As Sonic fans, SEGA has invariably played at least some role in the tastes of everyone on the Sonic Stadium staff. Whether it is our love for their hardware, software or intellectual property, we each have a memory that either defined SEGA for us, or allowed SEGA to shape our tastes in gaming as a whole.
Today, on SEGA’s 60th anniversary, we thought it would be good to reminisce about the company that created a character we all have at least some fondness for.
Speaking with Retro Gamer magazine in their newest issue featuring a making of Sonic Adventure feature as teased before, Sonic Team’s boss Takashi Iizuka, who also directed Sonic Adventure (as well as Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, and Shadow the Hedgehog), said the following:
Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.
We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.
SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.
On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.
The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.
Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!
Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.
Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).
The story mode
Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).
The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.
Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!
Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!
While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!
The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.
The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.
The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.
The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.
Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!
What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!
SEGA AGES has already provided us with some fantastic retro Sonic goodness on Nintendo Switch, with the original Mega Drive classic Sonic the Hedgehog available on the eShop. But, if a new Famitsu interview is any indication, it seems that developer M2 could be on the cusp of being able to deliver Dreamcast titles on the hybrid console too. Continue reading SEGA AGES Close To Bringing Dreamcast to Nintendo Switch
Let’s set the scene here quickly. It’s 1979, you’re out on the road, taking a rest stop and need to kill some time… The only thing you have is that brand new portable television set that you imported from Russia, and that new-fangled ‘dreamcast’ box thing that wandering time traveller left you with before going off on his merry way (bear with us here). So you hook up your spare car battery, power up the T.V set, and manage to hook up the system… and what do you know! You’re playing Sonic Adventure in black and white on a screen no wider than 7 inches…
Ok, so hardly any of that actually happened, but it got your attention I hope!
Anyway, my father has this really, really old portable television (portable in the sense that it weighs 5kg/11lb and is larger than your average cinder brick, and to use it ‘portably’ you need to power the thing with a car battery) and we only just got it working again. With no analogue television signal to test it, why not hook up a Dreamcast to it? To cut the long story short, it worked. Very well! There’s a small, but fairly clear picture, and the sound quality is excellent!
Could this possibly be the oldest television a Dreamcast has ever run on? Maybe, unless the readers know anything older!
Hello and welcome to a new feature that I’m going to do every now and again. Normally we look at the current news regarding Sega and Sonic, but for now, I’d quite like to look at some of the older and more obscure items Sonic’s history because, sometimes it’s fun to do that.
We all know how Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 has recently been re-released right? Well how many of you downloaded the DLC? On the Dreamcast?
Coming from IGN is the latest trailer for Sonic Generations. This one covers the Dreamcast era. This time, we get a very tiny bit of Speed Highway to check out in both classic and modern. Now this kind of video I can handle. Not a spoiler-filled half-hour playthrough. Just a teeny taste of what’s to come.
SEGA has today officially announced the Dreamcast Collection, a title that was rumoured to be on the way in November last year and later confirmed in December by SEGA’s Alan Pritchard. The collection will include all Dreamcast games that have been released or are currently on the way to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which are Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5: Part 2 and SEGA Bass Fishing. There’s currently no word on if the Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut DLC will be included.
The Dreamcast Collection will be available for Xbox 360, PC and PC Download on February 25th 2011 in Europe and February 22nd in North America, February 24th in Australia and February 25th in New Zealand. It seems PS3 owners will have to stick to the individual releases on PlayStation Network.
The full press release sent out by SEGA is available below:
SEGA® Europe Ltd. and SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced that a packaged compilation of classic titles from SEGA’s popular Dreamcast™ console will hit retail shelves on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PC. The Dreamcast Collection will be available on February 25th 2011 in Europe and February 22nd in North America, February 24th in Australia and February 25th in New Zealand.
