Sonic Adventure A-Life FAQ V2.0 |
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                        | Complied by: Mike White
~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~ Table of Contents `~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`~`

[1] What is an A-Life?

[2] Where do I find them?
      [2.1] Station Square
      [2.2] Mystic Ruin
      [2.3] Egg Carrier

[3] Where do I take them?
      [3.1] Station Square
      [3.2] Mystic Ruin
      [3.3] Egg Carrier
      [3.4] Hatching them
      [3.5] Getting from Garden to Garden
      [3.6] Saving their progress

[4] How do I take care of my A-Lifes outside the VMS?
      [4.1] How to pick them up
      [4.2] Petting them
      [4.3] Combining with animals
      [4.4] Mating A-Lifes
      [4.5] Feeding A-Lifes
        [4.6] The A-Lifes gestures and actions
                [4.61] Facial expressions and thought icons
                [4.62] Actions
      [4.7] Killing A-Lifes

[5] How do I raise my A-Life in the VMS?
      [5.1] Putting it into the VMS
            [5.11] Removing it from the VMS
            [5.12] Swapping it in the VMS for one in the game
            [5.13] Transferring it to another VMS
      [5.2] Starting off your quest
      [5.3] Menu and Submenu translations
      [5.4] Playing the matching game
      [5.5] Fighting quest enemies
      [5.6] Choosing your path
      [5.7] When the A-Life asks you a question
      [5.8] Other random events
      [5.9] Item translations and effects

[6] Advanced A-Life Raising
        [6.1] Evolving
        [6.2] Gaining Hit Points
        [6.3] Advanced animal combining and unexplained phenomena
        [6.4] Playing Sonic Adventure
        [6.5] The God-Chao?

[7] How do I race my Chao?
      [7.1] Where to go
      [7.2] Race selection
      [7.3] Chao selection
      [7.4] Camera control
      [7.5] Urging your Chao on
      [7.6] Prizes for winning
        [7.7] Stats required for winning

[8] How do I interact my A-Life VMS with another A-Life VMS?
        [8.1] Mating
        [8.2] Battling
        [8.3] Uploading and downloading A-Life's from the net

[9] Author Notes
      [9.1] Authour Rantings
        [9.2] Credits & Thanks
        [9.3] Version History
        [9.4] Copyright Notice

[1]~`~`~`~`~`[1]`~`~`~`~`~ What is an A-Life? `~`~`~`~`~[1]~`~`~`~`~[1]

The A-Life concept was first introduced in Sonic Team's other landmark character game, 
NiGHTS, for the Sega Saturn. In that game, the main points of interaction were hatching 
them, herding them together to mate, and not accidentally killing them. 

The concept has since evolved tremendously, presenting us with what is essentially a 
virtual pet in Sonic Adventure for the Sega Dreamcast. However, with the quest modes 
and ability to interact with your A-Life in the colourful Sonic Adventure main game, as 
well as the portable VMS, the A-Life is much more enthralling than any other virtual pet 
available. This guide will aid you in finding and raising these little guys, to help 
overcome the language barrier of the Japanese version.

An A-Life in Sonic Adventure are alternately known as a "Chao", though in order not to 
confuse them with the Emeralds, or the character Chaos, A-Life will be used throughout 
this guide.

[2]~`~`~`~`~`[2]`~`~`~`~` Where do I find them? `~`~`~`~[2]~`~`~`~`~[2]

A-Lifes start out as eggs roughly 2/3rds as tall as Sonic or any other character, save 
for Big or E102. Ordinary eggs look like Easter eggs, white with blue dots and a red 
bottom. Silver, gold, and black eggs represent special A-Lifes. Here's how to find 
all the ones available at the start of the game.

[[[2.1]]] Station Square

Two eggs are available in the main Chao Garden (explination of Chao Gardens to come 
later). You can find this by entering the hotel (large building with sliding doors) 
and going up the elevator. 

