Alright, we all know that the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) dominated
the Sega Master System (SMS) in terms of sales and size of game library. Was
it really the "better" of the two systems though? From a hardware
perspective the SMS was the slightly
more powerful system. They
had the same resolution and roughly the same horsepower, but the SMS could
display more colors
. Forget the dorky technical details, the SMS just looked
better than the NES. Nintendo had a knack, even in 1986, for beating
technically superior competitors with games that were just more fun to play. Throw in an eight month head-start
& superior third-party support,
and the SMS never stood a chance.
Still, there will always be those that claim the SMS was really the best 8-bit
system and would have buried the NES if only [insert reason here]
I own both consoles and will be the first to admit that the SMS delivered
some games that absolutely schooled the NES. If it was the more powerful
console why did it lose out to the NES? There's only one way to settle this
debate.. let's channel the spirit of George
and look at 42 NES and SMS games side-by-side to see which ones
were truly better:
Box Score: There's no denying the The 3-D Battles of World
Runner was a Space Harrier knock-off. I could itemize the
similarities but have 31 more comparisons after this one so I have to
hold back. The biggest difference is that World Runner is confined to
the ground. Yeah, you can jump but all the action is on the ground. No
enemies flying around until you fight the highly original snake-like
bosses at the end of each level.
Winner: This is one of the rare cases where the knock-off is
better than the original. The main reason is that the SMS port of Space
Harrier isn't all that good. It looks spiffy but has poor play control
and chronic flicker problems that cause you to miss projectiles heading
right at you. Nah, World Runner can't hold-up to a decent version of
Space Harrier but this ain't a decent version.
Box Score: OK, first things first. The logo for AD&D Pools
of Radiance was taken from Hillsfar. Why? For some reason TSR had
bizarre requirements for title screens of games carrying the AD&D
branding. Like the two AD&D games for Intellivision, the title to
Pools of Radiance doesn't appear on the title screen. Even a good
AD&D logo is missing. TSR really had their heads up their *$# on
this. Anyway, Pools of Radiance was the first "gold box"
AD&D game brought over to the NES. It was obviously scaled down from
the PC version but managed to keep the overall feel intact. Miracle
Warriors was a semi-obscure SMS game that definitely tried to
mimic the "gold box" style.
Winner: I found Miracle Warriors to be the more enjoyable of
these two. Neither are great RPGs but Miracle Warriors does a
better job working within the limitations of a two-button console.
Box Score: Alright, on to the brawlers. We have the nearly
impossible Battletoads for NES against the incredibly easy Streets
of Rage for SMS. Streets of Rage looks darn good for an 8-bit game
while Battletoads suffers through massive flicker problems. At the end
of the day they're basically the same, run around and slug-out a never-ending
barrage of identical foes.
Winner: Battletoads has the slight edge here. I find both of
these games, well most games of the genre, to be painfully repetitive.
Battletoads is the more fun of these two overall. The SMS port of
Streets of Rage is too slow paced and tries to be a three-button game on
a two-button controller.
Box Score: Bram Stoker's Dracula was a mediocre platformer that was ported to darn near every console of the day.
There are basically no differences between the NES and SMS versions other than the graphics.
Winner: This round goes to the SMS which looks much better than the NES rendition. The sprites and lighting effects in particular are a significant difference.
Box Score: So we come to the first direct head-to-head match up. California
Games was a staple of home systems and computers from ~1984-1988. It's your basic collection of
mini-games. None of the games are really great but are enjoyable for
short periods of time. The NES and SMS versions primarily differ in
Winner: Here's a case where the pictures say it all. The games
play roughly the same but the SMS version looks much better, more detailed and
Box Score: Another head-to-head match-up. Back in the day, Double
Dragon for NES was a big deal. It was an arcade smash and the home
version was overly hyped. The SMS version of course did not receive the
same buzz. However, it's a closer arcade port than the NES counterpart.
Winner: I've already expressed my boredom with brawlers so I'll
just say that neither of these keep my attention for more than 30
seconds. The play control is roughly the same but I found the SMS
version to look better so I'll declare it the superior arcade
Box Score: I don't know which one of these came first so I can't
say who's ripping-off who. The premise is roughly the same. In Dr.
Mario you try to zap viruses by lining up pills of the same color.
