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i really don't understand the praise for Sonic CD


Steve McQwark Indeed
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Sonic CD has been a favorite to some Sonic fans for some time now, and even had some influence on Mania (including some of it's problems) but I find it strange that the game that destroys the whole concept of Sonic is getting such praise.

For one, Sonic CD removed the coherent branching stage design for something more complex and poorly executed. This also ties into another issue; that the reflex based speed platforming of the other Genesis titles is basically non-existent.

Sonic CD has no consistent stage design, and often has dead spots making retaining high speed quite a task. Since speed is also needed to travel back and forward in time, it becomes irritating. The signs are clearly placed in random spots and assumed to he good as long as it's "possible* to gain enough speed in some way to time travel.

A lot of levels are repetitive, have random gimmicks or dead ends, and out of nowhere enemy placement. The later issues I just mentioned remove the skill progression from the other Genesis Sonic games.

Sometimes whole stages are designed around some kind of gimmick to add variety but don't compliment Sonic's gameplay style. Wacky Workbench is a good example.

The dead spot stage design, the sudden enemy pop-ups, and certain stage gimmicks, like springs, all make the "super peel-out" next to useless other than looking cool. 

The bonus stages have badly implemented hitboxes. You will bounce like a pinball even if you are not near an edge or miss a ufo you clearly are on(or in).

The Bosses are also usually not designed very well, and often you will get hit even when you clearly don't due to poor detection. Such as the under-water boss with the bubbles.

The only thing that Sonic CD seems to have is FMV, good soundtracks, and pretty colors and occasionally, animations. Which also seems to be what people like about the game the most as well even over the gameplay.

But the actual game itself, in my personal opinion, is quite poor and mishandled in execution. Of the pre-2005 2D Sonic games this may be the worst.

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Sonic CD has a kinda specific style of level design that, in terms of classic Sonic, I would argue is unique to that game; it places more emphasis on exploration than speed. Not to mention how big the levels themselves are (Quartz Quadrant comes to mind, though I haven't played the game in a while, so I may be misremembering). I guess a lot of people just liked that type of level design.

Me, I like Sonic CD, but I've never been able to relate to the people calling it amazing and saying it's the best out of the classic games. I've had fun with it (more so with the 2011 remake), but for my money, it's nowhere near the caliber of S3&K. I find, though, that the praise isn't as universal, with more people saying they either dislike the game or don't think it's amazing like Classic fans tend to.

10 minutes ago, Tornado said:

You find it strange that people have different preferences?

Doesn't everybody?

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10 minutes ago, Dizcrybe said:

Doesn't everybody?

I don't find it strange that other people like different things differently, no. Sonic CD is a very different game then its contemporaries, and the closest the series got at the time for a creator-driven title. A direct sequel to the original much more in Oshima's vision than the actual direct sequel was. It offers a unique perspective on the series from one of its creators that we never really got since, and it seems perfectly reasonable that it would just click with some people more so than others and for reasoning that others don't play as highly.

 

But it has never, as far as I'm aware, gotten the sort of universal praise that Sonic 3 tends to get (even after the 2011 remake fixed all of the control problems), so I'm not quite sure what charge the OP is trying to make. It's a widely praised game for certain, but usually specifically for the things the OP lists as worthy of praise anyway; and also regularly criticized for the things the OP lists as well. Hence my question above.

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8 minutes ago, Tornado said:

I don't find it strange that other people like different things differently, no. Sonic CD is a very different game then its contemporaries, and the closest the series got at the time for a creator-driven title. A direct sequel to the original much more in Oshima's vision than the actual direct sequel was. It offers a unique perspective on the series from one of its creators that we never really got since, and it seems perfectly reasonable that it would just click with some people more so than others and for reasoning that others don't play as highly.

 

But it has never, as far as I'm aware, gotten the sort of universal praise that Sonic 3 tends to get (even after the 2011 remake fixed all of the control problems), so I'm not quite sure what charge the OP is trying to make. It's a widely praised game for certain, but usually specifically for the things the OP lists as worthy of praise anyway; and also regularly criticized for the things the OP lists as well. Hence my question above.

The game is constantly praised for it's gameplay by fans and critics from various outlets, and constantly cited as the best Sonic game it the best Genesis Sonic game, or both.

