Thursday, March 23, 2023

Platform Game Mega Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the sequel to the 1991 platform game, Sonic the Hedgehog, It adds another character as well as much-needed gameplay mechanics.

Dr. Robotnik is making his evil robot army again, and it's up to Sonic to defeat him once again. However, this time he is joined by a young fox named Miles "Tails" Prower. He got the nickname Tails because of his two tails. He can use these tails to hover for a short time.

This game is the first that adds the spin-dash, not counting the remakes of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. This is an important game mechanic as it keeps the game moving fast without requiring backtracking to get enough speed to get up hills.

It has an impressive style of level design just is just as excellent as the first, placing rings and platforms in the right places so that Sonic and Tails can run through the courses as fast as possible. This game also has the chaos emeralds that grant Sonic the true ending, however, the bonus round is so much more fun this time around. Whereas the original game had a spinning room with jewels that needed to be broken, this one plays more into the platform aspect of the game. Sonic and Tails will run around in a pseudo-three-dimensional track that has twists and turns and occasionally mines to trip them up. The goal here is to collect more rings than displayed, which earns the duo a chaos emerald at the end.

The neat thing is that Tails can be played with the player-two controller as the first player guides Sonic through the game. If Tails falls behind, loses his rings, or falls into a pit, he will fly back up to the level so that he can be controlled once again. In the regular game, this is most useful in the bonus stages as the rings Tails collects will be added to the total. However, whether or not Tails is being played by a human, when he loses rings it will also affect the total. When playing without a second player, the goal is to run and jump early so that Tails also has time to get past obstacles.

There is also a race mode, in which two players compete. One player plays as Sonic and the other player plays as Tails. Playing in split screen, the goal is to get to the end of the selected stage before your opponent.

By plugging the cartridge into a Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, Knuckles can also be played in the game. This is pretty fun, as Knuckles is a glide and stick mechanic which allows him to climb when he sticks to a surface. This lets him get to areas of the levels that neither Sonic nor Tails can reach.

The game was remade for Android and iOS and later in the Sonic Origins compilation for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. This version includes Sonic and Tails as playable characters as well as a secret level based on an uncompleted stage that was cut in the final game.

Sonic Origins will be getting an expansion called Sonic Origins Plus. It will be released as a full game and as downloadable content for the original compilation on June 23, 2023. This version includes Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, as well as the hidden level. It also will add Amy Rose, with animations based on her appearance in Sonic CD, as a playable character.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an excellent game that improves upon the original in every way. Tails is a fun character that is a fantastic addition to the Sonic universe. Knuckles, when locked onto Sonic & Knuckles and in the remakes, is also a fantastic character. It's fun to be able to glide, stick, and climb to get into hidden areas with Knuckles. Amy Rose is also a fun character, so it's great to see her get added to the game in Sonic Origins Plus. The Sonic universe got overcrowded over the years, but the 16-bit characters of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, are all great characters in their own right. As it's the first time it's possible to play with all of them for the first time, and because it includes the fun hidden level, Sonic Origins Plus will be my preferred way to play this game. However, it's not a necessary purchase, as any version of the game is well worth playing.

Final Verdict:

5 out of 5

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