Haven't played this game in a looong time! (not counting the pc version that i came across in HMV one fateful day)
Many feel it was the megadrive games but i strongly feel that SA1 was the last good sonic game to reach our homes. I did like SA2, but the first game has a special place within the walls that my heart resides in.
Ironically, people didn't like this game because of the emphasis on story, but if you look closer, you would see that the team developing this game have always wanted to tell a grand tale. Sonic & Knuckles contained a plot. Even though nobody spoke, it still contained lots of crumbs of a wannabe story driven game, such as Knuckles' relationship with sonic. The emphasis on the Chaos emeralds, angel island, etc.
Sonic was never just about speed. As im sure we have all heard Jim Sterling mention at some point. Only the first level blessed the players with freedom in a green plaza of some sort, allowing the players to run really fast and bump into a badnik with little care because the level was so easy. Every stage after the first became less and less about speed and more about slower paced sections involving jumping on a switch, pushing a brick and running up a corkscrew.
Somehow the 'fans' told SEGA that Sonic is all about speed and that's all he needs to be successful.
Like some kind of school playground peer pressure, Sonic Team became confused and was unsure of what to do with sonic, giving him a sword in one game and were-hogging him in another.
If you ask me, they should just do what they have always seemed to want to do, which is tell a decent story with some awesome levels, amazing dreamcasty music and a bit of cheesy dialogue. Everything that Sonic Adventure did good should just be done again. Adventure fields and all. Next gen, Uncharted Typed seamless cinematic's into gameplay and you'll have an awesome Sonic game on your hands.
That's my recipe for destruction SEGA.
And another thing that... Oh.. the downloads finished.