Review by Zylo the wolf
"Sonic The Hedgehog's finest hour."
No one knows what would have happened to Sega if they had not created Sonic The Hedgehog. While Alex Kidd and Wonderboy was to great of examples, there was something they lacked, attitude. At first Sonic were going to be an red tough armadillo, but then Sega realized that nothing could have been more cool than a blue hedgehog that were much faster than any other platform hero.
The first Sonic The Hedgehog on Sega Mega Drive was a huge hit, so a sequel on the same system on took one year to get released. Not many knows this, but even if the game is called Sonic 2, it's the 4th game since there were also two Sonic The Hedgehog games released on the Sega Master System between the first Sonic on Mega Drive and this game.
There isn't much story you need to know in this game. The evil doctor is back and have turned many animals into his robot slaves, so it's Sonic's duty to once again save as many animals as possible and also stop his archenemy once again. And this time, Sonic has a friend by his side that will help him.
Just like the original Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game that focus on speed. And just like in the previous game, Sonic doesn't need many seconds to run much faster than what any platform hero had done before. Sonic have also learned a new ability, the spin dash. If you press down and then any of the buttons, then Sonic will charge up a big spin. When you then release one button, Sonic will spin away much faster than when he runs, and he will also kill all the enemies in his way unless one of them manages to stop him.
Except for the Spin Dash, Sega decided not to change that much in what was already a great concept. After all, Sonic was made to run and jump on robots while he's trying to reach the goal at the end of each stage. One of the difference that has been made is that in this game you have many more different paths you can choose from the reach the goal of each stage, otherwise the power ups are the same.
On each stage there are a lot of enemies and rings. Sonic can just like in the previous game kill this enemies by jumping on them and he can collect rings to be able to take a hit when the enemies fight back. If Sonic gets hit while he has a few rings, he will drop them all and they will be all over the screen, but he Sonic doesn't have any rings when an enemy attack, then he will die. At the end of act 2 on each zone, there's a boss fight between the evil doctor and our heroes.
Everyone knows who Sonic's sidekick is, but this is the game where Tails became almost as well known as Sonic The Hedgehog, even if his first appearance was in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Master System. Tails managed to not get kidnapped again by Dr Robotnik (now known as Dr Eggman, which has always been his Japanese name) and can help Sonic on his journey. Tails has more cool abilities than just being able to fly with his two tails. He can also take as many hits as he wants to.
If he dies, then he will just come back after a few seconds. He is controlled by an AI in Single Player, but another player can at any time pick up the second gamepad and then start to control Tails. Now if you have a friend, then he or she can help you to do a few things. For example defeat Dr Robotnik much faster than what you would be able to do alone. It's still possible for the player who controls Tails to stop playing and just leaving the game alone for a while and then the AI will start to control Tails again.
It's possible in the option menu to decide which character you will play as. At first the choice is Sonic & Tails, but you can change so both characters go solo. Tails is while he's alone a completely clone of Sonic I think. He might be a little slower but I can't notice any difference. The game don't care what you choose and you will get the same stages no matter if you choose to play as Sonic & Tails, Sonic alone or Tails alone.
If you know that you will never have a friend that can control Tails while you are playing as Sonic, then I recommend that you choose to play with just one of the characters. Tails can be effective in some places when you are playing as Sonic, but he can also do some things that makes it harder for you. For example in zone 5, there are a few lifts that starts to move when someone touches them. If Tails jumps on the lift before Sonic, then the lift will move away from you.
In the first Sonic the Hedgehog you could only get one Chaos Emerald at each act since you could only get into one at the end of each act. But in this game you can reach up to four bonus stages at each act. On each stage, there are a couple of star posts that allows you to start from the place if you have touched them and then lost a life.
But if you have more than 50 rings while you touched a star post for the first time, then red stars will appear above the post. If you jump into them then you will reach a bonus stage. This is one of the reasons while it might be good to search over the whole stage so you know where every star post in that stage are, but it's completely optional.
In Sonic The Hedgehog all bonus places took place in of the the six strange spinning labyrinths where Sonic had to fall into the right path to collect as many rings as possible and also find one of the six Chaos Emeralds. Not only are there seven bonus stages in this game but they are also completely different.
The bonus stages takes place in huge half-pipes where you see Sonic from the behind and he runs all the time so you can just either choose if he should move left or right or if he should jump. To get the Chaos Emerald you have to collect a certain number of rings, and the stages are split in three parts. If don't have enough rings when one of the parts are over, then you will teleport back to the regular stage. To prevent you from collection enough rings on the bonus stages, there are a lot of bombs that you shouldn't bump in to. If you do, then you will lose ten rings.
There's one new thing in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 that makes it more interesting to collect all the seven Chaos Emeralds. If you managed to collect them all and then get above 50 rings then you just have to press any button while you are jumping and then Sonic will turn into Super Sonic. The difference between the original blue Sonic and the new yellow Super Sonic is that Super Sonic is much faster, unbeatable and can jump much higher.
While this also makes Sonic much more difficult to control then regular Sonic, it can be really fun to just rush through some levels at Super Sonic speed. Super Sonic is generally considered to be a joke from Sega about how the Dragon Ball Z fighters, since Sonic also turns yellow in his super form, and his spikes also looks a lot like Goku's haircut. Super Sonic also consumes one ring each second, and returns to his regular blue form when he no longer has any more rings. Unlocking Super Sonic also makes the ending a bit different.
As a small bonus if you don't want to do something else than playing the regular mode, there are also a versus mode in this game. Here you and a friend can race each other on 4 different stages. The first player that reaches the goal wins. There are also two special power up boxes in this mode. A teleport box that switch places of the two players and a Robotnik box that damages the other player. This mode isn't as fun as the actual game, but it can still be fun for two friends to challenge each other in.
I can't figure out anything more to say about Sonic The Hedgehog 2. It's generally considered not only to be the best game in the whole Sonic series but also the best game Sega has ever done. It's contains great level design, memorable music tracks and it's a game that I enjoy to play through over and over again. Absolutely one of the best game that Sega has ever done!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/25/07
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