The mechanics of the Sonic games can be divided into two distinct types; speed and navigating through labyrinthine zones of varying theme. Many people enjoy the former because it is a vast contrast to the Mario franchise, but they do not begrudge the latter for existing. There are a few puzzles however that leave a bitter taste in many fans mouths, or make them hesitant to play through the titles because of their reputation.
5. Double Columns (Sonic the Hedgehog CD)
The Little Planet is probably one of the most difficult video game locations to navigate, partly because it relies on the mechanic of time travel as an alternate method to get from one end of each round to the other. One of the trickier puzzles comes in the present and future versions of Metallic Madness Zone, where you come across a platform that is too high to reach, even with Sonic’s spin jump move.
If you backtrack slightly from the problem, you will come to two purple topped columns connected by a silver chain. While they might not seem to have a purpose, if you jump on the left most of these contraptions, it will move beyond its brother. If you repeat this several times, you will be able to jump over the platform to the next part of the level. While it is low on the puzzle factor, it can cause slight issues for players who want to complete the last few zones of the game.
4. The Deep Spike Pit (Sonic the Hedgehog 2)
Bottomless pits are very common in most of Sonic’s adventures, but possibly the most heinous of these vertical drops are the ones where you do not lose your life straight away. The second act of Mystic Cave Zone is well known for this type of obstacle, as it relies on you to stop moving at the speed of sound and work out how to proceed.
Unlike most of the oddities in this write up, this pit cannot be escaped, even if you transform into Super Sonic. The only thing you can do is to lose a life, reset your console, or return to a previous save if you playing an enhanced version of the game.
3. The Vine Traps (Sonic & Knuckles)
The lush valleys of Mushroom Hill Zone are full of multi-coloured bouncing fungi, as well as traps designed to outwit and possibly frustrate at every turn. One of the most puzzling of these contraptions is formed by one of nature’s more snaring plants; the vine. At two locations in the level, Sonic or Knuckles will be caught in a series of hoops that are made of the plant. The player cannot run or jump to escape them, so only one option remains.
To break through the two traps, you will need to perform a spin dash in either direction. The vine will then fall away, and allow you to continue on your adventure. While not particularly hazardous, it caused many players to wonder what they were doing wrong, and why a way out of the predicament was not explained in the manual of the game.
2. Boss Fight Against Silver the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog 2006)
A game that divides many fans of the franchise. Destined to be the rebirth of the infamous mascot, it led SEGA to receive questioning looks. Whether this was due to him rescuing a human princess, or because of the glitches that populated the game world, it is not entirely clear; but one element that everyone can agree is slightly infuriating, is the first encounter with Silver the Hedgehog. The character has travelled from the future to eliminate the Iblis Trigger, and claims that Sonic is the one responsible for creating his apocalyptic homeland.
The problem with this boss battle is not the attacks the enemy uses, but the fact that if he is close enough to you when you are damaged, he locks you in his power once more. When this happens, you are unable to defend yourself by collecting more rings, and lose a life because of a glitch in the game, rather than being through means that are entirely your own fault.
1. The Barrel (Sonic the Hedgehog 3)
Carnival Night Zone is probably one of my favourite levels from any of the Sonic video games, because it is genuinely fun to play, and has one of the best 16 bit soundtracks I have ever heard. There is however one small obstruction present in the second act, which confused me and many video gamers for hours at a time. The rotating barrel.
The solution seems an obvious conclusion when you discover how you are meant to pass it. However, with no visual clue to indicate you are meant to move up and down, it seemed as though the developers were testing the players wits, as well as their patience. Many people rage quit the game as a result, leading to angry fans turning back to their other games for comfort.
Do you have moments in Sonic games that we haven’t mentioned that make you see red? Let us know what you think in the comments below.