A third, golden egg is available in  a shop in the section of town you emerge in after 
Speed Highway with Sonic. There is a building with a large courtyard in this section. 
In this courtyard, in the grass next to a brick wall, is an egg-shaped rock. Retrieve 
the rock and enter the antiques shop (Not the Burger Shop). Set the rock down. Retrieve 
the egg on the podium. Place the rock on the podium to deactivate the security doors, a 
la Indiana Jones. Pick the egg up again and leave.

[[[2.2]]] Mystic Ruin

Eggs are available again the Mystic Ruin Chao Garden. Run up on the ground in the valley 
next to Tails' house. Head into the cave and jump into the mine cart. 

More eggs, these ones silver, are available through an egg dispenser loacted behind the 
waterfall. Push in a large block on the side of the lake and an egg with pop out. Wait 
till it drifts to shore to retrieve it.

[[[2.3]]] Egg Carrier

When playing as Amy, during the sequence where E102 frees you, go out and win the 
Whack-A-Mole game to open the door. Then return to the cells and open the second one. 
Retrieve the black egg.

Note that any A-Lifes acquired from the Egg Carrier will have a weird demonic smile that 
some of us find rather cool.

[3]~`~`~`~`~`[3]`~`~`~`~` Where do I take them? `~`~`~`~[3]~`~`~`~`~[3]

Eggs must be taken to Chao Gardens to hatch. Chao Gardens are safe havens where nothing 
can hurt them. Upon entering a Chao Garden, all the animals you've rescued during the 
action stages will fly off you, so you can combine them to A-Lifes, as described later.

Each Chao Garden can hold a maximum of 8 A-Lifes at powerdown. If a Garden has 8 
A-Lifes in it, you cannot pull an A-Life out of a VMS into it (see [5.1] for details 
on how to do that). You can bring A-Lifes from other Gardens through teleporters (see 
[3.5]) or hatch a new A-Life (see [3.4]), but the next time you play, the number of 
random A-Lifes over 8 will have moved to a different Garden.

[[[3.1]]] Station Square

Enter the hotel, and take the elevator up

[[[3.2]]] Mystic Ruin

Run up on the ground in the valley next to Tails' house. Head into the cave and jump 
into the mine cart. 

This is my least favourite Garden. It's too cluttered. Be careful you don't fly off 
the edge!

[[[3.3]]] Egg Carrier

To get to the Carrier after beating the game, head to the train station in Mystic 
Ruins. Enter the lower door with the arrow pointing down. Jump on the raft. Alternately, 
just outside the hotel in Station Square, on the small dock extending into the water, 
there is a small boat. Jump into it.

On the forward section of the Carrier, jump on one of two switches mounted side by side 
on the side of the lower deck to call a tram. This will only work if the switches are 
lit, which I don't think they are during the actual game. 

If you are on the aft section, take the circular platform elevator on the deck down. 
You will wind up inside the Carrier, as you will with all characters at some point 
during the normal game. At one end are three doors. At the other, atop a series of 
staircases, is a closed door with six lettered buttons on the floor. Jump on the buttons 
to spell out E-G-G-M-A-N, in order. The door will open. Jump on the teleporter in the 
center of the room past it.

Incidentally, this is my favourite Garden. However, animals brought to it tend to 
disappear on their own too quickly.

[[[3.4]]] Hatching them

To hatch the eggs, which can only be done in the Chao Gardens, pick them up with the Y 
button, then either jump and press the action button ( A, then X or B, or Y ), or run 
and press the action button. Your character will toss the egg, and it will break on 
impact. Your A-Life is born!

[[[3.5]]] Getting from Garden to Garden

Once visiting 2 or more gardens, the lens-like teleporters become active. Holograms 
saying 'SS', 'MR', or 'EC' will appear over active teleporters, indicating their 
destinations as the Station Square Chaos Garden, Mystic Ruin Chaos Garden, or the 
Egg Carrier Chaos Garden, respectively. This will save alot of walking. If you pick 
up an item or A-Life and carry it into the teleporter, it will be brought with you 
to the destination Garden.

