Sonic CD (PlayStation 3) Review

By Renan Fontes 16.07.2016

Review for Sonic CD on PlayStation 3

After the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, series producer and programmer Yuji Naka moved his core members of Sonic Team to the United States to develop a sequel after having become disimpassioned with SEGA of Japan's rigid work ethics. Left in Japan, with a game to develop, Sonic creator and designer Naoto Ohshima began work on his own sequel to the original system seller. Thus, Sonic CD was born. Wildly different in concept to the first game and featuring little of the original team, does the SEGA CD interpretation build on the Mega Drive classic as a proper sequel, or does it sit as Sonic's first true blunder? Ported and developed from the ground up for digital platforms, including on PlayStation 3, Cubed3 reviews the most definitive version of Sonic CD to date.

The first thing worth noting about Sonic CD is just how out there its concept is to its predecessor and sister game, Sonic 2. The original Sonic the Hedgehog advertised speed, but at its heart it was a tried and true platformer with few tricks up its sleeves outside of clever design and a penchant for going fast. Where Sonic 2 was more about simply improving what the original offered with cleaner set pieces and brighter colors, Sonic CD instead opts to go in a completely different direction, introducing a time traveling mechanic that rules over the flow of the game.

Modern Sonic games are used to gimmick takeovers, for better or worse, but classic Sonics have always been more careful in their approaches; save for Sonic CD. It really can't be understated just how much of a risk Ohshima and his team were taking with changing up a formula that proved to rival Nintendo behemoth Mario. Lucky for Ohshima, however, the time travel mechanic is perhaps one of the most polished aspects of any classic era Sonic.

In every Zone (CD's interpretation of the Mega Drive games' Acts), Sonic starts out in the present. Throughout the course, he'll run across signposts labeled "past" and "future" that'll swap Sonic to a modified version of the Zone if he can manage to run past the sign post and keep up momentum. While the level design of the Zone doesn't change too much from jumping between time periods, enemy layouts do change, and each interpretation is aesthetically different from one another while hiding their own unique goodies throughout the stage.

Screenshot for Sonic CD on PlayStation 3

The time travel mechanic is deeper influenced by the past's ability to change the future. In the past, Sonic can hunt down holograms of Metal Sonic and destroy them before they can influence the future. Preventing a dystopian future can also be done by collecting the seven Time Stones, Sonic CD's version of the Chaos Emeralds. By clearing a Zone with 50 rings, Sonic will be brought to a 3D plane where he'll have to race around a circuit and destroy UFOs under a strict time limit.

On paper, Sonic CD adds and changes so much from the first game it almost doesn't read like a sequel, but its level design takes from the original and expands upon it in all the best ways. There were a few Acts in Sonic the Hedgehog where verticality was pivotal to getting through the stage, but rarely did the horizontal design mesh cohesively with the vertical. In CD, the vertical and horizontal are combined to create massive stages filled with loops and alternate pathways that lead to secrets and the end goal all the same. Sonic, himself, can alternate between using his classic spin dash and a CD exclusive peel out that lets Sonic run faster at the expense of removing the spin dash's invulnerability.

The rerelease adds the option to play as a fully functional Tails, who plays just like his Sonic 3 counterpart, and whilst that's the case, he's tweaked enough where he doesn't break the inherent design of Sonic CD when he could have just been sloppily pasted in without second thought. Along with this is the option of alternating between the US and EU/JP soundtracks. There's just as much care in adding the new content as there was years ago in making the base game. Everything is so perfectly implemented that one could be forgiven for thinking all of this content was always there.

When it comes down to it, while Ohshima and his team may not have made a traditional sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, they still made a sequel that follows upon its progenitor in a uniquely original way filled with taste, charm, and style from start to finish.

Screenshot for Sonic CD on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

At its absolute base, Sonic CD is more than worth being called a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog. It ups the speed without having to compromise the platformer at its core, with level design that simultaneously rewards reaction-based action without being overtly punishing and halting movement altogether. Adding in the ability to save and tackle Zones in bursts and being able to play as a fully operational Tails, the rerelease takes an already great Sonic and makes it even better.

Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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