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Before I start, I'd say this is outdated info for the most part, and as such, I'm including both games for my 2015 re-review series. Anyway, enjoy.

SONIC ADVENTURE

Well, the only logical step forward from the classics would be to review the series’ transition to 3D. But first, I have another long, boring history lesson.

You see, after the masterpiece that is the Sega Genesis, Sega would go on and follow up with the Sega Saturn. While it was a 2D monster and actually was good at 3D, it simply didn’t appeal as much as the completely overrated N64, and the PlaySation. I personally think the Saturn is the best of the 3. But then, why didn’t it fare so well? Answer; where was Sonic?

            Well, with Mario shocking the world with this new fangled 3D, people naturally looked at his arch rival, Sonic. Where do I begin though…? OK, Sonic 3D Blast. I probably should look at this game in depth some time, maybe a future marathon of Genesis spin-offs. But let’s just say it wasn’t what people wanted. Actually, that was supposed to be the counterpart for Sonic’s main blockbuster, Sonic X-Treme. THAT was supposed to be Sonic’s big jump to 3D, and from the footage I’ve seen, it looks great. Luckily, fans are porting it with help from the game’s original director, Chris Senn, who would return for Sonic Boom interestingly. But yeah, that went through too much development hell, and got canceled; instead, we got Sonic 3D Blast remastered for the Sega Saturn. Ouch. Then, we had Sonic R, which is certainly a much underrated gem, that’s for sure. And of course, Sonic World, the mission based game you have in Sonic Jam. It’s Sonic in a 3D hub of Green Hill, with missions players can complete. It actually is very fun for what it is, and might even clear a top ten Sonic games. No joking here, it’s very fun!

            So yeah, Sonic’s absence killed the Saturn pretty bad. Sega was NOT going to repeat their mistake with the Dreamcast. A Sonic game was demanded as a launch title, and thus, Sonic Adventure was born. THIS GAME IS THE BEST LAUNCH TITLE EVER! Well, Super Mario Bros. was great, but this game! THIS GAME! It’s like Sonic remembering he’s the only reason Sega beat Nintendo, and got back up to make what I think, is one of the best Sonic games ever. What about Adventure 2? Patience, my friends, I’ll cover that soon. Sonic Adventure is the best selling Dreamcast game, and the best selling 3D Sonic game EVEN TODAY!

Story Square;

THIS is how you do it

            With the classics gradually growing more and more story, Sonic 3&Knuckles being the absolute climax of the classic era, how do they bring our beloved characters into 3D? Well, they gave Sonic and co. voices. I REALLY love Adventure’s voicing. Ryan Drummond really captures Sonic’s upbeat and cocky personality, Tails’ voice actor (what’s her name, I’m too lazy), is actually pretty good. Knuckles actually sound tolerable here, Amy makes sense and is good, and the new characters, E-102 Gamma and Big the Cat have fitting voices. I especially love Gamma’s voice. Tikal has a reasonable voice for her personality, and Robotnik has a great voice for the time. But Mike Polleck is still the best.

            The plot is split into six different characters, who view it in their own perspective, as all six intertwine to form one big, massive plot. The story starts off with an impressive scene showing Sonic running around his temporary residence, the Station Square. However, upon noticing the police gathering, Sonic investigates. He witnesses a firefight with Chaos, with the police simply not being able to fend off Chaos. Sonic intervenes, and quickly dispatches Chaos. However, as Sonic chases the defeated warrior, Chaos escapes into a sewer, while Robotnik smugly laughs at Sonic’s lack of understanding on which he had just fought.

            The following day, Sonic was simply snoozing near Emerald Coast, before noticing a pilot’s plane going down. He recognizes the pilot as Miles “Tails” Prower, and is given just enough time to convey a warning to his brother. Unbeknownst to Sonic, Tails was trying to use the Chaos Emerald he had found to power his plane. Sonic decides to quickly rush to the scene in hopes of recovering Tails. After fighting through the strangely robot infested zone, Sonic comes across the dazed pilot.

