European Dreamcast cover art
|Artist(s)||Kazuyuki Hoshino, Yuji Uekawa|
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Sonic Adventure (ソニックアドベンチャー Sonikku Adobenchā) is a platform video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. It was originally released for the Dreamcast as a launch title in Japan in 1998, and worldwide in 1999. It was the first game in the main Sonic the Hedgehog series since Sonic & Knuckles in 1994, and was the best-selling game on the Dreamcast.
After series villain Doctor Eggman releases an ancient monster, protagonist Sonic the Hedgehog vows to stop him collecting the Chaos Emeralds. The other playable characters are flying fox Miles "Tails" Prower, love interest Amy Rose, Knuckles the Echidna, who plans to reassemble the Master Emerald, angler Big the Cat, and E-102 Gamma, one of Eggman's robots.
Sonic Adventure received generally positive reviews for its graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack. It became the best-selling Dreamcast game. A sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, was released in 2001 for the Dreamcast. Enhanced ports of the game were released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Windows. It has since been re-released as a downloadable game for Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation 3 via PlayStation Network in 2010. It is also included in the Dreamcast Collection for the Xbox 360.
Sonic Adventure is a platform game in which the player controls six different characters: the titular Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and E-102 Gamma. They must stop Doctor Eggman from stealing the seven Chaos Emeralds and feeding them to Chaos, a monster known as "the God of Destruction", and defeat them both. The first in the Sonic the Hedgehog series to feature free-roaming 3D gameplay, Sonic Adventure features two game modes: Adventure and Trial. There are different goals for each character in the game: Sonic involves high speed gameplay, while Tails must reach the end of the level before Sonic does, and Knuckles searches the area for shards of the Master Emerald. Each of the three characters retain many of their trademark moves from previous Sonic games, such as Tails being able to fly for short periods of time, and Knuckles being able to glide through the air, though they can use updated techniques as well. The rest of the playable cast is rounded out by Amy, who must use her hammer to escape from Eggman's E-100 Zero robot chasing after her, Gamma, who must use its laser beam to shoot through levels to reach a target, and Big, who fishes in efforts to find his friend, Froggy. The player is given five lives, which are lost when any character is attacked by an enemy with no rings in their possession, falls into a pit, or drowns. If all lives are lost at any point in the game, the "Game Over" screen will appear, in which the player can continue from the last level played by selecting "Continue".
The "Adventure Mode" is a one-player game which consists of two areas, the "Adventure Field" and an "Action Stage". The Adventure Field contains several "Events" that are encountered in the course of the story, while the Action Stages have each character fulfilling a goal to clear the stage. Players may also find hidden Chao Gardens, a protective environment inhabited by Chao, a sort of virtual pet. The player can hatch, raise and interact with a Chao. Chao can be taken with the player by downloading the minigame Chao Adventure to their VMU, or in the GameCube version, a Game Boy Advance with Sonic Advance or various other Game Boy Advance Sonic games. The player can also raise their stats by giving them small animals that they found by defeating the robots, which improves their performance in Chao Races. There are also eggs hidden throughout the Adventure Fields which can produce special types of Chao.
By playing through Action Stages and Subgames, searching through the Adventure Fields or winning Chao Races, players can earn Emblems. In the case of Action Stages, each one has three Emblems, which can be earned by replaying the stages and fulfilling certain objectives, such as beating the level within a time limit. In Sonic Adventure DX, these can unlock hidden extras such as Game Gear games.
The story is told from the perspectives of six different characters, each of their narratives intersecting with one another before converging in a final chapter. The titular protagonist of the game is Sonic, a hedgehog with the ability to run at supersonic speeds who has returned home after a long journey. His longtime friend is Tails, a fox who can fly using his two tails. Knuckles is an echidna with the ability to glide; he is the guardian of the Master Emerald. Amy is a pink hedgehog and views Sonic as her love interest. E-102 Gamma is a gunner robot belonging to the E-100 Series tasked with serving his creator. Big is a giant cat interested in fishing and is usually accompanied by his friend, Froggy. The characters are aided by Tikal, a mysterious female echidna who appears whenever Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, E-102 Gamma and Big are sent back in time, and also gives out hints to the player.
