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johnboy3434

Oh God, I had forgotten how horrid the cutscenes in Adventure were...

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Seriously, I don't know if it's because it was 1998 and fully voiced cutscenes weren't an industry standard yet, or because Sonic Team wasn't experienced in making them, or what. But the bottom line is that Adventure's cutscenes are some of the most awkward, poorly paced, and confusingly edited I've ever seen. There are huge, distracting pauses between lines, the background music sometimes drowns out the dialogue (which got even worse in Adventure 2), there's a noticeable lack of sound effects for just about anything, and the camera sometimes seems to focus on the oddest things rather than what storytelling logic would dictate.

Is this the fault of the translation team? Did the Japanese cutscenes flow better, or were they just as awkward?

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Most of the blame is the fact that's pretty much the first time SEGA/Sonic Team did anything like that with the Sonic franchise, and in games in general as that was around the time such things were beginning to become a main part of the gaming industry.

Keep in mind before those games it was pretty much the original Genesis trilogy for Sonic, that was a pretty massive step for the company to take with no real prior experience. All things considered, the Adventure games really weren't the worst by far at their time. There were many games just as bad, if not worse in taking the leap to 3D with cutscenes/acting and such.

I'd say the games did... Average to okay for the time all things considered. Most developers were virgins in this territory back then.

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On one hand, lip syncing was still a fairly new art around the time. Conker's Bad Fur Day was famous for it, and the Crash games didn't do a bad job either, but that's about it? It doesn't help that SA1 was a launch title too, so there's every chance they didn't have time to manually edit facial expressions for every single line.

On the other... simply choosing facial expressions at seemingly random is a strange design choice no matter which way you spin it? Simply rigging a jaw to flap open and closed during dialogue would've looked boring, sure, but at least not so ridiculous that it's so easy to make fun of.

Spoiler

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I'm just going to post my first reaction. Are you mad?? The cutscenes aren't the best, I know, but (and I know this isn't an excuse) it was 1998 and 2001. They could be better, but from my point of view, they are classic in that way that even though compared to now they are bad, they are still awesome. 

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Buggin' face aside, the crappy localisation and port jobs are what's blame for the cutscene problems in these games.

A lot of the cutscene related mishaps in the adventure games were due to the localisation being bad. This ranges from an incomplete english lip sync to translating the same lines 3-4 times (which is what got SA1 its "Different dialogue for every story" thing for the most part), and the English VAs often delivering poor quality lines because I don't think they were given any context.

I haven't noticed any times where the background music drowns out the voices in SA1, but I know the lack of sound effects is something you have SADX's crappy port job to thank for. Compare the original Japanese version to English SADX 2010 and you'll see what I mean by SADX and the localisation screwing things over.

SA2 is the same thing just made worse. The Dreamcast version doesn't have the horrible drowning out voices thing, and the characters cutting off their lines is solely due to the English lines being too long for the parts where they're supposed to play in the cutscene (SA1 only progressed after the lines finished playing, so they could get away with it in that game. SA2 however, doesn't wait.)

The translation for SA2 is hilariously bad. As an example:

Japanese (translated):

Quote

Knuckles: Yeah, I definitely saw Eggman entering it.

Knuckles: That aside, is it true that the bat-girl was with Eggman's gang?

Amy: Yeah.

English:

Quote

Knuckles: I saw Eggman go inside the pyramid and more importantly, I saw that bat girl go inside with him as well.

Knuckles: You saw them too, right?

Amy: Well yeah.

The meaning here is changed from "Is it true Rouge is working with Eggman" to "Did you see Rouge entering the pyramid with Eggman" and it makes no sense at all because of course Amy didn't see them enter the pyramid. In fact, neither did Knuckles when talking about Rouge because she was busy off stealing emerald shards at the time.

Both games' ports also have major problems with removing lighting effects. Here's a comparison for SA2 (SADX's should be obvious enough if you ask me). SA2B's cutscenes also have serious problems with model inconsistency, with only a handful of cutscenes in the game making use of the updated GameCube models. Pay attention to Sonic's ears in cutscenes, they're triangles on the DC model and they're rounded on the GC one.

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8 minutes ago, JmTsHaW said:

 

Japanese (translated):

English:

The meaning here is changed from "Is it true Rouge is working with Eggman" to "Did you see Rouge entering the pyramid with Eggman" and it makes no sense at all because of course Amy didn't see them enter the pyramid. In fact, neither did Knuckles when talking about Rouge because she was busy off stealing emerald shards at the time.

Both games' ports also have major problems with removing lighting effects. Here's a comparison for SA2 (SADX's should be obvious enough if you ask me). SA2B's cutscenes also have serious problems with model inconsistency, with only a handful of cutscenes in the game making use of the updated GameCube models. Pay attention to Sonic's ears in cutscenes, they're triangles on the DC model and they're rounded on the GC one.

You can speak Japanese?

To be honest, I was also bummed by the lack of expression for Chaos.

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4 hours ago, CleverSonicUsername said:

I think you mean "Oh no! I had forgotten how horrid the cutscenes in Adventure was."

...No, I didn't. The verb "to be" at the end of that sentence modifies the plural noun "cutscenes", not the singular noun "Adventure".

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3 hours ago, QuantumEdge said:

To be honest, I can completely forgive the cutscenes, given their age.  What I can't excuse is the English voice acting, I mean holy crud...  It's damn near Resident Evil stiff.

