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Sonic CD: What Did the Critics Say in 1994?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 09, 2014   |   Episode 27 (Show Archive)  

   

Sonic CD (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

For years, Sonic CD was considered the lost game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Originally released on the Sega CD, this Sonic sequel sold well on a system that almost nobody owned. And despite numerous 16-bit compilations, Sonic CD was never given its due. All that changed in 2011, when Sega finally ported the game to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation 3. What did Die Hard Game Fan, GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly and other classic magazines think of Sonic CD twenty years ago? Read on, because the answer may surprise you.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Sonic CD
[ Company: Sega | Console: Sega CD ]

DIE HARD GAME FAN (November 1993)
100% out of 100%

"How does one describe the perfect action game? I think everyone needs to experience Sonic CD for themselves. All I can say is that, from the opening to the ending, it is pure gaming bliss. From the smooth opening to the 3D bonus rounds to the awesome music, this game screams 16-bit perfection. It is also one of the longest games of its kind ... beat this one (for real) and you've arrived." -Skid

GAMEPRO (January 1994)
5 out of 5

"What can you say? Just when you thought Sega had done it to death with Sonic, they came up with another game that's gonna make you wanna lace up those high tops and go after Robotnik one more time. This one's everything you've come to expect from Sonic -- super speed, super game play, super original, super fun, and now a super CD!" -The Unknown Gamer

DIE HARD GAME FAN (November 1993)
100% out of 100%

"If Sega had released this game a year ago, nobody would be talking about 32 or 64-bit. Sonic CD is an outstanding game that really shows off the strengths of the Sega CD. If you don't own a CD and Batman Returns wasn't enough to convince you, this will ... odds-on favorite for game of the year." -Sgt. Gamer

GAME PLAYERS (February 1995)
91% out of 100%

"The more you play, the more you'll enjoy! Sure, it's the same old Sonic, but he's made it to the top for a very good reason. This was our 1993 CD Game of the Year."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #52
9 out of 10

"Excellent, Excellent, EXCELLENT! This CD has got to be the best version of Sonic to date! All the control is here, the glitches that plagued the second one are gone, and having 70+ levels to traverse make this really incredible! Also, the ability to time travel adds wonders to this game -- as with changing the future! The bonus stages are cool, but a bit choppy, plus the Bosses are a bit weak, but it still is incredible!" -Ed Semrad

GAME INFORMER (Jan/Feb 1994)
8.75 out of 10

"Sonic is back with a vengeance. It's a great idea to give him more human qualities, such as having a girlfriend and caring about the planet. I usually enjoy the way games translate to CD, and Sonic is no exception. The Robotnik stages are easier than in the original, which bites. Regardless, Sonic is a welcome addition to any interactive CD collection, and a real treat for Sega CD players." -Ross, The Rebel Gamer

SEGA FORCE MEGA #6
86% out of 100%

"Once again Sega have come up trumps with another great foray into the world of the spiky, blue megastar. Sonic's pulled himself a girlfriend, but guess what, she's so weak and defenceless she gets kidnapped by the second stage. So much for political correctness, eh! Despite that, this is one CD that's worth getting." -Mark

DIE HARD GAME FAN (January 1994)
84% out of 100%

"I wasn't here when the original Sonic test version came in ( I 've just returned to GF) so I had not heard the original music. I loved the game when I played it although the music didn't strike me as awesome. Later I was about to play the original and that's when I realized what everyone at GF was freaking out about. That was incredible music! Changing it was a mistake. Sega doesn't make many, but no one is perfect. Still a great game." -Brody

SEGA FORCE MEGA #6
83% out of 100%

"Drum roll please! Sonic reappears to prove that he's still king of the cute console characters. Thankfully, our pricky friend has succeeded in producing another immensely enjoyable cart. The gameplay's still superb, it's a shame Sega didn't go for broke. They've played safe, giving Sonic fans what they want but wasted the possibilities provided by the CD. Shame on you lads!" -Chris

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #52
8 out of 10

"Don't believe the hype. Sonic's a cool dude, but there really isn't anything new in this premiere onto the CD scene. The graphics are pretty much the same and there isn't a lot here that couldn't be done on a cart. The bonus rounds are very cool and the music and sounds are extremely high quality. The cartoon-like intros and endings are an added bonus, but there's just not enough originality here to break new ground." -Martin Alessi

GAME INFORMER (Jan/Feb 1994)
8 out of 10

"This is one I've eagerly awaited since I had so much fun with Sonic 2. The control is great, and the Past, Present, Future warps are awesome. The sound is, of course, great quality but kinda' hokey. It's a bit on the easy side and the save feature makes it even easier. Sonic has some new, cool levels and cinematic clips that should impress most players, but I'm still a bit disappointed." -Paul, The Pro Player

DIE HARD GAME FAN (January 1994)
73% out of 100%

"Let's face it, Sonic CD is a great game. Everyone with a CD will buy it and probably love it. Not knowing what the original music is like they may like the music too, although I will admit that the original tunes were some of the best I have ever heard and fit the game and Sonic like a glove. I think the final US cut would have been better served in a slower game, but it is still quality stuff. Bottom line though, it's still a Sonic and therefore, still recommended." -Sgt. Gamer

VIDEOGAMES (January 1994)
7 out of 10

"Sonic's back, and yes, it's not Tuesday! This isn't the CD game that will make you want to go out and buy a Sega CD. There's some neat new stuff here, like the mini-cartoon, but that really isn't part of the game. I only wish that the whole game were more like the Special Stage." -Mike Davila
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 87% - Before we get too far into the score analysis, we need to address the 800 lbs. gorilla in the room -- Die Hard Game Fan. As you can see from the scores listed above, Game Fan reviewed the game twice. In their November 1993 issue, the foursome were unanimous in their praise, giving the game 100% across the board. However, only two months later, Game Fan re-reviewed the American release and gave it much lower scores. Sgt. Gamer gave Sonic CD a 73%, noting the music change as the culprit. Brody gave the game an 84%, the re-reviews highest score. After averaging all eight scores together, Die Hard Game Fan ultimately gave this Sega CD sequel a score of 90%.

Die Hard Game Fan's average is more in line with the rest of the critics. While GamePro also gave Sonic CD a perfect 5 out of 5 score, most critics were a little less excited for the much-hyped release. VideoGames gave the lowest score, wishing Sonic was more along the lines of the borderline busted 3D bonus stages. On the other hand, Game Players felt that this Sega release was the CD Game of the Year in 1993. The guys from Game Informer were somewhere in the middle, giving the game mostly 8s. It turns out, Game Informer was mostly right, as their scores lined up with the overall average.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVE: Want to see how this Sonic the Hedgehog game stacks up against the rest? Below you will find every Sonic game currently in the Review Crew archive. Read the original reviews and see if you agree with the old school critics.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Sega Genesis 93%
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 92%
Sonic the Hedgehog
What Did Critics Say Back in 1991?
Sega Genesis 90%
Sonic CD
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Sega CD 87%
Sonic Spinball
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 76%
Knuckles' Chaotix
What Did Critics Say Back in 1995?
Sega 32X 67%

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