty much every game, and even when trying to assess this game while being forgiving to design decisions that were common in the era, such as the archaic and stupid lives system, I can’t understand how anybody thought this was acceptable.  20160802202015_1

While not a huge issue in a lot of scenarios, there are just as many, if not more, where I genuinely feel that the player is incapable of predicting where a hazard is as the game sends Sonic rocketing through the stage at high speeds.  Which is a shame, as the act of progressing through these levels, moving at high speeds, gathering shiny things, and defeating animal robots that contain other animals inside of them, can be quite exhilarating and fun.  The act of moving through a level at breakneck speeds is inherently enjoyable, and when the game works and level design caters to this sensation, the game can be a blast.

At its high points, Sonic 2 is a genuinely fun speed based platformer, one with a memorable soundtrack of diverse and unique songs that have stood the test of time and been subject to countless remixes for good reason.  One that also boasts memorable environmental design, with a series of distinct and colorful levels.  Each one of which has their own theme, and all of which manage to remain cohesive with one another, from plains, to underground jungles, to factories to airships.  Plus, the amount of attention put on the sprite work this time around really does show, especially compared to its predecessor.  20160730195714_1

However, I am fully prepared to dismiss all of that and declare this game to be truly wretched thanks to the special stages.  I try to avoid hyperbole when possible, but going through these stages, even with save states at my disposal, was a truly infuriating experience.  These special stages place both Sonic and Tails in a halfpipe where they must skid around on their feet, running forward in a faux-3D environment in order to collect a set number of rings and dodge bombs.  A simple premise that is ruined by thee things.  

One, the slipperiness and lack of control from Sonic 1 returns, and my goodness is it far, far worse.  You slide about like the halfpipe is coated in grease, and the act of swaying over from one side to another, much less spinning around the entire halfpipe is both awkward and greatly imprecise, when you need to be precise to gather rings.  Two, Tails is accompanying you during this, and is controlled by the game, who reads your inputs, but half a second after you make them.  Meaning there are instances where he will likely get his and lose some of his rings, lowering your total.  20160730221636_1

Three, you barely have enough time to predict what’s coming in front of you.  Your draw distance is so poor and the characters move so fast that it is nearly to get Sonic and Tails past some obstacles without memorizing hazard and ring locations ahead of time.  Which is an example of terrible game design as far as I am concerned, as the player genuinely could not predict the threats coming at them.

Your reward for all of this are the seven chaos emeralds, and the ability to become Super Sonic, and invisible and super fast version of Sonic who consumes one ring a second.  An appealing gimmick, but one that is completely unruly as it is simply too fast for some of the more traditional platforming elements of the game, and more often than not leads you to an untimely death via a bottomless pit.  So this game not only has the player go through hell and back to uncover a secret reward, but said reward is actually pretty worthless once the momentary novelty or super speed wears thin.20160731152410_1

While I certainly understand why some find enjoyment in this game, and admit that I see it as possible for one to still enjoy this game, despite all of the hair pulling moments where Sonic is propelled across the screen and into a hazard faster than the player can react, I still can’t honestly say I think Sonic 2 is all that good.  The needless difficulty of games of this era is very prominent here, and I wonder just how many people genuinely love this game, but lack formative memories regarding this game.  Because I’m guessing they are few and far between.

Nigmabox Rundown (8/21-8/27) Prelude to Instanity Re;Birth

Nyarko Crazy Insane Nuts NonsenseI’m genuinely worried about how I’ll be able to manage my time going forward, as I have recently begun school once more, and now lack a job where I can easily find the time to work on my stories, reviews, or weekly rundowns like these, as I just left my job for the past two years in favor of a better paying one that doesn’t have me wake up at 6:30 in the morning.  Also, I now have a friend to interact with every day.  Welcome to this crazy time indeed, hopefully I will learn how to manage the chaos of this dysfunctional system. Continue reading

Kirby Super Star Ultra Review

Kirby_Super_Star_Ultra_logoKirby Super Star Ultra is one of those games that regularly rings throughout my head whenever I try to pinpoint what my favorite games of all time truly are.  A title that I remember as a purely joyous experience, and one that shines brightly as a more traditional Kirby game, when they tend to be solid and fun platforming affairs.  Being a fickle and temperamental person, I chose to revisit and replay the title in order to remind me why I felt this way, and provide a review explaining why it is among my favorite games of all time. Continue reading

Nigmabox Rundown (8/14-8/20) We Are All The Gamindustri

20160706215444_1So, I managed to revise two of my most recent stories this week, and next week I am both ending a job and attending school at a big girl’s university.  Life is going to get hard and hectic, according to my mother who never attended university.  Though, I’m not worried about that.  I am sorta worried about getting out content regularly, but I think I should be able to publish 52 game reviews this year and finish up Psycho Bullet Festival 2: Bury My Children.  Oh, and publish a Rundown every Sunday.  Header image is by NSFW artist ModeSeven.  Continue reading

The Malice of Abigale Quinlan

Originally released on January 20th, 2016, The Malice of Abigale Quinlan is my second full length novel.  Since its release, I made some minor edits to the story, improving the wording in some sections, and miscellaneous oddities.

This story is a sequel to Verde’s Doohickey and it is recommended that you read it before reading The Malice of Abigale Quinlan.

Jad Novus’ body was stolen by the malicious miscreant Abigale Quinlan, leaving him a thousand miles away from home. Jad wakes up in his new form only to discover that his name is now infamous with murder, and his life as he knows it is over. Jad must return home, clear his name, convince others who he is, and learn the secrets that come with his new body. Join him in this perverse dark drama dripping with danger, determination, despair, pseudo-perverted shenanigans, dread, and the antics of a sassy artificial intelligence named Peatrice.

This story is available via GoogleDocs

If you have any comment about the story, positive or negative, feel free to let me know, as I love getting feedback on my work.

Little King’s Story Review

20160811223016_1Little King’s Story is among my favorite Wii games, and while I technically reviewed this game way back when, I generally look upon my writing during that time in a very negative light, and with a PC version recently coming out, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit this delightful game, and I’m not too surprised by how I feel about it. Continue reading

Verde’s Doohickey

Originally released on August 15th, 2015, Verde’s Doohickey is my first full length novel.  Since its release, I made some minor edits to the story, improving the wording in some sections, and miscellaneous oddities.

The story focuses on Jad Novus and his friends, who are lucky enough to receive a mysterious body switching device from an enigmatic individual known as Verde Dusk. With this incredible power at their disposal, they set off an a low key adventure about friendship, anxiety, the alteration and rewriting of reality, and other miscellaneous teenage shenanigans.  

The story is available via GoogleDocs.  

If you have any comment about the story, positive or negative, feel free to let me know, as I love getting feedback on my work.