The Dreamcast Collection includes the fan favourites Sonic Adventure™, Crazy Taxi™, SEGA Bass Fishing™ and Space Channel 5™: Part 2. Players will get to enjoy four very different Dreamcast experiences, from hopping behind the steering wheel of Crazy Taxi, to taking things a little slower by luring in their fish before catching them hook, line and sinker with SEGA Bass Fishing. Alternatively, take over as intergalactic news reporter Ulala in Space Channel 5: Part 2 and dance your way past the evil Rhythm Rogues, or make it all about speed in Sonic’s first Dreamcast outing, Sonic Adventure!
SEGA’s Dreamcast Collection features enhanced graphics for both platforms versions, providing an even more engaging experience. In addition to this, achievements and online leader boards will be available for each game providing a competitive edge and allowing players to prove their skills!
“The Dreamcast console is still remembered as a pioneering console for online gaming,” commented Gary Knight, VP of Marketing at SEGA of America and SEGA Europe “We are delighted to be able to offer to our large community of dedicated fans a collection such as Dreamcast Collection for them to enjoy old favourites on this generation of consoles”.
Dreamcast Collection will be available in Europe in February 2011 for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PC and PC digital download.
A week after the Xbox Live release, Dreamcast classic Sonic Adventure is now available to purchase and download on the PS3’s PlayStation Store, for £6.29/€7.99/$9.99 and weighs in at 1.52 GB. It was made available yesterday in the U.S. and just minutes ago in Europe. If you’re in the U.S. and you’re after more content for the game, a DLC pack that upgrades the game to Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut with extra missions and Metal Sonic character (after obtaining 130 emblems) is available for $4.99 and weighs in at 173 MB. Europe will have to wait until at least possibly next week for the DX DLC pack, according to Sony Europe’s Mike Kebby at the EU PlayStation Blog.
> It looks like the Sonic Adventure DX Upgrade is out next week, though don’t hold me to this just yet.
Will you be downloading the game? Let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: I’ve been informed by fellow staff member nuckles87, that the DLC pack is already available on Xbox Live Marketplace and I too can confirm it is available. Edward@Sega officially confirms this on the SEGA of America blog, along with some details:
Final piece of news: there is also a DLC pack available for the game — if you wish, you can download it and convert this original Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure into the “Director’s Cut” version, Sonic Adventure DX! Sonic Adventure DX was the enhanced version released on the Nintendo GameCube, and includes 60 additional missions as well as Metal Sonic as a playable character.
SEGA Japan has confirmed today that Sonic Adventure‘s Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network ports will be released there September 29th. Not only that, downloadable content will be simultaneously available, that when purchased will upgrade the game to Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut. This extra content will be priced at ¥500 (about £3.74) on PSN and 400 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live. No word on whether the rest of the world will see this content on the same date or not.
SEGA also revealed the Xbox 360 version will support Avatar Awards and the PS3 version will support Home Rewards, but the company hasn’t revealed what those Awards and Rewards actually are. With the Xbox 360 version out in the U.S. and Europe today, we’ll likely see the Avatar Awards revealed soon.
What Avatar Awards and Home Rewards would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.
Gaming media giants, IGN and 1UP have given their opinions on the downloadable port of Sonic Adventure that is due to hit Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network today. It appears both of reviewers didn’t have a lot of fun with the game, just look at the scores, IGN’s Arthur Gies gives the game a 3.5/10 and 1UP’s Ray Barnholt a D.
Why such a low score and a low-grade? Both put an emphasis on complaints about poor controls, a bad camera, outdated graphics and sections that don’t require any player input. IGN’s Gies goes so far as to say the game borders on unplayable:
The game was so fast, in fact, that you probably didn’t even realize how broken it actually is. Sonic Adventure is so fundamentally flawed that it borders on unplayable – the sections that move the fastest, that work most, that are even slightly interesting, require the least input from the player. In fact, in many of these sections, input from the player will result in death or catastrophe, and there’s really no way to know which until you either fly through not completely sure what happened or die, also not completely sure what happened.
