Rings around the competition.
This week it seemed appropriate to look back at some of our favourite launch titles ever. And today we have a classic.
“Sonic doesn’t work in 3D”. There’s a phrase that would see a rise in popularity throughout the 21st century. As the years turned into decades, our collective memory has been warped. We’ve lived through Sonic 2006. We’ve been made cynical. But in 1999, Sega were primed to usher in a new generation, and a more modern take on their beloved mascot.
Sonic Adventure was the first mainline Sonic title since 1994’s one-two punch of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Sonic and Sega were back, and more bombastic than ever. This was 128-bit, baby! Ask anyone what the coolest moment on the Dreamcast was, they would confidently respond with Sonic being chased by a killer whale in Emerald Coast, Adventure’s opening level.
However, Sonic Adventure was more than just a technical showpiece. It was a look into the world of Sonic. It turns out that giant anthropomorphic animals are actually something of a minority here. There are humans here that have lives, you can talk to them, and hear about their problems. I would spend hours running around the city and the forest, just being Sonic, and it’s fun.
When people say Sonic doesn’t work in 3D, what they mean is that a 21-year-old game has some camera and collision detection issues. They mean there’s a rotund cat who’s lost his frog. What they certainly don’t mean is that Sonic controls badly, because he doesn’t. The momentum and physics that the 2D games are known for is all there, they just forgot. Rushed development and bad management meant that Sega would struggle to capture this magic again, but in 1999, Sonic Adventure was the stuff of dreams.