Geek Critique: Sonic Adventure

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Josh, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Josh

    Josh

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    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZO2P3HVUD4[/youtube]

    A huge thanks, as always, to Covarr for beta reading the script and beta watching the video.
     
  2. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    I liked the green chao parts better, no idea why they changed them to yellow come SA2.
     
  3. Josh

    Josh

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    ...huh, I never even noticed that they did that.
     
  4. Korama

    Korama

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    They're yellow already in the cutscenes, though.
     
  5. TheKazeblade

    TheKazeblade

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    While I personally love Uewaka's artwork for the original SA (despite it becoming less and less unique and compelling from SA2 on. But at the beginning it felt like a 1920's cartoon with its highly contrasted sizes and proportions, just with a millenial coat of paint), I agree entirely with your assessment. Well-argued and well-informed as usual!
     
  6. Rage

    Rage

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    I just recently started watching your videos and I'm really digging them. Video game retrospectives are like my favorite subgenre of YouTube videos and you do it well. There's another YouTube page I found recently that does a similar thing and your narration is far better.

    One thing I'll say is I don't know that cutting back to your face really adds anything? I only bring it up because it seems like it's a recent addition to your videos. It doesn't take anything away either so it's not a huge deal, but I'd just thought I'd bring it up.

    I think this was about as fair an assessment of Sonic Adventure one could expect from a Sonic fan. Personally I fall closer to Arin Hanson/Egoraptor's opinion of the Sonic franchise, and SA in particular.
     
  7. Blue Blood

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    Probably because yellow and blue is a lot softer than green and blue. Personally, I prefer it. But the yellow is just for Baby Chao anyway. Once they evolve, the yellow parts become green. Differentiating between adult and baby Chao makes a fair bit of sense.

    Anyway...

    Just through watching this video now. Really enjoyed it. SA1 is an absolute mess of the game but, at the time, it was really bang on target. I especially like that you made a point about how the DC original was so well received and the GCN rerelease wasn't (and it's even worse for the Steam/360/PS3 version). The game set the right framework and suffered hugely for being so ambitious at the time. What worked at the launch of the Dreamcast didn't work just a few years on.

    I've replayed SA2 this week, leading to me falling in love with it all over again. I remember being appalled when I first looked up the game online and found a story concerning the a government conspiracy, realist locations and an overly dark edge. This is all when I was 9/10 and Heroes had just been announced, which I discovered at the same time. Setting all of that aside though, SA2 came close to solidifying what SA1 tried to do for gameplay. Sonic Team tightened up Sonic's gameplay to the point where the only real flaws were in cheap level design, and they added an amazingly fun grinding mechanic (which every game since has managed to botch). Then they went a decided to deviate the hunting and shooting stages even further form the Sonic-norm and dragged Tails into it just to make fans feel that little bit more uncomfortable.

    SA1 still kept everything (except Big) feeling like Sonic. The story tied in to the pre-established, if light, lore. The blending of realism and whimsical came off as totally natural. Only Unleashed and Generations have managed that since. The fundamentals of physics and speed and player control. The adventure games both suffered from copious amounts of automation that I remember bugging me even as a child, but it felt like a crutch for a team that didn't have the ability to create a true Sonic experience in 3D, due to lack of experience and technical capability. But somewhere along they line this all got confused and now the scripted events, boosters and springs define the Sonic experience and the games just play so differently. Technically better, but fundamentally worse.

    I still think that the Adventure games, as imperfect, aged and deserving of criticism as they are, should be paving the way forward for Sonic in 3D; SA1 in particular. It's a shame everything went off track.

    I'd love to see a faithful, 100% remake of SA1. The same game, but by present-day standards. It'll never happen though. Even if it was remade, I have no faith that the current Sonic Team and SEGA would do a good job of it. We could get SA1 where it plays like Generations, and that would still be totally wrong.
     
  8. Good work Josh :)

    Also, I think I'm the only person who actually enjoys Big's stages. I used to love just wondering around finding secret places to fish. So relaxing.
     
