Sonic CD finally returns for the XBLA, and it's better now than it ever was
SR71halo wrote this review on .
The story is about as simple as any other Sonic game (or any other platformer at the time). Sonic finds this mysterious planet called "Little Planet". Sonic investigates only to find that Robotnik has robotized the whole planet and has created a robotic copy of him known as Metal Sonic who has captured Amy Rose. Once again Sonic has to stop Robotnik and save Little Planet. As simple as this story is, it is accompanied by amusing animated cut scenes, although there are only 2 (one at the beginning and one at the end).
The basics to classic Sonic gameplay is all there of course; run, jump, and spindash. Added to your move set is the super peel out, which is like the spindash but much faster and you don't curl into a ball. The goal is also like the Genesis games; smash enemies, collect rings and get to the end of each stage. However, there is a new goal to master in this particular game; time travel. When you see a sign post that says "past" or "future", you will travel to one or the other once you gain enough speed for a few seconds. Once you travel through time, you are given an extra task to complete (like destroying the robotisizer in the past) before finishing the level which affects the outcome of the entire game (like getting a good ending when the game is done). Time traveling has been done to death but here, it's done well and the level design compliments it well. Building up speed and holding it can be quite difficult at first as certain parts of the level work better than others, so there is a bit of a learning curve and some trial and error. It's fun once you master it though, and it certainly sets it apart from other Sonic games at the time.
Like most older Sonic games, finishing an act with 50 rings or more will allow you to enter the special stage as long as you can grab the giant ring. Now we're in a more 3 dimensional world and the goal is to run around and destroy all of the UFO's before time runs out. This takes a little getting used to as the controls are a little more sensitive here, and hitting the UFO's can be difficult due to depth perception. When all UFO's are destroyed, instead of a chaos emerald, you are rewarded with a time stone instead, but they aren't too much different (and there's 7 total). Once you get used to it, it's not such a bad special stage, though not one of my favorites.
Now, for the stuff this version added. Unlike the other Sonic games on the XBLA/PSN, which were just straight up ports with no upgrades or anything else added (excluding onine multiplayer), Sonic CD adds plenty of features and upgrades to the mix to make it better. First off, both the original U.S. and Japanese soundtracks are available to your choosing. Secondly, the resolution is upgraded to HD and runs at 60 FPS. Thirdly, the Sonic 2 spin dash physics are also available. Finally, newly added features include a time attack mode that allows you to choose your level and play for the best time and, after beating the game once, Tails is now playable. Tails plays similarly to Sonic but he can't do the super peel out, but he can fly. These improvements are just more than we could have asked for and they alone make this the best version of Sonic CD you can find. Finally someone took the time to take a Sonic game and upgrade it. The extra features are nice to have too, especially flying around a level as Tails.
Feel as though you missed out on this rare gem due to missing out on the Sega CD back in the early 90's? Well fear no more. Sonic CD's port to the XBLA/PSN is the best you will ever find. The upgrades and added features only make the game better and the core gameplay is still fun as I sure it was back in 1993. For an incredible value of $5, there's a lot to offer. There is simply no reason any Sonic fan should miss out on the rare Sonic CD, especially if you missed out on it years ago like I have.