The Mak­ing Of: Sonic Ad­ven­ture

If the Dream­cast was go­ing to suc­ceed In Its make-or-break mis­sion, It needed star power – It needed sonic. but sonic needed a re­vamp. we speak to TAKASHI IIZUKA and KAZUYUKI HOSHINO to learn how sega’s hero was rein­vented for his 3D De­but

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS - words by nick thorpe

Takashi Iizuka and Kazuyuki Hoshino on the trails and tribu­la­tions of mak­ing Sonic’s first full-3d plat­former

The gam­ing au­di­ence can be a fickle one, and by the late Nineties Sega was cer­tainly feel­ing the ef­fects of hav­ing lost its af­fec­tion. In the early part of the decade, the com­pany had ex­pe­ri­enced ex­plo­sive growth thanks to the suc­cess of the Mega Drive, driven by its charis­matic mas­cot Sonic The Hedge­hog. Sega broke Nin­tendo’s vir­tual mo­nop­oly on the con­sole mar­ket and joined it as a leader, be­fore the com­pany crashed down to earth as the over-en­gi­neered and ex­pen­sive Sega Saturn failed to repli­cate the suc­cess of its pre­de­ces­sor. Sonic had suf­fered in those years – Sonic Team was busy on new projects like NIGHTS Into Dreams, and Sega Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute’s planned 3D plat­form game Sonic X-treme was can­celled, hav­ing col­lapsed un­der the weight of its own am­bi­tion. By mid-1997 Sonic had es­sen­tially been shuf­fled into the back­ground, with his most re­cent game be­ing Sonic Jam, a com­pi­la­tion of his Mega Drive ad­ven­tures. Though the col­lec­tion was ex­cel­lent, it was as­ton­ish­ing to see that just six years after his de­but, Sonic was al­ready retro.

That change in sta­tus was not lost on Sonic Team, which be­gan work on a new Sonic pro­ject im­me­di­ately after Sonic Jam’s com­ple­tion. “As we fo­cused our time mak­ing new games and not Sonic games, we saw Sonic’s pop­u­lar­ity drop and felt like we let down all the fans that had sup­ported Sonic from the be­gin­ning,” re­mem­bers Takashi Iizuka, di­rec­tor of Sonic Ad­ven­ture and cur­rent Sonic se­ries pro­ducer. But Sonic’s de­clin­ing pop­u­lar­ity wasn’t just down to the lack of new games. “My im­pres­sion was that Sonic had lost that fresh, new im­age he had when the char­ac­ter de­buted. Al­most all of that was gone and the char­ac­ter felt very safe, bor­ing and con­ser­va­tive,” ex­plains Sonic Ad­ven­ture art di­rec­tor Kazuyuki Hoshino. In short, Sonic needed a re­boot. “We all took it upon our­selves to make an­other Sonic game – the best Sonic game to date – some­thing that the fans would feel was worth the wait,” says Iizuka.

Sonic Team knew that a new Sonic game would have to be rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent to pre­vi­ous en­tries, as a 2D game like the Mega Drive clas­sics just wouldn’t cut it with the au­di­ence of the late Nineties. How­ever, Iizuka had en­vi­sioned what a 3D Sonic game might look like as early as 1996, with a ‘Sonic RPG ’ pro­posal – lit­tle more than a one-page sketch show­ing how typ­i­cal ad­ven­ture game el­e­ments might work in a Sonic en­vi­ron­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, ac­tu­ally try­ing to im­ple­ment this soon caused prob­lems. “We made the first pro­to­type for Sonic Ad­ven­ture on the Saturn. How­ever, when we set out to cre­ate a 3D world for Sonic to be able to run around in freely we hit a wall with what the Saturn was able to do,” ex­plains Iizuka. “That’s when we heard of the new Dream­cast hard­ware that would excel in rep­re­sent­ing a 3D en­vi­ron­ment. The Sega Saturn

was very good at util­is­ing ma­nip­u­lated sprites to present a dis­play that rep­re­sented poly­gons, but the Dream­cast was a true 3D pro­cess­ing ma­chine, so it was per­fect for de­vel­op­ing Sonic Ad­ven­ture.”

