The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
Today, we scrutinize another Sonic classic in the form of the PSN re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Developer: Sonic Team
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
Next to Super Mario World, you’d be hard pressed to find a game that defined the 16-bit generation more than Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Released back in 1992 on ‘Sonic 2s Day,’ the fast-paced platformer single-handedly put SEGA’s Genesis console back in the race against the SNES, increasing the flagging console’s market share by a whopping 50 percent within six months. While Sonic’s inaugural adventure cemented the blue hedgehog as one of the primary players in the platform gaming space, the sequel resulted in a meteoric rise in popularity for the spiky speedster, putting him on even ground with Nintendo’s turtle-bashing plumber.
Building on the highly lauded fundamentals of its predecessor, Sonic 2 is most conspicuous for its introduction of a certain twin-tailed fox by the name of Miles “Tails” Prower (geddict?) as our hero’s bumbling sidekick. Tails, who seems to have a penchant for falling foul to all-manner of perils in the game, can be controlled by a second player, giving the series its first taste of admittedly mild multiplayer action. Dr. Robotnick’s also back, this time having cobbled together a sprawling space station known as the Death Egg, and is once again transforming Sonic’s fury friends into brain-dead Badnicks. Yet again, it’s up to everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic hedgehog to save the day.
Sonic 2 boasts a myriad of diverse zones to race through, from the iconic Emerald Hill, gambling haven Casino Night, slippery Oil Ocean to the water-bound Aquatic Ruin. Unlike Sonic 1, the each zone – baring a couple of stages – is comprised of two acts, with each final act culminating in a scrap with moustached madman, Robotnick. Sonic’s got a few more tricks up his sleeves this time around though, such as the now-standard Spin Dash attack, as well as returning power-ups such as the shield and invincibility augmentations. Tails can fly too, though this wouldn’t become a manoeuvre exploitable by the player until Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Stages are far more expansive too, packing in more hidden goodies, pathways and all-new foes to bonk on the head.
Meanwhile, Chaos Emeralds also make a comeback in the form of the all-new special stages which sees Sonic and Tails barrelling through a tunnel while gobbling up rings and avoiding bombs. Easier said than done, believe me. A dedicated two-player splitscreen mode is also on offer, allowing two players to dart through a couple of stages from the main game in a race for speed supremacy. Bigger, bolder and boasting some of the most aesthetically-pleasing retro visuals this side of Mario’s 2D antics, Sonic 2 is a crowning achievement in platform gaming history, and it’s little wonder to find it a staple on numerous ‘Best Ever Game’ lists 19-years after its release.
Join us again tomorrow for another gander Inside PlayStation Network.