Review by CAHowell

"Could have been much more, but still very decent"

After a nearly 3 year absence from the 3D world, Sonic Team and Sega of Japan have finally created another installment in the series, although it is a bit different then the mainstream for the 3D series. Sonic Heroes drops the Adventure title and in a twist, goes back to it's roots.

The outcome? A game that is pure fun, but still has problems, but first with the actual review. Like I said earlier, the previous sonic games have been rather mixed bag, having a random boss here and there and having changes in the gameplay (Treasure hunting, shooting, fishing, chao raising, etc), but hero's just drops it all and goes for a more high speed adventure then the previous two adventure titles.

In terms of actual gameplay, the classic ''Two similar stages then a boss fight'' is back, along with the process of collecting the emeralds, in somewhat similar to the way Sonic Advance did the chaos emeralds.

This, however, isn't the meat of the game. The new elements include the ability to play as three characters as once, and change to one of those characters almost all the time. The actual gameplay, though focuses on teamwork and the ability to change to a character (Sorted by 3 class systems: Speed, Flying, and power) and use that characters accordingly is the basic method of getting though each stage.

In terms of the actual stages, there are several types: Pinball-like stages, Grinding stages, and pure just getting-the-hell-to-the-end stages. While the selection between the 3 are balanced, others work better then others. The Fast passed levels are the most common of the three, and usually are the better of the three, although they can be frustrating sometimes. The pinball stages are extremely rare, but they offer a backseat to the platforming stages the other two have. The Grinding stages ARE PURE EVIL and the least fun of the three. Plagued with camera problems and rails not lined up right, grinding levels are one of the reason the game gets lower then it should.

As well as the new 3 team mate strategy, there is now a few new elements added to the series. Each character can now ''Level Up'', or increase it's maximum attack power by collecting special colored orbs, as well as building up a special attack called ''Team Blast'', which kills all on screen enemies and damages bosses.

For the most part, these special features add on to the now dry experience of the sonic gameplay and add's support to the numerous enemies in each level (That now have a HP meter, a first for the series). The graphics, while may look a bit similar to the Dreamcast/Gamecube Adventure games, are completely redone and done well (Besides the PS2
version...) Crisper, more alive, and stands out more, although staring at them too long will hurt your eyes....

The music, although hated by many, is actually bearable. The boss themes, for the most part, really stand out, and some soundtracks are even on Sonic CD levels of quality. Unfortunately, the game could have used a few of the other themes, instead of just creating a new theme for some of the actions.(Like the invincibility theme)

Control is one of the worse problems, but it can be overlooked. Because of the team style gameplay, most of the older moves have been either compressed, or redone. Some moves, such as the tornado spin move with sonic, can actually cause instant death if preformed near a cliff. Sadly, it happens. Camera has improved somewhat, but is still horrid on a platforming standpoint. Although the earlier levels are not that bad with the camera, the later levels (Namely, the grinding level), have problems. Having to adjust the camera just to see some of the action is tedious, and sometimes deadly.

Sega could have spent some more time improving the camera. Replay, for the most part, cannot be avoided. Each team is set up on the exact same level path as the other teams, only with some variations. For example, Team Rose has the easiest and shortest stages and Team Dark, while having the same stages, have longer stages filled with more enemies and hazards. If you wish to complete the game, you WILL have to play the game numerous times.

In closing, Sega really could have spent more time working on this game and created more stages/improved camera/more
variation, but instead, rushed the game onto the market too soon, which is becoming a trend for 3D games nowadays.
If you enjoyed the 3D Sonic's to death, you should have a pretty good time with heroes, just don't expect loads of unlockables, or even chao for that matter.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Voices: 6/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Replay: Medium
Length: 10-20 Hours
Control: 5/10
FINAL: 8.2 OUT OF 10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/11/04

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