Sonic Adventure 2

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Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic Adventure 2 cover.png
North American Dreamcast cover art.
Developer(s) Sonic Team USA
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Takashi Iizuka
Producer(s) Yuji Naka
Programmer(s) Tetsu Katano
Artist(s) Kazuyuki Hoshino
Yuji Uekawa
Writer(s) Shiro Maekawa
Composer(s) Jun Senoue
Kenichi Tokoi
Fumie Kumatani
Tomoya Ohtani
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) Dreamcast, GameCube, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Platformer, action-adventure, multi-directional shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution GD-ROM, Nintendo optical disc, download

Sonic Adventure 2 (Japanese: ソニックアドベンチャー2 Hepburn: Sonikku Adobenchā Tsū?) is a video game developed by Sonic Team USA and published by Sega for the Dreamcast as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was released on June 18, 2001, as the last Sonic game for a Sega console since the company ceased manufacturing hardware. A port for the Nintendo GameCube, titled Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, was released in 2001 with new content. The game was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows via online services in 2012.

The sequel to Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2 features two stories in the good-vs.-evil tradition: a "Hero" story that follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, and Knuckles the Echidna as they attempt to save the world, and a "Dark" story that follows Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman, and Rouge the Bat in their attempt to conquer it. These stories are divided into three gameplay styles: traditional, fast-paced platforming for Sonic and Shadow, multi-directional shooting for Tails and Eggman, and action-exploration for Knuckles and Rouge. It also includes an extensive Chao-raising system.

The game was announced in October 1999, and shown off at E3 2000; development spanned one and a half years. It was designed to be faster-paced and more action-oriented than the original Adventure. Scenery was influenced by locations in the United States such as San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. The game received positive reviews, with critics praising its gameplay variety, visuals, and music while criticizing its camera, voice acting, and plot. While critics' enthusiasm had waned by the release of Battle, this version sold over 1.44 million copies, and the game as a whole has received numerous accolades.

Gameplay[edit]

Sonic temporarily rides a snowboard and performs tricks in "City Escape," the first level of the "Hero" story in Sonic Adventure 2.

Sonic Adventure 2 is a 3D game that features six playable characters, divided into two campaigns: "Hero" (consisting of Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, and Knuckles the Echidna), where the player battles to save the world, and "Dark" (consisting of Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman, and Rouge the Bat), where they battle to conquer it. Each character on each side features a similar play-style to one another. The player moves through both the Hero and Dark campaigns, switching between them at will. Each campaign cycles through levels of its three characters and tells a different side of the story. Levels take a variety of themes, such as cities, jungles, desert pyramids, and outer space, and some of them are followed by boss fights. Completing both the Hero and Dark campaigns unlocks a "Last Story" that features all six characters and culminates in a final boss.[1]

Sonic and Shadow play through fast-paced levels focused on platforming and gameplay.[2] They have a homing attack with which they can lock onto robots created by Eggman and G.U.N., and they can also grind on rails. Tails' and Eggman's levels, meanwhile, are much slower and oriented more towards multi-directional shooting gameplay; they are both confined to mechs in which they can jump short heights, hover, and shoot enemies. Knuckles' and Rouge's levels are wide-open and spread-out with action-adventure gameplay, and involve treasure hunting: in each level, they must find three shards of the Master Emerald. Their search is guided by radar and puzzle-based clues given by harmless robots.[1] Knuckles and Rouge can glide, defeat enemies with punches and kicks,[2] and scale walls, as well as digging into them to find power-ups.[3]

Adventure 2 maintains the unusual health system found in many other Sonic games. The player collects rings, which are scattered throughout levels; being hit by an enemy while holding rings causes the player to drop them all, while being hit without rings causes the player to lose a life. Tails and Eggman have a traditional health bar, but it is slowly refilled by collecting rings anyway. Dying with no lives results in a game over screen.[4] However, the characters are aided in their levels by occasional upgrades; for example, Sonic and Shadow find an upgrade that allows them to bounce up and down and reach higher areas, while Knuckles and Rouge find one that gives them powerful kicks that can break certain containers.[5] Also found in levels are "Chaos Drives" and small, non-anthropomorphic animals, both of which can be used with the player's Chao creatures.[6]

A Chaos Drive, used by the player to raise their Chao's stats.

