Review by sonic479
Reviewed: 11/11/04 | Updated: 11/27/06
Time to Time Travel with Sonic!
Sonic the Hedgehog CD (or Sonic CD for short) is first used to be on Sega CD, a system which is not known for most people and thus not many people know about this game until it is ported to the PC. Being his first game on PC, Sonic CD plays no different than the other Genesis Sonic games and all the elements which made them fun, are still in this game, with additional features that is certainly astounding.
Story - 9/10
The story starts out with Sonic and his self-appointed girlfriend, Amy Rose. They are traveling to Little Planet, a planet that exists once every last month of the year. When they arrived, the place was all chained up, running amok with robots. Dr. Robotnik has once again decided to have goals conquering the world. This time though, he is using time travel to help achieve his goal and is possible by using the powers of the Time Stones. He has his ultimate robot creation, Metal Sonic, a robot which is a copy of Sonic and has his speed power, to destroy Sonic once and for all. To make matters worse, Amy was captured by it and is now held hostage. Sonic needs to save Little Planet and rescue Amy from Dr. Robotnik, and he is going to need some help as well...with time! He needs to collect the Time Stones before Dr. Robotnik and control the future.
Gameplay - 10/10
Without a doubt, the most unique gameplay style ever for a 2D Sonic game. Sonic CD is focused around on Time Travel, an element that is specific for this game only and is never used any more in other Sonic games. This makes Sonic CD a special game.
The elements of the 2D Sonic games are still in this game, only there are additional or changed features. For example, the Spin Dash in this game is called the "Super Spin Dash" and the difference from the other Spin Dash in the other 2D Sonic games is that this one you can't keep clicking on the button to charge and be able to spin faster. Once you get into Spin Dash mode, all you have to do is release the button and Sonic will Spin Dash off. There is also another way to charge up also called as the "Super Peel Out", where Sonic makes a figure 8 style of leg and then can move around after releasing the button. The Super Peel Out charges much quicker than the Super Spin Dash but the backside is that you won't be protected against impact attacks from the enemies.
If you have played Sonic the Hedgehog (1) for Genesis before, then you will be able to recognize a lot of things from this game that are influenced off of that game. One thing will be the zone themes, you will see that many of the zone themes are identical to that of Sonic 1. For example, the first zone, Palmtree Panic, is similar to Green Hill and the second zone, Collision Chaos, is similar to Spring Yard. In addition, there are 3 acts per zone. There are two acts which is to reach the goal and the 3rd act is where you will need to fight the boss. The bosses are all unique, especially for one zone where the boss is a race. That one is pure unique and a very memorable one as well.
Time travel. It has been said a lot of times in this review already, but not have gone in depth of it yet. Here is how it works. In each act (except act 3), there are 3 types of time situation: Present, which is the current time you start the act with, Past, which is going back to the earlier period of the act, and Future, which is the forward time period of the act. However, the Future is never determined and is changeable. Therefore, there are 2 types of Future: "Good" Future and "Bad" Future. "Good" Future is when the future is free from all of Robotnik's contraptions and the entire place is saved and lies in peace. "Bad" Future is when the future is controlled by Robotnik and the entire place is in chaos. All of these time periods are important and you can tell which time period you are in by looking at the life icon and seeing whether it is a P (Past), Sonic head (Present) or F (Future). However, in order to visit that time period, you need to travel into that time period. In the Present stage, there are various signs that say "Past" or "Future". Upon touching them, the sign will be near the life icon and Sonic will start to flash lights behind. If Sonic goes fast enough, he can travel back to that respective time period. However, if in the process he is going fast and then starts slowing down, the sign will disappear and he will not be able to go to that time period.
Likewise, it is also possible for Sonic to go back to the Present period from the Past period or Future period. In the Past period, only Future signs will appear, indicating he will go into the Future but at the Present time period. Similarly, in the Future period, there are only Past signs which mean Sonic will go back in time to the Present period.
In Act 3, where you need to fight the boss, you will always fight in the Future. The Future you fight in depends on what you did on the previous two acts. While the entire process seems complex, time traveling is a very nice experience to play around with.
