Review by Shady

"Better than the original"

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 brought Sonic back into the gaming world after many requests from fans of the successful first game. Sonic 2 improved upon some aspects of its prequel, but it still followed the same formula - go really fast to complete the level, while getting as many power-ups and rings as you can on the way. There isn't anything wrong with that formula, though, as the game is a lot of fun to play.

Sonic 2 is a side scrolling adventure-ish game in which Sonic has to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik from taking over the world. The game is still divided up into 'zones', with two stages occupying each zone (some of the later zones have three stages). At the end of each zone, there will be a boss fight with Robotnik. The fights start off ridiculously easy in the beginning of the game, but they get much harder as the game goes on.

Apparently Sonic found a friend during the time in between Sonic 1 and 2 - a young fox with two tails. The rascal is conveniently named Tails (full name Miles Prower). The computer-controlled Tails follows Sonic throughout each stage. Sometimes if Sonic gets going too fast, Tails will fall behind but he eventually catches up when the fast pace slows down. Tails can die, too, but his deaths don't count towards the lives you earn throughout the game. Very smart move by Sega.

Among other new things that can be found in Sonic 2 are longer levels, a new move, a different 'special stage', and a two player mode. The longer levels were definitely a good addition to the game, as quite a few of the original Sonic's stages seemed a bit short. Sonic's new move is the spin dash. It is easy to perform - just hold down the down button and repeatedly press one of the jump buttons (A, B, or C - they all do the same function of jumping). The spin dash gives Sonic a boost of speed and it can be very useful throughout the game, especially if you are trying to beat a stage in record time. The new special stage isn't anything special. It's just a little 'race' with Tails to see who can get the most rings. Now, as for the two player mode, well that deserves it's own paragraph.

The two player mode is probably the best addition of them all in Sonic 2. Player one plays as Sonic, while player two gets to be Tails. You can pick from four zones to play against a friend (Emerald Hill, Mystic Cave, Casino Night, and Special Stage). Each selection is the complete zone from the one player mode, minus the boss fight at the end of each one. The multiplayer fun doesn't come without any faults, however - there is quite a bit of slowdown to be found. I noticed the most slowdown came in the Mystic Cave zone, for whatever reason. Still, the fact that you can play against a real life person is great.

Visually, Sonic 2 looks a lot better than its predecessor. The original didn't look too bad in the first place, but Sonic 2 is just better overall. Everything is very colorful and the stages have some great design. The animation is top notch - you can tell that Sonic is one fast bastard! Nothing really looks bad at all.

Catchy tunes are common in Sonic 2. Don't be surprised if you find yourself humming a track from the game after playing. In fact, as I write this I have the special stage's music stuck in my head. None of the 'songs' are cutesy or kiddieish, and each one fits the level it's playing in. The sound effects are not as good as the music, but they aren't too bad either. The difference between the sounds of jumping and executing a spin dash are very distinguishable, for example. Not bad at all.

Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a very good game but it does have some flaws. Perhaps it's biggest problem is the lack of any real replay value. Once you finish the game, you probably won't play it again. The two player mode's slowdown is another flaw, but that can be acceptable. Still, Sonic 2 can be a lot of fun. It belongs in every Genesis owner's game collection.

Final Analysis:
Graphics 8/10 - beautiful colors, nice designs
Sound 8/10 - catchy music, tolerable sound effects
Gameplay 7/10 - new additions add to the fun, but lack of replay value hurts
Control 8/10 - responsive and very easy to learn
Overall 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/18/01, Updated 09/18/01

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