Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

Sega's famous hedgehog speeds onto the GameCube with some new features, but a few old problems.
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Destruction: Combat against non-human enemies (robots), one instance of an explosion.

Mild Violence: One case of bloodless violence against a living creature, cutscenes imply stronger violence.

Spiritual Content: Some enemies are ghosts, plot revolves around magic gems and the artificial creation of life.

Mild Sexual Content: One character wears a tight, low-cut outfit. In-game song has a line referencing sexuality

Lawlessness: Storyline involves either fleeing from the law and/or fighting against it.

Mild Language: The word d**n is spoken once in a song

He’s back again; Sega’s cool, blue mascot. I don’t know of anyone who thinks the only Sonic is the drive-in restaurant. Since day one, gamers have lived in the fast lane with the equally fast hedgehog. We’ve followed Sonic from rolling hills, ancient ruins, and the cold, metallic laboratories of his arch-enemy, Dr. Robotnik, for that final showdown between the mad scientist and our high-speed hero. With the release of the Sega Dreamcast, Sega brought our favorite blue friend into a new world: 3-D. Sonic Adventure, the first true 3-D Sonic game, spun its way into homes way back in 1999. It gave way to a sequel aptly named Sonic Adventure 2. In 2002, Sega decided to bring Sonic and company to the Nintendo GameCube with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

Battle is simply a re-make of the original Sonic Adventure 2 with a few new features and a different look to the cutscenes. But still for those of you who enjoyed speeding around as Sonic or his rival, Shadow, this game still has the same spark as it did back in 2001.

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Plot

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle features two separate stories each one following a different set of characters. On one side, you have the Hero story, featuring the familiar faces of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. On the other side is the Dark story where you step into the shoes of Dr. Robotnik and his two cohorts, Shadow and an alluring bat named Rouge. You must complete both stories to unlock the ending story.

Hero Story:

Sonic’s always been a bit of a rebel, but who knew he’d ever end up in trouble? Well, trouble is just where Sonic ends up after being arrested by the military. Unwilling to go quietly, Sonic breaks free of his captors, hoping to find a way to clear his name. He soon runs into a mysterious black hedgehog by the name of Shadow. It doesn’t take long for our blue friend to put two and two together, and he begins his search for Shadow and once again foil the plan of his nemesis, Dr. Robotnik. Meanwhile Tails, Sonic’s best buddy, hopes to help his friend out of the tight spot he finds himself in.

Not one to be left out, Knuckles the Echidna has his own set of troubles. The giant emerald he guards and protects, the Master Emerald ends up stolen and shattered once again, so our red-haired treasure hunter has his own work to take care of. And somehow all of them end up in the same place.

Dark Story:

Wherever Sonic is, or isn’t, the power-crazed Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman as he now calls himself) is never far behind. His goals haven’t changed much. He still schemes to rule the world, only this time, he’s trying a few new methods. The mad scientist attacks a top-secret military base hoping to uncover a secret project worked on by none other than his own grandfather. Eggman soon learns that the project is in fact a strange hedgehog that looks a bit like Sonic, except for the fact that he’s black instead of blue and he’s got a few streaks of red in his spikes. This new hedgehog, Shadow, submits to Eggman and promises to grant the madman one wish. All Shadow requests is that the bad doctor bring the legendary Chaos Emeralds and meet him on board a floating space colony known as ARK. Along for the ride for global rule is a jewel-loving bat named Rouge, with an agenda all her own.

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Gameplay

Gameplay in Battle depends on who you are playing as. Sonic and Shadow both rev up the speed as the run, jump and slide along rails towards the goal. Tails and Eggman pilot large robot walkers and shoot their way past enemies also looking for the goal. Knuckles and Rouge both are treasure hunters, so you’ll be looking for pieces of the Master Emerald or whatever else you need to find.

