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Sonic Advance

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Sonic Advance

Sonic Team, Dimps

  • Sachiko Kawamura
  • Kazuko Ito
  • Makoto Yonezu
  • Kazuhiko Yamamoto
  • Yuko Yamanoue
  • Etsuko Hosokawa
  • Toru Nakanishi
  • Sadaki Matsumoto
Release date(s)

Game Boy Advance
JP 20 December 2001
NA 3 February 2002
EU 8 March 2002

N-Gage (Sonic N)
NA 6 October 2003
EU 7 October 2003

JP 25 November 2011

Wii U
JP 18 February 2015


Platformer, action


Single player, multiplayer


Game Boy Advance, Android, Wii U


8-Megabit cartridge, Digital download

Sonic Advance (ソニックアドバンス Sonikku Adobansu?) is a platforming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series released for Game Boy Advance handheld console in 2001, developed by Sonic Team and Dimps. It was published and released by Sega in Japan, while publishers THQ released it in North America and Infogrames in PAL regions. Sonic Advance stands out as the first Sonic game to be released on a Nintendo console, as both Sega and Nintendo were well-known rivals on the console market throught the 1990s.

Sonic Advance features four playable characters and marks the first playable appearance of Amy Rose on a 2D title. The gameplay borrows elements from the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the Sega Genesis, but with the post-Dreamcast artstyle for the characters which was introduced in Sonic Adventure. The game also includes multiplayer features and mini-games.



Title screen of the game.

Dr. Eggman has hatched another evil plot to built his Eggman Empire by capturing Animals and turning them into robots. As the doctor is having thoughts about gathering all seven Chaos Emeralds as well and gain unimaginative power, Sonic and his friends Tails, Knuckles and Amy enter the scene to stop Eggman's actions.[1]

Fighting Eggman across multiple Zones, the heroes corner him in the X-Zone where the doctor flees to the moon. If the player has not gathered all seven Chaos Emeralds for Sonic by then, he falls down to Earth and is caught by Tails in the Tornado. If the player has all the Chaos Emeralds however, Sonic will turn into Super Sonic and defeat the doctor in a battle on the moon. Tails, Knuckles, and Amy wonder what happened to Sonic, so Tails goes searching for him. A few days later, Tails finds Super Sonic flying through the sky, and comes in to meet him.



Sonic moving through the Neo Green Hill Zone.

Sonic Advance is a sidescrolling platformer game with four playble characters to choose from: Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna and Amy Rose. The goal is to reach the end of each Act of a Zone (a level in the game) in ten minutes. Each playable character can utilize the same basic moveset as in earlier Sonic titles, such as the Spin Jump, Spin Attack and Spin Dash (except from Amy whose moveset revolves around the usage of her Piko Piko Hammer), with the addition of more melee-orientated moves, many of which are based on the moves in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. Each character also wields their own exclusive moves which they can use to attack, gain extra speed or travel through Zones. When saving the player's contents, the game saves the specific character's process, while the Chaos Emeralds they characters have collected will be "shared" between all of them.

Many traditional items from other Sonic titles appear in the game. Rings are found all around the Zones and have the basic attributes; they give an extra life after collecting 100 of them, grant points and protect the player from taking damage. If a character is damaged, they will drop all their Rings, though some can be recollected before they disappear. Taking damage without any Rings will cost the player a try. A character will also lose a try if they spend too long underwater without replenishing air supply (air underwater lasts for 18 seconds), fall into a bottomless pit, or run out of time. Losing a try makes the player start from the last Checkpoint they passed, or from the beginning of the Act if they have not passed any Checkpoints. If a character loses a try when the number of tries remaining is zero, the game will end.

Besides Rings, Sonic Advance includes Item Boxes with the basic power-ups, such as Super Rings (grant either five, ten or a random amount of Rings), Barriers (protect from damage), Magnetic Barriers (attracts nearby Rings), Speed Boots (increases running speed shortly), Invincible (grants temporary invulnerability) and extra lives.

The level designs are very similar to previous main 2D Sonic titles, each with different types of gimmicks and layouts that may vary between Zones; in Egg Rocket Zone, the player must progresses upwards rather than straight forward. Across the Zones, Act 1 is cleared by passing the Clear Panels, and Act 2 is cleared by destroying the boss at the end and opening a Capsule dropped by Dr. Eggman and releasing the Animals trapped inside it. Beside the game's main goal, the player can also collect the Chaos Emeralds by using the Special Springs in the Zones to enter a Special Stage, where they can get a Chaos Emerald. Collecting all seven Emeralds and completing the X-Zone with all four characters will unlock the final Zone for Sonic and the game's good cinematic ending.


