OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

Sonic CD is the third mainline Sonic game, comming out little under a year after Sonic 2 in September of 1993, it is notable for a few things, it's the only Sonic game released on the Sega Mega CD, it's the best-sellig game on the Mega CD, it's first mainline Sonic game to be developed without the involvement of Yuji Naka and it introduced Metal Sonic and Amy Rose (well she actually appeared in a Sonic manga back in '92 but who cares), two characters who would become series staples later on.
The game sees Sonic venturing through the seven zones of Little Planet, travelling through time in order to liberate it from Dr. Eggman's control and Rescue Amy Rose.
The zones are the following: Palmtree Panic, Collision Chaos, Tidal Tempest, Quartz Quadrant, Wacky Workbench, Stardust Speedway and Metallic Madness.
In Sonic CD's early days, it was supposed to just be an enhanced port of Sonic 2 but it ended up evolving into so much more, curiously enough, Sonic 2 was intended to have a time travel mechanic but it was scrapped pretty early on in the planning phase and considering that time travel is the central gimmick of CD, I see this as a remnant of the projects being one and the same.

Speaking of which, Sonic CD stands out amongst the other classic Sonic games with its time travel gimmick, by running past sign-posts labeled either "PAST" or "FUTURE" and going fast for a few seconds, you can travel to the corresponding timeline variant of the level.
There are four different timelines in each Zone, Past, Present, Good Future and Bad Future, all of which drastically change the visuals, music, level layout and general tone, which I find very impressive!
Unfortuantely though, I feel the mechanic is under-utilized, the only reason to time-travel is to go to the past to find and destroy the robot generators in order to get the Good Future which in-turn will get you the good ending assuming you destroy them all but you can also get the good ending by just collecting the seven Time Stones (this game's equivalent to the Chaos Emeralds) and running through the game normally, there's no reason to go to the future at all, at most it's just a punishment which is a shame as there's just these giant, unique level layouts with no practical reason to run through.
Now I don't want to sound overly critical or anything because I absolutely love this game, it's my third favourite Sonic game (behind S3&K and Mania), the game's art-direction is unmatched by anything else with its surreal, abstract and heavily exaggerated environments alongside its nature vs machine theme plus it has great use of colour and how lively it all feels and I mean it just looks really cool.
Aside from looking pretty though, there's still a really fun game here, the levels have a good flow to them and you're always moving, the level design is very experimental which is off-putting to a lot of people but I personally love it aside from Wacky Workbench of course.

How can I not talk about Sonic CD and not mention the absolutely beautiful animated opening and endings, animated by studio Junio under contract of Toei Animation, these animations are ridiculously expressive and (for lack of a better word) BADASS!
The cutscenes have the perfect design/depiction for Sonic and every frame is a masterpiece, it feels like a waste for the opening to be downgraded so much for the Mega CD hardware but the ending cutscene at least looks pretty good on original hardware at least, looks like an elaborate pixel animation or something.
Sonic CD was for quite a while an enigma to most Sonic fans, not many people owned a Mega CD as it was extremely expensive and there weren't a whole lot of worthwhile games to the average consumer so it gained a cult-following and was hailed as a sort of hidden-gem masterpiece, while there was an easily-availiable PC port made in the mid-to-late 90's, most people first played Sonic CD via the Sonic Gems Collection on PS2 and Gamecube (which is where I first played the game) and it became even-more widely-availiable thanks to the 2011 Christian Whitehead remake and nowadays its placed alongside the original trilogy in-terms of legacy.

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