Sonic Adventure


Review by Will Matson



Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Sonic Adventure is Sega's first Sonic game for the Dreamcast console, released at the system's launch on 9/9/99. Sonic Adventure is the return to greatness that the blue one has been waiting for since his days on the Genesis.

The game is best described as a 3D platform game, in the style of Mario 64, except that I see Sonic Adventure as a far superior game. The Sonic games were previously about blazing through the levels at top speed with the only real objective to be finding/earning the Chaos emeralds which are needed to truly finish the games. Although the game play wasn't very deep in the earlier installments, it was truly exhilarating. Sonic Adventure keeps the exhilarating gameplay but also adds some great new features which will be covered a little bit later.

As you would expect on a 128-bit system, the graphics are very sharp, especially considering this is a title that was available at launch. The levels and effects look great. The people and bosses that Sonic encounters do look realistic, particularly up close. Sonic and the other characters are quite detailed. There isn't much to complain about here.

The music during the game is very peppy and upbeat, not all of it sticks in your head, hence the score of 8, but it certainly goes very well with the game. Some of the best music is the hard rock soundtrack at the title screen. Another place that has a good soundtrack is the Mystic Ruins. The sound effects are not much different than other Sonic games. The voices during the "story" scenes are all pretty good, the only exception is Sonic, who seems to have been voiced by a bad actor. It is a little bit funny that the main character, Sonic, has the weakest acting of all the characters, considering that it is his game.

Sonic Adventure has more success in the gameplay department. As mentioned before, the whole style is quite similar to Mario 64. As in Mario 64, you must go through a series of action stages several times completing different tasks each time, which get progressively harder, (finish stage, finish stage with 50 rings, finish stage in under 2 minutes, etc.) to earn Sonic emblems (similar to the stars in Mario 64). Another similarity to Mario 64 is that Sonic Adventure is a 3D platform game. However, I found that the similarities stop there. Sonic Adventure controls really well, I thought the control was superior to that in Mario 64. Another difference is that Sonic Adventure has a lot more action and is more exciting.

In Sonic Adventure, there is an emphasis on exploration as Sonic explores a large city, casino, park, underground sewers, the sky (in a plane) and also ruins in search of action and adventure. One of the criticisms of this game by other reviewers was that there was nothing to do and the exploration was boring. I have to disagree here. While this is a little different, and slower-paced at some points (while exploring), than previous Sonic games, I find this to be the most enjoyable entry in the Sonic series. There are some fun mini-games that take place such as pinball games and another that recalls Nights into Dreams from the Saturn console.

A new feature is the ability to raise creatures known as Chao, this feature is utilized by using the official Sega memory card (Visual Memory Unit). One more feature is that you can play as 6 different characters, which serves as a nice change of pace. Like Sonic, the other 5 characters can go through stages collecting emblems. The adventures with each character sometimes overlap with one another as the story unfolds. The player starts the game as Sonic and gradually "unlocks" new characters as the game progresses further, more levels are completed and more Sonic emblems are collected.

The 6 characters are Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, E-102 and Big the Cat. All of the characters have unique abilities and you can change back and forth as you wish when you start up the game. When using Sonic in particular, the gameplay during the action scenes is just as fast-paced and exciting as the previous Sonic games. There are only a few real complaints. The first is that the 'boss' battles can be on the easy side (particularly the early ones with Robotnik, Chaos and Knuckles). The second drawback is that in a few of the levels, there are certain points where you don't really have any control over Sonic (for instance if he goes in certain loops or is in a windy area). However, as previously mentioned, the control is sharp, with the analog controller used to control Sonic and his friends.

The cross-pad on the Dreamcast controller is used to control the camera. To debunk another myth, I will say that despite what a lot of people say, I think the camera angles in this game do an excellent job of staying on top of the action and showing the game from the best angles. I've logged several hours with this game and only had camera difficulties for one very brief stretch.

Overall, as I said before, this is my favorite Sonic game. This is coming from someone who has liked all of the previous entries as well (with the exception being side stuff/spin-off stuff such as Sonic Spinball, etc). It's got a great variety of features, such as multiple characters, mini-games and the raising of Chao creatures. This is all in addition to a story that unfolds very well, as well as classic Sonic speed and action. Sonic Adventure is a top-notch 3D platform game that does the Sonic name proud!


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:32 PM