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Game 42 of 52: Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut - 14/05/24


Ryannumber1gamer

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Aw yeah, now this is happenin'! Anyone who knows my opinions on Sonic Adventure knows that Adventure ranks extremely highly in my all-time favourite Sonic games. It's not a game that holds a special nostalgia memory or anything. It wasn't one of my first games and the closest thing I have to a personal memory with it is it and SA2B being two of the first games I went out of my way to get on eBay once I got more into the Sonic series so I could play them on my Wii. Sonic Adventure is just one of my favourite games because plainly - I just really enjoy it that much.

However, for this playthrough, I decided I wanted to do something I'd never done before. As part of my journey to 100% every single Sonic trophy list on PS3, this time I was going to complete all that Sonic Adventure had to offer. Every emblem, every sub-game, every mission. Everything. Unfortunately, given that this was done for the trophy lists, that meant I had to use the absolutely inferior DX port on PS3, which is infamously a port of a port of a port. 

Normally, I'd go through a whole story retrospective, but given the way I tackled Heroes, I think it's best to do it the same way here as well. So let's start with...

Sonic the Hedgehog:

latest?cb=20090625195937Of course it had to be Sonic, given he's the initial starting character, and in my opinion, Sonic's gameplay just outright does not get old. Call it dated, aged or whatever, but the Adventure era of Sonic is just such a great transition of the character's speed and platforming into 3D. I do think there's something definitely lost in the DX port however, because the original Dreamcast's graphics and proportions strikes a really nice transitional period between Genesis era and Dreamcast era. But Sonic's gameplay is exactly what you'd come to expect - blitzing your way to the end of a level as fast as possible, taking down enemies as you go along, while transitioning the reaction-based gameplay pretty damn nicely to 3D, and even doing it in ways the Genesis era couldn't do such as having Sonic use his speed to scale walls to access certain pathways. 

 

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The level selection in Adventure is also just one of the outright best imo. While acts have been ditched, meaning every level is just it's own level, the levels in terms of scale, locale, and design is just insanely fun to explore, rewarding you for using Sonic's momentum at the right times to enter certain areas or cut time off your level times. There's a pretty big reason why so many of Adventure's levels just went onto becoming the most iconic we've seen in the series. Emerald Coast, Speed Highway, Twinkle Park, etc. They aren't all winners. In fact, Casinopolis is one of my least favourite levels in the series, but when the game hits - it really hits well, and it feels like just a insanely fun thrill ride. Only a few Sonic games manage to capture a well balance between a thrilling speed level and control/explorability, and Adventure Sonic is it.

Although on this latest run, I did realise something, albeit that might be best to cover after discussing Sonic's story, which is simple enough. After a encounter with a strange water creature in Station Square, Sonic finds himself roped into stopping Dr. Eggman's latest scheme to find the Chaos Emerald and feed them to the legendary god of destruction - Chaos. Now Sonic has to race in order to stop Eggman from completing Chaos' power and form, gathering the emeralds before him, and encountering various friends and foes alike along the way.

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In spite of his relatively simple story, Sonic has the longest story in terms of levels, which is honestly a good thing given he has the best gameplay of the entire game. But on this run, I did find I was doing something I didn't on other playthroughs. I was just...checking out. I don't know why, but by the time I was getting to Sky Deck and especially Lost World, I honestly got the realisation that not only was Adventure's story not really grabbing me, causing me to skip more cutscenes (I guess the datedness of the game finally caught up with me unlike past plays), but I just wasn't having fun with Sonic's later stages compared to the earlier ones. 

Not helping this is bluntly - this was also the run where I started realising how shit the DX port is. Between glitches and the awful visuals, it was actually what inspired me to finally get the SA Mod Loader working on Steam Deck so that I could actually finally experience the perfect way to play Adventure, not that it helped because I was hell-bent on finishing the game 100% on PS3. Either way, I was frankly starting to burn out by the end of Sonic's story, which didn't bode well when I had five others to go through. Don't get me wrong - Sonic is still a blast to play, but I do think his campaign is lopsided with just a bit too many annoying bosses towards the end. 


