So, I figured i’ll celebrate my birthday by reviewing the game that was my favourite when I was younger. I present..Sonic Adventure 2 Battle!
Sonic Adventure 2, which was directly ported to the Gamcube under the name Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, is looked upon as Sonic’s finest 3D hour. I don’t know about that, but in terms of a story-based Sonic game, there is NO contest in calling this the finest Sonic game. Yet i’m gonna start this review with something that always makes me laugh. Sonic Adventure 2 was rated as one of the highest ranking games of the beginning of the 3D era, praised for it’s voice acting, story and action…yet Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was criticized for all these reasons. Just makes me laugh.
But, yeah. Sonic Adventure 2 features full on 3D platforming sections, with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Rouge and my favourite Sonic character and my favourite villain of ALL TIME, Doctor Eggman himself. There’s the fast, jumping 3D platforming that Sonic’s famous for, some rather odd mecha shoot-em-up sections, kart racing sections and…treasure hunting sections. You can’t criticize it nor complain that it doesn’t vary it’s gameplay. And with around 30 levels, there isn’t much to complain about – different people like different methods of gameplay.
Following on from the 30 levels, each one has a unique soundtrack, and when you take stuff like City Escape out of the picture, the other tracks are actually really underrated. The soundtrack is bright, vibeful and perfectly suited to every level, bringing them all to life. So, in terms of gameplay, it’s not perfect for some people, but for others it’s pretty perfect and a great snapshot of what 3D Sonic was like…I mean, it’s only JUST been perfected in Generations.
But the story is what makes Sonic Adventure 2 the best Sonic game ever. Eggman has his most badass plan to rule the world this time around, and it involves using his grandfathers research…which just happens to be known as Shadow the Hedgehog, one of the franchise’s most popular game characters, better known by fans as the Ultimate Life Form. Yes, it’s full of plotholes and full of problems if you think about it, but when you have such awesome lines like:
“Did you really think you could get out of here alive? This time, i’ll take your lives as well as the Chaos Emerald!”
“Hand over the Chaos Emerald..slowly. And then we’ll talk about your girlfriend…if you really care for her.”
“You’re no match for me, you stupid little fox!”
You’re more than willing to overlook the tiny plot-holes. But, well, then there ARE some of your classic cheesy video game lines, most from Tails. In terms of a cartoonish Sonic the Hedgheog game, the plot here actually turns pretty dark, with Eggman blowing up half the moon and someone going insane and taking revenge for an accident from years ago by trying to blow up the entire planet. If it’s a sign of how dark the plot becomes, when I was little, I actually got nightmares about the Last Story, and how scary and dark the quotes were, and then there are those classic quotes which show everyone just how powerful well executed cheese can really be.
After completing the game, there’s loads of replay value. Loads and loads of replay value. However, the majority of replay value does involve going over the same levels as the game did, just playing the levels in different methods and different ways. Annoying? It can be, when you consider that the formula for each is the same: Play level normally, get 100 rings, find a hidden object, race against the clock and then clear a harder version of the regular stage. When you have to do this for every single level, including those you didn’t like, then…ouch. This is only made worse by the fact that people can dislike some playstyles, and well..yeah. If you’re lucky enough to get on with all playstyles, then great! But if you’re not, then there’s one huge minigame for you to enjoy. It’s called the Chao Garden.
You could say that a chao is a virtual pet, and a pet of the Sonic world. Modern fans only know chao because of Cream the Rabbit being partnered with a chao, but this was the game which actually let you raise them and breed them. And, well, the amount of depth that goes into breeding these creatures is amazing. You can edit every aspect of them, to their looks to their personalities and colours, and you can even align them to be a good chao or an evil chao. It’s entirely possible to spend hours creating a family tree of chao just to get the perfect one you want to enter into contests, and I know some people on forums actually partake in this to get new world records. However…raising a chao’s stats requires you to replay levels. And that’s not something that I like, in all honesty. The chao garden shouldn’t be reliant on the main game, and it should be possible to raise the chao without needing to play levels again and again.
When I say that you can spend hours in the chao garden, it really isn’t an understatement. There are loads of ingame contests in, and all that stuff which comes with it. Not to mention the fact that the chao run on virtual time, and need to be left for x amount of hours to evolve and the like. It’s a gripping, detailed mini game which can be oddly addictive…and make even the manliest of people find them cute. It isn’t perfect and it needs several improvements, but it really is almost perfect in terms of a mini-game just to accompany the main game for when you get bored…and if it wasn’t for a few crippling flaws, it could almost work as a game all on it’s own.
Basically, it’s an almost-perfect outing for the blue hedgehog. The plot juggles the perfect amount of cheese, badassness and awesomeness, along with great levels and a great soundtrack. To date, it still remains my favourite Sonic game to date, topping Generations because of the story factor.Considering you can buy the game for 3 dollars nowadays, it’s worth picking up to spend a weekend reliving what made Sonic the Hedgehog great. However, it IS direct port of the dreamcast game, and as such, the graphics do look dated ever so slightly dated. This is what Sonic the Hedgehog should be, and this makes even Mario look lame in comparison. If only Sega understood that~ xD