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Let's talk about the Sonic Advance trilogy

#16 User is offline saintminya 

Posted 30 September 2018 - 08:01 PM

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Sonic Advance is glorious. Everyone was tuned well, and felt unique. I especially enjoy Amy's playstyle, but typically after re-familiarizing myself with the layouts. (Probably as Knuckles...) The levels, while based upon the then tried-and-true tropes, didn't fall into gimmick territory like later entries in the series.

Sonic Advance 2 was mostly a step up. Level design was more unique and less nostalgic, again without being too gimmicky. I enjoy having to have beat it once to unlock Amy, especially considering that I already chose to do that in Advance 1. This game did introduce Cream though, and I cannot say I'm a fan.


Sonic Advance 3 pretty much sucks as far as I am concerned. I may adore Chaotix, but the partner system in this entry did nothing for me. Levels were cool, but not really a step up. Ultimately this entry just sits in my collection, while the first two I occasionally revisit.


The music in the series wasn't awful, but certainly not great. Not really a deal maker or breaker though, since the GBA wasn't exactly known for exquisite sound offerings.
This post has been edited by saintminya: 30 September 2018 - 09:38 PM

#17 User is offline Irixion 

Posted 30 September 2018 - 08:50 PM

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These topics are really going by the way of "Why didn't you make the game I wanted, so it must suck". Just like the Star Wars fan base. But back to the trilogy--Advance 3 had much variety, and a lot of it was unrefined, making the game sloppy. It does have its charms, and it did do many things right. The partner system, albeit sluggish, was a good addition. The multiplayer was great. Having 100% the game, there were many, many frustrating parts to it. But you kind of learn what to expect. Up in the clouds? Expect bottomless pits. That's kind of the name of the game. In a candy hell? Expect gimmicks and hazards related to balls and crushing squares. The bosses were pretty interesting. The same can't be said of Advance 2. The peak of the trilogy I think, but it was inconsistent. There were some stages that were poor and frustrating, and much more difficult than the previous act. Advance 1 was just nostalgia, and people love that shit, as evidenced by the boss battles and some of the locales. It's a handheld title, not a main staple in the series. They're all solid and sloppy in their own ways.

#18 User is offline Billy 

Posted 30 September 2018 - 11:16 PM

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As far as I'm concerned, Sonic Advance 1 was the real Sonic 4 of its time. It's a bit of a step back from S3&K, but it felt like a continuation in many ways. The addition of Amy definitely seems strange in hindsight, but I can't blame them for wanting to try something different. There were definitely things I didn't like -- The bottomless pits, for one, just like everyone else. Also, I never personally liked the special stages at all. To the point where I never did try to get all the chaos emeralds. Not that I was any good at finding those springs anyway.

Sonic Advance 2 is easily the weakest of the three. Again, I can't be too upset for them for trying something new, but things in SAdv2 feel mismatched. As has already been said, the gotta-go-fast gameplay combined with collecting medals to get to the special stages makes no sense. I've never even seen the special stages first hand because of that. That said, I feel like it had better mechanics than "push button for boost" like Sonic Rush and the modern 3D titles. It's more memorable to me than SAdv3, but the constant insta-deaths easily pushes it into 3rd place.

Sonic Advance 3 is the one I've played the least. It didn't stand out as carrying the torch of the classic games, like Sonic Advance 1, and it didn't shake up the formula quite as much as Sonic Advance 2. It just had the partner system, which is pretty forgettable in my mind. I barely remember anything about it other than characters would get abilities from their partner. Who the fuck wanted to use Amy's hammer as anyone else, anyway? I don't even remember the mechanic for getting to the special stages, as I was beyond caring at that point.
This post has been edited by Billy: 30 September 2018 - 11:17 PM

#19 User is offline DigitalDuck 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 03:53 AM

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Love Sonic Advance, prefer it even to Sonic 1 and 2. A genuinely enjoyable classic Sonic game that manages to get level design mostly right.

Advance 3 was fun, partner system creates a lot of variety but unfortunately the levels themselves don't.

Advance 2 was hold right and memorise when to do tricks. No thanks.

#20 User is offline steveswede 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 08:03 AM

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The Problem with Advance 2 is that with the new mechanics the development team really didn't understand how to craft the levels around those abilities. It was a great direction for the 2D series but due to the poor level design this pissed alot of people off. Fortunately the rom hack Sonic 2 Retro Remix not only brings those abilities to the proper classic physics but the level design is far superior and an example of what the level design should have been in Advance 2.

