Good morning, everybody, and welcome back to
VG Myths: the online internet video game TV show taking zero steps forward and two steps
up. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the long-awaited sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, featuring
even more momentum platforming action, aided by the age-old momentum gaining strategy
of holding right to win. But what if you're terrible at winning? Can You Beat Sonic the
Hedgehog 2 Without Pressing Right or Left? The rules are simple: we must beat the game,
from start to finish, without ever giving a Right or Left directional input. This is only
vaguely theoretically feasible with the roughest of the rest of them, Knuckles, thanks
to his abilities to glide through the air, climb up and down walls, and very importantly
reverse direction by jumping off walls. He'll be our player character of
choice. And, for obvious reasons, cheat codes and save states are banned. With
the rules set… we're nowhere CLOSE to getting this run started! Cuz, I don't know if you
know this, it's kind of a well-kept secret, but in order to play video games, it's incredibly
important to actually have a video game.
Let's head back through the time vortex to
September of 2018, when I sucked and failed at the Sonic 3 No Right Run. We did that run on what
at the time was the most easily accessible version of the game: Sonic 3 & Knuckles on the Sega Mega
Drive and Genesis Classics collection on PC. Being on PC, custom button remapping was
incredibly easy, allowing me to remove Left and Right from my controller's d-pad entirely.
The moment that run was over I naturally looked into doing the same thing in Sonic the Hedgehog
2, but alas, Sega Mega Drive and Genesis Classics includes Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and ONLY Sonic the
Hedgehog 2. Knuckles is only playable in a special "Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2"
variant, originally by locking on a Sonic 2 cart to a Sonic & Knuckles cart.
While vanilla Sonic 2
has been thrown around on basically every platform at some point, this version of the game has gotten
comparatively few official releases. In 2018, the two most accessible Sonic 2 & Knuckles
releases were via Sonic Mega Collection from several console generations prior and the Xbox
Live Arcade, both of which I owned. Sadly, these two versions are nonviable for this challenge. The
controller options of both releases only allow the remapping of buttons and not directional input.
Without the ability to unmap left and right, the d-pads and control sticks of these controllers
would make accidental diagonal inputs too easy, putting the entire run at risk every time you need
to press up or down, which is often.
Of course, I could have gotten around this easily by sailing
the seven seas, but for VG Myths I try to do every run on an official release of the game on official
hardware. With a Sonic 2 & Knuckles run nonviable, I bided my time: surely one day Sonic 2 &
Knuckles would see the light of day again, on a modern platform with an options menu that
trusts me enough to make the game unplayable. And as you're probably already aware, on
June 22nd, 2022, Sonic Origins, with Knuckles playable in Sonic 2 was released on all modern
platforms, including PC! We can't use it! Sure, there's an actual genuine options menu, which
features some of the best remapping options in the industry which is impressive considering these
games are played with one button, but there's another problem.
Sonic Origins' versions of these
games are all remakes, rather than emulations or ports of the originals. The nitty-gritty physics
and gameplay of these games isn't exactly 1:1, including one very, VERY particularly important
detail. On the original Genesis and Mega Drive versions of both Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, if
you glide into the left edge of the screen, Knuckles will automatically reverse direction.
By the time of Sonic Origins, however, the unsung hero programmer of Sonic Team had apparently
been fired for wasting company time on the most inconsequential mechanics, so Knuckles will
be stuck staring at the edge of the screen. The automatic reversal is too useful a mechanic
to leave behind, so Sonic Origins is nonviable for this challenge. But Sonic Origins DID inspire me
to stop being lazy for one fraction of an instant and finally realize I could have done this run two
years ago! In February 2020, SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released for the Nintendo Switch,
emulating both Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
releases of the four games in Sonic Origins were scrubbed from sale in an attempt to make you
forget they'd have been available far cheaper for years, SEGA AGES Sonic 2 was spared. At the time
of the SEGA AGES release, this run would have been viable thanks to the Switch Joycons featuring
a segmented D-pad: each direction on the d-pad is a 100% separate button internally, making
accidental horizontal input only possible by literally pressing the wrong button. And shortly
AFTER the SEGA AGES release, the run became even viabler with a Switch system update allowing
for controller customization. Simply swap Left and Right to the unused shoulder buttons, and you've
got a D-Pad incapable of horizontal input! Plus, I didn't actually realize it at the time I did
the run, but you can also go the extra mile by remapping the left analog stick to the right
analog stick, at which point you could chuck your controller out the window and the run would be
Anybody outside the window not so much. That said, now that we're ready to get into the
run, I should probably warn you that chucking your controller out the window is a realistic risk. Say
hello once again to Knuckles' insufferable best friend: the spring. Without horizontal input,
there's absolutely nothing you can do here: it is impossible to escape these springs. At
least, not by doing something. The only way to continue the game is to sip a latte until the
stage timer counts one second after 9:59, at which point Knuckles will die of old age and revive back
at your most recent checkpoint. It's tempting to call these moments softlocks, but they're not
technically true softlocks since you'll be able to keep playing *eventually*. For the sake
of accuracy, we'll instead be calling them lattelocks. Now, you might be thinking:
Gamerchamp, Gamerchamp, why sip a latte? Wouldn't it be faster to just reset the game
and reload your save? Yeah, about that, there's a very good reason I'm not using save files:
they don't exist.
