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Sonic Advance

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Sonic Advance
Cover art, depicting Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Chao. The game's logo is seen above all characters, and the Sega and Nintendo logos are seen in the right and left hand corners, respectively.
Developer(s) Dimps
Sonic Team
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Akinori Nishiyama
Producer(s) Yuji Naka
Hiroshi Matsumoto
Artist(s) Yuji Uekawa
Composer(s) Tatsuyuki Maeda
Yutaka Minobe
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance, N-Gage, Android
Release Game Boy Advance
  • JP: December 20, 2001
  • NA: February 3, 2002
  • PAL: March 8, 2002
N-Gage
  • WW: October 7, 2003
Android
  • JP: November 25, 2011
Genre(s) Platform, action
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Sonic Advance[a] is a 2001 side-scrolling platform video game published by Sega, THQ, and Infogrames for the Game Boy Advance (GBA). It was the first Sonic the Hedgehog game to be released on a Nintendo platform and was produced in commemoration of the series' tenth anniversary. The story follows Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy as they journey to stop Doctor Eggman from taking over the world. Controlling a character, players are tasked with completing each level, defeating Eggman and his robot army, and collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds.

Development began after Sega shifted its focus to third-party software development, due to the poor performance of the Dreamcast console. Sega recruited Dimps to lead development, making the game the first in the franchise developed by the studio. While Sonic Advance follows a similar style of gameplay to the Sega Genesis Sonic games, certain concepts and designs were reused from newer titles such as Sonic Adventure (1998). The game has been ported to Nokia's N-Gage and Android devices, and is available on the Wii U via the Virtual Console.

Sonic Advance received positive reviews for its graphics, character animations, and its similarities to the original Genesis games, but was criticized for its short length and special stages. It was a major commercial success, selling 1.21 million copies in the United States and is among the GBA's bestselling titles. Dimps has since created many entries in the series, including two sequels to the game, Sonic Advance 2 (2002) and Sonic Advance 3 (2004).

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshot showing Sonic running around a loop in Angel Island zone, the game's fifth level. The HUD on the upper left-hand corner shows the timer, score, and amount of rings the player has.
Gameplay screenshot showing Sonic in one of the game's levels

Sonic Advance is a side-scrolling platformer action game reminiscent of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games released for the Sega Genesis.[1] Players journey through an island to defeat Doctor Eggman, who is attempting to capture its animal population to turn them into evil robots. Players select one of four characters, each with their own unique set of moves. Sonic the Hedgehog is fastest and can perform an "insta-shield" that protects him for a moment; Tails can fly or swim for a short time; Knuckles the Echidna can glide through the air and climb walls; and Amy Rose can destroy enemies using a hammer.[2] Except for Amy, each character can defeat enemy robots by jumping and curling into a ball, or by performing a spin dash on the ground to gain speed. By entering a cheat code, players can control Sonic while Tails runs alongside him, similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992).[3]

The game takes place over six levels called zones. Each zone is split into two acts, where the player must guide their selected character past enemies and obstacles such as spikes and bottomless pits to reach the end in under ten minutes. Scattered around acts are springboards, boost pads, and golden rings, which serve as a form of health; players survive hits as long as they have at least one ring, but their rings will scatter and disappear after a short period.[1] Players collect canisters that contain power-ups such as speed shoes, elemental shields, and invincibility.[3] The first act ends when players pass a signpost, and the second culminates in a boss fight with Eggman; after hitting him eight times, Eggman will flee and drop a capsule of captured animals. Each character starts the game with a number of lives, which are lost when they are hit with no rings in their possession, crushed, drown, or fall in a bottomless pit. If all lives are lost, they will receive a game over.[1]

Special springs can be found near the top of certain acts.[2] By jumping on them, the player can reach a special stage, where they are sent down a tube to collect rings. If they collect enough rings, the player receives a Chaos Emerald.[1] Collecting all seven Emeralds unlocks an extra boss fight. The game also features a minigame, Tiny Chao Garden, where players can raise Chao.[4] Players can transfer their Chao between the Tiny Chao Garden and the Chao Garden from the GameCube versions of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2.[2] The game also features a competitive multiplayer mode, where up to four owners of the game can race to the end of a level or search for Chao.[4]

