sonic2logoThe last month or so has been an insane time for great iOS releases, and that's true of the new games which are coming later tonight too. And next week–the final days before the iTunes holiday shutdown–is shaping up to be an impressive one as well. However, all of these great release weeks pale in comparison to the child-like excitement inside of me for the forthcoming Sonic The Hedgehog 2 [$2.99] remastered update. The very first thing I do each morning is fire up the App Store in hopes that it will show gleaming new icon for a Sonic The Hedgehog 2 update, and in fact I've had the original iOS version installed on my device most of the year just so I'd be sure I'd know about the update as soon as humanly possible. I'm a little overboard, I know.

Well, I can finally stop checking the App Store for updates, as Sega has sent word that the remastered version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 will be launching as a free update to the original iOS game, as well as launching for the first time on Android devices, at some point tomorrow. In the wacky digital world that we live in, "tomorrow" might actually mean later tonight, early in the morning, or pretty much at any point in the next 24 hours, but the big news is that it's coming very soon.

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If you think back to May of this year, you'll remember that the original Sonic The Hedgehog [$2.99] received a similar remastering by none other than Christian "Taxman" Whitehead and Simon "Stealth" Thomley, the developers responsible for the amazing remastering of Sonic CD [$2.99] that hit iOS around this same time in 2011. Sonic The Hedgehog, like Sonic CD, was rebuilt from the ground up for touchscreen devices using Whitehead's custom-build Retro Engine. It featured all sorts of awesome new goodies, as well as a ton of secrets to discover, but perhaps most importantly it finally played like a dream with virtual controls.

The Sonic The Hedgehog 2 remake seems to be along those same lines, though I've only spent a short time with it so far and I'm sure the rabid Sonic fan base will be finding even more secrets and new features in the weeks to come. However, one big bombshell that's part of this remastered release is the inclusion of Hidden Palace Zone for the first time ever in an official capacity. Hidden Palace Zone is notorious for being one of the planned environments in the game which was cut out just prior to the game's original release in 1992. Assets for Hidden Palace Zone and other scrapped levels have been floating around the 'Net for a long time, and enterprising modders have re-created the levels in various forms before. However, this is the first time it's being officially included in a version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 with the blessing of Sega, which is incredibly exciting. Here are a few screens straight from Hidden Palace Zone.

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Oh, and speaking of secrets, I've already verified that the same cheat codes that work in Sonic The Hedgehog 1 appear to work in the remastered sequel as well. Tapping S-E-G-A in that order when the Sega logo flashes across the screen after starting the game, then holding down both thumbs on the screen until the game boots up will take you to a level select and sound test screen. Here you can choose any level, including special stages and Hidden Palace Zone, right off the bat. The sound test option is how you accessed the debug mode in the first Sonic, and I'm sure it'll be the same here, though I have yet to discover any working codes for it. In due time, I'm sure.

At any rate, you can grab Sonic The Hedgehog 2 with the link below, and although it's not quite yet the rematered version, the update should be hitting at just about any time in the next day.

  • Sean Magnoni

    Controller support?

    • cobbyco

      Whitehead said he would implement controller support to all his Sonic releases when he gets a controller to actually test with. The code for controller support has apparently been written in advance, soooooo... possibly?

      • AGuy

        Sonic 1's Android remake had gamepad support, so I assume this will as well.

  • cobbyco

    Hidden Palace.

    Enough said.

  • cobbyco

    Wait, them special stages... 3D?

    No way...

    • zergslayer69

      Where'd you get 3d? Had to read the article twice to make sure I didn't miss anything.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        The special stages in this version are modeled in actual 3D, as opposed to the original game where they were just sprites that scaled to give the illusion it was 3D. They did it this way to improve performance, I believe. It also looks wayyyy better.

  • paulf58

    YES!!!!

  • curtneedsaride

    Probably my favorite Sega game back in the day. Can't wait to zip around that Hidden Palace finally!

