An ideal video game sequel is one that improves upon its predecessor in nearly every conceivable way. In the case of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, that’s exactly what you get. The game was released by Sega in 1992 for the Genesis/Mega Drive console to critical acclaim, and its entertainment value still holds up to this very day.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a sequel to original Sonic the Hedgehog, which was released the previous year to enthusiastic Genesis owners.. Shortly after, Sega of America insisted it be a pack-in title with North American consoles, quickly positioning itself as Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s flagship Super Mario franchise. The pressure to make a high quality Sonic sequel was on, and Sega delivered on all fronts.
One of the more obvious additions is a brand new character, a two-tailed fox named Tails. Also known as Miles Prower, Tails quickly became Sonic’s sidekick in all media going forward. If playing in single-player mode, Tails will follow Sonic around on the screen, unless the player chooses to play as Sonic or Tails alone. But most importantly, it allows for a two-player split screen mode where Sonic and Tails both race to the end of the same level. Another huge addition to the gameplay in Sonic 2 is the spin dash. This is a move that allows the player to spin in place to charge up, then dash off at a breakneck speed.
Sonic 2 features notably improved level design over its predecessor, layouts that lend themselves better to what Sonic is most famous for, running fast! While the original was no doubt an enjoyable time, large chunks of its gameplay included standing still while waiting on platforms to move into place. This is tolerable in smaller doses, but quite boring when overdone. Developers must have taken this into account when designing the sequel, as it’s much more focused on traversal and quick movement.
Essentially, Sega did exactly what they should with a game sequel. They took what worked from the original formula, ditched what didn’t, added a few key perks, and drastically improved level design. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an absolute standout 2D platformer, one that’s completion should be a notch in all gamers’ belts. Fortunately, it’s not hard to get your hands on this classic, as it’s seen a number of re-releases over the years and is currently part of Nintendo Switch Online’s offerings in the Sega Genesis titles.