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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Tsū?), also known as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 GG[5] to differentiate from its 16-bit counterpart, is a 2D platforming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Aspect and released by Sega. The game was first released on 16 October 1992 for Sega Master System and later ported to the Game Gear between 29 October 1992 and late November 1992, the former being exclusive to PAL countries. Predating its 16-bit counterpart for the Sega Mega Drive by less than a month, the game marks the debut of Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic the Hedgehog's best friend who later would become one of the main characters in the series.

Despite sharing the same title, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an entirely different game from its 16-bit counterpart, featuring entirely different Zones, a different storyline, and additional features. The story itself centers around Sonic rescuing Animals and Tails who was kidnapped by Dr. Robotnik. Much like other Game Gear and Master System titles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been re-released on several pack-ins and compilations or been included as an unlockable mini-games. Such re-releases include the Virtual Console for the Wii and Nintendo 3DS.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

The title screen for the Sega Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

After the events of the last incident, peace has returned to South Island, prompting Sonic the Hedgehog to leave the quiet island in pursuit of adventures. When he returns however, he sees no sign of his Animal friends. Confused, Sonic goes home, where he finds a note written by his close friend, Miles "Tails" Prower. The note explains that all the Animals on South Island have been kidnapped by Dr. Robotnik, and that Tails is being held prisoner in a place called the Crystal Egg where Robotnik has forced Tails to write this note. Tails adds as well in the note that Sonic can only get to the Crystal Egg if he has the six Chaos Emeralds.[6]

In addition to what had been written, Tails also mentions that Robotnik has build six Master Robots to await Sonic in each Zone, and Tails warns Sonic to be very careful as the diabolical doctor has specific plans for eliminating him. Finishing the message, Sonic sets out to thwart the doctor's scheme.[6]

Traveling across South Island, Sonic overcomes Robotnik's various obstacles and traps while hunting for the Chaos Emeralds. Eventually, he enters the Scrambled Egg Zone, where he clashes with Silver Sonic. After the Master Robot is defeated, the ending of the game will depend on the player's process:

  • If the player has not managed to get the first five Chaos Emeralds before fighting Silver Sonic, Sonic will be shown running on a plain terrain by himself from day to night. At the end of the cutscene, Sonic looks up at the night sky, in which a constellation of Tails will be shown. After that, the text "GAME OVER" will appear.
  • If the player has managed to get the first five Chaos Emeralds before fighting Silver Sonic, they will be taken to the true final Zone, Crystal Egg Zone, and have a final confrontation with Dr. Robotnik. After the battle, Robotnik flees and Tails is released. Sonic and Tails then run off together, eventually stopping to look at the night sky and see star constellations resembling themselves. After that, the text "GAME OVER" will appear.


Image Character Biography
Tails 60.png Miles "Tails" Prower A boy who adores Sonic. His two tails are a sign of his vitality.[6]
Concept Artwork Crystal Egg Boss.png Doctor Robotnik The evil genius scientist. His goals: world domination and overthrowing Sonic.[7]
Silver Sonic.png Silver Sonic Doctor Robotnik's super secret weapon. A formidable enemy?[7]


Sonic in Sky High Zone, the second Zone in the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a side-scrolling platforming game with gameplay mechanics similar to that of Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit). The player's objective is to lead Sonic to the end of each Act of a Zone (a level in the game) in less than ten minutes. The player starts the game with three lives which can be increased by opening 1-Up Monitors or collecting 100 Rings. In gameplay, Sonic has all of his basic moves from Sonic the Hedgehog, including the Super Spin Attack for jumping and attacking (the height of the jump is proportional to how long the trigger button is held down) and the Spin Attack for mowing down obstacles and enemies.

The player is able to collect Rings to protect Sonic from damage. Unlike in the game's predecessor (where a single Ring is dropped after taking damage), a huge amount of Rings will scatter around Sonic when he takes damage, which the player can then recollect a small part of. However, Rings cannot protect from drowning, bottomless pits or Time Overs. Getting hit without a Ring costs a life and makes the player restart from the beginning of the current Act. Losing all lives ends the game, although Continues, which can be received from Bonus Panels, will provide more retries. The game also includes a number of power-ups that can be obtained by breaking Monitors.