Button formation Action
Controlpadds left and right Walking/Running/Pushing
Controlpadds up Looking up
Controlpadds down Crouch
START button Pauses the game

Character movesets

Sonic the Hedgehog
Miles "Tails" Prower
Knuckles the Echidna
Amy Rose
GameboyA: Spin Attack GameboyA: Jump
Controlpadds left/right + down: Move While Spinning GameboyB: Hammer Attack
Controlpadds down + GameboyA: Spin Dash Controlpadds down + GameboyA:
Giant Steps
GameboyA x2: Spin Attack Tapping GameboyA:
Propeller Flying
GameboyA down: Gliding/
Long-Distance Swimming
GameboyA + GameboyB:
Hammer Jump
GameboyB x2: Somersault
GameboyB x3: Sliding
GameboyB x2 + GameboyA: Backflip
Tapping GameboyA: Swimming Controlpadds up & down: Climbing Controlpadds down + GameboyA + GameboyB:
Head Sliding Attack
Controlpadds tap left/right x2:
Jump Dash
GameboyB: Tail Attack GameboyB: Punch Attack
GameboyB x3: Upper Attack
Controlpadds down + GameboyB:
Hammer Whirl

Other moves

  • Water Surface Movement: Only available for Knuckles. When falling into the water, Knuckles floats on the surface and can move left and right. Moving down makes him submerge.
  • Grinding: Only available for Sonic and Amy. Initially introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Advance is the first 2D title to feature Grinding, a technique where the character automatically slides down a Grind Rail they stand on. Pressing in the opposite direction on Controlpadds makes the playable character slow down.



Gimmicks and obstacles


Playable characters

Non-playable characters




Egg Hammer Tank.



Amy in Casino Paradise Zone.

Sonic Advance consists of nine Zones, most of which are split into two Acts. At the end of the Zones (excluding the Egg Rocket Zone), the player has to fight a boss. To enter The Moon Zone, the player must have gathered the seven Chaos Emeralds and then clear the X-Zone again as Sonic. The Zones in their order are:

  1. Neo Green Hill Zone
  2. Secret Base Zone
  3. Casino Paradise Zone
  4. Ice Mountain Zone
  5. Angel Island Zone
  6. Egg Rocket Zone
  7. Cosmic Angel Zone
  8. X-Zone
  9. The Moon Zone

Special Stages

Advance special stage

Tails in the first Special Stage.

Special Stages are extra levels where the players can collect Chaos Emeralds. These Stages can be accessed through Special Springs somewhere in the Zones. Each normal Zone contains one Special Spring, except for Ice Mountain Zone which contains one in each Act. Jumping onto these springs sends the player to a Special Stage.

In each Special Stage, the playable character skysurfs through a large chute filled with Rings and bombs. The objective is to collect the requisite number of Rings to pass each checkpoint. Press GameboyA to perform a quick foward dash and pass through otherwise unpassable bomb formations, and GameboyB to perform an aerial trick that momentarily expands one's radius to snatch clusters of Rings. Also featured are Chao which grant Continues and golden Trick Points that earn the player extra Rings. Amass enough Rings to cross the second checkpoint and earn a Chaos Emerald. Only one Emerald is awarded per Special Stage, so the same Stage cannot be repeated for multiple emeralds. Unlike most other classic 2D Sonic games, the Emeralds are "shared" between all the characters.

Other modes


VS Mode is the multiplayer component of Sonic Advance which allows multiplayer gaming for four players in total. The same character cannot be used by more than one character though. To play, players has to connect up to four GBA systems with 1-4 Sonic Advance Game Paks using one or more Game Boy Advance Game Link Cables. When using 2-4 Game Paks (one for each player is necessary), select "Multi-Game Pak Play." When playing with one Game Pak, select "Single Game Pak Play." VS Mode offers up to three multiplayer modes.