In Dr. Robotonic's Mean Bean Machine you line up little blobby
things by color to try and get four in a row or setup combinations. It's
a lot like Columns I guess. Neither are quite as addictive as Tetris but
can still make time disappear once you start playing.
Winner: This is tough.. I like Dr. Robotonic's Mean Bean Machine
better except for the horrible, blindness inducing green background. I
guess I have to go with Dr. Mario because I can play it for more than 10
minutes without getting a migraine.
Box Score: Here's a debate I'm sure nerds have had countless
times. Final Fantasy for NES was the first installment of the
epic series. It featured an open world where you were free to explore
instead of being force-fed a plot (unlike most of its sequels). It
allowed you to create your party and had an innovative battle system. Phantasy
Star for SMS also featured an open world (also unlike most of its
sequels). The party was fixed but each character given a back-story. It
had possibly the best graphics made for an 8-bit console featuring 3D
dungeons. Both titles sported soundtracks that remain popular today.
Winner: I don't think this is close, Phantasy Star was a much
better game than Final Fantasy. Look, I liked Final Fantasy but I don't
think it comes close to Phantasy Star. Alis & company win out on
graphics, sound, and storyline. Final Fantasy fans can take consolation in
knowing their favorite franchise ultimately buried the Phantasy Star
Box Score: The SMS version of Gauntlet sports much nicer graphics than the NES edition.
It also uses a similar level design to the arcade while the NES version
sports new maps.
Winner: I gotta give this one to the NES version. Yeah, the SMS
version is closer to the arcade but that's not a good thing in this
case. Instead of trying to duplicate the arcade experience, the NES
version is just a decent Gauntlet-like game. On the other hand, Gauntlet
for the SMS fails its attempt to mimic the original and is not nearly as fun as the NES rendition.
Box Score: The overall premise of Ghostbusters is roughly the same on the NES and SMS.
However, the SMS version features an upgradeable car and wider assortment of anti-ghost weapons for purchase.
The SMS graphics are also much nicer except for the banana ghosts.
Winner: Not only is the SMS version of Ghostbusters better than the NES version, it's actually a darn good game.
I don't think this game deserves all the bashing it receives.
All the little additions made in this edition turned an otherwise bad game into a perfectly playable one.
Box Score: There should be a distinct feeling of Deja Vu on this one.. the SMS game Ghouls 'n Ghosts
attempts to recreate the arcade game of the same title. Visually, it does a nice job. However, the attention to graphics
leaves the actual play control sluggish. The NES rendition, Ghosts 'n Goblins, is based on the arcade game but
adapted for an 8-bit machine. The graphics and levels are simplified, in exchange the pace is incredibly fast.
Both versions, just like the arcade original, are nearly impossible to win.
Winner: More Deja Vu, the NES version is a better game than the visually
advanced SMS one.
Box Score: OK, on to the battle of games where you fight enemies
by running into them and heal by just standing around. Ys is the
first installment in the six-or-so part series spanning several game
systems. It had a great soundtrack (by 8-bit standards) that would be
updated and lauded over the years. Hydlide is presented in a
similar style to Ys. It introduces a magic meter which didn't appear
until the second Ys game. It also managed to score a couple of
Winner: Ys, hands-down. I kinda put this in as a joke because I consider Hydlide to be comically bad.
I have no idea how it survived until "Virtual Hydlide" on the Sega Saturn (still shocking that system failed). Yeah, you can mock Ys for the walking into enemies
thing but it's really not as corny as it sounds. There's some degree of skilled involved and the system managed to survive for a few sequels
(but was changed in later Windows versions). Hydlide, on the other hand,
has an extremely lame battle system.
Yeah Nintendo and Sega each made a golf game but
it was the third-party publishers who stepped-up to publish some comprehensive versions.
Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf originally appeared on various computers and was ported to the NES and TurboGrafx-16.
PGA Tour Golf was the first installment in the long running series from EA.
Like the previous game, it was ported from computer to all of Sega's consoles.
Both of these games suffer from very slow draw times for the scenery.
I can't recommend either if you're looking for a quick game of golf, but if you have time to kill they're worth a try.
Winner: This is close but I'll give the edge to PGA Tour Golf for the SMS.
The control is tougher to master but the nice visuals make up for it.