Each Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features different gimmicks for gameplay, such as Railcarts, Hang-Gliders, larger Bubbles or Flywheels. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also features larger and more challenging maps than its predecessor, with more obstacles, like Spikes. One Chaos Emerald is also hidden in each Zone's second Act. If the player collects the first five and then defeats Silver Sonic in the sixth Zone, the sixth Emerald is awarded and the player may access the final Zone (Crystal Egg Zone). Players that are able to collect all the Emeralds are rewarded with the game's "good ending"; to those who fail, the game ends after Silver Sonic's destruction and a more downbeat credits sequence is played (in which Tails was not rescued).

Scoring system


Button formation S2-8bit-Life.png Movement
Controlpadds.png left/right Walk/Run
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Look down/Crouch
Game Gear I Button.png/Game Gear II Button.png Super Spin Attack
Controlpadds.png left/right + down Spin Attack



Gimmicks and obstacles

Bonus Panel rewards

Much like in Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit), a Bonus Panel is found at the end of Acts 1 and 2 of each Zone. Passing it makes it spin and when it stops, the player will get a bonus depending on the sign's plate:

Image Name Reward
What could be there.png
Question mark
Robotnik Nothing
Sonic 1-UP
Ring 10 Rings
Tails Continue


Playable characters

Non-playable characters




  1. Pit Master (Under Ground Zone) (only appearance)
  2. Hiyoko Master (Sky High Zone) (only appearance)
  3. Balance Master (Aqua Lake Zone) (only appearance)
  4. Dohyo Master (Green Hills Zone) (only appearance)
  5. Charge Master (Gimmick Mountain Zone) (only appearance)
  6. Silver Sonic (Scrambled Egg Zone) (only appearance)
  7. Crystal Egg Zone boss (Crystal Egg Zone) (only appearance)


The title card for Gimmick Mountain Zone Act 1, featuring Sonic and Tails.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 consists of seven Zones in total, with each one split into three Acts. In a Zone's third act, the player faces off against one of the Master Robots without any Rings. After defeating one, the player then has to free Animals from a floating Prison Egg to progress to the next Zone. In order to enter the Crystal Egg Zone, the player has to collect the first five Chaos Emeralds and then defeat the sixth Master Robot. Each title card for an Act features Sonic and Tails in different situations, although Tails does not serve a playable role in the game. The Zones in their order are:

  1. Under Ground Zone
  2. Sky High Zone
  3. Aqua Lake Zone
  4. Green Hills Zone
  5. Gimmick Mountain Zone
  6. Scrambled Egg Zone
  7. Crystal Egg Zone (Extra Zone)


Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 93% (SMS)[8]
92% (GG)[9]
GamePro 18.5/20 (GG)[10]
IGN 8/10 (Wii)[11]
Mean Machines Sega 95% (SMS)[12]
Mega Zone 93% (SMS)[13]
Nintendo Life 7/10 (Wii)[14]
Sega Force 92% (SMS)[15]
93% (GG)[15]
Sega Power 5/5 stars (SMS)[16]
5/5 stars (GG)[16]
Sega Force Mega 93% (GG)[17]
92% (SMS)[18]
Sega Master Force 92% (SMS)[19]
Entity Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Best Game of the Year (Portable Game Systems)[20]

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Master System and Game Gear has been critically acclaimed since its release. The Master System version received a positive review from Mean Machines Sega, which described it as better than its predecessor and as "one of the greatest Master System games of all time," giving it an overall 95% score.[12] Mega Zone gave this version an overall 93% score, with reviewer Steward Clark stating that it is "radically different to the Mega Drive version" but still "another winner!" He praised the "superb gameplay" and described it as a "classic in its own right."[13] Sega Force gave the Master System version a 92% score, noting that instead of "trying to scale down the MD version," they had "opted for a totally different game — and well good it is, too!"[15]

