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Sonic Speed Review: Sonic Adventure (Xbox Live Arcade)

November 4, 2010

Sonic Adventure finally arrives on Digital Download platforms Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. At long last, Sonic fans will get the opportunity to experience and in some cases relive Sonic’s first major 3D game that was released nearly 11 years ago on Dreamcast. But does the game continue to be as fun as it was or has Father Time not been too kind to this title?

The short answer is yes, it is as fun as it was before, if you’re a big Sonic fan like me, this version of Sonic Adventure will certainly bring back fond memories of Sonic’s earlier years, however, what was wrong before with the game so many years ago, is still wrong today and it hurts the overall product.

The plot for this game is nothing more than a Saturday Morning cartoon with Sonic visiting Station Square during reports of an ominous creature attacking the city, but of course, the evil Dr. Eggman is behind it all and once again the race is on for the Chaos Emeralds in which Sonic will travel through various stages and meet the rest of the cast to move along the plot.

Encountering a character will make them playable and he or she will have his or her own stake in the story and different gameplay style. Sonic plays like 2D Sonic, but in 3D. Tails, whom you meet early on, has you racing Sonic to the finish line, Knuckles has a treasure hunting stage that allows you to find shards of the Master Emerald, Amy has to escape a stalking robot and solve some minor puzzles, you know, almost like Jill Valentine trying to escape Nemesis in Resident Evil 3. The robot E-102 Gamma plays like a barebones shooting game and Big the Cat has you in a fishing mini-game trying to re-capture your pet frog, appropriately named Froggy. All characters in this game have an important stake in the story, except maybe for Big as his part in the narrative is almost circumstantial. Playing through all the story campaigns, will eventually unlock the final story.

Many people however, will likely not enjoy Big the Cat’s fishing simulator as like real fishing requires some patience and some level of skill to effectively play it.

For the seasoned Sonic player, however, Sonic Adventure is very easy to get into, maybe because of all those years playing the game, I have to say this: it is a cakewalk. Most of the bosses you encounter are easy to beat and even the final boss only provides a moderate challenge assuming you know what you are doing.

Moving on to controls, fortunately after many years, Sonic Adventure remains perfectly playable and functional, I personally felt that the Xbox 360 controller pad was more precise than the old Dreamcast pad and it showed.

On the technical side, however, occasional camera glitches may hinder your experience, other glitches will have you fall through the floor for no apparent reason and it sometimes feels that there is some sort of invisible wall blocking your movements on one occasion or another. It is a shame that while the game has been updated with 60 frames per second and it features 720p, the visuals look dated, even though they are using the graphically updated PC and Gamecube build for this one, Sega never fixed these glitches. Shame on them.

While it also does not harm the overall experience, the 4:3 display seems like a poor commercial choice as the two vertical bars can be something of a distraction, but you as the player will likely get used to them.

On the presentation side of things, again, dated visuals and poor voice acting with terrible lip synching hurt the overall package a little bit, but if you bought the original game, it means that you will likely turn a blind eye to this particular shortcoming.

But it is understandable, 1999 was a time when video game voice acting was still in its infancy and far from the market we have today, back then, hearing actual professional voice work was something unseen. The dialogue that you hear in this game is not as bad as the original Resident Evil game, but that’s not really a compliment.

The soundtrack, on the other hand, is one of Sonic Adventure’s strongest points, a few catchy rock music tunes and pop beats in a generally upbeat musical production provides for an enjoyable experience that is fun and easy to listen to.

To wrap this up, I say this, Sonic Adventure looks dated, it sounds dated, but it plays just as well as you remember. For 800 Microsoft Points, you will be hard pressed to find a game with so much content variety as this title, as there seems to be a lot for everyone to experience.

In my humble opinion, should you choose to accept it, is to buy this game, you will have a blast.



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