Sonic Heroes

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Sonic Heroes
North American PC cover art
North American cover art
Developer(s) Sonic Team USA
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Takashi Iizuka
Producer(s) Yuji Naka
Artist(s) Kazuyuki Hoshino
Writer(s) Shiro Maekawa
Composer(s) Jun Senoue
Naofumi Hataya
Yutaka Minobe
Tomoya Ohtani
Keiichi Sugiyama
Hideaki Kobayashi
Mariko Nanba
Teruhiko Nakagawa
Fumie Kumatani
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Engine RenderWare[1]
Platform(s) GameCube
PlayStation 2
Xbox
Windows
PlayStation Network
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer, Online (PC only)
Distribution (CD x2), (DVD x1), GameCube Optical Disc

Sonic Heroes (ソニック ヒーローズ Sonikku Hīrōzu?) is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team USA and published by Sega for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. The game was first released in Japan on December 30, 2003, and later released in North America on January 5, 2004 and in Europe on February 6, 2004. As part of the PlayStation 2 classics program, the PlayStation 2 version was re-released exclusively in Europe on the PlayStation Network in late February 2012.[2]

Sonic Heroes is the eighth primary installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Set after the events of Sonic Adventure 2, the game's story follows the journeys of four individual teams of three on their search for the mad scientist Doctor Eggman. However, Sonic the Hedgehog's clone and nemesis, Metal Sonic, is secretly manipulating the game's events in a plan to eradicate his long time foe.

Gameplay[edit]

Sonic Heroes is a platform game in which players control four teams of three characters. The objective is to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds and defeat Sonic's nemesis: Doctor Eggman.[3]

Each team contains three character types: Speed, Power and Flight. Speed characters are able to perform spin dashes, homing attacks and light dashes, and can form whirlwinds that allow them to climb up poles. Power characters can use their strength to fight against strong enemies and break obstacles, as well as enter a gliding formation to ride up air fans. Flight characters have the ability to fly in the air for a short amount of time and can more easily attack airborne enemies.[3] By acquiring certain items or reaching checkpoints, characters can level up, increasing their efficiency when used against enemies.

Players are given a certain amount of lives, which are lost when the team is attacked while holding no rings, falls into a pit or fails certain mission objectives. If all lives are lost at any point in the game, the game is over. Players can collect gold rings, which give the player extra lives for each 100 rings collected, and shield the team from one enemy attack. Destroying enemies and collecting rings builds up a 'Team Blast' meter, which can be used to perform a powerful attack that destroys all on-screen opponents, as well as activate certain abilities unique to each team.[3]

A screenshot of the PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Heroes.

The levels and difficulty are dependent on the player's selection of the team. Team Rose's levels are of easy difficulty, are shorter, contain fewer enemies, and include a tutorial stage.[4] Team Sonic's levels are of medium difficulty and contain high speed sections.[5] Team Dark's levels represent the hardest difficulty, containing longer levels with more focus on skill and battle.[6] Team Chaotix's levels are mission-based and are recommended for advanced players.[7]

By collecting a key hidden within each level and reaching the end of the level without getting hit, players can enter the Special Stage. If the stage is entered via Act 2 of each zone, an Emerald Challenge takes place in which players must catch a Chaos Emerald before it reaches the end of the stage. If players can collect all seven emeralds and clear each team's story, an additional Last Story is unlocked.

Achieving all A-ranks unlocks Super Hard Mode.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

The game takes place three months after the conclusion of Sonic Adventure 2, in which Sonic and Shadow the Hedgehog defeated the Finalhazard and saved the Space Colony ARK from crashing into Earth. Sonic is approached by Tails, a two-tailed fox, and Knuckles the Echidna, who give him a message from Doctor Eggman, saying he has developed an ultimate weapon that will take over the world in three days. As the three form a team in order to stop him, other teams are formed elsewhere with their own motives.[5]

Amy Rose, a pink hedgehog who is constantly on the heels of Sonic, teams up with Cream the Rabbit and Big the Cat, who are both searching for their missing friends, Chocola the Chao and Froggy, in order to chase after a clue leading to their whereabouts. [4]

Rouge the Bat infiltrates one of Eggman's bases in search of treasure. There, she discovers a capsule containing Shadow, who has no memory and was presumed dead following the events of Sonic Adventure 2, and a robot named E-123 Omega, who had been abandoned by Eggman. The trio form a team to go after Eggman, hoping to find clues of Shadow's identity along the way.[6]

Finally, the Chaotix Detective Agency, consisting of Vector the Crocodile, Espio the Chameleon and Charmy Bee, receive a walkie-talkie from an anonymous client wishing to hire their services.[7] Aiding the teams is Omochao, a robotic Chao who gives hints to the player.

