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Video Game / Sonic the Hedgehog 2

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An attitude, tons of enemies, and a running mate with the mind of a four year old. (No, it's not another presidential election).

The sequel to the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and proof that Sega's little blue mascot wouldn't be going away any time soon.

This game introduced Sonic's sidekick Tails, along with Sonic's Emerald-charged Super Form (which looks suspiciously like a Super Saiyan). It is the second-best selling Genesis/Mega Drive game of all time, selling over six million copies, only outsold by its predecessor's 20,000,000 mark. However, most of Sonic 1's sales came from being a pack-in to the Genesis, with 4 million selling standalone, so Sonic 2 is technically the best-selling standalone game for the console.


Like its predecessor, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had both a 16-bit and 8-bit version, and both versions had different stories.

The 16-bit version
Are you up 2 it?!

Released for the Sega Mega Drive in Japan on Saturday, November 21, 1992, and in Europe and North America on Tuesday, November 24, 1992 (one day before Disney's Aladdin hit theaters), a date which was marketed as "Sonic 2sday.'

While out on adventure, Sonic lands his biplane, the Tornado, on Westside Island to take a break. While there, Sonic meets a shy fox cub named Miles Prower, nicknamed "Tails" by the inhabitants due to the fact that he has two tails. Sonic allows Tails to tag along, and the fox can surprisingly keep up with him by rotating his two tails like a propeller. Tails also has a young interest in machinery, as evident when he excitedly examines the Tornado while Sonic is napping.


Meanwhile, Dr. Eggman a.k.a Dr. Robotnik, still smarting from his defeat on South Island, has gone global: he followed Sonic and began operations on the other side of the island, managing to covertly produce a new generation of Badniks. While there, he is privy to the legends that tell of a lost seventh Chaos Emerald — and quickly realizes that the other Emeralds are resting within the island's depths. Using the Emeralds' combined power, he hopes to complete his personalized space station, the Death Egg. Fear will keep the local islands in line; fear of this battle-station. It's up to Sonic to stop him, but he's going to need help... and a vulpine pilot who made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 kicks everything up a notch. Sonic moves faster, there are more levels or "Zones" (albeit with only two "Acts" instead of three), and the Zones themselves tend to be a bit longer. Debuting here is a Spin Dash, a technique with which Sonic (or Tails) spins in place, revs up, and takes off in a spinning ball of doom, allowing players to destroy Badniks or traverse slopes and loops without having to jump or gain speed.


The game allows you to play as either Sonic, Tails (who can't fly as of yet), or Sonic and Tails together. AI-controlled Tails will mimic your movements, but can be controlled by a second human player if you're so inclined. Sonic 2 also included split-screen versions of three Zones that can be enjoyed by two players just for fun; Sonic 3 & Knuckles did the same, but included five original Zones that are simplistic in design but feature new assets and music.

Special Stages were also retooled, introducing a 'non-stop 3D movement' philosophy which became the standard from Sonic CD on: here they unlock by collecting 50 rings and jumping into one of the game's many checkpoints. In them, you have to grab a set number of rings while avoiding mines that strip them from you. Collect all seven Emeralds, and Sonic will morph into "Super Sonic" whenever you gather 50 rings in a level; he's impervious to most damage, possesses even faster speed and a higher jump. Super Sonic consumes rings to stay in this shape, and you revert back to regular Sonic if you run out. Yet again, beating the Special Stages has little tangible effect on the ending—though it's considered in-canon, as Sonic temporarily shifts into Super Sonic during the intro to Sonic 3.

Thanks to these improvements and additions, Sonic 2 is a fan favorite, and critics still often hail it as one of the best games in the franchise. The game is the first part in a three game arc regarding the Death Egg, being resolved in the bipartite game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

With Sonic & Knuckles' lock-on feature, attaching it to this game will add Knuckles as a playable character in an entirely new version of the game titled Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. In the lock-on game, Knuckles retains his full moveset from his own game and can even turn into Super Knuckles after collecting the Chaos Emeralds. Tails doesn't appear, though, so it's single-player-only.

In 2013, off the heels of the Sonic 1 and Sonic CD remasters, Sonic 2 (and, by extension, Knuckles in Sonic 2) was remade in the Retro Engine by Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead (of Sonic Mania fame) and Simon "Stealth" Thomley. As in Sonic 3, Tails now has the ability to pick up Sonic, fly, and swim; things he was unable to do by himself in the original Sonic 2. The remake also added a Boss Rush and Hidden Palace Zone, the latter of which was famously cut during development, but lingered on as a Minus World in the finished product. The two-player mode also underwent an upgrade: Chemical Plant Zone, Aquatic Ruin Zone, Hill Top Zone, and Oil Ocean Zone are now available. Knuckles is no longer confined to the single-player experience, both players can use the same character competitively, and each player's screen occupies their own device rather than appearing in a split-screen as in the original.

In 2015, another remake was released for the Nintendo 3DS titled 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Developed by M2, it's the final game in their 3D Classics series for the handheld. In addition to 3D-enhanced visuals, the game also comes with the ability to play either the International or Japanese versions, an optional screen filter which emulates the look of a CRT television, a stage select screen (previously available through a cheat code), the ability to record replays, a save state feature, and finally, a new "Ring Keep" mode which eases less experienced players in by starting each stage or life with 10 rings and only taking half of them if they get hit. In 2020, this version was also released on the Nintendo Switch under the "SEGA AGES" line, featuring most of the same content minus the 3D visuals, but adding extra features like Knuckles, the Drop Dash from Sonic Mania, and leaderboards. Unfortunately, both versions lack the extra content from the '13 remake.

Not to be confused with Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Special Edition.

The 8-bit version

Released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear, this version was actually the first to be released and thus technically Tails' official debut, although the 16-bit version is his canon introduction. It was anonymously-developed by a game company called Aspect.

Bored after defeating Dr. Ivo Robotnik a little while back, Sonic leaves South Island in search of adventure. When he returns, he finds all of his animal friends are missing from the island. Puzzled, he returns to his "digs" to find a letter from his pal Tails, which states that Robotnik is behind the kidnappings, and he's holding Tails hostage at a place called the Crystal Egg. Once again riled up, Sonic sets off to free his buddy, who requires the six Chaos Emeralds to reach.

