Sonic Adventure 2
Review by JPeeples
"The battle between good and EVIL rages on."
Sonic Adventure 2 was released in June of 2001 for the Sega Dreamcast. SA 2 was developed by Sonic Team and was published by Sega. SA 2 is the sequel to the classic DC launch title, Sonic Adventure. SA 2 brings forth many new ideas into the Sonic the Hedgehog series. SA 2 allows you to play as either good characters, or bad characters. At the beginning of the game, you will pick one of the sides, each side has three corresponding characters that you will switch between throughout the game. The good side has Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. The EVIL side has Shadow, Dr. Robotnik, and Rogue. The Good/Evil characters are, for all intents at purposes, complete opposites of each other. Sonic’s rival character is Shadow, an evil hedgehog. Tails’ rival is Dr. Robotnik, and Knuckles’ rival is Rogue. This shift in characters is a pretty big change for the series, and it works out amazingly well.
The graphics are totally mind-blowing. The characters are chock-full of detail, each character model was meticulously detailed, you can make out most any feature on any of the characters in the game; this is due, in no small part, to the dramatic increase in the number of polygons used in each character. Even with all of their detail, the characters maintain super-smooth movements that move at a blistering 60 frames per second. The environments in SA 2 are immense, they are some of the largest environments ever in a Sonic game and they put the environments in the original SA to shame. Not only are the in-game environments in SA 2 huge, they are also lush, and extremely detailed. Observant gamers will notice posters featuring classic Sega characters, like Nights, and even parodies (Chaos in Space is one of the funnier parodies.} Even with all of these details, there is nary a trace of pop-up in the game.
The music in SA 2 has an upbeat tempo to it that really adds to the gaming experience. The music is used in such a way that it emphasizes the action-packed nature of the game. Most of the music throughout the game is amazing. This is particularly true of the Sonic/Shadow areas of the game; however, some of the music in the game is sub-par, the music throughout Knuckles’ levels is a testament to this, it has a horrid rap beat topped by horrid rap lyrics that make no sense. The sound effects more than make up for any of the game’s aural shortcomings. The sound effects are old-school Sonic, and I love it. Everything, from the clank of the rings, to the buzz of the lightning shield sounds just right, with just enough of a change to get newer gamers impressed, and enough of the old-school sound to make older Sonic players teary eyed with nostalgia.
Now we have come to the meat and potatoes of the game, the gameplay. The gameplay in SA 2 is multi-faceted. The Sonic/Shadow levels are super-fast, white-knuckle, rides of pure excitement and insanity. These sections have some platforming sections, as well as all new, never before seen, grinding sections. You read that right, Sonic (and Shadow) can now grind. You can grind on the railings that adorn their levels, you can even perform ultra-flashy flips that are akin to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. The Tails/Robotnik levels take place in gigantic mechs, be forewarned though, fans of the Virtual On series are probably going to be disappointed by these sections in the game. The only real problem with the mech areas is that the mechs are a bit on the slow side, these sections can take quite a while to complete simply because of the mechs’ slow speed. While we’re on the subject of levels taking a while to complete... The Knuckles/Rogue sections are the most arguous in the game. These sections are glorified scavenger hunts, and I hate that. I’m glad Sonic Team had the foresight to limit the number of things you needed to collect; the saving grace of these sections is that they really compliment the characters well. Knuckes’ abilities consist of flying, digging, and climbing, so he is perfectly suited to this type of gameplay. Thankfully, Sonic Team has added a new-and-improved Chao system as a nice little diversion for you, just in case you get bored of the actual game. There is also a nice kart racing mode that is really impressive; it moves at 60 FPS and could be its own game if it were a bit bigger.
The control in SA 2 is rock-solid. You can pull off a wide variety of attacks and maneuvers no matter which character you are; the best thing is, each and every attack can be done effortlessly, the control is just that responsive. The controls are flawless, the button configuration is spot-on, everything is just where it should be, you’ll get so attached to the control scheme in the game, it will seem like an extension of you.