The tim­ing of the new game with the new hard­ware pro­ject turned out to be for­tu­itous, as Sonic Team could shape the Dream­cast to match its needs. “To cre­ate a 3D stage where Sonic could run around at high speed, we needed a lot of in­ter­nal mem­ory on the hard­ware,” says Iizuka. “Since the Dream­cast was still in the plan­ning stages of de­vel­op­ment, we were able to spec out the de­sign for Sonic and then were able to put in a re­quest to the hard­ware team about the re­quired mem­ory we would need in the ma­chine, which re­ally helped us ex­e­cute on the de­sign of the game.” Of course, work­ing on in­com­plete hard­ware also has its dis­ad­van­tages, as Iizuka re­minds us. “We started de­vel­op­ing the game when the hard­ware was only about 30 per cent com­plete, so we were con­stantly try­ing to imag­ine what the fi­nal spec for the ma­chine might be as we were cre­at­ing the con­tent.”

In­deed, even with the abil­ity to re­quest plenty of mem­ory, tech­ni­cal con­straints were a real is­sue when cre­at­ing Sonic Ad­ven­ture’s stages. “Be­cause the world you run through is a 3D world, all the stages had set heights and lengths. At the time, we all had Sonic’s height marked down at one me­tre, but hav­ing Sonic that large and run­ning that fast for a cou­ple of min­utes, one stage would have to be many kilo­me­tres long and the data re­quired for a stage would get to very large sizes,” ex­plains Hoshino. “While it may seem ob­vi­ous to state that we’d have to split up the lev­els into pieces that would fit the al­lot­ted mem­ory size we had to work in, then read in the data for the next part of the stage on the fly and get rid of the parts of the stage that you passed by, a lot of that know-how and tech­nique took a lot of time to re­search and fig­ure out back in the day.”

T“we were con­stantly try­ing to Imag­ine what the fi­nal spec for the [Dream­cast] might be” takashi iizuka

he art di­rec­tion for the stages was eas­ier to fig­ure out. “As a Dream­cast launch ti­tle, we needed to be able to present the abil­i­ties of the ma­chine in an ap­peal­ing way to con­sumers. That was what our team was or­dered to do. When we asked our­selves, ‘What graph­ics give you the im­pres­sion of be­ing high-spec?’ the an­swer we de­cided upon were graph­ics that were re­al­is­tic,” ex­plains Hoshino. Although Sonic would still visit forests and coasts, he’d also run through cities and ru­ins, with­out the ab­stract rep­re­sen­ta­tions of pre­vi­ous games.

The game called for such en­vi­ron­ments due to its story, which flashed be­tween the present day and an an­cient echidna tribe’s past in­ter­ac­tions with the wa­ter spirit Chaos. In or­der to en­hance the game’s re­al­ism, Sonic Team took an in­ter­na­tional trip. “Game

de­vel­op­ment up un­til then was all done with artists draw­ing all the tex­tures by hand, but when de­vel­op­ing on the Dream­cast, we were able to take real-life pho­tos and use them as tex­tures”, Iizuka con­tin­ues. “Be­cause this was pos­si­ble, we planned to take a trip out to not only see an­cient ru­ins that were a key story point to the ti­tle first-hand, but also use it as a trip where we could gather as­sets for the game. We went to the very fa­mous ru­ins in Cen­tral and South Amer­ica: Chichen Itza, San Ger­va­sio, Tikal, Machu Pic­chu, the Nazca Lines, and more. We took pho­tos of the walls and ma­te­ri­als in the real ru­ins and used those real pho­tos as the as­sets in the game.”

Hav­ing fig­ured out how to cre­ate a large and de­tailed world for Sonic to ex­plore, a big­ger prob­lem re­mained. Sonic had never in­hab­ited a full-3d world be­fore, and work­ing out the game de­sign re­quired to make that en­joy­able was a chal­lenge. “For 2D clas­sic Sonic games, if you kept go­ing right, you’d be able to clear the goal line. Be­cause there was that de­fined di­rec­tion in­her­ent in the game­play we were able

to cre­ate the high-speed pro­gres­sion,” says Iizuka. “Once we went to a 3D world where you could run in any di­rec­tion, you ul­ti­mately were never sure of where to go. This sort of game­play re­quired a com­pletely dif­fer­ent type of level de­sign. In the very be­gin­ning we were build­ing out the model for the stage, play­ing, then throw­ing out to re­make, re­play and throw it all out again and again till we got it right.”

