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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, this game introduced Sonic's sidekick Tails, along with Sonic's Emerald-charged Super Form. It is the second-best selling Genesis/Mega Drive game of all time, selling over six million copies, only outsold by its predecessor's 15 million 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 was released for the Sega Mega Drive in Japan on Saturday, November 21, 1992, and in Europe and North America on Tuesday, November 24, 1992, a date which was marketed as "Sonic 2sday." It was the very first global launch for a video game, an event which redefined video game marketing and helped Sonic 2 become such a groundbreaking success.

Sonic lands his biplane, the Tornado, on Westside Island to take a break from adventuring and explore a bit. While running about, he attracts the attention of Miles "Tails" Prower, a shy fox cub who was ostracized for his two tails, who becomes inspired by the blue blur's cool confidence and starts following him. Sonic is surprised to find the young tagalong can nearly match his speed by rapidly spinning his tails like a helicopter's propeller, even enabling him to fly. The impressed hedgehog allows the kid to stick with him — a decision he'll soon be glad he made.

For while these two are meeting, Dr. Eggman, a.k.a. Dr. Robotnik, has begun operations on the other side of the island, managing to covertly produce a new generation of Badniks. He's arrived on Westside Island after becoming privy to legends that tell of a lost seventh Chaos Emerald — and not long after, realizing that it and the other Emeralds had made Westside's depths their new hiding place after his defeat on South Island. Using the Emeralds' combined power, he hopes to complete his personalized space station, the Death Egg. After learning about the doctor's mad plan, Sonic and Tails team up to stop him.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 kicks everything up a notch. Sonic moves faster, there are more different Zones (albeit with only two Acts instead of three like in the original), and the levels tend to be a bit longer. The game also introduces the Spin Dash, a technique in which the playable character spins in place to rev up before taking off at high speed, which allows players to easily destroy Badniks or traverse slopes and loops.

The game can be played as Sonic, Tails (who can't fly as of yet), or Sonic and Tails together. AI-controlled Tails will mimic your movements, but can also be controlled by a second human player. Sonic 2 also included split-screen versions of three Zones that can be enjoyed by two players just for fun.

Special Stages were retooled. They can be accessed by collecting 50 rings and jumping into one of the game's many checkpoints. This transports the player to a 3D half-pipe tube in which you have to grab a set number of rings while avoiding mines, with the reward being one of the Chaos Emeralds. Obtaining all seven Emeralds lets Sonic morph into "Super Sonic", who is impervious to most damage, possesses even faster speed, and has a higher jump, but requires 50 rings to transform and consumes rings to stay in this form.

Attaching this game to Sonic & Knuckles will add Knuckles as a playable character in an entirely new version of the game titled Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Knuckles retains his full moveset from the sequel and can even turn into Super Knuckles after collecting the Chaos Emeralds.

In 2013, hot off the heels of the Sonic 1 and Sonic CD remasters, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (and, by extension, Knuckles in Sonic 2) was also remastered in the Retro Engine in 2013 for iOS and Android devices by Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead (of Sonic Mania fame) and Simon "Stealth" Thomley, featuring all of the improvements those remasters received. As with Sonic 3, Tails also has the ability to pick up Sonic, fly, and swim. The remaster also added a Boss Rush mode 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 were made 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. As of November 21, 2017, the remastered re-release of Sonic 2 was included in the Sega Forever line-up of ad-supported free-to-play titles along with Sonic 1 and later Sonic CD. All three of these games, plus a similarly remastered version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, are included in the Sonic Origins Compilation Rerelease.

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.

Elements of this game (and Sonic 3 & Knuckles) would get loosely adapted in the 2022 sequel film to Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) of the same name. For tropes related to that film, go here.

