Sonic CD free on Nokia phones, but without Xbox Live Achievements

Earlier today we discovered that a non-Xbox version of SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball 2 has become available for free to Nokia handset owners. Distributing an ‘indie’ version of an already existent Xbox game is pretty much without precedent. Sure, Angry Birds Space and Star Wars for Windows Phone 7 don’t have Xbox Live features like their Windows Phone 8 brothers, but those are at least completely different versions of the same games. The free version of Super Monkey Ball 2 has simply had its Xbox Live features stripped.

It looks like free games from SEGA for Nokia users may be a trend, because a second game has just showed up as part of the Nokia Collection. SEGA’s phenomenal Sonic CD is now available for free for Nokia owners, once again without the Xbox Live features of the general version. (Somebody forgot to remove the Xbox banner from the game's Live tile though.) The lack of Achievements might just kill much of the replay value of this particular game but people who just want to experience the game will still have loads of fun.

Blast (processing) from the past

Sonic CD

Sonic CD is a remake of the classic 16-bit Sega CD game. It plays much like other Sega Genesis Sonic games, though the focus on exploration has increased thanks to much larger levels and new gameplay mechanics.

Sonic’s nemesis Dr. Eggman has traveled back in time to change the history of Little Planet and gain its power. Sonic must jump back and forth between past, present, and future versions of seven different zones, destroying Eggman’s robot teleporters and eventually doing battle with a robotic version of himself: metal Sonic.

The Windows Phone version of Sonic CD features a ton of improvements over the classic game, including true widescreen visuals, two selectable soundtracks, and the newly-playable sidekick Tails. All told, we consider this one of the very best games of 2012. Check out our full review for lots more details.

Work for that download

Sonic CD Nokia Windows Phone

Like the free version of Super Monkey Ball 2, it might take a little work to actually procure the non-Xbox Sonic CD. The difficult downloads seem to be a result of general Windows Phone Store errors, so things could improve in a few days’ time.

When trying to install on my phone, I kept getting region errors. Oddly, turning on cellular data made those errors stop. Even after initiating the download process, the download might halt and fail a few times. Just keep resuming it over and over until it decides to be nice and finish.

Nokia owners, follow this link for use the QR code below to grab the free game. If you’d rather have the Xbox Live version, it’s worth every bit of the $4.99 price. All Windows Phone users can get the Xbox Sonic CD right here from the Windows Phone Store.

But what does it all mean?

Sonic CD menu comparison

Xbox version at left; Nokia version at right

We already know that Nokia and Electronic Arts/Chillingo have a strategic partnership. So far, they’ve produced numerous exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games for Lumia owners. The first of those exclusives – Mirror’s Edge just became available to all Windows Phone users today.

These strange free versions of Super Monkey Ball and Sonic CD seem to indicate a new agreement between Nokia and SEGA. The lack of Xbox Live status could be a restriction imposed because both games have already seen general release. We’re investigating with Nokia and will let you know whatever details we dig up.

Thanks to Rajkumar Nagarajan for the tip!

QR: Sonic CD Nokia

Paul Acevedo

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!

