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Sonic Comparison Part II:
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle vs. Sonic Adventure DX

Written By:
AJ Middleton

Be sure to check out part 1 of our feature if you haven't already.

PART 2 – The Plot & Related Elements

STORY:

I’ll make this short and say SA2B.  Look at how that story EVOLVES.  From Sonic being arrested, to Eggman almost having Earth in his grasp, to a partnership between Hero and Dark to save the world from the TRUE ultimate life form.  Plus, it takes you to a variety of places, from city to space, and the trio on each side works together to progress the action.  What a story.  As for SADX, it’s a usual “save the Chaos Emeralds from Eggman” game.  Chaos’s history along with Tikal’s visions spices up the story a little, but it’s still bland compared to the adventure that SA2B takes you on.  Besides, the characters aren’t all interlocked.

WINNER: SA2B; a story a story…

PRESENTATION OF THE STORY:

Both adventures have very unique ways of telling the story.  Neither is completely linear.  In SA2B, you have 2 adventures, Hero and Dark, to go through.  The two stories intertwine with each other, giving you the complete deal.  Each story has 3 characters in it that work together to advance the action.  The topology (see “The Definition of an RPG,” 4-5-03) is a linear tube, but the story scenes that take place in between each level mask this.  SADX is a zigzag star, but it still has the complete story split up between all characters.  This makes things a little more diverse, having six separate points of view rather than two.  Although, I admit, this makes certain scenes get very repetitive after awhile.  One cool thing about SADX is the Adventure Field, but that will be discussed in the next category.

WINNER:  SADX; more diverse, and an actual world

WORLD:

SA2B doesn’t really have a world that can be fully explored.  Sure, parts of it are seen in the levels, but you can’t ACTUALLY walk through the desert or ARC.  SADX gives us a world ready to be explored, the Adventure Field, which exists outside of the action stages.  This is a pretty cool feature, being that it gives everything a feeling of connectivity.  It also breaks SA2B’s chain of “action stage- event- action stage- event”.  In DX, events are truly set off by a player’s action, a la an RPG.  One could argue that SA2B has a larger, more filling world, as seen on the Stage Select map, but remember how much of that isn’t really there.

WINNER: SADX; around and around the world we go…

CHARACTERS AND LEVELS:

At first glance, SADX seems to have the advantage.  There are six unique characters with their own moves and their own levels.  SA2B also has six, but the group is made up of three pairs of clones, or characters whose level style and techniques are similar.  However, SADX is lacking.  Sonic, Tails, and Amy are basically all racing through and trying to get to the end of their levels, although the latter two have a twist to their objectives.  Knuckles and Gamma are fine, although Knux has faced a major level size reduction from those of SA2B.  But Big the Cat?  These “levels” are more like mini-games.  Also, he just seems like an extraneous character that gives little to the plot.  The other problem is that the levels are not evenly distributed in DX.  For example, Sonic has 11 levels, but poor Amy has only 4.  This makes her adventures much too short and it makes her appearance in the game feel like a cameo.  To make things worse, many levels are repeated amongst different characters.

SA2B doesn’t have the feeling of pointless characters or repetition.  Everyone is significant to the plot in every way, and everyone is fully developed with a true personality.  Even the clones don’t come off as an annoyance, because you realize that the pairs have the same function because they are similar physically.  Sonic and Shadow are both speed demons, Knux and Rouge are treasure hunters at heart, and Eggman and Tails would be fast…if they weren’t in love with their walkers.  Also, each level is different.  Although a few may take place in the same area (Ex: Mad Space and Meteor Herd,) they have a completely unique layout.

WINNER: SA2B; no waste, little repetition, and more loveable heroes.

ANTAGONISTS:

In SA2B, you can play as the Eggman and the rest of the dark side, which is an interesting twist for once.  But what’s even greater is that the Dark characters aren’t the real antagonists at all.  Only by following the story can one see that Dr. Gerald Robotnik’s legacy is the real threat.  And as for SADX, it’s a normal “try to foil Eggman’s plan again.”  Yeah, yeah, there’s Chaos, but he doesn’t do much on his own until the end.  Not as creative as SA2B’s.

