The third zone of Sonic II is Aquatic Ruin. As the name suggests, there's water in this level, though drowning is rarely a problem you'll be facing. The level is usually easy enough, though I did one annoying enemy stopping me in my tracks. Grounders.
Usually very simple to deal with, Aquatic Ruin simply loves to make you run into them. They'll occasionally burst through a wall and it usually happened when I was going too fast to notice before I got hit. Despite this, it's a nice enough level which didn't take away any of my lives. The boss too was quite simple...
Robotnik will fly from pole to pole and hit them with a hammer. An arrow will shoot out of one of the four bird statues and, if you dodge them, will get stuck on the other pole. You can then jump on the arrow in order to attack Robotnik. Doesn't take long for this to happen...
...and that's the end of Aquatic Ruin.
Although I mentioned Chemical Plant as being the most iconic level in the game, some could argue that Casino Night is more so. The first level in Sonic history to be casino-themed started a trend that was common in Sonic games up until Heroes (correct me if I'm wrong, I can't think of any more recent casino levels...). There's barely any enemies, the only thing you really need to worry about is not spending too much time messing about on the pinball and slot machine sections.
A common thing in this level are launchers, which will send Sonic spinning away at great speed. In addition, you can get a few hundred points by landing in that section with the three stripes.
In addition, you'll see these slot machine sections. You can repeatedly use them and, if you get lucky, amass a stockpile of lives through getting over 100 rings. However, there is a risk involved. If you get three Eggman slots you will lose 100 rings. The Jackpot is 150 rings. I only did it enough to get my extra life and then I got away before I developed a chronic gambling problem.
Then I ran into one of the few enemies in the game.
Still, over the last two Acts I amassed three extra lives (one for 100 rings in Act 2, one I got in a secret passage and one for getting 50,000 points) for a total of nine. I hadn't died yet to a boss in Sonic 2 and I was feeling confident. It wasn't to last.
Yeah, see how that says eight lives? I forgot to take a picture on the first attempt. The idea is that you use the flippers and your spin dash to attack Eggman. He will drop mines every now and then which can be annoying if you're going fast. My biggest problem was jumping into Eggman thinking I was spinning but I wasn't and then getting harmed. It's a bit of a finicky boss in my opinion, I don't like it much though I can say it is a decent idea. However, eventually...
Yeah. Three lives were lost here and it's probably only going to get harder from here. Or maybe I'm just bad at this one boss. Who knows? No one, yet, and there's only one way to find out. See you for Acts 5 & 6!
OH YEAH, I successfully got a decent video of the first level last night, just to show off the special stages and why I won't be going into any on my main playthrough.
Next: Hill Top and Mystic Cave Zones.