Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game that was developed in the United States by members of Sonic Team working at Sega Technical Institute, and published by Sega for the Mega Drive/Genesis. It was released in Japan on November 21, 1992 and in North America and Europe three days later on November 24, 1992 (Sega nicknamed the American and European release date, a Tuesday, "Sonic 2sday"). It is the sequel to Sonic The Hedgehog and was followed by Sonic The Hedgehog 3 in 1994. The game introduces Tails the Fox as a new playable character.
The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog and his new partner, Tails the Fox, on their mission to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power the Death Egg. Sonic and Tails must defeat Robotnik's army and free their friends.
The game has sold over 6.3 million copies, making it the second best selling game on the Mega Drive/Genesis. The game was compatible with Sonic & Knuckles lock-on feature which allowed the player to play as Knuckles (a character who made his debut in Sonic 3, and playable debut in Sonic and Knuckles) in Sonic 2.
Aquatic Ruin ZoneThe gameplay of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 builds upon the basic set-up of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. The player finishes each level, generally moving from left to right, within a time limit of 10 minutes. Along the way, rings are collected and enemies are defeated. Star posts serve as checkpoints, where if the player was to lose a life then he or she would return to one. When the player has collected at least 50 rings, star posts can be run past for an optional Special Stage. At the end of the last act of most levels, Sonic confronts Dr. Robotnik.
Levels grew significantly in size from Sonic the Hedgehog. The gameplay was also made faster, and Sonic was given a new special move referred to as the "Super Sonic Spin Dash". This attack allows Sonic crawl in a ball and spin while staying stationary, eventually resulting with a speed boost.
From the options menu, players can select to either play as Sonic alone or Tails alone, or have Tails follow Sonic. In the latter mode, players control Sonic while Tails runs along beside him; a second player can join in at any time and control Tails separately, but the screen still focuses on Sonic, while Tails can fall off-screen.
Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds by completing all of the special stages will unlock a new feature; Sonic's ability to change into Super Sonic. Sonic changes into his Super Form when he has collected at least 50 rings and jumps into the air. At this point, he turns yellow and speeds up and becomes invincible; his speed, acceleration and jump height are all increased as well. While in this state, one ring is lost per second; when the player has no rings remaining or reaches the end of the act, Sonic reverts to his normal state.
Special Stages in Sonic 2In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, there are 7 special stages. When Sonic has collected at least 50 rings, he can use a star post to warp him to a special stage.
Special Stages track Sonic from behind while he runs through a 3D half-pipe course filled with rings and bombs. A set amount of rings must be collected to pass through three checkpoints and eventually obtain the emerald itself. If Sonic collides with a bomb, he will lose some rings and will be immobilized for a few seconds. The order of stages is fixed in rising difficulty, and Sonic cannot enter the next stage without passing the previous. After finishing, Sonic is transported back to the last star post he hit in the zone when the special stage is over and has zero rings.
In "2P VS" mode, players compete against each other to the finish line, either as Sonic or Tails, in a split-screen race through three regular levels; Emerald Hill, Casino Night, and Mystic Cave, and a special stage. In the regular levels, players are ranked in five areas (score, time, rings held at the end of the level, total rings collected, and number of item boxes broken), with the player scoring highest in the most levels winning the round, while in the Special Stage, players compete to obtain the most rings.
After one player finishes one of the regular levels, the other player must finish the zone within 60 seconds. In case of a tie, an additional Special Stage round must be completed. The mode ends when all three normal stages have been completed or when a player gets a game over; in the case of a game over, his/her opponent will instantly win.
There are two unique items in versus-mode: a teleport monitor that instantly switches positions between players in the zone, and a Robotnik item that damages the player.
After Robotnik's defeat in first Sonic the Hedgehog game, Sonic meets "Tails", and the two become good friends. Meanwhile, Robotnik begins his search for the Chaos Emeralds to fuel his new Death Egg warship. He launches his full-scale attack on the island and imprisons all of the animals of the island and turns them into mindless worker drones called "badniks". Determined to thwart him at all costs, Sonic sets out with Tails to locate the Emeralds before Robotnik does, and stop him before the Death Egg is complete.
Sonic eventaully makes his way to, and destroys the Death Egg. If Sonic does not get all emeralds, he falls from the Death Egg and Tails rescues him with the biplane, the Tornado. If Sonic has all seven chaos emeralds, he becomes Super Sonic and flies down to the planet, alongside Tails in the Tornado.
Development and Release
While Sonic the Hedgehog was designed by Sonic Team in Japan, development duties for Sonic 2 were handed over to Sega Technical Institute in the United States. However experienced Japanese Sonic Team members such as Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara (the first game's lead programmer and game planner respectively) were brought in to work alongside the American developers. Masaharu Yoshii served as the game's director.
Taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the predecessors, the designers of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 intended for the graphics to display the "natural beauty" and "mechanical texture of materials forming a clear contrast with each other". The staff introduced new graphical elements such as the special stages with 3D-like appearances, and increased the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in relation to its predecessor.
The game was originally to contain time travel and it was to be released on Mega-CD, but this idea was dropped in development; the Mega-CD port of the game became Sonic CD, where the time travel elements were implemented.
