Sega had a playable demo of Sonic's newest adventure running at its Executive Gamer's Summit in San Francisco last month. We played the demo and spoke with a member of Sonic Team regarding the game's development, but we couldn't talk about the project until now.
The sequel to the blue-skinned Sega mascot's first adventure on the Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure 2 promises to deliver more of the top-notch platforming action that made the last game so appealing. Though Sega has been very secretive concerning the game, we were recently given a chance to discuss the game's development with a member of Sonic Team and get our hands on a playable demo.
Sega first showed us a brand-new trailer for the game that showcased Sonic Adventure 2's enhanced graphics and hinted at the storyline. From what we could tell, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are the primary heroes in this game, and their quest involves both Dr. Robotnik and a brand-new character. Though the trailer wouldn't show the character in full view, it did show several close-ups of his face, enough to allow us to make an educated guess about his identity. He appeared to be an evil version of Sonic himself - similar in appearance, but with darker skin, more angled eyes, and a fearsome snarl instead of Sonic's trademark grin. Neither Sonic Team nor Sega would comment on exactly who this character was, but it's obvious that he's the new villain behind Sonic Adventure 2.
However, Sega did have some comments concerning the scope of the game. Sonic Adventure 2 will stray from the adventure-game feel of last year's Sonic Adventure and will instead focus on the classic fast-paced level-based gameplay that made the Sonic series. Sonic Adventure 2 won't feature the real-world level layout featured in Sonic Adventure, and the gameplay will instead progress in a linear fashion. Sonic Team implied that they were doing away with the adventure fields of Sonic Adventure completely, and that they're instead populating Sonic Adventure 2 with self-contained action stages. You will presumably spend less time talking with people and more time running fast in this sequel. Sonic Team did reveal that chao breeding will return in Sonic Adventure 2, and the new game should feature plenty of new things to do with your saved chao from Sonic Adventure.
The demo that was being showcased at the event featured only one action stage introduced by a quick in-game cutscene. The demo was in Japanese, and it featured English subtitles for the dialogue. The demo opened with Sonic escaping from a highly armed helicopter by jumping out an open door while strapped to a snowboard. The crew of the helicopter seems pretty upset as Sonic acrobatically floats to the large metropolis below. Once Sonic hits the ground, the gameplay begins. As the level opens, Sonic is still on the snowboard, and he's sliding down a huge asphalt hill at incredible speeds. You have to collect rings, maneuver your way around quick corners, and avoid the cars that litter the road. You also have plenty of opportunities to catch air, as the road is peppered with boost pads and jumps.
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