Game Review

Mania Grade: C-

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  • Platform: GameCube
  • ESRB: Everyone
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Sonic Team
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Suggested Retail: $39.99
  • Graphics: D
  • Sound: B
  • Gameplay: D
  • Replay: D
  • Fun Factor: C
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: C


A flawed four year-old game

By James Stevenson     July 17, 2003

© 2003 Sega

I remember when Sega first had a promotion with Hollywood Video to allow you to rent a Dreamcast console before it was released. I eagerly headed down to pick up the console and some of the new games that I was looking forward to playing. Among these was Sonic's first foray into 3d, in the form of SONIC ADVENTURE. The game was blazingly fast, and it helped to sell me on the idea of buying a Sega console (that and Troy's incessant demands that SHENMUE would be the greatest game of all time).

Fast-forward four years. The Dreamcast is six feet under, along with Sega's hardware business, the 32X, and the Sega CD. Sega takes the game, along with its mascot character and ports it to the very mascot friendly GameCube. The game grabs the "DX" on its title to describe that it is the deluxe version that you never got to play on the Dreamcast. So is it much better, or is it just a four-year-old game in new game packaging (and smell).

First off, the new stuff: Sega's added a lot of new features to the games. First up is technical stuff, Dolby Pro Logic II (it's amazing how quickly this has become standard) along with Progressive Scan support. Other enhancements include some minor graphical tweaks, a new mission mode, as well as some of the classic Sonic Game Gear games.

That's all well and good. You couldn't just port the same game four years later and expect us to still enjoy it. The problem is that SONIC ADVENTURE was never really a great game to begin with.

The game lets you play as six different characters. On the whole, Sonic and Tails are both pretty enjoyable. You get to zip through levels at high-speed. While these levels aren't terribly interactive (press forward, jump a few times, dodge a few enemies, watch level fly by), they are impressive to watch and give a great sense of speed. The other characters don't offer this though, and the levels where you are forced to explore (or worse, fish) just slow the game to a grinding halt.

There are some technical issues too. The camera is by far one of the worst in a 3d game ever. When you're zipping along, it's not too big a deal, but in any sort of exploration mode you might as well just give up now. It's a major problem that should have been remedied before putting the effort into the extra features of the game.

The graphics still look pretty good when you stop and look around at the textures and the levels. The old game looked phenomenal when it came out, and when it was screaming by, it looked even better. But wait a second! The framerate has died an ugly, ugly death in the translation, and suddenly the game doesn't seem quite as fast anymore. Speeding around just isn't quite as pretty as it used to be.

I've always been a fan of the music in the original game. A lot of people weren't though, and you'll probably either really enjoy it, or you won't at all. That said, I'll say the voice-acting is God-awful, it's up there with RESIDENT EVIL. Yet in some way, that makes the game endearing. The Pro Logic II support is a nice feature too.


There isn't much to warrant playing SONIC ADVENTURE DX if you have already played the DreamCast original. The rest of you, give it a rental, I really doubt you'll want to buy it after that.


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