Save files weren't invented until Sonic the Hedgehog 3. If you reset the game,
you're choosing to go all the way back to Emerald Hill Zone. And to make the situation even worse:
not only had save files not been invented yet, infinite lives hadn't either. Knuckles begins
the game with only 3 lives. You can collect more as you play, but obviously our ability to
collect lives is going to be severely limited. Lose them all and your game is over. This run
is FAR more hardcore than Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with the constant impending risk
of an end to the entire run. If you get lattelocked, you're just gonna
have to bounce around patiently until timeout. Sonic 2 & Knuckles does have one
huge benefit over Sonic 3, though: level design is overall a lot simpler, with many
levels just being a straight shot to the goal. Even so, I recommend you look up a map for
every level and follow a path least likely to end in a lattelock.
The first boss fight is
pathetic. For all boss fights going forward, you'll also be happy to know Sonic 2 & Knuckles
patched in a very useful feature that wasn't present in vanilla Sonic 2: your ring count is
remembered at each checkpoint. When you die, you go back to that checkpoint with
your ring count restored, so even if there are no rings after a boss checkpoint,
you'll still be able to take a few hits. It's also worth noting once the boss is dead
you need to be careful tiptoeing your way onto the capsule.
Unlike the left edge of the screen,
gliding into the right edge of the screen does not cause Knuckles to reverse. Have fun sipping
that victory latte until your inevitable failure. Chemical Plant Act 1 is also mostly a straight
shot if you keep to the upper paths, but don't rush for the goal quite so quickly. We're on a
shopping trip for an infinite supply of Knuckles! Check out the map: near the end of the level,
at the top, are three extra life monitors in a row. Cough cough cough. They're really dumb
extra life monitors. Really dumb and stupid and only a dumb stupid idiot would ever think to
even go after those extra life monitors! Really absolutely stupid kinda idiot, really. Like the
kind of idiot that would spend an hour just going after those over and over, like, using an exploit
at a friggin' checkpoint. Don't do that! That'd be really stupid. So, you can actually just like
go into this spike pit, and like, so what you do is you wait until yo-you're about to drown, and
then, when you're about to drown, also you only have one life, and then you jump in and then
you drown during your taking damage animation, and for whatever reason that makes you lose a
life from drowning but then also lose an extra life from falling off the bottom of the screen.
you get a game over because you hit 0 lives, but then also you, you lose a life after 0 lives which
puts-, which puts you at, at, lowercase y5 lives. Which is a really big number of lives and so then
the game is just like "Oh, you actually got a lot of lives. Nevermind on that game over, y-yeah,
keep going!" Just like th- the only thing is, uh, d- j- j- er- prolly die a lot. Prolly die
a lot a lot becuase if you get extra lives then you'll be back at 0 lives, which is fine!
B-Being at 0 lives is fine cuz then if you die you just go down to lowercase 5y lives again…
wh-, uh, uhh lowercase y5! Uh, but, like, s-, but if you go up to 1 life, then you're gonna
go down to 0 lives when you die and you don't, you don't wanna, you don't wanna die and have 0
It's okay to live with 0 lives just don't, just don't die to 0 lives, and you're good!
