Review Rewind: Sonic Heroes

Hello lovely gamers and readers alike, Emmie here! I had an article all planned for you all this week, but I got sick out of no where, and there was a casualty with the artwork I made for said article (AKA spilled water all over my papers). But fear not! Before I worked for Gamer Logic, I had my own articles that I wrote in my free time that didn’t really get so see the world, so I’m bringing it back from the dead for you guys to check out! I’m hoping to be better by next Wednesday for you guys so I can release some new material, but until then, here’s a blast from the past; my review of Sonic Heroes from 2013. Enjoy!

At the end of the year 2003, Sega released a brand new Sonic the Hedgehog game for GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. Japan got the first taste of this newly released game on December 30, 2003 while America was given the game on January 5th, 2004. Europe then received the game a month and a day later, and while everyone was excited to play Sonic Heroes, little did the world know how much a mess this new game would be.

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I remember it being sort of a rainy day outside when my little brother and I went to GameStop to pick up the new Sonic game, and while at the time I didn’t think anything of the weather, I now think the world was trying to tell me something. I would always look at the manual and case of any new game I bought, so I recall looking at the back of the Sonic Heroes case and thinking how awesome this game was going to be. “They brought back old characters from Sonic Adventure and the Chaotix team?! You can play as 3 at a time?! New levels & new music?! I can’t wait to get home! Maybe this game will have a Chao Garden!!” (Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I discovered that there was no Chao Garden.) I don’t remember much of when I played Sonic Heroes as a kid though. In fact, all I remember is getting really angry (which is strange, since I’m not an angry gamer). So recently, almost 10 years after Sonic Heroes came out, I was talking with my significant other about how much they and other players hated Sonic Heroes. I didn’t understand why, and it bugged me that I couldn’t say if I hated Sonic Heroes or loved it. Not knowing bothered me so much that I picked it up for this weeks review.

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There are 4 different teams to play as, meaning that there are 4 different story lines to play through. Each team consists of 3 characters, each having their own special trait. One character will have a flying trait that allows them to fly to high places and shoot down flying enemies. Another character will have the running trait, so when they’re selected, your team moves much quicker. (WARNING: When going through loops and different parts of levels with the speed trait, be careful! The game can be very glitchy at times, and will send you right through the stage if you’re going too fast or if you move your joystick the wrong way.) The final trait is the power trait that allows the 3rd team mate to smash through obstacles along the way. The power trait is very over-powered (no pun intended), since the character with this trait can kill enemies much faster and easier than the flying and speed character.

I decided to start with the Sonic team, since it’s first in line. The story line takes place a few months after the Sonic Adventure 2: Battle plot, where we find Sonic running through a canyon of some sort. His best friends, Tails and Knuckles, fly down next to him in Tails’ plane to give him urgent news: Robotnick, their worst enemy, has returned! Robotnick sent Sonic and his friends a letter explaining that he has finally created the ultimate weapon, and that in 3 days, he will take over the world and he invited Sonic and his friends to try and stop him. After reading the letter, Sonic gets excited and goes “Sounds like an invitation!” Wait, hold on, pause. I don’t know about you guys, but if I had a device that I was completely sure could destroy the world, I wouldn’t invite the one guy who has foiled ALL of my past attempts at ruling the world to try and stop me, since odds are that HE’S GOING TO STOP ME.
CAM01051CAM01053While you can switch between characters at any second, you can only be one character at a time. Each different character also has their over team fighting stance. For example, when you play as the speed trait character, your other two team mates will follow directly behind you. If you’re the power trait character, each teammate will stand on either side of you, and when you’re the flying trait character your teammates hold onto you from below you. These different stances can make it easier for you to get rings throughout the game.CAM01065CAM01054In Sonic Heroes, there were a lot of moments where fighting enemy robots could get very overwhelming, especially since the game can sometimes flood the screen with them. The solution to this problem was to level up your characters to fill up your team blast bar. “How do I level up my character to raise my team blast bar?” When you kill bad guys (or occasionally when you go through a checkpoint), colored orbs will be dropped for your characters. These orbs raise your characters level, making them more powerful while raising your team blast bar. Each character has a special colored orb: Speed has a blue orb, flying has a yellow, and power has a red colored orb. Once your team blast bar is full, you can press the Z button to use a special move the destroys all enemies near you. Note: Some of the levels in Sonic Heroes are very long (10-15 minutes depending on how fast you go), so I suggest that if you want to just get through the level as fast as possible, don’t kill enemies unless you absolutely have to. (There will be plenty of areas that won’t let you through without killing some robots blocking your path.) You’ll still get plenty of orbs along the way to use the team blast move, so don’t worry about that. If you’re going for a good grade on the level, good luck to you. There’s a time bonus at the end of the level that helps a lot, but if you’re sticking around killing robots for points, it’s going to slow you down by quite a bit.CAM01074Now I do have some little, nit-picky things to complain about with this game. For starters, the controls are extremely slippery in this game. There are lots of moments in the game where it wants you to come to a sudden stop, but since you can’t just stop on a dime, you end up slamming into a wall and sliding around until your characters decide to finally stop.  Also, unlike other Sonic games, enemies need to be hit multiple times before dying. They have a health bar, and can take up to 3-4 hits to finally destroy.This can prove to be rather obnoxious. My final complaint is the fact that the voice acting is just flat out awful. I know a lot of people complained that Sonic Team got new voice actors for Sonic, Tails, and others, but that’s not where my problem stands. It’s not that I’m not used to the new voices, it’s the fact that the new voices are wheezy, nasally and sound like they’re 4th graders having to read out loud in English class. Knuckles sounds like he’s screaming the word “Shit!” when he punches enemies, and when Tails flies he shouts “WHEE”, making him sound like he’s going to lose his voice from yelling. It stresses me out.

Overall, this isn’t a bad game, but it’s definitely not a game I would want to voluntarily play again. While the game play itself isn’t the greatest, the soundtrack is one of my favorite soundtracks from any Sonic game. I can now understand why I would get so angry over this game, especially after all the countless times we’ve fallen through stages due to a glitch, or have gotten killed due to cheap hits that the enemies got off on us. The story line is nothing special, and is in fact extremely predictable. (Hmm, I wonder if the guy who get’s defeated in every Sonic game got defeated this time! Probably.) Sonic Heroes is available for less than $10 on Amazon for GameCube, but unless you’re a Sonic fan who hasn’t played this, I wouldn’t buy it if I were you. Try it out at a buddies, or watch game play of it. Don’t put yourself through the amount of frustration this game creates.”

Thanks for reading!

– Emmie