    I mean I own the game but I could have saved $4.99 if I knew this was coming for free haha
    But man Nokia is just making HTC/Samsung look bad. I love HTC's design and Samsung is very "market-smart"... they know what the people want (SD cards, flat phones, large batteries)... but Nokia is the manufacturer "for the people"!!!
  • I have to agree. I think it was a good move by nokia and ms to become partners on wp as they are really helping push the os in ways Samsung and HTC were not. I do like the design of the 8x and the ativ but I will defo be picking another nokia device up when my contract is up on my lumia 900 because at this moment in time they offer the best wp expirence because of things like this as weol as the time and effort they are putting into making amazing apps like nokia mapps ect.
    I do hope Nokia manage to get a massive part of the smart phone market over the next few years as there hardware and software is up there with the Best.
  • exactly my opinion, hope Nokia do a comeback with the Lumia 620
  •   Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
  • Nokia is the best!
  • The links to the app doesn't work for me
  • QR code works for me. Just downloading. 
  • Me either
  • The link did not work for me either. Nor did the link for Super Monkey Ball2
  • Are you guys using your phones or your desktop?
  • I am using my L920, the link is not working in Wp Central app. It's working fine if I use IE on my phone.
  • Links work off of my phone fine.
  • This one worked for me, but the Monkey Ball 2 app still is nowhere to be found, link or otherwise, on my phone.
  • I too got an error on both free games. For me, the cellular data trick worked. I turned off WiFi and I was able to get to them in the store. I started the d/l and turned WiFi back on. Appears to be d/ling fine. Hope this helps. (Lumia 900)
  • Same here Lumina 710
  • now you can download on lumia 710 i just downloadede
    just write sonic cd in market place one is free
  • No worky!
  • Anyone know why their is an eighty MB difference and the Xbox live version is the smaller of the two?
  • I have no idea.
  • Can someone tell Nokia that we need some games that actually take advantage of WP8 too?  (As in, native code, and high-resolution.)  There's not nearly enough of those.
  • I don't see either game for free on my 920
  • neither did I.  The link/QR code does work though so use that instead of searching the App store.
  • Try Electric Jack's trick above - worked for me
  • sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
  • What am I suppose to do with all these games
  • Wild guess, you can try play them...(serious face)
  • Lol, im in the same boat.. I always am up for a cheap or free high quality game.. Actually playing them is another matter haha.. Im still trying to complete robotek! That's 20 odd hours right there.. Really glad i picked a Nokia though :)
  • :D WWWWwwwooooOOOHHHhhhoooo!
  • Wowza!
    Downloading Now!  So weird..I'm awful at these types of games, but I love trying them out :).  This game is like, $4.99 as XBox Live.   Thankfully, acheivements matter not to me.
    Nokia FTW!
  • Link doesn't work :-(
  • Nokia and Microsoft teamed to kick Xbox out of our phones. Xbox Phone dream is slowly dying.
  • Nokia >>>>>>> Microsoft
  • downloading it now, honestly I couldn't care less about achievements! ^_^
  • You won't have much incentive to destroy all the holograms or robot teleporters then...
  • Never understood achievements in any type of gaming, in PS3 or Xbox. 
    When i play the game i usually play it because of the enjoyment it brings via story, controls, visuals etc. Could not set my mind so that i do something tedious just for some pixel throphy somewhere.
  • What's to understand? They provide lasting proof of your accomplishments in a game. This can be for your own personal edification or for your friends to see. If you don't want to complete optional tasks you certainly don't have to, but it's nice to have a record of what you've actually done.
  • Don't get the enjoyment or community to see some pixel achievements. Who of your friends care of your achievements on a game and checks them out? Non of my friends for sure. My memory plays good enough (maybe thanks to not everything being on cloud?) so that i don't need a gaming system to go check that out. 
    But then i just might be from the N64 era and can't wrap my head around it. ;)
  • I grew up on the NES and SNES and earning achievements has become a way for me and my friends to brag to one another about our gaming accomplishments. Whereas when we were kids we would brag to one another about who cleared arcade mode in Mortal Kombat (only one of us ever claimed to manage it, and we didn't believe him) and such, we could now brag about such things as beating Halo 4 on legendary solo, except now we have a lasting testament to those accomplishments that proves the truthfulness of our statements.
  • Being from the Atari age myself, I enjoy achievements. But that just proves what im about to say; you don't care what I have to say as much as your friend care about your gaming achievements. But I care about achievements about as much as my book collection. Sure I've read them, but it's nice to have them around.
  • Like these other guys, I've been playing for a long time: since the Atari 2600 and NES days. Age doesn't have anything to do with it. It's more your attitude towards social features and innovations. I can remember to go to the doctor when I have an appointment, but that doesn't mean I don't put the appointment into my phone's calendar. And we all forget things over time, but our Xbox Live Achievements will be around for good unless Xbox Live folds someday. Records are not a bad thing.
  • Its kinda nice getting achievements, and I did go out of my way to get more obscure achievements in the first year or so of having an Xbox, but they are just a nice ting that goes off when you finish a level for me now
  • I know how you feel. Its cool when I unlock an achievement naturally. But that's about it. I don't go out grinding for actually remember the first time playing Ocarina of Time or my first million point combo in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
