Thanks to SEGA, finally our speedy blue friend has returned after a two year gap with best friend Tails joining him on his adventure in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. So have SEGA made some improvements? Yes they have the characters models look and feel a lot better; Sonic and Tails no longer have an over the top gleaming effect which made them look like they’d been waxed and polished. The static backgrounds have been replaced with more attractive polygon settings and finally the aspect we all love about Sonic… SPEED, the original game suffered rather badly as it struggled to keep up with the Blue Blur, this time round SEGA have fixed the issue and the camera follows Sonic with the greatest of ease. All these additions have given the game more depth of explorations and overall feel to the game.
So we know Tails is back, but does this mean multiplayers or maybe co-op? Well yes another player can take control of the tail twirling fox and join Sonic on his adventure. Everyone knows what a Sonic Game is all about, if not here is a quick re-fresh, collect gold coins, jump on or speed dash down enemies, claim the bonus and the main thing complete the stage as fast as you can holding as many coins as you can. The bonus in this game is the mighty red ring, which of course is hidden somewhere within each stage and do not forget to collect the Chaos emeralds.
Each Sonic stage contains all the power-ups you expect in any Sonic the Hedgehog game from invisibility to shielding and everything in between. You can really tell that SEGA have tried to bring Sonic back to its 16bit awesomeness and sometimes you can see this; from Sonic being blasted out of cannons to the halls that rotates the screen and reverses gravity. Is this really enough? You would like to think so, but I would have loved to have seen jungle Sonic vine swinging or Para-gliding or even the standard pulleys, something we Sonic fans love about this franchise.
Of course no Sonic game can be perfect without the boss fights and Episode 2 brings you Metal Sonic and of course Dr Robotnik himself, the guy that just does not die. Almost all the boss fights were a case of hitting, dodging and using homing (one of Sonic’s special abilities) to take down each boss, worrying about being hit was not an issue as their seemed to be an abundant amount of rings to be picked up.
This would not be Episode 2 without some added extras, and we get some sweet treats with this outing. If you are a classic Sonic fan, remember Sonic the Hedgehog 2? Remembers the awesome 3D speed ways, in which you would race against each other? Yes/no, well its back in all its glory you get to play either Sonic or Tails in a 3D speedway, full of twists and turns and many coins. Yet again these awesome speedways are fun and thrilling and give Episode 2 and boost in my book. Do you get any power-ups on these speedways? Of course you do, you can join Sonic and Tails with a kind of Elastic band which allow you to pick up even more coins, if you are performing badly hit pause and reset the stage and start all over again.
So Chaos Emeralds, well for those of you who enjoy the Sonic franchise you know if you collect all of these in the game you are presented with an alternative ending. Disappointingly though, this game doesn’t have this feature, the ending on my second run through of the game in which I made it a priority to collect all the Chaos Emeralds was the same as the ending where I didn’t collect them all. You may ask yourself why I played it again, well I like to clear and collect everything and it did say after the credits “Try again, this time find all the Chaos Emeralds”. Now Team Members of Sonic Team, we all know by now, if we collect the emeralds we get a different ending, what the hell happened here.
I love Sonic the Hedgehog games apart from Soinc RPG, which was just totally odd; Episode 2 has all the elements of gameplay you would expect within the franchise apart from the non-alternative ending. The speedway is just fantastic to play, and being able to play with a friend through all the game stages added a little more of the fun factor to the game.
With better graphics, co-op mode and the special stage speedway, you would think I would be bouncing all over the room, but it still lacks that “Je ne sais quoi” that I am still waiting for from the Sonic Team. Is this game still worth purchasing, well for the price it is… if you are a Sonic fan it is… I think many of you out there who like Sonic will enjoy Episode 2 regardless of the issues.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.