Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about.

So I was having a great time, rattling through the game.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4

There were fruit machines!

Sonic The Hedgehog 4

There were bonus levels!

Sonic The Hedgehog 4

There was even a mine cart level!

But then… then… then I got stuck.

There’s a timed section in the third act of the water zone. It’s the first time the controls have let me down. You see, if you’re too slow at the beginning, you need to do a spin dash to get up a slope. (If you’re fast enough you can just run up the slope, but once its underwater that’s no longer possible.) It turns out that doing a spin dash under pressure using the virtual control stick is a complete lottery.

I died. I died and died and died. I spent most of my evening trying to get past this spot, practicing the same section again and again.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4

I believe I called Sonic a spiky cunt-faced whore after dying here for the five-hundredth time.

I’ve now got to the stage where I can complete it quite often. It’s not the sticky point it once was. The trouble is, after that section there’s a bit I can’t work out how to do. You have to tip yourself out of a water-filled room. There’s one earlier in the level that’s fine, but this time there are spikes in the room and it seems impossible to get past them. I don’t know what I’m missing, but I just can’t see a solution. It’s a shame I only see that room every ten minutes or so, because I keep losing all my lives and then have to restart the level and go through all the easy stuff and the timed section again, just to die on the spikes again.

It should be game-breakingly terrible, I know this. It’s not, though. I don’t actually mind retrying over and over again. I enjoy it. I’ve spend a couple of hours or more on this one level so far and I don’t care. Now, if the spin dash move was essential then I’d have a huge problem with this and would probably declare the game broken, but it’s not. I just have to do the level as fast as possible and there’s no problem.

The really weird thing is, though, that I’ve not seen anyone else mention a difficulty spike here. I’ve possibly spent longer on this level than the rest of the game put together, but nobody else seems to be having any problems. I know I’m missing a solution to the spikes in the water-filled room, but what else am I missing?

And, really, why am I genuinely happy to keep trying this level? I should be hating it, surely?

I’m just not. Strange.