Sonic Advance 3 Review

Developer: Dimps Publisher: THQ
Release Date: May 25, 2004 Also On: None

I simply adore most of the Sonic games. Sonic and Knuckles just rocked, Sonic Adventure 2 was literally one of my favorite games ever, and who could complain about Sonic CD? However, with the release of recent Sonic games, one could easily say that the Sonic series is definitely losing its greatness. Sonic Advance 1 and 2 was mediocre at best. Sonic Battle was fun but it loses its flavor quickly. Sonic Heroes was pure commercial crap at its finest. Sonic Advance 3 tries to make many more improvements that the past two GBA games were plagued with. Did it work? You bet.

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Like all the other previous games, Dr. Eggman is up to his old tricks again. He is trying to get all the Chaos emeralds to rule the world. This time, he created a new assistant. Remember that “main bad guy� in Sonic Battle? Now Sonic and friends have to battle the improved version!

If you ever played a 2D Sonic game, or any normal 2D platformer, you most likely know how to play this game. In the Sonic games on the Sega Genesis, you could only play as Sonic the Hedgehog (and sometimes Tails), not withstanding Sonic and Knuckles. However, Sonic Advance introduced the ability to play as different characters other than Sonic. Sonic Advance 3 also lets you play as different characters. You could play as Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, and Cream the Rabbit. However, in SA3, you could also pick your partner. While the levels are exactly the same, regardless of who you pick, the moves you have in the game drastically changes. Let’s say you pick Sonic as your playable character and Tails as your partner. You could now use Tails to glide and to jump really high. Let’s say you again pick Sonic as your playable character and Knuckles as your partner. You now could throw Knuckles at your enemies. That combo could be very useful against bosses.

In Sonic Advance 2, the bosses were extremely annoying. You died many times without hitting the boss once. And when you died, you had to restart that level. Thankfully, Dimps improved the boss fights in this game by making the boss stay in only one screen (as opposed to in SA2 where the boss would rapidly move while you moved trying to hit him). Also, instead of restarting the level when you lose all your lives in a boss fight, the Dimps decided to separate the ordinary levels from the boss levels. Though it was a rather easy task for the Dimps to accomplish, that was a huge improvement in the gameplay.

The graphics and audio still seem unchanged. I am not really complaining, but I was expecting a vast improvement because all the other factors of this game were improved. However, I do appreciate the thought of the character actually saying something when you beat a level (i.e. Sonic saying “Yeah!� when you beat a level).

The only real flaw I found in this game was that it was kind of short. I beat the entire game in 7 hours (including the last level). There was some extra stuff do to do after the game ended, however. One of those extra things to do was to find the lost chao. Add an extra 2 hours to the game if you decide you want to accomplish this hard task.

Most of the Sonic games, for some reason, really aren’t considered “kiddy�. That’s why the Sonic games sell so well. While Mario games sell less and less by the day, Sonic’s sales stay unchanged. It is one of those rare series’ that actually adapts to the changing audience. Sonic Advance 3 really delivers what it promises to its audience. A super fast game that makes you look back on the Genesis days.

However, I really can’t help but feel that Sonic Advance 3 is not even close to how great Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3 were. What I want is another Sonic game that will take a while to beat. I should also enjoy replaying the same levels over and over again. Lastly, the bosses should be awesome. I’d say that Sonic Advance 3 lives up to half of each of those requirements.

Overall, Sonic Advance 3 is easily GBA Game of the Year material. However, when compared to the other Sonic games, I’d say Sonic is only half as fast in this game. Nice try Dimps, I am looking forward to Sonic Advance 4.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.5
Written by Simon Review Guide

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