Sonic CD rereleases constantly outdur rereleases of the other 4 games. Also often placed in top Genesis games in general.

 

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2 hours ago, Steve McQwark Indeed said:

The game is constantly praised for it's gameplay by fans and critics from various outlets, and constantly cited as the best Sonic game it the best Genesis Sonic game, or both.

Sonic CD rereleases constantly outdur rereleases of the other 4 games. Also often placed in top Genesis games in general.

So? It's also constantly derided for its wonky physics and iffy level design and cool in concept-but-not-execution game ideas (like everything being a puzzle boss); and it's not terribly uncommon to point out how different it is from the Naka/Yasuhara-led sequels as a drawback. I personally cannot stand how the original version plays, and think that might be where Sonic Team of today has pulled a lot of ideas of how Classic Sonic should control and be designed; which is mostly born out in that it is a different direct sequel to the Sonic 2 that every other 2D Sonic game of the time followed from. But not everyone likes Sonic 2 and up or holds them on such a pedastal.

Sonic CD is also the only one to have a wide, recent standalone rerelease instead of just being a quiet part of some Genesis game ROM collection or shunted off to phones, so who is to say when someone talks about Sonic CD if they mean Sonic CD as it released on the Sega CD as opposed to the remake that many more people are liable to have played recently and makes a much better showing as a Sonic 3 competitor? It would be a bit odd if it wasn't considerably more popular now than it was in 1993 or 1996 even ignoring how much better the Taxman release plays than the original, but that doesn't mean that the idea that it is unequivocally the best game in the series is a majority opinion.

 

 

However, this response makes me realize that a better question than "you find it strange that people have different preferences" is "Why does it bother you that people have different preferences." It's a good game with an obvious amount of care put into its production values, and its most recent release at the very least now controls at least as well as the gold standard of the Genesis titles. If someone care about the unique overall aesthetic quality or game design concepts moreso than whether it has absolutely the best level design of its peers, it shouldn't be that hard to understand why someone would prefer it; nevermind why someone would praise it at all.

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As somebody for whom CD was their first Sonic game, I won't deny that it has problems with playability, and some of its ideas may not be executed well or even possible to execute well.  But it has gorgeously rich graphics, an admirable amount of work was put into realising up to four different versions of each act, and I personally think its bosses were really creative as concepts, with Tidal Tempest's boss being tremendously elegant.  The flaws are really all in the execution of it, but I don't think I noticed that so much as a child who'd never owned a Sonic game before.

2 hours ago, Steve McQwark Indeed said:

The game is constantly praised for it's gameplay by fans and critics from various outlets, and constantly cited as the best Sonic game it the best Genesis Sonic game, or both.

Sonic CD rereleases constantly outdur rereleases of the other 4 games. Also often placed in top Genesis games in general.

 

...Are we talking about the same Sonic CD here?  It's not even a Genesis title.  Your assessment of the game is, I think, pretty fair, but in terms of critical reception it sounds more like you're describing Sonic 2.

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Yeah I have never heard CD "constantly" be referred to as the best classic Sonic game.  Even the 2011 re-release had most of it's reviews focus on the fact that it was kind of the odd step-child of the main 16-bit trilogy, and playing it, fun as it was, it was clear why, if I recall correctly.

The thing about divisive games like CD is that those who are into what it was going for LOVE IT because it's literally the only Sonic game that does those things - no other classic Sonic is quite like it, so to those who enjoy it, it is the "best" and they are very passionate about it.  But they have always been a vocal minority, and the only reason their high praise stands out is because it is not a mainstream view like claiming Sonic 2 or 3 is the best.  Nobody is interested in reading someone talk about why 2 or 3 is great, we know, we've heard it all a million times before.  But the fact that CD pretty much requires a deep analysis for most to understand the appeal makes it automatically more eye-catching when someone claims it's the best one.

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These..

The sound, music, the visuals and the insane jump in overall design from Sonic 2 is what CD should be praised. Sonic 2 was damn good at the time, feeling like a natural progression from Sonic 1. But Sonic CD? This game is a different beast all together. I will admit...This game is a fucking mess no matter how you put it. It's one of the messiest Sonic titles I've ever played. Yet it's so "beautiful" and seemingly very passionate on how it wants to go about things. Not to mention from a techincal standpoint, it's one of the best in that era.