When playing as three or more players for the multiplayer modes designated to the "Multi-Game Pak Play", players can choose between individual or team play. If "Team Play" is selected, the player can assign themselves in different groups for cooperative gameplay. In such gameplay, each character has special abilities to aid their partners:

  • Sonic: When Sonic is spinning in a place and a teammate touches him from behind, the teammate is instantly propelled into a forward dash.
  • Tails: Tails can pick up his teammate when he is flying and carry them along with him. The teammate can let go by either jumping or waiting until Tails lands.
  • Knuckles: Teammate can ride atop Knuckles' back or head when he is gliding or climbing. The character riding Knuckles falls off when Knuckles stop gliding or jumps while climbing a wall.
  • Amy: If Amy hits her teammate on the ground with her Piko Piko Hammer, he will soar into the air as if he jumped on a Spring.

Collect the Rings

Collect the Rings is the only mode available in "Single-Game Pak Play". Here, the player who collects the most scattered Ring throughout the separated Neo Green Hill Zone Act within three minutes wins. During gameplay, players can attack their opponents to make them drop up to ten of their Rings, which they can then steal. The players can also break Item Boxes with question marks on them to make Spikes appear beneath the opponent.


Race is available in "Multi-Game Pak Play". The objective here is to reach the Zone's Clear Panel within ten minutes and faster than anybody else. All the two-Act Zones are available from the start. Each player's location is marked for everyone by colored cursors.

If a player loses a try along the way, they must start from the beginning of the Act or from the last Checkpoint they reached. During 2 player races, the game ends when the first player reaches the goal. For races with more than two players, any player who does not reach the goal within one minute of the first player is automatically disqualified. For team play, all players much reach the goal for that team to win. Race also includes exclusive Item Box power-ups for affecting the opponents which include Confusion, Warp and Brake.

Chao Hunt

Chao Hunt is available in "Multi-Game Pak Play". Here, the objective is to find and catch as many Chao in the Act as possible. The player with the most Chao when time rus out wins (three minutes for individual play and five minutes for team play). For team play, the team with the greater number of Chao total wins. Chao Hunt includes four Zones with alternate layouts: Forest Chao Garden (Neo Green Hill Zone), Factory Chao Garden (Secret Base Zone), Pinball Chao Garden (Casino Paradise Zone) and Space Chao Garden (Cosmic Angel Zone).

When catching a Chao, it will follow the character around. However, players can steal Chao from their opponents by touching them. Chao Hunt also includes exclusive Item Box power-ups for affecting the situation which include Confusion, Blind and Transparency.

Time Attack

Time Attack in Sonic Advance allows players to replay previously cleared Acts with goal of getting the fastest record possible. The Zones available here depend on how far the player has gotten in normal gameplay. The best times are recorded in the game's data and can be viewed in the "Records" menu.



The Sound Test menu, featuring Amy Rose with maracas.

Options is the settings menu for Sonic Advance which holds the following options:

  • Player Data: Enter the name to be used in records or view the results of VS mode games. Names can have up to six letters.
  • Level: Changes the difficulty level of the game. There are two levels, "Normal" and "Easy" (Easy mode decreases the hitting points of bosses from eight to six).
  • Time Up: Select whether or not running out of time causes characters to lose a try.
  • Sound Test: Listen to the various music tracks and sound effects used in the game.
  • Language: Change the language of the messages to be displayed between "English" and "Japanese." In Japanese version though, the Japanese language is the only option, while on PAL releases "French," "Spanish," and "German" are added to the option. Also, the language setting becomes the first option when the player starts off the game for the first time.
  • Button Config: Change the functions of GameboyA and GameboyB. "Normal" is the default functions, and "Reversed" switches the function.
  • Delete Game Data: Delete all game data (Note: The Tiny Chao Garden cannot be deleted).

Tiny Chao Garden

Main article: Tiny Chao Garden
Tiny Chao Garden

Tiny Chao Garden.

Tiny Chao Garden is a simulation minigame where players can raise Chao. It is similar to the Chao Garden, but with more limitations: Chao do not age, can only interact with a finite number of items, and there can never be more than one Chao. Players can link the Tiny Chao Garden to the Chao Gardens in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle to transfer Chao or items from the Tiny Chao Garden and to participate in races.

When first coming to the Tiny Chao Garden, only a solitary egg can be found which will hatch into a Chao. An new egg can be only stored there as soon as there is no Chao in it. The player can use the Rings collected in regular gameplay or two minigames (Card Matching and Rock Paper Scissor) to buy fruits and items to help nurture the Chao.


