Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive)
5.1 Emerald Hill Zone
The game was released in Japan for the Sega Mega Drive on November 21, 1992. The Sega Genesis release in the United States came three days later, on November 24. The European Mega Drive release came later in November. It was re-released in the Sonic Jam collection on the Sega Saturn in 1997, for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 as part of Sonic Mega Collection, and on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004 as part of Sonic Mega Collection Plus.
The story, as told in the instruction booklet, is that Dr. Robotnik, or Dr. Eggman, has captured all of the animals of the world and it is up to Sonic to free them. The storyline is largely of no consequence to the gameplay.
The gameplay is similar to that of Sonic's first adventure. The player collects rings throughout the level. Getting hit when one has rings causes all of the rings to fly out of the character. Getting hit when one has no rings results in death. There are two basic moves: the jump and the spin-dash. In the spin-dash, the character curls up into a ball, prepares to dash, and speeds forward, remaining curled up. Breaking a monitor performs the action shown on it. There are various types of monitors, with contents such as 10 rings, invincibility, a shield, a speed boost, and even taking damage, as if an enemy had hit the player.
Sonic can collect "Chaos Emeralds" by entering into special stages in which he must collect a set amount of the golden rings before the reaching the end of a lap. Once the player has collected seven Chaos Emeralds, Sonic can tranform into "Super Sonic" by collecting 50 rings in the real world and jumping. Super Sonic is a temporary invulnerability mode introduced in Sonic 2 in which Sonic appears golden, runs faster, and jumps higher. As time passes, the number of rings Sonic has decreases by one ring per second unless new rings are collected. When the ring count reaches zero or Super Sonic dies, Sonic will revert to regular Sonic.
The game can be played as Sonic, Tails, or both. When playing as Sonic and Tails, the screen focuses on Sonic. If Tails remains outside of the screen for an extended period of time, he flies back to meet Sonic. Tails can be played by a human player or can be computer-controlled.
Sonic 2 features a two-player split-screen competition mode. In a two-player game, the players compete on a game level for better performance in five categories: rings, time for level completion, score, boxes opened, and lives lost. The person who wins more categories wins a level. After one player finishes a level, the remaining player has 60 seconds to finish the level.
Sonic 2 differed from the original Sonic the Hedgehog in that it was produced at the Sega Technical Institute in the United States, and experienced Japanese Sega members such as Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara (the first game's lead programmer and game planner respectively) were brought in to work alongside the American developers. Two artists in particular stand out: Brenda Ross and Craig Stitt. Peter Morawiec and Tim Skelly also worked on some art for the Special Stages.
List of zones
Below is a list of zones in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in order of appearance in the game. Each describes the boss section of the zone, in which Robotnik attempts to defeat Sonic.
Emerald Hill Zone
A green island with big fields and beaches and other tropical islands in the distance. Dr. Robotnik tries to run Sonic down with his Egg-dune buggy.
Chemical Plant Zone
Dr. Robotnik's chemical plant, full of tubes and floating platforms. He uses a new substance called "Mega-mack" to try to kill Sonic.
Aquatic Ruin Zone
An ancient ruin located in a forest valley partially submerged in water. Dr. Robotnik tries to use the ruin's technology against Sonic between pillars that spit out arrows.
Casino Night Zone
A city that never sleeps, full of pinball rooms, flashing lights, and slot machines. Dr. Robotnik tries to kill Sonic with his neon spike-ball machine.
The slot machines give out different prizes depending on when the reels land:
- 3 Rings: 10 rings
- 3 Bars: 20 rings
- 3 Tails: 25 rings
- 3 Sonics: 30 rings
- 3 Jackpots: 150 rings
- 3 Dr. Robotniks: -100 rings (be careful!)
In addition, a Jackpot or two act can also act as a wild card, rewarding rings even though the other reel(s) are not Jackpots. Sometimes they merely fill in for the missing icon (i.e, 2 Dr. Robotniks and 1 Jackpot is also -100 rings), other times they hand out different prizes:
- 2 Sonics/Tails, 1 Jackpot: 50 rings
- 2 Jackpots, 1 Sonic/Tails: 100 rings
A Bar will also give out rings depending on how many there are:
- 1 Bar: 2 rings
- 2 Bars: 8 rings
- 3 Bars: 20 rings (see above)
Hill Top Zone
A zone on a mountain high above the clouds. The mountain is also an active volcano. Dr. Robotnik uses the volcano's lava to shoot fireballs and set the grass alight in his Lava Submarine.
Mystic Cave Zone
An old, dark abandoned mine inhabited by badniks that attempt to shock or collide into Sonic. Dr. Robotnik tries to stab Sonic with sharp debris as he uses his machines to drill into the ceiling of the mine.
Oil Ocean Zone
A zone polluted by Dr. Robotnik's oil-drilling projects. The viscosity of the oil allows Sonic to run across it, although he can still die in the oil if he is totally submerged in it. The badnik "Aquis" is found in this zone. It is a fast moving and dangerous mechanical seahorse, and is able to float around in the air, never touching the ground. Dr. Robotnik tries to kill Sonic in his submarine again but uses spikes and lasers this time.
An extra-long level, in which Dr. Robotnik resides. There are lots of machines, including the Pipe Teleporter and screw elevators, as well as Badnik stars which explode to puncture Sonic. Dr. Robotnik protects himself against Sonic with spiraling eggs each containing a fake Robotnik.
