Sonic Adventure 2: The New Challengers is a hack of the PC version of Sonic Adventure 2 by Neo. It aims to add replay value to the original game by allowing players to play any stage with any one of its same-gametype characters.
The hack is directly derived from MainMemory's character select hack, which MainMemory created on his own after Neo pitched the initial concept to him. Therefore, it inherits that hack's central feature: Holding the L and/or R buttons while a stage is loading will allow you to play that stage as a different character:
- Holding down the L Button will select the alternate 2P character (eg. Amy instead of Sonic)
- Holding down the R Button will flip the hero/dark orientation (eg. Shadow instead of Sonic)
- Holding both buttons will apply both effects at the same time (eg. Metal Sonic instead of Sonic)
As a side note, this feature is also available in the 2P Battle mode for either player, and can be used to allow both players to play as the same character.
By itself, the game is not prepared to handle playing as any character in any stage. Several features are programmed specifically for the 2P Battle mode and do not function at all in single player. Similarly, stages were not expected to be played as more than a single character, and as such some exhibit wrong behavior when doing so, even so far as becoming impossible to clear due to game-crashing incompatibilities.
The main drive behind the creation of Sonic Adventure 2: The New Challengers is to provide a way to overcome these problems. As such, it allows players to complete every mission of each stage as any character, as all known game crashes have been excised, and other problems have been worked around. The following is a list of bugs fixed by the hack:
- Knuckles/Tikal crashing in Dry Lagoon's water
- Knuckles/Tikal crashing in Cannon's Core 3's water
- Rouge/Chaos 0 crashing in Aquatic Mine's water
- Rouge/Chaos 0 crashing in Cannon's Core 4's water
- Tails crashing in Sand Ocean's quicksand
- Tails crashing in Egg Golem's quicksand
- Eggman crashing in Hidden Base's quicksand
- Crashing when fighting a character vs. character boss as itself
- Knuckles/Tikal crashing when interacting with Dry Lagoon's turtles
- Knuckles/Tikal not being able to Move/Grab Dry Lagoon's turtles
- Shadow/Metal Sonic not regaining control at the start of Cannon's Core 5
- Chao World not loading the appropriate sound/voice banks when playing as a 2P character
Inherited from MainMemory's hack
- Crashing in levels that start with a cutscene when playing as the wrong character
- Crashing when attempting to display Dark Chao Walker's lives icon
- Amy/Metal Sonic crashing when using the Fire Somersault
- Chao Walker/Dark Chao Walker crashing when using the Large Cannon/Bazooka
- Characters starting/ending in the wrong position on stages they normally don't play
- Not loading the appropriate sound/voice banks when playing as a 2P character
Besides the fixes listed above, there are a vast number of gameplay and cosmetic changes to polish the overall experience:
- New custom textures for stage title cards so each of the twelve characters get their own unique color scheme.
- Tikal's emerald radar has been ported to 1P mode. It will only start blinking when it is within 100 units (yellow range) as opposed to 500 units (green range), so the game is much harder as her. Give it a try!
- Level-up items no longer spawn if you're playing as the wrong character. This avoids inconsistencies such as getting the Bounce Bracelet as Shadow, and then being able to bounce attack only for the duration of the stage and never again on that save file.
- Shadow and Metal Sonic now load custom object layouts in Crazy Gadget/Final Rush to get around their lack of bounce attack. These changes do not affect Sonic or Amy's versions of the stage.
- Added Action Window text for actions characters don't normally have (Magic Hands for Amy, Treasure Scope for Chaos 0, etc).
- 2P characters now have victory sounds when clearing a stage. 1P characters now have unique victory sounds for bosses they don't normally face.
- Disabled Knuckles/Rouge's audible screams when the shutters open during their versus boss battle when they aren't actually there.
- Disabled Eggman's taunts during Security Hall's 1st mission when not playing as Rouge.
- Disabled Eggman's taunts during Crazy Gadget when not playing as Sonic. They also now play in the 1st mission in general instead of being tied solely to the story mode.
- Disabled Sonic and Tails' voiceovers at the end of Eternal Engine when not playing as Tails. They also now play in the 1st mission in general instead of being tied solely to the story mode.
- Disabled Eggman's (and at one point, Tails') voiceovers during Cannon's Core when playing outside of the 1st mission or as the wrong character.
- You can no longer freely change characters between Cannon's Core segments. However, character progression in the stage is now determined relative to the chosen starting character, alternating gametype and hero/dark faction in a manner identical to the original. This balances things out a bit, as if you choose to plow through one section as Chao Walker, you'll have to lumber around another as Dark Chao Walker, while still keeping an element of strategy in deciding which character you'll want to be in a particular segment.
- Entering Chao World from a stage will now retain your current character properly, instead of defaulting back to the stage's normal character. You can still use the L and R buttons to change it, though.
- Modified the song playlist in Chao World to match the Dreamcast version more closely: the old Lobby and Race Entrance music has been restored, and the new Race Entrance music is now heard in Chao Cave. Chao Transporter (or Departure Machine, whatever) now uses the unused Bulletin Board theme.
- Disabled LoD models for Sonic and Shadow in 2P Mode.
- Merged with MainMemory's "No Battle" hack for Dreamcast-styled menus and title screen.
- Custom title screen with hack name and updated credits.
As external files
There are also a few additional changes that replace existing files, and therefore also apply to the vanilla installation of Sonic Adventure 2:
- Restored the missing lyrics to Death Chamber's music from the official soundtrack.
- Modified object layouts for Final Rush which fix the notorious broken vertical rail at the very end of the Chao route.
- Replaced one of Green Hill's sound banks, which broke the 2P characters' sound effects and gave Sonic that ear-bleeding jump sound.
- Restored the original "Presented by SEGA" screen, because frankly, the gigantic typeface on the new one was an eyesore.
- Custom lives icons for all the characters based on their Dreamcast originals.
- High-definiton item box icons, courtesy of BlazeHedgehog (except the 1-Up icon).
Forum release post
- Fixed Route 101/280 title card showing the wrong colors after playing as a 2P character.
- Disabled level-up items when playing as a 2P character, since they generally used the wrong textures and resulted in crashes for some characters (Chaos 0 and Dark Chao Walker).
- Disabled voiceovers at the end of Eternal Engine when not playing as Tails, which I missed the first time around.
- Redid Chao Walker and Chaos 0's title card ovals so they're more distinguishable from one another (and Sonic's).
- Added version number to the title screen.