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Scritch the Cat

Am I a failure if I don't finish the Genesis classics?

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3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Of course you're not a failure for not finishing a video game, man. Shit gets heated around here sometimes but in the end it's just video games.

That said, I'm a little surprised you're having this much trouble with them. I'll admit my perspective is skewed by years of playing these games, but outside of a few places I've never considered them to be particularly hard games. Rings are an incredibly generous health system and instant death is generally pretty rare. The penalty for messing up is usually just being slowed down or dropping to a lesser route. If you don't know the games well you're bound to take a good few bumps and bruises along the way, but you should be able to stumble through most of them without precognition or expert level skill.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the problem is I'm also trying to do Special Stages, which cost 50 rings a pop--and you don't get them back, even if you lose.  That might not be a smart tactic to take the first time through, but since these stages, too, require so much memorization, I figured I'd try to start it early, before my fears of coming to hate this game come true.

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5 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the problem is I'm also trying to do Special Stages, which cost 50 rings a pop--and you don't get them back, even if you lose.  That might not be a smart tactic to take the first time through, but since these stages, too, require so much memorization, I figured I'd try to start it early, before my fears of coming to hate this game come true.

Well that's probably doing more harm than good, honestly. Getting all emeralds is definitely not a first run kind of thing, and trying to make it into one has got you fretting over every hit you take. You'd probably be better off not worrying about the special stages and just playing to complete the game normally, and if you feel like coming back to the game eventually, then you can take a shot at the emeralds.

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1 hour ago, Scritch the Cat said:

I'm playing Gamecube emulations of the original Genesis ROMs on Sonic Mega Collection, and having tried Sonic 2 again this morning, I'm starting to think the "cheap moments" might be less a case of bad level design, and more of a glaring technical flaw.  Put simply, this game's camera is too slow for Sonic.  Not during most cases, sure, but it frequently can't keep up with Sonic when he accelerates and moves vertically, and it's precisely these points where shit like spiked ceilings is thrown in, and Sonic hits them literally before I've seen them.  I don't know if this problem is with the SEGA Genesis, the Nintendo Gamecube, the Nintendo Gamecube using a bad SEGA Genesis emulator, or that emulator using a bad ROM, but the problem's definitely there, it's enraging, and I would definitely consider buying one of those other versions of the game if they don't have that problem.

Mega Collection plays them pretty accurately, right down to the original games' slowdown and 4:3 ratio view.  The 3D Classic versions on 3DS also have these factors, but the mobile ports don't, with perfect framerate the whole way through and widescreen, letting you see a little further ahead.

You DO have to get used to playing with touch screen controls but it's a pretty smooth transition, they did a very good job on them and you can adjust the size and opacity of the virtual control stick/jump button.

The special stages on mobile also have smooth rotation on Sonic 1 and a proper 3D view on Sonic 2 (with much smoother animation on the way the rings/bombs approach the camera).  I believe they're also a little more forgiving with the whole "memory test" thing as, if you're about to fail one, you can pause and hit restart to try again at the cost of a life if you want to.

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43 minutes ago, goku262002 said:

Too late.  I shelled out for that fucking piece of shit back when Game Gear was still in production, and it haunts me to this day.  A lot of people hate on the Game Gear version of Sonic Spinball, which I also own, but while it's not a great game, I'd sooner play it through ten times than ever again play the atrocity misnamed Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Game Gear.  I resolved that policy even back then, since I wanted to keep my Game Gear in one piece and could not be certain I wouldn't smash it out of frustration.  In fact, it's probably fortuitous that there are no stag beetles where I live, because if I ever saw any within a year of getting my ass kicked by that first boss, I probably would have killed them on site. 

At least Sonic Spinball is, in fact, a game about Sonic spinning through pinball machines; in contrast to the false adverising of S2GG's boxart and cutscenes showing Tails with Sonic, but not actually having him playable.  That, and I'm still amused how they decided to edit the original Sonic Spinball boxart to include AOSTH Rldrobotnik, for no apparent reason.