Separate from the main campaigns, the player can raise Chao in a virtual pet format.[1] Chao possess five stat attributes, each connoting a different ability—Swim, Fly, Run, Power, and Stamina—as well as a moral alignment that runs on a continuum from Hero to Dark. From the moment they hatch from eggs, their stats can be increased with Chaos Drives, thereby empowering them to compete in karate[7] and racing minigames.[2] Their alignment gradually changes based on their affection to the characters; for example, a Chao that likes Tails will gradually become more Hero. Playing with Chao and giving them animals increases affection, and when a Chao becomes fully Hero or Dark, it will take on that form permanently.[8] Chao eventually die, but if they received enough affection during their lives, they will reincarnate.[9]

The game includes 180 emblems, which are earned for a variety of tasks.[10] Every level includes five missions; only the first is required to continue on during the campaign, but other missions include completing a harder version of a level and collecting 100 rings. The player earns emblems by completing missions, as well as other tasks, many of them related to Chao raising. Collecting all emblems unlocks a 3D version of the Green Hill Zone level from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.[11]

The game also features a few two-player modes. Players may race on foot through altered versions of levels or new levels, hold shoot-'em-up battles in mechs,[2] hunt for Master Emerald shards,[12] or race in go-karts.[2] A few characters are playable in these modes but not in the main game; for example, Tikal from the original Sonic Adventure is playable in the treasure-hunting game,[13] as is Amy Rose in the on-foot-racing levels.[14]

Plot[edit]

After learning of a secret weapon from the diary of his late grandfather Prof. Gerald Robotnik, Eggman infiltrates a high-security G.U.N. facility in search of it.[15] This weapon, a black hedgehog and self-proclaimed "Ultimate Life Form" named Shadow, offers to help Eggman take over the world, telling him to rendezvous at the abandoned Space Colony ARK with more Chaos Emeralds. Shadow then goes to Central City, where he steals an Emerald and ends up running into G.U.N. soldiers. He experiences a flashback to the death of a girl named Maria, begging him to fulfill an unspecified promise, which he interprets as a promise for revenge. He then blasts through the military forces and ends up confronting Sonic, who the military had mistaken for Shadow. After a brief confrontation, Shadow escapes and G.U.N. captures Sonic.

Meanwhile, Knuckles confronts both Rouge and Eggman, who each attempt to steal the Master Emerald. Knuckles shatters the Emerald to prevent this, then proceeds to search for the scattered shards.[16] While Rouge intends to collect the shards for personal benefit, she must also accomplish a mission for the government to spy on Eggman. This mission leads her to Eggman's base,[17] and eventually the ARK. On board, Shadow reveals to Eggman a superweapon called the Eclipse Cannon, also created by Prof. Gerald, and relays his plan: use the Chaos Emeralds to charge the Eclipse Cannon, and utilize its destructive power to take over the world. Rouge then appears and joins the two in their search for the Emeralds.

Tails and Amy infiltrate G.U.N.'s island base and rescue Sonic[18] while Eggman, Shadow, and Rouge collect three Emeralds on the island.[19][20][21] Eggman then broadcasts his threats across the world and demonstrates the cannon's power by destroying half of the Moon. Sonic and company use their Emerald to track down the other six, with Knuckles coming along as well. Together, the group infiltrate Eggman's base,[22] boarding his shuttle as it launches into space. Knuckles' Emerald shards are spilled along the way, and he leaves to collect them.[23] He encounters and fights Rouge again, but after he saves her from falling into a lava pit, she nonchalantly surrenders her shards and Knuckles restores the Master Emerald.

Aboard the ARK, Tails reveals that he has created a counterfeit Chaos Emerald designed to reverse the energy fields of the real ones. However, when Sonic goes to place the fake Emerald into the Cannon, Eggman announces that he has captured Tails and Amy, forcing him to go back and rescue them.[24] Sonic tries to trick Eggman with the fake, but Eggman traps and jettisons him in an escape pod rigged with explosives. Using the fake, Sonic manages to perform the "Chaos Control" technique and escape,[25] but Tails, thinking Sonic is dead, fights and defeats Eggman. Shadow is sent to intercept Sonic before he destroys the Eclipse Cannon,[26] but does not succeed.

