Classics Episode 1: Sega Knew Da Wae
Oxford Languages defines a classic as a work of art recognised for its established value; within the game community there are many titles that people would refer to as classics. We recently revisited a port of one such classic; Persona 4 Golden, recently re-released on PC. That one got us thinking, what other games would we consider ‘classics’? Do they truly deserve such an honourable title and do they still hold up today? Well, we decided we’d find out for ourselves and share our verdict on our own most beloved games from yesteryear.
I have an untold amount of fond memories from my childhood playing this game with my cousin, even throughout my younger adulthood this is one I’d often have on a device to pick up and play. I’m pretty sure many will agree that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (&Knuckles) was one of the last top tier Sonic games we’d see. Adventure was alright but it birthed a future of janky 3D titles for my favourite console mascot from the 90s.
You can't really say much for the story of many games from this generation, even when there was a genuine story to tell, hardware limitations often hindered good narrative execution. Sonic 3… no, Sonic games in general, like Mario games, don't exactly strive for a compelling story full of twists and turns (they did try with knuckles being betrayed by Robotnik SPOILER ALERT but that's hardly a twist). Game-play for a side scrolling platformer is dope, the simple momentum and speed based movement makes for an exciting and fun experience. The mixture of insane speeds and the need for precise patient platforming makes for excellence, on top of that there's a myriad of power ups that change Sonic's "jump shield" ability. Tails also returns for this title with his ability to fly but we are also given Knuckles, who is able to glide and climb walls, that's three ways to play. This is before even mentioning the super and hyper forms for all of the characters; Throughout the stages are hidden giant rings, entering these rings will teleport you to a special stage with a very interesting semi-3D style. Upon completion you gain a Chaos Emerald, once seven are collected you open up the ability to turn into Super Sonic (or Knuckles depending on your choice, Tails is not given one of these forms just yet) for use for the rest of the campaign. These are lost upon entering the “& Knuckles” portion of the game, in which you must endeavour to collect seven Super Emeralds in order to unlock Hyper Sonic, Hyper Knuckles or Super Tails. In each super form you are given significantly faster acceleration, invulnerability from everything except pits, drowning and Crushing, with the Hyper forms adding even more vulnerabilities and further additions.
To match the many ways of moving around the stages, said stages themselves are significantly larger than the previous two titles with many pathways to the final goal. Bar one or two, I find the bosses in the game enjoyable as well, they’re varied enough for the need to pause momentarily to figure out a pattern but brief enough for the simplicity to not bore you, usually boiling down to the typical, “jump into Eggboy’s seat a few times”, this is mixed up a tad bit by the inclusion of Mecha Sonic.
The knowledgeable among you may notice that I haven't made much mention of the fact I'm kind of talking about two games, Sonic 3 AND Knuckles, as in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. That means essentially once completing one story, you're thrown right into the campaign of the other, later games like PokéMon Gold/Silver/Crystal and Okami would offer a similar joyful surprise but here is where I remember first being enamoured by such an unexpected treat.
We could gush all day over how enjoyable Sonic 3 and Knuckles was but as with most retro games, there isn’t actually much to talk about, the visuals and character of the game are delivered excellently through the 32-Bit system, accentuated by the music and both working together well with the game-play to bring an incredibly enjoyable experience. S3&K easily deserves it’s spot in our classics list, and even to this day, stands as a very entertaining game, perfect for the modern day handheld gaming climate. If you don’t have this on a device, then clearly “You Do Not Know da Wae”
Thanks for reading, don't forget to keep an eye here for future episodes of Classics, see you then! Peace!