Sonic Adventure

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Sonic Adventure
Sonic Adventure Cover.jpg
"Open your heart, it's gonna be alright!"
Protagonist(s): Sonic the Hedgehog
Miles "Tails" Prower
Knuckles the Echidna
Amy Rose
Big the Cat
E-102 Gamma
Genre(s): Platform
Action-adventure
Rating(s): ESRB: E
Platform(s): Dreamcast
GameCube
Microsoft Windows
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Release Date: Dreamcast
JP: December 23, 1998
NA: September 9, 1999
EU: October 14, 1999
GameCube
NA: June 17, 2003
JP: June 19, 2003
AU: June 20, 2003
EU: June 27, 2003
Windows
JP: December 18, 2003
PAL: January 6, 2004
NA: September 14, 2005
Xbox 360
NA: September 15, 2010
EU: September 21, 2010
JP: September 25, 2010
PlayStation 3
NA: September 20, 2010
EU: September 21, 2010
JP: September 29, 2010
Developer(s): Sonic Team
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: United States
Japan
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Predecessor: Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Successor: Sonic Adventure 2


Sonic Adventure is a 1998 action platformer game apart of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Being published by Sega in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in North America and other regions for the Dreamcast, it is the first 3D platformer game in the Sonic series, after previous plans to make a 3D platformer did not go so well. It was directed by Takashi lizuka and produced by longtime series collaborator who had worked on the previous games as a programmer Yuji Naka. The game introduces four new characters. Big the Cat, E-102 Gamma, Tikal the Echidna, and Chaos while bringing back Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Dr. Eggman.

After the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, Sega and Sonic Team needed to pump out a new Sonic game quickly. The game first began development in 1997 for the Sega Saturn, but was then moved to the Dreamcast. In Sonic Jam, the "Sonic World" 3D environment was actually what Adventure was going to look like on the Saturn.

Sonic Adventure was released on December 23, 1998 in Japan and was released on September 9, 1999 on the Dreamcast in North America as well as October 14 in Europe and received critical acclaim, more notably the Dreamcast version. A sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, was released in 2001 as the final Sonic game for the Dreamcast.

Development

Background

In 1994, after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Sega Technical Institute (STI) began development on what would be the first 3D platformer in the Sonic series: Sonic X-treme. The Sega Saturn version was developed by two different teams with two different game engines. One team was STI working on the Saturn version while the other was working on a PC version of X-treme.[1] Howard Drossin, who worked on other Sonic games such as Sonic Spinball and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, was hired as the composer for X-treme. However, production problems soon arose. The game was already behind schedule, an employee had gotten ill and lost 25 pounds from working on the game (even being told he had six months left to live), and Sega preferred one game engine over another.

Then, the team used the game engine that was used for another Saturn game Nights into Dreams but Sonic co-creator and Nights producer and programmer Yuji Naka threatened to leave Sega if they continued using the engine.[2] Sega presented a playable demo of X-treme at E3 1996 but things were going very wrong. Team morale had dropped and turnover was high.[3] At this point, it was impossible for X-treme to be finished by its deadline late-1996 release. In early 1997, it was announced the game was cancelled.

By early 1997, the Saturn's sales were declining heavily and falling behind the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 due to several reasons. Its unexpected launch date in North America in May 1995 had made retailers angry, and retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart refused to carry any Sega consoles. The 32X distracted people away from the Saturn, and the marketing for the Saturn in North America gained to attract audiences. Sega needed a Sonic game out for the Saturn after X-treme fast. Naka envisioned Sonic Adventure as a role-playing style game with more emphasis on storytelling. Sonic Team used the Nights engine to create a prototype but the Saturn's limited capabilities made it difficult. After Hayao Nakayama informed Naka and Sonic Team about the Saturn's successor, the Dreamcast, nearing completion, development of Sonic Adventure shifted from the Saturn to Dreamcast. The prototype of Sonic Adventure was placed as an extra called "Sonic World" in the compilation Sonic Jam.

Art design

Yuji Uekawa, an employee at Sega, provided redesigns for the characters in the game for a more Western style. Uekawa looked at Walt Disney and Looney Tunes cartoons for inspiration, as Sonic's original design was inspired by cartoon icons such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat.[4]

Plot

Three thousand years ago, the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald were both kept at an altar near the territory of a clan of echidnas, specifically the Knuckles Clan. A peaceful echidna named Tikal, daughter of Chief Pachacamac, befriended the Chao that lived at the altar and their protector, who was the water god Chaos. When Pachacamac sought to expand his clan's territory, he wanted to steal the Chaos Emeralds and use their power to defeat his rivals. Although Tikal and the Chao stood against him, he ordered his soldiers to charge anyway, resulting in many Chao being injured. This enraged Chaos, who transformed into Perfect Chaos and destroyed all of the echidnas, except for Tikal, who sealed herself away in the Master Emerald with Chaos, and the magic caused the area surrounding the shrine to become Angel Island, also known as the continent in the sky.