This version of Sonic 2 builds on its predecessor with somewhat faster gameplay, even including loops in two Zones. Some of the gimmicks are missing from its 16-bit counterpart, such as rail carts and hang gliders. Notable omissions in the 8-bit version include the Spin Dash and relegating Tails to a helpless rescuee. It's also the only SMS/GG Sonic game to not include Special Stages.

Other oddities include the pre-level illustrations of Sonic and Tails, battling advanced Badniks at the end of each level instead of Robotnik (which will recur in S3&K and become a regular feature from then on), and the strict difficulty; this is probably the hardest Sonic platformer next to '06, which was made too hard by accident.

Once again, the Emeralds are picked up off the ground somewhere in the second act of each Zone—apart from the sixth: it's the reward for trashing Silver Sonic (your robotic doppelgänger) after collecting the first five. Getting all of them grants access to the oddly-serene Crystal Egg and the True Final Boss, Robotnik himself.

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    Tropes appearing in the 16-bit version 
  • 100% Completion: The "perfect bonus", awarded for picking up (not necessarily retaining) all the rings in an Act. It's not possible in every Act.
  • Absurdly Short Level: Sky Chase Zone is a snooze-fest. Tails mimics your movements with his biplane, so it's impossible to fall off. Just avoid the slow-moving badniks and watch the movie play. It only lasts for a single Act. Eventually the plane gets shot to pieces by lasers, and Sonic bails out and lands on the Wing Fortress. This level is also short, but more difficult thanks to the unfamiliar terrain and traps. It's one big bottomless pit, and you don't have the plane anymore.
  • Acrofatic: Dr. Eggman turns out to be this when fleeing Sonic into the Death Egg Robot. How he outruns Sonic is unclear.
  • Action Bomb: Telstars/Asterons.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Wing Fortress Zone.
  • Airborne Mook: Stinger/Buzzer (based off the previous game's Buzz Bomber), Bun Bun/Whisp, Flasher, Seadra/Aquis, and everything in the Sky Chase Zone.
  • All There in the Manual: Whilst both the Japanese and English manuals provide the names of all the regular Badniks in the game, the Japanese strategy guides also provide names for all the bosses.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Japanese box art is somewhat abstract, while the Western box art has a massive Dr. Robotnik trying to crush the number 2 with his bare hands against a dark background.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you're playing as Knuckles, via a locked-on Sonic & Knuckles cartridge for Knuckles in Sonic 2, whenever you touch a Star Post, your Ring count at that point will be recorded. Exiting a Special Stage that you entered there or respawning at that checkpoint after a death will restore your Ring count, instead of putting you back at 0 Rings. This feature wasn't retained in the 2013 remake.
    • The 3DS and Switch versions have a Ring Keep mode that makes Sonic start off every level and life with 10 Rings in hand, and only lose half his Rings when he's hit. Not only does this also negate the aforementioned problem of Rings after Special Stages, it also gives you a better fighting chance in certain stages, including the final boss.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The overall artstyle is more refined than the original game, with Sonic's sprite having smoother animations and shading along with longer limbs. The level designs are much more complex and three-dimensional, as well, thanks to the influence of the Sega Technical Institute.
    • The original version of Casino Night Zone, with its pink and blue card suit motif, is vastly different from the final version's more Vegas-like design.
  • The Artifact: The otherwise entirely abandoned time travel aspect of the game is visible with Hill Top Zone's dinosaur enemy Rexon (a Plesiosaur), who would have formed a counterpart to Hidden Palace Zone's Redz (T-Rex) and Stego (Triceratops) enemies. The reason it remains is that Hill Top Zone had already been completed prior to this aspect getting dropped and the enemy forms a platform when defeated thus is necessary for the stage. As originally planned, Hill Top Zone was the past version of Emerald Hill Zone, with the unmade Dust Hill Zone as the future. Other vestiges of time travel remain if you know the plans for the game before they were give a shorter production deadline — such as Aquatic Ruin Zonenote , Oil Ocean Zonenote , and Metropolis Zonenote .
  • Artificial Stupidity: Playing as Sonic with CPU Tails tagging behind you, to the point where he will spend more time dead than alive (despite infinitely respawning). He can be moderately-useful during boss fights, since he usually racks up an extra hit or two. However, if you're playing for all of the Chaos Emeralds, then you may as well reset the game right now, because CPU Tails renders the Special Stages near-impossible if you do not have them memorized. Tails' AI is not suited for avoiding obstacles—at all.
  • Ascended Meme: The infamous spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2 is where you access Hidden Palace Zone in the 2013 remake.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: As indicated by the end of Wing Fortress Zone and the end of Death Egg Zone, both Sonic and Tails can breathe in space, but not in water.
  • Badass Armfold: Super Sonic does this when he's leaning over a ledge.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tails gets such a moment in the normal ending by flying the Tornado to catch Sonic in the sky after the Death Egg's explosion. If playing as Tails alone, Sonic gets this moment instead. If all seven Emeralds are collected as Sonic, he goes Super after leaving the Death Egg and flies alongside the Tornado instead.
  • Bonus Boss: Featured in the 2013 remake's Hidden Palace Zone, in place of the Mystic Cave Zone boss during gameplay.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Tails is identical to Sonic in every way, with one exception: unlike Sonic, he cannot go Super.note  The 2013 remake averts it by including Tails's flight, but it can be turned off via a cheat.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables: The Chaos Emeralds are back, and they are collected the same way as before (enter and complete Special Stages). This time, however, there are seven of them, and to access the Special Stages, you now have to pass a checkpoint with 50 rings and enter the portal above it.
  • Boss-Only Level: The final zone, the Death Egg, only has one act and two bosses in it, and just like the original game, no rings are in this level, necessitating a Flawless Victory (unless you're playing an easier difficulty in Sonic Jam or one of the 3DS version's alternate modes).
  • Boss Rush: Boss Attack Zone is included in the 2013 remake. The cut Egg Gauntlet Zone would have combined this with All the Worlds Are a Stage.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tails is, as one "Let's Play" author on YouTube put it, gaming's first meat shield.
  • Call-Forward: The 2013 remake has one after beating the game with all seven Chaos Emeralds; after the credits, the Death Egg falls onto Angel Island and a pair of eyes watch Eggman from a bush, setting the stage for Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • Canon Immigrant: The "Grey Emerald" was a unique Chaos Emerald in the older promotional comics (which was reused as the backstory in certain materials such as Sonic the Comic). The newly uncovered Chaos Emerald is a similar color.
  • Cap: Sonic's default speed cap has been bumped up higher in this game, allowing him to maintain greater speed when holding forward. Unfortunately, running off a ledge will automatically trigger the speed cap and set Sonic's speed back to default. Forward jumping can also trigger the speed cap, though if you release it before falling, it won't trigger it.
