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Sonic 2s Day - Celebrating 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog 2



Is it really twenty years ago today that one the biggest sequels in videogaming history was released? Yes, it is. Tuesday 24th of November 1992 was dubbed as 'Sonic 2s Day' by Sega as they released the blue hedgehog's second adventure on the same day across North America and Europe - only a few days after the original launch in Japan, which.  That date was also a rare event for this author, as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 still remains the only game personally bought on the very same day of release.  It goes without saying that Sonic 2s Day was a massive success all over the world and helped cement Sega's foothold in the 16-bit console race with Nintendo. Sega gamers lapped up the game, but just what did the critics think? Well, we thought we would look back twenty years and find out.

There is a bit of uncertainty as to who actually had the UK premiere review of Sonic 2 as both Mega and CVG had cover dates of November 1992 with release dates of 15th October 1992. Purely on alphabetical reasons and that they claimed that it was a "world exclusive" first review, we will take a look at CVG.

Sonic 2 got off to a great start with CVG giving the game a 'CVG Hit' with an overall rating of 94. "I wasn't really a fan of Sonics (sic) first effort but Sega have worked wonders with this," said Paul Anglin. "The most impressive, not to mention enjoyable part of the game is the bonus stage - those high speed two player thrills and spills are simply amazing." Tim Boone added that "the only thing that lets Sonic 2 down slightly is the difficulty, initially it's not that much harder than the first game. It's better than the first game, not enough to induce an adrenalin overload, but more than enough to keep everyone happy!"

Sonic 2

The game went on to get a 94% in the six-page review in Mega issue 2 with all four main editorial contributors commenting on the game. "Sonic 2 is a wonderful game," stated Neil West as he closed off his main review. "The moment you start playing it you'll be completely hooked, and that's why it's a classic." Paul Mellerick added that "this really is just a turbo-charged version of the original," while Amanda Cook had hoped that she would be "gob-smacked" but was only pleasantly surprised and Andy Dyer stated that "Sonic 2 is, perhaps, what the first game should have been."

Sonic 2

For the MegaTech issue 11 coverage on 20th October, the team produced a special 14-page mini booklet to review the 95% rated game, detailing each zone, bonus stage, Dr Robotnik's many appearances, and finally reviewers comments. "At first sight it looks like the improvements are only graphical," commented Paul Glancey, "but as you delve further into the game, you realise that the acts are much bigger than before... Sonic II is the perfect start to this new age of great-looking, great-playing software." "Sonic 2 is, in my opinion, the best platform game on the Megadrive," stated Tom Guise. " It doesn't matter if you have the original, it really is such a good game that it is an essential purchase."

Sonic 2

With the first issue of Sega Zone on 28th October, the review's intro stated that this was the first real review of Sonic 2, whatever that meant. Whatever, the four-page review covered the game in detail and was given a 'Mega Zone' accolade and an overall rating of 92. "Sonic 2 is... smaaart... faster, bigger...," stated Duncan MacDonald. "However, if you DID want to pick holes in Sonic 2, you could say that maybe it was a bit too similar to the first game... Then again it is a sequel so what would you expect? And even being deliberately cynical about things, you'd find it hard to fault the Sonic 2 gameplay - it really is an essential purchase."

Sonic 2

Also released on the 28th of October was the second issue of Mean Machines Sega, cover dated November 1992, which gave the game an overall rating of 96. "Sonic II has certainly impressed me enough to be named the most impressive roller coaster, pinball, one-armed-bandit, platform game to date," enthused Paul Davies, "and you just gotta get it." Julian Rignall was in agreement with his fellow reviewer as he stated that "if you miss Sonic II you should be committed to a loony bin!"

Sonic 2

Sega Force issue 12, cover dated December 1992, came out on 5th November 1992 with the Mega Drive version of Sonic 2 receiving a 97% rating. Chris Knight commented that the game was "brilliantly presented, with the kind of graphics and totally addictive gameplay most developers would kill for, Sonic 2 more than lives up to all the hype..." Mat Yeo was also in agreement, although his main gripe "is that the two-player game looks a bit squashed."

Sonic 2

With the same cover and release date, Sega Power issue 37 gave the spiky hedgehog's second adventure a more lukewarm reception with an 89% rating. "As a stand alone game, it's almost excellent," commented Dean Mortlock. "You soon realise that Sonic 2 is effectively how the first Sonic should have been done. We know it's gonna do really well but it's not quite there..."

Sonic 2

Also out in November 1992 was the fourth issue of Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, which awarded the game 93%. Taken the shared duty of reviewer were John Davison and Julian Boardman. "If there is anything at all wrong with the game, is that the first few levels are far too easy. On the whole though, it is superb... One of the few Mega Drive titles that should be on your 'must have' list."

Sonic 2

For the Christmas Special 1992 issue of Sega Pro, Dino Boni gave the game a thorough eight-page walkthrough style review and a ProScore of 94%. The only noteworthy critical comments came in the ratings box itself: "Beautiful sprites and stunning animation... Constant rip-roaring action... Very tricky to complete for the first time and even trickier to complete with all the emeralds... Worthy sequel to a classic game."

Sonic 2

There always has to be someone trying to stand out from the crowd by doing something different and this time it was with the launch issue of GamesMaster which came out on 3rd December 1992 (cover dated January 1993). The Sonic 2 review consisted of comments from experienced videogaming journalists like Andy Lowe, Les Ellis and Jim Douglas, who decided to give the lowest rating of all - and by some margin at that - with a 65%. Reasonings behind the low rating included "far too easy to complete... not enough to go back and explore after you've sorted Robotnik... Technical excellence alone does not make a good game... doesn't quite justify itself as a sequel... Don't bother with it." You can read the full review yourself to get the complete lowdown on the review. Swiftly moving on...

Sonic 2

Following quickly in the footsteps of GamesMaster magazine was Bad Influence (the magazine), which was based on the other minor hit videogaming TV series. It's hard to tell when issue 2 of Bad Influence was released as the only date on the cover is 1993, so one would assume that the release date was in the month of January 1993. "It almost seems fashionable to slate the spiky one at the moment," stated Paul McNally interestingly, "and I feel guilty doing it. If Sonic 3 includes gameplay it'll be one of the best games ever. Sonic 2 doesn't and pays for it." Baffling words when the final verdict is a full marks rating of five stars.

Sonic 2


Notes:
• Sega Zone and GamesMaster scans courtesy of Andynick at Magazines From the Past.
• Mean Machines Sega and Sega Force  scans courtesy of Mort at The Def Tribute to Zzap!64.

This is an Out-of-Print Archive feature presented by Nreive.


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