Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/09/03 | Genre: Platform
It is official, Sonic the Hedgehog is a success on the Game Boy. After selling over 500,000 copies in the US, THQ's exclusive deal with Sega to develop and publish handheld and wireless versions of Sega titles. While several titles have been released, including a great Phantasy Star 1, 2, and 3 Collection, no title has been as popular as Sonic Advance. Playing and looking very similar to Sonic 2 on the Genesis, players made this a best-selling GBA title. However, instead of rehashing the same game once again, Sonic Advance 2 pushes the GBA hardware a little bit more.
The first thing you will notice about the sequel is that the graphics are significantly improved over Sonic Advance. Sonic is much more animated and appears more like the character Sega created in Sonic Adventure 2 than Sonic 2. Not only does this apply to Sonic, but all of the other playable characters appear much more animated as well. Other touches to the graphics can be seen in the backgrounds. In one level, clouds can be seen in the distance moving along as you run through the level. In yet another level, flashing lights push the lighting effects on the hardware.
When I think about the name Sonic, speed is the first thing that comes to my mind. Sonic Advance 2 does not disappoint here. As the series was always intended, the game plays very fast. At the start of each level, Sonic pushes himself off, like a track star, and begins racing through each world. While you have to occasionally slow down, it is possible to make it through an entire level without stopping. Of course, this may take a bit of practice. There are also multiple paths through a level. By using some of the other playable characters, you will be able to take these paths using their skills.
As you reach the end of a world and come up against one of Robotnik's evil robot creatures to fight against, you encounter one of the best changes to the 2D Sonic gameplay. All bosses are now fought with you running. You will begin on the left side of the screen and have to slowly make your way over to the right side--where the boss will usually be at. Once locating their weak spot, the player must avoid, spikes, bullets, and other obstacles, hit the boss, and then start the process over again as they are thrown back to the left side of the screen. Since Sonic is all about speed, I am surprised that this addition wasn't added to the 2D Sonic games before.
Overall, Sonic Advance 2 is a great addition to your GBA library. If you were one of the many who purchased the first Sonic Advance, this is a must buy. However, if you were turned off by the first game because of the primitive Genesis-like graphics and gameplay, Sonic Advance 2 should resolve all of your complaints. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope THQ and Sega team up to bring us a third incarnation of the series to the GBA soon!