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The curious case of Sonic Adventure

#1 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 07:26 PM

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Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast: 86.51 from GameRankings
Sonic Adventure DX for the Gamecube: 57 from Metacritic
Sonic Adventure DX for the PS3: 50 from Metacritic
Sonic Adventure DX for the Xbox: 48 from Metacritic
Sonic Adventure DX on Steam: Very Positive 86 via Steam User Reviews

I always find it odd when people use the term "Dated" to say a piece of media is bad. The idea that by simply being a product of its time means it will be considered bad in the future. Sonic Adventure at first sight seems to be a victim of this mindset but there is a little more to it than that. To be succinct, the lower scores of later versions come from lackluster porting with the Steam version (which nobody bothered to review for some reason) only garnering the high marks it has due to community modding fixing what bad porting broke (more on that later).

Sonic Adventure has problems. Its camera gets caught in the geometry sometimes, people don't like being forced to play as other characters for the true ending (emphasis on FORCED), and the RPG elements slow down the pacing (particularly when one doesn't know what to do). These are valid complaints that have existed since the original Dreamcast release but I don't see it as something that just became worse as the game got older.

Sonic Adventure DX despite its name, isn't an improved version of the original Dreamcast release. Sure it runs at 60fps and texture quality has improved but for something that is supposed to be a deluxe version, it fails. Instead of further refining the camera, they just added a "Free Camera" option which is useless in a fast moving game. God of War and Devil May Cry don't have camera options because the gameplay is too fast for the player to have time to adjust. Thus static or semi-static angles are used with the level being designed in a way so as to allow the player to see while not letting the camera get caught in anything. Later games (i.e. Super Mario Sunshine) would later incorporate transparency (walls becoming transparent when the camera clips through them) to prevent such problems. The graphics have also been "upgraded" to make them more in line with Sonic Adventure 2.....Bad move Sega. Lastly, there are reports of the later versions being buggier that the Dreamcast version but from my experience, the only problem I had was the steam version crashing on me once. To those curious, there is a whole site dedicated to talking about how bad the DX version is so I'll leave this link.
http://dreamcastify....liable.network/
On the positive side of things, you get Game Gear games and Metal Sonic for collecting Emblems which in the original Dreamcast version got you nothin. There's also Mission Mode if you like puzzles and the tiny chao garden connectivity with the GBA is fun.

Sonic Adventure DX for Xbox/PS3/Steam had gotten worse in that they removed the Game Gear games (that's several points removed right there) meaning Emblems and Mission Mode have less rewards, still haven't addressed the camera, Tiny chao garden is gone, and we can see that nothing of this era of Sonic gameplay gets addressed in later games thus retroactively making things worse. This mindset is an odd one but it is founded on the idea of that problems in a game series get fixed in the sequels thus the player/critics looks back on such things as "growing pains" if you will. When that isn't the case, you end up with what the Modern era now has after Sonic Forces with people questioning whether or not the style had any merit to begin with. No joke, I watched a review that stated that Sonic Generations becomes a bad game in retrospect thanks to Forces, lovely. For Sonic Adventure, it ends at either Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic 06 depending on who you ask and that retroactive taint won't go away.

Fortunately for the Steam version, there are mods to fix the graphics, re-add the Game Gear games, improve the camera, improve the controls, added widescreen, basically everything Sega should have done short of remaking the game. Critics were disappointed with the DX version and rightly so. We've got a whole website full of evidence supporting this.

I was initially thinking about going through the games of the Adventure era (in that I have access to SA, SA2, Heroes, and Shadow) but the more I look into it, the original Sonic Adventure had specific circumstances that differ greatly from what I could honestly call the "Shadow Trilogy". There's also a clear comparison to be made here between Sonic Adventure and Sonic Forces but maybe another time for that.

Edit: I have been informed that the Emblems in the original Dreamcast version were actually used as currency for the online Black Market to buy rare chao. Okay, today I learned.
This post has been edited by Laughingcow: 27 October 2018 - 12:17 AM

#2 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 07:38 PM

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Unlike your other posts, I'm not sure what the takeaway is here. Is your argument that people retrospectively bash SA (among other titles) simply because gaming has evolved with pop culture and they shouldn't bash it just because of that?

That said, I 100% completed Sonic Adventure: Limited Edition as part of the Hollywood Video rental thing (HUGE DOWN DEPOSIT LIKE $500 or something ridiculous, but you got it all back) and loved it even more when it actually came out. When Sonic Adventure DX came out, I was still miffed that Sega was putting their mascot on their long-term rival's console, and I've never gotten that bitter taste out of my mouth (but it has simmered down). The additional modes and challenges seemed forced and out of place. It was as if they wanted to backport mission segments from SA2 into SA1 somehow and involve Sonic X as a commercial tie-in. Regardless, I remember it doing fairly well and broadening the Hedgehog's dominance in the living rooms for a while before fading out as Sega began to go full throttle as a 3rd party publisher.
This post has been edited by biggestsonicfan: 26 October 2018 - 07:40 PM

#3 User is online Laughingcow 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 08:02 PM

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View Postbiggestsonicfan, on 26 October 2018 - 07:38 PM, said:

Unlike your other posts, I'm not sure what the takeaway is here. Is your argument that people retrospectively bash SA (among other titles) simply because gaming has evolved with pop culture and they shouldn't bash it just because of that?

