Fixing the PC version of SADX

This page will tell you how to improve your SADX experience on PC.

First, let’s have a look at some mods that fix issues in SADX, make it more like the Dreamcast version or just improve it in general:

  • SADX Fixed Edition (SADXFE) by SonicFreak94 – fixes a bunch of bugs in the 2004 PC port and adds some minor features. Does not restore Dreamcast assets.
  • Dreamcast Conversion by PkR – restores Dreamcast levels, textures, object models, special effects, menus, branding, etc.
  • Lantern Engine (Dreamcast lighting) by SonicFreak94 – recreates the LANTERN lighting engine from the Dreamcast version in the PC port.
  • Input Mod by SonicFreak94 (built into the Mod Loader as of November 2023) – fixes issues with XInput controllers (spinning camera bug etc.) and some DInput controllers. It’s also compatible with all kinds of DInput controllers, so it’s a must have for anyone using controllers to play the game.
  • Dreamcast Characters Pack by ItsEasyActually – restores Dreamcast character models, includes a different Metal Sonic model and the stretchy feet effect.
  • SADX Onion Skin Blur by SonicFreak94 – restores Sonic’s running “motion blur” effect like in the Japanese version of SA1. Looks best with Dreamcast Characters’ stretchy feet effect!
  • HD GUI 2 by PkR & others – adds high-resolution textures for menus, HUD, tutorials etc.
  • Sound Overhaul 3 by PkR – fixes a lot of sound bugs described in the Sound and Music section and replaces most sound effects with higher-quality sounds ripped from the Dreamcast version.
  • Super Sonic by Kell – allows to transform into Super Sonic during regular gameplay after beating the Final story.
  • Time of Day by PkR – if you’ve beaten the story, you can change the time of day by taking the train between Station Square and the Mystic Ruins.
  • Dreamcast DLC by PkR – this mod recreates Dreamcast-exclusive SA1 DLC content in the PC port.
  • SADX Style Water by PkR – this mod restores the ocean wave effect in Emerald Coast and fixes a few problems with the SADX version of the level without reverting it to the Dreamcast version.

Now let’s see how to install these mods. Thanks to the SADX Mod Loader it’s possible to mod the 2004 PC port without altering the game’s executable or resources. With the Mod Loader you can enable or disable various mods and codes, and you can always just turn off the Mod Loader to revert to the original version of the game. Installing SADX mods is relatively easy, but there are also mod installers that can set up everything for you in one go. If you’re getting started with SADX mods, you can use a mod installer.

There are two mod installers: BetterSADX and SADX Mod Installer. BetterSADX is meant for the Steam version, while the Mod Installer is universal. Both installers replace the Steam version’s executable with the 2004 version to enable Mod Loader support, and install the Mod Loader and some of the popular mods. The installers have a slightly different selection of mods and use different approaches to patching the PC version and installing mods, but the end result is effectively the same.

Assuming you’ve installed and arranged the mods let’s discuss their configuration. Some mods come with configurable settings, which can be customized in the Mod Loader’s config editor – just select the mod and press “Configure…”. The options are self-explanatory for the most part. Here are some options you can change in Dreamcast Conversion:

  • Title screen customization (logo size, ripple effect etc.), enable or disable Cream cameos
  • Enable or disable individual levels/bosses, as well as Dreamcast-related branding
  • Enable or disable alternative water textures that look more like SADX water
  • Enable or disable the Cowgirl from the Japanese version of SA1
  • Dreamcast Chao Gardens: enable or disable individual Chao Garden replacements and the Chao Race lobby
  • Enable or disable the ingame water ripple effect from the Dreamcast version
  • Enable or disable the original subtitle fonts, as well as their colorization
  • Enable or disable FMV colorization and smoother FMV skip transition
  • And many more!

Here are some options for other mods:

  • Dreamcast DLC – “vanilla SADX mode” to make the DLC content work without Dreamcast levels, run different DLCs during different months, select which extra Twinkle Circuit each character goes to etc.
  • Input Mod: this mod has a lot of configuration options that are listed on the mod’s page
  • Dreamcast Characters Pack: toggle between the low-poly Sky Chase models and higher quality models that the original game used only in cutscenes, enable or disable the stretchy feet effect completely or after the Light Speed Shoes are obtained, enable or disable the alternative Metal Sonic model

Here are some comparison shots:

DreamcastPC originalPC modded

In addition, the SADX Mod Installer has the following comparison for Dreamcast Conversion and Lantern Engine (warning: large image).

Keep in mind: while the mods restore a lot of Dreamcast assets, they aren’t completely identical to the Dreamcast version, and some things are still missing. For a list of issues and things that haven’t been restored, you can check out the issue trackers for Dreamcast Conversion, Dreamcast Characters Pack and Lantern Engine, as well as the “What’s still missing” page on ModDB.

Final words

Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut is commonly referred to as an “enhanced port” of the original game. However, every single area in the ports has downgrades worth a 1000-2500 word essay. As this blog demonstrates, SADX is a massive letdown that not only fails to convey the atmosphere of the original game, but is also riddled with technical issues and design problems. The broken ports are still being advertised and sold on Steam, the Playstation Network and the Xbox Marketplace as the supposed “definitive” version of the game. These ports are such an incredible mess that people who play them first get a negative impression of Sonic Adventure, thinking it has always been a terrible game.

Some even attempt to argue that everyone who likes SA1 is “blinded by nostalgia” and that the game was received poorly even when it came out, which is not the case at all. In reality, while the original game has some flaws and some aspects of the game may not have aged well (reminder: we’re talking about a game that came out in 1998/1999), the ports have done such a massive disservice to the original that a lot of people find it hard to believe the game was ever good to begin with.

It also doesn’t help that SEGA have been deliberately misleading people and fooling them into thinking that the terrible nextgen console ports are the same as the Dreamcast version, using SADX screenshots alongside mentions of the Dreamcast version, or flat out lying. For example, check out this comment on the SEGA blog that was made by a SEGA employee on the day of the X360 release and 5 days before the PSN release of “Sonic Adventure”:

There is enough evidence on this blog to demonstrate that the “enhanced port” and “return of the Dreamcast” PR speak is nothing but blatant false advertising. The situation with SA1 ports can be compared to games like Aliens: Colonial Marines or No Man’s Sky, which are notable for their initial release versions being vastly different (for the worse) from pre-release footage. But with those games, the developers at least attempted to address some of the complaints. All we ever got with SADX was an even more broken Steam port that was patched once with some of the vaguest patch notes possible. None of the glaring issues plaguing the port were fixed in the update. Even the Game Gear games (a feature from the 2004 PC port that technically exists but isn’t accessible via normal means in the Steam version) were not added back, and they also managed to introduce new problems… I think it’s safe to say that SEGA have given Sonic Adventure the worst treatment imaginable.

The good news is that Sonic Adventure is such an interesting game to dissect that it has a large hacking community, and years of reverse engineering went into making tools and understanding the game’s systems. The majority of downgrades mentioned on this website have been fixed or worked around in mods, which you can configure for your own tailored SA1 experience.