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Sonic Heroes

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Sonic Heroes
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Sonic: "Let's blast through with Sonic speed!"
Tails: "Okay!"
Knuckles: "Alright!"
Protagonist(s):
Team Sonic
Sonic the Hedgehog
Miles "Tails" Prower
Knuckles the Echidna
Team Chaotix
Charmy Bee
Vector the Crocodile
Espio the Chameleon
Team Rose
Cream the Rabbit
Big the Cat
Amy Rose
Team Dark
Shadow the Hedgehog
E-123 Omega
Rouge the Bat
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Xbox
Microsoft Windows
Release: Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
JP: December 30, 2003
NA: January 6, 2004 (GCN)
NA: January 27, 2004 (PS2/Xbox)
PAL: February 2, 2004

Microsoft Windows
NA: November 22, 2004
PAL: November 26, 2004
JP: December 9, 2004
Engine: RenderWare
Developer(s): Sega Studio USA
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: United States
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Predecessor: Sonic Adventure 2
Successor: Shadow the Hedgehog

Sonic Heroes is a platform video game developed by Sega Studio USA and published by Sega. It was released originally in December 2003 in Japan and early 2004 worldwide for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox video game consoles, and ported to Microsoft Windows in November 2004 worldwide, making this the first entry in the series to be released on multiple platforms.

Gameplay

The plot is divided into several stories. Sonic Heroes consists of four different stories, during which the player takes on the role of one of four teams of three. The goals of each team are different, but the levels and boss fights are common to all of them. After completing the game with each team and obtaining the seven Chaos Emeralds, the player will unlock the Last Story, which is the epilogue of the entire game and shows its true ending.

Each character has an individual ability: speed for fast stages, power for breaking objects, or flight for reaching high platforms, and the player must use these abilities to traverse the fourteen stages.Each stage has a different layout for each team, providing different challenges for each story. Each team also has a Team Blast skill, which can be performed when the Team Blast Gauge is full. This can be achieved by performing such actions as destroying enemies or collecting many Rings.

