Sonic the Hedgehog has been quite a questionable series recently. People tend to absolutely despise the bad games and announce the series’ death! Are they wrong? Well, no. Are they right? Well…. no. You see, although Sonic has had nothing but horrid games recently, people tend to ignore the good games Sonic managed to make.
Even though Sonic will never be considered one of the best gaming series ever, people have to admire the effort the developers USED to have, and the hype fans have experienced over and over. I think one of the first types of these games is the game Sonic Adventure. In the following review, which may be one of my longest, I will review the game in detail and see if the game is any deserving of the hype it had in the late 90’s. Let’s begin!
Keep in mind that I am actually reviewing the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut.
Sonic Adventure was the product of absolute hype. There weren’t any “main series” Sonic games since 1994, and there was a new Dreamcast system by Sega coming out in the United States. Sonic Adventure was a launch title. Of course, there was lots of anticipation!
I wasn’t alive back when that was out, but I fear that due to Sonic Adventure being overhyped, the review scores were raised quite a bit too much. And, Sonic Adenture (in its DX form) was re-released quite recently for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. I dare not check these recent reviews–whoever reviews Sonic these days must be incredibly biased.
But Sonic Adventure still ended up pretty successful, at least back then, and was Sonic’s entry–though quite late– into 3D platforming. But I digress. Time to properly go into the review!
II. The Story
The story of Sonic Adventure isn’t a selling point of the game, but still quite important. Each of the characters of the game, (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and E-102 Gamma), have their part in the story. To be truly honest, I haven’t really finished the story of each character anyway, so I apologize.
To summarize, the story is about a monster called Chaos. Chaos was sealed in the Master Emerald thousands of years ago, after almost destroying an entire civilization. In the present, Knuckles, the current guardian of said Master Emerald, is ambushed by Chaos, who happens to be released by another villian, Dr. Robotnik, (or Dr. Eggman).
Eventually, each character gets caught up in problems as a result of Chaos’ release, such and such, and Sonic defeats Chaos. I apologize for such a vague summarization, but I don’t want to give spoilers!
The story, to be honest, isn’t half bad. I personally find it fun to piece together the puzzles of the plot for each character.
But the story should never be your prime focus for a Sonic game. Otherwise, you’d be in for a bad experience.
III. The Sound, Graphics, etc.
Sonic Adventure, in terms of these things, is a very outdated game. No offense, but the graphics definitely haven’t aged well. Light reflects off of most of the character models as if they were made of plastic. And the levels look really bad! Even though the Dreamcast was very powerful at the time, Sonic Adventure looks like it’s for the first PlayStation! And the way the models’ mouths move when they’re talking— the definition of outdated!
But I shouldn’t judge too much. For its time, Sonic Adventure’s graphics aren’t THAT bad. But in this age, it’s definitely awful. Like comparing a “1080p 60 frames per second” game to something on the original Nintendo! But I digress.
The sound effects are pretty good, and somewhat realistic, like Sonic’s jumping and the sound of rings being collected. I think that they’re ripped directly from the Genesis games, too, albeit with a different pitch.
Ugh, the voice acting. The voice actors themselves sound pretty good, but the way they deliver lines sounds terrible. It’s as if each voice actor were in a different room when they were recording lines, which would be the only explanation. The characters talk to each other awkwardly.
But a few voices, like Sonic’s, Amy’s, and Eggman’s, fit their character quite well, and this game has a few infamous lines amongst Sonic fans. Other than that, Sonic Adventure doesn’t offer much in terms of graphics, and especially not voice acting.
IV. The Gameplay (Core)
Each character has different styles of play, but control the same way. They all run, jump, and attack, but their levels play differently.
Sonic’s gameplay is, usually, to get from Point A to Point B; sometimes, you have to fight a boss or collect a certain amount of rings, but other than that, they never really change. Tails’ gameplay is pretty much an abridged version of Sonic’s. And even then, Tails participates in only a segment of Sonic’s plot. In Tails’s levels, you go through portions of Sonic’s levels, and race either Sonic (or Eggman) to the end of a level.
From here on, this is where the characters get more diverse. Knuckles, due to the Master Emerald being shattered, must collect three peices of the emerald in each level. Once again, Knuckles’ levels are in segments of Sonic’s levels. Knuckles’ levels are both challenging and fun, and easy to complete whether you want to find them on your own or need help.
