|Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|Developer: Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Virtual Console, Steam|
|ROM size: 1 MB|
|Genre: 2D Platform, Racing|
|Number of players: 1-2|
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ２) is the highly successful sequel of the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive. Put into development not long after the completion of the first game, the title would go on to become one of the most successful video games of all time, selling millions of units and cementing the franchise as a cultural phenomenon in the west.
Introducing Miles "Tails" Prower in the role he was created for, the game was released worldwide on November 24th, 1992. Dubbed "Sonic 2sday," the simultaneous release was an unusual move for the time. The game eventually replaced the original Sonic the Hedgehog as the default pack-in title for the Mega Drive, being bundled with the redesigned Mega Drive II model.
Some time after stopping Dr. Eggman once again, Sonic the Hedgehog grows restless, deciding to do what he does best - travel the world, looking for adventure. Climbing into his trusty biplane, the red-and-white Tornado, the blue hedgehog begins flying the skies, looking for places unknown. On nothing more than an impulse, Sonic decides to land on an unassuming island, called West Side Island. Deciding to kick back and explore the isle, Sonic is completely oblivious to the legend connected to the island, and the similarities it has in relation to his adventures on South Island. According to legend, there was once a great and prosperous people who lived on its shores, who achieved their greatness through the use of mysterious, powerful stones. Their peace could have been everlasting if not for a select few who desired to use the stones for their own selfish gains, causing the gods to take away the stones and hide them away on the island...
A few days after landing, Sonic realized that he was being followed by someone. Looking behind him, Sonic spotted a young fox, who immediately hid from the blue hedgehog when he looked his way. Not thinking much of it, Sonic ran off, the fox once again following. The young fox's given name, Miles Prower, was overshadowed by his nickname, "Tails," derived from the fact that he possessed not one but two tails behind him. Often being ridiculed by his peers, "Tails" outlook on life changed immediately once he spotted Sonic running around his home, deciding that he had to follow and emulate his new hero, wanting to be just as cool and confident. No matter where Sonic would go, Miles would try and follow, Sonic eventually accepting the near-constant trailing of the young fox.
Not long after, during a brief moment when "Tails" was exploring the beaches of West Side on his own, he came across the Tornado, glittering in the sun. Spotting it in the distance, he became extremely excited, running as fast as he could towards it. Engrossed in its design, he wondered who the plane belonged to. He didn't have to wait too long when, out of the corner of his eye, the fox spotted the distinct image of Sonic, taking a nap under one of the wings. This newfound knowledge was not given much time to process in "Tails" mind when suddenly a loud explosion echoed through the air, shocking Sonic awake.
Looking beyond the Emerald Hill Zone, a large pillar of fire could be seen, accompanied by a new, yet familiar, army of mechanical robots. It only took a second for Sonic to guess who had caused the explosion, cursing Eggman's name and running into the thick of it. Without hesitation, Miles Prower followed behind, knowing that he had to be right at Sonic's side.
His laugh echoing in the wind, Eggman couldn't help but gloat over his newest plan, being grateful for having the foresight to follow Sonic to West Side Island. Learning of the legend of the island, Eggman came to the realization that the legendary stones talked of could only be the Chaos Emeralds, this island being the true resting place of not only the six from before, but of a seventh as well. Once again wanting the emeralds for himself, Eggman plans on using them to power his latest creation, the Death Egg, a flying fortress orbiting the planet with the potential to be his greatest weapon. With the desire to rule the world fueling the mad doctor, he prepares to once again engage with his greatest enemy, the one force that could possibly spoil his plans.
"The stage is set. Now it's time for you to bring the curtain to a close on this adventure once and for all!"
Building upon the engine from the first game, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 kept to the same basic formula as the first game: to overcome a series of obstacles and enemies and reach the end of each "Act," all under the span of ten minutes. Many of the elements that made the first Sonic the Hedgehog unique return, such as the loop-de-loops and curved slopes, while introducing new hazards and level elements like the corkscrews in Emerald Hill Zone and the slot machines in Casino Night Zone, placed inside areas taking full advantage of the pinball side of the physics. With the exception of Metropolis Zone (which has three Acts) and the final three zones of the game (which are one act each), each zone only possesses two acts, although each act in this game is larger than the acts found in Sonic the Hedgehog.