Why It's Heroic

  1. This game takes the best concepts and mechanics of the Sonic Adventure series, making them better with the concept of teamwork, with larger and more varied levels with different routes and puzzles, a phenomenal soundtrack and gameplay takes advantage of the mechanics of teamwork.
  2. Although it doesn't seem like it, teams have different difficulties which helps a little bit to repeat levels in each team:
    • Team Rose is the easy mode for beginners, which introduces you in a clearer way the mechanics and the levels are shorter and include some changes in the level design.
  3. Clever integration of the 12 playable characters; there are four teams with three characters in each one. Since every team is roughly identical in structure, go through the same amount of levels, and have their own reasons for pursuing Eggman, the game manages to give each team a purpose without having to create multiple gameplay styles.
  4. On that note, there are three character types; Speed, Flight, and Power. Speed characters run the fastest and can perform the Homing Attack and form whirlwinds to climb poles, Flight characters can attack airborne enemies and temporarily fly in the air, which makes them ideal for precision platforming, and Power characters can glide on air fans and are the most versatile in combat.
  5. Team Chaotix have different objectives, for example, collect items, destroy objects or enemies, pass the level without being detected, among others, to be a variation of the other teams, it is a good implementation to the game, to vary the formula of levels linear of the other teams, the team offers a good variety of missions, the search for objects is simple and it is a good exploration implementation, the dialogue of the characters helps you to know where some objectives are.
  6. Lighthearted story that captures the fun tone the Sonic The Hedgehog series is known for.
  7. It is so nice to see Cream the Rabbit and Cheese the Chao as playable characters after Sonic Advance 2.
  8. Unlike in Sonic Adventure, Big the Cat actually has a purpose and it's nice to see him be helpful to more characters other than Froggy.
  9. The ranking system which gives a grade after completing the levels is great, it serves its purpose of evaluating the agility of the player in the levels as in Sonic Adventure 2, taking mainly into account the time, the number of rings earned and the combat, depending on your agility of the mechanics and how fast you can pass the levels you can get the highest note, this system also rewards the performance of the team characters and the points obtained when fighting robots as bonuses, so the combats can be useful to obtain points, in exchange for the effort invested in them.
  10. The controls are easy to learn and comfortable to use, being able to consistently change characters within the levels and take advantage of the abilities that the characters have very well, the speed training gives you good mobility, being able to move in different directions in a natural way in a three-dimensional environment and actions like Triangle Jump and Homing Attack are responsive, you can also get used to the speed of speed characters with practice, using jumps to moderate your speed.
  11. The level design is comparable to Sonic Adventure 2, but featuring larger levels where there are too many routes to explore where you can find shortcuts or secrets depending on your skills and the way you use the characters favoring the value of repetition and the game takes advantage of teamwork by having routes for a specific character,it also has a good balance between speed and silverforming, with a considerable number of platforms on which you have to jump precisely using a flight character keeping the speed in mind, they also include a different concept depending on the level.
  12. Each character can collect special orbs that upgrade their attributes, and they can level up three times in every stage.
  13. Each team has a unique special attack called Team Blast, which has unique aftereffects such as temporarily granting you invincibility and stopping time (which unfortunately includes level progression; thankfully you can press the Team Blast button again to cancel the effect), you should use it at important times with large hordes of enemies.
  14. The combat is fast-paced and strategic; some enemies have attributes that make one character more suitable for defeating it. For example, if an enemy has a shield, you can use the Speed character's whirlwind attack to blow it away then switch to the Power character to quickly dispatch the enemy (the enemies, in general, go down quickly if you use the Power characters).
  15. Enemies are stronger compared to the Sonic Adventure series, they have more life and some enemies need you to change characters to defeat them, taking advantage of the concept of the game, teamwork.
  16. The graphics look very nice with beautiful and colorful scenarios, the landscape and the water also look good on the first two levels (Seaside Hill and Ocean Palace), the Casino Park and Bingo Highway themes have a beautiful lighting and vivid colors demonstrating in a good way the environment of a casino and the enemies are well designed, with good lighting and textures.
  17. Great soundtrack with beautiful compositions, reaching the level of the Sonic Adventure series, there are melodies with happy music such as Seaside Hill or Grand Metropolis, Casino Park and Bingo Highway have electronic music that fits with the atmosphere of a casino, while the music of the castle levels has a gloomy tone, fitting in very well with the terrifying atmosphere that the aesthetics of the level want to convey, and the vocal themes are very good, such as the Team Dark and Team Chaotix vocal songs and the main theme.
  18. Decent voice providing in Japanese and English. Also, the audio mixing is much better than Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 with the movement of the mouths of the characters being well synchronized with the dialogue.
  19. By completing missions, you get emblems, if you have a certain amount of emblems, you unlock multiplayer minigames, which is quite entertaining due to the variety of minigames, if you get all the emblems with rank A, you can unlock the Super Hard mode, which it is designed for expert players, putting your skills and the mechanics learned during the game to the maximum, passing all the levels with an increased difficulty, although one problem is that you do not get a continue after losing all your lives, but at least the game has a system save mode temporary to resume any saved level.
  20. The idea of extra missions taken from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 are fun and add replayability to the game, extra missions include the extra missions of Team Rose where you have to collect two hundred rings where you have to explore the level to find rings and you must be agile to get some rings, Team Sonic extra missions where you have to pass levels in a time limit, which requires you to take advantage of Sonic's speed while using teamwork, Team Dark extra missions where you must destroy a number of enemies, which requires you to have good agility in combat and Team Chaotix's extra missions.
  21. One of the few times Metal Sonic can talk and it's cool to see him as the main antagonist of the game.
  22. The game's CG cutscenes are, at least visually, of good quality and the Xbox version features better quality FMVs.
  23. The game has decent replay value, despite being repetitive.

