From Sonic Retro
Sonic Heroes (ソニック ヒーローズ) is the third 3D Sonic game to hit the Nintendo GameCube. Sonic Heroes is also the first game to go multiplatform for all systems. The phrase "Sonic Heroes" refers to the uniting of the heroes of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. This game also marked the return of the Chaotix, a group last seen in Knuckles' Chaotix on the Sega 32X (except for Mighty the Armadillo).
The level design and graphics were given a more cartoon-ish quality which is reminscent of the old-school Sonic games.
The game was developed on a RenderWare engine so that the game could be programmed and ported easily for the multi-platform release. This made for fairly consistant ports, quality wise, between all the systems. The PlayStation 2 version did suffer from clipping and graphic faults, not to mention a lower frame rate, making it the least well recieved of the ports. Primary development was done on the Nintendo GameCube, and then ported to the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Robotnik has come back to challenge Sonic and crew again to defeat his new scheme. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles gladly accept and race off to tackle the doc's latest plan. Meanwhile, Rouge the Bat swings in on one of Robotnik's old fortresses and discovers Shadow in capsule. After an odd encounter, Rouge, Shadow, and E-123 Omega join up to find out what happened to Shadow and to get revenge on Robotnik. At a resort, Amy looks at an ad that shows Sonic in it with a chao and a frog. After getting over boredom, Amy, Cream, and Big decide to find Sonic and get what they want back. Elsewhere, in a run down building, the Chaotix get a package that contains a walkie-talkie. Tempting them, Vector, Charmy, and Espio decide to work for this mysterious person, so they can earn some money.
The game introduces several new gameplay elements. Unlike past Sonic games, which have only one character playable at a time, the player is able to control three characters and switch between them freely, whilst the other two follow. Each character has a unique ability which it contributes to the team. There are three types of characters that are used in gameplay. One party member is a "fly" type, able to ascend short distances with the other party members. The second type is "speed." This character can move faster than the other two and has a homing attack. The final brand of hero is "power," the character that has the most strength. Each ability is also represented in the interface by color; blue for speed, yellow for flight, and red for power.
These groups of three characters are called "Teams" and the selection of characters in each team is pre-determined. It is not possible to mix and match characters between teams. Each team also has a Team Blast skill, which can be performed when the Team Blast meter becomes full. This can be achieved by performing such actions as destroying enemies or collecting rings. Each team follows a different, yet intertwined, storyline.
Below are the four available teams in the game:
This team and associated levels are designed to be of medium difficulty, and contain high-speed sections. Their Team Blast consists of Knuckles throwing Tails, who spins to gain momentum, and throws Sonic, who attacks surrounding enemies multiple times. During the final boss, each team member, under Super Transformation, performs the same attack as Sonic.
This team and associated levels are designed to be of hard difficulty, requiring skill and concentration to endure heavy battle. Their Team Blast consists of Shadow performing Chaos Control, whilst Omega, lifted up by Rouge, fires large lasers whilst rotating the top half of his body. It also freezes time momentarily once complete, so that all enemies are frozen in place.
This team and associated levels are designed for younger players, with shorter missions. Their Team Blast sees Big bouncing Amy and Cream on top of his umbrella with a shower of flowers raining down on them. All three members level up by one and grants them temporary invincibility, high running speed, and a shield.
This team and associated levels provide a different experience, as most are mission-based, and are only complete when the mission target is met. Their Team Blast sees Espio, Charmy, and Vector singing and playing instruments badly, causing all of the surrounding enemies to explode, whilst ring bonuses are received for each enemy destroyed. Collecting rings also refills the gauge, potentially allowing the player to perform another Blast immediately after the first is complete.
Much like the 2D games, Sonic Heroes has a 2 act and boss structure. Unlike those games, the levels are not named Act 1 and Act 2 (though the Special Stages are labeled as such) but they function in a similar manner. Each set of 2 stages are based around one of the classic Sonic level themes.
The game requires that all 4 teams complete all of the stages and get all 7 Chaos Emeralds before progressing to the Last Story, where all 4 teams participate.
As characters interact, they sometimes make references to past Sonic games:
This is one of the final Sonic games in which the voice actors from the Sonic Adventure games recorded their voices. Newer games in the series, from Shadow the Hedgehog on, are recorded by the cast of Sonic X. Many Sonic fans were angered by the change and have sent demands to Sega to rehire the original voice cast from this game and the Sonic Adventure series. Some people say this, however, is unlikely to happen, especially considering the passing of Deem Bristow who voiced Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik in this and all previous 3D Sonic games.
Sonic and Metal Sonic are voiced by the same actors in both the English and Japanese versions.
The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions have both voice language tracks included in the game disc. The PlayStation 2 version, together with a multi-lingual text language option, is the only version featuring an additional option to switch between both English and Japanese voice language, though this is only present in the Japanese and North American versions. The EU/PAL PlayStation 2 version remove this feature and only has the text language option present, defaulting the voices automatically to the system language. Since the Xbox version doesn't feature any language option at all, neither of text nor of voice, the only way to have the Japanese voices in this version is changing the console language to Japanese in order to set the game entirely in Japanese.
The GameCube and PC versions feature only one voice track in the disc (discs in the case of the PC version) and according to the regional version, due to size constraints. The Western versions have the English voice language whereas the Japanese version has the Japanese one, while the text language is entirely multi-lingual and manually selectionable in all regional versions. Since the PC version requires to be installed in the hard disk, it is not a difficult task to swap the voice files in order to have the desired voice language.
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For a complete list of the games production credits please click the following link: Sonic Heroes credits