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View Full Version : [Staff Review] RiotingSpectre's Sonic CD Review



RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 02:20 AM
The titular hedgehog is back again, but is this unique adventure something to be loved or loathed? Find out right now for this is the Sonic CD review.

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Sonic CD and I go back a little ways. I was one of the few that actually owned a SEGA CD add-on and had this game along with Night Trap. While the latter was a hit & miss titles, I however couldn't put Sonic CD down because I had utterly sucked everything out of the regular SEGA Genesis titles and was looking for more experiences to be had from the blue blur's franchise. Hell, it was either this or Sonic 3D Blast but since I heard rumors of that coming out for the upcoming Sega Saturn at the time I avoided it so I could play that version instead. With that said I haven't played Sonic CD since the last time I played it on my SEGA CD add-on all those years ago and boy has my opinion of it changed so without further ado let's get our super sneakers on and see what this enhanced version of Sonic CD is capable of.

Story:

Sonic CD's story is actually unique amongst its regular Genesis counterparts as it has nothing to do with the typical formula that you're accustomed to by this point since Dr. Robotnik captures an entire planet and chains it to a mountain over a lake to which he finds Time Stones on. These Time Stones control the passage of time which Dr. Robotnik has taken a keen interest in ever since he knew about them given the fact that the possibilities he could only achieve with these particular stones could create a world however he saw fit. Sonic being the hero that he is aims to stop this plan by rewriting the history that Dr. Robotnik has put in place and he plans to use the very Time Stones to do so. Along the way Sonic will encounter a new character by the name of Amy Rose who gets captured by a new version of Silver Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 named Metal Sonic. The damsel in distress, the newly updated anti-Sonic named Metal Sonic, and Dr. Robotnik all in one huge trial that Sonic must overcome.

The story is not one-dimensional like the others in the franchise at its point in inception. It's unique and has a lot of layers for the player to sink their teeth into along with having a sense of urgency that was only topped by the later entries in the series with the most notable being Sonic Adventure 2 for the SEGA Dreamcast. There are two endings to the game with the bad one being where Dr. Robotnik ultimately succeeds while the good ending is where our hero Sonic the Hedgehog manages to save the captured planet, the captured Amy Rose, and thwarting Dr. Robotnik. These multiple endings give the player more incentive to fulfill the requirements to achieve the good ending and may even convince the player to replay the game from the very beginning just to see the differences between them. Overall, rewarding and engaging to the point where it's something that makes you wonder why other titles in the franchise haven't revisited such a storyline as often as they have.

Game-Play & Controls:

The gameplay in Sonic CD is far superior to anything you might find in the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic himself controls much more fluently in mid-air thanks to a superior physics engine which enables mid-jump navigation for precise platforming. He's also equipped with the trademark spindash move from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 but in Sonic CD it has to have a second and a half delay for the animation to complete before the player is able to execute the move. This cuts down on the practicability of the move but thankfully with the inclusion of the super peel-out he'll have no trouble zooming across the stage. This coupled with the super sneakers and invincibility power-ups found in television monitors means that Sonic himself is a force to be reckoned with.

Overall, the game makes it so you're well equipped for the high octane level design along with its precision platforming for the more rewarding paths within the levels themselves. The spindash has been dethroned by the super peel-out but simply doing the latter and then pressing down on the controls will enable you to roll into a ball if you would prefer to have a fast version of the spindash. Certainly one of the best incarnations of a two-dimensional Sonic in the franchise.

Visual Presentation & Stages:

The visuals in Sonic CD were always good but thanks to the enhanced flair only found in the 2011 edition it's without a doubt one of the best two-dimensional games on the OUYA and everywhere else for that matter. The levels are vibrant, diverse, and only serve as a reminder how much more capable the SEGA CD was with its added capabilities. The enhanced port adds restored cut-scenes, widescreen, and improved filtering of the game making it nearly seizure inducing. The only downside is that the Android ports of the game which OUYA had a port of that don't contain the extra filters for viewing options. Nonetheless it's hardly anything to complain about.

