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
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)

Sonic Heroes (ソニック ヒーローズ Sonikku Hīrōzu?) is a 2003 platform video game developed by Sonic Team USA and published by Sega for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. It was first released on December 30, 2003 in Japan, and then on January 5, 2004 in the US. As part of the PlayStation 2 classics program, the PlayStation 2 version was re-released in Europe on the PlayStation Network in late February 2012[2] and September 17, 2014 in Japan. It is the first Sonic game to be released on Sony and Microsoft consoles.

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 robot duplicate and nemesis, Metal Sonic, is secretly manipulating the game's events in a plan to eradicate his longtime foe.

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot of the PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Heroes.

Sonic Heroes is a platform game in which players navigate through numerous levels using teams of three characters. The game features four teams; Team Sonic, Team Rose, Team Dark, and Team Chaotix, each with their own campaigns. Team Rose, Team Sonic, and Team Dark represent easy, medium, and hard difficulties respectively, with the harder difficulties featuring longer stages and tougher enemies. Team Chaotix's levels, on the other hand, are mission based, requiring players to fulfill a specific objective in order to clear each level. Each team contains three character types; Speed, Power, and Flight, which the player toggles between at any time, also changing the team's running formation. Speed characters can perform homing attacks and light dashes, and can form whirlwinds to climb up poles, Power characters can break through objects and glide on air fans, and Flight characters can temporarily fly in the air and attack airborne enemies. By acquiring certain items or enemies, characters can level up, becoming more efficient when fighting against enemies.[3]

Like previous games, players collect rings to protect themselves and earn extra lives, which are lost if players are attacked with no rings, fall into pits, or fail certain objectives. By defeating enemies and collecting rings, players can build 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] By collecting a key hidden within each level and reaching the end of the level without getting hit, players can enter the Special Stage, in which players speed across a tube, collecting spheres containing boost power whilst avoiding obstacles. 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. The game also features a multiplayer mode, in which two players can race or battle against each other.

Plot[edit]

Three months after the events of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic and his friends Tails and Knuckles receive a letter of challenge from Doctor Eggman, who claims to have an ultimate weapon that will take over the world in three days. As the team sets off to put a stop to Eggman's plans, Amy Rose, who is infatuated with Sonic, teams up with Cream the Rabbit and Big the Cat to help them search for their missing friends, Chocola and Froggy. Elsewhere, Rouge the Bat infiltrates one of Eggman's bases, where she discovers Shadow, who was presumed dead following the battle aboard Colony ARK, and a discarded robot named E-123 Omega. With Shadow missing his memories and Omega seeking revenge against Eggman for sealing him away, Rouge, who wants to get ahold of Eggman's treasure, forms a team with them. Meanwhile, the Chaotix Detective Agency, formed of Vector the Crocodile, Espio the Chameleon, and Charmy Bee, receive a job from a mysterious walkie-talkie, which they blindy take due to needing the money.[4][5][6][7]

As the teams make their way towards Eggman's whereabouts, clashing with each other along the way, many of the characters start having doubts about who their adversary really is, while Shadow comes across hints that suggest he might actually be an android. Unbeknownst to them, Metal Sonic is hiding behind the scenes, secretly obtaining data from his enemies. After Eggman's final machine is defeated, Team Rose is reunited with Chocola and Froggy, while Rouge, who discovers a large number of Shadow Androids, is told by Omega that the original Shadow should still be out there somewhere. Meanwhile, Team Chaotix discover that their mysterious client is actually the real Doctor Eggman, who had been locked away by his imposter, revealed to be Metal Sonic. Using the data he had obtained from his enemies, Metal Sonic transforms himself into the Metal Overlord in order to prove himself as the ultimate being. However, Sonic uses the power of the Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super Sonic and, with help from his teammates, defeats Metal Sonic, welcoming him to challenge him again anytime.

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.

Music[edit]

Jun Senoue composed the majority of the music and theme songs for Sonic Heroes, along with additional compositions by Naofumi Hataya, Yutaka Minobe, Keiichi Sugiyama, Hideaki Kobayashi, Mariko Nanba, Teruhiko Nakagawa, and Fumie Kumatani, and Tomoya Ohtani. 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. 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 also includes the vocal theme songs from Sonic Adventure, 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[18] 6.2/10[19] 7.0/10[20]
IGN 8.0/10[21] 7.0/10[22] 6.9/10[23] 7.2/10[24]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 74.27%[25] 60.00%[26] 70.58%[27] 75.21%[28]
Metacritic 72/100[29] 66/100[30] 64/100[31] 73/100[32]

Reviews of Sonic Heroes were generally mixed, 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.[18] 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,[18] 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][18]

The game's camera control system was an often-cited criticism, described as "uncooperative"[18] 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.[18] The game's voice acting also came in for criticism; it was described as "horrendous" and "the biggest misstep in the sound design".[18]

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, and reintroduced of Espio the Chameleon, Charmy Bee, and Vector the Crocodile, who first appeared in the game Knuckles' Chaotix in 1995.

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 Casamassina, Matt (2004-01-05). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  4. ^ Sega (2004). "Team Sonic". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 4–5. 
  5. ^ Sega (2004). "Team Chaotix". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 10–11. 
  6. ^ Sega (2004). "Team Rose". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 8–9. 
  7. ^ Sega (2004). "Team Dark". Sonic Heroes Manual. PC. Sega. pp. 6–7. 
  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. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Ryan Davis (2004-01-27). "Sonic Heroes for PlayStation 2 Review". Gamespot. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ Ryan Davis (2004-01-27). "Sonic Heroes for Xbox Review". Gamespot. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  21. ^ Matt Casamassin (2004-01-05). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (GameCube)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  22. ^ Matt Casamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-12-10). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  23. ^ Matt Cassamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-01-23). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  24. ^ Matt Casamassina, Ed Lewis (2004-01-23). "IGN: Sonic Heroes Review (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  25. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  26. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  27. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  28. ^ "Sonic Heroes". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  29. ^ "Sonic Heroes (cube: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Sonic Heroes (pc: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Sonic Heroes (ps2: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 20, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Sonic Heroes (xbox: 2004): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  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]