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To this day, since buying Mega Collection some 8 or so years ago, maybe even a full decade ago, I still haven't managed to accurately beat any of these Classic titles.

I gave up at one point before I got the brilliant idea to cheaply use the pause and save feature on Mega Collection to save my position and then go back to it. And even then, that only ended up working for Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. 

Sonic 3 is driving me up the wall and the two responses I would ever get on the SEGA Forums were either words of encouragement or responses saying "It's EASY bro!"

And back when I was even younger, I remember playing Sonic 2 a bit to pass the time at my Grandma's house in New York City before my Aunt brought over her Gamecube so we could play Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on it. I had played the game before so trying to get into Sonic 2 when it didn't have the 3D, or the music, or the other characters, or the other designs, or the more comfortable controller, or the story... I couldn't have shut the Genesis off fast enough when she finally got there. 

To this day I don't know how anyone does it. I see why they're considered good games from a technical standpoint but the fun isn't there for me. And that makes me sad because I really wish I could get into it. I'd probably be a much happier person when it came to absorbing Sonic media on the internet and Youtube if I were a fan of the classics and not the stuff everyone hates. But trying to trick myself and force myself to like and beat them hasn't worked so I'm stuck being who I am. 

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14 hours ago, Flyinpenguin117 said:

I'm pretty much in the same boat. The only classic game I've finished is Sonic 2. Even then, I only beat Death Egg by save scumming on the PC version. Never gotten all the Chaos Emeralds, either. Most I've gotten is 4.

Idk what it is, but I can't really get into any of the other classic games, either. I've gotten pretty good at Sonic 2, but Sonic 1 just feels frustrating at times (more bottomless pits, spikes are guaranteed instakill, f*cking Marble Zone). S3&K I always get bored shortly after Hydro City.

I'd recommend you playing Sonic 1 remastered for Android and iOS (with a physical controller). It has the spindash, Tails and Knuckles, and you can save your game.

Well, and the same goes for Sonic 2 remastered.

Sonic CD remastered is not that cool in my opinion. You can save your game, but once you complete the game, you can't select level to make the 100%.

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10 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

I'm playing Gamecube emulations of the original Genesis ROMs on Sonic Mega Collection, and having tried Sonic 2 again this morning, I'm starting to think the "cheap moments" might be less a case of bad level design, and more of a glaring technical flaw.  Put simply, this game's camera is too slow for Sonic.  Not during most cases, sure, but it frequently can't keep up with Sonic when he accelerates and moves vertically, and it's precisely these points where shit like spiked ceilings is thrown in, and Sonic hits them literally before I've seen them.  I don't know if this problem is with the SEGA Genesis, the Nintendo Gamecube, the Nintendo Gamecube using a bad SEGA Genesis emulator, or that emulator using a bad ROM, but the problem's definitely there, it's enraging, and I would definitely consider buying one of those other versions of the game if they don't have that problem.

Don't be silly, mang, that's simply the blast processing in effect.

 

But nah, that's an actual problem...the camera can only move so fast. But if anything actually hits you from off screen, that's bad level design.

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it's sort of a double-edged sword. on the one hand, no, you're not a failure for not beating fairly difficult games. but at the same time, these are the games that defined sonic not just for a generation, but forever afterwards. if you're interested in getting to know the roots of the character, or are just sort of loosely interested in what makes a video game mascot a success, the genesis games are excellent case studies. i'd give 'em a shot again some day, once you've put some distance between yourself and the games. but don't worry if you never get around to it, yeah?

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13 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Classic Sonic is my cup of tea, in that I prefer more exploration and more challenge to getting up speed, and don't like how boost-heavy, linear, and relatively obstacle-free modern Sonic is.  It's the limited continues and lack of ability to play stages at the rate you choose that I deplore.

Sorry about that, I basically just skimmed through the entire post.