1UP’s Barnholt also seems very frustrated and think the developers should have implemented some improvements to the game:
But the thing is, Sonic Adventure DX wasn’t all that improved over the original version, so all of the questionable physics and maddening controls are still here; not once re-evaluated, not even thought to be improved. If you remember getting Sonic caught on loop-the-loops or practically begging Amy to jump a little higher over one little ledge, you’ll experience all of it in the same spots. If levels like the Sky Deck drove you insane with its narrow walkways that were so easy to fall from, prepare to go crazy again. And while the game was already somewhat touchy, it also feels like it wasn’t even tuned for the Xbox 360 controller and its analog sticks. Listen carefully and you can hear the shattering of rose-tinted lenses.
According to a post made on SEGA’s Twitter account on Friday during a giveaway event, the PS3 version of Sonic Adventure will be hitting PlayStation Network the same day as the Xbox 360 version, which was announced a couple of weeks ago to be available for download from September 15th on Xbox Live Marketplace.
The post reads:
We are all out of shirts! Congrats to @evilslash13 and all our winners today! Reminder – Sonic Adventure on PSN / XBLA on 9/15/10!
Will you be downloading this Dreamcast classic? Let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: SEGA of America have backed this news up with a new blog entry, which contains 8 new screenshots that you can check out at the bottom of this article. /UPDATE END
Microsoft’s ‘Major Nelson’ has today revealed, via his blog, the Xbox Live Marketplace releases for the month ahead, which includes Sonic Adventure for the Xbox Live Arcade. The Dreamcast classic will be available to Xbox 360 owners on September 15th, priced at 800 Microsoft Points. There’s no word elsewhere from Sony or SEGA about the PS3 version, but we’ll let you know when we hear something.
For more information about Sonic Adventure on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, check out the games product page at SEGA’s website.
Manydifferentnews sources are reporting that a SEGA America FTP bungle has resulted in a communication with Sony Computer Entertainment America being leaked on the Internet. The document, appearing to be notes from a meeting dated 5th August, include mention of special console-specific DLC characters for Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing, a new ‘Sonic Anniversary’ title to arrive on PS3 and multiple ways of SEGA offering exclusive content to Sony’s home console – including an introduction of classic Dreamcast titles on the PlayStation Network.
Of most note to Sonic fans, the ‘Sonic Anniversary’ project appears to be a new title – either in development or consideration – that aims to collect “all Sonic games on one BD [Blu-Ray Disc] disc”. The document ponders a retail price point of $99, which may be reasonable depending on whether it really is an entire collection of Sonic titles. Most intriguing is a note that says: “SCEA would love PSN exclusive power ups/different game modes (like Castlevania’s flip it over/backwards)” – raising hopes that such a collection would be in the vein of Sonic Jam more than simple emulations like Sonic Mega Collection. Spin Dash in Sonic 1 once again?
Speaking on Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing, special non-SEGA characters could make an appearance in the form of DLC with the following note; “Open to DLC to differentiate PS3 SKU – not ratchet and clank but other characters… maybe characters from Rare or Fable universes”. The latter two franchises suggest that the same sort of DLC is planned for the Xbox 360 version too, although who would we see? Kameo? Joanna Dark? The dog from Fable? A shame that Ratchet and Clank is ruled out (probably something Sony said), as it sounds like a good fit for the game.
According to the document, Sony also has intentions to sell PS2 games on the PlayStation Network, referencing an unnamed Sonic game and GTA Vice City as examples. SEGA also muses the possibility of Dreamcast digital titles, stating a possible exclusivity deal with Sony; “If we provide a list of DC titles SCEA will let us know which ones they’re interested in having exclusively… If we give them a long period of exclusivity they’ll give us more marketing support.”
If true, it all seems to be very exciting news for both SEGA fans and Sony PS3 owners alike. It also means that this is the latest in several incidents where SEGA America’s FTP team has leaked documents by uploading them publicly by accident. You can see the entire thing at Sonic Retro.