            Tails manages to follow Sonic back, and presents the purple emerald to him, much to Sonic’s shock. The two agree to meet at Tail’s workshop in the Mystic Ruins area, but someone was waiting for them…

            Robotnik! He had somehow learned of their meeting, and had decided to go out front and stop them himself. After an insult by Sonic, this would later be adopted as his own name, Eggman. After a quick scuffle with Eggman, Tails pulls out his emerald as a taunt to Eggman, but Eggman simply lashes out with a grabber, retrieving the emerald. He feeds it to Chaos, before disappearing. Sonic and Tails vow to reach the other emeralds before Eggman, and thus, a game of cat and mouse begins.

Sonic and Tails constantly find and lose emeralds, which ends up with Sonic and Tails butting heads with Knuckles, who is on a quest to recover the Master Emerald pieces. Prior to the game’s beginning, Knuckles was guarding Angel Island, before Gamma shot the Emerald to pieces, releasing Chaos and Tikal, starting off the whole game. Knuckles the Echidna is tricked by Robotnik to believe Sonic and Tails were finding the Master Emerald shards. The two clash, concluding with Sonic losing his emeralds to Robotnik. After fighting the fourth form of Chaos, Knuckles resumes his hunt, while Sonic and Tails follow Robotnik, chasing down Robotnik’s carrier with the Tornado. However, they are quickly shot down with the vessel’s massive beam attack, separating the two as they crash land. This is where the story divides.

Sonic returns to the city in order to recuperate himself, but stumbles into Amy. She decides to tag along with Sonic, but is followed by E-100 Alpha. Amy is in the story because of Sonic’s earlier attack on the Egg Carrier, which made a little Flicky fall from the sky, and onto her head. She decides to protect the bird from E-100 Alpha, which is more difficult than it seems. Meeting up with Sonic, she and Sonic decided to lose him in the Twinkle Park, though Amy is captured quickly. Sonic follows, but loses her.

Chasing down the carrier proves difficult on foot, but luckily for him, Tails had recovered an emerald, and reconstructed his plane, following Sonic. The two ride off to once again fight Robotnik in the sky. Sonic and Tails this time now best Eggman’s rows of defense, and crash-land onto the main deck. Sonic and Tails bash through the Egg Carrier, and meets Eggman in combat on the main deck. Sonic is forced to fight Eggman’s strongest asset, E-102 “Gamma”.

Gamma is the most advanced of the E-series, as having bested his older brother, Beta, in one-on-one combat. Both of them however make it onto the Egg Carriers’ crew. Gamma, off-screen, is sent to destroy the Master Emerald, kicking off the entire plot. Gamma, as well as the new recruits, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta, are sent off to hunt down Froggy. Froggy belongs to Big the Cat, a fisherman, who witnessed the frog swallow a chaos emerald. Big chases the frog down to Emerald Coast, where Gamma quickly fights his way to the frog, snatches it from Big, and retreats to the Egg Carrier. While the other three were berated, and banished, for lackluster work, Gamma was praised and promoted for finding the frog. But Gamma was catching on to his master’s coldness, having witnessed his comrade’s banishment, as well as the reconstruction of his brother, Beta.

Gamma was then sent to retrieve the other emerald from a prisoner on board, Amy Rose. Amy manages to strike a chord in Gamma’s heart, and he reluctantly let’s her go, telling her to stay safe. Amy, however, runs into Eggman on the deck, where Sonic and Tails meet to protect her, only too late to prevent Eggman from snatching the Chaos Emerald. Gamma is called to battle stations, and the three fight, resulting in a stalemate, as each faction is ready to kill the other.

Amy reasons with both sides to stop fighting, convincing Sonic and Tails to spare the injured robot, as well as assuring Gamma that he needn’t fight the two. Sonic orders Tails to carry Amy to safety, while he fought Chaos in his sixth form alongside Big, who retrieved his frog, ending Big’s story.

Sonic defeats Chaos 6, with little assistance from Knuckles. Eggman retreats, though Sonic attempts to bring the doctor down. Knuckles the Echidna destroys Chaos one last time, before returning to his island, the Master Emerald complete.  

