Weekly Retro Review: Sonic Adventure

Weekly Retro Review: Sonic Adventure

Due to spending a sizable chunk of my days playing the new Sonic Colors for the pending review, I figured this week’s look-back should be of the Blue Blur and his first foray into the realm of 3D platforming. Let’s flashback to September 9, 1999. I just bought my new Sega Dreamcast (possibly the most underrated video game system ever created), and of course, picked up Sonic Adventure. You have no idea the anticipation I had for that game, since Sonic skipped having a true series entry during the Saturn’s lifetime. And, like Super Mario 64, it surpassed what I expected.

The game’s plot deals with Dr. Eggman unleashing an ancient entity called Chaos. Chaos seems to be your standard eldritch monster, nearly impossible to kill, and getting strong with Chaos Emerald Eggman gives him. As Eggman attempts to enhance the beast, and reign destruction upon the city of Station Square with his new airship, the Egg Carrier, six playable characters crisscross along the plot, each pursuing their own goal and each also finding out details of Chaos’s past:

Sonic, whose only aim is to defeat Eggman and Chaos, regardless of the danger he faces.

Tails, who is helping Sonic while dealing with his own feelings of inadequacy when comparing himself to his hero.

Knuckles, who is chasing the shards of the shattered Master Emerald.

Amy Rose, who is protecting a small bird that a robot hunter of Eggman’s is constantly pursuing.

E-102 Gamma, a new robot of Eggman’s, who is slowly growing awareness and with it, a conscience.

And Big, a simple (and large) cat who is chasing his best friend, a frog who swallowed a strange jewel and ended up growing a tail.

Sonic Adventure’s gameplay is divided up among its six characters. No matter who you choose, you end up in an Adventure field, where you will do simple puzzles, talk to NPC’s for information, advance the story, and find entrances to the Action Stages. There are three Adventure Stages: Station Square, the Jungle, and the Egg carrier. While all characters visit the same Action Stages, they play differently.

Sonic is the typical 3D platformer, but with a little more speed involved. Tails is mostly him having to outrace someone. Knuckles’ gameplay works like a treasure hunt, following his inner senses to find the shards in each stage. Amy is a straight run-for-your-life, with only her hammer to defend as she’s chased by a giant robot. Gamma is a shoot-em-up, with each kill giving you more time on the clock to complete the stage. And then there’s Big, who basically fishes for his frog friend.

God, how I hate Big the Cat.

The game is still fun, but has aged quite a bit. The RPG elements are interesting, and the plot is still enjoyable. Still, like many characters and their first game in the 3D realm, it’s showing its age. Still, if you want to see how Sonic started after 2D, you can either buy the original, the Gamecube port, Sonic Adventure DX, the windows port, or the downloadable version for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Ahmed is not just a fanboy, but also a martial artist and an indie author who has published such fantasy adventure books as "Lunen: Triblood".

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