Solv­ing the prob­lem re­quired the use of a tool that hadn’t been par­tic­u­larly prom­i­nent in 2D game de­sign. “When we were right in all the trial and er­ror for level de­sign, I picked up on the role and func­tion­al­ity of the cam­era,” Iizuka re­calls. “2D Sonic would al­ways be mov­ing to the right of the dis­play, and in a sim­i­lar way, if we had the cam­era show­ing the di­rec­tion that 3D Sonic should be run­ning towards (into the world) in front of you, I thought we should be able to make any sort of com­plex 3D stage that you could get to the end of by con­tin­u­ally go­ing ‘up’ on the con­troller (mov­ing for­ward in the world). After think­ing up this cam­era sys­tem, we tried it out on Speed High­way and found it was suc­cess­ful!” Where other 3D plat­form games al­ways show a view from be­hind the char­ac­ter, Sonic Ad­ven­ture’s cam­era sys­tem is more heav­ily di­rected by the game de­sign­ers, cor­re­spond­ing more to the stage pro­gres­sion than the player’s di­rec­tion of travel. You’ll be pointed around bends as the cam­era turns to face your next des­ti­na­tion, and the cam­era of­ten pulls out for spec­tac­u­lar shots dur­ing loops or other ob­sta­cles.

Although the stages were pri­mar­ily de­signed around Sonic’s need for ex­pan­sive lo­ca­tions, the game fea­tures five other char­ac­ters with their own styles of game­play. “It took so much more time to cre­ate the 3D worlds for Sonic to run around in than we ever imag­ined. We felt it was a waste if Sonic just quickly ran through the lev­els that we spent so much time cre­at­ing, so I thought of ways we could lever­age our as­sets ef­fec­tively, and from that was born the six playable char­ac­ters each with their unique playstyle,” says Iizuka. “Now that we had unique char­ac­ters, I fig­ured they should each have their own sto­ries to fol­low and goals to ac­com­plish, then I thought it would be in­ter­est­ing if all the sto­ries had some con­nec­tion to each other, so we wrote a story and then told that story through the six per­spec­tives of the unique char­ac­ters.”

The first three char­ac­ters were all fa­mil­iar to Sonic fans. Tails’ game­play typ­i­cally adapted por­tions of Sonic’s stages into one-on-one races. Knuck­les’ game was de­signed to con­trast with Sonic’s. “Since the game­play for Sonic was about run­ning through the var­i­ous set routes, I wanted to add game­play el­e­ments where you could move around in any di­rec­tion in­side of the 3D space. Since Knuck­les’ orig­i­nal bio had him as a trea­sure hunter, I in­stantly had the idea of mak­ing some trea­sure hunt­ing game­play in the 3D uni­verse,” ex­plains Iizuka. Amy Rose also be­came playable for the first time, with Iizuka choos­ing a less com­bat-oriented style de­spite her squeaky ham­mer weapon. “The other char­ac­ters all en­gage in ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour as the core ‘fun’ and emo­tional sat­is­fac­tion in the game, so I wanted to in­clude some game­play that was more about the thrill of tech­ni­cal game­play,” ex­plains the de­signer. “Hid­ing out of sight from pur­suers, hav­ing to run and hide after an en­emy pops out of nowhere – I wanted this game to

have thrills and ten­sion that wouldn’t ex­ist if the playable char­ac­ter was Sonic.”

Two new char­ac­ters were also added, in­clud­ing E-102 Gamma – the first playable char­ac­ter to ex­plore Eg­gman’s side. “The first thing I thought about for Gamma was game­play. I wanted some type of sat­is­fy­ing game­play that couldn’t be done with Sonic – that was shoot­ing. When think­ing about what sort of char­ac­ter would shoot, hav­ing one of Eg­gman’s ro­bots be a playable char­ac­ter first came to mind,” says Iizuka. “Look­ing back, the story was very in­ter­est­ing be­cause we were able to ex­press the feel­ings of a ro­bot fol­low­ing Eg­gman’s or­ders, as well as show­ing the an­i­mals locked in­side.” The most un­usual in­clu­sion was that of Big The Cat, who brought some­thing truly unique. “We had high-speed ac­tion, trea­sure hunt­ing, shoot­ing – tons of con­tent to re­ally chal­lenge the level de­sign­ers and cre­ators, so I wanted one of the games that was go­ing to be some­thing fun and com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the other types of game­play be­ing of­fered,” ex­plains Iizuka. “That’s when I thought, if we have wa­ter on the map we can present the player with a fish­ing game. I told the char­ac­ter de­signer I wanted a gi­ant, re­laxed char­ac­ter so the play­ers wouldn’t mis­take the game­play on the level as some­thing in­tense.”

