Sonic Adventure DX
It's a sad state of affairs, but our cutting-edge PCs have become convenient dumping grounds for yesterday's Dreamcast hits. The latest title to be dusted off and shoved in a DVD case is 1999's fondly-remembered Sonic Adventure.
Before we go on, we can assure you the Director's Cut' tag is nothing more than a shallow attempt to make the game look less dated, the supposed host of special features' translating to a new mission mode and a few playable Easter Eggs in the form of even more old Sonic games. The effort is not unappreciated, but this is still a five-year-old game, re-issued for a price that would fetch you an entire room full of Dreamcasts on Ebay. Or indeed, a real hedgehog.
Despite all this, it's not an entirely unwelcome offering. The original was perhaps the best of all the Sonic games, boasting some dizzyingly fast and beautifully staged action levels - and even five years on, the visuals haven't lost their lustre.
Like most of the Sonic games, actual interaction is at a premium, and most of the action stages can be negotiated by holding forwards and occasionally leaning left or right - but they're no less exhilarating for it. The adventure' parts of the game are less impressive, mostly involving wandering around looking for the next action stage, but the whole thing I remains fun and I undemanding ' nonetheless. If this Sonic game had been released as part of a Best Of Dreamcast' line-up for a fiver, we'd have welcomed it like an old friend. As it is. it's more like an old friend has turned up wanting that 30 quid back that you swear you gave him in 1999.
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Rumors have circulated for years about two of todays most talented developers Mario maker Shigeru Miyamoto and Sonics popuji Naka working together on a secret game project, mainly because Naka-san often gives props to Miyamotos work. So, while that secret project has yet to materialize, its hardly surprising that Nintendos systems have become the (so far) exclusive new playgrounds for Segas speedy blue hedgehog.
Thankfully, after a subpar GameCube debut in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Segas mascot returns in a slightly enhanced version of the original Sonic Adventure (which launched with Dreamcast in 1999). Unlike its sequel, this game now sub-titled DX: Directors Cut keeps the superstar rodent at center stage. (Battle, on the other hand, gave equal playtime to all of Sonics superbuds, but only Sonics levels were superfun.)
The hedgehogs back, doing what he does best: foiling the plans of his egg-shaped, walrus-mustachioed nemesis, Dr. Robotnik, who has summoned a giant water monster called Chaos. Robotnik plans to turn Chaos into a 40-story killing machine by fueling him with Chaos Emeralds, so its up to Sonic and his pals (more about them later) to find the emeralds first.
If you never played Adventure on Dreamcast, or its Cube sequel, buckle up in this game, speed thrills. Backgrounds blur and levels corkscrew as Sonic bounds from platform to platform or boosts to max speed to outpace environmental hazards such as a titanic killer whale. Adventure DX features a wide range of locales, each with multiple objectives. In one wicked tornado level, you need to pounce on trampo-line-like devices to skyrocket about. And when Sonic isnt retrieving gold rings or scouring for Chaos Emeralds, hell face off against Robotnik and different Chaos-monster forms.
Like the title says, the game also includes adventure elements, but theyre pretty basic; they mostly involve moving objects from point to point to access new stages.
Sonic also finds upgrades along the way, such as new shoes thatll help him gain enough steam to conquer those mammoth loop-de-loops familiar to series vets. Sonic will also meet up with five familiar and not-so-familiar faces (see sidebar), who eventually become playable characters.
You might be asking, What makes this game different from the Dreamcast version? The answer: not much. You can link up your Game Boy Advance to raise those cute and loveable Chao creatures for Adventure DXs racing minigame. And Sega is promising slicker visuals (in our version, the characters looked improved while most of the game appeared the same) and 50 new mini challenges (time trials, grab the rings, etc.). But its a bummer Sonic Team didnt develop new areas for these additional missions, and you dont need to complete them to open up Adventure DXs much cooler ending.
Were a bit confused about why Sega decided to release the worst of the two Sonic Adventure games first, but hey, Adventure DXs arrival is better late than never.
Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut is chock-full of amusing diversions. In addition to all of Sonic's Game Gear appearances, there is an extensive Chao-raising and-racing minigame.
