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Sonic Adventure 2: Battle


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Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

The Charlie's Angels Full Throttle of video gaming

Every game franchise needs to evolve to both stay fresh and interesting. There are two routes that this kind of evolution can take, one is perfectly illustrated by Zelda and the other by Mario. The Zelda series has evolved to become a staple of Nintendo's console arsenal. It successfully established the key devises of it gameplay was back in its original incarnation (on the Famicom) and the development of the series has been more in the visual and conceptual stages. Nintendo have also limited the public apperances of the serie's main protangonist (this habit has recently started to fade with Links exploitative apperance in the GC version of Soul Calibur 2).

The second route is perfectly shown in the Sonic games. Way back in 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog was released on the Sega MegaDrive after four key titles on the platform (as well as off shoots on the Master System, Game Gear and MegaCD) Sega decided to relegate its key character to a console generation in second party development hell. When the Dreamcast was released in Japan in 1998 Sonic made a comeback (albeit a little late). Many were bowled over by its graphics and scale (mainly because when the DC was developed on by an expert developer it could achieve astounding things for its time and the shift from PSone to DC was quite huge, one that diluted to the shift to PS2 for myself) but all this couldnt help to cover up gameplay that didnt remain true to the successful formula of the originals. In all senses it tried to out do itself and its rivals at any chance, especially in the sheer content and variety it tried to offer. In 2001 Sonic Team then released Sonic Adventure 2 and later in 2002 it re-released it in updates form on the GC as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is one of the most mixed games I have had the pleasure of playing. Saying it was a pleasure is a slight contradiction. I could sit and play this game and enjoy the sheer speed and fun of the early Sonic and Shadow stages yet become so horrified by the laziness and pointlessness of the treasure hunting levels and the utter monotany of the shooting stages. It is a startling fact that only six stages in the game are soley devoted to the games title hero. The rest are divided between the treasure hunting antics of Rouge and Knuckles and the shooting stages of Eggman and Tails. The fact is that the way the absurd plot evolves carries on has a strange addictivness about it that kept me playing until the end.

Something that has always been one of my observations of the Sonic titles is that as the levels progress they get steadily worse. On the MeagDrive once the game hit its peak middle levels the game then started on a slope downwards. The same is massivly evident in this title. The later stages become a chore and while not impossible they hold no enjoyment. One of the main points that Sega has made us aware of in the games adverts is that it is a fast and furious title but towards the end the speed of Sonic and Shadow's levels work against it, in that these levels are so intricate (or clumsy, either way could be sucessfully argues for) that it becomes hard to judge jumps and secrets without risking death.

On the subject of secrets you do get the feeling that each level contains more than it is letting on, in some cases this is true in others it is a visual deception. The fact is that secrest become more secret because of the camera. Platforms and alternative routes that would be obvious in games that feature a fully 3D camera are hidden and obstructed by the un-intuative camera. Sonic Team's convertion of SA2 didnt take fully into account the GC's controller. In other ways it does take advantage of the GC this is most evident in the multiplayer modes. Although these modes are predicitable and sometimes add up to nothing more than chance it does show a willingness by Sega to create a fuller experience on the GC.

One thing that is very impressive about the game is some of its textures. In the pyrimid levels and some of the forest based stages the textures are very impressive even 3 years on.

The direction Sega has taken Sonic is worrying (but the new Sonic title, Sonic Heroes has definatly captured the essence of the 16bit titles) Sonic Adventure is a statisfying experience delivered in an average package. when its good and exciting it is really good and exciting when its boring and tedious (which is around 70% of the time) is is very boring boring and tedious. Yet it manages to maintain a charm that even eludes Zelda in that return to play it doesnt fill you with a hesitant feeling.

In conclusion its:

Dull, Exciting, Boring, Fast, Slow and Strangely compelling

If you can take the very rough with the very smooth you will enjoy this, it just needs working at. The DC version of SA2 differs little from this so the scores can easily apply to this.

(I am not one who really appreciaites extras that much, in this game the GBA link, so I dont really touch upon this. These features add to the package but to the gaming experience they very rarely do)





I don't like giving scores but I have to say that a 6, for example doesn't mean 60%.

1: Disgusting, Unplayable

2: Playable but to the point of desperation

3: This game will stand up against the best 3DO titles in terms of quality, not good!

4: Below Average

5: So Average

6: A Solid title, with a few nice parts

7: A well put together title that will keep you engaged and playing

8: Very Good

9: Amazing, a definate buy


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