Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had been responsible for temporarily derailing my early enthusiasm for Nintendo in my childhood. When retailers had priced the SNES beyond the boundaries that my meagre weekly pocket money would allow, it was the SEGA Mega Drive that appeared as a cheaper alternative. With it, the games that I spent countless hours playing immediately shifted away from a monochrome four-shade palette to the near kaleidoscopic delight of a home console.
23 years have passed since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 first launched in Japan, a sequel that far surpassed its predecessor and which had introduced two-tailed sidekick Miles “Tails” Prower to the world. Some would even go as far to say that it was Sonic’s last great outing, the blue blur still to this day struggling to successfully transition into the realms of 3D.
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the next game to be released as part of M2’s SEGA 3D Classics range, a welcome chance to take a nostalgic trip back to a time when we needn’t fear what was next for SEGA’s mascot. Now remastered for the Nintendo 3DS, the Japanese developer takes their chance to weave in new features and add stereoscopic 3D support.
The sequel sees Dr. Eggman (or Dr. Robotnik) turning animals in Mobius into an army of Badniks, serving as part of his greater plan to build his ultimate Death Egg weapon. Sonic and Tails must save the day, collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds in working to put an end to his evil scheme.
That will see you speed your way through several Zones – Emerald Hill, Chemical Plant, Aquatic Ruin, Casino Night, Hill Top, Mystic Cave, Oil Ocean, Metropolis, Sky Chase and Wing Fortress – which themselves are each broken down into two or three Acts. On paper it sounds particularly lengthy, but most players can reach 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s dramatic showdown in under three hours. That’s made far simpler thanks to now being able to save mid-game, helping players when they’re caught out by acting as a safety net to recover high scores and rings.
Ring Keeper Mode will similarly help newcomers, in only seeing you lose half of your rings whenever you take damage. While M2 has added a new Stage Select option for those that only want to play specific stages. Local Play is also supported, with Vs. and Co-op Mode letting you join a friend to compete or work together to save Mobius.
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 still looks brilliant 23 years on, and the stereoscopic 3D effect allows players to gaze on the game’s 16-bit pixellated glory in an entirely new way. It works for the most part, although I found that it easily strained my eyes when the 3D Slider was all the way up. There were also a few peculiar glitches, most noticeably where Sonic would suddenly become stuck in the terrain on occasion. These were few and far between, but came as somewhat of a surprise.
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 remains SEGA’s chili dog-loving mascot’s strongest game, but this remaster isn’t entirely firing on all cylinders. It’s certainly refreshed for a new audience, but content seen in 2013’s iOS and Android remastered version – such as the Boss Rush, Time Attack and Hidden Palace Zone – should have made it across to make this the definitive version it ought to be.