Sonic the Hedgehog 2
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
European box art
Sega Technical Institute
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Japanese: ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ
Development of the game began at the end of 1991. Both American and Japanese staff contributed to development; art director Tim Skelly designed the appearance of the game's new 3D special stages based on an earlier tech demo created by Yuji Naka. The staff increased the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in comparison to its predecessor. As with the original game, the soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was a critical and commercial success. It has sold over six million copies, making it the second-best-selling Genesis game behind the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It has since been released in several compilations and downloads for various platforms, which were also generally positively received. A remastered version was released on iOS and Android devices in December 2013, including new features and an additional stage. Two sequels, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, were released in 1994.
The game's two protagonists are Sonic the Hedgehog and his sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower; Tails is described as having idolized Sonic as a child and wanting to keep up with him. The game's premise is similar to that of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic's nemesis, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, is planning world domination with his army of robots, which he has placed animals inside, and the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds. However, this time he is constructing an armored space station known as the Death Egg. The goal of the game is to defeat Robotnik, optionally saving as many animals as possible and collecting all seven Emeralds. By default, the game ends with Sonic riding on Tails' biplane, the Tornado. However, if the player has collected all of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic, in his Super Sonic form, flies alongside it.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 2D, side-scrolling platform game. 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. The game takes place over a series of levels, each divided into one, two, or three acts with a boss fight with Robotnik at the end of the last act. The character can jump on enemies to defeat them; the game also introduces a new move, the "spin dash" or "Super Dash Attack", by which the player curls in a ball and spins while stationary, resulting in a speed boost. When the player is attacked by an enemy without rings, is crushed, falls off-screen, or exceeds the act's ten-minute limit, they lose a life and return to the most recently passed checkpoint. Dying with zero lives gives the player a game over.
When the player collects at least 50 rings and passes a checkpoint, they can warp to a "special stage". In these stages, the player 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 ten rings and is immobilized momentarily. The stages rise in difficulty, and the player cannot enter any stage without passing the previous one. After finishing, the player is transported back to the star post they used to enter the special stage. When all Emeralds have been collected, if the player chose Sonic, he has the ability to turn into Super Sonic, which requires 50 rings or more. Super Sonic is yellow and invincible to enemy attacks, and his speed, acceleration, and jump height are increased as well. However, he loses one ring per second and reverts to being regular Sonic when all of his rings are gone.
The game also has a competitive mode, where two players compete against each other to the finish line, as either Sonic or Tails, in a split-screen race through three of the regular levels 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 ends 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 their opponent will automatically win.
Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic & Knuckles was released in 1994, two years after Sonic 2. The Sonic & Knuckles game cartridge features a special "lock-on" adapter by which the player can attach other Genesis cartridges. Attaching Sonic 2 unlocks Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a variation of Sonic 2 whereby the player plays as Knuckles the Echidna, a character introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994) and not playable until Sonic & Knuckles (1994).
Though the game is largely identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Knuckles is able to glide and climb walls, allowing him access to areas previously unaccessible to Sonic or Tails. However, he cannot jump as high, making some parts of the game, such as certain boss fights, more difficult. In addition, fewer rings are needed to progress in special stages and the score made within them no longer resets. The two-player mode is removed.
Following the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, creator Yuji Naka quit Sega due to disagreements over its corporate policies. Mark Cerny, who had recently founded the Sega Technical Institute (STI) at Sega of America, met with Naka in Japan and offered him a higher salary and more creative freedom if he joined STI. Naka agreed, and Hirokazu Yasuhara, lead level designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, also decided to move to STI. Yasuhara had been assigned to help Cerny establish STI in 1990, but the outbreak of the Gulf War delayed his move to the United States by three months, during which he joined Sonic Team and became part of the Sonic project.
Development of Sonic 2 began in November 1991, two months later than Cerny had intended, because Sega of America initially felt it was too soon for a sequel. Both American and Japanese Sonic Team staff contributed to development; art director Tim Skelly designed the appearance of the game's pseudo-3D special stages, based on a tech demo created by Naka. The special stages were created out of pre-rendered 3D polygons, video of which was compressed and halved, both vertically and horizontally, to fit in the game cartridge. Sonic 2 also introduced Sonic's sidekick, a two-tailed flying fox named Tails, inspired by Japanese folklore about the kitsune and created by level artist Yasushi Yamaguchi. Sega of America objected to the character's name, Miles Prower (a pun on "miles per hour"), so he was given the nickname Tails as a compromise. Masaharu Yoshii served as the game's director. The staff increased the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 compared to the first game.
