on September 15, 2011
The game is great, just like it was on the Dreamcast. However, when it was re-released for the Gamecube, they improved the graphics quite well, but not well enough to match Sonic Adventure 2, and the Chao-raising system was improved significantly too. They added more "missions" and on the Gamecube, there were classic sonic unlockables you could play after you gained a certain number of emblems. That was about it.
Now, this version on the PC is EXACTLY how it was on the Gamecube, except the classic games are MISSING COMPLETELY (Unless I'm too horrible at the game to unlock them, but at over 70/130 emblems, I should have at least one by now). Not only that, the game runs on a client that CAN'T be re-sized, CAN'T go full screen, and DOESN'T let you change the controls. Speaking of which, trying to control Sonic and well, all of the characters except maybe Big, is a complete nightmare. To move, you have to use the arrow keys, resulting in a limiting 8-direction run. This is a game that is fast-paced and requires precise controlling, so using the keyboard just feels absurd, and it makes the game ridiculously difficult, most notably on Sonic's last few levels.
Aside from the client, there are still countless problems within the game that still remain unfixed. First, the people you see walking around town and around the ruins are AWFUL LOOKING, worse even than a low-end Nintendo 64 game. You would think after so many years that were available to improve this, it would have been done, but no. They look so hideous, they clash with the feel and the complexity of the rest of the landscape, which in contrast, looks great for the most part. Why they overlooked updating the people's graphics but beautified the landscapes is beyond me.
A second problem that many continue to complain about to this day is the collision detection problems, which are EVERYWHERE. Too many times (actually, once is one too many) have I lost lives from falling through a road, a wall, a platform, etc. which only adds to the violent amount of frustration the game already presents with the poor controls.
A third problem(s) is related to the Chao raising. Unlike Sonic Adventure 2, you can ONLY raise their stats with animals, and there STILL is NO WAY to remove the hideous animal body parts your Chao grows unless you use a hacking device. Apart from that, there is still a LOT missing from the whole Chao sub-game that could have been transferred from Sonic Adventure 2.
So with all of the ranting aside, you're probably wondering why I gave this 3 stars. Simple. It's Sonic Adventure. It's the same great game you knew on the Dreamcast, but with a much shinier appearance. That's not to say the original game didn't have its flaws, such as the horrible cutscenes and poor animation, cheesy voice-acting (even compared to SA2), and certain levels that just lack luster (like all of Big's levels, or perhaps it's just the concept of his character in the game). One small thing shines though: Knuckles' voice actor in SA is much better than SA2. The game is still quite fun overall if you're patient, and a fan of the series like I've been.
The low [download] price tag for such a classic game, even though it's not very user-friendly, is more than reasonable. Not only that, being on the PC does have its advantages, such as easier modding capabilities if you're into that. Loading times are very short. The game runs perfectly on my laptop, so it could probably work on a low-end computer too. But the advantages pretty much stop there.
FINAL WORD: If you really wanted to experience this game, I would recommend the Gamecube version over this, without a doubt. Or, if you happen to own a Dreamcast, go for that if you want the old school. Do not waste your time with the PC's frustrating controls and lack of user control over the client.
EDIT: I found that it is possible to go fullscreen and change the resolution, sound options and others, but it still would not let me change the keyboard controls. It's in another client separate from the game, instead of built into the game itself.
EDIT2: Upon trying two different controllers, one with a joystick and one without, neither of them work. The game doesn't even recognize the joystick while it's plugged in, so I couldn't use it. The other controller is modelled after the Super Nintendo's, and it only has a D-pad, which would have been better to use than the heyboard... BUT... the client hard-codes the camera controls into my controller's D-pad, rendering the controller useless because now I can't see while I'm moving. Great job porting this, guys.
Don't waste your time. Get the Gamecube disc instead.
on September 2, 2015
Despite the Amazon listing previously advertising this as "needing a Steam account for activation", it is not a Steam key for the game and is instead a crappy DRM-free version. Why is the Steam version preferable? It has 1080p support, achievements, full controller support, and is basically an updated version of this, which could be compared to version 1.0 of the Steam release. Please do yourself a favor and buy the Steam version! It's the same price, and it's far better than this.