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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast review

[NOTE] This review was originally posted back in May, but I was messing around with the labels system and when I pressed 'publish' (with the labels inserted) it put this post right to the top. It didn't do this with any other post so I blame Google for a technical glitch on their behalf.  

I haven’t done any reviews for this blog yet. It’s about time don’t you think?
Please keep in mind that these pictures aren’t mine, they were ‘obtained.’ The way I’m recording footage isn’t refined yet plus my internet has capped so I would have no easy way to upload pictures and videos anyway.

For? Sega Dreamcast   Who? Sonic Team   Year? 1998

Believe it or not it was quite hard to decide what to review. My collection is by no means big but I couldn’t pick anything out. I was stuck. What I really wanted to review was something that would be somewhat unknown. Something that people would really want to read because they hadn’t heard of it before. I don’t really have anything like that in my collection, I was stuck.
The other day I decided I had to review something once and for all. I asked myself the question; what had I been playing a lot? The answer for that is simple. Sonic Adventure.
It may not be unknown but there is a reason why I keep going back to it to play. It’s fun. I have a ball of a time every time I play it; this is why I am going to review it.
When I think of Sonic the Hedgehog games these days the mental image of a turd comes up. They’re not that good; in fact they’re pretty damn awful. Somehow the once awesome series has been run deeply into the ground. But let’s not think of those right now, let’s 
concentrate on this classic. 

It mixes classic Sonic gameplay with an interesting free roam feature.
You start off in the area called Station Square and from there you can catch the train to another free roam area called Mystic Ruins. From both of these areas you can access Adventure Fields. These are the levels where you have to race through and collect coins etc. Pretty much like in the classic 2D games, except with a 3D perspective.
It can put you at a loss of what to do sometimes though. There is no mini-map so you can come out of an Adventure Field with no idea what to do. There is a womanly orb of light that tells you were to go but sometimes she isn’t all that specific so you find yourself aimlessly wondering around.

The 3D perspective is mostly well done but the camera can be a right pain in the ass, you can control it but a lot of the time it tends to do its own thing which can screw you right up. Regularly it turns in a direction so you can’t see what you’re doing mostly turning into walls or objects. It makes you question why they even bother giving you control in the first place if it’s just going to randomly change at its own leisure.

The story is quite entertaining and in depth. There are these ‘Chaos Emeralds’ that Dr.Eggman has found out about which have great unknown powers. He frees a monster called Chaos and feeds it these emeralds to make it invincible and help him rule the world. It’s up to Sonic and the gang to stop him.
You can play six different characters that all have their own part to play and special powers to play with. This makes the game quite long. This is not a bad thing though as dividing it up between these different characters makes it quite manageable. You could just play as Sonic and leave it at that, but that would be no fun. Playing as all the characters fully truly tells the whole story.

The graphics are great, but this doesn’t surprise me considering it’s a signature Dreamcast game. There are many different types of terrains and environments in the game and they all come off as beautiful, well from a distance anyway. Sometimes I found that a few textures up close were horribly rendered and warped. A minor thing though as a lot of it looks great.
It supposedly looks even better with a VGA box. Unluckily for me I don’t have one but from other articles I’ve read it comes off quite nicely.
The cutscenes utilise the great graphics as well. Some are pre-rendered which are great like expected while others use the also great real time graphics. The animation is spot on as well and happens smoothly, the facial animation isn’t so great though but it gets a gold star for trying considering how old the game is.
It should be noted though that the cutscenes can’t be skipped which becomes quite annoying. There were many instances where I had to re-watch the same bloody scene because a lot of the save points happen before them, which I consider a very bad development decision. 

The sound is great in some areas but annoying and repetitive in others.
Each character has its own theme music which covers a broad range of genres which is a huge difference from the techno soundtracks that occupied the previous games. Personally I rather the older soundtracks but these one does have its gems. It’s all up to personal opinion in the end if a genre you like happens to play. During the credits of each character you can hear the same theme songs but except with lyrics. Many of these are cheesy but usually quite enjoyable. For example Knuckles has his own rap song which slightly reminds me of the original Pok√©mon rap for some reason. It’s cool that Team Sonic went to all the trouble of all these proper songs.
If only the same could be said about the voice acting, it’s terrible.
It is really B-Grade, as if the voice actors were reading it right off the script into the microphone. It’s one of the main bad things that stand out about this game.
If anything it’s good to laugh at though because it is just 
so bad.
As I mentioned at the start of this review the game is amazingly fun. This is why I just keep going back to it. The Adventure Fields are quick, balanced and well designed. You really feel a rush during a lot of them, especially when scripted events happen. A fairly known one in this game is in the first Adventure Field where there is this huge whale which is tearing up this jetty as you run towards the camera. It’s a great adrenaline rush to start the game and it’s just a hint of what’s to come later on.
Another thing I love about this game is the amount of boss fights. I’m a sucker for boss fights and the amount in this is just pure joy for me. The game actually starts off with one with Chaos in his earliest form. I’ve never seen a game do this before but it’s a great way to jump right into the action.
The controls are pretty simple and easy to pick up; I don’t think any character uses more than two buttons. The only gripe I have is with the analogue stick. This is by no means the games fault though as the stick on the Dreamcast is already notoriously bad.

So there you have it folks, the first written review for Retro Game On. I highly recommend this game if you have a Dreamcast, although it’s also available on The Gamecube, Windows, Zeebo, PSN and XBLA.
This game rightly earns the Retro Game On Seal of Awesomeness:


  1. Outstanding man, so impressive designing with this. I am agree with this statement that it is awesome game.
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