After being defeated by Tails, Eggman manages to sneak away with an Emerald and goes to put it in the Eclipse Cannon. However, when he attempts to fire the cannon at full power, the ARK begins to fall toward Earth, and a recorded message from Gerald Robotnik is broadcast worldwide: he programmed the ARK to collide with Earth and destroy it, as revenge against humanity. It is also revealed in his diary that this hatred began when the government condemned his research and killed numerous colleagues, including his granddaughter Maria, when attempting to shut the ARK down. Eggman determines that the Emeralds' energy is causing the ARK to plummet, and everyone works together to get to the cannon's core and neutralize the energy.[27]

Shadow refuses to participate, but Amy pleads for his help, reminding him of Maria's true request: for him to help mankind. Realizing this, he catches up with Sonic and Knuckles in the core, where they encounter the Biolizard, a prototype of the Ultimate Life Form. Shadow temporarily defeats it, allowing Knuckles to deactivate the Chaos Emeralds using the Master Emerald. However, the Biolizard uses Chaos Control to fuse with the cannon, becoming the Finalhazard and continuing the ARK's collision course.

Using the power of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic and Shadow transform into their super forms and defeat the Finalhazard, then use Chaos Control to teleport the ARK back into a stable orbit around Earth. However, the process depletes Shadow's energy and he plummets to Earth, content that he has fulfilled his promise to Maria, and is presumed dead. As the humans back on Earth celebrate, the two teams reflect on the events that have transpired, and as they leave the station, Sonic bids a final farewell to Shadow.

Development[edit]

Scenery in the game took inspiration from the streets of San Francisco (left) and Yosemite National Park (right).

Sonic Adventure 2 was developed by Sonic Team USA, the now-defunct United States division of Sonic Team, and published by Sega. The game was directed by longtime series contributor Takashi Iizuka, and was developed over the course of a year and a half, beginning shortly after the American localization of Sonic Adventure. The game was designed to be action-oriented as opposed to the slower-paced, more story-based Adventure. To that end, the development team prioritized making the game run at 60 frames per second and effecting a "tempo" by giving Sonic a variety of actions rather than focusing only on speed. The levels were set up to further this flow and make Sonic seem faster than he really was.[28]

From an aesthetic perspective, the developers took inspiration for the levels and environments from San Francisco—the location of their headquarters—and from other American locations such as Yosemite National Park, where they vacationed during development of the game, and elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. Compared to Adventure, the sequel was intended to exhibit "more of an American flavor".[28] The level design process involved redesigns to prioritize the framerate, but was more streamlined than Adventure '​s as a result of the team's experience with the Dreamcast hardware.[29]

While the Chao were—as Iizuka has described—a "relative neutral entity" in Sonic Adventure, the developers decided to expand the creatures' presence in its sequel, and added the ability to raise "Hero" and "Dark" Chao to artistically complement the game's inherent good–evil dichotomy. The developers made sure to give all six playable characters roughly equal gameplay time for the same reason, unlike in Adventure where Big the Cat's and E-102 Gamma's stories were short.[28] Unlike in Adventure, Chao were given the ability to socialize so that they would resemble a "real artificial life form."[29]

Sega announced a follow-up to Sonic Adventure, as well as a spinoff title (which would become Sonic Shuffle), on October 4, 1999.[30] The newly named Sonic Adventure 2 was shown off at E3 2000, and Sonic Team shortly placed the footage shown there on their website on June 30, 2000.[31] Sonic Team later posted a trailer and numerous screenshots on May 30, 2001.[32] Sega promoted Sonic Adventure 2 both as the final Sonic game for the Dreamcast, and as marking the tenth anniversary of the series.[33] Sega also held a 10-year anniversary party for Sonic in June 2001; attendees could compete in a battle tournament whose winner played against Iizuka.[29] The GameCube—rather than the competing Xbox or PlayStation 2—was chosen to receive a port of Sonic Adventure 2 because of its "56k" technology. Sega and Sonic Team USA were unconcerned with the fact that the Xbox would feature Broadband Internet connectivity upon its release while the GameCube would not.[34]

Music[edit]

Jun Senoue returned as head composer for Adventure 2, with assistance from Kenichi Tokoi, Fumie Kumatani, and Tomoya Ohtani. The soundtrack is primarily melodic rock, but also dabbles in other genres such as hip-hop and orchestral.[35] As in Adventure, each character has a theme song. The game features performances by returning vocalists Tony Harnell, Ted Poley, Marlon Saunders, Nikki Gregoroff, and Johnny Gioeli, as well as new vocalists Tabitha Fair, Todd Cooper, Paul Shortino, Everett Bradley, Kaz Silver, and Hunnid-P.[36] Crush 40, which consists of Senoue and Gioeli,[37] officially debuted with the theme song "Live & Learn", which is the main theme of the game.[38]

Several soundtrack albums were released for the game. The Sonic Adventure 2 Multi-Dimensional Original Soundtrack was produced by Senoue and was originally released by Marvelous Entertainment on September 5, 2001.[36]

