This is an account of odd gameplay I had during Sonic Adventure 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube while playing on a modified build of the Dolphin emulator. A couple days after the events described below I wrote this story based on my memories, the footage I had recorded, and the notes I jotted down. I have also put all of my footage into one video and posted it to Youtube. The link is at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your time.
Maria's Revenge, as told by FicticiousAnimation
I had recently gotten into Wii hacking when an Internet friend suggested I rip my own games for emulators. He sent me a tutorial that allowed me to use my Wii to put Gamecube games onto an SD card, which I could then put onto the computer and use Dolphin (A Gamecube/Wii emulator) to play. This was convenient because my player 1 socket on my Wii was broken and it had been years since I could play any of those old games. Being the Sonic fan that I am, I immediately put Sonic Adventure 2 into my Wii, launched a program called "CleanRip", and about 20 minutes later it was done. I hadn't used Dolphin before, but I eventually figured it out and launched Sonic Adventure 2: Battle! I eagerly configured my controls and started with the hero storyline, thrusting myself immediately into City Escape. I played for days straight, only stopping to eat, sleep, and go to my Part-Time job at the bakery.
I was playing Chao Karate. My Chao "Tiny" delivered a spinning back-kick to the opposer and won the match, granting me the final emblem in the game. I had all emblems, all S-rank, the secretary theme, all 3 Chao Gardens, the alternate costumes, everything in the game. That's when it dawned on me that this is the second time i've done this in my lifetime, and it's time to put the game to rest.
I couldn't do it though. I was so addicted to the game I had to keep playing. So I launched up the web browser and typed into a Google search, "Unlockable secrets in Sonic Adventure 2". I found some hidden artwork, apparently some halloween costumes you could get back when Dreamcast had DLC (But i'm on gamecube version anyway), new items for chao garden, but one thing really caught my attention. A Maria Robotnik menu theme.
Obtaining the Maria Menu ThemeMy reaction was that of a child, "Oh my GOD! A Maria theme!". I learned quickly that you had to have a Gameboy Advance to do it, and you need 30,000 rings. I had 50,000 or so rings, but I didn't have a Gameboy Advance.
I searched for an emulator solution and found that someone had made a modified version of Dolphin that could connect to the Visual Boy Advance-M emulator (A Gameboy Advance emulator). I downloaded a Sonic Advance 2 ROM and launched it in Visual Boy Advance-M. Then launched up Sonic Adventure 2 in the modified version of Dolphin. I went to the chao garden in both games to make sure it was connected, then went to the Black Market in Sonic Adventure 2 and lo' and behold, the Maria Theme was there! SUCCESS! I bought it immediately and flew to the options screen to apply the Maria theme, but when I did the game locked up and I saw the Windows 7 message "Dolphin.exe has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem" It stayed for a few seconds until the "Close program" button showed up. All I could do was hope I didn't lose my progress.
A Series of Odd Occurrences
I re-launched the game and saw Maria in the background holding the pose from the "Shadow's Past" cutscene. Maria's image was fighting and tearing the graphics. The logos were very broken. At times you could see through parts of them. It looked like MSPaint garbage. This was even more so apparent when the opening movie started, showing the long bridge from Radical Highway with Maria still in the background. The graphics were still fighting each other as the buildings and stars seemed really broken. Even the sky was harsh and posterized with sharp blues and blacks. The special effects in the scene, like when it flashes with lots of blue lights and says "Sonic the Hedgehog", it just played all of these animations at almost regular speed They were all done before it even showed Sonic. It looked really horrible, and the music didn't help.
The game was lagging ridiculously. I mean, it was lagging so badly I had time to launch Camtasia and start recording this phenomenon. The music was choppy and pitched, but almost regular speed. "Live and Learn! [VEEYOOOOWW]" I heard as the music finished before the camera even zoomed in on Shadow's face. I assumed since the game locked up it somehow made Maria's theme be everywhere all the time, but after I got past that horrible scene of Shadow opening his invisible eyelids and broken-colors body with Maria's graphic fighting him, Maria's theme wasn't even on the menu. It was the Shadow The Hedgehog theme I had on before I did all this.
