Back in January 2021, I saw a Sega Genesis at my local (read: an hour away from my house) game shop for a ridiculously low price. Being the Sonic Fan that I am, I had to snatch it up. Because of this, I've been looking for Sega games to acquire ownership over whenever I can. This is my Sega shrine for all my retro escapades of fun times.
The first two games I picked up, on the same day I found the Genesis, were Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. It's kinda obvious, since S3&K is one of the quintessential Sega games. I have played and beaten the game so many times already, and it still hasn't lost its luster. Plus, even though I have access to the complete experience, S3 alone and S&K alone are still pretty fun times altogether. If I had access to a flash cart, then I would be able to play Sonic 3 Complete, but the only problem with that is you can only get S3C by pirating the game which is a very not nice thing to do. Instead, if you want the modern Sonic 3 experience, play Sonic 3 AIR. It has mod support and you can obtain it legally, so it's way better in my book. Anyways, 10/10 videogame. Or videogames. Should I rate S3 and S&K separately as well? If so, then I can definitely say S&K alone is the worst experience of the three, just by virtue of no save system.
I honestly hate Sonic the Hedgehog 2, one of the most beloved games of all time. This level design is so bad! It constantly feels like my deaths aren't my fault, whether it be a physics thing or just not being able to see what's coming next. The enemies are terrible at telegraphing their attacks. As an example, that stupid monkey badnik in Emerald Hill zone always manages to hit me with his coconuts the second I think it's safe to hit him! The special stages are awful as well. Until he got contact lenses in the 2013 remake, Sonic was horrifically nearsighted in the special stages. You can barely see what the next obstacle is gonna be until it's already two inches in front of you, which leads to me feeling that my mistakes are not my fault every single time I screw up and lose my chance at the emerald. Did I mention how terrible the special stage entrances are? The way you enter the special stage is by hitting a starpost with 50 rings. Might not sound bad, right? Well, the aformentioned problem of poor visibility in certain sections leads you to constantly get hit just all the time. Shields are kinda sparse in this game as well, which means you're losing every single ring you've collected almost every time you get hit. So the starposts are bad as special stage entrances, so what? They're also checkpoints, right? Well, what if I told you that starposts suck as checkpoints as well? Their use as special stage entrances makes them a challenge to get to, meaning some checkpoints are hidden! In fact, in some levels, such as Chemical Plant act 1, I didn't run into a single checkpoint in the entire level! In any other game, a hidden checkpoint would be a ridiculous idea, but Sonic 2 says "screw that" and forces you to search for an opportunity to not restart the level every time you die! And you will be dying a lot in this game as well. Unfair deaths are all over the place, as I have mentioned earlier. Going back to Chemical Plant, you can get squished by the moving blocks even in situations where a normal platform would leave you unharmed! Another infamous example of this is The Pit in Mystic Cave act 2. If you fall in here, there's no way out, and you have to restart the entire level due to the aformentioned checkpoint problem. God help you if you're Super Sonic and have a good amount of rings when you fall in, since you'll have to wait until your rings run out, one every second, for you to finally die and get out of the pit. Luckily, in the 2013 remake for iOS and Android platforms, The Pit leads to a secret level instead of certain death. The levels after Mystic Cave, however, are where the game truly loses almost all of its quality. If you've ever played Sonic 2, I only need to say two words to make you have Vietnam flashbacks. Those words being: Metropolis Zone. This hellhole of a zone is like they took every bad idea that they didn't use yet and made a level out of it. The stupid mantis badniks hit you almost no matter what you do and they place them in spots where you have literally a few milliseconds to react and the idiotic star badniks only activate sometimes and always hit you off of those annoying nuts that you need to go so damn far away from to make them respawn and they take forever to actually get you anywhere and they always kill you if you try to speed it up by spin dashing and the awful crabs have the extending arm that always hits you and even when you jump on the part where you would kill him it still hurts you half the time and this is the only zone in the entire game with three levels instead of two and AGH!!!!!! I don't use the phrase "the designers were blatantly legitimately brain damaged" ever, but the designers were either blatantly brain damaged or on meth, either one works. "Oh, but Ben, it only has three acts because of Genocide City"--Shut up! That does not matter at all! You cannot defend this piece of garbage! It is that bad! Anyways, after you survive the Vietnam War, it's time for Sky Chase. It really isn't that bad, it's just boring. Wing Fortress is annoyingly long if you use the main route and boringly short if you use the shortcut. Sky Chase and Wing Fortress could've just been two acts of the same zone, I don't know why the developers split them into two separate zones with only a single act each. Wing Fortress is the last normal level with progression, because after that it's time for Death Egg, the last zone. It's just two rooms with bosses in them. The first boss is Silver Sonic--wait no, that's the one from the Game Gear game. The first boss is Metal Sonic--wait no, that's the one from Sonic CD. The first boss is Mecha Sonic--wait no, that's the one from S&K. Let's just call him Robo Sonic. After all that hullabaloo about the fool's name, it's a ridiculously easy fight. Just spin dash in place where he spawns for the first four hits, then just jump into his face for the next 2 or 3, and the next phase is pretty much free. The real fight is the Death Egg Robot, who I wish I could shorten to Egg Robo but that's an entirely different character. This fight is pretty hard, but once you get the hang of it (I hope you saved enough continues to do so, since your life counter will be low after Metropolis) it's ridiculously simple. You just have to avoid being an idiot. Jump at him when he's walking, but be careful to wait until he pauses or you may die. Lead him to the left edge of the screen when he flies off-screen so that you have ample room to catch these hands after you hit him once or twice. After that, he'll start walking again, and you've pretty much already beaten the game if you don't screw up. Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a horribly designed video game. OST's still a banger though.
Although I haven't finished the game, Dynamite Headdy is a pretty fun time just from the stages I have seen. The mechanics are great, for one. The physics feel perfect, and the head boomerang attack you have by default is very versatile. The power-up box gives you different heads with different abilities. I don't actually know the names of the heads, so I'll just call them what makes sense to me. The speed head makes you move faster and your head boomerang attack have a longer range, the firewall attack gives you a barrier of glowing spheres that damages any enemy that dares approach you, the whistle head lets you inhale every enemy on screen, and a ton more. Unfinished
Sega Genesis (model 2)
Sega Genesis (model 1, non-functioning)
Sonic 3 (with box)
Sonic & Knuckles
Altered Beast (possibly, it's a very long story)
Streets of Rage (or the sequels)
Toejam and Earl
The Master System adapter thingy
Boxes for loose games I have (S&K, S2, S1, Dynamite Headdy)