A lot of hubbub was made in the 90s about the 16-bit ‘console wars’. Super Nintendo or Genesis? Well, which one? You gotta choose. One’s better, right? I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t take Nintendo’s side for most of the time, but that was for two reasons: 1. I had to buy a lot of my own stuff and could only buy one system and 2. some of my friends has access to Sega hardware, so I could play games on both sides of the fence.
Sonic the Hedgehog became kind of the unofficial mascot for the Genesis. He was a blue hedgehog who ran to the right real fast. Something that, if the advertising was to be believed, the Nintendo console just couldn’t do. Of course that’s false, but Sonic is real fast, so that’s something, I guess.
The game’s plot is pretty much immaterial. All you need to know is that some evil scientist is turning animals into robots and using the robots for nefarious purposes. Sonic has to defeat the scientist and rescue the woodland creatures.
Now, there are sections of certain stages where Sonic is able to do that thing he does (running real fast), but they’re kind of spread out over the various stages. Unless you know precisely the path you want to take, you’re going to be going a lot slower than his maximum speed. In fact, when you’re going at those crazy-fast speeds you’re basically just holding ‘right’ on the d-pad while you watch Sonic run real fast, up and down hills, through loop the loops, and that kind of thing. Noninteractive speed is probably the best compromise, though. If you actually had to do stuff at that speed, I’m not sure that any normal human would have the reflexes to do so.
I, after getting a job delivering newspapers, finally picked up a Genesis when I could get a complimentary copy of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with it. So I ended up playing this game a whole lot. Mostly because it was 50% of my game library. And as much as I played it, I don’t remember ever completing it. Mostly because the game was really long, even if you knew what you were doing and where you were going, and I certainly didn’t. Combine that with the fact that, at the time, I had an attention span roughly equivalent to that of a chihuahua that’s eaten twice its body weight in coffee-flavor ice cream. So I found out what the ‘debug mode’ code was to see all the levels, cheated my way through them, and then moved on to Sonic 2.