Review by MrDeathguise

Reviewed: 01/09/04

Not bad, but could've been so much more.

Well where to begin....at the beginning I guess. I've been a Sonic fan since the original, loved all the Genesis/Megadrive and Master System/Game Gear titles, wore the clothes, bought the Fleetway comics, etc. I was hardcore. However, after experiencing Final Fantasy VII at a friend's I had to go with Sony in the console market and never got to experience Sonic's Dreamcast titles....until last year. Turns out it was the most disappointing experience of the entire year too.

As you'll probably know, Sonic Adventure started off as a Dreamcast title, released in Japan during 1998 and the west in '99. Apparently back then it was a fairly big hit, proving popular with Sonic fans who had longed forever to play a GOOD 3D Sonic game. I assume most of the games' popularity was due to the fact that at the time, the graphics were absolutely stunning and that it was the only PROPER Sonic game in 3D, as 3D Blast didn't really seem to be liked for it's slow gameplay...or something, I don't know, never got the chance to pick it up. Anyway to be honest, that's the only reason, along with the high quality sound, that I can see this game being popular. Time to move on to the important stuff anyway.

Gameplay: 4/10

Right off the bat, we have the games' biggest problem. In the old Sonic games, we'd run through the stages with a fixed perspective only having to worry about the dangers that lay in front of us. Everything was fast and entertaining and the controls were almost flawless. Camera problems just didn't exist...and I really wish I could say the same now. The biggest and most famous problem with 3D Sonic gaming began in this game....the camera is the WORST I have ever had the misfortune of playing with. It just doesn't stay still and you barely have any control over where it goes (It can be rotated with the L and R buttons but it often snaps back into somewhere you don't want anyway. Using the C stick gives you a first person view, but this is fairly useless too). I honestly can't see how people overlooked this in 1999 but what infuriates me more is that Sega decided they wouldn't even bother fixing it. When I'm stuck facing a wall or can't see what's ahead of me because of some object, I want to be able to change the camera angle. This game just doesn't let you do this and the problem is, you'll want to pretty often. It's also real shame, because if it was fixed I could probably bump this score up to something more like a 7. Ridiculously easy boss fights and lack of difficulty over all would stop it from climbing any higher.
The core gameplay is just like that of older Sonic games, run to the end of the level going through a series of loops and making enormous jumps, while bashing baddies with a semi-classic spin attack (Press the A button - although now assisted with a homing effect that takes away the effort of having to land on top of an enemy). The spindash is still here as well, although now assigned to the B button. There's a few new moves too, but most of these are fairly pointless and don't add much to the experience. However everything I've mentioned so far is for Sonic's game. New to the Adventure series is the ability to play as several characters with different modes. Knuckles' mode involves finding emerald pieces hidden around stages (in which a lot of the camera issues become painfully apparent), Tails has to try and beat Sonic to the end of a stage, Amy has to escape from some crazy robot and grab onto a balloon, Gamma has to err...shoot lots of things..(well there's more to it than that, but I'll try not to spoil anything) and Big well...Big fishes. These things are all nice and all and manage to progress the story, but they aren't really Sonic. Only Tails' and Sonic's levels have the rush that you play a Sonic game for really. The other modes are sub par and not incredibly interesting but you'll need to play them if you want to unlock the final story and see the games' true ending. By the way there's also a Chao raising mode now that'll probably appeal to the diehard monster raising fans out there. Anyone else however, will probably find it fairly dull. Anyway overall, the gameplay is sort of fun with some characters, but is damaged severely by the camera..oh and glitches...and horrible collision detection that can send you flying through walls....in other words this game has a lot of gameplay problems that needed to be fixed and weren't. It's also far too simple to beat.

Graphics: 7/10

Now this is an area I can see having impressed people 5 years ago. Smooth, colourful and with some impressive level design, Sonic Adventure DX looks pretty good. The character models have had an upgrade apparently but I never played with the originals so I can't comment. I can say though that the current ones look fairly impressive. I never thought once about Sonic or anyone else looking wrong in 3D. Sega did a really great job upgrading Sonic and friends' look from the 2D sprites. The only problem here is that when talking the character's faces go into horrible spasms, with the lips moving strange warped shapes that could never fit any language ever. I can forgive Sega for this though. In fact I can basically forgive all problems with the visuals apart from ones related to the camera. I should also mention that the game sports some really impressive textures. Anyway overall on graphics, this game does look pretty good. The only reason the score isn't any higher though is that it has aged a little and seeing as how the levels look exactly the same as they always did, this is pretty apparent. Intro FMV Is awesome by the way.

Story: 6/10

Robotnik/Eggman has took control of some almighty water creature called Chaos and is planning on using it to destroy Station Square, Sonic has to stop him blah blah blah. Can't go too indepth without spoiling it I guess, but it was ok. Real problem here though is that it was poorly presented through some nasty voice acting, Knuckles being one of the biggest offenders here. Anyway, the story isn't likely to put you to sleep, but you're not exactly going to get drawn into it either. The older games managed to do just fine without a deep plot though, so this is easy to overlook.

Sound: 9/10

Now this is the one area where the game actually shines.
This game sounds great, with some incredible tracks like 'Open your Heart' really bringing the soundtrack to life. With remixes from Sonic 3D this game does manage to capture the Sonic feel and chances are you wont have any problems with the sound at all, other than the incredibly poor voice acting.

Play Time/Replayability: 7/10

So you can unlock all those classic Gamegear/Master System titles huh? Sounds good doesn't it? Well to be honest, it is, but the only problem is...are you really willing to put in the effort to do so? Right now I want to play Sonic Triple Trouble, a game unlockable by collecting a ton of emblems...however the game just isn't enjoyable enough for me to want to acquire all those emblems. Getting the more difficult ones just doesn't seem worth the effort at all. There are other unlockables, but you'll have to have the patience of a saint to get them. For playtime the game is a decent length, but it's also extremely easy so you wont find yourself having to replay areas very often as you'll usually get through them first time. If the chao system is anything like that in SA2 then it's nice, but just sort of an additional gimmick. There's nothing in it that'll really draw you back unless you're a diehard monster raising fan.

Conclusion

This game isn't that bad, but I was expecting a lot more from Sega. The camera is just a horrible, horrible mistake and not fixing it after 5 years is unforgivable. Still if you can overlook this, there's a fun game underneath with some great music. It's just all too easy. Sorry if I've sounded really boring throughout this review but bringing back memories of my disappointment kind of puts me in a dull mood.

Rent or Buy?

Unless you're a diehard Sonic fan and think you can overlook the problems I brought up....don't buy this. Definitely rent it though, because it'll at least get you acquainted with all the new characters and gameplay features of 3D Sonic if you haven't already. Anyway, it's not the worst Sonic game, just not the best either. SONIC 2 IS, MUWAHAHAHAHAHAH.


Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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