Metropolis Zone had 3 acts, like Sonic 1. However, all the other zones in Sonic 2 had two or one. This was because Tom Payne (the artist in charge of this level) had also been assigned another level that was finally scrapped due to lack of time, in favor of this third act.
Sky Chase Zone
In order to chase Dr. Robotnik, Tails uses his Tornado plane to fly into the sky to battle Concorde birds and turtle battleships. This is a very short level with one act and no bosses.
Wing Fortress Zone
After Tails's plane is shot down, Sonic jumps onto Dr. Robotnik's sky ship, where he has to avoid falling to his doom and reach the bridge to Dr. Robotnik. Sonic is ambushed and has to dodge a massive laser while the walls narrow. The laser ends up blowing the circuits and Dr. Robotnik tries to escape in his spaceship. Tails comes back with the plane and flies Sonic close to the ship using a rocket booster installed at the bottom of the plane. Sonic grabs on to Dr. Robotnik's ship and gets to the Death Egg.
Death Egg Zone
Sonic must battle against a silver Sonic robot with no rings to help him. After defeating the robot, Sonic chases Robotnik into a giant armoured battle suit, the last boss that Sonic has to destroy. After defeating him, he runs out of the exploding Death Egg and skydives back down, and is caught by Tails's plane (unless one has managed to collect all the Chaos Emeralds; in that case Super Sonic flies alongside the plane).
Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a game activated by locking Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to a passthru cartridge that was released later by Sega. The resulting game is almost identical to Sonic the Hedgehog 2, except that one plays as Knuckles the Echidna. Although some fans believe that Sonic 2 was created with foreknowledge that such an add-on device would be made later, this is incorrect. The majority of the changes to Sonic 2 are actually contained in the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge and loaded at boot if a Sonic 2 cartridge is found in the pass-through slot; the actual Sonic 2 data is accessed very rarely.
Time restrictions necessitated dropping some features and levels from the final game. Remnants of these like incomplete levels and unused sounds and graphics have been revealed through study of the internals of the game using emulators along with a debug mode.
The game's level select code, activated by playing music within the game, is 19, 65, 09, 17; Sonic programmer Yuji Naka's birthday is September 17, 1965. Its debug code is 1, 9, 9, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4; Sonic 2's U.S. release date.
On the Internet, a widely distributed prototype of the game, better known as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 beta, has been discovered, which features several incomplete zones. Only 4 levels can be played in "normal" gameplay; the rest have to be accessed through the level select code. Many are not playable, so the debug code is used to explore the acts. Some of the acts are empty, causing Sonic and Tails to fall to their doom immediately after beginning the level. The beta is frequently examined by hackers to determine how Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was developed.
In Asia and Brazil, the beta version was put on cartridges and passed off as the final version by pirates who are believed to have altered it slightly to stop the Sega logo from showing when the game boots up, as was common practice.
A mock-up picture exists which suggests that at one stage in development, a desert-like zone was planned in a Sonic 2 prototype, which until recently was believed to be named Dust Hill Zone. However, there is nothing to suggest that the level has ever existed in a playable format. The only official name we actually have for this zone is "Sabaku", or "Desert", zone.
In addition to the renamed zones, such as Green Hill Zone which became the Emerald Hill Zone, and Dust Hill Zone, which became the Mystic Cave Zone, these levels exist in the beta version of the game:
A dense forest zone with a lot of empty spaces in the map, which is often glitchy. The music is the same as that in the Metropolis Zone. There are no enemies present in the Wood Zone. Without the debug mode activated, this level is cut very short due to the fact that it is impossible get past the first ramp, the characters hit the floor above instead. However, using debug, it can be further explored. The stage suddenly ends halfway through an animated (though not active) conveyor belt.
Genocide City Zone
This level's data has either been removed, or not yet coded, and the player falls and dies immediately upon entering the level.
This zone appears to be an underwater cavern with large crystals in it. It contains badniks never seen in the released version, such as a red dinosaur badnik. The large emerald found in this stage has at times been suggested to be the Master Emerald, however those who worked on the zone have said it was just another block to break through. At one point in the zone is a long shaft which appears as if it was intended to loop from the top to the bottom of the map, but even if one navigates to the other end, there is not much left to the stage besides an animated (but as in the Wood Zone, not working) water slide.
Some suggest that music 10 in the sound Test, which was unused, was intended for this level. In addition, while the art was removed from the final game, the collision data remains, and the level itself can be accessed by entering the Game Genie code ACLA-ATD4 and using the Level Select to go to Death Egg Zone (or was it Oil Ocean 1? --Aurochs 00:39, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)). This has led some researchers to believe that Hidden Palace Zone was intended to be in the final game as a "hidden" level that could be accessed only through a cheat code.
- The Sonic 2 page of The GHZ, a general Sonic Team fansite
- Simon Wai's website on the Sonic 2 Beta
- The Sonic Cult page on Sonic 2
- Secrets of Sonic Team's Sonic 2 page
- Sonic Database Includes interviews with some of the Sonic 2 staff.
- Sonic 2: Long Version A modified version of the game
- Esrael Home Page Site The Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta hack - Sonic 2 Delta
- Concept sketches drawn during the design phase
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