Game 10: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
Some mood music.
This game was my Final Fantasy 7 -- a game with a big serious cinematic story, played on a brand new console that was way ahead of what I was used to, first played when I was about 11 or 12. My first experience with the game was playing a demo of the first level, City Escape, in a store. It was the kind where the TV was attached all the way to the top of the case and I had to crane my neck all the way back, and the level completely blew me away. And when it got to the part at the end with the truck chasing you, I heard a kid walking by go "Whoa! That's awesome!" When I finally saved up enough to buy my Gamecube, I bought Luigi's Mansion and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. I was really into both, but I was absolutely obsessed with SA2B. I even recorded a VHS tape stitching all the cutscenes together in chronological, coherent order into a single movie, which ended up being about 2 1/2 hours long with some levels included. I made multiple revisions of that tape. I made a case for the tape. I would make my younger siblings watch the movie with me (at the beginning, some of them were still young enough to think they were playing the game if the tape was going and they were holding an unplugged Genesis controller).
I can't find my old memory card right now, but I know I had hundreds of hours clocked on it. Possibly over a thousand total, because I think I actually got up to like 300 or 400 hours and then got my file erased somehow and got back up to hundreds of hours again. A lot of that was leaving the game on overnight to age my Chao, of course, but still. And I never even got close to getting all 180 emblems, even with an Action Replay.
So anyway, this is the first time I've played it in a couple of years. And honestly, it's aged better than I expected. The translation and voice acting are pretty bad, but gameplay-wise, it's definitely not a bad game. It's a bit rough around the edges, but it's a lot more like an actual complete video game than Sonic 06.
So one thing that really stood out to me going back to it this time was that it is absolutely packed with extra content beyond just getting to the end of the 31 levels of the main storyline, but none of it is required. There's five missions on every level, there's a boss time attack, there's a very hastily thrown together kart racing mode (there's no collision detection between your kart and the CPU players' karts. Was there supposed to be? Who knows!), and there's a very in-depth virtual pet garden, but the developers trust you to go check out all that stuff on your own if you want. In Sonic Generations, after you get through a few levels, you eventually hit a plateau where you have to run around doing side missions like that to earn your way to the next pack of levels.
There are still the Knuckles/Rouge levels to break the momentum, of course. But those levels are actually pretty good if you can get in the right mood for them. It's a very abrupt genre shift, which isn't aided by the fact that so many of the levels seem completely pointless to the story, but exploring all the details of the large environments can be pretty fun.
And I really love the music in this game. That definitely hasn't changed. If anything, I like the music even more now than when I first played it.
I didn't really mean to write this much for my three-sentence review, but yeah, this game is always going to have a special place in my heart, and fortunately it actually is still pretty good.