Sonic CD occupies a strange spot in Sonic chronology. Development began after Sonic 1 on Sega Genesis, and it was developed independently of Sonic 2, which evolved in its own direction. While Sonic 2 improved the graphics, changed the movement physics and speed and designed levels that expanded upon the concept of building up speed and stopping to engage in platforming, Sonic CD went its own route, and it clearly shows. The graphics and animation are very Sonic 1-esque, but with a lot of unique animations such as spinning around when launching off a springboard. Sonic himself is drawn in exactly the same style as the first game, rather than the more refined look in the second. The backgrounds and foregrounds, meanwhile, are just plain ugly. The colors are garish and bright and sometimes inappropriate. This is strange, as even Sonic 1 looked more visually refined, and this game is supposed to be a natural evolution of it. The level design is chaotic, and I don't mean that in a good way. While there are some creative ideas here and there such as one section based around tubes that propel you upwards or in a half-circle, with you getting to choose based on the direction you push, or a level with a flashing floor that bounces you into the air 30 times your own height, most of the level design annoyed me. There's a lot of stop-and-go, and not in the style of the other games, but I felt the timing was off. It's hard to describe, but the level design felt very unrefined. The choice of both Japanese and American soundtracks in the rerelease is a great idea. I've listened to both, and I have to say that while the Japanese soundtrack is catchy, the more subdued American soundtrack tends to fit the scenery better. The Japanese soundtrack is, well, chaotic and crazy. Just listen to the music in Palmtree Panic. The JP soundtrack is a big party. The US soundtrack, while more generic, fits better with the pacing of the game and setting, I think. And I love the "past" music. The time travel aspect is a unique idea, allowing for multiple variations on the same level, and encouraging you to get and maintain speed - unfortunately, the level design makes that more difficult than it should be. I see the appeal of this game, and it does have creative ideas. But, I just don't like it, sadly.
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