Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the inevitable sequel to the first Sonic the Hedgehog game. Once again it was well received by critics and went on to become 2nd best selling Mega Drive game of all time, beaten only by its predecessor.
The core mechanics of the game are also pretty much unchanged from Sonic 1. There are ten themed Zones to get through each divided into ‘Acts’.
In Sonic 2 you can be accompanied by an anthropomorphic fox named Miles Prower aka ‘Tails’. By default Tails follows Sonic through each zone and is useful for mopping up missed rings. He also flies by spinning his tail. Another player can take control of Tails, in which case he just has the same moves as Sonic and cannot fly. There is also the option to play as either Sonic or Tails alone. Additionally, the game also features a 2-player split screen competitive mode. I don’t know what it is like on a real Mega Drive, but on the emulator the display looks rather squashed.
You start each game with three lives. As you go through the levels you need to destroy enemy robots and pick up rings. You destroy an enemy by spinning into them, which releases the trapped animal within. If you are hit by an enemy you drop all the rings you are carrying. If you are hit by an enemy and have no rings you lose a life. Lives are lost instantly if you are crushed, fall off the screen, drown or exceed the generous time limit. Extra lives can be picked up during the game or by collecting 100 rings. Other items that can be picked up include Power Sneakers, Super Rings, temporary invincibility and a one-hit shield.
If you pass one of the Star Post check points while carrying at least 50 rings, you have the option of entering a special stage. Here the view changes to an ‘into the screen’ mode where the goal is to collect a certain number of rings whilst avoiding bombs. Collect the the required number of rings (this increases with Tails in tow) and you are awarded a Chaos Emerald.
There are seven Chaos Emeralds to collect. Once you have these you have the ability turn into Super Sonic by gathering a further 50 rings. This mode turns Sonic yellow and he is invincible with greater acceleration, top speed and jumping abilities. While in this mode you lose a ring per second and the mode ends once all rings are gone.
At the end of each zone, Dr Robotnik turns up in a different machine, which you must spin into a number of times to destroy (he always manages to get away).
The music is by the same composer as the original game and is of much same quality. Graphics, however have been greatly improved – they are of better quality and much faster. To this end, more of the stages have been designed to take advantage of the extra speed. A welcome addition is the Super Dash Attack which allows Sonic can reach full speed from a standing start. I found Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to be harder that the original. Maybe I need more practice but inertia made it difficult to land on small moving platforms. It was all too easy for me to fall off the rafts in the Chemical Plant Zone.
|****ing moving platforms. These wouldn’t be such a problem Mario game.|
It was also too fast for it’s own good in places, as you can find yourself bouncing around barely in control. The Casino Night Zone is appropriate – it’s set up like a pinball machine which is sometimes how Sonic 2 feels. Overall, though, it’s a great game and hasn’t really dated much at all.