You can do this in Chemical Plant Act 2, which is like super not even a big deal to get
to. It is the fourth level, so just do this- *two voices overlap* Oh god,
I ran out of space, ahahaah! -from here on we're just trying to
beat the game one level at a time. In Chemical Plant Act 2, we'll have
to get smart with our pathfinding: the walls reach all the way up to the top of the
If you just follow the level's main paths, they'll all eventually lead you into vacuum tubes,
ending in lattelock. But if you're at all familiar with Sonic 2 speedrunning, or just efficient
casual play, this is a total nonissue. Look at this area on the level map. If you enter this area
from the long slope at the beginning of the level, then Knuckles will treat the horizontal piping
ahead as a solid object. *But*, later in the level you're expected to return, passing through
this gate which only opens from the left side. Moving through this path hits a trigger
that makes the horizontal pipe intangile, allowing Knuckles to instead travel down the
lower path leading to the rest of the level. The wall just to the left of that gate is
actually itself intangible, so simply glide on in and pass through the gate. The rest of
the level has no vacuum tubes to worry about. With our SEVERAL MINUTES plus Chemical Plant visit
over, we can finally move on to Aquatic Ruin Zone! In Act 1, keep along the top path, which is almost entirely a straight
shot with absolutely no hazards.
Oh. In Act 1, keep along the top path,
which is almost entirely a straight shot save for this pillar which will
rise up and lattelock you on approach. Preemptively jump on the log immediately
prior for enough height to reliably clear it. In Act 2, the top path is now nonviable: there
are multiple rising pillars in the way, and while you can technically clear them, the time risked
by a lattelock isn't worth it. Instead, try to stay on the bottom path, which is technically more
dangerous but only in ways that kill you instantly rather than agonizingly. Though I will note that
when I actually got into the run proper I ended up on the middle path by complete accident
and bounced around wildly with no idea where I was going. That strategy is not recommended.
The boss fight might look like trouble with a newcomer's eye.
However, a little piece of
trivia from the Sonic 3 run still applies. If Knuckles lands on the very edge of a platform
and does his OH NO ledge leaning animation, he will, for whatever reason, turn himself to
face the direction he's leaning. Using this, you can get yourself on top of the left
totem, at which point you can spindashes, which conveniently bounce you back. With Eggman's
hammer bonked, move on to Casino Night Zone! No- *exhasperated laughter* Keep a map by your side throughout the entirety
of Casino Night; there are lattelock traps around every corner. I ended up taking the bottom
path; the top and middle paths both carry the risk of falling into this pinball launcher
pit, which shoots straight into the air and thus causes a lattelock. The bottom path,
while littered with lattelocks, is at least slightly easier to weave through.
reach bumper hell, with a cubby offering free lattes if you're stupid enough to fail the
dice roll. But I figured out a trick to it: the bumpers aren't capable of cancelling Knuckles'
glide, they just bounce him up or down depending on the angle. That means even if you're
unlucky enough to glide into that death cubby, you'll just grab onto the wall and can jump
out safely. If you clear the cubby and hit the upper wall, you can make a gliding
drop onto the blocks, and can-, uh…
Huh. *sip* In Act 2, there are some springs to avoid on the
bottom path, so I instead took the middle path. There are a couple springs to look out for in the
pits below, but eventually you'll bounce into the boss fight. This is thankfully the easiest
fight in the game since it's enclosed in an arena with climbable walls on both sides, and
was very much not designed with Knuckles in mind. Next up: Hill Top Zone. Act 1 is the
most linear level seen in the game yet, with almost nothing that could
really be called a split path. Make sure you keep along ground level
until you reach this loopdeloop: if you glide above it, you'll encounter a wall
which cannot be climbed on, thus latteing you. Follow the lower path and you'll eventually reach
an unavoidable setpiece I'm pretty sure a decently sized fraction of you have been waiting for:
possibly the most infamous roadblock in the run. There's a spring right next to the wall, which, if
walked over, results in a lattelock.
Unlike most other instances, we can't just climb the wall:
there's a hidden hallway we'll climb up into, which only features a sideways spring at its
dead end. As I'm sure you're already aware, this run has been theory crafted in the past, and
people have found multiple different solutions to this puzzle. Some said to make a seemingly
pixel perfect landing on the edge of the cubby. Doing so properly causes the cieling to push
you to the left. Problem is this comes with a ten minute penalty on failure, so while it's
totally doable if you're doing a segmented run and can freely reset or load a save state, it's
completely nonviable in a full run of the game. Others said to make a properly timed glide onto
the spring, carrying you through the upper passage with your momentum. This also comes with a 10
minute penalty on failure. Thankfully, I managed to find my own strat.
Climb into the cubby, hit
the spring, and mash the jump button to start and end a glide immediately, halting your movement
within the cubby. Now, perform a 1-tap spindash, and try to jump right as you're reaching the exit.
