Bashing Sonic CD

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by JustAMotobug, May 6, 2020.

  1. SuperSnoopy


    I like Sonic Advance Member
    Learning how to draw, studying Japanese
    Sonic CD is my least favorite of the classic games, but I still kinda like it. It was the first game I bought for my iPhone 4 back in the days; so I'm pretty nostalgic about it too, even if I'm not from the same generation as a lot of you guys :V

    Still, yeah... level design's a complete mess. No sense of rhythm or progression like Sonic 1-2-3K, you just kinda awkwardly jump and run between arbitrarily placed set pieces and eventually reach the end of the stage, which somehow manages to never be satisfying, no matter the level.
    I dunno, I never felt like I overcame a challenge when I finish a level in Sonic CD, it just feels like the game is done toying with me for now and is gracious enough to let me proceed to the next level. Rinse and repeat for an hour or two and you're left with an overall frustrating and tiring experience.
    Even nowadays, where I'm good enough to finish the entire game in around an hour and without losing a single life, I still don't feel like I mastered the game. Who knows, maybe I need to play it even more. But I don't feel that way at all when playing the megadrive trilogy, or Mania for that matter. These games, I mastered them; I can feel it. Sonic CD...not so much. 8 years later, and I still feel like a bitch playing it.

    One the other hand, the aesthetics and the soundtrack are something else. It might be nostalgia talking, but I truly feel like there's no other game like Sonic CD out there. It's really the only reason I pop in the game and do a 100% playtrough every few months.

    So yeah, a bit of a mixed bag for me. Not an awful game, but definitely the weakest of the classic games imo.
  2. Overlord


    I want to get off Madame Rona's wild ride Moderator
    Berkshire, England
    Learning Cymraeg
    In honesty, yes - imo it is the weakest of the core classic games (1 2 3 K CD), but it's perfectly servicable. World soundtrack is far better than the US one, though. =P

    Also Arin Hanson has no fucking clue what he's talking about regarding game design (and Sonic especially - speed is the reward, not the basic idea), and I speak as someone who watched Grumps for years.
  3. Aerosol


    FML and FU2 Moderator
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    I like it as much as Sonic 1. I prefer Sonic 2 and 3 over Sonic 1.
  4. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    I played Sonic CD for the first time in aout 2013 I think, with the Christian Whitehead version on PS3. Sonic CD immediately booted S3&K from third place to fourth in terms of rank. The first time I had the US soundtrack on, but I eventually tried the Japanese version and ho-boy, that's some magic right there. Really sad that the lyrics were cut out of You Can Do Anything and Cosmic Eternity in the remade version, practically ruins them. I know I was confused when I first watched the opening with the Japanese option turned on. I actually ended up buying a Mega CD and a Japanese copy of the game a year or two ago, but the Mega CD stopped working properly while I was playing, and I haven't gotten a model 2 yet to try out.

    Sonic CD's level design, while hectic at times, is really great. The game is a lot more vertical than Sonic 1 and 2, but retains the same feeling I get with the level design in those ones. It's definitely a flawed game, especially the pinball physics, but it's still a wild, unique, and fun adventure to be had.
  5. Just saying right now: I think the North American soundtrack is the better one. The fact that it was produced in only around six weeks, whereas the Japanese one was finished very early in development, and it's still a legitimate argument over which one is better just goes to show how well-produced the American one is. The Japanese one feels more like Sonic music, sure, but I think the American one is more experimental and atmospheric while staying fitting. ESPECIALLY the bad future music; that stuff is absolutely haunting (the Japanese bad future music sounds more like shoving it in your face that you lost, whereas the American one captures the ruin, the decay, the destruction that Eggman has brought). "Sonic Boom" is an absolute banger too.
  6. SuperSnoopy


    I like Sonic Advance Member
    Learning how to draw, studying Japanese
    His Sequeletis video on Mega Man X is surprisingly great, actually. So he CAN analyse a game properly when he feels like it, he's just too petty to do it with Sonic apparently.
  7. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    I think they're both good, but I still give the edge to the Japanese one, if for nothing else than having all the level tracks be consistent. If they had made new Past tracks for the US one, I would probably rank them equal.
  8. Naean


    Artist, photographer, audio and video editor. Member
    United Kingdom
    2D. Sonic Fan Game
    I'm right there with you on this specific frustration. In my opinion, Star Light Zone in particular does not get nearly enough recognition for all that it does right.

