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Sonic Heroes

ソニック ヒーローズ

Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega
30 December 2003
Sonic Heroes [ソニック ヒーローズ] - cover art
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866 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#3,529 All-time
#152 for 2003
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2003 Sonic Team Sega  
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Sonic Heroes, or “Sonic Zeroes”, is yet another 3D Sonic game that is often maligned by Sonic Fans. Actually, no one has officially dubbed this game as “Sonic Zeroes”, but I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the first one. In the timeline of Sonic games, Sonic Heroes was still a relatively early example of a 3D Sonic game. For the first time, a Sonic game did not debut on a Sega console, instead launching on all three major consoles of the sixth generation. This was the first Sonic game without the backbone of a Sega console to support it. While Sonic Heroes does not usually get the brunt of the dissension towards modern Sonic games like the Adventure titles do, it is nonetheless in the same camp. Sonic Heroes holds a bit of significance for me, and it’s not exactly positive. The Sonic Adventure games were some of my favorites growing up and I greatly anticipated a third entry. What I received instead was this game and while I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did the Adventure games, I still played the hell out of it. I merely thought it was supplementary material to hold us off until the third Adventure game was released. Boy, I wish I still had that kind of optimism as an adult. For several years since initially playing it as a kid, I’ve heard a litany of negative opinions about this game all over the internet. I somewhat agreed with the general consensus, but I forgot exactly why I didn’t like this game. I thought perhaps it was due to Sonic Adventure 3 never seeing the light of day and blaming this game for not living up to my expectations as an eight-year-old. After replaying Sonic Heroes, I realize that perhaps the criticism it gets is a bit harsh, but there is still plenty to find fault with.

It’s a bit silly that I ever thought of this game as a botched Sonic Adventure 3 because Sonic Heroes was obviously never intended to be a successor to them. It bears little to no resemblance to either of them. For one, the Adventure games had ambitious, grandiose interwoven stories between six characters and an epic space adventure with incredibly high stakes. Sonic Heroes takes a backseat and offers a Sonic story so simple that I’m hesitant to even call it a story. Eggman proclaims that he is going to take over the world in three days. How exactly does Eggman plan to accomplish this? We don’t know, but he sends Sonic and his friends a letter telling them that he’s up to something grand. The stories for the other three teams are catalyzed a little differently, but all essentially result in stopping Eggman in his vaguest diabolical scheme yet.

A grand story like the ones presented in the Adventure games probably would’ve been too distracting. The ambition of Sonic Heroes lies in its new gameplay dynamic that is the core of the entire game. Each of the four teams come with three different types of characters: speed characters, strength characters, and flight characters. These three types are based off of the dynamic of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles specifically, but their attributes are translated appropriately for other characters from the franchise. The speed characters will blast through a level, defeat chains of airborne enemies, and use a tornado move to swing upwards on a pole. They are essentially the base character the player will be using to traverse through the level. The strength characters are the best in combat, easily taking down hordes of enemies and the occasional guardian with a substantial health bar. They can also break certain barriers and use a gliding move for traversal, usually when there is a giant fan present to glide upward. Lastly, the flight characters are pretty self-explanatory. This formation will always form a totem pole of sorts with the flight character on top. They’ll fly upward or across gaps and use the other team members as projectiles. When crossing a checkpoint or popping an item balloon/case, one of the characters can “level up” three times. Each time grants the character a more effective attack. After a certain point, the team can perform a “team blast” which clears the screen of enemies and takes a chunk out of any bosses' health. One would think that constantly having to switch between three characters at all times would be an incredibly tedious, game-breaking mechanic, but it’s executed smoothly. Changing between the three characters on a team takes only a millisecond and the game gives the player enough time to determine which character needs to be used for a specific section. There are even color-coordinated suggestions placed all over each level for which team member to use. Thankfully, the foundation for this new gameplay gimmick Sonic Heroes introduces is competent.

The gameplay dynamics between three characters aren’t the only type of chemistry presented here. There are four teams made up of recognizable characters from the Sonic franchise (although one team is debatable). Similarly to the way Sonic Adventure 2 was divided up, the teams are built up of factions that revolve around a theme of the individual characters' place in the franchise. Firstly, Team Sonic is composed of the three most recognizable protagonists in the Sonic universe: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. I think anyone familiar with the Sonic franchise would guess the relationship between these three: friendly, positive, and confident. Team Sonic is probably my favorite in the game because there are no complications. It’s the base for the rest of the game to work off of and the prime directive in the game’s narrative. It’s tried and true 3D Sonic, and I can’t think of anything objectionable (except for the blubbering six-year-old they got to voice Tails in this game. What was wrong with his Sonic Adventure voice actor?)