Miles 'Tails' Prower:

latest?cb=20180314193539Next up is Tails, who is the very next character we meet in Sonic's story. Tails' gameplay is pretty much exactly similar to Sonic's, although that makes sense given how he also plays in something like Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Instead of simply trying to get through the levels normally, Tails instead gets shortened versions of levels where the goal is to try and race Sonic to the end. It does raise a question as to why Tails just fails if Sonic beats them to their objective, but it all ties into his storyline.

Tails is pretty much as close to a perfect recreation of the Genesis gameplay as you can expect from him. He plays essentially like Sonic, but with the ability to fly for short periods of time before he tires out. He does get a few unique abilities here too though, such as a tail spin that he can use as a means of attack, although the times this will come up, I found to be rather rare, but I still find it to be a nice addition all together anyways.

 

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Still, despite how similar Tails' gameplay to Sonic is, I think Tails is still easily the second best gameplay format in the game. It's essentially Sonic's levels, but with a lot of the fat trimmed out of it, and the levels slightly redesigned in order to better utilise Tails' flight, which again is a neat way to re-format a Genesis era gameplay element into the 3D era - where Tails' flight allows him to access areas specifically only he can, which allows him to beat these races. On top of that, Tails' levels tends to frankly be the best part of Sonic's levels without the bad portions. For example, Ice Cap is just the snowboarding segment, or Casinopolis is just the sewer portion. On one hand, you can argue it's lame that Tails' levels are shorter, but generally speaking - given that it's usually the least fun portions of Sonic's stages that got the chop, I don't mind. It makes Tails' levels more concise with the action, and frankly - depending on my mood, I could shift one way or the other on if I think Tails or Sonic has the better campaign.

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It also just generally helps that Tails' plotline is basically a better version of Sonic's. As Sonic's sidekick, Tails' first half of the campaign is the same as Sonic's - attempting to collect the Chaos Emeralds in order to stop Eggman's plans to empower Chaos. However, after Sky Chase ends with the Tornado shot down, Sonic and Tails is split apart and we really get into the personal arc of Tails' story, where Tails needs to learn to come into his own as a hero, and learn to have confidence in himself, learning he can't always rely on Sonic, which is why Tails' losses to Sonic is a defeat condition - your victories over him in races directly ties into Tails' rising self-confidence, in a frankly really cool way of integrating story with gameplay, especially for a 1998 game.

This all cumulates with Tails being forced to directly go against Eggman when he's the only one who discovers Eggman is planning to level the city in a fit of rage after Chaos 6 is seemingly defeated, taking Eggman on head to head twice over and coming out victorious. While it's still a relatively basic plot, I think Tails easily has one of the best campaigns in the game, taking the best elements of Sonic's story but actually having a character arc and sense of growth during it. Tails' campaign is a high point, which is a shame because the next character comes so close, yet falls just short.


Knuckles the Echidna:

latest?cb=20090625200512Ah, Knuckles. My favourite Sonic character. A character who has a pretty big heavy hand in the game's plot, as you would imagine from the Echidna lore that is so deeply connected to Knuckles. Unfortunately, while I think Knuckles had the potential to frankly be the best campaign in the game, that potential is sadly lost in the end. But before we get to that, let's jump into the gameplay.

Once more, Knuckles is still more or less completely on point to his Genesis appearances. He plays somewhat like Sonic, but with the ability to climb walls and glide around stages. Like Tails however, he has a few additional attacks where he utilises punches, making him slightly more unique, albeit I can't say it's particularly useful.

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Knuckles' gameplay is the first one to majorly divert from the gameplay of Sonic and Tails. Instead of getting to the end of a level, Knuckles is instead plopped into one large closed off area of Sonic's levels, given his own unique abilities to better explore around the world and find the shards of the Master Emerald. However, I have always found that Knuckles' gameplay in Sonic Adventure is rather underrated. I think between the fact that the radar in this game can specifically detect any shard at any moment, but the levels are just the perfect size to make it fun to glide around and explore, but not too big that it feels like it takes forever to find shards of the Master Emerald. It's not particularly fast, but I do think it's really fun, and still fast enough with the exploration and gliding that Knuckles' levels can easily stand next to Sonic and Tails' stages as being solid fun.