A friend of mine and I have noticed that teleporters will sometimes go inactive 
after powerdown. For me, the Mystic Ruin one does not remain active, though the 
Egg Carrier one does. For him, it is the other way around. I have no idea why. It 
does depend on which Gardens you visit first on powerup, I believe.

[[[3.6]]] Saving their Progress

Make sure your VMS is inserted in your controller. If you don't have a VMS, get one! 
There's no point to this FAQ without one. The characteristics of all your A-Lifes are 
saved automatically as they progress. You can pull an A-Life out of a VMS into the 
game (details on this later) and power down the system, and it will retain all iis 
statistics when next you visit that Garden. To save the results of all that occured 
in the Garden, simply leave it, or reset the game.

[4]~`~`~`~ How do I take care of my A-Lifes outside the VMS? ~`~`~`~[4]

[[[4.1]]] How to pick them up

Always pick up your A-Life with the Y button. Picking up items and A-Lifes is the only 
function of this button, so you don't have to worry about hurting them.

[[[4.2]]] Petting them

Hold the button you are picking them up with (ideally Y) and press a direction on the 
analog stick. Your character will nuzzle the A-Life, making it happier. If your A-Life 
is standing in front of you waving its arms, this is what it wants.

[[[4.3]]] Combining with animals

You rescue animals by destroying Eggman's (Robotnik's) robots, and touching the animal 
that is released. Upon entering the Chao Garden, all rescued animals will fly off you. 
These animals will disappear, though, if you leave the Chao Garden. To combine an animal 
with an A-Life, pick the animal up (Y button) and simply hold it in front of the A-Life. 
The A-Life will then merge with it. The animal will fly off and eventually vanish, and 
you cannot pick it up again. The A-Life will take on some of the physical characteristics 
of the animal.

The effects of this depend on the animal selected. I believe this combination will 
result in a higher chance of getting certain types of fruits during the match game, thus 
increasing your proficiency in those areas. I could be wrong though. They definately 
affect something in these areas though. Here is a probably incomplete listing:

Swimming: Platypus, Penguin, Seal, Otter

Flying: Blue Jay, Parrot, Peacock

Running: Kangaroo, Rabbit, Bobcat

Power: Gorilla, Elephant, Skunk, Koala

See Advanced animal combining and unexplained phenomena [6.3] for further discussion 
of this.

[[[4.4]]] Mating A-Lifes

Once you have taken care of your A-Life long enough, it will evolve into a higher form. 
It will transform into an egg and then reappear with its animal characteristics more 
pronounced. If you are afraid your A-Life is dying, remove your VMS until the sequence 
is complete. It seems immediately thereafter, your A-Life will sit down, and a field of 
flowers will sprout up around it! Pick up the A-Life you want to mate with it, and put 
it down in the flowers. A new egg will appear!

This new egg will have different stats depends on its parents. I've had one start out 
with nearly a hundred in all areas. They will also possess some combination of their 
parents' animal characteristic.

I've also noted that some A-Lifes get quite upset if you mate them with the A-Lifes 
you rescued from the Egg Carrier (denoted by their insane-looking jagged-tooth smile). 
This has caused a few inappropriate for print but highly amusing comments, but for here 
I'll just say you can make the unhappy A-Life happy again with coconuts.

[[[4.5]]] Feeding A-Lifes

There are trees in all 3 Chao Gardens. If you look at them, they all have nuts growing 
on them. Wait long enough (10-20 seconds), and these will grow into brown coconuts. 
Walk to the tree and press Y. Your character should brace against the tree. If not, 
reposition yourself and keep trying. Hold down Y and move the analog stick around. The 
tree will shake, and soon the ripe coconuts will fall. Press Jump to get off the tree 
and pick up the coconuts. Walk into an A-Life while holding the coconut for it to eat 
it. This is the first thing you should do upon hatching it.

