Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
S4E2 Boxart.png
Cover art
Developer(s) Sonic Team
Dimps
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Toshiyuki Nagahara
Producer(s) Takashi Iizuka
Hiroyuki Kawano
Artist(s) Hideaki Moriya
Composer(s) Jun Senoue
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Android, iOS, Ouya, Nvidia Shield
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Platformer
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Distribution Digital distribution

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ4 エピソードII Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Fō: Episōdo Tsū?) is a 2012 episodic platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, continuing from Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I. The game was developed by Sonic Team and Dimps[9] and is intended to emulate the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

Episode II was released in May 2012 for PC (via Steam),[1] PlayStation Network,[2] Xbox Live Arcade,[3] Android,[4] and iOS,[5] and in July 2013 for Ouya,[10] and Nvidia Shield (as a preinstalled app).[7] Versions for both WiiWare[11] and Windows Phone (slated for release in July 2012,[8][12]) were planned, but never released. An additional episode, "Episode Metal", is available for those who purchase both episodes for the same system.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay screenshot, showing both Sonic and Tails on the same screen.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is a 2D side-scrolling platformer reminiscent of the original Sonic games for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. It plays very similarly to the previous episode, but with several enhancements. Sonic is now accompanied by Tails, either controlled by the computer or a second player via local or online co-operative play. Unlike the earlier 16-bit titles, Tails cannot be played in single-player mode, and likewise Sonic can't be played on his own.[13] There are also various combination moves that Sonic and Tails can perform together, such as Tails lifting Sonic up to places he would be unable to reach otherwise, or the two rolling into a ball to perform a fast and powerful spin attack.[14]

Special Stages in Episode II are accessed the same way as in Episode I (finishing an act with at least 50 rings and then jumping into the Giant Ring that appears at the end of the stage), and are based on the half-pipe style format introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in which the player is required to collect a certain number of rings before the goal in order to obtain a Chaos Emerald.[15] The game also features Red Star Rings, which previously appeared in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, with one Red Ring hidden per act.[16]

Cross-compatibility is planned for the Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Phone versions, allowing players to alternate their games by means of Cloud saving.[17]

Owners of both Episode I and II on the same system can unlock free "Episode Metal" content in Episode II.[8] "Episode Metal" explains how Metal Sonic came back to life after being defeated in Sonic CD, and players can play as Metal Sonic through four acts, all of which are reworked from Zone 1 of Episode I.

Plot[edit]

Metal Sonic survived his previous defeat in Sonic CD, but was severely damaged, and left on Little Planet when it disappeared at the end of the game. After the events of Episode I, Little Planet returns, and Dr. Eggman locates and repairs Metal Sonic.[18] Sonic hears that Eggman is back, and reunites with Tails to stop him. Meanwhile, Metal Sonic searches for the heroes and sees them fly away in the Tornado, following them using Tails' rocket.[19]

It is revealed that Eggman plans to construct a new Death Egg mk.II over Little Planet. As the dwarfed planet heads back into space, Sonic and Tails follow the villains to the Death Egg. Inside, they confront and defeat Metal Sonic. Later, they defeat Eggman at the heart of the base. Sonic and Tails then escape via space pods just before the Death Egg begins to explode. As the credits roll, the duo head back to Earth while the Death Egg shuts down.

Development[edit]

In February 2011, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was confirmed to be in early development. Sega Brand Manager Ken Balough stated that "the idea is to introduce new zones with things you haven't seen." He has also hinted that Episode II may have a larger budget than Episode I, due to the commercial success of Episode I. Balough also stated that many of the ideas in Episode II were planned while the first episode was still under development.[20] Sega of America Community Manager Aaron Webber also hinted that Tails may appear in Episode II.[21] On August 23, 2011, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka stated that "this year, 2011, is the anniversary, so we're focusing on the celebration title, but moving forward to 2012, Sonic will still be going, so I'd hope to provide Episode 2 then." He also said that Sonic Team "knew about the anniversary year," and that "Generations was planned way in advance." As such, "it was always our plan to release Episode 2 after Generations."[22] In preparation for Episode II's release, Sega re-released Sonic the Hedgehog CD to digital platforms in late 2011, billing it as a 'prequel' to Sonic 4, as the events of Episode II would rely heavily on what occurred in CD.

On December 29, a teaser trailer for Episode II was released, and it was revealed that both Metal Sonic and Tails would be returning. It was also revealed that the game would feature an updated graphics and physics engine from Episode I. Platforms confirmed for release were Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and PC.[23][24] It was also confirmed that no WiiWare version of Episode II would be released, due to hardware constraints.[25][26]

On April 21, 2012, an early beta version of Episode II was accidentally made available to people who pre-ordered the game on Steam. However, Sega quickly removed it.[27]

Future episodes[edit]

As of March 2012, Sega has no plans for Sonic 4 beyond Episode II. Takashi Iizuka has said that Sega is looking forward to user feedback and wants to see how users accept this episode.[28] During the PAX East 2012, Cheat Code Central spoke with Sega representatives, who revealed that the company would be taking Sonic games "one at a time." It was said that if Episode II sells well, an Episode III will likely be developed, as well as a possible Episode IV and Sonic the Hedgehog 5.[29]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 63.33%[30]
(X360) 61.32%[31]
(PC) 52.00%[32]
(iOS) 73.57%[33]
Metacritic (PS3) 63/100[34]
(X360) 61/100[35]
(PC) 51/100[36]
(iOS) 66/100[37]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B+[38]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 6.5/10[39]
Game Revolution 2/5 stars[40]
GamesRadar 5/10[42]
GameSpot 6/10[41]
GameTrailers 5.5/10[43]
IGN 6.5/10[44]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 8/10[45]
Joystiq 3/5 stars[46]
Digital Spy 2/5 stars[47]

