This was the last Sonic game to use the original Sonic sprite and he looks great. There are new animation frames too, including a figure-8 'running legs' animation for when he's going really, really fast. Of course, feet don't actually move like that, but never mind.
Above: Look at that! The art style is simply beautiful - and if you play the Gamecube version from Sonic Gems Collection, it's super-smooth, too
The gameplay was different to any Sonic game before or since, as it featured time travel in every zone. If you travelled to the past and erased all evidence of Robotnik's tinkering, you could make a 'good' future. Screw up and you got a 'bad' version of the future, where Robotnik controls everything. It works really well.
The original CDversion of the game isn't quite as smooth-running as other Sonic games – we don't know why – and the American soundtrack is nowhere near as good as the European/Japanese one. The UK/Jap game is worth buying just for the first ten seconds. The music starts with a 'ba da da – ba ba na baow! Whoo… yay!' which, coupled with the uber-cool graphical style, leaves you feeling like this is the best game ever. And then you hit that pseudo 3D bit and it's even better.
Above: Look -It's Amy. With little hearts and everything. Run, Sonic - run!
Of course, the game can't be that great all the way through and the rest is pretty standard Sonic fare, but it's old-school Sonic fare so it plays perfectly well. In fact, unless the off-the-wall style and incredibly busy levels grate with you, the only bitter taste here is that Amy was introduced to the world with this game. But she's just a pink hedgehog here and not a whiny, annoying brat like in Sonic Adventure. Not that we're bitter…