In this world, where there is Sonic, there is also Shadow. As one could probably imagine, Team Dark has an incredibly different dynamic than the one of Team Sonic. Every member is seen as being inherently villainous, mostly because of their antagonistic roles in previous titles. Shadow and Omega even have to learn to cooperate, as they are seen fighting each other in the beginning cutscene. Shadow, Omega, and Rogue are searching for Eggman as well, but for completely different reasons than Team Sonic. Shadow has just woken up from what looked like a cryogenic chamber and has no memory of Maria or any of the events from Sonic Adventure 2. The player should also be confused considering Shadow plummeted to the earth in SA2 and assumedly died, so that’s certainly a point of interest for their story. Omega is hellbound on destroying Eggman and every one of his robotic creations, including himself. I didn’t like Omega as a kid because I thought this was a return of Gamma from Sonic Adventure 1 and was disappointed that he no longer had that warm charm he once had. I now realize that Omega is not Gamma, only from the same series of robots. I quite like Omega now because he seems to be the strongest of the strength-class characters and sometimes his hostile dialogue makes me chuckle. Rogue is here just by circumstance; she was trying to steal from Eggman once again and found Shadow and Omega. One could assume that I’d hate Team Dark just from the characters alone, but their unsavory qualities are toned down significantly here from Sonic Adventure 2, Their campaign is a slightly harder version of Team Sonic’s with some additional bottomless pits, ring dashes, and harder enemy placements thrown in for a challenge. Because I played Team Sonic first, I found Team Dark’s story to be easier. I had gotten a sense of flow from the game by then and already knew what to expect. I’m not stating that Team Dark is insignificant, this is just the natural flow of progression.

If the player is playing the stories in order like I did, the game takes a huge decline after Team Dark as the player starts Team Rose. It’s Sonic Heroes for your little sister, and I’m not saying that to disparage any young female gamers. I just can’t imagine why anyone would pick Team Rose first over any other team in the game. A team consisting of Amy, Cream, and Big the Cat? What other demographic besides little girls did the developers have in mind here? Team Rose acts as an easy mode, a regression from Team Sonic and the polar opposite of Team Dark. Of course, the game becomes much easier after the player has beaten it twice already with two different teams, but Team Rose would be a facile affair regardless. There is a patronizing tutorial mode at the beginning, each team blast grants temporary invincibility, and the length of each level is cut in half. There practically isn’t a reason for Team Rose to exist. Their lackluster story of finding Froggy and Cream’s chao’s sibling doesn’t make a point for their significance either. The only use I got out of them was that getting to the special stages was much easier, and Big the Cat is still fucking hysterical, but for all the wrong reasons. Whenever he utters a line of dialogue, I don’t know whether to burst out laughing or coil back as a reaction to retching.

The last team is Team Chaotix, the one team composed of three characters that I’m sure will make most people go “who?” For those who don’t know, they have shelved characters from a failed Sega 32X game from 1995 called Knuckles Chaotix. The game sort of had a team dynamic like Sonic Heroes but executed in the worst way possible. I guess the developers thought it would be appropriate to give them another chance in a similar game. Espio, Vector, and Charmy are resurrected as freelance workers who work as a team to do odd jobs. They are low on cash and desperate for work, which is why they don’t question a mysterious package with a one-lined walkie-talkie commanding them orders. Team Chaotix acts as a mission mode in which the team goes throughout the levels with some added objectives. These range from collecting snails, defeating enemies, blowing out torches, etc. At this point, playing the game again as Team Chaotix is tiresome, but at least the three characters have a nice sense of chemistry together. It’s refreshing to get some characters in a Sonic game that are INTENTIONALLY goofy for once. I also think it’s funny that Eggman gets so desperate in his situation that he has to hire what is essentially the Saul Goodman of odd-job workers to come and save him.

