This article contains a list of glitches from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Unless otherwise noted, all glitch names are conjectural. Many of them have not been confirmed by Sega.
List of glitches
- Level Select and Debug Mode:
This may or may not be a glitch; it is clear these features were created intentionally, but they may have been left in the game by accident.
At the title screen, the player should scroll down past the bottom; another possible choice, options, will appear. They should enter the options menu and play the following sounds in order: 19, 65, 09, 17. If a ring sound is heard, the player must restart the game (by holding A button for Mega Drive/Genesis and pressing start) and return to the title screen. Otherwise, they should play the sounds in order again.
Once the passcode has been entered, the player will be returned to the title screen. Before the choices appear, the player must hold down A, then press start once they reach the menu. If the player is now at the level select screen, they can proceed to activate; otherwise, they must reset the console to get to the title screen, or press start and then press A depending on whether or not they correctly entered the code, which will cause them to restart.
At the level select screen, the player should scroll down to the sound test at the bottom-right hand corner of the screen, then play the following sounds in order: 1, 9, 9, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4. If a ring sound is heard, the player then needs to hold down A, go to any level, press start, and wait for the title card to disappear. The player can then stop holding down A.
Despite its possible status as a glitch, this has been listed in the hints menu of Sonic Mega Collection, and recreated in the 2013 re-release of Sonic 2.
- Ashura (a.k.a. Glitch Sonic):
To perform this glitch, the player must enter the Level Select and Debug Mode codes shown above and place four rings in a stage. They must then press the A button one more time and they will disappear. The player should then press the "set down" button and they will be transformed into a waterfall. If placed at the first hill in Emerald Hill Zone Act 1 or 2, Sonic will become the fan-nicknamed Ashura due to his color palette becoming corrupted (now consisting of green and black). Sonic's color palette can also turn other colors such as red, green, and black. This glitch does not work in the game's 2013 remake, but will work in the Steam re-release.
- Emerald Hill Zone scrolling glitch:
The bottom two foreground layers of Emerald Hill Zone do not scroll properly, meaning that they are permanently misaligned. This glitch is not present in the remake, nor in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- Chemical Plant Zone collision bug:
To perform this glitch, the player should first enter Chemical Plant Act 1. Once there, they should take the lower path, then continue until they get about 1/4 of the way through the loop while avoiding the Speed Booster. Next, the player should start going backward, avoiding all the boosts they see. Once they see a ramp, they should roll down it without pressing anything. Eventually, the player will fall down when they're not meant to. (this also works in Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2)
- Leaf protection glitch:
In Aquatic Ruin Zone, if Sonic collides with an enemy while behind a leafy section of the background, he will not take damage.
- Confused Tails glitch:
To perform this glitch, the player should first select any level that has a spring which they can stand on while playing as Sonic and Tails. Then, the player must run towards the spring and jump on it. Tails will try to reach the player, and after a couple of seconds, he will try to perform a spindash to catch up and fail.
- Lay down in mid-air glitch:
To perform this glitch, the player must enable Debug Mode. After entering Debug Mode in a stage, they should travel to a few pixels away from the goal and place two monitors, one on the right and one on the left (with enough space to stand in between). Next, they should get in between the boxes and jump on the left monitor. When the screen goes white and blue, they should hold down and hear themselves spindashing. The player will either go to the end of the level, or will be in their previous position while standing up in the air. If the player performs this glitch incorrectly, they will be placed at the beginning of the level.
- Out of Bounds in Sky Chase Zone:
If the player Spin Dashes while on the Tornado, they may fall off and die. This is possibly due to the fact that Tails wasn't programmed to fly at the speed of a Spin Dash.
- 14 Continue cheat code glitch:
Playing the sounds 01, 01, 02 and 04 in order while in the Sound Test menu will give the player 14 continues. But there's a catch; Oil Ocean Zone's music will play non-stop throughout the game. It is worth noting that very late versions of Sonic 2 (including the version in Sonic Compilation) do not have this glitch.
- Messed up level graphics, physics, and Tails:
To perform this glitch, the player must activate Debug Mode (see above) and play as both Sonic and Tails. They then need to use debug mode to outrun Tails and reach a location far enough away from him that it causes him to fly back on screen. While he's flying after the player, they should spawn and smash a teleportation monitor and turn into an item immediately afterward to prevent themselves from dying. Next, the player should move around for a short time until they can see themselves on-screen. In most levels, if this is done properly, the ground will lose physical integrity, causing the player to become prone to slipping into it occasionally as though it were not entirely solid. Additionally, Tails will likely slide around on one foot without walking. In some levels, this glitch will mess up the graphics. To see this happen, the player can perform the glitch in Aquatic Ruin Zone.