The main form of attack for Sonic is the same as the first game, the ever trusty spin attack that Sonic curls into each time he jumps. Able to hit enemies from any angle as long as spikes or some other projectile is not in the way, he can also curl into this spin on the ground in the same way, by the player pressing down on the control pad as he runs along the terrain. However, the game also introduces a new way to gather up speed in this form without having to build it up. The spin dash, which has since become a staple of the series, allows Sonic to rev up in a static location before he fires off, either destroying enemies in his wake or giving him the momentum to slide up steep slopes and reach higher areas of each level. By pressing and holding down while tapping the jump button, letting go of the control pad allows Sonic to zoom ahead, Dr. Eggman's forces being no match for the blue hedgehog.
As both the title screen and the story suggest, a new character is introduced in the game. Miles "Tails" Prower, by default, follows Sonic around automatically, emulating each move you do. Sometimes helpful and sometimes baffling, he is also given an infinite number of lives, so if you're able to just miss a hazard with Sonic but "Tails" is less than fortunate, he will return to the screen, using his namesake to fly from the top of the screen down to where Sonic is standing. He also uses this method to catch up to Sonic if the player is fast enough to lose the two-tailed fox. If a second controller is plugged in, another player can control "Tails," making Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the first game with "1.5 player" play. Although given the flying animation, the other player can not activate "Tails" flying ability, nor can they jump on the various monitors that litter each zone. The infinite lives count, however, remains. In the options menu to the game, having "Tails" follow you can be turned on or off, the game also giving you the option to play as "Tails" by himself. Though he can now break monitors when alone, he still can not fly, and must follow the same rules of extra lives as Sonic does in the main game.
Special Stages and Chaos Emeralds return in this game, although both how you access them and how you play through them are completely different from the first Sonic the Hedgehog. The only way to activate them is by hitting the checkpoints in this game, which are Star Posts instead of Lamp Posts. If the player possesses fifty rings while touching the post, a ring of stars will appear for a short time, jumping into them transporting Sonic and "Tails" into the Special Stage. A three-dimensional-esque half pipe that can feel like a roller coaster, the object is to collect the number of rings the stage announces at the beginning. Each stage is broken up into three parts, and if the player successfully collects rings for all three tries, they will be awarded with one of the Chaos Emeralds. While the last game only had six, Sonic 2 raises the total by one. And while the Chaos Emeralds are not completely necessary to beat the game in a simple run through, they are still needed to view the true ending of the game. As an added incentive, the team behind the game decided to give the players a bonus for collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds. After finding the seventh, and then collecting yet another fifty rings in a zone and jumping up, Sonic will transform into Super Sonic, a golden-hued, buffed out version of the original who is both invincible and super fast. The only downside, though, is the transformation is temporary, and drains Sonic's ring count, returning to his original true blue self once all the rings are gone.
Being the second in the series, the team behind the game decided they would try their hand at a competitive, two player mode. Taking the Emerald Hill Zone, Casino Night Zone, Mystic Cave Zone from the main game, throwing in the Special Stages, and giving the main levels a unique soundtrack for the mode, each player controls one of the main characters to the game as they traverse a split-screen form of these classic levels. With Sonic on top and "Tails" on the bottom, they are graded on five criteria for each act: Score, Time, Ring count at the end of the act, Total Ring count (including those lost by being hit), and number of Item Boxes popped open. The player that wins the most out of those five takes the round. Though the standard item boxes from the game are present, there are two that are unique to this mode. The first is a teleportation box, which will switch Sonic and "Tails"' position on the map. The second is an Eggman monitor, that will cause whoever pops it open to take a hit. As every monitor on-screen is only static, it is always random as to what will be found inside each monitor. Also of note is that the extra lives in the item boxes are not determined by which character opens it, but by which character's face shows up, so it is entirely possible for the player being Sonic to give "Tails" an extra life, and vice-versa.