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 Genesis. The port never surfaced, and time travel was instead implemented in an original Sonic game for the Mega CD, Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
A demonstration cartridge of the game was stolen at a New York toy show earlier in 1992. Sega's Akinori Nishiyama stated that the leak was due to the lack of security. The prototype features a playable section of the Hidden Palace Zone, a level cut shortly before release. Naka said of the level:
The basic idea was about the same as it was in Sonic & 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 was lost for over 20 years until it was included in the iOS remaster release in December 2013, which implemented the level. Sega provided some magazines, such as GamePro, with screenshots of early builds of the game that showed another removed level, the desert-themed 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 1 & 2 Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Masato Nakamura|
|Released||October 19, 2011|
|Genre||Video game music, chiptune|
Disc 1: 01:07:51
Disc 2: 01:05:15
Disc 3: 00:19:26
Sonic the Hedgehog 2's music, like the previous game, was composed by Masato Nakamura, bassist and lead songwriter of the J-pop band Dreams Come True. The music began early on in development with only concept images for Nakamura's reference, but having a previous game meant he had experience with creating music for the Genesis, and began taking a similar approach to the first game. Nakamura treated Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as a film, and designed the music around the atmosphere that he felt from the images of the stages. Except for the graphics and some discussion with Sonic Team, Nakamura was given freedom over the music creation which he believes was the reason why he was able to create "such melodic tunes and unusual rhythm patterns".
Nakamura created the music while he was recording with Dreams Come True in London, working on their fourth album The Swinging Star. As a gift to Sonic Team, Masato produced an alternate version of the ending theme with Dreams Come True, which was included in the album they were recording at the time. In 2011, the stage music from Chemical Plant and Casino Night Zone were remixed by Sega for use in Sonic Generations.
Later in October of the same year, a three-disc compilation of the music from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released in Japan. Alongside music from the game, the compilation includes comments by Yuji Naka and an interview with Nakamura. The first disc contains original tracks from both games, and the second contains 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 singer Akon which were used in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
Sega launched a $10 million advertising campaign for Sonic the Hedgehog 2's release. Sega sought a global release date to make the game available in all stores on the same day, a fairly novel concept at the time. This required Sega to reconfigure its distribution system to ensure that games were available in all major stores. The release date, Tuesday, November 24, 1992 was marketed as "Sonic 2s day". While the Genesis release in North America and the Mega Drive release in Europe both released the game on this day, Sega made the game available a few days before in Japan on November 21, 1992. 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
A version of the game for the Sega Master System and Game Gear was developed by Aspect. Though based on the original game of the same name, it is a distinct game, with different level designs and a different plot, and this version, unlike the 16-bit release, does not have the spindash, which led it to being thought to be made before the Sega Genesis version.
Compilations that include the game are Sonic Compilation (1995) 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.
The game was made available for download 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 remastered version 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 attack mode, online multiplayer, additional multiplayer stages, and the previously unreleased Hidden Palace Zone. The game was released as part of the Nintendo 3DS 3D Classics line in Japan on July 22, 2015, with a release in North America and Europe initially slated for September 2015, before being pushed back to October 8.
Due to the popularity of its predecessor, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 already had an established fanbase anticipating its release. The game received critical acclaim upon release and was a best seller in the UK charts for 2 months. As of 2006, 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).
Reviewers praised the game for its large levels, colorful graphics and backgrounds, increased cast of characters, enemies, 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" list. Critics also enjoyed the faster gameplay the game offered in comparison to its predecessor, as well as its new features. Lucas Thomas of IGN praised the new "Spin-Dash" ability, which would prepare Sonic to launch at a faster speed. Thomas also noted that the levels of Sonic 2 were designed to showcase the character's speed, and was less a "platform-jumping game" than a "platform-running" game, in slight contrast to its predecessor.
The game's main criticisms were of the two player mode, a new introduction to the series. The game allowed two-player mode in three different zones (Emerald Hill, Casino Night and Mystic Cave). Reviewers criticized the mode's noticeable slowdown and prominent flickering, and the squashed play area for each player. However, Lucas Thomas praised the innovation of the new two player mode, quipping that "Mario and Luigi could never run competitively through the same levels, at the same time". 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."
Sonic the Hedgehog 2's financial success was a major factor in Sega catching up to Nintendo in the early-1990s console wars. It brought their market share up to 50% within six months of its release. Tails, whom Sonic the Hedgehog 2 introduced, would go on to become one of the most prominent and frequently recurring characters in the series, appearing and acting as Sonic's sidekick in most of the franchise's media, including in recent games such as Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Lost World in which most of the recurring cast does not appear or is relegated to minor roles. Tails starred alone in two games for the Sega Game Gear: Tails' Skypatrol and Tails Adventure. Furthermore, Sonic the Hedgehog 2's popularity managed extend its own cult following and spawn various merchandise such as comic books (the well-received fortnightly Sonic the Comic), a television series, and a sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which received similar acclaim.
For Sonic's twentieth anniversary, Sega released Sonic Generations, a game that remade aspects of various past games from the franchise. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC versions 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 pre-order bonus for the console versions at GameStop.
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