What was the best out of all of the Game Gear Sonic games in your opinion? (Including the two Tails-only games.)
Most of them aren’t very good. While Mario got stunning games like Super Mario Land 2, most of Sonic’s Game Gear titles struggle to feel like anything more than cash-ins. They aren’t unplayable, mind you, they’re just kind of boring, wonky, and uninspired.
If I had to pick, gosh… I never used to really “get it”, but recently I have come to understand why Sonic Chaos is so revered. In an era where you almost always play games without reading the instruction manual, Sonic Chaos initially appears to be a weird, simple and short game that really favors giving the player comically huge numbers of rings. Is the game just really easy?
No; unlike other Sonic games, where getting 100 rings gives you a 1up, getting 100 rings in Sonic Chaos is how you access special stages and collect chaos emeralds. This transforms the whole entire game - if you want to get the good ending, you have to start paying attention and play with skill, because you literally cannot take damage ever. Suddenly, every enemy encounter is a harrowing experience - one wrong move, and those 75+ rings you’re holding could all vanish. It is a simple but effective hook that I’m surprised more Sonic games have not adopted.
But if I’m being honest with myself, Tails Adventure is the best Game Gear Sonic game. A lot of people write the game off early for being slow and weird, but it is actually probably the only Metroid-style game on the Game Gear and is one of the better ones, to boot. It’s still kind of weird, mind you, but in a way that is endearing and unique. It doesn’t just rip off Castlevania or Metroid, but blazes its own trail while still keeping within the confines of the “genre”. And I love the crap out of it. I was actually replaying it not too long ago, with the intent of writing a Retro Review for it on TSSZ, but then I got sidetracked and now I don’t remember where I was going next.