Format reviewed: Dreamcast
Developer: Sonic Team
Anticipation for Sonic Adventure was huge. Apart from the enjoyable Sonic R, there had been no “proper” Sonic game on Sega’s last console, meaning all eyes were focused on his Dreamcast debut.
Although Sonic Adventure didn’t manage to make the Dreamcast’s launch, it did follow a few short weeks later, and fans and critics went wild. While it lacked the sheer scope and gameplay of Super Mario 64, there was no denying that Sonic Team’s game was extremely impressive. This in part was mainly down to Sonic Team doing everything it could to ensure that Sonic’s adventure was as linear as possible. Yes he could still explore the environment in the specially designed “Adventure Fields” but the “Action Stages” were far stricter, allowing the hedgehog to do what he did best – run insanely fast.
It worked though and while they could occasionally suffer from glitches and some bizarre camera angles they were able to capture all the speed and frenetic fun that could be found in Sonic’s earlier 2D adventures. Filled with dynamic set pieces – the killer whale sequence sold me a Dreamcast on its own – and clever level design, Sonic Adventure was just that, a journey of epic proportions.
And yet there were additions to Sonic Adventure that weren’t wanted and slowly helped to dilute the series, namely the introduction of needless sidekicks – although we love Big the cat – and terrible story sequences that featured some of the most annoying voices to ever appear in a videogame.
We can forgive all that though, because when Sonic got fed up of exploring the big 3D hubs and simply concentrated on running from checkpoint to checkpoint it resulted in some of the most exciting gameplay to be found on the then next gen system.