Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Game reviews
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Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and welcome back to the Sonic the Hedgehog marathon.

Sonic marathon title card

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ on the ‘Sega Mega-Drive’ was a massive success. Naturally when something is great, the crowd demands a sequel for said game. In 1992, the American corporation of Sega released ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ for the ‘Sega Mega-Drive’. For those of you who don’t know, this game was actually developed in America while ‘Sonic CD’ was being developed in Japan. Now I didn’t get into this game until a few years ago. In my ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ review, I stated that ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ was the very first Sonic game I ever played. It was not the first Sonic game I owned. My Gran had a ‘Sega Mega-Drive’ at her house and my cousins and I would play ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ and ‘Golden Axe 2’ all day. The first Sonic game I owned was actually ‘Sonic Heroes’, but that’s for another time. Does this game manage to expand upon what worked in the first game and make it better? Does it hold up to today’s standards? This is my review of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ for the ‘Sega Mega-Drive.’

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Story

The plot is pretty much the same as the last game. Doctor Robotnik is trying to capture little woodland animals to power up his robots and Sonic needs to stop him only this time, he has a new sidekick. A young two-tailed fox named Miles Prower (get it?). But everybody calls him Tails. Aside from catching animals again, Doctor Robotnik is actually building up a better machine this time called the Death Egg (I’m surprised George Lucas didn’t try to sue so he could get more money off of this).

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Once again, the plot is simple and there’s not much to it, so…onto the game.

Gameplay

The control scheme is exactly the same as the last game, only Sonic has a new move called the Spin-Dash. By holding down and rapidly tapping the A, B or C button, Sonic will begin to rev up some speed and by releasing the D-Pad and the button of your choice, Sonic will gain a sudden burst of speed, which is useful for getting up steep slopes and getting to places faster. The HUD is also the same as before, so read my last review if you want to know what it’s like. The score system actually grants you bonuses this time. If you reach the end of the stage and your score total is ten-thousand or over, you get a continue so if you get a game over, you can continue where you left off. Whenever you get fifty-thousand points, you score extra lifes.

Tails doesn’t really do much as a partner. The AI is programmed to copy Sonic’s every move one second after he performs it. A second player can actually take control of the Tails AI and help the first player throughout the adventure. When Tails dies or disappears off-screen, it doesn’t affect your life count and it can actually be pretty game-breaking if you utilize the AI well enough with a second player.

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The goal of the game is the same. You reach the end of the stage and on the way you fight enemies and avoid hazards. There are eleven zones and this time, each zone is broken up into two acts ending with a boss fight with Doctor Robotnik.

Emerald Hill Zone is this game’s Green Hill Zone. It is fast-paced, a good easy start and doesn’t take long to beat.

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Chemical Plant Zone is fast-paced and fun to travel through. But there are some sections that begin to fill with pink water that most first-timers can drown in. But if you trust platforming skills then it isn’t too bad.

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Aquatic Ruin Zone is the water based zone of this game. However unlike Labyrinth Zone, this zone is fast paced and if you are good enough to take the top pathways, you will never actually have to venture through the water.

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Casino Night Zone introduces the new pinball and slot machine gimmicks that will be used throughout future Sonic games. The pinball mechanics are great and the slot machines are a chance to get more rings if you get the right combination.

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Hilltop Zone doesn’t have any spectacular gimmicks. It focuses more on platforming than any other zones but it can be fast-paced. But it is probably the most boring zone in the game.

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Mystic Cave Zone has the most spike traps out of any zone in this game. Don’t worry, the spike glitch is gone so you have nothing to worry about. There are switches hidden in the vines so you can lower bridges in order to proceed. Act Two also has the infamous pit trap. It is a huge pit with a set of spikes so you are stuck down there until you run out of rings.

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Oil Ocean Zone has platforming sections and oil slides. It isn’t as fast-paced as the other zones but it isn’t too bad. I may be in the minority on this, but I don’t find the sea-horse badniks too annoying. There are a couple of cheaply placed ones, but they’re not too bad.

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Metropolis Zone actually has three acts instead of two. It’s fast-paced and doesn’t have two many hazards, but the most annoying factors about this zone are the badniks. The asterons, shell crackers and especially the slicers are super annoying. The asterons aren’t too annoying except for when you are running along the giant bolts in order to travel up the hallway. Webmaster Tom and I agree that shell crackers like to make up their own hit boxes because there are a number of times where I swear I jumped on the shell cracker itself, but the hit box acted like I hit the claw instead. But they are nothing compared to the FREAKING SLICERS!!! They throw their scythes at you, the scythes have a huge range and most of the time, their placements are flat-out cheap.

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Sky Chase Zone has only one act and it is high up in the sky where Tails is flying an airplane and Sonic is on the wing fighting off the badniks. Whatever you do, do not spin dash or leave Tails behind otherwise you will fall down the bottomless pit and you have to do the level over again.

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Wing Fortress Zone also has one act and it focuses mostly on platforming which constantly has you over a bottomless pit. This is my least favourite zone in the game because manoeuvring yourself over bottomless pits is honestly pretty nerve-wrecking.

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Death Egg Zone only consists of one hallway and it has you fight two bosses with no rings at all. Silver Sonic isn’t too bad if you memorise his patterns and form a strategy, but the Death Egg Robot is one of the hardest bosses in Sonic history. You need to time your jumps just right or you will hit his spikes and die. It’s all about reflexes and strategy so don’t screw up and have fun.

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The special stages to obtain Chaos Emeralds are back, only in order to access them, you have to collect fifty rings and jump into the swirling stars when you reach a checkpoint. This time, their gimmick is a half-pipe stage where you race along and collect rings in order to proceed and get the Chaos Emerald at the end. There will also be bombs which make you lose rings if you hit them. To be honest, I don’t like these special stages. The control can be a little too slippery and the later stages take a lot of memorisation to get right.

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If you collect all of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic can transform into his new super form, where his speed increases and becomes invincible to EVERYTHING…except drowning, bottomless pits and being crushed. When you collect fifty rings and jump, he transforms. The problem is he transforms automatically if you do this so if you didn’t want to use him at some point, you have no choice.

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The bosses are more gimmicky than the bosses in the last game. Some of them can be easy, but later bosses come up with better strategies that can make them more challenging. Overall the bosses are more fun to fight this time.

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This game also has a multiplayer feature at the title screen where players can race each other through four stages and compete in the special stages to get more rings than each other.

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Graphics

For 16-bit standards, the graphics in this game still do hold up, though I think they are better than Sonic 1’s graphics. It’s even more colourful, the sprites are nicely done and I think even modern gamers may enjoy looking at them.

Music

This game’s soundtrack is awesome. Since there are more stages than in Sonic 1, the number of tracks in this game has increased and they are sweet to listen to. I love Chemical Plant zone’s theme as well as Metropolis Zone’s theme and Casino Night Zone’s theme. Check it out. You won’t regret it.

Control

The control is still as sweet as it was in the first game. The Spin Dash is great to use if you want to get more speed and it doesn’t make you go too fast to the point of unfair damage or death.

Final thoughts

Overall does this game improve upon the Sonic formula and stand alone as it’s own game? HECK YES!!! The game is more fast-paced, the Spin Dash is awesome and I think that this is where people should start if they want to get into the classic Sonic series. Sonic 1 was good too, but Sonic 2 just blows it out of the water in every way possible. The level design is also bigger and broader. Each zone has loads of pathways that allow new ways for players to reach the goal which further increases replay-ability for this game. In my opinion it’s a classic and it should be something that everyone should try out.

Final rating: 9/10

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