Saturday, February 20, 2010

We Are Only Natural

Is there a romhack that cuts Labyrinth Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog? If not there should be. It's a pockmark on an otherwise lovely game. It's usually where I quit whenever I replay Sonic, which is a shame cuz it's like the third stage. But today I used the level select code to bypass that underwater bullshit and had a grand time up until the final stage, when Sonic once again goes under the sea. That slowpoke aquatic adventure is followed followed by a final Flasher* Robotnik boss fight that I didn't have the patience to deal with. Not even with save states. I just quit the game and watched the ending on youtube. It was cute.

*I hereby dub any boss that makes you wait around before showing its weakpoint a Flasher. One of the most overused, unenjoyable staples of game design. Bayonetta was rife with it. GOD HAND wasn't. Another reason why GOD HAND is the best 3D action game ever made!

After (kinda) beating Sonic 1 I loaded up Sonic 2, thinking I'd just dick around in it for a minute or two. I ended up playing through the entire thing in one sitting. Which didn't take long. Like an hour. But it was a really enjoyable hour! Sonic 2 is a much better game than I remembered.

It's obviously a rushed sequel, but it's not nearly the clone of the first I remembered it being. It's got its own charm, and its own set of flaws. I'm thinking the bad rep the Genesis games have in some circles is mostly thanks to 2. It is very much "hold right to win" for the bulk of the game, but I was digging the lack of difficulty. Probably because I hadn't just paid $60 for it. And also because the breezy pace was refreshing after playing the original, with its totally bizarre level order, longer chapters (three acts per zone vs. the sequel's two) and difficulty spikes. 2's difficulty curve is much more traditional, but unfortunately it shoots way up once you hit Metropolis Zone. This is where the game fully descends into cheap bullshit death hell. I did run into the occasional what-the-- death during the first 2/3 of the game, but it wasn't much of an issue because it was so easy. I don't think I ever died in the same stage twice. And the zones all ended before I could tire of their gimmicks. But Metropolis Zone is the longest zone in the game, and it is pretty crap. As is the airship stage. But the stage inbetween the two where you ride Tails's plane is a nice change of pace. Lets you chill a bit before getting back to the dumb bullshit.

While playing I realized I've grown to like Tails. He's quite cute. Sonic's only non-shitty friend, maybe? Aside from Big the Cat.

Maybe the best thing about New Super Mario Bros. Wii was the final boss, because it's what platform game bosses should be. It wasn't about sitting around, waiting for the boss to flash his weakpoint, or throwing the boss's own weapons back at him. It was another jumping sequence. It was pretty great.

I'm going to finish Sonic 3 sometime soon. I'm not sure I played through it when it came out. I borrowed it from a friend and never returned it. I remember being offended by the inclusion of a save feature, but also irritated that it wasn't as exploration heavy as Super Mario World. KIDS. They don't make any sense!

Sonic 4 is going to suck so bad.

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