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I seem to be getting a consistent crash straight after the cutscene where Shadow's defeated the Gun Mech boss, and tells Eggman to bring the Chaos emeralds to the ark.
I'm assuming the next thing that happens after that is the first cutscene from hero story. Feels like it's pretty much garaunteed a problem on my end based on the rest of the comments I'm seeing in this thread, but I have all mods (except this one and the title cards obviously) and codes turned off and have made sure I've not deleted anything in the main Sa2 resources folder related to the first hero story cutscene, the 0000.prs and e0000 mlt, .pak files etc. are all there. So I'm not quite sure how this could be anything to do with my files.
Every version of this mod I've downloaded even including the recent v1.3, is being labeled as 1.0 in the mod loader, not sure if anyone else is having this issue or if it's even relevant considering even the original v1.0 download crashed for me after that cutscene.
Maybe there's something borked with my mod manager in some way and it's effecting certain mods like this. Currently the .updates folder isn't updating/removing itself properly with the SA2 randomizer mod, and it won't update to the latest version of that mod.
Sorry about this text dump if you read it. Hopefully this will all get resolved some way.
I started the story on Hero Story, and played through until I was on Cannon's core. I had the hard mode layouts enabled. After beating Tails's section, the game marked the Hero story as completed.
In Eggman's stage, I reached a door which for whatever reason just didn't want to open. It's guarded by the fat artificial chaos, and killing the enemy is supposed to open the door. The door stayed locked, though.
I exited the level, and since the game marked Hero Story complete after Tails, I couldn't resume the story. I could go into the last segment of Hero's Story, which only puts you at Route 101.
I played the new update, and something I would do is re-add Tails' introduction cutscene right before his first fight with Eggman. I think the small jump back in time there is fine, and it gives us some important information about the story at that point, while also properly introducing and contextualizing Tails.
I just did a full playthrough with this, and it's incredible! You've done a service giving us a whole new way to experience SA2.
Just a suggestion that I think would improve the narrative flow: Swap the Hero and Dark ending cutscenes so that it shows Eggman escaping with the Emerald, and then going to the control room, which would then match up with the start of the Last Episode.