WINNER: SA2B; a unique evil.

MYSTERIOUS WOMEN:

Tikal and Maria are both heroines in their respective games, although they never have any direct involvement on the running plot of the games.  Maria was Shadow’s owner, killed in the raid of the ARC.  It’s because of her that Shadow both wants to destroy the world and finds the courage to save it.  Tikal belonged to a warlike tribe of echidnas, and her righteousness stopped Chaos and sealed him away, maybe at the cost of her own life.  Tikal has an added bonus that Maria lacks- she does come into the present, as a spirit, to show the heroes glimpses of what happened to her.  In the end, she helps Sonic defeat Perfect Chaos, and she restores the spirit of the water guardian after the battle.

WINNER: SADX; sorry Maria, but Tikal did more. 

PLOT HOLES:

Both DX and 2B remind me of an RPG due to their unexplained plot holes. (And mind you, plot holes are bad, so the winner of this category has the fewest.)  With the weaker plot, SADX naturally has smaller holes.  First of all, the game never directly says that the Mystic Ruins was the site of the ancient echidna race.  Sure, it’s almost obvious that the temple in the Ruins is an aged version of Tikal’s, but because it’s never directly stated, debate could still exist.  Also, what even became of the ancient race?  Did Chaos destroy them all before Tikal could seal him away?  And if they all died, how is Knuckles around?  That’s still a mystery.

SA2B’s hole can be summed up in one word- Shadow.  Is he the ultimate life form, and if not, what is he?  At first it’s safe to say he isn’t, after Rouge discovers the plans for project Shadow and confronts him with having false memories.  But, Dr. Gerald Robotnik seems to refer to the “prototype of the ultimate life” and “Shadow” as two separate entities in his diary.  And being that Eggman says that he broke into the military base to release Shadow makes all evidence point to the hedgehog again.  BUT, in his flashbacks, Shadow seems like nothing more than Maria’s pet.  How can that be an ultimate life form?  Plus, the Biolizard being the real Shadow just makes more sense.  Perhaps the dark hedgehog was only a decoy to fool the government.  Ahh!

WINNER: SADX; fewer headaches.

FINAL BOSS AND BATTLE:

In SADX, we have Chaos.  He has been growing for the whole game, and now he is Perfect Chaos, powered by all seven Chaos emeralds.  Chaos is mad because of what he witnessed before he was sealed inside the Master Emerald many years ago.  He has just destroyed Station Square, and now Sonic must turn into his super form to beat the aqueous goon.  To beat Perfect Chaos, you have to maneuver Sonic through broken highways to collect rings, hit speed boosts, dodge Chaos’s fireballs, and eventually gain enough speed to ram into the monster and break out of its head.  And then Open Your Heart is playing in the background.  But sadly, Perfect Chaos has a small learning curve.  Ram into him a few times and he’s dead…sorta.  Then he comes back again, sans the theme song, and you have to do it again, although things are little more difficult.  Perfect Chaos is far from a hard battle.

Shadow, as discovered in SA2B, is not THE Shadow.  That’s the name given to the prototype of the ultimate life, created by Gerald Robotnik.  The Biolizard is at the core of ARC, and Shadow decides to take his superior on.  This battle isn’t easy.  A number of phases have to be completed before the end.  I got to the stage when I could beat Biolizard in one life, stopped playing the game for a few months, and after that period, I couldn’t beat him again until I burned through 3 continues.  AND THEN, the Biolizard takes control of ARC himself and merges with the space station to form the Finalhazard.  This battle is simply awesome; both hedgehogs participate super charged, Live and Learn plays in the background, and it all takes place while flying through outer space.  The battle is more annoying than hard, but it still can take a few tries if you can’t maneuver right.  SA2B’s final battles are more filling and fun than DX’s.

WINNER: SA2B; a better final atmosphere (no pun intended.)

…And we have a tie!

NEXT TIME - Non-Adventure Goodies

Posted: 12-11-03



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