Development and release[edit]

Yuji Naka in 2015. He is the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and producer of Sonic Advance.
Yuji Naka, the producer of Sonic Advance

In January 2001, Sega, facing financial troubles with the underperformance of its Dreamcast console, shifted from first to third-party software publishing,[5] with Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance (GBA) being primary focuses.[6] A team of developers was formed to begin development on Sonic the Hedgehog Advance (later renamed Sonic Advance), a Sonic title for the GBA that would commemorate the series' 10th anniversary.[7][8] Development was led by Dimps—a team formed by several former Neo Geo Pocket Color developers and funded by Sega, Sony, and Bandai—with assistance from Sonic Team. Several of the team members had previously worked on the critically acclaimed Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (1999) for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.[9] Yuji Naka was the game's producer, and the musical score was composed by Yutaka Minobe and Tatsuyuki Maeda.[10]

The developers decided to return to a gameplay style similar to the original Genesis Sonic games, which Naka felt was refreshing. Despite this, they also incorporated concepts from Sonic Adventure (1998) and its 2001 sequel, such as the ability to grind on rails and the modernized character designs by Yuji Uekawa.[11][12] As the Sonic games released for the Dreamcast allowed players to download minigames onto the Visual Memory Unit (VMU), the development team decided to expand upon this by using a similar concept with the GameCube's GBA link cable, making Sonic Advance one of the first games to use the cable.[13] It also features graphical techniques such as rotation effects and Mode 7.[4]

Sega announced Sonic Advance and two other GBA titles on January 30, 2001.[b][14] A video containing footage of the game's first level was featured at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May 2001,[15] and demo versions were showcased at Nintendo Space World and the Tokyo Game Show later that year.[13][16] Sonic Advance was released in Japan by Sega on December 20, 2001,[17] in North America by THQ on February 3, 2002, and in Europe by Infogrames on March 8, 2003.[4] A port for Nokia's N-Gage, SonicN, was released worldwide on October 7, 2003.[18] In 2005, it was compiled with ChuChu Rocket!, Sonic Pinball Party, and Sonic Battle in separate bundle packs for the GBA.[19][20][21] The game was released on Android on November 25, 2011, and on the Wii U's Virtual Console on February 18, 2016. Both of these rereleases are exclusive to Japan.[22] [23]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic87/100[24]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame4/5 stars[12]
EGM7.8/10[25]
Famitsu32/40[26]
GameSpot7.9/10[1]
IGN9.1/10[2]
Nintendo Life8/10 stars[27]
Nintendo World Report8/10[4]

Sonic Advance received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregation website Metacritic.[24] The game sold 1.21 million copies in the United States, making it one of the bestselling games for the GBA.[28] It earned $36 million by August 2006. During the period between January 2000 and August 2006, it was the 12th highest-selling game launched for the GBA, Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable in the United States.[29]

The game's presentation was well-received.[2][25] Electronic Gaming Monthly called Sonic Advance the best-looking 2D Sonic game.[25] GameSpot praised its detailed scenery and animation, describing them as solid and faithful to the original Genesis games.[1] Nintendo World Report described its use of graphical techniques as elegant, praising its anime-inspired character animations, and compared them positively to the critically acclaimed Super Nintendo Entertainment System game Super Mario World (1990).[4] The game's music and audio was also praised;[2] GameSpot called it comfortable and catchy.[1] Reviewers also praised the gameplay, with many comparing it favorably to the original games. IGN wrote the game's new ideas, such as the ability to grind on rails, were clever and determined that Sonic felt better on the GBA, rather than the Genesis.[2] AllGame said the game relied too much on nostalgia, but felt it was still a "winning formula" and called the game enjoyable.[12] The game's use of the GameCube link cable was praised; IGN noted the replay value and variety it offered,[2] and GameSpot called it interesting, and felt it made good use of the GBA's connectivity to the GameCube.[1]