    Yes, there is that one bad bottomless pit placement directly after a speed segment, and yeah, there is that one cramped section of awkward Bomb and Orbinaut Badniks placement, but those isolated negatives aside, I think it's a very solid Zone. Overall, I think that it continues the satisfying level design flow of Green Hill Zone, while at the same time introducing its own gimmicks and using different Badniks which set it apart. Notably, the see-saw gimmick makes for some great weight-manipulation fun. While loop-de-loops are re-used, and are implemented more commonly, I don't think that they're over-used. In fact, they're rather nice to see and utilise after being absent for 3 Zones. :-3

    I'd argue that Star Light Zone also houses the best boss in Sonic 1, for one key reason: attack variety and versus balance. There are 2 main ways to attack Robotnik (launching back the spike bombs or using seesaw-bounced ball form attacks), and there are also 2 main ways for Sonic to be attacked (being hit by the spike bombs or being hit by the spike bombs' explosion projectiles). The boss battle is also at a good pace, keeping the player on their toes just enough, without being a frantic mess, maintaining enjoyable engagement. I would love to see more bosses in future Sonic games take after the design principles of Star Light Zone's boss, because I think it's one of the times classic SEGA really nailed a boss' execution.

    Also, Star Light Zone has my favourite music track in Sonic 1, especially the more-mellow 50 Hertz variant. An absolutely beautiful music track in my book! (Even at 60 Hertz too.) <3


    Oh, right, this is a Sonic CD thread! ^_^;

    Truth be told, I've listened to the soundtrack way more than I've ever played the game. There are a fair few games on my to-play list which I want to thoroughly experience some day, and Sonic CD is definitely one of them.

    I think that, for the most part, the Japanese/European soundtrack hits more than it misses, whereas I find the American soundtrack to be the reverse. That said, there are exceptions where I prefer some American music tracks; standouts for me being the Quartz Quadrant Zone Bad Future and Good Future tracks (Particularly the Bad Future track, it deeply drives home the feel of corrupt destruction/pollution/factory superbly. In fact, it gives me those strong emotional vibes in a way which I think is musically similar to both tracks of Rusty Ruin Zone (Saturn).), the Special Stage track (I just love its percussion mixed with that fun and bouncy melody.) and the Sonic Boom theme.
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  9. Frostav


    The entire design of CD just isn't good in my opinion. In a 2D game, you have a very limited viewpoint area, so mapping things out in your head is harder. In addition, since there's only 2 axes, the only way to make a big explorable level is to just stack crap onto on top of each other...which is fine in games like Metroidvanias, but Sonic CD's levels ALSO have to be Sonic levels you can finish, so the result is a huge absolute clusterfuck of seemingly random routes and designs. Finding a place to time travel is tedious shit except when they just gave up and put two springs opposite each other because you have no idea what's ahead of you until you're already there and the levels are so schizophrenic mapping them out is just insanely difficult. Nothing is distinct because everything has to be the same chaotic assortment of crap so you can backtrack. In the "regular" 2D games sections are actually recognizable because the levels are fundamentally linear and thus more tightly designed.

    2D Sonic just doesn't work for exploration. The entire design is meant for speedrunning (and note that I said the design was about speedrunning, i.e replaying levels to increase your skills and get better times, NOT just mindlessly "going fast"). And before you mention big rings or whatever I don't go for those in 3&K/Mania because finding them sucks ass for the reason I just stated--it just boils down to "randomly bumble around till you find the arbitrary secret passage where the big ring is", since you can't see ahead of yourself and there's no signifiers for an attentive player to notice and intuit that a big ring is there.

    Now, I have always maintained that CD's formula WOULD actually work in 3D, way better than in 2D, because it's really just a very stripped-down collectathon at heart and 3D levels are far more conducive to exploration than 2D ones (outside of metroidvanias).
    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  10. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    There's nothing wrong with having a preference for one over the other. That said, the Japanese soundtrack was produced for the game in Japan during development, and each zone has a consistent theme or consistent elements. The US soundtrack did this very poorly. "Experimental" does seem like a good description for plenty of it. I also think "atmospheric," as something people throw around a lot in reference to the US soundtrack, doesn't only refer to dark and brooding noises.

    I'm glad the US soundtrack exists if only because I'm very fond of a few tracks from it, Palmtree Panic Present in particular. But what I'm trying to say is that when people pit the two soundtracks against each other to find some objective truth about which one is better, the Japanese soundtrack is the only 'real' soundtrack. The US soundtrack is just another anomaly to come out of American business men thinking they know better than the creators.

