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Tagline

Sonic Advance 3 (ソニックアドバンス3 Sonikku Adobansu 3?) is a platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Dimps and published by Sega resp. THQ for the Game Boy Advance. It was first released in North America on 8 June 2004, later in Japan on 17 June 2004 and finally in Europe on 18 June 2004. The game uses elements from Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2, as well as allowing the player to choose an additional partner, who augments the player's actions.

Plot

Dr. Eggman tears Earth apart using Chaos Control and Sonic and Tails are separated from Knuckles, Amy and Cream. The two begin to search for their friends and the source of the trouble (which is the separation of the Chaos Emeralds). But like always, Eggman is making everything from doomsday devices to kooky contraptions and is trying to vanquish Sonic once and for all. The most dangerous of these is Gemerl, a super fighting robot made from the data of Emerl.

Characters

Gameplay

Basic gameplay is identical to Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2. This time however, Sonic Advance 3 introduces a new game feature. Sonic Advance 3 requires the player to select a playable character and a partner character to assist them. This is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 2: the player picks two characters and controls one while the other will just follow along controlled by the computer (or player two in multiplayer mode).

Additionally, players can use a special ability known as Tag Action; the player can pick up the teammate by holding R, and then release it for special action.

Character team actions

  • Sonic - Gives a super burst of speed, as if walking over a speed booster.
    • Only having Sonic as a partner (or being Sonic) will let the player enter Boost Mode.
  • Tails - A super high jump aided by Tails. (ground action)
  • Knuckles - Can be thrown forward at enemies. (ground action)
    • Glides forward with his partner riding on his back. (air action)
  • Cream - Cheese becomes a character Chao and can by used by the characters in the same way Cream uses Cheese. (air and ground action)
  • Amy - A super high jump aided by Amy's hammer. Can be used repeatedly to escape deep water.
    • A small double jump, which can be made into an abnormally high bounce if the player times it right. (air action)

Besides the Character actions, a partner affects the way the leader acts. For example, Amy will act similar to the way she did in Sonic Advance, but when teamed with Sonic, she will play the way she did in Sonic Advance 2, with an automatic Spin Attack and a Spin Dash. Each team-up has a categorization showing its strength, which is either Flying, Power, or Speed.

Character partner effects

Anyone partnered with Sonic makes a speed team, anyone except Sonic partnered with Knuckles makes a power team and any combination of the remaining three (Tails, Cream, Amy) makes a flying team.