Continuing on and as said before the levels are vibrant and diverse. There are seven zones in the game consisting of two acts in each zone and a boss act that's very short along with only serving to acquire rings prior to the actual conflict with Dr. Robotnik. These levels are sometimes prone to inconsistency in their design due to the fact that some paths only open up if you're in a different placement in time. This makes play-throughs where you're not going after the Metal Sonic projectors or the robotizers somewhat annoying given the fact that your multi-structured level design gets somewhat linear at times. Aside from that there's not much else to say as there's only one instance where a zone forces you to do something you don't want which is Wacky Workbenches' bouncing gimmick.

Overall, the game in the level category has its flaws in its level design and the sole gimmick in Wacky Workbench that is renowned as being one of the worst in the franchise. This coupled with the fact that the Android version which was a port of the others which got ported to the OUYA doesn't have the extra visual filters. Everything else added with the enhanced 2011 edition was kept in though making this only a minor hiccup an a overall perfect category.

Music & Sounds:

The music in Sonic CD is often sighted to be the best in the franchise for both regions and for good reason. Every track in both soundtracks (which are selectable in the menu screen) are sublime. Everything from Sonic Boom to Cosmic Eternity is so good that if YouTube didn't exist then don't be surprised if you left the game on to hear the music play. Not only was such an awesome set of tunes for Sonic CD possible because of the CD quality audio but the fact that you can select which soundtrack you want garners confetti thrown at SEGA Incorporation's door.

Continuing on, the sounds themselves are typical for the franchise at this point with the only thing that ever popped out to people was when you left Sonic unattended and says "I'm outta here!" while proceeding to jump off the screen. Everything is crisp, makes the sound it should, and never comes off as annoying. Overall, in the auditory aspect Sonic CD is flawless.

Options & Extras:

The 2011 edition of Sonic CD adds tons of content for the player to fiddle around with. As mentioned before you can select which soundtrack you'd like from the menu but you're also able to select the Genesis version of the spindash to remedy the start-up issue the original version had. If that's not enough you're also able to play as Tails upon completion of the game as Sonic, are able to do time trials for stages, special stages, and so much more like the D.A. Garden and Visual Mode where you can watch all the cut-scenes in the game. This makes the Sonic CD 2011 edition the definite way to experience Sonic CD due to all the content that's packed within the game. Overall, adding to an already great game never hurt anybody with this being a prime example on how to add such content.

Overall:

Overall, Sonic CD 2011 for the OUYA is an amazing game. The added features that come with the enhanced version make this a game that you can go back to and experience without ever getting tired of it. While the exclusion of the extra visual filters may be a turn off for some it doesn't stop the game from being absolutely beautiful in all its widescreen glory. Everything else from the music, the controls, and game-play aside from Wacky Workbenches' gimmick make this game must-have for people looking for a solid platformer on the OUYA console. With that said I give Sonic CD a four out of five.

Score: 4/5

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Steven W. Hunt
08-27-2014, 07:40 AM
A positive review from someone who wasn't exactly fond of the original. A pleasant surprise!

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 08:00 AM
A positive review from someone who wasn't exactly fond of the original. A pleasant surprise!

You're telling me. If I knew I would have liked the game this much then I would have bought it instead of acquiring it via a redeem code. Goes to show that the demo was too short as it was only one act of the first zone.

flamepanther
08-27-2014, 08:31 AM
They pulled the same "one level demo" crap in every version I've tried, going all the way back to the Windows 95 version of the game.

Anyway, I agree that this is an outstanding port that goes way above and beyond the norm. More importantly, I find the performance on OUYA utterly flawless. If you liked this, you should take a look at the Android ports of Sonics 1 and 2, which are similarly fantastic and done by the same developer. Both of them do quite well side-loaded on OUYA, but I sincerely hope we'll see an eventual pack of Sonic 1-3 & Knuckles released officially on our little console someday.

