Review by erutufon

"A graphic and musical masterpiece with a frustration factor equally worth Sword of Sodan of the Sega Genesis..."

I fear that most people will hate me for giving this game such a low score as three points. I truly understand that, and respect it completely, and hope that my opinion will be respected as well. I have been a loyal fan of Sonic the Hedgehog ever since he was born. It is not often that I get disappointed about Sonic games. Read on, and you might understand why I say the game got the credit it did *not* deserve...

This game takes place after Sonic Adventure 2 on the Sega Dreamcast / Gamecube, and once again, evil Dr Robotnik (Eggman) is up to his evil deeds. He is planning to take over the world within three days, and now it is up to our cool blue hedgehog (with co-operation of Tails and Knuckles) to prevent the mad scientist once again.

The gameplay is truly unique for Sonic Heroes. While playing, you control (more or less, read on...) three characters, and there are four teams available. Sonic, Knuckles and Tails are forming the Hero team, Rouge, Shadow and Omega (a brand new robot character) as the Dark team, Amy Rose, Cream the Rabbit and Big the Cat as Team Rose and finally Vector, Espio and Charmy as the Chaotix team. What is equal to each team is that you have one flying character, one character who is extra powerful, and one speedy. By switching characters while playing, you have to figure out how to pass various obstacles and reach the goal (preferely in one piece, once again, read on...). The layout is slightly different for the Chaotix though, as the team is a detective team where they have specifed tasks to do in each stage instead of simply running from start to finish of a level.

Graphics - 10 points
Just when I thought the graphic hardly could improve any further, as I had played Sonic Adventure 2, I was proven wrong. The graphics are really smashing, as characters, enemies and backgrounds are beautifully made, making the game moving as smooth as it possibly could get. The CG movies between certain stages are outstanding!! Regarding the graphics, there is certainly nothing to complain about. But please, read on...

Sound - 9 points
Anyone who played Sonic Adventure 1 or 2 should have a familiar feeling regarding the music while playing the game. The music genre is very similar with plenty of electric guitars and halfcrazed american-japanese pop tracks that work well overall, with a few exceptions. The sound effects are the same as earlier. The voice acting is acceptable, but was a lot better in Sonic Adventure 2.

Story - 3 points
I guess I am a bit spoiled from the Sonic Adventure games, but still I say that the storyline could have been a lot better. There is nothing really wrong with the story, but the story is not as dynamic as it was in the earlier games. Robotnik is up to his no good deeds, and our heroes save the day and that's it more or less, even though each team have their own story (more or less the same layout as in Sonic Adventure 2). But as the game was progressing I felt there were plenty of plotholes. I would suddenly find myself in a brand new zone and ask myself...''Allright, what am I doing here? How did I get here in the first place? How did I know about this place in the first place?'' There was a read thread althrough Sonic Adventure 2, but there are plenty of plotholes in this game that made me scritching the back of my head more than once.

Control and Challenge - 1 point
As I mentioned earlier, you are controlling all three characters of your team at the same time, and you switch between the characters pretty easily with the buttons on the joypad. That alone is pretty tricky to learn at first, but even as you get a hold of it, you will find yourself struggling to keep your characters under control. In over 85% of all cases when I died in the game, I died while falling of a cliff because of the failing control. If an enemy is standing next to the edge of a cliff, an attack would almost be the same thing as suicide. Of one reason or another, the character just *love* to rush a little bit too far and jump of the cliff to a certain death. There are plenty of bugs in the game where the game is more or less cheating, and that are more or less impossible to pass (why does it have to be so cursed difficult to glide on a railway and change track?). Making high jumps from springs and control yourself to land at a safe spot is easier said than done as well, as it often is enough just to tap the control just a tiny bit too much in a certain direction to fall down (once again) to a certain death! If there ever will be a sequel of Sonic Heroes, ''Team Kamikaze'' would be a team I certainly would enjoy to play.

The lousy camera from Sonic Adventure 2 has improved, but is still far from useful. As I played the game, the camera screwed up several times in the most annoying angels, without any possibility to adjust it. It specially tend to happen while flying, which more than once led to (once again) a certain death.

Except for the control (if you would call it control at all) the stages are a little bit too challenging for my liking. Finding certain objects (with the Chaotix team) or trying to find out how to pass a particular area often has to be done by trial and error and if you get ''error'' (which happens way too often) then the risk of dying (specially by falling of a cliff) is moderate to say the very least.

Fun Factor - 0 points
No, please don't stop reading now. I have never cursed so much at a videogame ever since I played the impossible-to-complete game ''Sword of Sodan'' for the Sega Genesis. The control is hopeless as the characters do their very best to commit suicide as often as possible, and with a terrible camera, this game is of absolute no fun to play, even though the graphic and sound is completely outstanding. To make matters even worse, the game is filled with bugs (the dash attack which is supposed to be used at paths of rings does not always work, characters drop from lianas without any reason whatsoever, tornado attacks at poles often results in suicide attacks as the pole often is close to an edge...) Every time I managed to complete a new stage (I have completed all stories by now, which sure took its time), I almost felt like breaking up a bottle of champagne and celebrate that I came across in one piece. An insane amount of luck is needed to get through, and videogames should be based on skill, not on luck, IMHO. I was certainly not playing this game because it was funny, it was only because I still am a loyal Sonic fan and wanted to enjoy the smashing graphics and ending sequences, but this game has made me wondered more than once if it was worth the effort. To make matters worse, you can't help but getting crazy about hearing the same voicemessages over and over again as you switch characters. The voice acting is, as I wrote above, acceptable, but listening to it over and over again drives you nuts in no time!

Get a hold of yourself, Sonic Team! You certainly know how make the games fast and flashy, but at the same time, it must be possible to control them. Furthermore, don't attempt turning Rogue into a new Lara Croft-wannabe, that wouldn't make things any better.

Now I'm off to play Sonic the Fighters to beat off my frustration...

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 04/18/04

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