Sonic Adventure

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sonic Team
Genre: 3D Adventure
Release: Winter '98 (Japan)

Sonic the Hedgehog is probably one of the most well known video game characters of all time. At one point, a poll was taken that said that more children age 10-13 recognized Sonic than recognized our president. But Sonic has been out of the spotlight for quite some time now. He's suffered through many games that were either sub-par or just plain bad. Now he's back...

Sonic Adventure was unveiled to the world in what was probably one of the grandest spectacles the gaming industry has ever witnessed. The press conference was broadcast live over the net, and thousands were on hand to witness it. We waited rather impatiently, most of us being forced to be awake at times our bodies just didn't like. But it was all worth it.

This has to be one of the most beautiful games every created. The texture quality is superb and shows off the Dreamcast's super-sampling. Many of the textures are simply pictures Sonic Team took on their trip to South America, but they look amazing and truly bring a level of realism to gaming that we have never seen before. The character models are also stunning. No more blocky character like we are accustomed to. Sonic in 3d looks just as good as he did in 2d. The lush backgrounds are more amazing than anything else. Imagine a perfect sunset, it's there. Snow covered mountains, they're there. Volcanoes, Incan ruins, cityscapes, they're all there. And they all look beautiful. The entire game runs at 640*480 resolution and at 60 frames per second... unbelievable. Don't look for pop-up or clipping, it isn't there.

Speaking of the backgrounds... the stages are absolutely HUGE. This is mainly to compensate for Sonic's extreme speed (yes, he's just as fast as he was in 2d). In some of the pictures you can see in to the distance for what seems like miles, and all that area is fully explorable. These are probably the largest stages in a 3d adventure game, ever.

Worried about depth and replay value? Don't. There are 6 (!!) playable characters; Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, and the two newbies... E-102 and Big the cat. Each character will have 6 acts to play, with tons of interaction between them. You will meet the others and talk to them, all the while learning more of the storyline. Don't forget that there are multiple paths leading to 4 different endings. Also, the NiGHTS A-life system is in full effect for this game, and taken to the next level. Not only do you have relations with the inhabitants of the world when you are playing, but all that data can be downloaded to your VMS and you can interact with them even when you're away from home!

When this game comes out in Japan, you can bet I will be one of the first in line to pick it up, and I suggest you do the same.

[Updated 11/02/98]

Wow, shots 31-38 are awesome. They are just about CG quality... gorgeous. Personally, I don't care if it is moving at 30fps or 60fps, it's amazing.


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