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 08:41 AM
They pulled the same "one level demo" crap in every version I've tried, going all the way back to the Windows 95 version of the game.

Anyway, I agree that this is an outstanding port that goes way above and beyond the norm. More importantly, I find the performance on OUYA utterly flawless. If you liked this, you should take a look at the Android ports of Sonics 1 and 2, which are similarly fantastic and done by the same developer. Both of them do quite well side-loaded on OUYA, but I sincerely hope we'll see an eventual pack of Sonic 1-3 & Knuckles released officially on our little console someday.

The Sonic games aren't the longest in the video game industry but I think one entire zone would be good as it would contain two acts and a boss act which is a lot better than one twenty second act. They shoot themselves in the foot about the whole thing, really. Sonic the Hedgehog & Sonic the Hedgehog 2 aren't games I enjoy actually but more power to those that go through the efforts of side-loading them.

Steven W. Hunt
08-27-2014, 08:46 AM
Yeah those enhanced versions of Sonic 1 and 2 that are out on mobile right now would be super awesome. Unfortunately I get the same "we cannot take ideas or discuss future releases (that have not been announced)" that I got as a kid when I used to write them asking if they were going to make a Psycho Fox 2.

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 08:54 AM
Yeah those enhanced versions of Sonic 1 and 2 that are out on mobile right now would be super awesome. Unfortunately I get the same "we cannot take ideas or discuss future releases (that have not been announced)" that I got as a kid when I used to write them asking if they were going to make a Psycho Fox 2.

The chances of getting anymore support from SEGA Incorporate is very slim since they were displeased with their sales with the current titles they have on the OUYA. OUYA Incorporate was told by them that they'd need money upfront before anymore support from them happens. Obviously, OUYA Incorporate didn't agree with that and now we're kind of "floating" on the whole thing. I hope that someone will give in and we can have Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi on our consoles before we all go gray.

Steven W. Hunt
08-27-2014, 08:56 AM
Jeez that doesn't sound fortunate.

I wonder what they expected from sales? Just about every OUYA owner I know owns at least one of the Sonic games on it, and I myself own all three, as well as a majority of the aforementioned owners.

I know it's a tiny sampling but I figured it would be representative.

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 09:00 AM
Jeez that doesn't sound fortunate.

I wonder what they expected from sales? Just about every OUYA owner I know owns at least one of the Sonic games on it, and I myself own all three, as well as a majority of the aforementioned owners.

I know it's a tiny sampling but I figured it would be representative.

We're in agreement. Everybody that I've talked to either says they own Duck Game or one of the Sonic the Hedgehog titles with the latter being relevant to the situation. We'll just have to encourage more purchases from others, show SEGA Incorporate support for their current efforts on the OUYA, and of course always make sure the Sonic the Hedgehog games are being discussed with a review being a good way to do just that.

Rhellik
08-27-2014, 10:49 AM
I own neither Duck Game nor any OUYA Sonic titles. I have episode one on PC though, but wasnt thrilled with it.
I have never played Sonic CD on the genesis but did get around to it with the Gamecube Sonic Collection. What turned me off were the loading times between time zones, they are only a couple seconds, but in that time you cant do anything. Is it better in the OUYA version?

flamepanther
08-27-2014, 10:51 AM
I own neither Duck Game nor any OUYA Sonic titles. I have episode one on PC though, but wasnt thrilled with it.
I have never played Sonic CD on the genesis but did get around to it with the Gamecube Sonic Collection. What turned me off were the loading times between time zones, they are only a couple seconds, but in that time you cant do anything. Is it better in the OUYA version?

I would say so.

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 11:17 AM
I own neither Duck Game nor any OUYA Sonic titles. I have episode one on PC though, but wasnt thrilled with it.
I have never played Sonic CD on the genesis but did get around to it with the Gamecube Sonic Collection. What turned me off were the loading times between time zones, they are only a couple seconds, but in that time you cant do anything. Is it better in the OUYA version?

