Sonic Adventure [Dreamcast]

Sonic Misadventure

The Dreamcast era rises like a phoenix from its own ashes. Only to be shot down by its own futility moments later.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: September 27, 2010
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The Genesis era was a watershed time for that edgy blue hedgehog known as Sonic. Arguably the preeminent platformer of its generation, BLAST PROCESSING helped the 16-bit Sonic games have a sense of speed and style that Mario just couldn't match. Hell, even Sonic Spinball was pretty damn good for a "spinoff" title (see what I did there?). After a few forgettable titles on the forgettable Saturn system, Sonic was prepared to make a triumphant return (in 3D!) as a launch title on the Dreamcast. Eleven years ago, it was a pretty epic moment.

Flashforward to today. Dreamcast emulation is finally a reality on the PlayStation 3 (first reported over a year ago right here on TPS) and appropriately, the first title ported in Sonic Adventure. Unfortunately eleven years takes a LOT of the luster off what was once a decent game. There are still quite a few things to like about Sonic Adventure but the vast issues pervading this title mean that unless your nostalgia meter is running high, it's unlikely you'll find anything but frustration here. The truth of the matter is, Sonic has never been comfortable in his transition to 3D, and now that the novelty has long since worn off, history will remember Sonic Adventure as the tipping point for the decline of the series.

Sonic Adventure is a departure from the style of previous games, revolving several hub worlds, called "Adventure Zones" that are fairly benign places with little to no dangers or platforming, just a bit of basic exploration. In these Adventure Zones you will find entrances to 'Action Zones", which are where you will find traditional Sonic mainstays like rings, capsules and enemies. There are also several "Sub-Zones" that are brief mini-game style events like flying with Tails and snowboarding. While the Adventure Zones seem bland and empty by modern standards (like the people that just stand around statically throughout it, never moving), the Action Zones do feature some exotic level design and are much closer to the roots of the series. Here you will find your self spin-dashing throughout the level, grabbing rings, taking out a (limited) variety of enemies, and racing to get to the capsule at the end. Every one of these levels can be replayed three times to get additional emblems, with the second run through requiring you to finish with a certain amount of coins, and the third being a speed run pitting you against some pretty quick times. That sort of replayability is nice, if you actually WANT to go back and play the levels again. Sadly this likely will not be the case.

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