- For the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive game of the same name, see Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Aspect and released by Sega for their Master System and Game Gear formats. The Master System version was released in Brazil on 25 October 1992, and in Europe around the same time. The Game Gear version was released in Europe on 29 October 1992, in North America on 17 November 1992 and in Japan on 21 November 1992. Being released before the 16-bit version for the Mega Drive (Genesis), the 8-bit editions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 represent the debut of character Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic the Hedgehog's best friend who became a recurring character in the series.
After the events of the first game, peace returned to South Island. Sonic the Hedgehog decided to leave the quiet island to pursue other adventures. When he finally returned, there was no sign of his animal friends. Confused, he went home to find a note written by his close friend Miles "Tails" Prower. It explains that all of the animals of South Island have been kidnapped by Dr. Ivo Robotnik, and that Tails is being held in a place called the Crystal Egg. Robotnik forced him to write that he will only be freed if Sonic finds and brings six Chaos Emeralds. He also writes that six of Robotnik's elite robots were built to await Sonic in each zone, and to be careful as the diabolical doctor has specific plans to eliminate his nemesis. After reading the message, Sonic sets out to thwart the evil scientist's revenge scheme!
Advances made in this game include Sonic's ability to grab back rings scattered when hit by an enemy as well as being able to smash through certain walls, capabilities not implemented in the 16-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Genesis. Oddly enough, there appears to be no Spin Dash, though this may be because this game was released before the Genesis version, which introduced the Spin Dash. Uniquely, this game includes levels in which Sonic must ride a mine cart, and a hang glider, the latter under full player control and a reasonable simulation of physics. There is also a large bubble in underwater levels which raises Sonic upwards until he hits a ceiling, enemy or obstacle.
There are seven zones in total, each comprising three acts. In the final act, that level's boss is faced, but without any rings to collect.
At the end of Acts 1 and 2 of each level, a panel is spun, with a reward given based on what it lands on:
- Robotnik: No prize. This panel comes up most often in the game.
- Ring: 10 rings added to final ring tally. Usually obtained by having a ring count that is a multiple of ten.
- Sonic: Extra Life
- Tails: Continue
Item boxes are largely the same as the first game (although the restart marker and shield devices have been removed), and as usual, Chaos Emeralds are scattered throughout the stages. Each is found in the second act in each of the first five zones. If the player collects these five and then destroys Mecha Sonic (called the "Silver Sonic" in the English manual) in the sixth zone, the sixth is awarded and the player may access the final stage (Crystal Egg Zone), the third act of which Dr. Robotnik is faced in a climatic boss battle. Players able to complete the full task are rewarded with the game's "good ending"; for those who fail to collect all of the Emeralds, play ends after Mecha Sonic's destruction with a more downbeat end sequence (in which Tails was not rescued).
Although Tails is not a playable character, he appears in the title card of each zone (which is shown in the beginning of each act in the zone), where he appears together with Sonic in a picture that describes how the zone looks. Curiously, the title cards use sprites of Sonic and Tails that look similar to, if not exactly the same as, their sprites from the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 respectively.
- Under Ground Zone
- Sky High Zone
- Aqua Lake Zone
- Green Hills Zone
- Gimmick Mountain Zone
- Scrambled Egg Zone
- Crystal Egg Zone (only accessible if the player has successfully collected all 6 Chaos Emeralds).
Differences between versions
The Game Gear, with its lower screen resolution, naturally results in the handheld system's version having a smaller visible screen area than the Master System edition. Unlike the previous 8-bit title, Sonic's sprite was not changed to compensate for the smaller resolution, resulting in less reaction time. The bosses all used a smaller arena as well - which is especially troublesome when facing the boss of the Under Ground Zone, which randomized the bounce height of the hazards. Other bosses were affected, such as the Green Hills Zone battle taking place in a smaller, steeper arena, and the escape chute being invisible from the playing area during the Crystal Egg Zone fight. For these reasons, many consider the Game Gear version to be unfairly challenging.
The intro sequence was also altered; the handheld version appears to show Robotnik actually kidnapping Tails in front of Sonic, whereas on Master System he was merely escaping with the captive Tails. The Scrambled Egg Zone theme also replaced this scene's music, with the tune that was played in this prelude in the Master System version instead employed on the 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 actually ends in water). For an unknown reason, the game's rare "High Speed" item boxes are completely removed in the Game Gear version despite still being listed in the manual. One may be found in the Master System version of this stage, as well as Gimmick Mountain Zone. These are inexplicably replaced with Ring monitors.
In addition, the two versions have some different music, such as the boss battle theme being rewritten entirely. A more upbeat tune also plays during the good ending in the Game Gear version; the Master System uses a somewhat sad-sounding tune for both the bad and good endings, which is odd since the alternate theme is in the Master System game's code but remains unused. On the other hand, the Master System game does feature an additional piece of music not heard in the Game Gear game - the "High Speed" theme. A rather interesting note was that the music for Green Hills Zone was featured as the theme song for the Japanese and European versions of Sonic CD, and a remix of the tune is used for Mecha Green Hill Zone in Sonic Chaos. The Game Gear version's boss theme was also remixed as the Metallic Madness theme, which in turn would be arranged as the final boss theme of Sonic Chaos.
The good ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shows Sonic the Hedgehog defeating Doctor Robotnik. Sonic is upset that Robotnik managed to escape, but Tails teleports in his place and is freed. Tails then smiles at the player, and Sonic shrugs at the camera (his idle animation). The cutscene after that shows Sonic and Tails running through a valley from day to night, while the credits scroll. At the end of the cutscene, an image of Sonic and Tails appears in the stars, showing the bond of the duo.
The bad ending of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shows Sonic the Hedgehog defeating the Silver Sonic at the end of Scrambled Egg Zone. Because the player did not collect all of the six Chaos Emeralds, Sonic cannot access Crystal Egg Zone. In the cutscene, Sonic runs by himself from day to night. At the end of the cutscene, Sonic looks up at the sky, in which only an image of Tails appears as a reminder that Tails was not rescued.
- Sonic Adventure DX for the Nintendo GameCube and Windows PC (Game Gear version)
- Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2 (Game Gear version)
- Wii Virtual Console for 500 Wii Points (Master System version)
- Nintendo 3DS eShop
- If the player presses the buttons left and right at the same time, Sonic will go fast backwards.