Review by Lagunathemoron

"And thus, Sonic returns!"

Ah... the Gameboy Advance. Brilliant system, great games, too many remakes. At the moment we have three Mario remakes, a F Zero remake, two Breath of Fire remakes, Mickey Mouse remake and half of Super Mario Kart: Super Circuit is a remake. Paying full price for games you played in the early nineties is not very good, let's face it, they are only portable versions of a game you can get for some loose change.

To stop the attack of the clones, Wario was introduced to the Advance in another sequel and Crash Bandicoot was thrown in to an original game and Sonic the Hedgehog is in an original game. That is right, the most popular blue hedgehog is in an original game for the Gameboy Advance, which makes paying £30 for a 199-something game a thing of the past.

The whole game is new, but if it resembles anything, it is Sonic & Knuckles but it is still it's own game. You can play as four characters in this game, the two obvious ones are Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles ''Tails'' Prower, a fast hedgehog and a flying fox (With two tails). The most popular Sonic the Hedgehog character follows, Knuckle the Echidna and Sonic's girlfriend, Amy Rose (Who is quite useless but her hammer does make things a little bit easier). We take one of these four characters through 18 levels of speed mayhem and several bonus stages. Each zone is split in to two levels, the second which is quite short but has a hard boss at the end. Each level is different in spite of setting, the first level of Zone one is a beach whilst the second is a forest, then we are dropped in to a base and several levels later, a casino and ice cap. The biggest complaint I have of the level is that they maybe different, but 90% of all levels in the game consist of half pipes, which you have to go back a bit and speed up or find a spring which can get you past it. Amazing the first three times you see it, but it happens all the time, most of the level is just... this. Oh and running about.

Bosses in Sonic Advance are still Dr. Robotnik, who keeps his ridiculous name, Eggman from the Sonic Adventure series, damn translations. A few of the bosses are excellent to fight, as just about all of them are new ones, and challenging. Each boss leading up to Zone eight has awful music, the worst music in any videogame, when the boss comes on the screen, I usually listen to see if it has changed and if not, I turn the volume right down. The final boss music pieces are quite good as they put more of the Sonic atmosphere in rather than annoying music.

The story in Sonic the Hedgehog games hardly matter, but for added scores they do add them and since the series has had some good stories, like Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic 3, Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 and even Sonic Shuffle. However, in this game it basically involves Dr. Robotnik going after seven Chaos emeralds... that's it... honestly. Twelve years on and Sonic Team can't think of a decent storyline for a Gameboy game.

The Sonic Adventure influence is here. Amy Rose still has her hammer, Dr. Robotnik is called Eggman, Chaos Emeralds take more of a role, Super Sonic isn't as good as he used to be and most importantly, Chao's are back and cuter than ever. Collecting rings and keeping them until the level is complete adds to your ring total, with rings you can buy Chao eggs, power nuts and presents. You can even use the Gamecube version of Sonic Adventure 2 to transfer Chao and food.

One thing which has changed since the Megadrive (Genesis to the americans out there) games and that is the graphics, which are much better. All characters except for Knuckles are detailed superbly, Knuckles seems to have just three color pallets. Animations have become much better, the most pleasing of all is the third level. On this level, it starts off with your character sliding down on a rope whilst flashlights are appearing all over the screen, impressive stuff especially for a handheld console.

With the exception of the first eight boss battles, I find that the music in this game is enjoyable. The traditional Sonic the Hedgehog tunes are here, if not speeded up a little bit. Newer tunes are welcomed in to the game well, they fit the levels well creating the terrific atmospheric Sonic experience.

The game is much harder than most of the other Sonic games, it is more or less on the lines of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Bosses are difficult yet so are some of the levels and their wide gaps and puzzles. Still, it is what you want from a Sonic the Hedgehog game, even if half ramps take up 90% of each level. If you want an original game for the Gameboy Advance, I would recommend this but there are better games on the shelf, you could try a Mario remake for instance.

Good

- An original Sonic the Hedgehog game for the Gameboy Advance
- Chao link up between the Gameboy Advance and Gamecube
- Great final levels
- Great graphics, detail, animation and backgrounds

Bad

- As started before, half ramps, far too many of them
- Annoying boss music
- Power-ups seem wasted as they last for a short period of time
- You can complete the game by using two to three buttons

Summary

Graphics - 9/10
Music - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Story - 1/10
Challenge - 7/10
Enjoyment - 5/10
Lifespan - 6/10
Overall - 6/10

Alternatives: Well there are many others, but they are remakes. For original games, you could try Pinobee, Crash Bandicoot or any of the Dsney platform games. If you fell like paying for an expensive game which is around ten years old, then Super Mario Advance 1, 2 and 3 are for you.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/03, Updated 01/08/03


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