-- Review written September 1999
Graphics • Screenshots
The textures are diverse and detailed almost all of the time, in every Action
Stage, and in the Adventure Fields. There is rarely a blurry texture to be
seen up close, however there is very visible mip-mapping levels on the textures.
It would appear as if Bilinear filtering was used, or possibly an older method,
for some reason that's beyond me. What I mean is that you can see a very clear
line in many levels where the texture quality changes as it goes into the
background. It is common practice to do this in 3D games now, but better methods
of smoothing the lines, such as Trilinear or Anisotropic filtering are available
on the Dreamcast, though they may cause a slight performance hit to employ.
There is quite a lot of detail in the polygon department as well, eyes move,
hands are animated, but don't appear to have fingers other than a thumb, characters
are drawn with fairly rounded edges, though there is the occasional jutted
edge curve such as Sonic's quills. There doesn't appear to be a skin texturing
method employed in this game though, because joints do occasionally break
up, or go through other parts of the body. Compared to Soul Calibur or VF3tb,
the polygon models are somewhat limited, but still have quite a bit of detail
in them, and they are textured with sharp and detailed textures that make
the characters look quite detailed as well.
Pop-up is very rare in this game, most of the time you can see very far out
into the horizon and see little to nothing popping into view, as is common
in many 3D games. It is the sensation of insane speed though, that would be
the prime attraction in the graphics of this game. Never before have you played
a 3D action/platform/adventure game as fast as this one is. That's all I can
say about that, you have to play it to really see it for yourself.
Audio in this game is both great and average for the Dreamcast. The music
is clear and crisp, and depending on your tastes, quite motivating and exciting.
Music styles very from traditional Sonic style music to Rock, Pop or just
plain funky tunes. You have an option to change the voices between Japanese
and English in the option screen. The Japanese voice actors are good, and
not grating to listen to at all if you can appreciate the Japanese language,
while the English actors botch many lines, and in some cases can actually
be annoying to listen to.
All in all the sound for Sonic Adventure is great, with a few shortfalls
here and there that might bother some folks. There are some cases of sound
glitches, though they are hard to notice. In some of the flashback story parts
there is a fire burning and the sound appears to break up the voices that
are being played at the same time, the result is a slightly garbled effect,
but the voices are still understandable.
There are seven characters to play as in this game, Sonic, Amy, Tails, E102,
Big, Knuckles, and after you beat the game with each of them, Super Sonic.
All of the characters have a bit of a learning curve when trying to control
them, but rest assured that the control is pin point accurate.
There has been mention in other reviews of the camera being a real problem
in the game, but I would have to offer that the reviewer just didn't play
the game long enough to get used to it. While it is glitchy at times, most
of time when the camera moves, it is because you are supposed to go somewhere
else. The camera does on the rare occasion cause accidental deaths by swinging
around wildly, but these extreme instances are very rare. Most of the complaints
are just because the camera is very dynamic. It swings to a side view when
you run through loops, and keeps track of bosses when you're fighting them,
but the whole time you have pin point control on your character.
I've had Sonic spring high up into the air, and while he was falling past
the camera, I was able to position him to land on a floating island barely
three times Sonic's size, I could even pick exactly where on this small platform
I wanted him to land. I've moved Sonic to fall off of the first platform in
Windy Valley, and made him land three levels down to make a shortcut in the
level. The control is very smooth and manageable in this game, it just takes
a little patience, you haven't played a game that plays quite like this game
[ This still holds true, and I challenge anybody who thinks the camera is
actually a problem, even in SA DX, and I will provide you with a movie file
showing you that it is not the game, or the camera that's preventing you from
being able to play it ]
It's hard to really explain the story without spoiling it for anyone who
hasn't played through it yet. Let me just say that the story in this game
goes above and beyond the typical stop-the-megalomaniac story that curses
many other mascot games. The story is centered around the six main characters,
though three of them are really side stories to the main plot. Robotnik, or
as he is called in this game Dr. Eggman, is trying to take over the world
with an ancient being known as Chaos. I don't want to go into too much more
detail since the development of the Chaos character is one of the key plot
points of the game, but rest assured that this game has a great story to tell,
it's just a shame that they couldn't find better voice actors to portray it
with, or that more Americans can't enjoy reading subtitles and listening to
the excellent voice actors in Japanese.
[ This has been the second mode of criticism from the press and message boards,
so I'll add a comment here as well. It is inarguable that the gameplay premise
of one main story (Sonic) and a series of side-stories that flush out the
perspectives of everybody else involved is rarely, if ever, done in video
games. Furthermore, the *perception* of the story being convoluted is due
to the poor English voice acting, and not the script itself. My advice is
to play the game with subtitles and the original Japanese actors, and play
the game entirely through the Super Sonic conclusion. If you still think the
story is terrible after that, well, I'd have to point out that the 2004 Sonic
cartoon used the exact same story and nobody complained there ]
Every level you complete will become available to practice on separate of
the regular adventure. You can also play through the Mini games in separate
of the adventure field. There are a total 130 emblems to collect in this game's
diverse action and adventure levels. You don't get anything special for getting
all of them, but the Sonic Homepage is going to have a black market up where
you can use those Emblems to buy special Chao, which are the A-lifes, or virtual
pets that you can raise and breed separate of your adventure. www.gamefaqs.com
has more detail on these little creatures under the Sonic Adventure FAQ section.
I think this is one of the greatest games of the 3D era of video gaming. Never
in my wildest hopes did I think this game would turn out as well as it did,
fast, diverse, great music, great gameplay and a great story to boot. It is
my opinion that every Dreamcast owner should own this game, but I would have
to warn that if you didn't like the 2D Sonic games, you probably won't like
this one either. It has more Sonic speed and personality than all of the previous
installments combined. Video game companies should look to this game to see
what a true sequel should be. I have never chosen a favorite video game in my
life, until now, Sonic Adventure is the best game I have ever owned or played,
it's that good!