Be careful! Coconuts falling on an A-Life will damage it! It will also make it very 
unhappy. The ideal solution in this situation is to feed the damaged A-Life the 
coconut that whacked it. Come on. It's the least you can do.

Food will also come out of your VMS if you remove an A-Life from it and it has a 
stock of uneaten fruit (details of this later). Consult the chart or VMS items [5.9] 
for what the effects of feeding these to your A-Life will be. The random event item, 
though, will make it very unhappy. I reccomend throwing it somewhere they can't get to, 
like deep water. Everything else will have its normal effect.

All food vanishes upon leaving the Chao Garden. Coconuts regrow indefinately. An A-Life 
will eat any food if it wanders into it.

[[[4.6]]] The A-Lifes gestures and actions

Your A-Life won't just sit around inertly when you're not attending it. Part of their 
magic is the wild and varied things they will do, prancing about, having the time of 
their lives. Here's how to understand them

[4.61] Facial expressions and thought icons

An A-Life with its eyes wide open is not especially happy or sad. It's just content.

If an A-Life has X's in its eyes, it is very upset. Comfort this poor creature by feeding 
it coconuts.

An A-Life with a thin horizontal line across its eyes is very happy, actually. Good job!

When an A-Life has its eyes half-closed, it is tired. Feed it coconuts to try and get it 
to sleep and regain energy. Tired A-Lifes tend to fall asleep more often during races. 
(Note some breeds of A-Life seem to be this way permanently)

An A-Life with a dot over its head isn't thinking anything in particular.

An A-Life with a question mark over its head is trying to decide how to act or react next. 
Just watch and wait till it decides.

If an A-Life has an exclaimation mark over its head, it's been surprised by something. It 
may react very positively, or very negatively to this, or sometimes not at all.

If you see a heart over your A-Life's head, then it's quite happy with your most recent 
action. If you see it with a heart over its head for no apparent reason, it's very happy 
with you.

An A-Life with a funnel-like swirl over its head is very disgruntled about something. 
Perhaps you just walloped it over they head with Amy's mallet. I'd suggest a heaping 
helping of coconuts.

[4.62] Actions

An A-Life thrashing on the ground crying is throwing a tantrum. Feed it coconuts to calm 

If an A-Life is just sitting quietly, it may be tired, or just uninterested in doing 
anything. Maybe feed it or pick it up, or better yet, play with it in your VMS.

If an A-Life does a leaping backflip, it is very happy with you.

An A-Life thrashing around in deep water can't swim properly yet! Get it out of there!

When an A-life stands on its tip-toes and coos, its happy and wants to sing! I've even 
seen them pull out instruments.

An A-Life waving its arms directly in front of you wants to be petted. See [4.2].

A-Lifes will sometimes start doing toe-touches to exercise, occasionally pirouetting 

Some A-Life's will draw pictures on the ground of the character they are happiest 
with! This is pretty much too cool for continued explaination, and must be seen to 
fully appreciate.

When an A-Life is swinging its arms going 'wuuf wuuf wuuf' it is practicing 
fighting. This is rather cute to watch. I've seen an A-Life do a punch-punch-
punch-backflip! A Virtua Fighter fan, mayhaps?

Young A-Lifes with low run skill will crawl around. They may try to walk, but they 
will trip, emitting a small 'pchick' sound. Train them in the VMS so they can walk.

Trained A-Lifes will walk around freely, swim in deep water effortlessly, and even 
fly around in the sky! Scores of trained A-Lifes are a veritable flurry of activity, 
scurrying about happily.

[[[4.7]]] Killing A-Lifes

This is why you use Y to pick up an A-Life. If you attack an A-Life by jumping on 
it with a spin attack or something similar, it takes damage, which you can see on 
the Status Screen if you load the injured A-Life into your VMS (again, details 
later). You can heal your A-Life with coconuts if this happens. Damage the A-Life 
enough, and it will reach 0 hit points, form into an egg, and fade away.