Sonic falls from the sky, and stumbles upon a ruin, of which he envisions a conquest attempt by the Echidna tribe. However, Sonic returns to his world before long, there in which he sees Eggman retreating to his Final base. Sonic chases him and fights one last time. Eggman, who had suffered a defeat from an earlier scuffle with Tails, was angry to see his nemesis. Pulling out the strongest boss of the game, Eggman and Sonic duel one last time, before Sonic destroys the Egg Viper, and sends the defeated Eggman retreating. Tails rejoins Sonic, as the two finally enjoy themselves in their victory.

Amy, on the other hand, was busy with her own problems. She had brought the Flicky back to the sunken Egg Carrier, though the robot shoots the Flicky down. Presuming it dead, Amy faces off against her enemy, destroying him. Luckily, the bird had survived, and rejoined with its siblings, who were the power sources of Beta and Gamma. Oh, them.

Gamma reprioritized himself, and decides to turn on his master, seeking to save the animals within the other robots. He destroys Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta easily, though Beta decides to call a rematch, now, to the death. Both end up taking critical hits, with Gamma lasting just a bit longer. He cancels his self repairs, and decides to self-destruct, releasing the bird inside him. I admit, back then, especially when the graphics were considered realistic, I cried a bit.

However, the story has a final segment, believe it or not. Eggman ponders over his recent defeat, but runs across an infuriated Chaos. It attacks Eggman, sending him flying to Angel Island. Knuckles finds him there, but is assaulted as well. Tails informs Sonic that the island had sunk once again, and they rush off to see what’s up. Sonic is hijacked by Tikal one final time.

In the past, he witnesses the echidna tribe charging the defenses of the Chaos, injuring many, if not killing any. Chaos, their guardian, is enraged, now angry at the tribe. He absorbs the seven chaos emeralds to become Perfect Chaos, and wipes out many of the tribe. Tikal sacrifices herself to seal Chaos away, and Sonic is restored to his time.

Sonic is informed that Knuckles is already searching for the remaining emerald, with Tails and Sonic advised to do the same. Sonic finds it, but Chaos steals the emerald beneath their noses. Resuming his final form, it destroys Station Square. All of the cast meet up to stop it, but Tikal insists that they seal him.

Sonic ignores the message, and transforms into Super Sonic to put Chaos back into his place. Super Sonic does just that, and Station Square is saved. Chaos is purged of his rage, and is whisked back to his time with Tikal.

THAT, IS, THE, LONGEST, SUMMARY, I, HAVE, EVER, DONE!!! But I had fun re-playing the game. I love the game’s large, intertwining plot, as all of them are engaging, personal favorites being Sonic and Gamma. But enough rambling, next level!

PRESENTATION COAST;

This still looks amazing…

The graphics, for its time, was simply THE BEST. The Dreamcast was essentially a glorified PC. We get a wonderful looking game. I say it hasn’t aged at all. The intro still gives me the exact chills as it did back then, and the in-game graphics still hold up well. The Dreamcast is a contender for my favorite video game system of all time, and it’s capabilities without a doubt helped. The character models are some of the best in the series, the colors and lighting great, textures smooth, art direction perfect, I LOVE this game’s aesthetics, and out of pure charm, it’s still one of my favorite Sonic game in the graphics side. I normally think graphics don’t matter, but these are so good, I HAVE to mention this.

The music obviously needed to be kicked up a notch, I mean; we still remember the sting Sonic R left on us. And Crush 40 DELIVERED. THIS is perhaps the best soundtrack in Sonic history EVER. Whenever Jun Senoue has a hand in the songs, it is gonna to end up amazing, but this remains the best. The theme songs are reflective and simply head banging goodness. The level themes are universal rock, and the variety of it all is astounding, and I love it! Other soundtracks have been great, but this will always be the top-dog. Sonic Adventure’s soundtrack is quite possibly my favorite game soundtrack ever.