Offensive Content

Violence

If you’ve played any Sonic game, you’ll remember well that the only enemies you run into are robots. Battle is no exception. Hordes of mechanical menaces lurk around every corner. Some try to ram into you, and some shoot at you and all of them explode when you hit them. Sonic isn’t really known for extreme violence. The worst is seen in cutscenes. An explosion is seen in one clip that consumes the entire landscape. Another scene shows a shooting. We only hear the bullet being fired and see a character holding the spot where they’ve been hit. No blood is seen, but considering its nature, it is a little extreme for a Sonic game. Another cutscene hints at the possible death of a character and may upset some fans.

Also the final boss is not robotic, but a living creature of some kind.

A minor area includes a fighting arena for Chao, the adorable, blob-like creatures from Sonic Adventure. This is quite tame and the Chao are unharmed afterwards. In this Chao Karate, the combatants only attack with small punches and kicks.

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Spiritual Content

Another recognizable element from Sonic’s past are the Chaos Emeralds. These jewels contain unlimited power, but what that power is left to assumption. It’s not really explained whether or not the emeralds are magic, but I think it’s safe to assume they are.

The game also deals with the creation of life, but through artificial means. This element is more a sci-fi element than a spiritual one, but still it’s worth noting that there is only One who can create life. You might want to share that with your children. They won’t find any mention of God or any gods at all in this game. The closes thing is the name of the space colony ARK. Whether or not the designers chose this name after the Ark, I don’t know.

Ghosts are also featured as enemies and one is a boss.

Sexual Content

I never thought I’d have to write a section like this in a Sonic game. All of it is pretty clean, except for newcomer Rouge the Bat. Her outfit consists of only a tight, heart-shaped shirt and black pants, and the top is pretty low-cut as well. A couple of times, I thought her chest jiggled a little as well.

Even worse is the outfit you can unlock for her for use in 2-player mode. This outfit is very revealing, showing part of her chest and her stomach. It seems even Sega fell into the idea that sexualizing their characters is a good thing.

Even the song played for one level mentions Rouge’s sexuality, calling her “sexy and smooth.”

Mild Language

Yet another disappointing element: Knuckles’s theme song features one use of the word d**n. It is pretty much in the background and masked by the dialogue however, so unless you know it’s there beforehand, you probably won’t notice it. Still, it wasn’t needed.

Lawless Themes

Sonic breaks out of custody and fights against the military as does Tails.

Since you have to play on the dark side as well, you also have to fight to further Eggman’s nefarious plans. While playing this story, you are required to steal as part of the plot.

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Noteworthy Elements

Even though Sonic evades and fights the law, he does so with restraint. He never attacks a person. This is in stark contrast to Shadow and Eggman who thoughtlessly destroy. Characters are also willing to risk their lives to help each other and even put aside their own disputes for the greater good.

********Spoiler Alert********

Even Shadow, who is later revealed to be helping carry out the destruction of the world, puts aside his own desire for revenge to keep a promise he made to a friend and save the very world he fought to destroy. He makes the biggest sacrifice of all: giving his own life for the lives of others.

********Spoilers End********

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Conclusion

I’ve been a life-long Sonic fan. Since the days of the Sega Genesis, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Every new game that came out, I had to scoop up and play to the end.

When Sonic went to the Dreamcast, I ate that one up like all the rest. I enjoyed seeing him sleeker than he had ever been, and the addition of an entire voice cast really made it a game I enjoyed. Hey, when you grew up on the Genesis, seeing your favorite characters and hearing voices that fit them perfectly was something that would be sure to please. I thought the same of Sonic Adventure 2. To this day, it’s still the last, great 3-D Sonic title out there to me.

But that’s not to say it’s spotless. A bit of spiritual murk, unseen but easily guessed violence, and a character whose only purpose is to turn heads all put spots on what should’ve been a squeaky clean title. However, it doesn’t diminish themes of courage and self-sacrifice that still find a way to shine through. Even so, I can’t recommend this game to everybody if any of the above offends you.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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