If this starts to happen, remove your VMS and restart your system. You will 
preserve all your A-Lifes stats, though nothing of what happened in all the time 
you were in the Garden.

You cannot drown an A-Life by holding it underwater till you die. Incidentally, 
have you ever noticed Amy drowns *exactly* like Lara Croft?

If you dig up an invincibility with Knuckles, don't touch any A-Lifes! It will 
hurt them.

I use Amy when fiddling with my A-Life's, since her jump doesn't constitute 
an attack.

[5]~`~`~`~`~`~`~` How do I raise my A-Life in the VMS? ~`~`~`~`~`~`~[5]

The VMS is an integral part of raising your A-Life. It's also fun! Note that in 
order to do this, you WILL need working batteries in your VMS. You cannot raise a 
healthy A-Life exclusively in Sonic, or exclusively in the VMS. You must use both.

[[[5.1]]] Putting it into the VMS

Pick up the A-Life you wish to deposit into the VMS. Walk to the controller 
platform with the red button and VMS. Jump on the red button. Press Y. Select an 
empty VMS and press A. Your VMS will suck the A-Life into itself, assuming there 
is enough memory. This will take much longer if it is the first time you are 
putting one in.

If you are using a Godzilla VMS, you must delete the Godzilla game first via the 
file manager screen in your Dreamcast. You cannot recover this game unless you own 
Godzilla Generations, but since both games are fairly monotonous in my opinion, 
it's no major loss.

The VMS can only hold 1 game at a time. To access the file manager screen, start 
the Dreamcast without a CD (GD) in the drive. First select the Clock, the the Lips, 
and choose 'English'. Highlight 'Back' and return to the main screen. Select the 
VMS and delete the Godzilla game.

Note that the A-Life game cannot be deleted. The A-Life must be removed into Sonic 
Adventure. See [5.11].

[5.11] Removing it from the VMS

Jump on the red button again. Select the A-Life you wish to remove. Press A. It 
will come flying out, along with any uneaten items.

[5.12] Swapping it in the VMS for one in the game

You must remove the A-Life in the VMS before inserting a new one. There is no 
method to swap that I know of.

[5.13] Transferring it to another VMS

Remove the A-Life from the VMS, then put it into the VMS you wish it to reside in.

[[[5.2]]] Starting off your quest

Remove the VMS from the controller, replacing the plastic top. If the screen is 
blank, press 'sleep'. If nothing happens then, check your batteries. Look at the icon 
on the bottom of the screen. If it is a notepad or clock, press 'mode' until it is a 
deck of cards with a spade on it. Press A.

After the Sega logos you come to a title screen. At the bottom right it says A+B. 
Press A and B together at the same time, and you're off on your adventure! The first 
thing that will happen is a question will scroll by the bottom. Choose the first 
option, "OK!", and you're on your way. Now just leave the A-Life to walk on his own, 
and he'll beep when something occurs.

Each quest encompasses 5 stages out of a possible 15.

[[[5.3]]] Menu and Submenu translations

Pressing A while your A-Life is just walking along uneventfully will bring up the 
menu screen. Don't be intimidated! Here is a translation of all the choices, in 
order, from top to bottom. Elaboration will follow below. Japanese romanji is in 

- Status [Sute-tasu]
- Item [Aitemu]
- Game [Gamu]
- Mate [Omiai]
- Battle [Taisen]
- Owner [Mochinushi]
- Friends [Otomodachi]
- Map [Mapu]
- Settings [Setsuteto]
- Chao Name [Chao no Namae]

- Status: The first screen shows your A-Life's name, his attitude (which I may 
translate at a future date), and current / max hit points. The second screen (press 
A) shows your stats. The maximum for each stat is 999. They break down in this

Swimming [Oyogi]
Flying [Hikou]
Running [Hashiri]
Strength / Power [Chikara]

- Item: This gives you a list of all the items you've gathered from chests, or the 
match game. See [5.9] for a translation. Press A to eat the selected item. The list 
can scroll off the screen, but no down arrow is present to indicate this.