  • Got it, downloading now. Its probably just concessions for the lack of new Xbox live titles... But free is good. I just ordered a set of Thumbies off eBay too...somic is the perfect game to test them out. Free Sega games, Shogun, SNES emulator... Gaming is getting interesting on WP8 now. :)
  • Thank you Nokia. My 920 decision is reaping lots benefits.
  • Awesome.. I know that without achievements it feels kind of empty, but hey its a $4.99 game for free.. It will entertain me for a while :D.. GO NOKIA YOU ARE THE BEST!!
  • So what do you think next week's Xbox title will be? or maybe another free game from nokia??
  • Awesome job Nokia, sad face though for no an achievement-whore, haha!
  • Yes people. The links didn't work for me either. Use the QR code. It takes a couple seconds.
  • Good week for WP7 and Nokia owners.  We get the 7.8 update that basically makes my 900 feel like a new phone, Skulls of the Shogun which is awesome, and two free Sega games; SMB2-SE, and Sonic CD!  Sonic CD was my favorite Sega CD game!  Thank you Nokia!
  • The links or the QR code is not working sends me to the market with an error message.
  • Paul, how well does it play on WP8? I absolutely love it on my Lumia 800, I'm afraid to lose image sharpness and all when I upload to a WP8 device
  • It's perfect on either WP7 or WP8. I've played through the game multiple times on each. The graphics are supposed to be a little pixellated, so they lose nothing in the transition to a larger screen.
  • From the WPCentral app, the links on the more screen display as "error retrieving title". However clicking then finds the game in the market just fine.
  • Links not working, error code. Maybe too many people at one time.
  • I had the same problem, What fixed it was shutting down my phone then turning it back on!
  • Funny, it still has the Xbox logo but appears under 'other'
  • This is getting weird....
  • How are people supposed to find these specials ? Shouldn't some kind of notification pop up with hey Lumia owner blah blah blah is free foe download thanks for supporting Nokia . Or something like that
  • I can't download, I get an error when I try. Edit: working now, restarted the phone
  • Sweeet
  • Nokia never fails.
  • Why is the non-Live Nokia version 100MB larger than the Live-enabled version? On the anemic 8GB of storage on my Lumia 810, I don't have enough space for the download. :(
  • Why on earth do they have a live version and a non live version? I downloaded them since they are free but I want to be able to earn achievements.
  • Just wow.
  • Stuck here, too. Both the link and the QR code result in an error: "There is a problem completing your request. Try again later. Error code: 805a0194"
    Tried restarting the phone and doing it again. Same thing. (In the US, by the way)
  • Having the same problem. I'm in the U.S. too.
  • Same issue here...noticed that happened with Monkey ball 2. I got that one but my friend can't.
  • Seems like u can only download without issues by using wi-fi
  • :( store is telling me it's not available in my region. i'm on a lumia 920 ATT :/
    UPDATE: i think my particular phone is just being stubborn. i can see it in the store, get a region error, try initiating using cellular, it tried to start and then tells me to check my data connection. i obviously have reception :( wahhh
  • hoooooo i got it free on my lumia 710
  • just need to search on market place
  • QR code and links not working for this or the other freebie game from today. Lame
  • This is stupid.
  • Can you be more specific?
  • Is this just for WP8 handsets because I don't see it in the Nokia collection on my 900?
  • There's quite a few apps you won't see in the Nokia Collection when they are available. It should work though, I was able to. Just scan the QR code.
  • I'm on Wp 7.5 Lumia 800, UK based and everything worked just fine. Of course need to use WiFi to download.
    Thank you Nokia.
  • i personally dont care about achievments. i like to play the games for the sake of playing a game. my kind of entertainment. oh and these console games need to bring back FUN gaming in our homes. like actual multiplayer like they use to be. sucks having friends over and have to take turns on playing games.
  • Seems like Nokia gets it all and HTC is always left out. Guess I'm going android when my upgrade comes up in a few months. I
  • Or you can just go Nokia and avoid having to transition to a new OS.
  • Not sure why you're upset about this. I'm sure Nokia is paying a lot of money to get these games to their customers for free. Maybe you should write HTC and ask why they aren't doing likewise. The answer to the question is that HTC is not as invested in WP8 as is Nokia. Next time buy a Nokia, I guess. 
  • Atleast for monkey ball they removed the xbox logo, they did not even bother for Sonic. 
  • So every time Nokia makes an agreement with some dev house to bring us free games and apps We have to listen HTC and Samsung users nagging? 
  • Pretty much, yes. :-(
  • Thank you Nokia, if you could make this a weekly occasion please.
  • THX Nokia..great game!!
  • I bought it with all achievements in one gameplay. If I wanted no achievements, I'd be back on the Sega CD.
  • I still have my atari 2600!!
  • That's why I went Nokia and honestly I'm never turning back, my red 920 is flat out amazing in every way and getting free games, exclusive apps and an iconic design that screams "yeah, im different" has all but made me forget about my Focus S entirely. Loving wp8 and Nokia, match made in heaven!!!!
  • Nokia 920:  I get a message stating that "This app is not available for your device."
    Restarted the phone, and the message persists...
  • I've got the same error, tried via Nokia collection but neither game show up there :(
  • I'm on a L900 and received the same error. I wonder if the free version is only available in certain countries? I'm in Canada.
  • great, this one is no available for my 710. Mexico by the way
  • Same error here (not available). There is an paid version ($4.99) on the marketplace (US).
    I believe the free version is carrier-related.
  • Can someone tell me why it says I might need to update my software and won't let me download I tried the WiFi trick and multiple links
  • Asphalt 7 missing