I know what you're thinking. Is Sonic Adventure a Mario 64 killer? Well, yes and no.
This 3-D Sonic game will remind you of Mario in many ways. When hit by an enemy,
coins fall out of your pocket in a circular pattern that expands away from you like an
atomic bomb shockwave. When this happened in Mario 64, a quick circular tweak on
the control stick was all you needed to pick up all those coins in one clean, precise
movement. With Sonic you have to change direction several times in an effort to stay
on the circle of coins. Still, this is the only flaw in otherwise excellent play control.
We have a few problems with the graphics, though. The cut scenes feature remarkably
undetailed, overly geometric character models and buildings - to the point where an
overhead shot of moving vehicles has an 8-bit look. Not good. (It also reminds us of
Excitebike and Grand Theft Auto.)
The first boss is responsible for one of the worst effects in the game. The green, slimy
creature doesn't slip into the sewer grate. Instead, he decreases in size and dissolves
into thin air. A horrible effect like this should not have made it into the final product.
But guess what. None of this amounts to squat in the end. The levels themselves are
so fast and so visually arresting that you will forgive the flaws. Each level has its own
"wow" moment. In the first level, a killer whale chases you through a dock like
something out of last year's Godzilla movie. In the second level, a tornado rips you off
the ground and sends you to the Sonic Oz.
The graphics in the tornado scene are 100% convincing. You truly feel as if you're
inside a tornado. Look how the wind whips past the edges of the platform. Some
serious effort went into creating these graphics.
Elsewhere in the level you ride spiraling tracks in a sort of gravity-free roller coaster.
Yes, the game is very fast, but somehow you'll manage… even if you don't know how.
As Geoffrey Rush says in "Shakespeare in Love," somehow it all turns out well. As to
how this happens… I don't know. It's a mystery.
Oh, and by the way, thank God you can turn off the text! We wish you could do that in
Metal Gear Solid! Who needs text when you have voice-overs?
Anyway, getting back to the Mario question, Sonic may not clog the famous plumber's
pipes, but he sure does turn him into a toadstool when it comes to graphics, special
effects, and game speed. It's a close call, but Sonic just barely edges out Mario 64.
Mario could not be reached for comment.