Game Grotto 8: Sonic Adventure Gameplay Retrospective

In 1998 Sega would finally bring Sonic the Hedgehog into proper 3D with the release of Sonic Adventure. The game was initially a launch title for the Dreamcast and has since been released on several different platforms.

Despite how important it was for the series as a whole, the game does tend to have a more mixed reputation nowadays. Some people love this game and consider it one of their favorite Sonic games, while others dislike it and claim that Sonic doesn’t work in 3D. But where do I land? Well, I’ll give a brief overview of the game and discuss how I feel about this title.


Sonic Adventure’s gameplay is truly unique compared to other titles in the series as there are 6 playable characters, each with their own playstyles and objectives.

  • Sonics gameplay is very reminiscent of the gameplay in classic Sonic games. Race through the level while collecting rings and defeating robots. For the most part, the gameplay is excellent. Honestly, this is my favorite take on 3D Sonic gameplay, especially once you master the spindash and take massive shortcuts in various levels.
  • Tails’ gameplay is very similar to Sonics. Only now in each level tails is racing Sonic to the end. Despite having an opponent to race, his gameplay is honestly easier than Sonic because Tails can simply fly through most of the level, avoiding most of the hazards the level presents.
  • Knuckles’ gameplay revolves around him searching for Emerald Shards in more open sandbox levels, serving as a nice change of pace from the highspeed gameplay. Sometimes shards can be in more hidden areas making the levels drag a bit, but for the most part, it is manageable.
  • Amy’s gameplay is similar to Sonic, only slower-paced, and tends to have more puzzles than the other styles. Despite the slower nature, players have to be aware of a Robot that follows Amy throughout the level to add some suspense and keep players alert. Other than that, the gameplay is just ok, and it is only 3 levels long, so it’s over before you know it.
  • Big’s gameplay is definitely the most infamous of them all, as rather than exploring a number of levels like the other characters Big sits around fishing for his friend Froggy. And it definitely the weakest of them all, sometimes you can catch Froggy just fine and finish the campaign in no time, and other times you’ll be stuck on the level for a long while. Honestly, I didn’t even beat his story until a few years ago.
  • E-102 Gamma’s gameplay is pretty interesting, as his levels are structured more as run and gun levels where your shoot enemies to gain time, and later on, fight a boss at the end. The early levels are fairly short and basic, but as his story progresses the gameplay gets a little more interesting.’
  • There is also a Super Sonic story that can be unlocked after beating all the separate campaigns, although it’s just a few cutscenes and the final boss.

Personal Thoughts

I do think that most of the gameplay styles are at least ok, although one thing I felt was very apparent was that the developers mainly focused on Sonic’s gameplay. As a result, everyone else felt underutilized. Throughout Sonic’s story, there are 10 action stages and 5 bosses. Everyone else has at 3 to 5 levels, and about 1-3 bosses.

It is also apparent that they mainly just use Sonics levels as the levels for other characters. Some characters do have sections made specifically for them, but for the most part, they mainly just repurpose parts of Sonics levels.

If I were to make a 3D Sonic game of my own, I would personally stick to one gameplay style and have a smaller number of playable characters with similar attributes and unique moves to access secret areas.

But overall we are left with one really good gameplay style, and 5 others that are good, but definitely could be better. You can get the game on Steam, and I would still recommend it if you are interested, but as is while I do like the game, it isn’t one of my favorite Sonic games.

1 thought on “Game Grotto 8: Sonic Adventure Gameplay Retrospective

  • I’ve never really seen a breakdown of Sonic Adventure and I had never played it either. I really enjoy your style of reviewing as it gives a nice breakdown of the game and its core features. I also like the personal thoughts about it it adds a unique charm to the review that makes it more enjoyable as a whole. I’ve never been a massive sonic fan but your review I must admit does spark my curiosity considering the game. All in all I think this is a great review that really does explain what it needs to whilst you still adding in your own personal feelings and thoughts.

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