The Game Gear version received a positive review from GamePro staff writer, The Unknown Gamer, who focused praise on both the gameplay and the impressive graphics for the small handheld console. They gave the game a score of 5 for the graphics, 4 for the sound, 4.5 for the controls, and 5 for the overall fun factor.[10] Sega Force gave the Game Gear version a 93% score, describing it as the "most challenging" and "toughest version of Sonic 2."[15] French magazine Mega Force also gave the game a positive review.[21] Sega Power praised Sonic the Hedgehog 2 by giving it 5 out of 5 stars, calling it "definitely the best cart on any handheld, anywhere - no arguments."[16]

In 1993, it was awarded as the Best Portable Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[20]

Reviewing the Master System version for its Wii Virtual Console release, IGN gave the game a score of 8.0 out of 10. The reviewer Lucas M. Thomas stated that many Wii owners may "erroneously assume that it's a technically inferior port of the Genesis classic with the same name. It's not." He also described the game as "entirely its own adventure" with its own "unique elements like mine carts and hang gliders," concluding that it is "a hidden gem from Sonic's early years."[11]


Three years after the original release, the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was repacked along with Sonic Spinball (8-bit) and released on the compilation title Sonic 2 in 1 in October 1995.

Much like other Game Gear and Master System titles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been re-released on numerous compilation titles. In Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for the Nintendo GameCube and PC, the Game Gear version of the game was featured as an unlockable minigame after collecting 120 Emblems or completing Missions. The Game Gear version was also included in Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2.

The Master System port of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was made available on the Wii's Virtual Console in 2008, while the Game Gear port was added to the Nintendo 3DS' Virtual Console in 2012 for Japan and internationally in 2013.[4]

Console differences

The Sega Game Gear as a handheld system with its lower screen resolution, naturally resulted in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 having a smaller screen width than its Sega Master System version. Unlike the previous 8-bit game, Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik's sprites were not changed to compensate for the smaller resolution, resulting in less reaction time for the player. All bosses are fought in smaller arenas as well - which is especially troublesome when facing the boss of the Under Ground Zone. This also caused the Green Hills Zone battle to take place in a smaller, steeper arena, and the escape chute to be invisible during the Crystal Egg Zone fight. For these reasons, many consider the Game Gear version to be unfairly challenging.

The intro sequence for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is also altered; the handheld version shows Robotnik kidnapping Tails in front of Sonic, whereas the Master System only shows him escaping with the captive Tails. The Scrambled Egg Zone theme also replaced the intro's music. Instead, the intro music was used on the Master System's title screen. The handheld edition also features dark blue (instead of green) water in the second act of the Aqua Lake Zone, and shows the water level rising at the beginning of the act (which does not maintain zone continuity as the last act ends in water). The rare Monitors with Power Sneakers are also completely removed in the Game Gear version despite still being listed in the manual and they are replaced with Monitors with Super Rings.

In addition, the two versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have some different music tracks, such as rearranged boss themes. A more upbeat tune also plays during the good ending on the Game Gear version; the Master System uses a somewhat sad-sounding tune for both the bad and good endings. On the other hand, the Master System version features an additional piece of music not heard in the Game Gear game - the "High Speed" theme.

Cheat codes

Level Select

  • Sega Master System: While the game is booting up, the player has to hold Controlpadds.png left on the first controller and Game Gear I Button.png + Game Gear II Button.png on the second controller at the same time. Wait until the screen turns blue and the intro animation starts, then, with the main controller, the player should start up the game per usual and it will display the Level Select.
  • Sega Game Gear: While the game is booting up, the player has to hold Controlpadds.png southwest + Game Gear I Button.png + Game Gear II Button.png. Wait then until the title screen appears, and when Tails blinks twice on the title screen, press START while releasing the other held buttons. The player will then enter the Level Select.


  • Compose: Tomozou Endo ("Tomozou"), Simachan, Ray
  • Program: Ko.Ko, Semimaru,[note 1] Hiro SSS,[note 2] Tea Tea, Tosiyan
  • Art: Hisato Fukumoto ("Jly King"), Nobuhiko Honda ("Noburin"), Tez, U.D.K
  • Edit: Raizou, M. Shima, End, Mariyuri
  • Sound: Masafumi Ogata ("Gatao"), Naofumi Hataya ("Nao Chan"), Tomonori Sawada ("Dawasa")
  • Thanks: Hiroshi Aso ("Asohy"), Takashi Shoji ("Taku. S"), Katsuhiro Hasegawa ("The Hase"), Takashi Yuda ("Thomas Y"), Ryu,[note 2] Okusan, Kenji Shintani ("Lunarian"), Hitmen, Aspect, and You


Archie Comics

Sonic and Breezie encountering Silver Sonic, from Sonic the Hedgehog #269.

