The ever so blue hedgehog, Sonic, has made his way onto the Xbox 360 console by being a part of the Dreamcast collection launched by Sega, back in late February.
It’s no wonder that Sonic surfaced again since he clearly has millions of fans worldwide, but the biggest surprise was that it turned out to be exactly as the original PC version.
Sure, it was first launched more than a decade ago, but considering that now you’re supposed to try it out on the Xbox 360, its replay value increases dramatically. Story
As it turns out, Sonic has to save the world again from a new and devious plot, conjured by his old nemesis Dr. Eggman (also known as Dr. Robotnik). With the usual skittish and poorly acted out story, Sonic Adventure sets off in a new 3D meets 2D universe that sometimes will leave you clueless as to what your purpose really is.
With a story knitted around searching for some lost Chaos Emeralds (seven to be exact), you’ll have to explore both Adventure and Action mode in order to find their whereabouts.
As if one bad guy wasn’t enough, Dr. Eggman has summoned some mysterious water-like creature, whom he refers to as Chaos. Don’t worry, you’ll wage your first battle with it within the first ten minutes of the game (if you’re playing with Sonic, of course) and then you’ll know more about its abilities.
Predictable at every turn, there’s not really that much to say about the story. Sonic and friends are still endlessly stuck in the same old loop of having to carry out really corny (and overacted ) dialogues, that are just an excuse to change the scenery every once in a while. Gameplay
As previously mentioned, there are two game modes, Adventure and Action that intertwine in the hopes of giving you the sense of adventure and epic journey. I hate to be the one bringing down the hammer, but this approach just doesn’t seem to work on Sonic, probably because I got used to Sonic when all he did was collect rings faster than you could blink.
I appreciate the Adventure mode, but it can be difficult to track down your next mission when you’re given only a sketchy phrase like: “Search for a sewer access”. If you ask me, Sonic would be better off having to jump from one Action mode to another and then make up some excuse for having to battle it out with Dr. Eggman at the end.
I strongly believe that children would have a better time following the story if they were constantly engaged in a fast paced gameplay that concludes with an objective at the end of each level. Still, the adventure mode has its use, mostly because you get take a breather every now and then.
I’ve also stumbled across a couple of mini-games that I found to be highly relaxing, like the Pinball machine at the Casino where you’re using Sonic as the ball. For some reason it was very funny and it certainly came as a nice distraction from the rest of the game, because you get to lose yourself for literally hours at a time.
The so called fast paced levels where you have to frantically rush through obstacles and collect as many gold rings as you can are not that fun once you’re actually there. While I was hoping for a certain degree of control and maneuverability, I was bummed out when I noticed that all I have to do is nudge Sonic in the right direction and everything becomes a series of acrobatics that you have no control over.
The slightest attempt of altering his course from the predetermined path leads to his certain death by falling off the map or by skipping key track checkpoints. This adds up to the fact the entire level can be completed in less than two minutes, after having to search for it for about ten minutes.
Again, keeping in mind that Sonic Adventure has been rated PEGI 3+ and that we’re still talking about a decade old game, the overall design is not bad and I can boldly state that it used to be very innovative back in the days. Although my brain is pumped full of modern standards, I find it hard to relax and just let Sonic have all the fun while I stare at him.
One might actually argue that keeping the controls simple is like having a double edged sword: one hand children will love playing the game because it’s very easy to maneuver and they get to explore a brightly colored 3D environment, but on the other hand gaming veterans (myself included) will only get to appreciate the game for its sentimental value and not necessarily for its performance.
The camera control can be a bit annoying at times and trying to give you a third person view (and sometimes 2D view in Action mode), it only manages to test your nerves because it fails miserably when it comes to wide angle views or any other useful view for that matter.
You’ll often find yourself running without knowing exactly where you’re going to and you’ll even see through textures (walls/ other characters) that you’re not supposed to. It’s actually amusing to relive the first days of 3D graphics and viewing Sonic in one of his earliest three dimensional forms. Audio and Video
Let’s just say that Sonic and friends are not really that big on meaningful conversations, but then again, Sonic Adventures is rated PEGI 3+ so there’s really no point in debating the dialogs any further. Kids will have absolutely no problem figuring out what the characters are talking about and grownups can sit back and relax, because there’s no type of inappropriate behavior that children can pick up on.
Sonic’s voice doesn’t sound that bad and it’s actually bearable to go through an entire conversation without skipping it altogether. Even the soundtrack I can live with, because most of the time you don’t really pay any attention to it anyway. With only a couple of mellow tunes that remind me of old cartoon games, in Action mode you can enjoy some alert tracks that will get you pumped up.
The chunky graphics and buggy textures are not exactly appreciated, especially that some of these could have easily been fixed once fitting the game for the Xbox 360 console. Although I completely understand Sega’s wishes of releasing the game under the same graphic standards that made the game popular years back, I’ll go along with it just because Sonic Adventure is a classic game that deserves to be played at its original state.
The great thing about it is that children will instantly be drawn to the bright colors used to depict this virtual 3D world and also, to the freedom of walking about and exploring every inch of the map for the sheer fun of it. Conclusion
If you have kids (ages three and up), Sonic Adventures for the Xbox 360 console is probably the best way to get them acquainted with entire Sonic legacy. Those of you that are just looking to relive the good old days and at the same time you have parted with your PC, you can certainly give it a try just to get a kick on what your childhood use to all about.
Completely supporting Sega’s endeavor of bringing back the classics to the Xbox 360, I would have to say that picking up the old and dusty Sonic Adventure is actually a nice touch. Sonic will always be appealing to any generation and there probably isn’t a gamer that has never laid his hands on a blue hedgehog game. It’s like we all share a Sonic chromosome that makes us family.
The replay value slowly fades away once the players’ age passes ten to twelve years old and its only true value is ranked amongst Sonic fans that haven’t forgotten the blue hedgehog and his best friend, Tails.