This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: The "perfect bonus", awarded for picking up (not necessarily retaining) all the rings in an Act or Special Stage. It's not possible in every Act.
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Locking this game on to Sonic & Knuckles lets you play as Knuckles in this game's levels, when he originally appeared in Sonic 3. Angel Island can also be seen in a new cutscene at the end of the 2013 and Sonic Origins releases. If you don't consider the timeline order (which places this game after Sonic CD) and only look at the games' original release order (before Sonic CD), then you could say Sonic Origins Plus adding Amy Rose as a playable character also counts.
  • Aerith and Bob: Sonic and Miles. This is part of the reason why the English version coined the nickname "Tails".
  • 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, only Japanese strategy guides provided names for the bosses until mostly new English names were made up in 2021's Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia.
  • 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.
  • Antepiece:
    • 3rd Special Stage: Just before each checkpoint, you face a single sequence of bombs that feature predominantly in the next section (a clockwise spiral in the 2nd section, and full rings of them that you must jump through in the 3rd section).
    • 4th Special Stage: Half way through the second section, single bombs mine the middle of the half-pipe that make passing through very treacherous, with sets of rings on the edges — a much harder version of this setup takes up the entirety of the first segment of the final Special Stage. In a more immediate setting during this segment, the right side is briefly blocked with a wall of bombs on a long straight section of half-pipe, warning you that the other side will be similarly booby-trapped over the next hill.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you're playing as Knuckles, via a locked-on Sonic & Knuckles cartridge for Knuckles the Echidna 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, but it was brought back for all characters in Sonic Origins.
    • 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 art style 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 Zaura/Rexon (Plesiosaur), who would have formed a counterpart to Hidden Palace Zone's Redz (T-Rex) and Stego/Stegway (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: CPU Tails renders the Special Stages near-impossible if you do not have them memorized. The game doesn't discriminate between players and CPUs subtracting from the ring count, and Tails' AI is not suited for avoiding obstacles at all. Granted, mastering Tails' delay in mirroring your moves can lead to much larger ring counts.
  • 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.
  • Bombardier Mook: The Pothos/Nebula enemy is a flying robot that inhabits Sky Chase Zone. If Sonic or Tails gets underneath it, it drops spiked balls.
  • 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' 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, Death Egg Zone, 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/Switch versions' 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 can take hits that would otherwise be fatal for Sonic and come back unharmed, making him 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.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Along with needing 50 Rings to enter it, Super Sonic draws from a stockpile of Rings to sustain his form, at a rate of about one per second. Running out of Rings will return him to his usual form as a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Chainsaw Good: Mecha 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 and Sonic Origins).
  • 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.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: Drill Eggman II/Egg Digger of Mystic Cave Zone burrows in and out of the ceiling, causing a rain of stone. The rocks are harmless, but the stalactites will hurt you.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation:
    • Issues 228 and 229 of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) 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: Barrier Eggman (aka Laser Prison) 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.
  • Crate Expectations: Mystic Cave Zone features large wooden crates in groups of three, moving in a square pattern.
  • 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.
  • Dangerously Garish Environment: Many of the most garishly-decorated levels are also the most dangerous (most notably, Chemical Plant, Oil Ocean, and Metropolis). Casino Night also counts in a way.
  • Death Mountain: Hill Top Zone is essentially a harder version of Emerald Hill Zone with lava incorporated.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • In Chemical Plant Act 1, there's a warp tube that's impossible to access by normal means - not that most players would have any practical reason to, since the tube in question simply loops back on itself. Despite all this, if you use Debug Mode to get past the spring that blocks the entrance, the tube itself is fully functional.
    • In the 2013 remake, Knuckles' eyes won't peek out of the bushes in the Golden Ending 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.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Tonkachi Eggman/Egg Hammer boss of Aquatic Ruin Zone wields a giant one.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Death Egg Zone. Very Definitely Final Dungeon. One midboss and the Final Boss. No rings.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
    • 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.
    • The purple liquid in Chemical Plant Zone was supposed to be some polluted but harmless water, presenting no risk to the player outside of drowning. The American manual claimed that it was a toxic liquid called "Mega Mack" and tried to pass its effect off as poisoning the player character instead of drowning him. Which of course brings the question of why simply jumping out of the substance nullifies the poison.
  • 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, some references to the original name remain. "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. Also, the Death Egg's name is unchanged.
    • Downplayed with Tails, who primarily goes by his real name Miles in Japanese, but his nickname everywhere else. This is because Sega of America disliked Tails' Punny Name and his nickname was created as a compromise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Super Sonic appears slightly beefier than regular Sonic, with noticeably buff arms in his transforming and standing sprites.
