Review by BlueInferno83

Reviewed: 03/09/04

Keeps with tradition.

So, what is there say about Sonic Advance? Well, first of all, it is truly amazing. Who would have thought that one day, we would see a Sega game, let alone Sonic, the quintessential mascot for Sega, on the Gameboy system? It's like saying that Mario and Sonic have finally decided to shake hands and become friends. It is simply crazy! Simply crazy, I tell you!

Yet this one is just as great as it sounds. It combines the elements found in the previous titles for Genesis with new features found exclusively in this new version. However, while it is a great game, it could be even greater. As some of you may know, the Sonic formula has changed very little over the years. Sure, they have done some experimentation, but other than that, it's basically the same.

In analyzing Sonic Advance, we must first look at the stages. This game contains some of the coolest looking stages I have ever seen. However, I wish they would be a little more original. It seems that Sega basically repeats themselves with each game, using the same kinds of stages and boards per game. We always have the first tropical level, and the mecha level, and some kind of egg fortress to top things off, with a showdown with Dr. Robotnik, who I have grown to absolutely detest. However, the game still has some strong, very challenging stages.

I think Sonic 3D blast for Genesis and Saturn really had the right idea. I liked the 3D facet of gameplay. It really made for much better playing, especially combining elements of puzzles and action adventure. If they would combine the 3D elements with some of the elements found in Sonic Advance, I think that the game would be much better. They would probably have to create less boards, but that is all right. A few of the boards in this game were kind of a pain anyway.

You have your choice of choosing four characters to play with. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. I am a fan of good old Sonic myself, but I like the fact that you have a choice to choose whoever you want, because let's face it, everyone has their favorite. The game is difficult as who you choose. As Sonic, the game is moderately difficult. As Tails and Knuckles, the game is quite easy. As Amy Rose, who is equipped only with a hammer and cannot break boxes or kill by jumping on them, the game is hard. But I think this adds a new perspective and refreshes the traditional Sonic gaming system.

Another thought about the characters. Why isn't there any character interaction in these games? I mean, they obviously have the means to do so. Why don't they just go ahead and make some kind of story out of it? I swear, playing Sonic the Hedgehog gets on my nerves sometimes because it feels like I am watching a silent movie. The actions in the games seemed to be mimed. They have had interaction in some of the other Sonic the Hedgehog games, like Sonic Adventure. This game would be so much better if Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy interacted with each other and Robotnik within the game.

Once again, you after that ultra evil genius Dr. Robotnik. Same old premise. You know what I would love to see? A sonic multiplayer game online. I know it sounds kind of farfetched, and I am getting off the subject, but again, I am just reiterating here that the game follows a basic pattern: boards, bosses, and occasional chaos emeralds. Maybe it's time for old Dr. Robotnik to pack it up and move his machines down to Florida.

You know how you can really tell that the Sonic developers are really out of ideas? They reuse the same bosses from Sonic 1 and 2 later on in the game. It may produce a sense of nostalgia for some people playing, but for me I just thought it was a bit on the lame side. I would have much preferred if they come with something a tad different for bosses. Robotnik has been blown up so many times now that it's really starting to lose meaning, although I do get a kick out of the charred black mustache of his. I really think that Robotnik is indestructible. They had new good guy characters, why not give Robotnik an assistant or something like that?

Let's talk about the sounds. Obviously, they are not as crisp as their Genesis or Gamecube counterparts. That's fine. Let's work with what we have here. The songs in the game really got on my nerves. You can tell that they did not take the same care as they did when creating the Genesis Sonic games. I loved those songs and the sound effects. In this game, the mono sound muffles over the affects, and I am forced a lot of the time to listen to music while I play because I cannot stand to listen to the sounds and game music alone.

Replay value? Tons. I have played this game four times. It's a really good game. I got a lot of enjoyment out of playing it, and will play it again. I look forward to playing Sonic Advance 2, and yeah, I will make sure that I get to play it. I would not want to miss out on it, especially if it is anything like this one. Despite the shortcomings of this game, which there are a few, they are not a big deal. This is overall a great game.

In conclusion...would I tell anyone to play this? Yes. Yes, I would. This game is not perfect by my standards. Some people may disagree with me. I think even if it is not perfect, the game is still great in lots of elements and the good outweighs the bad. I think this is a game that all Sonic fans should consider giving a try. I am certainly more than glad that I did.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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