Naturally I wanted to turn it on, but found I didn't have the Maria theme. I was baffled. If I didn't have the Maria theme, then what was happening to the opening movie? This also means it didn't save, which means I had to do the whole thing again.
Maria is Watching
I went to stage select, went to Chao Garden with Shadow (Because I like him), ran into the normal Chao Garden and was about to launch VBA-M (Visual Boy Advance-M) when I saw a new egg.
I was frustrated so I decided to throw the egg and let out some anger. When I picked up the egg I decided to close Camtasia because the game was still lagging a bit. I threw it at the wall to the left of the Chao Teleporter. The egg cracked and an odd Chao bounced back and behind me. I turned around to look at it as the game froze. It looked like a Chao with Maria's hair staring at Shadow. Shadow was also looking at the Chao. I stared for a few seconds before I launched Task Manager to see if Dolphin was responding. Task manager said it was running normally so I messed with the controls a bit. It's not abnormal for Task Manager to say a frozen program is running so I decided to close Dolphin from Task manager's processes. Before I closed Dolphin, I took a screen capture of what was happening.
I opened Paint.net to save the screenshot, I cropped it while I was there because why not, and had a closer look at it. I thought I saw something really faint. I went ahead and saved the picture, then I opened something called "Curves" which is a color editor in Paint.Net. Curves sometimes helps me bring out details in pictures, so I decided to use it here. I played with it for a good ten minutes, then I saw Her. Maria was staring down on Shadow. It was very faint, but she was there. On the right side of the screen, looking straight at Shadow, She was there.
That was enough to make me breathe heavily. My mind was just blown. I didn't know what was happening. Should I continue my pursuit to unlock everything? Well, of course. Today's my day off and if I don't do this what will I have to do?
I launched the game, skipped that horrible opening movie, and decided to stop with the Maria theme. This time I wanted to see if I could find anything else wrong with this game, so I went to Story Mode, Dark Story, and started "Shadow's Past" the Radical Highway level. The cutscene with Eggman watching Shadow stand on the bridge played normally. I decided to launch Camtasia and record once Shadow's segment of the cutscene started."Hmmph! How pathetic." Shadow said as there was a strange purple flash over the screen. "Find them before they escape!" The cutscene was playing normally until Maria's part showed up. The sound was messed up. The audio was saying, "All the people do it. I beg. All the people do it. I Beg. All the people do it. I beg. No. I Beg. No. I Beg. No." But the word "No" was in Shadow's voice. The cutscene played over itself for a moment, overlapping, then the cutscene stopped short and went straight to the stage.
Once I started playing the stage, I read "Break through the besieging military!" but all of the letters were greyed out except a couple. The letters that were not greyed out were the "A" in "Break", the "R" in "through", the "I" in "besieging", the "M" in "military" and the "A" in "military". In the background sky I saw Maria's head and shoulders from an odd top-down angle. Her eyes were really dark, almost black, and she was sort of staring at Shadow out of the left corner of her eye. I took a screenshot, but closed Camtasia because Dolphin was lagging a bit.
As I played through the stage I never lost sight of Maria. Even if it was her back, dress, feet, hair, one eye, or a finger she was always there, fading in and out. I decided to pause the game and launch Camtasia again. At this point I didn't care about the lag and wanted to capture this. A few seconds after unpausing I beat one of the G.U.N. robots and the Gerald in prison cutscene started playing over the game, but the text and special effects weren't on it. Just Gerald kind of sitting there, but it distorted the colors of the game. It was kind of like what happened with the intro, but Gerald was tearing the graphics instead of fighting them. The cutscene clearly had dominance over the other graphics.
