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Sonic Advance

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Released: 2001

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance

Publisher: THQ

Developer: Dimps

Submitted by: Alex Gandolfo

Released after the demise of the Dreamcast, Sonic Advance could have easily been a half-hearted disaster. It wasn’t. It was a strong and solid resurgence of the Sonic glory days. It sparked a strong and healthy relationship between Nintendo and Sega, that produces quality games for the home and the go. Of the two,however, Sega really shines in the handheld market on the Game Boy Advance and the DS.

Sonic Advance was a standard 2D Sonic game that added new characters, fresh gameplay, and better graphics. Sonic,Tails,Knuckles were all featured to play but a new character was added.Amy the pink hedgehog was introduced,as a playable character, to a 2D Sonic game for the first time. Let me just add that as a bonus for you Shadow haters, he’s not in this one. Yay,right? The story is just like any Sonic story of the Genesis era. Sonic has too get all of the Chaos Emeralds before Dr. Robotnik does. So you have to speed your way through various classic style stages, beat up the Doc, and then get the precious stones. We’ve all seen this before right? Well not exactly. The main difference being that the game can be completed differently depending on which of the four characters your using. While Sonic speeds through it all, Tails takes to the air, Knuckles goes spidey, and Amy seems like a Mario caught in the mix(she’s not very athletic). All of this is done through a total of 12 Acts and and 6 Zones. Another difference is that Sonic and crew can rail grind just like in Sonic Adventure 2.Its really just a novel thing, but regardless, its pretty cool.

Now this game utilizes the 32-bit power, of the rectangle Game Boy, to the fullest. Of course this means your looking at a 2D Sonic that looks a lot better than his 16-bit Genesis counterpart. The graphics are crisp, clear, and capture the sense of speed as perfectly as 2D can. The animations are great too, if not a little goofy at times. For instance, when Sonic reaches full speed, his feet start moving in a cartoony circle reminiscent of the Road Runner. This is changed to a more realistic look in the sequels. The sound is decent but hearkens back to the Genesis days. It seems that even the main title screen music over-taxes the little speaker. Regardless, its nothing serious enough to complain about.

Lastly, this game supports Game Boy Advance to GameCube connectivity, allowing connection to Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. This allows you to transfer your Chaos between the two systems. Your are thus able to raise Chaos, in concert, between your Game Boy and the Cube. The game also support multi-player connectivity between up to four Game Boy Advances, with or without their own cartridges. With this feature, you can verse others in races or treasure hunts.

Bottom Line: A critical revitalization of the Sonic series and thus a great game.