Review by miffo

"Finally, a decent sequel!"

It seems like the games I've been playing lately have all been sequels, whether it be Worms World Party, Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2, or Crazy Taxi 2. While not all of those games I wonder consider a true ''sequel'' per se, Sonic Adventure 2 definitely is, and it delivers more of want you want with less of what you don't! To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything great, but I was pleasantly surprised! This is a remarkable piece of software that shouldn't be dismissed as yet another rehash that we've seen so much of lately.

zoom ZOOM zoom...

Phew, watching Sonic rush by is giving me a stomach ache. This game is not the best thing to watch for someone that easily gets motion-sickness such as myself, but it's a blast to play regardless. Now this action is great and all, but wait, isn't it Sonic Adventure 2? Sonic Team understood the complaints of many and decided to simply cut out the adventure stages—a bold move on Sega's part as that seemed to be the bulk of Sonic's previous game, but alas, it works! At first I was longing to do a bit of exploration with my hedgehog friend, however I'm already in love! The action is seamlessly intertwined between the cinematics and constantly weaves back and forth from the perspective of the good guys and the bad guys.

The story this time around is a bit strange. Sonic is aboard a chopper by people named G.U.N. before breaking loose and heading down to the streets of the city. With the military hot on his tail, he soon discovers the meaning of it all. A mysterious, black hedgehog named Shadow is up to no good but everyone thinks it's Sonic. Bad timing for him, nevertheless, he must go out and stop him before it's too late. Dr. Eggman and Shadow team up with more than enough power to destroy the planet . . .

Fortunately the developers canned Amy and Big as far as playable characters go, but there are still six characters to play. You don't get to choose your character this time; the characters choose themselves so to speak as you work your way through over thirty stages! The cool thing about this game is that you can play as the heros (Sonic/Tails/Knuckles) and the foes (Shadow/Eggman/Rouge). The action is divided into three types of stages:

:: High-Speed Action
It's Sonic vs. Shadow in this as you burst your way through the intensity of the stage. The architecture of these levels is quite jaw-dropping and some truly great work. You have some moves that are new Sonic Adventure 2. For example, you can now grind on rails by jumping on them a la Jet Set Radio. Beside a few other cosmetic touch-ups, these stages stick to the same roots and are just as fun as ever! My only complaint is that fact that you often have little control over your character, but it sure beats the not-so-action-packed stages of other action games.

:: Lock-On Shooting
This isn't a typical 2D ''shooter'' type game that comes to mind when I say ''mindless shooter'', but that's exactly what this is. You take control of either Tails or Eggman in these stages and blast your way through the stage via whatever vehicle that's supposed to be. You can hold down the button to lock onto enemies, then realease it to shoot. Kaboom! It's always fun blasting away those annoying robots, so enjoy.

:: Hunting
As I write this, I am noticing some disturbing news at GameFAQs—according to the poll, more people think Knuckles is the coolest character in any Sonic game. Well I'm going to bluntly say that Knuckles stages are booooring! In the hunting stages you are either Knuckles are that bat named Rouge and your goal is to find something, usually emeralds. Hide-and-Seek may be fun for little kids with nothing better to do, but it certainly doesn't work in a videogame. You'll have some fun times I suppose, be these stages really bring the game down.

As you play through the 1-player game, the action sequences vary between the three types above. While not all are great, most of you will enjoy playing over and over again. The controls seem to fit and the only complaint I really have is having to scroll through the different actions using Y. This can get annoying at times. Otherwise the gameplay is great!

''I am the ultimate life form!''

Shadow's a pretty cool guy if you ignore the fact that he tried to destroy the world. There's a lot to learn about him, although I won't give away anything . . . Maybe he doesn't do the best stuff, but he certainly looks awesome! The game uses the same graphics engine as its precedor, but that statement alone means it's going to be gorgeous.

What's different? Well, Sonic himself seems to have had a make-over since we last saw him—he's a bit thinner and just doesn't look quite the same. There are several other new graphical effects that have been implemented to give it the ultimate jaw-dropping factor! And don't forget, the game runs at a constant 60 frames-per-second with a very large draw-distance. The only problem with the graphics I have is the horrid camera. It gets to be a problem quite frequently, unfortunately, but it's better than that of Sonic Adventure.

Visuals are good, but what about the acoustics? Well, they're not too bad and the sound doesn't get annoying, which is the best thing about it. The sound effects are okay and the music is, well, okay. There's nothing special, but nothing wrong (except for a few songs) so I'll just leave it at that.

Imagine zooming through the forest with Sonic . . . in split screen.

I didn't know Sonic Adventure 2 would have a multiplayer option. In fact, I didn't know a lot about the game when I pulled off the factory seal, yet as I popped it in a feeling of greatness came over me. It was the 2-player options that startled me because I wasn't expecting it to be there. Nonetheless I tried it out right away with a friend and I had a wonderful time! Multiplayer is set up the same way as 1-player and you can choose between the three kinds of stages. It's good vs. evil again with a friend and you can have the same kind of fun that exists in the solo-play story mode. In other words, multiplayer was better than expected, and is a great addition to the game!

There are a few other extras in the game, but the thing that caught my eye was the Download Event option. While still in planning, the future looks bright for Sega and this idea has a lot of potential. Other options include the ability to change languages, and if you really want to enjoy the game, change it to the Japanese voices!

But don't forget the real side adventure of it all—Chao Adventure 2! The little Chao things are back, bigger and badder than ever! Raising the little guys is a lot more involving than with Sonic Adventure 1 so be sure to check it out! In all honesty, raising them could very well be the best part of the game. Now don't take that as a blow to the overall game, because the action is great, but raising your Chao can last a long time!

-Bottom Line-

It is quite a bit different from Sonic Adventure, but the sequel sticks to its roots while delivering an entirely new experience. I personally like it much more than I did with the last game, and I'm sure many of you will too. If not, it should still be fun for fans and if anything, good to have as a collection. There is enough reply value with the Chao-raising and multiplayer racing, so it's worth a buy. Have fun!

Presentation :: 9/10
Gameplay :: 9/10
Graphics :: 8/10
Sound :: 6/10
Replay :: 8/10

Sonic's 10th Anniversary


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/01, Updated 07/05/01


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