I call it a curious case for a reason. There's a lot to unpack in the handling of just this game compared to the others with notable changes between versions and I think opinions vary based on what version you play. Such failures only exacerbate problems that already existed (thus making the game worse) with the lack of improvement in later entries only serving to enforce that completely justified negativity. It's complex and unlike the "Sonic was never good" jackasses who just sucked at the game, there's a systemic fault in Sega's handling. Compared to SA2 which was faithfully ported, Heroes which best version is its semi-readily available PC version, and Shadow which is just trash, it alone makes for some interesting conversation on the subject.

#4 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 08:33 PM

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View PostLaughingcow, on 26 October 2018 - 08:02 PM, said:

There's a lot to unpack in the handling of just this game compared to the others with notable changes between versions and I think opinions vary based on what version you play.

One thing I failed to touch on were the controls. Playing Sonic Adventure on a Sega designed controller gave you certain sensitivity to the triggers and button muscle memory. I always will associate the controller with the cute little Chao mimicking actions on my controller as having a Sega feel, whereas with Sonic Adventure DX... well... the sensitivity was different and the overall feel of the controls felt like "Nintendo" to me, interpret that as you will. If the SA:DX experience was on the PC, well, I really don't know how those players would feel about the keyboard because truth be told I only touched it a bit for fun and not to play. I can imagine different types of gamers raised on different platforms to have their own unique views on Sonic Adventure, but Sega's handling of the port is slightly strange considering the proto release of SA:DX with many debugging features revealed an interesting amount of cut content.

Also, I'm genuinely curious about what made DX a "Director's Cut" anyway? In our analysis of all the Dreamcast SA protos, have we found any evidence that anything was truly restored in SA:DX, or were all the Chao features for the Advance series shades of what the VMU wanted to be?

#5 User is offline Retroman 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 09:11 PM

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View Postbiggestsonicfan, on 26 October 2018 - 08:33 PM, said:

Also, I'm genuinely curious about what made DX a "Director's Cut" anyway? In our analysis of all the Dreamcast SA protos, have we found any evidence that anything was truly restored in SA:DX, or were all the Chao features for the Advance series shades of what the VMU wanted to be?

The way I see it, it's a revision of the original game that the 'director' wanted to change in certain areas.

There's the dragon that's kind-of cut and that was meant to appear in the Sky Level, though that hasn't been restored for the DX version.

Apart from that, that's all from my memory.

#6 User is offline Turbohog 

Posted 26 October 2018 - 09:26 PM

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DX isn't a true director's cut in anyway (unless the director wanted a worse game). The truth is that "director's cut" was added to the name because they thought it sounded cool.
This post has been edited by Turbohog: 27 October 2018 - 12:07 AM

#7 User is offline MainMemory 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM

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It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.

#8 User is offline Traversal 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 02:10 AM

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View PostMainMemory, on 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM, said:

It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.


I can't tell which name is less fitting. I guess "Director's Cut" implies something was cut at least, while "Deluxe" is just a flat-out lie.

#9 User is offline Chibisteven 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 03:41 AM

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View PostTraversal, on 27 October 2018 - 02:10 AM, said:

View PostMainMemory, on 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM, said:

It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.


I can't tell which name is less fitting. I guess "Director's Cut" implies something was cut at least, while "Deluxe" is just a flat-out lie.


They should have called it "Sonic Adventure: We Don't Give A Shit Anymore Edition".

#10 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 08:27 AM

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View PostMainMemory, on 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM, said:

It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.

I can't believe I never knew this! Well put as usual MainMemory!

#11 User is offline Sid Starkiller 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 09:03 AM

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I will say this: even though some of the technical details of that blog are over my head, after reading a few pages, I went on eBay and grabbed a copy of Sonic Adventure DC. This'll be a fun nostalgia trip when it gets here. Thanks for that.

#12 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 09:32 AM

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View PostMainMemory, on 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM, said:

It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.

Wait... Did people think that "DX" meant "Director's Cut"?

#13 User is offline Yeow 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 01:32 PM

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View PostICEknight, on 27 October 2018 - 09:32 AM, said:

View PostMainMemory, on 27 October 2018 - 12:00 AM, said:

It is worth noting that the "Director's Cut" part of the title only appears in the English version of the logo. The Japanese version is simply Sonic Adventure Deluxe.

Wait... Did people think that "DX" meant "Director's Cut"?


Sonic Adventure Director's Cut: Director's Cut! :v:

(Although I admit, I thought that's what the DX stood for too)

#14 User is offline biggestsonicfan 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 01:40 PM

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View PostICEknight, on 27 October 2018 - 09:32 AM, said:

Wait... Did people think that "DX" meant "Director's Cut"?

I blindly accepted that a DX was stuck on the end of it to make it "COOL SWEET AND CATCHY". For reals, I thought it was just a term to differentiate between the previous Dreamcast version, nothing more.

#15 User is offline Morph 

Posted 27 October 2018 - 01:41 PM

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Some misconceptions:

  • The Steam version is not the one getting modded. Period. The "fix" for the Steam version isn't a fix for the Steam version, it's pirating the original 2004 PC release and replacing the Steam version with it. The original 2004 release is the one that is being modded.
  • The 360/PS3 versions are the same shitty port-port-port-port-port-port- as the real Steam version.
  • DX did nothing even remotely close to increasing texture quality. It did the exact opposite, which is addressed on the site you linked as your citation.


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