This is as good a looking 8-bit golf game as you can ask for.
It also features more courses to choose from giving it superior replayability.
Box Score: I matched these two up because they're unconventional
side-scrolling action games. Kid Icarus was a novel NES game
where you fought through boring-old-standard scrolling levels and open
dungeons where you can explore a bit. Along the way you buy/earn
power-up items. In Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap you
transform from one creature to the next trying to regain your human
form. Each creature of course has it's own capabilities. Like Kid Icarus,
you collect cash that's used to purchase weapon & armor upgrades.
Winner: This is a tough one. Although I think Kid Icarus was a
great game (and am still puzzled there was never a sequel) I definitely
have put more time into Wonder Boy III. It has a more open world and is
quite innovative. Guess I gotta give the nod to Wonder Boy III but not
Box Score: The NES version of King's Quest V is slightly obscure.
It came out when the SNES was in high-gear and didn't appeal to many
remaining NES owners. It obviously can't compete with the visuals of the PC version
but looks darn fine for an NES game. The SMS port of the King's Quest
looks better than the low-tech original PC version. Both implement
occasionally-difficult control schemes to get around the absence of a
Winner: The NES version wins mostly because King's Quest V is a
better game than the original installment. Graphically speaking, the SMS rendition
looks a bit silly and that's also tough to get over. It feels like
you're playing a kid's game while the NES version comes across as more
Despite coming from the same publisher, these versions pluralize "Klax" differently.
Of course the publisher was Atari so what else would you expect?
I'm sure I'll get an email explaining that this is some difference between American and British English or whatever.
Anyway, these are the same except for the colors and backgrounds.
This just comes down to a matter of personal preference.
I think the SMS version looks better than the NES one so it gets the nod.
Box Score: Alright, time to start kicking some groin. Kung Fu
for the NES was one of the first releases for the system and it shows.
It's a short game, you can win it the first time you play. Despite this
it managed to be a staple for early NES adopters. Kung Fu
Kid for the SMS is a knock-off with some improvements. The lifeless
background has been replaced with actual scenery. They also made the
play control less rigid.
Winner: Another tough one here.. Kung Fu gets old really, really
fast. However, the control on Kung Fu Kid is awkward at best. I'm afraid
that Kung Fu for the NES just barely nudges past Kung Fu Kid.
Box Score: The Legend of Zelda was a groundbreaking game
that launched the massive game franchise. The first Zelda game was great
because it didn't hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do.
Imagine being a gamer back in the mid-80s before GameFAQs.com and hint
books lining the shelves. You had to actually try and figure out how to
win the game on your own (novel idea). The soundtrack, although
low-tech, was extremely addictive and is one of the most recognizable
today. Golvellius was possibly the first Zelda knock-off. The
graphics are a bit more detailed and the action faster. It also contains
side-scrolling dungeons like Zelda II.
Winner: Zelda by a landslide. It's one of the most innovative
games ever made, period. Even many of its sequels fall short of the
original. None of the imitators, like Golvellius, even come
Box Score: The PC classic Lemmings was ported to the NES and SMS.
Both versions are respectable and do a descent enough job replicating the original controls.
Winner: The SMS version looks considerably brighter and the control scheme was ported a little bit better.
: You got me, I put this in as a joke. Every now and
then Nintendo tried to sneak out an educational game to appease some
parents. Believe it or not, way back when
I worked at Electronics Boutique
I frequently had parents ask "which
system has the most educational games?
". I'd reply "um,
", and they'd go off about computers being too expensive
and settle on a Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. Anyway, Mario is
was an attempt to offer a semi-educational game. As the name
implies, Mario has gone missing and Luigi is off to find him (a theme
Nintendo would reuse). Luigi gets the shaft when it comes to his
stand-alone games. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego
port of the popular PC game. You bounce from city to city, learning
generic facts about them, while searching for Carmen.
: I gotta go with Carmen because I couldn't figure out how
to play Mario is Missing. Plus I thought Luigi was supposed to be
the thin brother?
Box Score: Metroid is another one of these landmark NES
games. It broke the mold of what a side-scrolling game was. You weren't
confined to keep running to the right forever. It was a puzzle solving
game as much as an action game. You spent a lot of time thinking "how
the *%&@ do I get up there?". Zillion for the
SMS looks & feels a lot like Metroid. Instead of battling Mother
Brain you're trying to crack a computer code.
