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Sonic Heroes
 
   
 

Some people say this was where Sonic started to go downhill. I disagree.

If you asked some Sonic fans when they thought Sonic started to go downhill, I notice a lot of them answer either Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic Riders. I'll be honest; I personally don't think Sonic started to go downhill with this game, because this game, once you let yourself get into it, isn't that bad. In fact, it's closer to Sonic's roots than any other 3D game so far.

The general story is a little bit of a letdown. It had the potential to be something good, and if you analyse it, you can see the story had potential. However, the story just was not told very well, and the whole reasoning behind the journeys of the four teams just feels random. If you can ignore that though, then it's not that bad. To put it simply, Eggman is supposedly up to his evil deeds again and threatens to take over the world in three days - Sonic and his friends go to stop him. Meanwhile, Shadow reappears since his death in Sonic Adventure 2 with no memory - he joins up with Rouge and new character Omega, who both want Eggman for their own reasons. Amy wants to look for Sonic, believing he may have friends of Cream and Big. Team Chaotix meanwhile are sent on various assignments by a mysterious person who gives no name.

In this game, you take control of a team of three, and there are four teams overall - Sonic, Dark, Rose and Chaotix. Team Sonic is your team featuring standard difficulty, whereas Team Dark is the most difficult of the four teams. Team Rose is the team for beginners, acting as this game's easy mode, while Team Chaotix is more mission-based.

The three characters in the team are split by category - speed, flight and power. The speed character within the team is your standard 'runs really fast' character that can get you up steep hills and performs homing attacks. The flight types carry their team mates via flying over chasms or up walls. The power types, of course, are the characters capable of taking out enemies easier and breaking down walls. That is the basic make-up for each of the characters, and they are colour-coded to make them easy to recognize - blue resembles speed, yellow resembles flight and red resembles power.

Switching between your team-mates is easy enough, using the X and Y buttons to move to the selected character of your choice. I do have a gripe with this though - sometimes it may end up selecting the wrong character. Say you wanted to switch to your flight type - you hit the button to switch to that character, and you find you've switched to your power character instead. There are also times when you'll find yourself unable to switch out, though they are uncommon, they do become a little awkward.

As mentioned before, there are four teams. One thing that bothered me was the fact that each team goes through the exact same levels, which makes things feel kind of repetitive, but thankfully it's not that terrible as it sounds because of the difficulties of each of the teams, so there are some slight elements in each stages which make them stand out, even if it's not a lot.

The game plays somewhat smoothly and feels easy enough to control, though the controls aren't perfect. The camera can prove a problem on occasion, but I've rarely had problems with it. The Gamecube version of Sonic Heroes is without a doubt the best version out there, with the Playstation 2 version being the worst due to lousy frame rate.

When you get done with story mode, there's a challenge mode awaiting you, enabling you to play through the levels again to improve your grade. There's also a special mission for each level, depending on the team you play as. For example, the special mission for Team Sonic is always to make it through a stage in a certain amount of time, whereas Team Dark's require you to defeat a certain number of enemies.

The game also has multiplayer, and more multiplayer games are unlocked as you collect more emblems in the game. The multiplayer ranges from races, to battles, to collecting Rings. They're not bad, and can prove to be fun if you have a friend willing to play this with you.

The environments are bright, unique and colourful, a lot like many of the environments in the classic 2D Sonic titles, and that's one element that makes this game appealing. Despite that though, the graphics are not the most visably impressive thing in the world, but that being said, they're not terrible either.

The music is incredible, using cheesy, yet still enjoyable and pleasing to the ears. The sound effects are in good quality, and the voice-acting, in my opinion, is stellar, compared to the efforts of the 4kids cast who took over after Sonic Advance 3.

A lot of people write this game off as being 'too kiddy'. All I have to say to that is, at least Sonic feels a lot more like he used to back in the old 2D games here, unlike games that followed this trying to mature him. There's no denying the game has incredibly cheesy dialogue at times which can be grating and may get on your nerves, but if you can ignore that, you've got a reasonably good game, one of the better 3D Sonic titles, and the one Sonic 3D title which is closest to the 2D games.

The one thing Sonic is all about is speed, and this game, I feel, tries offers that sense of speed in 3D and does an okay job at it. It's not the best game in the world. But I feel it's a decent platformer. If you're unsure, rent it and try it out. But overall, I do say this game is at least worth a look. It certainly is a lot better than later 3D Sonic efforts.

 

RATING:

7/10

 
   
 

Review by Swift.

Fans and their reviews of video-games. xD