Sonic The Hedgehog 2 - Death Egg Robot

SEGAs runaway hit, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 of 1992 inspired a generation of angsty kids who just wanted to be cool

In 1992, me and my older brother were given a choice. Do we continue with the Nintendo and set our hopes of a Merry Christmas on the SNES or did we go with what was cool, the awesomely named SEGA Mega Drive II. I need not tell you which way we went. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog.

“Why would you choose the Mega Drive over the SNES?” is a question I’ve been asked time and again, and above all the simple answer is that Sonic the Hedgehog was just cooler than Super Mario.

Chemical Plant zone still stands today as one of the best zones of any Sonic the Hedgehog game.

Why was that? Well, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was everything that we wanted in a nineties video game. Firstly, it had a cool true blue hero. Secondly, it had an archetypal Sunday morning cartoon villain. Thirdly, there was a doting sidekick and finally, the finest world building I’d seen in any game until that time.

“Comparing this to Sonics nearest rival in time; the competition felt slow, lethargic and visually unremarkable.”

From Emerald Hill zone to Metropolis zone, from Mystic Caverns to Sky Chase, there had not been a game that offered such variety and in a way that added continuity to the world that Sonic the Hedgehogs creators, Yuji Naka, Hirokazu Yasuhara and others had built.

It is undeniable. Comparing this to Sonics nearest rival in time; the competition felt slow, lethargic and visually unremarkable.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s special stages were great fun, especially as you could force your way in front of your partner to start an argument.

How Sonic 2 brought two brothers closer together than Mario and Luigi ever could

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 introduced many new elements to the Sonic formula. Chaos Emeralds that affected gameplay, new and exciting environmental hazards and a two tailed fox named Tails Miles Prower (Miles Per Hour, get it?).

How did the inclusion of Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 change the game? Well, whilst my brother was hurtling through levels as Sonic the Hedgehog, my unkillable fox friend was bouncing off spikes, springs and badniks galore. Let’s be clear, I couldn’t compete with my older brother in any arena. He was 9 years older than me and other than the occasional Thomas the Tank Engine trivia session, he absolutely decimated me in everything.

However in Sonic 2, we could work together, I couldn’t die and therefore I was more useful. In fact, I could collect rings and actually prevent him from dying! Many a life was saved by a single ring I had scooped up during that Oil Ocean boss fight.

Note: Tails desperately trying to land where Sonic is standing after drowning in the oil for the 8th time in a row.

And don’t get me started on VS mode. We would compete, he would win, and finally I would pout. In that exact order. There was a common element to games we played, and that was the ease in which he won. But as the old saying goes, practise makes perfect.

“We would compete, he would win, and finally I would pout. In that exact order.”

Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s VS mode was unique as it was effectively a race through single player for two people. Where the main adventure was a romp through colourful worlds, battling Dr Ivo Robotnik together to an amazing soundtrack. The VS mode was a race to the finish line, pulling as many underhanded tricks as possible.

Boy, did I pull some tricks.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 did widescreen before it was mainstream.

Sonic is cool for so many reasons; deal with it.

This may sound odd to younger audiences but in the nineties – attitude was everything. That was always supposed to be why Sonic was cool. 

“Sonic was the edgy opposite to the family friendly plumber.”

In the nineties Sonic was the edgy opposite to the family friendly plumber. Moreover, he never said a single word yet he oozed confidence and a presence even in his minimal but richly animated sprites. Mario was undoubtedly cute, but Sonic was unrelentlessly cool.

I love his vacant expression.

More so than anything else, Sonic and his faithful sidekick Tails brought together two brothers who struggled with the typical dynamic.

For that reason and many more, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the coolest entry in one of the greatest gaming series of all time.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is available as part of the SEGA Mega Drive Classics collection on all major consoles.

Or try Sonic the Hedgehog’s newest 2D adventure in Sonic Mania. With 4 player versus mode!

Anthony Jansen
Anthony is a gaming advocate. He has been playing video games since the early nineties and has a real passion for the 16 bit era. He believes that every game deserves a chance (except Treasures of the Deep - which scared him as a child).


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