For those reading one of my Genesis review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
I already reviewed a bunch of SNES games, so its natural that I am going to review the games of its prime competition. Does the SEGA Genesis stand a chance against the legendary SNES library?
My review series is based on the top 100 list of Retro Sanctuary
Originally, I post most of my stuff in a football forum"Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
61: Sonic the Hedgehog 2:
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
Without Sonic, there wouldn't have been the 16bit Consoles war. In a time where Iconic cartoon characters managed the most sales, Sega needed the Blue Blur to compete. It needed Sonic to be both an iconic character, as well as have pretty solid gameplay about it.
Since Sonic only started in 1991, Sega did not have the time to build him a legacy, as Nintendo did with Mario. Instead, they had to release the second game as fast as possible, culminating in the release of Sonic 2 only a year after the first.
Its good to say that probably hectic schedule did not affect the quality of the game, because Sonic 2 is continuation of the best parts of the first game, and then some.
"Sonic got through Act I.."
Sonic was never about precise platforming, nor was it about exploring different worlds and going through different levels. At its core, Sonic was a game about mastering the mechanics that makes it possible to race through a labyrinthine level in less than a minute.
While Sonic 2 is an expansion of that concept, it actually brings more personality to the game than speed alone. While the first game had interesting varying locations, it felt populated by generic left over characters and plastered with imitation landscapes.
This harsh assessment is only because the sequel brings much more character to the game. Chemical and Casino zones are levels that stick to the memory long after you play them. I only played Sonic a couple of times back in the day, but those levels were imprinted in my mind.
I had dreams about this level as a kid
Finally, we actually see Dr. Robotnik personality more, as his creation become more bizzare, more mechanical, and simply more colorful.
Of course, the addition of Tails the fox is what stamps this as the true beginning of Sonic as a franchise. Something which at once separates it from the rest of platformers and paves the way for Co-Op gameplay.
A Lot of Personality: +2
Varied and Iconic Levels: +4
Addition of Tails: +2
"Sonic has all the Chaos Emeralds"
One major change to the mechanics of the first game is the spin dash. With it, Sonic gets the ability to charge his spin in the ground to launch himself with great speed. While its not used to its full potential in this game, it still adds a lot to the tools Sonic already has, and reduces times you have to track back to speed over a ramp.
Otherwise, the solid gameplay is still tight as ever. Mostly, this is a game about using your tools to master the game's levels. Each level has their own twists, and much more than the first game, they can be traversed through different paths.
Because of that, this game is instantly replayable, with mastering a level your goal, instead of simply beating it.
That is not to say that each level is balanced and fair. Several times, you would run at full speed jumping through hoops and bouncing of jump pads, simply to crash to an enemy right in the avoidable path of your landing. In those cases, it feels less like reaction time, and more like memorizing the placement of those obstacles.
Boss battles are not actually challenging, but they are really fun
One thing that completely ruins the balance, but in a fun way, is the Super Saiyan mode Sonic goes into once you get all 7 Chaos emeralds. Getting the emeralds, you must go through a fun mini-game that is much better than the vomit inducing nightmare of the first game. Once you do get all seven, then getting 50 coins turns you in Super Sonic.
The problem is that once you have this power, you cannot opt out of it, which turns most stages into trivial affair. I would recommend against getting all 7 emeralds, since it keeps you from experiencing the stages as they were meant to be played.
A final thing to note though is the TERRIBLE final boss. When the bosses in all levels are fun affairs where you can slog and counter slog the mad professor, the final boss has you without any rings. This throws the entire training of the game out of the window, and makes sure you die a lot in this fight. Worse yet, its two bosses after each other with no checkpoint.
Great Gameplay: +5
Invites Mastery: +2
Super Saiyan Mode: +1
Some Balance Issues: -3
The only way to showcase the gameplay and personality of the Sonic games is to have the best graphics and sound on the system. In Sonic 2, the team manages to stretch the Genesis's abilities, while also respecting its limitations.
Sprites are bold, colorful, and contrast well with the varied and cool environments. Emerald zone is the typical starting area, with no threatening backgrounds and typical forest imagery. Yet, with the second Zone, Sonic 2's bold colors clash to make something memorable as well as edgy and dangerous. The first time fall from switch panels into a slowly rising pool, only to realize you need to race back up before you drown, is the time Sonic 2 manages to impress.
The Casino level is both an iconic visual feast as well as an iconic gameplay level
With its soundtrack, as well as its sound effects, the game manages to use the Genesis to the best of its capabilities to make a number of great tunes. Songs that compliments Sonic's speeds while styling each stage with a suitable sound.
Its the best soundtrack I have listened to in the Genesis so far, with the exception of one track.
Very Good Graphics: +4
Very Good Sound : +4
While the first Sonic game has to be respected for its innovation and what it brought to the table, it had a number of limitations that kept it from being memorable for itself, as opposed to memorable due to what it started.
Sonic 2 simply takes everything good about the first game and expands on it. This is the game that actually compares to the level of of polish Nintendo had with their games.
Its rough in some place, and grates in others, but its rocks and rolls like no other when in sync.
Flying into the Horizone
1- Search the level around for powerups and lives.
2- If you lose a life, you can always get one at the same location you found it in the first time.
3- Collect 100 rings to get a life.
4- complete the stage with more than 50 rings to go into the bonus stages.
5- If you have no rings at all, play the game like its Ghost's and Goblins.
6- Hold of getting the 7th Emerald if you want to experience all stages normally.
I can't believe Retro Sanctuary actually has Sonic 2 at #61. Its an obviously better game than the first Sonic, and there is little debate about it. Now I am REALLY looking forward to Sonic 3.
Next game on the list at #19 is a game about Dolphins. You guessed it, its Eco: The Tides of Time, which is probably the most famous game starred by a completely aquatic creature. So long, and thanks for all the fishes.
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