And if that's the case, then you should probably check out the Taxman remasters if you have a Iphone or a android or a kindle or whatever as they address one of these very things by saving after literally every act, (making continues actually kind of pointless.) yes there's touch controls, but they're actually implemented pretty good IMO and both games are definitely playable with them. (At least, I never had any issues with them, I don't know how everyone else feels about them.)

I don't know how helpful this is, or if you even have a Device that can play them to begin with, but hopefully this can be somewhat of an assistance, and hopefully you get the point despite it all, in that you shouldn't feel bad at all for not beating them, and that you're not a failure in the slightest.

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To many wall of text. The old games are not hard. They are easy.  the only annoying stage was sky fortress. But sometimes just take a break and go back to it later. 

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22 hours ago, JezMM said:

Mega Collection plays them pretty accurately, right down to the original games' slowdown and 4:3 ratio view.  The 3D Classic versions on 3DS also have these factors, but the mobile ports don't, with perfect framerate the whole way through and widescreen, letting you see a little further ahead.

You DO have to get used to playing with touch screen controls but it's a pretty smooth transition, they did a very good job on them and you can adjust the size and opacity of the virtual control stick/jump button.

The special stages on mobile also have smooth rotation on Sonic 1 and a proper 3D view on Sonic 2 (with much smoother animation on the way the rings/bombs approach the camera).  I believe they're also a little more forgiving with the whole "memory test" thing as, if you're about to fail one, you can pause and hit restart to try again at the cost of a life if you want to.

What are the touch screen controls, exactly?  Virtual buttons?

Either way, I still consider the demise of physical buttons to be a step down in cellphone history.  Bring them back, the way Nintendo brought them back after the novelty of motion controls wore off.

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

To this day, since buying Mega Collection some 8 or so years ago, maybe even a full decade ago, I still haven't managed to accurately beat any of these Classic titles.

I gave up at one point before I got the brilliant idea to cheaply use the pause and save feature on Mega Collection to save my position and then go back to it. And even then, that only ended up working for Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. 

Sonic 3 is driving me up the wall and the two responses I would ever get on the SEGA Forums were either words of encouragement or responses saying "It's EASY bro!"

And back when I was even younger, I remember playing Sonic 2 a bit to pass the time at my Grandma's house in New York City before my Aunt brought over her Gamecube so we could play Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on it. I had played the game before so trying to get into Sonic 2 when it didn't have the 3D, or the music, or the other characters, or the other designs, or the more comfortable controller, or the story... I couldn't have shut the Genesis off fast enough when she finally got there. 

To this day I don't know how anyone does it. I see why they're considered good games from a technical standpoint but the fun isn't there for me. And that makes me sad because I really wish I could get into it. I'd probably be a much happier person when it came to absorbing Sonic media on the internet and Youtube if I were a fan of the classics and not the stuff everyone hates. But trying to trick myself and force myself to like and beat them hasn't worked so I'm stuck being who I am. 

1) Holy crap; that's a thing?!  What is it; pausing and shutting the Gamecube off?  Because if so, that could make a lot of the difference for me!

2) I, too, think I remember having more fun with the Sonic Adventure games than I'm having with the classics now, and I think more fun than I had with the classics when they were new, for whatever reason.  However, I prefer the classics to Dimps' 2D games.  In fact, I'd rather play Shadow the Hedgehog than most of Dimps' games.  Looking back on it all now, I'm surprised to say the height of my fun with a Sonic game might actually have been Sonic Heroes, although it, too, suffered from artificial length, and after being made to play basically the same game four times, it wore out its welcome.

12 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Don't be silly, mang, that's simply the blast processing in effect.

 

But nah, that's an actual problem...the camera can only move so fast. But if anything actually hits you from off screen, that's bad level design.

