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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | Previews | Sonic Adventure 2

Sonic Adventure 2
He's faster than Jacky's lightning! - by RaptoR

Sonic Adventure 2 Logo

Ever since the original Sonic the Hedgehog's high-speed gameplay, colorful graphics, and cute characters caught the imagination of gamers on the Sega Genesis ten years ago, Sega's spiky blue mascot has enjoyed countless successes which repeated that same winning formula. When the Dreamcast launched in September 1999, one of the games everyone had their eye on was the original Sonic Adventure, which saw Sega's superstar once again doing battle against the evil Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman as he was known in Japan). While it provided hours of fun for countless Sonic addicts across the globe, its style of adventure and puzzle-solving rather than full-on high-speed action disappointed some.

Sonic Adventure 2 is, of course, the long-awaited sequel to the popular original, and this time Sonic Team has decided to go back to its roots and produce something that would appeal to the same audience who bought Sonic the Hedgehog all those years ago. Sonic Adventure 2 focuses much more on action rather than adventure, although it does have a mysterious storyline that will keep you playing right up to the end.

First of all, you play the role of Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles as you work your way through the virtual world of Mobius. The story is more of the same but with a twist. As well as battling the evil Dr. Robotnik, Sonic and his pals also face a new evil, Shadow. It seems that Shadow will fill the shoes of Metal Sonic from Sonic CD. From what Sonic Team have shown us, he seems to be a darker-colored hedgehog than Sonic, with an evil red glint in his eyes. Sonic Team have done an excellent job of keeping a sense of mystery around this creepy character, releasing the bare minimum of screenshots of him, and keeping any video footage of him to a few close-ups of his face. Basically, Shadow, allied with Robotnik, has been going around Mobius terrorising its inhabitants, and generally making everyone's lives unpleasant. Of course, who would you guess everyone is blaming all of this on? Yes, it's poor old Sonic.

Sonic hangs on as if his life depended upon it, never mind that platform mascots can survive any fall.

The environments are a lot more action-packed than the first game.

Gameplay-wise, the game focuses much more on the action fields featured in the original Sonic Adventure, giving the player much less puzzles to solve and items to locate. This makes the overall pace of the game much faster, as less time is spent dwelling on one area. Level-wise, we can expect a massive city for Sonic to traverse, much bigger than the 'Station Square' featured in the original. We can also expect the customary ice, jungle and ancient ruins levels, as well as some underwater action that was missing in the first game. Sonic himself can be found sky-boarding, sliding down an anonymous hilly town with cable cars, using his board to grind along rails, and even swinging on vines throughout the adventure. All these action elements harken back to the original series, and the game makes no mistake in paying its tribute to the action-platform classic, right down to the zone title screen graphics which introduce each level.

Sonic Adventure 2 sees the return of the loveable AI characters known as Chao. Although it's unclear exactly what the Chao will do, it's likely that they will keep to wondering around levels, looking bemused until the player picks them up. It's also likely that Sonic Adventure 2 will feature a handheld VMU game as was the case with Chao Adventure in the original Sonic Adventure, although this hasn't been confirmed.

From Jet Grind Radio-style grinding...

to running from an inexpicably crazed 18 Wheeler, Sonic Team knows how to steal a good idea.

The graphics of the original Sonic Adventure were impressive at the time, but things have moved on, and Sonic Adventure 2 shows off many fancy new graphical effects that were lacking in the original. As the screenshots of the game show, the graphical style of the game is still bright, colorful and cartoon-like, in traditional Sonic style. Overall, the graphics are everything we've come to expect from Sonic Team over the years; bright, clean, sharp and smooth, running at 60 frames per second. Some may have noticed some slight frame rate problems towards the end of the original, these have been banished from the sequel. Sonic Team have once again managed to coax more and more graphical power out of Sega's machine.

Overall, Sonic Team look sure to repeat the success of some of their earlier titles when Sonic Adventure 2 is released later this year. Diehard Sonic fans will dig it, but even if you haven't played any of Sonic's previous outings, then the blend of fun gameplay, fast action, and gorgeous graphics could well win you over. You can even check out the first level yourself by purchasing Sega's Phantasy Star Online, which was delayed so as to include a Sonic Adventure 2 demo disc. Sega is really pushing this game hard, but it certainly deserves the promotion. It would be an understatement to say you'd be missing out if you didn't check out Sonic Adventure 2 when it's released. It looks as though Sonic Team is preparing something very special for our spiky friend's tenth birthday.

Next: More screenshots!

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