 

Gameplay Valley

Why it’s great

Sonic Adventure is, at heart, a hybrid of adventure, RPG, and platforming. However, each character has a different playstyle. Sonic is the first one you get to play, and is the best without a doubt. He is the classic games, in 3D, and perfected. All moves from Sonic 2 return, and a new move replaces the insta-shield; the homing attack. Technically introduced in Sonic 3D Blast in the form of the gold shield, this is now Sonic’s trademark, and it’s AWESOME! You see, in this game, homing attack is actually really fun to pull off. Never is it completely forced, as jumping into enemies actually gives you better rebound, and spindashing keeps your momentum well, but the homing attack is quick, easy, and never slows. You actually have to aim precisely, or else, Sonic will miss. Hitting the jump button when no enemy is around will perform the jumpdash, a short, but efficient lurch in the air, great for crossing bottomless pits. Sonic has the most levels, and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! I’ll talk about level design later.

Tails retains what made him special from Sonic 3&Knuckles, as well as a Tail-spin that is effective with an upgrade. But his playstyle is to race Sonic to the goal. Tails now has specific paths set out for his flight, and I have to admit, flying over terrain, maintaining said flight, and overall, the feeling of freedom of the skies is… marvelous. I will forever remember the time I flew through Windy Valley, never touching the ground once. Liberating… If it wasn’t for the shortage of stages, only five, Tails would be just as good as Sonic.

Knuckles has all the moves he had in Sonic 3&Knuckles, with the ability to punch now. He isn’t about high speed antics and platforming, rather, the thrill of the hunt inside set areas where you use the radar to hunt down three pieces of the emerald shards. This IS rather disappointing, but exploring the massive worlds presented is actually not only normally simple, but really frikin fun. I love the open-endedness of Speed Highway, and Red Mountain is no slouch either. Lost World is also very well constructed. He’s just as athletic as he was back then, and I think he’s a good, solid third.

And here’s where things get a bit disappointing. Amy is a much more strategic girl now, with very slow speed, a delayed hammer attack, but high athletics. She is more about combat and platforming, as well as puzzle solving thrown into the mix. She is constantly pressured by a robot that chases her. Get hit, you’re dead. She can’t destroy him until the only boss she has, but she CAN daze him slightly. She isn’t terrible, mind you, but compared to Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, she leaves A LOT to be desired. Really, the three stages don’t even take too long. Exploring the hub worlds, I’ll get to that in a sec, and cutscenes eat up more time. If they had fleshed her levels out a little more, I actually could consider her not unlike Castlevania.

 Big… has four levels, of FISHING. Just plop your ass down, and fish. Wow… luckily, they are normally short, and in Hot Shelter, he actually does more than fish. If all his levels were like that, I would probably like him.

Gamma is the best of the newcomers, that’s for sure, but he certainly is not Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles. He is third person shooting, and can actually be fun at points. I normally consider him a fusion of Metroid and Mega Man, as he plays normally like that. Final Egg, which ironically his first level, is pretty fun to blaze down, Windy Valley is always nice to jump and shoot in, and Hot Shelter would be good if it wasn’t for the damn time limit. Yeah, he still has a time limit, which can be extended by shooting more things. I overall wish that the enemies were a bit tougher, and the level design less… easy. Gamma just feels sloppy half of the time, especially in Emerald Coast.

With that said, however, the later half simply can’t bring down my enjoyment of Sonic Adventure down AT ALL. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles more than make up for the lackluster newcomers. One, the control, for ALL characters, is pitch-perfect. Characters are incredibly responsive to button inputs, and movement is the BEST of any, ANY 3D Sonic game. When you move these characters, you feel like them. Sonic and friends have actual WEIGHT to them, just like the classics. When you go down a hill, you’ll go faster and faster till’ max speed. When you go up hills, you’re gonna slow down. THAT is how you do it Sega. No boost button, none of those on-rails, just flat out PHYSICS.

The best control in Sonic is coupled nicely with some of the best level design of any, ANY platformer. The levels are wide, open spaces, of which Sonic and friends can regularly explore for little secrets and goodies. Similar to the classics, I’m still discovering new routes every day. And the best part is; it can all be skipped. You see, some people just can’t take in all the open level design with their puny brains, preferring to have a claustrophobic corridor, where all you do is scoot left or right about 3 feet. Sonic Adventure caters to that crowd. There is always a sense of direction in the levels, and the main route is always very clear. For those who want none, they get none. For those who want more, they get more. THAT is why Sonic Adventure has perhaps the best level design of any Sonic game.