The music tracks for Sonic Advance were composed by Hironobu Inagaki and Atsuyoshi Isemura, while the music and sound design were done by Wave Master with the aid of sound creators Tatsuyuki Maeda and Yutaka Minobe. Masato Nakamura, the composer of Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is credited as composer and the arranged remodeling. Sonic Advance also features several Game Boy Advance renditions of Nakamura's music tracks: Scrap Brain Zone is heard in the Options menu, Star Light Zone is heard on the "Delete Game Data" menu, the classical Invincibility theme, titled as "Power Up", is heard while picking up said power-up in gameplay, multiplayer rendition of Emerald Hill Zone is heard on the "VS" mode menu, and the boss themes from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are heard during the Egg Mobile-H and Egg Mobile-D boss battles.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83.32%[2]
Metacritic 87/100[3]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7.67/10
Famitsu 32/40[4]
Game Informer 8.5/10
GamePro 4/5
GameSpot 7.9/10[5]
GameSpy 88/100[6]
IGN 9.1/10[7]
Nintendo Power 4.2/5

Sonic Advance received generally positive reviews from critics and journalists with Metacritic scoring an 87 out of 100 based on 22 reviews and GameRankings scoring 83.32% based on 36 reviews.[3][2] IGN praised the gameplay, level exploration, the Tiny Chao Garden and multiplayer modes of the game, stating: "it covers every possible base on system: it's graphically excellent, it sounds great, it puts the link cable features to outstanding use, and its GameCube connectivity opens up potential never before available."[7]

Jason D'Aprile of GameSpy praised the game's impressive speed, great visuals and GameCube link features, stating the game was "Easily the best Sonic adventure in quite a while, proving that sometimes 2D is best."[8] Ricardo Torres of Gamespot praised the graphics, music and multiplayer modes as well, but criticized cheap shots from offscreen enemies/hazards and the control scheme of Special Stages. He concluded in his review that "While it lacks some polish, Sonic Advance is still a strong entry in the GBA library. Its connectivity to the GameCube and retro gameplay definitely make it a game that Sonic fans and GC owners can appreciate."[9] Jamie O'Neill of Nintendolife states that "There is an enjoyable vibrancy to the backgrounds, as well as charming animation and audio that flows well alongside the classics of the series. Add multiplayer to the mix, as well as the Tiny Chao Garden that links to the Gamecube, and Sonic Advance is a treat for Nintendo and SEGA fans alike."[10]

Official Nintendo Magazine ranked Sonic Advance as the 75th greatest game ever released on a Nintendo console in March 2009.[11] By July 2002, the game has sold over one million copies worldwide.[12]

Similarities to Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure shares many similarities with Sonic Advance:

  • The first Zone in Sonic Advance is Neo Green Hill Zone, while the first Zone in Sonic Pocket Adventure is Neo South Island Zone.
  • The first bosses are both moving vehicles with large hammers; in fact, many boss concepts in this game and its sequel originated from Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.
  • The second zones in both games are "Secret industrial" Zones. Sonic Advance has Secret Base Zone, while Sonic Pocket Adventure has Secret Plant Zone.
  • The third Zones are both casinos. Sonic Advance has Casino Paradise Zone, while Sonic Pocket Adventure has Cosmic Casino Zone.
  • Both game's fourth Zones have water
  • Both games have a robot copy of a character as a boss. Sonic Pocket Adventure has Mecha Sonic and Sonic Advance has Mecha Knuckles.
  • The "climax" zones, Egg Rocket Zone (Sonic Advance) & Aerobase (Sonic Pocket Adventure) are both one-Act Zones that lead to Eggman's main space station (Sonic Advance) or in the case of Sonic Pocket Adventure, the Aerobase's interior.
  • The final Zones in both games have the name "Angel" in it. Sonic Advance has Cosmic Angel Zone and Sonic Pocket Adventure has Gigantic Angel Zone.
  • In the normal ending for both games, their space station explode with red/gray chunks of metal flying off it, and Tails rescues Sonic on the Tornado.
  • Before the beginning of both games' Extra Zones, Eggman's space stations do not explode and are apparently abandoned.
  • Both games were released on systems not made by Sega, both of which happened to be handhelds.

Cheat Code


Sonic and Tails in Neo Green Hill Zone.

  • Sonic 2 Mode: Activating this code allows Sonic to be followed by Tails in gameplay, like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The player has to highlight Sonic on the character selection and then press up, right, down, right, L, right, R, right and GameboyA. The code will be indicated as activated when a Ring chime is heard.