If you fail, there's little risk of a lattelock: you can quickly turn right back around using
the far wall and try again. It will definitely take a few tries, but with a properly timed
spindash jump you can just barely thread the needle and get past the upper left wall, which
you can glide onto and escape from the pit. The rest of the act, and most of Hill
Top Act 2 feature no special roadblocks. The one sticking point is the boss fight. Make
very certain you have rings when hitting the last checkpoint, there are none to be found
after and I don't want to imagine how hard this fight would be without 'em. A totally
safe strat would be difficult to pull off, so I instead recommend trying your luck on
abusing invulnerability frames to mash up Eggman in the lava.
When he submerges
you can safely wait for him on the walls. Once he's beaten, you can climb out of Hill Top
and drop straight back down into Mystic Cave Zone. Mystic Cave doesn't have all the pretty flashing
lights of Casino Night, but make no mistake, it's a rival in latte consumption. The lowerable
bridges aren't legally walls and thus can't be climbed on. For most of the stage you can see
these coming, but watch out near the end of Act 1: if you fail to resist the temptation and jump down
for that shield monitor, you'll be locked behind an upcoming bridge. Also pay special attention
to the pulleys that activate the bridges. The game remembers whether Knuckles grabbed them
while jumping or while grounded. If while jumping, Knuckles is allowed to glide, no problem, but
if while grounded, Knuckles will be permanently stuck on the pulley, holding onto it with one
hand while sipping a latte with the other.
In Act 2, I kept along the bottom path, mostly
since that's the simplest. When you reach these sliding boxes, jump into the middle. It looks
like a major crushing hazard, but Knuckles will miraculously be spat out the bottom. When
the bottom path forces you to turn around, dive into the first pit, rather than gliding
across. Continuing past this spring wall would have put you at risk of running into
the backside of a bridge. From here you'll reach Eggman without incident, who can be very
easily cheesed with your invulnerability frames.
Oil Ocean Zone is a nice change of pace: if you
just keep following the natural path forward you should never encounter any trouble and
won't need to consult a map. Casually propel yourself to the end of both acts for the fight
against Eggman. Just before reaching the fight, however, there's an invincibility monitor to find.
Turn yourself around on the little ledge ahead, grab the monitor, about face on the oil slide,
and run into the boss fight asap.
This will let you get him most of the way dead without
any risk. To finish him off, hug one of the side walls and wait for him to resurface; he's
completely incapable of attacking you down here. We're now nearing the endgame with Metropolis
Zone. Paths get really difficult to follow based on the map since the level loops vertically, but
when it comes to actually playing there's still generally a top, middle, and bottom path. In Act
1, I recommend keeping up top, but be warned that you can lattelock if you drop into the middle
path at the wrong time.
Other than that, there shouldn't be anything to watch out for: blindly
glide forward through Acts 1, 2, and 3 to reach the boss fight with Eggman, who requires almost no
horizontal movement even in a casual playthrough. Sky Chase Zone is a dev-intended
autoscroller freebie, so the next real level is Wing Fortress Zone. Wing Fortress
at first seemed absolutely literally impossible, until I stumbled upon knowledge that is going to
blow your friggin' mind. You know those rocket jets? They're just background decorations, they
don't actually hurt you. I am 99% certain that I am the first human being in history to discover
this fact, because I refuse to believe otherwise. Less obscure is the cheese trick to skip most
of the level, which is even easier with Knuckles than with Sonic or Tails, d-pad or not. Dive
face-first into this fan near the beginning, invulnerability frame through it, and bam, you're
now halfway through the level.
Get a low glide from the falling platforms to avoid an upper
air gust and skip the next platforming section, then continue through the mostly
uneventful remainder of the level. Just one note: this cubby is a tight squeeze
for Knuckles, so tight that he's not legally allowed to jump once inside. If you can't
jump, you can't glide; you can only *sip*. Along the way, I highly recommend obtaining almost
100 rings before touching the final checkpoint. I didn't manage it myself, but it would ensure
you won't have to lose any lives during the Wing Fortress boss. It's fought within two
laser walls which can't be climbed on, thus making it impossible to turn around once
you've moved too far.
Enter the battle with as little distance as possible. If done right,
you can leave one or two rings on the ground as insurance. Juggle yourself on the platforms as
they fly by while jumping into the boss above. You won't have enough time to kill it in one
cycle, but with your invulnerability frames and some properly timed jumps you can get it in two
or three. It probably looks really confusing, but don't worry, the floating platforms have a habit
of catching you, just focus on hurting the laser. Once the laser is dead, steal Eggman's secret
Knuckles and jump down to officially enter the true final battle in Death Egg Zone. All that
lives grinding we did back an hour ago was almost entirely to prepare for the Death Egg, in which
there are exactly 0 rings.
