3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Corey Wingate 10.10.2015 1

Review for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Fans of the now fairly beefy SEGA 3D Classics line will be pleased to see that, no doubt by popular demand, one of the most cherished classics of gaming has finally been delivered after what seems a long time in the making. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the sixteenth title in the line to make its debut, can now be purchased and played - no, relished - in a triumph of portable, retro gaming delight. It would be a huge surprise and a major disappointment to see M2 drop the ball for one of the most anticipated titles so far to make the cut. However, there is no harm here in giving a good kick to the tires, just to be certain everything turned out as planned, as well as to detail all of the extras that can be looked forward to this time around. There is, of course, a chance many will just write this off as the same experience SEGA has reproduced for fans in the past. To do that, though, would be a mistake.

Japanese developer M2 initially started out its efforts with the fear that it could be a rather arduous, if not impossible, task to port over many of these classic games to the Nintendo 3DS platform. Doubts loomed, largely in the beginning, about just how far the SEGA 3D Classics line could take things, but perseverance has paid off. After all, M2 is deepening its well of knowledge and skill with each one of these the team crafts, honing instincts about what works technically and what doesn't, as shared in online blog interviews that detail the project's many challenges. Since each release always seems to benefit directly from the last, it's really no surprise that 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 comes through as a triumph for the fans.

With eight zones to complete, roughly two acts per zone, plus a few end-game areas leading up to the final battle to overcome Eggman, AKA Dr. Robotnik, Sonic 2 packs in a lot more content than the first Sonic the Hedgehog, thus demonstrating just how much more work M2 had on its hands this time. There is also the heightened level of expectation to live up to after the recent releases of 3D Gunstar Heroes and 3D Fantasy Zone II, both games showing off a stunning level of 3D polish and offer some cool bonus features. Delivered in portable form and with a 3D facelift, this is the same title fans still consider one of the best Sonic games ever to be released, and that's a good thing.

Screenshot for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Dr. Eggman's plan this time involves the planet Mobius, where he has built an army of Badniks out of the local creatures living there, all in an effort to construct a powerful Death Egg weapon. Unlike his original outing, however, Sonic is not alone, as he attempts to set things right and thwart Eggman's plan. Joining Sonic is his sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower, a fox sporting two tails with which he can fly around and follow Sonic's lead. Tails may have once lacked courage on his own, but Sonic's guidance has inspired within him a determination to fight to the end.

Amazingly, nothing suffers from the work to convert the code of this game to 3D. From the wonderful sense of speed Sonic displays to the variety of creative landscapes waiting to be conquered before the credits roll, it's all there, but with the option to see it and play it like never before thanks to some bells and whistles that have become typical for this series. Even the ability to save replays has made it in this time. Technically, there really are no issues with the performance to complain about, no matter the type of 3DS system employed.

In Japan, a little over two years have passed from when the first Sonic game got its chance for 3D glory, way back when M2 handled the first batch and struggled to narrow down the best list of titles. Having ported so many games since then, Sonic 2 shows a lot more polish over the first Sonic, particularly when careful attention is paid to the way 3D is applied. 3D happens to fit perfectly with the special zones, as these stages have Sonic racing into the screen to collect rings, but what about the rest? The general feel here is that zones with backgrounds that lend themselves to a great show of depth do so, but they are better complemented by the other levels with a lot more 3D added to the foreground. Whereas 3D Sonic the Hedgehog struggled to make the foreground as interesting, there isn't that problem anymore. Loops really stand out better, along with grassy areas of the level, and a more natural roughness is apparent.

Screenshot for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo 3DS

To illustrate the point, Mystic Cave Zone has an immensely pleasing feel of enormous depth with the 3D slider pushed all the way up, the effect accenting how cavernous the environment is around Sonic and Tails, visually swallowing them up as they traverse its confusing layout of spikes and corridors. Oil Ocean Zone, on the other hand, does not play up the background depth much at all. Instead, the once flat architecture in the foreground now shows off much more life with lots of bulges to the metal; a great decision because it plays to the strengths of that particular zone. Chemical Plant Zone is in some ways the least enhanced, sadly, showing off a level of 3D that's simply not as impressive when compared to elsewhere in the game. There is a lot of layering to the graphics, of course, but it lacks a defining touch to make it stand out and shine like the others do, which is somewhat disappointing, especially for 3D enthusiasts who were looking forward to this zone perhaps above the rest. Combined together, it really is a treat to experience these levels in 3D, so stopping to smell the roses is advised in order to take notice of it all.

Delving into 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2's settings menu, there are both old and new features to experiment with. Ring Keeper Mode, a new mode where taking damage only causes half of Sonic's rings to drop, is available right from the start and works as a somewhat casual mode of play, best utilised by newcomers to take the edge off and prevent frustrating restarts in a level, or simply as a mode that allows for a lot more reckless abandon. At the top of the menu, a stage select mode can be turned on. This automatically activates the level select cheat from the original game and is useful for going back to experience a favourite zone or boss battle. There are, of course, all of the old enhancements, such as the classic screen mode filter, choice of International or Japanese game types, and a submenu that allows for full customisation of the controls. The multiplayer features of the original title haven't been left out, either, presented here under the Local Play mode, which is impressive as it allows for both head-to-head and co-operative play over wireless, but each player must own a copy of the software to make use of this.

Screenshot for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Super Sonic Mode is unlocked as a reward for completing the main game just once, with or without all Chaos Emeralds collected, and it works as the ultimate cheat mode to turn on. With a simple jump, Sonic turns into his super form, where he is impervious to physical damage and his speed is constantly at maximum. While this mode does not disappoint as a stress reliever after surviving the normal game, it isn't likely to entertain for long due to how easy everything becomes. Still, it's an appreciated novelty and could be tempting to come back to after a break for some quick fun, and, thus, extends replayability.

Outside of the special features and modes, this version of Sonic 2 can still be played true to its original form, so there is nothing to fear about permanent changes to the core game in case a pure experience is valued. In fact, it is evident that M2 does not seek to steer away from a presentation faithful to the original, as widescreen has not been added as a visual option, nor have any HD filters been applied. This is one area where some will feel a bit left out, hoping to see something that would feel in tune with a full on remake. That is clearly not a goal with this series, however, as they are classics that naturally display crisply on the 400x240 resolution top screen of the Nintendo 3DS, allowing for pixel perfect reproduction of the original graphics.

Screenshot for 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

This line of 3D Classics has been a great tribute to retro gaming, so far serving up 3D enhanced versions of some of the finest titles in SEGA's large catalogue of wonderful games, and, naturally, gives new fans a try at discovering them for the first time. Long-time fans who feel Sonic, an icon and SEGA's most memorable character, has seen better days as a franchise should be right at home in picking up this technically solid port of a sequel universally seen as a huge leap in design compared to the first game way back when Mega Drive was building momentum and testing its limits. Nintendo may have quit making its 3D Classics long before any major favourites could make it out the door, but SEGA seems fine with releasing many of its heavy hitters in this form. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of those heavy hitters, incorporating the greatness M2 has worked into all of its recent remasters, and should not be missed.

Developer

M2

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Glad it's still as great as it always has been, and the 3D sounds like it really enhances the game. Shame about Chemical Plant, though; probably my fave stage, although the music likely has a lot to do with that, hah. They just need to do Sonic 3&K now.

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