There were just two Sonic games released in 1992, but in no way was it a small year for the franchise.
First up was the Master System version of Sonic 2. The most notable element of this of course is that it’s the very first appearance of Sonic’s best friend and sidekick, Miles ‘Tails’ Prower. Terrible pun name aside, Tails is a huge part of what makes the Sonic series what it is, and appears in almost every game from this point on. While Tails is generally characterised as a super smart inventor, here he’s just a plot device. Kidnapped by Dr. Robotnik in the intro sequence, he doesn’t appear at all until the end of the game aside from the title cards for each act.
As I mention in the video, the Game Gear version of the game was massively more difficult due to the smaller screen and this was particularly evident from the first boss – you can’t see the balls that are being thrown at you until they’re very close and while I only got ones that were going low they can also bounce higher so you got hardly any time to decide between jumping or going under. I honestly can’t remember if I ever beat it as a kid.
It’s also slightly odd in that the bosses are all mechanical animals, you don’t fight Robotnik himself at all until the very end – and even then that’s only if you get all of the Chaos Emeralds as otherwise you finish the game on the Scrambled Egg Zone after beating Mecha Sonic. Much like the 8-bit Sonic 1, the boss stages are all completely devoid of rings, adding to the difficulty quite substantially.
Much like the first Master System game the music is pretty solid all the way through, especially the Green Hills Zone which is presumably an early version of Sonic CD’s title track You Can Do Anything.
As good as the 8-bit version was, November’s Mega Drive version was the main attraction. Released in a media blitz on ‘Sonic 2sday’ it was a huge success and is widely regarded as one of the very best games in the franchise. For me, it’s always been my favourite. I got it along with a Mega Drive 2, my first brand new games console I’d ever owned, for Christmas that year as it was a revelation. There were more stages that let you run fast and the special stages, particularly for the time, were fantastic looking.
While I somewhat intentionally didn’t get all of the Chaos Emeralds on this run (I’d usually play as Sonic by himself so Tails can’t lose any rings in the special stages, and I’d hunt out all the Star Posts in the first couple of stages to get them while rings are more plentiful) collecting them all gave us the first appearance of Super Sonic which absolutely blew me away as a kid but does make most of the game far too easy in retrospect.
Plus of course Tails is now fully playable, either by himself or along with Sonic with a second player in pad 2. Tails, and more specifically his ability to fly, brings additional exploration abilities to the game (which will in later games be added to with Knuckles’ climbing)