Sonic Drift 2 (ソニックドリフト２ Sonikku Dorifuto Ni?), also called Sonic Drift Racing in Europe, is a kart racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series for the Sega Game Gear, developed and released by Sega. The game is the sequel to Sonic Drift that, unlike its predecessor, was released internationally in 1995. Featuring more race courses and additional items, the game also added more playable characters.
Sonic Drift 2 is a racing game with nearly identical gameplay elements compared to Sonic Drift. In gameplay, the player races along a courses against three other characters for a top position in the race. Like in the previous entry, the game's single player mode has three Chaos GP circuits with different difficulty settings (purple, white and blue) to win, with each circuit featuring six race tracks for the player to complete. Clearing all three circuits grants access to the Final Cup. The game also has same the features and difficulty options from the previous title, while also allowing the player to turn race track obstacles on or off.
The game's controls are closely similar to those in Sonic Drift with only small changes. Monitor power-ups are not triggered automatically upon contact, but are instead saved at the top corner of the screen and it can be used in any time. The player can only carry one power-up at time. Alternatively, the player can use a playable character's Special Ability after getting two Rings. Certain Monitor items or Special Abilities can as well hamper opponents' progress. The game is more challenging than the Sonic Drift, as the courses include more tricks and obstacles and a more advanced A.I. that has an easier time competing against the player. The player also has to worry about moving outside the roads' borders, which may hold pits or off-road tracks that slows down the racers.
Like in Sonic Drift, the player starts out in the fourth place at the beginning of a Chaos GP circuit. As the player completes a race course, they and each other racer are awarded with points based on their finishing positions, allowing the participants to improve their place:
- 1st Place: 3 points
- 2nd Place: 2 points
- 3rd Place: 1 points
- 4th Place: 0 points
In gameplay, Chaos Emeralds are awarded for winning races. If Sonic, Tails, Amy or Knuckles collect all six in the Blue GP, they will face Dr. Robotnik in a "Final GP" race around the Death Egg. If Robotnik, Metal Sonic or Fang collect all six in the Blue GP, they will face Sonic in the "Final GP" race. When the player wins the Final GP in first place, they will have cleared the game.
|left and right||Move|
|up||Use the power-up item or Special Ability.|
|START button||Pauses the game|
|START, +||Pauses the game, exits the Free Run mode|
Sonic Drift 2 has more items and power-ups than in Sonic Drift, most of which included multicolored Monitors.
|Ring||The traditional Ring which can be collected over the course of a race. If a racer has two Rings (three in Metal Sonic's case), the racer can perform their own unique Special Ability.|
|Dash||A red Monitor that grants a small burst of speed.|
|Jump||A yellow Monitor that bounces the racer into mid-air similar to the Spring. Press up on to trigger it.|
|Mine||A gray Monitor that contains a mine. Pressing up on drops the mine on the race course. Touching the mines makes a racer screech to a complete stop.|
|Invincible||A blue Monitor which makes the racer invulnerable to obstacles and Special Abilities for a few seconds.|
|Spring||Red Springs that will bounce the racer into mid-air. Several race courses have Gorges, that the racers have to cross by using Springs. While flying via a Spring, power-ups or Special Abilities cannot be utilized.|
|Flash||When a racer drives into a Flash Star, the entire screen momentarily whites out. In the Versus multiplayer mode, this will happen to both players, regardless of user.|
|Reverse||Passing though a Reverse ball reverses a racer's movements momentarily, meaning pressing left on turns the racer to the right and vice versa.|
Gimmicks and obstacles
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Cyclone||A High-Speed Dash that greatly increases Sonic's speed for about five seconds.||High||High||Low|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||MTP-02 Wheelwind S7||A Flying Jump, similar to the jump given from driving over a Spring.||Medium||Medium||Medium|
|Eggman||Egg Typhoon||Throws Land Mines onto the track, which explode and immediately stop any racers that drive into them.||Low||Decent||Very high|
|Amy Rose||Breeze||Summons and throws small Hearts on the track, which do not do damage, but greatly slow down and reverse the controls of any racer that drives into them.||High||Low||Medium|
|Metal Sonic||Blue Devil||A High-Speed Dash similar to that of Sonic's, but with greatly increased Power and Acceleration. However, it is so powerful, it requires three Rings to use, instead of the usual two.||Very high||Very high||Very low|
|Fang the Sniper||Marvelous Queen||Tosses Oil Balls onto the track, which cause any racers that drive over them to slip, lose control, and eventually spin out.||High||High||Low|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Tempest||Lets Knuckles Punch any nearby racers, causing them to drop a Ring, and grind to a complete stop. If none are in the vicinity, a Flying Jump, similar to Tails' is triggered, making Knuckles the only playable character in the game with two Special Abilities.||Medium||Medium||Medium|
Each Chaos GP circuit in Sonic Drift 2 has six race courses, each with its own obstacles and items related to their theme. Like power-ups and Special Abilities, many obstacles can affect course of the race by knocking racers off the race track or slow them down.
