|For as many video games
as Ive played, Ive never once played a 2D side-scrolling Sonic game like Sonic
Advance. Like a literature major whos never read Moby Dick, Ive always felt
that there was something missing in my canon of video gaming experience. I had never owned
a Sega system prior to the ill-fated Dreamcast. And although I heard lots of great things
about the little hedgehog, I was pretty much a Mario kind of guy.
The thing that has always defined a Sonic Game has been its speed, and this
game is off the clock. Unfortunately, it makes getting through the game all too brief an
experience. More than once I completed a level with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I was
left wanting more. Because you go so quickly, the levels just feel too short.
The levels are big and well animated.
The thing that I enjoy most about this game is that there is always more than one way to
get from point A to point B. I tend to like games that cant be solved with just one
set of moves or by taking just one path.
Ive learned through my experience that there are two kinds of gamers in
the world. The first kind likes to get through as many games as possible in as short a
period of time. He doesnt care so much about bonus levels or items. He just wants to
play. The second kind of gamer is more meticulous in nature. He leaves no stone unturned.
Hes not satisfied until every character has been unlocked and every inch of every
corridor has been examined. This game rewards the latter gamer. It does take some time to
maximize the number of rings you collect on a given level. But for those players who like
to get through a game as quickly as possible, its going to feel awfully short. Sonic
Advance is set up to be played through a total of four timesonce with each
character. I found myself yawning the second or third time through. Instead of having a
ton of levels, its got a dozen levels that you have to finish a ton of times.
I really dont get the sense
that theres any story or narrative progression through the game. Id be willing
to bet youre trying to save the world or something, but theres nothing about
the game that suggests that theres any goal other than getting through a particular
level with as many rings as possible. I know storylines tend to be more of an afterthought
than anything else with most video games, but even a mediocre plot gives me a sense of
purpose and desire to see things through. Had I not been reviewing the game, I may have
lost all incentive to play through the game even once.
Replayabiliy is heightened by the inclusion of multiplayer modes, time attack,
and a chao garden to interface with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the Gamecube. I probably
spent more time playing rock/paper/scissors and weeding my chao garden than playing the
main game. Sonic Advance is a fun little game thats a lot better than a lot of the
stuff out there on the market. In fact, I enjoyed this game more than its Gamecube
counterpart. I just would have liked it to be a little longer, and a little less
repetitive. I do feel grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with the little guy
on a 2D basis. Now, with Sonic out of the way, I just need to get my hands on a copy of
Super Metroid and my gaming experience will complete.
Jason Frank (04/18/2002)
Ups: Fast paced classic Sonic action; usable with SA2: Battle on Gamecube.
Downs: Just the same old fast paced classic Sonic action.
Platform: Game Boy Advance