A Look Back At Sonic 2: 8bit Edition
It’s probably become rather apparent that during my childhood years, I was a big SEGA fanboy. During the 8bit and 16bit era the shelves seemed to be filled with platformers. They were having their heyday, kings of the jungle, with my favourite gaming hero being a super fast hedgehog named Sonic!
Yet with the release of Sonic 2 I felt myself torn between the lavish level designs of the MegaDrive version and the variety I found in the humble Master System. Now I’m sure most would disagree with me, however I’ve always felt the Master System version was superior and just that little but more fun. Sonic 2 on the Master System saw completely different levels, bosses and even the storyline to its big brother counterpart. Tails had been kidnapped by Dr Robotnik (his real name, not that stupid ‘Eggman’) and it was up to our speedy blue wonder to save him.
Compared to the first game on the Master System, Sonic blurred by on the screen, pushing the console to its max. I liked that Tails was not in the game – I found his appearance in the Mega Drive version annoying. Don’t get me wrong – I like the character, it just felt that he really didn’t belong! In fact all he seemed to do was slow you down and lose rings when you really needed them. A bit like the inclusion of Scrappy Doo in Scooby. So for me chasing down Tail’s captor seemed a stronger narrative.
My love for the 8bit version didn’t end there though. I fell in love with the levels, which really seemed to have some care and thought thrown in. Plus they jazzed them up with the inclusion of vehicles. In the very first level you end up speeding down tunnels in a mine cart, being able to slow down at points and use it to enable you to jump further. This to me brought a whole new depth to the game and how you could fly through the levels.
The second level took this a step further though. Sky High Zone was a pure delight and seemed so refreshing the first time I played it. Taken to the skies you can jump from cloud to cloud and then hang-glide your way across. The hang-glider was just awesome and I’d replay through the level just to see how far I could fly it. I also remember spending ages trying to get high enough to get that damn Chaos Emerald. The boss levels were quite unique as well. Unlike its big brother they weren’t all Dr Robotnik in new machines; instead they were robot animals with your total destruction in mind. Also there were no rings to collect on the last level, making sure every jump and spin really counted. My personal favourite boss was the sea lion; spinning into him didn’t hurt him, instead you had to use his exploding balls against him!
Sonic 2 on the Master System was a true masterpiece, really showing that the 8bit era wasn’t dead and buried! For me it will always be one of the best Sonic games I’ve ever had the privilege to play.