The main antagonist is Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, an evil scientist who plans to use the Chaos Emeralds to conquer Earth. Aiding Eggman is Chaos, a liquified life-form who takes on more powerful forms each time he collects a Chaos Emerald. Chaos was previously sealed by Tikal after her father Pachacamac attempted to steal the Chaos Emeralds from the shrine, but has been freed due to Eggman's actions. Also aiding Eggman is the E-Series, a line of robots created by Eggman to facilitate his conquest. All of them have letters of the Greek alphabet as part of their name. E-100 Alpha (better known as Zero), the first E-series robot constructed as a prototype, is dispatched to find Amy's friend Birdie. Other E-Series robots, including E-101 Beta, E-103 Delta, E-104 Epsilon, and E-105 Zeta, are demoted to lesser positions following Gamma's successes.
Tikal, the daughter of the Ancient Echidna Tribe's ruler Pachacamac, discovers the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald, a group of mysterious emeralds with unlimited power. She befriends a peaceful entity known as Chaos, the guardian of the emeralds, as well as the Chao. Despite warnings from Tikal, Pachacamac and the tribe attack the shrine, attempting to use the emeralds for world domination. However, angered by the tribe's greed, Chaos transforms into Perfect Chaos and kills them; to stop Chaos, Tikal seals the entity and herself inside the Master Emerald.
Three thousand years later, Knuckles the Echidna guards the Master Emerald on the floating Angel Island when Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik shatters the Master Emerald and sets Chaos free. Angel Island falls into the sea below, scattering the Master Emerald's shards and the seven Chaos Emeralds. He resolves to search for the shards of the Master Emerald. Meanwhile, in the city of Station Square, Sonic the Hedgehog battles Chaos after witnessing an attack by the local police. At the Mystic Ruins, Miles "Tails" Prower tests his Chaos Emerald-powered airplane, the Tornado, but it malfunctions and crashes into the beach of Emerald Coast below. After Sonic rescues Tails, the two arrive at his workshop in the Mystic Ruins, where they are confronted by Eggman. While Sonic is successful in defeating Eggman, the mad scientist steals Tails' Emerald and transforms Chaos before revealing his ultimate plan: with the power harnessed from the Emeralds, Chaos will eventually become invincible and destroy Station Square and Eggman will build Robotnikland over the city's ruins. Sonic and Tails resolve to search for the emeralds to prevent Eggman from getting them first, but eventually lose the ones they collect later on to Eggman and Chaos. Eggman then escapes to his giant airship, the Egg Carrier, after which Sonic and Tails then attempt to pursue the ship in the Tornado, but they are sent falling out of the sky.
Eggman then activates E-102 Gamma, who fights E-101 Beta during his training. Eggman has the E-Series robots search for Froggy, a frog who has eaten Chaos's tail as well as a Chaos Emerald. Gamma finds Froggy but is chased back to the ship by Froggy's owner Big the Cat. Meanwhile, Tails finds another emerald and uses it to prepare the Tornado II plane to find Sonic while Sonic lands in Station Square once again. While lamenting her time with Sonic, Amy Rose discovers a Flicky bird in possession of a Chaos Emerald and names him Birdie. However, having discovered Birdie's location, Eggman dispatches another one of his robots, Zero, to chase down the Flicky. After Sonic turns down an offer to protect Birdie, Zero captures Amy and Birdie and detains them both on the Egg Carrier. Using the Tornado II, Sonic and Tails follow them on board. Knuckles also boards the aircraft after collecting pieces of the Master Emerald and seeing a vision of the Egg Carrier.
On board the Egg Carrier, Eggman lectures and removes the E-Series robots for their failure before stationing Gamma in Amy's cell. However, Gamma witnesses Beta being rebuilt and Amy convinces Gamma that he should not work for Eggman. In a confusion of newly discovered emotions, Gamma releases Amy and Birdie. As Sonic, Tails and Knuckles enter the carrier, Amy is pursued by Zero and reunites with Sonic and Tails before Eggman steals Birdie's Emerald. Sonic defeats Gamma, but Amy intervenes and asks Sonic to spare him. The ship loses altitude and Tails, Amy, and Gamma flee, while Sonic restores the ship to its original form. Sonic is confronted by Chaos, now with six Chaos Emeralds and his tail restored, and defeats it once more before pursuing Eggman. Meanwhile, Big retrieves Froggy from inside Chaos before finding the Tornado II, and Knuckles steals back the six Chaos Emeralds; they both flee when it crashes into the ocean below.
