Developer: Sega
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 3.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Sure, the Sonic the Hedgehog series is known as a classic now, but for me, the moment when the series jumped from being about “blast processing” and Not-Mario to being a classic in its own right was Sonic 2. It was a rather comprehensive game, laying the groundwork for much of the series’ conventions. So when Christian Whitehead got his chance to helm a remastering as he did with Sonic CD and the original Sonic, there wasn’t too much he could add. But what has been added preserves what made the original game great, modernizes just what needs to be done, and adds one very cool easter egg for die-hard fans.

Sonic2_Remastered-3Sonic 2 is a really important game for me: it’s one of my earliest gaming memories. I remember one winter day, shortly after getting a Sega Genesis and the original Sonic, my dad and I went and got Sonic 2 from a now-defunct electronics store chain. I feel like I know Emerald Hill Zone from top to bottom. I remember beating the Chemical Plant Zone boss and dying at the disappearing platforms. I remember the cheat codes entered at the Sound Test – which still work here – to unlock the level select, Super Sonic, and debug mode. Death Egg’s bosses for 6-year old Carter were beatable only by cheating.

And the game still holds up incredibly well to this day. The level design is still fantastic, giving players chances to explore the multi-tiered levels or to try and find that perfect speed run path. And what this port does is preserve everything as it should be and add only what is necessary. The game supports controllers and is widescreen-compatible now. The multiplayer added to the Genesis original is back, with all zones playable, instead of just the 3 available on the original: but those 3 have their alternate music playing instead. The Time Attack mode is perfectly set up for speed-running. Tails can fly now. Knuckles is playable, as he was when Sonic & Knuckles came out.

Sonic2_HiddenPalaceZone3But there was one thing that was added that was an incredibly cool surprise: the Hidden Palace Zone. Getting to play through one of the series’ great lost levels with a new boss? It’s just too cool to discover something new about a classic game. And it shows that Christian Whitehead and the team truly care about Sonic at a base level. They understand what truly goes into these games and makes them great, and that the hardcore fans know all sorts of details that will be appreciated.

But even for newbies of the series this is a must-play. The original Sonic the Hedgehog‘s port was great, and that is still a solid game, but Sonic 2 is when the series became a classic. And while the core game holds up incredibly well no matter what, this remastering job makes it the perfect version of the game. For Sonic fans, this is a must-have. For newbies, it’s time to discover a classic in a perfect form.


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