One peaceful morning, Tails was lying on a tree trunk in the Poloy Forest, sleeping deeply. His orange fur was illuminated by shafts of bright morning light and the sound of Tails’ gentle breathing filled his surroundings. Two small, blue birds flew among the branches of a nearby tree, emphasising the tranquillity of the dark wood. Suddenly, Tails woke and quickly rose to his feet.
A large green and grey airship left a nearby island to fly across the sea to reach Poloy Forest on Tails’ island. The serene forest suddenly burst into flame, with Tails running in a panic among the burning trees. A machine, piloted by a large blue bird and walking on two mechanical legs, appeared nearby, launching balls of fire at the forest for no reason.
Tails explored the different areas of the island. He climbed the exterior of Mount Polly and found a green bird. He pursued the bird up the mountain and, upon reaching the summit, the bird flew away to another island floating in the sea. Tails piloted a submarine underneath the mechanical island and infiltrated a docking bay at the base to enter Coco Island.
Inside Coco Island, Tails met an elderly bird and used a large rock to knock them unconscious, before escaping the island (he is supposed to be a hero). The island then rose into the air, revealing itself to be the Battle Fortress. Tails flew to the Fortress and landed on the top of it. Inside the mechanised island, Tails fought and defeated the green bird and a tall, grinning bird. Tails left the Battle Fortress and returned home, leaving the flying island to fall into the sea and sink below the waves.
The game ended with Tails building a mechanical fox while being hindered by a small bird, his own urge to sleep and his incompetence.
Finally, a game with a beginning, a middle and a weird end.
This was a review of the game available online and not the version of the game released on the Game Gear. The versions of the game were identical, but the methods of controlling the game varied between the two versions.
There were two games released on the Game Gear which featured Tails (Sonic’s sidekick) as the hero and, interestingly, the two games were very different. This game, Tail’s Adventures, was the more complicated, darkly coloured and in-depth game of the two.
The story for the game was more complex than other games in the Sonic series. There were animated sequences during the game to describe the story and suggest how the player should proceed, which was different to the sequence of levels used as a story in the previous games. The story was still quite simple, unexplained and used no dialogue, which seemed to consist of Tails fighting an army of strange, bird-like creatures that invaded his island for unknown reasons. The more developed story was most likely used because this game was a role-playing game, rather than a simple platform game like other games in the series. I, personally, found the story, while more complex, had little impact because there were few animated sequences in the game and there was little explanation of the events.
The gameplay for the game required skill and was explorative. In the game, Tails could run, jump and briefly fly, although his movements were slower than Sonic in other games in the series. The amount of time Tails could fly was presented as a meter and his stamina increased as the player collected more Chaos Emeralds, which were hidden throughout the game. In some levels, Tails used a submarine to travel underwater. While using the submarine, one button controlled which direction Tails faced and the player could only move while facing that direction (so he could move up, down, forwards and reverse). The submarine also moved fairly slowly and used it’s own weapons and equipment. One level used the submarine as an aircraft, but the controls were the same.
There were 12 levels, including an area called “Tails’ Home”, which became accessible as the player progressed through the game. The Tails’ Home area served as a base of operations, which allowed the player to select equipment to use, activate a vehicle or display the password. Before entering the levels, the player could select up to 4 items to take into the level, with each item having a use that either allows the player to reach an inaccessible area or alters the gameplay. During the game, the player was also able to obtain a submarine that allowed the player to access underwater levels and this machine used separate equipment. Part of the games’ difficulty was knowing what items to equip when entering a level to proceed through the game.
There were also a number of hidden elements within each level. Some of the levels used different pathways (which only be followed if the correct items were selected) that allowed the player to reach different levels. The items were hidden in blue containers within the levels, so the player needed to collect items to be able to obtain other items. Some of the levels contained a single path that lead to a boss.
Many aspects of the gameplay contrasted with the more familiar Sonic games. The enemies in the game could not be defeated by colliding with them at speed or jumping on top of them, instead the player had to use a weapon to attack them (the default attack was throwing a small, cartoon bomb). Rings were used as a health meter in this game, but functioned differently to the rings found in other Sonic games. In the game, Tails could only accumulate a fixed number of rings (the maximum amount he could carry increased as the player collected Chaos Emeralds) and, if hurt, the player only lost a set amount of rings. This was different to the unlimited rings the player could carry, which all scattered when harmed, in the other Sonic games.
