SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog 2 review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Sega
Developer: M2
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Leaderboards

If you owned a Sega Genesis back in the day, you probably had Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Sega bundled this game with later models of the Genesis, so many gamers remember this game fondly as a staple in the system’s library. Now Sonic 2 has been re released as part of the Sega Ages collection for Switch. Is it worth another look? Read on.

The premise of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is very simple, run and jump through the area while defeating robots and collecting rings. Following Sonic is his partner Tails, who can also collect rings and bash enemies. Most players today know this concept and can easily pick this game up and play. As you get deeper into the game play, you will find new areas to explore, and discover bonus stages where you can collect the fabled Chaos Emeralds to see the true ending of the game. Most Sonic Games from this era followed this formula and it rarely failed to gain an audience. After Sonic’s jump to 3D, things changed and many fans dropped the blue blur, until the release of Sonic Mania, which brought the game back to it’s roots with this style of classic game play. It seems Sega wants to bring Sonic back into the public eye with his new Feature Film (which is actually pretty decent) and this re-release of a Genesis Classic. Sonic 2 has been re-released before on different platforms, but those are enhanced and updated by Christian Whitehead of Sonic Mania Fame. Don’t expect those enhancements here as this release is exactly like the original Genesis version, with some minor glitches fixed and added features that are fun to play with.

The biggest addition to this release is the ability to play as Sonic 3’s nemesis Knuckles. The original game had this feature if you also owned the lock on cartridge “Sonic and Knuckles” and connected Sonic 2 onto it. Playing as Knuckles opens up new gameplay elements such as the ability to reach areas that Sonic and Tails can’t and facing slightly more difficult challenges scattered throughout. Other additions include the 100-Ring Run, where as Sonic (or Knuckles), players try to collect 100 Rings in the fastest time. The same enemies and obstacles remain on the course so holding on to those rings may be tough for some. There is also a more easier “Ring Keep” mode, where characters don’t loose all of their rings when hit, but keep a modest amount each time so the count never reaches zero. Also hidden within the game is “Super Sonic Mode”, where the player can transform into Super Sonic once you’ve collected 50 or more rings. You had to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds from the bonus stages to get Super Sonic in the original game, but here, simply beating the game regardless if you’ve found all the Emeralds unlocks this mode. These modes and features were added to entice new players, as some gamers today may be turned off by this dated look. But players looking to recapture that nostalgia will be right at home and mostly leave some of the new additions untouched.

As was mentioned. this is NOT the Christian Whitehead release of Sonic 2, more simply a slightly enhanced version of the original. Don’t expect to see enhanced visuals outside of the standard scan-line and smoothing options that are included with every Sega Ages Release. That being said, it’s not a terrible thing that Sega released the original Genesis ROM. It’s very nostalgic and cool to play through the original game again, even if our skills are a little rusty (I know mine were). Everything for the original game is here, the same perfect control, the colorful visuals and the iconic music have remained unchanged. It’s like popping in a genesis Cartridge into your Switch! One element that was added to the control was the “Drop-Dash” from Sonic Mania, where players can drop down from a jump and get a boost of speed. Personally some may like this, but I feel it doesn’t belong in the original Sonic 2. You can turn this feature off in the options thankfully. Outside of the Drop Dash, I would of liked to see some more enhancements with the game play, maybe the ability to play as Sonic and Knuckles, and smoother bonus stages but overall this is a nice presentation.

The Sega Ages line up on The Switch continue to impress with each release. While this one doesn’t break new ground, it still manages to fit right in with the other games in the collection. It’s decently priced at $7.99, so it won’t hurt your wallet even if you are simply curious. A less packed release for sure, but still a good addition to the line up and your collection.

Note: Sega provided us with a SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Nintendo Switch code/copy for review purposes.

Grade: B