#384 Sonic Adventure

Posted: 21st June 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , , ,

63rd game played so far

Genre: Platformer
Platform: Dreamcast
Year of Release: 1998
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega

Sonic. The second big mascot of the nineties, after Mario, and created to be its updated counterpart – blue, sleek and fast. Like Mario in Super Mario 64, Sonic too made a leap to 3D with this platformer – again a few years later. Mario’s leap was great – not perfect, but good, and it’s a question how Sonic kept up, in particular on the ill-fated Dreamcast.

Sonic makes it to 3D with some RPG elements. You need to get the chaos emeralds before Dr Robotnik (I refuse to use any other name) gets them to power some other monster. Can you do it?

Our Thoughts

This game is described in the book as a flawed master piece, which is quite obvious.

I remember playing it a year after it originally came out. I purchased a Dreamcast for £25 with both Sonic Adventure games and a number of others (including Crazy Taxi).  That sounds like it must have been a good deal at the time. And it must have been a good enough game at the time. It was the only thing I played for a long time where, in the end, I completed it with all six characters as well as raising a whole heap of specialised Chaos. (I only now get the name where the name Chao came from.)

I even carried a Chao with me on the Visual Memory Unit.  After all, it was like a sweet lil’ Tamagotchi type thing.  Often imitated, but I bet it beeped a lot less at the time. I had the sound switched off. I cannot count the hours I spent collecting special animals to endow my Chaos with specific powers.  That would have worked. The collectables do sound interesting that way, if you like that.

Before we go any further I would like to point out that Jeroen has been playing the Gamecube port of this game whereas I have played it on the original.  I do not know how accurate this is because it has been AGES since I played the original game… but the port does handle a little bit worse. So please bare that in mind when Jeroen starts to blame multiple deaths on the bad camera system. Performance is also still horrible, despite what you’d expect.

In the Gamecube port they actually made no attempt to improve anything which feels like a true rookie mistake. The same goes for the recent Xbox 360 release of this game… which seems a bit redundant if they weren’t even going to try to improve anything. At least the people behind Beyond Good & Evil tried to bring it into the realm of HD technology.

Yeah, the controls of this game seem off sometimes. The camera doesn’t follow you well, often keeping too zoomed in on Sonic (or the other main characters) and getting confusing when the game speeds up – unless you know what you’re doing already, you need a break to catch up. That really showed when I was playing a level compared to when you did so. Since I was more aware of the controls and the general layout of the areas I was far more able to complete the levels without losing a life. While I got to use several continues.

One thing that made this game so addictive was because of the large amount of variety displayed in level design. A personal favourite of mine is the third one (set in a casino) due to a rather cool Nights into Dreams… cameo in the form of a pinball machine. The variation is great, graphically as well. Colourful, with a few themes per level. It makes for a very fun sequence of going through… when you have the time to do so. This does bite them in the ass later on when it comes to Big The Cat. Dear God, how boring and pointless those levels are. “Froggy”… to hell with your froggy you idiotic obese purple cat thing. Yeah, there didn’t seem to be much of a point to him. And it’s that one step away from the point of Sonic games… speed and racing around; fast platforming, here with several characters that have different ways of playing.

Whilst gameplay is more on the hit side compared to miss this really cannot be said for the audio work. Sonic Adventure must contain some of the most lacklustre voice-acting in a major gaming release. Yeah. The characters sound kiddish and very much read out line-by-line with OVER pronounced WORDS for EMPHASIS. Making it sound ridiculous. The world will be DESTROYED if you DON’T HELP us. Also I sound like a FOUR YEAR old. Sonic sounds like he’s on drugs; like he is a California surfer who somehow ended up trapped in the body of a neutered blue anthropomorphic hedgehog. And Knuckles has the same voice actor as Sonic. I seriously couldn’t tell the difference between the two.

I think the only decent talent they got in for the voices were those for the Chaos and animals that you ‘feed’ to them, the elephants sound so cute! Not that they have much to say. But yeah, the elephants stood out. If you whistle, it trumpets back at you. So sweet!

We did not have time in the latest attempt to play with the Chaos a lot so this will be a lot of purple text. Have fun as I’ll update our bookkeeping lists.

The whole point of the Chao Garden (apart from wasting your time making cooing noises at cute winged blue things with a teardrop for a head) is to raise your little charges so that they can take part in Olympic-style events. The animals you give them changes their overall abilities. If you feed one plenty of parrots their wings grow larger and they are able to successfully glide. The temperament of the Chaos depends on how you hatch them (as well as the type of egg itself). As long as you allow the egg to hatch ‘naturally’ they will be generally good-natured; if you hatch them by throwing their egg… well you know where this is going. I really feel that if Super Mario Galaxy had tried to emulate this then all bets would be off… people would die of starvation through playing this game at the cost of nutrition and decent toilet etiquette.

Right, that’s that done. No platformers needed for a while. Oh, ehmm, yes, the chao are cute.

Flawed masterpiece works well as a description of the game. There are fun things here, a good potential gameplay. The voice-acting and controls and occasional performance issues make it a bit hard to keep going though.

Final Thoughts

This game is not as uniformly brilliant as its Mario counterpart. With that said, the game feels like there’s a lot of promise – lovely environments, fast gameplay areas, good potential moves. It just seems a bit too unpolished to be a great game, with awkward controls, performance issues and horrible voice acting. Play with sound off and be prepared for it to take some time.

Don’t avoid the game for sure, but don’t go too far out of your way looking for this game.

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