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Unfortunately, while Knuckles' gameplay is really great in my opinion, his story honestly really disappoints me because it started out with a actually pretty interesting and gripping premise - Knuckles begins his story considering his life following the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The threat has ended and Knuckles has simply resumed his duty of protecting the Master Emerald, and he starts to wonder if this is all his life will be. If his one sole purpose is to only be there to protect the Master Emerald, to fulfil a duty to his long lost people. Then, Chaos emerges from the Master Emerald, shattering it and forcing Knuckles to leave the island and explore to recollect the emeralds.

Throughout the story, it seems like they're kind of setting up that Knuckles is going to have what could be a good arc of discovering what the outside world is like, and being able to adventure and find more of a purpose. He talks about how the locales he visits differ from Angel Island, and there's something of a culture shock aspect to it. However, Knuckles remains dutiful, even when Eggman raises the doubt into his head that Sonic is hoarding emerald shards from him, leading Knuckles into another fight with Sonic.

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However, the game begins to give Knuckles flashbacks to ancient times, where he experiences the true nature of the Echidnas first hand, where he could see how war and power hungry they were. In short, they begin to set up this idea of Knuckles' idealised image of the Echidnas being shattered, and therefore realising how rather silly it is that he's allowing a non-existent duty to them stop him from truly living life. This was all a great means of introspection and development...

...except the campaign ends with Knuckles right back on Angel Island after he restores the Master Emerald, essentially resigning himself to always being the guardian of the Master Emerald, and to this duty, and frankly, it just feels like a bizarre turn back to the status quo when the entire plot of the game really hinges upon how pretty awful the Echidnas truly were, especially given they're responsible for Chaos in the first place. This sudden shift honestly sinks Knuckles' story in the water for me unfortunately.

Worse than that? At least Knuckles' story was simply a story letdown by a bad conclusion and his gameplay was still pretty good. The same can't be said for the next character...


Amy Rose:

latest?cb=20180314190404Yeah, for anyone more or less experienced with Sonic Adventure, pretty much anyone can guess that this is the end of the generally considered 'good' characters. Knuckles is already somewhat debated, but the next three are anywhere between 'divided' to outright widely despised in terms of gameplay. When it comes to Amy, what side of the coin do I fall on?

Yeah, no. I know it's a easy target. Most people complain about gameplay being 'un-Sonic like', but even when you accept that and try to enjoy Amy's gameplay as it is? I just don't like it. It's too slow. Far too clunky. 

Unlike Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, Amy is among the slowest characters in the entire game, the entire point being that she needs to build up speed to perform a hammer jump, that will then proceed to give her a speed boost, and if you're lucky, you can chain these jumps together. That's pretty much only the only thing she's got to make her unique. She can of course damage enemies with her hammer, but the times you need to actually do this is fairly rare. She can do a spinning attack mid-air which is pretty decent, but that's really it.

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I suppose the one big positive I can give to Amy is that her story is not only pretty good, but it also does a really good job in integrating the game's plotline into her gameplay. Frankly - the best out of any characters. Amy's story is pretty simple - after a day of reminiscing about her rescue from Little Planet and shopping in Station Square, Amy stumbles upon a lost flicky that Amy proclaims she's going to help protect by seeking Sonic out. However, as the plot develops, and a robot working on Eggman's command named Zero starts hunting the flicky, Amy herself opts to take charge and protect the flicky herself.

