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GAME REVIEW

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

Don’t Let the Camera Fool Ya ...

By Chad Serrant

staff writer

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

Published by Sega

Made for the Nintendo Gamecube

$49.95

This is from a Nintendo fan’s perspective, so I can’t relate to you die-hard Sega fans. Sega made a name for itself with its mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. He wasn’t a Mario clone. He had an attitude, and he was the fastest thing alive.

Sega’s out of the hardware business and it is now working with all of the “next-gen” consoles. How ironic that Sega decided to port Sonic Adventure 2 to its old-time rival Nintendo. Once you get past the camera, you’ll find that Sega hasn’t lost its magic touch from the days of the Dreamcast.

The story covers six characters. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles represent the hero side while Shadow, Dr. Robotnik (I don’t like the new name Sega’s trying to give him), and Rouge. While Robotnik uses Shadow and Rouge to conquer the world, Sonic and his pals are off to save it. The story isn’t too engrossing, and anime fans will find rehashed themes everywhere. And because the story is told from two different viewpoints, inconsistencies popup everywhere. For example, why is Robotnik fighting his own machines? But you really shouldn’t pay attention to the story anyway. It’s a video game, folks.

Sonic and Shadow stages involve running forward and getting to the end. Luckily, you have to do more than hold up to reach the end. Each stage has a pile of shortcuts and opportunities for stunts that you should use to your advantage. There are also items you can find to increase their abilities. These stages are as close as you’ll get to the good old days of Sonic.

Tails and Robotnik pilot mechs and shoot ‘em up. The lock on feature lets you lock on to about 30 targets before firing homing missiles, resulting in extreme bonus scores. This mode wasn’t made for speed, because the mechs are slugs compared to the other characters. E-102 from Sonic Adventure would be proud if it were still functional.

Knuckles and Rouge are two treasure hunters, and they enter free-range environments, looking for keys and emeralds. These stages are huge, and it’s pretty easy to get lost. The radar is a hot/cold indicator, but it only works on the emerald the game wants you to look for. You could stand right next to an emerald and the radar wouldn’t signal a thing. Once you get used to the stages and the radar though, you’ll enjoy the hunting stages.

The major weakness of this game is the camera. You can use the L and R buttons to rotate, but that simply isn’t enough. The C stick could have been used to move the camera and the Z button could have been used to lock the camera. There are times when I really want to see above or below me, and I can’t. The other major problem is that the camera likes to stay at a “recommended” position. You can rotate the camera while standing still. But if you move, the camera violently swings back to its “recommended” view. This isn’t very helpful if you want to go backwards. And sometimes you do want to go back. Sega had the extra buttons to fix a rather large problem but didn’t use them.

The music is quite varied. Knuckles’ music has hip-hop and rap written all over it, and Rouge has a nice jazzy ensemble to back her up. Everyone else wails on a guitar in different ways, and they are all appealing to the ear.

The sounds consist of standard fare sound effects. Many sounds return (like dropping your rings when damaged) and old school Sonic fans will recognize them. The voice acting has improved a bit, with some extra lines added from the Dreamcast version. But no voice will blow your socks off.

The multiplayer aspects have been expanded quite a bit. There are ten stages for your racing, shooting, or hunting pleasure, with four characters to choose from. Multiplayer won’t get as stale as it did on the Dreamcast. You can also raise Chao, Sega’s cute little critters. They can race and battle each other, and could have been a completely different game by itself if it had a few more games. As you get further in the game and complete almost 180 missions, you can find more stuff to buy for your Chao. This game is loaded with replay value.

If you haven’t played a 3-D Sonic game yet, this is the one to buy.