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Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The 1992 sequel in the ever-popular Sega series starring the blue racing hedgehog.

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The Blue Blur is back in his best game. 94%

  • Jun 14, 2012
Before I get on with the review, I have to share some nostalgia with you. I believe my first encounter with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was at the nearest Wal-Mart back in the late summer/early fall of 1992 and I remember seeing the game on display in the videogame section, and I played the Emerald Hill Zone, and I couldn't wait for the game to come out. Fast forward several months later, and it's Christmas Day, and I got Sonic 2. I spent most of the day playing this and even back then, I felt it was better than the first game (which is still a classic). Over the years, I've given some deeper thought about which of the classic Sonic games is the best, I think Sonic 2 is the best of all because it retains a good challenge and fixes the flaws in Sonic 1.


After defeating Dr. Robotnik in the last game, Robotnik gets back to work with his usual scheme of taking over the world. Like in the last game, he's captured a bunch of animals and is turning them into malicious robots, and is building a devastation space weapon called the Death Egg. You take control of Sonic again to thwart Robotnik's plans, and this time, a two-tailed fox by the name of Miles “Tails” Prower tags along and helps you.


If you're familiar with the way Sonic 1 plays, then you know how to complete 99% of the controls in this game. However, they added a critical improvement in Sonic 2, which is the spindash attack. All you do is crouch down (holding the bottom d-pad) and hit the jump button to start spinning, and when you release both buttons to go much faster than without the spindash. With the spindash, you can also plow into most Badniks and they'll get destroyed.

All the power ups like the Ring monitor, Invincibility monitor, Shield monitor, and Extra Life monitor are in this game. The rules about collecting rings in Sonic 1 carry over into Sonic 2.

Also, there's a point in getting points this time around. At the end of each act, if you get 10,000 points in that act, you'll get a continue. Whenever your cumulative score hits 50,000 and numbers with a divisor of 50,000 (such as 100,000 and 150,000), you get an extra life.

There's also a point to getting Chaos Emeralds. If you collect all the Chaos Emeralds (now its seven emeralds instead of six) and get 50 rings, you turn into Super Sonic. Super Sonic is a yellow juggernaut. Other than drowning, bottomless pits, and getting crushed, nothing can hurt Super Sonic, as he's not only invincible, but he can run extremely fast and jump over really long distances. The only drawback to Super Sonic is that your ring count gets deducted at one ring per second, and once you run out of rings, you turn back into regular Sonic.

The Special Stage is different from that in Sonic 1. Instead of collecting 50 rings and jumping into a giant ring at the end of an act, you collect 50 rings and jump into a bunch of rotating stars that pop up when you hit a lamp post. You also race through a half-pipe and need to collect a certain number of rings before each checkpoint. When you clear all the checkpoints with the required amounts of rings, you get a Chaos Emerald. These Special Stages are significantly more difficult than the ones in Sonic 1 because aside from needed to collect the required rings, you have to dodge a bunch of bombs, and these can be hard to dodge. It also doesn't help that usually, Tails will get hit by bombs, making you loose some of your rings.

You also have the option to switch between Sonic + Tails, Sonic solo, and Tails solo when playing the one-player mode.


There's also a 2-player mode for this game. Basically, it's a split-screen racing game where you and a second player choose as Sonic or Tails and race each other until the end of the acts. The acts to choose from in the 2-Player mode are Emerald Hill, Casino Night, Mystic Cave, and the Special Stage.


While the graphics in Sonic 1 are impressive, Sonic 2 manages to improve upon this area as well. There's better color arrangements to improve visual depth on the levels and backgrounds. The finest example of this would be the Casino Night Zone. The background in that level is absolutely beautiful and colorful, and makes you feel like you're in a “sanitized” version of Las Vegas. The “industrial” themed levels like the Chemical Plant, Oil Ocean, Metropolis, and Death Egg Zones have improved from industrial-themed levels in Sonic 1 as well. The architecture and atmospheres in these levels are much more serious-looking than in Sonic 1, and particularly with the Chemical Plant and Death Egg Zones, I think they perfectly exemplify the way a high-tech, industrial setting should look like.