Several of the courses in Sonic Drift 2 are named after Zones from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (like the Emerald Hill Zone and the Casino Night Zone). In addition, Ice Cap is a reference to IceCap Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 which was released a year earlier. Iron Ruin serves as a heads up to the Scrap Brain Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog which was released four years earlier.
|Chaos GP||1st course||2nd course||3rd course||4th course||5th course||6th course|
|Purple||Emerald Hill 1
||Hill Top 1
||Dark Valley 1
||Desert Road 1
|White||Desert Road 2
||Hill Top 2
||Emerald Hill 2|
|Blue||Dark Valley 2
Free Run is the basic Time Attack mode of Sonic Drift 2 that allows the player to replay any of the race courses with goal of getting the fastest record possible. On the menu screen, the player can choose the race course and playable character and then start the race with the "Run" option. The separate "Results" option shows the player's three best circuit times and the single best lap time.
Versus mode is the multiplayer mode of Sonic Drift 2 and can include up to two players. To play, players have to connect two Game Gear handheld units using two Sonic Drift 2 Paks and one Gear-to-Gear Cable (called VS Cable in Japan). The Versus mode's gameplay is similar to that in the Chaos GP which include the same features and has all the race courses available.
The Option menu lets the player set the game's difficulty to either Normal or Hard (Hard mode increases opponent racers' acceleration). It also includes the Enemy option, which lets the player turn on or off the number of obstacles on the race course.
Sonic Drift 2 received mixed to negative reviews from critics much like the original Sonic Drift. On its release, Famicom Tsūshin gave the game a 19 out of 40. For its inclusion in Sonic Gems Collection, Tom Bramwell of Gamespy criticized the game for looking awful due the resolution on the Game Gear emulation. Ryan Davis of Gamespot also called the game "unplayable because of poor handling and a really short horizon."
Sonic Drift 2 along with other Game Gear titles, would later be featured as unlockable games in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for the Nintendo Gamecube and PC, where it becomes available after collecting all 130 Emblems and completing 90 Missions. Along with other Game Gear games, it was also made available in Sonic Gems Collection for Gamecube and PlayStation 2. The game has also been ported to Coleco Sonic, Playpal Plug and Play for Coleco and Tectoy Master System 3 for Tectoy. Sonic Drift 2 was also one of games that were available in TBS GameTap service until its closure in October 2010.
- Programmer: A.Morino
- Artist: K.Tamura, H.Takano, A.Tezuka
- Sound: Masayuki Nagao ("M.Nagao"), Saori Kobayashi ("S.Kobayashi")
- Planner: Norihito Kato ("N.Katoh")
- Director: Katsuhiro Hasegawa ("K.Hasegawa")
- Producer: M.Hokoyama
- Special thanks to: T.Kosuge, Shinichi Higashi ("S.Higashi"), R.Fujimura, Y.Nishimoto, Tadashi Ihoroi ("T.Ihoroi")
- Presented by: Sega
- Sonic Drift 2 was the first game to feature Metal Sonic and Fang the Sniper as playable characters.
- This is the first game released outside of Japan to identify the character of Dr. Robotnik as Eggman.
- Despite Sonic Drift being only released in Japan, Sonic Drift 2 was still released in North America as a sequel without changing the title. Also, as the game is being sold under the alternate title Sonic Drift Racing on the European market, the title screen still refers the game as Sonic Drift 2.
- Due to space limitations, Knuckles' and Metal Sonic's names are spelled "Knucles" and "M.Sonic".
- Amy's shirt is colored blue due to palette limitations.
- All of the vehicles, with the exception of Blue Devil and Marvelous Queen, have names related to wind or air.
- Fang is the only character to not appear on the North American and European box art, due to being cropped out by the Game Gear border, although a part of his vehicle can be seen.
- An 8-bit rendition of the boss theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles can be heard during the "Final GP" race. The composer Masayuki Nagao, who also composed music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, had also worked on Sonic Drift 2.
- The invincibility music heard in the game is an 8-bit rendition of the title music from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ソニックドリフト2. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.327. Pg.41. 24 March 1995.
- Bramwell, Tom (6 October 2005). Sonic Gems Collection. Gamespy. Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
- Davis, Ryan (6 October 2005). Sonic Gems Collection Review. Gamespot. Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
- Three More on the 3DS: Game Gear Games Hit the eShop. Sega Blog. Sega (4 July 2013). Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
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- at The Green Hill Zone