Now if only fangames(you bastards even go so far to include platforms and gimmicks ONLY for stages) wouldn't try to copy or use CD as inspiration in terms of level design..

Looks at Mania..

Even with CD 2011's wonderful fixes, it's still stupidly messy.

Quote

Sonic CD is a very different game then its contemporaries, and the closest the series got at the time for a creator-driven title. A direct sequel to the original much more in Oshima's vision than the actual direct sequel was. It offers a unique perspective on the series from one of its creators that we never really got since, and it seems perfectly reasonable that it would just click with some people more so than others and for reasoning that others don't play as highly.

Agreed.

 

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I have recently  seen really great retrospective of classic Sonic, here's a  link to part about CD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-bvpSnB6kE

But honestly? That video praises the game, but I it only strengthened my believe that CD is just okay.

The idea is unique, Metal is my fav Sonic character, the soundtrack is great, aesthetic have their own style, and that intro might be the most beautiful display of Sonic movement even after 20+ years.

But actual gameplay, the core of experience? Honestly, it's on the same level as Forces to me. One is energetic, but with no challenge. The other is a messy maze, but equally easy (except for those few sections). And I beat that game recently twice. First as Sonic trying to get into the spirit and explore (kept losing all my rings, got maybe 2 time stones, felt unsatisfied) and then as Tails just going forward (which game is kinda bland).

IDK, maybe I need to replay it one more time.

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The non-linear, exploration based level design is what sets CD apart from the other games for me. You have Sonic 2, with levels focused on finding the best path for speed (not that there isn't any exploring to be done, far from it). And then you have 3&K, which found a balance between CD's and 2's level design. Point being, while CD has it's flaws, it at least has an identity all it's own; and in the long run, having an identity of your own amongst 2 other sequels is what makes CD so memorable.

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Agree with the OP. I respect that some people like it (this shouldn't need to be said, but reading the thread it looks kinda mandatory), but I just can't enjoy it. Visuals are beautiful, but the time travel thing is flawed in my opinion. And level design is sometimes really weird, chaotic. The special stage is not bad, but I haven't been able to finish a single stage. If only the remaster allowed selecting level like the other remasters do...

Even if some people find this game brilliant, I can't believe they find it better than Sonic 2 or 3(&K).

18 hours ago, Tornado said:

You find it strange that people have different preferences?

I'm sure the OP didn't mean that. Anyway, different tastes can be questioned, right? 

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I mostly love Sonic CD for it's history and presentation. I never knew what Sonic CD was, until the Gems Collection came out for Gamecube. When I learned this was the game that introduced Metal Sonic and Amy, I got pretty excited, and wanted to see how it started. However, I was terrible at the classic games as a kid, and didn't play through the game, until the Xbox 360 rerelease. When that time came, I got to finally play the game from beginning to end. I like it a lot better now, than I did as a kid. 

What really made this game interesting, was how it presented itself. It starts off with a neat animated intro with great music, it cuts straight into a Green Hill inspired level, but with some cool visual treats. I loved how when you run through that first loop, the camera suddenly swerves behind Sonic, and you see the inside of the loop as he's running through it. That was visually creative for it's time, you definitely never saw that in the Genesis titles. I also loved how the game was able to tell a story while keeping the game going. While Sonic 3 and Knuckles had ongoing stories, those scenes mainly happened between stage transitions. The games would come to a sudden halt when an event would pop up. Sonic CD surprisingly had a fun story, but let the players take control of Sonic as it happened. I loved how when you first meet Amy, she comes across as clingy, and it gives you a reason to want to get away from her, but then as you keep progressing, you see Metal Sonic swoop in and take off with Amy. Suddenly, you have the instinct of wanting to save her, despite how annoying she might have been at first. It really sets the tone that Sonic is suddenly racing to save Amy. 

It's interesting, because I already knew who Metal Sonic and Amy were, because of the modern Sonic games, or stuff on the internet, yet Sonic CD still left me excited to see what happens next. I already knew the game would have Sonic fight Metal Sonic, save Amy, and defeat Eggman, but I still had no idea how it would happen. Upon playing the game years later, I was finally able to see how things went, and I liked it. Despite knowing how it would end, I still had a blast seeing for myself how Sonic would encounter Metal Sonic and save Amy.

