|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Sonic Battle (ソニック バトル Sonikku Batoru?) is a fighting game developed by Sonic Team and Sega. It is published by Sega and THQ for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. It is the second fighting game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, the first game being Sonic the Fighters. It was released in Japan on December 4, 2003 and North America on January 5, 2004. There were also releases on three Twin Pack cartridges bundled with Sonic Pinball Party, Sonic Advance and ChuChu Rocket! respectively in 2005.
It was also the first Sonic game in Japan to feature swearing (the dialogue was altered when this game hit North American markets).
About 4,000 years ago, a sentient weapon called the Gizoid was created by an ancient civilization. After being lost for millennia, the Gizoid was unearthed and researched by Prof. Gerald Robotnik. It remained dormant for another half century before being discovered by Gerald's grandson, Dr. Eggman. Frustrated at his inability to get the dormant Gizoid to work properly, Eggman abandoned the Gizoid at Emerald Beach, where it was discovered by Sonic the Hedgehog.
The Gizoid, which Sonic names Emerl, due to his ability to use the Chaos Emeralds and also being able to perfectly copy moves, gets wrapped up in the affairs of Sonic's friends, allies and rivals. Through his encounters with Tails, Rouge, Knuckles, Amy, Cream and Shadow, Emerl grows and evolves from a soulless robot into a fun-loving mech with lots of personality, gaining more power and gaining more personality with each Chaos Emerald that he earns, as well as the training he receives from Sonic's friends. But while the gang is having fun raising their new mechanical friend, there are those who recognize Emerl's true power. Now that the Gizoid is working again, Eggman's got his eye on it and has rebuilt E-102 Gamma to track it down, Rouge wants to turn it into a master thief, and Shadow senses that, despite their efforts to humanize him, Emerl is still designed and programmed to be a weapon of mass destruction (and he also believes the same for himself). Eventually, Eggman decides to lure Emerl onto his base (a spaceship with a powerful cannon that can destroy stars) in an effort to get him under his control. The two battle, and Emerl emerges as the victor, but Eggman manages to overload him with energy, causing Emerl to revert into his original programing and going haywire. More powerful than ever, The Gizoid decides to destroy the world by firing the cannon at Sonic's world, and the blue hedgehog is sent to stop him. The two battle under 30 seconds, and Sonic wins. Emerl briefly reverts to the friendly robot he was, and finally overloads with energy, bidding farewell to his friends before exploding, leaving the pieces of the Chaos Emeralds he acquired behind. Sonic gets back from the spaceship, and with everyone saddened by their friend's departure, is asked if he believes Emerl is truly gone. However Sonic tells everyone that they will see him again someday.
Battles are fought in 3D arenas with up to four players. Each character has a set of attacks and abilities. The majority of attacks are used with B, including the combo (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Attack), Air Attack, Upper Attack (used to knock opponents straight up), Heavy Attack (used to knock opponents away), and Aim Attack (used to pursue an opponent after the Heavy Attack). The A button is used to jump, and the L button lets the player block attacks, or heal damage if the button is held. The playable characters also have unique special moves, the three types being Shot, Power, and Set. Shot moves center around using a projectile to damage the opponent from a distance. Power moves focus on dealing damage quickly in a single move. Trap moves generally involve using a type of bomb to surprise-attack the enemy. However, only a limited number of special moves can be selected. Shot, Power, and Trap must be allocated to three slots: Ground, Air, and Defend. The special move you set to Ground will be used when you press R on the ground. The move you set to Air will be used when you press R in mid-air. The last slot, Defend, has a different function; When a player sets a certain type of special move to Defend, then every time an enemy uses the same type of special move set to Defend to attack, it will automatically be blocked.
Each player has two vital stats, a health bar and an Ichikoro Gauge. When health is completely depleted, the player is KO'd and loses one life (in a survival match) or the one who KO'd them gets a point (in a KO match). The Ground, Air, and Defend settings are chosen at the beginning of the match, and every time the player respawns. As a player takes damage, blocks attacks, or heals, the Ichikoro Gauge fills up. When it is full, the next special move the player does will instantly KO anyone it hits. However, if they chose to defend against that type of special, or successfully block, their Ichikoro Gauge will be filled instantly. Players healing damage will also slowly fill up their Ichikoro Gauge, but are still vulnerable to attacks.
The main playable characters in the game are Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Shadow the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, Cream the Rabbit, E-102 Gamma and Chaos (E-102 Gamma and Chaos are not playable in Story Mode), as well as the original character Emerl, whose Skill Copy allows players to teach him different fighting abilities throughout the game.
The game includes five mini-games. The only mini-game available at the beginning of the game is "Soniclash", in which players try to knock their opponents off the fighting arena to gather points. In Tails' Fly and Get, players fly around and try to collect more rings than their opponents. Knuckles' Mine Hunt is a single-player game based on the computer game Minesweeper. In Amy's Treasure Island, players move around and search for emeralds, and in Shadow's Speed Demon (which is relatively similar to the stage "Radical Highway" on Sonic Adventure 2), the players race against each other.
The game received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics. According to review aggregator site Metacritic, the game has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". According to the video game review aggregator site Game Rankings, the game has a score of 69.34%. While some critics praised the game's "surprisingly deep arena-fighting gameplay", graphics, and multiplayer mode, others dismissed it for its "limited moveset" and use of 2-D sprites on a 3-D fighting arena.
IGN gave the game a positive review, saying "It does try hard to be what Smash Bros. is, and even though the game doesn't quite reach the same status Nintendo and HAL created for the Nintendo consoles, Sonic Battle has enough stuff to make it one of the top original fighters on the Game Boy Advance system." GameSpy also gave a positive review, saying "A solid and pleasantly deep arena beat-'em-up with lots of longevity, and through the presence of the Hedgehog and his posse adds absolutely nothing to the game, it's nice to see them getting work in these tough economic times." Nintendo Power gave a more mixed review, saying the "moves are limited, but the overall experience is tons of fun." GamePro also gave a mixed review, criticizing the game's story mode, saying "The biggest problem with Sonic Battle is the poor game design in Story mode. Earning Skill Points, and thereby new abilities for Emerl the Robot, is a grueling ordeal."
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