    I think it's worth bringing up other exaggerated examples of this sort of thing, such as the infamous 4Kids "One Piece Rap." Or, speaking of 4Kids, the Sonic X soundtrack. Or the Dragon Ball Z soundtrack.
  11. KingOfBunnies


    That's his only good one and then he shits the bed by basically admitting that he's bad at Ocarina of Time but tries to say that it's the game that's not good. Arin Hanson is just bad at video games.
  12. BadBehavior


    All I'll say: Those special stages: at least they're not the goddamn halfpipe.
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  13. Gameplay-wise, I felt the original was kind of the worst of the original Genesis/Mega Drive games due to the wonky physics, weird level design, crappy boss fights (except maybe Metal Sonic), and the slow charge for the spin dash, but I still like the game. The art style is pretty great, I love the opening and ending animated sequences, and I think both the Japanese and American soundtracks are pretty great too.

    Also I'd take CD's Special Stages over the ones in 1 and 2 any day.
  14. SystemsReady


    I Have No Idea What I'm Doing At Any Given Moment Member
    The Twin Cities
    trying to not fall asleep while writing Selenium tests
    you know, except for the past time which is totally different from the rest of the versions :V

    This right here. I have never, ever felt that the US OST sounds like it's part of the game at all. Not even when I was a kid, playing the PC port. Then I ran across the JP version online and it all clicked. It's a decent OST by itself , but it's fundamentally incomplete with the lack of matching past tracks, and a massive failure in terms of working with the aesthetic and tone the rest of the game establishes. Who the hell looks at neon-pink pinball level Collision Chaos and thinks "dreary atmospheric rock"?

    In terms of CD itself, I actually put it above Sonic 1 but below Sonic 2 and 3. I actually think its level design feels pretty similar to Sonic 1's to me, namely Marble and Labyrinth Zones, in that it's a bunch of kinda-sorta annoying platforming interspersed with a few levels where you can go nuts. What CD has above 1, though, are:
    • Aesthetic. Sonic CD is a far prettier game with even better music. It is a joy to play to me because of that. I love the saturated feel and how it leans even harder into the classic Sonic aesthetic of a world blatantly made up of early-CG polygons but sprited.
    • I think the special stages are massively superior to Sonic 1's, give you more of a fair shot than Sonic 1's (the mazes are too zoomed in to navigate without frustration on top of how the centre of gravity constantly changes), and CD's level design is more suited to the "beat the stage with 50 rings" requirement to reach them - the larger stages and more lenient approach to exploration means that the game's design gives you more leeway to get those rings. It's also, when you think about it, super weird because until Mania the UFOs weren't a thing since then - which is charming after nearly every post-S3&K game decided to run the Sonic 2 half pipe into the ground.
    Despite the awful spin dash, useless super peel out, and slightly* jankier physics, I think CD also works better as a platformer than Sonic 1. Sonic kind of branched in approaches after the first game - you have 2 that kind of leans more into the speed aspects than 1 did, followed by Sonic 3 & K going even harder into that, vs Sonic CD that actually leaned more into doing platforming than running. CD has more "Marble" or "Labyrinth"-style zones than 1 and 2 have, and yet I find it more fun than 1 is, because it does those zones better.

    * emphasis on slightly, I played and beat the REV00 Sonic 1 fairly recently and wow that is JANK
  15. I've always found the American soundtrack super immersive and more diverse than the Japanese one. I mean, going into Metallic Madness, for instance, you hear the clanging of metal in the music, as well as tons of dystopic/futuristic sounds. That's the type of atmosphere I like in the American soundtrack, and it's scattered all around. I don't give a rat's ass about the past music, and the fact that it's tonally different actually is part of why it resonates with me. I always found that juxtaposition in Collision Chaos brilliant, for instance, because it makes the whole stage feel melancholy, and getting a good future and listening to that lovely music feels like a reward.
  16. Palas


    Don't lose your temper so quickly. Member
    It is. Anyone who says otherwise is in denial.
  17. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    It isn't just the past music though. Every track in the Japanese soundtrack is internally consistent with the other tracks for that zone, and they carry clear themes or recognizable motifs. Some of the zones in the US version don't even have a very strong internal consistency, regardless of the past tracks being from a completely different soundtrack.

    What's so great about the soundtracks from Sonic 1 and 2 is how they add to the atmosphere created by the visual of the zone. The original Sonic CD soundtrack does this very well in my opinion, though it's a lot more electronic and more 'vibrant' much of the time, which matches how the zone backgrounds look. The US soundtrack does this well sometimes, but some tracks just don't suit the visuals that well and don't add to the existing atmosphere. They create a different atmosphere that clashes a bit with what's on screen.

    Thinking about the soundtrack, I've always liked that You Can Do Anything has beats that are synced with the animation, but in the original Mega CD release, the animated sequence runs at an incorrect speed (not to mention missing shots entirely). Strange since the ending animation seems to have been converted a lot better, but that means the cool musical cues don't match the visual in the Mega CD original. There doesn't seem to be a 'perfect' version of this game in its original non-widescreen form, and that makes me sad.

