As seen on last week’s review, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is back! Only this time, we’re not looking at the Sonic part… We’re looking at the cute little Chao-Chaos! Yeah! This is the secondary aspect of gameplay that will inevitably account for the prime of all replay value. Any Sonic fan would admit that much. After you’ve finished saving the world, what’s left to do but care for slowly growing, painfully adorable creatures?
During standard, level by level campaign play, Chao crates are scattered throughout each and every area. The first one yields a key that grants access to the Chao World after the stage is completed. Tracking down and breaking further boxes earns you loot which will be handy in raising your little buddies. If you’re in free mode, you can enter the Chao World whenever you want.
You start off with the standard Chao Garden and a single spotted Chao egg. You can let it hatch on its own, pick it up and nuzzle it, or throw it at a wall. The first two options result in a little bit of a wait before the great hatch. Throwing it at a wall makes your Chao hate you, though it hatches instantly, so it could be an even trade. You know, if you’re a sadistic bastard. Petting the Chao and feeding it the coconuts that grow on the garden trees will make it love you, made evident by the little dot that floats over its head. It’ll turn into a heart. D’aww.
Evolution is pretty simple. Every Chao has three stages in its life cycle; two transformation to be undergone. Every sixteen levels in stamina or so (acquired through eating), the Chao will enter a tear-shaped chrysalis and emerge with a different physical appearance. Infant to teen to adult, got it? However, if you’ve treated your Chao very badly by throwing it against walls and attacking it, it’ll enter a grey chrysalis and vanish. You don’t want that blood on your hands, man. Be nice to your squishy little pals.
Fly, swim, strength, speed; These stats may be increased by giving your Chao chaos drives or animals. Chaos drives increase stats by one point evenly, and cause a small change in color. Animals increase stats depending on their nature, and may even decrease stats. For example, a boar increases strength and speed, but may decrease fly. A Vulture increases fly greatly, but may decrease swim. You can’t lose levels through XP point loss, so if the stat is already at zero points, no worries.
Also, if you give the same animal consistently, the receiving Chao will begin to adapt its physical features. Having every single feature of an animal doesn’t really give any perks, but it certainly does look pretty. Plus, with each transformation, the animal attributes become more pronounced. Wings grow and gain patterns, tails lengthen, beaks sharpen, you get the idea.
If you raise your Chao with Dark characters or abuse it with Light characters, it will evolve into a Dark Chao and unlock the Dark Chao Garden, accessed through the Chao World lobby. The inverse is true in acquiring the Light Chao Garden. Since you can only hold up to eight Chao in a Garden at a time, these expansions become necessary if you plan on being an avid Chao breeder. Surpass the cap, your Chao begin to run away.
Other available gimmicks are the Chao Kindergarten, which raises your Chao’s affection towards the character that sent them, and the Chao Race and Chao Karate arenas. These options test your Chao’s accumulated stats in a variety of contests. The races include flight, swim, and speed challenges, while Karate focuses more around strength and reflexes. Complete these to collect emblems, which allow you to access rarer items in the Black Market.
The Black Market is a little locker located inside the Chao Kindergarten. It provides fruits, eggs, toys, and hats for your little Chao buddies. It can cost a load of rings to get certain rare items like metallic Chao eggs, so farm up some wealth in free mode first.
And that concludes my description of the fantastic Chao Garden. If you want further information regarding the locations of animals or good ring/chaos drive farming areas, I’d check FAQ or strategy guide sites. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle was one of the most popular games of its time; there’s a surplus of residual information available for you to use. Good luck with your Chaos! Try not to beat them up too much! Or at all.