This is a great assessment of 2D Sonic games up to Sonic Rush. I’d say I’m a wizard at 2D Sonic games, and when Mania came out I assumed I’d breeze it because, well, how could I not? Turns out I died A LOT. I was so mad and was ready to blame level design because frankly a lot of enemies felt cheaply placed, but then I started dying less upon repeat of levels even when I wasn’t too sure where to go and was unfamiliar with the full level layouts. I realised that muscle memory was key, and found I knew timings of movement and assumed enemy placement in advance without really thinking about it. I got really good at Mania to the point where I can now do it in one sitting with Emeralds and die a maximum of 1 to 2 times if I’m unlucky. I’ve probably played it a good 50 hours at this point which to be honest isn’t all that much for me considering I’ve probably played the others for well over a thousand hours. Sonic is about memorisation, rhythm and patterns, and building understanding through repeated play. SEGA - and by extension their MegaDrive / Genesis console - was all about the home arcade experience, where repeated plays make you better at the game increasing your chance of success. Sonic just hides this well under it’s cutesy cool Platforming facade which people automatically assume is just like Mario but with more physics-based terrain. Each Sonic title tends to have a different rhythm from the last and I chalk that down mostly to the type of enemies found in each game coupled with the attacks the player has at their disposal. Some people dislike CD because they hit a lot of enemies, and this is usually due to people using the Super Peel Out too freely and not learning their lessons, not taking note of enemy rhythm and placement by noting the way the environment gives them hints about what’s to come. In other Sonic games this isn’t as much of an issue because Sonic’s roll is the primary source of his acceleration, and they don’t have secondary objectives such as time travelling. This isn’t to say that Sonic CD (and other titles) doesn’t have some dick enemy placement because it most definitely does, but it’s not as frequent as people make out.