As each zone only contains two acts, if a tie occurs it will be decided by the competitors in a Special Stage. As these play different from the rest of the game, the only criteria that is graded is the ring count at the end of each segment, the stage still split up into three "rounds." The best two out of three takes the special stage, and subsequently the zone. Even if there are no ties during a run through the two player mode, the Special Stage is still one of the four levels to be chosen during the mode, the same rules applying to it as the other Special Stages. The player who wins the most out of everything is, naturally, the winner.
For those who want their two-player encounters to be even crazier, an option is available to change every monitor in the game to a teleportation monitor.
Hitting Bumpers: 10 points each for the first ten hits on any given bumper; after that no more points can be gained from that bumper.
(A chain refers to all enemies destroyed until the next time Sonic lands on some form of ground, or releases from a Spin Dash)
Dr. Eggman Boss: 1000 points each
End Level Ring Bonus: 100 points for each ring held
End Level Perfect Bonus: The game stores a list of how many rings are present in each level. Each time you get a lone ring, the game subtracts one from this value. If this value is 0 when you pass the end signpost, you receive a 50,000 point bonus. Super Ring boxes and those placed by debug mode do not affect this counter. Getting hit by an enemy and losing your current rings does not reset the counter.
End Level Time Bonus:
Special Scoring in Casino Night Zone:
Below is a listing of the songs available to play through the game's sound test, accessible through the level select code.
The game sold 6 million cartridges worldwide, making it the second best-selling Mega Drive game, second only to the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Out of those 6 million worldwide sales, only 400,000 units were sold in Japan.
Upon release, Ed Simrad of Electronic Gaming Monthly stated that the "twice as long" play time offers "more enjoyment for the buck" and that as "a 2 player game, there is twice the fun." He praised the "larger and harder" levels and "quite innovative" new moves, concluding that it is "the best all-around game on the market." GamePro stated that it is "tough to follow up a classic, but Sonic The Hedgehog 2 earns top honors." They stated that "the best thing about Sonic 2 is that it's just plain fun" and concluded that it gives "plenty of fabulous gaming to pass the time." Andy of Game Informer stated that it is "not as easy as the first and has more variation. The addition of the two-player split screen is great." Jaz of Mean Machines described it as "faster, slicker, more colourful, louder, bigger and much, much tougher than the original," concluding that it is "packed with features, has loads of secrets, and rounds it all up with a superlative two-player mode that'll have your friends queuing round the block to play. Brilliant!"
The game's main criticisms concern the competitive, split-screen, two-player mode, a new introduction to the series. The game allowed two-player mode in three different zones (Emerald Hill, Casino Night and Mystic Cave). While the mode was generally well received upon release, several reviewers have criticized the mode's noticeable slowdown, prominent flickering, and squashed play area for each player. However, IGN praised the innovation of the new two player mode, quipping that "Mario and Luigi could never run competitively through the same levels, at the same time".
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it the Best Game of the Year (Genesis) award for 1992, describing it as "the best Genesis cart to come along in a long time!"  Game Informer gave Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the Best Action/Adventure Game award, praising it for keeping "the same look and feel of the original Sonic, while adding a two-player mode, longer levels, new moves, and better animation. Wow!" Electronic Games chose Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as one of the three nominees for their Video Game of the Year award, along with Street Fighter II and NHLPA Hockey '93.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been listed among the best games of all time. In 2000, Game Informer ranked Sonic 2 number 61 on its "Top 100 Games of All Time" list, calling it "the most challenging and finely polished Sonic the Hedgehog title." They later ranked it the 97th best game of all time in 2009. Mega placed the game at #36 in their "Top Sega Mega Drive Games of All Time" list in 1994. It has also been listed among the best games of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly (in 1997 and 2001), GameFAQs (in 2004, 2005, 2009  and 2014), GamingBolt, Guinness World Records, NowGamer, Retro Gamer  and Yahoo!
