Let's say you lose a life in Green Hill Zone Act 1. Now that would seldom happen to anyone who isn't a noob (no offense if this happens to you), but let's say it does happen. You might say, "Oh well, I'll just keep going." Maybe you're playing on a real Genesis and you're too lazy to get up and hit Reset. But anyway, now you only have two lives instead of three. Now that could come back to haunt you later on, once you get to the harder levels. But I don't think it should actually take a life away in the first level unless you've hit a checkpoint. This issue tends to come up more often in the later games, however. With checkpoints that persist even after a game over (whenever you complete a level and save the game, not the mid-level checkpoints) this type of issue comes up more often, and in levels that are actually challenging. If I lose a life before I hit the first checkpoint in a level, I'm almost tempted to exit back to the main menu and start again. I'm pretty sure at least some of the games reset your lives then if you have less than the starting amount, but I don't know if they all do, and either way it's still a hassle to have to wait for the level to load again. (Hmm...long loading times, frustratingly difficult levels...no autosave..... Well I wouldn't want to play that game anyway.) But yeah, I think if you have not yet reached a point where you wouldn't be able to instantly restart from there after losing all your lives, dying shouldn't actually take a life unless you have more lives than you would normally start with. If you lose a life and keep playing, that could mean the difference between completing the level and having to start over from the beginning once you get some checkpoints. Even in bosses that don't have checkpoints I think this would be good. Back when I wasn't as good at Sonic Adventure 2, I HATED always having to go back to the main menu, and load the game again once I lost all my lives during a boss. I get them wanting to be challenging, but if the "challenge" is more just frustrating and can be avoided by performing an also-frustrating task that isn't cheating, and may or may not even be necessary in every case, I think it's something that should be changed. Why don't most games do this?