At last, Sonic CD arrives for Xbox on Windows Phone

It’s been a long time coming. SEGA first announced Sonic CD for Windows Phone way back in August 2011. We then interviewed Ken Balough, Sonic’s brand manager, shortly before the Xbox 360 version launched on December 14 of that year. At the time, there was no indication that the WP7 port would arrive dramatically later than the XBLA one… But here we are in November 2012, and the game is finally available. Good news: it was worth the wait!

History lesson

Sonic CD Mega CD cover

For those who don’t know, Sonic CD was originally released for the Sega CD/Mega CD add-on for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive way back in 1993. It was developed concurrently with Sonic 2 but came out a bit later. At the time, Sonic CD wowed gamers with its fully-animated intro and ending, terrific backgrounds, CD quality audio, and unique time travelling mechanics… Not to mention the introduction of Metal Sonic and Amy Rose, two characters who became quite important to Sonic lore.


Believe it or not, the Windows Phone port of Sonic CD is actually better than the original game in several ways. The display has been expanded to a widescreen aspect ratio without distorting the characters or backgrounds in any way. That’s thanks to developer Christian Whitehead who created his own unique engine for this remake and also appears to have personally coded the WP7 version.

Other improvements include the option to toggle between the Japanese and US soundtracks, both of which are completely unique and worthwhile, better looping of the music, the ability to toggle between two styles of spin dashes, voice samples for Sonic, and of course, Sonic’s sidekick Tails unlocks as a playable character after beating the game. Tails was first introduced in Sonic 2, but since Sonic CD came from a separate development team during the same time Sonic 2 was in the works, he didn’t appear in the original CD game.

Time warp

The most unique aspect of Sonic CD compared to other games in the series is the ability to travel in time. Each stage has multiple versions: present, past, good future, and bad future. By touching a ‘Past’ or ‘Future’ sign and then maintaining a high speed for several seconds, Sonic can jump between these different time periods (and get an easy Achievement). If Sonic manages to destroy Eggman’s Robot Transporter in the past, he can travel to a good future free of ring-stealing enemies.


Sonic CD WP7 bonus level

Touch-screen platforming games will never control quite as accurately as they would with a physical controller. But like Sonic 4: Episode I before it, Sonic CD actually controls really well (much better than Earthworm Jim). Chalk it up to using only one action button, making it easy to keep your right thumb in place. The actual on-screen d-pad is a bit too small in this version, but luckily you can press out past any direction and it still counts as pushing that direction.

Also note that the bonus levels (which you get by clearing a zone with 50 rings and jumping through the giant ring at the end) just use touch-screen controls. No ill-advised tilting here!

Super Sonic warrior!

Stay tuned for our full Sonic CD review next week. But if you like Sonic or you’re just itching for a quality platformer, you can safely buy it right now. Sonic CD works with both WP7 and WP8 and costs $4.99, the same as the XBLA version (opens in new tab). Get it here in the Windows Phone Store.

QR: Sonic CD

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Well worth the wait indeed! :D
  • Nice! Downloading now. Must be a pretty long game, hefty download!
  • The game is about as long as any of the individual Genesis Sonic games, but you also have to consider the following properties that Sonic CD has, which required it to be on a CD in the first place:
      -Each zone has four different versions:  Past, Present, Bad Future, Good Future -Each version of each zone has a different set of graphics (typically not just palette-swaps) and layouts that are generally subtly different. -Each version of each zone has its own unique background music. -The game contains the original Japanese/European version soundtrack, as well as the almost-completely-different North American soundtrack. The game's data gets pretty hefty once you factor all that in!  The original Sega CD version also used almost entirely Redbook CD audio for the soundtrack (except for a few cases), but they've obviously gone down to WMA or a similar format for this release.
    Don't let that dissuade you though - the game is generally considered to be among the best classic Sonic experiences out there, competing with Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the top spot.
  • Nice!
  • happy to see new releases are compatible with the wp7.5.
  • Downloaded the trial. Will be trying when I get out of work ^o^
  • It really is a solid port if its anything like the IOS version. But at $5 I'll probably pass. So many more copies of this would move at just a couple bucks.
  • Agreed, take a page out of the Angry Birds/Fruit Ninja model...
  • i think it is same price on iOS....Sega is not interested in volume, just milking their old franchises as long as they can because they are devoid of original IP.
  • It is the same price on IOS. Not being interested in volume is as silly argument. If they can sell 30 times the copies of sonic cd at a buck, they are doing better than they are now. At this price only the most devout fans ate going to buy in.
  • Either way, I would pay the price for a game as great as this. Plus, nostalgia!
  • Thanks, Paul. :) I actually immediately purchased it without even trying. Sonic Episode 1 was great so I had strong faith Sonic CD would be awesome as well.
  • this game is expensive on every platform but well worth the money!
  • getting it!
  • The trial is nice. I think I might get the full version.
  • Are the achievements separate from the Xbox version?
  • Yes, they are separate and stackable. You can get 200 GamerScore from each version for a total of 400 GS.
  • will this be available for Windows 8 RT?! :)
  • This was my favorite Sonic game of all time, I remember going to a friends house with my disc and not understanding why it wouldnt load up to the level I was on at home. 
    Would buy it, but I would rather get it on my surface so I'll hope and wait till it comes out there. 
  • Played this to death on my megadrive-cd. So glad we had the Japanese soundtrack in the UK, US version not so bouncy! Awesome, it's retro but not!
  • Just downloaded this on my first Gen Focus - works well, but with the 165 Mb, my phone actually feels heavier after installing it.
  • This was my favorite Sega CD game. Yes, I had a Sega CD. :)
  • The words "about friggen time" come to mind here. I played the trial and thought it ran amazing, much better than I've experienced touch platformers before and even on my Trophy the graphics are amazing. Should be even better when I get my 8X so I'm holding off on buying the full version until then.
  • Blasted through the game already, loved it. Just got time trials and the achievement with the metal sonic projectors and I'll be done. Although I have that last achievement left on the 360 version as well I need to get that done lol.