DF Retro: Sonic CD - A Genuine Sega Classic!

On this episode of DF Retro, John explores Sonic CD and all its ports. With a focus more on exploration rather than speed and a bright presentation, Sonic CD remains one of the most unique games in the series. Curious about how it uses the Mega CD hardware? Or how about the three separate versions of Sonic CD for Windows? It's all here!

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  • Demetrius Kafkoulas

    I have the phone version of sonic 1,2 and CD and I love them all.

  • KuraIthys

    ah, that sampled music...Your comparison to the SNES is makes sense, but keep in mind a few things that don't make it quite as comparable as all that.Firstly, the SNES has 64 kilobytes of audio RAM, sure, but the games are still on cartridge.500+ megabytes (CD capacities vary. Not sure about the Sega CD specifically) vs 1-3 megabytes for most games is a pretty big difference.(there are games up to 6 megabytes, and 96/12 megabyte games when you include a dedicated data compression chip, but those are rare. Speaking of that though, consider Tales of Phantasia on the Super Famicom which has a several minute long intro song with full lyrics. Storage space is not a trivial consideration.)Secondly I have no idea how the Ricoh chip is configured, but one of the things the Mega Drive's regular z80 audio processor has over the SPC700 in the SNES is that it has direct, independent access to the cartridge bus.Granted there are technical issues, and potential for bus collisions, but that means you can stream extra audio data directly from ROM.The SNES audio hardware is completely isolated from the rest of the system by means of a set of data ports. (4 single byte channels with independent buffers in both directions.)This means to transfer any audio data at all requires you to be using both the Audio CPU and the system's main CPU in tandem, running some kind of synchronised data transfer code on both.Needless to say this is a lot trickier to coordinate than just letting the Audio CPU read data by itself (even if it does block the bus in the process and have other quirks.)No idea how the Ricoh chip works, but I can reasonably assume it isn't constantly trying to use the main CPU as an intermediary.If you go back to Tales of Phantasia on the SNES for instance, that particular piece of music, and much else besides in the game is only possible because somebody wrote a data streaming routine that is constantly loading new samples from ROM into the Audio system. Of course, if space is no object that same logic combined with an abuse of the echo buffer lets you play back 16 bit 32khz uncompressed audio. but of course by definition that requires loading at least 64 kilobytes of new data each second. (so something like a kilobyte of audio data every frame. On the upside since you're not performing a VRAM transfer you can do this outside of vblank, but still....)Subtleties do matter, and saying something is comparable without considering the massive increase in storage space and any potential architectural differences could certainly give a misleading impression.Having said that, I know very little about the Sega CD.I know a lot about SNES hardware, and a decent amount about the Mega Drive, but very little about the CD unit and it's extra hardware...

  • Yamcha Kippur

    Sonic CD is my favorite Sonic game, yet I didn't learn about it until a decade ago. I had played all 4 of the Sonic games (as in 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles) when I was young in the late 90's on the Genesis. I got the internet in 2008, and, at the same time, I found the Genesis from back in the day. One of the first places I went to (and visit about every day since) was Sonic Retro. I quickly learned about a Sonic game I'd never heard of before: Sonic CD. It looked cool. A few years later, I saw Taxman was making an official release of Sonic CD on PC. I bought that not too long after on Taxman's name alone (I was big into the ROM hacks at the time on Sonic Retro). I can't remember if I set the soundtrack to the Japanese one or if it was already set that way, but the soundtrack floored me. It's my favorite game soundtrack of all time (I've been listening to it a work the past few days actually). I've played Sonic CD several times, using the Steam version, but I still haven't gone all the way on the good ending. It was in 2016 I finally got a Sega CD and the original US release of Sonic CD. I played it once, noted some of the things that were added into Taxman's version, and put it on the shelf as a collection piece. I couldn't tell you the differences in the soundtrack, as whatever they were, I can only remember the Japanese one. It's a beautiful game and the music always makes me feel better.Toot toot, Sonic Warrior.

  • Jason Walsh

    Sonic cd is a brilliant sonic game whatever the version. my favourite video game character of all time.

  • Rokkas Gaming

    sonic cd was mi first real game, my dad buy the game when I was 3 y/o for the pc (I don't remember what version was, I think maybe the first one?) I remember my mind exploding because of the super awesome intro, it realy left a mark on me

  • Joshtrip1™ Gaming

    I grew up with the dino version. When the intro would play the graphics would switch from 256 to 16bit color.

