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Sonic the Hedgehog Advance

Developer: Sonic Team | Publisher: Sega
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 02/03/02 | Genre: Platform

Even though the two Sonic Adventure games on Dreamcast were kind of mediocre, I still really liked them. I realize the Sonic Team opted for the different types of gameplay to enhance the "adventure" aspect. And even though I liked the games, my question is why mess with a winning formula? Luckily, Sonic Advance bursts onto the scene with tight old-school gameplay and plenty of extras. Read on to find out why Sonic Advance belongs in your GBA collection.

The story is generic Sonic: Robotnik has turned innocent animals into robots, blah blah, get Chaos Emeralds, blah blah. Good thing the gameplay rocks. There are six zones, each with two acts with a boss battle with Robotnik at the end of the second act. Each zones looks and feels quite different from the others, which keeps the game from getting dull. You can tackle the game with any of four characters in any order. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy all have different abilities to access different parts of the levels. The selectable characters are fun, but don't really create a totally different play experience. The levels are classic Sonic with loop-de-loops, spikes and ramps, and all new obstacles that are sure to rekindle your flame for the blue hedgehog.

On the superficial side, Sonic Advance has awesome graphics and music. The visuals are stunning and it looks like Sonic not only broke the sound barrier, but the system barrier as well and jumped from the grainy Genesis to the crisp Game Boy Advance. The animations are very cartoon-like and silky smooth with no blurring at high speeds on the little screen. The theme song during the opening sequence is very well done and the sound effects hearken back to Sonic's former glory.

The bonus features in Sonic Advance definitely make the price of admission worth it. Hidden deep within each zone is a springboard that catapults your character into a secret bonus stage. Successfully completing the bonus stage will earn you a Chaos Emerald. Only after collecting all the Emeralds with each character can you access the true final battle with Dr. Robotnik. After completing an act, you can replay it at any time or test yourself in Time Attack mode. There is also a Tiny Chao Garden mode that allows you to raise a pet Chao and play mini-games with it. Using the GCN/GBA Link Cable, you can connect your GBA with Sonic Advance to your GameCube with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and transfer your pets back and forth. Tiny Chao Garden alone isn't very exciting, but it does add some longevity to the title. Finally, there are three multiplayer modes, but two or them require everyone to have a Sonic Advance cartridge. These Multi-Pak modes include basic racing through any unlocked act and hunt for a hidden Chao, also in any act. The Single-Pak game is the only one I had the pleasure of trying. All it is is a contest to see which player can collect the most rings within the allotted time. You can attack each other to relieve your opponent of their rings, making it some sort of battle as well. The Single-Pak game has only one act to use.

Grab 40 bucks and treat yourself to a hot heaping of Sonic Advance. The only drawback to this game is that it is a tad short. Most gamers will complete the game with Sonic only in about two hours. However, the adventurous will find the extra characters, extra bonus levels and extra modes more than make up for it. Either way, you're sure to enjoy this game.

By Craig Lupienski - 03/22/02

Screenshots for Sonic the Hedgehog Advance

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