  • Casino Park: Casino Night Zone, a series first.
  • Chainsaw Good: Robo Sonic's spines move and sound like a chainsaw while idle; jumping directly on top of them when they're moving will result in death.
  • Character Select Forcing: Downplayed, but when playing alone, the default "Sonic and Tails" option is a little more difficult than playing either of them alone. In the Special Stages, you need more rings to succeed, and the computer Tails is very unlikely to make up the difference. It's also possible to put Tails in front in these stages, which is not good. Outside of Special Stages, Tails is liable to hit Eggman at the worst possible time, causing Sonic to go through him, which is particularly deadly in the Chemical Plant Zone encounter. Also, Tails Alone isn't quite as good as Sonic Alone in the original version, since he doesn't have a super form and doesn't have the flying ability to make up for it (except in the 2013 remake).
  • Classic Cheat Code: Aside from the series' standard level select and debug codes, this game has a code to replace "Tails" with "Miles" throughout the game's interface. In the Japanese release, "Miles" is the default, so the code's effect is reversed.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: In Emerald Hill Zone, the Ai Ai/Coconuts enemy tosses coconuts, which can hit the player on the head if they're not careful.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation:
    • Issues 228 and 229 of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog feature Sonic and Tails, along with Sally, Antoine, and Rotor, traveling through some of the game's levels.
    • Issue 6 of Sonic the Comic had a story in which Sonic and Tails travel through the last two zones of the game in order to prevent the destroyed Death Egg from crashing into the Emerald Hill Zone.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: In the continue screen, Tails pulls Sonic's foot while pointing forward.
  • Continuing is Painful: This game is an example in which continuing after something beneficial happens can be painful: once you go into a Special Stage, you come back out with no rings. Thankfully, this isn't the case when playing as Knuckles in the original version of Knuckles in Sonic 2. In the 2013 remake, however, Knuckles also loses all of the rings when he comes out of a Special Stage.
  • Cool Plane: The Tornado. It even gains a rocket booster in the finale.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Of the tag-along variety; in single player, a second player can control Tails. However, his flight ability can only be used when AI-controlled. There is versus mode multiplayer as well.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: The boss of Wing Fortress Zone, as opposed to a modified Egg Mobile like all the prior bosses, is a laser beam controlled by Eggman from behind a barrier.
  • Credits Medley: The credits music plays a medley of all the themes you heard in each Zone.
  • Crosshair Aware: A crosshair follows Sonic around during the Final Boss fight when it jumps into the air and tries to land on him.
  • Death Mountain: Hill Top Zone is essentially a harder version of Emerald Hill Zone with lava incorporated.
  • Developers' Foresight: In the 2013 remake, Knuckles' eyes won't peek out of the bushes if you beat the game as him.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: Sega holds patents for the corkscrews from Emerald Hill, the loops from Aquatic Ruin which are crossed by an alternate path and also the teleportation item from Vs. mode.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: The infamous spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2 is only really a problem for Super Sonic and speedrunners. Regular Sonic's jump arc will automatically snag a switch that lowers a drawbridge, while Super Sonic has a bad tendency to swoop through the air too fast and miss it.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Death Egg Zone. Very Definitely Final Dungeon. One midboss and the Final Boss. No rings.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: The Western manuals have a different account of the game's storyline, stating that Tails had been a huge fan of Sonic's for as long as he could remember. It also implies that the game takes place on the same island as the first, which is incompatible with later sources which sides with the original Japanese storyline. This pretty much singlehandedly generated the entire concept of "SegaSonic" in the late '90s/early 2000s fandom. As a result, the Japanese storyline is used in later re-releases.
  • Dub Name Change: The main antagonist and virtually all the robots were once again renamed in localization, and this time, the Japanese version was released first by a few days; unlike the first game, however, "EGGMAN-01" is written on Wing Fortress, and there is a mildly recurring "EG" symbol (replaced with an emblem of his head later in the series), both of which are present in all regions.
  • Duel Boss: The battles at the Wing Fortress and Death Egg Zones, since even in Sonic and Tails mode, Tails is shot down in the Tornado on the way there.
  • Dummied Out:
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Unlike games from Sonic Chaos onward, you can't fly while playing as Tails (except in the 2013 remake).
    • Like the first game, collecting all the Chaos Emeralds only causes minor changes in the ending. You can't even use Super Sonic in the final boss battle, since Death Egg Zone has no rings.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Casino Night Zone is one of the easiest levels in the game. It also has the first truly challenging boss.
  • Eternal Engine: A number of Zones, but most notably Chemical Plant Zone and Metropolis Zone.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Mystic Cave Zone and Metropolis Zone.
  • Evil Overlooker: Dr. Robotnik in the Western poster and box art.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Like the last game, you lose all your rings whenever you start a new level, same when you leave a Special Stage. This makes the final level a nightmare for many players since it has no rings.
    • The game has a lot of spots where badniks will get a cheap hit in unless you're know what's coming. In particular, Mystic Cave Zone and Metropolis Zone are notorious for this, the former for its numerous traps and the infamous unescapable Spike Pit, and the latter for its Shellcracker and Slicer enemies.
  • Final Boss: Eggman's Death Egg Robot modeled after him and sporting a jetpack, shooting spiked arms, and bombs is the very last challenge in Sonic 2. It's fought right after Mecha Sonic, and losing to this machine means having to go through Mecha Sonic once again. The Death Egg Robot returned as the first boss in Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Whatever you do, do not try to turn back into Super Sonic again at the end of a level (where touching a Goal Plate or Capsule cancels out Super Sonic automatically); most of the time, doing so will trap Sonic in mid-air, preventing the game from moving on to the next level, and thus forcing the player to reset the game. It should be noted that this only applies to the first versions of the game. A later revision released on the Sonic Classics cartridge fixed this glitch.
    • Turning into Super Sonic while you complete the Wing Fortress level will leave you unable to finish the level. Super Sonic jumps too high and this causes him to miss the scripted event of Tails's plane flying below to catch him, which in turn causes you to plummet to your death and replay the battle or level again.
  • Game Mod: There are many romhacks of the game, including:
    • Yoshi in Sonic 2, a mod that near-perfectly transplants and merges the gameplay of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island with Sonic 2's levels.
