I own this for PC but never beat it (got to the 'skool' and then I just never got around to it) and all I remember was it being hard.
It's still hard, and yeah, it's got some crappy platforming bits, but that doesn't make it an "awful" game. It's dated, and was tough. And I don't know why you wouldn't be saving like every second in the first place. People should be glad it even has an auto-save at all.
Anyway, I just got to the Wonderland Forest and so far, I'm loving it. I am so glad to be playing with a controller instead of the mouse. I had a much harder time platforming back with the mouse. Haha.
100% Retail: 21/78 ; 100% Arcade: 46/87
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