The Sega 3D classics range has proved popular so far and it was only a matter of time before its number one mascot returned to the 3DS with what is arguably the blue speedster’s best game. Sonic 2 has long been heralded as one of the greatest platformers and though we personally never got on with it that well we were more than happy to give it another go.
The 3D version of the game comes with the now standard features we have come to expect. You can run the Japanese or world versions, emulate it on the Megadrive or Megadrive 2 and set the 3D effect to pop in or pop out of the screen. Along with this you can save and load at any time- even when your last continue has been used.
You can now also put the game into a level select mode where you can simply try out any stage you want at any time. This includes the pseudo 3D bonus stage which will run through its various rounds as you zoom down a tunnel collecting rings. The only thing really missing is being able to access the Sonic and Knuckles content which is unlocked when adding the game to the aforementioned cartridge. This is a shame but we wait to see what happens with the classics series in the future and what Sega has up their sleeves in this respect. The restored level from the iOS version is also missing.
As Sonic 2 is mainly a 2D side scrolling the game the 3D effect doesn’t really add much to it. We quickly turned it off and felt it was more a novelty than something that has elevated other classics such as Space Harrier and Out Run. Even the 3D bonus stage didn’t really come alive with the effect on which is a bit of a missed opportunity. The other minor grumble is that the colours seem a little bit off from the original version. At times some of the stages look a little washed out with the graphics not as vibrant as before.
That said, this is the most fun we have had with Sonic 2. This time around the tight level design and well balanced challenge seemed to fit the 3DS perfectly and we were more than happy to zoom through it in one setting.
There are quite a lot of zones to get into and each one has its own thing that makes it unique and different from the last. One minute you’ll be bouncing around a giant pinball machine while another stage will see you trying not to drown in a forest or avoiding oil spills on a giant rig. It has the right amount of challenge while still remaining fun and inventive and the boss fights are also set just about right. There’s plenty to see as well as most levels have multiple routes through and contain more than enough secrets to keep you occupied and returning for another play through.
Minor issues aside what you effectively have here is the definitive version of a 16-bit classic platformer. There’s nothing here to convert people who never really got into Sonic but if you have never played it before or are a returning fan then you are going to love it as all the magic remains. In a world of indie 2D platformers this still stands head and shoulders above pretty much all of them.