Why I think the Sonic Adventure games are works of art! (I miss the old Sonic Team)

Old Sonic Team were very talented artists and made some beautifully designed games like: NiGHTS into Dreams, Phantasy Star Online and also helped to make games like Shenmue, and Skies of Arcadia. But I wanted to provide some examples from the Adventure series and Heroes, as to why they are creative works of art. The Sonic Team of the late 90’s and early 2000’s were experts at creative texture work. And it shows in the Adventure games. There is just something about their vibrant use of color that can be found in all of these textures. It’s just artistic vision that really stands out to me as being something special! All of the worlds they designed are surreal and I wanted to provide some examples of that masterclass work.

Sonic Adventure:

In Sonic Adventure we see Sonic in Emerald Coast as he runs alongside jumping dolphins, in Windy Valley we see Sonic running across a trail of multicolored leaves as he runs along the swirling wind. And we can see each individual dandelion spore as they blow across the sky!

Sonic Adventure 2:

In Sonic Adventure 2 we see the haunting backdrop of Pumpkin Hill with pumpkin shaped mountains and the ominous yellow hue that fills the entire level. In Radical Highway we see the NiGHTS Hotel, a cool nod to NiGHTS into Dreams. In White Jungle we see the detailed texture work Sonic Team created with all of the individually drawn leaf textures and falling waterfalls. In Dry Lagoon we see a beautiful stain glass structure full of various multicolored butterflies. Even the rock face that surrounds the level is incredibly detailed. And lastly, in Final Rush we can see Sonic grinding along infinite rails amidst the backdrop of the planet.

Sonic Heroes:

In Sonic Heroes we see many of the islands Sonic is running on in Seaside Hill are actually shaped like Whales! We then can see the detailed sky box that Sonic Team made for Casino Park with a giant roulette wheel at the base of the city! As well as the cool neon trees that add to the level’s atmosphere! In Frog Forest we see how surreal all of the foliage is with the stage being filled with giant mushrooms, loops and giant frogs! And lastly, in Hang Castle we see the giant majestic full moon Sonic Team made with an ominous skull face looking back at you! That’s some awesome texture work right there!

So, I just want to say how much I admired the old Sonic team for all of the creative work they did in the past. Not just the Adventure games but all of the other games they contributed to as well. The Sonic Team of today is sadly a shadow of what they once were.

Also, here is some proof that members of Sonic Team worked on Skies of Arcadia and Shenmue:

Kensuke Kita ( Dungeon Maps Skies of Arcadia ) ( (Field Artists Sonic Adventure)

Satoshi Arai (Graphic Designer Skies of Arcadia Legends) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)

Takehiko Akabane ( Design support Skies of Arcadia ) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)

Haruo Nakano (Design Support Skies of Arcadia) (Enemy Art Support Sonic Adventure)

Chika Kohjitani (Character Models Skies of Arcadia) (Character Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Toshiyuki Mukaiyama (Chief Designer Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Kazuo Komuro (Character Motions Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Toshihiro Itō (Effects Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Toshiyuki Takamatsu (Enemy Models Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Satsuki Nagano (Design Support Skies of Arcadia) (Modeling Support Sonic Adventure)

Takashi Endō ( Sound Effects Skies of Arcadia ) (Sound Effects Sonic Adventure)

Tetsu Katano (Program Supervisor Shenmue 1 and 2) (Main Programmer Sonic Adventure 1 and 2)

And 32 other members from Sonic Team worked on the first Shenmue and 7 members worked on Shenmue 2.


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Also, here are some more pics of Pumpkin Hill!

The current Sonic Team are good too IMO

Not to derail from the Sonic Adventure games, honestly Sega had a very unique style back during the Dreamcast era. How many other games look like Skies of Arcadia even today? Aerial battleships defying any immediate -punk aesthetic. Giant floating islands with diverse cultures. Does anything look like it today?

As far as similar themes and aesthetics go compared to Skies of Arcadia, the only game I’ve ever seen come close is Gravity Rush 2.


And if we’re talking specifically about similar art styles that come close to Sonic Team/NiGHTS into Dreams/Phantasy Star Online/Skies of Arcadia’s style, I would have to say Rare. Games like Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Star Fox Adventures. Rare had such a beautiful way of texturing their games.They had such detailed, vivid and imaginative worlds. There is just so much detail in their games and it really shows in their texture work. And a lot of this artistic craftmanship was carried over to the Metroid Prime series. Since, a bunch of Rare devs worked on those games!

