Review by SR71halo
"Sonic's best 3D adventure comes to the XBLA in all it's former glory, but it could have used a few updates"
Back in 1999, when the Playstation and Nintendo 64 were still dominant and a new generation of gaming was upon us, SEGA created the short-lived Dreamcast. For their new console, they created the first true 3D adventure starring everyone's favorite blue blur, Sonic Adventure. Spite a few glitches, the game was heavily praised by fans and critics alike. Even to this day, some fans even declare this the best 3D Sonic game. Now, the full game can be downloaded right onto your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Does this fun 3D adventure still hold up today?
Our story begins with Sonic the Hedgehog, who comes across a monster made entirely of water, otherwise known as Chaos, who was revived by the evil Dr. Robotnik. With plans on using Chaos to destroy Station Square and the rest of the world, Robotnik starts collecting the seven chaos emeralds to feed Chaos, thus making him stronger with each one. Now, Sonic, along with his sidekick Tails, are off to find the seven chaos emeralds to foil Robotnik's plans and save Station Square. For a Sonic game, the plot was pretty decent. It was simple but it didn't try to be too serious like a few Sonic games today. The writing and voice acting aren't so good, however, with the exception of Robotnik's voice. Prepare for poorly acted lines such as "Watch out, you're gonna crash, AHHHH!".
Although that is the main plot of this game, there are actually 6 characters to play as; Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big and E-102 Gamma. Each character has their own unique style of action-packed gameplay and each one embarks on their own storyline, though they all pretty much take place at once, and they even intersect with one another.
The main focus of the game is on Sonic's action stages. The goal is simple; run fast through each level while overcoming enemies and obstacles and reach the end of each stage, similar to the old 2-D Genesis games. This will probably be your favorite part of the whole game because not only does it have the most stages, it is also the most fun. The level are well designed and the platforming was quite unique for its time. There are a few bugs that needed ironing out that should have been fixed for this port but Sonic's levels are fun and exciting either way.
Although Sonic's game is the best part, the other characters are fun in their own way. Like Tails for example. His game is pretty similar to Sonic's stages, but your goal is to get to the end of the level before Sonic does. Unlike Sonic, Tails can get a boost by flying through the speed rings which can put him way ahead. The only problem is there are only 5 stages total and they're much shorter, playing through only a fraction of Sonic's stages. These stages are also enjoyable in their own way, spite the lack of stages.
Knuckles' stages are a little different. He doesn't involve any kind of speed, but you are set in a certain area of each level and your goal is too find all three emerald pieces. These pieces can be found underground, inside enemies, or just standing out in the open. To find them a little easier, you must pay attention to the pictures on the bottom which turn from blue to red, depending on how close you are. Knuckles has a punch attack which makes killing enemies a little easier, although the range of his punches are kind of short. He can also glide large distances and climb walls too. Although this strays from the Sonic formula, Knuckles' stages are also fun and the emerald pieces change location every time to increase replay value.
Amy's stages can be a little tedious. There's only a total of 3 levels and your goal is to reach the end while avoiding a robot who is chasing after you. You have your hammer which can be used to squash your enemies and even give you a higher jump to overcome certain obstacles. The problem with Amy is, unlike the other 3, she is very slow and she can become hard to control because of it. These levels are ok but far from the best.
Big's levels are a bit dull. Instead of platforming like the rest, Big's missions include fishing for his best friend, Froggy. There isn't too much to say about Big. He controls ok but searching for the frog in each level and then trying to catch him with some mediocre fishing mechanic just slows the whole game down.
Finally, there's Gamma's stages. Gamma's missions include blasting your way through each stage to get to the end, mainly to fight another robot at the end. Gamma has a gun that, when the fire button is held down, can lock on to multiple targets and destroys them when the button is released. You are on a time limit this time but you can earn more time by destroying enemies, you earn more depending on how many enemies you kill at once. Gamma's stages also stray from the Sonic formula but they're not bad. It's just too bad that two of the 5 stages are practically training stages.
In between stages, you will have to roam around in the adventure field. Here, you can run to whichever stage you want, locate power ups for your current character, access the chaos garden or talk to the citizens of Station Square (who don't really have much to say). The world itself doesn't have too much to do and it isn't too big as the only locations to go to are Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and the Egg Carrier but it is a nice addition to have and it's an interesting way to link the stages together.
If you need a break from the action stages, you can check out the Chao Garden. In here is a virtual pet for you to raise and compete with. You start with a cute little chao with its own set of stats including running, swimming, flying, strength and stamina. You can upgrade these stats by buying them food, but the faster way is to collect animals by destroying enemies in the main game. After you get these animals, you can take them back to the garden and give them to your chao and increase his stats, and even change his appearance. You can also use rings that you collect in each stage to buy them food or toys to play with. As you raise your chao, you can have them compete in chao races and each race requires more than just speed, they may need strength or they need to be good swimmers. It's a simple virtual pet, but it is a nice distraction from the main game and it is quite addictive too. I can't believe how much time I lost taking care of one of these things.
Sonic Adventure for the XBLA/PSN is a direct port from the Dreamcast version but you can download the DX add-on for an extra 400 points/$5. The game is still fun now as it was on the Dreamcast, but this port is lazy. Adventure always had a few bugs and Sega took no time to fix those problems. That's not all either, there's no HD support or any other upgrade for that matter. This was their chance to fix the game and make it better but they didn't. Come on, they did it with the Banjo games and Perfect Dark, why not this?
Spite the fact that there are no improvements on this port, Sonic Adventure is still as fun now as it was back in 1999 on the Dreamcast. Parts of the overall gameplay have aged but it is still the fun 3D Sonic experience that we all know and love. If you already own this for the Dreamcast or Gamecube, there really isn't much reason here to warrant a second purchase but if you don't own either and/or you want to see a 3D Sonic game done right, than you can't go wrong by spending only 800 ms points ($10) on Sonic Adventure.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/25/11
Game Release: Sonic Adventure (US, 09/15/10)
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