Executive Producer: Hayao Nakayama
Producer: Shinobu Toyoda
Director: Masaharu Yoshii
Chief Programmer: Yuji Naka (YU2)
Game Planner: Hirokazu Yasuhara (Carol Yas)
Programmer: Mark Cerny
Character Design and Chief Artist: Yasushi Yamaguchi (Judy Totoya)
Assistant Programmers: Bill Willis, Masanobu Yamamoto
Object Placement: Hirokazu Yasuhara, Takahiro Anto, Yutaka Sugano
Special Stage Object Placement: Yutaka Sugano
Zone Artists: Yasushi Yamaguchi, Craig Stitt, Brenda Ross, Jina Ishiwatari, Tom Payne, Phenix Rie
Special Stage Art and CG: Tim Skelly, Peter Morawiec
Music Composer: Masato Nakamura
Sound Programmer: Tomoyuki Shimada
Sound Assistants: Macky, Jimita, Milpo, Ippo, S.O, Oyz, N.Gee
Project Assistants: Syuichi Katagi, Takahiro Hamano, Yoshiki Ooka, Steve Woita
Game Manual: Youichi Takahashi, Carol Ann Hanshaw
Executive Supporters: Daizaburou Sakurai, Hisashi Suzuki, Thomas Kalinske, Fujio Minegishi, Takaharu Utsunomiya
Special Thanks to:
Cindy Claveran, France Tantiado, Daisuke Saito, Kunitake Aoki, Tsuneko Aoki, Deborah McCracken, Tatsuo Yamada, Rick Macaraeg, Locky P, Masaaki Kawamura
Presented by: Sega
Sonic Jam digital manual, US
US TV advert
|93||Sonic Retro Average|
|Based on 30 reviews|
|Mega Drive, AU (Gold Collection)|
|Mega Drive, CA|
As of GoodGen 3.21:
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)|
|Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Mega Drive and its add-ons|
|Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) | Sonic the Hedgehog CD (1993) | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994) | Sonic & Knuckles (1994) | Chaotix (1995) | Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (1996)|
|Prototype versions||Unreleased games|
|Sonic 2 | Sonic CD | Sonic Spinball | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine | Sonic 3 | Sonic & Knuckles | Knuckles in Sonic 2 | Chaotix | Sonic 3D||Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega-CD) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 CD | Sister Sonic | Sonic-16 | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Limited Edition | Sonic Sports | Untitled STI Sonic Game | Sonic Mars|
|Sonic games available on Virtual Console/WiiWare|
|Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (2006) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2007) | Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (2007) | Sonic Spinball (2007) | Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (2007) | Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) (2008) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) (2008) | Sonic Chaos (2009) | Sonic & Knuckles (2009) | Sonic 4: Episode 1 (2010)|
|Pre-release Sonic games for Virtual Console/WiiWare|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I (WiiWare JP prototype)|
|Sonic games available on Steam|
|Sonic the Hedgehog (2010) | Sonic Spinball (2010) | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (2010) | Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island (2010) | Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2010) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2011) | Sonic 3 & Knuckles (2011) | Sonic Adventure (2011) | Sonic Generations (2011) | Sonic 4: Episode 1 (2012) | Sonic the Hedgehog CD (2012) | Sonic 4: Episode 2 (2012) | Sonic Adventure 2 (2012) | Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2013) | Sonic Lost World (2015)|
|Pre-release Sonic games for Steam|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II (Beta 8)|
|Sonic games for Apple iOS Devices|
|Sonic the Hedgehog iPod (2007) / iPhone (2009) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2009) | Sonic Spinball (2010) | Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (2010) | Sonic 4: Episode 1 (2010) | Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2011) | Sonic the Hedgehog CD (2011) | Sonic 4: Episode 2 (2012) | Sonic Jump (2012) | Sonic Dash (2013) | Sonic the Hedgehog (2013) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013) | Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2013) | Sonic Jump Fever (2014) | Sonic Runners (2015) | Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom (2015)|
|Sonic games for Google Android devices|
|Sonic Advance (2011) | Sonic the Hedgehog CD (2011) | Sonic 4: Episode 1 (2012) | Sonic 4: Episode 2 (2012) | Sonic Jump (2012) | Sonic the Hedgehog (2013) | Happy Sonic! Live Wallpaper (2013) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013) | Sonic Dash (2013) | Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2013) | Sonic Jump Fever (2014) | Sonic Runners (2015) | Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom (2015)|