There’s not much that looked like REZ, Pazner Dragoon or Skies. SEGA Japan always had some of the best artists around.

Really looking forward to the new Sonic, more so on the news, it was held back to make the game even better. It really does sound like the team are going all out to make an amazing Sonic game

I am still uncertain about the new Sonic game given Sonic’s less than consistent quality. Maybe I am just too much of an Adventures purist though.

What I want to see is a continuation to the art style and fusion of mysticism and technology similar to Cannon’s Core in Adventure 2. Like could we see more into the ancient echidna civilization or why Gerald Robotnik had to build a Master Emerald Shrine in his super weapon.

Worlds where mystical elements incorporate themselves into a technological plain always interest me. Might be why I like Skies of Arcadia’s art so much. It fuses cutlasses with aerial battleship fleet action. Same thing with Star Fox Adventures where the typical sci-fi action of Star Fox has to blend into a world with magic.

Another game that has an awesome art style is the MDK series. Specifically, MDK 2!

Sonic Lost World and Colors is when I started losing faith in Sonic Team. Sonic Forces as well when they destroyed all of Tails character development from Adventure. Rather than making original Sonic games Sega started stealing themes and gameplay elements from Mario Galaxy and for Sonic Frontiers it seems they’re stealing elements from Zelda Breath of the WIld with the open world and shrines! And listening to dialogue like this was just insulting and plain out cringeworthy.

Sonic Lost World:

Sonic : Whew, alright we good to go or what Tails?
Tails: I built a TV out of paperclips…And reprogramed a supercomputer using dishwashing detergent and a toothpick…
Sonic: I know…

Sonic Colors:

Sonic : Hey, Tails. You missed the BBBE.
Tails : Huh?
Sonic : [strikes poses] Best Boss Beating Ever!

Sonic : Like a battery?
Tails : No. Well, sort of. It’s their life source. You only got a taste of it and look at what happened. “Battery” is sort of an understatement. The funny thing: it was first translating as “horrible body odor.”
[ Sonic sniffs his left armpit. ]

Tails : Anyway, it seems an evil man - and you might know him - who they call “Baldy Nosehair” was…
Sonic : Wha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Baldy Nosehair?! That’s the best thing that I’ve heard all day! I gotta remember that one.
Tails : [ chuckles ] I know. I’ve already written it down. Anyway, he’s draining them of their power, ALL of their power, and using it for an evil… aquatic mammal? An evil dolphin? No, a porpoise! Oh! An evil purpose.
Sonic : That’s great intel. Keep working on it. [ Begins to run off ]
Tails : Hey, where ya goin’?
Sonic : To find Baldy McNosehair, of course. Ha ha! I’m totally calling him McNosehair.

Sonic became aimed at younger and younger age groups:

This kind of dialogue insults the viewer imo. Sega can’t decide what their age group is. Is it preschoolers, teens, or older fans? Because it looks like it’s preschoolers. And even preschoolers aren’t this dumb. Whoever wrote this dialogue has no respect for the history of the characters or the games. But the problem is, older fans aren’t going to put up with this low quality garbage. All of this abysmal dialogue is completely out of character. And this series has fans from all age groups, not just kids. Most fans have been with Sonic since the 90’s and this kind of writing is just plain lazy and insulting!

The dialogue is inconsistent to the games that came before it:

The Adventure games I think had a good balance concerning Sonic’s character and dialogue. Meaning the writing never went overboard with bad jokes that end up completely changing Sonics’ persona. And apart from the gameplay and design, It’s keeping the history of the character consistent as a whole that really matters. Sonic has a distinct history starting in the 90’s that has shaped his personality, that of its characters, as well as its world. From the Genesis days we grew up with 2D sonic, including Sonic CD as well, where Sonic was carefree, adventurous and determined. Just playing through the genesis games is a display of his personality, without having to resort to spoken dialogue. Just acting on instinct, as he got outsmarted by knuckles, overcoming challenges, exploring and racing through each imaginative level. And just watching the Sonic CD intro and ending has this on display perfectly.

The Adventure games stayed true to Sonic’s character:

The adventure games up to Heroes kept the heart of Sonic’s personality and brought the games into 3D.Giving Sonic a voice but keeping his determined, snarky, daredevil and adventurous self intact, without the dialogue being too overly full of jokes that made Sonic look like an idiot or some kind of ridiculous one-liner comedian.