Sonic Adventure 2 was a big deal back in 2001. Hype was at fever pitch among the Sega faithful, the game had very positive reviews (remember when that happened?) and countless merchandise was released for the game that was to coincide with Sonic’s 10th Anniversary. There were limited edition statues, glass cubes, CD soundtracks and booklets… we even discovered goblets most recently! One of the biggest and most sought after of the bunch though, was an ultra-rare blue Sega Dreamcast in Sonic’s name. Signed by Yuji Naka, the only one actually seen in the wild was on an episode of Thumb Bandits, given away as part of a contest.
Now, you can obtain that very console for your collection. If you have a spare grand and a half.
On everyone’s favourite backyard sale, a chap is letting go of this very rare item – which includes a white and blue Sonic themed controller, a copy of Sonic Adventure 2, the usual bits that came with a Dreamcast and of course the blue console with a Sonic imprint and Naka signature – for £1,500. What recession?
So, I was browsing Ebay for rare Sonic merchandise and stumbled across this little gem being sold by user 1ninja*com. I’ve never seen it before as apparently it was only released in Japan. It’s a karaoke add-on for the Dreamcast that comes with a microphone, this particular pack I assume has Sonic tracks on the CD with it to sing along too since the seller lists it as ‘Sonic Karaoke’, though I don’t know which tracks they are. Continue reading Own a Dreamcast? Fancy singing with Sonic?
Dreamcast.com, the site that over the last few days has been asking “Do you still own a Dreamcast?” has now been 100% proven a fake phishing scam. Sega have revealed that they no longer own Dreamcast.com. Sega plan to take action against the site owners for using their logo’s illegally and request that no-one gives any of their information to the website.
The Sega Homebrew community are currently working on a new Mega Drive and Mega CD game called Pier Solar and plan to release it on cartridge for Mega Drive and of course CD for Mega CD. The game is not licensed, produced or endorsed by Sega so I don’t know how they plan on mass producing it on cartridge and CD to the public.
Anyway, the game is an anime stype RPG and look’s quite good from the screenshots and trailer. The guys have even made an official website for the game.
The game is set for a Fall 2008 release.
In other news Sega have re-released Boarder Down on to their Dreamcast console, the game looks to be produced on the Dreamcasts GD-Rom disks. The game is released today at 7,140 yen.
Stay tuned to Sonic News for further developments!
Just a quick Public Service Announcement on this – following our initial news on Tokyopop producing a US release of the Sonic Adventure 2 soundtrack, it appears that the CD is already available to buy (it was originally reported to come out in February). The Sonic Adventure 2 Official Soundtrack features 26 tracks on one CD, handpicked by lead musician Jun Senoue and including exclusive US-release remixes. You can pick it up for $14.98 via Tokyopop’s website here.
The moody and broody Shadow the Hedgehog has made an impact on various video game outlets, as illustrated by the second annual Wizard Video Game Awards. Sonic’s doppelgänger was named the Best Villain of the Year. “Packing more ‘tude than the blue dude himself, this evil hedgehog’s killer look and dreams of world conquest had fans loving him more than hating him,” said the magazine. For more, pick up a copy of Wizard #124 and turn to page 104.
Sonic Team has released a new piece of downloadable content for Sonic Adventure 2 on the Dreamcast. Called ‘Eggrobo Toujou’, the VMU file contains a skin for Sonic in the Kart Racing mini-game that changes him into a classic Egg Robo from Sonic & Knuckles. The download also comes with a special ‘E’ shaped track, which when played features the ‘E.G.G.M.A.N.’ theme in the background.
Sonic Team has released a small update for players of Sonic Adventure 2 on Dreamcast. It’s the Dr. Eggman theme, which you can download and use as a menu screen voice/background for the game. As you sweep across various menu items, you’ll hear Eggman speak to you in his gravelly tones. If you want it go to the SA2 Dreamcast website and download to your VMU.
You can now buy the Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks – the Vocal Album that we’ve covered before, and the Original Soundtrack called Multi-Dimensional – online. You can get the Vocal Album, titled Cuts Unleashed, for around $24 and it comes with 16 tracks. The Original Soundtrack includes main themes, action stage music and more in a DOUBLE-CD package and will set you back about $30.
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