About halfway through the cutscene Maria started fading in and out of the scene in different poses from different angles. Even with everything that was happening the game was playing at perfect speed. One pose shocked me, however. Maria on her back with her legs spread awkwardly, allowing the camera to catch a full shot of her "special parts." Maria was blocking her face with her hands. I decided to pause the game and stop recording there. I saved the video and severeley blurred it at that part so you can't make it out.I didn't realize until I unpaused the game, but I had been playing the entire time before I paused and actually rather well. I was impressed with myself. There was another pose that caught my eye though, one of Maria completely naked holding her pose during the Shadow's Past cutscene on the control panel.
They started getting more disturbing as another pose of Maria naked showed. Her legs were red but it looked like her hair. "Blood?" I thought, but Sonic Adventure 2 doesn't have any blood graphics. Then again, this isn't a blood graphic. I screencapped it and cropped down to only her legs. Once I beat the stage the game began counting my rings and score. Instead of getting "Rank S" (Which I totally deserved) a shot of Maria's face was shown and the stage faded out.
Maria Tries to Communicate
Normally after Radical Highway the cutscene with Sonic finding Shadow on top of the Bigfoot robot with a chaos emerald plays, but that was completely skipped. It also didn't put me into the Egg Quarters level. In fact, it skipped Egg Quarters, Lost Colony, Weapons Bed, Security Hall, and started the cutscene before White Jungle.
Shadow was walking through the forest, the cutscene was normal. Shadow picked up his talkie and Rouge's voice was playing normally. "This is Rouge. I've got a small problem..." but the subtitles were incorrect. The subtitles read, "gerald all the people do it all the scienti". The audio continued normally but the next set of subtitles didn't say, "I can't believe that I'm trapped inside this locked safe with a" they said, "sts on the ark when i wake when i sleep they look they do thing". It continued. Instead of, "Chaos Emerald! I guess I won't be able to call myself a" it read, "s i did not know why they it hurt i cannot walk i am d". Instead of "Treasure Hunter anymore." it read, "rug down by gerald no...".
The countdown of Eggman's bomb showed then the screen flashed white and Maria was shown leaning over a control panel. It does this in the cutscene normally, but the game froze there and the audio stopped. I thought Dolphin was lagging so I opened Microsoft Notepad and jotted down the subtitles, hoping to make some sense of them later. I also decided to launch Camtasia. It took a minute to load up but when it did I didn't start recording because nothing was happening anymore.
I loaded up task Manager to see how much CPU the computer was using so I could decide to keep Camtasia open or close it. The whole computer was peaking at 50% and idling at 10%. That's excellent for the Dolphin emulator, especially when running Camtasia. Dolphin was still running according to Task Manager so I decided to hit enter (which I had pinned as the Gamecube's start button.) to skip the cutscene. Windows sent me a beep to say that Enter doesn't do anything. I minimized Camtasia and clicked on Dolphin so when I hit Enter Dolphin would get it, but before I hit enter I noticed that the stars behind Maria's head were kind of off-looking. I stared for a minute to see if Maria's face was back there, and I noticed a few odd patches where stars were missing. I took a screenshot, closed Camtasia so I wouldn't kill my PC saving this, then I opened Paint.net so I could save the screenshot. I stared at the shot for a few minutes. I noticed that the patches of missing stars were letters that spelled "kill". I saved the file, then I outlined the missing stars and saved another picture.I clicked on Dolphin and once again pressed Enter. [Weeyoo SHING] The sound effect played as the screen read, "Stage: 09 White Jungle 1st Mission: Cut through the jungle in 10 minutes!". Like in Radical Highway, all of the letters in the text box were greyed out except for a couple. The word "Cut", the "T" in "through", the "R" in "through", the "E" in "the", the "J" in "jungle" the "U" in "jungle" the "L" in "jungle" and the exclamation point. (I never made any sense of these letters.) I waited for the level to load and when it started I saw Maria in the sky with a blank expression, looking down on Shadow but sort of toward the screen at the same time. I stared, observing every detail of her indescribable face. An ounce of logic must be left in my mind, because I told myself not to play anymore. I came up with a great excuse to take a break, figuring out these strange messages.
