In 1999 the fastest Internet connection for most people was a 56k dialup (and the less we say about that the better), Cinema Tickets were as cheap as £2.50 (ah, good times), people weren't so easily offended about anything, social media was probably just a twinkle in their respective creators' eyes and mobile/cell phones were more of a tool and less of a social device like it is today.
Movies like Wild-Wild West, Deep Blue Sea & Cruel Intentions were cool flicks to watch along with being given South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Whom I might add managed to out-swear Pulp Fiction in nearly 80 minutes. That's kind of a tall order. And the Uncle song......I was not prepared for that, lol.
Back in those days; gaming was pretty simple; get from point a-b and players just made up their own story as they went along. And that was more true with the Sonic Franchise from 1991-1994. Sonic 1 - Sonic 3 & Knuckles gave you the basis of a story-line but with no running dialogue and you just moved from one Zone to another defeating various Bosses.
Then after that; Sonic pretty much disappeared for 5 years from the main gaming scene. There were what I like to call filler-games for the Saturn (that died a really cruel death) like Sonic 3D: Flickies Island and the very underrated Sonic R.
When I heard on the wire that Sega were planning to bring Sonic back for a new age I knew that they had to hit the world with something big as Nintendo had skipped a Generation with the N64 and Sony were carving out a place for themselves with the Playstation.
When I first saw screencaps and very early clips for Sonic Adventure, at the time it was mind blowing that Sonic was making the transition to 3D as he had been predominantly 2D in the 16-bit Era with the Megadrive (Genesis in the US) and then was the time for him to join the 3D Era.
Now, the UK did not get the DC until mid October, which I was chill with because some things are worth waiting for. And that was so true.
When I played SA 1 for the first time and saw the introduction video before the menu screen I was blown away by the visual work SonicTeam had put into it and then what happened next blew my mind even further:
Awwwwww, yeah! This is happenin! - Ryan Drummond as Sonic the Hedgehog
Jaleel White had given Sonic a voice on TV (he maybe the OG of Sonic voice acting, but he's still the best Sonic voice. My opinion) but Ryan laid claim to being the first English speaking game voice for Sonic. And if I'm being honest he was good for what the role required of him at the time. I personally think Sega screwed him over for Sonic X and when the 4kids actors took over for the rest of the Game series, but they wanted continuity between TV & Games, so I can see the logic behind that.
The voice-acting and the writing for SA 1 has not aged terribly well as voice acting has gotten better in terms of the delivery the actors give as when you listen to the dialogue today for SA 1 & 2 it feels like they're phoning it in whereas if you compare it with Sonic Unleashed & Sonic Generations you get the sense that they're putting more effort and emotion into their roles, which is what you want from the dialogue because if they care about what they're putting in, then you'll likely care as well.
With the visuals, as I mention in my video; they're a product of their time as this is what cutting edge technology was capable of at that time in the 90's when compared to the stunning Hollywood quality visuals of today. But at the end of the day; the graphics are just the icing on the cake when it comes to a game.
This is where Sonic Adventure has aged surprisingly well and has held up well with games before and after it. It has a replay value where you want to come back to levels like Emerald Coast, Red Mountain, Midnight Highway and Windy Valley.
And it gave a little something for everyone. Knuckles' treasure hunting style was a lot slower but it made you use a more methodical style of gameplay when you search for pieces of the Master Emerald. Tails' is basically a smaller portion of Sonic's style with the emphasis on that you had to get to the finish line before him. Amy's story I found to be unnecessary as her gameplay style was slow, clunky and just filler. Big's was ok, but if I wanted to play a fishing game I'd have gotten Sega bash fishing. Again, it was ok, but I felt this was just done as filler before the final story that would see Super Sonic in 128-Bit glory.
And that's another thing that this game started; this really repetitive cycle of only having Super Sonic playable until the very last Boss fight of the games. I appreciate that makes it a little more grandiose but at the same time felt like it was kind of a letdown as playing as Super would have been fun to do in the regular levels.
I think Sonic Generations found a way for you to play as Super once you had beaten the game but then kinda takes the fun away. But it is what it is.
I knew where I was on 12/31/1999. Playing SA 1 on my DC. Some Millennium bug, huh?
The Dreamcast gave me many fond memories of not only SA 1, but Speed Devils, WWF Attitude (now, that is Old-school), Micro Machines, Southpark Rally, Phantasy Star Online, Chef's Luv shack, Crazy Taxi & Sonic Adventure 2.
My only regret is that Sega could not get out of their financial troubles that could have kept them in the console business (talk about foreshadowing, even then) but they went out to be a 3rd Party developer to make content for Xbox, GameCube and the PS2 at that time.
It's gone. But never to be forgotten.
Happy 16th Anniversary to the Dreamcast & Sonic Adventure. Thank you for the memories.
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