but with the introduction of the spindash, Sonic 2 does away with all the buildup, and allows you to go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. It’s an astonishingly bold statement of purpose, one that promises non-stop thrills the likes of which have never been seen. As I argued in the original Sonic post, that game was meticulously crafted to make the most of its limited opportunities for unrestrained speed by carefully doling them out at exactly the right moments to make them really stand out, but this sequel provides a compelling case for the alternative all killer no filler approach. Taking away the need for long stretches of runup before the big flashy set pieces like the loop-the-loops means they can be more densely packed into the levels, allowing for a much tighter construction, and yet Sonic 2’s levels actually go bigger and more sprawling than their predecessors. It’s a case of the game brazenly trying to have its cake and eat it too, and one which turns out, preposterously, to be a completely unreserved success. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Mega Drive
The Mega Drive’s major Japanese mascot character was of course, Sonic the Hedgehog, a bright blue, vaguely humanoid figure with exceptional speed and radical attitude. He bears little resemblance to an actual real-life hedgehog besides some slightly spiky hair. The major mascot character for the system to come out of America, meanwhile, was Ecco the Dolphin, a blue-grey bottlenose dolphin-shaped bottlenose dolphin. He doesn’t have any incredible powers. He’s just an ordinary dolphin.
Part I: Gotta Go Fast! (Green Hill Zone)
Let’s start with the loop-the-loop, because it is perhaps the iconic image of Sonic the Hedgehog, and because it so effectively represents, for better and for worse, what the series is all about. It is, first of all, a thoroughly incongruous image. The appearance of the Green Hill Zone is a lush and verdant tropical paradise, a place of natural, unspoilt beauty. With a few great honking loops in its landscape. While our understanding of real-world geography would lead us to assume that such a structure could only be man-made, there’s nothing within the diegetic world of Sonic the Hedgehog that implies that this is anything but a natural rock formation, and plenty to suggest that it is. This is just the way things are here. No need to worry. Read the rest of this entry »
In the latest of her “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” series, Anita Sarkeesian examined what she refers to as “strategic butt covering” – the tendency for games to emphasise the buttocks of female characters as if they are the most important aspect of the character, while going to absurd lengths to avoid doing the same with male characters – and concluded that the solution is not for games to pay more attention to the essential, Male Ass, but in fact to try avoiding the objectification of their women as well as their men. Golden Axe provides a vision of a world that takes the alternative view. Read the rest of this entry »