|Developer(s)||Sonic Team USA|
|Release date(s)|| JP December 30, 2003|
NA January 6, 2004 (GameCube)
NA January 24, 2004 (PlayStation 2, Xbox)
EU February 6, 2004
|Rating(s)|| ESRB: E|
Sonic Heroes is a platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team USA and released in 2003 and 2004 for multiple platforms. The game follows four teams of three characters, each of which has a unique subplot, and as Doctor Eggman begins another attempt at global domination, each team follows a separate path to stop him. This game differs from other Sonic games by allowing the player to take control of each of three characters of a particular team, each member of which has a unique ability, that of speed, power, or flight.
The game is a 3D Sonic game. In this game, you control three characters are available at any time. Each type of character has an individual ability - speed for going fast, Power characters for their strength, while the flight characters have the ability to fly. There are a new type of item you can get. It allows you to level up your character. The highest level your character can go is level 3. Once you beat a certain amount of enemies you can preform your team blast skill.
In addition to controlling three characters, the player may select one of the four teams available to use at the beginning of the game; each team has one member capable of the aforementioned skills, but follow a different, yet intertwined, storyline. Each team also has a unique Team Blast skill.
Team Sonic is the title team of Sonic Heroes. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles receive a letter from Doctor Eggman telling them of a new ultimate weapon that will be ready within three days, challenging them to stop him. The three heroes band together once again to foil Eggman's plans. This team and associated levels are designed to be of medium difficulty, and contain high-speed sections.
Their Team Blast consists of Knuckles throwing Tails, who spins to gain momentum, and throws Sonic, who attacks surrounding enemies multiple times. During the final boss, each team member, under Super Transformation, performs the same attack as Sonic.
Rouge sneaks into one of Eggman's bases after hearing that Doctor Eggman is accumulating valuable treasures. Instead, she finds Shadow the Hedgehog, thought to be dead, encased in a capsule and without memory of who he is, and comes across a robot, E-123 Omega, bent on destroying Eggman's robots to prove his power. Realizing that all their problems lead to Eggman, the three anti-heroes team up. This team and associated levels are designed to be of hard difficulty, requiring skill and concentration to endure heavy battle.
Their Team Blast consists of Shadow performing Chaos Control, whilst , lifted up by Rouge, E-123 Omega fires large lasers whilst rotating the top half of his body. It also freezes time momentarily once complete, so that all enemy doors and switches are frozen in place.
Each character of Team Rose is trying to find someone important to them; Amy searches for Sonic and hopes that defeating Eggman herself will impress him. Big is searching for his amphibian friend, Froggy again, and Cream is seeking out Cheese's lost brother, Chocola. With a picture in the newspaper (of Froggy and Chocola being carried off by who they believe to be Sonic) as their only clue, the three join up to find their lost companions. This team and associated levels are designed for younger players, with shorter missions.
Their Team Blast sees Big balancing Amy and Cream on top of his umbrella with a shower of flowers raining down on them. All three members level up by one and grants them temporary invincibility, high running speed, and a shield.
Team Chaotix is composed of quiet, ninja-like, and disciplined Espio the Chameleon; their headstrong music-loving leader Vector the Crocodile; and the air-headed flying ace Charmy Bee. They run their own detective agency, and receive a mysterious package with a walkie talkie in it. A stranger gives the team instructions through this device and claims that if the job he has for them is completed, the Chaotix will be "rewarded handsomely". Espio is wary of the job, but Vector, with dollar signs in his eyes, reminds him that they "never turn down work that pays". This team and associated levels provide a different experience, as most are mission-based, and are only complete when the mission target is met.
Their Team Blast sees Espio, Charmy, and Vector singing and playing instruments badly, causing all of the surrounding enemies to explode, whilst ring bonuses are received for each enemy destroyed. Collecting rings also refills the gauge, potentially allowing the player to perform another Blast immediately after the first is complete.
The game's director, Takashi Iizuka, stated that he did not want to make Sonic Heroes another Sonic Adventure title, as he was worried only core gamers would buy the title, instead preferring to create a game for general users to adapt to.
Reviews of Sonic Heroes were mostly above average; Metacritic averages range from 64% for the PlayStation 2 version (based on 29 reviews) to 73% for the Xbox version (based on 28 reviews). Game Rankings averages ranged from 60% for the PC version (based on 18 reviews) to 74.5% for the Nintendo GameCube version (based on 95 reviews).
Reviewers noted several positive aspects to the game. These included the gameplay style; whilst the transition to 3D has been noted as rough for the Sonic franchise,Sonic Heroes came close to the series' 2D roots. Sound design was also praised, described as "inexorably linked" to the experience and "at least very pristine" with "perfectly implemented" sound effects, running in Dolby Pro Logic II. Graphics design and environments were also highlighted, described as colorful, vibrant and cheery, with consistent art design and an exceptionally vibrant color palette. Framerate was also consistent for the Xbox, GameCube and PC versions, although a drop in framerate in the multiplayer component was noted.
It also attracted several negative criticisms. Often cited were the game's camera control system, described as "uncooperative" and "terrible". Camera control compounded an additional problem regarding the controls relative to the camera's position, such that pushing forward may or may not move the character in the same direction the camera is facing. Falling from the level's platforms into the deep pits below was also criticized. The game's voice acting also came in for criticism, described as "horrendous" and "the biggest misstep in the sound design".
In addition, the PlayStation 2 version received lower average scores. Clipping and graphic faults were cited, whilst the framerate was also lower than the other versions.
In 2004, Sonic Heroes was the sixth bestselling game in the United Kingdom overall, and a full year after its release, was still at number eight in the all-price chart. The game ultimately sold well enough to enter all three consoles' "best-sellers" lists: Greatest Hits/Platinum for the PlayStation 2, Platinum Hits for the Xbox, and Player's Choice for the GameCube. The game was also released in a package with Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on Xbox.
|Console games (main series): Sonic (SMD) · Sonic 2 · Sonic CD · Sonic 3 · Sonic and Knuckles · Adventure · Adventure 2 · Heroes · Shadow · Sonic (360/PS3) · Unleashed|
|Handheld games: Sonic (8-bit) · Sonic 2 (8-bit) · Chaos · Triple Trouble · Labyrinth · Blast · Pocket Adventure · Advance · Advance 2 · Battle · Advance 3 · Rush · Advance 2 · Genesis · Rivals · Rush Adventure · Rivals 2 · Chronicles|
|Spinoffs: SegaSonic · Spinball · Drift · Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine · Tails' Skypatrol · Tails Adventure · Knuckles' Chaotix · Fighters · 3D Blast · R · Shuffle · Pinball Party · Riders · Secret Rings · Mario & Sonic · Riders: Zero Gravity · Black Knight|
|Compilations: Compilation · Jam · Sonic & Knuckles Collection · Mega Collection (Plus) · Gems Collection|
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