Sonic Adventure 2, Sega (2001), Dreamcast

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Sonic_Adventure_2_cover

 

“People need to be entertained, they need the distraction. I wish to God that someone would be able to block out the voices in my head for five minutes, the voices that scream, over and over again: “Why do they come to me to die? Why do they come to me to die?” – Glenn, Waynes World 2.

Why do they come to me to die?

Background

This is what I get for taking requests. But if I want to win a Pulitzer Prize for my earth-shattering Sonic Adventure review, I’d better show that I’ve done my research. Now, to be fair, Sonic Adventure was reviewed very well at release, but as more and more rival 3D platformers hit the market, more and more cries of “Hey Sega, this game doesn’t f&*$ing work!” became prevalent. Sega’s response to this was Sonic Adventure 2, a game made with more variety in mind and the best intentions in the world. But then, if God really did love a trier, we’d all be playing our Dreamcast 360’s right now, wouldn’t we?

Story

JEEEEEEEEEEESUS, this has gotten out of hand! The worse the Sonic games get, the more convoluted the plot becomes and the more relatives the characters acquire. Robotnik (now known as Eggman because of reasons), has infiltrated a top secret lab in search of an ultimate weapon after finding information about it left by his Grandfather. Why on EARTH is any of that mess necessary? He created/built every other damn thing in the Sonic ethos, what’s the issue this time? Anyway, this ultimate weapon turns out to be none other than Shadow. Black Sonic. The best villain Sega could come up with was Sonic with a dye job. Don’t worry about him though, he gets his own game where he gets a gun. Thumbs way the hell up, Sega.

Look at all that attitude! All he's missing is his Sai and a pizza.

Look at all that attitude! All he’s missing is his Sai and a pizza.

 

Gameplay

Saying a game is better than Sonic Adventure is like telling someone their horrific burns distract from their alopecia. But SA 2 is, in fairness, better. And still absolutely wall-to-wall terrible. As in SA 2, there are six different playable characters. The open world hub is gone, choosing instead the classic Sonic level linearity split over a hero story and a villain story – which I don’t necessarily class as a bad thing. Throughout the two stories you play as Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Knuckles, Eggman and Rouge The Bat (yes, really), in three different play styles. LET’S LOOK AT THEM SHALL WE OH PLEASE YES LET’S DO.

Playing as Sonic and Shadow, you have the simplest and most fun part of the game. From your view behind your character you have one simple goal – leg it to the end. The speed is right, and the homing jump attack allows for some satisfying mid-air gymnastics. But the levels are linear to a fault, entirely too narrow for you to ever really garner much speed, and chock full of shortcuts that you only see as they whizz past your head. The biggest problem SA 2 has overall is how twitchy your characters are, reacting to the slightest speck of dust that may hit the analog stick. If you’re barrelling down a highway at the speed of sound, it’d be nice to know you weren’t going to veer wildly to the right across eight lanes of traffic, completely breaking your stride, wouldn’t it? We call this being fundamentally broken. And that is SA 2 in a nutshell.

Looks fine, doesn't it? He'll be eating that barrier in a second.

Looks fine, doesn’t it? He’ll be eating that barrier in a second.

 

The Tails/Eggman levels have you controlling mechs and blowing shit up. That’s it. They’re slow, boring, and again, overly twitchy. I allocated a paragraph to this, but there’s not much more to say. Duller than dishwater.

There are no words for how boring this is.

There are no words for how boring this is.

The Knuckles/Rouge levels are an abomination unto the Lord, sent by Lucifer himself. You have to glide around levels that are six by six feet in diameter, and TALLER THAN THE HIGHEST PEAK OF KILIMANJARO. So, already, they’re stupid before you’ve picked up the pad. From here, you glide around and dig for emerald fragments whilst the games plays hot/cold to tell you where they are. So the platform levels don’t work, and the mech levels are boring. The digging levels? Why, they’re both! Combine the complete reluctance to adhere to what you’re doing with the pad with the sheer mundanity of archaeology and you’ll discover what it truly is to hate a video game.

"I'm gonna dig this up so good! Then I'LL be the hero! The hero of DIGGING!"

“I’m gonna dig this up so good! Then I’LL be the hero! The hero of DIGGING!”

 

Presentation

Can’t fault the looks really, the levels – though shit, very very shit – at least look nice, and move at a whippets pace. The animation is weird, the cutscenes all revolving around mouth movements that make the characters look like they’re trying to hold their own teeth in their heads. The music is standard dreadful modern Sonic J-Rock, but nothing anywhere near the hideous levels of Sonic R.

Verdict

“I’d never done a crazy thing in my life before that night. Why is it that if a man kills another man in battle, it’s called heroic, yet if he kills a man in the heat of passion, it’s called murder?” Glenn – Wayne’s World

I’ve got a bag of hammers and I’m going on a tour of Sonic Team studios. Remember me as a martyr.

Pros: They tried. They really really did. Looks nice.

Cons : Bad level design, bad music, abysmal controls, possibly the most boring game ever made.

22%

 

(Jamie: Added for my own amusement, stolen from VG CATS)

Shadow the Hedgehog

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