Now that Sonic Mania has dropped and is receiving rave reviews, it's time to look towards the inevitable sequel. After years of chaos (emeralds) in the Sonic fandom it's what we deserve. With the exception of no playable Amy Rose, the game had zero flaws and Sega must know a follow up is in order. One of the primary factors that made the game so exciting and satisfying was the return to classic levels, albeit with new spins. Sonic Generations had done this previously, but not as faithfully perfect as these renditions brought on by Developer Christian Whitehead. The thrill of seeing old levels and classic sprites once more was a bit of a nostalgia overload and before that IV runs dry, let's talk about seven classic levels that should return in Sonic Mania 2.
1. Marble Zone (Sonic 1)
Sonic the Hedgehog followed up its iconic first level, Green Hill Zone, with Marble Zone. There weren't tiny, shiny balls rolling around that Sonic had to avoid, but there was lava, spiky caterpillars, retractable spikes and catchy 16-bit beats.
2. Star Light Zone (Sonic 1)
The fifth level in the first Sonic took place on a highway on a beautiful night. The sky was full of... (wait for it) stars. One might even say they lit the road for our speedster friend. Not only that but there were bombs and random fans. I guess if the cars get hot they need to cool off?
3. Aquatic Ruin Zone (Sonic 2)
Grounder was the best character in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon and he first appeared as a badnik in this level! The aesthetic contains totem poles, ancient pillars, water (gulp), and booby-trap arrows. Watch out Sonic!
4. Wood Zone (Sonic 2 Beta)
If you aren't familiar with this zone it's because it never was completed! Through the magic of cartridge hacking gamers were able to uncover lost / incomplete levels for #Sonic2. Many have since been completed by fans and are available online. Wood Zone had a nice look to it, reminiscent of Knothole, Sonic's home village from the Sonic the Hedgehog (1993) cartoon and Archie Sonic comic book series (RIP). Wouldn't it be awesome to see the level brought forth from the ashes and legitimized? There is precedence - Sonic 2's hidden / deleted Hidden Palace Zone was completed and added into the 2013 iOS re-release.
5. Ice Cap Zone (Sonic 3)
Perhaps this one was too obvious. Ice Cap Zone is a huge fan favorite, likely due to the incredible music and unique snowboarding intro! Unfortunately there may be some legal issues keeping it from ever appearing. It wouldn't be the same without the soundtrack created by some mysterious combination of Brad Buxer and Michael Jackson.
6. Sandopolis Zone (Sonic & Knuckles)
Home to one of the most ridiculous bosses ever - all you had to do was jump up and down in the quicksand and Mr. Sand Golem would eventually jump in, ending its own life. Many child nightmares were triggered by Sonic's desperate attempt to escape the pyramids as they filled with sand or the ultra spooky ghosts that stalked you when the lights went out. Sorry, Mario, but Boo ain't got nothing on these ghouls. Let's do it again!
7. Death Egg Zone (Sonic & Knuckles)
Eat your heart out, Star Wars. How could Sonic Mania have avoided the Death S̶t̶a̶r̶ Egg Zone when it featured in Sonic 2 and #SonicAndKnuckles? Saws! Gravity loss! Conveyer belts! Electric shocks! We're ready for round two.
Where are the Sonic CD levels? Any of them would be quite welcome as well!
What levels would you like to see revisited? Have you played any of the "deleted" levels from Sonic 2? Shh, we won't tell. Let us know in the comments below!