Winner: Another landslide here, Metroid. A lot of the things I
said about Legend of Zelda apply here too. You had to sort Metroid out
on your own. No little help messages popping-up telling you what to do
next. You had to spend a lot of time exploring and it was great. The
environment in Zillion is much more confined and gets bland after a
Box Score: Punch-Out (with or without Mike Tyson) for the
NES is an arcade style boxing game. Well, "boxing" is a
stretch. Yeah you're fighting shirtless men with puffy gloves but it
doesn't resemble an actual boxing match. Your opponents fight with a set
of scripted novelty moves that you must learn to counter. Rocky
for the SMS is the first console boxing game that comes close to mimicking
Winner: Yeah, Rocky looks 1000x times better (or at least is
1000x more detailed) but Punch-Out is just plain fun. Rocky certainly
recreates the boxing experience better than Punch-Out.. but have you
ever watched an actual boxing match? Booooring. I'll take the ethnic
stereotypes and far-fetched moves any day.
Box Score: OK, I'm starting to run out of snappy things to say
about these games. I wanted to keep these descriptions short so here
goes.. Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi are your standard
Winner: I'll go with Ninja Gaiden, it's better paced and more
fun. I've always thought Shinobi was a tad dull.
Box Score: OK, now we have a match-up of arcade ports where the
target systems can actually do a respectable job copying the original.
Let's face it, previous translations of Pac-Man weren't so hot.
The NES version was just fine though. It looks and plays enough like the
arcade machine to be respectable. Ms. Pac-Man for the SMS is a slightly different
story. It was produced by Tengen who was a division or maybe off-shoot
of Atari. I'm too lazy to check but whatever the case they inherited a
lot of Atari's stupidity. They had the home distribution rights to Ms.
Pac-Man for various consoles. Rather than do a straight port of Ms.
Pac-Man they "improved" it but changing the graphic style,
adding zany mazes, and introducing some kind of pac-accelerator. When
playing it you can't stop pondering "when am I going to play Ms.
Winner: I'll go with Pac-Man because it's just a near-perfect
arcade copy. There's no reason why Ms. Pac-Man couldn't have been the
same, they just decided against it.
Box Score: I'm not sure which one is worse - Pac-Mania or Super Pac-Man.
Both are weak sequels and early evidence that the franchise should have stopped after Ms. Pac-Man.
Pac-Mania was ported to the NES and SMS (mercifully Super Pac-Man was not), both are accurate conversions.
Winner: Unlike Ms. Pac-Man, the SMS version of Pac-Mania stays true to the original.
Not only that but it looks great compared to the incredibly bland NES edition.
OK, the dots are a little square but overall the SMS version is the better one.
Box Score: Paperboy was a mild arcade hit known mostly for
its bicycle handlebar controller. It received translations for both the
NES and SMS. The biggest difference is that the SMS version does a
better job copying the arcade graphics (man, this sounds a lot like the
Double Dragon recap).
Winner: This is another case where the pictures tell the story.
The two Paperboy ports play roughly the same but the SMS version looks
vastly better and wins this round.
Box Score: On to the battle of unconventional pinball games.
Pinball Quest is a mostly obscure NES game that attempts to combine an adventure game and pinball.
It's one of the oddest gaming experiences you'll encounter.
Sonic Spinball took a cool stage from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and turned it into a full-blown game.
It started as a Genesis game but quickly appeared on the SMS and Game Gear.
Winner: I'm giving this round to Pinball Quest.
It doesn't look as good but it's far more entertaining (albeit far stranger).
The whole Sonic pinball idea was nifty in a small dose but doesn't hold up as a standalone game.
Box Score: Rad Racer was the first, and possibly best,
racing game for the NES. Out Run was an arcade success that Sega
ported to every system they made at one point. It's probably best known for its mellow
Winner: I am biased toward Out Run, it's about the only racing
game I was ever good at. Even when taking an unbiased look at these two
I still have to go with Out Run. Better graphics, better soundtrack,
slightly better play control.
The NES version of Rampage is a crude port of the arcade classic.
It doesn't control like the original and only two monsters are present.
