Reviews: Sonic Heroes

One Of The Worst

Sonic Boom and Sonic 2006 are known as two of the most terrible video games not just in the Sonic series, but generally. And that worries me, because if they're both considered to be so bad, and Sonic Heroes isn't, then I can't really imagine how bad they must be. Presumably they somehow transmit venereal diseases straight to the player.

Sonic Heroes has a decent premise; you always play as part of a team, composed of a Speed character, Power character and Flying character, and you choose the formation. The problem is that the four different teams you can choose from are all basically the same, and they have the same levels too. Team Sonic have standard levels. Team Shadow copy Sonic. Team Amy copy Sonic but by the grace of God they decided to halve the length. Team Chaotix copy Sonic but with arbitrary 'Collect 10 Keys on the way' goals.

What kills the game are the glitches, the controls, and the general lack of good programming. You will die. You will die many, many times, and maybe sometimes it will be your fault, but a lot of time, it's just because the developers did not know how to make a game that works. When the combat is working, it's dull and boring. When it isn't working, I've had homing attacks send me flying in the opposite direction of enemies, and almost always off of the edge of a platform and into a bottomless pit. Fun. But that's just the beginning.

How do you miss that in the Chaos Emerald Bonus Stages, you end up stuck on the ceiling every time Sonic banks around a corner? How do you miss that some of the railings send you straight into bottomless pits? How do you miss that the Mercy Invincibility runs out by the time your character is standing again, so if you're attacked twice in a row, you're screwed? How do you miss that some enemies shoot at you through solid parts of the scenery? There isn't enough nostalgia in the world for me to enjoy something made with so much ineptitude.

Three decent things I can say. One, the game is colourful. Two, I found Big the Cat's good-natured dumbness to be endearing. Three, I beat the real final boss by mashing the B button over and over. I'm counting that as a good thing because compared to the other boss fights in which you have to obey conflicting rules (Don't let Eggman get too far away, or he'll hit you with an unmissable attack! But don't follow him over that gigantic ramp just yet, or you'll lose control of the character and run into the beams he's firing and fall into a pit!) and fight the same mob of boring robots again which for some reason always takes place on narrow platforms with no edges and as mentioned before I can barely say the words 'homing attack' without wanting to punch a playtester in the face because homing-it-sure-as-hell-ain't... um, what was the question again?

If this isn't considered one of the worst Sonic the Hedgehog games, then frankly, Sonic the Hedgehog isn't worth supporting, defending, or caring about.

A mediocre, half-baked experience.

I replayed Sonic Heroes in a few days, and despite a good first impression, I eventually found it to be a letdown. My problems with it are as follows.

The teamwork idea shows promise, but quickly wears out its welcome, due to the repetitive stage designs; while the sense of speed is thrilling, they rely too much on automated segments, such as rail-grinding and scripted high speed roads, and the gameplay is otherwise very generic platforming, saddled with annoying gimmicks such as switch puzzles and forced enemy encounters—not to mention that the combat, like the platforming, gets old fast, and the cookie-cutter robot designs don't help this.

Combine this with bland pop music, gaudy art, cringe-worthy cutscenes, lousy boss fights, and tired stage ideas (another seaside area, another jungle, another desert, another casino, etc.) with occasionally slippery or buggy controls, and it all amounts to a lukewarm experience.

While some enjoyable moments can be found, Sonic Heroes amounts to nothing above mediocre, swamped by bad design flaws and sloppy execution, and it left no desire for me to ever play it again.

Rating: 4/10.

Underrated Gem

Ah, Sonic Heroes. It's often remembered as the last game before Sonic's Dork Age began, possibly even starting it. It's a bit of a Base Breaker and not one of the more popular games in the series, but for me, it's my favorite of all the 3D titles, and I've played the Adventure titles, Unleashed, Colours, Generations, etc. Confused? Hear me out.

The game's story is a very obvious Excuse Plot, hearkening back to the Genesis games. Like Sonic Adventure, they spoil the final boss in the opening cutscene and throughout the game. And I don't care one bit. The dialogue and characters is all incredibly cheesy for what you get, and while the writing's not as strong as Colours, per se, I still had a smile on my face from the little that's offered. But, like Colours and Generations, the game wants you to play it for its gameplay, and great gameplay it has.