    • This is the first game to feature the Eggman Empire's insignia, but instead of the stylized depiction of Eggman's face introduced later on, it's instead the letters "EG" in a diamond pattern.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • The "intended" method of traversing Wing Fortress Zone involves going up and around some damaging propellers, taking a massive detour through several setpieces on the way. Or you can skip all that by using Mercy Invincibility to just walk through.
    • You can get four free hits in on Mecha Sonic right off the bat by just sitting in the spot where he lands and spin-dashing in place. You can then mop up by doing likewise in the center of the room while he skates from end to end, which damages him instead of you.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Casino Night Zone is one of the easiest levels in the game. It also has the first truly challenging boss.
  • Episodic Game: Because the 2008 mobile port was still a bit too big for most flip phones at the time, the game was split to two parts, with Dash! containing the first five zones and Crash! having the rest.
  • 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 are filled with, respectively, spike traps and Badniks aiming to snipe you at every corner.
  • Evil Knockoff: Mecha Sonic.note 
  • Evil Overlooker: Dr. Robotnik in the Western poster and box art.
  • Fan Remake: The 2013 Retro Engine remaster of Sonic 2 received a fan decompilation project along with its predecessor that allows these games to be played natively on PC. The project is also open source, meaning a tech-savvy individual can port the game to other platforms.
  • 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 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 Kani Punch/Shellcraker and Kamakiller/Slicer enemies.
  • Final Boss: Dr. 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 as there is no checkpoint in Death Egg Zone. The Death Egg Robot returned as the first boss in Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania.
  • Fireworks of Victory: Completing the final Special Stage causes the sky to flash in multiple colours as you collect the 7th Chaos Emerald.
  • 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 ROM hacks 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).
    • The 2013 Retro Engine remaster has received modding support thanks to the fan-made mobile decompilation project, with mods that include giving characters movesets and abilities from the later 2D Sonic games, extending the time counter to include milliseconds, and restoring Knuckles' unique title card colors from Knuckles in Sonic 2.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Chemical Plant Zone has a lot of "Mega Mack" (originally named as such in the western manual), a supposedly poisonous pinkish water that in-game functions no different than standard water, with the odd exception that the Water Eggman/Egg Poison boss has an attack where he sucks up some of the fluid and drops it on you, in which case it actually hurts (although the water component might be separated out since it looks and acts much more concentrated).
    • 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.
  • Glitch Entity: Messing around in the Debug Mode could turn Sonic's sprite black and green; fans refer to this new "character" as Ashura. Ashura later became the inspiration for Scourge the Hedgehog in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and Surge the Tenrec in Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW).
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: There's an alternative way to fight the Death Egg Robot by attacking it from behind, where its only countermeasure attacks are a pair of easily dodgeable bombs (as opposed to the infamously fast spiked hands fighting it from the front). However, the game does not tip that the player can do such a thing and in a stage with no ring protection, players would have to commit a Violation of Common Sense to find it: when chasing Dr. Eggman to the Death Egg Robot, the player has to continue all the way to the far edge of the screen, including crossing past the robot, as it will not damage them until it is fully raised to the platform. From there, the player can freely hit the robot's jetpack (just don't touch the flame jet) without a counter-attack and can remain behind the robot if during the landing phase, the player maintains enough distance from the edge of the screen as to not get squashed but close enough to where the robot will be forced to land facing backwards, without enough space to deploy its hands. Here's the method in action.
  • 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 with Water Eggman/Egg Poison 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 Flying Eggman (aka Egg Bouncer) 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.)
  • Left Hanging: Not the original, but the 2013 mobile port has a Sequel Hook that shows the Death Egg crashing into the Floating Island, with Knuckles' eyes peeking out from a bush as Eggman stews over his latest failure. The team had plans for a mobile port of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but were unable to go through with it due to music copyright issues, leaving the hook abandoned. This is resolved with the inclusion of both games in Sonic Origins, however.
  • 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.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: After defeating the Death Egg Robot, Sonic must Outrun the Fireball and leap from the exploding Death Egg. Subverted in the next game, where we find out that the Death Egg was merely damaged and fell out of the sky onto the Floating Island.
  • 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 Mecha 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.
  • Lost in Translation: Players outside of Japan lost the joke behind the Death Egg’s name because the villain wasn’t named “Eggman”.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Final Boss, a Humongous Mecha modeled after Eggman himself. Significantly larger than any character from before, it lumbers to and from the hallway; its only "quick" attacks are dropping down on Sonic and firing its hands at him. It takes twelve hits to take down, as opposed to the usual eight, and it's a daunting task for Sonic to even reach its weak point. It serves as the definitive foil to Fragile Speedster Sonic.
  • Minimalist Cast: Sonic, Tails and Eggman are the only significant characters to appear.
