Sonic CD (Sega CD) review
"I have quite a collection of Mega CD games, ranging from fast paced fighters, razor sharp shooters and quite a few of those blurred FMV games that gave you a damn headache to play. One game that stands out in my room though is Sonic CD, a definite classic without a shadow of a doubt and probably one of the better Sonic games of the bunch and believe you me it takes Sonic Heroes and rips it to shreds. Heck, it even beats Sonic 3 in some areas and by taking classic Sonic style gameplay and blendin..."
I have quite a collection of Mega CD games, ranging from fast paced fighters, razor sharp shooters and quite a few of those blurred FMV games that gave you a damn headache to play. One game that stands out in my room though is Sonic CD, a definite classic without a shadow of a doubt and probably one of the better Sonic games of the bunch and believe you me it takes Sonic Heroes and rips it to shreds. Heck, it even beats Sonic 3 in some areas and by taking classic Sonic style gameplay and blending it with some new features and concepts Sega created another classic, booming with challenge, fun and smooth graphics.
The Little Planet orbits around the Planet Mobius and can be seen once a year. Sonic, being the inquisitive little rodent that he is goes to check it out, with his girlfriend Amy at his heels. Sonic is craving for adventure and is on a quest to collect the seven Time Stones (gah! Not Chaos Emeralds) so he can zip through space and time for the hell of it. While gazing into the eyes of his girlfriend he notices something awry. The green pasture was gone, replaced by a land of metal and machinery. In horror Sonic and Amy look at the Little Planet, now completely overrun by iron and the like. Suddenly there was a roar and something shot down from the sky, snatching Amy with force and quickly disappearing back into the shadows, it looks like Sonic has another plot to foil and a world to save.
So, Sonic sets off on another quest to stop the demented Dr. Robotnik who is obviously behind these dreaded turn of events. Robotnik is on a quest to get all seven Time Stones for himself and uses his Metal Sonic to kidnap Amy as a trap to lure Sonic to his new base.
Sonic CD is similar to other Sonic games with a few nice changes, which spice the game up a little. The control is the almost the same except that Sonics Spin Dash attack requires you to release all of the buttons on the D-Pad to work, which can be a bit annoying to those who have played other Sonic games. Sonic can also charge up his run on the spot and shoot off like a jet, a nice new feature. The backbone of the gameplay is simple, progress through a stage, collecting rings, jumping on badniks, which seem to be all themed as insects this time round and warping through big rings to special stages collecting Time Stones. However, there are a few differences here and the biggest one is the ability to time travel. Throughout stages you’ll discover lampposts similar to ones that save your progress. These posts are labelled “Past” and “Future” and when you touch one you’ll be give the ability to time travel.
Time travelling is an interesting feature to say the least and when you run at max speed and a host of stars begin to follow you so when you next get a speed boost you will be automatically thrown into whatever time period you collected. The past levels tend to be a on the natural side with flowers blooming and animals hopping around freely and the future levels are more mechanistic theme. One new feature in Sonic CD is the ability to go back in time and change the past by destroying a certain machine created by Robotnik to grasp the planet. If you find and break this machine in the past on both zones then you will free the level from Robotnik’s grasp and fight the boss in a happy natural future instead of a nightmarish mechanized one.
The bosses are a lot better than the previous Sonic games and although they have the same concept. Robotnik comes down in his super hard ass flying machine with some new fangled weapon ready to kick the crap out of you. Our man Ivo has a host of new inventions like the walker that has those star bouncers on it, which dies easily with three hits but then he comes up with some real gems, such as the ship which is surrounded by bubbles that you fight underwater and you’ll have to break the bubbles before you run out of air. Also one of his machines has a weapon that can kill you in one go even if you have a large collection of rings. This guy is so much fun, he forces you to race Metal Sonic and if you lose you get blasted from behind with this immortal beam which can kill you in one blast. However, it pales in comparison to the near unbreakable final boss and Robotniks rotating blade ship which is near impossible to hit without losing rings. The original concept blended with solid challenge is a combination you can’t miss out on.
The special stages are also another amalgam of originality and challenge, creating the first free-roaming Sonic bonus stage. Basically there are six flying saucers that hover around the field and you have ninety seconds to pop them all. Sounds easy? The saucers move around quite fast and have a habit of moving away from you just when you are about to hit them. The field will have areas flooded with water and if you tread in the water then your timer goes down dramatically. When you have twenty seconds left a blue flying saucer will appear and bagging that will give you extra time. Destroying the ships will also give you power ups which will make you run faster, which proves to me more of a hindrance than a help or it gives you rings which protect you. If you pop all of the UFO’s then you’ll be given a Time Stone. If you get all of the Time Stones you will get automatic good futures in all of the levels you complete after you have all seven, making the game a little easier for you, but not TOO easy for ya!
Sonic CD works wonders in the aesthetics department and everything graphically and audio wise are close to perfection. Sonic looks the same as what he did on the original game and has a few animations that make him move smoother and look nicer, firstly when he leaps on a spring he corkscrews through the air with a surprised look on his face. His impatience is captured as well as ever but as little extra feature which sees Sonic run away when you leave him standing for three minutes saying “I’m outta here” very clearly which was impressive considering. Also Sonic CD has a ton of very colourful backdrops that will make any Sonic fans mouth water. The rich forests, the sparkling water, the clash of machinery look lovely and are detailed beautifully. Sonic CD also has some FMV in the introduction and the ending that look really well and run very smoothly in comparison with others I have seen. It’s like watching a real cartoon as the animation is fairly impressive, considering the time it was produced etc.
The music is also great, ranging from peaceful relaxing tunes to fast paced jives that get you into the swing of things. The outdoor and past levels tend to have very peaceful and relaxing sounds that are slow and entertaining but when you travel to the future the music will have more of a metal like theme and will be more “hardcore” as you will. Also some tunes actually have lyrics in them, which come out fine and are easy to listen to. The opening FMV track is easily one of the best songs created for a game and will plunge into your mind for a long time and you’ll be singing it off by heart after playing it twice. The Boss music is something I will never forget, ever! The chorus of “Work that track again” just sticks in your mind for ages, no kidding!
Sonic CD has all of the makings of a classic, smooth gameplay using an already classic style with a few unique twists, having spectacular animation and beautifully bright backdrops and also with CD-quality music that is very memorable and entertaining to listen to. The challenge factor is rock solid and is definitely that hardest of the old-school Sonic games but all that does is make the game more fun to get into. Sega didn’t put this in Sonic Mega Collection but damn it all it should’ve been in there so more modern gamers could experience possibly one of the greatest Sonic games created. Do what I did, buy a Mega CD for this game and play it though to the end and you’ll not be disappointed, and even if you are then you are not human.
Community review by goldenvortex (August 16, 2004)
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