Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WAA - Sonic the Hedgehog 2

I've done too many easy games for WAA lately, so it's time to step it up a notch. I also haven't done an Arcade game in a while. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sega's classic Genesis title remastered for Xbox Live.

If you don't know Sonic, it's a platformer in the same vein as Super Mario Brothers. Sonic's shtick is that he runs really fast, an ability that doesn't seem that useful to me when navigating precarious ledges and death pits.

Like most Live Arcade titles, Sonic 2 has 12 Achievements for a total of 200 points. It's a well made classic title that still holds up in the gameplay department today. Just prepare yourself for the low-res graphics, which are stunningly poor (I never realized what a graphics snob I was turning into...).

Here are the awards:

The "One With Combat"Award: "Emerald Hill"
Earned for finishing the first level of the game, which you can do with little more effort than walking forward in a straight line. Trust me, they get tougher.

The "Mile High Club" Award: "Conquering Time"
Now we're talking...this one is tough. You have to beat the whole game in less than one hour, and it isn't a terribly short game. On the plus side, you can save and reload at any point, so if you make mistakes or take too long in a level, you can try again. On the minus side, you need to complete the first dozen levels or more in less than two minutes each (preferably much less for a couple) so that you'll have enough time for the longer levels at the end.

The "Seriously..." Award: "Xbox Live Racer"
This one is your classic "We're throwing this in to justify the online component" Achievement. You have to find opponents on Live and win 10 vs. zones, which involve beating levels or collecting coins more quickly than the other guy. It's boring, and the Live community is not exactly crowded, so you'll be best off trading wins with a buddy for this award.

The "Little Rocket Man" Award: "Fast Emerald"
The true purpose of Sonic, and another tough one. You need to finish the first level again, but this time in under 35 seconds. That is NOT much time. I don't have any advice beyond using your super dash and memorizing the level so you know when you're approaching jumps. Bumping into even one enemy could easily cost you too much time to succeed.

The Scientist Gone Gamer Award: "Super Sonic"
The icons are decidedly mediocre (common for Arcade games), but at least it's a picture of the title character. Sega has done far worse in the past.

Achievement Set Rating - 7
The crappy online Achievement aside, this is a very solid set. You get a couple level progress awards, one for beating the game, a few awards for collecting chaos emeralds, and time trials which get to the heart of Sonic (speed!). Beating the game in under an hour was a solid challenge.

Achievement Difficulty Rating - 5
This would be FAR higher without the ability to save and reload. Still, unless you're a Sonic ace it will take some time to master speeding through the game. I give the designers credit for balancing the set out with some easy Achievements though.


  1. I loved me some sonic back in the day on my gameboy advanced, but the graphics were ok then because the screen was so small.

  2. Yeah, stretching those graphics out onto my HDTV makes a big difference. It's still a fun game though.