This game plays so well because it successfully blends three types of gameplay into every level, and switching between them is as seamless as a button tap. You have Speed, wherein the speed character controls similarly to the Sonic of SA 2 (though with a nerfed spindash), Power, wherein the power character can destroy whatever's in your way (and also float and run nearly as fast as the speed character), and Flight, which flies and can also shoot your teammates as electrified projectiles. In addition to this, you'll also be riding cars, playing pinball/slots/bingo, grinding rails, riding trolleys, and flowers/helicopters, and chasing Chaos Emeralds in special stage tunnels. It's a varied game.

Onto the big issue: the stages. Level design is as competent as SA 2 if not more. A lot of people might be put off by having to play the same stages with each team, but note that each team has subtle differences between them, and variation in their particular versions of the stages, just like another game in the series. Also breaking the monotony is Team Chaotix, who do missions instead of getting to the goal like the other three. For me, it's most fun to play with Team Dark, but YMMV.

The game also upped the ante on SA 2 in the graphics and music deprtment, though the CG cutscenes are a little Off Model at times. And the game does have it's glitches (specifically, the homing attack is sometimes a bit unwieldy), but overall it doesn't detract much, and the game comes highly recommended.

A great installment to the Sonic Series.

Now, if you know me on Tumblr, I tend to make rants and my only review is for a series that I hate. But, I really need to throw my two cents into this.

Sonic Heroes is about Metal Sonic trying to, you guessed it, take over the world (OF COURSE!). Apparently, he's now made out of liquid metal and can impersonate his creator, Eggman. The story's standard and doesn't stick out, but remember folks, this is a game where the story doesn't matter.

The graphics are shiny for some reason, like everyone's a wax statue. I dunno, maybe it was an attempt to be artsy.

As always, the soundtrack is great!

Now onto what really makes a game, the gameplay. Now, this game introduces 'Team Formations' wherein you switch between a speed-type character, a power-type, and a flight-type. Speedy guys move the fastest (Duh) and can use different moves in different ways (Like Amy being able to throw her tornado and Espio turning invisible.), strongmen can pick up their teammates and throw them at enemies, and the flyers carry people and can also throw their pals. All three of these can get powerups throughout the level, and all can use their team blast when the bar at the top fills. Team Sonic's just kills everyone, Team Dark's freezes time, Team Amy's gives you power-ups, and Team Chaotix's gives them rings for every enemy they hit. My only complaint is that the speed characters are a bit hard to control.

This is also probably the only 3-D Sonic game where you get the Chaos Emeralds through a minigame and not through the cutscenes.

Overall, this game is really great and underrated, and my theory for why it's underrated is because it's Lighter And Softer, and had to live up to two of the greatest games in the series.

My rating for the game? 7/10. I reccomend it to anyone who loves underrated games and Sonic titles.

Not horrible, but disappointing nonetheless.

Sonic Heroes has generated many conflicting opinions among the franchise's fanbase, and for good reason. There are many good aspects to it, the decreased emphasis on storyline is a welcome reprieve from the melodrama of the Sonic Adventure series, the levels are (for the most part) well-designed, the graphics are good for the generation it was released, and the soundtrack is by far one of the best of the series. The numerous shout-outs and mythology gags also help to endear this game to older fans, especially the great Call Back of Team Chaotix, comprised of three characters that haven't been used since Knuckle's Chaotix way back when.

However, for all these good points, players will soon find themselves frustrated by numerous bugs with the controls, collision detection, and other aspects of the gameplay. And that's not even mentioning a downright sadistic camera that seems hell-bent on your self-destruction. Combined they're the cause of many an unnecessary death, and practically cripple the player in later levels when the difficulty really starts ramping up.

Despite these flaws, I really believe that it's worth playing through at least once or twice as a rental, especially if you're a fan of the series already. Overall, Sonic Heroes was an interesting experiment with the three-party team gameplay, but its flaws prevent it from reaching the quality 3D gaming experience that Sonic Team keeps shooting for.