Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sonic Adventure 2 Emblem and A-Rank Guide

Sonic Adventure 2 is considered one of the best of Sega's first wave of 3D Sonic the Hedgehog titles and has been a fan favourite since its original console release back in the year 2000. It was no surprise then that Sega released a remastered, high definition version of the game through Steam.

Sonic Adventure 2 veterans and newcomers who owned a PC now had the opportunity to take control of Sonic & Co. and save the world once again. But completing the game's main story mode is a relatively simple task compared to the acquisition of Sonic Adventure 2's 180 emblems.

Sonic Adventure 2's emblems are awarded for numerous different tasks including the game's Chao racing, boss rush and kart racing modes. However, the majority of emblems come from the completion of each stage's additional “missions”. To get all 180 emblems takes time, memorisation and a whole lot of patience – so here's a handy guide to help you on your way.

Sonic Adventure 2 Emblem Breakdown

Each of Sonic Adventure 2's thirty-one stages has five missions which can be selected via the world map: 
  • Normal Mode – the regular version of a level 
  • Collect 100 Rings – Find and keep 100 rings in the quickest possible time 
  • Find the Hidden Chao – A Chao must be found in a secret location as fast as possible 
  • Time Attack – Beat the level within a strict time limit 
  • Hard Mode – Enemy and item placement is altered to increase the level's difficulty
A single emblem is awarded for the completion of each mission for a total of 155 emblems, with six more emblems awarded for getting A ranks on each mission for a particular character (a final emblem is given for getting five A ranks on the multi-character Cannon's Core stage). That brings to total up to 162 emblems, with the remaining 18 being obtained through the following modes: 
  • Chao Racing – Five emblems
  • Chao Karate – Four Emblems
  • Kart Racing – Three Emblems
  • Beating the Three Boss Rushes – Three Emblems
  • Reaching the Game's Three Endings – Three Emblems

Understand How and Why A Ranks Are Awarded

When aiming for A ranks in Sonic Adventure 2 it's important to remember that the requirements for A ranks differ between characters and missions. For example, the requirement for an A rank on the “Collect 100 Rings” and “Find the Hidden Chao” missions for all characters is based on time alone, whereas the A ranks for the other three missions are awarded based on points.

Another example is the “Hard Mode” missions for Knuckles and Rouge in which the Master Emerald shards are always located in the same hard to reach area – therefore a good memory is all it takes to get an A rank. The same applies to all of the “Find the Hidden Chao” missions as the Chao is always in the same, albeit hard to reach, location.

Alternatively, the method for obtaining an A rank on “Normal Mode” and “Time Attack” missions are practically identical i.e. if you can get an A rank on “Time Attack”, you can get an A rank on “Normal Mode”.

But the golden rule for getting an A rank on any given mission with any characters is the same: don't die. 

If you can complete a mission without dying then you've taken the largest step to getting an A rank. Dying quite obviously slows you down on timed missions, but most importantly, dying resets your score on point-based missions. Don't worry about collecting vast amounts of rings and don't worry about killing hoards of enemies – just beat the level as quickly as possible without dying.

Memorise Glitches and Go With The Flow

Even the most avid Sonic Adventure 2 fan will admit that the game contains its fair share of glitches. Most of these glitches don't have a major affect on normal play, but can sometimes become a hurdle to overcome when trying to optimise a mission playthrough for an A rank. Fortunately, such glitches will occur in the same places at the same time, allowing for them to be avoided.

There will always be a temptation to push boundaries and overcome particularly glitchy sections of levels, or even use them to cut down on a mission's time, but as a rule of thumb it's best to memorise and avoid all glitches that can result in death for reasons mentioned in the previous section.

This being said, there's plenty of opportunities in Sonic Adventure 2 s levels to skip entire sections by using a character's skills in ways not anticipated by the developer. For example, using Sonic or Shadow's spin dash to roll into a ball and the then immediately roll back out of the ball will result in a substantial speed boost. Additionally, the low gravity in the later, space-themed levels can be abused – allowing for entire chunks of levels to be simply jumped over.

Character Specific Tips

Knuckles and Rouge: As mentioned above, the “Hard Mode” version of treasure hunting levels will see the required items hidden in the same location every time. As such, the “Normal Mode” and “Time Attack” missions are actually more difficult than “Hard Mode” as item placement is seemingly random, and the use of tips must be avoided because of the point penalty they incur. But in fact, the items required to finish these missions are hidden randomly within a series of predetermined locations. 

With a bit of memorisation, particular “hot spots” on treasure hunting levels – which are rich in possible hidden item locations – can be visited as soon as the level starts. If an item does not appear in any of these spots, simply restart the level until it does.

Tails and Eggman: These Sonic Adventure 2 levels have a greater emphasis on creating combos by locking onto multiple enemies before firing homing lasers. This being said, enemies often appear in groups intended for combo creation and some enemies, such as the Hornet robot, have individual segments that can be individually locked on to. 

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the parts of each level in which these combo opportunities occur and try to take advantage of them without slowing down. Also memorise where the special Golden Beetle enemy will show up for a quick, 1000 point boost.

Sonic and Shadow: These missions often end up being the most challenging for players to secure A rank for, mainly due to their high speeds and the ease at which both Sonic and Shadow can instantly die in later levels.

There's many moments in these stages where extra rings, lives and shields, will appear in hard to reach areas. Adventurous players are welcome to try and reach these goodies, but in the vast majority of cases these areas are not short cuts, and the chance of dying is too high to make it worth it e.g. the unnecessary use of the Light Dash move.

A Word on Raising Chao

The Chao in Sonic Adventure 2 are essentially advanced, in-game Tamagotchi and offer interested players an opportunity to raise, train and breed their own personal army of cute little creatures. 

Since emblems are awarded for completing particular Chao races and Chao karate events, even players who are completely uninterested in raising Chao have no choice but to get their hands dirty if they want all 180 emblems.

Many, many articles could be written on growing Chao into their various special forms, but the simplest way to raise a race-worthy a Chao is as follows:
  • Obtain multiple Chao eggs and have the baby Chao examined by the kindergarten doctor 
  • After the doctor has revealed the Chao's base stats, select the one with the most evenly distributed stats 
  • Visit the Chao after every single mission and give it any collected Chao Drives and animals 
  • Be sure to feed the Chao fruit whenever possible to raise its stamina
Chao karate and Chao races are almost entirely automatic, therefore a great deal of patience and persistence is needed to continuously race and fight until the odds are stacked in your favour. There's no real, quick and easy method for getting the Chao-related emblems, but those who do collect all of Sonic Adventure 2 s 180 emblems are in for a most pleasant surprise.

For the sake of transparency, this is an orphan article originally written for a site that abruptly pulled its freelance submission scheme.


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