In or­der to pro­vide hub worlds to join up those ac­tion stages, the team im­ple­mented Ad­ven­ture Fields, which were a new con­cept in the Sonic se­ries. These also pro­vided lo­ca­tions for story events and boss fights. “Sonic Ad­ven­ture, just as the ti­tle sug­gests, was a plat­form ac­tion game with the ad­di­tion of ad­ven­ture el­e­ments, and we wanted to de­liver that feel­ing of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an epic story and epic ad­ven­ture,” Iizuka ex­plains. “We im­ple­mented the Ad­ven­ture Fields as some­where you could ask lo­cals about things,

“It took more time to cre­ate the 3D worlds for sonic to run around In than we ever Imag­ined” takashi iizuka

gather power-up items, and cre­ate places to ex­plore and get lost in. The Ad­ven­ture Fields were there to draw the play­ers deeper into the world.” These power-up items were also a new con­cept, giv­ing char­ac­ters new at­tack­ing and move­ment op­tions as the game pro­gressed. “In the spirit of an ac­tion RPG, we wanted to make lo­ca­tions that could only be ac­cessed after re­ceiv­ing some new power, or by mak­ing cer­tain dif­fi­cult ar­eas pass­able with a new abil­ity – that was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the power-up items,” Iizuka con­tin­ues. “I was prob­a­bly in­spired in some way through the Le­gend Of Zelda se­ries that I loved so much.”

The ex­ist­ing char­ac­ters had been tricky to rep­re­sent well in 3D. How­ever, the feel­ing that Sonic’s de­sign was dated al­lowed the art team to give the en­tire cast a re­fresh. “Space In­vaders and Pac-man were be­com­ing pop­u­lar again as retro games and char­ac­ters, and they were pop­ping up in in­die mu­sic and ur­ban ‘street’ fash­ion, so they were very in­ter­est­ing and at­trac­tive,” Hoshino re­calls. “It made us jeal­ous, and we wanted Sonic to also be­come pop­u­lar with this edge of sub­cul­ture, or at least have some cool T-shirts be­ing made with Sonic on them. I was think­ing that, and there were other de­sign­ers that were think­ing the same thing, so we all got to­gether to try and find this new graphic style for Sonic.” New il­lus­tra­tions were pro­duced, with

char­ac­ters sport­ing longer limbs and twisted styles. “What it boiled down to be was a graphic style and pose that was more aware of the fash­ion trends. The art­work was a good fit for the club mu­sic I was re­ally into at the time,” says the art di­rec­tor.

These weren’t the only ad­just­ments made to char­ac­ters, as Sonic Team de­cided to try to in­tro­duce com­mon in­ter­na­tional nam­ing – which con­tro­ver­sially meant re­nam­ing ma­jor char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Dr Robot­nik. “In Japan, his name was al­ways Dr Eg­gman, so as Sonic be­came more pop­u­lar, we wanted to try and unify the names across re­gions,” ex­plains Iizuka. “The same ac­tu­ally ap­plies to Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, who was known more com­monly as ‘Miles’ in Japan – we changed it from the Ja­panese stan­dard and started us­ing ‘Tails’.”

Though the il­lus­tra­tions were 2D draw­ings, their new style helped when rep­re­sent­ing the char­ac­ters in 3D. “The new Sonic de­sign had longer arms and legs, but one could say the big­ger so­lu­tion to the prob­lem was the abil­ity to pose the char­ac­ter where ev­ery­thing looked good from a va­ri­ety of an­gles,” says Hoshino. This is a com­mon is­sue when adapt­ing char­ac­ter de­signs into full 3D. “Char­ac­ters pos­ing in 2D can be very eas­ily faked to look cool, but there are a lot of in­stances where you try and rep­re­sent the same pose with a 3D model and it re­ally can’t be re­pro­duced,” he ex­plains. “An ex­am­ple would be Sonic cross­ing his arms. That was so dif­fi­cult.”

