Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
What a boost Nintendo received when it learned that SEGA was going to be designing games for their latest console. SEGA, arguably the best games designers in the world, had two of their finest ready for the release of the GameCube. One of these games is Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
When Dr. Eggman decides to look for a top secret weapon he is surprised to find that it is a black hedgehog by the name of Shadow. Shadow surprises the doctor even further by inviting him to help in conquering the world. Only Sonic and his friends stand in the way of the evil doctor and hedgehog and it is up to you to stop them. The problem is the military think Sonic is Shadow because of his similar appearance and therefore they are out to get our hero.
The main part of the game contains 30 stages and over 50 mission objectives. To make matters more interesting the 30 stages are split between the Hero side of the story and the Dark side of the story. Whichever side you choose you'll be playing with their characters and from their perspective. Choose the Hero side and you play with Sonic and friends whilst choosing the Dark side will allow you to play with Dr. Eggman, Shadow and associates. The ability to play from both perspectives is a welcome feature and although the missions are, for the most part, similar to their counterparts there is enough variation to keep it interesting. When you play as a character other than Sonic or Shadow the gameplay differs a little. Play as Knuckles or Rouge and you have to find pieces of a gem and playing as Dr. Eggman or Tails you will find yourself controlling what can only be described as a walking tank.
SA2B is full to bursting with features that any Sonic fan would be proud of. As well as the 30 stages in the main game there are mass of other features. Once you've progressed so far into the main game you'll be able to take part in a single player kart race. You will also be able to raise Chao once you've found the key to Chao World. In two player battle mode you can play an action race battle, a treasure hunt race, a shooting battle or a kart race. In two player mode there are additional characters that you can play as. There's Amy Rose, Metal Sonic, Chao Walker, Dark Chao Walker, Tikal and Chaos Zero. You can even use your Chao to race or compete in Chao Karate. In fact it's fair to say that the extra elements will probably end up taking more of your time than the main game which means the overall package is fantastic value.
Despite the transition from 2D to 3D the game still has that old Sonic magic when it comes to the gameplay. The problem the transition has incurred though is that of dodgy camera angles. On almost every level there are instances where the camera is not ideally place and this temporarily leaves you vulnerable for a second or two. You can move the camera yourself in some circumstances but in others you are not able to do this. This doesn't spoil the game but does throw a fly in the ointment especially when you are under attack.
Graphically the game is great. The character models are first class and Sonic and the gang look great on the GameCube. The whole of the game looks great and the vivid colours that have been used for the game really work well. The framerate must also be commended. On the Sonic and Shadow levels the game gives an amazing sensation of speed, which is great considering the whole thing is now in 3D and not on top of pre-rendered backgrounds as was the case in the 2D Sonic games.
It is great to see that the game has been subtitled so well. All the story dialogue has been subtitled, as have the in game comments from the characters. The only speech that I found that wasn't subtitled was the murmurings of your baby Chao in Chao World and these aren't real words just babyish murmurs. A special mention must go to the writers of the game manual. There are 64 pages in the manual and they are full of useful instruction about every gameplay element.
Finally if you have a Gameboy Advance and a linkup cable you'll be able to take advantage of the linkup that is offered by SAB2. Put simply you can send your baby Chao to your GBA and if you have a copy of Sonic Advance you'll be able to take him to kindergarten and do various things to raise its attribute levels. We didn't have a copy of Sonic Advance so we can't comment on how well this works. If you don't have Sonic Advance though you can still download your Chao to your GBA and play games etc. The only thing is you will have to upload your Chao back to GameCube when you are finished as without Sonic Advance you will not be able to save the game on the GBA.
Overall Game Rating: 8.4/10 Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a wonderful debut for Sonic on the GameCube. The game is only let down by poor camera angles in certain places. The extras in the game make it incredible value for money and you'll be raising Chao long after you've completed the game.
Deaf Gamers comment: The game has been subtitled brilliantly. The manual has been well written and is well worth reading.