The future games turned Sonic into a caricature of himself, some kind of comedian:

So fast forward to Lost World and Sonic Colors. We see a jarring shakeup in Sonics dialogue and personality. Sonic is now making cringeworthy jokes, and spouting dialogue for the ears of little kids. That of which, makes Soinic feel like a joke of his former self. Thus, completely undoing and destroying the personality traits setup since the Genesis days and into the Adventure series. Sonic doesn’t feel cool anymore to me, a long time fan. He feels like a phony or a caricature of himself; something pretending to be something he is not for a forced demographic.

Sonic Mania brings respect back to the series but for how long?:

It was only during Sonic Mania where a fan took it into his own hands to bring that true, correct, version of Sonic back. The one we lost from the Genesis/Adventure days. And it’s utterly confusing and perplexing to me, that the DS version of Sonic Colors lacks all of the horrible, puerile joke infested dialogue that its Wii and Ultimate versions of the game have. The DS version of Colors actually had some respect for Sonic and his history!

So, in conclusion I guess what I’m trying to say is, the writing as well as the dialogue can completely change or destroy established character traits. And for the most part, not for the better.

All developers borrow from each other games. It’s not like Breath of the Wild was the 1st Open world RPG or the 1st game to have rock climbing Sonic himself was set up as a direct response and answer to Mario. To me, the new Sonic looks more like SOTH and ICO than Breath of the Wild

And the dialogue in Mario games is any better than Sonic? C’Mon no one plays the Mario games or Sonic games for scripts or story

Dear Mario, I baked a cake and got kidnapped yet again, by a walking talking Turtle who wants to hump a human Princess

But unlike Sonic dialogue, Mario dialogue has always stayed consistent to Mario’s character. While Sonic’s dialogue deviates from it.

But the problem for me imo is, the dialogue in Lost World and Colors changes the tone and feel of the game to something that doesn’t feel like Sonic but to something more like a Saturday Morning cartoon. And that’s not Sonic to me. But, most importantly messes with Sonic and friends established character traits. The 2D games up to Adventure/Heroes and right up to Sonic Unleashed still kept the rains on Sonic’s personality. Meaning, he was still the cool, determined, daredevil, one liner, quipping hedgehog we saw since the Adventure series. But, in Lost World and Colors they took it too far and made him out to be some kind of comedian for toddlers. Telling corny joke after corny joke to the point of cringeworthy nauseum. Not to mention in Forces making Tails a scared little coward when faced with Chaos. When in Adventure he had just earned his independence, respect and grew as a character by defeating Eggman and saving Station Square. Like seriously, did the new Sonic Team forget? Because they obbiously didn’t do their research from past games, or just flat out didn’t care.

And established character traits like tails’ intelligence as an engineer is put into question when he says things like: “I built a TV out of paperclips…And reprogramed a supercomputer using dishwashing detergent and a toothpick…” I know it’s supposed to be funny for kids but that doesn’t fit in with Tails’ character traits because it makes no sense and makes him out to be an idiot that in reality isn’t actually capable of doing the feats required to actually build things.

So, I guess they really need to focus on keeping Sonic and friends in character. Because the cartoons were always separate from the games and was sort of their own thing. But transferring too much of that humor over to the games while disregarding the past history of said games, isn’t consistent and is plain out wrong in my opinion.

Please, the story and script in Mario platform games is a joke. It’s funny how no one takes issues with it or having a talking toadstool or a walking talking bipedal turtle who wants to hump a human princess but god forbid should Sonic talk and have humans in his games

But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Aside from the story, I’m talking solely about Mario and Sonic themselves, as single characters. And many of the other Sonic Characters by themselves as well. And Mario doesn’t even talk in extensive sentences really. He’s almost a mute. Sonic does talk. So, there is more room to alter the personality of Sonic himself, because of that.

For instance, here is another example of the writers messing up the dialogue of Sonic Colors. I’m comparing the Wii version to the DS version. The Wii version completely messes up the personality of the characters, while the DS version gets it right with the characters being more subtle and restrained much like they were pre-Lost World:

Wii/Ultimate Version:

Tails : Okay, ask away.
Sonic : (Ahem!) Who are you and what is happening to your people?
[ Yacker responds, and Tails reads of what the translator is interpreting. ]
Tails : Okay, he says his name is “Talks a lot” and he’s from a far away soda and where flowers water them with dances.
Sonic : Yeah, uh… I think your machine still has some bugs.
Tails : Yeah. I think I can figure this out though.
[ Tails thinks a moment before responding with the right translation, with Yacker nodding to show that this is correct. ]
Tails : Okay, he said his name is Yacker. He’s from a race of beings called “Wisps”.
Sonic : Lisps?
Tails : No, Wisps, with a “W”.
Sonic : [ facing the screen ] Yeah, I’ll just stick with aliens if that’s OK with everyone.
Tails : Sure, so anyways, they are either being used for their magical powers by an evil man, or to make underwear to be worn by salad.

