TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure

Well, Sonic Adventure sees Sonic and Tails once again journeying to defeat Eggman, only the plot is much more epic this time. Sonic is seen chilling out in Station Square when a commotion in the street invites him to face off against a strange enemy made of water. When the creature is defeated, Sonic runs into Tails, who discovered a Chaos Emerald on his travels. The duo go to the Mystic Ruins. On the way they meet Eggman, who introduces the two to ‘Chaos’, the water monster Sonic fought earlier.

By nabbing the Chaos Emeralds, Eggman feeds them to Chaos, who transforms into a bigger creature the more Emerald he is given. If Chaos absorbs all of the seven emeralds’ power, he’ll be invincible. What’s worse, Eggman plans to use this to destroy Station Square and to build his own city, ‘Robotnikland’. As Sonic and Tails vow to stop him, they encounter other characters, who each have a place in the story…

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Platform: Sega Dreamcast | Developer: Sonic Team
EU Release: 14 Oct 1999 | US Release: 9 Sep 1999 | JP Release: 23 Dec 1998


That sounds pretty epic already, right? But it doesn’t end there. Oh no. Some of the characters that Sonic and Tails encounter on their journey are from games past, but others are new to the series. The playable characters that make an appearance are Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma. What’s more, every character has a part to play in the story…

Sonic’s side of the story is as explained above. Eggman, Chaos. The more Chaos Emeralds Eggman feeds Chaos, the more powerful he becomes. With all seven gems inside him, he’ll become ‘Perfect Chaos’ – which is just that, having all the Emeralds an’ all. There are 10 levels in Sonic’s story and they mostly involve getting to the end of the level to collect a Chaos Emerald, or to destroy a capsule with animals trapped inside.

Sonic can collect special items that improve his chances of survival, like Light Speed Shoes which make you follow a trail of rings at light speed; and a crystal ring which reduces the time needed to store up power for the Light Speed Shoes. The Ancient Light uses Sonic’s Light Speed Dash move as an attack move.

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Tails’ participation in this massive storyline is like Sonic’s, only at one stage Tails gets separated from Sonic and decides it’s time to work on his new Tornado plane! He also runs into a bit of trouble with Robotnik when the fat egg plans to blow up Station Square. Tails has five levels, which is pitiful to Sonic’s ten, and most of them involve going through Sonic’s levels and getting to the end of the level before Sonic does. Add-ons to Tails’ equipment include the Rhythm Badge, which makes Tails attack rapidly, and sneakers which make him fly faster.

Knuckles’ story is totally different from Sonic and Tails’. It begins on his Floating Island guarding the Master Emerald, when he spies an intruder. After the intruder leaves, Knuckles finds the Master Emerald in pieces. Shards had flown across all of the Adventure Field. As the Master Emerald’s protector, Knuckles vows to collect all of the missing pieces. His levels are compact versions of those seen when playing as Sonic, with the aim being to search for three Master Emerald shards, which appear in random locations. He can collect the Shovel Claw, which enables him to dig through soil, and Fighting Gloves, which gives him a homing attack.

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Amy makes a comeback in this game and now she’s got her own storyline. While Sonic is battling Eggman, Amy is left reminiscing of the good times she had with Sonic, until a bird hits her. It seems that the bird is under suspicion from Eggman to be hiding a Chaos Emerald and is under pursuit from the dictator’s half-witted robot, Zero. It’s Amy’s mission to protect the ‘birdy’ from the robot’s clutches. Amy’s levels are similar to Sonic’s (get to the end of the level), but you have the added pressure of evading Zero and reaching a goal balloon to get away. She has three levels and can obtain weapons which include the Warrior Feather, which enables Amy to do her Spin Hammer Attack, and a larger hammer with more attack power.

Big the Cat is a new addition to the Sonic team, his sole mission to get his dear friend back, a frog curiously called ‘Froggy’. Lately Froggy has grown a strange tail and has been acting weirdly. One day he runs away. Big, being the lonely massive cat he is, can’t bear to be without him, so he goes looking for him. It turns out that the frog is hiding a Chaos Emerald – which is the reason for the strange tail, and why Eggman is after Froggy too. Since Big is so good at fishing, it is this subject that forms all of his four levels. They consist of fishing for a certain weight of fish and then for Froggy who is also swimming in the level. There is a Float to be obtained, which makes Big fish on water, and many improvements to his fishing rod.

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E-102 Gamma is another new recruit for the Sonic group and one of Eggman’s robots (you would think that, wouldn’t you). First of all he is controlled by Eggman to retrieve Big’s friend, Froggy. Once he does this, he is ordered to get the birdie off of Amy (everyone has an encounter with one other at some point during the story). But Amy makes Gamma think about his life. The robot decides that the rest of his E-Series robots need help (the animals trapped inside them have a life too, y’know) and goes against Eggman to free the rest of the E- Series. Most of Gamma’s levels involve destroying another E-Series robot at the end. Other additions include a Jet Booster which makes him hover, and a better gun.

In the way of bosses, you get your fair share, although its not in the traditional Sonic manner. Bosses usually appear after every few cut-scenes and can feature Eggman, Chaos (in several forms), or mini-bosses where you fight other playable characters! It’s quite groovy actually, its a step up from the Hidden Palace battle in Sonic & Knuckles. You get to find it almost… enjoyable. Hearing Knuckles enthusiastically say ‘Oh No’ when he gets hit is particularly funny.

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One of the genius touches that Sonic Team has made comes in the form of Sega’s answer to Pikachu and the Tamagotchi – the Chao! Chao can be found in special gardens in the Adventure Field and you take special care of them by picking them up and cuddling them and feeding them at the right time.

Animals that you collect from busted badniks have a use here –  give them to Chao and they will gain special abilities, as well as growing certain appendages. Depending on how well you treat it, your Chao may evolve, too. All Chao are unique because of this. And you can even download them onto your VMU and play a game called ‘Chao Adventure’ which raises its stats the more you play. Hell, you can even upload them onto the Internet, so that other people can download it and wonder in awe how you created that certain chao. A genius idea and welcome here at the ‘Stadium.

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The fun doesn’t stop with just six characters. Nope. Complete the game with all six players and you get access to a special story called ‘Super Sonic’, which details the aftermath of Sonic’s initial victory. It seems that even though Sonic defeated Eggman, Chaos is still on the loose – this time without Robotnik! Chaos has run amok and has retrieved all of the seven Chaos Emeralds, transforming into Perfect Chaos. Only one dude can stop him, and it ain’t Sonic. Play as Super Sonic to destroy this monster and you’ll discover what happens afterwards!

Honestly, this is the first true ‘Sonic Team’ Sonic game in about five years, and Sonic fans across the world have been waiting to see it – I can speak for everyone else that we weren’t disappointed. Unrivalled gameplay, with the only faff being the pointless adventuring, which is nice but detracts from gameplay. You’re always given clues on where to go next, but it does seem a bit of a pointless slog between levels. In addition to this, most of the levels seem to be rip-offs of Sonic’s which is foul play to say the least.

Besides this, fans couldn’t ask more. This is the TRUE update to the classic Sonic games that everyone, young and old, used to play on their ‘Drives’ and ‘Gennys’. The best game of the year, and make no mistake. Play Sonic Adventure. Love Sonic Adventure.

10/10

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Published by

Dreadknux

Sexy founder of The Sonic Stadium, and creator and co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic fan convention. By day, I'm a super-fantastic games journalist, el professionale. By night, I'm the mother-loving Sonical Batman. I keep the site ticking, look after the TSS Network, and get all excited about Sonic games so that you can too. May contain nuts.