Stage Complete: City Escape

Above screen shot authored by Flickr userSpicaGames.
Above screen shot authored by Flickr user

While the quality and stature of a game series is defined by the quality of the games that that comprise it, its individual levels or often just one level from one game that embody its ideals and goals. One would think that a level’s impact wouldn’t extend outside its own game, but not necessarily. Consider, games in a consistent series can vary greatly in terms of characters, stories, and settings, but what ties them all together is their gameplay; gameplay that is more than just partly defined by consistent level design. Therefore, we can have levels that act as paradigms of a series, stages that capture the essence of a series so well that they can become synonymous with the series as a whole. There are many levels that have been elevated to this status over the years, but today we’ll focus on “City Escape” from Sonic Adventure 2, which best characterizes what Sonic the Hedgehog was supposed to be after its transition into 3D.

“City Escape” was made to be the face of Sonic Adventure 2; its purpose being to convince gamers that Sonic was still fast and outrageous in his latest game, a purpose it filled quite well. Starting with “snowboarding” down paved hills, it not only proceeds to show off Sonic’s speed and homing abilities, but also features Sonic running down the side of a building and no-holds-barred chase with a giant truck bent on running the blue blur down to top the level off. All of these elements come together and result in the fast-paced urgency we’d come to expect from Sonic games, and told us that we could indeed continue to expect that same feel in the future.

“City Escape” stands out not because it was the first of the 3D Sonic levels to give players a good sense of speed (in my opinion, Sonic Adventure’s “Emerald Coast” holds that honor), but because of how well it embodied the Sonic experience, that and the promise of the future it carried by virtue of improving upon the formula established by Sonic Adventure.  It didn’t define the immediate future of the series (see Sonic Heroes), but with entries like Sonic 4 and Sonic Generations and their renewed focus on speed and urgency, it and the response stages like it received may still define the long-term future of our favorite supersonic hedgehog.

What were your impressions of City Escape? Is there a stage that more aptly fits the bill?


  1. connorbros says:

    Loved this level, loved this game! The song is so ingrained in my mind from going for the 5 A’s! I definitely agree with what you have said here. It starts the game off with a bang and really captures that experience so well.



    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I both love and hate the song for this stage. It’s nostalgic, but it brings me back to when I was playing it over and over to get rings. I must have raised THOUSANDS of rings playing this level, ugh.


  2. rainmaker97 says:

    It’s nice to see Sonic Adventure 2 getting some love. This was one of my favourite GameCube games back in the day, even though many of its flaws are readily apparent to me these days.

    City Escape was a fantastic level. Great music (I’m actually a big fan of both Tony Harnell and Ted Poley, so hearing their vocals on “Escape From The City” was a pleasant surprise), great sense of speed, snowboarding section was fun, no ridiculous platforming rendered impossible by the shaky physics engine (minus that loop-the-loop near the end…never could make that work) and dat truck chase. It’s a shame that the rest of the game went steadily downhill after the first level (Rouge and Knuckles levels…ugh).


    1. Hatm0nster says:

      This stage and Metal Harbor were the best sonic stages in the game, as they both focused on speed and didn’t break up the action with platforming or barriers like the other levels did.


  3. duckofindeed says:

    I loved that game. My favorite “Sonic” game. Yeah, that level definitely started the game off with a lot of action. I wasn’t a fan of the music in that level, though, which is now stuck in my head.


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