    • Sonic 2 XL, a very funny (and very hard) hack that makes Sonic fatter if you grab rings.
    • Sonic 2 Dimps Edition, a hack designed as a Take That! to the Dimps-developed Sonic games (i.e. the Sonic Advance Trilogy, the Sonic Rush games, Sonic 4, etc.) featuring neutered physics, loads of superflous speed boosters in each level, a homing attack, a botched soundtrack, and Sonic uncurling after hitting Badniks.
    • Sonic Classic Heroes, one of the most extensive mods, combines the original game with Sonic 2 and allows you to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all at once, switching off in a similar fashion to Sonic Heroes. You can also play with the Chaotix, who can even be tethered together as in Knuckles Chaotix. The game also has several other enhancements (such as the elemental barriers from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the Super Peel-Out from Sonic CD).
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: If you're playing as Sonic and Tails, both characters are present in the Special Stages even during Wing Fortress Zone, where Tails is absent.
    • The Chemical Plant Zone has a lot of "Mega Mack", a supposedly poisonous pinkish fluid that in game functions no different than standard water, with the odd exception that the boss has an attack where he sucks up some Mega Mack and drops it on you, in which case it acutally hurts.
  • Green Hill Zone: Emerald Hill Zone, essentially an easier variation on the original Green Hill Zone. Emerald Hill's sister, the Hill Top Zone, shares the same graphics as Emerald Hill, but also combines its setting with Death Mountain and Lethal Lava Land.
  • Golden Ending: The 2013 remake one-ups the original ending: Get all seven Emeralds and, at the credits, you'll watch the Death Egg crash on a certain island and, as Eggman stomps his feet in front of his wrecked mecha, a certain guardian's eyes peek out of the bushes.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Several Zones don't fit well into any one category, such as Hill Top Zone (Death Mountain/Green Hill Zone/Lethal Lava Land) and Aquatic Ruin Zone (Temple of Doom / halfhearted Under the Sea). Casino Night Zone is one part Casino Park and one part Pinball Zone.
  • Human Cannonball: One of the more fun ways of getting around Oil Ocean Zone is to shoot yourself out of the various cannons dotted throughout the level.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Death Egg Robot.
  • Idle Animation:
    • As in the previous game, Sonic will glare at the player and tap his foot impatiently if left idle for more than a few seconds. However, he will also periodically glance at his watch, and if you leave him idle for long enough, he will lounge on the ground while still glaring at the player for doing nothing.
    • Tails, if left idle, will look at the player expectantly, yawning every few seconds.
  • Impossibly Graceful Giant: Averted by the Death Egg Robot, who moves rather slowly. Made ironic by Dr. Eggman's running skills shown before the battle.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: At the start of Wing Fortress Zone, the Tornado is shot down by lasers, taking Tails with it. As such, Sonic is alone throughout Wing Fortress Zone and Death Egg Zone.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Metropolis Zone has quite a few.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: Rings and 1-up monitors respawn after doing a Special Stage, allowing lives to be rapidly racked up in the more backtracking-friendly levels if you know your way around. Emerald Hill Zone Act 2 is especially generous: two 1-up monitors, enough rings for another two lives, and five star posts.
  • Invincible Minor Minion:
    • Guardon/Crawl in the Casino Night Zone can only be destroyed by spinning or rolling into him from behind: attacks from above or the front bounce harmlessly off its pinball bumper shield. On the other hand, it's fairly passive and if you don't bother it, it won't bother you. An appropriate enemy for the Casino Park level.
    • The Flashers in the Mystic Cave Zone are invincible when lit up (even when Sonic himself has the invincibility power-up, he'll just pass straight through them without destroying them).
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Tails can shrug off anything, rotoring his way back into the action even if he was just killed seconds before.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • In Emerald Hill Zone Act 2, you can die from Spin Dashing right at the start of the level — a Masher will pop up from below and kill you on the spot.
    • Sort of. During the boss fight in Chemical Plant Zone Act 2, the ground on either side of the arena flips periodically, sending whatever's on them into the water and the pit just beneath the surface. Since there's probably no hope for you if you fall in, you still have to be careful after the boss is beaten, because the platforms still flip. It doesn't help that said boss is suddenly harder than what little you've already gone through.
    • A literal kaizo trap can happen at the end of Metropolis Zone Act 3. If you beat the boss as Super Sonic without destroying any of the clone bubbles the boss spawns and then run out of rings before reaching the animal pod at the end of the level, it's actually possible for the clone bubbles to follow you over to the pod and kill you while your end-of-level score is being tallied. Of course, you'd pretty much have to be actively trying for this to happen, so it overlaps heavily with Epic Fail.
  • Konami Code: If locked on with Sonic & Knuckles, the cheat to access the level select is a slightly varied version of the classic code. It's 3 ups, 3 downs (as opposed to the standard 2 ups and downs), left, right, left, right, hold A, and press start (instead of B, A, and start.)
  • Lethal Lava Land: Hill Top Zone has plenty of pools of lava about.
  • Levels Take Flight: The aptly named Sky Chase Zone. Despite the mellow background music and relaxed pace, it's harder than it looks.
  • Logo Joke: Sonic rushes to the right, and then to the left, his after-image revealing the Sega logo, the "SAYYYYYYY-GUH!" from the first game then playing.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The Death Egg Zone theme is whimsically creepy, catchy, and awesome. However, since it's only played in the corridor before the Robo Sonic fight, you likely won't even hear 10 seconds of it. This is justified by the fact that it was originally supposed to be played for a full-length Act in the Death Egg Zone, but that was Dummied Out.
  • The Missingno.: Messing around in the Debug Mode could turn Sonic's sprite black and green; fans refer to this new "character" as Ashura.
  • Mordor: Oil Ocean Zone is a Type 2.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item: The two-player versus mode has two such items in the Item Boxes:
    • "Teleport", which is Swap Teleportation of the two players.
    • 'Robotnik", which damages the player who opened it.
  • Mythology Gag: The 2013 remake has a couple:
    • A green Handrill/Grounder is available in the Debug Mode for Aquatic Ruin Zone.
    • Knuckles' eyes peeking out of the bushes in the Golden Ending is a reference to the North American box art of Sonic 3, where he does the same thing.
  • New Game+: In the 3DS port, beating the game once unlocks Super Sonic Mode, which starts the game with all seven Chaos Emeralds already collected and you start each level or life with the 50 rings needed to transform. The Switch version has this along with Super Knuckles Mode, a similar mode that you get for beating the game with Knuckles.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: That infamous spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2 leads to Hidden Palace Zone in the mobile remake.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In two-player versus mode, if one player loses every life it's an instant loss for the act.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • The Guardon/Crawl in Casino Night Zone are impossible to defeat from the front or the top because they always block your moves. You have to Spin Dash them from behind. This has caught a lot of players off-guard.
