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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)

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For the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game of the same name, see Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Tsū?) is a 2D platforming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Aspect and released by Sega. The game is released in-between October and November 1992 for Sega Master System and Game Gear. Predating its 16-bit counterpart for the Sega Genesis by less of a month, the game marks the debut of Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic the Hedgehog's best friend who would become one of main characters in the series.

Despite sharing the same title, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a completely different game from its 16-bit counterpart, featuring new Zones, a different storyline and additional features. The story itself centers around Sonic rescuing Animals and Tails from Dr. Robotnik. Much like other Game Gear and Master System games, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been re-released on numerous compilation titles or been included as an unlockable mini games- Such re-releases include the Virtual Console for the Wii and Nintendo 3DS.



The title screen for the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

After the events of the first game, peace has returned to South Island, prompting Sonic the Hedgehog to leave the quiet island in pursuit of other adventures. When he finally returned, however, there was no sign of his animal friends. Confused, Sonic went home, only to find a note written by his close friend Miles "Tails" Prower. The note explained that all the Animals on South Island had been kidnapped by Dr. Ivo Robotnik, and that Tails was being held prisoner in a place called the Crystal Egg. There, Robotnik forced Tails to write in the note that the doctor would only free Tails if Sonic brought him the six Chaos Emeralds.[2][3]

In addition to what had been written, Tails also wrote that Robotnik had build six Master Robots to await Sonic in each zone, and warned Sonic to careful as the diabolical doctor had specific plans to eliminate his nemesis. Finishing the message, Sonic sat out to thwart the doctor's scheme.[2][3]



Sonic in Sky High Zone, the second Zone in the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a side-scrolling platforming game with gameplay mechanics similar to that of Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit). The player's objective is to lead Sonic to the end of each Act of a Zone (a level in the game) in less than ten minutes. The player starts the game with three lives which can be increased by opening 1-Up Monitors or collecting 100 Rings. In gameplay, Sonic has all of his basic moves from Sonic the Hedgehog, including the Super Spin Attack for jumping and attacking (the height of the jump is proportional to how long the trigger button is held down) and the Spin Attack for mowing down obstacles and enemies.

The player is able to collect Rings to protect Sonic from damage. Unlike in the game's predecessor (where a single Ring is dropped after taking damage), a huge amount of Rings will scattere around Sonic when he takes damage, which the player can then recollect a small part of. However, Rings cannot protect from drowning, bottomless pits or Time Overs. Getting hit without a Ring costs a life and makes the player restart from the beginning of the current Act. Losing all lives ends the game, although Continues, which can be received from Bonus Panels, will provide more retries. The game also includes a number of power-ups which can be obtained by breaking Monitors.

Each Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features different gimmicks for gameplay, such as Railcarts, Hang-Gliders, larger Bubbles or Flywheels. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also features larger and more challenging maps than its predecessor, with more obstacles, like Spikes. One Chaos Emerald is also hidden in each Zone's second Act. If the player collects the first five and then defeats Silver Sonic in the sixth Zone, the sixth Emerald is awarded and the player may access the final Zone (Crystal Egg Zone). Players that are able to collect all the Emeralds are rewarded with the game's "good ending"; to those who fail, the game ends after Silver Sonic's destruction and a more downbeat credits sequence is played (in which Tails was not rescued).


Button formation Movement
Sonic-Icon-Sonic-Chaos Sonic the Hedgehog
Controlpadds left/right Walking/Running
Controlpadds up Looking up
Controlpadds down Crouch
Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button Super Spin Attack
Controlpadds right/left + down Spin Attack
START button Pauses the game.


Gimmicks and obstacles

Bonus Panel rewards

Much like in Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit), a Bonus Panel is found at the end of Acts 1 and 2 of each Zone. Passing it makes it spin and when it stops, the player will get a bonus depending on the sign's plate:

Question point
(From the start)
Dr. Robotnik Sonic Ring Tails
What could be there
10 extra Rings


Tails 60

Tails having been kidnapped.



1Silver Sonic

Silver Sonic.



