Thursday 21 January 2016

Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1993

Sonic the Hedgehog CD is a platformer that was released in-between Sonic 2 and 3 (1992 and 1994, Mega Drive).

It features seven zones and your mission is to defeat Dr. Robotnik and rescue Princess Sally. The main addition is the ability to Time Warp by hitting Past and Future symbols; if you then build up enough speed you'll be transported and the environment is given a graphical makeover. It's a great idea but unfortunately the lengthy load times interrupt your flow too often. The new zones are uninspired with barely any new ideas. For example, Palmtree Panic is similar to Emerald Hill Zone with its blue sea and loop-de-loops, Collision Chaos is a rehash of Spring Yard Zone and Casino Night Zone with pinball bumpers, steep drops and springs, while Tidal Tempest is reminiscent of Labyrinth Zone with dull, slow-paced underwater action. There's also tons of slowdown throughout and the Spin Dash move takes too long to rev up. I did love the ability to play as Mini Sonic towards the end though and the game does save your progress after each zone. The bosses are a mixed bag; on one hand there's a cool battle that takes place inside a pinball table, as well as a race through a spike-laden level against Metal Sonic. However, there's many stinkers such as a fight against Dr. Robotnik where he can only be beaten by increasing traction on a conveyor belt until his pod explodes! The Special Stages take place in a 3D 'Mode 7' style arena where you need to avoid hazards while destroying all the UFOs before time runs out. Although the controls are sensitive the combat is fun with some impressive rotation effects. The American and Japanese soundtracks (which are completely different) are okay but don't really fit.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD is an underwhelming game that does little to advance the series. While it does have some innovative ideas it really lacks any memorable moments and it's hard to shake the feeling that you've seen it all before, but in a much better format.
Random trivia: In 2011, the game was re-released for iOS and Android smartphones.

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