The second Sonic game is ready to shine on Nintendo Switch! Learn more about this 2D fast-paced platforming classic in our SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 review!
2D platformer SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog was the first game in the excellent SEGA AGES series on the Nintendo Switch, and after several great releases in the racing, puzzle, RPG, mini-games, and shoot ‘em up genres, and it’s now time to go back to the first franchise in the series for SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2! The game was originally released on the Sega Genesis in North America in 1992, arriving on the same day in Europe and a few days earlier in Japan for what the console’s equivalent in said regions, known as the Sega Mega Drive.
What did Sonic the Hedgehog 2 bring to the table? Along with new content and a boost to the game’s graphics in comparison to its prequel – as sequels usually do – the second game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise brings in Miles Prower into scene. If that name does not ring a bell, you certainly know him by his nickname: Tails. Tails is now very much a part of the Sonic universe, but back then, seeing a new character alongside Sonic was definitely surprising! If you play in local multiplayer, one player will control Sonic, and the other will control Tails.
You’ll move your character with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, running left or right to complete each stage. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a very easy to understand, fast-paced 2D platformer, since all three buttons of the Sega Genesis controller that are mapped to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con or the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller will be used to make your character spin jump. If you’re running fast with either character, you can press down on the D-Pad or the left analog stick to spin on the ground. But if you’re not moving, you can press and hold down to charge up a spin dash by constantly pressing the A, B, or Y buttons. You can use your spin jump to land on most opponents to defeat them.
When you’re taking on a stage, you should always make sure to grab as many rings as possible. If you’re hit by an enemy or by a hazard, when holding at least one ring, you will lose the ring(s) and not die. If, on the other hand, you’re damaged when your ring count is at zero, then you will die and lose a life. If you think that losing all of your rings when hit is a bit too harsh, you can activate Ring Keep Mode, which will allow you to keep half of all of your rings when you’re hit. Rings are also important because when you collect 100 of them, you’ll be rewarded with an extra life. You can earn up to two extra lives this way per act.
Having some extra lives is always a good thing because once you run out of lives, you’ll end up getting a game over. You’ll start your run with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 without any continues, which means that getting a game over will force you to start at the beginning of the game. The good news is that if you manage to clear an act after scoring at least 10,000 points, you’ll get to earn one continue. This is why it’s important that you collect many rings, defeat any enemies in your path, and grab power-ups that boost your score.
You can find special stages as you play, which will change things considerably since the perspective will shift from the 2D of the platforming stages to a pseudo-3D mode in which you’ll be running down a half tube, collecting rings as you go. You’ll move left and right, jumping with the A, B, or Y buttons. As you run down the half tube, you will also need to avoid the bombs that are placed here, there, and everywhere. If you hit a bomb, you will lose ten rings, so you’ll need to be careful since you’ll have to collect a specific number of rings as you reach each of the checkpoints in the special stage. If you complete a special stage, you will get to collect a Chaos Emerald.
Something that’s very interesting about SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Nintendo Switch is that it allows you to play the game as if you were rocking the start of the tower of power from back in the day. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here it goes. When Sonic & Knuckles released, it was a very interesting type of cartridge game for one particular reason: you could actually plug your copy of Sonic 2 (or Sonic 3!) ON TOP of the Sonic & Knuckles cart!
The Sonic & Knuckles cart was basically a cart with a connection on top for other carts to slot into, and this added the ability to play as Knuckles to Sonic 2. In fact, when you go into the settings (more on this in a bit) and select this option, you’ll get to see how the game looked like back then when playing Sonic 2 slotted into Sonic & Knuckles slotted into a Sega Genesis – again, a Sega Mega Drive for those of you outside of North America. This was a nice way of rewarding players who owned other Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Sega Genesis so that they could take them for a new spin in a fresh experience. Knuckles can jump and glide by pressing the A, B, or Y buttons once airborne. If you glide into a wall, Knuckles will be able to grab onto the wall and climb.
Along with the main Sonic the Hedgehog 2 game and being able to play as Knuckles in the game, you can also take on the included Challenge Mode, which has you racing against the clock as you try to collect 100 rings in total as fast as possible before reaching the goal. If you reach the goal but have not collected 100 rings, then you will fail the challenge and will have to do it all over again.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 offers you the chance to play either the International version of the game or the Japan version of the game. You can also activate a stage select if you want to take on any particular stages right from the start. As is the case for other releases in the SEGA AGES range, you can change how the game is displayed on the screen, either in the Normal, Fit, Full, Dot by Dot, or Vintage setting. There are also extra options that can add scan lines or a smoothing effect to give it a retro or a modern look.
Sonic the Hedgehog was a very fun 2D platformer back when it was originally released for the Sega Genesis and was just as fun in SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog on Nintendo Switch. The sequel is even better, and the version we get for SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is even better than the original thanks to the customization options so that you can tailor your experience, as well as by adding Knuckles.
This SEGA AGES Sonic 2 review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Sega.