Sonic Adventure Xbox 360 Review

September 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher – SEGA – Developer – SEGA – Genre –  Platformer– Players – 1 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3, DC, GC

It seems that some people are never happy. The 3D Sonic Unleashed did its best to try and capture the spirit of 2D Sonic games, although its normal Sonic levels were criticised by some for being too fast. Sonic’s greatest success in 3D for many has seemingly been both the Sonic Adventure games, and the original game has now leapt from the Dreamcast to the GameCube and is now available for digital download on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN.

I’ve got to wonder why so many people called for the return of Sonic’s original voice actor, it’s not like he ever did a particularly good job. The voice acting and story here are both ridiculous, although I’ll let it off as hedgehogs aren’t normally blue and break the speed barrier, foxes rarely have two tails, and scientists are normally brighter than the fat, egg shaped and moustached one that regularly has his plans foiled in the series.

Sonic Adventure was first released in late 1999 on SEGA’s Dreamcast and it was the first time that the hedgehog with attitude had appeared in a full 3D game. Sonic didn’t come alone though, the game also had a further five characters to play as, including familiar faces such as Tails, Knuckles and Amy Rose, alongside the new characters of Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma. Right, it may not have been the most boring lesson in the world, but I’m done with the history now.

Even Sonic himself has some added variety (as shown above), and all the characters can once again visit the Chao Garden, allowing you to raise and race against your own virtual pet.

Being a Sonic game, Sonic is actually the character with the most stages to play through. His levels are what you’d expect to find in a Sonic game, although back in 1999 the novelty was that the loop the loops, the rings, the springs and the dizzying level portions were all presented in glorious 3D. They’re fast and stylish, but my personal feeling is that these stages have since been bettered in Sonic Unleashed, although Sonic Adventure’s speedy stages still play well today, in spite of the glitches (more later).

Sonic’s faithful sidekick Tails also has his own adventure, and here you’re generally racing against the unnaturally speedy hedgehog in a drive to get to the end of the level before he does, but his double tails come in handy when you’re in need of a bit of flight. Knuckles is in search of all the missing pieces of the Master Emerald and to find them you must keep an eye on the colour of the closest piece (indicated on the screen) as well as to listen to the audio cues, using the echidna’s gliding and climbing abilities, and unearthing and finding every single piece in each level. Amy Rose carries a big mallet and is in the unfortunate position of being chased by one of Robotnik’s robots, while E-102 has the most action based stages, painting enemies with targets and unleashing his weapons, and Big the Cat finally has the most laid back and out of place stages – seriously, he’s a character that brings fishing to the franchise.

Other than the rather silly fishing stages, the supporting characters all have mostly good adventures to play through and they add extra variety and longevity to this Sonic game. Some of the characters do revisit stages visited by others, but this largely isn’t a problem due to their very different play styles. Still, I could have done without fishing.

Completing levels rewards you with emblems and each of the characters levels have three of these. Indeed, stages can be replayed twice after the initial completion in order to further increase the number of emblems  – Sonic’s levels task you with finishing a level with a number of rings when played for a second time for example, while a third time encourages you to be as fast as possible and complete the stage in the instructed time. Obviously, with a total of 130 emblems, there’s quite a lot of play time here for those who can get on with the games’ problems.

Problems? Well, I already mentioned Big the Cat, but Sonic Adventure also has various glitches that SEGA could have perhaps eradicated in this version. On a couple of occasions I have seen my character suddenly fall through the ground, while the camera has automatic and manual options, although the view of the action can at times be shockingly bad as your character goes off screen and is hidden by parts of the environment. Not good.

Knuckles' stages are perhaps the closest you are going to get to an actual adventure game.

Furthermore, the visuals look lovely and sharp in HD, but SEGA have opted to not include a widescreen option, leaving us with huge, garish blue bars on each side of the screen that can’t be removed in the options. At the very least, said blue bars could have been a bit easier on the eye. From one sense to another, aurally Sonic Adventure has an impressive mixture of music as well as classic sound effects from the 2D games.

At the end of the day, perhaps SEGA could have put more effort into this port as Sonic Adventure is generally an enjoyable but flawed game. I have always had a soft spot for the blue spiky hedgehog and hope that, if SEGA is to ever port Sonic Adventure 2 to Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, they are less lazy with tidying the bugs up and giving us glorious full screen gameplay.