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Game 43 of 52: Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure - 19/05/24



A late 90s Sonic game that acted as a transitional period between two different eras, that introduced radically new designs for the characters, and at the time, was pretty highly ranked as a fantastic technological push?! Didn't I just get done talking about that game? Oh well, I guess I can talk about it again! Let's get into...


...ittttttttt...oh no...

Yup, next up on the discussion agenda is a rather obscure Sonic game that ironically plays a important part of history. Both for being basically the origin point of the Advance and Rush series, but also infamously being rated a full blown 10/10 by IGN. Developed by a lot of members of DIMPs before they split from SNK to make their own studio, Pocket Adventure is a odd little title, being a 8-bit 2D Sonic game that came very shorter after Sonic Adventure. As such, the game acts as a straight up transitional point of the classic Sonic series into the Dreamcast era.

Unfortunately, I can't say I really found it anything impressive. Yeah, sorry to spoil it, but I can't even muster it in me to try and play up the joke due to the IGN meme. This game isn't bad at all, but it's just kind of boring.


I wish I had much to say about the game, but Pocket Adventure is essentially just a 8-bit demake of Sonic 2 with some new bosses and half the zones completely cut out of the game. As someone who can't say he's exactly the biggest fan of Sonic 2 as it is, even after my more positive outcome of playing it for this challenge, this just meant the game didn't do much for me. 

I mean, don't get me wrong. I can certainly appreciate the game for what it is at the time - where in a era where your best avenue for portable Sonic games was Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble, a faithful 8-bit version of Sonic 2 to play portably? I can see why that would blow people away at the time, especially when this was during a era where Donkey Kong Country saw a much bigger downgrade for the Game Boy, and Mario Bros Deluxe was only just there as a example of a portable remake of a game. Sonic 2 being one of the best games of the franchise, now playable anywhere? I can see why fans at the time would love it.

Unfortunately for me, as someone playing the game in 2024, all I can really see it as is just a inoffensively good portable Sonic game, but not one I want to particularly go back to. When I say it's Sonic 2, I just outright mean it's literally Sonic 2, at least until the very end. But before that, it's Sonic 2 with different stage names. 

That also means that the bad aspects of Sonic 2 is also more than present here as well. Take a wild guess how you get the Chaos Emeralds.


The stupid half-pipe. In fact - it's actually the worst aspects of Sonic 1 and 2 mixed together! Because to get into the special stage, you need to have 50 rings by the end of a stage rather than Sonic 2's checkpoint system, and if you fail once, even once - you can't get the good ending without using stage select and fighting the final boss again at the end. 

But the special stages themselves are just plain ass. They're the halfpipes on even more limited hardware, meaning the draw-in distance is pathetically low, making it downright ridiculous to try get the ring requirements finished off, relying on hard trial and error, yet also being designed in a way that if you fail once, you're locked out until you use level select. 

What's bizarre is it's also not just a rehash of Sonic 2, but it's a rehash of Sonic 3 as well. The music is Sonic 3 songs that's been carried into Sonic 2 stages, and in most cases, are total mismatches for the level themes they're supposed to represent. While decent demakes of the songs, the ill-fitting nature of most of them doesn't click for me at all.

Then on top of the ill-fitting Sonic 3 music, we have this randomly at the end too:


Just straight up Doomsday Zone from S3&K copy and pasted. I'm sure again at the time, it was impressive, but in 2024, with numerous Sonic games that rely on nostalgia baiting and all that, I can't say just being a competent demake of a mish-mash of Sonic 2 and 3 isn't doing much for me. It's not bad, not at all. But it's just bland.

In terms of positives, I do think it's at least neat when they divert from the Sonic 2 and 3 stuff. For example, Knuckles showing up for a fight, and then uppercutting Sonic and knocking Sonic out of a building about to collapse, as well as some of the unique bosses being neat in terms of gimmicks, especially how you gain the seventh Chaos Emerald.

I would also be remiss not to mention what I do think is cool:


The game actually acts as a transitional game in a literal story sense. The game begins with Eggman using his classic design, and later on - as the Sonic 2 stuff ends and the game starts to do some more unique things, Eggman actually transitions into his modern design, with even a cutscene of him musing on the new look until Sonic sneaks up on him. Given it's unique placement as a 2D demake after Sonic 2, it's not a big deal, but what can I say?

In general, I do think the game's artstyle is extremely charming. It being a 8-bit demake, while also trying to accurately act as a transition between the classic and modern era, even the game is no longer canon to the series, it does lend a bit of interesting charm to the game. The animations and graphics really do really represent the game, and show how much of a technically impressive game it was at the time.

Really, I think that's all that I've got. Pocket Adventure is by no means a bad game. Quite the contrary - it's a perfectly serviceable game, and a decently fun time. But outside the small transition hints and the Eggman design change, there's not much for it to really call it's own. Solid game, but not a must play, and certainly not a 10/10. But I can see why DIMPs would be formed and given the Advance series after how impressive this outing was for the time.

But then again, I guess anything's impressive when your competition was, well...


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