Amy's storyline does overlap with Tails' a fair bit, but I think it's a game that does a great job in depicting who Amy is outside of her admiration of Sonic. She does start off interested in being a cute couple to get into Twinkle Park - but when she gets kidnapped and no one else is around to save her, Amy raises to the occasion and fights back solely to protect this little bird, all because Amy can feel that the little Flicky needs help. Her being able to find empathy with Gamma, and even step in to save the robot is one of the game's high points in the plot, and I think this is a fantastic beginning to Amy's arc of learning to be capable on her own and take some of the heroic traits she admires Sonic for.

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Amy's gameplay as mentioned follows suit - being a puzzle platformer where Amy is being actively chased by Zero throughout every single level, and the objective is to get to the end where a escape balloon awaits to get her out of the situation. In terms of trying to go for a little more of a spooky atmosphere and empathise that Amy isn't as experienced as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, I do think these levels do a great job in empathising that. But that's really where the praise ends. Amy's slow monotonous gameplay just doesn't gel with me at all. She runs too slow. The controls are too slippery for the hammer chains to be consistent enough, and it's just really unfun. I wish I could describe it more accurately and in detail, but that's really just the plain truth - I don't find it fun at all.

But at least she isn't the worst...


Big the Cat:

Big.png.2de91e2ae6179bb58caf769cd025e00c.pngHEY BIG GUY, HEY LITTLE GUY CAN YOU TELL ME WHO CAME FIRST, SORRY BUT I DON'T KNOW, WE ARE SIMPLY NATURAL!!!

Now concludes the positive portion of Big's section.

First off Big, points against you for ruining the uniform art we had for these characters and making me resort to Sonic Channel art, as great as it is.

Anyways - Big. What can I even say? He's the easiest target there is. Everyone and their grannies have complained about Big in Sonic Adventure. Do I have something to add? Do I have something I can provide that's new? Can I perhaps find redemption in a character that the fandom has come to embrace?

Nope. 

Sorry. I tried. I really tried. I did all of Big's campaign, all of his missions, I have experienced all there is to experience with Big, and just no. I don't hate the guy or anything, he's not even on the list for least favourite Sonic characters, but I am in the camp that thinks his hated rep in this game is fully deserved. His gameplay is just the worst. It's nothing but fishing. You run around stages, trying to find specific ponds that contain fish, one of which will have Big's friend, Froggy. Even skipping past the part that fishing doesn't have a place in a Sonic game, especially as a main gameplay feature, but that's not my issue with the gameplay.

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My issue is the gameplay is bad. The fishing controls are confusing, fishing feels incredibly inconsistent and finicky, meaning you constantly fight to catch anything, and it feels like downright frustrating luck, and not to mention that when it comes to his missions, there's RNG at play. You need to catch certain sizes and weights of fishes, yet getting them to appear is one part RNG, and then successfully catching them feels luck-dependant, as sometimes, no matter how much you reel back, it just feels like the fish constantly fights back and remains in place until Big gives up.

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What's worse of all is Big's story is just awful. It's the most irrelevant and disconnected of all of the stories. Big's best friend - Froggy - accidentally drinks a puddle containing Chaos' tail, causing Chaos to possess the frog and remain incomplete until his tail is regained. Big now chases after Froggy, constantly losing him after some wacky hijinks. That's it, that's the plot, and makes it even more ill-fitting as Big ends up fighting Chaos 6 and inside Tikal flashbacks with a blank face, because he is just so completely not part of the story. He sticks out like a sore thumb in both a narrative and gameplay manner, games like Heroes and such at least rectifying, giving Big more of a purpose in the story. But here? Nope, it sucks. He sucks. 

Thankfully, redemption is about to hit...


E-102 Gamma: 

image.png.d191965c458707da9d8c004c35f4bea7.pngDamn you Gamma for ruining the uniformity once more. You're lucky that I've actually got positive things to say about you here, or else we've be hitting a bad pattern here.

Gamma is once more, another one of the debated characters. You either like, or you hate him. Luckily, in my case - I actually fall on the positive side this time. Gamma's gameplay is pretty simple - you have 3 minutes to finish a stage, and using his cannon, you need to charge through the stage, shooting every enemy you can, chaining combos with them to rack up time bonuses, and increase the amount of time you have to get the stage done.