You can hold a maximum of 8 items. Any items earned when your item list is full 
will be lost.

- Game: It's Concentration! Or close enough. You're given a quick peek of the 
fruits, then they are hidden on you. You have to match them all up to win. You can 
make 3 mistakes before you lose the game. Winning gives you items to eat and improve 
stats. Perfects give you better items, usually.

- Mate: Connect 2 VMS's to mate. See [8.1].

- Battle: Connect 2 VMS's to battle. See [8.2]

- Owner: Displays information about you, the A-Life's owner.
        Telephone Number
        Favourite Thing
        A Secret of yours
        Number 1 Time, presumably at a race

- Friends: This is where you see another owner's information during a link-up

- Map: This shows your current location, how far you are on your quest, and how many 
meters your A-Life has walked. Each quest seems to be roughly 18000M in length. The 
bar on the first screen shows how far you are towards completing the level you're on. 
The second screen shows the path you are taking, a la Outrun. See [5.6] for a full 
map of the course.

- Settings: You can alter your current settings here. Note that in text entry fields, 
if you scroll down far enough through the Japanese characters, you will reach numbers 
and the alphabet.
      Sound: On / Off
      User Data: Do exchange / don't exchange (Blocks the display of your Owner data 
                 during a linkup)
      Data Entry: (Change your Owner data)
            Sex: Male / Female
            Blood Type (A, B, O, AB}
            Birthdate (YY/MM/DD)
            Telephone Number
            Favourite Thing
            A Secret of yours

- Chao Name: Rename your A-Life. Again, scroll down past the Japanese characters for 
the western alphabet.

[[[5.4]]] Playing the matching game

A recap of the matching game: You're given a quick peek of the fruits, then they are 
hidden on you. You have to match them all up to win. You can make 3 mistakes before 
you lose the game. Winning gives you items to eat and improve stats. Perfects give 
you better items, usually.

After extended play, I have noticed vague patterns in the puzzles, but they are too 
subtle to accurately write out. Basically I try and remember at least 3 or 4 pairs, 
so as to essentially guarantee a win.

Sometimes I will intentionally miss a guess, so as not to be stuck with the prizes of 
a perfect, of which only one, the Chao Fruit, is of any real stats-building use.

[[[5.5]]] Fighting quest enemies

Sometimes on a quest, your VMS will beep, and a big '!?' will appear on the screen. 
It's fight time! Press a button. On the bottom are six dots. Press the button so the 
highlighter stops on an empty one, and you attack! Damage inflicted depends on your 
power rating. Also,  you gain an extra attack per 200 Stength. If you have a 200 
strength, for instance, two dots will be white during the first attack. Succeed in 
hitting one, and the highlighter will keep going for you to get the second. If you 
miss the first time, you forfiet all remaining attacks.

Winning gets you an item! Choose one of the three dots next to the treasure chest to 
open it. AFter that, your A-Life will give you a message about the battle; scroll past 
to continue your quest. It's a good idea to eat something to heal up if you're damaged, 
especially in the first quest or two. Play the match game to get fruit to eat.

Losing does not seem to kill you immediately, but can have fatal long-term effects, 
it seems. See [6.3] for an example.

[[[5.6]]] Choosing your path

At the end of a level, your A-Life will come across a signpost. Hold down A to speed 
the text. He'll ask you a question. The third option is to let the A-Life decide for 
itself which path to take. The first two choices are destinations. Consult the map below 
to understand this choice. You start out at the far right, and move left. When asked 
which direction to take next, choosing the top option moves you left and up, while the 
second option moves you left and down.

|(Climb)   |\
|----------| \ __________
   \E102/     \|City    |
___________   /|(Fly)   |\
|Ocean     | / |--------| \ __________
|(Swim)    |<              \|Ocean   |
|----------| \ __________  /|(Swim)  |\