- Original release year: 1992
- Consoles: Mega Drive/Genesis (later: Every console ever)
Mario’s bitter rival, Sonic, launched his greatest game in 1992, with the first sequel to the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Compared to Mario, Sonic was vivid, full of colour, bold, arrogant and brash. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a title that was released full of bravado and Sega’s edgy 90’s confidence.
Everything that was great about the original Sonic title, was increased, refined and improved massively in Sonic 2, producing a graphically superior, larger and grandeur platformer. This time around, Sonic was joined by a new friend, a character loved by most of the Sonic fandom, Tails (AKA Miles Prower). A new move that has gone on to be included in nearly every Sonic game since, the ‘spin dash’, was also included for the first time.
The level design and art direction in Sonic 2 is absolutely splendid and arguably, has yet to be beaten by any Sonic game that followed it. The speed was increased, but platforming remains a solid focus, areas feel bigger and expanded, as well as boss fights feeling better this time around, with more strategy implemented into their design.
Another highlight of the game, is the new special stages that place Sonic and Tails running head on, in a pseudo 3D half pipe, jumping and running from side to side, to try and collect as many rings as possible and avoiding the bombs in the process.
Sonic 2, for me, is the quintessential Sonic game. It was a major improvement over the first game and added features like the spin dash, added a cool character like Tails and both of these improved the overall experience. Sega would later go on to take it too far with Sonic’s friends and adding ridiculous new gimmicks, but Sonic 2 just got everything right.