Any gamer familiar with the “Sonic the Hedgehog” brand of games is probably familiar with the steady decline in quality over the past few years. Renowned YouTube user JonTronShow actually commented on Sonic Team’s supposed use of Cocaine in his review? of “Sonic: R,” one of the most graphically unsatisfying of the franchise so far. However, just because they’ve had some poor titles, does that mean that the whole series is terrible? Far from it.
Lately, I’ve been occupying myself (outside of studying for the inevitable, soul-stealing finals) with many of the classic “Sonic” games such as the original “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” but also some more recent (if recent = 12+ years old) titles like “Sonic Adventure” and “Sonic Adventure 2,” all of which have been ported to the PlayStation Network for a reasonable price. This post, however, is devoted to the latter, “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.”
Granted, the downloadable version by itself only comes with the basic “Sonic Adventure 2″ package, which lacks many of the characters accessible in two-player versus mode, as well as Chao Karate (which was a staple in the replay value of the “Battle” version), however, a “Battle Mode DLC” can be purchased alongside the game itself, to enhance the game experience and evoke the nostalgia value that many of us remember playing on Gamecube.
For those unfamiliar with the title, (what have you been doing with your childhood?!) the plot follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he is being chased by the government organization G.U.N., who, following recent bank robberies by a hedgehog that looks just like Sonic, accuses Sonic for the theft of the Chaos Emeralds. Thus begins the greatest opening sequence of any game (jn my opinion) because you are thrust into a downhill slope as Sonic riding a makeshift snowboard IN THE MIDDLE OF A CITY. Yes, you can completely DESTROY THE CITY by knocking into one of the parked cars in the level, which proceeds to flip every single car in the row. In fact, playing the level makes me think that they did this on purpose, because it’s really difficult to NOT hit the cars.
From there, it is revealed that the other hedgehog is the “Ultimate Life-form” named Shadow, who is your antagonist for the majority of the game, along with Dr. Eggman/Dr. Robotnik and Rouge the Bat. It’s pretty much a typical story for Sonic, who must rally his friends and comrades Miles “Tails” Prower and Knuckles the Echidna to foil Eggman’s plot once again. This time around, though, Eggman takes the battle to the Space Colony A.R.K, which was shut down 50 years prior to the events of the game thanks to an “accident.” This paves the way for some really awesome (and frustratingly difficult) levels and boss battles.
The game itself is a marvel for the time that it was released. Back in 2001, this kind of game was graphically spectacular, but looking back and comparing it to today’s games makes some flaws readily visible. For example, the voice acting/music ratio was terribly off. There were times when Dr. Eggman would be giving a really intimidating speech about how he was going to defeat Sonic and conquer the world, but the effect was severely diminished when his loud and obnoxious theme song played, and his voice was drowned by the track.
Looking at the distance between the original Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, the latter really did improve upon the former. One improvement is that the lip flaps aren’t all over the place. In the first Sonic Adventure title, the character’s mouths were opening way too wide, and looked as if the developers had just done what they could and gave up. With Sonic Adventure 2, they improved upon that flaw, creating a much more believable conversation between the characters.
The music in this game might be the most memorable. Whether it’s the opening track, “Escape from the City” by Crush40, or the theme for the final boss, “Live and Learn” also by Crush40, these tracks, along with the background music really stuck with me as I made my way out of childhood and into adulthood. But really, isn’t that one of the goals of game creators? To create something that will be memorable for a decade or more after it was initally released? If so, then Sonic Team definitely succeeded in this case.
Pixcelation Games gives the PlayStation Network re-release, as well as the original 2001 title “Sonic Adventure 2: Battle” a 8.5 out of 10. Now go Escape from the City, readers!
(Photos were found on GetgamesGo.com, info.Sonicretro.org, and gameplox.com. None of those websites, Sonic Team, nor Sega endorses our work. Thanks!)