Review by dantemaycry
"The blur blur is back,better than ever!"
Wow! I've read alot of reviews for Sonic Adventure.Some say that 'Sonic failed miserably' while other like it very much.I fall in the latter category.Also understand that my score is based on the fun,gameplay and challenge it delivered,and since this isn't professinal journalism that I am conducting here-I think I gave SA the score it deserved.
Well,its about some time a Sonic game has come,hasn't it? Four years.Well,that is quite alot.But Sonic Adventure turns out to be the definite title next to the original.Its time Sega reinvented the genre and taught other games a thing or too.
Your not most likely to be ceased by it,but Sonic Adventure has some neat and organised presentation.From the ''Sonic Team'' to the intro,the game is downright made with focus on its style and presentation.The game presents the best intro I have seen in a game yet,and then moves on to the start screen.I'm pretty excited now.The Sonic Adventure logo appears,and Sonic's theme song plays in the background.Wow! Sega has raised the anticipation level at the start up screen-to create more of a teaser! Anyways,you are then presented with the usual options,where further advancements finally start a new game.
And the presentation doesn't end here.From the menus it is somehow carried to the game itself.How Sega has entwined this? I don't know.So picture this.Sonic (in full polygons,complete with great texturing and the works) is sitting beside a pool enjoying a drink under the blazing sun,when he sees Tails' plain about to crash nearby.You then start the level 'Emerald Coast',which I'll get to later.Notice how the game progresses? Sonic just doesn't jump to conclusion,which turn out right;but he rather goes to search the crash for more investigation.So hold your breath here,the first action level starts.First impression: ''Sonic is bleeding fast!''.Second impression: ''Astonishing graphics!''. Third impression: ''Best level design I've seen!'' These three statements sum up my impressions on the first level.But it doesn't end.The presentation and intuitive events go on happening without any loading or wait.At one time I'm avoiding enemies,jumping over spikes and collecting rings,while running at blazing speed-when suddenly I cross this bridge where a whale comes out of nowhere to gobble Sonic up.I run towards the screen,and make Sonic run at his top speed to escape the whale at all costs.Wow! My breath is taken away.In a few seconds I have experienced all the shocks and thrills that I needed over the four years of wait.
Truly Emerald Coast is the best level I have played in years.All the loop-de-loops are there.The high speed boosters and great powerups.Every step is a cinematic one,one that cannot be forgetten.Infact one that should be recorded in the history of great games with some of the best level design.All the levels of Sonic Adventure,as just made in the same way as Emerald Coast's,but to save up pages of compliment,I'll just say that they are just as imaginative and inspired as Emerald Coast.
But its not over.At the end (where you pass this lavish forest and then a straight pathway) where dolphins jump over to the other side of the path,as Sonic makes his way thru the path to the end where he finds Tails.
But its not over yet.Actually it hasn't even started yet.Tails' finds one of the Chaos Emeralds,and asks Sonic to meet him at his workshop in Mystic Ruins.From there the adventure starts,as one of Adventure stages.Here you must travel around,ask questions and just relax without all that footwork.This makes for some great opportunites to explore the stages quite well.
The gameplay of Sonic Adventure is divided into varying types: Adventure and Action.The Adventure stages are the ones such as Mystic Ruins,in which you follow more of a simplified RPG style where you explore,ask questions and generally do the normal stuff.The Action stages do what the title says.Here you get the blistering speed of Sonic,where you can run to your heart's desire.One example of this is Emeral Coast.They aren't arranged in a linear manner always.Its what Sega has done to progress the game.Ofcourse,this can't be done with running at the speed of light,so they had to do it.I don't know why gamers have grudges with the Adventure stages.Surely,Sega would've wanted Sonic to be as fast as they could,but the story wouldn't advance in that way.I myself think it can get tiresome-but that is minor and not that much as to complain.
But hey,Sonic wouldn't be anything and the action would be missing if there was no music,huh? SA has the best music to ever grace a game.Each of the characters have unique songs to themselves,with Sonic's being the coolest one.It plays wherever Sonic is presented as the hero and protagonist of the scene.There is alot of soundtrack to accompany the levels too.They range from the good to the average.But they really aren't that bad.They all do have one genre: hard-rock.I don't really appreciate such kind of music,but for a game as SA,where the focus is on keeping the characters attitude cool and refreshing at all times,it suits the game well.The sound effects aren't bad themselves.Almost anything interactive has atleast some sort of sound effect to accompany it.To which I come to to near annoying voice-acting.Believe me,the voice-acting here is average,but the lip-synching is soo bad it hurts to see the characters.Its as bad as Resident Evil's.Only they look worst on these characters.Thankfully, text accompanies as the characters speak,and there is an option to turn off dialogue!
Basically,what has changed during the years is not Sonic.Its the new setting where the game takes place,Station Square.Well,I must say: that I would have appreciated it more if the setting were to be in Mobius-where Sonic was originally living.But I guess the new attitude of Sonic must rely on the setting as well-and so I don't really mind the urban setting.Its good to know Sonic can escape from his usual routes in Mobius to another setting.
As Station Square is the premise of the game,surely Eggman (Robotnik) would have something to do with it.And he does.The first encounter with the boss you have is Chaos.Chaos is a mythical creature Eggman summons-to which he gives Chaos Emeralds to live on.With each Chaos Emerald Chaos consumes,the stronger he grows.And the result of this all is that Eggman wants to take over Station Square and make it his RobotnikLand.Original name,huh? Anyways,the theme of the game is the same-collect all the Chaos Emeralds before Eggman does.But its not the same linear-straight-forward Sonic story and game that you'd expect.Entiwined within the game are 5 more characters,which are essential for the story's progress.
