Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit video game)
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
Sega Technical Institute
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Release date(s)||Sega Genesis
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Distribution||8-megabit (1-Megabyte) cartridge
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Tsū?) is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team and Sega Technical Institute, and published by Sega. The game is an installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and focuses on the protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog and his friend, a fox named Miles "Tails" Prower, who must stop the series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his Death Egg space station.
Originally released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1992, the game was a critical and commercial success, with critics praising it for building upon the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. The game has sold over 6 million copies, making it the second-best-selling game on the console, behind only its predecessor in the Sonic series. Since its initial release, the game has been released in several compilations and download releases for various platforms, which were also generally positively received.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a platform game in which the player characters are the titular Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower. The game's premise builds upon the basic set-up of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Sonic's nemesis Dr. Ivo Robotnik is planning world domination with his army of animals he's placed into robots, and continues to seek the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds - this time, to construct his ultimate weapon, an armored space station known as the Death Egg. The goal of the game is to collect the seven Emeralds from Robotnik.
The game plays as a 2D sidescrolling platformer, with the player directing Sonic through levels and around obstacles within a time limit of 10 minutes. Along the way, rings are collected and enemies are defeated. Star posts serve as checkpoints, where if Sonic loses a life, he would return to one. A life is lost when Sonic is attacked by an enemy without rings, falls off-screen or exceeds the act's ten-minute limit. If all lives are lost, the "Game Over" screen will appear. When the player has collected at least 50 rings, star posts can be run past for an optional Special Stage. There are a total of eleven zones; the first seven zones have two acts each, while Metropolis, the eighth zone, has three acts, and the last three zones have one act each. At the end of the last act of most levels, the player must fight and defeat Dr. Robotnik.
At the game's start, the player can select to either play as Sonic, Tails or both. 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 always stays centered on Sonic, frequently leaving Tails off-screen.
Improvements over the original Sonic the Hedgehog include significantly larger levels, faster gameplay, and a new stunt called the "Super Dash Attack", or "Spin Dash". The move allows Sonic to curl in a ball and spin while staying stationary, eventually resulting in a speed boost.
If Sonic collects every Chaos Emerald in the game by completing all of the special stages, he is able 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 becomes invincible. Additionally, 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. This also unlocks a different ending that shows Super Sonic flying by the Tornado, whereas not getting the emeralds leads to an ending with Sonic in his normal state riding on the Tornado.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, there are 7 special stages. When Sonic collects 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 pseudo-3D half-pipe course, collecting rings and dodging bombs. A set amount of rings must be collected to pass through each of three checkpoints and in turn to obtain the emerald itself. If Sonic collides with a bomb, he loses 10 rings and is immobilized momentarily. The order of stages is fixed in rising difficulty, and Sonic cannot enter any stage without passing the previous one. After finishing, Sonic is transported back to the star post he used to enter the special stage. He has 0 rings and the stage conditions are reset.
The game also has a competitive mode, where 2 players compete against each other to the finish line, as either Sonic or Tails, in a split-screen race through three of the regular single player levels; Emerald Hill, Casino Night, and Mystic Cave, and a special stage. After one player finishes one of the regular levels, the other player must finish the zone within 60 seconds, or the level is ended instantly. 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). The player with wins in the most number of categories, wins the level. In the Special Stage, players compete to obtain the most rings. The mode ends when all stages have been completed, or if a player loses all their lives, in which his/her opponent will instantly win.
Connection to Sonic & Knuckles
Two years after the 1992 release of Sonic 2, Sonic & Knuckles was released in 1994. Sonic & Knuckles possessed a special, "lock-on" cartridge, in which the player would put the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge into the video console, and then plug a second game into the top of the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge. The result of this unlocks Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a variation of Sonic 2 where the player instead plays as Knuckles the Echidna, a character that hadn't been introduced until 1994's Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
The game is largely identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 2, with the exception that gameplay is altered due to Knuckles having separate abilities from Sonic or Tails. Knuckles can glide and climb walls, which allows him to gain access to areas that had been otherwise hidden or unreachable. Conversely, he cannot jump as high, making some situations, such as certain boss fights, more difficult. However, in this version of the game, the two player mode has been removed. The special stages are the same, though the amount of rings needed to progress has been decreased, and the score made within the stage no longer resets.
