I couldn't tell you when or where I first played Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and because I couldn't tell you that, I perhaps shouldn't say words to the effect of 'I thought it was better than this'...
This Sonic sequel is definitely fast and full of... rings... and stuff, but it doesn't quite seem to be the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that exists in my head. Maybe I'm merging memories of different Sonic titles into one, I don't know.
I do know that the best way to see what's up is to get my hands wrapped around a controller, though, so let's lace up our bright red shoes and kick it up a gear or two.
All I'm looking for in a Sonic game is a sense of speed, a whole bunch of rings, that one frame of animation after Sonic has been inevitably hit and he has that expression of 'whuah? But I'm invincible!', and so much colour that I can't help but feel happy.
Sonic 2 pretty much meets those expectations/demands, and it even adds to them in the form of companion Miles 'Tails' Prower (who sucks, but that's just my opinion), and a two-player versus mode to see who can blitz through the stages with speed and precision and bucket loads of points.
Your inputs are basically left, right, spin on the spot and bounce. I wouldn't even call it a jump, it's that bouncy. Jumps take effort. Sonic just bounces. With these inputs, you are let loose on a rollercoaster of a stage, where it's up to you to collect the rings and avoid the obstacles en route to the end, before bouncing on a boss a few times.
Before long, however, that got a bit repetitive. It got boring. I was essentially holding right, hitting things, jumping when needed, waiting for the stage to be completed. When I needed to backtrack or hold left instead, it was much the same. There was the minor 'oh, you go left in this game too' thing, but that's not enough to hang a sequel off.
All of that looked pretty cool and sounded alright, but it felt like something wasn't quite working, and I can't place my finger on what.
Why wasn't I interested enough in working my way through the stages? It's bright and cheery and takes seconds to pick up and play and yet I feel kinda 'meh, 's'alright' about the whole thing.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of P2s all-time favourites, and partly because of the two-player mode, which I did manage to play with her.
In it, you score points for speed, rings, items collected and so on, with the victor being the player to have done the most, essentially.
Bollocks to that. Sonic is about going fast. Two-player versus modes should be a damn sprint and that's that. None of this exploring the level looking for rings malarky. Head down, arms back, one foot in front of the other in very fast succession.
She won all our contests, naturally.
But despite the fun to be had with it, I'm just not desperate to play Sonic 2. I don't know why. I will happily play it if it's all there is to play, but I don't see myself ever thinking 'you know what, I need to play something and it simply must be Sonic the Hedgehog 2'.
Perhaps I'm missing something - like having Sonic in my impressionable youth, for example. Whatever the reason for my inability to... care, I suppose... about Sonic, if for some reason you haven't played it yet, play Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
A demonstration of the game was stolen from a toy fair, and it contained stages that would be removed before the games final release.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2, developed by Sonic Team, first released in 1992.
Version played: Sega Mega Drive, 1992, via emulation.