Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
Hey parents, get off your duffs! It’s time to go fast with everyone’s favorite mildly annoying hedgehog. If you and your little ones are looking for a fast-paced action game with a variety of game-types, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the Nintendo GameCube might be what the Doctor (Eggman…Sonic jokes..) ordered. The Book of Knowledge tells me that Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a beefed up version of Sonic Adventure 2 which was originally released for the ill-fated SEGA Dreamcast of yore. The GameCube iteration of the game includes some extra content; like an expanded Chao-raising system, GameBoy Advance integration and some visual upgrades that take advantage of the extra processing power of the ‘Cube. I played the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2 when I was younger; and that game, along with Shenmue, are why I still hold that console in such high regard today. Now either I stuck at some of the earlier stages, or my memory is just terrible because I barely recognize half of the stuff offered up in the GC port. It actually works out well that I don’t recall much, as it allows both Mae and I to go into this fresh.
I recently took possession of a dozen or so GameCube games and without a console to play them on- I went searching. Luck would have it that I came across a yard sale less than a week later and found a disheveled GameCube sitting in a box. I scooped it up for a whopping $5 (game, memory card, all cords and a controller too!) and promptly went home to test it all out. This GameCube is rough, a few of the buttons are seemingly glued down and the lid needs a weight to keep it down while playing, but it works and that’s all that really matters. I plan on cleaning it up thoroughly a little later on, but I didn’t want to wait any longer before getting Mae into our new console. Some of the really great games that were gifted to me were scratched beyond recognition so I was out of luck there, but my $5 yard sale find also included a copy of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle so all was not lost.
We popped the game in and found that the previous owner had finished the game; unlocking just about everything along the way. Honestly, it felt sort of weird playing someone else’s game, seeing which characters they picked and how they chose to customize their Chao pets. Any feelings of intrusion soon wore off as we delved deeper into all that Sonic had to offer. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle has a number of different game modes- all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. I really liked the standard Adventure mode. Mae enjoyed the Kart Racing and Chao World. We played a bit of the adventure mode and Mae was understandably a little frustrated. Not only is this a new controller configuration for her and might take some getting used to, but a lot in the adventure mode requires precision timing, which Mae sometimes has trouble with. The kart racing is pretty straight forward; perhaps even a little boring. Having recently played CTR: Crash Team Racing, it couldn’t quite compare and we quickly moved on to where I assumed we would be spending most of our time.
The shining achievement of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle in Mae’s opinion has got to be the Chao World. It is just so damn cute. It demands reprise: So…Damn…Cute. These little things hatch from eggs that you can buy from a closet called the Black Market (weird) in the Kindergarten. They can be cared for, played with and taught things. Not sure if these little guys play into the story at all, because once we found this area, we pretty much stayed there. The Chao pets that the previous owner had created were pretty cute, but Mae wanted to raise her own. We hatched one of the eggs and took it to the Fortune Teller to name it. Naming conventions go from Japanese to just kind of weird. Mae settled on Papoose, not sure why..but that’s a 4-year-old for you. There are also a few mini games that let you pit your Chao pets against each other with Chao kart racing and Chao Karate.
There is one thing to note in the Chao world: don’t go down the stairs to the Dark Chao Garden. Just don’t do it. Trust me. I did it once- never again. The Dark Chao Garden kind of looks like a Slayer album murdered a Tim Burton movie. When Mae and I went there, we saw a poor little Chao thing seemingly drowning in what looked like a lake of blood. I was legitimately spooked for a little while.
I don’t know if I would suggest that you knock the doors down of your local shop trying to find this one, but if you happen to come across it in the wild for a reasonable price, go ahead and pick up Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. It is a fun game with a lot of content that will keep you and the little one smiling and occupied for hours. At times it feels like SEGA might have been a little too ambitious with this Sonic game, but the Chao system and the variety of multiplayer modes keep everything pretty fun.