Sonic Adventure 2
|Sonic Adventure 2|
North American Dreamcast cover art
|Developer(s)||Sonic Team USA|
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Genre(s)||Platformer, action-adventure, multi-directional shooter|
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 19, 2001 as the last Sonic game for the Sega console after the company stopped manufacturing the console. A port for the Nintendo GameCube, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, was released in 2001 with new content. The game was ported to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows online in 2012.
The sequel to Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2 features two good-vs.-evil stories: an heroic tale of Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna as they attempt to save the world, and a dark story following Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman and Rouge the Bat in their attempt to conquer it. The 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. The game also includes an extensive Chao-raising system.
Sonic Adventure 2 was announced in October 1999 and exhibited at E3 2000. The game's development took 18 months, and it was designed to be faster-paced and more action-oriented than the original Adventure. Its scenery was influenced by U.S. locations such as San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. Adventure 2 received critical acclaim, with critics praising its gameplay variety, visuals and music but criticizing its camera, voice acting and plot. Although critical enthusiasm had waned by the release of Battle, this version sold over 1.44 million copies and the game as a whole has received a number of accolades.
Sonic Adventure 2 is a 3D game with six playable characters, divided into two campaigns: Hero (with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles the Echidna, where the player battles to save the world) and Dark (with Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman and Rouge the Bat, where they battle to conquer it). Each character on each side has a playing style similar to the other characters on the side. The player moves through the Hero and Dark campaigns, switching between them at will. Each campaign cycles through levels of its three characters, telling different sides of the story. Levels have a variety of themes (such as cities, jungles, desert pyramids and outer space), with some followed by boss fights. The two campaigns' stories occur in parallel; completing both campaigns unlocks a Last Story with all six characters, culminating in a final boss fight.
Sonic and Shadow play fast-paced levels, emphasizing platforming and gameplay. Their homing attack can lock onto robots created by Eggman and G.U.N., and they can grind on rails. Tails' and Eggman's levels are slower and oriented towards multi-directional shooting; they are confined to mechs in which they can jump short heights, hover and shoot enemies. Knuckles' and Rouge's levels are open and feature action-adventure gameplay with treasure hunting; in each level, they must find three shards of the Master Emerald. Their search is guided by radar and puzzle-based clues from harmless robots. Knuckles and Rouge can glide, defeat enemies with punches and kicks and scale walls, digging into them to find power-ups.
Adventure 2 has the health system found in many other Sonic games. The player collects rings scattered throughout the levels; being hit by an enemy while holding rings causes the player to drop them all, while being hit without rings causes them to lose a life. Tails and Eggman have the customary health bar, which is slowly refilled by collecting rings. Dying with no lives results in a game over screen. The characters can obtain permanent upgrades that grant them new abilities; for example, one allows Sonic and Shadow to dash along a sequential trail of rings to reach distant platforms, while another lets Knuckles and Rouge attack powerfully enough to break certain containers. Chaos Drives can be used with the player's Chao (small, anthropomorphic animals).
Separate from the main campaigns, the player can raise Chao as virtual pets. They have five attributes (Swim, Fly, Run, Power and Stamina) and a moral continuum from Hero to Dark. From the moment they hatch their stats can be increased with Chaos Drives or small animals, empowering them to compete in karate and racing minigames. Their alignment gradually changes, based on their affection for a characters; for example, a Chao which likes Tails will gradually become more heroic. Playing with Chao increases affection, and when a Chao becomes fully Hero or Dark it assumes that form permanently. Although Chao eventually die, if they received enough affection during their lives they reincarnate.
Adventure 2 has 180 emblems, earned for a variety of tasks. Each level has five missions; only the first is required to continue the campaign, and other missions include completing a harder version of a level and collecting 100 rings. The player earns emblems by completing missions and other tasks, many related to Chao raising. Collecting all the emblems unlocks a 3D version of the Green Hill Zone stage from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
The game has several two-player modes. Players may race on foot through new (or altered) levels, have shoot-'em-up battles in mechs, hunt for Master Emerald shards or race in go-karts. A few characters are playable in these modes, but not in the main game; Tikal and Chaos from the original Sonic Adventure are playable in the treasure-hunting game, as are Amy Rose and Metal Sonic in the foot-racing levels.
