A great sequel that any Sonic fan old or new should be proud of.
So for the last few days I've been stuck on one game from my past that I can't seem to put down and that game is Sonic The Hedgehog 2. In a lot of people's opinions it is probably the best 2D Sonic game around and it shows as Sonic 2 was the best selling game on the Genesis. Six million copies of the game have been sold since it was released on the Genesis and back in the 90s that was pretty good for a game. Today that legacy is still held up as the game has also seen numerous releases on other consoles, but in my review I'll be talking about the Genesis version only. Now as with my other reviews, I'll break the review down in four categories: story, graphics, sound, and gameplay and control. Let's start with the most basic of any game, the story.
Story: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was made back in the 90s and there wasn't much of a story to the game, but I'll try my best to explain it. After the events of Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic thinks that he's heard the last from Dr. Robotnik and decides to go take a vacation on South Island, it's a mysterious place and Sonic doesn't know much about the place. He arrives via his plane the Tornado and picks a nice peaceful spot on the beach to relax, but unknown to him Dr. Robotnik has followed him and discovers a secret about this island, according to what Robotnik has discovered there are seven mysterious gems called the Chaos Emeralds that are hidden on the island and contain an unlimited source of power, Robotnik thinks these gems are perfect to power his new Death Egg and he sets about searching the island for them. Meanwhile Sonic is enjoying his vacation when he spots a two tailed fox looking over his plane, curious Sonic asks the little guy what his name is and he says it's Miles Prower. For some reason Sonic takes a liking to the two tailed fox named Miles and gives him the nickname Tails. He seems to like it and tells Sonic of what Robotnik is doing, Sonic seems rather surprised by Robotink following him, but more surprised when Tails tells him about the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic not wanting the emeralds to fall into Robotnik's hands sets out to once again thwart his with Tails in tow as the both of them race across the island in an effort to find the emeralds before Robotink. There's really nothing wrong with the story so I can't really nitpick at it since the games really never established a continuation and most of the story comes from what fans know. Moving on let's talk about graphics.
Graphics: Ah yes the Sega Genesis, it was quite the capable machine, but it wasn't as powerful as the Super Nintendo in terms of power. It didn't stop Sega for adverting the game as it used what was called Blast Processing, even to this day I don't even know what it meant, but from what I gathered it was a special type of process that Sega invented specifically for Sonic 2 to showcase what the Genesis was capable of. It relied more on the processing speed of the Genesis to achieve a fast scrolling effect which in turned worked out pretty well for the Genesis. I really can't complain about the graphics, everything looks very colorful and the stages themselves have a sense of uniqueness to them. This time around Sonic looks little updated from Sonic The Hedgehog, but it's only minor and for Tails debut he looks pretty good himself. The only time the graphics tend to get choppy is when you're playing the two player versus mode. You can tell the split screen is pushing what the Genesis can do and at times the game will slowdown to a crawl or possibility even freeze up, but these are minor annoyances and don't take anyway from the main game. Next let's talk about sound.
Sound: Now this is definitely where Sonic The Hedgehog 2 scores some high marks. The music in the game is probably some of the best you'll hear out of the 16 bit era. Each stage has its own unique theme and some of them are quite catchy, I found myself humming the boss theme from Sonic 2 a few times and I'll even got as far as to say that I have some of the music from Sonic 2 on my iPod. It shows how much of an influence the music has on a game and if do correctly it can enhance the game quite a lot. The rest of the sounds are somewhat recycled from the first game like the invincible theme, some of the jingles, and various other little sound effects, but that's being nit-picky, overall sound in Sonic 2 isn't a problem and does the game justice. Last but not least is gameplay and controls.
Gameplay and Controls: Let's start off with gameplay, now for Sonic 2 you can't get much simpler than this, pretty much it boils down to you run from the beginning of the stage to the end of the stage and at the end of stage two on each level you face off against Robotnik and one of his various machines he drives. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 isn't the longest game around so expect to finish it off within at least an hour or so, but for those who are looking for a challenge there's the Chaos Emeralds to collect. At first it isn't hard to collect them, but once you get up to the fifth emerald that's where they turn up the difficulty and having Tails with you can prove an exercise in patience as he'll run into bombs making you lose your hard collected rings forcing you to recollect the said emerald again. This little problem can be easily avoided if you make it to where Sonic is on his own. Once you collect all seven emeralds Sonic will transform in Super Sonic, meaning he'll be more difficult to control, but if your good enough you'll have not problem controlling him. Playing the two player mode can provide some added gameplay length to Sonic 2 and there's nothing like making your friend or sibling mad when you make them lose their rings or switch places with them via the monitors. For it's worth Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is an enjoyable experience while it lasts, but it's not for everyone do in part to it's short length and sometimes frustrating stages, but for me it's not that much of an annoyance.
Finally controls, now what can I say about the controls. They're probably some of the easiest controls to remember, pretty much any button you push makes Sonic jump and the control pad makes him move in any direction. Additionally new to Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is the addition of the spin dash which is performed by having Sonic stand in place and pushing down on the control pad and any of the buttons makes Sonic curl up into a tight ball and he starts spinning in place. Once released he spins depending on how long you kept the action going. It's a nice addition to the series and helps when you don't have enough speed. Overall controls are simple and easy enough not to trouble new comers.
Overall: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is one of the best Sonic games around and all around a great platformer, I can recommend it to almost anyone and overall I couldn't see myself not giving the game lower than a 10 since it had a big impact on me as a kid, it's one of the first games I played, it introduced me to games in general and one cool blue hedgehog with an attitude.