  • ChrisWY27

    First user I've ever subscribed to, what an amazing in-depth video!

  • linkinboss

    That big PC box sure brings some memories. That was how I met sonic in the first place. I wish my parents didn't throw out the cardboard box... I'd love to get one of those

  • Travis Ryno

    The bad future looks like a better, more prosperous place. Just not as dolled up.

  • Luis Mediavilla

    Sonic boom song is really good

  • Josh Dollins

    played it for the first time on my sega cd in mid 2000s then on my cell phone and now on my xbox one hell of a game so 90s man I miss the 90s

  • Eric Burson

    Where is this fellow from? He sounds American, but all of his games seem to be PAL versions.

  • Rockmans1989

    Can the Steam version of Sonic CD be rendered at 1440p or 4K?

  • Ben Wagner

    Intel indeo 4 is lovely on a 120mhz pentium

  • Christopher Blair

    I've tried to like Sonic CD but I just can't.

  • Drs 43 Gaming

    Love DF retro. When do we get to buy a DF retro DVD/blu ray

  • Aristotle Lang

    Strange isn't it

  • merlingt1

    I grew up with Sonic 1-3 and I could never get used to the slow spin move in Sonic CD. It was very irritating.

  • GenesisGems

    DF PLEASE DO RAYMAN 2

  • Joseph Franc

    Awesome video to one of my most favorite games of all time

  • Jeremy Cline

    I never played Sonic 2 until many years later because all we had was this one. And a fine game it is.

  • Gyaku

    What's the song at the beginning?

  • Skeeter Baba1

    What’s your intro music ?

  • 玛轼亚瑟

    Was my favourite 2D Sonic game after playing it for the first time in 2002.

  • Jesus Ruiz

    Can't love this episode enough. Thank you for your amazing videos.

  • Heiny Reimes

    It was horrible for the people like me who were waiting for that title but had a vast superior version in the form of Sonic 2 more than a year before Sonic CD. No Tails, no Super Sonic, way less animation in the sprites, less interesting bosses and the color use was also less than Sonic 2.Only the intro and outro was a nice extra.

  • PandaCynima

    Df retro do rayman 1

  • Gameking 012

    It's free on Android and iOS.

  • Grahamhg

    In the early 90s the amiga was the gaming computer of choice, not windows pcs.

  • trunks10k

    LoL Someone call Joe from GameSacks! Jon just said MEGAPOWER!!!

  • MirkWoot

    Sonic ever got an epic known voice like Mario :-/.

  • Alan Lee

    Segacd was huge wasted potential

  • Timothy Burchell

    I love Sonic CD. I still have my copies on the Sega CD, PC physical 96 and Steam, Gamecube, Xbox 360 (still looks amazing on the Xbox One for a game of it's time), and Android! I know it's the unpopular option but I love the US soundtrack mainly cause it is the one I grew up on with the Sega CD.

  • widdowson91

    Sonic CD is just fucking amazing. I love it.

  • Treeface

    Just got to point out that the Gems Collection on the Gamecube does actually let you select the region soundtrack in the options. Or was it just a soundtest? Been awhile but I know both soundtracks are on the game. Good video never the less John.

  • DavDoesAThing

    Whats the name of the music playing during the intro?

  • Gyaku

    What's the song at the beginning?

  • Gregoire Seaman

    Eww 2D looks shit at 30 frames . It really looks terrible .

  • corsegerspwnd

    Amazing! Love it. Another episode!

  • Alex Loy

    Is the resolution on xbox 360 1080p or 720p? Anyone? Please help!

  • D0nATr0n

    I had this and drove my family nuts just replaying that FMV intro with the BEST version of the Opening Theme, Toot-Toot Sonic Warrior - Yeah I said it! come at me! - over and over and over and over and over and over again, and getting really frustrated as a 9-year-old trying to get the 'Good Futures' and resetting it (again with the theme tune playing at top volume and in full) when I didn't because I didn't understand how to get Good Future's for definite at the time.Such happy, fond memories.

  • Blaque Link

    I think it’s okay. Not as good as sonic 3&Knuckles

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