Review by CChan

"Sayonara... Sonic the Hedgehog..."

Sonic Adventure 2... Sigh, how Sonic has grown, from a young tiny-tyke hedgehog in his Genesis (or Master System) platform to a teenager of 16 on his usual quest to foil Eggman's miserable attempts to take over the world. But certainly, he has grown and matured and even managed to learn a few new moves to go through robot-infested planet Earth. You can also expect Tails and Knuckles to appear in this game, as well as that pesky pink hedgehog, Amy Rose.

Graphics - 10
Ah, if you think the graphics in Sonic Adventure was good, wait till you look at this. Yes, a perfect 10 for a truly masterpiece. It's an immensely detailed 3D world with all those flashy lighting effects and colours fitted everywhere. Of course, the characters are rendered perfectly, but I guess you can see the difference between this game and Sonic Adventure. This time around, Sonic is thinner but looks more matured. Tails, who will be stuck in a mechanical walker called 'Cyclone', looks quite cute while Knuckles, looks exactly the same.

The background's pretty great, and the animated objects around like cars, flying robots, airplanes are among them. To get into technical details, I recall reading that this game is 60fps (frames per second), compared to Sonic Adventure which is only 30fps. That means, if you don't understand, Sonic Adventure 2 will be very fast, smooth and fluid. To describe everything in this game will be like describing a wonderful scenery or experience you had while mountaineering; the sky, sun, clouds, trees, birds, ants, animals, wild flowers, rivers, ants and etc. Get it? You simply have to play this game to know what I'm talking about. It's a beautiful world out there.

Music - 9.5
The background music is pleasant enough. Some are better than Sonic Adventure, while some are worse. I'm not good and don't have much knowledge about music to describe it, but I can assure you that you can find fast and quick music to get you into the mood. Of course, somehow or another, the background music sounds suitable with their own respective stage. Don't ask me why. Maybe I got used to hearing them and all.

Before I cough and start to sweat, you should know about the character's theme songs this time around. This is my own personal opinion, maybe yours would be different but I must tell you that the character's theme songs are horrible. Yes, I don't know what get into Sonic Team's minds to produce such terrible theme songs. Even though the lyrics are the same, it's only the music, and how they sing it, is horrible. This is, however, probably with the exception of Live and Learn, the main theme of the game.

The sound effects are nice. Maybe you won't notice much while you're so engrossed with the game but there are those sounds when you destroy a mechanical robot, speed through speed boosters, jump, shots from mechanical walkers, laser sounds, when you dig through earth, destroying boxes and many others.

The English voices are okay, I think. Sonic sounds almost the same, though slightly different, Tails sound nice, almost like the voice actor in Sonic Adventure (that is, if they use the same voice actor, I can't remember) and of course, Knuckles. Amy sounds exactly the same, if you wish to know. Eggman sounds the way he should be, though softer, I don't know why. Rouge the Bat, a new character sounds okay. Shadow the Hedgehog, on the other hand, sounds quite nice with his deep villain-type of voice.

For the Japanese voices, many people think that the Japanese voices sound better than the English ones. Of course, if you have been playing Sonic Adventure with Japanese voices, you might think that way but for me personally, I think they sound rather different. Sonic sounds rather high-pitched I think, but still okay. Shadow's voice is rather deep, something like his English counterpart. Tails sounds quite like a kid, where he should be, while Eggman sounds exactly like a villain. Knuckles is still okay, while Rouge, sounds like a deep-voiced lady (except that she ain't no lady).

Gameplay - 10
Oh yes, yes. This is how an ideal Sonic game should be, in Sonic's 10th Anniversary since the original Sonic the Hedgehog. For beginners, I don't know how to tell you but you should have some skill and more brains this time. For the players who had played Sonic Adventure before, expect this game to be harder. No kidding. I don't know whether this will be a good thing or not but for me, sadly, Sonic Team has removed the Adventure Fields. This means that you will now zip through from one stage to another fairly quickly while the story goes on.

There are 3 types of gaming style, this time. The first one is high-speed action which involves Sonic and Shadow (both from the Hero and Dark side respectively). You'll need to go through rather quickly (or take your time if you like), grind on rails, destroy boxes and enemies and various other things to do. This will definitely be fun and the best of the three gaming styles.

Tails, now stuck in his mechanical walker 'Cyclone', which transforms from the Tornado 2, will see the same fate with Dr. Eggman, the so-called greatest genius in the world. Both Tails and Eggman will target (lock-on) opponents and shoot with their missiles, almost similar to E-102 levels in Sonic Adventure. Instead of pacing through the level quickly while destroying some enemies, you can take your time (no time limit like E-102's levels) and you must destroy every single enemy in order to unlock the locked gates or doors. This, we call, the shooting game.

The third one involves Knuckles and Rouge, and well, I don't even need to tell you as you would probably guess it right: it's treasure hunting. The treasure hunting involves a hot/cold meter type, green means near, yellow means nearer, and red means you're on the right track or spot. You might find this easy but it's harder this time. As the stages are quite big, you can check at the computer screen in the game for a maximum of three clues for each pieces of the Master Emerald, or keys. Unlike Sonic Adventure, where the hot/cold radar will tell you when you're near any of the three pieces of the Master Emerald, this time around, you will have to follow the order, the first to the third. Yes, even when you're standing right in front of a piece of the Master Emerald, the radar won't give you any signal unless it's the first one (or whichever correct turn).