Yeah, really.  It seems to me that game could have benefited from a bit of playtesting to catch such things before release.  The most ideal scenario would have been the programmers found a way to make the camera keep up with Sonic, but if they couldn't do it, blast processing notwithstanding, they should have resolved, "Okay; let's get rid of these spikes here and that mantis there.

Come to that, while I still don't exactly prefer "Modern Sonic", those sorts of quibbles make me think levels like that really might work better in 3D.  In 3D, you can see what's coming, so it's always genuinely your fault if you can't dodge obstacles instead of just the game's fault for being cryptic or having a bad camera, and in those cases I actually feel motivated to keep going and getting better in a way I don't when playing a game wherein I fear the only reward I'll get from memorizing where upcoming obstacles are is playing another level full of upcoming obstacles I can't see and will have to memorize.  3D views also take bottomless pits right from being annoying because you can't see them, to being a great way to add excitement because you're always looking at that void.  Here again, Sonic Heroes was probably the height of that, for all its padding.

10 hours ago, BlueBlur91 said:

Sorry about that, I basically just skimmed through the entire post.

And if that's the case, then you should probably check out the Taxman remasters if you have a Iphone or a android or a kindle or whatever as they address one of these very things by saving after literally every act, (making continues actually kind of pointless.) yes there's touch controls, but they're actually implemented pretty good IMO and both games are definitely playable with them. (At least, I never had any issues with them, I don't know how everyone else feels about them.)

I don't know how helpful this is, or if you even have a Device that can play them to begin with, but hopefully this can be somewhat of an assistance, and hopefully you get the point despite it all, in that you shouldn't feel bad at all for not beating them, and that you're not a failure in the slightest.

I think I have a device that can play them, but its screen might not be big enough to make it convenient.  I think I'll try to beat these games on Gamecube using that pause trick, but I'll keep the remasters in mind.

Another thing while on that subject: Do they extend the length of the music before it loops?  Because that would be another thing that makes these games more enjoyable.

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3 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

What are the touch screen controls, exactly?  Virtual buttons?

Either way, I still consider the demise of physical buttons to be a step down in cellphone history.  Bring them back, the way Nintendo brought them back after the novelty of motion controls wore off.

1) Holy crap; that's a thing?!  What is it; pausing and shutting the Gamecube off?  Because if so, that could make a lot of the difference for me!

2) I, too, think I remember having more fun with the Sonic Adventure games than I'm having with the classics now, and I think more fun than I had with the classics when they were new, for whatever reason.  However, I prefer the classics to Dimps' 2D games.  In fact, I'd rather play Shadow the Hedgehog than most of Dimps' games.  Looking back on it all now, I'm surprised to say the height of my fun with a Sonic game might actually have been Sonic Heroes, although it, too, suffered from artificial length, and after being made to play basically the same game four times, it wore out its welcome.

 On Mega Collection for the PS2, I could pause and save it. I remember it being hard to figure out but it was possible for me.

And I never held it against Heroes for having the four stories. I prefer it that way. I can't imagine preferring it only had one. Especially being such a huge Chaotix fan. Maybe if the reused stages were re-worked to be different in design. 

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I don't really understand what makes someone to consider themselves a failure just because they haven't beaten a game? Crash Bandicoot was the first Playstation I ever played, and so far I only ever barely got onto the second island (getting tripped up by Ripper Roo), and also never finished Sonic Adventure because to this day I still can't get past Big the Cat and his fishing levels. People may still laugh at what made you and I stumble on a game and never finish it.

Hell I can't even play through the classics without missing emeralds. Just getting from A to B is fine but I personally find trying to get the emerald a chore. They were a chore in Sonic 1-3K's day, they are a chore in Sonic Heroes, and honestly the big downside of Sonic Mania will be the same thing. I'd rather blast through a stage without worrying about emeralds.