The title card for Gimmick Mt. Zone Act 1, featuring Sonic and Tails.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 consists of seven Zones in total, each one split into three Acts. In a Zone's third act, the player faces off against one of Master Robots. After defeating one, the player then has to free Animals from a floating Prison Egg to progress to the next Zone. In order to enter the Crystal Egg Zone, the player has to collect the first five Chaos Emeralds and then defeat the sixth Master Robot. Each title card for an Act features Sonic and Tails in different situations (although Tails does not serve a playable role in the game). The Zones in their order are:

  1. Under Ground Zone
  2. Sky High Zone
  3. Aqua Lake Zone
  4. Green Hills Zone
  5. Gimmick Mountain Zone
  6. Scrambled Egg Zone
  7. Crystal Egg Zone


Review scores
Publication Score
GamePro 5 / 5 (Game Gear)[4]
IGN 8 / 10 (Wii)[5]
Mean Machines 95% (Master System)[6]
Mega Zone 93% (Master System)[7]
Sega Force 92% (Master System)[8]
93% (Game Gear)[8]
Sega Force Mega 93% (Game Gear)[9]
92% (Master System)[10]
Sega Master Force 92% (Master System)[11]
Entity Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Best Game of the Year (Portable Game Systems)[12]

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Master System and Game Gear has been critically acclaimed since its release. The Master System version received a positive review from Mean Machines, which described it as better than its predecessor and as "one of the greatest Master System games of all time," giving it an overall 95% score.[6] Mega Zone gave this version an overall 93% score, with reviewer Steward Clark stating that it is "radically different to the Mega Drive version" but still "another winner!" He praised the "superb gameplay" and described it as a "classic in its own right."[7] Sega Force gave the Master System version a 92% score, noting that instead of "trying to scale down the MD version," Sega "opted for a totally different game — and well good it is, too!"[8]

The Game Gear version received a positive review from GamePro staff writer The Unknown Gamer, who focused praise on both the gameplay and the impressive graphics for the small handheld console. It gave the game a score of 5 for the graphics, 4 for the sound, 4.5 for the control, and 5 for the overall fun factor.[4] Sega Force gave the Game Gear version a 93% score, describing it as the "most challenging" and "toughest version of Sonic 2."[8] French magazine Mega Force also gave the game a positive review.[13] In 1993, it was awarded as the Best Portable Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[12]

Reviewing the Master System version for its Virtual Console release, IGN gave the game a score of 8.0 out of 10. The reviewer Lucas M. Thomas stated that many Wii owners may "erroneously assume that it's a technically inferior port of the Genesis classic with the same name. It's not." He also described the game as "entirely its own adventure" with its own "unique elements like mine carts and hang gliders," concluding that it is "a hidden gem from Sonic's early years."[5]


Three years after the original release, the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was repacked along with the Game Gear version of Sonic Spinball and released on the compilation title Sonic 2 in 1 in October 1995.

Much like other Game Gear and Master System titles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been re-released on numerous compilation titles. In Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for the Nintendo GameCube and PC, the Game Gear version of the game was featured as an unlockable minigame after collecting 120 Emblems or completing Missions. The Game Gear version was also included in Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2.

The Master System port of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been available on the Wii's Virtual Console since 2008, while the Game Gear port was made available on the Virtual Console for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 in Japan and internationally in 2013.[1]

Master System and Game Gear differences

The Game Gear as a handheld system with its lower screen resolution, naturally resulted in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 having a smaller screen width than its Master System version. Unlike the previous 8-bit game, Sonic's sprite was not changed to compensate for the smaller resolution, resulting in less reaction time. All bosses are fought in smaller arenas as well - which is especially troublesome when facing the boss of the Under Ground Zone. This also caused the Green Hills Zone battle to take place in a smaller, steeper arena, and the escape chute to be invisible during the Crystal Egg Zone fight. For these reasons, many consider the Game Gear version to be unfairly challenging.

The intro sequence for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is also altered; the handheld version shows Robotnik kidnapping Tails in front of Sonic, whereas the Master System only shows him escaping with the captive Tails. The Scrambled Egg Zone theme also replaced the intro's music. Instead, the intro music was used on the Master System's title screen. The handheld edition also features dark blue (instead of green) water in the second act of the Aqua Lake Zone, and shows the water level rising at the beginning of the act (which does not maintain zone continuity as the last act ends in water). The rare Monitors with Power Sneakers are also completely removed in the Game Gear version despite still being listed in the manual and they are replaced with Monitors with Super Rings.