There are no load times :)

Rhellik
08-27-2014, 11:23 AM
There are no load times :)

So they cut out the transition entirely? This clip where floats through the screen with stars in the background or whatnot?

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 11:25 AM
So they cut out the transition entirely? This clip where floats through the screen with stars in the background or whatnot?

That's not a loading screen. That's a normal in-game cut-scene much like what you'd find in Toejam & Earl when you go into the elevator. You can't skip it but it's only four seconds long.

flamepanther
08-27-2014, 11:29 AM
That's not a loading screen. That's a normal in-game cut-scene much like what you'd find in Toejam & Earl when you go into the elevator. You can't skip it but it's only four seconds long.

It's both. The Sega CD game used it as an opportunity to swap new level data into memory from the CD-ROM. But now that the game doesn't rely on a 1x CD-ROM drive, it would still be visually jarring to just slam a new tile set onto the screen with no transition. Anyway, I haven't timed it, but the transition does seem shorter to me than on previous ports. It is most definitely shorter than on Sega CD.

Rhellik
08-27-2014, 11:31 AM
Still 4 seconds is 4 seconds youre out of the game. And it happens CONSTANTLY when you want to switch times. Makes me wanna NOT switch times.

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 11:32 AM
It's both. The Sega CD game used it as an opportunity to swap new level data into memory from the CD-ROM. But now that the game doesn't rely on a 1x CD-ROM drive, it would still be visually jarring to just slam a new tile set onto the screen with no transition. Anyway, I haven't timed it, but the transition does seem shorter to me than on previous ports. It is most definitely shorter than on Sega CD.

Hmm, yes you're right. To pinpoint this I believe the loading for the transition and the loading after the transition to where it goes back to the level is what's been shortened if not removed completely. It would explain why it's faster.


Still 4 seconds is 4 seconds youre out of the game. And it happens CONSTANTLY when you want to switch times. Makes me wanna NOT switch times.

Just get the Time Stones and don't worry about time travel. By getting all seven guarantees the good ending.

Rhellik
08-27-2014, 11:39 AM
Well, maybe I'll give it another go on my Gamecube. if its the same as on OUYA, tehres no use buying twice.
Just thought it took you out of the game too much.

mmartino
08-27-2014, 01:17 PM
I liked the review RS. Glad to see others liked Sonic CD as much as me. Most people I bring it up to act like it's the red headed step child of the Sonic family but I just loved it so could never understand why.

flamepanther
08-27-2014, 02:16 PM
Well, maybe I'll give it another go on my Gamecube. if its the same as on OUYA, tehres no use buying twice.I would agree with you, except that there is so much that's been improved in the newer version. The 16:9 aspect ratio. The removal of bugs and slowdown. The ability to play as Tails. The purchase price is low enough that I think it is worth all of those things.


I liked the review RS. Glad to see others liked Sonic CD as much as me. Most people I bring it up to act like it's the red headed step child of the Sonic family but I just loved it so could never understand why.

Much of the level design is seriously flawed, so I can understand the people who have complaints. But personally, I feel that it has so many other things going for it, that it stands up quite well over all.

Starfighter
08-27-2014, 02:22 PM
You all should have listened better! I told you! It's good! But noooo.... :D

RiotingSpectre
08-27-2014, 08:55 PM
I would agree with you, except that there is so much that's been improved in the newer version. The 16:9 aspect ratio. The removal of bugs and slowdown. The ability to play as Tails. The purchase price is low enough that I think it is worth all of those things.

Much of the level design is seriously flawed, so I can understand the people who have complaints. But personally, I feel that it has so many other things going for it, that it stands up quite well over all.

Agreed & agreed. Sonic CD suffers from Knuckles Chaotix related issues where the level design is too 1990's for its own good.