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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Master System, Game Gear)

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Title Screen

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Developers: Aspect, Sega
Publishers: Sega (JP/US/EU/AU), Tec Toy (BR), Samsung (KR)
Platforms: Sega Master System, Game Gear
Released in JP: November 21, 1992 (Game Gear)
Released in US: November 17, 1992 (Game Gear)
Released in EU: October 16, 1992 (Master System), October 29, 1992 (Game Gear)
Released in AU: December 1, 1992 (Master System)
Released in KR: 1992 (Master System)
Released in BR: December 25, 1992 (Game Gear), June 18, 1993 (Master System)

DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.

ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article
BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page

To do:
  • Apparently half of the title cards artwork in this game has palette oddities, as seen in this Twitter thread. Could there be more in the game?

The 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has Tails practically everywhere except in the actual zones. It introduced the idea of fighting badniks as bosses and the requirement to unlock the final level.

This game also marks the first appearance of Tails in a video game, contrary to popular belief.


Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info
Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info
Read about notable bugs and errors in this game.

Unused Graphics

Character Sprites

Artwork Name Description
Sonic2GGTailsCry.gif "Crying Tails" Animation Tails crying. Probably meant to be used in the ending cutscene when he is rescued.
Sonic2GGOldIdle.png "Bored Sonic" Animation While the majority of the game's Sonic graphics were copied from the Master System version of Sonic 1, the waiting animation was changed, rendering these three frames unused. They were used in the AutoDemo prototype, though.
Sonic2SMSEarlyDeathSprite.png Sonic 1 Death Sprite Sonic's death sprite from the Master System Sonic 1. The final version uses an updated sprite.
Sonic2GGUnderBossFull.png Under Ground Zone Boss body The entire body of the boss. Normally, only its head is visible.
Sonic2GGDuckFull.gif Sky High Zone Boss body The entire body of the boss. Normally, only its head and neck can be seen.


Artwork Name Description
Sonic2GGMonitor1.png Sonic Monitor While you can find this in a wall in Crystal Egg Zone, the graphics are obscured. When collected, it grants a continue.
Sonic2GGMonitor3.png Question Mark Monitor May have given a random amount of rings or items, like in the 2-player mode of the Genesis version.
Sonic2GGMonitor2.png Grey Sneaker Monitor May have slowed you down, like the Speed-Down sneaker in the 2-player mode of Sonic 3.
Sonic2GGMonitor4.png Arrow Monitor Most likely intended to be a checkpoint marker, like the 8-bit versions of Sonic 1.

Level Art

To do:
Aqua Lake Zone, Green Hills Zone, Gimmick Mountain Zone, Scrambled Egg Zone all have many unused tiles, as do Sky High Zone Act 2 and Crystal Egg Zone Acts 1 and 2.
Artwork Name Description
Sonic2GGUnderBricks.png Under Ground Zone Bricks Several unused bricks. Tiles similar to the gray bricks were used in the AutoDemo prototype.
Sonic2GGUnderLoop.png Under Ground Zone Tunnel Leftovers from the curved tunnels found in the AutoDemo prototype.
Sonic2GGUnderGroundRock.png Under Ground Zone rock A 32×32 rock that was used in the AutoDemo prototype.
Sonic2GGUnderOther.png Under Ground Zone Tiles Miscellaneous unused pieces.
Sonic2GGUnderPlat.png Under Ground Zone Floating Platform An unused floating platform.
Sonic2GGBoulder.gif Sky High Zone boulder This boulder was probably supposed to roll down a hill in Act 1.
Sonic2GGSkyPlat.png Sky High Zone platform Another unused floating platform.
Sonic2GGSkyBlock.png Sky High Zone object Unknown purpose - another platform?
Sonic2GGSkyHighWater.png Sky High Zone water Water tiles that were supposed to appear in Act 2. They look similar to the tiles found in the AutoDemo prototype.
Sonic2GGSkyHighTrees.png Sky High Zone trees The trees from Act 1 were apparently supposed to appear in Act 2, but they don't.
Sonic2GGSkyHighBlock.png Sky High Zone background A 32×32 background tile that was supposed to appear in Act 2.
Sonic2GGWaterSlope.gif Aqua Lake Zone block A small additional piece of land. If placed in Act 2, these are fully functional and cause Sonic to slide down much like Labyrinth Zone in Sonic 1.
Sonic2GGAquaLakeWaterfall.png Aqua Lake Zone waterfall This waterfall tile was probably going to be used with the block above.
Sonic2GGAquaLakeSpikes.png Aqua Lake Zone spikes Unused spikes that were supposed to appear in Act 1 and 3. The only spikes found in this Zone are underwater.
Sonic2GGGreenHillsGrass.png Green Hills Zone grass While the miscolored grass tile on the left is used in-game, an unused, properly-colored grass tile exists.
Sonic2GGGreenHillsStem.png Green Hills Zone tiles Unused graphics for background scenery that look like a flower stem.
Sonic2GGGreenHillsSpring.png Green Hills Zone spring A diagonal spring in front of the scenery that isn't used anywhere.
Sonic2GGGimmickMountainRock.png Gimmick Mountain Zone breakable block A breakable 32×32 tile that isn't used anywhere in the level.
Sonic2GGScrambledEggRock.png Scrambled Egg Zone breakable block A breakable 32×32 tile that looks very similar to the Gimmick Mountain one, still unused.
Sonic2GGCrystalEggBG.png Crystal Egg Zone background tiles Mountain background tiles that aren't used anywhere.
Sonic2GGCrystalEggBG2.png Crystal Egg Zone tiles Scenery tiles that aren't used anywhere.
Sonic2GGCrystalEggFlower.png Crystal Egg Zone flower An unused flower.
(Source: Sonic Retro, The Spriters Resource)

Gimmick Mountain Title Card


Originally, the level card for Gimmick Mountain Zone used its full name. Due to lack of space on the screen, however, "Mountain" was shortened to "Mt."