All 12 of Sonic's Game Gear games (such as the Japan-only Sonic Drift) are hidden in DX. Complete 10 missions or collect one Sonic Emblem to unlock a new Game Gear minigame. After you unlock the first one, Sonic the Hedgehog, a Minigame Collection option will appear on the Main menu.
Raise and race Chao for fun and profit! First, go to a Chao garden and find a likely candidate. Nurture his racing abilities by feeding him fruit and giving him animal role models to learn from.
You see, Chao take on the abilities of nearby animals. Strong animals improve a Chao's strength, fast animals upgrade its running speed, and so on. With the right roster of animal playmates, your Chao can quickly become a racing contender! Please, allow us to drop some science on your Chao-raising shenanigans. With this information, you can improve your pet racer as you see fit:
Swimming. Improve this ability with penguins, seals, and beavers. Flying. Boost a Chao's flying skill by giving it birds to play with. Running. For a speedy Chao, look to the wallaby, rabbit, or deer. Strength. Elephants, lions, and gorillas can help you out here. Random. Animals from the blue group (mole, koala, and skunk) can have a dramatic impact on any of a Chao's stats. Use with caution.
Three special Chao eggs are available in addition to the standard blue Chao eggs found in Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and Egg Carrier gardens. The first special Chao egg is silver. Get it by pushing the large stone pedestal near the Mystic Ruins waterfall. A shop in Station Square holds another special egg. Grab the rock in the nearby courtyard and make an Indiana Jones-style switch. The third special egg is in the cell next to Amy's when she's locked up on the Egg Carrier.
Take a Walk, Chao
Developing your Chao is a long process that involves more than giving it animals. Taking your pet on Adventure Walks on your Game Boy Advance is the fastest way to help it along, since stat-boosting fruit is rich and plentiful on GBA.
The coconuts you get from the GameCube Chao gardens are all right, but they have only about half the effect on your pet's stats as the fruit found on Game Boy Advance. Additionally, your Chao might run into various Sonic game characters during his Adventure Walk. If he does, he'll receive a significant boost to one characteristic (unless he meets the nonorganic Gamma, who is stingy and will give him nothing).
The Adventure Walk path you choose for your Chao is critical. Don't bite off more than a Chao can chew. A walk could be dangerous for your racer in training if he hasn't had enough time, fruit, and animals to develop his abilities. If you're not sure whether your pet can handle the excitement, measure his relative skill by entering him in a race.
It's showtime! There are five Sonic Emblems to be won here, one in each race. Begin with a course that plays to your Chao's highest skill. Eventually, you must compete in races where all your pet's abilities will count. Only a well-rounded Chao can win those races.
Pearl Course. Strength is the most important characteristic in the Pearl Course because your Chao needs to get past some heavy pearls strewn near the finish line. If your Chao isn't buff enough, he takes a nap before the finish.
Ruby Course. This course tests only swimming. The entire race takes place in a pool, appropriately enough. Amethyst Course. This course heavily emphasizes running. However, a wily Chao with good flying ability might opt for a crucial shortcut. Sapphire Course. This long course tests every aspect of your Chao's abilities. Only the well-rounded need apply. Emerald Course. This is the ultimate test of a Chao's abilities. The Emerald course combines the Amethyst and Sapphire courses into one long trek. Make sure your Chao athlete is well-rested and fed before trying it. A Goose for the Chao. As the Chao are racing, you'll have a chance to cheer your Chao toward victory when he's the current crowd favorite (represented by a small red arrow over his head). Encourage the little guy to pour on the speed with a few quick button taps.
Thank goodness. We were worried we'd never get a GC version of the original Adventure, the best next-gen Sonic game (this blows Sonic Adventure 2 out of the water). What's more, this is not just a port of the old Dreamcast title. As the name suggests, Sonic Adventure will be updated. It'll include Game Boy Advance connectivity for raising your little Chao buddies on the go (like in Sonic 2: Battle) and a few more hours of game-play in the form of 50 new missions. Don't get too excited, though--you won't find any new levels. Instead, these new challenges will be scattered throughout the game's existing stages.
Snapshots and Media
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