Sonic Adventure 2 Vocals Collection: Cuts Unleashed (ソニックアドベンチャー2 カッツ・アンリッシュド ヴォーカル・コレクション?) was produced by Senoue and released by MMV on August 21, 2001. It contains musical tracks from the game composed by Senoue and Kenichi Tokoi.[39]

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Sonic series, Sonic Adventure 2 Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition was released by Sega on June 22, 2011.[40]

Alternative versions and releases[edit]

GameCube port[edit]

A Nintendo GameCube port of Sonic Adventure 2, entitled Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (ソニックアドベンチャー2 バトル Sonikku Adobenchā Tsū Batoru?), was released on February 11, 2002, making it the first in the Sonic series to be released for a Nintendo console. This port upgraded a large portion of the Chao raising system; for example, a Chao's stats can now be viewed from within the game.[41] The player can transfer one Chao from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle to the "Tiny Chao Garden" section in Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, and Sonic Pinball Party with the GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable. If a Game Boy Advance is connected without a Game Boy Advance game inserted, a version of the Tiny Chao Garden can be copied temporarily into the Game Boy Advance's memory. This version also introduced the Chao Karate feature.[42] The "Battle" multiplayer options were expanded in the GameCube version, including the addition of new abilities and upgrades to the multiplayer-exclusive characters, while removing all online play.[43] One character, Big the Cat, was replaced by a Dark Chao in multiplayer mode.[44] Battle also features minor graphical upgrades, such as more detailed textures and additional scenery.[45]

Downloadable re-releases[edit]

Sonic Adventure 2 was re-released in high-definition with additional content from the Battle edition purchasable as separate DLC.[46] This version was released on the PlayStation Network in North America on October 2, 2012, in Europe on October 3, 2012, and in Japan on October 4, 2012.[47][48] It was released worldwide on the Xbox Live Arcade on October 5, 2012[47] and on Microsoft Windows via Steam on November 19, 2012.[49][50]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83.26%[51]
Metacritic 89%[52]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[53]
GamePro 4.5/5[35]
Game Revolution B[54]
GameSpot 8.6/10[2]
IGN 9.4/10[1]

Sonic Adventure 2 was released to strongly positive reviews, receiving respective aggregate scores of 89% and 83.26% from review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings.[51][52] Reviewers appreciated the game's inclusion of multiple play-styles. Edge and reviewer Four-Eyed Dragon from GamePro felt that the three styles that compose the core game, as well as the bonus features like Chao gardens, made the game engaging to play through,[35][53] and Johnny Liu of Game Revolution praised the wealth of replay value brought by the inclusion of multiple play-styles and 180 goals.[54] Anthony Chau of IGN felt the game was "one of the best Sonic games ever," and concluded his review by stating "If this is the last Sonic game in these declining Dreamcast years, it's satisfying to know that the DC didn't go out with a bang, but with a sonic boom."[1]

Shahed Ahmed of GameSpot criticized the camera, decrying the game for committing the "cardinal sin" of 3D platformers: forcing the player to jump to a platform that is out of view. Ahmed also found it aggravating that while the player can temporarily re-orient the camera using the trigger buttons, it reverts to normal as soon as the character moves.[2] Chau stated that while camera issues were absent in Tails' and Eggman's levels and almost absent in Sonic's and Shadow's, searching for Emerald shards and items in the more cramped sections of Knuckles' and Rouge's levels was frustrating;[1] Liu felt similarly.[54] Edge found the camera problems to permeate the whole game and, unlike Ahmed and Chau, did not feel that the camera had been significantly improved from Adventure '​s.[53]

The graphics, however, were described by Liu as "sweet, sweet eye-crack".[54] Four-Eyed Dragon exclaimed that "Sonic [Adventure] 2 is simply jaw-dropping beautiful", particularly enjoying the detailed backgrounds and scenery and the playable characters' and enemies' liberal color palettes.[35] Chau opined that the game contained "some of the best textures ever seen" and could easily be ranked as one of the most beautiful Dreamcast games.[1] Edge singled out the texture detail and draw distance as especially impressive.[53] Chau, Liu, and Ahmed appreciated the game's 60-frame-per-second rendering speed.[1][2][54]

