Playing Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was a stroll down gamer memory lane, though actually this title was popular after I had pretty much outgrown video games (so I thought). I came home on leave one Christmas, and my nephew got this game as a gift. We played it quite a bit, if I remember correctly. If you have not previously become acquainted with Sega’s zippy blue hedgehog, then allow me to introduce you.
Sonic on the iPhone is very much what I remember of playing the original, so I would have to say without putting a critical eye to it, it looks what I would expect to be an accurate port of the original game (any iPhone/iPod bugginess notwithstanding). Sonic has his side-kick “Tails”, his spin attack, and miles of rolling, running, jumping over, through and around a variety of zones. You have to get ready for the 16-bit graphics/colors, because if you have been playing modern 3-D games, and are not familiar with older platform games, the graphics may disappoint you. Noobs, be not dismayed. The action is quite lively, and I think you will quickly warm to this twisting, high-speed challenge.
IN THE BEGINNING, there was Donkey Kong (which I dumped many a token/quarter into as a kid in the arcade). It was not just good...It was practically worshipped by those of us partial to this type of game. Sonic was Sega’s answer to the Mario phenomena. Sonic was Mario on speed, with some action sequences simply too fast for your hand or eye to follow. Mario looked like sort of a dumpy old dude, while Sonic looked like a skater, and well…speedy!
The game-play requires you to maneuver the blue hedgehog through a maze-like warren of twisting and turning ramps and causeways, tubes, floating and rotating platforms, tracks, bumpers, spring-launchers, and other various zone features. You can run, you can jump, and you can spin into a ball and fire off at high speed, which is good because spinning is also your main self defense. Sonic’s objective is to successfully make it to each landmark (the star platform), and finally to the end of the zone, avoiding enemies which will strip you of your precious gold rings (which you gather on your journey). Tails is your ever-present sidekick and is generally right next to you throughout your quest. At zone end, you are faced with a boss, though I'm not sure if every zone has a boss. Lots of jumping and spinning is required to defeat the boss. There are many power-ups available throughout each zone, and even a special 3-D stage that will earn you an emerald bonus. Collecting 100 gold rings will earn you an extra hedgehog life.
Sonic 2 on the iPhone differs in that you don't have the classic game controller. This probably means you can't get to all the game cheats and tricks (use an emulator version if you want the full controller selections), but otherwise the game plays pretty much as I remember the original.
The large control buttons are easily mastered. You use the direction pad on the left to move Sonic in left/right motion, and the right pad to jump. Use the direction pad down to crouch or roll into a ball. I am not that big a fan of soft-button controls, honestly, but this game is no worse than others in this aspect. I have only made it through 2 zones, so don't have any good tips other than to keep rolling and spinning as much as possible to avoid getting rings knocked out of you.
Sonic can't swim, and some of the zones will likely have deep water hazards. Best to try and stay near the surface if you fall in. If you run out of time or air, Sonic will perish. For some reason when I lost all my lives, I could not get the continue screen to allow me to keep playing? Not sure if it was a bug or what? All-in-all it's an ok port, but it looks like some of the emulator Sonic versions out there re-create the game controller more accurately. So, if you haven't tried these awesome platform games from the 80s and 90s, this is one that I recommend (for the nostalgia alone), though I think they could lower the price. You can get Sonic 2 at the iTunes link below for $5.99.