The SMS version sports more detailed sprites, better controls, and all three monsters are playable.
However, the soundtrack will make you suicidal in under five minutes.
Winner: Turn the sound off and go with the SMS version.
It's much closer to the arcade experience than the NES one.
Box Score: Despite my previous knock on Tengen they did produce
some high-quality games. R.B.I. Baseball for the NES is one such
game. I find baseball to be the most boring sport ever invented but
R.B.I. baseball manages to hold my attention anyway. Great Baseball
is one installment in the "great" sports series for the SMS.
It seems a little ahead of its time. You can actually see some early
trappings of World Series Baseball for the Genesis appear in Great
Winner: The technically inferior R.B.I. Baseball edges out Great
Baseball based largely on the fun factor. It's a simple game that anyone
can enjoy. Great Baseball is darn good for its time, but ask me which
one I'd rather play and R.B.I. baseball gets my vote.
: For some reason Rygar
for the NES totally
creeped me out when I first played it back in 1980-whatever.
I'm ashamed to admit it since I wasn't exactly a kid at the time. I
don't know if it was the graphics, cryptic dialog, bizarre enemies,
soundtrack, or the combination of all of them but it bugged me. I played
through it anyway and found it to be an OK game overall. There were some bad
flicker problems and you'd occasionally plummet to your death by
accident though. My only memory of Rastan
was seeing a sailor
plunk an entire roll of quarters into it at the Aladdin's Castle in Lakehurst
. Note: this was before he even started playing not from dying
and continuing, he looked like
he was about to settle a grudge with the game. Many years later, at the
same arcade, I was on a particularly good Mortal
winning streak when another sailor dropped an entire roll of
quarters into the machine with the goal of beating me. My only thought
was "I better let this guy win or I'm getting my $&# kicked
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Rastan for SMS.. I have no idea why Sega
ported this to the SMS but not the Genesis which could have handled it. The Genesis would eventually
get a crappy "Rastan Saga II", whatever.
: Even though Rygar still kinda weirds me out this is not a
good port of Rastan. I have to award this round to Rygar because this
SMS translation is weak.
Box Score: The Mad Magazine inspired Spy vs. Spy locks two
rivals in a house riddled with comical weapons. They have to hunt each
other down and probably beat the other to some kind of goal. I last
played this game ~15-17 years ago (and even then I only rented it) so forgive me if I skimp on the details.
Winner: I'll give the nod to the NES edition, mostly because they
made much better use of the screen real estate. The SMS version just
requires too much squinting, the hot pink doesn't help either. Otherwise the games are basically the same.
Box Score: Is it possible to screw up Star Wars worse than the 8-bit home editions?
The difficulty level is incredibly annoying.
One wrong step on the first stage leaves you hopelessly stuck on a spiky floor with no ledges within jumping distance.
Of the two versions, the SMS one looks better except for the childlike Luke sprite.
Winner: The SMS version just barely takes this round.
The brighter colors compensate for the odd sprites, it's also the less impossible of the two.
Box Score: Fantasy Zone was a cutesy shooter ported from
the arcade to the SMS. It's mostly known for its color scheme and wacky
enemies. Stinger for NES was something of a knock-off. The ship
had a similar design and the enemies were equally wacky.
Winner: I gotta admit it, I don't care for Fantasy Zone. The colors
almost induce vomiting, I can't play it for more than five minutes. Stinger
can get repetitive but I found it to be the better of the two.
Box Score: Strider was an arcade game by Capcom that was
ported to several consoles. The SMS version tried to clone the arcade
appearance and style. It does an OK job except the speed is a bit slow.
The NES rendition kept the general style of the original game but went
in some new directions, it introduced an actual plot and some
Winner: The think the NES version of Strider was the best console
version made (including the Genesis). The play control may not have
matched the arcade but I think overall it was actually an improvement.
Box Score: Alex Kidd was Sega's first attempt to create a mascot
to compete with Mario. His debut game, Alex Kidd in Miracle World,
was definitely a swing directly at Mario. The graphics were a step up
and vehicles (motorcycle, helicopter) were added. Additionally you could
purchase power-up items throughout the game. Super Mario Bros.
was the original pack-in for the NES and remains one of its most popular
Winner: All things considered, Super Mario Bros. is the better
game. Alex Kidd may be a technically superior game, but it has a
fraction of the replay value. I've probably played through Alex Kidd 2-3
times while I've played Super Mario Bros. more than I care to admit.
