How to play Sonic Adventure 2? (More Details Inside)

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Zuon

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#1 Zuon
Member since 2008 • 481 Posts

Context (skip if desired)
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When I was a kid, my first experience with Sonic was the Sonic & Knuckles Collection for Windows. I had no knowledge of the fiasco with the music of Sonic 3, and rarely made it past Marble Garden Zone anyway, so to me, a kid raised on MS-DOS shareware, the collection was just another, fun, 2D platformer with punchy Sound Blaster support.

Fast forward a few years, I pick up Sonic Adventure DX for my low end E-Machines, and once again, I wasn't aware of the porting downgrades from the Dreamcast version. The music volume did overpower the voices, and I purposefully played at 480p to avoid seeing the glitched subtitle bar, but as far as I was concerned, it was a sequel to Sonic 3 that, due to the hub worlds, kept true to the title - it was now an ADVENTURE.

Over 10 years later, I'm now an adult, and decide to buy Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on Steam to see if it was as good as everyone else my age remembers it being. I play through the first few stages, but lose interest as I soon realize there aren't any hubs anymore, Tail's is trapped inside his mech, and, it just wasn't what I was expecting as the next part of the series at that point. I still wasn't aware of the graphics glitches, but everything did look visually unappealing and lifeless to me anyway, like something was... wrong, even though I didn't know better.

But I've recently been watching videos showing just how butchered and downgraded the ports of SA1 and SA2 were to the Dreamcast originals, and my interest re-sparked. I've been emulating SA1 on my PS Classic and rather enjoying the added sense of atmosphere to the lighting, as well as the PROPERLY balanced audio levels. I can now actually follow along with the cutscenes without paying too much attention or blowing out my speakers.

When it came to SA2, however... I game overed at City Escape and gave up. I kept stopping abruptly, over-steering into walls, falling down seemingly easy pits, and could never land on a grind rail no matter how much I tried. What's weird is I don't remember it being this hard on the Steam version.

But I don't want to play any further into the steam version, as I now know just how many layering issues, visual bugs, missing audio cues, and once again, improperly balanced audio in the cutscenes, I'll have to put up with. I can't make sense of the story, for example, when the characters are talking about Earth on the Ark, yet the new Earth texture is too small to show up through the window they're looking through.

The Question (Tl;dr)
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What is the most complete, hassle-free way to experience Sonic Adventure 2 with BOTH correctly tuned cutscenes, as well as controls that aren't infuriatingly twitchy? Does such a thing exist?

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Telekill

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#2 Telekill
Member since 2003 • 11457 Posts

I don't recall the game being that bad on Dreamcast control wise. I wonder if your controller had issues?

As for modern playthroughs, I'm betting you probably have the better possibility via Steam unless you still have your Dreamcast.

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judaspete

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#3  Edited By judaspete
Member since 2005 • 4897 Posts

You might be able to get Sonic Adventure 2 to work well on Steam with mods, but if you don't want to hassle with that then you should probably track down the Gamecube version. The Dreamcast version works well too, but the GC has more content added.

As for the game itself, Sonic Adventure 2 is a more polished game than SA1, but also less ambitious. Levels are smaller and linear, there is no overworld, and playing as everyone besides Sonic/Shadow suuuuuuuuucks. I still think it's worth slogging through, as the Sonic and Shadow levels are great (especially the later ones in space), but the Tails/Eggman and Knuckles/Rouge levels are not much fun.

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Zuon

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#4 Zuon
Member since 2008 • 481 Posts

@judaspete: These Steam mods you speak of... Do they happen to restore broken effects, lighting, and cutscenes from the Dreamcast version? If so, that seems like the best bet. I know there's a restoration project for SA1 for the PC port, but haven't heard of one for SA2.

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Zuon

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#5 Zuon
Member since 2008 • 481 Posts

@Telekill: It's the same controller I was using for SA1 on Dreamcast before that, both on the PS Classic. There's a Youtuber (Rookervision) who did a comparison of the versions, who also commented that the Steam controls were somehow better than both the Dreamcast and GC versions.

I can't speak for the GC port, as I've never played it, but Steam would be fine, as long as I can find a mod to fix the broken graphics as they were as intended on the DC. I'll have to do some more searching on that. I only know of the DC restoration mod for Sonic Adventure 1 DX.

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Zuon

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#6  Edited By Zuon
Member since 2008 • 481 Posts

UPDATE (Sorry for the three post streak:)

I followed this guide to restore some of the broken content from the dreamcast version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR_GmG0bcro

It's not perfect - some scene specific shadows aren't present (Sonic's jail cell bars for example), and it would be nice to keep the Gamecube/hi-poly character models with the fixed cutscene rigs, but the GUN-Mech's window transparencies are back, the emeralds are refracting properly, characters are properly lit, missing light sources have been restored to their original look, and while I haven't gotten to an Eggman stage yet, one of the mods in that list tries its best to darken his stages the closest possible to the DC original.

Now if only I could get the spin-dash to work, I could escape prison island.

After playing the game on Steam again, I can confirm. The controls are indeed more precise than the Dreamcast originals. There's no comparison.

And, I think I get the hype now. Playing it semi-properly, it's really fun, especially on a good run.

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judaspete

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#7 judaspete
Member since 2005 • 4897 Posts

@Zuon: Glad to hear you have it mostly up and running. It's a fun game and still looks pretty good if the graphics are working properly. Once you beat it and can just replay the Sonic and Shadow levels over and over, you'll like it even more :)

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Random_Matt

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#8 Random_Matt
Member since 2013 • 6311 Posts

Spent so many hours on my DC.