Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
The second Sonic game may not have been the most ground breaking title of its time, but it did exactly what gamers wanted. It gave eager Sonic fans more levels to race through, more bosses to beat up, and of course, much faster game play. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also managed to introduce a new character to the line-up, a four-year-old fox named Miles “Tails” Prower.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 always felt a little rushed to me, kind of like it was only going through the motions. Released worldwide on November 24th, 1992, or “Sonic Tuesday”, Sonic 2 introduced the world to one of the greatest game gimmicks of all time, “Blast Processing”.
Had the developers been less worried about making the November release date, chances are this game would have been much better. However, on it’s own, Sonic 2 is still a good game, even if it’s nothing more than a rehash of the first installment. Sonic Spinball (1993)
Taking influence from levels in Sonic 2, Sonic Spinball attempts to blur the line between action games and pinball. The game never really works, though, thanks in large part to the fact that it never feels like a Sonic game. Even the blue guy himself looks surprisingly glossy, and is never given the opportunity to reach the speeds that made him famous.
The game does feature a number of unique levels, and can be a lot of fun with a couple of friends. But after the excitement of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, this pinball distraction was a real let down. It didn’t withstand the test of time well, if I do say so myself. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (1993)
Mean Bean Machine is an easy game to overlook. For one thing, it’s a puzzle game lodged in the middle of a lot of action games. It’s also one of the only Sonic games that really has nothing to do with the blue guy. And frankly, it’s not the most eye catching game on this collection. But there’s no doubt about it, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is one hell of an addictive game.
This is essentially Puyo Puyo, the classic puzzle game where it’s your job to connect colors together as you try to clear the board. Mean Bean Machine offered a computer opponent to play against, all based on the mythology surrounding Dr. Robotnik’s laboratory.
Pretty cheesy stuff, but yet, it’s one of the few games that is still as much fun as it was then. This is easily the most fun two player game in this entire collection, and almost makes up for the terrible Sonic Spinball. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994)
The second Sonic sequel does just about everything perfectly. The graphics have been improved, the levels are far more dynamic, and it’s even faster! Perhaps more important, however, is the introduction of power-ups.
The previous two Sonic games didn’t really focus much attention on special items. The game play was often limited to just running and collecting rings. In Sonic 3 you could collect different shields that would give you special powers. The water bubble, for example, would allow you to run faster underwater, as well as bounce when you were on dry land. With the magnetic shield you could attract the rings to you. And the fire shield allowed for one heck of a spectacular fireball attack.
The level designs in Sonic 3 are greatly improved as well. Instead of just rushing through each level, the programmers have given you reasons to search out hidden areas. The game also managed to introduce a whole new antagonist, an evil echidna named Knuckles.
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