Sonic Adventure – Why Did Big the Cat Need to Fish?
Last week, the VeryAli Gaming gang had a friendly competition. We all wrote about a platformer near and dear to us, and see who can get the most views. I won with my… let’s say informative piece on the music of Sonic Adventure 2, specifically Knuckles’ stages. Anyway, as a celebration of my victory, I’m writing about another Sonic game! This time we take a look at the previous Adventure game and see why in the world SEGA decided to give Big the Cat fishing-based gameplay in an action platformer.
A Big Bit of Background
Big’s goal in Sonic Adventure is straightforward: save Froggy. Froggy is his best friend, who is a frog. Not a person-frog like he’s a person-cat, but an actual frog. His poor buddy has consumed part of Chaos (a primordial being fueled by the pure energy of the Chaos Emeralds) and is acting weird because of it. This also paints a target on Froggy’s back, as Dr. Eggman wants Chaos to be complete for nefarious world-ending purposes. Big isn’t the only one looking for his best frog friend.
He is, however, the only one who can’t just grab the frog. Instead he has to participate in the honorable sport of fishing to reclaim his lost friend.
I’m going to give two reasons as to why Big had to fish, and deciding which one is legit is an exercise left up to the reader.
Just a year prior to Sonic Adventure (1998), SEGA released Sega Bass Fishing (1997). They likely had assets from the development of their fishing game that they could reuse. The fishing interface is similar between both games, with buttons to reel in fast, slow, and the ability to angle the rod with the controller. The main difference we’re looking at between these games are that Sega Bass Fishing was an arcade game with a specifically designed controller to accommodate that fishing feeling. Also it wasn’t stuck after 5 other campaigns of actual real platforming.
SEGA wants us to suffer. I beat this game as a kid. I completed all of Big’s stages. Why in the world can’t I do it now as a 24 year old adult? Was there something in the mind of a child that was able to twist this unknowable horror into something I could comprehend? Why isn’t Froggy getting closer when I reel him in? I legitimately tried for an hour and couldn’t get past Twinkle Park (that’s level 1!). I’m going to pretend it’s an issue with the PC port and not that I’m decidedly worse at this than 7 year old me.
Whether it be convenience or malice, Big the Cat’s campaign is a weird outlier in Sonic Adventure. The other characters who have unique gimmicks (Amy, Knuckles, Gamma, to name a few) still have elements of level traversal and platforming in their stories. Big is the only one whose game plan is to sit there and wait for a bite.
Either way, I’m glad Big the Cat’s story is there, if only because it makes my friends laugh when I can’t catch the stupid frog for the 20th time. You can still get the original Dreamcast Sonic Adventurehere (affiliate link).