Impressions are coming in of Nokia’s part mobile phone, part game console N-Gage, and along with them some confirmation of the nature of SEGA’s ‘Sonic-N’ project for the device. Turns out this will be a version of the Game Boy Advance game Sonic Advance, adapted for Nokia’s screen in a few ways.
First, here’s what Computer and Video Games had to say about Sonic-N:
“N” for Nokia, one presumes, Sega’s N-Gage launch title seems to be a version of GBA’s Sonic Advance. There were frequent framerate issues, but the game certainly looks and feels like a Sonic title, and should make an excellent addition to the launch line-up.
Maybe the framerate issues have something to do with the fact that the game is probably still being worked on, so hopefully that will be fixed. It sounds like a lot of the adaptations mentioned earlier will come in the graphics department, as the N-Gage has a vertical screen. That means that any on-screen gimmicks and obstacles may have to be altered slightly to make it play better on Nokia’s screen.
The screen is positioned vertically as opposed to the horizontal display of GBA – a slightly odd decision – but the backlit screen is crystal clear and allows ultra-sharp, crisp, clear images. Though the back-lit screen naturally has a serious impact on battery life. (Expect 3-6 hours for gameplay.)
Otherwise, from CVG’s report it sounds like the N-Gage compares a lot to Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. Although there is a keypad on the right hand side, two buttons are raised to promote them as main gameplay inputs (so like the GBA’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons). There are no shoulder buttons, and CVG notes that the d-pad that comes with the mobile phone leaves a lot to be desired.
In the hands, N-Gage feels comfortable, if slightly odd, but that’s likely due to familiarity with GBA. The lack of shoulder buttons is a little disappointing, but this is more than made up for by the wealth of front-mounted buttons thanks to the phone keypad. Two main buttons are highlighted as the action buttons, but others were already being used in the demos, to make Lara sidestep in Tomb Raider, for instance.
You can read the rest of CVG’s report here. Overall, it sounds like the writers weren’t sure about how successful the Nokia N-Gage will be… but if it does become a success, SEGA being involved in game development this early will be a bonus to them, no doubt.