Sonic CD, Sega CD

Released exclusively for the Sega CD in 1993, Sonic CD is arguably the best game in the entire Sonic the Hedgehog series. It came out between Sonic 2 and Sonic 3.

The presentation and distillation of ideas are outstanding, although originally Sonic CD was meant to be a reworking of Sonic 2, but low sales of that title in Japan forced Sega to change it. Sonic CD was the flagship title for the Sega CD, so it had to be good. Which it was (still is).

Sonic CD has a variety of new gameplay mechanics, including vertical corkscrews (indicated by a new viewpoint as Sonic runs through it); time travel (indicated by signposts and colour palette changes); more complex tubes and tunnels (that curve and twist wonderfully); underwater levels, and more imaginative traps and obstacles.

In total there are seven levels, each with three zones; every third one being a boss fight with Dr. Robotnik. If Sonic completes a level with 50 or more rings, a bonus stages starts in which he must shoot UFOs to a time limit. If he manages that he gets a “Time Stone”, and – if Sonic collects a Time Stone for all seven levels – he gets the ‘good’ ending upon completing the game. It’s obviously a tough task, for expert Sonic the Hedgehog players only, but is a nice detail nonetheless.

Only real downside to Sonic CD are the tricky pinball levels, which are a bitch to get through (some luck needed) and do get a bit tiresome. Otherwise: Sonic CD is a brilliant Sonic game, and it’s still available to buy on Steam today.

More: Sonic CD on Wikipedia
Steam: Sonic CD on Steam

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