Bad Qualities

  1. The game's quality is extremely inconsistent between the consoles because Sega had little experience making games for the sixth generation of consoles at that time, making it hard to pick which is the best one.
    • The PlayStation 2 version is the worst version because it suffers from downgraded graphics,longer loading times, a lower (and often unstable) frame rate, and collision detection problems due to Sonic Team not using RenderWare correctly.
    • The Xbox version is extremely mixed in terms of updates and previous versions. It features better quality FMV and music, but it's missing some level animations and the frame rate occasionally drops due to Sonic Team not using RenderWare properly, once again.
    • The PC version is hard to run and loses the option to select the Japanese character voices but it allows you to enter "Charmy_Shutup 1" into the configurations to disable the character's attack clips, includes higher-resolutions and slightly better quality HUD textures and supports modding.
    • The PS2 classics and Xbox 360 compatibility versions have several graphical and performance issues.
    • The GameCube version lacks the option to switch to Japanese voiceovers. It also has a glitch where sometimes the music won't play during the Last Story ending.
  2. The level design is sloppy, often throwing in to the mix gimmicks that don’t work well, such as relying on rail grinding and pinball mechanics, pulling switches to open doors, and using the light dash.
  3. Bingo Highway and Casino Park are the worst stages in the entire game since they control poorly, rely too much on pinball mechanics, and because of the pinball tables glitch mentioned in the 8th pointer.
    • Rail Canyon has a lazy design that consists mainly of moving on rails, which is quite awkward mainly due to the poor polishing of the rails, which makes you lose easily and has uninteresting combat sections. Overall, the level feels very flat, boring, and takes too long.
  4. Speaking of combat, the boss battles come along short since they are easy and can be beaten by just spamming the homing attack over and over again. The same can be said for the team battles since one can just spam the tornado attack in order to get a quick victory.
  5. Some of the extra missions are frustrating, like Team Sonic's extra mission in Bingo Highway, which requires getting to the Goal Ring in 6 minutes. Simply put, it's next to impossible to get to the Goal Ring in time, let alone getting an A rank, also the extra missions of Team Dark consist of eliminating 100 enemies of the level, so you must search in all places, this takes a lot of time and you can easily miss an enemy, this would also be a main problem of the next game.
  6. The controls are inconsistent: the homing attack and light dash are unresponsive, jumping carries little momentum, the fly and power characters are absurdly slow and the characters reach top speed in 2 seconds.
  7. Team Chaotix’s team blast is overpowered as you get a big load of rings every time you use it which makes it an easily spammable move.
  8. The collision detection is faulty: enemy projectiles can go through the edges of walls, the light dash won’t work unless you’re perfectly lined up with the trail of rings, the switches are pretty difficult to pull since you must stand in an exact spot and in Bingo Highway it’s sometimes possible to clip through the pinball tables.
  9. Rail grinding is just as awkward as it was in SA2. While it is nice to have that extra move to pick up speed, switching is still unresponsive and it can be the cause of many cheap deaths.
  10. The way to get the Chaos Emeralds is very problematic:
    • To access them, you need to break a cage in a level to unlock a key (there are 3 cages per level, but you only need one key), then take it to the end of the level and complete it. If you get hit or fall into a pit, you lose the key, which is hard to avoid given the frequency of the enemy and the length of the stages.
    • The special stages themselves are worse: the controls are even more slippery and spinning around the pipe is very jittery. Later stages are also littered with bombs in tricky patterns that become frustrating to avoid, and touching a bomb stuns you for 1 second and stops all your speed, which when chasing a Chaos Emerald, gives it enough time to travel a ridiculous distance in front of you.
  11. To unlock the last story, you have to play through the game four times (one as each team) and collect the Chaos Emeralds (luckily, you only have to collect them once), in addition, the teams have few differences, you will be playing 4 times with a similar design (although Team Chaotix is a mission mode), which extends the duration of the game artificially.
  12. There are few checkpoints and dying could result in you losing a lot of progress in particularly long stages.
  13. The camera has a tendency to do anything but offer the right perspective, leading to lots of mistakes, and it usually gets stuck on walls and other times struggles to keep up with the characters.
  14. While most voices aren't terrible in this game, there are some issues with them.
  15. People who have played Sonic Adventure 2 and finished the last story will get confused as to why Shadow is alive and has amnesia. The game nor the other characters explain his past to him until the next game.

Tips

  1. Although it may not look like it each of the teams function as difficulty settings, and it goes as follows:
    • Team Rose is the easy difficulty, with shorter levels and a tutorial in the first level.
    • Team Sonic is the normal difficulty.
    • Team Dark is the hard difficulty, with longer levels.
    • Team Chaotix is a wild card in regards to difficulty.
  2. To get an A Rank, it's recommended to do the following:
    • Don't lose a life.
    • Defeat as many enemies as possible.
    • Collect many Rings for points.
    • Try to beat the stage really fast.
  3. If you're going to play through the special stages, get them with Team Rose, as their stages are shorter. Additionally, always use the Power character on your team when navigating them as they have the better control.
  4. There is an easy way to beat the two enemy rush boss fight, and that's with Team Chaotix as their supers can easily mop the floors with them as they will gain enough rings to replenish their super bar.
  5. If you are going to play it, either choose the GameCube or PC versions for the best experience.

Reception

Critical reception to Sonic Heroes was divisive but generally positive, with the GameCube and Xbox respectively scoring 72 and 73 on Metacritic and both versions have scores of 75% on GameRankings. Reviews for the PS2 and PC ports were mixed, with their respective Metacritic scores being 64 and 66 and their GameRankings scores being 60% and 71%.

Trivia

  • At the end of all stages & bosses in the game the characters respond with quotes based on the rank achieved, it has been reported that in some versions of the game (most often the PC port is reported) that Cream stays silent if you achieve an A rank. For unknown reasons in some copies of the game the voice clip for that is empty.
  • In NTSC-J versions of the games, Team Chaotix' team blast takes a longer amount of time to finish in an identical fashion to the 8th of October prototype, a comparison can be seen here.
  • This game marks the first appearance of the Chaotix since 1995's Knuckles' Chaotix. Vector and Charmy's return was 8 years in the making, while Espio's brief appearance in Sonic the Fighters made his absence only 7 years long, while unfortunately, Mighty was dropped from the Chaotix, and he wouldn't appear in the series for 23 years until 2018's Sonic Mania Plus, alongside Ray, whose absence was 25 years long.
  • The game spawned the "Wow, my head's spinning!" and "Shit, Rock, Shit!" memes.
  • It was the second Sonic game to have a McDonald’s promotion, the first is Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

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