Review by sonic479
"After a long time, Sonic returns back to 2D!"
Sonic, the hedgehog who competed against a plumber named Mario in the old days, has come on to the system designated for him. That's right, a Sonic game on a Nintendo console. Isn't that strange? Well, either way, after various games such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, it's nice to see Sonic back into the 2D action. Presenting Sonic Advance!
Story - 2/10
Dr. Eggman is stealing the Chaos Emeralds and Sonic needs to retrieve them before he does...
While it's pretty much like the old Genesis games, at least the Genesis games had a story at a sort, specifically with Sonic 3 and Knuckles where you can see what is clearly happening with the various scenes. In Sonic Advance, there isn't anything like that so it's a massive disappointment.
Gameplay - 7/10
In general, the gameplay is pretty much like the Genesis games except adding some twists to it. The twists are good but sometimes it doesn't feel like playing the Genesis games, but more on that later.
You can play with the 4 classic hero characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles still have their abilities from Sonic 3 and Knuckles (i.e. Sonic's Insta-shield attack) but this time, you also get an "attack" ability which you can use to defeat enemies. Now to be honest, this extra ability is limited used for them, so the creators decided to have Amy take full use of that to balance out the other characters.
The stages themselves are pretty good. Classic Sonic themes for stages. For example, the first stage is set at a beach/resort place, then to a secret base, then to a casino, and so on. If you haven't played previous 2D Sonic games, a stage is called a "zone" and each zone is divided into 1 or 2 "acts". Unfortunately, what lacks is the amount of stages. As opposed to 14 stages in Sonic 3 and Knuckles or 11 stages in Sonic 2, this game has even less with 8 stages. It's a big disappointment here where the limited amount of stages just doesn't cut it too much.
Speed...if anything, this game does have some essence of Sonic speed in it. I'll even admit that the speed does work at some point like at loops and slopes. But what the drawback is the fact that the speed is reduced very quickly. It isn't long before you actually run into a wall or an obstacle and stop just like that. Even worse is the fact that if sometimes you try to pick up speed on a slope, you could accidentally fall to your doom. That's right. You could actually lose a life because of this. So the entire thing now is that if you want to go fast, you had better memorize the stage first.
Special stages...the worst I have ever seen. You are on a hoverboard and you must get a certain amount of rings before each section. But wait, it becomes to the fact that I need to handle the mediocre controls first! The controls are awful in the special stages and that is an understatement. You may think you got a ring at a certain location but you somehow passed through it. This is frustrating, especially at higher level special stages, where you will need every, if not majority, of the rings in order to even pass it. It's not such a sight to behold.
One last thing, Tiny Chao Garden. You can raise a Chao in this. This is a good feature to play around with if you ever get tired of playing the zones in the game. You could also transfer it to the Sonic Adventure 2: Battle game for Gamecube.
Graphics - 8/10
For a GBA game, the graphics aren't so bad. The background looks nice for each zone, and they are crisp and bright. The character designs look very updated to the time period. It looks just like almost the Genesis games except with a little fresher look to it. Impressive here.
Music - 9/10
Personally, I liked the music a whole lot. Classic-like Sonic type music, with a little extra upbeat. The new music is welcoming and as an added bonus, they decided to make some remixes from the Genesis games! Exceptionally well done also. But the newer music sound more impressive. Ice Mountain and Angel Island ones are my favorite from the game.
Replay Value - 5/10
It's kind of hard to say how much replay value this game has. Once you beat it, you beat it. There isn't so much you can do anymore. On the other hand, the road to beating it is actually a slight hard with the special stages. If off hand you get bored, there is always a time attack mode to fully test your ability to clearing a stage in the fastest time possible. And then there is always the Tiny Chao Garden, but it doesn't hold up too much.
Overall - 7/10
Overall, Sonic Advance is a game worth getting. While it isn't as so much good as the Genesis ones, it still does the job of providing a very good 2D Sonic game to play. An awesome game to play.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/19/04, Updated 08/19/07
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