I, personally, enjoyed the gameplay for the game. The gameplay was easy to learn and worked well. I liked the puzzle aspect of the gameplay and using the objects to progress through the game. I also thought the changes to the gameplay for the other Sonic games was appropriate for this type of game. There were, however, some negative aspects of the game, such as Tails only equipping 4 objects and the submarine was difficult to control properly.
Another negative feature of the game was it was also difficult to know where the player needed to go next after Tails completed a level, as the player can obtain an item without being informed which level contains an obstacle that can be overcome by the item. Another example occurred after I completed the first Battle Fortress level, as the animated sequence showed Tails entering his submarine to indicate the next level used that machine, but I did not realise that I could select the Battle Fortress again after equipping a Rocket Booster and Proton Torpedo. As a result, I explored all the levels which used the submarine to find a hidden path to the next level, rather than choosing the appropriate level.
One of the irritating aspects of the game was the little information provided about the objects. This was possibly due to the version of the game I played, but there was no way of knowing what each object did. This resulted in me obtaining an object, entering a level with it equipped, finding an obvious obstacle and using the object on the barrier to see if it helped me progress. I actually had to resort to using a guide available online to find out what each object’s function was (it actually turned out that many of the objects had the same function or were almost useless).
The level designs for the game were fairly interesting, but repetitive. There were 12 levels in the game: Poloy Forest, Volcanic Tunnel, Polly Mountain part 1, Polly Mountain part 2, Caron Forest, Lake Rocky, Cavern Island, Green Island, Lake Crystal, Coco Island and 2 Battle Fortress levels. Each level appears to resemble either a forest (Poloy Forest, Caron Forest and Green Island), a cavern (Volcanic Tunnel, Cavern Island and Polly Mountain part 2), a mountainside (Polly Mountain part 1), a mechanised structure during evening time (Coco Island and Battle Fortress), an aerial assault (Battle Fortress) or an underwater cavern (Lake Rocky). As a result of the limited settings for the levels, each level shared common objects and backgrounds with other levels in the game, with only the level’s colour scheme differentiating it from similar levels.
While the designs for the levels were quite similar, there were some interesting ideas used in the game. I enjoyed the Polly Mountain part 1 level as it resembled a climb up the side of a mountain and it was challenging fighting enemies positioned on higher platforms. Cavern Island seemed to consist of a cave filled with water that the player had to explore by navigating the underwater currents. Lake Crystal was also unique as the player had to follow a river flowing down a mountainside and had to jump to each cliff to progress.
The graphics for the game were satisfactory. The game did use some interesting designs and all the objects were recognisable, although the graphics were a little pixelated. There were no effects in the game. I felt the graphics were better than other games on the Game Gear and were able to create some interesting visuals.
The music for the game was fairly low quality. The music used a lot of high notes and had an artificial sound. The music also quite repetitive, with each soundtrack consisting of repeating a few bars and the same soundtrack was used as background music to multiple levels. The music did, however, manage to convey some interesting atmospheres, such as one that created a feeling of spirited adventure, another formed a sense of jeopardy, another created an atmosphere of fearful danger and a menacing score was used for the enemy’s headquarters. I found that the music had little effect on the game, despite the atmosphere it created, due to it’s repetitive feel.
There were also some definite problems with the game. The game used a password system to allow the player to resume playing from specific points in the game. Passwords could be entered after selecting the Continue option on the main screen, however, the player could not navigate back to the main menu and had to either enter a password or reset the game when this screen appeared. Another problem was that, after entering a level, the only way to leave it was to walk through the entrance or one of the exits of the level, however, if the level contained a boss, the player could only leave the level through the entrance. I can remember exploring a level with a defeated boss to find secrets, but, after fully searching the level to no avail, having to travel to the beginning of the level just so I could leave the area. Also, a small mistake was that the radio item was called a “raido”.
In conclusion, the game was very enjoyable. The gameplay was unusual for a Sonic game, but was enjoyable to play, despite some obvious deficiencies (such as the ease of getting lost and not being told how the items were used). The story had very little impact on the game. The level designs were good, but were repetitive. The graphics were satisfactory. The music was slightly atmospheric, but had little effect on the game due to the repetition of the soundtrack.