Review by Renatus

"My second favorite game growing up. Sonic 2 is loads of fun!"

The Sonic series was my childhood. I grew up on Sonic, Zelda, Life Force, Mario, Jurassic Park...the list goes on. Sonic was the main series, though. Although Sonic 3 combined with Sonic and Knuckles is my favorite game (from my childhood), Sonic 2 is a close second. Here's why:

Sonic 2 has nearly flawless gameplay and controls. First, during Sonic 1, I was frustrated that the spin dash (rolling very quickly along the ground) could only be performed while in mid-motion; in Sonic 2, there is the option to do it at ANY time. Moreover, the controls are perfect, almost up to Super Metroid-quality: A, B, or C jumps, directional pad moves, down and A speed dashes, down while moving speed dashes, et cetera. The controls are simple, thus allowing more early focus on gameplay rather then mastering annoying combinations.

The concept of Sonic 2 is simple: the player must move Sonic, Tails, or Sonic and Tails through a series of side scrolling levels. Each level has two acts, and Sonic has ten (10) minutes to navigate each act. He collects rings and powerups along the way, which assist him should he get hit. When Sonic is injured, he loses his coins; when Sonic is hit without any coins, he dies. Don't worry; there are plenty of extra lives in this game, especially when compared to Sonic 1. These can be found by obtaining 100 rings, obtaining a large score, or finding them in hidden areas.

Each level is completely different than the previous one. For example, in Level 1, Sonic moves through a lush tropical region, while in Level 2, Sonic is forced to navigate a chemical plant, including pink toxic liquid. Other highlights include Casino Night, where Sonic can gamble for rings; Metropolis, where Sonic must dash through Dr. Robotnik's ground headquarters; and the Death Egg, where the climax of the story unfolds.

At the end of each level, Sonic/Tails must face one of Dr. Robotnik's inventions. Some examples include a drilling machine, a lava vehicle, a cloning mechanism, a laser trap, and even a 30-foot robot. There is a decent variety between the bosses, but they aren't as difficult as Sonic 1's bosses, especially once the player gets the hang of the game and the levels.

The only real beef I have with the system is the concept of the Emerald Sidequest. Sonic can collect chaos emeralds by racing along a track and gathering enough rings. Some of these stages are annoying, especially in the later areas of the game. Sure, the rewards are significant (points and continues), but it took me years to beat this sidequest. Later editions will feature better sidequests, such as Sonic 3/Knuckles. Finally, the water missions may be a little to difficult for a young and/or inexperienced player; if Sonic doesn't catch an air bubble every few seconds, he will drown!

Finally, there are several secret passages in this game, especially in Chemical Plant (if you play with the Sonic and Knuckles game, you can use Knuckles to access a plethora of "hidden" free lives and ring boxes). Sure, the secrets may not be on the level of Super Metroid, but there are plenty of them.

They're fine, especially for the time. The levels are vivid, and the layouts of the maps are built for speed. There are loops, water, etc. that make the game short. Most acts are 1-2 minutes long, especially in the beginning. In the end, this is easily the fastest Sonic, despite a few slow-paced levels (Wing Fortress and Metropolis come to mind, but they are later levels), and the graphics are fit for speed. Even the level backgrounds, while repetitive, are interesting to look at from time to time.

STORY: 18/20
The story is cute and simple, especially when combined with the remainder of the series. Sonic is attempting to free his island from Dr. Robotnik and retrieve the Chaos Emeralds. However, along the way, he must destroy Robotnik's Death Egg, a super weapon that uses the Master Emerald much like the Death Star in Star Wars. Along the way, Sonic (and his new sidekick, Tails) must trek through areas that include a tropical island, a chemical plant, some ruins, a city, a volcano, a cave, the oil-soaked and polluted outside and factory-like inside of Dr. Robotnik's base, Dr. Robotnik's air fortress, and even the Death Egg itself! The story works out nicely, and is perfect for a simple action/adventure joyride.

The music is quite catchy, especially in zones like Chemical Plant and Metropolis. Most of the music is upbeat or mechanical in nature; there are no real "sad" tunes in this game (there rarely are). Some of the sound effects are cheesy, such as Sonic's jumping and the laser noises. Overall, the sound quality is above average for a Sega Genesis game.

Like I said before, Sonic 2 will eventually grow into a breeze that can be completed in 40 minutes or less. Most of the early missions take less than two minutes, and my record for Aquatic Ruins act one is under 35 seconds! There is plenty of replay value in this game, especially with time trials and the Chaos Emerald sidequest. Casino Night can be loads of fun, especially with the ring slots and the pinball-style layout. Other levels like Hill Top and Chemical Plant have multiple paths that can be taken, thus leading to further exploration of every nook and cranny of the level. The game may be too easy at times (and even too difficult for a novice in some areas, especially the Water Zones), but it's as addicting as any other Sonic, Metroid, or Zelda game!

It may not be an RPG, but Sonic 2 was a childhood memory for me and thousands of others. I still play it every couple months or so; it's a blast. Since you can't rent these types of games anymore, I recommend finding a copy using the multitude of...methods available (I still have a working Sega, so I'm set). I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope you enjoy Sonic 2!

SCORE: 90/100
RENT OR BUY: Just get this game however you can.
OTHER RECOMMENDED/SIMILAR TITLES: Zelda series, Sonic 1, Sonic 3/Knuckles (combined), Life Force, Midnight Resistance, Contra, Super Metroid.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/30/05

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