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Sonic Heroes Preview for Xbox
Posted on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 @ 11:29:03 pm E.S.T

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment - the third dimension just hasn't been all too nice to Sonic and friends. Sure, the Sonic Adventure series still has some of the high-speed gameplay that made its 2D predecessors famous, but there's always been a few flaws. Many have had questions as to if the latest 3D Sonic game, Sonic Heroes, would just be more of the same mascot-headed treasure-hunting, but with a little bit of change due to the new character swapping system. However, Heroes is seemingly a step back into the right direction, as the latest endeavor of Sonic Team looks to provide more vertigo-inducing thrills than ever.

Right off the bat, the main difference (and main focus, for that matter) in Heroes is the aforementioned new team system. This innovative design allows you to control three characters, similar to the system that the recent GBA smash hit Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga uses. In this system, one character leads, while the other two mascots follow right behind. Each character in your squad has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to use these advantages at the right time to progress through the game. With the simple press of a button, you can jump to your most agile team member in order to pass through straightaways, switch over to your personal pilot to get over those canyons placed methodically for your demise, and then throw your fighter in the lead role when it comes to the enemies. Switching between the three fast enough to maintain your momentum is key, as you'll always be on the move.

Characters that seldom appear in Sonic games will star in Heroes.
Characters that seldom appear in Sonic games will star in Heroes.

There are four teams in which you can choose to go about your adventure with, each having a somewhat different path. If you're looking for high-paced action, your safest bet is to go with Team Sonic (made up of series legends Sonic, Knuckles and their trusty sidekick Tails). Other teams that could would fit your needs are Team Rose (minor characters Amy, Big and Cream align to form this group), and Team Dark (Sonic Adventure villians Shadow, Rouge, and E-102). All of these groups work in the standard Sonic-Tails-Knuckles format. However, if you want a Sonic Adventure-esque experience that is reminiscent of Knuckles' gem hunts, then Team Chaotix (comprised of Espio, Vector, and Charmy, who originate from the Sega 32X game Knuckles Chaotix, a similar team-based game) is the choice for you. Espio even adds a little touch to the game with the ability of invisibility, and can even use throwing stars to his advantage.

A large flaw with the 3D Sonic games has always been the camera. If the demo level on the Mario Kart: Double Dash!! bonus disc proves anything, this sadly has yet to be resolved. The camera doesn't follow the character you're playing as all too well. Rotating it seemingly doesn't fare much better, as you'll be instantly reverted to a first-person perspective. Reports on other levels are saying that other levels have absolutely no camera issues, but hopefully this situation will be resolved in all arenas by the time the game hits store shelves.

Cool rail scenes will inhabit certain levels in Heroes.
Cool rail scenes will inhabit certain levels in Heroes.

Sonic Heroes looks to hopefully be Sonic Team's return from mediocrity back to among the elite in the creation of new and unique platformers. Expect for these heroic mascots to hit the store shelves on January 6th for all three major consoles.

Preview By: Matt Hack - 1296 Reads

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