Image Platform Description
Combo Pack Sonic Advance Sonic Pinball Party Game Boy Advance Released in a compilation with Sonic Pinball Party as part of the 2 Games in 1 series in Europe and remains the only compilation title from the "2 Games in 1" line to be released in United States as a Combo Pack. The Tiny Chao Garden is featured separately.
Sonic Advance Battle Game Boy Advance Released in a compilation with Sonic Battle as part of the 2 Games in 1 series in Europe and Double Pack in Japan.
Sonic Advance Chu Chu Rocket Game Boy Advance Released in a compilation with ChuChu Rocket as part of the 2 Games in 1 series in Europe and Double Pack in Japan.
51YR9NYJTYL Nokia N-Gage Ported to Nokia's N-Gage system and marketed under the title Sonic N.
SAandroidtitle Android In 25 November 2011, a tweaked version of Sonic Advance was released for the Android mobile devices. It is a Japanese-only title available as an Android application from the Android Marketplace (now Google Play).[13] Unlike previous releases of Sonic Advance, this version is available as a free download.

The game requires an updated version of Android and a strong device in order to compete with the known bugs and lagging issues. The game's resolution is improved from the original Game Boy Advance version, increasing by three times than the original to fit all Android devices. The Invincibility and the background music for Egg Mobile-H and Egg Mobile-D battles are changed possibly due the licencing issues of Masato Nakamura music and the Tiny Chao Garden is removed.

Sonic-Advance-Gameloft Mobile phone Developed by Gameloft and ported to Java-based (Java2ME) mobile phones in 2011. This port contains only four Zones: Neo Green Hill Zone, Secret Base Zone, Angel Island Zone and Casino Paradise Zone.[14]
Wii U The game was re-released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in 18 February 2015 in Japan only for the price of ¥702.[15]


Main article: Sonic Advance/Staff


  • Sonic Advance is the last game for long time to feature many old recurring elements from the series. Signposts and Sonic's leg spin animation would not be feature again until the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, yellow Springs would first appeared again Sonic Generations, and the Capsules, (while seen in a mini-game of Sonic Advance 3) did not appear again before Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • This is the first 2D game to feature collectible Animals from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 who are also kept inside Badnik and Capsules like the original Animals in earlier games. Notably, several of the original Animals, including Flicky, are seen alongside with new ones in the game's good cinematic ending.
  • Each character moveset changes the difficulty of the game. Sonic's is the hardest, Knuckles is a middle ground and Tails' is the easiest. Amy is a unique challenge which is easier than Sonic's playthrough for the most part.


Game Boy Advance TV Commercial - Street Fighter Alpa 3 - Sonic Advance - Tony Hawk Pro Skater 300:31

Game Boy Advance TV Commercial - Street Fighter Alpa 3 - Sonic Advance - Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

Sonic Advance Japanese TV commercial00:32

Sonic Advance Japanese TV commercial

Sonic Advance - Japanese Wii U Virtual Console trailer00:58

Sonic Advance - Japanese Wii U Virtual Console trailer


Sonic tshirt head (1) An image gallery is available for
Sonic Advance.


  1. Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance) North American instruction manual pg. 2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sonic Advance. GameRankings. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sonic Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on 28 December 2014.
  4. ゲームボーイアドバンス - ソニック アドバンス. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.116. 30 June 2006.
  5. Sonic Advance for Game Boy Advance Review - Game Boy Advance Sonic Advance Review. (2002-02-08). Retrieved on 2008-04-02.
  6. - Reviews: Sonic Advance (GBA). Retrieved on 2008-04-02.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harris, Craig (5 Febuary 2002). Sonic Advance Review. IGN. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
  8. D'Aprile, Jason. Sonic Advance (GBA). Archived from the original on 30 November 2004. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
  9. Torres, Ricardo (8 Febuary 2002). Sonic Advance Review. Gamespot. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
  10. O'Neill, Jamie (28 June 2011). Review: Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance). Nintendolife. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
  11. 100 Greatest Nintendo Games - The Complete List. Official Nintendo Magazine (March 3, 2009). Retrieved on June 21, 2010.
  12. Harris, Craig (July 1, 2002). Sonic Gets a Sequel. IGN. Retrieved on February 10, 2014.
  13. Sonic Advance Now Available on Android Devices in Japan. The Sonic Stadium (27 November 2011). Retrieved on 25 November 2015.
  14. Sonic Advance. (27 November 2011). Retrieved on 27 November 2015.
  15. Sonic Advance heading to Japanese Wii U eShop next week. The Sonic Stadium (10 Febuary 2015). Retrieved on 25 November 2015.

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