SA 2's difficulty level varies from character to character and from boss battle to boss battle, but on the whole, the game's difficulty is tepid. The Sonic/Shadow levels tend to be easier because their is less thought involved; the Tails/Robotnik levels are easy as long as you've got good hand-eye coordination and you time your jumps carefully; and the Knuckles/Shadow levels are really only challenging because they're so frustrating, few risks are posed to your character in these levels, enemies are sparse, and environmental damage is virtually nonexistant. The boss battles, or at least the later ones provide quite a bit of challenge, the earlier bosses are laughable due to their predictable patterns, all of the boss battles are easier than they should be because the game tells you what you need to do to beat the boss, how challenging. So much for the old-school way of figuring that out for yourself.
The replay value of SA 2 is off the charts. There is a ton of stuff to unlock. You will feel compelled to complete the entire game with each character, if you do this, you’ll be rewarded, handsomely. If you get bored with the main game, go fiddle around with the Chao game. You can play with your Chao on your VMU and take it anywhere. The kart racing mode makes for some great fun, just don’t expect it to be on Mario Kart level.
The presentation in SA 2 is one of the best ever. Everything in the game, from the menus, to the fonts used in the game, have an edgy, yet light-hearted look and feel to them. This really compliments the two-sided nature of the game. The edgier look represents the sinister side of the game, while the lighter look represents the more light-hearted parts of the game, like the parody billboards.
Overall, this is one of the most complete packages you’ll ever find on the DC. SA 2 has it all, amazing graphics, pulse-pounding music, rock-solid gameplay, and spot-on control The game has some of the most diverse gameplay you’ll ever see, the amazing thing is that it intertwines each type of gameplay perfectly, none of the gameplay styles feel out of place in a Sonic game, well, except for the God-awful Knuckles and Rogue areas.
Here’s a little known tidbit for gamers everywhere. Sega released a limited edition version of Sonic Adventure 2; this limited edition consisted of a blue box containing a music CD with songs from nearly every Sonic game, a 10 year anniversary golden medallion for Sonic, and a book containing the history of Sonic the Hedgehog, and some amazing artwork.
As an extra special treat for the readers, I will include a review of the Sonic the Hedgehog 10th Anniversary Pack that was available in limited quantities. The Sonic anniversary pack comes in a blue box, on the front, there's a gold picture of Sonic, on the back, there's a golden Dreamcast swirl. Inside the box, there's a gold music CD with games from various Sonic games, a gold medallion with Sonic on it, and a history of Sonic booklet.
First up, I'll review the music CD. There are 23 songs included on this CD. The songs are from the Genesis Sonic games (Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles), the Saturn game (Sonic R), the Sega CD game (Sonic CD), and the two Dreamcast games (Sonic Adventure 1, and Sonic Adventure 2.) The music that Sega selected is great, it really captures the feel of Sonic and celebrates all of the memorable music that has been in Sonic games.
Here's my review of the gold medallion, the medallion has a glossy gold finish on it and looks great. On the front of the medallion is a picture of Sonic with the message ''Happy Birthday Sonic'' surrounding the picture. The back of the medallion features another picture of Sonic with the message ''Sonic the Hedgeohg 10th Anniversary'' surrounding it, underneath the picture are the words ''Sega Sonic Team'' this is an obvious thank you from Sega towards the Sonic Team for their hard work and dedication.
Finally, I will review the booklet. This booklet is quite unique, the front and back cover are white, the front cover has a picture of Sonic, the same picture on the back of the medallion etched into it. The back of the booklet has a birthday cake with 10 candles on it and the word ''Sonic'' on the cake. The gold medallion rests on top of the cake. Inside the booklet, you will find a timeline of Sonic games, this timeline marks the release of every Sonic game in two languages, English and Japanese, I really like this as it shows you Japanese the roots of Sonic. The box art for every Sonic game is in the booklet as well. The booklet gives you background info on the release of the games, and on the development of the games. There are also some notable news items about Sonic, this is perfect for the trivia buff. There is a section on Sonic merchandise that shows you some of the many goods that Sonic has been associated with. This booklet is a perfect compliment to the anniversary pack. The anniversary pack makes for a great gift to anyone who is a fan of Sonic, or Sega. I myself got this as a birthday gift.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/28/01, Updated 07/03/01
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