It's essentially as simple as that, but personally, I think that this is just enough of a twist on speed gameplay to be fun. Gamma's speed already is fairly decent enough in comparison to Amy and Big, which is what you would expect from the time-driven nature of his levels. But personally, I think there's just a pretty simple fun in blitzing through levels, holding the shoot button, hitting combos on enemies, and receiving time bonuses. It's a simple shooting gallery, but with speed being the name of the game to get to the end of the stages ASAP, I think it works well.

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Gamma also has the honour of just plainly having one of the best stories in the entire game - a tragic story where this robot created for destruction and obedience by Eggman suddenly gains sentience after being shown compassion from Amy, and after witnessing his brothers being disassembled as if they were nothing, Gamma makes it his mission to track down each and every single one of his fellow E-100 series units, taking them on in combat, and freeing their captive animals by destroying them, knowing that it also ultimately means that he too will have to be destroyed to finish the job.

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What follows is a rather bittersweet tale as we follow Gamma though this mission, gameplay once again being intertwined with the story, as Gamma's level structure initially begins via missions for Eggman, before shifting to every level ending with a boss against a fellow E-100 series robot, meaning we get to witness first hand as he succeeds in his mission, but ultimately - not without receiving a fatal shot from his brother - Beta during the final fight, ensuring the entire E-100 series' line's destruction, but also meaning Gamma's spirit lives on in some way via the bird freed from his body. Between the fun shoot em up gameplay and the storyline being interesting, I'd say this is still a really damn good campaign.

Now that we've covered all six characters, that brings us to the last character...


Super Sonic:

SuperSonic.png.3e6369870d229f67ba4ecd6bd26d8cca.pngWe finally arrive to the final story, which honestly - isn't much to speak about since it's mostly a modified variant of Sonic's gameplay. Still, we came this far, so we might as well continue.

With all stories finished, Chaos suddenly returned with his rage in full-scale now, ambushing Eggman and Knuckles, and stealing all of the Chaos Emeralds, turning into his Perfect Chaos form and bringing destruction to Station Square. Now realising the full story behind Chaos' original enclosure, and the Echidnas' actions, Sonic refuses to simply destroy Chaos and reseal him, as it won't get to the core of his anger. Instead, he wants to neutralise the negative energy Chaos absorbed, returning him back to a state where he can be reasoned with.

This is one of my favourite Sonic moments, frankly - and one I do think that Adventure deserves huge credit for. Sonic having this moment where he just speaks about how knocking around a enemy who is only like that because of mistreatment isn't the solution is a really cool plot detail, and it goes into a cool final battle where Super Sonic fights Chaos in the ruins of Station Square. It's simple enough, really. Just dodge attacks, build enough speed, and deliver a attack by charging into Chaos. It's simple, but a sweet conclusion. My only real complaint here is just the fact they waste Open Your Heart on Phase 1 when it's definitely more fitting for the final battle of the game.

With Chaos defeated, Tikal manages to finally speak sense and reason into Chaos, helping to nullify his anger, and rectifying mistakes of the past, causing the two to thank Sonic and friends for their help, as they peacefully return to the Master Emerald. Eggman makes a hasty retreat with his plans now completely in shambles, and Sonic and everyone go their separate ways, putting a end to Sonic's first 3D outing.


Adventure Fields:

image.png.2fa4faa0d2eb1f91a9a24804562f4de2.pngI should also mention the Adventure Fields, a big addition to the game. Between levels, you can explore three different hub worlds to find mini-events, cutscenes, and even upgrades. On top of that, all three locales is pretty different, Station Square being a huge city, Mystic Ruins being comprised of a lost jungle, ancient ruins, and the fallen Angel Island, and the Egg Carrier being Eggman's main base of operations, giving you a chance to explore his battleship, which is a fun novelty in of itself.