    • The crab-themed Badniks in every other Sonic game, and most relevantly the Crabmeats in the first game, are usually The Goomba, among the weakest enemies. Then the Metropolis Zone throws the Kani Punch/Shellcraker [sic] at you, which looks similar but is insanely hard to avoid or kill with an incredibly small hitbox.
  • Old Save Bonus: If the game is locked on with Sonic & Knuckles, Knuckles in Sonic 2 can be played. This makes Knuckles playable with all his abilities from Sonic & Knuckles intact. In the 2013 remake and the Switch port, Knuckles is available from the beginning.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: With no rings available in the final stage, Sonic is effectively reduced to this (alternate modes in the 3DS and Switch releases notwithstanding).
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Present throughout Aquatic Ruin Zone.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Tails is basically this for Sonic. Despite being able to fly while AI-controlled, you can't do so while playing as him. The only major gameplay difference is that Tails can't go super. This was addressed in Sonic 3.
    • Hill Top Zone uses almost the same graphics as Emerald Hill Zone. The only differences being that the ground has blue blocks under the grass instead of brown, it has lava, and it has pine trees instead of palm trees. Loading the game in a tile editor reveals Emerald Hill Zone even has the vines that those blue platforms slide down, and a very early prototype of the game (which appears to be the same one shown on an episode of Nick Arcade) allows you to place the seesaws from Hill Top in Emerald Hill by using Debug Mode.
    • The unfinished Dust Hill/Sabaku/Desert Zone was supposed to have a winter version literally known as Winter Zone in concept, but this was never implemented into the game. The developers said they used the same palette to save space.
    • It's harder to notice, but the Death Egg Zone uses the same tileset as the Chemical Plant Zone.
    • In Knuckles in Sonic 2, the blue background of the zone title cards is green, the Shield is gray instead of blue, and the Flickies are red. This is because these objects originally used Sonic's palette, which was swapped out for Knuckles' when implementing him. None of these color changes are present in the 2013 remake, since it has an entirely new engine without palette limitations.
  • Pinball Zone: Casino Night Zone, and even the boss is this.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Dreams Come True bassist Masato Nakamura once again, who provided music for its predecessor. Due to financial disagreements between him and Sega, this would be Nakamura's last contribution to the series until Sonic 06 (where Dreams Come True teamed up with Akon to do a remix of "SWEET SWEET SWEET" and "SWEET DREAMS"). Nakamura's departure resulted in the intro music for Sonic Spinball, originally a metal-esque remix of his Sonic theme, getting replaced by a different tune in replacement copies, and Sega relying on composers from its Wave Master music studio to write the music for most subsequent Sonic games.
  • Purple Is the New Black: The first encounter you have with water in this game comes in Chemical Plant Zone Act 2, where the bottom of the act is filled with purple-pink "Mega Mack" (which the English manual states Robotnik filled the factory with in order to poison Sonic). It also rises when Sonic/Tails enter a vertical shaft with moving blocks. There are no air bubbles in the "Mack".
  • Purposely Overpowered: If you can get all the Chaos Emeralds, Super Sonic makes most of the game a cakewalk thanks to the increased speed and his invincibility. The only level it won't help with is of course, the Death Egg because it has no rings.
  • Puzzle Boss: The boss of the 2013 rendition of Hidden Palace Zone, where Eggman's mobile flies out of reach. You need to wait for Eggman to summon a large Sea Mine, then lure him over it when it explodes into a water column that knocks him down for a while, allowing Sonic to hit him.
  • Scenery Porn: The second game is certainly beautiful.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 is a lot harder than its position in the game (fourth Act out of twenty) would suggest, and for a while afterwards, the game gets quite a bit easier. This makes more sense once you consider the development story of the game: Chemical Plant was supposed to be one of the last ones.
  • Secret Level:
    • The 2013 remake adds one. In the original version, there is an inescapable spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2. The mobile remake removes the spikes and the pit instead leads to none other than the formerly Dummied Out Hidden Palace Zone. Furthermore, the "Simon Wai" version of the level, with the probably intended sad music, is accessible by a code.
    • The 2013 remake also has a hidden Special Stage that can be played through the level select menu. It has corkscrews near the end!
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Beating the game without using the Spin Dash is a common speedrunnner challenge.
  • Sequel Hook: Present in the 2013 remake once you've collected all the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • When playing as Sonic with Tails tagging along, the Tornado gets shot down at the beginning of Wing Fortress Zone, with Tails inside. Sonic has to face the last two Zones alone.
    • Inverted if you're playing as Tails: the Tornado gets shot down with Sonic inside.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Few American kids might have caught the reference in '92, but looking back, it's hard to observe Sonic powering up to an absurdly high level by sporting gold fur and wildly upright spines (after collecting seven artifacts of power, no less) and not be reminded of a certain manga/anime franchise. Also, that's no moon that Sonic travels to in the final stage of the game.
    • In another anime reference that no American kids at the time would have gotten, the final boss highly resembles a Scopedog from Armored Trooper VOTOMS, modified to look like Eggman.
    • Not even the cheat codes are immune to this. Due to every sound in the Sound Test being assigned a hexadecimal number, it wasn't difficult for Sega to slip in a couple of extra shoutouts. Using the Japanese date format (year, month, day), the level select code becomes September 17, 1965 (19-65-09-17) — Yuji Naka's date of birth — while the Debug Mode code becomes November 24, 1992 (01-09-09-02-01-01-02-04); the fabled "Sonic 2sday" that saw the game's Western release.
  • Sigil Spam: Wing Fortress Zone commonly features a stylised "EG" (for Eggman) logo in several places. It's also present on the Grounder Badniks, though it's impossible to see in-game.
  • Skippable Boss: In the 2013 remake, if you go to Hidden Palace Zone, you'll skip the Mystic Cave Zone boss.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Mystic Cave Zone and Metropolis Zone have most of them in this game.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Even though Track 10 is Hidden Palace's theme when hacking in the final version, it is not used for the finished version of the level in the 2013 remake, which uses the Mystic Cave 2P music originally written for it and appearing in prototypes. This was due to the fact that the developers felt the song didn't fit the recreated level, which was given a prehistoric feel. It is used in Proto Palace Zone, however.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Westside Island or West Side Island, depending on who you ask.
