Review by Richard Walker
"*sniffs* Ah, it's the aroma of unflawed gaming."
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had something to prove. Coming hot off the heels of the original, best-selling Sonic the Hedgehog game, the sequel had a pair of very large shoes to fill. The launch day for said sequel was anticipated heavily, and even dubbed Sonic 2's day. (Tuesday) Sonic 2 would have to match the very good Sonic 1 and then do better to satisfy the hunger of the players. The million-dollar question for Sega was could Sonic 2 live up to the tremendous hype accompanying it? Could it top Sonic 1? And today, has it stood the test of time? Read my review, and we can all find out together.
There's no denying that Sonic 2 looks absolutely gorgeous. Somehow, it retained all of the colourful glory of Sonic 1, and abolished the serious attitude of it's predecessor in favour of a 'let's have fun while kicking ass' look. The vibrant, louder than loud colours of each zone not only gives the game an aura of fun, but gives each zone a distinct identity. (A necessity when we have eleven very different zones on our hands) The Chemical Plant and Casino Night zones in particular are an absolute delight to watch. Sonic is of course well drawn, and his buddy Tails looks great also. The badniks are certainly no visual pollution either. All around, the graphics are extremely crisp and impressive, and have definitely stood the test of time.
MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS: 10/10
Most Mega Drive/Genesis video games have satisfying music, but the music that goes with Sonic 2 is so splendid it's damn near unbelievable. The sound effects from Sonic 1, including the famous ring chime, all return. The Sonic theme has been remastered with a nice touch, and speaking of NICE... the background music isn't just nice, it's awesome! Sonic 2 really has the best music of any 16-bit game, and even better, the background music really corresponds and matches with the zone you're in. Some games achieve this well, but none do it better than Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Best of all, there's an easily accessible Sound Test in the Options menu, meaning you get to listen to the great sounds without badniks on your back. But really, the music is really rockin' in the heat of battle. Sonic 2 is notable for being the last game to use the original Sonic the Hedgehog theme, due to disputes with the original creators.
Sonic 2 generally features very similar gameplay to Sonic 1 - the changes are more upgrades. The biggest, most obvious upgrade was the addition of a companion. Miles Prower (A bad joke of a name, better known as Tails) accompanies his hero Sonic the Hedgehog in a battle to dethrone Doctor Robotnik from position of Mobius dictator, and foil his most evil scheme by tracking him back to the Death Egg zone. Two players can play simultaneously play the main game. Tails can't permanently die, and therefore either makes good badnik fodder to save Sonic, or can be a pain in the ass when playing alone. If this is a problem, no worries! Get rid of him in the Options menu. Point is, there's eleven zones to complete and seven Chaos Emeralds Sonic needs to attain, to fully complete the game. Each zone is complete with unique badniks, two acts, and a end of zone boss. (Exception for the final four zones - Metropolis zone has three acts, and the final three zones have one act) There are some neat extras, including... SUPER SONIC, the Super Saiyan Sonic, with invincibility and hyper speed. There's gambling in the Casino Night Zone, challenging Special Zones, and oh-so much more. Finally, as a side game, there is a 2 Player vs. mode. Split screen racing action, in three zones and the Special Stage, and first to conquer three zones wins the game. My good friend Giovanni (Who with me, put many insane hours into playing 2 Player vs. mode) will concur that it is badass, and the most fun 2 Player battle-type game ever. Simply put, Sonic 2 is bursting with fun from every corner.
The control is as easy as apple pie. It's not a whole lot better than in Sonic 1, but is still better due to the addition of the Super Spin Dash. You see, pulling off the Super Spin Attack or getting to top speed in Sonic 1 is a painful task. (Especially if you're a rookie to it) The Spin Dash made it all easier, and because some of the zones are nice and long, it makes good for lots of mad and fun rushing around. (And let's face it, the Casino Night Zone would be a drag without it) None of which would have been simple without the Super Spin Dash. Good call by Sonic Team.
The answer to the big introductory question was YES - Sonic 2 could hang with Sonic 1, and exceeded it. Sonic 2 is so good, I need a shot of insulin before I play it, so I don't die from all the sweetness. Sonic 2 is so good, I had to make a website dedicated to playing the greatness. It is just the perfect game in every way. It's a fast, furious, and moreover addictive game with so much to do and find. Sonic and Tails are in their greatest form here, and Robotnik has never been more cunning. From the title screen, to options menu, to every zone, and finally to the magnificent game ending, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a complete, undisputed, grade A, kick ass masterpiece. Sonic 2 is my all-time favourite game. And if you're not down with that, I've got two words for ya... PLAY IT.
BUY, TRY, OR BURN?
If you have anything in your head that resembles a brain cell, YOU MUST BUY THIS GAME. If you have this game already, you are fortunate. Otherwise, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is unbeatable, and you need the experience of flawless gaming. Buy a Mega Drive/Genesis just to play this game. (Downloading ROMs and playing on a PC just doesn't cut it, bucko) Get the Sonic Compilation 3-in-1 if you can, like I did. Make the acquisition of Sonic 2 a high priority - you will not be disappointed!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/06
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