Time Stones can only be obtained through the Special Stages. If you have played any of the other 2D Sonic games, these Time Stones are almost equivalent to the Chaos Emeralds, in terms of obtaining them. You have a certain goal to complete in the Special Stage in order to grab the Time Stone. In this game, there are UFOs that need to be destroyed and a time limit. When time limit is up, you will lose the chance to grab the Time Stone and will need to try again by going into another Special Stage. However, there are various twists and in order to know them, you will need to play the game.
Overall level design is actually quite unique. There are various differences in each time period, especially where you can travel to in the zone. For example, there may be steps that you can see in the Present time but cannot be touched. However, if you go back into the Past, the steps are touchable. In each time zone for the act, the stage layout is adjusted a whole lot from the other time zones that the act is barely the same as you would play in the Past, in the Present, or in one of the Futures. Despite all of the differences between time periods, one thing that is common are the various Sonic features in the zones. Loop-de-loops still exist, as well as jumping around on platform to platform. The zones are most definitely fun to play in.
Finally, aside from the Main game mode, there is Time Attack mode. In Time Attack mode, you try to grab the best time possible in each act. The downside is that the acts will always be in Present period and no Past or Future time periods. In act 3, the time period will always be Bad Future. So that is a slight downside that there is no time period involved. Nonetheless, it is a great way to improve your times and Time Attack mode offers a whole lot more than what is just given.
Graphics - 10/10
The graphics in this game can come out with many words: astounding, awesome, fantastic, excellent, beautiful, etc. But all are positive descriptions, and no doubt, the graphics are just as described. In the Past, the designs are layout with mostly trees and swamps and very few, if any, technology type of stuff. In the Present, modern style objects roam around the place. You will definitely see some technology around, and trees are no longer the Jurassic era but rather the Palm trees and such that you would see in modern days. In the Good Future, words won't express how awed the graphics are. Good Future, out of all the time periods, is the most beautiful and prettiest of them all. Life flourishes, the colors which are bright, the water which is clean, and so much more that the Good Future is practically like a symbol of life. On the other hand, Bad Future isn't so much as more beautiful. The entire background is dark and bleak, and is almost the pure opposite of the Good Future designs. Water is contaminated, plants are non-existent, robots rampage apart, and such. While it looks pale ugly, that is the intention to show that it is a Bad Future. And the designers expressed it fantastically, giving a good sense of what a Bad Future is, and fitting the theme really well. Pure awesome.
Music/Sound - 10/10
The good doesn't stop here, the music and sound for this game are pure excellent. While apparently the Japanese version gets different music than the US version, the music is overall enjoyable to listen. It certainly fits the mood of the stage and fills the atmosphere with it, fitting the theme for each act. There is also a specific version music for each time period, and all are wondrous to a huge point that it certainly has no sleeping moments to it. The downside is that the music is not looped, and therefore, it will not be continuous as you play in each act, meaning there is a slight silence each time as it is ready to play again. That is a slight disappointment, but it doesn't matter as long it plays again because the music is that great to listen to. Sound effects are also excellent. The use of the sound effects for in each situation, be it when an enemy is attacking or the Super Peel Out being executed, certainly it gets repetitive, but it doesn't annoy as much. Overall, extremely fantastic.
Replay Value - 10/10
Huge replay value. In this game, unlike the Genesis titles, it has unlockables to it! And the unlockables are not that simple to get. But aside from the unlockables, in the main game, obtaining the Time Stones is really hard. Special Stages are certainly difficult to complete in as you get to the higher level ones. And there is always Time Attack mode. Beating to the best time in a game with excellent stages is really fun and extends replay value a whole lot. In addition, playing around each stage in each time period is fun, due to the fact that none of them are the same with each other.
Overall - 10/10
By far, Sonic CD is definitely one of the best Sonic games to play. Time traveling is a unique idea, and it executes very nicely in this game. Almost everything in this game is perfect; the stages are exhilarating, the graphics are beautifully designed, and the soundtrack is excellent. Sonic CD is certainly a game to play.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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