Unfortunately, the major grievance that most people have with this game is the lack of variety with each of the teams. All of them have different dynamics in terms of characters, but this is definitely not the case for the levels. No matter if the player is breezing through with Team Rose or trying to navigate over a series of bottomless pits with Team Dark, the levels are in the same order with almost exactly the same layout. As one could probably imagine, this gets old after a while. Fortunately, most of these levels are some of the strongest levels I’ve played in a 3D Sonic game. Each level is completely different in theme and design and there are only two per theme, so they never wear out their welcome for one campaign. Seaside Hill and Ocean Palace are bright, sunny, and breezy, a perfect starting point for the game. Grand Metropolis has some of the most thrilling uses of the roller coaster track design Sonic is known for. Rail Canyon is a hectic loop of rail grinding that will test your reflexes. Frog Forest has always been one of my favorites from this game, and it’s probably due to the spectacle of the green jungle. Hang Castle makes fair use of a gravity mechanic and I’m always drawn towards horror-themed levels. Egg Fleet and Final Fortress takes the player right into the heart of Eggman’s shark-themed armada way high up in the stratosphere. This level is so epic in scale that I’m almost sad to admit that it puts the Egg Carrier from Sonic Adventure 1 to shame. The only level I didn’t care for were the casino levels because the pinball sections were frustrating. While these levels are individually very strong, they do not hold up well with the repetitive nature of the game.

Having to repeat the same levels over four different times is most likely due to the fact that Sonic Heroes was a rushed project. It’s somewhat executable because the levels are fun, but the most egregious aspect of this rushed development is the amount of glitches. In many instances, the characters will fall through the ground, some ramps will take the player to oblivion, switching between grind rails will result in falling off of them, and good luck if the player ever accidentally changes characters during a pinball section. Apparently, these glitches are more common with the Xbox and PS2 versions because the developers “didn’t know how to develop games for those two consoles yet”. I suppose I should count myself lucky that I have this game on the Gamecube, but I still encountered plenty of these glitches nonetheless. I don’t think I have to go into detail why glitches that punish the player are inherently bad as they should be a demerit for any game.

The bosses in Sonic Heroes are a double-whammy of not holding up upon repeat encounters and not being substantial enough to hold their own in quality. There are three types of bosses throughout each campaign: an Eggman vehicle boss, a fight with another team, and an endurance fight with waves of enemies. The Eggman vehicles can be beaten in a matter of seconds, spamming the attacks of the strength characters with Egg Hawk and the homing attacks of the speed character with Egg Albatross. The team fights can also be defeated in seconds by spamming the tornado with the speed characters. The endurance fights inherently feel shoehorned as any endurance fight against waves of enemies tends to feel in any game. Remember how everyone collectively got tired of encountering Chaos 4 in Sonic Adventure? Sonic Heroes will teach the meaning of monotony for those who had those gripes. Egg Emperor is the only boss that feels somewhat inspired as it’s the only challenging fight, but this sense of gratification does not hold up upon beating him three more times. The final boss at the end also does not feel like a culmination of each character's story, but rather feels like extra content. Not only is this because of the slog of beating the game four times, but because of the esoteric means of unlocking this final section. To access the game’s finale, the player has to complete every special stage with either of the four teams. The player has to get a key and not receive any damage until the end of the level. This is the only aspect that gives Team Rose any credence to being featured because this is easier to accomplish with them (it’s also a funny thought that Team Rose is the most powerful of these teams because they are the only ones with the Chaos emeralds). If Team Chaotix’s story of rescuing Eggman didn’t give anything away, the true villain of this story is Metal Sonic and the only crime Eggman is guilty of here is being a shyster and not paying Team Chaotix. He’s been disguising himself as Eggman and using his fleet to conquer the world...or something like that. The fight against him features each team taking down his force with the final Super Sonic section capping it off. For some reason, the portion of this fight with Team Chaotix was the most difficult while Team Sonic’s section was piss easy. This is anything but a satisfying fight to conclude the game. .

Ultimately, I think if Sonic Heroes had a longer development time (if I can trust my sources on this), the game would’ve proved to be as exceptional as either Sonic Adventure game. It presented a mystifying concept that actually proved to work, it presented a cast of (mostly) recognizable and charismatic characters from the Sonic franchise, and the levels are consistently fun and varied. However, the flaws with this entry are so glaring that it’s difficult to look past them. There should be no excuse for faulty glitches and the amount of repetition. For a long stretch of time, I thought I hated this game for deviating from the Sonic Adventure name I had grown to love and starting what I thought was the decline of the series. Upon replaying it, I’m happy to declare that it’s still a solid 3D Sonic game, all things considered. However, I am still not uttering Sonic Heroes in the same breath as the two Adventure games, and those games still have plenty of flaws themselves. Since Sonic Heroes came out, there have been MUCH worse outings from the blue blur, so maybe time and retrospection have also aided this game, for better or for worse. It’s still in a rocky position for the franchise.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T18:46:40Z
2017-07-21T18:46:40Z
6.5
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It's Fine
Sonic Heroes is a Sonic game that alluded me for years. I already knew the events of the game but I never got to play it and whenever I tried to, I never got far due to the extremely interesting controls.

