Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (8-Bit)

It’s early 1992 and Sonic The Hedgehog hype is in full swing after a highly successful debut. The 16-Bit version (for the Mega Drive/Genesis) became one of the biggest selling games to date and the 8-Bit version did very well also. So both the Master System/Mark III and Game Gear get a game entitled Sonic The Hedgehog 2 also created by Aspect Co Ltd.

However, this game was a unique adventure with no significant references to its bigger 16-Bit brother. It went on to do very well additionally gaining the reputation for being rather difficult.

Case Scan

European Case (Click for larger)

Note: This feature covers the Master System/Mark III (console) version.

Tails Kidnapped



After defeating Dr. Robotnik (Robotnik) the first time, Sonic goes off in search for other adventures around Mobius. Upon his return Sonic finds his friend and sidekick Tails being taken away by Robotnik. In fact, many of Sonic’s friends have been and they are now being held ransom. The payment to return them – the six Chaos Emeralds – if Sonic wants to see his friends again.

Sonic must rescue Tails and co, and halt Robotnik’s plans.


There is little changed from the gameplay and structure from the first game and Sonic’s speed and handling are identical. For a full breakdown checkout the previous article. However, there are a few variations that are unique to this game. Sonic will ride mine carts, fly a hang glider (which anyone whom played the game seems to remember it can be rather frustrating) and ride inside an air bubble (to name a few things), and there is an unlockable final zone. The zones now are larger and diverse with varying difficulty between them.

Another welcome improvement is the ability to re-collect some rings after Sonic has been hit. Now a few will float around briefly for recollection but there won’t be 40+ of what Sonic was carrying. As usual being hit with none results death.

Ring Scatter

Unfortunately, Sonic is the only playable character with Tails making cameo appearances in graphic panels heading into each act.

So again Sonic can dash through zones - though it pays to explore as there are plenty of secrets to find namely extra lives - as well as running round 360o loops and utilising high-speed tubes reaching the exit within the 10 minute time limit. As usual they are populated with usual dangers such as lava, spikes and bottomless pits.

Enemies this time pose more of a threat as some seem to have more intelligence and much more strategically placed.

On Screen

On Screen will be time elapsed and number of lives.

Skimming On Water

Controls remain the same and Sonic has no new abilities apart from being able to bounce across the surface of water by running at it full speed and continuously pressing JUMP.

As well as rings all over the place the familiar special items returning are:

Ring Monitor – 10 Rings.

Stars Monitor – Invincibility. Sonic is invincible for a brief period of time. He can still be killed by falling off the screen and drowning.

Shoes Monitor – Gives a boost in speed for a short amount of time.

Sonic Monitor – Gives an extra life.

Chaos Emerald – Chaos Emerald.

The shield and restart marker monitors have been removed although it is possible to continue part-way through an act after dying as the game has invisible restart markers. Sonic can still be killed in the usual ways and upon game over continue credits can be used if having any.

The end of an act is still shown by a Bonus Panel which when ran at - depending on number of rings Sonic is carrying and time - will give the following rewards:

Ring – 10 Rings. Awarded when Sonic has a ring count of a multiple of 10.

Sonic – Extra Life. Awarded when Sonic has two lives less than the start of the act.

Tails – A continue credit. Awarded when Sonic has 77 rings and the same number of lives as at the start of the act.

Dr. Robotnik – Nothing.

Each zone consists of three acts; two are full sized with the third being a small interlude before a boss fight where there will be no rings. This time round, Dr. Robotnik takes a back seat to his larger animal inspired mechs to take on Sonic. Some of these will be rather tricky. Then Sonic can break open the air pod to release more furry folk.

The Animal Pod

After an act is cleared points are given for Ring Bonus and Time Bonus. 100 points per ring and larger bonuses for quicker completion. It is possible to accelerate the totalling by holding down one of the buttons for the real impatient.

Bonus Points

There are no Special Stages or Bonus Stages. Chaos Emeralds are hidden much better throughout the zones and are now kept inside a monitor. A continue credit is awarded for each emerald collected.

Collecting all will allow entry into the final Crystal Egg Zone. If Sonic has not found them all the game will end after Scrambled Egg Zone with the bad ending.

The Zones | Screenshots

Underground Zone, Sky High Zone, Aqua Lake Zone, Green Hills Zone, Gimmick Mountain Zone, Scrambled Egg Zone, Crystal Egg Zone.

