Sonic CD Review

Sonic CD Review

Dec 16, 2011

Sonic CD is back for the new generation, albeit only being distributed via digital media this time around. I am not exaggerating when I say that Sonic CD is quite possibly the best port job of a game to mobile ever. While Sega’s Genesis emulation engine has worked a lot better on the more-powerful hardware than it did back in the days of the iPhone 3G, this native engine is a blessing. Designed by Sonic super-fan Christian Whitehead, who designed an engine for running classic Sonic games with their specific physics on any hardware the engine was ported to. Sonic nerds are unstoppable.

Sonic CD follows the basic format of every Sonic game so far: run to right, collect rings, perform the general act of “platforming”. What Sonic CD does differently is in its rarely-imitated time travel system. Players cross “Past” and “Future” lampposts, which will send the player to the past and future after running at top speed for a certain amount of time. In the past, players can find a robot generator that, if destroyed, guarantees a “good future”, where everything is sunshine, rainbows, and happiness, and I mean that pretty much literally. Getting the good future in the first two acts makes the third act, which is a boss fight, a good future, and often makes it easier.

The engine looks and runs perfectly on Android, and very crisp on high-resolution screens. The game supports Android tablets perfectly as well. That the game is running on a new engine instead of a port means that new tweaks and features can be added, and added they have. The spin dash from Sonic 2 and later can be used in replacement of the Sonic CD spin dash, and Tails can be unlocked when beating the game. Tails makes it easier to explore the levels.

The game itself holds up really well; the time travel aspect is not something seen in many other games, and and it emphasizes both adventure, in trying to discover the locations of the generators, and speed, in trying to travel in time in the first place. The soundtracks are great as well; both the original Japanese soundtrack and the American soundtrack are available, so hardcore Sonic fans can finally listen to the game in the way they want to.

Pretty much the only issue with Sonic CD is the controls; the d-pad is kind of small, but that’s about it. The game holds up really well, and its relative scarcity in terms of re-releases makes it only that much more special now. Plus, the reworked engine makes the game feel just like it did back in the halcyon days of 1993, unlike other emulated titles that are exact replications of their original titles. Anyone who’s a fan of the 16-bit era, and especially those who haven’t played this gem yet. The love and work that went into this game is impressive.

Sonic CD Comes to Android, Game to be Distributed Digitally and Ironically

Sonic CD Comes to Android, Game to be Distributed Digitally and Ironically

Aug 31, 2011

Sonic CD is coming back! This Sonic title, released for the ill-fated Genesis add-on Sega CD, is being given a modern re-release by Sega, in part because it introduces Sonic franchise mainstays Amy Rose and Metal Sonic, the latter having a connection to the modern Sonic 4 series. The most surprising part of this announcement, and the reason why this is being reported on an Android site? The game is going to be made available on Android, as well as the consoles and the iOS App Store.

This represents Sega’s first major foray into Android gaming, and this is an interesting choice for Sega’s first Android game. The game is running on the Retro engine, developed by a member of the Sonic community named Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead, who designed a proof of concept back in 2009 of the game running on his Retro engine, which is designed specifically to play like classic Sonic games. This means that the game is not an emulation, this is a port, meaning the game should have proper support for widescreen phones, and no worries about incorrect physics like with Sonic 4: Episode 1.

The game itself is particularly notable for its time-travel gameplay mechanic; each act contains Past and Future variants that the player can travel to by passing Past and Future lampposts and then running fast enough to activate the time travel. Each time had its own music and differences in levels, and some actions undertaken in the past or present would have an impact on future versions of the level. Players that detonate the robot generators in the Past and return to the Future will make it a Good Future that is bright and colorful as opposed to the bleak darkness that normally fills the Bad Future. Getting Good Futures in both of the first two acts of a zone makes the third act, a boss fight, a Good Future automatically. As well, the game introduces Metal Sonic and Amy Rose into the Sonic canon for the first time.

This version of Sonic CD will also feature the original Japanese soundtrack and not the alternate US soundtrack. While the members of the Sonic community who realize that there was a difference generally fall in favor of the Japanese soundtrack, the American soundtrack is a nostalgic part of my childhood, so hopefully it is added as DLC in the future; right now it is not in the game due to licensing issues.

Sonic CD will be available on a variety of platforms, including consoles, PC, and mobile platforms by the end of the year, and a review will definitely be up on Android Rundown when it comes out.