Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • Genesis
  • Developer:
    • Sonic Team
  • Publisher:
    • Sega
  • Released:
    • JP 11/21/1992
    • US UK 11/24/1992
Score: 90%

This review was published on 12/08/2007.

Sonic's second entry in his legendary Genesis line up, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 does not shy away from improving on its predecessor in practically every way. It could be said that this is the game to truly put Sonic in the spotlight, making him a genuine threat to Italian plumbers everywhere. From here on, Sonic became a recognizable video game icon who would be forever remembered. This is his stride toward achieving immensity.

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Graphics have undergone a major face lift with more of an anime style. Some people dislike this change in style, but regardless, it's hard to deny that things look better. Even harder to deny is the quality of the music. Chemical Plant's track alone beats out pretty much everything in Sonic 1. Stages have been reduced to two acts per zone instead of the three from Sonic 1. To balance this, there are more zones than in Sonic 1, which offers a greater amount of variety. Level themes are far more interesting, as well. The desert oil facility with Middle Eastern sounding music is a good example of this. I wonder what they were trying to imply with that one. The casino themed stages make their first appearance here, and have become another staple of the Sonic series. Our favorite evil villain, Dr. Eggman, or Robotnik, has upped the ante considerably with his dastardly plans, bringing all manner of crazy machines to fight you at the end of each zone. He wasn't too creative with the machine designs in Sonic 1, but here, you just can't wait to see what he'll bring in next. Fights with the good Doctor are still frantic as ever, providing a satisfying end to a level.

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Tails, Sonic's two tailed fox friend, makes his first playable appearance here. Sega probably realized that the blue hedgehog needed some sort of sidekick, if he were to continue going up against the Mario Bros. As such, Tails will follow Sonic around during the game, being a general nuisance that just won't die. Here's a useful tip; you can opt to go it alone by selecting only Sonic in the options menu. In addition to the second character, there are now two multiplayer modes. Well, it's more like one multiplayer mode. The first one is a "versus" mode which features a split screen and smaller sprites. In this mode, both players race to the finish line in a miniature stage. I personally didn't find this mode to be very entertaining as the stages themselves tend to be rather... minimalistic. However, no harm was done, and it does add some replay value. Then there's the semi cooperative play possible in the single player mode. By simply picking up a second controller and pressing any button, another player will be able to take control of Tails during the regular game. Because Tails is invincible in the regular game, this can make player two a valuable asset during boss fights. It's too bad Tails is unable to aid you during the final fight, because that's where he'd have been most useful. Unfortunately, beyond crushing bosses, player two won't have much to do, as he or she will rarely be on the screen. This is due to Sonic moving fast, you see.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the first Sonic game to introduce the Spin Dash. Sonic could roll along the ground in a ball form during his first adventure, but it required him to use the magic of physics by either locating a slope to slide down from, or gaining some speed through a short distanced sprint. In Sonic 2, you can simply duck by holding down on the D-Pad and with the mere press of a button, you'll be spinning at sonic speeds. Pressing the button multiple times before letting go of the D-Pad will charge Sonic up as if you're revving up a car engine, which gives him a higher top speed. Spin Dashing becomes Sonic's signature move, reappearing in most of his future games. It's not hard to see why; it's an excellent maneuver. An advanced technique you can perform with the Spin Dash is to jump just as you dash. Doing so will give you a much longer jump that can cover a greater distance. You never need to do this anywhere in the game, but it can be handy to know about.

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This time there are seven Chaos Emeralds to collect instead of six. Collecting all Chaos Emeralds finally brings with it a worthy prize: Super Sonic. Bonus stages are handled a bit differently from Sonic 1. You still need fifty rings, but instead of having to reach the end of the level, you can stop at any half way point, points that you can restart from if you lose a life. These bonus stages utilize an impressive graphical style and are a marvel to see in action. Challenge is the name of the game when it comes to these bonus stages themselves. They're very challenging. You will definitely need a lot of practice to master some of the later ones. It's a daunting task that you may skip. I'm talking about the in game cheats. Sonic 1 had a secret button cheat that would give access to a level select and Sonic 2 has this in addition to a cheat that grants you all seven Chaos Emeralds from the very beginning. Interestingly, this is the only way to become Super Sonic in the first few levels of the game. On that note, what is so super about Super Sonic? Well, for one, he's invincible. Two, he goes much, much faster than regular Sonic. Three, he looks totally like a Super Saiyan from Dragon Ball Z. The seven Chaos Emeralds are clearly a reference to the seven Dragon Balls. There is a catch, though: you need 50 rings for Sonic to initiate and maintain his Super form. Super Sonic loses rings gradually even when not being hit by enemies, so you'll constantly have to keep your ring counter from hitting zero to make continuous use of this incredible power. I do recommend playing the entire game as regular Sonic before attempting to collect all Chaos Emeralds (or cheat).

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Conclusive evidence that this game is better than Sonic 1 can easily be procured by playing it. So with that said, why are you still reading this? Do yourself a favor greater than any other, and play Sonic 2. Or you could do me a favor and make me a sandwich.

Word Count: 1,087

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