Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog’s second outing on the Mega Drive proved to be one of the most definitive sequels in gaming history. Here’s a full review on the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the most successful games on the Mega Drive with over 15 million units sold. As a result, it had lodged Sonic firmly in history as an icon of the gaming industry.
Everyone thought that a sequel was not far behind and they were right as on November 21, 1992, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released on the Mega Drive. This would mark the first appearances of many defining traits of the series.
The story picks up shortly after Sonic 1 where after his defeat Dr Robotnik retreats to an island far away from Sonic’s home, making it harder for the Blue Hedgehog to reach him, while he begins hunting for the Chaos Emeralds, once again, to power his latest creation – an orbital space station called the Death Egg.
When Sonic tried to pursue this, he found himself unable to because of his weakness to water and the fact that his bi-plane called The Tornado had fallen into disrepair.
However, once Sonic went away, a young fox began to repair the entire plane on his own.
When Sonic came back he found the fox had repaired the whole plane on his own – the Fox was named Miles. He had a unique condition where he was born with a second tail.
Sonic and Miles then set off to stop Robotnik from gaining the Chaos Emeralds to power the Death Egg.
At first, Miles struggled to keep up with Sonic’s speed. However, from Sonic’s suggestion he began to use his two tails as a helicopter rotor to fly and as a turbine to move faster. Miles soon gained the nickname Tails from Sonic and others around him.
Gameplay is very similar to Sonic 1 but there are a few changes.
The first major change is the introduction of Miles “Tails” Prower.
Tails is invincible and any rings collected by Tails will add to Sonic’s total count.
In addition Tails can also do damage to bosses.
Another addition is the spindash which can allow Sonic to reach top speeds nearly instantly.
Unlike Sonic 1 which only had seven zones, Sonic 2 has a total of 11 zones. Each zone is divided into two acts with the exception of the last four zones. The zones this time are the Emerald Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Aquatic Ruin Zone, Casino Night Zone, Hill Top Zone, Mystic Cave Zone, Oil Ocean Zone, the infamous Metropolis Zone, Sky Chase and Wing Fortress Zones and finally Death Egg Zone.
Each zone is very uniquely designed and each of them have their own unique gimmick. For example, Casino Night has slot machines which makes gaining rings easy.
Oil Ocean has fans that cause you to stop in place and platforms that rise and fall quickly.
Metropolis has screws that you need to use to progress, while Sky Chase has Sonic fly on The Tornado.
To access the Special Stage, you need to gather 50 rings then touch one of the new Star Post checkpoints. Once you see the ring of stars appear above the post, simply jump to transport to the Special Stage. The Special Stage is a giant half pipe, where you have to collect rings to get to the next part of the stage. Complete the three sections of the stage to get a Chaos Emerald. Once Sonic has all seven, collect 50 rings then jump into the air to transform into Super Sonic, during this form Sonic is invincible and can move insanely fast, but the form drains Sonic’s ring count.
Some positives lie with the level design and soundtrack. Of all the Mega Drive games Sonic 2’s soundtrack is one of my favourites. Songs like Aquatic Ruin, Sky Chase, Wing Fortress and Emerald Hill are all brilliant and the levels are also brilliantly designed. In particular, the Chemical Plant Zone which was re-made for Sonic Generations.
But, my favourite level design in Sonic 2 has to go to Aquatic Ruin, as it surpasses its predecessor the Labyrinth Zone in many ways. It has the option to take either the dry highway or the soak low way – plus the enemies aren’t much of a bother! There’s the exception of a few in Metropolis and the bosses can be easy, but they can be difficult without Tails there. One example is Mystic Cave Zone’s boss.
Though there are some negatives and most can be a little game breaking.
One issue that arises with the game is bringing Tails into a Special Stage as Tails’ jumps are a little delayed – he will often miss rings or get hit by bombs.
Another issue is enemy placement in Metropolis Zone, especially given the fact that one enemy has homing projectiles as weapons.
Though the bosses can be a little easy, one is symbolic as Sonic 2 marks the first time Robotnik tried to fight fire with fire.
The penultimate boss in the game is in fact a Sonic Robot, called Silver Sonic. Silver Sonic is the first sonic robot of the series, so in a way he’s a prototype of what’s to come.
Overall Sonic 2 gets a B Rank for its unique gameplay and improvements over the first game. While Sonic 2’s sales weren’t as good as Sonic 1, it’s hard to mock 6 million copies sold as of today.
There’s a prosperous future ahead for The Blue Blur, only SEGA know where to take their golden child next.
There is an Xbox Live and Playstation Network version of the game and there is also an expansion called Knuckles in Sonic 2, where you play through the game with Knuckles the Echidna.