Review by Arkrex

"Superb Sonic 200th!"

So I'm entering Emerald Hill Zone for the first time in, well . . . ever. But I've heard that the rolling hills and myriad tall coconut trees aren't all that different from Green Hill's so it should be fairly homely. Heck, there are even robotic piranhas trying to chomp down that bridge over there, not to mention oversized mechanical killer bees shooting out some dangerously sparkling stings. Ouch! Did that monkey just lob a coconut at my head? Hmm, I guess some things just don't change.

By the way, my name's Sonic and I'm a hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are usually run over by speeding motor vehicles should they attempt to cross a highway. Insane, I know. But that'll never happen to me. My name may clue you in, but let me tell you right here and now: I move as fast as the speed of sound and there's no way a pathetic hunk of metal on four wheels could ever catch me.

Like all other hedgehogs, I can curl up into a tight ball so as to have all my positively lethal spikes pointing outwards. I'm virtually invincible in this state and I can jump and smash into any robotic menace that dares to threaten me. I prefer to go rolling, though. Careening down steep slopes and spinning around geographic loops is an absolute thrill.

However, I do need to cautious with my steps now and again. Not only are there those mechanical abominations – courtesy of my arch enemy, Doctor Ivo Robotnik – lurking about the place, but a ton of pitfalls and environmental hazards such as lava and vents of fuming steam await me as I attempt to cross ten zones fraught with gorgeous intrigue. Yeah, I'm starting off here in the lush valleys of Emerald Hill, but I'll be streaking through chemical plants, aquatic ruins and mystic caves, perhaps indulging in a spot of gambling over at the casino, before I reach the dastardly Doctor and thwart his plans once again.

He's not as dim-witted as your usual antagonist, though. Some of his robotic creations, or more precisely, my fellow animal friends ensnared within his metallic armours, are capable of much hurt. I can't simply go spinning right into laser beams or twirling blades now, can I? Luckily for me, there are the usual monitors containing assorted power-ups scattered about the place. There's a shield that protects me from a single hit, temporary invincibility that allows me to run wild for a few seconds, and super running shoes that juice up my sprinting ability to even faster than my usual mach speed! Sometimes the boxes will contain just a few rings, but seeing as rings are my life, literally, I'm not complaining.

So long as I have one ring with me, I can survive any attack. Of course, amassing lots of them will net me an extra life once I hit the century mark, and then there's also bragging rights which translates into a densely figured score. It also affords me more protection should I crash head-on into something unfriendly; I'll lose all of my rings in a spiralled heap, but at least I'll be able to recover some of them as insurance lest I get booked again in the future. It's a beautiful system, somewhat easy-going, but I'm not complaining when I get to have this much fun.

It gets even better should I have at least fifty rings whilst zipping past a checkpoint post. I can then warp into a half-pipe special stage where the goal is to collect a set quota of rings before I reach the end of the line. The shift to a vertical depth perspective looks rather nifty, but it sure does make it hard to anticipate where the rings are coming from. I've also got to avoid spiked bombs that blow me and some of my hard earnings away, but it's all in good fun. Should I be successful, I'm rewarded with a Chaos Emerald. And if I manage to secure all seven of them, I can transform into a shining Super Sonic with blindingly good looks and increased speed to match. Far out – am I like the man or what!

I can be humble if I want, though. My buddy Tails, the two-tailed fox, tags along with me this time around. In other words, a second player can pick up that there controller and help me destroy Robotnik's forces. But I'm still the star of the show and so I always have to be shown on-screen. This means if I run too fast for Tails to keep up (more often than not), I'll simply leave his pretty sprite in my dust. To make up for my erratic nature I compensate with some dedicated versus play. Basically I race Tails to the finish in three select zones from my adventures as well as that tubular special stage. I know it isn't much, but he seems to have a good time especially since I tone down my speed somewhat to match pace.

The core focus of my latest adventure is still running through challenging courses ridden with plenty of hedgehog-killing death-traps. Robotnik's troops can be a pain in the butt, as can his ridiculous vehicles that constitute a boss fight, but I laugh at it all as long as I have one ring in my possession. There's plenty of great scenery to enjoy and a stellar musical accompaniment that contains none of that funky jazz some of you, I know, passionately loathe. My games don't get any better, seriously. I'm now going to run rings around Robotnik again just for the hell of it and if you have the time, I highly recommend that you join in the fun too.

VERDICT – 10.0/10 Sonic perfected. One of my top ten games of all time!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/07/07

Game Release: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (EU, 11/24/92)

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