Certain elements received more mixed responses.[1][12] GameSpot felt that Sonic Advance lacked polish, and criticized the difficult special stages.[1] IGN's only criticism was the presence of problems from earlier titles, such as "an inviting stretch of roadway that begs to have your character blaze across it at top speed, only to have a spike strip jab you in the feet somewhere in the middle".[2] Nintendo World Report thought the game was too short and criticized the exclusion of the Super Sonic replay mode from earlier games.[4] Reviews for the N-Gage version were mixed; GameSpot criticized its choppy frame rate and encouraged readers to buy the superior GBA version instead.[30] IGN agreed and felt the N-Gage's vertical screen and omission of the multiplayer modes had a negative impact on the ported version.[31] Overall, reviewers felt Sonic Advance was a solid addition to the Sonic franchise. Nintendo World Report felt the game was not perfect, but was still a game that "deserves a spot in your GBA case".[4] IGN agreed, and stated the game successfully recaptured the spirit of classic Sonic gameplay while feeling unique and taking advantage of the GBA's capabilities.[2]

Legacy[edit]

In 2009, the Official Nintendo Magazine named Sonic Advance among the best games produced for a Nintendo platform.[32] GamesRadar called it the 13th best Sonic game in 2017.[33] The same year, USgamer named it the sixth best, stating that while it did not feel like the classic Genesis games, its graphics were "gorgeous", which helped make the game a standout for the franchise.[34]

Sonic Advance was the first Sonic game released for a Nintendo console.[7][15][35] GamesRadar considered this significant, as Nintendo and Sega were fierce rivals throughout the 1990s; Sonic Advance helped end this rivalry by "reducing Sonic's die-hard brand loyalty to a distant memory from the halcyon-toned 1990s".[33] The two companies would work closer together in the following years, collaborating for the first time in 2003 with F-Zero GX and, in 2007, both Sonic and Nintendo's mascot Mario would feature in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.[36] Nintendo Power wrote that Sonic—created as opposition to Nintendo—seemed at home on the company's consoles;[37] GamesRadar agreed, saying Sonic and Nintendo were now "like old friends".[33]

The game was also the first Sonic title developed by Dimps. Sega continued to contract the company in following years to create many games in the series. The first of these were two sequels to Sonic AdvanceSonic Advance 2 (2002)[38] and Sonic Advance 3 (2004).[39] Dimps also developed the Nintendo DS games Sonic Rush (2005)[40] and Sonic Rush Adventure (2007),[41] the handheld versions of Sonic Colors (2010),[42] Sonic Generations (2011),[43] and Sonic Lost World (2013),[44] and co-developed Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (2010) and the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions of Sonic Unleashed (2008) with Sonic Team.[45][46] Several journalists have noted that Dimps' handheld games have received consistently better reviews than Sonic Team's home console titles.[33][47] GamesRadar wrote this was because Dimps "managed to keep the spirit" of the original games alive in theirs.[48]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Japanese: ソニックアドバンス Hepburn: Sonikku Adobansu?, known as SonicN on the N-Gage
  2. ^ The others were rereleases of ChuChu Rocket! (1999) and Puyo Puyo (1991)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Torres, Ricardo (February 8, 2002). "Sonic Advance Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 29, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Harris, Craig (February 5, 2002). "Sonic Advance Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Sonic Advance + Sonic Adventure 2 Battle Official Perfect Guide. Versus Books. 2002. ISBN 9780970646866.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Cole, Michael (February 10, 2002). "Sonic Advance Review". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Ahmed, Shahed (January 31, 2001). "Sega announces drastic restructuring". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  6. ^ IGN Staff, January 23, 2001. "Sega Confirms PS2 and Game Boy Advance Negotiations". IGN. Archived from the original on March 23, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Cole, Michael (January 31, 2001). "Sega Says..." Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  8. ^ Cole, Michael (February 8, 2001). "Sonic Team shows its goods!". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  9. ^ Harris, Craig (April 18, 2001). "GBA Sonic Developed By Dimps". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  10. ^ Dimps (December 20, 2001). Sonic Advance. Sega. Level/area: Credits.
  11. ^ Ahmed, Shahed (May 18, 2001). "E3 2001: First Impressions: Sonic the Hedgehog Advance". GameSpot. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d Miller, Skyler (February 5, 2002). "Sonic Advance - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
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  15. ^ a b IGN Staff, May 18, 2001. "E3: First Look: Sonic the Hedgehog Advance". IGN. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
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External links[edit]