Regarded as the best 2D Sonic game (and perhaps the best overall), Sonic CD has been a game that didn’t get much exposure to the public due to lack of popularity of the Sega CD and only having one re-release ever in the Sonic Gems Collection. Sonic CD is not just a simple port of an old game but adds in additional content that makes it worth more than the 5 dollar price tag.
Sonic The Hedgehog stepped into the world of gaming with so much popularity that a sequel was inevitable. Due to disagreements with a few development teams, Sonic CD and Sonic 2 were developed separately and both were great games in their own right. Sonic CD would be backed by the power of CD technology. Of course with technology nowadays, that doesn’t really matter but does this mean that Sonic CD is worth checking out after all these years?
Sonic CD uses the concept of time travel to warp you into different variants of the same stage that you’re in. These aren’t just color palette swaps and they’re definitely worth checking out. Initially though, this concept seems pointless but there’s a deeper aspect to it that I’ll get to in a bit. Sonic is also joined by practically no one and he’s going solo this time around. Sure, this is the game that introduces Amy but she’s in that damsel-in-distress mode. Ultimately, Sonic needs to stop Eggman from taking over this planet that distorts time and prevent him from stealing the Time Stones (which oddly look like Chaos Emeralds). 7 zones later, you stop him and depending on if you grabbed all the Time Stones or not will determine your ending.
As far as new content goes for this release, you will be able to switch between the US and the EU/JP soundtracks. There are different reasons to like one over the other and it really all depends on your tastes. Unfortunately, you can only change this in the main menu and I would have preferred to have the ability to choose what version plays depending on what zone I’m in. You also have the choice to pick between the original Sonic CD spin dash where your speed is based on how long you crouch or switch to the Genesis/Mega Drive spin dash where it’s based on how many button presses you hit while charging. Finally, you are able to play the game as Tails upon beating the game once in a bit of a Sonic & Knuckles treatment.
Taking a step back to the past makes you realize just how much interesting content is in these games. As stated there are different stages of time per stage with a past, a present, two futures with one as a good future and a bad future. While you could go through the entire game and never going back and forth between time, you actually become rewarded with seeing just how different the stages change. Going to the past and destroying a machine will change the future for the better. Going to the future from that point will reward you with a shiny bright level with almost no enemies. Obtaining all of the time stones which are required for the best ending will also automatically make it so that all futures will become their good equivalents. It’s a good concept and something to go for on your second playthrough and ultimately becomes a bit easier to accomplish with Tails due to his ability to fly around and even making it easier to maintain the speed to transport between time.
Be prepared for a lot of dick moves in Sonic CD. While Sonic games generally have a fair share of traps that you can’t avoid, the high number of situations this occurred in Sonic CD can be annoying very fast. I did find myself having to sit away from the game for a bit during the last few zones just simply because of the random springs that would take you to places further back into the stage. Otherwise, the game is relatively easy compared to the rest of the Sonic games I’ve played.
Sonic CD has aged very well and with the recent release of Sonic Generations stirring up the pot, going back to this is definitely a great way to continue a good thing. For only 5 dollars, you get way more than what anyone would expect from a 5 dollar game. Sadly enough, compared to Sonic 4 which is about 3 times as much, this feels like a much more solid of a Sonic game. 2D Sonic fans that weren’t blessed with a Sega CD will find a ton of enjoyment with this and it isn’t too punishing enough to deter new Sonic fans to use this as a good entry point.
This review of Sonic CD was based on the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 release. The iOS/Android versions of the game are actually pretty damn accurate compared to the console versions and the only thing they lack is tactile buttons.