Several prototypes of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 exist, each of which reveal more about the game's development history, as well as concepts such as levels and badniks that were dropped at various points during development. Two well-known prototypes include the so-called "Nick Arcade prototype", named after the show in which it is believed the prototype was shown to the public, and the "Simon Wai prototype", after the discoverer of the prototype, who found it on a Chinese GeoCities website. Yuji Naka has remarked that the latter prototype was from a demonstration cartridge that was stolen at a toy show in New York in 1992, while Sega's Akinori Nishiyama has stated that the leak was due to the lack of security at the time. In Asia and Brazil, the prototype version was put on cartridges and passed off as the final version by pirates who altered it slightly to stop the Sega logo and animation from showing when the game boots up, as was the common practice.
Many zones in the prototypes are not entirely playable, but can be explored by entering a special debug code that allows the selection of any zone. These levels include Wood Zone,[12 Mystic Cave Zone, Genocide City Zone and Hidden Palace Zone. Hidden Palace Zone is the most complete of the zones that were later dropped, with Act 1 being nearly complete; a re-imagined Hidden Palace Zone was later included as a playable zone in Sonic & Knuckles. Of the other dropped zones, Wood Zone was also partially playable, with some graphics complete. Genocide City Zone, mentioned in the level select, never went past the concept stage, but its concept art was reused and later became the third stage of Metropolis Zone, the only zone to have three acts. Rock Zone and Winter Zone, though not found in prototypes, were mentioned in concept art, but dropped after the time travel concept was abandoned.
Several dropped enemies were also discovered, some of which belonged to zones that were later dropped. These include the Redz badnik, a simple dinosaur which would move back and forth; the B-Bat, B-Fish and Stego badniks, all from Hidden Palace zone; and the Gator badnik, originally to have appeared in the removed Dust Hill Zone. There were many other scrapped badniks, such as the bubbler badnik, though only concept art for these badniks exists.
Later prototypes were discovered, named "beta 4" through "beta 8", that were near-finished and by this time, had been divested of the dropped stages. One of the last minute changes to the game was the title screen; the old one was even printed in the manual as a screenshot.
Sega launched a $10 million advertising campaign for Sonic the Hedgehog 2's release. The game was the first game to be shipped worldwide on the same release day on the Mega Drive/Genesis on November 21, 1992. The Sega Mega Drive release in Europe and the North American Genesis release came three days later on November 24, 1992, a Tuesday, and the release day was dubbed "Sonic 2s day". 400,000 copies of Sonic 2 were sold in the first seven days after release.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has since been re-released many times as part of many Sega and Sonic themed compilations. Additionally, it has been made available digitally on Wii's Virtual Console on June 11, 2007, PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network on April 19, 2011, and Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade, the latter having enhancements such as online leaderboards, achievements, and online play. Various mobile phone versions exist as well, including the iOS release.
Sonic 2 locked on to Sonic & Knuckles
Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a game which is the result of attaching Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to the passthrough cartridge of Sonic & Knuckles that was released later by Sega. The resulting game is almost identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but with players controlling Knuckles and a few minor level layout differences. Knuckles can glide and climb walls, which allows him to gain access to areas otherwise hidden or unreachable by Sonic and Tails, while his weaker jumping abilities make some situations, such as certain boss fights (particularly the final fight) more difficult. The two player mode and the options screen have also been removed. Unlike in the default game, when a player activates a star-post and enters the special stage, the ring count remains upon returning to the regular stage. Also, Knuckles will retain the number of rings he had when he passes through a checkpoint, after a life is lost, while Sonic and Tails start each checkpoint with zero rings whenever they lose a life.
Due to the popularity of its predecessor Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2 already had an established fanbase anticipating its release. The release of Sonic 2 was the main reason that Sega caught up to Nintendo in the "console wars". It brought their market share up to 50% within six months of its release. It was very well received by most gaming reviewers. It was praised for its large levels, colourful graphics and backgrounds, increased cast of characters and enemies alike, and music. GameSpot stated that "Time may have eroded Sega's prominence, but it hasn't done much to diminish how sweet Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is," and, along with other reviewers, commented on how it is still a fun game to play. Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded it as the best Sega Genesis game of 1992. 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."
The game's main criticisms were of the two player mode, a new introduction to the series. Sonic 2 achieved the split-screen display through a 448 line display mode, one of the few Mega Drive games to use it. This mode doubled the workload on the CPU, and caused interlacing-induced visual artifacts. Reviewers criticized the game's noticeable slowdown and prominent flickering, not to mention the squashed play area for each player. Finally, the game only allowed two-player mode in three different zones (Emerald Hill, Casino Night and Mystic Cave). William Burrill of the Toronto Star described the two player racing mode as the "only part of the game that can be faulted," citing that the mode and its split screen view "squeezes the graphics, plumps up the characters and slows down the action."
The game has sold over 6.3 million copies altogether. Its ending theme song, "Sweet Dream" by Dreams Come True, was later remixed by Akon for the PS3 and 360 title Sonic the Hedgehog.