Throughout these adventure fields is also upgrades for every character, which give them cosmetic differences. While this is honestly a cool detail, and it is fun trying to find these upgrades, I can't really say that I find them particularly interesting or useful, beyond Sonic's light speed dash, and Big's upgrades. But still, I think it was a good attempt all the same.

On top of that, I also think that credit should go to the expansive NPC system, who all have unique mini-plotlines and dialogue that alters from level to level for every character, although I think it'd be best to let someone more experienced than me talk about it. Still, I find all of this nice world-building, especially for a game from 1998, that really adds some real ambition, while not getting in the way of the gameplay much at all.

Chao Garden:

image.thumb.png.75f7350c62ff7658595aef5e42ae62f5.pngI would of course be remiss to not talk about the Chao Garden, given how much of a fan favourite addition to the series it is. This was also required in my 100% run since the Chao Racing mode contains five emblems needed for completion, so I had to sit through all of this.

The aim of the game here is simple enough - the Chao Garden is a virtual garden where the Chao took refuge following the events of Chaos' creation in the past. The heroes of the game can go here to raise Chao, giving them animals they free from badniks within stages, and use them to affect a Chao's stats and even appearance. You can even find special chao in the world by doing things such as stealing a golden egg from a store, and freeing a egg from Eggman's prison bay.

To give the game it's fair props, I can see why people would enjoy this. There's a ton of customisation to be found within the mode, and there's a lot of options to specialise a chao to your liking, give them unique attributes, and use your rings to get neat goodies from the in-game Chao Black Market in order to continue evolving them.

Unfortunately, I just didn't click with it at all. For someone who doesn't care much for raising virtual pets, I simply wanted to get the five emblems I needed and be on my way, and what awaited me was a ungodly amount of grinding, even with a finicky animal glitch on top of everything else. How people have the patience to do this grind legit, I really don't know, but I hated it after the first hour, and it took at least 5-6 hours with a Chao's AI being absolutely horrendous, refusing to sit still, or constantly falling asleep, meaning I couldn't even consistently do the animal glitch. I just didn't enjoy it, especially when your stats need to be around level 70 in everything but stamina to win all of the races. This was just one step in a awful 100% completion journey.


Emblems/Trials:

maxresdefault.jpgThis was the next step on my rather miserable completion journey. For each and every single level, there's three emblems a piece, and every character has different requirements. For example, Sonic has rather strict time trials in his levels, while Tails has the simpler requirement of just beating a harder version of a stupid Sonic AI. Tails and Knuckles was rather fun, all things considered. But Sonic's sheer stage length and how annoying levels like Lost World could be made time trials absolutely infuriating to deal with, and in levels like Twinkle Park, the strict requirements feel like you outright need to pull some level skip exploits to meet their times.

Amy and Big's trials though? Oh god, horrible. Just horrible. Amy - despite her entire gameplay being a slower puzzle platformer has time trials when even Tails didn't have them, which is enough to really dislike her levels, since it means you need to try fight the finicky controls and push onwards to meet her time requirements, which can be damn strict in one or two levels. But Big's is even worse.

As mentioned before - his missions require catching fish with a weight of 2000, and not only is it outright RNG to be able to find them, which can take upwards of 15-30 minutes of resets and fishing to get lucky enough to get one to spawn, but when they do spawn, the fishing controls is so bad that it feels like a coin toss if the game just decides if you're going to be allowed to catch it or not. It's miserable. Even Gamma's is annoying as he has time trials in missions that already are time trials in of themselves, which means your objective is to hit big combos in order to add to your time to get it above the requirement, but depending on luck with aim and controls, it can just go bad. Tails and Knuckles took a hour to finish, compared to Amy taking a hour, and Big taking a full blown day.

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But then there's the sub-game emblems. The godforsaken sub-game emblems. While certain emblems are fine, such as Twinkle Circuit, Sky Chase Acts 1 and 2, and Sand Hill was incredibly irritating to get. Sand Hill for how slippery the controls is when it wants you to be super precise, but Sky Chase just feels like straight up RNG. You can hit the same targets, hit the same combos, yet have massive differences in your score for what feels like completely unexplained reasons. It outright felt like luck when the game finally decided you've hit the score requirement. There's also adventure field emblems, but those are simply exploration based, and even encourage you to find hidden areas like Eggman's bedroom and command room in the Egg Carrier.