Artis­tic de­sign was also of key im­por­tance when cre­at­ing the game’s an­tag­o­nist. The team wanted to cre­ate some­thing that could only have been re­alised on the Dream­cast, and came up with a crea­ture named Chaos, who ap­pears as a boss through­out the game. “What I was most ex­cited about was the abil­ity to rep­re­sent semi-trans­paren­cies in-game. On the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of hard­ware, it was dif­fi­cult to rep­re­sent some­thing beau­ti­ful, so all the semi­trans­par­ent ef­fects we made for Burn­ing Rangers took a lot of time to im­ple­ment. How­ever, this new ma­chine was able to eas­ily im­ple­ment and use these ef­fects wher­ever you wanted them,” ex­plains Hoshino. “One of [the] key bench­marks for qual­ity videogame graph­ics is the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of wa­ter. No mat­ter what hard­ware gen­er­a­tion you are de­vel­op­ing games on, we have been work­ing on tech­niques for rep­re­sent­ing wa­ter, and are al­ways look­ing at how other com­pa­nies and other teams are rep­re­sent­ing wa­ter in the games they make. We thought Chaos, who is a strong, yet fluid and beau­ti­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of wa­ter, would be a per­fect sym­bol for the game on this new hard­ware.”

For au­dio, the de­ci­sion was made to in­clude full voice act­ing for the first time, with Jun’ichi Kane­maru and Ryan Drum­mond cho­sen to voice Sonic him­self. Mu­si­cally, lead com­poser Jun Se­noue de­cided to re­tain some of the clas­sic Sonic sound while adding a harder edge. Jin­gles he’d com­posed for Sonic 3, in­clud­ing the act clear mu­sic re­turned, and a cou­ple of his tracks from the Mega Drive ver­sion of Sonic 3D were re­pur­posed for Twin­kle Park and Windy Val­ley.

How­ever, the orig­i­nal tracks show­cased Se­noue’s back­ground as a gui­tarist with a new hard rock

“char­ac­ters pos­ing In 2D can be very eas­ily faked to look cool” Kazuyuki hoshino

sound, with char­ac­ter themes fea­tur­ing vo­cals from Ted Po­ley (Dan­ger Dan­ger) and Tony Har­nell (TNT). Hard­line’s Johnny Gioeli pro­vided the vo­cals for the main theme, ti­tled Open Your Heart, be­gin­ning a long part­ner­ship with Se­noue – they con­tinue to per­form to­gether as Crush 40 to­day.

Sonic Ad­ven­ture was re­leased in Japan on 23 De­cem­ber 1998, ar­riv­ing within the first month of the hard­ware’s re­lease. But it wasn’t quite the game that Sonic Team had wanted it to be. “Sonic Ad­ven­ture was a launch ti­tle for the very first re­lease of the Dream­cast hard­ware in Japan, so the sched­ule for the ti­tle was tight. Even though there were is­sues we wanted to fix with the game con­tent and more pol­ish we wanted to put into the ti­tle, but the po­si­tion we were in made us give up on ad­dress­ing ev­ery­thing we wanted to – we had to de­liver the game on time,” laments Iizuka. How­ever, Sonic Team had the chance to im­prove the game post-launch, a rare op­por­tu­nity in those days. “Shortly after, when we were cre­at­ing the English ver­sion of the game, there was plenty of time be­fore the re­lease of the Dream­cast in the western mar­ket and we had a lot of staff who were ea­ger to work. So we didn’t just do a straight-up lo­cal­i­sa­tion of the ti­tle, we in­cluded a lot of im­prove­ments and pol­ish to the game that wasn’t in the orig­i­nal Ja­panese re­lease.” This ver­sion ac­com­pa­nied the Amer­i­can re­lease of the con­sole on 9 Sep­tem­ber 1999, and was rere­leased in Japan as Sonic Ad­ven­ture In­ter­na­tional.

Sonic Ad­ven­ture drew crit­i­cal ac­claim from the press. Ar­cade praised the game for “per­form­ing graph­i­cal trick­ery at a level never be­fore seen on a home con­sole,” while CVG liked the fact that the six char­ac­ters al­lowed you to en­joy the same stages in dif­fer­ent ways. Dream­cast Mag­a­zine praised the ac­tion stages, not­ing that they “re­ally can take your breath away,” and Edge also felt that “level de­sign is strong, although the best mo­ments […] are left un­til later ar­eas.” Some crit­i­cisms were of­fered – Dream­cast Mag­a­zine noted that “the 3D cam­era an­gle fails at times”. Ar­cade felt that “oc­ca­sion­ally you feel like a pas­sen­ger on a roller­coaster”, and Dream­cast Mag­a­zine de­scribed

