Robotnik returns with new tech, enslaving more cute widdle animals(never any of the naturally scary ones, for some reason, I guess they don't want to complicate the matter of whether we should save these or not) and forcing our hero to once again stop him. I base this on the version that comes on the Sonic Plus Mega Collection released for the PS2, which enables saving at any point, rendering it a lot easier to complete. With that said, it already got to be a lot less challenging(especially outside of the numerous boss battles(where it does get to be downright abusive at times), which are various cool robots) than the original, perhaps in response to a negative reception. There are more different environments in this(partially because they opted for less "acts" to them), they're far more imaginative and memorable(Casino Night Zone is like being the ball in a pinball machine, there's a freaking spaceship, an oil platform, and we again move through forest and other natural places), and it's also a longer game, making it feel more worth the money or at least(if you get this as part of a package, like my girlfriend did) time that you invest in it. This offers a Vs. mode for two players, where you go up against each other, competing for quickest completion of levels or greatest amassing of points. The second person will take on the role of Tails, the helicopter(and airplane piloting(!))-flying fox, and can actually help out during the regular ones by someone grabbing that second joystick(they're especially useful, not to say utterly, literally invaluable, in what I will describe in the following sentence). That adds replayability(something really missing before; it is worth noting that there's still only one difficulty setting and that you can't get through this unless at least one person is going at it as the titular hedgehog), in addition to the possibility of collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds(I'm told they're also in the first one, I sure didn't find any bonus areas in that one...) and you really have to earn those(you make your way through nicely animated 3D sections(bent pipes, where you can go up on the walls and even move upside down briefly, dodging bombs and making sure to be in the right place to gather, well, read on) with a lot of sharp turns, making sure to collect Power Rings(the ones that also grant extra lives when you get 100 in the regular segments, and that all come out of you when you get hit, and that protect you from dying when you are damaged) to get to a set amount that you are informed of, so you can unlock the following bit, and after completing a few in a row, you are granted one of the aforementioned gems), and as a reward for getting them all, you can change into the awesome Super Sonic form(resembling Son-Goku), allowing you to move faster, and hop further and higher(...actually potentially harmful to you, if you aren't careful, you might miss where you're going), in addition to being nearly invincible. This is more fun, entertaining and colorful, and this time, it lives up to the franchise's reputation of high speed(albeit still only a single bounce to the jump, and you can still accidentally leave the "round" form at the wrong time, getting hit on account of it), partially because of the buzzsaw you can use to send yourself rushing to either side, by holding Down and pressing Action. The simplistic puzzles are essentially gone, if it can now be more difficult to find your way, especially later on in this. Game-play is fairly addictive and you're left wanting more upon completion of this. You're bounding around, avoiding baddies(or landin' yo ass on top of them, to take them out... entirely unlike Super Mario... well, this time around, at least you can get some of them by thrusting yourself at them, unique to this series and making it more "offensive"(as opposed to defensive or nearly passive)) and the dangers of the surroundings(far drops, drowning(this time sans emotionally scarring visual!), in a platformer. With this one, it sticks out and is memorable, especially distancing itself from the equally iconic little Italian plumber(that is slower, and enjoyable in a different way) and also being sufficiently compelling to offer a rival to the second Commander Keen Trilogy, Goodbye Galaxy(also a lesser pace, and once again still a great piece). This has incredibly epic in-engine cut-scenes(the majority of the storytelling is handled like this, thankfully since the alternative appears to be still frames... well, at least the artwork remains good) and you really feel like you're making a considerable impact, and like your foe is dangerous. The regular enemies tend to be more interestingly designed(all mechanical, you can really tell they came straight out of the lab of that big, red, moustached maniac that is behind all of this, and they feel more like they're meant to be guards to stop you in this) this time around, and are less frustrating(that goes for this in general). This again has a childish(it isn't obnoxious to anyone with two digits to their age, however, at least not most of the time, if it can require a period of adjustment), not only kid-friendly, tone, and it comes across in the vivid color scheme and the relatively catchy music. The graphics are well-done, not too "shiny" though they are bright, smooth(vital to something that is as hyper as this at times) and clearly defined, nothing blends together(if the argument could be made that there is hardly any quality(from a technical standpoint, not as far as the artwork goes, which absolutely has taken a leap upwards) evolution since the first one in this, and that is obviously lamentable... yes, I have a vocabulary, sue me). I recommend this to any fan of this game-play, and anyone who tried the original should without a doubt go for this one afterwards(it's better in every spot that it's different). 8/10
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