Review by GavLuvsGA
Sonic makes a nice transition to the Gameboy Advance
I'll start by saying that this game was the reason I actually bought a Gameboy Advance. I am a huge fan of Sonic and his games, and this one brings back memories of some of Sonic's older 2D adventures.
Gameplay - 8/10
This game faithful to the original in almost every way. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles all reappear in this game are given virtually the same moves as in Sonic & Knuckles and other Sonic classic (except that Knuckles has not gained a neat swimming ability). Amy Rose is also added to the playable cast, and she actually makes for some different gaming experiences as her different handling (inability to spin dash, for example) can be hard to get used to at first. Her Piko Piko Hammer helps a lot with some of the bosses on later levels, though. There is also the addition of grind rails, although for some reason these are for the exclusive use of hedgehogs, and Tails and Knuckles cannot use them.
The chaos emeralds are back, too, and to get them, you need to find the springs found at various points in the game. Finding the springs can be awkward with some characters (the only character with whom I was able to reach them all was Tails), so to make things easier, once you have them with one character, you keep the emerald on that file, so the need to grab them all in one sitting is gone. This is just as well because the special stages can actually be quite hard, as you sail along, trying to grab rings and avoid losing them. However, a lot of the time it is possible to mess up so badly in the first few seconds that you will have no chance of completing your goal, and occasionally your character will appear to go right through a bunch of rings and not grab a single one.
The levels themselves are mainly quite small, though nothing like as small as some of the Gamegear Sonic games (Sonic Chaos for example), but there are some surprises. Egg Rocket Zone is one of the best zones, as you constantly have to make it tp certain points within a tight time limit. However, another problem is that most of the game is too easy, with the only difficulties being a few of the bosses. On my first attempt (playing as Sonic), I made it up to the fourth level without losing a single life, before being wiped out by the boss. Playing as Tails on my second attempt, I made it to the end of Level 6.2.
The gameplay isn't great, but it is still more enjoyable that this game's first successor, Sonic Advance 2.
There is a multiplayer option too, but frustratingly, this is only playable if you have more than one human player (and more than one Gameboy Advance) available, which is bad news anyone who, like me, has no Gameboy Advance-playing friends. Like so many other games with a multiplayer option, there is no way to play against characters controlled by the game itself.
Story - 5/10
We could excuse them using a similar story to previous Sonic games due to this being Sonic's Gameboy Advance Debut, but here Dr. Eggman (formerly known as Robotnik) attempts to take over the world (again). I'm not a big fan of the decision to start calling him Eggman myself, but then again I'm not a member of Sonic Team.
Sound - 7/10
The music is generally good (I am very fond of the music to Casino Paradise and Angel Island), and there are a few nice remixes of classic Sonic tunes, including Scrap Brain Zone from the original. The only misfire is the remix of Star Light Zone, which is not a patch on the spectacular music heard in Sonic the Hedgehog.
Graphics - 7/10
The graphics are very good, and often very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis (to me, anyway). Neo Green Hill Zone is similar in appearance to the classic Green Hill and Emerald Hill Zones, while Casino Paradise Zone is a flashier version of Casino Night Zone. There is only one exception, and that is on the second zone, Secret Base Zone, which is a rather dreary level, with drab colours and not a lot else to offer. At the start of the zone, I was actually squinting at the screen as Sonic ran down a darkened corridor, lit only by a few searchlights, trying to make out if there were any obstacles I should be aware of. There is also a notable change to the dying animations and whereas in the previous games, the characters would just stare out of the screen, here they will actually flail their arms around. I'm not entirely decided as to where this was a good idea or not, though.
Play Time/Replay Value - 6/10
You are likely to beat the game very quickly indeed, but it is reasonably fun to play again; getting all the Chaos emeralds may take some time, if you have the patience. The inclusion of the Tiny Chao Garden is a nice touch, with two games that are actually very addictive.
Buy. This is definitely loyal to the Sonic games that have gone previously, and is very unlikely to disappoint.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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