Review by Telgin
"Pretty poor as far as Sonic games go..."
Sonic Heroes is the anticipated sequel to the previous Sonic Adventure games, and in many ways follows the trends set forth by its predecessors while adding a few flavorful twists to the mix. (Not necessarily a good thing)
As a loyal fan to Sonic, I felt very let down by the Sonic Adventure series, and especially this game. The previous games set the stage with a few plot problems and such, but were for the most part quite forgivable. (Why is Dr. Robotnik called Eggman!?) While Sonic Adventure was a quite good game, Sonic Adventure 2 took the series on a downward trend, and this game followed suit, and turned on the turbo.
Gameplay is interesting, for lack of better words. The tried (and for the most part), true gameplay of the Sonic Adventure series games was modified to encompass the new team based system, in which the player "controls" three heroes instead of a single character. It is awkward at times, and the incessant and necessary switching to certain characters gets frustrating after a short time. The story is also a bit bland and odd, but the Sonic series isn't known for its deep stories. It is again, forgivable.
Yet, I don't believe that the game deserves a score of over 5 by any means. It is simply not up to par.
The graphics of the game are very nice to say the least. The characters all look stunning, and the environments are detailed and rich. The game never seemed to have any sort of slow down (which is quite important in a fast paced game such as this!) The CG movies were also quite nice, a great improvement over Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. I was actually a bit amazed at the improvement over Sonic Adventure 2, especially over the cinematics.
The sounds are exactly as you would expect from the game, not deviating from the past two. The music fits the characters quite well, and the music from individual stages seem appropriate. The voices are a mixed bag however; Sonic sounds great, while other characters such as Tails or Rouge can get irritating after a short period of time. Tails' voice is downright horrible. Why didn't they keep his original voice actor?! Over all, nothing much to complain about though.
This is where the game begins to falter. The story isn't very deep at all, but again this isn't that big of a deal with Sonic games. Yet, the story from Sonic Adventure was great, and Sonic adventure 2 was ok. It just seems to leave something to be desired when you find yourself blazing through stages with no apparent purpose until near the end of the game. In fact, the story is so shallow that I can't even remember much of it beyond the simple Robotnik is going to take over the world and none of the humans (why in the world did they suddenly show up out of no where!?) can do a thing about it. Perhaps I was too blinded by the issues of the game to remember the story? (Read below)
Control: OMG (read as 0)/10
This is THE problem with the game. It should never occur that you die within 15 seconds of starting the FIRST stage due to a physics glitch. Yet, this very thing happened. Control of Sonic Heroes is all but impossible, as there are a large number of expansive areas that you can fall to your death in. The characters seem to honestly be DRAWN to these holes, asking for death!
The awkward camera is in no way any help, as it often gets caught in some strange angle, making the fine movements needed all but impossible. The camera will get you killed countless times. Countless.
Rail grinding was something I feared from the moment it first arrived in SA 2. I hoped that it wouldn't make a return appearance in this game, but it did, and how. It is a key part of one of the longest sections of one of the last and hardest levels. It wouldn't be so bad if it worked correctly, but there's about an 80% chance that any attempt to switch rails as needed will be death. Don't even think about trying to do anything funny on them, including dodging enemy attacks, because you WILL die. Oh, and guess what? If you don't dodge the attacks, you WILL die. Tough choice.
Some attacks (Sonic's Homing attack for instance) can also get you killed in a blink of an eye. There are a few places that you must "leap" across enemies with this attack, and must aim to hit them. 90% chance to die here! Per enemy! Attacks are all but certain death near edges of holes, since Sonic will simple fly around in circles trying to hit an enemy until he falls into oblivion, or Knuckles will punch right off the edge. This... will... drive... you... nuts.
Also, Tails' flight is all but useless in this game, as it only lasts for a handful of seconds, and he goes SO slow. It will not save your life like in Sonic 3.
The only real redeeming quality is that they got rid of some of the more irritating aspects of SA 2, such as Tails' robot. It doesn't save the game by any means though.
Gameplay: OMG (read as 0)/10
This game was absolutely no fun after an hour or so. There were two stages in Sonic's story that took me 40 tries to beat. Yes, 40! 40! Keep in mind that these stages also take around 15 minutes to beat, and you are expected to beat them in less than 10 to get a respectable score. I have never, ever, in my life felt such rage against a piece of electronics. On more than one occasion I nearly destroyed my controller in rage. Imagine, this was Sonic's levels, which were supposed to be of moderate difficulty.
Imagine my shock when I noticed that Shadow's stages were even harder (as written by the dev's themselves!) They were right, the stages are far harder at times, an unforgivable sin.
The bosses are crazy too. When you get into a duel with another team, you might as well just randomly mash the controls, because that's the fastest way to win. Cry when you get to a boss battle with Robotnik (or was it Eggman? Gah!), because instead of the intriguing fights like in previous sonic games, you usually just end up fighting waves of lesser enemies. Die at any point in this nutty 20 minute melee and you start over. Over!
FEAR the final boss. I had to attempt him at least 60 times! And I'd consider myself at least an accomplished video game player. Imagine a person new to the game!
The "party" style system is also a serious let down. Playing the game with anyone but your fast character seems awfully slow, and you often find yourself changing back at the wrong (and lethal) times just because of this. In fact, you'll never play the game using anyone but the speed character until you NEED the others. Plus the power character's attack voices will drive you crazy after about 10 hits.
You would think that by now developers would have figured out that graphics aren't everything, especially in adventure / RPG games! Yet, that's about all Sonic Heroes has to offer. The levels for example look stunning, but on more than one occasion you will find yourself panicking because this is your last life, and you've got 15 seconds to figure out where to go. The levels are sometimes poorly designed like this, and you WILL die. Then have to do the whole forsaken thing over. That is, until you die say 5 more times and have to continue from the start AGAIN. Perhaps stringing together crazy challenge after crazy challenge isn't a good way to go about making a level? How about 4 in a row with no save in between?
The Chaotix simply feel out of place in this game. Instead of the general zipping around, you have to accomplish weird tasks with them. This doesn't sound so hard, but it makes the already convoluted levels that much worse.
Imagine! I played this game for around 7 hours at the time, for 7 days straight. I couldn't even beat half the game because I had to try two levels over 40 times apiece!
If you have anger management problems, do not under any circumstances go past level 5. You can't take it.
Worth getting? Uh...
Not worth buying unless you've got to have every Sonic game in existence. I'd say it's worth a rental, at which point you will understand my poor rating of the game. It is just too, too hard.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 11/29/04
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