"Where I find Sonic and Shadow's versus mode to be more fun than any of the others, I'm sure everyone will find something to like here. All the characters even have special moves that you can use after collecting so many rings, such as Shadow's Chaos Control. Very cool."
Sega has graced us, the Gamers, with a long line of Sonic The Hedgehog games over the years. The latest of these is Sonic Adventure 2, for the Dreamcast. And while this game did have some improvements over the last Sonic Adventure title, I feel that it fell short of what it could have been.
First of all, Sonic Adventure 2 had no way to reposition the camera, as Sonic Adventure did, which made some areas a bit troublesome. And if you had to back track for any reason, the way the camera is programmed to swing you around in the right direction makes it impossible. Also, the camera tends to jump around suddenly, making it difficult to control your character in places.
Next, we have the addition of the Tails/Robotnik stages. Now, these stages seemed somewhat repetetive to me, although there are places where blowing things up is fun. Unfortunately, these stages aren't nearly as entertaining as the E-102 Gamma stages from Sonic Adventure. The gameplay gets stale after a while, and the controls are less than fluid. A little tweaking and these stages could've been much better, but overall, they weren't that great.
There's also the matter of the Knuckles/Rouge stages. Now, I found the Knuckles stages in Sonic Adventure to be some of the better stages in that game. Alas, in Sonic Adventure 2, they become difficult to the point of near-impossibility, making the game seem extremely cheap and severely reducing the fun factor. The radar doesnt work the same way in Sonic Adventure 2; In Sonic Adventure, you could find the fragments in any order you pleased. This time around you actually have to find the Master Emerald fragments in sequence. This can make things difficult. And the camera problems seem the most severe in these stages, which is a very bad thing, given the nature of the levels.
And the last series of levels just before the final boss are insanely difficult. No 'but's about it, it took me days just to get through the Knuckles/Rouge part of these last stages. They're THAT hard. Your controller will have a new resting place, namely, in that hole in the wall you just made with it.
The quality of the voice-overs has unfortunately declined, as well. Shadow's is perhaps the best, but even his is pretty lame at times.
Now that i've gotten my major gripes with this game off of my chest, time to point out where it shines.
The in-game graphics of Sonic Adventure 2 are vastly superior to its predecessor. Things flow very smoothly as you play through the levels, and, especially in the later stages of the game, there are many stunning visuals; this game has a lot of eye-candy.
Also in SA2's favor is the music. A wide variety of kick-ass tunes fill the game's levels, and they almost never seem to get old. At least, not too fast. The only time you have to worry about that is if you get stuck in one of Knuckles/Rouge's stages.
The Sonic/Shadow stages are this game's real treat. Blazing along at Ultra-Sonic speed as you tear your way through Robotnik's minions, collecting rings and other goodies, flying through loop-de-loops and hurtling yourself through the air off of spring pads... This is what Sonic the Hedgehog games are all about. Sonic's signature moves are intact, including the Spin Dash, although it's unfortunately not very useful in this game. Also back are some of Sonic's moves from Sonic Adventure, such as the Light Dash, which comes in VERY useful later on. And the game is filled with brand new moves to learn, too, so you'll have plenty to do. Sonic and Shadow both have the ability to mimic eachother's techniques, making their games vastly similar; however, their levels are all unique, so it never feels like you're doing the same thing twice. And Shadow's hoverskates just kick ass. Big a Sonic fan as i am, i've found the bad-ass Shadow to be that much cooler than the Blue Blur. The only downside is that there are so few of these stages. You'll be wishing the game was entirely Sonic/Shadow, and that's understandable, given the other levels you have to chose from.
Also making a return visit from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the Two Player Versus mode. That's right, you can pit Sonic against Shadow in a race for rings and the goal while trying to avoid being killed by eachother in any of their stages, as well as play Tails vs. Robotnik and Knuckles vs. Rouge in any of their respective stages. Where I find Sonic and Shadow's versus mode to be more fun than any of the others, I'm sure everyone will find something to like here. All the characters even have special moves that you can use after collecting so many rings, such as Shadow's Chaos Control. Very cool.
You even get to raise Chao in this title, which although not really relevant to the game itself, makes for an interesting distraction. The way it's done in this game is slightly more inventive this time, and the Chao really develop some interesting and unique personality quirks depending on how you treat them.
And the game has some pretty good replay value, as well. Once you've finished both the Hero and Dark stories, you still have to play through the Final Story, as well, and the addition of new challenges for each level after you complete them gives you something to shoot for after whipping the final boss' ass.
All in all, Sonic Adventure 2 isnt the greatest Sonic game ever made, but it's a worthy purchase if you're a fan of the Speedster. Let's all just thank God that Big the Cat didnt make anymore than the occasional cameo appearance.
Staff review by Kieran Greyloch (Date unavailable)
Kieran Greyloch is an automotive technology student who enjoys wasting every moment of his spare time playing videogames and tabletop RPGs.
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