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Episode 4: Sonic Advance





Sonic Advance and I have a... interesting relationship. And by that I mean, despite all the praise, I only ever played Advance 3 as a kid. The 52 Game Challenge has allowed me to take a full look at what Dimps had in store for this ambitious leap for Sonic at the time: A Sonic game exclusively on Nintendo.


Exclusively. On. Nintendo.

All in all though, this is mostly just a solid, fun Sonic platforming adventure.


While I don't think its the fastest game in the series, with level design more tailored around exploration than speedrunning, the physics feel right and the levels are open-ended enough where each playthrough with a new character feels different.

Every time I revisit a stage with a new character, I find some way to use their abilities to open up a new path I swear is very hard to access with anyone else. Maybe that's the case in Classic Sonic in general, but with this game's emphasis on vertical level design over horizontal, it feels especially apparent.


The bosses are pretty unique as well as the zones go on, and dare I say, rather tough. Some may be rehashes of older bosses, but some feel like really inventive twists on classics. Risky too, I really gotta keep my distance and anticipate some patterns sometimes. Gives some Mega Man vibes, I felt considering my journey through those.


Finding the special stages though was a particularly not fun way to play. I'm more of the player that likes to get 50 rings and hit a checkpoint, or the end of a stage to get to the Special Stage. Hunting out of your way for singular areas, especially in vertical level design that really means Tails is your only choice is not a fun task. But otherwise, thanks to the power of rewind, the special stages themselves weren't too bad. But you need to really accommodate for some weird ass collision detection and depth perception in terms of your character sprite in proportion to the rings.

But overall, I had a fun time playing through three of the story modes. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles bring something unique to the table that makes each playthrough fresh and fun, without being too padded like with say, Sonic Heroes.



Who in their right mind thought that Amy's Sonic Adventure playstyle would fit well in 2D? The only reason Amy is fun in Adventure is her hammer is a simple press for acrobatics, she doesn't need to hit a lot of enemies, and the levels are in 3D, allowing her freedom of movement in using her hammer jump to break traversal.

This does NOT work in 2D. You need to hit enemies, which she can't jump on. Her hammer is garbage range, she can't hit items, she's slow as shit, her acrobatics require crouching to execute, she is AWFUL. And the fact that she is required to reach the final story is just a slap in the face.

But overall, Sonic Advance is a light, fun game. Just beware of what awaits you on the road to full completion.



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Sonic Advance is the game that originally got me into the Sonic series when I was a kid. Way back when I actually played games that required, you know, passable reflex skills. Nowadays I stick to turn-based RPGs and cozy games.

That being said, I have fond memories of the Sonic Advance series. The pixel art is fantastic, enough of its levels were playable at my skill level for me to coast off of my siblings unlocking the stuff I couldn't beat, and it kickstarted a long-running franchise obsession that I am forever grateful for.

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I love all the Sonic Advance games, and occasionally I still replay Advance 1.

I agree with most of what you said... Advance 1 is closer to the classic formula, so it can appeal to a wider range of Sonic fans compared to the sequels which are usually love or hate depending on your tastes.

The level design is solid, though there are a few places where it gets a bit unfair with hazard that you can't anticipate (like when you have to fall blind upside down into a maze of off-screen spikes at the end of Cosmic Angel) or places where you have to rely on janky collisions in order to progress (mostly in Egg Rocket). The classics have their unfair/janky/bad designed places too, this is not much different in that regard, still nothing that ruins the experience too much.

Regarding the bosses, they are nice, the only one that I don't like is the final one (not the extra boss, the regular final boss)... it's annoying, has weird collisions, and doesn't look like a final boss at all... visually it's just the usual gimmick attached to the Egg Mobile, looks like a regular zone boss.

The special stages are great, probably my favorites in all the franchise (I also like the Advance 2 ones, but Advance 1's are better designed despite being simpler in concept - a twist on Sonic 2's half pipe). They are very fair, can be completed on the first try without memorization; the only issue is, as you said, the perception of depth and the collisions, which are kinda solid but hard to read.

Regarding Amy, her gameplay is very fun actually, though it's not very intuitive. There are ways to hit enemise while staying safe, build up speed and abuse of the acrobatic tricks to reach higher platforms that normally you wouldn't reach unless you fly or glide. Actually, Amy is my favorite part of the game, except for when you have to fight that final boss offcourse.

The acrobatic flip can be activated while you run, just tap down for a frame, you don't have to slow down or crouch at all (if you do it precise enough, you can keep all or most of your momentum, and you can do it while running vertically on walls too); it's possible to chain the flip with the bunny hop to increase its horizontal range when there's not enough room to run. You can stay invincible if you bunny hop and attack in the middle of the jump arc... the downside is that when you hit the ground you have to watch an animation until the character is ready to move again; do it at the edge of a platform to fall down and cover more space, or land on a gimmick/bumper to cancel the end animation. If the enemy is directly below you, you can attack+down and bounce on it with the rotating hammer... works well on some bosses too. The bunny hop is also useful to skip some small gaps, but it's very situational (there are some skippable gaps at the beginning of Angel Island act 1 2, that place with chameleon badniks and those tiny spiked platform moving up and down).

Edited by Iko
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