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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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Bluestreak Returns

  • Jun 23, 2012
  • by
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 Hedgehog. I'm almost certain Sonic wasn't the first animal to wear clothes (his power sneakers). He was just yet another animal to wear them and have ATTITUDE! He would TAP HIS FOOT when he got impatient! So now, designers figure, the hot new trend is clothing-wearing animals with ATTITUDE! So now store shelves are creaking under the weight of creatures like Bubsy, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, Conker, and all those other faceless entities.

Meanwhile, the boys back at Sega HQ are working their butts off trying to come up with a sequel to the original animal with ATTITUDE! One which would hopefully top the original. It was during this turbulent and chaotic time that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would emerge and lead Sega to the promised land (the bank) once again.

As many of us already know, Sonic is the only marsupial on the planet who could outrun The Flash, Superman, Speedy Gonzales, and the Road Runner. When we last saw him, he was running free amongst the animals he had just freed. His nemesis, Dr. Robotnik, is still a mad scientist, and mad scientists, quite ironically, almost never learn. So Sonic has barely begun to bask in the glory of his newfound stardom when the good doctor sweeps back into town with a new death machine called the Death Egg. The rest of Sonic's vacation time is postponed, and Sonic is called back into action to save the friendly forest creatures from being turned into beings of unimaginable destructive power.

So what's different this time around? Well, to be heartbreakingly honest, practically nothing. Sonic still blazes from the left side of the screen to an exit on the far, far, FAR right. Along the way, he still collects oodles of rings and power-ups while avoiding Robotnik's cleverly designed methods of killing hedgehogs. He still gets an extra life for every 100 rings he collects, still has them all knocked off him when he gets nailed. Rings still won't insure him should he end up on the bottom of a bottomless pit or between two objects which would turn him into a pancake. He can still grab a shield, a pair of speed sneakers, super rings and temporary invincibility. He is still hunting down a handful of mysterious gems, which he finds in bonus stages.

Differences are mostly little, nitpicky things. Instead of running through six zones with three acts each with a one-act zone at the end to face down Robotnik, Sonic now runs through ten zones. The first seven zones all have two acts each. The eighth zone, the Metropolis zone, has three. The next two, the Sky Chase Zone and the Wing Fortress Zone, both have one. Then comes the Death Egg zone, in which Sonic faces down a robotic version of himself before taking on the doc, who's wearing a giant, robotic version of himself for the big showdown now. One level up on the original game may not sound like a whole lot, but wait until you see the SIZE of these places! Most of the zones are quite large, and creative to boot. The Casino Night Zone has slots which Sonic can play to win rings, or possibly lose them. The Oil Ocean Zone has oil slides which Sonic slides down. The giant Metropolis Zone, an insanely difficult world of mechanics, simply has to be seen for you to grasp its enormosity.

Graphics too. Graphics are also different. They're still top-notch, but they're different. Sonic, for example, looks darker and thinner. Rings and power-ups have slightly different animations. The original Sonic theme sounds a bit different, too.

So what's new this time around? Lots of things! First, the game's plot actually gives Sonic a reason to hunt down the Chaos Emeralds. Since these gems are believed to hold exceptional powers, Robotnik wants them to power his Death Egg. There is also a new Chaos Emerald lurking somewhere in the game, since there are forevermore seven of them to hunt down, instead of six like in the original.

While I'm on the subject of Chaos Emerald hunting, I might as well mention the way of getting to the bonus stage, which is also new. Instead of jumping through a giant ring when you have 50 rings at the end of an act, all you have to do is grab 50 rings, hit a star post, and jump through the little ring of stars which forms when you do that. This is a welcome change from the first game, as it gives you several chances at an emerald during every stage. If you blow a shot at one, collects 50 more rings, find another star post, and do it all over again! Whenever you leave the special stage, all of the current act's rings and power-ups will be back where you first found them, so finding more rings to take you back to the special stage won't be a problem unless you're an amnesiac.

