Sonic Adventure + Directors Cut review
This is Sonic’s first jump into 3D – and the big step up for the series. Sonic Adventure is truly a game that revolutionised the series forever.
After Sonic 3 and a handful of TV shows and comics later, we finally come to the end of the “Genesis Era” of Sonic’s story. We begin the “Dream Era” where the series began to make the leap from 2D to full 3D and the first 3D Sonic game to be released hit store shelves on December 28, 1998 entitled Sonic Adventure.
The story this time is split between the six playable characters. The story begins on Angel Island after Sonic 3 where Knuckles (voiced by Michael Mc Gaharn) is resuming his duty as Guardian of the Master Emerald.
However, a lightning strike destroys the Master Emerald releasing the main villain simply called “Chaos” and without the Master Emerald’s power, Angel Island falls to the sea.
Meanwhile, in a city called Station Square, our hero Sonic (voiced by Ryan Drummond) arrives after a long journey when he spots the local police department rushing toward somewhere en-mass. But once he arrives at the scene, he finds the officers firing on Chaos to no avail, Sonic swiftly defeats Chaos only for him to escape through the city sewers.
The next morning, Sonic finds Tails (voiced by Corey Bringas) flying his plane and ends up crashing nearby. After rescuing Tails he reveals that the reason why he crashed was because of an experimental power source which is revealed to be a Chaos Emerald.
However, it is swiftly stolen by Dr.Robotnik (voiced by Deem Bristow) who Sonic begins to refer to as Eggman. Eggman then gives the Emerald to Chaos causing him to change.
It is revealed that Chaos gets more powerful with each Chaos Emerald he absorbs.
After recovering then losing three emeralds to Chaos, Sonic runs into Amy (voiced by Jennifer Douillard), who came across a bird who had escaped from Eggman’s battleship – The Egg Carrier.
Meanwhile, there is also Big the Cat (voiced by Jon St John) who is hunting for his best friend Froggy, and E-102 Gamma (voiced by Steve Brodie) one of Eggman’s E-100 series Robots. He has to prove himself along with his brothers E-101 Beta, E-103 Delta, E-104 Epsilon and E-105 Zeta.
The gameplay depends on who you play as; Sonic has the usual get to the goal type gameplay, Tails has a race against either Sonic or Eggman, Knuckles hunts for three pieces of the Master Emerald within a set area, while Amy tries to evade one of Eggman’s robots and Gamma’s gameplay is a time attack where destroying a target increases your maximum time.
All gameplay styles are fun to play though, with the exception of Big as his gameplay involves fishing, not only is the fishing mechanic very buggy and out of place, it’s also boring and stressful – thankfully Big’s story is fairly short.
One thing that remains constant for all characters is the overworld entitled “Adventure Field.” There are three Adventure Fields in total: Station Square, Mystic Ruins and Egg Carrier, all are home to each of the levels found in the game.
A new feature is the character upgrade system, by acquiring certain items characters can learn new moves.
For Sonic he can get the Light Speed Shoes which allow him to perform the Light Dash which allows him to zoom along a trail of rings, the Crystal Ring which reduces the charge up time for the Light Dash and the Ancient Light which allows him to attack using the Light Dash.
Tails has his Jet Anklets which increases his flying speed in addition to the Rhythm Badge which lets him perform consecutive tail attacks.
Knuckles uses the Shovel Claw which allows him to dig into the ground and fighting gloves which allow him to perform the Super Heat Knuckle Attack.
Amy has the warrior feather which allows her to do a Hammer Spin Attack and a longer ranged hammer.
Big has various Lure upgrades, a more powerful fishing rod and a life belt which allows him to float in the water.
Gamma has the Jet Booster and a Laser Blaster. All of the upgrades can be found in the game either in the levels for Big’s lures or in the “Adventure Fields.”
My personal favourite gameplay styles are Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Gamma. Amy’s gameplay is not as fast-paced as the others but I do like it somewhat. Big’s gameplay is something I could do without, as I said that the fishing mechanic is a little buggy.
It’s time to elaborate on this a little more, with the fishing mechanic every fish you catch that isn’t Froggy adds to your overall score. In addition having a fish get away results in losing a life which not only makes no sense but it can be a little tedious if you don’t have a strong enough lure. Though the life belt makes these levels easy since you can just float atop the water, but aside from Big’s gameplay, the bosses in this game are great.
The many forms of Chaos get stronger and stronger as time goes on; with Chaos 2 and 6 being my favourites even Eggman gets some time in the spotlight with the Egg Viper and the E-100 robots being some of the best.
Another positive is E-102 Gamma as he was one of the most “human” characters in the game as he had to turn on his creator to save each of his brothers of whom Eggman discarded with the exception of E-105 Zeta and E-101 beta who he upgraded.
Zeta became an immobile robot while the E-101 mk II is one of my personal favorite fights in the Sonic series and let’s not forget that Sonic Adventure marks the first time a playable character died on-screen.
E-102 Gamma became the first player controlled casualty of the Sonic Series, after his fight with E-101 mk II, Gamma approaches Beta who shoots him at point blank range severely damaging him.
As Beta explodes Gamma realises that the Bird that Amy had with her and the Bird used to power Beta are in fact his family. With this in mind Gamma self destructs releasing his own bird. This was the first time a character had died as a result of the story in a Sonic game and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
The game isn’t without its flaws as the mouth animations don’t match up well with the voice actors and sometimes the audio can get a little too hard to hear, especially with Tails’ voice acting. This is due to the fact that the audio seems to spike when Tails speaks, it is fairly bad in his first cutscene but it gets better as the game goes on.
Overall, Sonic Adventure makes a great first leap into full 3D for the blue hedgehog personally getting a B rank from myself. There is a version of this game on the Xbox Live Marketplace with an add-on called Sonic Adventure- Directors Cut. Changes include additional sub games in the form of old Sonic games and the ability to play as Metal Sonic once you collect all the emblems.
Fun fact- the pose Sonic strikes when finishing a trick in Sonic Generations originates from the box art for this game.