In the present day, the evil scientist Dr. Robotnik, better known as "Eggman", happens to stumble across the Knuckles Clan's ancient shrine while building his underground base at the heart of the Mystic Ruins' jungle. There, he manages to decipher some stone tablets, which tell of the legend surrounding Chaos. Eager to use the beast for his own selfish intentions, the doctor finishes his newest stronghold, Final Egg, and starts to work on building the Egg Carrier, an all-purpose aerial fortress. Additionally, he creates the E-100 Series, an army of shooting Badniks. Eggman's plan is to tame Chaos and use him to destroy Station Square to build his own city, Eggmanland, on its ruins; with the Egg Carrier and the E-100 Series created to help him achieve this goal.

Why It's A Great Adventure

  1. The opening of the game is an absolute banger. You have the scene where Perfect Chaos attacks on Station Square and showing all the characters (Sonic, Tails, Amy, E-102 Gamma, and Big) and the different version of Open Your Heart playing in the background, as Sonic looks at the camera and gives that famous smirk. Imagine if you were a kid in 1998/1999 and you saw this on the Dreamcast. Sonic may have entered the 3D era of video games a little late but that iconic opening is there to tell you that this is going to be a fun ride.
  2. For Sonic the Hedgehog's first mainline 3D platformer, this goes surprisingly well! Unlike games like Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 or Crash Bandicoot for the original PlayStation, Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast goes hard because of its story, music, performances, dialouge, and gameplay.
  3. The worldbuilding in this game is amazing, unlike any other Sonic game. You have all the citizens in Station Square and they have their own unique personalities such as the little girl st the train station waiting for her father, the train station to the Mystic Ruins, a family who gambled all their money at Casinopolis (wow), the Burger Resturant, the city hall where Sonic fights Chaos 0, a boat where you can go see the remains of the Egg Carrier, and several several more. It is astonishing how the developers took the time out of their working days to give personalities to the background characters of this game!
  4. The music is phenonmenal. Jun Senoue composed the soundtrack of this game along with Kenichi Tokoi and Fumie Kumatani and they do great on their tracks, going from rock music to jazz to pop music to calm music, the soundtrack in Sonic Adventure has its own unique style.
    • Two of the songs are nice remixes of songs from the Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast (Windy Hill's final section, and Twinkle Park's cart section).
  5. Six playable characters, each with their own stories, scenes, and levels. The stories also overlap with each other, which keeps the main story connected. Each player has a different gameplay mechanic:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog: High-speed platforming, just like in the Genesis games;
    • Miles "Tails" Prower: Similar to Sonic, but has the ability to fly, can use shortcuts and has to race another character (like Sonic or Eggman);
    • Knuckles the Echidna: Find three pieces of the Master Emerald with a radar;
    • Amy Rose: Find an escape balloon while avoiding getting captured by E-100α ZERO;
    • E-102 "γ" Gamma: Shooting at Badniks to score more time;
    • Big the Cat: Fishing for Froggy.
  6. The homing attack move is one of the best Sonic movesets, ever. The homing attack is introduced in this game which makes enemies easier to hit at high speed in a 3D environment, and many times, hitting a pattern of enemies just feels so satisfying!
  7. The main cast of the series are given new designs, but still, mostly look the same as before with few exceptions such as Amy. Sonic was made taller with longer limbs and green eyes to look more mature, which was a good move for the transition to 3D.
  8. The final battle against Perfect Chaos is epic. Station Square is almost completely destroyed by the flood, you play as Super Sonic using boost pads to gain speed and momentum to dodge Perfect Chaos' attacks, go up to his brain, and strike him in the brain. With the magnificent song "Open Your Heart" by Crush 40 (the first song they would ever make for the Sonic franchise), the fight between Super Sonic and Perfect Chaos is one of the best final bosses in the entire Sonic series and also one of the most epic.
  9. It introduces the Chao Garden, where you can take care of the cute Chao creatures and accompany their growth a la Tamagotchi. The Chao would also appear in the sequel Sonic Adventure 2, being much better.
  10. The DX version includes a Mission Mode, which is unlocked by completing one of the characters' stories. The mission mode is really fun for extra challenges to test your limits.