Levels aren’t the only thing here now. Hub worlds are officially part of the mainstream Sonic. While Sonic World technically took place in a hub world, Sonic Adventure incorporated both action stages and adventure fields. I actually really like the hub worlds of this game. You travel through them rather fast, and they always have unique set pieces, and I have fun exploring, talking to NPCs, the works. While they have been done worse, I think hub worlds really could work for Sonic.

WOAH! That is my longest single review guys. Then again, I was ready to have a long review for what I consider one of the best Sonic games of the franchise. Now then, I have one last thing to look over, and that’s

SONIC ADVENTURE DX DIRECTOR’S CUT

After the Dreamcast sadly went under, Sega decided that they would port Sonic Adventure, as well as its sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, to the Nintendo Gamecube, with remastered stuff. Enter Sonic Adventure DX; Director’s Cut. It is essentially a port of Sonic Adventure, with extra content and such. This was released around 2004 for the Gamecube and PC. Extra content includes a bunch of crappy gamegear games, an uninteresting mission mode, and a sound test. Wow.

Then again, you aren’t buying the game just for those features; you want to relive the adventure on you Gamecube/Wii or PC. And how did they do? Well…

The story is exactly the same, moving on.

Music is still intact, that’s very good, but no extra tracks? Disappointment.

GRAPHICS WITHOUT A DOUBT TOOK A HIT. Let’s go small too big. One, TEXTURES IS MISSING!!! Yes, the Gamecube, the supposedly superior system, HAD TEXTURES TAKEN OUT! WHAT THE HECK?!?!? As a result, some stages can look flat out dull, noticeably Red Mountain. Characters no longer had fur textures, making them look like stainless steel. Next up, the lighting! MY GOODNESS! WHY DID THEY HAVE TO BREAK SOMETHING THAT DIDN’T NEED TO BE BROKEN?!? The lighting is practically none existent, as EVERYTHING, EVEN IF IT’S IN THE MIDDLE OF NIGHT IS SHINIER THAN ANY OTHER VIDEO GAME PERIOD!!! This kills any good things the character models could have. Speaking about that, they tried making them a bit more modern. On paper, good idea, and some actually look pretty good. But the awkward animations and terrible lighting just kills it. And to top it all off, there are more glitches in this version. Hit detection is not there, easy to glitch through invisible barriers, I hate this sh*t. As you can see, I really don’t like Adventure DX.

The graphics normally shouldn’t make or break a game, but when it’s so ugly I actually have to take much longer breaks just to keep my eyes in check, and when playing I am completely distracted by graphics, things go downhill fast. The control, for the most part, is intact, and nothing gameplay-wise has been completely trashed, save sloppier programming. It’s the eye-injuring visuals that really make me say the Dreamcast version is much better. Not only that, but the Gamecube controller, comfy as it is, isn’t built for this game.

The game was built with the Sega Dreamcast controller in mind, with no ridges, smooth movement, and as such, it feels perfect on the swansong console. When porting the game to the Gamecube, the control input was kept completely the same, meaning clunky controls. With that said, however, Sega, completely ignoring the mixed to negative reviews, actually based the HD remaster on this version. I guess we should cap off with

SONIC ADVENTURE: DREAMCAST COLLECTION

EDITED

Released in 2011-ish on the XBLA, PSN, and Steam, Sonic Adventure Dreamcast Collection, is a worthy port of the Dreamcast classic, and could prove to be the definitive way to play this game for most of you sad people that don't own a Dreamcast. Let's address the most irritating part of Sonic Adventure DX; Director's Cut; the graphics. Despite keeping the shine in, Sonic actually looks better here. The 4:3 ratio helps things look consistent, and the colors/framerate could not be better. I dunno, this version's graphics are better than the GCN and Windows port. How about the controls? Well, they're great. Not much was changed, though SOnic turns sharper here. I don't know whether that's a positive or negative, as it ends up being both. Hit detection feels perfectly fine, so the technical hiccups from the first port are absent. Overall, I'd say this is a good port; if you don't have a Dreamcast, then this one is just as good,

Wow, Sonic Adventure? Contender to being the best Sonic game out there. I really think it has so many good things, and all the little things that annoy me at most really don’t get in the way of my overall enjoyment. It was an innovator, scouting to new terrain for Sonic, all the while keeping old time fans in check. This is one of the highest recommendations for people just getting into Sonic, or just someone looking for a good platformer/adventure game. With that said, Sega knew they hit something. Seriously, 2.5 million units sold worldwide, not only the best selling Dreamcast title, the best selling 3D Sonic game of all time.

