The Gadget Helpline: RETRO REPLAY feature will bring you a weekly throwback to the days of old school gaming and will present a little history on the new wave of classic titles currently getting a revival on our modern gaming gadgets.
In our first edition we’ll be featuring Sonic CD – which will be booming onto Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7 platforms this autumn/winter.
Full Title: Sonic the Hedgehog CD
Original Platform: SEGA Mega-CD
Release Year: 1993
Released in 1993, as a successor to the first two popular Sonic the Hedgehog platform games, Sonic CD was one of the only really impressive games to appear on Sega’s Mega-Drive/Genesis add-on, the Mega-CD.
Following the same premise as Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2, SEGA’s spiky blue mascot raced through Little Planet’s colourful 2D landscapes – or Zones – bopping baddies, who were actually robots powered by the lifeforce of Sonic’s little animal chums which needed rescuing from the mechanical maniac Dr. Robotnik (known in Japan, and later in the west, as ‘Eggman’).
Following the pattern of earlier games, Zones were generally comprised of 3 stages – the final would bring Sonic into a face-to-face with Robotnik in one of his mechanical armours. For each Zone, there would be a different Robotnik form to best – requiring a different technique to master each time.
Fairly straight forward, if you’d played the previous two. But what Sonic CD introduced was a ‘cause and effect’ concept. If you blew certain elements of the game-play, reality would be altered. By using Time Stones and ‘continue posts’, Sonic could travel between three different time periods, dependant on the progress of his quest.
Travelling into the past and destroying one of the robot machines would create a ‘Good Future’ so when Sonic returned to the present all his buddies would be free and unchained from their robot bodies. If the past could not be saved, returning to a ‘Bad Future’ would mean the robots dominated the Zone and the landscape was one filled with mecha-corruption!
New characters – Amy Rose – Sonic’s pink girlfriend, and Metal Sonic – a Robotnik-built Sonic-mecha were introduced into Sonic CD, but Sonic 2 pal Tails was strangely left behind after a big push into the second game – and in the future never living up to his potential as the ‘Luigi’ to Sonic’s ‘Mario’.
Psychedelic ‘Special Stages’, however, did return as a reward for gaining 50 or more of the games golden rings and reaching a check point.
With SEGA’s Mega-CD console snap-on, the 16-bit Mega-Drive console got a visual overhaul. For the first time a Sonic game could benefit from video cut-scenes and a superior quality soundtrack, and the Sonic CD in-game graphics were much improved and slicker to boot.
Sonic CD is one of many classic titles returning on our mobile and tablet gadgets and it’s amazing how far we’ve come in a little less than twenty years. From clunky consoles with ‘bits stuck on’ to make them run what at the time were stunning looking games – to having all this exciting game-play come full circle available to our pocket pal!
Look out for Sonic CD revival for your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Sensation and other mobile devices, as well as Xbox LIVE, PS3 and Windows PC very soon – this part of the 20th Anniversary celebration of SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
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