Sonic CD Review (XBLA)

Game: Sonic CD
Genre: Platformer
System: XBOX 360
Review By: MrB4

Oh boy does this one bring back some fond memories from the good old days. During the mid 1990’s my parents decided that it was time for us to enter into the digital age, so they went out and bought themselves a home computer.In addition to this, they decided to buy a couple of games for me to play on it as well. At this time, the only kind of video games I’ve played involved placing a cartridge into a tray, so you can imagine how excited I was to try out something new. One of these new experiences involved a reunion with an old friend in the most memorable, yet challenging title of this popular series to date, Sonic CD. This classic has just been released onto the XBLA, and I have to say that greatness only gets better with age.

Fun Factor: Saying that any Sonic game is fun is like telling somebody that french fries taste good, it’s just common knowledge. What makes any sonic experience a joy to play is the fact that the action never stops. A new surprise is waiting for you at every turn too, adding even a deeper level of excitement to an experience that already had plenty of it to begin with. Where things tend to falter a little bit with this installment is how difficult a stage can be to complete sometimes, but if you go into games like these expecting them to be a walk in the park then you don’t understand why the series was created in the first place.

Gameplay: Smooth, fluent, fun, and sometimes challenging, but definitely showcases why our friend has become the major star in the industry for so many years. Of course watching Sonic fly through levels at high speeds is worth the price of admission alone. For me though, the little subtle challenges are what make the game truly special. Taking a huge leap off of a cliff, then at the last moment escaping death by making a quick decision to jump over a set of spikes makes my heart leap out of my chest every time. Acquiring the final chaos emerald (or in this case time stone) after about a 100 or so tries leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that very few games have been able to give me to this very day.

Speaking of challenge, the developers of CD threw in some unique ideas here and there to keep me on my toes. The first of which involves the levels themselves. Each stage had a unique time travel mechanic attached to them that would completely change the layout of an area, which in turn made me think twice before making any hasty decisions. Backtracking was a hard thing to do in Sonic’s world, but in this case, I had no choice.

Another creative move these guys had up their sleeves was with how you could win a boss fight. In the past, defeating Dr. Robotnik involved nothing more than avoiding a hazard or two, and then attacking him when the time was right. Now, the blue hedgehog must use a little bit of quick thinking in order to outwit his opponent. This could involve breathing in air bubbles to take away a shield, avoiding attacking altogether, or turning into a human pinball machine to reach the top a stage, the possibilities are endless.

Graphics: Everything here is presented in all of its pixelated glory, and still holds up well to this day. There are options available to smooth out the presentation, but i’m a purist, so I never really bothered to try them out. As expected, the framerate during gameplay is solid, and all of the character animations are as fluid as they have ever been. The levels themselves are bright and very colorful, and are just full of personality.

Sound: The musical score on offer here is pretty decent. By far the most memorable track for me was Sonic Boom, that little tune gets me pumped up for some high speed action every time I hear it. As a nice little bonus, the soundtrack from the Japanese version of the game was included in this version, so anyone who preferred those songs instead will be in for a nice treat. As far as sound effects go, they were simple, yet good enough for a Sonic game.

Replayability: There is enough content on offer here to keep you interested for quite some time once you have completed the main quest. A time trial mode and online leaderboards will undoubtedly have people comparing scores with each other for months to come. There are also a few extra features to unlock as well, including the option to play through the entire campaign as Tails, very cool stuff.

Sonic CD was a nice trip down memory lane for me, and is definitely worth checking out for anyone who needs a little reminder of the good old days, download it now.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 stars!

Sonic CD
Developer: Blit Software/ Christian Whitehead
Publisher: Sega
Metacritic: 88