Learning of a secret weapon from the diary of his late grandfather, Professor Gerald Robotnik, Eggman infiltrates a high-security G.U.N. facility and revives it using a Chaos Emerald. This weapon, a black hedgehog and self-proclaimed "Ultimate Life Form" named Shadow, offers to help Eggman conquer the world, telling him to rendezvous at the abandoned Space Colony ARK with more Chaos Emeralds. Shadow goes to Central City, encountering G.U.N.'s forces after stealing an Emerald. He flashes back to the death of a girl, Maria, who begs him to fulfill an unspecified promise he interprets as one of revenge. Shadow blasts through the military force and meets Sonic. After a brief confrontation, Shadow escapes and G.U.N. captures Sonic, whom they mistake for Shadow.
Knuckles encounters Rouge and Eggman, who try to steal the Master Emerald. After shattering the Emerald to prevent this, he looks for the scattered shards. Although Rouge intends to collect the shards for herself, she must also spy on Eggman for the government. This mission leads her to Eggman's base and, eventually, the ARK. On board, Shadow shows Eggman the Eclipse Cannon, another superweapon created by Gerald, and discloses his plan: to charge the cannon with Chaos Emeralds and use it to take over the world. Rouge appears, offering them a Chaos Emerald to gain their trust.
Tails and Amy infiltrate G.U.N.'s island base and rescue Sonic, while Eggman, Shadow and Rouge collect three Emeralds on the island. Eggman makes a global broadcast threatening to fire on Earth in 24 hours if his demands are not met, demonstrating the cannon's power by destroying half the Moon. Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles use their Chaos Emerald to track down the other six. They infiltrate Eggman's base, boarding his shuttle as it launches into space. Knuckles' Master Emerald shards are spilled along the way, and he leaves to collect them. He again meets and fights Rouge, but when he saves her from falling into a lava pit she gives him her shards and he restores the Master Emerald.
On the ARK, Tails reveals he has designed a counterfeit Chaos Emerald to reverse the energy fields of the real ones, destroying the Eclipse Cannon. When Sonic is about to use the fake Emerald, Eggman tells him that he has captured Tails and Amy, forcing him to return and rescue them. Sonic tries to trick Eggman with the fake, but Eggman traps and jettisons him in an escape pod rigged with explosives. Tails, thinking Sonic dead, defeats Eggman in retribution. Using the fake, Sonic performs Chaos Control and escapes; Shadow is sent to intercept him, but Sonic defeats him and successfully destroys the Eclipse Cannon.
After Tails defeats him, Eggman sneaks away with the last Emerald and arms the Eclipse Cannon. When he tries to fire it at full power, the ARK begins falling toward Earth and a recorded message from Gerald is broadcast worldwide: he programmed the ARK to collide with Earth, destroying it in revenge against humanity. His diary reveals his hatred began when the government condemned his research and killed many of his colleagues, including his granddaughter Maria, while attempting to shut the ARK down. Eggman determines that the Emeralds' energy is making the ARK fall, and everyone works to access the cannon's core and neutralize it.
When Shadow refuses to participate, Amy pleads for his help, reminding him of Maria's real request: for him to help mankind. Realizing this, he catches up with Sonic and Knuckles in the core and they encounter the Biolizard, a prototype Ultimate Life Form. Shadow repels it, allowing Knuckles to deactivate the Chaos Emeralds with the Master Emerald. The Biolizard uses Chaos Control to fuse with the cannon, becoming the Finalhazard and continuing the ARK's collision course.
Sonic and Shadow use the Emeralds to transform into their super forms, defeating the Finalhazard and using Chaos Control to teleport the ARK back into stable orbit. This depletes Shadow's energy and he plummets to Earth, content in fulfilling his promise to Maria; he is presumed dead. As the humans on Earth celebrate, the teams reflect on what has happened; as they leave the station, Sonic bids Shadow a final farewell.
Sonic Adventure 2 was developed by Sonic Team USA, the now-defunct U.S. division of Sonic Team, and published by Sega. The game, directed by longtime series contributor Takashi Iizuka, was developed over an 18-month period beginning shortly after the release of the American version of Sonic Adventure. It was designed to be more action-oriented than the slower-paced, more story-based Adventure. The development team ran the game at 60 frames per second with "tempo", giving Sonic a variety of actions rather than focusing on speed alone. Its levels facilitated this flow, making Sonic seem faster than he was.
