Sept 17, 2007
Sonic the Hedgehog threw the videogame world for a loop when the game was released in 1991. It was really the first time another mascot game stood toe-to-toe with Nintendo’s mustachioed plumber. Sega kept the pressure on by releasing Sonic 2 a year later. Sonic’s second outing was faster, contained all-new worlds to explore, and was the debut of the now-standard spin-dash move. It was also the first time the world got to meet Sonic’s little sidekick fox, Miles “Tails” Prower. Fifteen years later, this 16-bit masterpiece holds up surprisingly well on the Xbox 360 - especially considering the asking price.
Sonic 2 plays almost exactly like the original Sonic, though the levels feel more expansive. While you can still streak through each level at lightning speed (so much so that the camera can't keep up with our spiky hero), there are actually a lot of points where you can go off the beaten path to explore. In fact, the game is fabulous at enticing the players with power ups that are just out of reach, nudging them to take the time to explore each level thoroughly.
And as this is the first Sonic game with a multiplayer component, it fits that it’s the first Sonic game on Live Arcade with an online component. Now you and a friend can control Sonic or Tails through a selection of levels, competing for time and score. Unfortunately, gamers can’t take advantage of the co-op mode through the online service, but anyone with a friend and two controllers can do so on one system. Though really, the co-op mode doesn’t add too much to the overall experience.
It’s great to see Sega finally mining their fantastic back-catalogue for content providers like Xbox Live Arcade and the Wii’s Virtual Console. And so far, all of the offerings on the 360 have been extremely well-programmed; something that can’t always be said of games made by Backbone Entertainment. Regardless, this is another must-buy game for your virtual library.