  11. The DX version also includes unlockable Sonic titles for the Game Gear, which are unlocked by collecting Emblems and completing missions in Mission Mode. It has all 12 Sonic the Hedgehog games that were released for the Game Gear from 1991-1996.
  12. It translated the gameplay, level design, and physics from the Genesis games (1991-1994) very well into 3D along with very smooth controls. The spindash for Sonic can be used to get to high places and speedrun levels, especially since his levels mainly focus on gravity and speed. The amount of control you have over Sonic and the many different places that you can reach is very satsifying. Again, its the Genesis games translated into 3D, and it shows that the developers intentionally did this so that the player can have as much fun as they want while taking their time and enjoying the environments of the levels, which makes Sonic Adventure such a great game with a lot of heart and dedication put into it.
  13. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all have similar movesets to the 2D games, along with a few new moves, such as the Homing Attack for Sonic, melee attacks for Knuckles and tailspin move for Tails.
  14. All of the characters have upgrades that can be found by progressing through their respective stories, such as the Shovel Claws for Knuckles and the Jet Anklets for Tails.
  15. The NPC's have new dialogue every time you advance the story and even have subplots about their lives. This adds to the setting of the game and even explains some plot holes like giving the reason why no one in the city touches the statue. The NPC's new dialouge makes the setting of Sonic Adventure feel so alive, the NPCs are actual humans with actual lives and that is very well expressed in this game.
  16. The voice providing in the Japanese version is pretty good. Jun'ichi Kanemaru also tends to use English phrases, which is pretty funny. This would later be a trait applied in later Sonic media.
  17. After a while of being spinoff material, Amy finally makes it into Sonic Adventure as a playable character and a part of the main cast.
  18. While the English acting/voice providing is not as favorable as the Japanese, some actors/voice providers do pretty good:
    • Ryan Drummond pushes Sonic's coolness factor to 11. Many criticize Drummond for being too loud as Sonic, but Drummond knows how to be mature and serious as Sonic at just the right times.
    • Jennifer Douliard and Corey Bringas' provided voices for Amy and Tails respectively match their personalities.
    • Deem Bristow is fantastic with Dr. Eggman, who makes him sound like the sadistic madman he is, and he would carry that performance throughout all the games he was in. RIP Bristow.
    • Jon St. John's performance as Big the Cat is pretty funny (notably, this is the guy who voiced Duke Nukem).
    • Steve Broadie excels at painting Gamma off as a melancholic robot, on par with the character's story.
    • The NPC voices are pretty funny as well.
    • While Michael McGaharn did a bad job as Knuckles in the final game, at least he did a better job voicing him in the E3 demo of Sonic Adventure where he sounds more confident and tough.
  19. Although they have somewhat aged significantly by today's standards, the graphics were very impressive and even revolutionary at the time the game was released back in the late 90s.
    • Furthermore, the art style that the game goes for is very clean and smooth, as it takes the cartoony aesthetic of the classic games and combines it with a more anime-esque look that suits the game very well, especially the new designs for the characters provided by the legendary Yuji Uekawa.
  20. Despite being poor most of the lines in the English version are neat:
    1. Doctor Eggman:
      1. "AAAHH! DUMMIES, DUMMIES, DUMMIES, DUMMIES!!!!"
      2. "ALL YOU WORTHLESS HUNKS OF JUNK! BEGONE!!!!"
    2. Sonic:
      1. "Aw yeah, this is happening!"
      2. "Watch out, you're gonna crash! Ah!"
      3. "Woah! A Chaos Emerald!"
      4. "Look, it's a giant talking egg!"
      5. "Way to go, Knucklehead!"
      6. "Wow, this thing is really huge!"
      7. "Step aside, Amy! Out of my way!"
    3. Knuckles:
      1. "Oh no!" (probably one of the most iconic lines in the entire game)
      2. "Eggman! Give me back the Master Emerald!"
      3. "Fine! Give it your best shot!"
      4. "Where am I? This is very strange."
    4. Tails:
      1. "Yeah, it's just that I'm testing a new prototype power supply and it's not fully compatible yet."
      2. "That's Eggman! I wonder what happened to Sonic?"
      3. I see it! I gotta get it before Eggman. The fate of Station Square depends on me, huh. Sonic! I've changed a lot since I started hanging with Sonic, but I can't depend on him forever. I know I can do this by myself. Okay Eggman, bring it on!