            Of course, Sega knew they had to capitalize this success. Sonic Shuffle, a mediocre party game, took many art styles from Sonic Adventure, and many gameplay aspects returned. But no one liked that game. With that said however, Sega released the game’s TRUE successor, Sonic Adventure 2. And boy oh boy, this one sure as hell got a lot of praise. For its time, it was revolutionary, with a more polished and focused take on the beloved Sonic Adventure, and too many, was a step up on many accounts. However, over the years, the reviews have gotten worse, and worse. I noticed they were all on ports…

            Well, I really thought Sonic Adventure was a good game, and an ambitious jump that paid off. So then, how does Sonic Adventure 2 follow that up? Were any of the problems I had with the first game fixed, or at best, removed? Well, time to find out. This is my look at

SONIC ADVENTURE 2;

STORY CITY

            You know what? I’ll just go let SomecallmeJohnny sum up the story. His thoughts amount to mine, so go ahead. Let’s just say I DID enjoy the story though, especially it’s well written encounters. I thought the emotional parts were, emotional, and overall, I think it’s a pretty damn good story.

Presentation Harbor

            Sonic Adventure 2 is without a doubt a more polished game. Sonic and friend’s models are refined, cleaner, smoother, and overall, more updated. They are even leaner, and the animations are fitting for each character. However, I actually Sonic Adventure, aesthetically, holds up very well. Don’t ask why, but it’s unique art-style and charm really sets off a good mood, and it’s not like the game doesn’t look fantastic. Overall, not much of a step up, but never will it be a step down, oh no.

            The music is spectacular, I love the head-banging rock songs quite a lot, as they get you ready to take on any challenge you will face, and when it’s not rock, it’s still great. Rouge has some very smooth jazz themes that, while I won’t go out of my way to listen to, are still nice to bob to. Knuckles is filled to the brim with cheesy rap and… let’s just say they’re some guilty pleasures. The themes for the Heroes are remixes, and while Knuckles is a step down, Tails is not better, but good, and Sonic actually might overthrow his previous theme. However, the dark side is certainly more diverse. While Shadow’s theme is garbage, and I’ve never even attempted to finish Rouge’s theme, Eggman’s is just OVER THE TOP! That, and Live and Learn, the game’s main theme, make this an awesome soundtrack. I don’t know about letting Adventure hog all the stage light, this is some seriously awesome stuff.

Gameplay Highway

            Sonic Adventure 2 from the start aimed to be a more refined, polished, and focused take on the formula Sonic Adventure left behind. In that regard, does it succeed? Yeah. It does. There are two stories, Hero and Dark, and once again, there are six characters. However, unlike Sonic Adventure, each character has a certain rival, hence the added “Battle” to future releases. Each character has a specific enemy, and they will clash every now and then to advance the plot. Sonic Adventure, had six different play styles. Sonic Adventure 2, only has three. Okay, we’re off to a good start. The hub worlds have been done away with; instead, we have the traditional stage to stage formula. While I certainly loved the hub worlds for the first game, this is certainly much more efficient, and while I believe a hub world for this game would be amazing, I guess this works. And if I ever want to revisit a stage I particularly like, I just use the map.

            The three returning styles were the ones I generally liked. Sonic’s style returns, shared with Sonic and Shadow, as it was the most positively received of the styles from the first game. The treasure hunting stages return for Knuckles and Rouge, and here, I feel like the formula certainly was more refined and focused. Finally, the third person shooter formula returns, this time bestowed upon Dr. Eggman and… Tails. Yeah, he doesn’t have any of the unique things he had in Sonic Adventure sadly. I certainly would’ve preferred that the third formula be contrasting and unique, as Tails seriously could’ve done with his flight and superior control for certain stages.  In Sonic Adventure, each character shared stages. In this game, characters now have stages catered to them specifically. With that said, however, each stage is locked to a certain region though. There are five regions, Central City, Angel Island, Prison Island, the Desert, and the Space Colony ARK.