Upon erasing his master registration, Gamma resolves to track down his brother robots. After freeing the animals inside the robots, he confronts Beta in his rebuilt form. Though Gamma defeats Beta, he is destroyed in the struggle and Birdie's parents are released from within the two. After returning to the Egg Carrier to reunite Birdie with its family, Amy confronts Zero after he knocks down the Flicky. Amy destroys the robot and sees Birdie and his family off, vowing to do her best to earn Sonic's respect. Elsewhere, Tails chases Eggman and stops him from detonating a missile in the center of Station Square. Eggman uses the Egg Walker to attack the city, but Tails defeats him. Later, Sonic confronts Eggman in the Egg Viper and destroys it.
The next day, Knuckles finishes restoring the Master Emerald, but Angel Island falls into the sea once again when Chaos attacks him and Eggman. Chaos reabsorbs the Chaos Emeralds and locates the seventh aboard the Tornado II, which crashed after Big used it to escape the Egg Carrier. Having acquired all seven Chaos Emeralds, Chaos transforms into Perfect Chaos, draining the Chaos Emeralds of their negative energy, and destroys Station Square in a massive flood. The Chaos Emeralds are re-gathered by Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and the pink Flicky that fueled Gamma. They bring the emeralds to Sonic.
Having taken each main character into the past numerous times earlier, Tikal demands that Chaos must be sealed back in the Master Emerald. Sonic objects, saying that Chaos's heart would still be filled with anger and sadness if he were to be sealed inside the Master Emerald. Instead, with the cheering of his friends and the people of Station Square, Sonic uses the Chaos Emeralds' still-present positive energy to become Super Sonic and face off against Perfect Chaos. Following his defeat, Chaos discovers that the Chao thrive in Station Square, quelling his anger. United, Tikal and Chaos disappear before Sonic chases after a fleeing Eggman.
The development of Sonic Adventure began around April 1997 with a development team of 30 members. After developing several titles for the Sega Genesis, producer Yuji Naka worked mainly on the game Nights into Dreams... for the Sega Saturn. Sonic Team started to work on an original 3D Sonic title for the Saturn, but development was ultimately shifted to the Dreamcast; according to Naka, remnants of the project can be seen in the compilation Sonic Jam. The development team focused on graphics and high resolution for this game, with Naka reflecting that "[w]e have pushed the Dreamcast as far as we can at present".
Director Takashi Iizuka, having developed Nights into Dreams..., proposed to Naka that they should develop a role-playing video game-style Sonic game. In order to achieve a more natural, realistic feel to the exotic levels like ruins and jungles, the core members of the Sonic Team traveled to Central America and South America. The team visited Cancun, Guatemala and Peru, and used pictures taken from their journey as "textures in the games." For Tails' sandboarding, the development team used a group of people boarding on sand dunes in Ica, Peru as a reference.
Naka aimed to create levels that would take the player at least five minutes to complete, yet retain similar gameplay to the Mega Drive titles. Following the creation of the basic level maps, Naka wondered "why don't we use this map for other characters?" This led to the introduction of Big and E-102. The development team conducted surveys of fans to ensure that the final product, especially the characters, would please them. The character of Sonic was redesigned for the game by Sonic Team artist Yuji Uekawa, with longer legs and spines that Iizuka subsequently noted were more suitable for 3D than Sonic's original and more compact design, which was meant to be seen from the side. Certain levels, such as "Lost World," were rebuilt dozens of times. Sega made it a top priority to keep the game a secret until shortly before its release. Despite these efforts, screenshots were leaked onto the Internet in mid-1998. Naka presented the game to Edge in mid-August, and official announcement fell on August 22 in Japan.
In February 1999, Sega's vice president Tadahiko Hirose announced that Sonic Adventure would be released along with Virtua Fighter 3tb and Sega Rally 2 as launch titles for the Dreamcast's international release. In June 1999, Sega announced that Sonic Adventure would be one of the five titles in the Dreamcast's "Masterpiece Collection". The North American version of the game includes Japanese and English-language audio tracks, as well as Japanese, English, Spanish, French and German subtitles. Online gameplay and downloadable content were also added for the localization.
