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.
Building upon years of previous reverse engineering and tool development by other SADX hackers, it only took several months for dedicated fans to fix the majority of SADX downgrades in mods with no access to the source code. Imagine what the fans could do if they had the source code of SADX? We would fix everything and make the definitive version of the game on PC, perhaps even port it to other platforms! Of course it’s very unlikely that SEGA will ever give us the source code, even though the original game is over 18 years old. But if there’s a lot of buzz about the quality of the ports, maybe SEGA will do something and try to make them a little better. Who knows!