- Fight several final bosses at once:
To perform this glitch, the player must activate Debug Mode as shown above, then go to Death Egg Zone and engage Silver Sonic in battle. Next, the player should place a teleportation monitor and smash it, then immediately turn into an item to prevent themselves from dying. They should then move around until they can see themselves on-screen and turn back into Sonic in the small hallway that serves as the vessel's entrance. The player will notice as they continue into Silver Sonic's chamber that the game is now able to scroll past it, as though the player had already defeated the robot. They must continue to the chase scene with Robotnik without first defeating Silver Sonic. Once the player has chased him in his machine, they should turn into an item and go back into Silver Sonic's chamber. As the player passes Robotnik's original position, they will notice he's still there. For the purpose of performing this glitch, it is not advised for the player to chase Robotnik whilst an item. They can repeat this process as desired, and should then defeat Silver Sonic and continue one last time into Robotnik's chamber (the player does not have to defeat Silver Sonic, but not doing so will cause the final bosses to look glitched).
The player will now be locked inside. If the glitch was done properly, they will be fighting multiple final bosses. It should be noted that spawning too many final bosses with this technique may cause the game to crash. Incidentally, spawning any additional number of final bosses with this technique will likely cause the game to run very slowly. At some point, pieces of the final bosses may even become invisible, possibly due to lack of sufficient virtual memory to render them. Sometimes, the game has so much trouble handling the large number of extra bosses that the player will not lose Rings upon taking damage.
- Low-gravity Tails:
In Aquatic Ruin Zone Act 1, the player must go towards the first horizontal spring that sends them up the column. In Debug Mode, they should place a Transport monitor in front of it while leaving enough space in between them so that the player will have room to stand. If performed correctly, Sonic should be repeatedly pushed forward by the spring, constantly switching between his running and pushing sprites. After a few seconds of watching this happen, they should make sure Tails is on the other end of the monitor before rolling into it. The player should then turn into an item to make sure nothing happens to them. When the flash fades, the camera will be back at the start of the level, and make its way to Sonic and Tails. When it gets back to them, Sonic should be in his idle stance, and the background will, if performed correctly, scroll a few seconds after the camera focuses on Sonic again. The player needs to jump back onto the platform behind the spring, and Tails will try to follow but will be pushed slightly backward. He will do this infinitely, and the only way to stop the glitch is by making Sonic hit the spring and run past Tails, leaving him offscreen.
- Boss Corruption:
If the player goes below where the boss is meant to be using debug mode and, then they approach back towards the boss Dr. Robotnik might use corrupted sprites. (Note that this glitch does not always work, sometimes his sprites are only glitched for a few frames before they correct themselves).
- Sprite Corruption:
Once the player is the Tornado they must quickly enter and exit Debug Mode. All of Sonic's sprites (save for his standing and looking upward sprites) will be corrupted, but will correct themselves once the plane approaches the Wing Fortress.
- Boss delay:
If Sonic Spin Dashes to the right edge of the area where the Aquatic Ruin boss battle takes place, he will quickly reach the other side of the boss battle area. The music for the boss battle will play, but the boss will not appear until Sonic moves away from the edge of the screen. This happens because Sonic is on top of the column that appears upon entrance of the boss, and pushing the columns up with Sonic on top could break the collision.
- Boss sprite corruption glitch:
Sometimes when the Aquatic Ruin boss is defeated, Robotnik's ship will not show the explosion sprite. When the player opens the Capsule, the animals will be sections of the explosion sprite instead.
- Walk in mid-air glitch:
Once Sonic latches on to the Death Egg, the player must quickly enter and exit Debug Mode. Sonic will now be using his walking animation while latching on.
There are two methods of activating this glitch, the first requiring the use of Debug Mode. Playing as Sonic and Tails, Sonic must turn into Super Sonic. The player then needs to place a Transport monitor using Debug Mode. Finally, they should break the monitor and, while Sonic loses his Super State, Tails should turn into "Super Tails". This form is just as if Tails is invincible with Power Sneakers. Sonic will look the same, but lose his Super State powers. The second method is more efficient and does not require Debug Mode. Super Sonic must simply lead Tails into any water (Mega Mack will also work) and Tails will receive Super Sonic's speed and jump height, although he will lack the invincibility. Super Sonic will retain his powers throughout. Tails's abilities are maintained for the entire level, even after touching the Goal Plate/Capsule. This second method is only proven to work in the 2013 re-release.
- Another walk in mid-air glitch:
If the player attempts to transform into Super Sonic after touching the end-of-level signpost, they will be walking in mid-air, and must reset the game in order to end the glitch. If the player has Debug Mode enabled, they can instead turn into an item and drag themselves off-screen to fix this.