The three gaming styles will be chosen automatically for you (meaning that you won't be able to choose which character to play with) as you choose a 'side' in the beginning, either Hero or the Dark side. If you think the early stages was easy enough, wait till you see the later ones. I can almost scream in frustration, annoyance that they made this game so hard while I wasted almost an hour at a single miserable stage, until I discovered that it wasn't so hard after all; that is, if you know what to do. Comparing Final Egg, the last stage of Sonic's in Sonic Adventure and this particular Sonic's stage that I was stuck earlier on (telling you would be spoilers, right?) will be like comparing a hard rock to smash with a giant hammer and a gigantic spiked stone to smash with your bare hands.

Sonic, as well as Shadow will now have the ability to grind on rails, without needing to take any Level Up items. The Homing Attack still remain in this game. Also, both of them will be able to perform the Somersault, another new move included in this game. The Level Up items now will be harder to get, as they won't just appear right in front of you. You'll have to search the various hidden platforms or beetle enemies or any other things that will help you to get to the hidden Level Up item. But of course, there are some Level Up items in the stage that you're in, required in order to proceed through the stage, and that Level Up item will be normally be near where you're stuck because of the absence of that particular Level Up item.

Now, the stages will be much different, harder, lots of puzzles that can wreck your brains and many hidden areas or shortcuts. Indeed, you don't need to follow the straight road, jump into every bumpers. You can stop, move your camera around and check for hidden areas. These hidden areas usually contain items, shortcuts and perhaps a Level Up item.

Speaking of camera, you can turn it around using the L and R buttons but if you move your character while turning the camera, it will automatically change it back to its original place. It's difficult and annoying, especially when you want to check for hidden areas to access.

There is also a Versus mode, allowing you to play against a friend with several stages chosen from the entire game. You will be able to race against a friend by using either Sonic or Shadow, play a shooting game by choosing either Tails or Eggman and treasure hunting by choosing either Knuckles or Rouge.

There will be all those nifty mini-games to play, which you must unlock first, of course. Your favourite Chao (who won't love them?) is back and better than before. It has a more complex personality, and more types of Chao to raise instead of just a plain normal one. Your Chao (pronounced as ''chow'') will now have more group or single interactions on his own, meaning that your Chao will be able to play with another Chao, provided you have the right items or toys won from the Chao races.

Other than animals to give your Chao, there are now 4 coloured Chaos Drives that will give your Chao stats, without giving other animal looks or personalities. Raising your Chao to the maximum will be far more difficult, and no more matching game to win fruits that will give your Chao stats. Chao Adventure 2 is simply longer, and you'll have to wait longer for your Chao to finish his adventure. Your Chao will communicate with you from time to time in Chao Adventure 2, and it's rather interesting.

There are more Chao Races than ever and they're harder to beat, as more races are unlocked. As there are more types of Chao to raise, other than the immortal Light Chao of Sonic Adventure, you'll surely have fun raising them. And yes, your normal Chao do die, but depending on whether you had taken care of them properly or not, they will reborn into an egg. You can also connect to the Internet (if you have a modem) from the Homepage option in Sonic Adventure 2 and download new and unique Chao, providing you have a certain amount of Emblems. Also, you will be able to download certain special events to give your characters a new look, and more tracks for the Kart Racing game.

Story - 9.8
There might be some spoilers while I describe the story, depending on many people's point of view so skip this if you don't want to read it.

Anyway, here goes the story. Sonic has been tracked down by the military for committing certain crimes, like destroying the military and robbing a bank while Shadow, a black hedgehog, claiming to be the ultimate life form plots with Dr. Eggman to take over the world with the Eclipse Cannon. Rouge, who is obsessed with gems co-operated with them. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy (though you can't control Amy) starts off their journey to save the world while Shadow, Eggman and Rouge, conquers it. And thank goodness that it's not to build a Robotnikland.

Well, this might sound simple and plain, it's not and it's quite interesting and less complex than Sonic Adventure, which involves in bringing characters to the past. There are some regrettable parts of the story but it still leaves to the players' opinions, which is you.

Replay Value - 10
There are simply tons of things to do, loads of things to unlock and now, definitely more emblems to collect. There are now 180, yes, you heard it right, a giant amount of 180 emblems to collect. Of course, unlike Sonic Adventure, where you didn't get anything for collecting 130 emblems, this time, you will earn something as your reward. Especially when there are 5 missions, instead of 3, for every stage that you play through the game. Some might be easy enough, like getting through the stage with a good number of points while others will be harder like ending the stage within the time limit and much more.

Overall - 10
By looking at all the points given, I must say that this is the game that you must buy. There is the GameCube version of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle which will be much better, but unless you had already have GameCube, you should get this. Non-GameCube owners, get this game. GameCube owners, buy Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. No matter what you do, buy/borrow/beg/steal this game. I'm not trying to be bias but this is certainly the game of the year, and the game of Sonic's 10th Anniversary.

Hero
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+ Stunning visuals and great graphical elements. Gorgeous stages to play in.
+ Enormous replay value that will last you for a long time.
+ Great story to follow.

Dark
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- Camera controls are horrible. Why can't Sonic Team fix them?
- The game is harder, but I guess it's what that make it challenging.
- The characters' themes songs are terrible.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/02, Updated 01/02/02


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