You'll need to defeat two bosses in a row without getting hit once. The
first is The Silver Robot Guy Who Looks Like Sonic Whom We're Giving An Overly Long Name Both As A
Matter Of Tradition But Also To Poke Subtle Fun At The Multitude Of Ambiguously Named Metallic
Hedgehogs. He always follows the same attack pattern, so get enough hits on him fast enough and
you can take him out the same way every time. Time for the double final boss: Death Egg Robot. We
have to hit him 12 times rather than the usual 8, and it is absolutely impossible to turn around.
If you reach the right edge of the screen, you're dead. His openings for attack are
small in a normal Knuckles playthrough, and microscopic without horizontal input, and
every piece of him that isn't a damageable hitbox is an instant death hitbox, sending us to the
beginning of Death Egg Zone. But with Eggman approaching fast you'll have to throw caution
out the airlock and jump into him without fear at every opportunity. Spindash jump into his
underside as soon as he reaches ground level and before he starts moving.
You'll be launched
backwards; jump and glide to position yourself at a mid distance, and get ready to spindash back
into his underside right at the moment when both his arms are passing by the middle of his body.
The hitboxes are super wonky and unintuitive, so you'll need to aim a bit lower than
I personally think looks safe. Do this perfectly and you'll hit him 4 times before he
stops moving. At that point, get ready again: just as he's about to become fully centered,
spindash into his underside twice in a row. Note that after landing Knuckles has a winddown
time before he's allowed to crouch and spindash, so the timing on that sixth hit is trickier than
it appears. On that sixth hit allow yourself to be propelled backward into the edge of the
screen. Eggman will try to drop on top of you: wait for him to lock on, then glide forward just
a little bit.
When he lands, jump into him twice, and quickly make your escape with the tiniest baby
step possible, jumping over both arms right before they're fired. Since Eggman always locks on to us
when falling, we're edging closer and closer to the right edge of the screen to get away from him.
You're going to lose a lot of lives undershooting your mark here, but overshooting your mark is just
as deadly. On this first escape, you want to aim Knuckles so his sprite is fully contained within
the background window. On the second lock-on, get two more hits in as Eggman lands and proceed
forward. This is going to be a huge baby step, since Eggman is now walking forward towards us.
Keep in mind that there's a little bit of room where Knuckles' sprite can overlap with Death Egg
Robot's boot without actually touching its hitbox. Every pixel counts, so you're gonna want that
overlap to happen.
With Death Egg Robot now at 2 HP and victory within reach, it's time for the
absolute hardest trick in the entire friggin' run. When Eggman lands, he'll be facing the left
and lunge forward. This drops his jetpack down and forward, whose flame has a damaging hitbox
that will hit us if we're still standing close, and on top of that he fires some bombs behind
that will hit us if we're standing too far. But just to the left of his jetpack is Eggman's
barely accessible eggbutt.
We can hit this as he falls but then we have to dodge the approaching
jetpack. To do this, as you're falling from the previous attack, just barely tap the glide button.
This is an incredibly precise timing window both on the initial jump and the glide: so precise, I
can't even do it by sight, I just press the button like I think I'm supposed to and hope the screen
reflects what I'm envisioning. If done exactly correctly, you'll be far enough to the right to
dodge the jetpack AND far enough to the left that the first set of bombs won't touch you. The SECOND
set of bombs, though, absolutely will. Just as Death Egg Robot leans forward to fire that second
set, jump in the air and glide forward, again with the smallest possible baby step in the hopes you
just barely scrape past the bombs' hitboxes. If you sufficiently minmaxed all prior baby steps,
when Eggman locks on a fourth time you'll have just barely enough space to edge past his feet.
For this final jump, the timing doesn't need to be as precise, since all his hitboxes disappear
the moment his HP reaches zero.
With Knuckles getting his revenge against Eggman for crashing
the Death Egg onto Angel Island by dropping the Death Egg out of orbit, the Sonic 2 & Knuckles
Hold Right To Lose Run is Mission Complete! In retrospect, this just might
be the most uniquely sadistic VG Myths run ever. I heavily
recommend it to all your friends, though please avoid if you're
worried about your caffeine intake. Before heading out, shoutout
to Youtuber Billehbawb, who, as previously mentioned made a video
about the same challenge a few years back, which I definitely must note I did
watch before doing the run myself, which probably shaved a couple hours I would
have spent trying to figure out Death Egg Robot. And finally, special thanks to
all Patreon backers including: Let me know how much this video sucks
and how to improve in the comments below. Your favorite flavor of latte for
watching, and get out of my house!.