  • Sonic partnered with:
    • Tails - Similar to Sonic Advance, but he loses his Insta-Shield and Jump Dash. Sonic gains the air tricks he was able to do in Sonic Advance 2 (propelling him upwards, left, right or downards), but have a more precise timing and are colored yellow instead of blue.
    • Knuckles - Sonic gains some aerial moves, such as the Bounce Attack, an upward dash and his Insta-Shield attack. His somersault attack also becomes fiery and more powerful.
    • Cream - Sonic gains a forward dash attack similar to the Fire Shield dash from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles) and the Homing Attack in later games. He also has unlimited air underwater via a bubble that surrounds him, much like the Aqua Shield's effect from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, it disappears upon leaving the water and doesn't protect him from damage.
    • Amy - Sonic's ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Sonic does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and must use his air attack to curl up. Amy's animations change to reflect her crush on Sonic. Sonic grinds rails on a snowboard.
    • Eggman - Only available in the Nonagression zone as Super Sonic. Super Sonic charges Eggman as a fireball. The strength of the attack varies according to how long the button is pressed.
  • Tails partnered with:
    • Sonic - Tails behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance 2, including the aerial tricks.
    • Knuckles - Tails' ground attack becomes Tornado Attack. Tails gains the Insta-Shield attack like Sonic's. Tails flight becomes a gliding attack like Knuckles', though he cannot climb walls.
    • Cream - Tails flies with his tails underneath him, but only for a shorter time and gains more height per press of the A button similar to Cream's flight. His horizontal distance is also greatly impaired and he gains the Homing Attack.
    • Amy - Tails' ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Tails does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and the player must press B in mid-air curl up, Tails also flies holding his hammer, which can be swung without interrupting his flight. Also, Tails flight speed increases.
  • Knuckles partnered with:
    • Sonic - Similar to Sonic Advance, except his gliding ability becomes a head first aerial dash (similar to his forward trick ability from Sonic Advance 2).
    • Tails - Knuckles' punch attack becomes an uppercut, Knuckles also takes a small jump before gliding, and glides with his fist extended forward.
    • Cream - Knuckles behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance, except that he can use a homing attack while gliding.
    • Amy - Knuckles' ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Knuckles does not curl up into a ball when he jumps, and must use his air attack to curl up, Knuckles gains his downward punch attack from Sonic Advance 2. After gliding into a wall, Knuckles can dash up walls in a similar style to a spin dash.
  • Cream partnered with:
    • Sonic - Instead of a homing attack, Cheese dashes forward a short distance for an attack. Like Knuckles, she also can tread water in this match-up, in her case using a floating ring.
    • Tails - Instead of flying, Cream pulls out an orange umbrella and floats.
    • Knuckles - Cheese by default flies defensively in circles around Cream, automatically damaging any enemies in range.
    • Amy - Cream's ground attack becomes a hammer attack. Cream does not curl up into a ball when she jumps, and since her aerial attack is to throw Cheese, she cannot curl into a ball while jumping. She also gains the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2 and a hip drop attack.
  • Amy partnered with:
    • Sonic - Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance 2, but with an aerial forward dash added by pressing A while jumping in mid-air.
    • Tails - Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance, except that she can glide slowly down with balloons, and her aerial hammer attack gives her an extra upward boost.
    • Knuckles - Amy's standard ground hammer becomes huge. Amy has a forward dash similar to her Spin Dash in Sonic Advance 2, but she does not curl up into a ball when she uses it. This is essentially her Super Peel Out. In addition, by pressing down and B on the ground, she will do a forward flip with her hammer, and pressing it in the air will use her Spinning Hammer Attack (that she also has with Sonic).
    • Cream - Amy behaves the same way she does when partnered with Tails, but her aerial hammer attack gains her no extra air. Instead, she has the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2.
  • Eggman partnered with:
    • Eggman is only playable in 2-Player mode. He can not tag action with Super Sonic in 2-Player mode. Holding the R button as Eggman causes the same effect as if Super Sonic tagged Eggman in 1-Player mode. Super Sonic can not tag at all in 2-Player mode when partnered with Eggman.

Zones

Route 99

In contrast to other side-scrolling Sonic games, the first Zone is a man-made urban city, not an unspoiled nature area. It is build around a large metropolis. Rails, construction and switches litter the Acts. The boss is a giant hammer that the player must hit after it tries to crush him/her.

Sunset Hill

A tribute to Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog. The music is even similar to Green Hill Zone's (with different variations between the three Acts). Hourglass-like structures can spring the characters in an upward direction. There are poles to swing on, water slides, and bottomless pits as well. The boss is a giant wheel that rolls around the boss room, even on the ceilings.

Ocean Base

Eggman's base under the sea. Players can climb waterfalls similarly to climbing sand columns in the Sandopolis Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. The second and third Acts each have areas with water. There are many platforms that try to crush the characters, some with spikes that pop out of the top. The boss is similar to the Egg Frog from Sonic Advance 2.

Toy Kingdom

A happy land filled with toys, balloons and castles. Clowns, toy soldiers and wind up tigers will attack the characters as well as piggy banks that suck up the characters' rings. The boss is a giant jack-in-the-box that attacks in unpredictable ways when hit. The boss must be defeated by being pushed into a bottomless pit.

Twinkle Snow

An ice-based Zone, containing platforms that must be crouched upon to lower and spring upward. All three Acts of this zone have water. The northern lights appear above the mountains in the background of this cold zone. The boss chases the characters up falling platforms in a giant igloo. Using Tails for this battle is best as the player can try to fly to the next platform in case he/she falls.

Cyber Track

A cyberspace-based Zone. This is the first appearance of inverted gravity in this game. Moving platforms are everywhere, some travel along set paths, and some collapse after a bit. It is possible to fall up and die if the gravity is switched. The boss hides below a platform and can only be hit by knocking back the colored balls it shoots.

