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 is notable for being the first Sonic game released on a Nintendo console, despite both Sega and Nintendo being well-known rivals on the console market throughout the 1990s.
Sonic Advance features four playable characters and marks the first playable appearance of Amy Rose on a 2D title. The game 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.
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 unimaginable power, Sonic and his friends Tails, Knuckles and Amy enter the scene to stop Eggman's actions.
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 Advance is a sidescrolling platformer game with four playable 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. As the player progresses, the game will automatically save the current contents, while the Chaos Emeralds the 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 their air supply (air underwater lasts for 18 seconds), falls into a bottomless pit, or runs 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 also includes Item Boxes with a number of the most basic power-ups in the Sonic series.
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.
|down||Crouch & scroll screen|
|left/right + down||Move While Spinning||Crouch|
|down +||Spin Dash||Giant Steps|
|Tapping||N/A|| Propeller Flying/|
|Push down||N/A|| Gliding/|
|N/A||Tail Attack||Punch Attack||N/A|
|N/A||Head Sliding Attack|
|down +||N/A||Hammer Whirl|
| Tap |
|START button||Pauses the game.|
- Breast Stroke: 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 makes the playable character slow down.
- Item Boxes
* Super Rings with question marks grant randomly 1, 5, 10, 20, 30, or 40 Rings.
Gimmicks and obstacles
- Egg Hammer Tank
- Egg Press
- Egg Ball
- Egg Spider
- Mecha Knuckles
- Egg Snake
- X-Zone bosses
- Super Egg Robot
Sonic Advance consists of nine Zones, most of which are split into two Acts. At the end of a Zone (excluding the sixth), 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:
- Neo Green Hill Zone
- Secret Base Zone
- Casino Paradise Zone
- Ice Mountain Zone
- Angel Island Zone
- Egg Rocket Zone
- Cosmic Angel Zone
- The Moon Zone
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 to earn a Chaos Emerald at the end. Press to perform a quick foward dash and pass through otherwise unpassable bomb formations, and 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. 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.
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 player 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. Each player's location is marked for everyone by colored cursors.
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 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 runs 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 allows players to replay previously cleared Acts with the 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.
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 and removes certain enemies from levels).
- Time Up: Set this to ON to let the time run out to ten minutes to give a Time Over.
- 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 and . "Normal" is the default functions, and "Reversed" switches the function.
- Delete Game Data: Deletes the main game's save file.
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.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||7.67/10|
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. 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."
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." 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." 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."
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.
- 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 . The code will be indicated as activated when a Ring chime is heard.
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Nokia N-Gage||Ported to Nokia's N-Gage system and marketed under the title SonicN.|
|Android||On 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). 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, increased by three times 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 licensing issues of Masato Nakamura music and the Tiny Chao Garden is removed.
|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.|
|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.|
- Sonic Advance is the last game for a long time to feature many old recurring elements from the series. Signposts and Sonic's leg spin animation would not be featured again until the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4, yellow Springs would first appear 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, a few original Animals, including Flicky, are seen alongside with new ones in the game's good cinematic ending.
- Sonic Advance is the first game since Sonic the Hedgehog 3 which has introduced multiple Item Box power-ups exclusive to multiplayer. These power-ups are also featured in the multiplayer modes in later sequels and Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure.
- Hitting Springs with the Hammer Attack will greatly increase their launching power, allowing Amy to get to places and take shortcuts/paths that Tails and Knuckles cannot.
- With the game having separate difficulty settings, each playable character and their moveset can have different degrees of difficulty. Sonic's gameplay is the hardest overall due to his lack of any ways to take shortcuts and means to effectively fight the late game bosses. Tails' flying skills makes it easy to complete and scout the Zones and search for the Special Spring. Knuckles' movement capabilities make it easy to find power-ups and bypass hazards that Sonic would other wise have to tackle head-on. Amy represents a unique challenge due to her lack of traditional attacks which are not automatic like the others but have more range and uses than the others, she is also the best at fighting bosses due to her longer range. 
- Sometimes, when the game crashes, the screen will turn sky blue and grey boxes come in from both sides of the screen, and then stop in the middle. This is more likely to be caused when the game is ran through a corrupter or on certain copies of the game. The screen has its own unique music. The Grey Boxes screen also appears in Sonic Advance 2, albeit with a white background and different music.
- The original releases of Sonic Advance in all regions have a rather severe bug: deleting the main game's save file does not delete the Tiny Chao Garden data, but once you do so, Rings earned in the main game do not transfer over to the Tiny Chao Garden. There are two ways to revert this; using a video game enhancer such as GameShark or collecting the same number of Rings that had been collected before the game data was deleted. This was fixed in v1.1, only released in Japan, and in the Sonic Advance and Sonic Pinball Party combo pack.
- ↑ Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance) North American instruction manual pg. 2.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sonic Advance. GameRankings. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Sonic Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on 28 December 2014.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Sonic Advance for Game Boy Advance Review - Game Boy Advance Sonic Advance Review. Gamespot.com (2002-02-08). Retrieved on 2008-04-02.
- ↑ GameSpy.com - Reviews: Sonic Advance (GBA). Gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2008-04-02.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Harris, Craig (5 Febuary 2002). Sonic Advance Review. IGN. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
- ↑ D'Aprile, Jason. Sonic Advance (GBA). GameSpy.com. Archived from the original on 30 November 2004. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
- ↑ Torres, Ricardo (8 Febuary 2002). Sonic Advance Review. Gamespot. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
- ↑ O'Neill, Jamie (28 June 2011). Review: Sonic Advance (Game Boy Advance). Nintendolife. Retrieved on 26 November 2015.
- ↑ 100 Greatest Nintendo Games - The Complete List. Official Nintendo Magazine (March 3, 2009). Retrieved on June 21, 2010.
- ↑ Harris, Craig (July 1, 2002). Sonic Gets a Sequel. IGN. Retrieved on February 10, 2014.
- ↑ Sonic Advance Now Available on Android Devices in Japan. The Sonic Stadium (27 November 2011). Retrieved on 25 November 2015.
- ↑ Sonic Advance. Softonic.com (27 November 2011). Retrieved on 27 November 2015.
- ↑ Sonic Advance heading to Japanese Wii U eShop next week. The Sonic Stadium (10 Febuary 2015). Retrieved on 25 November 2015.
- ↑ Sonic Advance 3 (Japanese). Characters. Sega. Retrieved on 2 December 2015.