|Game: Sonic Adventure|
System: Sega Dreamcast
Developer: Sonic Team
Players: Ivan Kowalenco
In order to introduce this game, one must venture back to Sega’s previous console, the Sega Saturn. During a time without a major sonic title, Sega published Traveler’s Tales racing game Sonic R and Sonic 3D Blast onto the console, and Yuji Naka, the lead programmer of the original Sonic games, was disappointed with the direction Sonic was taking. During the Saturn years, Naka was working on non-Sonic titles such as Burning Rangers and NiGHTS, but with the Dreamcast, he returned to direct the Sonic franchise. After going into full development early-1997, the game would be the Sega Dreamcast’s flagship launch title in late 1999. The game marks the first major Sonic title in which current Sonic Team Producer Takashi Iizuka was director, although he was Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ Senior Game Designer prior.
Sonic Adventure stars Sonic and friends in the crew’s first major 3D adventure. Sonic and Tails discover that Doctor Robotnik (Or Eggman, as Sonic calls him) is planning on collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds so that he can bring Chaos, the God of Destruction, to full power in order to rule the world. Sonic and Tails’ quest is not exclusive to themselves, however; Sonic Adventure introduces multiple characters whose plots intertwine with each other in order to create a full picture on what is happening and why. Knuckles the Echidna is pulled into adventure after Chaos appears and destroys the Master Emerald, causing Angel Island to crash into the ocean. Amy Rose, the self-proclaimed girlfriend to the blue hedgehog, finds herself in a precarious situation involving the protection of a young bird from a nefarious E-Series Robot. Big the Cat runs (or wobbles, really) toward action in order to find his friend Froggy who, for some reason, has become increasingly agitated and rambunctious. Finally, E-102 Gamma, one of Eggman’s E-Series robots, follows his master’s orders until he encounters Amy and the little bird, with interesting results. Once each adventure is completed, a final adventure opens to bring Sonic and the new nemesis together for a final showdown.
Each character has his or her unique game style and cutscenes, although some do appear similar when characters interact. Sonic’s stages are the longest and most straightforward: get to the end of each level. Tails has shorter stages, all of which involve races to the finish. Knuckles’ mission is to collect three pieces of the Master Emerald in each stage. Amy has to get to the end of a level, all while running from Eggman's minions. Big’s levels are actually fishing mini-games more than stages, and E-102 Gamma’s areas are shooter-focused. Besides the action stages themselves, there are multiple Adventure areas where the characters must explore to find power-ups and new levels. Bosses fill the remainder of the game time, whether the battles are against other characters, Eggman, or Chaos.
Sonic Adventure had been seen with great acclaim, lauding its retention of Sonic’s platforming and fast-paced speed from the original series and bringing it into 3D, albeit with a number of glitches and a finicky camera system. It is seen as the biggest game for the Sega Dreamcast, and it is the highest-selling game for it, too, at 2.5 million sold.
Sonic has grown and shrunken in prominence since his debut into 3D. Despite the game’s praises, it was not capable of keeping Sega in the black during the Dreamcast’s existence, and just as the much-anticipated sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, was about to release, Sega announced that it had stopped producing consoles and would reduce its focus to software only. Just half a year after Sonic Adventure 2’s release, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle was released for the Nintendo GameCube, the first Sonic game on a Nintendo console. Sonic Adventure would never return as a franchise after 2, but Sonic Unleashed, released years later for all current consoles, would be called Sonic World Adventure in Japan, perhaps stating its existence as a game fitting of the Adventure series.
To list all Sonic games since Sonic Adventure would be tiring, but major Sonic titles since the Dreamcast include Sonic Heroes, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Unleashed. Another team within Sonic Team created Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic and the Black Knight, and Sonic Colors, all for the Wii. Most recently, Sonic has been coming back to 2D with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 alongside the release of Sonic Colors for Wii and DS. It is believed that Sonic Team is working on at least one major Sonic title at the moment, although the Adventure style of Sonic games appear to have ended with Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
Meanwhile, producer Yuji Naka would work on a number of new franchises on Dreamcast, including ChuChu Rocket, Samba de Amigo, and Phantasy Star Online while Sonic Team USA worked on Sonic Adventure 2. Years later, he would leave Sega to form Prope, creating such games as Let’s Tap and Ivy the Kiwi?. He is currently producing a game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Sonic Adventure itself has seen a number of rereleases since its Dreamcast debut. In 2004, Sonic Team and some members of NOW Production brought Sonic Adventure onto GameCube and Windows as Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut. This edition includes slightly improved visuals, improving the lighting and models of each character, but the game’s glitches were not fixed. Included with the main adventures are 60 missions which are available for players to complete in both adventure and action stages, and if all Emblems are collected, players can play as Metal Sonic. Furthermore, as players earn emblems, they unlock the ability to play from a collection of twelve Sonic Game Gear titles. This year, Sonic Team Shanghai brought Sonic Adventure to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. This version is the DX version of the game sans the extra game content, and the mission content is available as DLC.
The Let’s Play
As Wilson left to go do his girlfriend-related event, Ivan and the two twins remained. Seeing as the event we were throwing was called “Dreamcast Day,” we moved onto the flagship title for the system’s launch, Sonic Adventure. Now, seeing as there were six characters to go through, we decided that it would be best to have three people play the game: one person assigned to two characters a piece. Ivan, being the owner, had the choice of Sonic and one other.
Because each episode could only be an hour long, we decided that we would record the game in parts, rather than all at once. This way we could split the game up and allow other games to come out along the way. Unfortunately, this would not entirely work out, as we were only capable of shooting two parts of the large multi-part epic, but either way, it was nice to plan out and resulted in some good episodes.
Ivan did a pretty good job, but his actions were marred by the game’s glitches. He knew his way through a number of the levels, but once he got to Casinopolis, he really started to stumble.
Casinopolis requires Sonic to obtain a large number of rings and then deposit them in the vault. This means constant playing of pinball machines among other things. Thankfully, if Sonic fails to get a certain number of rings, he is sent down a garbage chute where he can earn a lot more rings than the pinball games can offer. Unfortunately, this does not help Ivan, and it takes him well over what was anticipated to complete.
His run was to follow Sonic through his adventure, and this one would last up to Twinkle Park, a nice runthrough if a bit slow. Certain levels started cutting music tracks, which was odd, and over time, the game occasionally sent Sonic to an untimely death. Things could have ended worse, despite the messy nature of the game, and while our commentary starts off fairly “nerdy” it gets less so as the game progresses.
Once this recording was over, Ivan had to leave, thus ending what we thought would be a bigger day. He never had time to finish his parts of Sonic, and while we did get one more part out with Tails (later in the same season), a Knuckles run failed thanks to a glitched Dreamcast. Without Ivan or a fully-working Dreamcast, the run for Sonic Adventure would remain as a two-episode ordeal. Still, that does not mean we will not return to it at some point.
For now, enjoy what insanity we brought.