  • androphene

    iPhone only, no iPad support?!

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      The original Sonic 2 app is iPhone only, but the update makes it Universal.

      • Fangbone

        Great news!

  • jstein360

    "...in fact I've had the original iOS version installed on my device most
    of the year just so I'd be sure I'd know about the update as soon as
    humanly possible."

    Can't say I've had it for a year, but definitely sitting and waiting for the past 3 or 4 months, just in case!

    • zergslayer69

      Yup, bought it during the last sale for 99 cents in anticipation for today. High five!

  • Jake7905

    Got to give Sega credit for updating the existing app rather then just releasing a separate remastered version. I was impressed by the way they handled the original, and I'm still impressed by the way they continue to support the classic Sonic franchise.

    • zergslayer69

      Sonic deserves it after all the atrocious games that were released in the past, it's the least they can do

  • gospyro

    I'm very curious to see how this works out... particularly because I was the orginal artist for that level. If it as it appears, it looks like the original artwork, with a few things added here and there. (I never did art for a 'boss' sequence.. so the pic above with the giant pipe organ is new.

    It would be fun to finally see it in the game! Needless to say, I was a little more then 'upset' when it was cut just days before the release of the game. It has always been my favorite of any of the artwork I did for the Sonic games.

    • Nektarios

      That's incredible.

    • Arron

      Well sir, I look forward to officially having the opportunity to play this level in an official, legitimate matter in this remastered version of the game.

    • Jademalo

      Oh wow, that's amazing!

      Out of curiosity, why was it cut so close to release? Was there an issue with it or something?

  • LiberachiX

    Would be epic if it also had Genocide City Zone

    • jamesgecko

      Genocide City doesn't have any art assets (that I know of) and the act that was designed turned into one of the of the acts in Metropolis Zone (which is why it has 3 acts).

      The scrapped desert level SEGA published prerelease promo screenshots of seems like it would be a better candidate. I also vaguely remember a scrapped wooded zone? I might be misremembering.

  • Mullet Guy

    fyi you linked to Sonic 4 Episode 2

  • JD214

    Used to love playing Sonic on PS2, I don't know why, but I just can't get into playing it on my phone, I've DL'd 3 Sonic games from the App Store and all 3 have been deleted.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Was the Hidden Palace Zone a completed stage before it was deleted from the game, or is this a fan rendition using leftover assets?

    • cobbyco

      Yep.

  • ineptidude

    Multiplayer support?

  • gospyro

    I hope they do this right! I've been waiting over 20 years for this. I was the orginal artist for 'Hidden Palace Zone'. Needless to say that it ticked me off when the level was cut just a few days before final release of the orginal Sonic 2. The art for this particular level has always been my favorite art (that I created) for any Sonic game.

    From looking the screen shots, it 'looks' like it's still the same art. Except, I never created any art for a 'Boss' level, so the pic shown with the giant pipe organ and Dr. Robotnik is new.

  • CecilMcW00t

    Jared you aren't alone, I've had Sonic 2's ugly app icon sitting in a folder for almost a whole year waiting for this. I can't wait!

  • Kane

    Hidden palace included? Insta- No, No, ULTRA-Buy!

    Next... We want Streets of Rage remastered!

  • thefropro

    01, 09, 09, 02, 01, 01, 02, 04

  • RunningWild

    Sonic 2 update is up muddy fugguz!

  • revolverblue85

    Bought! Omg bringing back some good memories

  • Earth Vs. Me

    What the hell, they took away the Hill Top Zone boss!? What's the deal?

  • PlannedObsolescence

    Wow, nice surprise this is free for those who purchased first one. i can afford Room 2 now.

  • Donny K76

    It's out now-the updated version!

  • Intendro

    Sonic 2: Special Edition.

  • revolverblue85

    Weird. Bought it for the iPad, but it's asking me to purchase for iPhone. Thought it was universal. Makes no sense

  • free2play4eva

    Why isn't this free?