The special stage itself is also new, not to mention REALLY FREAKIN' HARD! Instead of simply floating through a rotating maze to the emerald room, Sonic now runs through a giant half pipe. As he runs, he collects rings, trying to meet a goal of a certain number of rings by the time he reaches various checkpoints. If he can't nab the rings, the star post spews him back out into the real world, emerald-less. And the designers decided not to make collecting the required number of rings easy for you. There are bombs bumrushing at you in the special stage too, and for every bomb you collect, you lose a number of rings - which you can't retrieve. This is probably the best special stage Sega has introduced in the Sonic series, but it's also the most frustrating.

Part of the frustration comes from Sonic's gamelong new partner, Miles "Tails" Prower. Tails is a two-tailed little fox who trails behind Sonic every step of the way. He's good to dispose of a few enemies and reel in some rings, but he's generally useless unless you have a second player controlling him. If you're trying to clear the game with all seven emeralds, you should at least have a second player man the controls during the special stages, in which Tails always manages to find the bombs. In the game itself, Tails' help doesn't really matter a whole lot. The player who winds up controlling him will get the royal screwjob, since Tails will spend half the time offscreen, having lagged too far behind Sonic. Although he can fly, you can't control when he flies. Fortunately, you have the option of going through the game with just Sonic or just Tails.

Tails may not lag too far behind in the new TWO-PLAYER GAME! Since there's a second good guy, the designers decided they might as well throw in a few two-player levels to up the replay value. Unfortunately, when I said throw in, I meant throw in. The two-player game, while a lot of fun, reeks of afterthought obviousness. Instead of creating some inventive new levels for you and player two to blast through, the designers just smushed down the Emerald Hill, Casino Night, and Mystic Cave Zones, tossed in teleporter and Robotnik moniters, and said "Go." The result is a two-player mode which is plagued with slowdown. The special stage is there for competition, but it's a bit too basic.

Tired of backtracking to get Sonic up that one too-steep hill? Then build up his speed without ever moving with the new SPIN DASH ATTACK! This move allows Sonic to do just what Mr. Voice said - build up his speed without having to leave his current location. Just duck and press the jump button, Sonic revs right up, and when you take your thumb off the down button, off he goes, leaving his foes in the dust. Very useful for those times when you have to go forward but can't go back.

The graphics, as I've already stated, have changed. For better or worse is in the eye of the beholder, but Sonic remains the fluid sprite he always was. Tails is a bit less detailed in his movements, but his two tails and the fact he uses them to fly are nice touches. The cute little forest animals still jump off when Sonic bashes the machines they command, but the enemies actually seem to have a bit more detail now. There are also a lot more of them, many of which are far more creative than they were in the first game. The backgrounds are also better looking. And wait until you see the Casino Night Zone!

Except for the opening theme - which doubles as the invincibility music - the music of Sonic Sr. has been scrapped for a new soundtrack. It's just as well. The new score is a definite keeper, with tracks which evoke different elements and influences. The score to the Oil Ocean Zone has an oriental flavor. The Casino Night Zone has a wonderful hot jazz track, and the Hill Top Zone's music sounds like a combination of the good aspects of country and bluegrass music. The music in the two-player zones was changed, but the general essence of the single-player tracks is kept, at least in the bouncy Emerald Hill and jazzy Casino Night scores. The music in the Mystic Cave zone turns from low-rent horror fare to low-rent techno fare. The sounds are generally unchanged from the first game.

The controls are also unchanged from the first game. Sonic still takes time to build up to his full sprint, and he still has trouble conquering hills if he doesn't have a running start. The game can still be played with a single action button.

Some call Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the series' finest hour, but I'm a bit hard-pressed to agree. I love this game, but trying to pick out the best Sonic game out of such a great series is agonizing, and not something I'm going to attempt right now. I'll tell you this right now: Sonic 2 was my first Genesis game, and I very often found myself crawling back to it. It's bigger than the first game and contains a lot of little secrets, and the two-player mode only adds to the replay value. If you own this game, hold onto it for awhile. Gamecube owners, go out and buy the Sonic compilation disk right now. For 50 bucks, you Gamecube owners get most of the 16-bit Sonic games (I'm not sure if it includes Sonic Spinball and Sonic 3d Blast.).

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More Sonic the Hedgehog 2 reviews
review by . June 14, 2012
posted in Siliconera Bounce
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 …
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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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