Posted: January 8th, 2005
Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 7+
Sonic Heroes is the next-generation series of Sonic titles. The first game in the series feels like the Sonic Adventure
games, with some additions including style and characters. Is it better this way?

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle focused on music with words in them. Most of that style of music is eliminated, but that's good.
Most of the music is average, with a couple of excellent tunes, but none with lyrics; it sometimes feels less like a Sonic
game. I can get over it, as some of the music from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle sounded awful. There's also a little less
music because there are not as many levels, but it seems to do the job. The mix of music styles works well. Some music is
borrowed from previous games, but you'll hardly notice those ones.
Sound effects are a little more varied in this game, but the mixing isn't very good. Some sound effects have been heard,
while others are new. Even with the addition of Dolby Pro Logic, some sounds, and sometimes voices, seem muffled. It
wasn't as bad as it was in SA2: Battle, but there is still room for improvement. The voice acting is actually a little worse
than before, but they all seem to fit their characters appropriately. Omochao sounds very bad, but there is a unique thing
about him. He actually points out which buttons to press during tutorials, showing that Sega spent some extra time in the
voice room recording these. The same problem of voices fitting with their mouths moving is present, but it doesn't seem as
bad as before. Overall, it's rough around the edges, but at least decent.

In this Sonic game, you have the ability to control three characters. As in previous games like this, you are essentially
only controlling one. The speed character focuses on tapping A to defeat enemies, although with harder ones, you'll want
to use the power character. Rolling is underused in this game, but that's probably because the developers wanted you to
utilize the power character more. The rolling function is terrible, so much that it's hard to stay on a particular platform  
because of the weird spasms it seems to have when you let go of B. A new attack involves pressing B while in the air. This
whirlwind move is not as effective on enemies, but is needed in parts of levels you'll encounter later on.
The power character seems to be used as much as speed, because with this character, it's easy to defeat multiple enemies
at once. Sometimes it is better to use your Team Blast, which is executed by Z and destroys everything nearby. However,
until you get to that point, you'll be switching to this character a lot. The punch and rolls on the ground are also a bit
spastic, but not as much as with the speed character.
The fly character is hardly used. You'll use this character only for gaining heights, really. The character has an attack,
that is over-dominated by the power and speed characters' attacks. There is rarely a time when you'll need that attack,
unless there's a target in the air or an electrical enemy. This underutilization isn't so bad, as it seems natural to play each
level with the speed and power characters.
Using all three of them is simple, and you use Y or X to toggle between each one. There are other cases in the game where
the control lacks. The special stages are very bad at control. Most players should avoid moving to an upside-down position,
as the game seems to hinder the player's movement up there. The pinball stages are also not very good, as sometimes it
seems to be badly programmed. Overall, there don't seem to be as many flaws as in previous games.

The graphics engine is very different, and it seems that the developers
were aiming for a myriad of lighting effects to spruce it up. It doesn't
work too well on the characters, but on the environments, it's pretty
good. There also seem to be some more particles and stuff moving
around. The cutscenes are a little worse than before, but it's not a
major part of the game. The games flows at a pretty good pace, and
mostly everything is visible and discernible. The icons are correctly
sized, and don't seem too big. Progressive Scan really helps; something
I wanted to see in SA2: Battle. Some of the animations look cheesy,
but that was more of a design problem. Everything flows well, and there
don't seem to be any framerate problems, except in multiplayer mode.
Even then, it's minor. Overall the graphics aren't excellent, but
definitely better.

I was surprised to hear about four different teams, and I expected quite a lot to do in this one. Although the difficulty in
completing levels is the same, the difficulty in earning A ranks is easier. That said, you can easily beat this game in about
20 hours. That's not too bad, but there is only 1 extra mission for each level, compared to four extra before. The extra
missions in SA2: Battle were not overwhelming, but showed how much replay you could pack into a game. This game does
not showcase that.
There is a multiplayer mode, but it is boring. You don't even have it until you play some of the single player mode. You
should never have to unlock a multiplayer mode in any game, and this is a flaw. There is also no Chao Garden. This very
creative aspect of SA2: Battle (almost like a whole game inside of another) would have been fun. This is just your typical
adventure game length and typical extras. 20 hours is a lot, but the extras don't hold up as much.
After unlocking levels, you can listen to music from there. After beating the game with one team, you can watch all of
their cutscenes, but these barely last. The four teams range in difficulty, which means you'll probably spend twice as much
time in Dark levels than Rose levels. In fact all of the levels are essentially the same, except for length, which is different
for each team. Team Chaotix has their own creative twists to the regular levels, but this is not really a replay value to the
game. Overall, there was more expected, but at least it lasts for a while, if you can stand it.

Let's face it; Sonic games have changed since 2D. The transition from 2D to 3D wasn't as good as say Mario, Metroid and
the Zelda series have. There has also been a slight transition from the Sonic Adventure series to this series, if it is one. It
seems now that Sonic games are based on threesomes working together. Is that bad? Not really, but consider that this
worked well with Banjo-Kazooie. It doesn't work well here. Instead of increasing the difficulty, why not add exclusive
elements to each team.
Every team is basically the same, except for who you are playing as. Each team is speed, power and fly. That's it. Where's
the variety? Team Chaotix missions aren't too bad, although some are a bit quirky. That's about all I see. The enemies can
all be defeating with a couple or a million A button presses. You hardly need flying for anything, and the power people just
lose the fast-paced style that we know from Sonic games. Look at SA2: Battle. There are three types of people, not just
one. We had treasure hunters, shooters and runners. This idea was incorporated into its multiplayer modes, too.
Now look at this game. We really only have one type of people: speed power flyers. So you can see, the formula is not one
I like. However, I have to admire their attempt at trying something new. I think most of us can move on a find a more
enjoyable game than this one. I didn't get the feeling of wanting to come back for more, except for the difficulty levels.
That's all the teams have separate from each other. I like games with difficulty levels, but this goes with a different
approach. Why do we need 12 characters when 3 is enough? Overall, this game series probably shouldn't go on, unless they
can spruce the next one up more.





Final Words

For the right price, this game would be good. It's not that its bad, it's actually a good game. I just am not receiving the
same type of 'fun' response I had playing SA2: Battle. And this game actually looked good before it came out. I was little
disappointed, but it could have been much worse, like Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. If the price dropped, I would
recommend this.