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Sonic Heroes – Xbox

Sonic Heroes – Xbox

51PMC4JH04LPlatform:  Xbox

Developer: Sonic Team USA

Publisher: SEGA

Release Date (NA): Dec 30, 2003

Genre: Platformer

Nerd Rating: 2.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Bortch




My name is Bortch. I am new to this site; I am also a nerd and just to happen to like bacon. I’m not really sure what I am trying to say right now other than “hello fellow nerdy bacon lovers,” so with the introductory greeting gracefully out of the way, it’s about time I uploaded my first project onto the website, a video review! Except that I fried my computer’s motherboard the other day… so guess I am going to have to do this by hand until I get that situation under control. But enough about me, let’s talk about this “game” SEGA kindly gave us after shuffling around in their trash for a while.

If you were looking for a buildup to whether this is a good or a bad game, I am sorry to disappoint you so early into the review, but you have no idea what you’re getting into when you play this game first hand. Lucky for you, I will do my best to explain it as much as I can because I like you A LOT.

The core feature of this game is to navigate through several different obstacles and enemies, usually catered to one of the three characters you play as in your “team.” There are four different teams to choose from: Team Rose, Team Chaotix, Team Dark, and Team Sonic (a bit egotistical huh buddy?) each with its own “class” of character. For example: if we look at Team Sonic, Sonic is the “speed” character – he runs fast and has a homing attack. Tails is the “flying” character – he is able to knock flying enemies out of the sky and can fly the whole team up to unreachable heights. Knuckles is the power character – he can punch through rocks and glide his team up to unreachable heights if there is a fan below… huh?

Each team is ranked on difficulty based on their level of “seriousness” going into the game. Team Rose’s objective is to find Sonic, meaning that they are the novice difficulty. I didn’t even bother playing their part of the campaign (THANK GOD!) because you have to go through a tutorial first in order to start playing. Team Sonic’s objective is to stop Dr. Eggman from taking over the world, making them “normal difficulty.” Finally, Team Dark throws all conventions out the window and wants to kill Dr. Eggman, making them the hardest difficulty. As for Team Chaotix; they get their own section later.

Thanks to Blue Chica for the accurate portrayal of each team… saved me a handful of writing

To start off, each team shares the same levels with so few differences between each difficulty that SEGA might as well have just focused on Team  Sonic and then made a better game. But if you want to play the same game four times in a row then by all means, do it. I dare you to finish this game! It’s so easy, I started to fall asleep after fighting the first boss. So many of the levels are just repeats of what I just did that I feel like I could shut off my brain after the first minute and still complete each level flawlessly. I found myself always using the speed character because they blasted through the levels the fastest and the other characters were WAY too slow. Each stage also went on for what felt like an eternity, even if it only took 8 minutes. I’ve played the game for exactly 53:26 and it felt like I had been playing for at least four hours.

However, you can’t play as the speed characters forever, sometimes you’ll have to switch to the other two once you reach an impassable object, but the game even does that for you so what’s the point? But if you did want to switch characters on your own, that’s when you’ll start to realize there is something wrong with controls.

Just like playing any other 3D Sonic game, the controls feel entirely different from each previous game. In Sonic Adventure, you felt like you were in a decent amount of control of Sonic; however, he would occasionally suffer from a seizure, spinning out of control for no apparent reason. Sonic Adventure 2 was actually a little better in the controls department, with fewer seizures and only an occasional veering to the left or right. Sonic Heroes, on the other hand, isn’t so much a game as it is a predetermined interactive cutscene.

The characters swap on their own like I said earlier, but if you did want to swap characters manually, boy are you in for a treat! Sometimes when you press a swap button (either B or Y) the characters won’t swap at all. I thought it was my controller, but all the other buttons were pretty responsive (most of the time) so I knew it wasn’t that. Other times when you press the swap button, the characters won’t swap for a good few seconds… why? I have no idea. Whenever the game feels like swapping characters the instant I pressed the swap button it always took me by surprise. There have been times where I would mash the button to switch to Knuckles, and once it eventually does, it would then switch to Tails a few seconds later, THEN BACK TO SONIC, THEN KNUCKLES AGAIN!

And now we’re getting to the big stuff, OH YEAH! We’re talking about the running controls in tandem with the buggy levels! Going back to what I said about the game being an interactive cutscene, I am not lying! It’s so hard to die you will never have a problem on a single enemy; except for when your jump and attack buttons don’t want to work because the game thinks you’re falling even though you’re on the ground. There is also a fork in the road I always have trouble with. I would like to go down the middle of three paths, avoiding the left and right. But, no matter what team I play as, I always go down the left path. One time, I had my control stick pressed all the way to the right, I SHOULD HAVE BEEN GOING DIRECTLY RIGHT, but the game moved me forward and to the left. I actually started playing Halo and other games to make sure my controller wasn’t broken. If the game wants you to go in the direction it feels like sending you, there is no fighting it, you’re screwed; Sonic Heroes takes the option of choice away from you.

Exciting gameplay huh?


Getting back to the bugs in the game though, two of the three times I went on that left pathway, I fell off and drowned in the ocean waiting below. Just like whatever path you take is up to the game, whenever the game feels like killing you, it will do it! When playing as Team Sonic, I came to a cannon in one of the levels that is supposed to shoot the team straight up and into the goal, however, the cannon wouldn’t launch me up until it felt like it. I killed all the enemies, grabbed a key, nothing; it launched me straight up because…I have no idea why. When I played as Team Dark and reached the cannon, I just jumped right in even though I knew it was pointless; the cannon launched me up into the goal, first time. I didn’t kill anything, I didn’t grab a key! WHAT AM I PLAYING!?!?

Finally, I played the Chaotix stage just to see what it’s like. You have to collect 10 hermit crabs… in the same level that the rest of the characters play. The game was already boring and slow before; but then it slowed to a crawl. I didn’t think it was possible to get any slower. So I exited out of the game. Eventually, that is. Turns out that none of the buttons work on the menu screen except for start. Just the cherry on this sundae if you ask me.

Do you understand the pain I went through to review this game? SEGA didn’t even try to make this good. Do you want proof? The graphics in this game look a lot like the graphics from Sonic Adventure. Why is this relevant? Because this means that the game was most likely made using the Sonic Adventure engine. Meanwhile, Sonic Adventure 2 appears to have been made in a different engine with better graphics, controls, and even sound effects. Sonic Heroes came out two years after Sonic Adventure 2.

Not only is this game messed up graphically, but also from a technical standpoint…not to mention it’s just soooo boring! I’ve gotten more fun out of the Tiger Woods series than this game. In summary, going from level to level in Sonic Heroes feels like trying to stand up on an icy slide with barriers. You keep trying to stand up but you never will, you’ll just keep falling and tumbling down the slide. Are you worried that you’ll fall off at all? Not really, the barriers will be sure to keep you on the slide as long as you don’t tell the slide that you would like to do things differently for a change, then they’ll disappear and the slide will completely flip over sending you into the dark abyss below.

Nerd Rating: 2.5 out of 10

This game is like house chores, they’re fucking boring and don’t pose a threat unless you tell your mom you hate her.

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon


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