The music was seen by Ahmed as a step up from Adventure '​s "campy glam-rock and J-pop soundtrack", especially through the lesser reliance on lyrics;[2] Liu appreciated the more "understated" approach in Adventure 2.[54] Four-Eyed Dragon was more effusive: "an eclectic mix of orchestrated masterpieces, guitar tunes, and melodic hip-hop voices gracefully fill the game's ambiance to a perfect pitch."[35] However, reactions to the voice acting were less positive. While Ahmed determined that "the voice acting, and the lip-synching in particular, is executed quite well",[2] Liu and Chau saw the English voices as vastly inferior to the Japanese ones.[1][54]

Ahmed criticized Adventure 2 '​s plot, summarizing that "throughout the game the plot becomes more and more scattered and lackluster", never focusing long enough on one element to execute it meaningfully.[2] Similarly, Liu argued that despite the game's ambitious scope and themes, it had failed to advance the series' core plot devices beyond the negligible plots of the Sega Genesis Sonic games.[54] However, Edge appreciated the presentation of the story from both the heroes' and villains' perspective.[53]

Despite the high review scores given to the Dreamcast version and the release of the GameCube version only six months later, Battle fared worse in terms of reviews, with respective Metacritic and GameRankings scores of only 73% and 72.33%.[55][56] In general, critics felt that, while the game was still enjoyable, it had not been sufficiently upgraded from the Dreamcast original.[45][57] In contrast, Shane Bettenhausen from GameSpy saw Battle as noticeably superior; he opined that, in addition to the game's upgrades, the action was better suited to the GameCube's controller than the Dreamcast's.[58] The game sold almost 50,000 copies in its first week of release in Japan,[59] and had sold 1.44 million units in the United States alone by December 2007, making it one of the best-selling releases for the GameCube.[60]

Sonic Adventure 2 has received several accolades. It won IGN's Editors' Choice Award for 2001.[61] ScrewAttack also rated Sonic Adventure 2 as the fifth best Dreamcast game.[62] GamesRadar rated Sonic Adventure 2 as the tenth greatest Dreamcast game out of a list of 25, stating that "Despite trailing off significantly in recent years, the 3D side of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise had a surprisingly stellar start with the Sonic Adventure entries, and the 2001 sequel really amped up the action".[63] In February 2014, IGN's Luke Karmali listed Battle as his tenth favorite game of all time.[64]

Legacy[edit]

Shadow and Rouge, who debuted in Adventure 2, have become recurring characters in the Sonic franchise. Both appeared along with new character E-123 Omega as "Team Dark", one of the playable character teams, in Sonic Heroes (2003), the follow-up to Adventure 2.[65] Shadow starred in his own game, Shadow the Hedgehog (2005), which expands on many of Adventure 2 '​s plot points and features a similar 3D platforming gameplay style.[66]

With a few modifications, the plots of Adventure and Adventure 2 were reprised during the second season of the anime Sonic X (2003–06). American licensing corporation 4Kids Entertainment hired an entirely new voice cast for the English dub, but the Japanese cast from the games reprised their roles in the original version of the show.[67]

Sonic Generations (2011), released to mark the series' twentieth anniversary, contains gameplay elements and levels from various Sonic games, including Adventure 2.[68] Elements from Sonic Adventure 2 included a remake of the City Escape stage in the console versions[69] and a remake of the Radical Highway stage in the Nintendo 3DS version.[70] Shadow also appears in a recreation of his boss battle,[70] and the Biolizard boss is recreated exclusively in the 3DS version.[70]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast) instruction manual, p. 19.
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  6. ^ Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast) instruction manual, p. 28.
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  14. ^ Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (GameCube) instruction manual, p. 11.
  15. ^ Dark Story, Level 1: Iron Gate
  16. ^ Hero Story, Level 2: Wild Canyon
  17. ^ Dark Story, Level 5: Egg Quarters
  18. ^ Hero Story, Level 3: Prison Lane
  19. ^ Dark Story, Level 7: Weapons Bed
  20. ^ Dark Story, Level 8: Security Hall
  21. ^ Dark Story, Level 9: White Jungle
  22. ^ Hero Story, Levels 10: Hidden Base, 11: Pyramid Cave, and 12: Death Chamber
  23. ^ Hero Story, Level 14: Meteor Herd
  24. ^ Hero Story, Level 15: Crazy Gadget and Dark Story, Level 13: Cosmic Wall
  25. ^ Hero Story, Level 16: Final Rush
  26. ^ Dark Story, Level 14: Final Chase
  27. ^ Last Story: Cannon's Core
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  70. ^ a b c Sonic Team (November 22, 2011). "Sonic Generations (Nintendo 3DS)". Sega. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Sonic Adventure at Wikimedia Commons