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II received mixed reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 63.33% and 63/100,[30][34] the Xbox 360 version 61.32% and 61/100[31][35] the PC version 52.00% and 51/100,[32][36] and the iOS version 73.57% and 66/100.[33][37]

IGN's Lucas M. Thomas gave the game a score of 6.5, stating that while it fixes the physics problems of Episode I, it is still missing the "magic" of its Genesis predecessors.[44] GamesRadar's Lucas Sullivan criticized it in similar ways, stating that the two-player mode "seems to prioritize griefing your friends instead making real in-game progress," and further stating that "every time we felt like we were reliving our old Sonic glory days, the next stage would incorporate limp and uninspired gimmicks like shifting winds or avalanche snowboarding."[42] Electronic Gaming Monthly's Ray Carsillo gave the game a 6.5, praising the "old-school Sonic" aspects of the gameplay, but criticizing the Tails-related gameplay, stating "there were too many puzzles that required Tails' assistance.[39] Joystiq's Richard Mitchell had mixed feelings on the game as well, awarding it 3 out of 5 stars, and stating "Episode 2 makes improvements over its predecessor, with better visuals, useful co-op maneuvers and great special stages, but the inconsistent boss battles and uninspired level design keep it from recapturing Sonic's glory days."[46] GameTrailers gave the game a score of 5.5, saying that the level design and the team-up moves often slow the pace of the game.[43] Official Xbox Magazine's (UK) Jon Blyth was more positive, concluding that the game was "a smooth, slippery Sonic that takes another step away from it's [sic] single-button origins without losing any of the hog essence. With local and online co-op, it offers just enough entertainment to justify its steep episodic price."[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II". Steam. May 15, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (PlayStation 3)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (Xbox 360)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Ruddock, David (May 16, 2012). "Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review: A Really Great Game - If You Have A Controller... And Some Patience". Android Police. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (iOS)". IGN. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  6. ^ Usher, Anthony (July 9, 2013). "Sonic spin dashes onto Ouya in Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episodes I and II". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II THD Pre-Loaded on NVIDIA SHIELD". Sega Blog. July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Oliver, Tristan (April 5, 2012). "UPDATE: New Sonic 4: Episode II Trailer Debuts". Tssznews. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Who's making Sonic 4? Well, since you asked...". Sega Forums. February 24, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  10. ^ Williams, Mike (June 5, 2013). "Sega embracing "disruptive" Ouya with Sonic". Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is a no-go on WiiWare". Nintendo Everything. December 30, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Ken Balough Interview". GameSpot. December 29, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Tails Limited to 2 Player Mode in Sonic 4: Episode 2". Sonic Stadium. February 23, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ Workman, Robert (May 18, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2". GameZone. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Xbox.com Releases First Screenshots of Sonic 4: Episode 2, Co-op Play Also Revealed". Sonic Stadium. February 14, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "SEGA Europe Releases More Sonic 4: Episode 2 Screenshots". Sonic Stadium. February 5, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II Video Game, GDC 2012: Features Interview HD". GameTrailers. March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  18. ^ Ishaan (December 29, 2011). "Tails Returns As A Playable Character In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2". Siliconera. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Official Website". Sega. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ Oliver, Tristan (February 25, 2011). "Sonic 4: Episode II Now "In Early Development", Says Ken Balough". Tssznews. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  21. ^ Oliver, Tristan (February 3, 2011). "Sega Celebrates Hedgehog Day, Hints at Tails in Sonic 4: Episode 2?". Tssznews. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  22. ^ GeneHF. "Sonic 4: Episode 2 in 2012, Episode 3 Unlikely". Sonicretro. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sonic 4: Episode 2 Confirmed For PC Download". Sonic Stadium. January 19, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  24. ^ Plunkett, Luke (December 29, 2011). "Sonic 4: Episode 2 is Already Changing Stuff". Kotaku. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  25. ^ Newton, James (December 30, 2011). "SEGA Confirms No WiiWare Outing for Sonic 4: Episode II". Wiiware.nintendolife. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  26. ^ Oliver, Tristan (April 13, 2012). "Video: The Funniest S4E2 Balough Interview You'll See". Tssznews. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  27. ^ Sanchez, David (May 18, 2012). "Sonic 4: Episode II was leaked on Steamews". GameZone. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  28. ^ Batchelor, James (March 23, 2012). "Future Sonic 4 episodes canned". Mcvuk. Retrieved March 27, 2012. 
  29. ^ D'Argenio, Angelo M. (April 11, 2012). "The Future Of Sonic The Hedgehog". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I (iOS)". GameRankings. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II for PlayStation 3". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  35. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II for Xbox 360". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  37. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II for iOS". Metacritic. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  38. ^ Barnholt, Ray (May 14, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review: Blue Renewed". 1UP.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  39. ^ a b Carsillo, Ray (May 15, 2012). "EGM Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II". EGMNOW. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  40. ^ KevinS (May 29, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  41. ^ Neigher, Eric (May 22, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  42. ^ a b Sullivan, Lucas (May 15, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II review". GamesRadar. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  43. ^ a b "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II Review". GameTrailers. May 21, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  44. ^ a b Thomas, Lucas M. (May 18, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II Review". IGN. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  45. ^ a b Blyth, Jon (May 17, 2012). "Xbox Live Arcade Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Review". Oxm.co.uk. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  46. ^ a b Mitchell, Richard (May 16, 2012). "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 review: Running in place". Joystiq. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  47. ^ Nichols, Scott (May 22, 2012). "'Sonic 4: Episode 2' review (Xbox Live): Running on fumes". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 

External links[edit]