However, the different gameplays start to get a little stale from here. Amy Rose has to run from a robot through multiple levels. SOME of Amy’s levels are segments of Sonic’s, but Amy has a few of her own original levels as well. The problem with Amy is that her story’s really, really short.
In order to save the worst for last, the next character is E-102 Gamma. Gamma’s gameplay actually isn’t that bad! But, it’s repetitive. Gamma goes through segments of levels (once again), and what’s his goal? Shoot everything in sight. Gamma’s levels are pretty fun, but get boring quickly. I personally think it’s best to play them in short increments.
And, the worst. Big the Cat! Big’s levels aren’t fast, and all you do is… fish! They’re a major change of pace from the mindless, speedy action you see normally in Sonic. In fact, that’s the reason why Big EXISTS in the first place–a change of pace! It’s somewhat amusing to see Big’s victory dance when he wins a level, but other than that, you won’t ever play as this guy unless you want to 100% the game.
Another thing that all of the characters have in common is that they all navigate a hub world. It seems a little fun at first, but it’s so large, and it gets in the way more than it lets you navigate levels. I’ve played this game multiple times, and I have no idea which of the hub worlds has which level yet! It’s frustrating.
V. The Gameplay (Other forms)
There are quite alot of distractions from the core game, if you’re tired of running, shooting enemies, and… fishing. Every character can go to “Twinkle Circuit”, which is kind of like Mario Kart. It’d be fun, but it’s always the same track, and there’s no one else to race, and the physics of this aren’t exactly perfect.
A few characters, however, have their own exclusive minigames. For example, Sonic and Tails have Sky Chase, Sand Hill, and Ice Cap. And Amy has the Hedgehog Hammer thing. They’re both pretty fun, at first, but if you play them over and over, they get boring, reaaal quick.
But, all of those pale in comparison to what pretty much is the “other side” of Sonic Adventure. The Chao Garden. The Chao Garden can be either super-boring or super-fun depending on who you are. You raise Chaos, pretty much, but the fun of it all is the variety! In the Chao Garden, there is a Black Market. You can buy hats, food, et cetera, and give them to your chao. You can raise up to 24 of them; three in each garden, for each of the hub worlds.
One of the best parts of the Chao Garden is that the rings you collect and the animals you save in the levels can be brought back and be GIVEN to your Chao! It raises their statistics! It can be quite fun, but if you’re not that type of person, well…. you won’t enjoy the chao garden!
VI. The Gameplay (Replay Value)
Sonic Adventure has quite alot to offer, but the majority of it is supposed to be unlocked. For example, if you completed Adventure mode with every character (including Super Sonic, who himself is unlockable), then you get Metal Sonic in the Trial mode! Also, you can get “minigames”, which are actually the Sonic games for the Sega Game Gear. All of these are for the GameCube/PC version only.
Another GameCube/PC exclusive is the Mission mode. I, personally, dislike it, but to each their own. In the Mission mode, you, well, do missions! Each character has their own mission mode, too, and missions range from getting an item in a level or hub world, or collecting a certain amount of rings, to moving a burger guy statue to a certain part of the city.
But if you don’t have the DX: Director’s Cut version of Sonic Adventure, there is still a litte bit of replay value. You could always go back to the levels again if you needed animals for your Chao Garden.
But, sadly, after playing it enough, Sonic Adventure ends up like an orange. You suck all the juice out of it and you still want more.
VII. The Verdict
Sonic Adventure is, for its time, something truly ambitious. It has alot to offer, such as the Chao Garden, which hasn’t been in the Sonic series for 13 years, and a few classic levels, voice actors, and cutscenes, but other than that…. Sonic Adventure is now only a speck of dust in the vast planet of gaming history.
But, still, it’s definitely worth a try for Sonic fans and normal gamers alike, but if you’re looking to play something that will last for a long time, this game isn’t for you.
I usually don’t give ratings in my reviews, but Sonic Adventure gets an 8.5/10. The reason why it’s not a perfect score is because, well, there’s so many gaping flaws in Sonic Adventure. You’d be surprised this didn’t get a 5/10 or lower! The problem with Sonic Adventure is that it isn’t a timeless experience. It didn’t age well. Now, the only reason to come back to the game is for reasons I mentioned above.
But Sonic Adventure’s not a bad game, at all. In fact, one has every right to call it the best Sonic game ever. But… it just didn’t age well.