With all this time-travel malarky, it would have been enough for Sega
to have left the game at that, but there are also the traditional bonus
levels to conquer. Set in Mega-CD's answer to SNES' Mode 7 technology,
these pseudo-3D special stages are rock hard, requiring you to take down
a set number of UFOs without letting your time run out. These days,
they look uber-naff, but the challenge they pose isn't to be sniffed at.
Above: Back when 3D was 'suggested' by clever use of sprites. This is one of the better-looking stages. Eew!
the graphics are untouched, the conversion does add one thing. Tails!
Complete the game once and the furry fella appears. He doesn't have
Sonic's Super Peel Out special move, but he CAN fly. This should make
the time posts easier to find, at least.
Above: Looking like Sonic 2's sprite but playing like Sonic 3's (he can fly), Tails is a welcome surprise
Last of its kind
I say, it's highly probable you haven't played Sonic CD as you'd really
need to be a fan to have sought it out before now. Coming to it all
these years later and seeing old-style Robotnik being chased down by
'old' Sonic makes me feel jubilantly happy and yet so sad at the same
time. I once described Sonic CD's sprite as "the original Sonic sprite's final, most evolved
state - and it's awesome". Looking at the visuals, it's clear that this
was always meant to be 'next gen' Sonic, as it ramped up everything
while retaining the stylised scenery of Sonic 1.
Above: Robotnik's super, thanks for asking! The 'good future' version of the first boss is hilarious
Can Sonic 5 be like this, please?
I love this game. And I love it in a way that both fans and Sonic CD
newcomers should be able to love it too. Fans will love the care and
attention given to the conversion of one of the all-time great Sonic
games. Newbies will share the same journey I just had, discovering a gem
of a platformer that's been buried in obscurity for far too long. It's
still relevant and only the ultra-hardcore level design is likely to put
gamers off. If it does, go back to Sonic 2 instead - it's far simpler.
Above: Chibi-Sonic! Shrunk by a shrink-ray and now far too cute to be taken seriously
final note: This is a multi-platform review, and while all of the above
(and the score) applies to all versions, the iPhone conversion in
particular is incredible. Easily the best handheld Sonic game
ever, and it pops from the retina display of an iPhone 4S. It's
incredibly cheap, yet makes the emulated Mega Drive offerings from Sega
look Mega Shabby. iPhone or iPad, 360 or PS3, this is how it's done.
Above: Sometimes, Sonic, you're just too fast for your own good