"OH NO!" Qualities

  1. There's some issues with the character playstyles:
    • Big the Cat was strongly disliked both as a character and as a playstyle. The character is often mocked over the fact that him and Duke Nukem's titular character are voiced by the same actor (which is Jon St. John, of all people).
    • Likewise, Amy's playstyle is also disliked by some people, as she has the slowest walking speed of all the characters (so slow that even Big the Cat of all characters walks faster than her, and this was even carried on in Sonic Advance), although this can be solved by exploiting a glitch in the Dreamcast version, where jumping sideways makes her build up speed very fast.
    • Tails' playstyle, while his mechanics and move set is mastered, the same can't be said for his levels. They're just about beating Sonic to the end and if not Sonic, Tails races Eggman to the missile. Tails' mechanics don't work with the level design and against it, although despite that he still is fun to play as.
  2. While the characters' power-ups are well integrated in the gameplay, Sonic got the low end: his power-ups feel useless and (apart from the forced segments) people can complete his story without using them once. The same thing can be said with Amy and her hammer spin.
    • Speaking of moves, Sonic is a bit sloppy to control sometimes. When running very fast the controls feel extremely sensitive and the homing attack sometimes can either hit a random target from a mile away and miss the one you wanted to hit. His Light Speed Attack can also cause him to start spinning in circles around his targets.
  3. The camera is clunky, usually ending up getting stuck on walls and other times struggling to keep up with the characters. This was later fixed in the DX version, which added a "Free Camera" mode.
  4. The large amount of playable characters somewhat takes the spotlight from Sonic. Sure, Sonic's campaign is the longest, but he never gets to Hot Shelter, a level only accessible by Gamma, Amy, and Big.
    • The different characters also travel through the same levels with little differences, making their campaigns rather repetitive.
  5. Choppy frame rate that looks barely any better than a PlayStation or Nintendo 64 game. Although fortunately, the frame rate issue was fixed in the DX version.
  6. As mentioned in #19 in the WIaGA section, the graphics have aged rather poorly when compared to most Sonic games today, as the game looks rather poorly rendered and the character animations are a bit uncanny and awkward as mentioned below in the Bad Qualities section.
  7. The English voice providing and translation aren't too bad, but are still poor. Some lines sound very weird, like "That's Eggman! I wonder what happened to Sonic?" from Tails' story, and Knuckles’ English voice is so bad it almost sounds like text-to-speech, Speaking of which, Big the Cat's voice can be one of the most annoying voices you'll hear in the game as it sounded like Duke Nukem if he took drugs (once again due to Big being voiced by John St. John, and even he hated Big's voice). And the soldiers in station square don't seem a scared of Chaos by a bit.
  8. While the multiple bosses are fun to fight, you'll have to fight some bosses multiple times if more than one character encounters them during the story, like Chaos 4. There are only two characters that don't fight Chaos: Amy and Gamma.
    • On that note, the fights against another character, like Knuckles or Gamma, are ridiculously easy.
  9. Navigating the hub world can be confusing and tedious, especially in the jungle section of Mystic Ruins, where, due to the low quality of the leaves and the fact that invisible walls are everywhere, makes it a maze to navigate. Thankfully, Tikal can help you if you get lost.
  10. The collision detection is very broken: it's possible to glitch through the floor and fall out of bounds, in the town hub world it's very easy to get stuck on a door or a street lamp and colliding with some vertical surfaces at a high speed will stop you dead in your tracks.
  11. Some cutscenes have poor audio mixing (like the music being a tad louder than it should), lip-syncing is terrible because it isn't synchronized with the English dialogue and the character animations in the cutscenes are baffling, with the Sonic and Knuckles' facial expressions and Eggman moonwalking in some scenes being the highlights. Thankfully the animations were improved in the sequel, though the lip-sync is just as problematic.
  12. While the game has one of the best soundtracks in the Sonic series, some of the music doesn't sound very good, like "My Sweet Passion" (Amy's theme).
  13. The DX port (Also the Xbox Live Arcade/PSN/Steam ports which are based on DX) suffers from poor lighting, different textures, mono audio for some sound effects, lower-pitched ring collect sound, and having some glitches not in Dreamcast game due to the porting (though to be fair, it did fix some glitches too). This is very noticeable in the original PC version of the port which would be the basis for every future port. The DX version also lead to many misconceptions by detractors and created the false narrative of SA1 being a terrible game, which also lead into the infamous quote: "Sonic had a rough transition to 3D."
    • Not to mention, there were also several glitches with the Japanese Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure, mainly because it was produced on a tight schedule, and the developers did not have time to fix them.[5] However, this was fixed in the American Dreamcast version.

Reception

Sonic Adventure received generally favorable reviews from critics. The current GameRankings average ranking is 86.51%. It became one of the few Sega All-Stars games. The Japanese video game magazine Famitsu gave the game a score of 38/40. Sonic Adventure became the best-selling Dreamcast game, selling 2.5 million copies. It also became one of the best-selling GameCube games, selling 1.60 million copies.

Over the years, however, opinions on this game and its sequel have become very polarized among the fanbase. Some still consider it as one of the best Sonic games ever while a few people consider it flawed or outright bad due to the game being aged badly.

Trivia

  • From this game onwards, Dr. Robotnik is officially renamed to Dr. Eggman (his original Japanese name), even though he still calls himself Dr. Robotnik in this game.
  • This was the first Sonic game to feature songs from the band Crush 40.
  • This game has spawned a few memes, such as "Get a load of this!" from Dr. Eggman, "Something bugging you?" from Sonic, and most notably, "OH NO!" from Knuckles.
  • Knuckles was originally going to have a Jamaican accent.

References

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