For the game's levels and environments the developers were inspired by San Francisco (their headquarters) and other American locations, such as Yosemite National Park (where they vacationed during its development) and the San Francisco Bay Area. Compared to Adventure, the sequel was intended to have "more of an American flavor". Although the game's level design prioritized the frame rate, it was more streamlined than Adventure because of the team's experience with Dreamcast hardware.
Iizuka described the Chao as a "relative neutral entity" in Sonic Adventure. In the sequel the developers expanded the creatures' presence, adding the ability to raise "Hero" and "Dark" Chao to reflect the conflict between good and evil. For the same reason, all six playable characters have roughly equal gameplay time (unlike Adventure, where Big the Cat's and E-102 Gamma's stories were short). In Adventure 2 Chao have the ability to socialize, so they resemble a "real artificial life form."
Sega announced a follow-up to Sonic Adventure and a spinoff (which would become Sonic Shuffle) on October 4, 1999. The newly named Sonic Adventure 2 appeared at E3 2000, with Sonic Team adding video shown there to its website on June 30. Sonic Team posted a trailer and a number of screenshots on May 30, 2001, with Sega promoting Sonic Adventure 2 as the last Sonic game for the Dreamcast and as marking the series' 10th anniversary. Sega held a 10th-anniversary party for Sonic in June 2001, at which attendees could compete in a battle tournament; the winner played against Iizuka. The GameCube, rather than the competing Xbox or PlayStation 2, was chosen for 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, and the GameCube would not.
Jun Senoue returned as lead composer and sound director for Adventure 2, with assistance from Fumie Kumatani, Tomoya Ohtani, and Kenichi Tokoi. The soundtrack is primarily melodic rock, with some hip-hop and orchestral tracks. As in Adventure, each character has a musical theme. The game features performances by returning vocalists Tony Harnell, Ted Poley, Marlon Saunders, Nikki Gregoroff and Johnny Gioeli, and new vocalists Tabitha Fair, Todd Cooper, Paul Shortino, Everett Bradley, Kaz Silver and Hunnid-P. Crush 40 (consisting of Senoue and Gioeli) debuted on the game's main theme, "Live & Learn".
Several soundtrack albums for the game were released. Sonic Adventure 2 Multi-Dimensional Original Soundtrack was released in Japan by Marvelous Entertainment on September 5, 2001. Sonic Adventure 2 Vocals Collection: Cuts Unleashed, an album with character theme tracks by Senoue and Tokoi, was released by MMV in Japan on August 21, 2001. For the twentieth anniversary of the Sonic series, Sonic Adventure 2 Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition was released on iTunes on June 22, 2011. On October 29, 2014, a two volume original soundtrack was also released on iTunes.
Alternate versions and releases
A GameCube port of Sonic Adventure 2 was released on February 11, 2002, known as Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. The port upgraded much of the Chao-raising system, with a Chao's stats viewable within the game. A 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 (GBA) is connected without a GBA 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. The Battle multiplayer options were expanded in the GameCube version, including new abilities and upgrades to multiplayer-exclusive characters and removing online play. One character, Big the Cat, was replaced by a Dark Chao in multiplayer mode. Battle also has more detailed textures and additional scenery. In Europe, this version was marketed and distributed by Infogrames who at the time, signed a deal with Sega to distribute their games on the GameCube, with Sega remaining as publisher.
Sonic Adventure 2 was re-released in high-definition video, with additional content from the Battle edition available as downloadable content. 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. It was released worldwide on the Xbox Live Arcade on October 5, 2012 and on Microsoft Windows via Steam on November 19, 2012.
Sonic Adventure 2 received critical acclaim, with scores of 89 from review aggregator Metacritic. Critics appreciated the game's multiple playing styles. According to Edge and reviewer Four-Eyed Dragon of GamePro, the core game's three styles and bonus features such as Chao gardens made the game engaging to play. Johnny Liu of Game Revolution praised its replay value of multiple playing styles and 180 different goals. Anthony Chau of IGN called it "one of the best Sonic games ever": "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."