The events of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were incorporated into the Post-Super Genesis Wave timeline of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics. Some modifications were made though, most notable of which was the inclusion of the Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad and Breezie the Hedgehog. Additionally, the ending of the game in the comics was altered so it lead straight into the events of the comics' adaptation of Tails' Skypatrol.


  • The title cards for the Acts use sprites of Sonic and Tails that are derived from their sprites in the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the first title to feature a robotic version of Sonic. The 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would also use the idea with Mecha Sonic in Death Egg Zone. Both these robots predate Metal Sonic, who would be introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • All Springs and spikes in the game come in different colors depending on the Zone. Before its 16-bit counterpart, new, diagonally-aligned Springs were featured for the first time in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • The Western box artwork features skeleton bee/bird-like Badniks. Such enemies are not encountered during gameplay at all.
    • Also, said box artwork apparently shows Sonic and Tails in Emerald Hill Zone from the 16-bit counterpart of the game. While it is possible that this is intended to be Green Hills Zone, the artwork bears a larger resemblance to Emerald Hill Zone, as it features palm trees and bridges, both of which did not feature in Green Hills Zone.
  • There was a prototype version of this game that only had one track, three Zones, no Badniks, and no bosses, and had very similar physics to Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit).
  • This is the first handheld Sonic game to feature functional loops in the Zones.
  • This is the first Sonic game to have a secret final boss.
  • Interestingly, the music for Green Hills Zone is featured as the theme song for the Japanese and European versions of Sonic the Hedgehog CD (composers Masafumi Ogata and Naofumi Hataya worked on both games), and a remix of the tune is used for Mecha Green Hill Zone in Sonic Chaos, as well as a faster variation used as the Invincibility theme for Sonic Drift.
  • The Game Gear version's boss theme was also remixed as the "Metallic Madness" track from the Japanese version of Sonic the Hedgehog CD, which in turn would be arranged as the final boss theme for Sonic Chaos.
  • The intro/title music (depending on which version of the game) of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was reused as the title music for Sonic Chaos.

See also



  1. Virtual Console, page 9 (Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 22 November 2010.
  3. Sonic The Hedgehog™ 2. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Game Gear Titles on Nintendo 3DS eShop: Three More for the Road!. Sega Blog. Sega (27 June 2013). Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
  5. Sega of America, Demiurge Studios (29 July 2018). SEGA Heroes. iOS. Sega.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 29.
  8. Rand, Paul; Boone, Tim (November 1992). "World Exclusive: Sonic 2". Go! (Computer and Video Games) (132): 24-25. Archived from the original.
  9. Rand, Paul; Anglin, Paul (December 1992). "Review: Sonic 2". Go! (Computer and Video Games) (14): 12-13. Archived from the original.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Unknown Gamer (March 1993). "Game Gear Pro Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2". GamePro (44): 164. Archived from the original.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Thomas, Lucas M. (9 December 2008). Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System Version) Review: The name's the same, but it's a totally different game. IGN. Retrieved on 9 February 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Master System Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 66 (November 1992). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 31 (January 1993). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  14. Nintendo Life Staff (9 December 2008). Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review (SMS). Nintendo Life.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Reviewed: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System & Game Gear) 30 (December 1992). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "The Hard Line". Sega Power (24): 101-102. September 1993. Archived from the original.
  17. "Game Gear Guide". Sega Force Mega (7): 78. January 1994.
  18. "Master Market". Sega Force Mega 2 (7): 79-80. January 1994.
  19. "Master Market". Sega Master Force (1): 62–65. August 1993.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1993.
  21. Sonic 2 (January 1993). Retrieved on 9 February 2012.

External links

Sonic the Hedgehog handheld games