Monday, 17 January 2011

Sonic Adventure 2, 10th Anniversary Package review.

soncadv2head
So it is the year 2011 now…  2001 was the 10th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog’s gaming debut.  I think 10 years after the fact is a fine time to have a look at the 10th Anniversary package and a little chit chat about the game itself.

Sonic Adventure was the first Sonic game to come out for the Dreamcast, and the first ‘proper’ Sonic game since the days of the Megadrive.  SA2 was released a couple of years after SA I think and I was looking forward to it greatly.  You see, I had managed it whip myself up into feverish amounts of excitement over SA and the Dreamcast, even to the point of importing one from Japan not soon after its release.  SA was worth it, the graphics blew my mind and I thought it was awesome, Despite the bugs… I ended up with 3 copies of SA at the height of the DC.  The initial badly bugged Japanese release, the PAL and less buggy Australian release and the same buggy as the PAL version of Sonic Adventure International (which was a cleaner version for Japan).  I got rid of the PAL one and now have International and original.  How's that for game collecting nerdiness hey?

The outer box
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SA2 was a pretty sweet looking game as well, and since this 10th anniversary pack was also a Birthday pack and only on sale for 2 days (23rd and 24th of July, 2001) I had to have one.  Any fanatical follower of Sonic must have one of these.  So I managed to get one.  it comes with a little golden CD of music covering music from the Megadrive days, Sonic CD, Sonic R and Adventure 1 & 2, a limited edition gold disc of the game, a commemorative coin and a small history booklet.  Considering how this was only released in Japan, it is interesting to see that the book has English printed in it too.  How thoughtful.  Sadly it is now a bit outdated, especially where it states Sonic is one of the ‘most loved characters in the world.’  Hmm, yeh, 10 years on a and a heap of crappy games will indeed deaden the love…

Inside the box, on the left, the game and right is the goodies box.
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The CD isn’t bad, but it only has a kind of remix of the SA music and a couple of tunes from the Megadrive games.  Sonic R’s music was very dance-style cheesy of the nineties and So was Sonic CD now that  come to think of it.  What fascinates me though is that Sonic CD had different music between the PAL and US NTSC release.  Oh and the PC version is different again I think.

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The book is nice and pretty small, it covers ( and looks like) the information that was contained in the museum section of Sonic Jam, which was a compilation of Sonic 1 to Knuckles with an nice extra bit for the Saturn and a little bit more information leading up to 2001.

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The coin is nicely minted and is a very clean gold colour.  A is the case that holds all the goodies together.  Really this is a pretty nice pack and I am glad I got it.  It has an outer box which spruiks the game like a normal game box.

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The game itself though, hmm, I didn’t find as cool as SA.  Perhaps it was the fact that a lot of the cool bits had been done in SA.  Running down walls, being chased etc.  Maybe it was the rivalry thing going on, and the fact that the game was split into 6 character stories and you spent 1/6th of your time as Sonic.  It was kind of a thrill to play as Eggman (but wasn’t the first, that was Sonic R), but since he played just like E102 Gamma from SA, it was less exciting.  I did like his VA though, in both English and Japanese.  Tails’ VA was better, but the rest kind of grated.  I also found Shadow a tad too emo for my liking and far too serious.  Heck, I still do.

I did however like the new character models they used in the game.  They looked fantastic, much less chunky than SA and their faces could convey a lot of expression.  There were times though when you could see they had used motion capture for the cut scenes and with characters with small bodies and LARGE heads, it just looked awkward.  Two bits that stick in my mind.
  1. When Sonic is running next to the limo, he is running like a person would , not the way Sonic does.
  2. When Sonic teleports in from space using the Chaos Emerald, knuckles finds him and helps him up by pulling an arm across his neck.  The big heads here make this look awful.
  3. Ok, I said two and this is a general whinge abut motion capture.  throughout, it looks like they hired a couple of guys from the Power Rangers to do the capture as they are overly animated and jump about too much.  LAAAAAME!  I hate that, over animating a movement, unless for comedy just looks stupid.
Due to theses and a couple of other niggles, I found SA2 less enjoyable than SA1.  I think I am in the minority there, but there ya go.  I think SA1 managed to scrape by due to the new sexiness of the DC and its overwhelming power.  I did like that there was the opportunity to get a Green Hill stage unlocked in SA2.  I didn't like that you had to get all emblems to do it though.  There is no way that I was going to spend the time to beat the time trial on all levels, so that was a bit sad.

So despite the game being a tad crap for me, the Birthday pack was pretty ace as far as I was concerned and even though it was expensive (well, normal JP game price) it was worth it for the title and goodies alone.  Now you can jump on eBay and they are all over the place. I saw one for about $15 a while ago.  Cest La vie.  See what rubbishy games do to you Sonic?

Game disc on left, note the golden tinge.  Only games with this pack had that!
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These are the anket (survey form) and points card that came with Sonic Adventure2, and an advert for a game guide.
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