  • 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.
    • "Eggman Mark", which damages the player who opened it.
  • Multiple Endings: The ending changes a little based on who you're playing as and, in Sonic's case, whether or not you got all the Emeralds, though there are no downer endings or even stingers (though the latter was rectified in the 2013 remake).
  • 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.
  • New Game Plus:
    • 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.
    • In the 2013 mobile ports, it's possible to replay previously cleared Zones on a cleared game save. Any Chaos Emeralds collected are also retained, and if they player has failed to collect any Chaos Emeralds, they can retry the special stages again.
  • New Jack Swing: The game takes a page out of Teddy Riley's playbook with 2-Player Casino Night Zone, Mystic Cave Zone and Sky Chase Zone's BGMs.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: That infamous spike pit in Mystic Cave Zone Act 2 leads to Hidden Palace Zone in the mobile remake.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The Kamakiller/Slicer enemies in the Metropolis Zone attack by throwing their claws at you, which move in a sort of a spiral pattern before falling down. If Sonic destroys one while its claws are still on the screen, they immediately stop all lateral movement and sink like a stone.
  • 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 the Echidna 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.
  • Ominous Obsidian Ooze: Oil Ocean Zone. The black oil that covers the bottom of the level is thicker and nastier than other liquids, and if you fall in it, it will drag you down unless you make a series of rapid jumps to get out again.
  • 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).
  • Optional Boss: When the 2013 remake added Hidden Palace Zone, this granted optional access to a music-based Eggman battle in place of the Mystic Cave Zone boss.
  • 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 Catcher Eggman/Catch Eggman (aka Egg Claw) 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.
  • Pre-Final Boss: The last stage, Death Egg Zone, has two bosses. First, Sonic or Tails battles Mecha Sonic. After he is defeated, they chase down Eggman, who hops into the Death Egg Robot, which serves as the final boss.
  • Punny Name: Miles Prower = "miles per hour".
  • 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.
  • Pushy Mooks: Guardon/Crawl, who first appears in Casino Night Zone, carries a shield that resembles a bumper. He bumps Sonic away with this shield if hit from the front or top; he has to be attacked from behind to defeat him.
  • 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.
  • Screen Crunch: In a 2-player game, the players share two horizontal halves of the screen...that are squished so that everything looks fatter, and the top few pixels of the screen are cut off, including the score display. This is likely for the best, as the alternatives are leaving screen proportions as is leading to less vertical visibility for each player, as well as technically-impossible zooming out of the screen that would make everything too small.
  • 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, complete with an eighth Chaos Emerald. It has corkscrews near the end!
  • 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.
    • Mecha Sonic (also known as Robo Sonic) has similarities to Mechagodzilla, especially in the original concept art, where it has an MS symbol on his symbol reminiscent of the MG(2) on Mechagodzilla. While the Mecha Sonic in Sonic 3 looks very different, the one that makes a cameo in Sonic Adventure looks even more like Mechagodzilla.
    • 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.
    • In Mystic Cave Zone, one of the small animals that escapes from the robots when they are defeated is a mouse who is referred to in supplemental materials as Micky.note 
  • 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.
  • 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 Mecha 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).
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: 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.
  • 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: Handrill/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 has a special theme that overrides all other music.
  • This Is a Drill:
    • Eggman has two drill-themed contraptions: Drill Eggman (aka Egg Mobile-D)/Egg Drillster from Emerald Hill Zone, and Drill Eggman II/Egg Digger 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.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: 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.
  • Updated Re-release: The game was remastered using the Retro Engine in 2013 by Christian "The Taxman" Whitehead and Simon "Stealth" Thomley, featuring HD 60 FPS presentation, remastered soundtrack, and other quality-of-life improvements similarly to the first game's and Sonic CD's remaster. It also features a Time Attack and Boss Rush mode, restored the infamous Hidden Palace Zone to a playable state (and in two variants: an remade version of the level that can be found an infamous area in Mystic Cave Zone, Act 2 and a short version from the beta that can be accessed via a new cheat code) and overhauled the 2-Player Mode.
  • 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).
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Dr. Eggman flies away when defeated, as usual. However, when defeated on his giant mech, he goes down with the Death Egg (though, as we later find out, both survived).
  • Violation of Common Sense: The Secret Level in the 2013 remaster 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: Water Eggman/Egg Poison 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 Drillster from Emerald Hill Zone, which goes from one side of the screen to the other. It's even easier than the Egg Wrecker from Green Hill Zone (which was also the first boss of its respective game).
  • Waterfront Boss Battle: There are two bosses like this, neither of which actually involve water:
  • 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 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.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic 2


Mecha Sonic

Before Sonic confronts Dr. Robotnik at the Death Egg, he has to fight Mecha Sonic aka Silver Sonic, the most powerful Badnik ever created by the doctor.

How well does it match the trope?

4.25 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / PreFinalBoss

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