by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)
In 1992, Sega, a well-known game company, launched the Sega CD (Mega CD), an add-on for its Genesis/Megadrive video game. As it was the launch of new hardware, it is always necessary to have titles that are the famous killer apps, in order to sell the accessory.
The Sega CD, at its launch, had a lot of killer apps: Sega Classics 4-in-1, Cobra Command, Chuck Rock, Night Trap, Sewer Shark, among others.
However, it was not yet the necessary boost of sales of the device. That extra boost would come with the second wave of releases, with titles like Final Fight CD, Ecco the Dolphin and (play the drums) Sonic CD. This second wave of titles showed what the Sega CD hardware was capable of, and positioned the accessory as an object of desire for the gamers of the time, giving a significant advantage in Sega's war with Nintendo.
The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he tries to save an extraterrestrial body, Little Planet, from Doctor Robotnik. As a platform game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic runs and jumps through various themed levels while collecting rings and defeating robots. Sonic CD is distinguished from other Sonic games by its time travel feature, a key aspect of the story and gameplay. When traveling back (and forth) in time, players can access different versions of stages, featuring layouts, music and alternative graphics.
The game we have today, however, is not the original 1993/95 game, but a remastered version.
In 2009, independent programmer Christian Whitehead produced a proof-of-concept video of a remastered version of the game, using his Retro Engine, running on iOS. In 2011, Sega released this version for download on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Ouya, Windows Phone, Windows and Apple TV, with Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions ported by Blit Software. The remastered game features improvements like widescreen graphics, collision detection adjusted to make time travel more consistent, spin dash with the physics of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Japanese and North American soundtracks, the ability to unlock Tails as a playable character and achievements and trophy support. Whitehead also designed two original levels, but they were excluded because Sega wanted to keep the game true to the original release.
- Joystick works OOTB
- JP / US soundtracks
- Directx9C installed   (Winetricks)
- Flatpak installed
- Steam installed
Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200940/Sonic_CD/. At the end of November, it is on a Christmas sales promotion.
Sonic Mania is a 2017 platform game published by Sega for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows. Produced in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Mania pays homage to the original Sega Genesis Sonic games, featuring fast side scrolling gameplay. The game can be considered a remix/remake of the first 3 games that came out for Genesis Megadrive, with a time travel storyline, in which Sonic, Tails and Knuckles return to the past, to the original games to try to prevent Robotnik from destroying the future, changing the past.
Impressive graphics, with much more color than the originals of the Genesis/Megadrive
- Graphics: Stunning, they have much more colors and animation frames than Genesis/Megadrive games ever had. There is lots of eye candy to look at.
- Audio: The sound is CD quality when it works well. However, I will describe an audio problem, which the game has had from the get go, and how to solve it. But, it is fantastic, it brings the soundtracks of the original games remixed, and with a modern sounding.
- Gameplay: It is what Sonic 4 should have been. Simply, the successor to the last 2D game that was released on its original platform, Genesis/Megadrive. It doesn't get any better than that.
The game is available at: https://store.steampowered.com/app/584400/Sonic_Mania/. It is also on a Christmas promotion, with a special price.
Now, I will describe the positive and negative points of the game.
The requirements are the same as for Sonic CD, but there is one more step to be taken.
- It's the ultimate Sonic game. It can't get any better.
- Excellent graphics.
- Classic gameplay with new elements, which makes the game feel like a new experience of the good old games of the 90s.
- Joystick is not supported.
- The audio does not work well out-of-the-box.
Solving Sonic Mania problems
Right when the game is installed, it does not recognize any joystick, unlike Sonic CD, which accepts any joystick automatically.
This can be worked around with Antimicro, a program that maps the joystick on the computer keyboard, and is available in the PCLinuxOS repos.
Another very annoying problem is the sound. Right after the game is installed, the sound is delayed and becomes very irritating. I searched on several forums, and there is really this problem. The solution is to install the XACT library via Winetricks, as shown in the picture below:
Doing this, the sound becomes crystal clear and devoid of any problems, running as if it were native to the Windows platform.
Well, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you have Happy Holidays, and enjoy Steam's holiday promotions.
Happy holidays and see you next year!