Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Today has been renamed Sonic-2s-Day and we’re also casting our minds back some 19 years to 1992 when the sequel to SEGA’s Sonic Team’s flagship title was released. Sonic 2 was released to much fanfare, with SEGA renaming Tuesday to a Sonic-2s-Day and heavily advertising Sonic 2 in the national press and the gaming press. This all made sense as Sonic 1 was a huge success for SEGA and with Sonic 2 the framework was already in place to create another great game.
There are two characters in Sonic 2. Yes, two. Sonic the Hedgehog, who all are familiar with from Sonic 1, and Miles “Tails” Prowers, otherwise known as Tails. This twin tailed fox is Sonic’s friend who he meets in West Island and together they become aware that the evil Dr Robotnik has managed to acquire all of the Chaos Emeralds again. With the Chaos Emeralds under his command, he is able to get his warship the Death Egg, back into the sky. He also transforms all of the little creatures from their happy animal selves into Badniks – evil, mechanical androids who attempt to kill Sonic and Tails during their quest. Naturally Sonic and Tails take it upon themselves to return West Island and Mobius back into a free world.
With essentially the same plot as the first title, barring a few significant differences, it’s still press right and jump game. Sonic has also had a speed boost, running through the levels at a much quicker pace than before and with a new move up his sneakers. In Sonic 1 to make Sonic roll, he had to be in motion and then would only spin for a short distance, whereas in Sonic 2 there’s a new move called the spin-dash. This move can only be done whilst Sonic is stationary and it will destroy pretty much all enemies in his path and will also allow Sonic to get back up steep ascents. This makes Sonic 2 significantly easier than Sonic 1 when it comes to battling enemies; yet, overall Sonic 2’s level design is far more complex and challenging than the first.
Tails is an important addition to the series as it’s the first time that a new character has been introduced into a Sonic game, a tradition that unfortunately doesn’t just stop with Sonic 2. However, for the most part Tail’s introduction into the game is pointless. Whilst being able to play as 2 players throughout the majority of the main adventure is a novelty, Tails is unable to die permanently and is significantly slower than Sonic. Rather than allowing Tails to have the speed to catch up, he simply falls away from the screen and then appears a little while later flying down to meet up with Sonic. This makes his inclusion in the game pointless; as although he can run along beside Sonic ultimately his input is limited. He does have a fair few cameo roles though and is control of the aeroplane that he flies Sonic to certain levels on.
There’s also a change in the level structure as well. There are still a number of Zones, however, rather than having three Acts per Zone, there is now only two Acts per Zone and some Zones only have one Act. Levels with only one Act appear towards the end of the game and are primarily for travelling purposes.
As with Sonic 1, speed is the name of the game and there’s no slow down in Sonic 2. Even though the game is arguably faster and has far more effects for the most part. The only area where this statement is far, far from the truth is in the newly formed multiplayer mode. With the option of having a true two player experience where Sonic and Tails battle one another in a series of Time Attack style games. Play through the regular levels, but faster than your opponent. The major problem with this is that it’s a split screen – understandable as there is no online functionality; however, there’s significant and noticeable slow down when anything else happens other than running. Back in the day this was noticeable, but not half as much as it is now due to the advancement of technology.
The special stages have changed as well, they are now part of the check-points and the levels themselves are a weird sort of 3D. Sonic must run through a maze collecting rings and if he collects enough rings, then the Chaos Emerald will become available. Collect all of the emeralds and then Super Sonic will become available. It’s a welcome addition to the game.
The port to the Virtual Console has been seamless as well, with nothing that feels different or odd against the old games either. The ability to stop in the middle of the game and return to the Wii Menu remains as well, which further helps the replayability of the game. Especially as there’s no save function.
Sonic 2 is a brilliant addition to the Sonic franchise, with lots of little extras that make the game more enjoyable than ever and a few cosmetic changes the game is better than ever. Unfortunately it’s the start of where SEGA bring in a lot of characters, but that can be ignored due to the brilliance of the game overall.s