  9. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

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    I had this chat with Discoid some months ago. I think this is the conclusion we came to:

    Remake SA1, with just five character stories by scrapping Big in the process. Instead, tell Big's story through diary pages ala SatSR. Also include Big hidden somewhere in each stage, and upon speaking to him you enter a fishing minigame. Definitely include Big hidden somewhere during the Perfect Chaos battle.
     
  10. Rage

    Rage

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    Ironic that Big isn't in the Boom universe (yet?) given that he's the one who would benefit most from a redesign. I'm mostly talking about his personality and voice.
     
  11. Metalsonicmk72

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    As much as I hate to be "that guy," it bothers me that you talk about the game's original Dreamcast incarnation yet with the exception of that "dial-up screenshot" and the character select screen, the majority of the footage you used is that of one of the DX incarnations.

    Edit: I lied, there is some more Dreamcast Footage in the video, but my point still stands.
     
  12. Jen

    Jen

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    Awesome video, Josh. I really enjoyed it and totally agree with what you said.

    I played SA1 when it was brand new and it completely blew me away. Sure, it's not aged well, but I still love playing it to this day. I always enjoyed the story an awful lot; the way the characters' stories all intertwine, the fact that we got to see some more Echindas in the past (although my reaction to Knuckles not commenting on the situation was just what you said in the video, which made me chuckle), Chaos is such an awesome character... I could go on and on. The in-game cutscenes have always been horrible though, let's be honest - even in 1999 I was laughing at shit like "Watch out, you're gonna crash! Aah!" =P The pre-rendered cutscene with Perfect Chaos laying waste to Station Square is still cool though; it scared the shit out of me when I first played the game, haha.

    As for the gameplay itself...

    This, 100%. I feel that the Adventure style games, from SA1 through to 06, got worse as they went along; but it's a real shame that the formula was scrapped altogether when SA1 did so much right (in spite of its unstable engine). It could have been made into something amazing. I've grown to like the Unleashed/Generations style, but it's a bit too linear for me and I'm not keen on the boost mechanic - I kinda prefer the loose, open feel of Sonic Adventure.
     
  13. Blue Blood

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    Which brings us to Lost World, the supposed to answer to this issue. It was built off the modern game framework though, and just completely did not work.

    SA1 and '06 had the right ideas. Both to varying degrees of success in execution, mind you.
     
  14. EmerlForgotten

    EmerlForgotten

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    I loved the video and your points about the criticisms then and now are spot on. However, I agree that the face shots seem unnecessary for the kind of video this is. Perhaps interpolate some TGS 1998 footage to add some more visual background to the early days of Sonic Adventure?
     
  15. Loved this retrospective, especially when you touched on seeing the redesign for the first time. I remember when I saw it for the first time, it was my parents that pointed it out at a Toys R Us when I was 7. I'll never forget what my dad said after point it out: "Why'd they make him look like a demon with green eyes? He looks evil now. That's stupid."

    Also 100% agree that Sonic Adventure was good for it's time, but the shine has worn away more and more with time and each successive rerelease. Gotta say, as much as I dug gameplay from Unleashed, Colors and Generations, I'll take Adventure over whatever Lost World was any day.
     
  16. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

    For some mysterious reason... Administrator
    You know, it's a shame that Sonic Adventure has aged so badly over the years. Well, aged in a way that more people like to point out as opposed to its contemporaries. Perhaps if Heroes and '06 were fantastic games, the general public would look back at the first Adventure game far more fondly. I remember when all those glowing reviews for the Dreamcast original came out, there were mentions of some awkward camera angles, the occasional "fall through the floor" glitch, and the confusing inclusion of Big the Cat's gameplay, but people still scored it high, perhaps expecting those subtle flaws to be gone come the sequel.