Decoding the Messages
I started with the screenshot I took of Radical highway.. I only had to look for a second before I figured out the letters spelled, "Maria". Feeling pretty confident I wanted to take a shot at the subtitles I jotted down a moment ago.
I first strung them all together in Windows Notepad. "gerald all the people do it all the scientists on the ark when i wake when i sleep they look they do things i did not know why they it hurt i cannot walk i am drug down by gerald no..." They look? They do things? When I sleep when I wake? All the scientists do these "things". All of the scientists were doing something to her when she was sleeping? Something that hurt? Did they perform experiments on her? I know Gerald was trying to cure Maria's Neuro-Immuno Deficiency Syndrome . Maybe he was trying to cure Maria during her sleep. Then I remembered the pictures of Maria naked and the one where her legs were red. "Oh my God." I said out loud. Did Gerald and these other men commit acts of... To Maria?
I stood up and paced around the room for awhile occassionally glancing at the computer screen, refreshing my memory the details of Maria's face. This experience was starting to make sense though. Gerald drug Maria down and the scientists jumped her. It's probably why she loves Shadow so much. He never touched her. This is starting to fill some of the plotholes in Sonic Adventure 2, though. Shadow does mention Gerald building the Eclipse Cannon, and that Project Shadow is indeed an experiment to make weapons of mass destruction, not to cure Neuro-Immuno Deficiency Syndrome.
In the Japanese version of Sonic X I remember that Maria was put onto the Ark because her disease is contagious and deadly. If Neuro Immuno Deficiency Syndrome is contagious that means all of the scientists on the Ark got it and thus couldn't leave. This also gives a reason for the G.U.N. raid. Gerald gave them their weapons of mass destruction, Eclipse Cannon and Shadow, so G.U.N. killed everybody on board as not to spread the disease or use any of these weapons. Gerald was arrested; however, it was probably so G.U.N. could ask him how to use Shadow and the Eclipse Cannon (two pieces of information G.U.N. never get). If the scientists had the disease that means they had nothing to live for, which explains their actions. Still, I find this hard to take in all at once. I mean, seriously? How old is Maria, anyway? What could Sega be thinking?
Would Sega put such a twisted plot element in a children's game? I don't think so, but now that I think about it there are a lot of holes in SA2 that just got filled, and a whole lot of garbage in Shadow The Hedgehog 2005 that never happened. For an example, Shadow didn't lead Maria to a dead-end where she was shot like the Shadow The Hedgehog opening suggests. Maria in fact lead Shadow to the cryogenic tube while already wounded, where she then launched Shadow out of the ARK and died as she pulled the lever. It's obvious in Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic X, while Shadow The Hedgehog re-writes Shadow's entire life and honestly isn't very dark plot-wise.
I am starting to believe SA2's plot was so sketchy because Sonic Team had to remove all of these gruesome plot elements last-minute. Just like "Genocide City" from Sonic 2. It's still in the game you just have to hack it to get there, and once you get there all of the level's graphics are gone. Linking both emulators together like that must have caused the game to load up like it was originally supposed to. I think Shadow The Hedgehog solely existed to help cover up some of the nonsense in SA2.
In the Shoes of Another
After my logic-session I found myself seated, staring at the details of Maria's face once again. I couldn't stop feeling sorry for her. She's such an innocent girl, always valuing her experiences and providing light to any unsettling situation. For these men, no, these monsters, to crush her spirit... It's un-human.
Through some deep breathing I found myself calmed and began playing the level. As I played I couldn't keep my mind off of Maria. The images of her in sexual positions fading in and out of the background made the matter hard to ignore. The stars that say "kill" faded gradually into memory and pieced themselves together with these sexual positions of Maria. My logic was functioning in a mind-numbing way, but it eventually came to two possible conclusions. That Maria was killed during one of these acts (thus the stars that say "kill"), or Maria possibly wanted somebody killed. "This isn't making any sense." I thought to myself, but I remembered something I had sealed away in my memory.