I absolutely understand why people love Sonic CD. I personally am not the biggest fan of the classic Sonic games. (I don't hate them, but I prefer 3d adventure games.) yet I still had more fun playing Sonic CD than I did trying to play Sonic 1 or Sonic 2. The only classic style Sonic games I really like are Sonic CD, Sonic 3, and Sonic Mania. 

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I adore Sonic CD. I think its heavier focus on platforming and exploration with the time travel mechanic and the unique level design make it really stand out among the classic Sonic games. Do I think its better than S3&K? No. Heck, 2's probably better as well, but CD is super fun, and I don't get this recent backlash I've seen directed towards it. Maybe its slower pace just isn't everyones cup of tea, but I've replayed it dozens of times, and never came away thinking it was anything other than a great game, one of my favourites in fact. The sweet soundtracks probably help. And that amazing opening title sequence, which is one of the best Sonic related things ever.

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Played it when i had Xbox 360. I overall liked Sonic 3 over it, the level design is a cluster weirdo design. The only thing i liked about it better than other Sonic games were the special stages, it reminded me of Jazz Jackrabbit bonus stages. But other than that, Sonic 3 is in my view the favorite 2D sonic game. Overall Sonic CD is my least favorite Sonic game, the only thing making it worse is listerning to the US soundtrack which was just god awful. I mean why did Americans to begin with make soundtrack in a game that already had good soundtrack, and its like butchering the game, its like taking Star Wars which i hate but loved by US nerds and just replacing them with Metalcore songs just to annoy the nerds in my way with something that rocks, even if Metalcore is awesome

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On 11/30/2017 at 4:47 AM, molul said:

I'm sure the OP didn't mean that.

I'm having a hard time thinking what else the OP could have meant when he already listed the things it's typically highly praised for and the things it's frequently knocked for, then threw up his hands in the air anyway. The charge of the OP and subsequent posts is not "different tastes can be questioned" but "different tastes need to be corrected," hence my question.

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You can judge whether Sonic 1 or CD is better, but you can't compare CD and 2 or 3&K. 

About the level design. Some may say it's a clear mess. But most of the time Time Posts are placed near the areas where they can be used. I agree that some controls (pointing to Collision Chaos act 3, pinball) are bad as hell in both original and remake. I played remake, the real best you can get is in range of 20-29 second, but usually it's around 1 minute, sometimes as tedious as 2+ minutes.

 

For me, personally, CD is a bit more fun than 1 or 2. You can be entertained by 6 continous rounds in CD, whereas in 1 you get bored in Marble Zone for sure and in 2 the ending point for me is Casino Night/Hill Top

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  • 2 months later...

I kinda agree. CD is a mess, that has one of the lamest and boring gimmicks in a Sonic game. 

Not to mention that the level design sucks. Like, yeah, it's "Explorative", but it's also cheap and full of enemies and springs that just feel... Wrong.

As for the music, it kinda sucks. Like, it's trippy and weird, sure, but it rarely fits.

Not to mention that CD has the lamest new characters. Meet "Obligatory girlfriend who looks almost EXACTLY like the main protagonist" and "Obligatory evil robot twin"

If I had a nickle every time such a character appeared in children's media, I'd probably pay Sega to stop making Sonic this instant.

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Sometimes I wish Robo Sonic and Mecha Sonic would grab Metal Sonic, hold him down, rip off his little insect legs, and shout abuse along the lines of, "You were never on the SEGA Genesis! You're just a spin-off series bitch! I had a SUPER FORM in the Classic Era! You just grabbed Amy and crashed into a wall, piece of trash!"

Then I calm down and return to real life.

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1 hour ago, BaronGrackle said:

Sometimes I wish Robo Sonic and Mecha Sonic would grab Metal Sonic, hold him down, rip off his little insect legs, and shout abuse along the lines of, "You were never on the SEGA Genesis! You're just a spin-off series bitch! I had a SUPER FORM in the Classic Era! You just grabbed Amy and crashed into a wall, piece of trash!"

Heck yeah! 

Mecha Sonic was freaking awesome! 

Although, Sega seems to have some hate for badass robots. 

Omega and the rest of the E-Series are rarely seen anymore, and Mecha Sonic is replaced with some silent weirdo.

But hey, there's always Orbot and Cubot to make you loose brain cells.

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