  • Spikes of Doom: Many of them. The most notable one is the inescapable spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2, which could kill you even if you're Super Sonic by making you wait until you lost all your rings, revert back to normal Sonic, and die. Said spike pit was replaced by the entrance to the Hidden Palace Zone in the 2013 remake.
  • Spiritual Successor: Several levels follow the same themes as those in the first game:
    • Emerald Hill Zone is this for Green Hill Zone.
    • Aquatic Ruin Zone is this for Labyrinth Zone, due to its use of water and ruins, but is somewhat easier since the high route is fully above the water.
    • Casino Night Zone is a development on Spring Yard Zone's "pinball machine" theme, to the extent that it ended up being one of the most influential levels, while all vestiges of Spring Yard were dropped.
    • Hill Top Zone is one for Marble Zone, having the same general color scheme and focus on underground areas filled with lava, though the two are distinguished by Hill Top's more open-air look and feel.
    • Metropolis Zone is for Scrap Brain Zone. Both are an Eternal Engine, green in color, etc. This was so noticeable that some fans who first played Sonic 2 for the first time were subject to Your Princess Is in Another Castle! when they found out it wasn't in fact the final Zone.
  • Spoiled by the Manual: Although the English manual stops the level description list at Wing Fortress, it reveals the Final Boss on page 4.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: After beating Robo Sonic, Eggman will flee from his control room into the cockpit of the final boss. Despite being the fastest thing alive, Sonic cannot catch up to him; he will magically speed up if you are too close, even if you Spin Dash at him or even use Debug Mode to try and fly ahead of him.
  • The Stinger: The 2013 remake has an additional ending cutscene for getting all the Chaos Emeralds, foreshadowing Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Additionally, if the player didn't collect all the Chaos Emeralds, Eggman juggles the remaining ones just like the end of the previous game; this scene is absent in the original, presumably due to Eggman's then-ambiguous fate.
  • Super Mode: Introduced in this game. Activate Super Sonic by collecting all Chaos Emeralds. After that, collect 50 rings and jump. Normally touching enemies hurts Sonic, but as Super Sonic, it defeats enemies instead. Touching spikes in Super State won't hurt Sonic either, but he can still die by falling in a bottomless pit, being crushed, or drowning. As Super Sonic, Sonic's rings decrease steadily and he turns back into regular Sonic if he runs out. It's only for Sonic though. Tails will have to wait for the next game(s).
  • Swap Teleportation: A Multiplayer-Only Item that switches the locations of the two players. There's an option in the Options menu that lets you decide whether or not you want every monitor in this mode to have teleportation power-ups inside them.
  • Tagalong Kid: Sonic's new sidekick Tails.
  • Tank-Tread Mecha: Grounder is a robotic groundhog with tank treads and drills for hands and nose. Prominently featured in Aquatic Ruin Zone, he spends a lot of his time crawling across the ground, changing directions when he comes to a ledge, but he can also sneak up on Sonic and/or Tails by breaking through the walls he hides behind.
  • Temple of Doom: Aquatic Ruin Zone is an ancient ruin which is also half-buried in water, making it part Under the Sea as well.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Super Sonic.
  • This Is a Drill:
    • Eggman has two drill-themed contraptions: the drill-tank contraption from Emerald Hill Zone, and the cave-burrowing contraption from Mystic Cave Zone.
    • As for Badniks: the Handrill/Grounder in Aquatic Ruin Zone has two drills for hands and a third for a nose, and the Tsun Tsun/Spiker in Hill Top Zone comes equipped with a detachable spiked drill on its head.
  • Tube Travel: In the Chemical Plant Zone and the Metropolis Zone.
  • Under the Sea: Aquatic Ruin Zone is a fairly halfhearted attempt, given that it's quite easy to pass both Acts without going underwater once. It may represent fan backlash over Labyrinth Zone, but annoyed players who didn't automatically view water levels as Down the Drain. Ironically, you could easily spend more time underwater in the Chemical Plant Zone.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: When you finish the stage as Super Sonic (i.e. run past the spinning sign at the end), you immediately power down. If you jump again, you'll transform into Super Sonic, immediately power down, and be stuck running in place in mid-air. Sonic runs to the right and offscreen when the sign finishes spinning; but if he's stuck in mid-air, the stage doesn't register as finished and you have to reset.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Tails may be immortal, but the level design offers ample opportunity to "kill" him by squashing him with obstacles. This potential became a Running Gag in Cybershell's Let's Play of this game and Sonic 3 & Knuckles in retaliation for Tails's Artificial Stupidity.
    • This is also the entire point of the "Tails Abuse" Machinima series by Whoisthisgit on YouTube (the ones that use actual gameplay at least).
  • Violation of Common Sense: The Secret Level in the 2013 port requires you to jump into where Mystic Cave Zone Act 2's inescapable spike pit is supposed to be. Instead of being met with spikes, you'll end up in Hidden Palace Zone instead.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Eggman's chemical-dumper contraption from Chemical Plant Zone, the second Zone. It's not too hard, but the two platforms on both sides of the field periodically collapse into bottomless pits, making it very possible for a chemical projectile to knock you into the pink water ("Mega Mack") below. Playing as "Sonic and Tails" also presents its share of problems, as when you jump, so does Tails, and if he hits Eggman first, you'll go through Eggman (due to his Mercy Invincibility) and down the pit. However, if you actually have a second player to wield the other controller, it becomes laughably easy, since a crouching Sonic is immune to the boss' attack, and Tails will always respawn if you manage to get him killed.
  • Warmup Boss: The Egg Mobile-D (or Egg Mobile Drill Machine, a.k.a. Drill Eggman) from Emerald Hill Zone, which goes from one side of the screen to the other. It's even easier than the wrecking ball contraption from Green Hill Zone (which was also the first boss of its respective game).
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The scrapped Genocide City Zone. The Japanese developers initially chose the name because they thought it sounded cool and daring (concept art indicates it was later renamed Cyber City Zone before being cut). The layout ended up being used for Metropolis Zone Act 3, and the leftover designs were used as the aesthetic of "The Machine" in Sonic Spinball.
  • Wreaking Havok: Just like its predecessor, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 featured a physics system that realistically allows Sonic to pick up speed from hills. Half the point of Chemical Plant Zone is just to show how fast Sonic can go.
  • Wrap Around: A few parts in Metropolis Zone loop vertically, leading to instances of I Fell for Hours.
  • You Are Already Dead: If you fall into Mystic Cave Zone Act 2's spike pit and you're not playing the 2013 remake. Once you're in, it won't be a matter of if you die, but when (if you're Super Sonic, "when" may be a long time away). Not so much if you're Knuckles thanks to his wall-climbing abilities, but if you activated the bridge and somehow fell in before it fully covers the gap... then you're just up shit creek no matter what.

