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Boy, all the Genesis Sonic titles were the shit in the olden days, don't ya' think? I mean, to be honest, they still are, but are now overshadowed by horrible 3D games (Sonic Adventures 1 and 2, Heroes, Unleashed, Colors, and Generations aside!). There was, however, three obscure titles that do not get a lot of attention: Sonic CD, Sonic the Fighters, and Sonic R. One of these, Sonic CD, is what will have the first hand of being reviewed... ON THIS ARTICLE! Sonic CD was originally released on the Sega CD (a failure Sega console) in Japan on September 23, 1993, then Europe in October 1993 and finally for a North American release November 19, 1993. Many consider Sonic CD to be debatably the best Sonic game of all time, although when it comes to the 2D roots, it's rivaled by Sonic 3 & Knuckles (not stand-alone). Now what I think about the game, overall: it seems fast-paced with a great concept and has overall nice music... And about the music in Sonic CD, there are two different soundtracks: The Japanese/European, and the American, each coming with unique styles: The Japanese/European soundtrack has funky hip-hop influences that totally fit the lively standards of Sonic, while the American version is more jazzier and has somewhat of a dark atmosphere, to what fits the game, not Sonic, in general (however if there is one dark part of Sonic I know, then it is truly the Shadow the Hedgehog title). I won't go into general which soundtrack is supreme since they're both awesome, but I have more of a bond with the American release, since I've heard that first! Only problem within both soundtracks is that they share the tracks from each Zone's Past tracks (which were in PCM audio, not the standard Red Book CD Audio). But gameplay mechanics-wise, it's brilliant! The key of this title is very similar to other Genesis games, albeit there are two new things inserted here: First off, Sonic's Spin Dash has been now delayed, but it was put in favor of the "Super Peel Out", which causes Sonic to run in a Figure 8-like stance... This hasn't appeared much anymore other than the Game Gear titles! Another new thing is the inclusion of time travel, which is the main element of this game: to put it simply, every Zone has a Present, Past, and Future part (You start in the Present, which Dr. Robotnik is not yet finished with, then a Past, which is pretty more Prehistoric and includes Metal Sonic projectors that you may want to destory to let the animals roam the world, and then a generator hidden in that stage where you must finish off in order to get a Good Future... In fact, every stage in a Zone has this! Why not do just one stage in a Zone instead of all of them?! Was that necessary, Sega?!?!?!). Special stages also return, but back to the original Sonic 1 tone: You collect 50 or more rings, then at the end of the stage, jump into a big goal in the shape and form of a Ring (to me, this was easier than just getting 50 or more rings and hit a checkpoint to wait to enter the stage like in Sonic 2, and then find a hidden area at the wall to jump in a goal like Sonic 3 & Knuckles!)... I'll tell you this right now, Sonic CD was actually developed in Japan between the American development of Sonic 2 and Sonic 1, yet strays near the first Sonic title for these reasons: graphics and Special Stage accesing. Also new is that this Sonic installment introduces two new characters that would be a staple to the series: Metal Sonic, an evil, robotic duplicate of Sonic, and Amy Rose, the love interest of Sonic (who, according to the US manual, is mistakenly referred to as "Princess Sally"... Sega of America are friggin' teases, you that!). This has some story elements also and is the first Sonic game to do so, although Sonic 3 & Knuckles increased it a lot more! Now also, the level designs look and act incredibly crazy and can even screw over the simplest of players out here... I don't hate it since I've ever played the game, but honestly, Sega probably were on something when they did this... And if you think that's just fucked up, look at the Special Stages! They're too colorful, and did I forget to mention them? Yes. The key of an ordinary Special Stage is to destroy six UFOs while trying to avoid hitting water, which is of course Sonic's true weakness (it depletes the time!). However, there is a blue UFO if you are running out of time, and if hitting it successfully, your time increases... Sweet! And if you beat all the six UFOs, you are granted a Time Stone, and there's seven of them! Collecting all seven grants all Good Futures for each Zone's stage, but one problem: they're not Chaos Emeralds, and Sonic is unable to turn into Super Sonic... Sega got lazy here a bit! The boss battles, on the other hand, are just incredibly easy, but the strategies are a little confusing! And the boss battle for Stardust Speedway Zone isn't exactly what many would call a "boss", but more likely a race to the finish... AGAINST METAL SONIC!!! This is beyond insane, and, in fact, should've return even in the 3D titles. Sonic CD, however, has opening and ending songs with CD-quality FMVs (with the PC and Sonic Gems Collection for the PS2 and Nintendo Gamecube having higher, more beautiful quality matching up to the Sonic OVA... If you haven't watched it, find a source on the Internet or buy it!). There are also two hidden parts to this game I really wanna laugh at: The instant game-over scenario, and the Sound Test! First off, to get the instant Game Over you want, Sonic should be idle for three minutes and then after the process is finished, he'll say "I'm outta here!" and jump off the screen, resulting in immediate death regardless of lives... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And before we get into the humorous part of the Sound Test, Sonic CD is the first title you might see with voice acting, although SegaSonic the Hedgehog also had this; not sure which came first, though. Sonic is voiced by Japanese singer Keiko Utoku, who does the intro and ending theme for the Japanese/European version of Sonic CD... He says about four things, with only two of them ("Yes!" and "I'm outta here!") being in the game. The other things he says are "Yea!" and "All right!". But now comes the fun part: Sound Test! By putting in certain codes or numbers, you will encounter a hidden picture... I will tell you this, all five of these are incredibly made in nonsense! The one you will trouble with is the "Sonic with a Mario-esque face", which fans at an early age were horrified at... They couldn't tell by either the overall look of the scene, or just the Boss music (which is used in the American version, that to be honest, fits Robotnik... The Japanese version is just, wow! Too much cheesiness and a little unfitting for some boss battles). Now to finish this review off, Sonic CD was actually an incredibly fantastic title, but it didn't sell a lot uniquely due to the Sega CD's horrid failure! A Sega CD console may be rare by now, but if you really wanna play this monster, I suggest you buy the Gems Collection version for the PlayStation 2 (Japan and Europe only) and Nintendo GameCube to brush away those troubles! I, Ouroburos, rate Sonic CD as a demonic 9.0 out of 10! Certainly a nice-looking 2D title in my eyes, if not a Sega Genesis entry.

Final Verdict

Pros

  • Both the American and Japanese soundtracks are awesome
  • Super Peel Out is just super perfect!
  • The race between Sonic and Metal Sonic during the final act of Stardust Speedway
  • Amazing concept
  • Nice comeback of Sonic 1 graphics
  • Story elements are nice
  • The game over scenario is... IS... LAUGHABLE!!!!

Cons

  • Boss battles are way too easy
  • The level design is too over-the-top
  • Was released originally for the Sega CD, which was a terrible console for many

Final vote

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