(Source: Hivebrain)

Unused Text

A build date string can be found in the ROM at 0x000C0.

Master System (REV00)
MS SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.2 Ver1.00 1992/09/05 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd 
Game Gear
GG SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.2 Ver1.10 1992/09/12 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd 
Master System (REV01)
MS SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.2 Ver2.20 1992/12/09 SEGA /Aspect Co.,Ltd 

Unused Audio


A peaceful, ethereal-sounding tune. What this song could have been used for is unknown, but it might have been an early theme for either Crystal Egg or Aqua Lake due to the similar style. The song also has some resemblance to the Present theme of Tidal Tempest in the Japanese/European soundtrack of Sonic CD. This song was removed from the Game Gear version, and was replaced by the sound effect that plays when Sonic (and Tails) look up at the stars at the end of the credits. Both of them use $92 as the song value.

Sound Effects

These were removed from the Game Gear version.

Sound Effect ID Description
A7 Similar to the spring/ramp sound in the Autodemo.
AC Likely A Fire sound.
AD An alternate splash sound.
B2 Similar to Sound A2 from the Autodemo.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Level Select

Master System


While powering on the game, hold Left + 1 + 2 on Controller 2. When the intro sequence starts, release the buttons, then start the game as usual.

Game Gear


When the intro starts, hold Down + Left + 1 + 2 + Start. When the title screen appears, wait for a ring sound to play twice (Tails will wink three times). Release all the buttons and press Start.

Version Differences

To do:
This section is WIP: add more detail, elaboration, rip the alternate boss/Power Sneakers/good ending themes, document Revision 2.2 of the Master System version, etc.

The 8-bit versions of Sonic 2 are mostly identical, but besides the resolution, there are some differences detailing the transition from Master System to Game Gear:

  • The intro originally started with Tails already kidnapped. On handheld, it starts off with Tails running away as Robotnik's claw catches him. The sky in the intro also changed from a bright cyan to a very dark shade.
  • The music during the Master System intro is the title screen music of the Game Gear version. The Master System title screen plays no music, and the Game Gear intro plays the Scrambled Egg Zone track.
  • The boss music is different between versions, with the Game Gear version noticeably being mixed into the JP Metallic Madness from Sonic CD. The Master System boss music was removed completely from the Game Gear version, however, the Game Gear boss music does not use the same sound value as the Master System version. The Master System boss music is $89, but the Game Gear boss music is $94. Attempting to play $89 on the Game Gear version crashes the game.
  • Several small changes are present to level geometry and ring layouts across the game. A notable example is a set of rings in Green Hills Zone spelling the word "END" (one of the level designers listed in the credits) was added. These changes are minor and don't appear to be done to make the stages easier to navigate with the restricted view as per the stage changes in the Game Gear version of Sonic 1.
  • The geometry of several boss fight areas were made smaller to accommodate the smaller fixed screen. For example, the Green Hills arena is much narrower, and Crystal Egg's boss makes the horizontal pipe exit on the left invisible.
  • Several boss fights are more difficult. Under Ground's boss now has the rocks bounce at unpredictable heights, Aqua Lake's boss continually moves towards Sonic, forcing him to jump and be bounced away before the orange sphere attack, and Green Hills' boss will now sometimes combine a high leap with a low roll attack rather than just doing one or the other. Crystal Egg's boss is not necessarily harder, but it does not follow exactly the same attack pattern as the Master System version, i.e. if one attacks it during the optimal openings on each play, it will result in the battle playing out exactly the same every time, but those openings and thus exactly the same scenario differs for each version.
  • In the Master System version of Aqua Lake Zone Act 2, the entire level is a murky green palette, and the waterline is invisible and at a fixed position near the top; on Game Gear, clean blue water visibly rises and floods the entire stage at the start.
  • When Sonic drowns in the Master System version, he sinks with his mouth opening and closing, like the Master System version of the previous game. On Game Gear, he sinks with his mouth open, as in the console games.
  • Power Sneakers exist as a one-off powerup in the Master System version, only appearing in Aqua Lake Zone Act 2. When this monitor is broken, a unique track is temporarily played, but it otherwise does not provide its usual speed-up effect. Likely because of this odd oversight, it is replaced by a Super Ring monitor in the Game Gear version. The song was also removed completely from the Game Gear version, and crashes if attempted to play.
  • The sound effect when Sonic spins on the wheels and orb in Gimmick Mountain and Crystal Egg is different.
  • On Game Gear, "HIRO SSS" is credited in place of "SEMIMARU" and "TOSIYAN" is corrected to "TOSHIYAN" for the Program, and there is an extra credit for "RYU" under Thanks.
  • The bad ending music is extended on Game Gear, while it cuts short on Master System.
  • The good ending has its own, happy-sounding tune on Game Gear. This song does not exist at all on the Master System version. This song's value on the Game Gear is $95.
  • When Sonic (and Tails) look upon the stars at the end of the credits, a sound effect is now played. This sound replaces the unused track ($92) from the Master System version.
  • When Sonic enters the tube that leads to Scrambled Egg's boss arena in the Game Gear version, the boss music starts playing immediately, whereas in the Master System version it starts just as Sonic exits the tube.
  • The end-of-Act tally counts down points slower in the Game Gear version.