Chaos Angel

Eggman has taken control of Angel Island. This is one of the few final standard Zones from a Sonic game not to take place in a man-made base. The boss of this zone attacks by knocking the characters into spikes and there is switched gravity to make it more difficult. Cream's Chao is good as the player can use it from a distance.

Altar Emerald

An altar that holds the Master Emerald. Here the player fights Gemerl and Eggman's final boss robot. He uses robot hands and balls to attack. It is difficult to do but the player have to ride the balls up or ride on the robot hands as they rise up again after destroying two platforms and hit him on his weak spot. This battle is easier with Tails as the player can just fly directly to attack the cockpit without using the balls.

Nonaggression

Unlocked upon collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds and completing the Altar Emerald stage as Sonic. Gemerl disobeys Eggman and transforms into Ultimate Gemerl, forcing his master to team up with Super Sonic to stop his creation. The background is strange and slightly demented, too.

Voice Actors

Role English Voice Actor Japanese Voice Actor
Sonic the Hedgehog Ryan Drummond Jun'ichi Kanemaru
Dr. Eggman Deem Bristow Chikao Ohtsuka
Miles "Tails" Prower William Corkery Ryo Hirohashi
Knuckles the Echidna Scott Drier Nobutoshi Canna
Amy Rose Jennifer Douillard Taeko Kawata
Cream the Rabbit Sarah Wulfeck Sayaka Aoki
Menu announcer Jon St. John

In-game music

Many of the songs in the game are remixes of earlier songs. Most are from Sonic Battle, namely: Route 99 is a remix of Tails' Lab, Altar Emerald is a remix of Holy Summit, and Nonagression is a remix of Colosseum/Emerl's theme. The main menu music is remixed for the Chao Race music from Sonic Adventure 2. As aforementioned above, the music of Sunset Hill is a remix of Green Hill Zone's theme from Sonic the Hedgehog. The Sound Test in the options mode is unlocked after the boss in Altar Emerald is defeated.

Pre-release note

A few months before this game was released, a leaked ROM of it appeared on various Sonic-based ROM sites. Not long after it was discovered, SEGA sent out warnings to all the sites that had it up telling them to remove it immediately; however, it was still being distributed around after that[citation needed].

Prototype version

On March 21, 2004, just around three months before the release of the game, a prototype of this game was released. It was initially dumped just five days prior to a select few. This prototype was in a state of near completion, but contained many glitches and was in its final bug testing phase. The game's levels were finished for the most part and completely playable.[1]

Special quotes

  • Unbreakable bond - Sonic & Tails
  • Fighting buddies - Sonic & Knuckles
  • Lovely couple - Sonic & Amy
  • Team Jubilee - Cream & Amy

Re-releases

On 25 May 2016, Sonic Advance 3 will be re-released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan at the price of ¥702.[2]

Reception

 Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.37%[3]
Metacritic 79/100[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B[5]
Famitsu 30/40[6]
Game Informer 6.75/10[7]
GamePro 3.5/5[8]
GameSpot 8.4/10[9]
GameSpy 3/5[10]
GameZone 9/10[11]
IGN 9/10[12]
Nintendo Power 3.9/5[13]

Sonic Advance 3 was reportedly "racing off store shelves" as soon as it was released.[14] The game also received positive reviews from critics, with respective scores of 79% and 80% at review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings.[4][3] It later won Handheld Game of the Year at the 2004 Golden Joystick Awards[15] and sold over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone.[16]

Critics gave mixed opinions to the team-up dynamic. Nich Maragos from 1UP.com celebrated that Sonic Team had "finally [come] up with a way of introducing teamwork and variance between characters that doesn't overwhelm Sonic's bread-and-butter gameplay." Maragos singled this out as the main divider between Advance 3 and Sonic Heroes, a game that he found surprisingly linear in level design considering that it, unlike Advance 3, was in 3D.[5] Maragos, GameSpot's Frank Provo, IGN's Craig Harris, and Game Informers Lisa Mason appreciated the increase in replayability Sonic's friends brought.[12][5][7][9] However, Mason, as well as reviewer Stardingo from GamePro, thought that they played too much like Sonic and did not add much to the experience.[8][7] Darryl Vassar of GameSpy took a different point of criticism: he acknowledged the presence of genuinely different character abilities, but perceived that their only purpose was to find Chao, whom he called "pointless".[10] Maragos noted that the "mid-air trick" system from Advance 2 was optional in Advance 3, but spoke positively about its usefulness in locating "hidden areas".[5] Harris argued that such varying team abilities contributed to occasional "cheapness" in the level design, because "most of the characters have absolutely no defense when hopping off items like springboards".[12]

