Review by Cooper
"What a way to bring back memories!"
Sonic Advance......when I first heard this was coming out, I about passed out. I looked the screen shots and was overjoyed to realize it was to be just like the old Sonic games on the Genesis (I've always been a Nintendo guy so I only played Sonic games and the Genesis at friends' houses, at least until I got an emulator.). This game brings back those memories to a T. It is perfect in almost every respect!
A change in story from the old Sonic games would've been nice. Nothing drastic, just a bit of a twist of some kind. Anyway, it still fits the bill and is okay for me.
Is it just me, or are the graphics on this game just about the best on the GBA thus far. They easily rival those of other good looking games such as Mario Kart: Super Circuit and F-14 Tomcat. The levels are all gorgeously rendered and the characters look good too. They all have great animations and even Dr. Robotnik (Dr. Eggman) looks cool. He even has expressions on this one, some pretty cool ones at that.
Just as all the old Sonic games, this game has some great music. I just about jumped through the roof when I heard the two boss themes from Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 on the X-Zone level. (Of course the fact that the bosses were just as they were in the first two games was a big part of that too) The rings have their familiar sound and so does the invincibility power up. Most of the levels have pretty good tunes to listen to while blowing through the level at breakneck speed. Music and Sound FX were both very well done. The sound test is a great feature that even has a few tunes from ''back in the day'', i.e. the old Sonic games. Even the options menu screen has the cool music from Scrap Brain Zone.
Controls- 10/10 The controls for this game, and for all Sonic games, are easy to learn. Well, the basics are anyway. Each character has a few extra features, but none of them are hard to pull off in any respect. Easy to control means fun to play.
Variety- 10/10 This section mostly applies to the selection of levels (most of them very characteristic of Sonic games) and the variety of different characters you can use. I'll begin with the levels. This game has all the ''classic'' level designs that Sonic games are known for. You have Neo Green Hill Zone, which is reminiscent of Emerald Hill Zone. Casino Paradise echoes that of Casino Night Zone. Then, you have your water level, and even a few levels that are a bit new in some respects. Now, characters is the big thing in this game. I love the choices you get with your four characters. They are, as you probably know, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. I prefer Tails because I feel his flying ability makes him the most useful. Amy is definitely the most challenging to use, but that is not a bad thing. You must approach levels differently with her and that is always cool. I think she is a lot of fun to use. Her Piko Piko Hammer is a really cool way of taking out enemies. Sonic is your run of the mill character with some really neat special moves and tricks, and Knuckles like Tails in that he can glide and climb walls, so he is very versatile, just like the famous little fox.
Games need to be challenging, but not impossible. This game has two difficulty levels for old Sonic veterans (Normal) and your newer novices that want some of the action without too much trouble (Easy). Beating the game isn't all that hard, but there are some tricky areas where you have to either think or just be very careful. Now, beating the game with all four characters is a little tougher because they all handle differently and you might be better with one character than with another. The ultimate challenge in this game, as in all Sonic games, is getting all seven of the prized Chaos Emeralds. I recently, completed this goal and believe me, is it not easy in any form or fashion. The bonus games are tough to learn, but once you get the hang of them, they are lots of fun, even after you've collected all the Emeralds. Using Super Sonic in the last level (applicable to Sonic only unfortunately) is pretty challenging and shows you that when you think you have a Sonic game beat, you just aren't there quite yet. A good balance of difficulty, fun, interesting new features (new moves and bonus stages) are all what make Sonic Advance a sure fire winner.
This game will have to be played a lot, to get everything and even after you have, it is still fun to just play around, whether you are doing versus with a friend (can't wait to try that part out) or setting new records in time trial, or exploring parts you haven't seen in a level, or setting new records in time attack or maybe just playing with your Chao.....which brings me to my next point.
Bonus Features- 10/10
Kind of a new category that I suppose could apply to many games. This game is chock-full of them. Sound test is one of my favorites. Nothing like listening to old-school Sonic music and even some of the newer tunes as well. Also, I like the versus mode idea. I can't wait to try that out as I said earlier. The big bonus feature is the Game Cube compatibility with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. You can trade your Chao back and forth and gain new things for it by doing so. This ''virtual pet'' thing is pretty fun to just play around with and I can't wait until I finally get Sonic Advance (and the new cable) to try that feature out. Meanwhile, I'm having fun taking care of my Chao and playing the two mini-games that are in that portion of this game.
Rent or Buy?
As if it was really ever a doubt in my mind. If you like Sonic, BUY this game. You will love it. It adds old-school memories with new-school features and technology. It's worth every single penny.
There are simply no faults in this game that I can see of except for maybe the fact that you can't use Super Tails, Super Knuckles, and Super Amy, if they had that for her anyway. Even the lack of that doesn't drop this game below the 10 of perfection (or really close to it anyway) in my eye. I can't think of a better purchase for your GBA at this time. Super Mario World is probably next on my future purchase list though.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 02/20/02, Updated 02/20/02
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