Blame it on the lockdown. Blame it on nostalgia. Blame it on timeless gameplay. But something strange and incredibly wholesome has been going down in the Sonic community this past week – the sharing of shortcuts and easter eggs in classic Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog games.
It all started with this – a video from Sonic fan and animator Dan Root and his reaction upon first discovering a cool little quirk in Sonic 2’s Aquatic Ruin Zone Act 2. At the start of the stage, if you happen to stand still on the second swinging platform (instead of quickly jumping up or speeding off like a normal person), the platform breaks off and takes you on a short ride across the water.
I DID NOT KNOW THIS! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/RYGroGm0zH
— Dan Root ™ ✎ (@DanRoot_VGAS) April 19, 2020
Dan didn’t know it at the time, but his surprise at a classic game started a bit of a trend. The usual ‘Daily’ Twitter accounts seemed keen to capitalise on it and have a field day, of course:
It’s possible to beat Scrap Brain Zone Act 3 in under 30 seconds thanks to a shortcut pic.twitter.com/PWMkIQsbWg
— Daily Classic Sonic (@dailyretrosonic) April 19, 2020
However, some other Twitter users were genuinely keen to share their tips, tricks and surprise with the rest of the Sonic community. The best example of this is the following video put together by illustrator ‘morgankitten’, which not only shows a cool way to get the 1Up on Sonic 1’s Green Hill Zone loop-de-loop but also shares her thought process which is super interesting (and doubles as a share of the classic GHZ Act 2 waterfall shortcut)
Since everyone's sharing their favorite Secrets in the classic Sonic games I decided to share one of my favorite bits of level design in the series pic.twitter.com/dGYEpshR61
— morgankitten! (@morkitten) April 22, 2020
Of course, the 1Up in Green Hill Zone can also be obtained by continuing to take the bottom path and bounce on a red spring underground that can shoot Sonic so high up he can land right on top of the loop-de-loop.
Even YouTubers in the Sonic community got in on the action. Here’s Sam’s Procrastination Station, an up-and-coming video producer, talking up his favourite shortcut in Sonic 2 (and also our favourite); a hidden passageway that totally gets you around the pink Mega Mack underwater section and straight to the boss.
Since people are sharing their favorite secret areas in classic Sonic, thought I would share mine from Sonic 2. This shortcut lets you completely skip the pink water section and takes you to the boss. pic.twitter.com/dWHayBP0kO
— Sam's Procrastination Station (@SamsProStation) April 21, 2020
Of course, Sonic Stadium writers and our friends also got in on the action. Here’s me (Sonic Stadium founder, Dreadknux) talking about a fondly-remembered shortcut in Sonic 1’s Marble Zone Act 3 that not only saves you a trek through half of the level but graces you with a 1Up for your trouble. Just make sure you’re careful on the other side as there’s a bunch of spikes you need to deftly navigate around:
Talking about secret areas in classic Sonic games, I fancied sharing this cool Marble Zone Act 3 shortcut that cuts half the level +1UP 🙂 pic.twitter.com/XGHmnDirVj
— Svend ‘Dreadknux’ Joscelyne (@SvendJoscelyne) April 22, 2020
And TSS Writer IndigoRush shares a similarly-classic shortcut in Spring Yard Zone Act 1. You’re going to need the hidden speed shoes at the very start for it to work effectively, but by hitting a spring and holding forward as you shoot into the air you can in fact cut out a large chunk of boring floating-box navigation as well.
— Alex V (@indigorush101) April 24, 2020
Our good pal SonicYoda from SEGADriven tops this all off with a cool little-known trick in Chemical Plant Zone’s boss stage. By holding Down on the d-pad Sonic can be made invulnerable to Robotnik’s Mega Mack. Not sure if it’s a bug or something intentional, but it seems to work in the SEGA AGES Sonic 2 release so it counts for something. And honestly, we didn’t actually know that one.
— Daddy Alterations (@sonicyoda) April 23, 2020
Of course, a lot of these secrets, tips and tricks are well-known to a lot of die-hard Sonic-playing pros out there. But it’s really nice to see the community of Sonic fans, old and new, coming together and sharing cool little bits of information with one another like this. We’re not entirely sure how or why it was specifically classic Sonic titles from the Mega Drive era that kick-started this trend, but somehow it just goes to show that, after all these years, the 1990s Sonic games can still surprise people.
Have a great weekend, everyone!