You know what’s cute? Little brightly colored bouncy creatures with big eyes, and happy mouths. You know what’s cool? A whole bunch of different characters running around and completing various missions while working collaboratively towards the awe-inspiring conclusion of a greater underlying plot. You know what’s batshit insane? When both of these are in the same game! Holy pygmy goats and a cordless drill, it’s Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. You are in for a ride.
This game is about Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Dr. Robotnik (Eggman), and Rouge going about their daily business, and suddenly being forced together by the plot in order to stop the world from being blown up horribly by something I’m not going to talk about. There are two ways you can go about getting to this epic finale: The Light path, or the Dark path. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to spell out which characters are on what sides, but I should note that you need to complete both to 100% the game. Onward.
Sonic and Shadow take part in stages that involve platforming and movement. You don’t always rush to beat a stage timer, but when you do, you feel the thrill of a racing game. The glory of passing the finish line with seconds on the clock is no stranger to Adventure 2: Battle. Like in any Sonic game, rings are your lifeline. So long as you have one of those lovely golden bastards, you won’t die. Er, unless you jump off a cliff or fall victim to a horrid stage hazard. Happens to the best of us.
Tails and Dr. Eggbotnik operate on a much more linear basis, because they drive biped mech walkers with guns. That is correct: You get to blast the crap out of anything and everything in your way to get through the level. By making use of standard shots and laser-locked homing missiles, you can literally gun your way through any level they’re playable in. To make things stranger, they both have health bars. Damage results in gauge loss and the loss of all rings, though collecting rings restores health. Best to have a hefty sum on you so repairs can be made the instant they occur, no?
Knuckles and Rouge have it easy. They get to glide around on huge sandbox stages and hunt for three objects using a proxy scanner. Could be keys, could be Master Emerald pieces, who knows! The closer you get to them, the more aware you’ll be made that you’re close to them. Seriously. Green means “Yeah, maybe here.” Yellow means, “Damn, you’re getting close.” Red means, “HOLY SHIT YOU’RE RIGHT ON TOP OF IT OH MY GOD WHERE IS IT.” You’ll have to dig into walls and the ground at times if they’re not out there and obvious, which they usually aren’t. Good news is, you can also pick up rings and barriers by digging, so go crazy. Oh, and you’re rarely if ever timed, so don’t worry about rushing unless you care about your rank.
Lives are universal, so if you die too much with Sonic, you’ll get a Game Over with Shadow. Big whoop, though. The game proceeds level by level, so you just do it trial and error style. Learn from your mistakes and make another effort! And enjoy the music while you’re there. I swear, one of the reasons I love Sonic Adventure 2: Battle so much is because of the soundtrack. High quality nostalgia material from a Sanick game? No way! Yeah way. Also, I mentioned ranks before, and that’s because each level goes from A to E. My advice: Worry about that after you’ve beaten the game. It’s tough being perfect.
Wait? Excuse me? Not enough content? How about playing almost every single player stage in splitscreen? Every Sonic/Shadow stage turns into a race. You can even play as Amy and Metal Sonic. Holy wingless ducks with sombreros. Collecting rings unlocks special abilities, like a ranged attack on your opponent, a speed up, or a time freeze. Special stages like Grind Race just make everything more fun.
Still not good enough? How about duking it out in a battle arena designed specifically for mech walkers like that of Tails and Dr. Robeggman? What if I told you normal and dark Chaos were available as player characters? Same case with rings: first tier is a set of homing scatter-burst missiles, second tier is vertical launch rockets, and third is a ludicrous shoop laser. How is that not awesome? There are arenas made for these kinds of matches, man. You can even race in your mechs. What is this if not the best thing ever?
You’re not surprised as I’m telling you that the Knuckles/Rouge treasure hunting stages are also multiplayer, and that there are special maps available for this game mode as well. How could you be? This game has way too much content for being on such a tiny little GameCube disc. You can play as Tikal and Chaos Zero in this game mode, along with the other two peeps. Chaos Zero. WHOA.
Okay, this is running a little long. I’ll make the Chao Garden part 2. You can tell that I like this game, right? Good, because you should too. Even if you come from a more modern generation where Sega is recognized for being bought by Nintendo after having ground out crappy series killing offshoots, I have some advice for you: Put faith in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. It’s difficult to find a similar game that’s on par.
In his review, Nintendoboy77 of GameFAQs confirms the long-standing sentiment that Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is a really good game with few flaws. As mentioned, liking this game more than a little will probably result in the replay value skyrocketing. Video games are a delicate and subjective art, and this one’s just spectacular. Don’t take my word for it, though. Other people think so too: http://www.gamefaqs.com/gamecube/533012-sonic-adventure-2-battle/reviews/review-150203