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20 hours ago, Sixth-Rate Soma said:

it's sort of a double-edged sword. on the one hand, no, you're not a failure for not beating fairly difficult games. but at the same time, these are the games that defined sonic not just for a generation, but forever afterwards. if you're interested in getting to know the roots of the character, or are just sort of loosely interested in what makes a video game mascot a success, the genesis games are excellent case studies. i'd give 'em a shot again some day, once you've put some distance between yourself and the games. but don't worry if you never get around to it, yeah?

It seems to me that "put some distance between yourself and the games" seems rather antithetical to the common "keep playing until you get better" advice commonly given.  I'm not saying you're wrong and they're right, but I must ask, how is it supposed to help me enjoy a game whose myriad cheap shots make it a pain in the ass to me when I don't have this shit memorized?  That's Sonic 2 I'm talking about; Sonic 1 is mostly devoid of those sorts of cheap shots. (Although I think there's still too much memory involved in some of the special stages.) A lot of Sonic 1's zones really don't live up to the joyful kinetic and explorative ideal set by Green Hill Zone, but because they're more constrained one can usually see what's happening and focus well on the task at hand.  Sonic 2 seems like it was intending to make more zones "Green Hill Zone, but more challenging", which is a wonderful idea on paper, but because a lot of what's in there are less challenges than they are traps, ultimately the game is a lot less fun to me than Sonic 1.  I'm wondering if I should just skip to Sonic 3 with how pathetic this is feeling; also it has saves.

5 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

 On Mega Collection for the PS2, I could pause and save it. I remember it being hard to figure out but it was possible for me.

And I never held it against Heroes for having the four stories. I prefer it that way. I can't imagine preferring it only had one. Especially being such a huge Chaotix fan. Maybe if the reused stages were re-worked to be different in design. 

I have attempted to find something like that in the Gamecube version, to no avail.  Shit!

To the many people wondering why I feel bad about my not enjoying these games as much as I "should", I think a part of it's because I've railed so much against the sort of revisionist critics who argue that "Sonic was never good" that now I feel like a traitor for going back to its supposed heyday and discovering that these games...have issues.  I also was all set to buy Sonic Mania because I wanted to send a message with my money: "This is what to shoot for, SEGA.  Additional characters can be playable; just make sure their gameplay is as fun as Sonic's; in many cases by being similar."  However, if in fact, Classic Sonic gameplay isn't that fun, then I'm having second thoughts.  I certainly don't want to pay money to play another game full of cheap memory tests; even if it will almost certainly have a save feature.  I'm not keen on Final Bosses that don't give you any rings, either, although saves would likely make these more tolerable, as well.

Which is not to say I think Sonic Forces looks good, either.  In fact, it looks unremarkable by almost any metric.  Ultimately, though, the picture that seems to be emerging is that there's no game I can buy to signal what my ideal Sonic game is, and more troubling still, that my ideal Sonic game hasn't existed at any point in history.

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On 5/29/2017 at 1:26 AM, Alienrun said:

The fact you have to start over everytime you run out of lives in a Sonic game is the games way of punishing you for sucking too much. With unlimited lives these games would be butt easy, the reward for beating them would feel lackluster would it not?

First of all, no; they wouldn't be "butt easy"; I've shot down that logic before.  They would be be just about as hard or as easy as they were normally, but shorter.  That's only a problem if developers can't be assed to put in more actual content.  Maybe they had technical limitations, and had a reason to make a game challenging enough you'd need to play it through multiple times to do it better, but taking cheap shots at players like throwing them into a spiked ceiling or a mantis just shits all over that ideal.

Second of all, also no; at least not in my case.  Since I tend to move on to a new game shortly after beating an old one, my reward is getting to play the new game, meaning getting to do it faster is a plus.  I may go back to the old one, but frankly, the more the game troubled me, the less likely it is that I'll touch it again.  Either it gave me so much pains that I just barely squeaked by and then wanted the pain to end, or I toughened up so much that if I played any more, the game would then be too easy to be fun anymore.  I'm not sure how that's ideal game design.