However, the gameplay was mostly well-received otherwise. Vassar acclaimed the level design: he both called the levels "enormous and fast" and praised the slower, smaller sections for "keeping the levels distinct and adding short interludes to the constant running and loops."[10] Harris also praised the "clever" level design.[12] However, Mason found it "simplistic",[7] while Stardingo saw "repetition" in the typical formula.[8] Maragos criticized the bipolar difficulty of the bosses and some minor control issues.[5] Vassar, however, appreciated the return from Advance 2's running-based boss battles to more traditional ones.[10] Further praise from Harris, conversely, went to the multiplayer mode and—along with Stardingo—to the presence of a hub world, which Harris and Stardingo thought gave the game structure.[12][8]

The game's aesthetics were also well received. Provo stated that "in terms of graphics and sound, Sonic Advance 3 is on par with the best that companies like Nintendo and Konami have had to offer this year". He specifically complimented the character animations, simulations of underwater waves, and in-depth background effects.[9] Vassar praised Advance 3 for continuing Advance 1 and 2's emulation of the "colorful, angular, and stylized look" of the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, as well as its "twangy, upbeat tunes".[10] Stardingo thought similarly overall but criticized the "garish" themes of the level Toy Kingdom.[8]

Trivia

  • Strangely, this game is not mentioned on Sega's American Sonic Website (Sonic Central).
  • The partner aspect is similar in concept to the partner system from Knuckles' Chaotix, although Sonic Advance 3 does not replicate the "bungee cord" effect, instead using a system similar to Tails' AI-controlled system.
  • Amy as Sonic's partner is the only choice in the game that causes non-gameplay related sprites and animations to change depending on the selected characters.
  • The planet was also split apart in Sonic Unleashed. However, Dark Gaia doesn't exist in this game.
  • If Knuckles is a player character and Sonic is a partner, the life symbol will look like a mirrored version of the cover of Sonic & Knuckles.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the Tiny Chao Garden does not exist.
  • Knuckles seems to be the only character in the game that doesn't use Mid-Air Trick Actions.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the player can use two characters (unless one counts the cheat code in Sonic Advance where the player can have Tails follow Sonic)
  • If the player gets all the Chaos Emeralds, a code will pop up for the Secret Stage Mode. The player has to go to the main menu and press "Up, Right, Down, Left, Right, Left". Once that's done, the player can play the Special Stages.

References

  1. Sonic Retro
  2. Sonic Advance 3 (GBA) heading to the Wii U VC in Japan on May 25th. The Sonic Stadium (18 May 2016). Retrieved on 21 May 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sonic Advance 3. GameRankings. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sonic Advance 3: Game Boy Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Maragos, Nich (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA): Sonic and friends -- wait, don't run away!. 1UP.com. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  6. ソニック アドバンス3. Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 810. June 2004.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Mason, Lisa. Right Round Baby, Right Round. Game Informer. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Stardingo (June 17, 2004). Review: Sonic Advance 3. GamePro. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Provo, Frank (June 23, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: Sonic Advance 3 is a great, fast-paced platform game, and the tag-team play mechanic really enhances the overall experience.. GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 28, 2007. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Vassar, Darryl (June 14, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA). GameSpy. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  11. Zacarias, Eduardo (June 13, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 Review. GameZone. Archived from the original on March 15, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Harris, Craig (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: The traditional Sonic adventures continue to shine on the Game Boy Advance in a tremendously fun sequel.. IGN. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  13. "Sonic Advance 3". Nintendo Power. No. 182. August 2004. p. 122.
  14. SONIC ADVANCE 3 Now Available for Game Boy Advance; Third Title in Franchise Racing Off Store Shelves. THQ (June 7, 2004). Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  15. CVG Staff (November 5, 2004). Golden Joystick Awards 2004: Winners announced!. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  16. ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver. ELSPA. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.

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