Review by GavLuvsGA
"A sequel that proves the lastability of the Sonic series"
This was the first Sonic game I ever owned; a present for my 14th birthday, which came with my Genesis. I was immediately wowed by it and still enjoy it to this day when I have time to play it.
Gameplay - 9/10
Gameplay is very enjoyable indeed. The first thing that's noticeable is that there are more zones (levels); however, in all but one of the zones, the number of acts (sub levels) is reduced from three to two. When I first discovered Robotnik at the end of act two, I felt let down, but luckily it isn't too bad after a while.
Sonic has a great new move - the spin dash, which helps a lot. I did think it was a shame that Sonic does a lot less of actually blasting through walls and breaking them down, but there is enough great gameplay to more than make up for it. In addition, you can play as Tails, or have Tails follow Sonic around. The only disadvantage is that Tails doesn't actually have much of an advantage (or disadvantage) over Sonic, and occasionally he can get in the way (on one level he kept getting in the way of a moving platform that was supposed to be opening for Sonic).
On the original, there were considerable problems experienced for first timers in the waterbound levels, and this game has a few of these, but they're actually not quite so likely to cause so much trouble, which is a bit of a disappointment. Strangely, the water levels are all located at the start of the game, with a whole section of one act where you have to avoid rising "Mega Mack" (which took me three days to get past at first). There is also Aquatic Ruin Zone, but this is rather ruined by the fact that you can simply take the upper route and avoid most of the large underwater sections altogether.
Other levels provide a lot of enjoyment, however. Casino Night Zone features cool pinball tables and slot machines where you can win (or lose) lots of rings; Hill Top Zone features the added complications of including earthquakes where you risk getting squashed, and Sky Chase Zone features a chase through the sky where you have to wing walk on a plane.
The boss fights are also enjoyable, with some very impressive looking fights that manage to improve on the already great fights seen in the original. This all culminates in a final level featuring two of the toughest bosses ever (largely because you don't get rings so one hit will kill you instantly).
In addition to this, there are special stages where you must collect rings to get the seven chaos emeralds (yes, seven this time), while avoiding bombs. The only drawback is that if Tails is controlled by the computer (and I'd advise getting rid of Tails or getting a friend to control him), he will be an enormous nuisance, taking unnecessary hits and causing you to miss out on emeralds.
Overall, the normal gameplay is very enjoyable, although I did manage to discover one oddity in Casino Night Zone where two large blocks can squash Sonic sideways, and he doesn't get killed (Sonic can only be crushed vertically - for now).
Along with the normal mode, there is also a two player mode, which is very enjoyable. One player takes Sonic while the other takes Tails, and the levels included are much the same as in the normal version (although a lot of elements are removed from Casino Night Zone). These have the added bonus that all item boxes are labelled with a "?" and are always random (unless you choose "teleport only". They can also include the aforementioned Teleport boxes, which cause Sonic and Tails to swap places, making the game more unpredictable, and Robotnik boxes that cause you to take a hit. Two player mode is very enjoyable, and is actually playable against yourself (I've tried it, sad person that I am). The only annoyance I found was a vast amount of slowdown on Mystic Cave Zone Act 2, which only features in two player (my Dad, who played this with me once, commented that it was "like moving through water").
But, annoyances aside, this is a very fun game to play.
Story - 7/10
For its time, it is pretty good. Sonic has made a new friend, Tails the Fox. Unlike the Gamegear counterpart, Tails has NOT been kidnapped, but instead helps Sonic to beat Doctor Robotnik, who has once again decided to take over the world, this time using his "Death Egg".
Graphics - 9/10
Graphics are generally good. Sonic and Tails are both very well animated, and I quite like the way Tails uses his tails to hover on to the screen if you leave him behind (something that was to become one of the coolest elements of the Sonic series). The only annoyance is the fact that in two player mode, each player's screen looks a bit squashed, which is weird. I also like the 3D effects in the special stages - really impressive when you consider that this game was released in 1992.
Sound - 9/10
Nothing compares to the music heard in the original, but this is still pretty good. I rather enjoy the calming music to Sky Chase Zone, the Casino Night Zone theme and the military-esque theme to Wing Fortress Zone. Death Egg Zone has a nice tune too, but you're likely to hear barely any since the zone goes almost straight into a boss fight.
Replay Value - 10/10
Lots of replay value, especially if you're trying to go for all seven emeralds. This game features the bonus of getting Super Sonic once you get them all. It makes the levels a bit easy, so I'd recommend leaving the last emerald until you get close to the end. It's just a shame that there's no Super Tails - just yet, anyway.
Buy this. This is just as big a classic as its predecessor, and I'd be rather shocked if anyone thought otherwise.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/18/05
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