The header image for this episode is an edited version of KD_Buck’s image: Lego Sonic Sega Hedgehog Legos over on Pixabay. The only edit made was to place the Waffling Taylors logo inside the loop in the background.
Tuesday November 24th, 1992 - aka the worldwide release of Sonic 2 on the Genesis
we wanted to create a very special episode of the podcast. We wanted to create an episode which would have us interviewing some amazing people that we know from the podcasting and video content community, and wanted to talk with them about their memories of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis/ Mega Drive; and reach out, we did.
As you can see from our players section
psst. if you’re not reading these show notes on the website, then you’re missing out
we reached out to some amazing folks. In fact, we got so much content that we’ve had to split this special episode into two separate episodes, each with two parts. In this episode we talked with:
G to the Next Level
Mad Viking God
the show notes here are just a sample of the conversation in this episode, so please do give it a listen as we go off on many a tangent and cover a whole BUNCH of stuff. There’s a player at the top of this page for your convenience.
Assisting us with this episode was Russell, an artificial intelligence that Jay may or may not have sunk several years of his life into creating, for the specific purpose of making everyone’s lives easier. Russell took hosting duties for this episode
you’ll see why as we work our way through the series
and started us all off with the first question:
Question 1: Please Tell Us What Is The First Thing That Comes To Mind When I Say “Sonic 2”
G started us off by talking about how amazing it was to have a “little buddy” mode in Sonic 2 with the inclusion of Tails
whose full name is Miles "Tails" Prower, by the way
For me, the first thing that comes to mind is Tails, my boy.
That’s the first thing that comes to mind because, when you think about it, Sonic 2 basically did everything that Sonic 1 did but it’s so much better, so much faster, and so much cleaner.
What’s the most important thing, to me, about Sonic 2, I guess is Tails - it’s the introduction of Tails, and possibly the best gaming sidekick ever really.
And Franny talks about family get togethers, the holidays, and being jealous of SEGA doing what Nintendon’t:
The first thing that comes to mind [are] my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins.
My parents were gamers… but we were a Nintendo family. And every so often, for the holidays, we would go over to my Aunt and Uncles house - they were a SEGA house… That was the first time that I saw Mortal Kombat with blood.
But that was the first time that I play Sonic, and I remember being hell as hell because I didn’t have a SEGA Genesis.
For Alyxa, it’s all about the fun of the game despite how difficult it is, compared to it’s competitors.
When I think "Sonic 2"… I had lots of fun playing [it] on the Mega Drive. I also really liked the 3D mode, with tails in the half-tube.
… I asked my boyfriend, "you’re telling me that it was tougher than Mario?" and he’s like, "yeah"
And for MVG it was the 3D portions of the game
I think the first thing that comes to mind is the 3D levels that you got at the end of the things. I think that was really my first introduction to games that actually looked, somewhat 3D. Prior to that, we had plenty of sprite based games, and they were fun, but nothing that really gave me the feeling I was moving in that same way.
And for JonnyG, it’s all about the music, specifically one piece of music:
The introductory bass line of Mystic Cave Zone, and the looming threat that nothing I ever do musically will ever match up to it.
That pops into my head, unbidden, with alarming regulatory, and it’s just like… of all the Sonic music which, as we know, is legendary, I think that is the one that is the most out of the gate "you’re here now!"
Question 2: Please Tell Us What Is Your Least Favourite Zone, And Why Is It “Casino Night”
I would probably say that my least favourite is Oil Ocean; that’s probably my least favourite, out of everything.
Because there are so many different spots in there… granted, I like the fact that there aren’t any bottomless pits where you can die. But there are so many spaces where you’re trying to figure out what takes you and what takes you down… it kind of reminds me of Sonic CD a little bit.
That’s to say that it’s my least favourite stage in a game where there are so many amazing stages. I’m not saying that Oil Ocean is bad.
Reading the primer for this interview, I thought that was a feeder question. But going back and re-playing it: it’s Casino Night Zone.
It. Is. Terrible.
The reason I dislike it so much is all of those damned Captain America-looking shields that bounce you around and mess with your flow.
… It just broke the whole flow of the speed, and what I felt it was like to be a Sonic game.
I came into this thinking, "how do I tell them that I never got to Casino Night Zone?"
… I only managed to make it to the second zone, and thought "I hate all this water." But of all the zones I’ve played, it would have to be Chemical Plant. I would run out of the room and cover my ears.
I’m not a Casino Night Zone apologist, it is absolutely a God-awful level.
… There isn’t a very good indicator that you have to backtrack, and why… there is always something spinning, something turning, and distracting you.
If I could play the first few stages, skip that stage, and continue on, then I would be very happy.
It does feel almost like a technical demo.
Obviously it’s Casino Night Zone, and a close second is Hilltop Zone. That level is not designed to be a Sonic level.
The brand experience of Sonic the Hedgehog as a piece is "go to the right as fast as you can," and all of the levels are designed to make going to the right as fast as you can as interesting as possible. Except for this one, which is designed to make you go, "I’m gonna try that one again." So my cousins would play this level like a slot machine, and run out of time.
Bonus Question: What Is With SEGA And Putting Casino Levels In All Of Their Sonic Games?
You know, I’m not sure. It really makes me wonder whether the SEGA dev team just want to take a trip to Vegas. I don’t knoiw.
And the funny thing is, do you wanna know how I got past the [red pillar of doom]? I just grabbed the second controller, as Tails, and lifted Sonic past it. It’s not cheating if the tools are there for you to use.
You know, I hadn’t really thought about it up until recently.
But again, I wrote down in my notes that "it’s to make the colours and white pop,"… I think it was meant as a flex almost.
I mean, isn’t there a Sonic game that is basically you playing at a casino? Like a pinball game?
But I’m not sure. I wanna say that it’s maybe part of Sonic’s lore that he’s really int gambling. I honestly don’t know.
But it’s become a trope that there’s probably going to be Casino level every Sonic game, and you’re probably not going to like it.