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by THQ

sonic_gba_ss10-01.jpg (5137 bytes)For as many video games as I’ve played, I’ve never once played a 2D side-scrolling Sonic game like Sonic Advance. Like a literature major who’s never read Moby Dick, I’ve 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.

sonic_gba_ss13-01.jpg (8254 bytes)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.

sonic_gba_ss1-01.jpg (8712 bytes)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 can’t be solved with just one set of moves or by taking just one path.

sonic_gba_ss5-01.jpg (9862 bytes)I’ve 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 doesn’t 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. He’s 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, it’s going to feel awfully short. Sonic Advance is set up to be played through a total of four times—once with each character. I found myself yawning the second or third time through. Instead of having a ton of levels, it’s got a dozen levels that you have to finish a ton of times.

sonic_gba_ss11-01.jpg (10153 bytes)I really don’t get the sense that there’s any story or narrative progression through the game. I’d be willing to bet you’re trying to save the world or something, but there’s nothing about the game that suggests that there’s 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.

sonic_gba_ss8-01.jpg (10452 bytes)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 that’s a lot better than a lot of the stuff out there on the market. In fact, I enjoyed this game more than it’s 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