     Tropes appearing in the 8-bit version 

  • Antlion Monster: The first boss is a robotic antlion. To defeat it, Sonic must dodge the cannonballs that Robotnik throws at him so that they will hit the robotic antlion. Eventually, Robotnik flies down at Sonic and Sonic must dodge him as well so Robotnik will inadvertently deliver the final hit. This boss is harder in the Game Gear version due to the reduced amount of space on the screen.
  • A Winner Is You: Subverted. Regardless of which ending you get, the game still slaps you in the face with the Game Over screen, complete with its losing jingle. Not exactly a great reward for beating the game.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Downplayed. Sonic Chaos, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and Sonic Mania's main themes all use a rearrangement of this game's title screen music.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The sequence before the first boss battle can look like this: if Robotnik wants Sonic dead, why did he rescue him at the end of the Under Ground Zone? To drop him in front of his death trap, of course... but if one remembers the plot of the game, Robotnik wants the Chaos Emeralds. At this point of the game, Sonic is supposed to already have one Chaos Emerald out of six, and Robotnik sure doesn't want it to sink into the lava.
  • Boss-Only Level: Act 3 of every Zone is shorter/more straightforward than the other two Acts and has no enemies,note  only some platforming and then the boss. There are also no rings in Act 3.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Crystal Egg Zone, the true final Zone of the game, is oddly bright colored and cheerful, with happy music. It is also the inner sanctum of Robotnik, and while the zone is fairly easy the boss isn't, and Act 3, which has said boss, is a lot darker and differently designed than the rest of the Zone.
  • Bubbly Clouds: Sky High Zone is a mix of this and Death Mountain, as the lower parts of its Acts appear to be a mountain peak and the upper parts are clouds, some of which can be stood on.
  • Bull Fight Boss: The boss of Gimmick Mountain Zone is a spiked robot warthog that charges at Sonic. He can only be damaged after he charges into the wall and his spikes retract.
  • Camera Screw: One of the reasons that the Game Gear version is considered Nintendo Hard.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: There are no checkpoints in this game, unlike the first Game Gear game and the Genesis version, which is a big problem with several acts like Aqua Lake Zone Act 2 (long act that's entirely underwater), Green Hills Zone Act 3 (bouncing on hills with spikes on the bottom to get to a boss fight), and Scrambled Egg Zone Acts 1 & 2 (two decently-sized levels with spike-pipe puzzles that can be fatal toward the end).
  • Covers Always Lie: The Master System and Western Game Gear box art depict Sonic and Tails adventuring together. In truth, Tails is kidnapped in the opening scene of this version, and only appears at the end of the final stage if you have all of the Chaos Emeralds. This even extends to the zone intro screens that show Sonic and Tails traveling together, even though Tails is supposed to have been kidnapped.
    • Tails is also depicted as running with a Wheel o' Feet effect but in reality he can't usually keep up with Sonic, at best running at a normal speed. Instead he is able to surpass his natural running speed by using his tails for thrust and not running at all, simply gliding along the ground with his tails providing all the momentum.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike Sonic 1, where Sonic is simply saving the island and its inhabitants from Robotnik, here he's in a presumed life-or-death rescue mission of his friend. Also, a majority of zones have a bleak tone in both their environment and music theme.
  • Downer Ending: If you didn't get all the Chaos Emeralds, Tails is missing in the ending. Even worse, Sonic is shown looking up to the sky, in which Tails' image is visible, leading many to interpret it as the young fox having been killed by Robotnik. Granted, this interpretation is contradicted by the good ending, which shows both Sonic and Tails' images in the sky.
  • Dramatic Disappearing Display: In the Game Gear version, the time/ring count disappear when you fight a boss. Not that you get any rings anyway.
  • Dub Name Change: Robotnik's name differs between regions similar to the 16-bit version and other games of the time; however, outside of two Badniks of Gimmick Mountain Zone and the Master Robot of Scrambled Egg Zone, none of the enemies or bosses are named outside of the Japanese material.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is just about the only Sonic game ever with no bonus stages. It also doesn't have any checkpoints and shield monitors. Since this came before the Genesis version, there is no Spin Dash either.
  • Easter Egg: There is a 1-up hidden at the left side of Sky High Zone Act 1, in front of some trees. When Sonic pushes on the monitor from the left side as if trying to move it, groups of yellow ducklings will continue to spawn at intervals and head to the right. If the monitor is destroyed, they no longer appear since there's nothing to push against any more.
  • Expy: More prevalent in the 8-bit version, many of the Badniks are basically the same as the previous game, just renamed and given a coat of paint. For example: Burrowbot.
  • Fake Difficulty: The Emerald in Sky High Zone requires you to bounce off clouds that look exactly the same as normal clouds with nothing to distinguish them as being bouncy.
  • Floating in a Bubble: There are giant bubbles in the second act of Aqua Lake Zone, which Sonic can float in.
  • Flunky Boss: The Master Robot in Sky High Zone Act 3 sends out a bunch of Mecha Hiyoko chick badniks at Sonic. The birds and the cannons they are shooting from must be destroyed to make the boss appear.
  • Geographic Flexibility: This game (and Sonic Chaos) is set in South Island just like the last game. The last game also had a map detailing the entire island, so it is uncertain where Sonic 2's zones fit in.
  • Green Hill Zone: A notable inversion for Sonic games - this version of Green Hills Zone is halfway through the game and has some challenging moments. Act 3 is particularly unforgiving, requiring near-perfect execution of blind jumps between springs surrounded by spikes with no rings.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Tails.
  • Minecart Madness: Under Ground Zone and Gimmick Mountain Zone both have sections where Sonic rides mine carts.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The gameplay is almost identical to that of the 8-bit predecessor, just with tweaks to the engine and some new gimmicks thrown in. You find the Chaos Emeralds the same way as well, and there's no Spin Dash like the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Mood Dissonance: You finally collect all the Chaos Emeralds and make it to the secret final stage where Tails is being held captive, ready for a final confrontation with the Big Bad... only to find a crystal castle in a bright wonderland with blue skies, vibrant colors and cheerful music.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Each level intro segment features Sonic and Tails going through the trials of the upcoming level, but Tails is not a playable character; he's kidnapped.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Game Gear release is considered significantly harder than the Master System version due to a smaller resolution inhibiting players from being able to see what's ahead, resulting in cheap hits/deaths (this generally existed in the handheld ports, but it is particularly egregious here). The lack of Rings in the boss stages in both versions also means a Flawless Victory is required against the boss (and the level in the case of Green Hills Zone Act 3) to proceed.
