I grew up with several SEGA consoles and when thinking back about “the good old days” I often had fond memories of playing the Sonic games. After my 24 hour gaming marathon I am starting to think that my memories are somewhat rosy tinted.
I’m going to focus on Sonic the Hedgehog during this article & accompanying video but it probably applies to all the games.
What I remembered about Sonic games was speed. I had fond memories of speeding through levels, even if I didn’t know where the path was taking me or had much control over it, I remember loving the speed at which I moved. Sonic was a character suited to racing games (I enjoyed Sonic R on my Saturn!) and the cartoons were all about how fast Sonic ran. Speed. Speed. Speed.
Except I played the original Sonic games and it wasn’t what I had hoped. I was only speeding along in the odd burst and that wasn’t exceptionally fast. A lot of the time I was waiting for dangerous objects to pass or the right time to jump onto a moving platform. Timing and patience was a skill that was required to complete some slightly more intricate sections. Standing still and waiting to make a jump isn’t what I expected!
Now don’t get me wrong – I am well aware that on many occasions the loss of pace was because I’m very sucky at platform games, however it just didn’t feel right. I just didn’t get the buzz of speeding between levels because I often had to stop and wait. There’s even lengthy sections where I have no choice but to play this way. If I was only finding the pace tedious from the times when I ran into things because I’m too dozy to jump and avoid walls, traps, enemies etc, that isn’t fun but it is more my fault than the game’s.
However given the game slowed me down, well now I’m doubting that I was meant to be charging forward as fast as possible. Are the Sonic games just not what I remember? How disappointing. I’m not saying it is a bad games far from it, but it is a little strange (and sad) when I realise that the fond memories I had from playing Sonic the Hedgehog was probably just the short sections in levels that were full of speed, or maybe not event this game! For the most part I found it “okay” to play.