    What's so jank about REV00 compared to REV01?
  18. Ravenfreak


    Is actually a guy. Tech Member
    O'Fallon Mo
    Hacking Sonic Drift, Writer at Sonic Cage Dome
    The only thing I dislike about Sonic CD is the spin dash and honestly that's it. While some of the stages can be a bit of a chaotic mess (Wacky Workbench and even Stardust Speedway at times) the rest of the stages are generally fun to play. The special stages, while not as good as blue spheres, are the second best from the classic 16-bit games. Also the Japanese soundtrack is perfect, and a few tracks from the US soundtrack are awesome as well. I suppose the latest trend is to start bashing more popular Sonic titles now days...
  19. Chaos Rush

    Chaos Rush

    AKA J.Matz Member
    I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s “one of the worst games ever” but maybe OP was memeing.

    But since we’re bashing on it, I will say I like it the least out of the classic games - but it’s still a great game that I’d play over any Mario platformer. I view it as an interesting alternate reality Sonic 2, iirc it was even called Sonic 2 at one point in development and from a gameplay perspective it’s definitely a sequel to Sonic 1. I first played it via Sonic Gems Collection and later the Taxman version on PS3.

    Off the top of my head the things I don’t like about Sonic CD are:

    * the multiple ways to get the good ending makes it feel unfocused. Am I supposed to go find all the machine generator things in the past, or go find the past holographic Metal Sonic things, or go collect the Time Stones? So to do it the “right” way I have to go to the past, find a machine generator thing and destroy it, go to the present, and go to the good future? And I have to make sure I land a successful time travel every time? It’s pretty convoluted and I much prefer the other classic games simpler “get to the end of the level while occasionally doing a special stage” way.

    * if you try to play the levels the “Sonic 1-3&K” way aka just get to the end of the level and try to collect the Time Stones, the levels feel really short. Since I first played CD after all of the other classic games, it’s engrained into my head that classic Sonic is a “get to the end of the level” type of platformer, not a “explore around and look for stuff” type of platformer.

    Anyways it’s by no means bad, I love the Japanese soundtrack and to me Stardust Speedway Bad Future is Metal Sonic’s theme.
  20. LucasMadword


    LucasSaturn Member
    My personal opinion on Sonic CD is that it's the worst classic Sonic game, but certainly is still enjoyable, and has a lot of potential that was squandered. My main complaints are:
    • Spindash vs super peelout is dumb, there's very little incentive to use the latter, and the former was ruined in comparison to Sonic 2's spindash. You already have to come to a complete stop to use the spindash, why then add even more of a delay to it? It just makes me end up doing the super peel out, and then rolling into a ball as soon as I can, basically defeating the purpose of the two abilities being separate.
    • The level design, in regards to exploration, is a bit too chaotic to be fun to explore. Especially later in the game, as it gets harder, traversing through the entire map is a hellish experience, mostly due to how the levels want to play as if they're a standard level with it's complexity going left to right, but then expects you to attempt to backtrack and explore, but not facilitating that fully. It feels as though two games are stapelled together; one designed around exploration, and one designed around getting to the end of the level.
    • The time travel mechanic is an awesome idea, but has very little usage outside of being a pain. Add to this the amount of times I accidently hit a "FUTURE" post, and have to wait and run around in circles trying to rid myself of it, it's insane. If there was an easier way to switch time zones, and there was an incentive to go to the future zones, I could understand it's inclusion. But instead, there's no reason to go to a bad future, and the future posts just serve to waste your time.
    That being said.... anyone who says it's a bad game isn't seeing the absolute brilliance it can hold:
    • Whether you love the American or Japanese soundtracks, damn, they're great. Both of them are brilliant, and although I personally play with the Japanese soundtrack, the US soundtrack is just as good, and is a worthwhile alternative.
    • The art direction is an evolution upon Sonic 1, and kicks things up a notch. Everything is more detailed, and the variety that having three variants of each levels brings, each with unique tilesets and colour palettes, is just a great idea that Sonic Team has never capitalized on again to the same extent. Being able to see the same levels transform to the extent of having 4 unique variants, is just impressive, and gives a fun take on mixing things up. I'd say that, personally, I prefer how the levels are mixed up in CD than it is in 3K, because in 3K it's via cinematic sequences forced on the player identically each time, compared to CD where you can personally control how the level looks by changing the time period you are set in.
    • The special stages are an interesting mechanic, and although the framerate in the original MegaCD version is pretty poor, the actual concept is awesome.
    So yeah, can we continue to bash Sonic CD? Terrible game, 1 out of 10. Not enough water.