Moreover, I'm not sure how it's profitable game design.  JezMM suggested that it's a relic of the arcade era, where the longer people tended to play any single cabinet, the more money they tend to give the thing. (And I must say, I can't help but cringe when I hear the same sort of people who bitch about microtransactions in games today wax nostalgic about how much fun they had sinking quarters into TMNT.)  Fair enough, but you'd think developers of games for home consoles would have realized sooner that the circumstances had changed.  Someone who has bought Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has spent all the money on that one game that he or she ever will.  The longer it lasts a gamer, the longer a gamer wants to play it, the longer before he or she sees no choice but to buy a new game.  History seems to have validated that it's having lots of good games that sells a console far more than having a few stellar games.  Not that Classic Sonic games are anywhere close to stellar in my present opinion...though neither are the ones that came after...

I see no "reward" whatsoever to continuing to play a game long after it has ceased to be fun, or even right until it has ceased to be fun.  So long as it's fun, a lot of difficulty is acceptable; even desirable, but if it's not fun, the only things difficulty adds are pain and padding.  And going up a hill only to hit something I couldn't see beforehand is not fun.

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...can I just say that I've been hearing this complaint for years about Sonic moving faster than the camera and running into things offscreen and I honestly don't understand it? Like, I've nearly NEVER had an issue with the camera, even when I was brand new to the classics, I never felt like I had any problem with running too fast to avoid things, the view and pacing has almost always been fine and felt completely fair. The only times I've ever had problems with it is very specific spots in Sonic 2, but badnik placement (particularly in Emerald Hill and Oil Ocean) is a bit pants there anyway, and a few little parts of Marble Garden Zone with the rotating spike balls attached to chains. But those are little things that have never stopped me, and they always felt like the exception, not the norm.

Like, I almost feel like I'm living under a rock with this as I've never had this as an issue or a detriment while so many others apparently do. I dunno, man. 

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Not at all. I can't beat Sonic 2's final boss without save states. Though I've become good enough that I don't have to save after every hit, just between Silver Sonic and Death Egg Robot.

I personally feel Sonic 1 is the... I don't wanna say "worst" of the trilogy, but it's probably the least fun and most annoying for me. I just beat both of them recently in preparation for Mania and Sonic 1 was annoying. I only had fun on GHZ and Starlight Zone. Everything else was either boring, stop and go platforming, slow underwater segments, or Marble Zone. Spike placement is terrible too. I think most of the difficulty comes from that kind of stuff.

However I've never really played it without save states, so I'm not sure how difficult it would be to go through where a game over means you're back at the start. And you said you didn't use saves? Whew. It's already hard enough /with/ saves.

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On 5/29/2017 at 0:39 PM, Nepenthe said:

I feel we as a fandom have taken a horribly wrong turn somewhere if people think that there's something wrong with them for not finishing the classic games. No video game is obligated to be completed.

After years of being saddled with "They're easy, get gud" as a response to my saying that I'm unable to complete them nor have any fun trying, it's nice to at least be somewhere where the majority recognize how staggeringly exclusive responses like those can be. 

The whole thing about practice makes perfect is true but some things are going to require an immeasurable amount of time and dedication to even be considered okay at what you're doing if you're a certain kind of player.

It took me 10 years to finally admit it, but I just can't do it. I want to so badly but these games are fucking hard to me. 

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I had trouble with them when I was younger, but I can honestly say I found them easier than the other non-kirby platformers even back then. Just remembering to roll negates a lot of obstacles and it's easy to rack up lives for me, especially in Sonic 2. 

I've only beaten Sonic 2 a handful of times but that's more because of an insane difficulty spike in the last stretch than anything before it. Sonic CD and Sonic 3 aren't big issues at all to me though.

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

It seems to me that "put some distance between yourself and the games" seems rather antithetical to the common "keep playing until you get better" advice commonly given.

I think the problem is that you seem to be in a rush to have these things finished, like you're under a deadline to master the game. You'll get better at the game the more you play it, but if you're forcing yourself to do it right now when you're not having much fun, you're making it into work rather than play.

