This is a new review. To see my old review, click on this link.
So this game was going to be reviewed along side Sonic 1 as a double-bill, but it was far too long, in fact, longer than my older review of Sonic 1. Anyway, Sonic was a hit and gave the Goliath that was Nintendo a run for it’s money. So with that said, a sequel was in the works, developed in Japan and America somehow. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Tsū), developed by Sonic Team and Sega Technical Institute and was published by Sega and was released in November of 1992 in Japan first, America and Europe simultaneously, Australia would get it on December of 1992.
So apparently, Yuji Naka left Sega due to corporate policies he didn’t like because I guess there’s a reason why Japan has economic issues. Though Mark Cerny offered him a job at Sega Technical Institute at Sega of America. So yes, this game was developed both in the US and Japan. Did you also know that this game was also supposed to have time travel elements and would have a Sega CD port too, but that didn’t happen. Though instead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would be it’s own game and the time travel gameplay would be implemented into another game (Tune in next week).
We have the same plot from Sonic 1 but with some changes. Sonic has a sidekick in the form of a two-tailed fox, Miles “Tails” Prower (a pun on “Miles per hour”). And Dr. Robotnik has built a mighty space station called the Death Egg, in fact, it’s so mighty, it can’t be sued by Lucasfilms…well it’s Disney now isn’t it, now Sega has to be extra careful now. So do what you did last time, rescue the animals, collect the Chaos Emeralds and defeat Robotnik…again.
So the gameplay is near enough the same, though it feels much better. The physics I feel have been improved and it just feels better to control. So here are the new features; Sonic now has a spin-dash, hold down and press the jump button to spin-dash, let go and watch him fly. This is the best feature since this can add more speed to your speed, it’s wonderful. We also have Tails and if it’s a two-player game, the second player can play as Tails…though good luck catching up. But in one-player, Tails will just follow Sonic, then die, then instantly resurrect because Tails can do that, then he may ruin your experience on the rare occasion.
We also have special stages again, where you got to collect 50 rings again, but this time, instead of going to the goal post to access it like the first game, you can stand on the next checkpoint, and if it has a sparkly circle, jump in it and you can access the special stage. This time, they thankfully ditched the rotating mess and replaced it with a pseudo-3D half-pipe course where you need to collect a certain amount of rings to pass through each of the three checkpoints. On the third one, if you successfully collect the total amount of rings or more, you get the Chaos Emerald.
After collecting all 7 Chaos Emeralds, if you collect 50 rings and press the jump button, you can now transform into Super Saiyan Sonic (Yeah, it’s a rip-off of Dragon Ball Z and you Sonic fans know it), he’s a near invincible hedgehog, though collect more rings anyway since they deplete just by using that said power.
And finally, there is a Competition Mode AKA the two-player mode. This is where Sonic and Tails can compete in races to the finish line, though it only comprises of three of the main zones and the Special Stages. They’re cool to have but the mode is in split-screen and it looks awkward no matter what TV you have and the framerate chugs so badly at times. But you didn’t come here to play this, you came to play the main game, so this is necessary fluff.
So, how are the levels. Well, it’s time to explain them again.
Emerald Hill Zone – And it’s Green Hill Zone again but just as great. It’s a nice bright place, heck, even brighter than Green Hill Zone. What else can I say, it’s the beginner’s level.
Chemical Plant Zone – A seemingly less-menacing factory level, and when I mean less-menacing, I mean less-menacing then Scrap Brain Zone from Sonic 1, I love this level, it’s the true ‘GOT TO GO FAST’ level with speed boosts and many other ways that will even let you nearly leave the screen, such good fun. Oh, it’s also literal cancer with pink corrosive looking liquid at the bottom of the level, especially in Act 2, and you can go in it, most particularly that part where you have to jump on blocks whilst the water rises, and yes, I was also the child who died at that part the first time I played it, I think a lot of children back then died at that part, in which case, pray for them.
Aquatic Ruin Zone – Thank goodness this isn’t Labyrinth Zone, this is a great water level, so great that you don’t even have to touch the water. Like Marble Zone, the settings looks as if it was once inhabited but now forgotten, this one is a Greek-like place, with over-grown vegetation and old-time brickwork, along with collapsing floors to give you the feeling of an old-time place that’s unstable.
Casino Night Zone, AKA, How to Gamble, The Sonic Way – Bad joke aside, this would be the definite improvement of Spring Yard Zone and the setting would be used for more Sonic games in the future. It’s also a more lively place full of energy, a perfect casino/pinball fusion level, with pinball parts where you can gamble to collect more rings, or lose them instantly, teaching kids the dangers of gambling. And who said video gaming was a bad thing?
Hill Top Zone – One of the most forgettable and pretty dull levels I’ve ever come across in this game. While we have a nice cloudy, mountain-like background, nearly everything else is recycled from other levels.
Mystic Cave Zone – A rather dark and spooky underground area, lots of spikes, lots of deadly fireflies, lots of greenery. It also has “the pit”, if you drop into it, that’s it, you can’t get out, you’ll lose rings from the spiky floor and die. Again, pray for those annoyed souls.
Oil Ocean Zone, AKA, BP Oil Spill gone sexual, AKA, Saudi Arabia: The Rich Man’s World, AKA…never mind, but I could go all day – A blistering hot area with a factory in the background and the OMINOUS OIL. It’s everywhere, I’m surprised no fire caught it, it would destroy the world.
Metropolis Zone – ANOTHER FACTORY LEVEL, yes, machinery and factories are bad and nature and animals and greenery are good, which defeats the purpose considering that you’re playing this electronic game on a electronic device connected by a television and it’s literally keeping you from going out and explore nature. Heh. On the bright side the series is more subtle with it’s message than Awesome Possum. Literally everything is a trap in Metropolis Zone, even the enemies, including the Asterons, the bane of my childhood, the Shellcrackers can be difficult to hit since they have a big claw and they placed in areas where you can easily get hit. Then there are the Slicers, and…I didn’t have too much of a problem with them, yeah, they can quickly throw blades at you but if you can time your jumps, you can avoid them.
Sky Chase Zone – This is near enough the relaxant after the madness that was Metropolis Zone. You’re on top of your plane, Tails is the pilot, you can jump on enemies and you can still get caught by the plane so you won’t drop to your death. Why does Sonic have a plane?
Wing Fortress Zone – On a big airship with music that symbolises the feeling of ‘THIS MEANS WAR!’
Death Egg Zone – Where you battle Mecha Sonic, which is easy and finally, Robotnik’s big robot which is incredibly hard and you have to time your jumps and avoid the spike hands and I somehow manage to hit them, but once I thought of a strategy, I managed to beat him, for the first time ever for this review.
But the level design overall is much better and much more fleshed out, the graphics have seen an improvement and the music is brilliant.
Overall, Sonic 2 is a remarkable improvement over the first game, and still stands as one of my favourite games in the series so far and it’s an utterly flawless game…maybe apart from Tails joining you, though you can switch him out in the settings. It’s a classic and sold huge amounts of Mega Drives, beating Nintendo again for the year. All I can say now is thanks for the memories and thanks for the fact that my skills in reviewing may be much better than before…maybe not, I don’t know.
You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn (via Sonic Jam), Nintendo GameCube (via Sonic Mega Collection), PlayStation 2 (via Sonic Mega Collection Plus & Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collection), Xbox (via Sonic Mega Collection Plus), PC (via Steam and more compilations), Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (via respectable digital stores and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Ultimate Collection), Nintendo DS (via Sonic Classics Collection), Nintendo 3DS, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.