Review by Dogg
"A decent addition to the GBA library"
Well Tekken Advance surely surprised us because it actually brought the good old franchise to a system that’s well pretty small. Well that was Tekken and this is Sega. Ever since Sega announced that it would make games for all consoles I knew it was a good thing. But what will happen to Sega’s favorite mascot, the one that they call Sonic. Well Sega will bring Sonic to the smaller corner and that is on Nintendo’s side. The first Sonic game for a Nintendo console or a handheld now comes at the hands of Sonic Advance.
Sonic Advance at most looks exactly like the Genesis titles that started Sonics career long ago. However, thanks to the technology stir the Game Boy Advance can make a Genesis title seem like a good old SNES title and that is definitely a good thing. Sonic Advance features enough features for a Sonic game, but for some small reasons the game distinguishes itself and gets lost somewhere in the process. Also in a way Sonic Advance is definitely no Sonic the Hedgehog 4 because like those old Sonic games, Sonic Advance is nowhere near perfect and nowhere near the caliber in which those games achieved. Sonic Advance also has its ups and down, its warms and its colds, its share of wealth and its share of dexterity and problems.
Sonic Team at best however, did a good job and the move on bringing back the good old roots of Sonic was at least successful. The story follows a common theme that seems to keep on circling around the Sonic games. Dr. Robotnik steals all the Chao emeralds and goes to eliminate Sonic and his friends with his newest plan. While yes it lacks innovation, but the game play surely makes up for it. Throughout the game you can play as 4 different characters who have all had a small tie within Sonic the Hedgehog’s past. These characters include Sonic himself, Miles “Tails” Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, and Amy Rose. Each one of these characters is balanced differently and each one of these characters has a special move that no one else has. For example Tails can fly easily to the air thanks to his tail, while Knuckles can make a soaring jump and then if he hits a wall he won’t get off till he reaches the top. Sonic Advance offers up 7 zones and 2 acts are available for each zone (except the final zone). Once you beat the second act of a zone you will then fight against a boss. Bosses are all different even though Dr. Robotnik is the boss of every one (and Knuckles who happens to be the boss of one as well). Each boss encounter is always something different. At times Robotnik will use his machine and a big mallet to try to take you out, while in other levels he will simply try to stomp and land right on top of you.
The game play in this game is very irrelevant to the old Sonic Sega Genesis games. Simply run around to the end of the level while collecting many rings, avoiding all sorts of hazards, beating the boss, then you will free the citizens (or animals if you propose) captured by Robotnik. The way each level each played is varied half of the time. This is because it all depends on which character you play. Thanks to their abilities more and more parts of a level can be found and the way of finally passing a level will come down to a simple degree of you collecting as many coins as possible. The levels in this game are also a joy. Each level is wonderfully mastered and wonderfully created that you can actually see how much work Sega put into this part of the game. Each level has its own twists and turns, its own ups and downs and this at the heart of the game proves that Sonic Advance is truly an exact replica of Sega’s own creation. While the levels are splendid there happens to still be a problem. That problem is that this game has too few levels, is too easy, and at the end Sonic Advance will prove to be no challenge. At times I simply just ran to the end of the level, jumped when I saw an enemy, collected the rings, and then I beat the level in under half a minute. Where’s the challenge? Where’s the share of depth that I was supposed to experience by playing this game.
Sonic Advance to be put simply sounds and looks really good. The graphics in this game at best resemble the graphics seen in past Sonic games, except these look better. The character models and the levels themselves are well designed and good-looking. The characters in this game not only are animated well, but their abilities furthermore are done very well. At best SA’s graphics are warm at heart and good by temptation. The music in the game should surprise players of the Genesis games even more because many of the tunes (or melodies) are taken right from those games. Also the familiar themes of you getting hit by something or the reaction to when you power-up is also very well done and in a way well composed. In a way both the graphics and the music in this game will not only surprise and delight, but in a way they are a comfortable fit of what people have come to like in these Sonic games.
In addition to a beefy and well-rounded single player mode Sonic Advance offers up some more things that can both please and delight. There is a Vs. Mode where you and an opponent race to the end of the level through link cable play and there is also a Mini Chao Garden in which you raise little monsters called Chao and then you must play mini games with them in order to get more rings and in order to take care of your Chao and further develop it. This mini Chao feature also is used in connectivity with the Nintendo Game Cube in which you trade Chao to each games appropriate garden and things like that. There is also a Time-Attack Mode in this game, which challenges you time and time again to beat your existing time record for an area in which you cleared.
Sonic Advance also offers up a nice amount of replay value. Despite that the game is short, Sonic Advance should be played over and over again thanks to its character selection and its own-barraged modes. Overall Sonic Advance is a strong entry in the platform genre as it is a strong entry in the GBA library. Its colorful graphics, nice sound, and overall above average game play make this game both a surprise, if not a delightful experience.
Final Score- 8+
+ Above average game play
+ Sweet looking graphics
+ Nice selection of tunes and a nice music score
+ Choose from 4 of the best characters in Sonics career
+ Tons of modes which can expand the game play
+ Each character shares their very own abilities
- Too easy
- Too short
- Enemies can be really cheap at times
- The ending is nothing worth recommending
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/02, Updated 09/03/02
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