All the sound effects from the first game are carried over into this one, so I can't really say much more than what I already said in my Sonic 1 review.

The soundtrack is even better than that in the first game, and Masato Nakamura returns to create music in this game as well. Aside from having more levels and therefore more music tracks, a good deal of the music on here is better than in the first game (which still has great music). Standout tracks on here are for Chemical Plant, Aquatic Ruin, Casino Night, Mystic Cave, Metropolis, Sky Chase, Wing Fortress, and Death Egg (though for Death Egg, you only hear about four seconds of the music since you immediately go into one of the last boss battles). Death Egg is the perfect music to hear when you're in a high-tech spacecraft. Mystic Cave is worth mentioning because the opening melody is really reminiscent of the Inspector Gadget theme, and that the music itself is pretty creepy. Casino Night and Sky Chase have really relaxed, upbeat feelings to them.

The 2-player levels even have their own versions of the music. The 2-player version of Casino Night has a peppier beat to it, and reminds me a bit of the Last Resort club music featured in Total Recall. I personally think the 2-player version of the Emerald Hill Zone sounds better than the single player version.

There's also a track called Hidden Palace for an unreleased level of the same name in the game. Despite not being in any levels, I think this is one of the most elegant videogame tunes I've ever heard.


My only real complaint with this game is that in the Special Stage, Tails can make it more difficult for the fact that he's prone to getting hit by bombs, so you have to be extra careful with how you play in the stages.


Of all the “classic” Sonic games and with the entire Sonic game library, this one is the best. Like Sonic 1, it's been re-issued countless times and is available with other Sonic games like Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (Xbox 360, PS3) and available as individual game downloads on Steam.

This game is nearly 20 years-old and I still think it's totally awesome.

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June 22, 2012
I loved this game! I always hated hacking my way through the Metropolis Zone, though.
June 22, 2012
Metropolis certainly was one of the harder levels in the whole series of "classic" Sonic games.
June 15, 2012
you and Frank have been hitting the game reviews hard, man. pretty awesome!
June 15, 2012
Thanks. What do you think of this game?
More Sonic the Hedgehog 2 reviews
review by . June 23, 2012
You know what I hate about trendsetting games? The fact that they set trends. When the new hip character cashes in, everyone begins copying the formula with the hopes of cashing in themselves. So while the original game goes on to gaming superstardom and possibly gaming classicdom, the shelves almost collapse under the weight of wannabes, which almost always get overlooked in favor of sequels anyway. This review isn't about any of them.     Particular case in point: Sonic the …
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David Kozak ()
Ranked #20
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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About this video game


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (or simply Sonic 2) is a platform game developed by U.S. studio Sega Technical Institute in collaboration with Sonic Team, and published by Sega for the Mega Drive/Genesis. It was released in Japan on November 21, 1992 and in North America and Europe three days later on November 24, 1992 (Sega nicknamed the American and European release date, a Tuesday, "Sonic 2sday"). It is the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog and was followed by Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994. The game introduces Miles "Tails" Prower as a new playable character.

The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog and his new partner Tails on their mission to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his Death Egg. Sonic and Tails must defeat Robotnik's army and free their friends.

As of June 2006, it has sold six million copies, making it the best-selling Sonic game of all time, and the best selling game on the Sega Genesis. The game was compatible with Sonic & Knuckles lock-on feature which allowed the player to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2. It has been included in a number of compilation packages on a range of platforms; on June 11, 2007, the game was made available on the Wii's Virtual Consol and released for Xbox Live Arcade on September 12, 2007. It has also been featured on Sonic Classic Collection for the Nintendo DS, and appeared as a release for the iPhone OS on April 20, 2010.

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Number of Players: 1 or 2
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Console: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 1992
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