Box Score: Continuing the battle of platformers we have Super
Mario Bros. 2 vs. Psycho Fox. I'm sure everyone knows the
story about how Super Mario Bros 2. in the United States was not
the "real Super Mario Bros. 2". Yeah, it was a remix of Doki
Doki Panic but was still a fine platform game all the same. Psycho Fox, a late entry to the SMS library, took another stab at
establishing a cartoony franchise character for Sega. The visuals were nice but
the control a little spotty.
Winner: Mario or not, Super Mario Bros. 2 is a great installment
in the series. It's certainly a leap beyond Psycho Fox which failed to
be the "Mario-killer" Sega was looking for.
: The SMS was
on its last legs
when Sega decided to port their Genesis mascot
over. Sonic the Hedgehog
was not directly based on the Genesis
version though, the level design is closer to the Game Gear version. It
was Sega's last ditch effort to breath a little life into their dying
system. By contrast, Super Mario Bros. 3
was released at the peak of the
: Super Mario Bros. 3 by a wide margin.
Box Score: For the third time we're pitting an arcade-style
sports game against a more detailed simulation. Tecmo Super Bowl
continues the tradition of fast-paced, albeit slightly far-fetched,
sports games for the NES. Joe Montana Football for the SMS offers
up a more realistic recreation of the NFL experience (minus the
stabbings, steroids, and primadonna wide receivers).
Winner: At the risk of repeating the R.B.I. Baseball vs. Great
Baseball notes I'll say that Tecmo Super Bowl is just more fun to play
than Joe Montana Football (this version at least). If I had to play one
of these, I'd choose Tecmo Super Bowl hands-down. On a side-note,
remember how great it was when there was more than one NFL game to
Box Score: If you like non-religious games that reward moral behavior
then Ultima IV is the game for you. The NES and SMS both received
a port of this PC hit although in slightly different formats (running
theme today). On the NES it was updated to cater to a two-button
controller, on the SMS there was an attempt to replicate the control of
Winner: I gotta go with the NES version on this. It was ported to
play more like a console game while the SMS version tried to clone the
PC creating an awkward control scheme (you press "up" and the
game scolds you, nice).
Time to take an 8-bit trip to sunny Las Vegas.
Vegas Dream for the NES lets players choose from blackjack, roulette, slots, and keno.
Casino Games for the SMS has poker, blackjack, baccarat, slots, and pinball(?).
They both feature a password system.
Winner: How can you make a casino game without poker?
Forget the superior visuals, Casino Games takes this round based on game selection alone.
: So we wrap things up with the battle of
side-scrolling-action-/-adventure-combination games. Zelda II: The
Adventure of Link
went in a different direction than the original.
The overhead view was replaced with side view. More emphasis was put on
action and dialog as well. Spellcaster
for the SMS jumped from
dialog/puzzle-solving scenes to action ones. Think of it as Shadowgate
only with action scenes (and much easier puzzles).
: I thoroughly enjoyed Spellcaster but have to give the nod
to Zelda II. The action sequences in Spellcaster are painfully slow and
eventually become a burden. As an adventure game Spellcaster is the more
interesting but as fun goes, Zelda II is the clear winner.
And the winner is..
I've got the final tally at 24-18 in favor of the NES. So what did we learn
from this madness? As odd as it sounds, the Sega Master System may have
failed because they tried too hard. By attempting to duplicate the arcade or PC
experience on an 8-bit console they neglected to actually make the games
something you'd want to play. Games ported to the NES were generally
down-graded to better suit the hardware capabilities. Maybe this was
Nintendo's direction, maybe it was a side-effect of trying to crank games
out too quickly, maybe it was an accident, whatever the case it resulted in
better games. The other lesson, which is stating the obvious I guess, is
that first-party Nintendo releases are pretty tough to compete against.
Sega's a great developer but many of their first-party titles for the Master System
didn't touch Nintendo's early creations.
Well that was fun, but also more work than I expected. I think I'll do
another grudge match this year, only with waaay less than 42 games.
TurboGrafx-16 CD vs. Sega CD sounds tempting..