How Sonic Adventure nailed Sonic's characterization.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by khabastos, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. RDNexus


    Eggman even manages to blow up part of the moon, and ARK poses a threat when on a crash course with the world.
    So, yeah, SA2 managed to have its stakes high throughout the game, unlike SA1.
    But I've come to love SA1 more these last couple years. Maybe because it feels closer to the Classics than SA2... xD

    I only watched the OVA YEARS later, way after seeing its covers on Sonic JAM.
    And I also hardly ever watched Adventures or SatAM, so my image of Sonic & Pals comes mostly from the games. Oh, but I watched Underground.
    And thank goodness the games stuck with me more than the animations.
    Sonic X comes as a close second, but nowadays little do I remember of it.
  2. khabastos


    The point you bring up here and go on to explain in further detail is a really good one, I hadn't thought about that. I can definitely see now how both games can be perceived in a similar way, because they really are alike in terms of tone. However, I can't agree entirely. Like I said, Heroes takes itself seriously (as childish as the dialogue can be), even though the player might not. A lot of the screen time of Colors' cutscenes is made up by jokes, and there is at least one cutscene dedicated entirely for a gag. That's what I meant by "interrupting gameplay for humor". It's not even that bad, to be honest, I just don't like Sonic's personality being reduced to jokes.

    I'll agree that Sonic Adventure's narrative feels... empty, sometimes. I always thought that was due to the presentation, cutscenes are very slow and there are a lot of pauses in between lines, so I do find myself using plenty of imagination, like you said. However, even if it wasn't intended, I truly believe lines like the ones I picked for my original post make Sonic a more rounded character... when compared to later entries in the series, that is. I didn't get to experience Sonic's characterization through other media and I'm pretty young, so I also didn't get to experience the character as he evolved. I did watch the OVA at some point and I remember liking it a lot. It was weird seeing Sonic scream at Tails and his voice was a little strange too, but I enjoyed it.

    Like I said, I'm pretty young, but I do relate to this a lot. I played Heroes and then Unleashed when I was around 6 years old and I'm not joking when I say that Sonic kind of shaped my personality in a big way. Some people here mentioned anime and shonen, it's no coincidence that Goku has the same kind of importance for me, haha.
  3. RDNexus


    The matter with SA1's voiced cutscenes is more of a localization issue at the time.
    Maybe, nowadays, said issue might be way less noticeable.
    Also, hardware limitations and time constraints also conditioned the end result.
  4. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

    Virginia, USA
    Paying off student loans
    You're never too old to be influenced by something new. I was 13 when SA2 came out, but it was the first time I'd ever experienced the villain's side of the story, and it had a big impression on me. Hell, Iron Man was the first time I ever truly gave a shit about superheroes, and I was 20 when that came out.

    I don't know if this is a localization thing or not, but you reminded me of something that bugged the shit out of me, even at the time. Why was all the dialogue almost COMPLETELY different in each character's story? It's as if they had a different translator for every single story. That was actually something SA2, for all its localization failures, improved on: lines that were unimportant in a side's story were omitted (ex: the Dark Side story omits the shot of Sonic attempting Chaos Control while in the capsule, because no villain character knew he did it at the time), but never altered.
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  5. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    Honestly, I wasn't a big fan of OVA!Sonic if because he's a bit of a jerk. I don't think Sonic was ever meant to be portrayed that way considering he was always looking out his animal friends and Sega always played him more as a friendly, laid-back, cool guy rather than arrogant. Mania Adventures hit a good spot with him for sure, but I think we can all agree it's a delicate balance. Otherwise he could come off just the slightest bit bland like in Unleashed even if it's inoffensive.

    I think it's less a pendulum between a serious story and a comedic story than it is a pendulum between the writers taking the character too seriously vs not taking him seriously at all. In that respect, I'd say SA2 isn't as bad as SA1 where they were trying a little too hard for him to be cool and played it completely straight as opposed to Colors and Lost World where not even the character himself seemed to take himself seriously at all. I think the characterization may have less to do with the tone of the story per say than how he's written. That's why I think SA2 Sonic isn't as try-hard as SA1 Sonic could be.

    You bring up an interesting point. How much of this is down to localization and voice direction? Ryan's performance from SA1 to Heroes tended to vary. In SA1 he sounded a little forced and in Heroes it felt like he had his energy level turned up to 11. His performance in SA2 was a good even ground for me at least. Then we changed voice actors twice later on so the portrayal was gonna be different no matter what. In Japan though it's always been Jun'ichi Kanemaru, so I have to wonder if maybe Sonic feels a little more consistent in his portrayal for Japan despite the massive fluctuations in writing tone and quality.
  6. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    That was on purpose I think. Different points of view. "It's a feature, not a bug."
  7. SystemsReady


    I Have No Idea What I'm Doing At Any Given Moment Member
    The Twin Cities
    trying to not fall asleep while writing Selenium tests
    yeah, there's a trope called the Rashomon Style, where characters present in the same story all remember/tell events differently. That it has its own page indicates that it is a device used somewhat regularly.

    Also, the devs expected the player to see the same cutscenes over and over and probably decided to have it different each time to make it less tedious. I also play the game these days with JP voices on and what they say is different also, so it's not a translation thing I think.

    (SA2 had some cutscene overlap but kept them down to a minimum owing to a tighter plot and pacing)
  8. Multi Battler

    Multi Battler

    real lifed to death Member
    This always confused me as a kid.

    I came across an interesting quote from Shigeru Miyamoto while reading the Iwata Asks series (yes, I'm totally doing this):
    Maybe this is a rare case of Nintendo design philosophy... old Sonic Team style. xD
  9. Frostav


    At least Adventure tries something.

    No one who believes that Adventure was the best character-wise wants the series to remain at that level. We just think that it had the most potential for something greater.
  10. Mana


    Good! Great! Awesome! Outstanding! Amazing! Member
    Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 had such strong character arcs for nearly everyone that I actually wonder what the best direction to go in next would be in. Shadow and 06 got the wrong ideas from the two and now we don't get good stories at all.