The game's music was written by Jun Senoue, Fumie Kumatani, Kenichi Tokoi, and Masaru Setsumaru, and contains vocal performances from Tony Harnell, Karen Brake, Marlon Saunders, Dred Foxx, Ted Poley, Nikki Gregoroff, and Johnny Gioeli, the latter of whom would later join Senoue to form the band Crush 40. The development team preferred the use of "hot, funky, and rock 'n' roll" music over the traditional electropop-based music present in earlier Sonic games. Several soundtrack albums for the game were released. Sonic Adventure Songs With Attitude ~Vocal mini-Album~, with character theme tracks by Senoue, Kumatani, and Tokoi, was released in Japan by Marvelous Entertainment on December 2, 1998. The full soundtrack, titled Sonic Adventure "Digi-LOG Conversation" Original Sound Track, was released in Japan on January 29, 1999. For the twentieth anniversary of the Sonic series, Sonic Adventure Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition was released on iTunes on May 18, 2011. On September 10, 2014, a two volume original soundtrack was also released on iTunes.
Alternate versions and releases
Sonic Adventure International
The international version of Sonic Adventure was re-released in Japan on October 14, 1999 under the title Sonic Adventure International (ソニックアドベンチャー・インターナショナル Sonikku Adobenchā Intānashonaru).
Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut
In 2003, an enhanced port was released for the GameCube and Windows titled Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut (ソニックアドベンチャー デラックス Sonikku Adobenchā Derakkusu). Sonic Adventure DX includes a Mission Mode, which included 60 missions to complete throughout the Adventure Fields and Action Stages. It also contains an unlockable compilation that features emulations of all twelve Sonic the Hedghog titles released for the Sega Game Gear. These include Sonic Drift, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Labyrinth, Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, Sonic Drift 2, Tails' Skypatrol, Sonic Blast, Tails Adventure, and the 8-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Also, if all Emblems are collected, the player can play as Metal Sonic in Sonic's stages.
On June 10, 2010, Sega officially announced that Sonic Adventure would be released on both the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network in Fall 2010. The Xbox Live Arcade version was released on September 15, 2010, while the PlayStation Network version was released on September 20, 2010. The initial release is based on the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX despite the game simply being called "Sonic Adventure". The DLC package, simply titled "Sonic Adventure DX Upgrade", has launched alongside the game on XBLA, and PSN, which upgrades the game to include all of the features from the GameCube and PC versions with the exception of the Game Gear games and Dreamcast DLC. This version also includes Metal Sonic as an unlockable character.
Sonic Adventure DX was released again on Steam on March 4, 2011 as a digital download for Windows.
Sonic Adventure received generally favorable reviews from critics. It became one of the few Sega All Stars games. The Japanese video game magazine Famitsu gave the game a score of 38/40. Although criticized for its camera system, framerate issues, and fishing stages with Big, the game was still highly praised for retaining the fast and enjoyable gameplay that Sonic was known for in 2D as well as the game's graphics, multiple character storylines, and soundtrack. Brandon Justice of IGN rated the game an 8.6/10, criticizing various glitches and voice acting while praising the game's visuals and gameplay. By August 2006, Sonic Adventure had sold over 2.5 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling Dreamcast game. This includes one million sold in the United States.
At the time of its release, Adventure was acclaimed by the Arcade magazine as a "quantum leap forward" in aesthetics and visual detail in video games, estimated by Hyper to exceed that which was possible on high-end PCs. Computer and Video Games stated shortly after release that "Sonic Adventure is one of the best games ever made" and marveled that "many things you thought were impossible to see and experience in computer games are now here." Edge's preview stated that graphical features like an "amazingly detailed cityscape" showed off the Dreamcast's potential, comparing it to Super Mario 64's role for the Nintendo 64, and exclaimed that "as a showcase of what the machine can do, Sonic Adventure is perfect." Speculation arose that the game could save the Dreamcast, which had not sold well so far by the end of 1998, or even re-establish Sega as the dominant console manufacturer after the relatively unsuccessful Saturn.