Big’s minigame as “slightly less ex­cit­ing than look­ing at grass”. In sum­mary, Edge noted that “Sega hasn’t made the mis­take of at­tempt­ing to turn Sonic into Mario, in­stead build­ing on what made the pre­vi­ous Sonic ti­tles a suc­cess, and in the process recre­at­ing the true feel of a clas­sic 2D plat­form game in 3D for per­haps the first time.” Re­view scores in­clude 90% from Dream­cast Mag­a­zine, 5/5 rat­ings from both CVG and Ar­cade, and 8/10 from Edge. While the Dream­cast was ul­ti­mately not a com­mer­cial suc­cess, Sonic Ad­ven­ture def­i­nitely was – it was the for­mat’s best­selling game, sell­ing 2.5 mil­lion copies.

Such an im­por­tant pro­ject is bound to have some sen­ti­men­tal value at­tached to it, and both Iizuka and Hoshino have fond mem­o­ries of mak­ing Sonic Ad­ven­ture. “For me, the lo­ca­tion scout­ing trip to Cen­tral and South Amer­ica is a very im­por­tant ex­pe­ri­ence. While the trip was ex­tremely valu­able to the de­vel­op­ment of the ti­tle, I was able to go to coun­tries I wouldn’t eas­ily be able to travel out to, and I was able to see just how peo­ple live in these coun­tries,” says Hoshino. “I gained a lot of knowl­edge from that trip and

“I was so ner­vous I thought my heart was go­ing to burst out of my chest ” takashi iizuka

felt like it en­abled me to break out of the cul­tural and so­ci­etal norms I grew up in, which has en­riched my per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life ever since.”

For Iizuka, the game’s an­nounce­ment at Tokyo In­ter­na­tional Fo­rum was a high­light. “The most mem­o­rable mo­ment for me was the an­nounce­ment of Sonic Ad­ven­ture. The hall fit 5,000 peo­ple and I was up there three times, but that was the first time I had ever been on stage in front of con­sumers and I was so ner­vous I thought my heart was go­ing to burst out of my chest,” re­calls the di­rec­tor. “I was on stage to play Speed High­way in a live en­vi­ron­ment. On my first stage event I was able to play re­ally well and made no mis­takes, so I was able to calm down, but the other guys told me, ‘Hey, if you are too good, peo­ple are go­ing to think we are just play­ing back a recorded demo video. Can you make a mis­take next time?’”

20 years on, plenty of fans still have fond mem­o­ries of Sonic Ad­ven­ture too. But what do the cre­ators think keeps peo­ple com­ing back? “If I think of what the ap­peal of the ti­tle is, as a fan my­self, I would have to say it is be­cause each of the char­ac­ters has such a deep story,” says Hoshino. “The story con­tin­ues still to this day and seems to be ex­pand­ing in­stead of com­ing to an end. For ex­am­ple, one could prob­a­bly still think, ‘I bet Big is prob­a­bly fish­ing right now.’ In ad­di­tion, I’m sure there is also the ex­pec­ta­tion that some­day in the fu­ture we would make a se­quel or con­tin­u­a­tion in the se­ries.”

Iizuka be­lieves that it’s the to­tal­ity of the game, rather than any in­di­vid­ual as­pect. “It was the first high­speed 3D ac­tion game that also fea­tured a sce­nario high­lighted with six dif­fer­ent sto­ries, the A-life Chao, six unique styles of game­play – it is a unique game of­fer­ing even 20 years after its re­lease. At the time, it also wasn’t just a soli­tary soft­ware re­lease, it was the ti­tle to bring peo­ple to the Dream­cast and we were given the bud­get to make some­thing to show­case the hard­ware,” says the di­rec­tor, clearly proud of the team’s ac­com­plish­ments. “How­ever, it was the very first 3D game that we worked on and look­ing at it now I can see the rough edges it has, which re­ally makes me want to re­make it again,” he adds with a laugh. That com­ment is sure to bait the fans – and can you imag­ine Sonic Ad­ven­ture’s am­bi­tion re­alised with to­day’s tech? It’s a tan­ta­lis­ing prospect. Con­sider us on the hook, too.

» [Dream­cast] This whale chase set­piece is a high­light of the very first ac­tion stage. TAKASHI IIZUKA Di­rec­tor KAZUYUKI HOSHINO art Di­rec­tor

» [Dream­cast] Fly­ing al­lows Tails to take short­cuts, keep­ing him one step ahead of who­ever he’s rac­ing at the time.

