I originally forgave Sonic Adventure's (many) faults on the basis that I loved the character and the graphics were incredible; an eye candy diversion to make up for the fact it was blatantly nowhere near as good as Mario 64. A decade on, and a digital port to XBLA and PSN later, and suddenly those flaws are more apparent than ever. The hub overworld is dire. There are far too many substandard levels. Big the Cat.
Or any of the tiresome 'friends' levels, to be honest. Seriously, try playing through Knuckles' 'hide and seek' collecting quests without harbouring a genuine desire to punch someone from Sonic Team in the face. If they were released today – which they sort of are, if you think about it – then most of these so-called adventures would be substandard mini-games on a Wii compilation disc from a Z-list developer.
Rose-tinted nostalgia aside, the common (but wrong) belief is that Sonic Adventure marked the beginning of the end for the series, but Sonic was already running with a stitch when this came out in 1999. It had been five years (and the whole SEGA Saturn) since Sonic & Knuckles, and the likes of Mario 64 and the entire Crash Bandicoot series had already arrived on the scene. Platforming had picked up a whole new dimension since Sonic had been away, and developer Sonic Team was struggling to play catch up.
But, then, there was that bit with the whale. The bit with the whale! I remember it well; a local indie games shop imported a Dreamcast from Japan and I used to go there after school to get a chance of playing their copy of Sonic Adventure. It's those little nuggets of nostalgia this port is trying to evoke and, to its credit, it does a fairly good job at that. So does watching a video of the game's main theme (Open Your Heart by Crush 40) on YouTube, though, and that way you don't have to actually play the game. Which is better.
For your 800 Microsoft monies or £6.29 on PSN, you get a trimmed port of the rejiggered Sonic Adventure DX (originally released on GameCube and PC) with the aptly titled trials and Metal Sonic skin cut out – though these can be unlocked for another 400 points. But I wouldn't bother, to be honest, and this is coming from someone who struggled to do most of them a few years ago on the GameCube.