    What I also remember is that, for the most part, there wasn't a vocal outcry at the redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1998. Watching the original presentation on streaming RealVideo, I remember being psyched beyond belief. That we would finally get a new game from Sonic Team. And going online, reading people's excited mentions on Usenet, it was far more positive than negative. A.J. Freda's vocal denouncement of Sonic's new look was against the grain, and plenty of confused pre-teens decided to have a shout at him, though in hindsight I think we all understand what he was trying to point out, even if he didn't do it as well as he could have. Reading what magazines I could get my hands on, there weren't journalists talking about his eyes, or his proportions, or anything. Just that he was sleeker for a new era. And I think part of it was, subconsciously, we assumed that every few years the look of Sonic would be updated, or that it might even go back to what was before, the in-game model (as you say in your video) certainly helping matters. But that didn't happen. Instead, the design stagnated, going in uncomfortable territory in 2006, then scaling back but never being quite as dynamic as the original SA drawings, or as timeless as the 16-bit era. An unspoken promise was broken, which just exploded in the worst way during the Sonic 4 debacle.

    I will go on record that playing Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast even today is a more satisfying experience than trying to play it on the GameCube or the PC. I don't know if that's just a wave of nostalgia holding that controller, hearing the familiar whirr of the Dreamcast firing to life, looking down and seeing the VMU show that pixelated logo...

    Also, about the convoluted continuity. I know at the time I was aware of all those various properties (and you forgot to mention the crazy Sonic manga ohoho) but I wonder, if you weren't online trying to read everything there was to know about Sonic the Hedgehog, did you really know there were so many different versions of Sonic out there? In the U.S., you had the American storyline with Kintobor, but aside from Sega's official website and the 1991 comic, it was never mentioned in any manual. You wouldn't know about the UK comic, and the Archie book was just this somewhat continuation of the Saturday morning series. Heck, I'd say Adventure might have just confused someone more! Because at the same time the game came out you had both the English dub of the OVA and Underground premiere. Not to mention the fact the Archie book didn't tie into any of it, and reminded people of the other Sonic cartoon which had been cancelled for years. And if you had read that promotional comic, where was Kintobor?!

    All in all, I enjoyed the video. Here's hoping you're able to continue on with Adventure 2.
     
  17. Overlord

    Overlord

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    To me the face shots come across as more an AVGN/Nostalgia Critic style of review. Whether a given person thinks this is bad or not is entirely down to personal preference, I didn't mind it at all.

    Great work as usual Josh, it's a shame to hear about your current situation.
     
  18. Rage

    Rage

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    Both AGVN and NC are characters, though, which is why it makes more sense there.
     
  19. Josh

    Josh

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    I'm sure I read it back then, but I don't remember what A.J. Freda had to say about it. There's a name I haven't thought of in a long time.

    As for the continuity, the prevalence of online communities was exactly why it had to be modernized. Sure, if you weren't online at the time, it was unlikely you'd know about most of them. But imagine some version of Sonic Adventure that was as light on plot as Sonic 3, and was localized by region. SatAM was probably the most prevalent fanbase in the west at the time, so what if Sega of America had tied the story into it, while Japan stuck with SegaSonic? It's the kind of thing you could get away with in 1993, but not in 1999.

    Nonetheless, yeah, the OVA came out the day before the Dreamcast IIRC, and Underground was on at the same time. The comic did at least adapt Sonic Adventure, but I suppose my point was that the games going forward would become the dominant, "main" continuity, and would be consistent worldwide, rather than sloppily trying to make Amy Rose into Princess Sally or talking about Planet Mobius.

    That's true, but what about SuperBunnyhop, Somecallmejohnny, or ProJared? You don't have to be playing a character to make effective use of them, and they can be great for cutting down on editing and conveying a reaction. This style is definitely something that I'll keep working on, but since this was the first time I've really integrated these shots, there are some kinks. In fact, there was an earlier cut of this episode that featured more of them, but I edited them out because I recognized that they were a bit jarring.
     
  20. Faseeh

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    Watched this video and somehow the Greek Critique videos reach out to my childhood more so than any videos ever.

    Thank you for the great time and hope your situation improves, you've done a great job so far :)

    ...also this video made me realise I like modern sonic with black eyes a lot.