I hope whoever designed Wing Fortress Zone has had a horrible life. Between this and some of the other bullshit in the final third of the game, like the terrible enemy placement in Metropolis and being forced to beat the final 2 bosses without any rings, I ended up feeling a bit conflicted on what to rate this one. Overall, this is definitely a huge improvement over the first game. Gone is the slow and tedious platforming that was often required. This is the beginning of the faster-paced gameplay we have grown accustomed to with the 2D series. Also, there's a spin-dash now!
There are also more zones here, most of which are pretty darn good, but despite what many people say about this being peak Sonic, I can't help but feel it's just a tad overrated. My heart may already belong to CD's level design, but I was hoping I'd be blown away with this one, and the final few acts didn't help. But you know what? The soundtrack kicks so much ass that I'm willing to partially forgive it. Very rarely does a game's soundtrack greatly enhance the experience for me, but this one did, and it's not even a JRPG! Color me surprised.
P.S. I heard the special stages are worse here than in the first game... Well, I can't comment on that because I didn't find a single special stage on my first playthrough. Not like I ever really cared about them anyway.

Reviewed on Feb 01, 2023