But ultimately? The game asks way too much for the completion here. Having to do every level three times over gets tiring very very quickly, even for the fun levels like Sonic and Tails'. But on the characters like Big, Amy and so on? It was miserable. Utterly miserable. One of the least favourite Sonic games to 100%. I just plainly didn't like it even by the end of Sonic's campaign. Some of these levels just outright don't feel designed for time trials like Casinopolis, and it shows. Normally, this would be the end, but...


DX Content (Mission Mode and Metal Sonic):

Metal2.png.623e849a9855fc4e6c12e1376899ebfd.pngSince I was playing the PS3 version, the 100% completion was not done yet. DX's upgrade includes three bonus trophies for unlocking Metal Sonic - who might be a reskin of Sonic, but is a really cool unlockable for 120 emblems, but also for completing all of Metal Sonic's trials...which means just doing all of Sonic's levels again - this time times ago since the first mission also needed to be completed, and for completing mission mode.

As I said, Metal is a really cool addition, especially given the context of him having not shown up in a mainline game in ages at the time, but having to not only do all of Sonic's trials all over against when already nearing my patience with them, but having to actually do it more because Mission C has to be beaten as well was just a stupid requirement.

But nowhere near the worse, frankly.

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Mission mode on the surface is simple. You have 60 missions where each character has a selection of missions. This can be as simple as finding signposts with images of Sonic X, Cream the Rabbit, and promotional images, to more fun ideas like needing to cut the grass at Tails' workshop, to doing tasks within levels. For the most part, these are all padding, especially since in the PS3 version, all of the Game Gear games has been removed, meaning there's not even a reward to the missions now. But past a point, these missions just feel like busy-work and padding.

But more importantly - screw this mode - because towards the end, you get the classic, patented 'ask for perfection while the game can't provide the same in return'. There's two snowboarding missions in Ice Cap with no checkpoints, one where you need to get three perfect jumps in a row as Sonic, while you need to go through 14 checkpoints as Tails, and these are absolutely infamous for how unreasonably difficult they are, and if there was ever a point I got close to quitting despite being so far in the journey? It was these missions. I hated them. Utterly hated them. I hate this mode and I never, ever want to do it again. 


Misc:

This is more for the bonus things that I don't want to particularly give their own segment. For example, I think the game - at least in it's Dreamcast version - still has a unique and very charming artstyle. Not only is the 2D artwork just outright iconic, but the 3D graphics and designs of the worlds still hold up extremely well, even for a game from 1998. 

I also think it's worth just talking about all of the innovative things the game did that I think deserves props. The lighting system for 1998 was absolutely insane. The story, while dated and stilted now - still was pretty ambitious for the time and still has some good elements in it, even all these years later. The game's attempts to hit up all of these gameplay styles is pretty admirable, even if it's not fully working out in the end. There's even things like DLC in a game from 1998, which is honestly pretty insane to think about, especially when SA2 would evolve it even more later.

The soundtrack? Oh my god - it's one of my all time favourites. I adore the music in this game. Absolutely love it.

Just brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. 


The DX port is shit:

Yeah, there's no two ways about it. Not only is the DX port on Gamecube already lackluster, but the PS3 and PC ports are even worse being ports upon ports, introducing more glitches, visual glitches and more. Sonic Adventure is practically the Star Wars special editions of the Sonic series. So many changes, most of them terrible. Ironically, I never realised how bad it was before, but this playthrough? It made me realise just how utterly botched it was - and it got me out of my comfort zone to track down the means to mod the PC version into the best version of Sonic Adventure possible.