This. The acting is atrocious in both SA games, and Sonic Shuffle, it only got mildly better in Heroes. Its so bad I can't believe anyone was up in arms when 4Kids opted not to use those actors in Sonic X, and got even angrier when Sega later made the X cast the official cast of the games. Think what you want, but the 4Kids cast were far better actors than anyone in the SA cast. Even when the acting was bad it still wasn't nearly as bad as any of those guys. I still think its a shame we lost the 4Kids cast, as they really improved as it went along, and the voices are still the voices I associate with the characters to this very day. I miss them, but at least we still have Mike.

The only decent actors out of the SA cast were Ryan Drummond and David Humphrey, and thats become even more apparent to me since I just recently started to replay both games. Everyone else is terrible.

The lip sync always bugged me about those games, and theres really no excuse for it when there are other games that came out around that time had much better lip sync. The background music drowning out the dialouge was annoying too. Its been awhile since I played it but, I think Heroes is where they finally improved the lip sync, but I think the music still drowned out the voices.

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1 hour ago, Burning Finger said:

This. The acting is atrocious in both SA games, and Sonic Shuffle, it only got mildly better in Heroes. Its so bad I can't believe anyone was up in arms when 4Kids opted not to use those actors in Sonic X, and got even angrier when Sega later made the X cast the official cast of the games. Think what you want, but the 4Kids cast were far better actors than anyone in the SA cast. Even when the acting was bad it still wasn't nearly as bad as any of those guys. I still think its a shame we lost the 4Kids cast, as they really improved as it went along, and the voices are still the voices I associate with the characters to this very day. I miss them, but at least we still have Mike.

The only decent actors out of the SA cast were Ryan Drummond and David Humphrey, and thats become even more apparent to me since I just recently started to replay both games. Everyone else is terrible.

The lip sync always bugged me about those games, and theres really no excuse for it when there are other games that came out around that time had much better lip sync. The background music drowning out the dialouge was annoying too. Its been awhile since I played it but, I think Heroes is where they finally improved the lip sync, but I think the music still drowned out the voices.

To be fair the SA games are infamous for terrible english scripts like it's been mentioned and awful voice direction, the 4Kids actors had the advantage of working with the same voice director that they worked on Sonic X with and actually was decent at his job.

I would love to hear the SA cast with the proper conditions the current cast has.

 

As for people saying "Well it was 1998, give it a break", actually no, in that same year Metal Gear Solid 1 came out and the cutscenes were well directed and properly paced, with voice acting that still holds up perfectly today.

SEGA should have hired people that actually knew what they were doing.

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I believe the poor quality animations in cutscenes could be attributed to Sega being unwilling to invest much money towards a better animation budget. Let's remember by 1998, Sega was literally hemorrhaging money due to the failure of the Saturn in North America and Europe with their hopes riding on the success of the Dreamcast, which means Sonic Adventure was probably developed on a pretty tight budget that was spent primarily on gameplay, graphics, and sound.

31 minutes ago, pppp said:

As for people saying "Well it was 1998, give it a break", actually no, in that same year Metal Gear Solid 1 came out and the cutscenes were well directed and properly paced, with voice acting that still holds up perfectly today.

SEGA should have hired people that actually knew what they were doing.

Properly paced? The cutscenes in MGS went on forever! Jokes aside, yes the cutscenes in MGS were had much better direction than Sonic Adventure's but that game was also directed and produced by Hideo Kojima, who's been quoted saying he started out wanting to make movies and that game is like 80% movie so... And it's not like the animation in cutscenes was significantly better than other titles at that time. The characters have zero facial animation outside of bobbing their heads when they speak, and most of the time they're standing still, only moving with the occasional gesture or speaking to each through the codec with slightly animated portraits of the character's faces.

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1 hour ago, pppp said:

As for people saying "Well it was 1998, give it a break", actually no, in that same year Metal Gear Solid 1 came out and the cutscenes were well directed and properly paced, with voice acting that still holds up perfectly today.

Yeah it does, but mind you, Kojima is a director who has been heavily influenced by film and telling a story through that medium, look at other developers back in the late 90's how many other developers back then did it to that standard? 

The answer is not many. And those who were starting to pull it off had already had at least one maybe two games under their belt. Take Capcom, they had Resident Evil under their belts from 1996 and it was notoriously bad, RE 2 came out in 1998, it's a lot better but was a lot better but still contains a few howlers.

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I do agree the cutscenes are pretty bad. I know it was their first big Dreamcast game, but even the Playstation had more palpable cutscenes early on. Even the use of stock animations could have been palpable if they weren't so buggy and there was more of a variation of animations (take the Klonoa remake for example, doesn't look amazing, but at least it looks like it's flowing properly and certain scenes even give off decent emotion).

The English translation also worsened it a great deal with cornier scripting. Not sure why, this was the one 3D game they had free reign to edit the dialogue how they wanted (making Eggman sound more sinister in Tails' story was a neat touch though). For comparison here is the Japanese script directly translated (turn on Closed Captions):

 

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 English dubbing of Japanese games during that time were not always the best. First resident evil game being a big example of this. Yeah, it's really bad but it becomes hillarious with age. 

As for bad quality of animations and models. Well, it's easy to make fun of the way a 19 year old game looks. That's a given. 

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