But I finally beat this game and I can now write a review for it.

I've always been more into the 3D titles. I've beaten the 2D Sonic games, But I doubt I'd ever replay them with the exception being Sonic Mania. I was always a huge fan of the Adventure games due to their multiple characters you can play as and fun narratives. However, I find it hard to consider this an Adventure game. It takes ideas from them, sure. But I found more comparisons to the Genesis titles.

Sonic Heroes has the unique gimmick of Teams. Instead of playing as one character, you play as 3 at once and switch formations to tackle certain situations. You have Team Sonic which consists of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. You got Team Dark which is Shadow, Rouge, and new character E-123 Omega. Team Rose which has Big, Amy, and new character (At least in 3D) Cream The Rabbit (With Cheese the Chao). And Team Chaotix which has new characters (Again, Kinda... Because they were in a 2D Spin-off) Charmy The Bee, Vector The Crocodile, and Espio the Chameleon.

Each Team has 3 gameplay types, Speed which are Sonic, Espio, Shadow, and Amy. Power which are Knuckles, Omega, Big, and Vector. And Fly which are Tails, Charmy, Cream, and Rouge. I find it interesting that you are forced to use these gameplay types. However, there are many issues (Which I'll get to)

The stories are also pretty simple as simple gets. Team Sonic wants to stop Eggman, Team Dark has Shadow wanting to learn about his past, Rouge stealing Eggman's treasure, and Omega having revenge. Team Amy is about finding Froggy and Chocola the Chao. And Team Chaotix (A group of detectives) is trying to earn money to pay rent. All stories interconnect every so often and it's mostly about Metal Sonic coming back. I like the stories but I miss the intense stories that made me go "wow".

As for gameplay, It is all over the place. The game does a good job at making you feel like a speed demon in some instances which is easily the highlight. However, I found each formation (Especially Power) to be clunky and unfun. More times than I count where I died unfairly due to something breaking or the characters not stopping when I want them to. It's very slippery. The bosses are a joke. Some are way too easy while others take forever. However, my main issue with the bosses is how they don't give you a clear idea of what you should be doing. So you just end up being confused. Fighting other Teams is a broken mess as well.

Easily the worst part is how repetitive it is. Like the 2D games, there are basically Zones with 2 Acts and a boss. The problem is that every Team has the same levels. So it's extremely boring. There are small variations that aren't big enough to warrant a satisfying playthrough. Team Sonic is the get to the end quick goal and is the most fun because it's likely the first time you will be going through these levels. Team Dark is the exact same but the levels have more enemies (That's it). Team Amy is the easiest with the levels being slightly shorter, and Team Chaotix are random goals such as collecting rings, keys, etc. All the bosses are the same as well...

Unlike, most 3D Sonic games, you gotta go out of your way to get the 7 Chaos Emeralds. The mini-game to get them are reminiscent of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 with the halfpipe. However, it's broken in many ways.

Another issue with Sonic Heroes is how they treated Shadow. In reference to a commenter on my Sonic Adventure 2 review (You know who you are), It's dumb that Shadow returns in this game because it diminishes his entire sacrifice in Sonic Adventure 2. His return just one game later feels very forced.