Although the original Dreamcast version of Adventure was positively received, later re-releases were not as acclaimed. Sonic Adventure DX received more mixed reviews, with the GameCube version receiving a 64.43% average on GameRankings.com. Matt Casamassina of IGN criticized the port for not addressing major problems of the original Dreamcast release, giving it a "Mediocre" rating of 5.0. Giancarlo Varanini of GameSpot voiced similar disapproval. Reviews for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade versions of Sonic Adventure were negative. IGN's Arthur Gies gave the Xbox 360 version a score of 3.5/10 and calling it "so fundamentally flawed that it borders on unplayable--the sections that move the fastest, that work best, require the least input from the player." 1UP.com criticized both the game's dated mechanics and the perceived lack of effort put into the port, which "feels like it wasn't even tuned for the Xbox 360 controller." By contrast, Gamer 2.0 claimed that the controls were "slightly more responsive than those of the Dreamcast original," and PlayStation LifeStyle scored it 8/10, complimenting the "frantic, fun gameplay" and "tons of replayability", concluding that "If you manage to overlook the glitches and dinky camera, you'll easily find a gem (or emerald) in this Dreamcast classic."
Promotion and tie-ins
Prior to the official launch of the Dreamcast in the U.S., Sega of America formed an exclusive deal with Hollywood Video to allow customers to rent the Dreamcast console along with Sonic Adventure. This promotion began on July 15, 1999 and took place at 1,055 Hollywood Video stores across the country. This non-retail version of the game that was included, titled Sonic Adventure: Limited Edition, featured an initial English of the game's text and voice overs, as well as improvements to Japanese version's controls and camera.
Sonic Adventure received a comic book adaptation courtesy of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog on-going series. The story arc took place in issues #79-84 and Sonic Super Special #13, originally published from November 1999 to May 2000. This adaptation is notable for its permanent integration of characters and story-lines from the video game into the pre-existing continuity of the comic series, providing explanations for the altered character design for Amy Rose and the history of Station Square hidden beneath Sonic's planet, Mobius. Selected portions of these issues (with the exception of issue #79) were reprinted in Archie's Sonic Super Special Magazine #2 (February 2012).
Franco-American's Sonic the Hedgehog pasta featured Sonic Adventure inspired labeling for a limited time and offered consumers a chance to obtain a free Archie Sonic comic book.
In 2000, Toy Island produced multiple lines of Sonic Adventure toys, featuring 5" action figures, 10" talking figures, and 3" bendy figures. Several of these figures were later reissued as part of their Sonic X lines in 2004.
Following Sonic Adventure, Sonic Team developed Sonic Adventure 2, the final Sonic game for the Dreamcast. Adventure also introduced two characters that would appear in later games and other media—Big and Gamma—as well as the ubiquitous Chao creatures. The plot of Sonic Adventure would later be adapted as a six-episode story arc in the second season of the 2003 animated series Sonic X.
Writers at GamesRadar have stated that, as Sonic Adventure was one of the first sixth generation console games, "the gaming world was changed forever" despite presence of some glitches. Travis Fahs of IGN asserted in 2010 that it is still remembered as the most impressive Sonic game from after the Genesis era and that, despite Sega's efforts, no post-Dreamcast Sonic game has achieved similar success. Taylor Cocke of Joystiq has stated that the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Adventure both succeeded and innovated in gaming—among 2D and 3D games, respectively—by feeling "good to play" and making effective use of linear level design. In 2009, GamePro listed the game as the seventh best platformer of all time, asserting that while it had not aged well in certain respects, its core gameplay "is still some of the best" in the entire series. According to game journalists Rusel DeMaria and Johnny L. Wilson, Sonic Adventure "wasn't a strong enough title" and "failed to catch on with players in nearly the way that Mario 64 had done," "though it had many fascinating features, including the use of the Tamagotchi-like memory card to incubate eggs for little pet creatures" and "some good action segments." In a 2006 retrospective, Retro Gamer's Sean Smith noted that while Adventure "has its share of detractors", it "still looks luscious and plays extremely well." Writing in 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, Kieth Stuart described Adventure as "Sonic Team's flawed masterpiece", praising its "vast, twisting environments" and noting "From driving bumper karts in Twinkle Park to legging it down the side of a skyscraper in Speed Highway, the game brilliantly captures traditional Sonic elements."
In 2011, Sega released Sonic Generations, a game that remade aspects of various past games from the franchise. The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC version contained a remade "Speed Highway" level, and a remade battle with Perfect Chaos. The Nintendo 3DS version contained a remade version of the "Emerald Coast" level.
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Media related to Sonic Adventure at Wikimedia Commons