When I was a child I had a series of similar experiences with a neighbor. The game was "Doctor". I still remember the words, "Let's play doctor in the storage building!". Her obsession with pine needles and blackberries, it's a painful subject. It went on for a couple days before the parents of us both captured the act. I never saw her again, but I came to a decision to forgive her. I was damaged though. Those experiences, once I realized what had actually happened, severely affected some major decisions in my life. When I think real hard about what actually happened, it honestly wasn't a terrifying experience. Demented, weird, and somewhat scarring yes, but I had so much help and counseling from that point on it is no longer a problem.
This girl, Maria, though. She was on a space station full of men. Her experience was really horrible and she didn't have the counseling or escape I had. She died on the Ark. Used as a ragdoll then thrown into the garbage. I wish I could help her. I could bring her to the same realizations i've come to if we could only meet. Alas, this is only a video game, but I couldn't shake the feeling of connection I have with Maria. I decided to do whatever Maria would have me do, anything to clean her face of it's paleness.
Once I beat White Jungle I got rank Maria's face and the game instantly flashed to the cutscene of Sonic and Shadow going super, but Maria was fading in and out of the scene. I decided to bring up Camtasia but couldn't start recording until about halfway through the scene. At this point the camera had completely zoomed in on Shadow, cutting sonic out.
When the cutscene ended the game took me to a completely black scene. Shadow's animation was frozen, his shading was bland, and his power aura missing. Live and Learn was playing but severely slowed down and choppy. The background was fading in and out many different harsh, burning colors. I saw Maria in the background always on top of the colors. She looked like she was falling while holding her chest, and her shading was very darkly colored. I pressed the up arrow on my keyboard and started moving forward. The controls were very stiff and didn't feel like Sonic Adventure 2 at all. The camera was stiff too. I saw a wooden chair with Gerald sitting on it. Some white text appeared at the top of the screen. It said, "For all the people on that planet, kill him." Right then I knew murdering Gerald would be the best thing for Maria.I floated around him for a second, looking at his angles. He didn't look exactly like the Gerald on the cutscenes. "Maybe this is a beta model or something?" I thought. After a second some more text appeared as the original text disappeared. "Shadow, do it for me. So we can be happy." I pressed "X" on my keyboard which I had pinned as the Gamecube's "A" button. Shadow's pose changed to the pose he holds when he attacks the FinalHazard and the game froze. "Thank You" was shown in white text on a black background. The font was on the bottom right corner of the screen. After a minute I started pressing buttons. I pressed every control for the game then every button on my keyboard. Nothing happened. I decided to save this recording so I wouldn't lose it. I closed Dolphin then I started recording again. When I opened Dolphin and loaded Sonic Adventure 2 the "Thank You" screen was immediately there. No Sega logo, no "Licensed by NINTENDO", just "Thank You".
Maria wanted to kill Gerald for doing all of those things to her with the other scientists on the Ark. Revenge for dragging her down, holding her, doing her. It's disgusting, but helping Maria carry out her revenge on Gerald made me happy. Now Maria can rest in peace. Maybe that's why Sonic Adventure 2 says "Rest easy Heroes". -But instead of saying that, it says, "Thank You".
You're welcome, Maria. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OTepSFA3i4
I am a 3D artist and freelancer. Before I continue, I want to mention that the entire thing is fake. The Gerald Robotnik model at the end of the video was made by me, with help from AbsentWhite and can be downloaded Here. I used 3D Ripper DX to rip Maria from the Shadow's past cutscene, and Blender to correct her textures, remove her lengthy eyelashes (Which is interesting it was ripped from the Gamecube version where Maria doesn't actually have any eyelashes...) and render these crazy pictures of her. There is no top-down angle of Maria in Sonic Adventure 2, which added some realism to the message in Radical Highway.
Again I must say thank you for critiquing my pictures, and thank you Mutahar for reading my pasta.