While the original 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. 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 believed to contain time travel elements and also have a port to the Mega-CD/Sega CD, Sega's add-on for the console. Neither of those reports ending up happening with the game's final release; a port to the Mega-CD/Sega CD never surfaced, and time travel was instead implemented in an original Sonic game for the system entitled Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
The game is notorious for having content and levels being removed to the game prior to its release. In New York in 1992, prior to the game's release, Yuji Naka has remarked that a prototype from a demonstration cartridge that was stolen at a toy show. (Sega's Akinori Nishiyama has stated that the leak was due to the lack of security at the time.) A notable part of that prototype is that it featured a playable section of a level titled "Hidden Palace Zone", a level cut out of the game shortly before release. Naka said of the level:
...the basic idea was about the same as it was in Sonic and Knuckles. You'd encounter the stage through normal play by collecting the emeralds. The idea behind the stage was, "Where do the Chaos Emeralds come from?" That's where Sonic was originally supposed to be granted his Super Sonic powers. We finally were able to use it in S&K, though it wound up being quite different from what we had planned in Sonic 2. But even from Sonic 1 we'd been throwing around those sorts of ideas. Still, when we were running out of time, we looked over things quickly trying to figure out what to dump ... and CHOP went the Hidden Palace. There's simply no way we could have thrown that in by the deadline at the rate we were going.
The "Hidden Palace" level would be lost for twenty years, until it was included in the iOS remaster release in December 2013, which finally implemented the level into the game. Sega provided some magazines, such as GamePro, with screenshots of early builds of the game that showed another level removed from the final game; a desert themed level, named "Dust Hill Zone". Naka has also alluded to another, unidentified, scrapped level in the Sonic Jam Official Strategy Guide, explaining why the "Metropolis Zone" had three parts to it, while every other level only had two: "Due to problems with the story, Act 3 was going to be a different Zone that would only appear once, but since it was cut, we still wanted to have something after Act 2. So that's why there are three acts in this one. We had already finished the map, and it would have been a shame to waste it, so this is what we went with."
Sonic the Hedgehog 2's music was, like that of Sonic the Hedgehog, composed by Masato Nakamura, a member of J-pop band Dreams Come True. On October 19, 2011, a three-disc compilation of music from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released in Japan. The first disc contains original tracks from both games, and the second contains Masato Nakamura's demo recordings produced during the games' development. The third disc contains "Sweet Sweet Sweet" by Dreams Come True, its English-language version "Sweet Dream", and 2006 remixes of both songs by Akon. The compilation also includes comments by Yuji Naka and an interview with Masato Nakamura.
|1.||"STH2 Emerald Hill Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:26|
|2.||"STH2 Chemical Plant Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:10|
|3.||"STH2 Aquatic Ruin Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:40|
|4.||"STH2 Casino Night Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:18|
|5.||"STH2 Hill Top Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:51|
|6.||"STH2 Mystic Cave Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:07|
|7.||"STH2 Oil Ocean Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:55|
|8.||"STH2 Metropolis Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:49|
|9.||"STH2 Mystic Cave Zone (2P) 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:05|
|10.||"STH2 Casino Night Zone (2P) 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:55|
|11.||"STH2 Death Egg Zone (Part1) 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:10|
|12.||"STH2 Death Egg Zone (Part2) 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:18|
|13.||"STH2 Emerald Hill Zone (2P) 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:35|
|14.||"STH2 Sky Chase Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:38|
|15.||"STH2 Wing Fortress Zone 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:59|
|16.||"STH2 Special Stage 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:47|
|17.||"STH2 Power Up 〜Mega Drive version〜"||0:54|
|18.||"STH2 Title 〜Mega Drive version〜"||0:12|
|19.||"STH2 All Clear 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:16|
|20.||"STH2 Boss 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:14|
|21.||"STH2 Super Sonic 〜Mega Drive version〜"||1:16|
|22.||"STH2 Option 〜Mega Drive version〜"||0:42|
|23.||"STH2 Staff Roll 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:41|
|24.||"STH2 Game Results 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:19|
|25.||"STH2 Unused Song 〜Mega Drive version〜"||2:02|