Shahed Ahmed of GameSpot criticized Adventure 2's camera for the "cardinal sin" of 3D platformers: forcing a player to jump to an out-of-frame platform. Ahmed wrote that although a player can re-orient the camera with the trigger buttons, it reverts when the character moves. According to Chau and Liu camera issues were absent in Tails' and Eggman's levels and insignificant in Sonic's and Shadow's, but searching for Emerald shards and items in cramped sections of Knuckles' and Rouge's levels was frustrating. Edge found camera problems permeating the game, with no significant improvement from Adventure.
Liu called the graphics "sweet, sweet eye-crack". Four-Eyed Dragon wrote: "Sonic [Adventure] 2 is simply jaw-dropping beautiful", citing its detailed backgrounds and scenery and the playable characters' and enemies' extensive color palettes. According to Chau, the game had "some of the best textures ever seen" and was one of the most beautiful Dreamcast games. Edge was impressed by the texture detail and draw distance, and Chau, Liu and Ahmed praised its 60-frame-per-second rendering speed.
According to Ahmed the game's music was a step up from Adventure's "campy glam-rock and J-pop soundtrack", with less emphasis on lyrics, and Liu appreciated its more "understated" approach. Four-Eyed Dragon called Adventure 2's music "an eclectic mix of orchestrated masterpieces, guitar tunes, and melodic hip-hop voices gracefully fill the game's ambiance to a perfect pitch." Reaction to the voice acting was mixed; although Ahmed said, "The voice acting, and the lip-synching in particular, is executed quite well", Liu and Chau thought the English voices were inferior to the Japanese ones.
Ahmed criticized Adventure 2's plot: "Throughout the game the plot becomes more and more scattered and lackluster", not focusing long enough on one element to execute it meaningfully. Although Liu agreed that despite the game's ambitious scope and themes it failed to advance the series' core plot beyond the Sega Genesis Sonic games, Edge appreciated the story's presentation from both perspectives: hero and villain.
Despite high review scores for the Dreamcast version, the GameCube version released six months later received poorer reviews: respective Metacritic and GameRankings scores of 73 percent and 72.33 percent. Critics generally felt that although the game was still enjoyable, it was not significantly improved from the Dreamcast original. However, Shane Bettenhausen of GameSpy saw Battle as noticeably superior; in addition to its upgrades, its action was better suited to the GameCube's controller than the Dreamcast's. The game sold almost 50,000 copies in its first week in Japan and 1.44 million copies in the United States by December 2007, making it one of the best-selling GameCube games.
Sonic Adventure 2 received several accolades, including the 2001 IGN's Editors' Choice Award. ScrewAttack called it the fifth-best Dreamcast game, and GamesRadar rated it the tenth-greatest Dreamcast game out of 25: "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". In February 2014, IGN's Luke Karmali called Battle his tenth-favorite game of all time.
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. 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.
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.
Sonic Generations (2011), released to mark the series' twentieth anniversary, contains gameplay elements and levels from various Sonic games, including Adventure 2. Elements from Sonic Adventure 2 included a remake of the City Escape stage in the console versions and a remake of the Radical Highway stage in the Nintendo 3DS version. Shadow also appears in a recreation of his boss battle, and the Biolizard boss is recreated exclusively in the 3DS version.
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Chao Doctor: Rules of Chao Karate are simple. If your Chao starts crying or falls out of the ring, your Chao loses.
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Chao Doctor: Only pet your Chao when it's good and don't spoil your Chao or it may turn out to be naughty. Sometimes spoiled rotten Chao are still cute, though.
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Caption: Extra Stage: Green Hill
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- Dark Story, Level 1: Iron Gate
- Dark Story, Level 4: Radical Highway
- Hero Story, Level 2: Wild Canyon
- Dark Story, Level 5: Egg Quarters
- Hero Story, Level 3: Prison Lane
- Dark Story, Level 7: Weapons Bed
- Dark Story, Level 8: Security Hall
- Dark Story, Level 9: White Jungle
- Hero Story, Levels 10: Hidden Base, 11: Pyramid Cave, and 12: Death Chamber
- Hero Story, Level 14: Meteor Herd
- Hero Story, Level 15: Crazy Gadget and Dark Story, Level 13: Cosmic Wall
- Hero Story, Level 16: Final Rush
- Dark Story, Level 14: Final Chase
- Last Story: Cannon's Core
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Shadow: Hah. Back for more, Sonic? Guess you never learn your lesson.
Media related to Sonic Adventure at Wikimedia Commons