Genre: 2d platformer
Aspect clearly took some strong inspiration from Ancient's adaptation of the original title, but takes great liberties so far as content goes, sharing virtually no zone themes from either of the first two Genesis games. The result is a great looking game, and one that really has its own identity as well.
Sometimes composers that follow up Yuzo Koshiro wind up doing a better job than the man himself. This happened with Ys III, it happened with Shinobi III, and it's happened here. Some of the songs, such as the Sky High Zone tune and the enthralling boss theme, are better Koshiro songs than anything Koshiro himself wrote for the first game! Sound effects are lifted from the first title, and serve their purpose just as well here as they did there.
So far, so good-- but this is where the title starts to show some cracks. There are a huge number of blind jumps in this game due to the Game Gear's lesser visibility range versus the Master System; in fact, there is an entire stage-- Green Hills Zone Act 3-- built exclusively of
these! There are some curious boss design decisions too, and overall it feels as though too much of the game is about raw memorization as opposed to overall skill.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has an very nice aesthetic, really blowing most of its contemporary handheld platformers-- especially those on the Nintendo's Game Boy-- out of the water completely. The level design isn't too bad, the difficulty is about right, and the hang glider mechanic-- in the rare spots that it's employed-- is quite fun to use. The game's problems rear themselves in fits and starts; with a little cleanup work in these areas, this Sonic 2 adaptation could have been one of the Game Gear's premier titles.