- "Hyper" Sonic glitch:
In Oil Ocean Zone Act 2, if the player goes to the second platform that shoots the player through the air cannons and holds left, they will hit the spikes and land in an air cannon before falling straight down. The player will then land in a gap between the top of another air cannon and a wall. When they jump out, the speed and agility of Sonic will be increased dramatically, making him faster than Super Sonic. If the player becomes Super Sonic with this glitch activated the effect will be doubled, making Sonic faster than Hyper Sonic. If they Spin Dash or go off screen, the effect will end.
- Yellow Sonic:
To perform this glitch, the player must enter the codes for Super Sonic and Debug Mode, and play as Sonic alone. In Debug Mode, they should place a Transfer Monitor, turn into Super Sonic, and smash it. Sonic will then become Yellow Sonic.
- The Super Duo:
First, the player must perform the first method of the Super Tails glitch. If Sonic turns Super again, Tails will also stay in his super form (making them both super), and will remain like that until the Act is cleared. If Sonic's super form ends, Tails will still remain super. Using the second method results in this by default.
- Tails Clone Glitch:
To perform this glitch, the player must enter the Level select and Debug Mode codes and go to Sky Chase Zone. Using Debug Mode, they must then create a Robotnik Monitor and break it open. Upon hearing Sonic die, they should press B to enter debug mode once again. They then need to move the cursor up until Tails is seen and exit Debug Mode. To finish, they should jump and Tails will have been duplicated.
- Spin Dash Forever:
While on Versus mode on Sonic Mega Collection Plus, in Casino Night Zone, the player must perform a spindash on the left wall. Once all the way up the elevator, they must then move to the right. The player will start spinning even though the character looks as though they were walking. This glitch ends once the goal post is reached and the level is over.
- Tails is Possessed:
If the player is playing the pinball section in Casino Night Zone, when they land on the ground, Tails will move without using his walking sprite.
- Ghost in the machine:
When fighting Mecha Sonic, if the player jumps on his head when he is on the left of the screen for the final hit, he will become a floating flame and the player won't be able to move on.
- Confused Shield:
If the player were to rapidly pause and unpause the game when a character has a shield, the shield's sprite will become "Confused", causing it to remain in the same frame for a few seconds.
- Spin Dash in mid-air:
If the player goes to stand on one of the Jump Panels in Hill Top Zone and begins spindashing but does not let go of down, when Sonic springs up into the air, smoke will rise from his feet as though he is spindashing and the spindash sound effect will play. This is because the game did not register that Sonic stopped charging the spindash. If Sonic touches the ground after the player lets go of the spindash button, he will curl up into a ball and shoot off as though he had just finished charging. If the player continues to hold down after Sonic lands, then his standing sprite will show spindash smoke until down is released, at which point he will act as though the spindash was started from the ground.
- Tails Glitch (Sonic 2 iOS):
To perform this glitch, the player should use the Level Select code and activate Debug Mode. After turning on Debug Mode they must select 00 3 times, then make a new save file with Sonic and Tails. In Emerald Hill Zone Act 1, they must die by using spikes 2 times. Next, the player must turn into an item using Debug Mode, and die by falling out of the world. When the player returns to the save select screen, they need to make a Sonic only save file. The player should now have Tails join Sonic when he is not supposed to. (WARNING: Completing a level will cause the player to be stuck with Tails!)
- Barrier manipulator/out of the barrier 2.0:
The player should note that Tails is likely required.
- Palette glitch in Sonic 2 (iOS):
To perform this glitch, the player needs to enter Debug Mode and select Oil Ocean Act 2 as Sonic and Tails. Once there, they should go to the checkpoint directly before the boss fight and become Super Sonic with an S Monitor. The player then needs to place a Teleportation Monitor and smash it.
The player will now be transported back to the beginning of the level, and Tails should have invincibility stars around him. If the player looks, they will see that the background is glitched out. If the player uses Debug Mode to travel all the way to the top of the zone, they will see that the background loops. The same can be seen at the bottom.
- Sonic Cannon (iOS):
In Oil Ocean Zone, the player should run quickly toward a cannon (on the ground). If they jump at the right angle, they can get stuck inside the cannon.
- Frozen Fire Top (iOS):
In Oil Ocean Zone with Debug Mode activated, the player should place one of the unused pushable balls onto a Fire Top underneath a secret purple cannon. Once the Fire Top launches, the ball will cause the Fire Top to stay attached to the purple cannon.
- Jumpscene (iOS):
In any special stage, performing a jump at the right time before the button icons disappear to show the Chaos Emerald will cause Sonic to jump repeatedly while collecting it.
- Floating in Air (iOS):
In Oil Ocean Zone Act 1, if the player takes an oil slide which has a ramp at the end of it, they will often end up floating in the air while moving up at 1 pixel every second. The only way to fix this is to jump. For whatever reason, this does not occur in Act 2.
- Friends earn your achievements (iOS)
In 2-player mode, whenever the player's opponent gets an achievement, the player will get it as well.