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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

Sonic Adventure 2
Due March 2001 for Dreamcast

 

sa2_3-01.jpg (3660 bytes)The hedgehog is back, and we’re not talking about Ron Jeremy’s stellar performance in Terror Firmer – we’re talking about Sonic. The Dreamcast gained a lot of thunder with the premier of Sonic Adventure. That killer whale scene at the beginning of the game was just, well, killer. The whole thing brought Sonic alive in three dimensions at dizzying speeds, and showed off just how pretty the Dreamcast could be. So what can we expect for the next installment?

sa2_5-01.jpg (4949 bytes)Well, lots more speed and prettiness. The playable demo of Sonic Adventure 2 that comes with Phantasy Star Online allows us a go at the first level, a hyped up San Francisco-esque city level. Being like the city by the bay, this town has some serious slope-and-curve action. The level begins with Sonic parachuting from a helicopter with a snowboard/skyboard attached to his feet. As he hits the pavement, he "snowboards" down the streets at breakneck pace, avoiding traffic, making hairpin turns, and generally hauling ass. Eventually you’ll do some running, a little box-breaking and some evil robot smashing, and even some rollerblade-style grinds and skate-style ramp tricks.

sa2_2-01.jpg (5048 bytes)Yup, Sonic Adventure 2 has it all. While there doesn’t seem to be any focus on performing tricks, the grinding offers a whole other way to get from point A to B a little faster. In addition, Sonic can now hang off rails, which adds a certain monkeybar je ne sais quoi. Although the sampling we have available is brief, it’s obvious that these new elements increase the variety and replay value of the level. The new forms of movement and the innovative level design also serve to keep you actually controlling Sonic more often, rather than just pushing forward on the joystick. We can only hope that similar enhancements have been made throughout the game.

sa2_4-01.jpg (4479 bytes)The visuals of Sonic are phenomenal. Billed as the fastest game ever, it certainly looks like it. At no time, not through all the traffic, grinding rails at breakneck speeds, or being chased by a huge, out of control, MACK truck (very reminiscent of the killer whale scene in its predecessor), do the visuals ever lag. The textures are amazing – some are incredibly realistic. As always, the lighting quality is incredibly well-done, and the camera takes full advantage of these high end graphics. The cinematic quality introduced in Sonic Adventure is only heightened. And the frame rates are insane.

sa2_1-01.jpg (3633 bytes)Although the playable portion of Sonic Adventure 2 is really impressive, the truly exciting business starts with what we haven’t seen before. Expect more minigames and a thoroughly enhanced Chao system. The Chao raising elements of Sonic Adventure were great, spawning a whole subculture of enthusiasts, but eventually becoming a bore for most gamers. A little effort toward increasing the longevity of the Chao aspects of the game could go a long way in getting our VMUs back into our pockets and getting us to shell out for new batteries.

Overall, Sonic Adventure 2 looks to be another incredible title. Fans of the previous installment will not be disappointed as the basic feel of the game remains the same. And those stalwart fogies of gaming who neighsayed the impressiveness of Sonic Adventure will be thoroughly reprimanded. In a tumultuous time of uncertainty Sonic will rise again to remind the mainstream audience just how fun the Dreamcast is. With flashy graphics, cinematic presentation, catchy gameplay, and lots of bright colors and shiny effects, Sonic Adventure 2 is speaking the public’s language.

Shawn Rider

 

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