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I was just a little wipper-snapper, I remember my brother persuading me to
"share” my Christmas present with his. Back then, we received the
Mega Drive. Today, I thank my brother, because that is what got me
interested in the gaming industry and since then I've never looked back.
However, my first game was that hairy little blue friend by the name of
Sonic. During its hey day, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ was considered to be
the most revolutionary game ever, even bettering that red plumber. Now we
are in the 128-bit era, and why would Sega let there biggest franchise
slip away? Exactly, they wouldn’t and so “Sonic Adventure” is the
flag ship title of the Dreamcast to show off that bundle of joy on our
Once placing this title in your Dreamcast, the opening picture will blow you away. It instantly stuns you when the colours rebound off your eyes and the slick motion slits your brain. And people…that is just the beginning! Even now, I find myself inspired by the graphics, it even pulls me away from Shenmue. The game runs at a smooth 60-frames per second. My suggestion is to simply bomb it around the first level of ‘Emerald Coast’, because your mouth will drop, your stress will decrease and your heart will take that extra pump. It really is a wonder to watch, it’s one of those games where people don’t mind watching, because it’s so gorgeous.
The game itself is
based around that spiky guy Sonic. Our evil Nemesis Dr. Robotnik has
created a creature that needs Chao emeralds to live and grow. That is
where the race is on! Who can get them first? Unlike other sonic games,
you can control up to 5 other different characters, each with their own
unique moves and adventure. Once you have played all of them you will
realise how all adventures tie in with one another, and to be fair, Sega
have not done a bad job at it.
Another great aspect of the game is the VMU mini game that you can download at a certain point in the game. You remember those annoying “Virtual Pets”? Well this is taken to the extreme! You get to take control of little creatures called “Chao”. You feed them, pet them, and do pretty much anything. On your VMU they go on walks and have fights getting stronger and tougher to beat. This is the clever part; you can then upload them back into the game stronger, fitter and faster. And their appearance will change too! Then you get to race them against other Chao in races! All very addictive stuff.
The control system is
pretty simple, much like our Mega Drive cousins. However, there is one
major gripe in the game, the camera system can at times bring Satan to his
knees crying. There you are thrashing round a level at speeds that melt
your eyes, then the camera spins in a horrible washing machine motion and
your blue friend just runs off screen! While the Western version had it
better than our Japanese friends did, it still can be frustrating. The
sound isn’t that bad, it has that Sonic feel, but perhaps after
listening to Shenmue, I cant quite see the appeal it used to have, but
then a game like Sonic wont be having orchestras!
Now I come to my other faults of the game. The game is split up into two sections; there are the action levels and the adventure levels (sort of RPG). While the action levels run at a blistering pace, they finish in 3 or 4 minutes. Why that’s not bad, in actual fact it’s about the same length as old Sonic games, it’s the adventure part that kills it. It is just so slow, and once you have had that adrenaline rush of the action parts, it’s like a drug and you want more, except you have to go round asking tedious questions to see where you can go next. Now adding these adventure parts isn’t bad, they just got the proportions all wrong. Most people would of preferred at least three quarters of the game to be action, because that is the best part.
My other problem with the game was the awful voice acting that is out of sync with the lips! It doesn’t kill the game off, just spoils the atmosphere. I am not gonna say I am a great games player, but I bought my Dreamcast on launch date and gave “Sonic Adventure” back after just 2 days. Why? Because it was just too easy, I had done the lot, and that includes the secret character and doing the game completely in the proper way. Yet, now I regret this decision like mad, in all my gaming life, this was the biggest mistake I made, because I miss the chase, I miss the cute cartoony graphics and above all I miss Sonic himself. I am now even thinking of buying the game back, as it is only £20. I advise you strongly to take a look at this game if you got that spare cash, I’m sure it’s cheaper in other places. Put simply, “Sonic adventure” still has magic from the good old days, and in my opinion, that’s worth its weight in gold.
“Its Sonic at its best. Shows what potential Dreamcast has. Eye melting speeds and slick graphics. But perhaps not as revolutionary as we all had hoped, but don’t give this chance up because you will regret it…trust me!”
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