Underground Zone

Underground Zone Underground Zone Underground Zone

Sky High Zone

Sky High Zone Sky High Zone Sky High Zone

Aqua Lake Zone

Aqua Lake Zone Aqua Lake Zone Aqua Lake Zone

Green Hills Zone

Green Hills Zone Green Hills Zone Green Hills Zone

Gimmick Mountain Zone

Gimmick Mt Zone Gimmick Mt Zone Gimmick Mt Zone

Scrambled Egg Zone

Scrambled Egg Zone Scrambled Egg Zone Scrambled Egg Zone

Crystal Egg Zone

Crystal Egg Zone Crystal Egg Zone Crystal Egg Zone

Version Differences

The Game Gear version differs by the following:

Cheats and Tips

Level Select – Master System

Have a controller plugged into port 2. Power on the console holding the D-Pad diagonally UP+LEFT and BUTTONS 1 and 2. Continue to hold past the intro. When the title screen is displayed release and press BUTTON 1 on controller 1. The level select screen should appear.

Level Select

Note: I have never had this cheat work whilst using a Power Base Convertor to play this game on a Mega Drive even with using Master System controllers!

Level Select – Game Gear

At the title screen, press and hold the D-Pad diagonally DOWN+LEFT and BUTTONS 1+2. Continue to hold until you notice Tails wink for the third time then quickly press START. If done correctly there should be a ring chime.

Note: If using the level select cheat to jump to the Crystal Egg Zone, the bad ending of the game would still be shown.

Location Of Chaos Emeralds

All Chaos Emeralds are well hidden in act 2 of their respective zones. Some of these can be rather tricky to obtain.

Underground Zone

Proceed across the top of the act. Drop down after the first mine cart and head to a spring. Use the spring and head left to land on a ramp. Use this to reach a platform with a another mine cart. Ride the mine cart and just after it goes off the tracks jump to land on steps above the exit. The emerald is at the top.

Chaos Emerald

Sky High Zone

Ignore the first hang-glider and head right past the diagonal-right spring to reach a platform. Destroy the strategically placed enemy. Just over the gap to reach a larger cloud Sonic can stand on.

At the end of this cloud drop down onto another larger cloud. The trail of rings meets a small cloud. There is another spring hidden in it. Use this and head right to locate another spring hidden in a small cloud. This will take a few attempts to find and is not to be confused with the one that is just off screen. The one you are after is at least one full screen to the right and there will be a strategically placed enemy that fires when you are above it. Use that spring again heading to the right to reach the emerald.

Chaos Emerald

Aqua Lake Zone

After Sonic rides the air bubble up the shaft and enters the tube network, just before the end of the ride head left to be dropped in a room with the emerald.

To exit, go back down the pipe. There is a shortcut that can be had by pressing heading up.

All this needs to be done quickly as Sonic will run out of air. Upon leaving the tubes head left and down to find some air bubbles to replenish.

Chaos Emerald

Green Hills Zone

Approximately half way through the act, at the bottom of a ramp there is a platform with two springs between a small set of spikes and a big set of spikes. Use the springs to head upwards and far right as far as four columns of rings. Below are two more springs. Use these and head upwards and right as far as possible. The emerald is on a platform.

Chaos Emerald

Gimmick Mountain Zone

After the first set of conveyor belts, go up a hill. Just before the Burrowbot appears jump left to find a wall Sonic can walk through. Follow the passage left over some more conveyors and spikes and then up a shaft with two wheels. Proceed right to find the emerald.

Chaos Emerald

Scrambled Egg Zone

Silver Sonic must be defeated.

Chaos Emerald


The 8-Bit version of Sonic is a great game and stands well on its own. This game could be Sonic's best on SEGA's smallest platforms though some maybe put off initially by its difficulty.

Removal of the shield special item is another example.

No playable Tails and the absence of Special Stages are a bit disappointing though.

The graphics have improved a little and there has clearly been some more thought regarding the colour palette as the presentation seems more vibrant. Enemies look bigger and more detailed too.

The sound effects are mostly imported from the previous game making them recognisable and the music are original scores that are catchy and well fitting. Most of these can be downloaded below.

It is noticeable early on that this game is more difficult than its predecessor and even the 16-Bit game of the same name. Zones are well designed with rather tricky sections be that the terrain and/or more clever enemies making for some frustrations. Getting all the Chaos Emeralds will take some patience and skill especially as some require blinding flying/scrolling the screen.

And a secret final zone was a great addition as a reward for finding the Chaos Emeralds and adds to the re-playability.

Emulator Compatibility

Both the Master System and Game Gear versions of this game run perfectly with KEGA Fusion, DEGA and MEKA emulators. These can be downloaded from the SEGA Master System and Game Gear Emulators page.

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