Eventually, the teams arrive at Eggman's fleet and defeat him. Team Rose reunites with Chocola and Froggy. Meanwhile, Team Chaotix discovers that the Eggman who plotted the scheme was actually a fake, as the real Eggman, revealed to be the Chaotix's client, was detained. The true mastermind is revealed to be Metal Sonic, who had disguised himself as Eggman in order to copy data from each of the teams, allowing him to transform into the powerful Metal Overlord.

Using the seven Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super Sonic, Sonic, along with Tails and Knuckles, defeats Metal Sonic and returns him to his regular form. As Metal Sonic laments his loss, Sonic tells him that he is ready for any challenge Metal Sonic throws at him before setting off with his friends on another adventure.[citation needed]

Development[edit]

Sonic Heroes was developed to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog.[8] The game's director, Takashi Iizuka, stated that he did not want to make Sonic Heroes a continuation of the Sonic Adventure series, as he was worried only core gamers would buy the title, and instead decided to create a game that more casual players could adapt to.[9]

Sonic Heroes uses the RenderWare engine so that the game could be programmed and ported easily to the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows.[1][10] Despite being able to port some textures and character models from the Sonic Adventure titles, most work on the title was done from scratch.[10] Sonic Heroes was Sega's first multi-platform title, and the development team found additional challenges in working with the Xbox, a platform with which they had very little experience.[11]

The game was later released in a package with Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on Xbox,[12] then in 2009 as a part of Sonic PC Collection, and finally in 2012 for PlayStation Network.

Soundtracks[edit]

Jun Senoue returned to compose the in-game music and theme songs as sound director and provided two songs by his band Crush 40 and other members of Wave Master. The game features returning vocal talents Johnny Gioeli, Tony Harnell and Ted Poley, as well as new musicians Kay Hanley, Gunnar Nelson and rock band Julien-K. Takashi Iizuka has said that the intention was for the music to return to the roots of the Sonic experience and to be exciting and fast-paced.[13]

The Sonic Heroes Official Soundtrack was released in North America on November 9, 2004.[14] Triple Threat: Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax, which includes the original vocal theme songs from the Sonic Adventure game soundtrack, was released in Japan on February 4, 2004.[15] Complete Trinity: Sonic Heroes - Original Soundtrax was released in Japan on March 3, 2004.[16] To commemorate the series' 20th anniversary, the game's official soundtrack was re-released on August 24, 2011 in Japan as Sonic Heroes Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition.[17]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
GC PC PS2 Xbox
GameSpot 7.5/10[22] 6.2/10[23] 7.0/10[24]
IGN 8.0/10[18] 7.0/10[19] 6.9/10[20] 7.2/10[21]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 74.27%[30] 60.00%[32] 70.58%[31] 75.21%[29]
Metacritic 72/100[25] 66/100[26] 64/100[27] 73/100[28]

Reviews of Sonic Heroes were generally mixed to positive, with Metacritic ranging from 64% for the PlayStation 2 version, based on 29 reviews, to 73% for the Xbox version, based on 28 reviews.[33] GameRankings averages range from 60% for the PC version, based on 9 reviews, to 75% for the GameCube version, based on 35 reviews.[34]

GameSpot noted that the gameplay of Sonic Heroes came close to the series' 2D roots and praised the sound design, describing it as "inexorably linked" to the experience.[22] IGN called the sound "at least very pristine" with "perfectly implemented" sound effects, running in Dolby Pro Logic II.[3] Graphics design and environments were also highlighted, described as colorful, vibrant and cheery,[22] with consistent art design and an exceptionally vibrant color palette.[3] Framerate was also consistent for the Xbox, GameCube, and PC versions, although a drop in framerate in the multiplayer component was noted.[3][22]

The game's camera control system was an often-cited criticism, described as "uncooperative"[22] and "terrible".[35] Coordination between camera position and character movement also caused problems, such that pushing forward may not move the character in the same direction the camera is facing.[22] The game's voice acting also came in for criticism; it was described as "horrendous" and "the biggest misstep in the sound design".[22]

The PlayStation 2 version received lower average scores.[36][37] It suffered from clipping, graphic faults, and had a lower framerate than the other versions.[38]