Sonic Heroes is a game with a cool gimmick, has good gameplay (When it works), and great music. But it's overloaded with dumb stuff that makes you wanna throw your controller, a repetitive story, and an overall mediocre attempt at making a 2D Sonic game work in a 3D format
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shit rock yeah
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xani 2021-06-30T00:42:10Z
2021-06-30T00:42:10Z
3.0
1
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personal sonic
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Why Sonic Heroes is at least better then Shadow the Hedgehog
While this game's controls are more slippery then a fucking used up lubed condom, it at the very least has better controls then Shadow the Hedgehog and at least one good stage. The music is also a lot more memorable and the graphics feel like a Sonic game from the genesis era in 3D. Even the level design is pretty decent for the easier heroes where the levels just don't loop the fucking same sets over and over again. Levels also go on for way too fucking long. The main issue is the control and the introduction of the most retarded concept to enter the Sonic franchise that's meant to be a high speed platformer. Fucking enemies having a health bar with way too much health and being forced to fight them in order to progress. This completely kills the games pacing especially since the combat isn't anything great and is extremely repetitive. Let's also just note that somehow Sega got away with basically making 4 story modes that are all essentially the exact fucking same levels and people just turned a blind eye to that.
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CKSkies 2021-06-29T01:42:59Z
2021-06-29T01:42:59Z
4.6
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Better then Shadow the Hedgehog
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This is legitimately a great game, and probably one of the most overhated games of all time, especially if you focus on the Gamecube version. I grew up on the PS2 version, which has much more slippery controls, which is one of the main complaints about this game, but the Gamecube version largely eliminates this issue. You have to be precise in your movements on the Gamecube version, but there is nothing wrong with that. It's part of the challenge, which gets me to another point about why people don't like this game: they don't actually bother to learn how to play the game. A lot of the hate for this game comes from people just not bothering to understand the game mechanics or learn to use the controls and work with the precise platforming offered. If you put any effort at all into doing any of these things, the game is a cakewalk and you should run into minimal issues save for a few bugs and problems with the camera. The camera is legitimately atrocious, and while you technically have control over the camera, for whatever reason moving the camera puts you into first person unless you're moving, making it completely useless. It's not often that this is a major issue, but where it is it's incredibly obnoxious and can lead to some pretty much unpreventable bullshit deaths. That's the only major problem this game suffers from. Otherwise it's got a good soundtrack, all around great level design, the team switching mechanic is actually fairly enjoyable, and it feels very rewarding to learn the game and play through the stages well. Once you've learned the game you actually can go through these stages quite fast, and it's very satisfying to do so. I definitely rate this game a bit higher due to nostalgia, but even on revisiting the game I found that I still enjoyed every minute of it and the replay value on the stages is great. I would be happy to play the game again because it was a fucking stellar game on revisiting it, almost even moreso than I thought it was before since I played the Gamecube version this time around. For anyone willing to actually learn how to play a game instead of just raging at it and then calling it bad because they're bad at the game, I highly recommend trying this out. Don't believe the people malding over it. It's a great game, just misunderstood.
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Catalog

sadgirl2023 Sonic Heroes 2024-05-23T17:13:47Z
Gamecube • XNA
2024-05-23T17:13:47Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Sonic Heroes 2024-05-23T17:11:35Z
PS2 • US
2024-05-23T17:11:35Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-23T16:28:49Z
2024-05-23T16:28:49Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
heartdrain ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-23T02:47:53Z
2024-05-23T02:47:53Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nostalgic
Bel3 Sonic Heroes 2024-05-22T03:22:54Z
PS2 • US
2024-05-22T03:22:54Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hugo6849 ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-11T01:19:27Z
2024-05-11T01:19:27Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
snow415 ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-10T20:50:42Z
2024-05-10T20:50:42Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
anitahegerland ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-10T03:08:23Z
2024-05-10T03:08:23Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Caerulus ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-09T00:43:43Z
2024-05-09T00:43:43Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nipolag ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-05-03T23:37:19Z
2024-05-03T23:37:19Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
anthinja ソニック ヒーローズ 2024-04-24T05:55:16Z
2024-04-24T05:55:16Z
1.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mrmoptop2 Sonic Heroes 2024-04-24T02:48:59Z
Xbox • XNA
2024-04-24T02:48:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: All Ages
Player modes
1-2 players
Media
1x Disc
Multiplayer options
Local
Franchises
In collections
Also known as
  • Sonic Heroes
  • View all [1] Hide

Comments

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  • Previous comments (40) Loading...
  • foiebump 2023-04-29 20:59:25.452921+00
    also the glitch using the flight character to fill the super meter quickly is a must for some of the shit segments lol
    reply
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  • omo_ree 2023-07-26 09:23:53.393911+00
    final fortress alone is a more intresting stage than most of SA2 to me
    reply
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  • batamamma 2023-07-30 14:56:47.735745+00
    You don't want to catch their ligma
    reply
    • _Ryu 2023-10-14 14:14:57.456406+00
      Who the hell is Steve Jobs?
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • PhrostByte 2023-09-05 03:26:14.563481+00
    team chaotix, bingo highway special mission. fuck my life.
    reply
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  • Joe_Kloos 2023-09-24 21:00:21.555662+00
    This is the worst game I'm good at.
    reply
    • SunlitSonata 2023-10-31 16:53:44.617664+00
      Heroes can be a really fun game to play……………..when you understand how to navigate all of its many instances of wack jank. You practically need a survival guide to make the most out of it, but once you’re aware of every challenge’s optimal method of traversing, Team Sonic and Team Dark playthroughs can be pretty fun to pop in every once in a while.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Sharked98 2023-12-31 03:28:10.387284+00
    Happy 20th!
    reply
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