Review by Firestorm88

"Nostalgic Overdrive"

Sonic the Hedgehog. A character devised by Sega to cash in on Mario’s market, but not directly compete with him. Well, as you know, they succeeded. If you’ve been with Sonic since the good ‘ol days, let me tell you this: This game will bring you back. Big time. Sonic Team knew we’d kill to see the old stages in 3D and they delivered nicely. The thing is, Sonic Heroes is a game for Sonic fans. If you were never a Sonic fan, this game will most likely not make you into one. It’s a standard Action game really, but it brings in many of the characters that Sonic Team has introduced through Sonic’s history.
Sonic Heroes introduces a cool new concept into Sonic games, the ability to control three characters (Speed, Power, and Flying) at once. They’re divided into three different teams (Team Sonic, Dark, Rose, and Chaotix). Learning to use which character is the best to use in which situation is a big part of the game.

Gameplay 8/10
The gameplay is classic Sonic for the most part. There’s no more “Find 3 Emerald Shards spread throughout this massive level” crap, it’s purely get to the finish. Well, as I said, it’s for the most part. Team Chaotix is Sonic Team’s result of their love for the levels we hate so much. The Chaotix must search for different items strewn through the stages that are pretty much set to go forward. If you missed something, be in for a hard time because that camera is not gonna help you. Which brings me to one of the points that kills this game, the camera. It’s been a huge problem in the past 3D Sonic games and remains in this one. You will find yourself shooting over the edge and falling to your impending doom more often then you’d like due to the atrocious camera. For a game that emphasizes moving as fast as you can, this is not a good point.

One little thing I don’t like about the gameplay is the fact that Sonic Team did not put much faith in us players. The huge part of the gameplay is of course the three player concept. You can switch the characters you’re using to Speed, Power, or Flying at any time on the fly with the press of a button. Instead of letting players try the trial and error or logical methods, they tell you bluntly before each section which character would be best. I’m sorry, but that just adds a little too much easiness into places that don’t deserve.

The layout of the gameplay is classic Sonic as well. It delves into the past and digs out the Act 1 -> Act 2 -> Boss -> Next Stage that we’ve come to know and love.

Control 8/10
It’s basically the controls from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. They work well really. The X and Y buttons are perfect for switching members. The Z button is a good choice for the Team Blast seeing as you don’t use the Team Blast very often and Nintendo was most likely drunk when they decided to put the button where it is. The only problem is it’s easy to press the wrong button combination and get hurt by an enemy. When you get hurt, you also lose your key to the special stage which can sometimes be a bit annoying.

Story 7/10
“What story?” is what you’ll ask if you’ve played the game already and I sort of agree. The game is a far step back from the story in Sonic Adventure 2. There are only a few cinema scenes done in beautiful CG graphics linking the stages together. So expect to see some sort of storyline every 3 stages. Although the story isn’t RPG fare, you have to keep in mind that this is a Sonic game and they didn’t really have much of a story to begin with. Also, action games aren’t exactly known for their stories!

Graphics 9/10
The CGs are beautifully done as I said before. The levels are stunning. I love what they did in the game. The details on the bosses are spectacular. The framerate is good throughout the story. I commend Sonic Team on their awesome job.

Sound 6/10
Kill me. Kill me now. Why, oh WHY must Sonic Team continue to give us the worst voice acting on earth? Why must they make me want to punch my favourite Sonic character (Tails)? For some reason, Sonic Team is trying to get out the message it hates Flying characters. Tails, Cream, and Charmy will all grate your ears with the most annoying voice work you’ll ever hear in a video game. Team Rose seems to have a huge problem with voice work. Amy’s constant lines of wanting to woo Sonic will make you pity her sad existence actually. If you think that you won’t have to put up with it much, think again. Every single time you switch characters, they will talk. The problem is they’ll say the same thing every time they switch making it repetitive and a bit nerve grating. The music however is classic Sonic fare. It’s nice background music, the type that you listen to while playing without really noticing it. I’ve like the music in Sonic games so far and this is no exception. And if you're wondering, no, there is no option to turn the voices to Japanese.

Lifeline 8/10
This game should last you a while as long as you don’t play 24/7. There are three difficulties of play at the beginning in the discrete method of the teams you pick. Instead of making you pick “Easy, Normal, or Hard” Sonic Team gives you “Team Rose, Team Sonic, or Team Dark” along with Team Chaotix which is another game in itself. Even after you complete all three stories, you have you to get all the Chaos Emeralds to unlock the final ending as you have had to do in all the Sega Genesis games. Again, a tribute to the past. Although Emblem collecting isn’t as in-depth as Sonic Adventure 2, you can still do a second quest in each giving you at least two objectives in each act.

Final Rank 8/10
If you’ve played Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and liked it, buy this game. It won’t disappoint. If you haven’t played Sonic Adventure 2: Battle however, I’d recommend that over this as the events in this game come after that. Also, SA2:B is now a Player’s Choice game so you should be able to pick it up cheap and still be able to afford this a few weeks or months later! Sonic Heroes is a buy for Sonic fans, but not so much for those not acquainted with the Blue Blur.

Note: Sonic Team refers to the development team that makes the Sonic games. Team Sonic is the team of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles that you control in the game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/22/04, Updated 01/22/04

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