Now that Sega's official t sultan of speed, Sonic The r Hedgehog, has officially zipped onto retail shelves across the country, it's time to see just what makes the speed meister tick in this sizzling sequel.
Better the Second Time Around
Everything gets better with practice, and Sega's proving that with a more than suitable sequel to 1991's Game of the Year. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is everything you loved about Sonic The Hedgehog, plus more -- more Zones, more enemies, more companions, more play modes, and more players.
Sonic was set for early retirement, ready to rest on the laurels of his '91 achievements. Unfortunately, Dr. Robotnik (Sonic's arch-enemy) decided to play it fast and loose with the forest creatures one more time. This time, the bad doctor's hatched a new sinister weapon, the Death Egg. Sonic's got to scramble the Doc's cracked plot, or the forest and its creatures are cooked.
Tough luck for Sonic, but great news for Sonic lovers everywhere. Fans of the personable homehog will be delighted to discover that Sonic isn't gonna battle the Doc solo. Enter Tails. This perky two- tailed creature of the fox persuasion is about the cutest companion that any Sonic fan could ask for. In the one-player mode, Tails tags along and does his best to help Sonic by grabbing rings and whomping bad guys. In the innovative two-player mode, Tails and Sonic work cooperatively or go head-to-head competitively in a unique split-screen format. Although the split-screen's tough to follow due to its small size and the super speed of the characters, it's an interesting change of pace.
ProTip: Make Tails help you in one-player mode. Jump towards an enemy, and then leap back. Tails will usually leap forward and do the dirty work.
Some Things Change, Others Remain the Same
Experienced players will recognize some of the locales from the first game, like the Emerald Hill Zone. However, Sonic 2's eight Zones (with two stages apiece) are packed with imaginative and original, new scenery. If you thought you saw it all in Sonic The Hedgehog, "you ain't seen nothing yet." For example, Sonic rides through vacuum tubes in a Chemical Plant, zips across corkscrew speedways in the Emerald Hill Zone, frolics through giant pinball and slot machines in the Casino Zone, and swings from vines in the Mystic Cave Zone.
Sonic 2's game play mechanics are the same as Sonic 1's with a few cool exceptions. The dude with a 'tude still skims, jumps, grabs rings and power- ups, and races across the screen. Only this time around, if you can believe it, he's even faster! When you hit the Chemical Zone, Sonic streaks across the screen at speeds never-before-seen in a video game. The mighty hedgehog also has a new secret weapon -- the Spin- Dash. Just push Down and hit Button C to make Sonic rev up for super dashes that'll take him where no hedgehog has gone before.
In Sonic The Hedgehog it was always a good idea to carry at least one ring. This advice is twice as good in Sonic The Hedgehog 2!
Sonic 2's graphics are actually better than the original's. The rich variety of scenery, slightly larger sprites, and extra added attitude help the spunky hedgehog paint video game magic. Sonic's music isn't quite as impressive through. The tunes have a slightly tinny quality at times, but there's a new and improved theme song for each of the Zones.
If there's a downside to Sonic The Hedgehog 2, it's that the game's just not tough enough. Players of all levels will be able to work their way through most of the game in relatively short order. Although Dr. Robotnik's mechanical animals are abundant in some levels, other levels, like the Casino Zone, are sparsely populated. Per usual, Dr. Robotnik's bad boss incarnations at the end of each level are imaginative but relatively easy to beat.
Fortunately, each level is large and features many different paths and many delightful surprises. It's easy to whiz through a Zone. The challenge and the fun lies in uncovering all of the Zone's hidden secrets.
Every time the cracked Doctor appears, Sonic has to figure out how to bonk him eight times to send him packing. In the Hill Top Zone, jump, curl into a super Sonic bullet, and bonk him 'til he's done for.
Gamers who sail straight through all of the zones have another surprise in store for them. You'll only see the game's true ending if you snag all the Chaos Emeralds from Bonus Rounds that are scattered along the way. Sonic and Tails enter Bonus Rounds by tagging special signposts scattered throughout each Zone. Then they take off in a tunnel race, where they try to snatch a specific number of rings. You view the 3-D action from behind the speedy duo, as you try to grab rings and dodge what look like bowling balls. Theoretically, the Genesis isn't capable of scaling, but Sonic's Bonus Rounds are gonna make you wonder!
- When you enter a Bonus Round, you lose all your rings. If you're close to 100 rings, which earn a 1-up, you might want to skip the Bonus Round -- unless you're hunting for Chaos Emeralds!
- Don't forget to jump. You can grab high-flying rings and dodge the bowling ball-like obstacles.
- To beat Dr. Robotnik in the Chemical Zone, position Sonic on the yellow platform in the middle of the screen. When Robotnik appears on either side of the screen, bounce and bash him two times. Then duck and cover. If Sonic's ducking, Robotnik's evil chemicals won't hurt him.
Aquatic Ruin Zone:
Destroy Robotnik in the Aquatic Zone by jumping on the arrows that lodge in the pillars. From there, it's an easy jump to hit Robotnik. Don't forget to dodge the next flying arrow.
More of a Good Thing
It's tough to follow a classic, but Sonic The Hedgehog 2 earns top honors. There's enough stuff that's new and different in Sonic 2 to make it a must-have game for fans of the original. Probably the best thing about Sonic 2 is that it's just plain fun. Beginning and hardcore gamers alike will enjoy this fast-paced romp with His Hedgehogness and Tails. We can't wait to see what Sonic's gonna do on CD. In the meantime, Sonic 2 gives ya plenty of fabulous gaming to pass the time.
- The Casino Zone's a great place to rack up a few free lives. Between the tons of rings and the slot machines, where you can score big with extra rings, it's easy to rack up 100 rings for a 1-up.
- In Aquatic Zone 2, there seems to be a dead end to the far right of the bottom of the water. Bounce off the yellow button to ricochet around the 180, and knock the top of the column. It will then drop low enough for Sonic to use as a springboard to catapult him onto the higher ledge to the right.
- Defeat Dr. Robotnik in the Mystic Cave Zone by dodging the falling stalagtites (don't worry -- the rocks won't hurt you). Then nail him twice each time he lowers his spikes.
- In the Mystic Cave Zone, nail the glow bug creatures when they're NOT glowing.
- The fans in the Oil Ocean can make you blow where you don't want to go...and also where you do want to go! Use them to your advantage.
- The oil's pretty gooey on the Oil Ocean's surface. When Sonic falls into it, keep jumping and you might be able to leap to a safe ledge.