|1.||"STH2 Emerald Hill Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:48|
|2.||"STH2 Chemical Plant Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:29|
|3.||"STH2 Aquatic Ruin Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:03|
|4.||"STH2 Casino Night Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:23|
|5.||"STH2 Hill Top Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:12|
|6.||"STH2 Mystic Cave Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:26|
|7.||"STH2 Oil Ocean Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:06|
|8.||"STH2 Metropolis Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:21|
|9.||"STH2 Mystic Cave Zone (2P) 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:02|
|10.||"STH2 Casino Night Zone (2P) 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:03|
|11.||"STH2 Death Egg Zone (Part1) 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:18|
|12.||"STH2 Death Egg Zone (Part2) 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:18|
|13.||"STH2 Emerald Hill Zone (2P) 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:22|
|14.||"STH2 Sky Chase Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||1:45|
|15.||"STH2 Wing Fortress Zone 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||1:49|
|16.||"STH2 Special Stage 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:08|
|17.||"STH2 All Clear 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||1:16|
|18.||"STH2 Boss 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:16|
|19.||"STH2 Super Sonic 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||1:21|
|20.||"STH2 Option 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||0:40|
|21.||"STH2 Game Results 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||2:19|
|22.||"STH2 Unused Song 〜Masa's Demo version〜"||1:03|
Sega launched a $10 million advertising campaign for Sonic the Hedgehog 2's release. The Sega Genesis release in North America and the Sega Mega Drive release in Europe came on November 24, 1992, a Tuesday, and the release day was promoted as "Sonic 2s day". 400,000 copies of Sonic 2 were sold in the first seven days after release, and over 6 million in the life span of the console.
Alternate versions and ports
Compilations that include the game are Sonic Compilation (1995) and Genesis 6-Pak (1996) for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis; Sonic Jam (1997) for the Sega Saturn; Sonic Mega Collection (2002) for the Nintendo GameCube; Sonic Mega Collection Plus (2004) for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC; Sega Genesis Collection (2006) for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable; Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009) for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; and Sonic Classic Collection (2010) for the Nintendo DS.
Most compilations feature the game largely unchanged. However, Sonic Jam in addition to featuring the original release; also had a few new "remix" options. "Medium" mode altered the layout of rings and hazards and "Easy" mode removes certain acts entirely from the game.
The game was made available downloadably 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. A remastering of the game, made using Christian Whitehead's "Retro Engine", was released for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices on December 12, 2013, featuring Knuckles as a playable character, a boss rush mode, online multiplayer, additional multiplayer stages, and the previously unreleased Hidden Palace Zone.
Due to the popularity of its predecessor Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2 already had an established fanbase anticipating its release. The game was a bestseller in the UK charts for 2 months. The game has sold over 6 million copies, making it the second best-selling game for the Sega Genesis (after the original Sonic the Hedgehog).
It received critical acclaim 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." Mega placed the game at #36 in their Top Sega Mega Drive Games of All Time.
The game's main criticisms were of the two player mode, a new introduction to the series. 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 release of Sonic 2 was one of the main reasons that Sega caught up to Nintendo in the "console wars". It brought their market share up to 50% within six months of its release.
The game introduced the new character Miles "Tails" Prower, who would go on to be a major character in the series, acting as Sonic's sidekick in most Sonic series media. He would later even have 2 games of his own; both for the Sega Game Gear, in Tails Sky Patrol and Tails Adventure.
For Sonic's 20th Anniversary, Sega released Sonic Generations, a game that remade aspects of various past games from the franchise. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC version contained a remade "Chemical Plant" level. It also contained a remake of the final boss fight, the Death Egg Robot, as the Classic Era boss of the game. Separately, the Nintendo 3DS version of the game contained a remake of the "Casino Night" level. A "Casino Night" themed pinball minigame was made available for download as a preorder bonus for the console versions at GameStop.
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