Sonic Advance (GameBoy Advance (GBA)) Reviews & Ratings
Reviews, Ratings, and Professional Opinions
The whole purpose of games is to allow people to experience something that they would never normally experience, to mutate the ordinary, break the boundaries of stereotypes and build something that people can take part in. Games allow a person to see something that in the real world is totally impossible, and as opposed to films, you can actually control them.
A prime example of a game that bends reality and reverses everything about the protagonist is Sonic the Hedgehog. In reality, hedgehogs are slow, but in the Sonic games, he's a blue streak as far as we're concerned. Starting in 1990, Sonic the Hedgehog was a big hit with plat former fans, hell, it was a big hit with videogame fans!
After a few more games, the ever-popular character soon managed to get his own TV show called Sonic Underground, which frankly, was one of the worst TV programs ever aired. It involved Sonic and co playing guitars with lasers in them. Not in the Sonic spirit huh?
After people got tired with that (took me like 5 minutes), the little blue hedgehog finally got his break into the world of 3D in the form of Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. It was yet another big hit. This then lead onto Sonic Adventure 2, which in my opinion was a great game, especially in multiplayer. But then, in a slight turn-around, Sonic went back to 2D for the great Sonic Advance.
Being supported by the powerful GameBoy Advance, It would've been hard to deliver a bad game and that's exactly what they didn't do.
A Sonic game was once released on a rather obscure handheld console called the Neo-Geo. But the problem that it had was that it wasn't powerful enough to run the game at high speeds with detailed graphics so it had to be toned down a bit. The advantage of the GBA is that it is actually an extremely powerful machine considering its size. This not only allows games to be run at overwhelming speed, but it also allows them to include high levels of detail and although this doesn't increase the playability of the game, it sure does make it a whole lot nicer to look at.
When I first saw a video of Sonic Advance I was totally amazed at the character animation, and playing it was even better. If you ever get a chance to play this game, jump on a spring and watch the animation as your character changes from going up to falling. It is simply the best animation I have seen on the GBA. It is clear that a lot of time and effort has gone into creating the best animations possible, and they sure have succeeded.
Talking of playability, Sonic Advance remains relatively the same as the old games, just with a few extra moves (the B button). You'll come across your normal jump up here, spin around that, jump on this, kind of thing, the type of thing that Sonic consists of. Of course it's not that easy, but you get the idea! Also, a slightly obsolete yet cool addition to the game is Sonic's ability to grind down poles. Note that I only said Sonic because he is actually the only person who can do it meaning if you're playing as anyone else, all you can do is run past them and wish that one day you'll have a pair of soap shoes just like Sonic. You'll probably play through the game with Sonic the first time anyway so you've got nothing to worry about.
Sonic Advance shares a lot of similarities with the early Sonic games, like sounds for instance. But one thing that I found rather annoying about SA was that the spring noise wasn't like it used to be. Call me meticulous, but I found this quite irritating. As you're running down a hill getting faster and faster, you stop dead as you hit a spring that will take you to the next platform. So you jump forward land on it but wait… It's not the original noise. "What's going on?" you think as you hit it again to make sure your ears were misleading you. Was the game not supposed to be a return to the old Sonic style of play? Was this a waste of a review paragraph? I don't think so.
Anyone who plays or knows a bit about Sonic will know that there are these things called Chaos that have appeared in nearly all of the titles, this also goes for SA. Taking a rather tamagotchi approach, you have to feed, play with and generally look after your Chao in the wonderful 'Chao Garden'. It's kind of annoying that your Chao isn't able to develop further than a 'child' which is the first stage after the egg funnily enough, but you'll get over this once you realize how fun it is and you get a Gamecube and a copy of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (which is required to further develop your Chao).
Enough of the praise though eh? Just like every other game ever made, Sonic Advance has its faults. For starters, the bosses are a bit, due to lack of a better word, naff! They are as easy as hell to defeat and the final boss is terrible being just all the previous bosses in a row. I admit this makes it a bit harder, but it's not like it takes 20 attempts to do it.
In summary, Sonic Advance is one of the best platformers I have played in a long time, if you want to think further than avoiding obstacles and jumping on things then I suggest you buy Wario Land 4. But if it's sheer speed and action that you want, then I suggest you bag yourself a copy of Sonic Advance (Of course don't just 'bag' it, make sure it's paid for first!)