In addition, the two versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have some different music tracks, such as rearranged boss themes. A more upbeat tune also plays during the good ending on the Game Gear version; the Master System uses a somewhat sad-sounding tune for both the bad and good endings (even though the alternate theme remains in the Master System game's code). On the other hand, the Master System version features an additional piece of music not heard in the Game Gear game - the "High Speed" theme.

Cheat codes

Level Select

  • Master System: While the game is booting up, the player has to hold left on Controlpadds and hold down Game Gear I Button and Game Gear II Button on the second controller at the same time. From there, the player has to continue holding down the buttons and Controlpadds until the screen turns blue and the intro animation starts. With the main controller, the player starts up the game and displays the Level Select.
  • Game Gear: While the game is booting up, the player has to hold down both Controlpadds in the southwest direction, Game Gear I Button and Game Gear II Button at the same time. From there, the player has to continue holding down the buttons and Controlpadds as the title screen appears. When Tails blinks twice on the title screen, press the START button while releasing other three buttons. The player will then enter the Level Select.


  • Compose: Tomozou Endo ("Tomozou"), Simachan, Ray
  • Program: Ko.Ko, Semimaru,* Hiro SSS,** Tea Tea, Tosiyan
  • Art: Jly King, Noburin, Tez, U.D.K
  • Edit: Raizou, M.Shima, End, Mariyuri
  • Sound: Masafumi Ogata ("Gatao"), Naofumi Hataya ("Nao Chan"), Tomonori Sawada ("Dawasa")
  • Thanks: Hiroshi Aso ("Asohy"), Taku Shoji ("Taku.S"), Katsuhiro Hasegawa ("The Hase"), Takashi Yuda ("Thomas Y"), Ryu,** Okusan, Lunarian, Hitmen, Aspect, .and You

*Only in Game Gear version.
**Only in Master System version.


Archie Comics


Sonic and Breezie encountering Silver Sonic, from Sonic the Hedgehog #269.

The events of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were incorporated into the Post-Super Genesis Wave timeline of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics. Some modifications were made though, most notably of which was the inclusion of the Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad and Breezie the Hedgehog. Additionally, the ending of the game in the comics was altered so it lead straight into the events of the comics' adaptation of Tails' Skypatrol.


  • Curiously, the title cards for the Acts use the sprites of Sonic and Tails that look similar to, if not exactly the same as, their sprites from the 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the first title to feature a robotic clone of Sonic. The 16-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would also adapt the idea with Mecha Sonic in Death Egg Zone. Both these robots predate Metal Sonic who would be introduced later in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • All Springs and Spikes in the game come on different colors depending on each Zone. Before its 16-bit counterpart, new, diagonally-aligned Springs were featured for the first time in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Western box artwork features skeleton bee- or bird-like Badniks. Such enemies are not encountered during gameplay at all.
  • There was a prototype version of this game that only had one track, three zones, no badniks, and no bosses, and had very similar physics to Sonic 1 on the Master System.
  • This is the first handheld Sonic the Hedgehog game to feature functional shuttle loops in the Zones.
  • Interestingly, the music for Green Hills Zone is featured as the theme song for the Japanese and European versions of Sonic CD (Composers Masafumi Ogata and Naofumi Hataya worked on both games), and a remix of the tune is used for Mecha Green Hill Zone in Sonic Chaos. The Game Gear version's boss theme was also remixed as the Metallic Madness theme, which in turn would be arranged as the final boss theme of Sonic Chaos.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Game Gear Titles on Nintendo 3DS eShop: Three More for the Road!. Sega Blogs (27 June 2013). Retrieved on 17 August 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear) Japanase instruction manual pgs. 4-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear) United States instruction manual pg. 4.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Game Gear Pro Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2". GamePro (44): p. 164. March 1993.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas, Lucas M. (December 9, 2008). Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System Version) Review: The name's the same, but it's a totally different game. IGN. Retrieved on 9 February 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Master System Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (November 1992). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 31–3 (January 1993). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Reviewed: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System & Game Gear) 30–3 (December 1992). Retrieved on 3 February 2012.
  9. "Game Gear Guide". Sega Force Mega 2 (7): 78. January 1994.
  10. "Master Market". Sega Force Mega 2 (7): 79–80 [80]. January 1994.
  11. "Master Market". Sega Master Force (1): 62–65 [63]. August 1993.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1993.
  13. Sonic 2 (January 1993). Retrieved on 9 February 2012.

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