Now we enter the story.As big as the game is-as is also the story.The story is unique in that you don't just see the intro,be shoved with the story-and then you play to what lies ahead.Instead-you get to live it in this game.The story comprehensively progresses as you advance thru the stages and events that take place.Gradually-new clues and info is uncovered to which Sonic advances in the game.You also encounter 5 more characters in the game which you also get to play with.Tails,Knuckles,Amy (from Sonic CD),and introduced in the game are Big (a huge cat thingy) and E-102 (a robot Eggman constructs to destroy Sonic).To understand the often compelling story-you must play with all of the characters-to see from their perspective that what is going on and its cause.For example-in one scene Sonic is encontered by Knuckles,as he wishes to fight Sonic.Now you won't find out the cause to why Knuckles attacked Sonic-until you play as Knuckles.When playing as Knuckles-at one time Eggman tells Knuckles that Sonic is collecting the pieces of the Master Emerald (a huge Emerald which Knuckles guards and is shattered by the same Chaos creature in the beginning of Knuckles game.Knuckles sets out to recover all those pieces,and this is where you play as him).This is why you attack Sonic.But the player isn't left baffled by the events.Later in the game-Knuckles tells Sonic that ''Eggman tricked me into attacking you''.It is this narrative approach that the developers have adopted to which makes the story and game so persuasive and something original to a game.
SA is Sonic game which is very fast and great to play.But where would the game be without its controls? The controls are analogue sensitive-which means that the more pressure you exert to the analogue pad,the same way Sonic reacts to it.This is particularly useful in Mystic Ruins-where Sonic must tip-toe to places without running.The game uses the same Sonic formula-spin dash and jump at enemies to kill them.However,a new move-called the Homing Dash is also placed in the game.And it fits perfectly.Now if you double jump-you directly jump and attack the enemy on the ground and air.This way a chain can be formed-and in some areas you are forced to apply this technique to your handling methods.In one place you have to chain attack and homing dash your way thru the enemies in air.If you miss one of them-you fall down and die.This feature (analogue sensitivety) is also helpful if you want to see the beautifully made levels-becuase if you normally progress thru them,they are nothing but a blur!
To which I must compliment the graphics.Where would Sonic Adventure and Emerald Coast be without its visuals? Naka-san has truly materialised what he visualised.Everything from Station Square to the Mystic Ruins-have been made with extra attention given to them.Every object is textured and polygonised.As are the characters.Sonic's character model is a great one.He has fluent animation,great facial emotions and that unforgiving grin of his.Genius! So are the other characters-made with special attention to their features.The whole game runs at a constant 60 fps-which retains the games fast nature.Each character has their specific animation-unique to them.It gives them their authenticity.To sum up another two paragraphs-I'll just say the visuals are astonishing,for the least.
As I mentioned before each character has his/her own story and moves.I'll explain each of them below.
Sonic Sonic has his fast,faster than the speed of light levels where everything passes as a blur.Yes,its the same hedgehog you loved,only faster and better.He is the character you start with-and later on you can play with his other pals.
Tails Tails' levels are the same as Sonic's,except that you must beat either the clock,race Sonic or Eggman to the end.
Knuckles Knuckles has the most diverse levels in the game.His action levels require you to find three shards of the Master Emerald.More like a hunter,you must find them in the level to complete them.They are denoted by this ''hot-mild-cold'' meter.The closer you are,the colour (red,orange,dark pink) will denote that.The farther you are (but still in the meters reach),the more the colours change (blue,green,yellow)
Amy Rose Amy picks up a mallet and is ready to stomp all! Probably the most annoying of the characters,Amy's action levels consist of escaping this enemy robot after Amy.You must escape its clutches and advance thru the game.Particularly interesting in her levels is the mallet physics.You can use it to stomp on the ground and jump higher to reach higher platforms!
Big Big's levels are just fishing type levels in which you attack enemies with your fishing rod.It gets a while to get used to the control,but when you are familiar with them-he is easy to control.
E-102 A welcome addition to the Sonic games,E-102 is a robot Eggman made to destory Sonic and his pals.Something goes wrong and he instead turns towards Eggman! His levels are basically shooting ones,in which you target with a laser-and then shoot and dispose them off.
The games replayibility is something to applaud.You can beat the whole game by collecting 180 Emblems,which reward you with a special ending! If you have collected all the Chaos Emeralds,you get to play the whole game as a new character (can't reveal.It would be a spoiler!).There is also the time trial mode,where you can burn Sonic's sneakers by running against the timer.You can beat enemies,complete mini-games and do more as you play on.You can also access the official Sonic Adventure homepage thru the game,and post your time trial times there!
But hey,there is more.Naka-san has evolved his A-Life idea (introduced in NiGHTS).Here you have cute little creatures called Chao.They can be pet,played and taken care of in the Chao Garden.You can feed your Chao,play with him and give it a pet to play with! These pets are found when you destory enemies! you also collect those tiny helpless animals.These are the pets! You can also race your Chao in the Chao Races! Your friend can download his Chao on his VMU,bring it to your house.Then you can take it off the VMU and into the DC,and poof! and you can race you and you friends Chao! When you download you Chao onto the VMU,you can also take care of it on the go.when you are back,you can place it back in the Chao Garden of SA! Similar to Tamagotchi,only more advanced.There is endless fun to be had,as the Chao turns out to be as you take care it.
So here ends my lengthy review on Sonic Adventure.Considering how vast it is,you can only experience it when you play it.And it sells so cheap these days! Go get yourself a DC with SA or SA alone to treat yourself to a great masterpiece made by the likes of Sonic Team and Sega.May the Sonic/Sega legacy live on!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/29/03, Updated 04/29/03
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