The first time my friend showed me a blue hedgehog whizzing across the screen from left-to-right, I knew I had to get a Mega Drive. It didn’t stop there, though: I had to read the comics, watch the cartoon, get the toys. Sonic The Hedgehog became a pivotal figure in my life as soon as I laid eyes on him.
And then he let me down.
Well, Sonic Team let me down. While I love the spiky, little bastard, I’m pretty sure that he himself didn’t make the games.
The series just couldn’t keep up with platforming rivals, and the move to 3D brought all the momentum built up in the early '90s to a screeching halt. And I say this as someone who refused to let the dream die for a very long time. I even bought the monstrosity that was Shadow The Hedgehog. Yock.
But, in 2011, for the first time in a long time, Sega listened to those of us that were already far too old for the moody ‘hog: they brought back 2D Sonic in Sonic Generations. Sure, they were doing some weird time-shifting thing where the excruciating 3D variant would be there too, but at least the large, idiot cat would be kept at arm's length.
Revisiting shiny versions of Green Hill, Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary and hearing that instantly recognisable music was like cuddling a loved one I hadn’t seen in ages. Revamped levels now had alternative routes to the end, too, which made going back and playing them genuinely thrilling.
It’s far from perfect, of course. I mean, the jump is too floaty and there certainly could have been more zones from the hedgehog’s original quadrilogy, but for a few hours it felt like I was being introduced to the joy of Sonic all over again.