The lightning quick blue ball of spikes has returned, and this time he has speedy side-kick. Yes, Sonic is back with a faster, bigger, and more challenging game for those with quick reflexes.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game developed and published by Sega for the Megadrive in 1992. It is the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog with 8-bit versions being released on the Master System and Game Gear. In recent years, versions were released for multiple mobile platforms as well as part of a number of Sega collection packages for the PlayStation and Xbox systems. I chose to review the Mega Drive version of Sonic 2.
Sonic is back, and this time he has assistance from his trusty sidekick Miles “Tails” Prower, a two-tailed fox. Dr. Robotnik is also back, and again plans to steal the Chaos Emeralds to power his space station known as the Death Egg. Sonic must make his way through an array of different levels evading the robotic minions of Dr. Robotnik. Like the first instalment, Sonic has the option to destroy the minions to release the animals that Dr. Robotnik has trapped inside them.
There are plenty of new features in this game. At the start you can choose to play as Sonic, Tails, or as Sonic with Tails (a second player can control Tails but the camera will always follow Sonic). There is no real difference between Sonic and Tails, but I would recommend playing as one or the other alone. The reason for this is the Special Stages where Sonic attempts to win the Chaos Emeralds. The stages are now designed like a half-pipe run and are broken into stages. You must gain ‘X’ amount of rings to progress to the next stage, all the while dodging obstacles that will make you lose rings if you hit them. If you have Tails with you, he will often get hit by an obstacle and will lose you rings.
Once you have won all the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic gains the ability to transform into Super Sonic by gaining 50 rings and jumping into the air. As Super Sonic you are invincible, can run faster and jump higher. However it uses up your rings at a rate of one per second. Once they are gone, Sonic reverts back to his normal self.
Sonic 2 also sees the introduction of the ‘Spin-Dash’, which enables Sonic to spin and gain speed whilst stationary.
The addition of a competitive two-player mode where you can race another player through certain levels and special stages adds an extra element of fun which I know myself and my buddies found particularly diverting.
With the release of Sonic and Knuckles (1994) in 1994, the two cartridges could be interlocked, enabling you to play through Sonic 2 as Knuckles the Echidna. Knuckles can glide and climb walls, enabling you find alternative routes through the levels. However, he cannot jump as high as Sonic and Tails, making some of the boss fights a bit more difficult.
How Does It Handle?
The controls are tight, no complaints there, and there the game feels faster than it’s predecessor. The levels are longer, less linear (you sometimes have to go back on yourself to find the correct route) and more intricately designed, making traversing the levels more challenging. Some of the evil minions are harder to destroy and the end of level bosses are certainly more challenging and inventive too.
The graphics haven’t changed that much since the first Sonic game. The Sonic sprite is a slightly darker shade of blue, and the enemy sprites are designed to have a more mechanical look.
Having revisited the game I noticed that in both one and two-player mode, the game has a tendency to slow down and the sprites flicker a bit when Sonic and Tails are going top speed, and in particularly when you are hit by an enemy and lose lots of rings.
The music is good, but I don’t think its quite as memorable as the first game. In fact, I mostly remember the Special Stages music.
The two-player mode is what my friends and I played alot when we got this game. I remember distinctly arriving at my buddy’s house and eagerly turning the game on for the first time. We played for hours.
I did feel that the way you have no rings or means to get them for the last two bosses is a cheap way to make the bosses harder, and I found that frustrating.
Did I Complete The Game?
Yes, I have completed this game a few times through whilst winning all the Chaos Emeralds.
What The Critics Said:
Gamepro: “Its tough to follow a classic but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 earns top honours. There’s enough stuff that’s new and different in Sonic 2 to make it a must-have cart for fans of the original. Overall 19.5/20”.
Gamesmaster: “The changes are there, but they’re just not profound enough to transform the game into an essential buy for owners of the original. Overall 65%”.
Computer & Video Games: Paul Anglin – “At first glance Sonic may not look radically different to the original, but it packs a lot more punch than Bluey’s first outing. The levels are absolutely massive, with so much to do and so much to find that you’ll bust a gut trying. Overall 94%“.
Computer & Video Games: Tim Boone –“For a start it’s all a tad faster, and the addition of Tails is a real master stroke to beef up the gameplay. Graphics are no great improvement over the original, but seeing as the first game’s were about the best you’ll find that’s no bad thing! Sound is ace too. Overall 94%”.
Gamer Fan: “Sonic 2 is amazing, faster and nastier than ever spinning through awesome new zones that will make your eyes bug out! The creativity and attention to detail is remarkable and to finish with all the chaos emeralds is a worthy challenge for even the best players. Overall 98.5%”.
Mean Machines Sega: “Sonic has outdone itself. An absolute gem of a game which your Megadrive will be screaming out for. Overall 96%”.
Mega: “Sonic 2 is pure, top grade video game entertainment. No one should miss it. Fight for a copy. Overall 94%”.
Megazone: “Sonic 2 is a brilliant sequel, and does what most sequels don’t do – improve and expand on the original. Overall 96%”.
Sega Force: “One of the best games of the year and definitely worth the wait! Overall 97%”.
Electronic Games: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2 offers the same exciting play as the first, but the welcome additions of two-player simultaneous play and more levels only enhance this exciting title. Sonic shows no signs of slowing down! Overall 91%”.
Best Game of the Year (Sega Genesis) – Electronic Gaming Monthly Best and Worst of 1992
Game of the Year – Megazone Games of the Year 1992
Hottest New Character in a Video Game (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992
“There was something about this game that I didn’t like, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first. That being said, this is a solid sequel, and I did have fun revisiting the game. There are plenty of new features, to make it worth playing, and the addition of a two-player mode adds to the overall enjoyment of the game”
What are your memories of Sonic the Hedgehog 2? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.
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 ‘EGM Best and Worst of 1992 Video Game of the Year’. Electronic Gaming Monthly 1993 Video Game Buyer’s Guide. (1993). :14.
 ‘Game of the Year Awards 1992 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. Megazone. (December 1992/January 1993). Issue 25:21.
 ‘EGM’s Best and Worst of 1992: Hottest New Character in a Video Game (All Systems) – Sonic The Hedgehog 2‘. Electronic Gaming Monthly’s 1993 Video Game Buyer’s Guide. (1993). :20.