After years of Mario vs. Sonic debates raging between the Nintendo and Sega fanboys, the two mortal enemies have finally been united on Nintendo's Gamecube. While they have yet to share space in a game, the two now share shelf space. But how does Sonic's first outing on the Gamecube fare? Read on.
SONIC ADVENTURE 2: BATTLE is a port of the Dreamcast game, SONIC ADVENTURE 2. With the exception of some cleaning up of the graphics, the only changes to the game are in the form of the connectivity with the Game Boy Advance game SONIC ADVANCE, and the Battle mode referenced in the title of the game.
The main part of the game is simple. You can play one of two storylines, Good or Evil. The good side consists of levels with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Sonic has the typical speed levels that fans of the series know and love, while Tails brings back the shooting levels and Knuckles gets to search for Chaos Emeralds. The dark side mirrors this with Shadow (Dark Sonic), Eggman and Rouge.
While Sonic and Shadow's levels are excellent and pull off the sense of speed that made the series great, the others are definitely sub par. The problem is that all sense of speed is lost. In the Eggman/Tails levels, you have to simply button mash and jump around a little bit. Nothing that difficult, and it all moves along at a slow pace. The Rouge/Knuckles levels are essentially a giant game of "getting warmer/getting colder" as you search for Chaos Emeralds. The game's camera control problems fully reveal themselves here and I found myself extremely frustrated with the gameplay. If the game had been entirely Sonic/Shadow levels, it would have been much, much better.
For the Gamecube version of the game, Chao raising has been expanded to the Game Boy Advance game, SONIC ADVANCE. Using the Gamecube/Game Boy Advance link cable, you can send your Chao down for training on the road. There is a fairly deep system to raising a Chao, and if you have enough time, you can probably get really into it. I never found it to be that satisfying, but as far as a virtual pet goes, it's one of the best ones I've found.
The multiplayer mode is also rewarding if you do the racing elements. Racing with Sonic and Shadow through the game's speed levels is a lot of fun. Everything else really isn't worth your time here.
For a port, Sonic Team has done an incredible job in pushing up the graphics. There are new objects that weren't in the Dreamcast version, the textures have been improved, and the game screams at 60 frames per second. The graphics are super-colorful and super sharp, of course, and neither makes a giant difference when they go screaming by at the speed of sound.
Speaking of the speed of sound, the fastest part of the sound in this game is how quickly you'll be turning it off. While I don't mind the music that much (fellow CINESCAPE games reviewer Troy has forced me to listen to Japanese boy bands... so I've gained somewhat of an appreciation for that kind of music), the voice acting is terrible and the sound of rings being grabbed, while nostalgic, gets old.
I love Sonic. The problem is that SONIC ADVENTURE 2: BATTLE is only about 33% Sonic. The rest is lost in mindless Tails and Knuckles levels that pull the rest of the game down. Rent first.
ESBR Rating: Everyone
Developer: Sonic Team
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Fun Factor: C+
Reviewer's Wild Card: B