Seeing that? It makes the DX port even more of a disgrace. But honestly? There's no point in me saying it, because frankly - other people have done it in more detail, in better technical explanations than I can, and I highly encourage everyone to check these out, as well as just take the plunge and mod the PC version into the best version. 

https://dreamcastify.unreliable.network/ - A entire blog dedicated to go into full blown detail in every single way, shape and form in how this is a massive downgrade + a tutorial on how to mod the Steam version.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, I think this has been one of the most interesting experiences I've had in the entirety of this entire challenge - as the sheer size of this blog compared to all the rest should show you with how much I had to talk about here. After all of this, Sonic Adventure is still one of my favourite games in the series. Absolutely. I still think the game is fantastic, and while Big and Amy's gameplay sucks - their levels are also so short in number that it's a blip compared to the sheer quality and quantity of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Gamma combined.

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I'm aware that at the time, there was a big controversy with Adventure. The designs of the characters being radically changed, the shift to 3D gameplay, the different gameplay styles, and so on. In fact, a lot of people like to say Adventure has aged badly and that it was never good, but this is a notion I just can't agree with. If I were asked to compare Mario 64 and Adventure and asked what I'd like to play more often? It's Adventure all the way. Both because Adventure is still a fantastic translation of the series' gameplay to a new dimension, and all things considered - it's controls and camera IMO is a lot less clunky compared to 64 and a lot of other similar games back then. 

Don't get me wrong either, this isn't to make comparisons or what have you, but I feel like Adventure is just a game that gets a bad rap meshed in with all the "Sonic was never good" nonsense, and that's as someone with no real personal connection to Adventure. I played it nearly ten years after it released. I have no real nostalgic connection to it, even compared to my first ever experience with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and experiencing City Escape. I just loved Adventure because Adventure was a damn fine game, botched port or not.

I came out of this run with a frankly whole new level of appreciation for Adventure. Both for how it held up, but also to see the sheer injustice that's happened to it just due to how plainly awful it's ports are in later years. It's bad enough that Adventure is trapped on older consoles, but the fact that ever since the initial DX port way back when, SEGA's laziness just meant that the game has continually gotten more and more botched over and over and over again is sad. 

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This isn't to say Adventure isn't without flaws. I feel we've gone through a lot here, but I do think in this day and age, part of why Adventure gets such a horrid rap is that most people experience it through both DX on GC, and Adventure on PS3 and PC. They experience super shiny graphics. They experience muddy textures. They experience models being bizarre. They experience glitches and bad collision - something that was outright knowingly exploited by the likes of Egoraptor to make the game look worse.

I honestly wish we could get a proper, fully realised remaster - something on par with the Taxman ports and Christian Whitehead's work, and honestly - this is where the fan community deserve their props. If you ask me - the entire team behind the Dreamcastify site, and the SA Mod Manager that make it so easy to revert the game to having all of the best qualities of the original SA on Dreamcast, and on DX in one package. Christian Whitehead did great things for the 2D games, but I honestly think the time has come to give Adventure the love it deserves - especially when it's sitting right there, all thanks to passionate fans who love the game so much that they wanted to present it to the world in it's best possible form. It's one of the best showings of how much passion this fanbase can have, and the amount of hardwork they'll dedicate to bring the proper shine to the games they love.

In short, everyone should play Adventure, especially since it's so cheap on Steam, runs on practically anything, and is easily modded. I'll probably never want to 100% this game again, but I'm proud I did it, after so many years. I'm happy to finally understand much more of the game, and to be able to better appreciate one of my most favourite entries in the series. Sonic Adventure in my eyes, it's something special. It's something every Sonic fan should experience once in their life, in the best possible form, and the Dreamcastify project does exactly that.

With that, I suppose all that's left to say is...

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castell-neath

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What a great write up! Took me a full 2 cups of coffee to read and enjoy. I think you sum up perfectly the pros and cons of the game and I agree it badly needs a remaster (especially as I have only ever played it as DX on pc back in 2003 and on Ps3 in 2011!).

I never did the 100% and I doubt I ever will tbh, especially after reading this!! Lol But kudos to you for getting it done, and for the detail and depth you have given in this review!!

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