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Review: Sonic Adventure DX (XBLA)

Its been 11 years since this game was released on the Dreamcast, A long, long 11 years. In fact this and SA2 were the last Sonic games that was done right (In my opinion) But I digress. After the sheer unadulterated horror that was Sonic 06' many people had given up hope that Sonic could ever become anything more then a lost relic of games past.

So far, that analysis is correct, but luckily for us, Sega likes to tease and torment its fans by releasing port after port after port of the original games that were actually good.

This is no exception.

Sonic Adventure DX (XBLA/PSN)
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Released: September 15, 2010
MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points / $9.99

I won't bore you with my fanboy love of this game (It's extensive) but I will say that this was the 3D Sonic game I had been waiting for. It blew me away. Its graphics were amazing at the time, the extensive adventure fields were a blast to explore, the number of playable characters was great, and the overall replayability was very high. Of course, no matter how much I love this game personally, I must poke gentle fun at it. Did I say gentle? I meant devastating.

The games story basically comes down to this; Sonic is trying to stop Dr Robotnik from destroying Station Square and building his own city aptly named Robotnikland on it's ruins. He also has acquired an ancient creature called Chaos, with which he plans to achieve his above goal. Sonic has to stop Robotnik from collecting all 7 chaos emeralds which will cause Chaos to achieve his "Perfect" form and do what I know is some evil nasty things. Each characters narrative interlopes, which creates a very interesting style of narrative, sort of. Mainly it just ends up confusing you until literally right at the end.

The game play for each character is different as well. Sonic's stages are the same as they have always been. You run, you jump, you win. Repeat until game is over. Tails's stages are basically the same, but your racing Sonic in them. Why? I have no idea. Knuckles stages revolve around him trying to recover the shards of the master emerald, which was shattered by Chaos. Amy's stages consist of slowly running around hitting things with a big hammer. E-102's stages are just basic shooter stuff, and finally Big's stages are just like you remembered them. Fucking Awful. I still think to this day that Sega just decided to troll every Sonic fan by adding a broken fishing mini-game and disguising it as a character story. The main point of replayability is the 130 emblems that take forever to collect. There are 3 to gain per action stage for each character, one for completing the basic stage, one for replaying it and getting 50 rings and finishing, and one for replaying it yet again and beating a time limit. That's the basis for all the characters, although it changes sometimes depending on the action stage or the character. There are also emblems hidden in the adventure stages, some for beating the tedious mini-games, some for the Chao races etc. You get the point.

As you may have guessed, this game hasn't aged well, While still being fun to play at its core, the camera issues are just to frequent to ignore. Constantly the camera just decides to hide inside a wall, or just jerk around annoyingly until you begin to feel motion sick. One would have thought Sega could have taken the time to fix these issues, but no (It's Sega). The graphics have been updated slightly, and are one of the things that Sega has actually done right with this port. The action stages are still well designed and put together, each one having its own very distinct theme.

There is one annoying problem however, no widescreen support. Now I know a lot of people don't have 16:9 TV's, and if you don't this won't be a problem at all. For people like me however, who have widescreen TV's the blue bars that surround the game are distracting. The thing that amazes me though, is that hackers have actually unlocked widescreen support in the PC version of the game (which this version is a direct port of). So it just comes down to laziness on Sega's part.

Also, in case you were wondering, yes this game is a port of the DX version released on the Gamecube and PC. So it's a port of a port.

The voice acting is just as hilariously bad as in the original, with such classic quotes as "C'mon Sonic, we gotta get busy!" and "Get a LOAD OF THIS" and not forgetting "HE'S NOT GOING TO GET AWAY WITH THIS" The facial animations are the best though. Sonic consistently looks like he has his rape face on, and the rest of the characters mouth movements are just badly animated bubbles that awkwardly move around.

The music is as great as ever. Catchy guitar driven rock songs and simple pop rhythms that bring so much nostalgia that my eyes begin to water. Each stages soundtrack is perfectly styled to the setting, such as Emerald Coast having a very upbeat tropical sound. Each character even has their own catchy-as-hell musical motif! Jun Senoue is a god damn musical genius.

One thing about this game that is still as fun as ever is the clever A-Life system, or "Chao". Chao are little blue.. things that react to how you treat them, be it good, or just beating the living crap out of them. Despite what you may think, this part of the game is needlessly fleshed out, with Chao races, stats, and several other things that only people who play this game too much (myself) would know. How do you raise their stats you might ask? Well by the way you probably guessed! (doubtful) by feeding them different Animals gained from freeing them from their robotic prisons!

OK so they don't actually eat the animals.

They just sort of "hug".

Every time your Chao "hugs" an animal it gains (or loses) a stat increase in one of five categories mainly used for Chao racing. It also does some sort of weird, Chimera style mutation to them, giving them a part of whatever animal you gave them. There is also a stat screen that pop's up when you interact with them, which is a huge improvement over the Dreamcast version which just basically made you guess what these animals were doing to your Chao. They also evolve into an adult form which looks no different to their child form, except for the fact that their animal parts are even more freakish and large! This part of the game is huge, and takes a lot of time to cover extensively. Its a wonder Sega put so much time in to what is basically a mini-game, but chose to put little to no depth in the main story.

Also this game has DLC! Cheap, nasty, unfair DLC! Basically the 400msp DLC unlocks the DX content that was available for free in the Gamecube and PC versions which consists of a god awful Mission Mode for all characters once their story is completed, and Metal Sonic unlock for trial mode when you collect all 130 emblems. As well as adding some achievements. Meh.

Overall this game is still fun to play, if you can overlook its many, many flaws. The main problem with this game is that its a lazy port. Nothing has been changed from the DX port of the game apart from the game now running at a steady 60 fps and this version having achievements. I'll admit that while I loved this game when it was first released, my nostalgia goggles had to be severely strapped to my head. If you loved the original, then its definitely worth picking up, if you never played the original, then play the trial and see if its for you.

Rape face Sonic commands it.

Graphics: 6
Gameplay: 7
Sound: 8
Story: 5
Voice Acting: 3
Replayability: 7

Final Score: 6
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About Mellorone of us since 7:49 PM on 08.09.2010

I'm Ben (or Benjamin, take your pick) 18 and from the good ol' UK. I've been playing games pretty much since I can remember. Started off with a Mega Drive (Genesis) and Sonic 1, 2, 3. Then got a SNES somehow, and a load of free games for it (I really can't remember how I got it). Then the Dreamcast which is still (in my opinion) amazing, and finally the 360.

I'm in to most games, but my favourite game of all time has to be A Link to the Past. Recently replaying the Monkey Island games and just got Grim Fandango so gonna give that a go at some point. Hobby wise I enjoy playing guitar, and pretty much every type of music there is. I'm stupidly laid back, and really the only thing I excel at it is big words and video games.

So that's me, An English gamer who spends most of his days lurking Destructoid and playing guitar.