  • No Fair Cheating: You need all the Chaos Emeralds after defeating the boss of the Scrambled Egg Zone to get to the Crystal Egg Zone to get the good ending. If you don't have them all, save the one you get from the boss, the game ends there with the bad ending. If you use the level select cheat to get to the Crystal Egg Zone, you'll rescue Tails, as he'll appear in the teleporter when Robotnik retreats, but he won't be there in the ending.
  • No Final Boss for You: Unless you collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you won't be able to access the final level and subsequently Robotnik.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If you beat the game (with or without getting the Chaos Emeralds and beating the Crystal Egg Zone) after the end credits, it will give you the Game Over screen, which is technically true.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • This is one of the only classic Sonic games where Robotnik is not the boss of every zone; in fact, after carrying Sonic to the boss of Underground Zone, the first zone in the game, he doesn't appear again at all until the final battle.
    • This is one of the only Sonic games that does not begin in a Green Hill Zone equivalent.
    • Unlike every other Sonic game in existence, there are no bonus stages.
    • There are no checkpoints or shields, and the only speed shoe power-up is in Aqua Lake Zone Act 2 (and even then, only in the Master System version.)
  • Plot Hole: If the storyline tells us that six Chaos Emeralds are needed to travel to the Crystal Egg, then how did Robotnik and Tails get there in the first place?
  • The Points Mean Nothing: Unlike its predecessor and Genesis version, getting 50,000 points gives out nothing.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Everything up until Gimmick Mountain Zone is a constantly up-and-down, going from a relatively simple starter level to the single hardest boss in the game, to one of the hardest zones in the game with a relatively easy boss, to the much easier Aqua Lake Zone, to the Green Hills Zone being relatively easy until Act 3 cranks the difficulty way up again with lots and lots of blind jumps over spikes.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Due in part to the lack of checkpoints or shields and the increased length of the still-ringless boss Acts, this game is generally regarded as significantly harder than its predecessor, as well as harder than most other Sonic games from the same era. The Game Gear version adds some difficulty due to the screen displaying a smaller area, but even the Master System version is widely considered to be difficult by the series' standards.
  • Sequential Boss: The Master Robot of Sky High Zone has three phases to it. First, Sonic must contend with two waves of Mecha Hiyoko chick badniks. Then, he falls to four cannons that are firing the chicks into the stage, and all four must be destroyed (the chicks will keep coming until the cannons are gone). Once the cannons are destroyed, the actual boss, a larger bird that breathes fireballs, will appear, and Sonic can destroy it to complete the zone.
  • Sky Face: Sonic 2 has both Sonic and Tails' face in the sky as the good ending.note  However, in the bad ending, only Sonic is running, while Tails' face is in the sky.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • In the Master System version, what is the cheery title screen music in the Game Gear version plays in the opening cutscene where Tails is kidnapped by Robotnik, and the melancholic music from the bad ending plays for both endings. The Game Gear version rectifies both cases by using the suitably foreboding Scrambled Egg Zone theme in the opening cutscene and providing happier music for the good ending.
    • Crystal Egg Zone has remarkably upbeat and happy music for what is the final zone in the game. In other Sonic games of this era, the final zone always has depressing and foreboding music.
  • Stars Are Souls: During the staff roll credits of the bad ending, Sonic looks up into the sky and sees an image of Tails among the stars.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The very elaborate and confusing transportation pipe system Scrambled Egg Zone.
  • True Final Boss: The first one in the Sonic series; the second and last encounter with Dr. Robotnik and the Zone prior to it, Crystal Egg Zone, can only be accessed if the player collected all the Chaos Emeralds. Robotnik's trap in the last act is a room with flying energy balls and electric currents, and you have to hit his control machine with him in it.
  • Tube Travel: Present in Aqua Lake Zone Act 2, Acts 1 & 3 of Gimmick Mountain Zone, the entirety of Scrambled Egg Zone, and the last act of the game, Crystal Egg Zone Act 3. For Scrambled Egg Zone, there are several "pipe puzzles" in Acts 1 & 2; only one puzzle in act 1 can dump you into spikes, but several puzzles in Act 2 have spikes under them, the last of which you cannot escape if you fail there. There are three pipes in the final stage; the first one takes you to the Final Boss, the second is needed the hide from Robotnik's attacks, and the third is behind Robotnik and can be entered after you destroy his machine, which takes you to the finish line and Tails.
  • Under the Sea: Aqua Lake Zone plays with this; like the Aquatic Ruins in the 16-bit version, it's possible to stay out of the water entirely, but unlike the 16-bit version, this can only happen in Act 3, and only if one knows how to skip Sonic across the water. The goal post for Act 1 is in an underwater corridor and almost all of Act 2 forces Sonic through an underwater maze.
  • Villainous Rescue: Robotnik surprisingly pulls this on Sonic in Under Ground Zone Act 3; when Sonic is about to fall into a pit of lava, he hastily grabs him with a claw machine, lifting him up...only to drop him into a boss battle.

    Tropes appearing in both versions 


Video Example(s):


Emerald Hill Zone

Emerald Hill Zone is the first Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It is a tropical paradise on the shores of West Side Island. Although Emerald Hill Zone is not visited by Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends quite as often as with Green Hill Zone, the Zone remains nonetheless a frequently recurring locale within the super-speedy hedgehog's adventures. As with most other Zones in this game, Emerald Hill Zone consists of two standard Acts with a boss fight at the end of Act 2.

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Example of:

Main / GreenHillZone

Media sources:

Main / GreenHillZone