It’s still good.
In 1992, SEGA popped out one of my childhood’s most memorable games on the SEGA Genesis in the form of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Since then, Sonic and SEGA have seen the game reiterated numerous times on multiple platforms. Whether it be a collection on the PS2 or PS3/Xbox 360, a re-issue for mobile devices, or the 3D version on the Nintendo 3DS, Sonic’s legacy continues to live on. Forget all the sub-par sequels and newest additions to Sonic’s resume; Sonic the Hedgehog 2 remains one of the best Sonic titles in existence.
For those of you not in the know, Sonic the Hedgehog began as a high speed side-scrolling adventure following the story of Sonic as he raced against time to defeat the nefarious Dr. Robotnic (or Dr. Eggman). The objective of the original Sonic games was, essentially, to navigate a series of maps (usually from left to right) while avoiding hazards and defeating additional enemies – and freeing captive critters. Each ‘world’ contained two stages; the second stage always involved a boss battle with Dr. Robotnic.
With that preface completed, I recently discovered that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 released on the Nintendo 3DS in October of last year – in 3D. I purchased the game on sale (less than five dollars) to uncover whether my memories were the works of nostalgia or if Sonic 2 held up by today’s standards. With the crackle of the sing-song SEGA intro, I was off to re-re-re-experience the adventure of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
The first thing I noticed in this iteration of Sonic 2 was how well the controls worked. I’ve played various Sonic games that have been released on the numerous SEGA or Sonic collections, so I know firsthand how sloppy some of the ports have been. The 3DS port, however, felt crisp and tight, which is something that any Sonic fan understands as important. Any button causes Sonic to jump, while holding down on the D-Pad and pressing any button sets Sonic off into his iconic spin. Perhaps it was my own age, or perhaps it was the well-executed controls, but I made it further in 3D Sonic 2 on my first attempt than I ever did as a child (all the way to the final stage). Sadly, it was with that achievement that I realized how brief Sonic 2 actually is.
Still, the music in Sonic 2 is almost as iconic as Mario – even arguably as so. The tunes are terribly catchy, and the victory and boss music both incite a feeling of joy and anxiousness, respectively. Likewise, the sound in Sonic 2 translated well to the 3DS (if you can excuse the crackling SEGA opening). Where many ports suffer from poor sound, Sonic 2 – outside, again, of the aforementioned opening – really produced excellent sound bites.
The aesthetics of Sonic 2 remain as familiar as I remember them – even and especially the latter levels. The second world still filled me with dread as I raced above that heinous purple liquid, avoiding, to the best of my ability (and successfully so) falling into the water and, subsequently, drowning. With the 3D switched on, the worlds took on a new life. These effects were really cool; however, I found myself having difficulty actually playing the game with the 3D in effect. My eyes could not focus on where I needed to, and the bonus stages could throw even the sturdiest of eyes into vertigo.
My biggest complaint with 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the occasional glitch. For example, in the casino world during the boss fight, Sonic locked himself into a spin. If anyone understands how awful that is, try dodging Robotnic’s spike bombs, electric underbelly, and claw with only the ability to roll and short jump. Eventually, I took damage, collected a few of my scattered coins, and finished the stage without further incident. A few times, issues like this occurred. It certainly wasn’t enough to derail the experience, but it caused massive frustration the few times it snuck up on me.
If you’re a 3DS owner and have never experience the magic of Sonic 2, or if you do own a 3DS and have an itch for some classic Sonic, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is normally about five dollars. Even with its short campaign, six dollars or below is an excellent price. The replay value of any old Sonic game is tremendous for various reasons, including beating times and attempting perfect runs. The 3D version of the game offers an in-game save function that I found to be unexpected but appreciated. With only a few glitches marring an otherwise immaculate port (particularly with the tight controls carrying this one), Sonic 2 actually surpassed my expectations for what it could be. Be wary of the 3D settings, however, if you’re prone to dizziness; they’re extreme.