When rumors about a Sonic Adventure remake hit the internet I was pleasantly surprised. Sonic Adventure was the first game I played for my Dreamcast when I got it back in 1999. I thought of writing a review for it but after playing it again after all these years I realized that a review wouldn’t do this game justice. I just wouldn’t be able to articulate my feelings on the game and what it means to me with a simple review, so I decided to write a retrospective on it.
When I was a little kid back in 1999 I remember my first time seeing Sonic Adventure in action. I was at my best friends house and he had just gotten his hands on the brand new Sega Dreamcast. At first, I didn’t know what to expect but when I saw the opening Cutscene for Sonic Adventure everything I thought I knew about video games changed.
The only other games I had ever seen in 3D at the time were Super Mario 64 and 007 Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64. Both of these games were great, but neither of them could hold a candle to Sonic Adventure in the visual department. This was the first time I had ever seen a 3D cutscene and it looked outstanding. Even after 20 years, the opening cutscene for Sonic Adventure still has so much liveliness and visual flair. Accompanying this is Johnny Gioli and Jun Senoi’s Premiere song for a video game “Open Your Heart”, and you have a wonderfully done opening that will stick with you for all the right reasons.
Now the rest of the game I, unfortunately, cannot say the same for. After I went back and played it for about a dozen hours I realized that it didn’t quite hold up to my memories. It was by no means a horrible game, but it definitely wasn’t the life-changing masterpiece that many people believed it to be back in the late ’90s
I realized that I like many people viewed this game through rose-tinted Glasses and filtered all the flaws out in favor of only focusing on the things we adored about it.
In order to elaborate I’m going to have to talk about the ’90s again. Back in 1999, I was part of a small clique of students who loved video games and traded game secrets on the playground. Keep in mind the internet sucked back then and games weren’t as popular as they are now so even the game sites that did exist at the time rarely focused on giving out game secrets. There was this one kid who was subscribed to Nintendo power and had a six-issue Pokemon miniseries filled with game exploits such as how to capture Missingno. He traded it to me for a VHS tape I recorded of Sonic Adventure footage showing him how the game looked and how to get past certain levels (God I miss the 90’s).
Anyway, Sonic Adventure wasn’t the first game in the franchise that I played. I had the Sonic And Knuckles collection for Windows 95 which consisted of Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, as well as Sonic 3& Knuckles. I remember playing through levels like Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3 and then playing through the 3D rendition in Sonic Adventure. It was so much fun. A lot of things about Sonic Adventure were fun. The characters weren’t the most in-depth or well written, but they did a serviceable job of progressing the story. The story for its time was pretty ambitious, but the laughably bad lip-synching and mouth movement accompanied by flat line delivery from certain side characters makes it hard to take seriously by nowadays standards.
The game could also be very glitchy at times. If you’ve ever played the game or watched YouTube walkthroughs than chances are you’ve come across a glitch where you fall through the game world.However, this happens rarely and when it does it can be quite humorous.
The games biggest drawback for me though would be its ridiculously small hub world. The hub world in this game is basically a means to connect the game’s action stages. While exploring them can be endearing for some I personally never saw them as anything but harmless.
They don’t hurt the game per se, and they offer a chance to find hidden collectibles and power-ups, but I never felt that there were enough of these to warrant taking away time from the action stages.
I think what really hurt this game the most was the development time. Sonic Adventure was rushed to release date on December 23rd in Japan of 1998. Had the development team been given an extra year or maybe even just 10 months It most likely could have been much better.
The more I think about a remake of this game the more I can’t help but wonder if it is a good idea. There’s a lot on the line here and a lot of fans will be pressuring Sega and Sonic Team to do it justice. However, even if the remake does turn out great, it just won’t have the same impact as it did back in the day.
Games these days are capable of looking almost lifelike, and Sonic The Hedgehog is looked at more of a kids franchise that people don’t want to take seriously anymore. I guess I’m just feeling nostalgic for a time in my life I won’t be able to recapture. But you know what I’m fine with that. If this game does get remade it won’t be made for me. It will be made primarily for all the people who love the new Sonic. Regardless of whether this game gets made, whether it bombs or succeeds, I will always have my memories of my childhood with the original Sonic Adventure.
And who knows maybe 20 years from now an adult who is a kid now will be writing about their experience playing the new Sonic Adventure and feeling nostalgic about that game.