In 2004, Sonic Heroes was the sixth bestselling game in the United Kingdom overall and was still at number eight in the all-price chart a year after its release. By October 2004, the game had sold over one million copies in Europe.[39] The game ultimately sold well enough to enter all three consoles' "best-sellers" lists: Greatest Hits/Platinum for the PlayStation 2, Platinum Hits/Classics for the Xbox, and Player's Choice for the GameCube.[40]

Legacy[edit]

For Sonic's 20th Anniversary, Sega released Sonic Generations, a game that remade aspects of various past games from the franchise. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC version contained a remade "Seaside Hill" level. The Nintendo 3DS version contained a remake of the "Egg Emperor" boss fight. Additionally, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing contained race tracks that are based on locations from Sonic Heroes, including the Seaside Hill, Casino Park, and Final Fortress levels. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has a new racetrack that takes place in Seaside Hill, and also features a returning Casino Park racetrack.

Sonic Heroes introduced the character E-123 Omega to the series and marked Cream the Rabbit's first 3D appearance, as well as enemies known as "Egg Pawns", which would be used in future games in the Sonic series. It also marked the reintroduction of Espio the Chameleon, Charmy Bee, and Vector the Crocodile, who first appeared in the game Knuckles' Chaotix.

The "Seaside Hill" level was used as the base setting for Sonic Dash.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sega Chooses RenderWare For The Creation Of Sonic Heroes". 2003-05-27. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Sonic Heroes hits the European PSN Store...quietly". 23 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Casamassina, Matt (2004-01-05). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  4. ^ a b Sega (2004). "Team Rose". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 8–9. 
  5. ^ a b Sega (2004). "Team Sonic". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 4–5. 
  6. ^ a b Sega (2004). "Team Dark". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 6–7. 
  7. ^ a b Sega (2004). "Team Chaotix". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 10–11. 
  8. ^ Barker, Ben (2003). "Sonic Heroes - An Interview with the Creators". Xbox.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "INTERVIEW: Nights Watchman". Next Generation Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  10. ^ a b Bedigian, Louis (2004). "Video Game News - Sonic Heroes Zooms, Spins and Dashes To a Console Near You". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Interview section. "Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka Speak on Sonic Heroes". Sega. Archived from the original on March 21 2006. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Sonic Heroes/Monkey Ball - XBOX". Game Rankings. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ http://www.1up.com/features/afterthoughts-sonic-heroes
  14. ^ Goodnight, Lauren (2004-07-21). "Sonic Heroes Official Soundtrack - Mania.com". Mania.com. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  15. ^ "Sonic Heroes Vocal Trax / Triple Threat". cdjapan.co.jp. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  16. ^ "Complete Trinity: Sonic Heroes - Original Soundtrax". cdjapan.co.jp. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  17. ^ "Sonic Heroes Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition". cdjapan.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  18. ^ Matt Casamassin (2004-01-05). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (GameCube)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  19. ^ Matt Casamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-12-10). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  20. ^ Matt Cassamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-01-23). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  21. ^ Matt Casamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-01-23). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Ryan Davis (2004-01-06). "Sonic Heroes for GameCube Review". Gamespot. Archived from the original on February 2 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  23. ^ Ryan Davis (2004-01-27). "Sonic Heroes for PlayStation 2 Review". Gamespot. Archived from the original on February 21 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ Ryan Davis (2004-01-27). "Sonic Heroes for Xbox Review". Gamespot. Archived from the original on February 3 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Sonic Heroes (cube: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 2 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Sonic Heroes (pc: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 20 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Sonic Heroes (ps2: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 20 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Sonic Heroes (xbox: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 2 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  30. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  31. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  32. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  33. ^ "Search Results from Metacritic.com - Sonic Heroes". Metacritic. Retrieved April 1 2014. 
  34. ^ "Game Rankings - Search - Sonic Heroes". Game Rankings. Retrieved April 1 2014. 
  35. ^ "Sonic Heroes Review from 1UP.com". 1UP. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  36. ^ "Sonic Heroes (ps2: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  37. ^ "Sonic Heroes - PS2". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  38. ^ Lewis, Ed; Matt Casamassina (2004-01-23). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  39. ^ Van Autrijve, Rainier (October 29, 2004). "Sonic Is Sega's Hero of Sales Figures". GameSpy. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 
  40. ^ Cook, Chris (2005-03-28). "Sonic Heroes Goes "Greatest Hits" On Home Consoles". Game Informer. Archived from the original on February 13, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 

External links[edit]