Stage goal: Fin­ish the stage be­fore your op­po­nent tails can still fly, which is use­ful for tak­ing short­cuts. he’s now got a tail whip at­tack that al­lows him to take out en­e­mies, too. if he picks up the Jet an­klet he’ll in­crease his fly­ing speed, and the rhythm badge gives him the abil­ity to per­form con­tin­u­ous tail at­tacks. ■ Stage goal: Find three emer­ald shards the rough-and-ready echidna re­tains his abil­ity to glide and climb. Up­grad­ing with the shovel Claw al­lows him to dig into soft ground for buried trea­sures, and the Fight­ing Gloves al­low him to per­form the ex­trav­a­gantly named max­i­mum heat Knuck­les at­tack.

Stage goal: reach the Fin­ish line the blue blur is back with his trade­mark spin­dash, and he’s got some new moves. he’s got a hom­ing at­tack to help tar­get en­e­mies in 3d space. With the light speed shoes he gains the light dash – the abil­ity to fly across any path of rings. the an­cient light up­grades this to a light speed at­tack, which takes out all nearby foes.

» [Dream­cast] Amy can only tem­po­rar­ily dis­able Zero with at­tacks, so run­ning away is the bet­ter strat­egy.» [Dream­cast] Just as in the 2D Sonic games, get­ting hit re­sults in a loss of rings, and get­ting hit with no rings will cost you a life.

Stage goal: amy re­lies on her ham­mer to bash en­e­mies, and can use it to launch her­self when run­ning at her low top speed. she can also dis­guise her­self with ob­jects. the War­rior Feather gives her ac­cess to a spin­ning ham­mer at­tack, and the long ham­mer does what it says on the tin. Stage goal: e-102 is lit­er­ally fu­elled by destruc­tion – he’s al­ways work­ing against the clock, but can ex­tend his time limit by de­stroy­ing en­e­mies. the more tar­gets you take down at once, the greater the time ex­ten­sion. Grab­bing the Jet booster gives him the abil­ity to hover after jump­ing, and the laser blaster widens his at­tack pat­tern. Stage goal: he’s not fast or ag­ile, but big can still break down bad­dies with a swing of his fish­ing rod. of course, he spends most of his time fish­ing. a va­ri­ety of lure up­grades give him the abil­ity to catch big­ger fish, and the power rod in­creases his cast­ing dis­tance. the life belt en­ables him to float in wa­ter, though he can dive by press­ing a. evade Zero and Find the bal­loon to es­cape de­stroy the tar­get Fish For Froggy ■ ■ ■

» [Dream­cast] Wan­der­ing around a city en­vi­ron­ment and talk­ing to hu­mans was a pretty rad­i­cal new di­rec­tion for the Sonic se­ries back in 1998.

» [Dream­cast] E-102 Gamma’s lock-on shoot­ing game­play is highly ex­plo­sive and of­ten re­sults in some quite spec­tac­u­lar scenes.

» [PC] This wob­bly road is com­pletely ab­sent from the fin­ished ver­sion, which more closely re­sem­bles a race track in the sky.

» [Dream­cast] The twists and loops that made the orig­i­nal game fa­mous re­turned, and were ar­guably even more ex­cit­ing in 3D. » [Dream­cast] Knuck­les gained the abil­ity to dig through the dirt for trea­sure – here, he’s man­aged to un­earth a sin­gle ring. » [Dream­cast] It’s pos­si­ble to see some very nice views when Sonic gets some height us­ing a spring or a tram­po­line.

» [Dream­cast] De­spite Big’s rel­a­tively low num­ber of se­ries ap­pear­ances, he re­tains a cult fan fol­low­ing.

» [Dream­cast] Casi­nop­o­lis is an in­ter­est­ing non­lin­ear stage in which your goal is to win 400 rings by play­ing pin­ball ta­bles.

» [Dream­cast] Not ev­ery­one was a fan of the in­clu­sion of fish­ing in the game, es­pe­cially as it can be quite tricky.

» [Dream­cast] Later stages in­tro­duce trick­ier chal­lenges – this stone snake must be rid­den be­tween switches, each rais­ing the wa­ter level.

» [Dream­cast] Boss fights play an im­por­tant role in Sonic Ad­ven­ture, and Chaos (cur­rently frozen) is of­ten your op­po­nent.

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