Release Date: November 24, 1992
Publisher: Sega of America, Inc.
ESRB Rating: Everyone
The first time I beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2, I was ten. I remember because it was a few weeks after my best friend’s tenth birthday and he got the game as a gift. The first time I played the game was at that birthday party or perhaps a bit after the party had died down. What a trip. Sonic moved faster on the screen than any other video game character I had ever seen. And what was the most exciting part is that I was actually controlling him and it wasn’t just a video (or as they’ve been come to known as these days: a cutscene). I was actually making legitimate progress at a million miles per hour as Sonic the Hedgehog. Yet, thankfully, that wasn’t all the game was about. There were bosses that merited serious strategizing and many retries, secret areas hidden in hard to find spots, and rings, oh so many rings. Not to mention the cute little furry creatures you freed from slavery every time you kill one of the many robotic bad guys in each level. After beating a boss, unleashing the horde of those little furry animals felt like such a release at age ten. I didn’t know how the pieces fit together or why this hedgehog wanted to destroy that doctor, but it didn’t matter. Sonic 2 was one of the most important games of my childhood. It solidified my love for platform games and introduced me to the franchise. Now it’s 14 years later- 17 years after the game came out- and I still play Sonic 2 every now and then.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the game works: you use a control pad to move around and all of the other buttons jump. If you hold the down button, you’ll look like you’re about to do a somersault until you press and hold one of the jump buttons. You’ll then start spinning at a blistering rate while still in place, allowing you to accelerate much faster than just by running. This ability is really useful and even necessary at some points in the game. Now I’m going to let you in on a secret that completely blew my 10-year-old mind: if you collect all seven of the Chaos Emeralds, once you get 50 coins, try jumping. You’ll turn into “Super Sonic.” Your coins will slowly drain, but you won’t care since you’re invincible and much faster than before. You’ll just breeze through any level you encounter as Super Sonic. Last week I transformed into Super Sonic for the first time in over a decade. And it was glorious. I’m consistently impressed by the level design, music, and artwork in Sonic 2 despite the fact that I’m no longer 10 years old. Every time I hear the word “Sonic“, I involuntarily remember the music from the very first level. It’s one of the few games that I’d venture to call timeless.