The first half of the game takes place on Earth, where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles fight their way through the government security as they must hunt down Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow, all the while fighting for the Chaos Emeralds. However, the next half begins in the desert area, where both teams begin their preparations to depart Earth. Of course, the final part is aboard the Space Colony ARK, where they all fight one last time, before teaming up to stop Doctor Gerald Robotnik, Eggman’s grandfather.

Ok, down to the actual gameplay styles. Sonic and Shadow behave almost identically the same as Sonic from Sonic Adventure, and they still control beautifully. No complaint. With that said, specifically targeted levels are now at foot, and this certainly changes some things. Sonic and Shadow’s stages are now much more oriented around action, completing a large amount of unscripted sequences in do-or-die situations; beetle chains over bottomless pits, combat with enemies, and overall, are more centered around action. This is a take I actually welcome whole-heartedly. Sonic Adventure certainly had the more expansive and balanced design, but these levels always feel fresh, blood-pumping, and energetic.

With that said, I feel these are great levels, worthy of succeeding those of Sonic Adventure. However, they are not without faults. One, enemy placements are half of the time cheap, and I normally am either blindsided by enemies, or simply taken out before I even get a chance. This is especially evident in the later half, though I think we all know. I also believe that the enemies are pretty damn cheap themselves. I’m up for a challenge, but when each enemy is more than capable of putting our hedgehogs down, especially considering they almost always appear in groups. that's a tad frustrating. However, on the bright side, this makes combat almost electric, and you are forced to learn their strategies, timing, and patterns. However, I still believe they can be quite cheap, and when they aren’t, they’re stepping stones to get to the other side. I normally am ok with stepping stone enemies, but when everyone else is flat out cheap, this is just a glaring contrast.

Knuckles and Rouge are all about the scavenger hunt, and I have to say, they did it pretty darn well here. The levels now are intricate, wide open spaces, and are developed strictly for exploration. However, with that’s said, a gimped radar can only be hidden so far. I can only detect emerald shards when the game WANTS me to. THIS kills a lot of the levels. Some of these levels are HUGE, and because of that, it’s sad to say having fun in half of the stages are damn near luck based. Rouge, however, gets the worst side of the stick. Rouge’s levels are just poorly designed, and I think anyone can attest to that. Overall, if it wasn’t for awful radar handling, I would probably like these stages.

Finally, Tails and Eggman adopted the style of Gamma. I understand Eggman, and I’ll try to ignore the fact Tails is the pilot. Overall, I feel the level design is overall, much better than that of Gamma’s, as they built them specifically around the shooters. I actually would love the shooters quite a lot if it wasn’t for two things; camera, and control. Let’s start with the control. Tails and Eggman move forward, and nothing but. Turning is a COMPLETE struggle, and I honestly think they are the worst aspect of the shooters. Lots of these stages are filled in the brim with enemies that know how to return fire perfectly fine, and with such poor mobility, I end up taking a bunch of potshots due to that. The camera normally gets stuck in places I don’t want it to, so yeah. Overall, good style, but without a doubt still needed some improvement.

Overall, Sonic Adventure 2 is certainly the much more focused and polished take on the Adventure formula. But that doesn’t mean a thing when a half of the game ranges from ok to ABSOLUTE B.S. I love Sonic and Shadow, I get pulled left and right with Tails and Eggman, and I’m mixed to negative about Knuckles and Rouge. The percentage isn’t much higher than Sonic Adventure.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have loads of fun with Sonic Adventure 2. As a tenth anniversary title, this is without a doubt a worthy fit, and I say it’s still a very good game, great even. If you liked Sonic Adventure, I IMPLORE you to play Sonic Adventure 2. If it wasn’t for the fundamental flaws the game had, I would say it’s the best 3D Sonic game in existence.

I have one last marathon before ending this whole fiasco though. I left out Sonic the Hedgehog CD, as well as some of the other spin-offs. Next time we meet, we shall discuss the spinoff titles of our blue blur. Until next time, buddies.