July 31, 2000
|VMU Game||Difficulty||Save Size||Vibration||60Hz||50Hz Border|
After the dismal failure of the Saturn, Sega deceided that the Dreamcast required some well known game brands to launch the system, and there is nothing bigger then Sonic the Hedgehog. With this in mind Sonic Team set about developing the biggest, best and most exciting Sonic title to date. Sonic Adventure is that title and is (was) the perfect way for Sega to launch their latest system. Gone are the 2D graphics of the Megadrive days and in come some of the best 3D graphics ever.
Sonic Adventure once again sees the return of Dr Robotnik to disturb the peace. He is searching the land to steal all the Chaos Emeralds to create a new monster whose powers increase with each new emerald. Sonic's task, with the help of 5 friends (Knuckles, Tails, Amy, Mr Big and E-102), is to rescue the trapped animals, return the Emeralds and defeat Dr Robotnik forever. Sound familiar?
Sonic Adventure plays like a dream. The controls are very straight forward with the analogue stick used to move the characters and the buttons to jump and dash. Each character has its own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and each can unlock different areas in the game. Sonic Adventure is comprised of almost 50 different play areas which include main action stages, sub-games, bonus rounds and bosses. The variety is astounding. One minute you will be running at break neck speed through a tunnel or down the side of a building, while the next minute you will be driving mini hovercraft and a few minutes later you will be in a casino playing pinball. But one of the most eye popping and exhilerating stages occurs inside a tornado which you get sucked into and must try to escape from.
As you can see from the screenshots around this review Sonic Adventure is absolutely gorgoeus to look at. But what can't be seen from these pictures is the fluidity of the game. Running in 640 x 480 resolution and at 60fps the game shows off the true power of the Dreamcast and even though it was one of the earliest titles on the system it is still one of the most impressive. There is some pop-up but it is so small that it doesn't interfere with the gameplay at all.
However, this game is not without it's (very minor) faults. The main problem, as with most 3D games, is the camera angles in some sections of the game. At times the camera makes it very hard to see what you are doing or where you are going. Although this fault is more prevalent in the Japanese version the promise to fix the camera doesn't seem to have been fully carried out for the PAL release. The other problem, believe it or not, is the speed at which the game runs. At time the Sonic & co seem to run too fast with little time to respond to upcoming obsticles. At times you feel that your progress is being determined more by luck then anything else.
Sonic Adventure is no slouch in the sound department either. Sega have bypassed the techno based music found in so many Japanese games and gone for a guitar/rock sound. While I may be a techno fan the grungier style of music does suit the game fairly well even though it isn't the best game music ever heard. The sound effects are also very ... well ... Sonic. The rings still contain that familiar ring while Sonic's jumps have that bouncy sound. One major difference from previous games is that the characters now talk, although the speech seems far too childish.
Sega also managed to make use of the VMS and modem in the game. The VMS is used to grow little Chao's which can be hatched from eggs found around the game world. Via the VMS's small LCD screen you can breed the creatures and nurture them as they grow up. It's an interesting addition to the main game although it is unlikely to keep you interested more then a couple of hours at most. The modem can also be used with Sonic Adventure to upload and download the Chao's to the internet.
If you looking for a fast paced platform game then Sonic Adventure will suit you perfectly. Even though the Dreamcast is nearing it's second birthday in Japan this is still one of the most impressive titles. Sonic Team have crafted a very exciting game that only has a few minor problems that hold it back from becoming a classic.