Happy Tenth Anniversary Sonic Adventure!
Tuesday, 23rd December 2008, 3:02pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Happy Birthday new-skool Sonic!

Yes, what that hastily put-together banner demonstrates is that today is a day that we can all put aside our XBox 360's (I have to anyway because mine has acquired its first case of the dreaded three rings of death!) and our Wii's and, if we can, dust off our Dreamcasts for a commemorative play of the game that cut Sonic's history in two. Today marks ten years since Sonic Adventure's original Japanese release and thus ten years of this "second generation", or new-skool Sonic, as it were.

After nearly four years with no primary Sonic game since Sonic & Knuckles, the world was beginning to forget about the hedgehog they had loved so much during the Megadrive era. Secondary platformers like Sonic 3D and Knuckles Chaotix couldn't fill the gap, Sonic X-treme fell apart in production and Sonic R tried its hardest but there was a great Sonic drought throughout the Saturn reign. But it was time for a new Sega console and with it, rightfully so, a brand new Sonic that would completely change the face of the series forever. Sonic Adventure was first unveiled to the Japanese public on August 22nd 1998 as the first truly 3D Sonic game. It was squeezed out with the Japanese release of the Dreamcast that Christmas, but polished up for the Western releases towards the end of 1999. Later, it followed its sequel's lead with a Gamecube port in 2003 in the form of Sonic Adventure DX.

The first thing I found striking was the character art. Sonic and company sported coloured eyes, lanky limbs displayed in outrageous poses and drawn and coloured in a simplistic, outlined style. The screenshots of giant worlds such as the jungles of Mystic Ruin and Lost World, and the sky scrapers of Speed Highway were enchanting - to me it looked like the most amazing game ever, and with news that Sonic would actually talk and engage in a complex storyline, it truly felt like a whole new direction for him. One that all games in the series since have extended from at least in some small way, be it the character art style, realistic worlds, 3D movements and moves such as the homing attack and light dash, complex storylines and personalities, vocal music, alternate gameplay modes or RPG style adventuring. It's the origin for all of these concepts just as Sonic 1 was the origin of all of the first generation's ideas and styles.

Although playing Sonic Adventure never really struck quite the same chord with me as it did with many long-time Sonic fans, or in the same way that most of the other primary games have done, I still see it as a collossal cornerstone for the whole of Sonic history simply for the fact that it has influenced absolutely everything since, and set Sonic on a whole new stylised path so radically different from anything beforehand. And so I say Happy Birthday Sonic Adventure, Happy Birthday modern Sonic! You've outlived the first generation both in time and number of games, and for that you should be proud.

It'll still be a long time coming yet (every summer I've been saying that I'm going to start writing about Sonic Adventure but it has yet to materialise), but after Sonic CD, 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, I can't wait to give this game the Zone: 0 treatment.

..Now where the hell did I keep my Dreamcast..?
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