Interesting fact: Sonic CD is widely regarded as the best of the 16-bit side-scrolling Sonic games, if not the best Sonic game of all time, period.
I’m coming at this fresh, as – like 99.99% of the gaming population – I didn’t invest in the ill-fated Mega CD add-on for the Mega Drive. Does Sonic CD live up to its lofty reputation? Hell yes.
All the familiar Sonic the Hedgehog elements are here, so you’re running through groups of three levels (or “acts”, if you prefer), collecting rings, doing loop-the-loops, and bouncing on robot animals.
If you take damage while carrying rings, you simply eject them all over the playing area. If you take damage while ringless, however, you lose a life.
As per Sonic tradition, the third act of each Sonic CD zone sees you battling Dr Robotnik slash Eggman, and the game also introduces Metal Sonic (later renamed Metallix) as a villain: unsurprisingly, an evil metal version of Sonic.
Relentless Sonic stalker Amy Rose makes her debut, too, getting herself kidnapped by Metal Sonic in the early stages. If you’re lucky, you might be able to give her a hug before then. For serious.
The story in Sonic CD is beyond mental. Essentially, Sonic visits Never Lake with a view to scoping out Little Planet, which appears on the last month of every year (obviously).
Upon arrival, however, Sonic finds the planet tethered to a mountain and thoroughly mechanised. That’ll be the work of Robotnik then.
And it gets weirder. The planet hosts three time zones: past, present and future. In fact, since the future can be “good” or “bad”, there are technically four.
The aim of the proverbial game in Sonic CD is to make the future good, and you can do so by collecting seven Time Stones (finish a non-boss level with 50+ rings to enter an utterly bizarre bonus stage with UFOs), or by travelling back to the past in each act and destroying the hidden robot generator.
Time travel is achieved by passing through Past or Future signs and subsequently running unhindered for several seconds. Again, I’m not making any of this up; Sonic CD is that crazy.
Throw in some innovative boss encounters and a fantastic soundtrack, and Sonic CD is a winner – absolutely worthy of its Best Sonic Game claim to fame.
- It’s Sonic
- The outrageous story
- The time travel element
- The array of characters (meet Metal Sonic and Amy Rose)
- The UFO-themed bonus stages
- Initially beyond confusing
Summary: Sonic the Hedgehog CD is regarded as one of the best Sonic games of all time, and rightly so. The story and the time travel mechanics are initially baffling, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked.
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