One of the great things about the Apple App Store and its contemporaries, the Android Market and Windows Phone Marketplace is the relative low cost of bringing older games to a new market. This means that some of the biggest game publishers in the world can bring some of the greatest games of all time to these new formats for a fraction of the cost of developing a brand new game.
Sonic CD is a great example. First released for the ill fated Sega CD/Mega CD, the game, while actually played by very few people at the time, quickly gained cult status for its great presentation, fantastic soundtrack and classic Sonic gameplay. Now, thanks to the magic of mobile gaming, old and new fans alike can experience this classic platformer in all its restored glory.
New players may take one look at the in game graphics and see it as inferior even to Sonic 3, but I actually preferred the look of the original Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequel to the later games in the 16 Bit generation of Sonic games, and they now look even better on the Retina display of the iPhone. Sharp and well defined, this is a thoughtful graphical update, and truly brings out that beautiful yet ancient pixel art. I love the look of this game on iPhone, and the bonus stages still have that same charm.
The story is the typical crazy Sonic fare, with the blue wonder chasing Eggman/Dr Robotnik through time in order to retrieve the Time Stones. The unique twist that all this allows is the ability to play levels in different time zones, offering some truly interesting level designs and options throughout the quest. It really does make the game feel a lot more open than it really is, lending the levels a lot more depth than probably any other Sonic game I have ever played. It is probably the best Sonic game for exploring 2D stages, and this is mixed well with the speedier sections.
It will take you a lot of time to find all the Time Stones, and I would recommend not spoiling it for yourself with the use of a guide.
The controls are translated really well to the touch screen, and other just enough precision to play the game properly. It is no substitute for a real controller, but I have to say that I feel Sega have done a good job with the virtual pad and buttons.
Those of you wondering which soundtrack, either the American or Japanese, would make it into this version need not worry, as Sega have done the right thing and included both soundtracks for you, selectable from the menu. The other great addition to this title is the ability to play through the game as Tails- after you have completed the game with Sonic.
Game Center integration rounds off the new features, and fret not as that classic intro sequence is included in full.
Overall, this has to be one of the greatest Sonic games ever created, with the past/present time mechanic adding a level of depth and exploration that will keep you hooked for a long time. Add in the classic Sonic gameplay and Retina graphics, along with a playable Tails and selectable soundtrack, then this should be a no brainer for any fan of Sonic.
A classic game thoughtfully and intelligently updated for a new generation, this is a must buy.