Wednesday 2 September 2015

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a side-scrolling platformer that was released a year after the original.

There's 11 zones and this sequel introduces Tails who can propel in the air like a helicopter. You can either play as Sonic or Tails alone, or with both characters helping each other out. The new Super Dash Attack allows you to rev up from a static position before launching away at high speeds! It's handy and stops you from having to back-up to gain momentum. Each area is generally fun and highlights include Emerald Hill Zone (a spruced-up version of Green Hill Zone from the first game), Casino Night Zone (filled with neon lights, pinball levers and even slot machines to play!) and Metropolis Zone (features spinning cylinders and rolling gears that have some neat graphical effects). Each zone brings a new gameplay mechanic into the action to keep things fresh and the sense of speed is incredible. However, the level design in Hill Top Zone is bland and there's some awful underwater areas in Chemical Plant Zone and Aquatic Ruin Zone that bring the action to a crawl. There's usually only two acts per zone unlike the original's three and it feels like you're rushing through them a bit too quickly. The Special Stage challenges you to avoid bombs and collect a certain number of rings to obtain a Chaos Emerald. The 3D half-pipe effect is impressive but once you've collected the first two Emeralds it becomes a nightmare with blind corners and bombs everywhere. There's also a VS. split-screen mode where two players compete to reach the end of the level. It's a great idea but there's tons of slowdown. The game's music is great and the graphics have fantastic parallax scrolling and smooth animation.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a solid sequel with some excellent ideas but the level design isn't quite as inspired as the original game. Some of the additions are definitely welcome though, especially the Super Dash Attack and the ability to play as Tails, as they encourage you to tackle each level in new and exciting ways.

Random trivia: In 2013 a remastered version of the game was released for iOS and Android. It includes the Hidden Palace Zone that was scrapped from the original Mega Drive / Genesis version.

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