From The Archive is a series that takes articles written by Jennifer McMurray in the past and presents them here on MIC News for a new audience.
The Sonic Adventure review was previously published in Dream On Magazine #1 on May 22, 2004, and online on November 14, 2005.
A high definition director’s cut version of the game is available on modern systems as Sonic Adventure DX.
This launch title was Sonic’s first three-dimensional platform game. For the most part, it maintains the speed of his 16-bit adventures, but it hits a few snags along the way.
Sonic Adventure starts out in a city setting, which represents the “adventure” part of the game. There are several buildings that you can choose to go into. This does get a bit tedious, as the stages are contained within the buildings, and are accessed by entering doors within those buildings.
It takes a while to get used to the layout of the entrances, as the camera often pans around you and gives you a different perspective. This can make finding the right entrance difficult at first, as all the doors look alike. Once you get the hang of it, however, it becomes second nature.
You have separate stories that unfold within the main story. Each of these stories is seen through the eyes of characters that you meet within the game. You start out as Sonic, and once you meet another character in the storyline, you can play that character’s story. This is quite a neat concept, even if it’s not a particularly original one. It’s interesting to see the storyline in someone else’s eyes besides Sonic’s for a change. The music is fitting for this game and is the rock-style music as started with the American release of Sonic CD. The voices are fitting for the characters, but the words do not match the mouths of the characters at times. The voice acting is not the best, but it’s acceptable. As for the game mechanics, Sonic’s and Tail’s games are by far the most fun. This is where you’ll find the trademark Sonic speed you’d expect from the series, with Sonic racing to the end, and Tails flying over certain paths that Sonic can’t reach to beat Sonic to the finish. The speed stays fast throughout the game, but it does come with a few drawbacks.
You can’t fix the camera to stay at a certain angle, so it will often wrap around your character at the most opportune times, meaning you might be rushing around a loop and the camera will pan backward. causing the movement to reverse, and Sonic to plummet to his doom.
This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen enough to become bothersome. While playing I also found certain areas where the collision detection was not properly tested, and you’ll find yourself falling through the floor at times if you’re unlucky. These problems are very minute and happen infrequently.
It’s possible that you might be able to play the game through without encountering any problems at all. The Amy portion has you avoiding Robotnik’s robots, and using a hammer to destroy enemies in your way. The speed isn’t as fast as Sonic’s or Tails, but as a result, the camera and collision detection problems are virtually non-existent, making for a pleasant gaming experience. The E102 portion (Dr. Robotnik’s robot) consists of blasting at enemies with a laser and rolling through to the end in time. These missions are fairly fun, and E102’s story is interesting enough to keep you going. Knuckles’ game consists of digging for emerald shards, over and over again. This can become quite tedious, and unless you’re an avid Sonic series fan, you might find yourself giving up before completing Knuckles’ storyline. As tedious as Knuckles’ portion of the game is, it’s nothing when compared to Big the Cat’s.
Big’s portion consists of fishing for a frog in water pools throughout the stages in the game. One can only assume that Sega was testing it’s fishing game ideas later seen in Sega Bass Fishing and Sega Marine Fishing when they came up with Big’s storyline. It’s fun in those games, as it’s expected.
In this game, it’s so out of place it’s almost annoying. Only the truly diehard fans will complete Big’s storyline, as once you complete it you are given the chance to play as Metal Sonic. Everyone else will find solace in the Sonic, Tails, Amy, and possibly Knuckles missions, as those are the meat of the game.
Summary: The music is excellent, and the voices are tolerable. The Sonic and Tails storylines are a blast, but the camera and collision detection problems detract from the enjoyment. The other storylines are more of a filler, as they aren’t nearly as fun as Sonic’s or Tails’. Big’s storyline is a big letdown. Fishing does not work in a Sonic The Hedgehog game. The game is worth the purchase for the Sonic and Tails portions. Only diehard fans will complete the rest of the game.