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  • Anti-Climax Boss: The True Final Boss is, for some, easier than the Panic Puppet boss.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In response to criticisms of the game's physics not embodying the usual feel of the prior Sonic games, the CEO of Traveler's Tales, Jon Burton, produced a modification of the game with numerous updates, including the addition of Super Sonic.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtracks of both versions. It helps that the Green Grove and Panic Puppet tracks each got re-orchestrated for Sonic Adventure.
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  • Best Boss Ever: While the game isn't exactly well-loved, most can agree that the bosses are actually quite challenging and fun.
  • Best Level Ever: The Special Stages from the Sega Saturn version are a fan favorite, being a vastly improved version of the Special Stages from Sonic 2. These stages are rendered in true 3D and have more elaborate features like springs, gaps, and upper/lower paths. On top of that, they are less headache-inducing than the Sonic 2 Special Stages. Some elements were retained in the Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II Special Stages.
  • Broken Base:
    • Suffers the same arguments as Sonic CD over which soundtrack is the better one, the Genesis or Saturn version.
    • Upon Jon Burton's unveiling of his official Director's Cut Game Mod, fans immediately swarmed his forums and YouTube videos, completely divisive over many of the alterations made (or not made). The altering of the Flicky mechanics and the obligations for unlocking Super Sonic in particular left fans split down the middle.
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  • Goddamned Bats: The snowman Badniks in Diamond Dust Zone, which due to the isometric nature of the game are far more annoying and difficult to avoid and to kill than any of the Badniks in Metropolis Zone. And in this game, you have to kill them in order to complete the level.
  • Good Bad Bug: In addition to the Cheat Code activated level select, there's a second way to trigger it. As part of a kind of safety feature, the error handler for the game makes the game jump to a screen saying, "CONGRATULATIONS. YOU HAVE FOUND THE SECRET LEVEL SELECT SCREEN!", proceeding onto the level select. With the Genesis being as fragile as it is, the easiest way to do this is to simply smack the console, especially during the pre-rendered 3D animation at the start of the game.note 
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Sonic's odd looking model on the European cover of the game is eerily similar looking to Neo Metal Sonic due to the symmetry and the arrangement of Sonic's quills.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • An unfortunate camera angle of Sonic's face in a pre-release of this game gave rise to a Running Gag on the Sonic Retro forums known as "Down Syndrome Sonic" or "Lazy-Eyed Sonic".note  Some forum regulars even include DSS in their ROM hacks.
    • SEGA!note 
  • Polished Port:
    • The Saturn version substantially beefed up the graphics and palette with a variety of environmental effects, completely redesigned the Special Stages courtesy of in-house Sega of Japan developers, added analog control pad support, and provided a different CD-quality soundtrack composed by Richard Jacques. The major caveat, however, is that the load times are absolutely atrocious.
    • The PC port retains many of the improvements of the Saturn version, along with managing to almost minimize the load times altogether. Additionally, there is even a basic save feature.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Collecting Flickies, mainly for slowing the pace of the game, as well as drawing importance to what is normally an afterthought in other Sonic games.
    • The Power Sneakers are basically worthless in this game; Sonic becomes even harder to control than ever, and it makes it very easy for him to accidentally plow into a nearby enemy or obstacle.
    • The Saturn port, for all of its merits, introduces another unwelcome change from the Genesis version: as the Tails and Knuckles set of Special Stages were merged, you can only collect one Chaos Emerald per act as opposed to two, going to the Special Stage a second time in an act will always give you a 1-up, which considerably drags out the pacing of the game, which is already bloated by the very tedious loading times.
    • Jon Burton's Director's Cut makes the Chaos Emerald situation even worse; you can only earn one per zone. Which means you can't even unlock the newly added Super Sonic until the endgame, although the extra challenges and replay value prevent it being redundant altogether.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The unused track, which was originally thought to be meant for Spring Stadium. It was nonetheless reprised in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I as the initial boss theme.
  • That One Attack: The homing flamethrower attack - as seen in the Volcano Valley and Puppet Panic Boss Battles - is tricky to avoid due to the restricted spaces they're encountered in, making the already difficult bosses even more harrowing to fight. It also appears in the True Final Boss battle, but the large arena makes it trivial by comparison.
  • That One Level:
    • Rusty Ruin isn't hard as a whole, but it becomes much more frustrating if you're trying to get to Tails or Knuckles. The big issue is that there are stone pillars obstructing your paths in both acts, and you have to use the Spinner devices nearby to destroy them — and the controls for Sonic spinning around, which makes him a lot faster than usual, are very slippery and liable to get you knocked into an obstacle by accident, robbing you of the rings you need to access the Special Stages. Act 2 also has a very tricky platform on an angle you have to traverse, and due to the game's isometric controls, it is very easy to miss the jump and fall down to the area below it, forcing you to backtrack all the way up and try it over again.
    • Diamond Dust Zone, the game's Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
    • Volcano Valley is a very frustrating Lethal Lava Land with a ton of treacherous jumps over lava. Chances are that you'll end up getting hit and losing your Flickies more often than any other level in the game. However, if you can snag a Red Shield and hang onto it, the level becomes a piece of cake.
    • Gene Gadget Zone Act 2 is a pain because of one section where you have to climb up a large incline by jumping between moving platforms and dodging enemies. This section is designed to loop around until you can manage to get all the Flickies, and it'll most likely take more than a few tries.
  • That One Boss: Most of the later game bosses can be described as this, but Volcano Valley's is the worst. Having to cross thin pipes in an isometric perspective with a rather slippery control over your character with lava and a dragon following you makes this boss a life-stealer. This can be dealt with by attacking him quickly, but usually you'll end up getting hit and/or dying.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Particularly hardware-pushing for the Genesis. Let's count the ways:
    • A full FMV for the opening cutscene. According to Burton, not even the people from Sega knew it was possible. This video documents the painstaking efforts taken to make it happen, and it's nothing short of ingenious.
    • Incredibly fluid animations for everything onscreen.
    • The stages are very colorful and highly detailed. Its Digitized Sprites are on par with greats such as Vectorman and Super Mario RPG.
    • Very fluid particle effects.
    • Sonic still moves about as fast as he does in the main 2D games, so the console can render all of this very quickly.

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