Throughout my formative years in the 1990s, both my parents worked, so during school holidays or periods of civil disturbance, I was shipped off to my aunt and uncle’s house in a sleepy little village about eight miles out of the city. There was nothing to do or see there, really. Places of interest included The Phone Booth, The Field, and the fabled Zedd Bridge, a small humpback bridge barely wide enough to contain the TNT trucks that used it as a launch pad to gain wicked airtime after being dispatched from the nearby depot.
I was old enough to take care of myself, you understand, but my mum had trust issues and paranoid fantasies through watching too much TV. She imagined that every second she wasn’t home, I was mixing Molotovs and playing with knives in the kitchen, or at the very least, coming up with ever more innovative ways to masturbate. Which I totally was.
Those long weeks were spent sequestered away in a tiny bedroom with my cousin Sam, huddled around a black and white TV, playing the Master System for hours on end. The Sonic games were our favourite, and none more so than Sonic Chaos. Uh, even if we did have to imagine what colour everything was – my uncle firmly believed that The Devil, in collaboration with the RCA Corporation, had invented colour TV in 1968, you see.
We’d all felt a bit cheated when Sonic 2 came out for the system the year before. Although it came out a full month before the Mega Drive version, it was nowhere near the quantum leap that Mega Drive owners were getting. There were just six zones, you couldn’t play as Tails, and there was no 2-player mode.
So Sonic Chaos was a breath of fresh air. You could choose between Sonic and Tails, at last, and in this game Tails could fly! Mega Drive owners would have to wait a whole year for that feature.
The Zones, while still numbering six, were varied and interesting, with level-specific features and gimmicks. They also contained some new power-ups, like rocket shoes. Chaos was also the first to have Special Stages that were miniature courses in their own right, as opposed to being based on a game of some kind (usually pinball, in the Mega Drive versions).
Playing this game makes me feel young again. The artwork on the game box and in various posters clipped from Sonic The Comic was enough to send me to a far away world. We had imaginations back then, before the internet and the promise of free and unlimited pornography spoiled our minds.
The bleepy-bloppy music warps me back to those long, endless summers. I miss the old days, when games were simple. You felt you got the best from them without DLC or Xbox Gold, and after it all, it said “Thank You” for playing.
“My Uncle Firmly”