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SEGA's mascot Sonic the Hedgehog made his debut in a famous Genesis title, but Sega's 8-bit systems got their own version of the platformer, featuring the same story and gameplay style, but different levels.
To stop the evil Dr. Robotnik, Sonic must traverse six zones consisting of three levels each. Most of the zones are based on those in the original game, but some are entirely new, including a jungle environment and a huge airship. Other unique differences are one level that scrolls automatically and one that is aligned vertically instead of horizontally. Most of the enemies (mechanized animals, defeated by Sonic's spikes when jumping or rolling) and power-ups (speed-ups, shields, extra lives) are the same as in the Genesis version as well. Sonic can pick up golden rings for protection (when hit, he simply loses all of his rings instead of a life) and bonuses: 100 rings gain Sonic an extra life, and 50 remaining rings at the end of a level allow access to pinball-themed special stages full of bumpers and springs. The final level of a zone is always a boss fight against Robotnik. Some of the boss fights differ in the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game.
Sonic should also collect the six Chaos Emeralds to keep them from falling into Robotnik's hands. In a departure from the original game, these are not hidden in the special stages but somewhere in the regular levels.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Coming back from the vacation Sonic took after foiling the plans of Dr Robotnik, he finds that Tails and all his other animal friends are missing. Sonic finds a letter waiting for him, that reads:
Robotnik is back, and he's captured all the animals on the island! He is holding me in a place called the Crystal Egg. In order to free me, you have to find and bring the six Chaos Emeralds.
Robotnik made me write this. He says he's waiting for you, and he's created six really nasty robots in order to 'get rid of you once and for all.' I don't know what he has planned, but Sonic, please be careful!
That being more than enough motivation for him, Sonic races out to defeat Robotnik again.
The Master System version is totally different than the Sonic 2 for Genesis. Tails obviously doesn't accompany you, like he can in the Genesis release. Sonic can also not do his infamous buzzsaw roll by simply ducking and pressing jump.