DS Version:

Tails : It’s a translator module, so we can understand what the aliens are saying. Here, give it a try, Sonic! Ask him something.
Sonic : Who are you and what is happening to your people?
??? : JN4RF%52**2
Tails : Okay, he said his name is Yacker. He’s from a race of beings called “Wisps.”
Yacker : G4?3RE8&7%G!
Tails : He says, “The bad man got my friends.” He keeps repeating “save them.”
Sonic : I’ve got a good guess of who he means. Okay, let’s go rescue some Wisps!

And another comparison:


Tails : Anyway, it seems an evil man - and you might know him - who they call “Baldy Nosehair” was…
Sonic : Wha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Baldy Nosehair?! That’s the best thing that I’ve heard all day! I gotta remember that one.
Tails : [ chuckles ] I know. I’ve already written it down. Anyway, he’s draining them of their power, ALL of their power, and using it for an evil… aquatic mammal? An evil dolphin? No, a porpoise! Oh! An evil purpose.
Sonic : That’s great intel. Keep working on it. [ Begins to run off ]
Tails : Hey, where ya goin’?
Sonic : To find Baldy McNosehair, of course. Ha ha! I’m totally calling him McNosehair.

Nintendo DS:

Sonic : Hey, Yacker! Who’s that?
Yacker : JH&74$@S
Tails : Yacker says he’s a friend. He’s the Red Wisp. I guess there are all sorts of Wisps out there, huh?
Sonic : Yeah, he looks and moves nothing like Yacker.
Yacker : 8&6#WM%$^
Tails : Hmm, he’s saying “Red Burst,” but I don’t really know what that means…
Yacker : ^@
[ The Red Wisp flies into Sonic, who absorbs its power. ]
Tails : The power of flame, he says! And now you can use it, too!
Sonic : Nice! That sounds fun. Maybe I’ll go singe off Eggman’s ugly mustache!

Notice how the DS version the characters aren’t making constant corny joke after corny joke. There are just talking like their normal selves. The Wii version tuns the dialogue into a Saturday morning cartoon with corny jokes while the DS version is normal, in character, Sonic dialogue.

When you just watch a game on YouTube. I guess the story might mean something.

The story to Mario is about a stupid princess who gets kidnapped endless by a Turtle who wants to get his end away. For Sonic, It’s a useless genius who wants to take over the world and kill a Blue hedgehog, who runs faster than sound. Expecting award-winning storylines or scripts for them is asking a bit much. It’s the gameplay that counts in a Mario or Sonic game

But I’m not asking for award winning dialogue. Just for the characters to ‘stay in character’. Without changing their personalities or changing the tone or feel of the game by making the dialogue or story more geared toward very young kids rather than all the fans as a whole. That’s all.

It’s a game and Sonic has always been about being for kids especially on the MD. You never killed anything in the games and you had one-button control for all the actions. It was made for kids.

But apart from the gameplay, Sonic was always edgy, cool and had style. Even in the 2D games. The Sonic CD intro and ending really showed and emphasized these character traits. And was emphasized again in the intro and ending to Sonic Mania.

When he started talking in the Adventure games they kept that intact. The series was a bit more mature and was growing with the fans as we became teenagers. But Lost World and Colors is when they started messing with the dialogue and putting in all of that out of character comedy. Comedy that was geared more towards little kids than teens or older fans. Sonic would have never said those horrible jokes in the Adventure/Heroes games.

Comedy was always part of Sonic and being cool. You only had to read the comics and the cartoons for that. Lost World was a bit of missed step, but Sonic Colors is a delightful game to play and was visually stunning for a Wii title

And Sonic scripts are a hell of lot better than the drivel one gets in Mario games (apart from Paper Mario)

In my opinion though, they went too far with the comedy in Lost World/Colors.

I agree, I really like the level designs in Colors.

I didn’t take much notice of the scrip in Colors I was just enjoying the game. I loved the start of Lost World but after a pretty good opening the game fell flat

I’ve never played a Sonic game, Halo, Metroid game or even a Call of Duty game for their stories and found Shenmue story and script a joke. Yakuza is more of a game when I enjoy the story and script