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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Review

by Diogo Miguel May 16, 2012

Just about every player has fond memories of playing the Mega Drive Sonic video-games. Players have been asking Sega for a direct sequel to Sonic 3.

It literally took them ages, but Sonic the Hedgehog 4 finally was released back in 2010. Sega decided to split it into separate episodes, rather than release the full experience in one go. The first episode fared well, but failed to live up to the Mega Drive video-games. Will this change with the arrival of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2?

The first episode seemed to try and emulate the feeling associated with playing the very first Sonic the Hedgehog. Episode Two is attempting to do the same by recreating some classic moments from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. One of these is the inclusion of Sonic’s foxy friend Tails. Tails accompanies Sonic for most of Episode Two, and his unique capabilities are used to create new kinds of obstacles.

Tails tagging along for the adventure makes it possible to have two new abilities. One is the ability to use Tails to fly or swim. This is great, since it will make it possible to easily get to higher platforms. It’s also a handy way to avoid falling into bottomless pits.

The other ability consists of a super spin dash attack, where both Sonic and Tails oddly enough spin dash together. It’s useful in certain situations where it’s essential to get through a section quickly. The only downside to these abilities is that they are mapped to the same button. This basically means that the player might end up accidentally using the wrong one, on a few occasions. But they are both efficient when used correctly and are activated instantly.

Some of the acts tend to use these abilities to create obstacles for the player to get through. It’s also a good way to use them to find handy short-cuts. This is essential for anyone that wants to find the red ring in each level, or just wants to get a better score/time in the leader-boards.

The issue is that some of the sections that require the use of these abilities, feel forced at times. One in particular comes to mind, where Tails and Sonic must quickly swim forward, before the section is permanently sealed by ice. It’s frustrating to just wait there to drown, since there isn’t a way out.

It’s a shame that such situations occur, since Episode Two is an enjoyable Sonic experience. The level design is a lot better than what is found on the previous episode. There’s multiple routes to take and each holds a different path. It also takes skill and imagination to get to some of these paths; which is what the classic Sonic video-games are about.

Each act takes a lot longer to complete, and there is always the incentive to come back and finding each of the red ring.

There’s a lot of detail in the backgrounds for the acts in each zone. It’s almost as if it isn’t a sequel to Episode One. Each zone feels completely different from the others, and they are all appealing in their own way. It’s exciting to explore these zones and see all the various details. Dimps continues to try implementing new gimmicks in some of the zones. Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will most likely smile during a certain sequence on the fourth zone.

Sega obviously read fan complaints aimed at Episode One because Sonic not only looks different, but the way he is controlled, has also changed. Sonic’s design feels a lot more similar to the classic Sonic found in Sonic Generations.

It feels like there’s a few minor improvements in the physics, like when Sonic uses a homing attack on an enemy. It’s fantastic to see that Dimps has used some negative feedback from the previous episode, to try making it an experience that fans will enjoy.

The emerald racing stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 make a comeback in Episode Two. It’s still fun to play them, but they are a lot tougher this time. Collecting all seven emeralds will result in being able to play as Super Sonic.

It’s a classic Sonic element that will never get old, and is still fun to experience. Fighting some of Dr Robotnik’s latest toys is both challenging and exciting. These mechanical foes will require some thinking, in order to find weak points. The first zone boss is an interesting foe, since it resembles a giant flower.

Those that have played through the first episode also get access to a very neat reward. Please skip the remainder of this paragraph, if you don’t want to know what it is. Basically players can play through four acts from Episode One as Metal Sonic. This offers back-story that helps demonstrate how both episodes are related.

The story is actually quite interesting, since it is also related to Sonic CD(recently re-released on digital platforms). The cherry on top of Sonic’s latest adventure is the superb music that accompanies each of the acts.

This episode shows that there is still hope for the blue hedgehog. Sonic Generations was a successful experiment last year and Episode Two continues that tradition.

There’s no denying that there’s room for improvement in some areas, such as the questionable use of the new abilities, in some of the acts. But Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is a enjoyable new adventure, that should please both Sonic fans and other players.

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