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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

SonicTeam

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Big, bright and inoffensive

- Classic Game Gear games

- Some good GBA connectivity

 

 

- Title deserved an update not just a straight port

- Camera is poor

- Levels go by in a blur

- Falling out of levels

 

 

Review: Sonic Mega Collection (GC)

Classic: Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)

Preview: Sonic Heroes (GC, PS2, XB)

 

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Sonic Adventure DX

Score: 4.6 / 10

 

It’s not every day I come away from a game with a heavy sense of loss.  Not loss as in “I wish I had those hours back” or when a loved one dies, but the kind of loss you might feel when a legend is dragged through the mud.  Sonic Adventure DX should have, could have been so much more than a straight port with a few improvements.

 

sonic adventure dx gamecube review          sonic adventure dx gamecube review

 

Sonic Adventure first appeared on the Dreamcast more than a few years back and the Director’s Cut – that’s where the DX in the title comes from – on the GameCube is marginally better but only by the narrowest of margins (and that still puts it several years behind the current crop of platformers).

 

First, you’d never know the GameCube has more powerful hardware than the Dreamcast.  Comparing the two versions you’d have a hard time spotting which is which.  Dated graphics I can handle but a poor camera is sanity reducing.  Sonic has always been a fast character and here he’s so fast that the camera has a difficult time keeping Sonic in sight.  Which brings me to my next point: most levels zing by before you can really get a handle on what’s happening.  Hit the right bumper and you can find yourself somewhere near the middle of a stage without much effort.  Then there are other times Sonic’s moving so fast you’ll find yourself dropping into the water or flipping off into thin air.  Speed, speed, speed!  Which doesn’t explain why there’s instances of choppiness.

 

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In short, what I’m trying to say is that nothing has been done to address any of the problems present in the original release.  And there are even glaring problems that make me wonder how much play testing was done.

 

Take for example several points where Sonic (or one of the other playable characters) can be caught on unseen blocks.  The usual procedure is to jump out of the situation and continue on your way.  But if you don’t react immediately, Sonic will vibrate then slip into the 

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abyss – essentially falling out the level.  This kind of thing might have been acceptable when Sonic Adventure was originally released because it was new, novel and a great to look at, but in comparison to Super Mario Sunshine (or even Vexx) it makes DX seem a poorly constructed and slap-dash effort, even with the GBA connectivity.

 

But I’ve been sidetracked by my rambling – I haven’t said much about what Sonic Adventure DX is all about.  Actually, if you’ve ever played a Sonic game you should be familiar with the plot: Dr. Robitnic’s evil machinations have to be stopped and it’s up to Sonic (and friends) to do so by collecting rings and Chaos emeralds, running fast, and jumping.

 

sonic adventure dx gamecube review          sonic adventure dx gamecube review

 

The levels are mostly sprawling and you’ll find yourself consulting the map often to keep you on the right track, especially the “hub” areas that let you access other levels.  Most levels are loosely connected platforms, sometimes by winding tracks, but like I mentioned before, you won’t actually see most of them – you’ll see a flash of color and not much else.  When the action moves indoors, the camera creates a sense of claustrophobia and you can never be sure you know what you’re doing.  Either way, you're doing what you've always done in platform games -- much jumping.

 

If any game deserved an overhaul and an update, it was Sonic Adventure.  Resident Evil got it, why not Sonic?  Overall, it’s a missed opportunity that will only attract Sonic fans or those that missed the Dreamcast version.  Let us all hope that Sonic Heroes (on track for release this Fall) will restore Sonic’s image.

 

- Omni

(July 6, 2003)

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