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7 hours ago, Radiant Hero Ike said:

Not at all. I can't beat Sonic 2's final boss without save states. Though I've become good enough that I don't have to save after every hit, just between Silver Sonic and Death Egg Robot.

I personally feel Sonic 1 is the... I don't wanna say "worst" of the trilogy, but it's probably the least fun and most annoying for me. I just beat both of them recently in preparation for Mania and Sonic 1 was annoying. I only had fun on GHZ and Starlight Zone. Everything else was either boring, stop and go platforming, slow underwater segments, or Marble Zone. Spike placement is terrible too. I think most of the difficulty comes from that kind of stuff.

However I've never really played it without save states, so I'm not sure how difficult it would be to go through where a game over means you're back at the start. And you said you didn't use saves? Whew. It's already hard enough /with/ saves.

While this may surprise people, I actually don't hate Labyrinth Zone.  I know a lot of people do, and I understand why, but I can appreciate its gimmicks.

Marble Zone, that's very arguably quite a turd.  I spoke earlier about how there's a difference between adding challenge and adding cheap length, and Marble Zone falls heavily on the latter side.  There's some challenge to be had in timing your movements jumping off platforms floating in lava or going under falling spike chandeliers, but on the side there's a lot of arbitrary waiting...to the point that sometimes the hardest thing is just not getting impatient enough to jump into spikes or lava!  Some years ago, I read a document online--maybe it was from SEGA themselves, but I forget, explaining "Why Sonic games do 'Non-Sonic' things."  The gist of it was that huge levels designed to be run through take a long time for developers to make and a short time for gamers to complete, meaning it's difficult to release a full-length game without padding it out with stuff that's arbitrarily slower--and Marble Zone may very well be the first example of this padding.  On top of that, though, it feels like a Mario level.  No, Mario fans; I'm not bashing that series, but you know it's true: Those games have lots of levels made of grey bricks and full of lava, falling hazards and slowly-moving platforms.

However, while Labyrinth Zone may be one of Sonic's most emasculate moments, for me it was also one of the major moments the series demonstrated how it did "what Nintendon't."  Mario could swim and breathe underwater, Sonic could do neither.  On the other hand, Mario couldn't use his jump attacks underwater and Sonic could, but being underwater as Sonic was still pretty scary--and you know what?  I like that.  I mentioned in a past post how bottomless pits don't work as well as a scary, motivating hazard in 2D as they do in 3D, but drowning was a scary, motivating hazard that worked just fine in 2D.

Thus, while it certainly isn't the height of Sonic gameplay for me, Labyrinth Zone certainly comes closer to my ideal of what sort of challenge should be in Sonic games.  Marble Zone is actually much easier if you just learn to be patient, but it's such a chore waiting around that every obstacle becomes loads more obnoxious.  However, in Labyrinth Zone you're always incentivized to do some sort of moving around, and most importantly for me, the most deadly thing in the level; the drowning, is perfectly announced ahead of time, but no less necessary to evade.  Love it or hate it, you can scarcely deny that haunting Jaws-like drowning music sticks with you.

As to how well the original Sonic the Hedgehog still holds up altogether, while it can feel a bit underwhelming in its designs and features, I feel it's also just about the perfect length for a game that's intended to be picked up and played in one sitting, as well as replayed a bunch of times with the intention of improving.  You either win the game soon if you're good at it or lose the game soon if you're bad at it, and either way that means you can start over or leave soon enough that you don't feel like you wasted a lot of time for no reward.  The emeralds are there as a barometer for how much you improve, and there's no other reward for them than getting to watch Robotnik do a different thing during the credits, but then again, I'm not sure it's very ideal to give you an awesome reward like Super Sonic if it's just going to go away after you either lose the game or win the game or turn off the game--and that's especially true in the games where there's more emeralds you need to collect.

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