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Old November 22nd, 2010, 09:22 PM
A Pixy's Avatar
A Pixy
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Sonic Adventure Review
By THAT WONDERFUL PIXY GUY!

Information:

Console: Dreamcast, Gamecube, PC, XBLA/PSN
Release Date: September 9, 1999, June 17, 2003, February 6, 2004, September 15, 2010/September 21, 2010
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: SEGA

Introduction:

I am a Sonic fanboy. Down to the core. I grew up on Sonic Heroes and I've learned that backtracking from there brings you to really good games. And thus, I've become a glorified fanboy. How about going back to when liking Sonic was considered good and not pitiful. Back in the ye old year of 1999. SEGA decided that the Saturn was a failure and if they wanted to stay in the game, the words 'Go For Broke' would need to sum up their business plans. Thus, they created a console to cash-in on Japan's love of graphics and willingness to buy new stuff. This was the birth of the Dreamcast. The Dreamcast is loved by most but was a financial failure and SEGA fell back into the 3rd party. Unfortunate, but two mainstream Sonic titles came out in the Dreamcast's two, short years of service. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. The debate will rage on forever as to which game is better and, personally, the perfect 3D Sonic game would be mixing these two together, but I'm getting ahead of myself. This is where I review the game that brought Sonic into the 3rd dimension. Sonic Adventure. How well has it aged? Is it good just because I'm comparing it to later Sonic games or can 3D Sonic stand on his own two feet as a great game instead of it being a good game compared to the last one? Maybe there was never a time when there were good 3D Sonic titles. I'll give my thoughts in the following words.


Meet our villain. Water Godzilla.
Story:

Okay, right off the bat here's where things get sticky for me. The game is told Rashomon style and piecing together the story is a job far beyond mine. You can get the story perfectly well if you pay attention to what's happening and immediately remember who's doing what where. That being said, the story begins with Knuckles doing what he does horribly, but is still destined to do, guard the giant, green plot device. AKA the Master Emerald. When, suddenly, a water monster and a light burst out of the Emerald, sending the Chaos Emeralds and shards of the Master Emerald flying in all directions. Soon enough, Sonic has an encounter with this watery monster and dispatches it. It vanishes and several questions open up.

The story is...

odd. The Rashomon style story doesn't help much and it just barely passes as a story. There are no massive plot holes, it's just a bit on the lazy side. It can still get pretty epic. The voice acting is hilariously cheesy but if you want to take it about 10% more seriously, you could change the VAs to Japanese where they sound a bit better. Another thing I feel I must mention, one character has literally no semblance to the plot what-so-ever.

Another thing, these characters don't really work for a narrative that is told through words. Sonic and his friends are nothing more than the most basic of character templates. The brash hero, the willing sidekick, the anti-hero, the robot with a heart, the psychotic 12 year-old and the mental retard. Not much you can work with in terms of story. You can tell who ever wrote it at least tried, but effort doesn't always pay off. And thus we're left with nothing more than an 'okayish' story.

Graphics & Music:


And here's where things get sticky for me. Again. I can't compare this to current game or even other download games. Other download games use a particular art to get around technicaly problems. Sonic Adventure apparently looked cutting edge ATM so how does it hold up looking at it now? Not very well. The game's cutscenes are shotty at best. Characters' walking animations continuing when they've stopped, lips never line up with what the characters are saying, whenever something flies the animation just looks horribly cheap. In game doesn't fare much better. Textures are bland and nothing ever seems to truly look good. It'll be passable at best. And I'm comparing this to other Dreamcast launch titles.

Aesthetically, it doesn't fare that much better. Levels are never really that imaginative like in the Genesis/Mega Drive era, basically everyone has been redesigned, for better or for worse, and the game is never a looker. I don't care if it's 1999, Super Mario 64 is a treat to my eyes in comparison to this 3D blob.

In terms of music, Sonic Adventure starts a trend with 3D Sonic games. Amazing soundtracks. From the moment you hear Open Your Heart in the opening cutscene, to the last tune you hear, your ears are greeted to pure candy. Almost every song for almost every level is a memorable tune. Also, every character is given a song to sum them up. My favourite is Knuckles' Jazz-Rap hybrid 'Unknown from M.E.' but Sonic's rock song 'It Doesn't Matter' is a close second. Wherever the graphics fail, which would be basically everywhere, the music picks up the slack by constantly punching out great tunes. I found myself at the sound test more often that normal people would be. In short, the game looks pretty bad, aesthetically and technically, but the game is an absolute treat to listen to.

Gameplay:

Where did that giant orca come from?


The game is broken up into 6 characters. As such, I'll cover what makes them unique, then go over the general stuff.

Sonic:

Obviously, the best gameplay in the game. Sonic's fast paced levels are actually more clever in terms of variety than the old games ever could. Sometimes you'll be snowboarding, sometimes you'll be in a bumper car, you're never doing the same thing for long when you're Sonic. And the normal Sonic gameplay has been translated into 3D pretty well. Sonic's controls are a bit loose at times but, for the most part, he plays pretty well. Delivering strong, solid, fast-paced, platforming action to your eyeballs.

Tails:

-Take Sonic's levels
-Cut them in half
-Race Sonic

That's Tails' levels in a nutshell. They're simply Sonic's recycled levels but now you're racing someone. They're still fun, but nothing is fun when you're doing it twice. Fundamentally, nothing is broken, but it's not something you'll look forward to.

