At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Dave Wickham GameCube Infogrames Sega 1-2
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
At the time of writing, we did not have a requirements section. Click here to buy Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle review

A fun game, if not utilising the full power of the Gamecube hardware

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is basically a port of Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast) to the Gamecube hardware, hacking on a multiplayer mode for good measure. I have to say - it shows. Probably the first thing you will notice upon starting up SA2:B is the graphics are most certainly not modern. Sure, they are better than the N64, but don't come here expecting a graphical masterpiece. If you do, you will be disappointed.

If you are still with us, good! It means you aren't one of those people who looks at graphics alone to define a good game; and a good game this certainly is. For those who are unfamiliar with the Sonic Adventure series on the late Sega Dreamcast, it is essentially classic Sonic in a 3D world (unlike the 3D Mario games which are different in many ways from their 2D cousins). You run about, grab rings, jump on enemies, and get to the end. Also introduced are different characters; however I will return to that later. Sonic Adventure 2 has made its transition to the Gamecube pretty much intact, in fact I would argue almost too intact; it would have been great if the camera movement controls could have just been modified to use the C stick instead of the R and L buttons.

OK, there is one thing I really have to get off my chest before we go any further; the cutscenes are - for lack of a better word - corny. I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you choose to purchase SA2:B be prepared to either laugh or cry at the "corniness" of the end FMV. It is that corny.

Good, now that's out of the way, I can get on with the review again. As I mentioned earlier, SA2:B is not 100% Sonic - there are five other characters who you regularly play as: Rouge, Dr Eggman (why they changed his name from Dr Robotnik I will never know), Tails, Knuckles and Shadow. The different kinds of levels you play as with each character are:

  • Sonic (Hero) and Shadow (Dark) - Your typical "Sonic" missions.
  • Tails (Hero) and Dr Eggman (Dark) - For some unexplained reason both Dr Eggman (who I nominate for "Most Stupid Name of The Year 2003") and Tails are in machines. Which fire missiles.
  • Knuckles (Hero) and Rouge (Dark) - These two are treasure hunters; you jump around and dig and try to find hidden things.

One thing you can't have failed to notice in the above list is that there are two categories of characters - Hero and Dark. You choose which storyline you wish to play and you'll only play as those characters for the remainder of the session. Although this sounds like a big deal, it really isn't; the Dark and Hero storylines follow the same general plot, and the levels are often very similar anyway; generally all it means is that you feel like you are repeating things you've already done.

Sonic and co don't start off with all of their abilities; you have to pick them up in various levels. This is a clever technique employed by Sonic Team, which allows a certain degree of replayability after you have already completed some levels. For example, if you have picked up "Power Up X" which is needed to utilise "Object Y" which is in previous levels, you must go back to the previous levels to use Object Y. Sometimes these powerups are required for playing through the levels, but sometimes they are not, meaning you can have completed all of the levels but still be missing a powerup and you don't necessarily know that there are more powerups to get.

Although the powerup feature does somewhat extend replayability, it is by far not the major factor for increased replayability; every level has five objectives. These are normally "Finish the level", "Collect 100 rings", "Find the lost Chao" etc, but they do almost add a whole extra dimension to the levels as you priorities are different on the different levels. On a normal Sonic level, for example, you don't usually care about looking around the level, you just want to get the the end as soon as possible. On the "find a Chao" mission, however, you are looking everywhere for those damned Chao (unless you are the kind of person who follows a walkthrough for it). Only when you are actually looking through levels searching for Chao you appreciate how large the levels actually are.

I suppose that by now if you've never played Sonic Adventure before, you are wondering what the hell a "Chao" is. Well, I'll tell you; it's a little creature, similar to those virtual pets which were so popular about seven years ago. You feed it, play with it, and give it various unknown substances found in vials to make it perform better in sporting activities such as running. Depending on how you treat your Chao they can turn evil or good; I personally found it far easier to raise a good Chao than an evil one, despite my best attempts to ruin one of my Chao's feelings and all of its hope in good (you know, general stuff like chucking it about, jumping on it, neglecting it, doing all three at once, and doing all three at once whilst it's crying). Eventually I managed to produce one of each kind of Chao however, and all is good. Once your Chao has been given enough substances, they can compete in different events; either Chao Karate or Chao Race. These are pretty boring, to be honest; all you really do is press A at varying points; the Chao Race involves more careful management of "A pressing" than the Chao Karate, but both are very basic.

Finally we come onto the "Battle" element of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. In my opinion Sonic Adventure 2 translates well into multiplayer, with one exception: Tails/Dr Eggman/other "machine" battles. They are just really, really, really crap in multiplayer. Maybe I just haven't quite grasped what is supposed to make it fun, and neither has anyone I've played against. As long as you steer clear of that one "bad egg" (pardon the pun), all should be well in your multiplayer games.

Ratings

Graphics Not of the quality expected of the gamecube. 5/10
Gameplay Classic Sonic gameplay, with added extra crunchy bits 8/10
Value At the time of writing, we did not have a value for money ranking. 0/10
Lifespan With all of the repeat missions, lifespan is high 9/10
Audio Not great audio, not bad either; above average. 6/10
Overall A great game which all Sonic lovers should get, unless they already own it on a different platform. 8/10

Click here to buy Sonic Adventure 2: Battle from Amazon.co.uk.

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