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Growing up in the mist of the video game wars between Nintendo and Sega in the early 90’s, I was always a Nintendo guy. I had the original Nes and a Gameboy so that pretty much aligned me with Nintendo from the start. My friend had a Mega Drive so if I fancy playing some Sega I could go round his house so I pretty much had the best of both worlds.
One of the games that he had was Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic replaced Alex Kidd as the mascot of Sega as they were losing the video game wars at the time and they needed a mascot that was cool and cutting edge. Alex Kidd wasn’t the Kid (see what I did there?) hence why he was replaced by Sonic. I played it and wow, it blew my mind. It was a side stroller like Mario but the one thing that stuck out for me was how colourful it was and how clear the music sounded. For those who remember, the music from the first Mario tended to repeat itself whiles Sonic had different music throughout the game which really helped each level develop its own identity. The other thing I remember was the speed. I’d never seen anything like it. It was unbelievable. Whiles Mario was happily strolling along the Mushroom Kingdom, Sonic was rolling up in a ball, going around loops and hitting springs. Utter Madness!
With that being said, you could imagine what me and my friend were like when we heard about the upcoming Sonic 2 game. We were intrigued by the inclusion of a new character, Miles “Tails” Power. When the game was released, I played it and I loved it. It was everything that was good about the first game but a whole lot more. In all honesty, Sonic 2 is in my top ten video games of all time and it was also the game that motivated me to get a Mega Drive. I loved how Tails could never catch up with Sonic. You could end up losing him and he will eventfully fly down from above. The second player could control Tails but there was no point. Sonic will always outrun you so you might as well just sit and watch. I loved the music for this game. The Metropolis level had the best theme. In fact, I actually have it on my ipod!
There was a two player mode where you could play split screen and the object was to race to the end of the course. I remember me and our Adam (older brother) playing this one time and I was out in the lead. Luckily for our Adam he managed to get the “swap” power up which resulted in our characters having our positions swapped over. That was a bitter pill to swallow! The most revolutionary thing from that game was the “Special Stage”. You were running in this half pipe collecting coins and dodging bombs all of that in 3D. I remember being completely blown away by that. The object was to collect the right amount of coins within a set time limit so you could unlock a Chaos Emerald. When you collected all the emeralds, you could transform into Super Sonic, an invincible, faster version of Sonic.
My favourite level was the Casino level. It was so cool. I remember all the different colours and all the flashing lights throughout. I also remember the slot machines where you could win more coins or if you got 3 Robotniks, you’ll end up losing all your coins. You could rack up a lot of points in that level and also gain yourself some more extra lives. I remember thinking wouldn’t it be cool if that did a Sonic pinball game? And you know what? They did. Sonic Spinball. Another game which I’ll be talking about in a future edition of Video Game Memories.
Sonic’s arch enemy was Dr. Robotnik. The greatest video game villain ever. Remember what I said about the Casino level being my favourite? Well, that level also had the hardest Robotnik boss ever. I spent months trying to beat him. The fight takes place in a pinball machine and Robotnik is flying around dropping bombs and shooting electricity. It was damn near impossible! It was hard to control considering you were inside a fucking pinball machine! I’ll always remember my “victory” and I use that term loosely because it was a fluke victory, one that I owe to Tails. I took my time with this time round, trying to avoid speeding about and take the fight to ground level. I lost all my coins and was down to my final life. Robotnik was about to drop another bomb on me and I knew if he did I would be screwed. Then my saving grace came. Tails who had done sweet sod all at this point casually jumps up and I sat back in amazement as Robotnik blew up before my very eyes. I should have done a victory lap around the house but I never. I was too stunned. Tails proved to be useful for once! It was also that very day where I went on to complete the game too. Much like the Casino boss, the end of game boss proved to be a pain in the arse. Once again, I was down to my final life I beat him and saved the world from the Death Egg.
Sonic 2 has got to be the only game where I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about it and that’s a testament to how great this game truly is. I remember one of my younger cousins buying a Sonic Classics game for the PS2 with this game on it. He loves it too. He often asks me to help him out on it and I’m more than happy to do that because Sonic 2 is one of the greatest platform games of all time.