Knuckles:

In Knuckles' levels, you're looking for 3 shards of the Master Emerald. For anyone who's played Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles' levels were ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING. Sonic Adventure doesn't have Sonic Adventure 2's problems. The Emerald Radar can pick up all 3 shards at once, making sure that you don't do them in any order, saving time. The levels are smaller, but still pretty huge and fun to explore, look for those shard, again, saving time. And, generally, the game doesn't drag out Knuckles' levels like in Sonic Adventure 2, again, saving time. Although it never comes off as SUPER MEGA ULTRA FUN TIME, Knuckles levels are some of the better ones in the game, offering nice variety.

Amy:

-Take Sonic's levels
-Fiddle with them

Amy's levels are like alternate versions of Sonic's levels. You don't play them like Sonic, Amy controls differently, it just feels like going through the levels with a different style. And, to me, anyway, this was a welcome change. Going a bit slower, solving puzzles and appreciating variety made me enjoy Amy's levels. Although, they did feel like they were dragging a bit at times. Longer than most levels in the game.

E-102 Gamma:

This would also later be ra-hashed w/ frustration in Sonic Adventure 2, and here...

I felt neutral. They were never really, noticeably fun. They didn't feel like a chore, they just felt kind of dull. I can't describe it, it was just neither fun nor unfun to play Gamma's shooting range levels.

Big :

You're expecting me to tear into Big, but, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with Big. You're just left wondering why there's fishing in my Sonic. It probably tastes weird, yes, but you can't say it's total vomit. They're decent and there's very few levels to play. The fishing mechanics are playable and catching fish was the ultimate diversion from platforming. The most unique character in the game, it just wasn't that fun. It's probably just me, I'm not into fishing games. Even if it is Sonic. And that just makes it taste funnier.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I have some pros and cons to discuss.

One, the camera can get a bit wonky at times. You can only move it left and right, and sometimes it'll go behind walls and it won't persist over and over until it kills you, it just might happen once or twice. It doesn't break the game.

The fact that there are 6 characters to play as adds variety I haven't seen in a platformer. A fishing sim? Out of place? Yes. Welcome? To me, just a bit. It's hard to find variety in games now-a-days. It's all just one thing. You have several different variations in one game. They might not all work perfectly or could stand on their own as their own game, but together they make something special and unique.

There are, technically, only 11 levels. Sonic can access the most at 10, but you will see the same levels a lot. You won't see them in the exact same manner, you'll just see the general template of the level a lot.

The game will take around 4-7 hours to beat everyone's stories plus the 7th, special story with Super Sonic. You can tack on a few more if you want to collect all the 'Emblems', but for the most part it's a pretty short game.

All in all, Sonic Adventure is definitely a step down when compared to the greatness that is Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but on its own, it's a pretty good game. The story and graphics are sub-par at best, but the music and gameplay are pretty good and generally, as of today, it can stand on its own as a good game. Somehow, I imagined the Blue Blur's first adventure would be more epic.

Final Consensus:
6.4/10
Story: Story was weird, poorly acted but I will give it an A for effort because it does have its moments.

8/10
Graphics & Music: While the graphics are technically poor and aesthetically ugly, the music is awesome sauce.

7.3/10
Gameplay: It has a lot going for it, but most of the characters play at an average level. Sonic's drags it up though.


7.3/10

Recommended: POSSIBLY

Last edited by A Pixy; November 25th, 2010 at 05:18 AM.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 05:51 PM
linkinpark187's Avatar
linkinpark187
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Gender: Male
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Good to find another die-hard Sonic fan! I've been playing since the first, though, and actually did my own comic at one point. I need to get back into it, though. If it were me, I'd probably score SA a bit differently. I'd probably give the Story a 7, Graphics 9, Music 9, and Replay value an 8. SEGA's demise was that their hardware was too advance for the time which meant that the price for the Dreamcast was too high for consumers (at the time). I've recently been thinking that SEGA should really come back into the console market, but maybe that's just me. Anywho, my scores would end up giving Sonic Adventure a score of 8.25/10, which is a bit more fitting for the game (in my opinion). Can't wait to pick up my copy of Sonic Colors this weekend! :D
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Old November 25th, 2010, 03:08 AM
bobandbill's Avatar
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Not a bad review - some things I definitely agree with (such as the music being epic =p). Certainly an entertaining read.

I would think in terms of improvement you could have separated the graphics from the music in terms of scoring as they are pretty different aspects of the game. Some comparisons to others 3D games of the game's release time in terms of graphics might have been a neat thing to use for the review as well as you only mentioned how it 'holds up now', but certainly the points such as poor animating, lip-synching fails, etc are valid. XD (As for that matter there didn't seem to be much in the way of direct comparisons with newer sonic games despite you mentioning something along those lines in the opening paragraph).

Also I think something that would have been worthy of mention in the review is the Chao Garden mod which for many people I know was good fun and would have extended that replay value/game-time to play it fully.
Quote:
Console: Dreamcast, Gamecure, PC, XBLA/PSN
Watch out for minor things like that as well.
Quote:
For anyone who's played Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles' levels were ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING.
Well, to be fair only some of his are annoying due to sheer size (cough meteor herd cough), but others were rather manageable, especially after you know what to do as well generally. XD

*rocks out to Open Your Heart again* Good choice of a song sample there, certainly. =p
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Last edited by bobandbill; November 25th, 2010 at 03:17 AM.
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