BTW I highly recommend S2RR, one of the best rom hacks ever created.

#21 User is offline Dark Sonic 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 08:22 AM

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I'm part of the group that prefers Advance 3 to Advance 2. I like the team mechanic, the special stage entry, while still bullshit, it less bullshit than Advance 2's, and I like the art style. The level design is a bit shit at times though I won't argue with anyone there, but I find playing as Knuckles and Tails kind of circumvents a lot of those problems.

Advance 2 was too fast for it's own good. The screen's too small and it's hard to see what's coming and they just love throwing bottomless pits your way, and of course the good ol Bitch slap of death boss is always a favorite. Also of course the special stage entry method was the most bullshit that's ever been seen in the entire series. The stages themselves are ok. But then you have to do all 7 emeralds as each character to get Amy. What the fuck kind of method is that? It's one thing getting the rings as Tails and Cream and even Knuckles, they can backtrack pretty easily. Sonic though? Awful.

Advance 1 is the best of the games but I also find it to be the ugliest. They were going for that more Adventure style but it just didn't translate well to the GBA IMO. Also Amy's gameplay was a bit too slow for my tastes.

Of course with all these games I haven't gone back and beaten them in years. I don't think I own Advance 2 anymore (I honestly forget) but Advance 1 and 3 have had 100% save files for a while on their original cartridges and I don't plan on going back to 100% either of them ever again. There's little to no reward for doing so anyway as it was back in the era where Super Sonic was reserved for the final boss only, so if I'm going to play them I'm just going to play them for a bit here and there and then put it down again.

#22 User is offline Ashram 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 08:56 AM

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Speaking of GBA-era Sonic, how about that Sonic Battle? :v

#23 User is offline Jason 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:50 AM

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I've recently been feeling the itch to pick Battle up again. I beat it when it was new, but never had anybody to play with because portable multiplayer pre-WiFi was a nightmare. My fondest memory was cheating to get Emerl the insta-kill attacks and wreck shit in the story mode.

Advance 1 I've played the most, and is my favorite of the trilogy. It sits around Sonic 1 and CD in my overall list, not as good as 3K, 2, or Mania now. Being 8 years removed from 3K, it still filled that void nicely. Considering when it released, it is a much better introduction to the series for Nintendo players than Adventure 2 Battle was, and I'm still miffed that's what people latched on to.

Advance 2 has better music and presentation, and I dug the trick system, but the level design ranges from meh to bad. Also too fast for its own good. Never did the Special Stages legit. Cream is fun to abuse bosses with.

Advance 3 has a lot good music too, and the tag system is fun. I didn't like the visual direction as much, level design and getting Emeralds aren't the most fun, albeit less so.

All of them are worth playing at least once. Too bad THQ had to publish them in the US and it's rights are probably in limbo now, considering they're all on Wii U in Japan.

#24 User is offline Windii 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 12:29 PM

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I adore Sonic Advance 3. The music is generally way improved over the previous games, it's fun to abuse certain team combinations, and the stages are fun to explore. It also neatly wrapped up the plot point from Battle and was an overall satisfying conclusion to the whole GBA Sonic lineup. I couldn't think of a better ending sequence.

Advance 2 definitely has the most bullshit true ending requirements (and rather annoying special stages too like geez), but on the whole I liked it. I've always found it satisfying to run through a stage perfectly without losing speed or getting hit once, and the bosses are exhilarating fun. Never did get any of the SP Rings without a walkthrough video though. :B

The first Advance is the one I played the least and also much later than 2 and 3, and I actually found it kinda disappointing I couldn't reach the boost state like I could in the next two. Still a fun game though, and I actually like the quirky SA1 gameplay Amy has. You have to think of different ways to progress with her, and you can still get all the Chaos Emeralds if you're good enough.

Battle is also a game I love to play, especially when I want to punch something or someone, although Emerl is goddamn useless until the end of the game for the most part and the way you get skills was really some horseshit. Why did it have to be so you have a chance of getting a skill you already own? I hate it. It's not even based on what you do in the fights; it's entirely random.

(and I still have yet to play Pinball Party to completion)

#25 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 12:33 PM

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I think Advance 1 is a great Sonic game... when you don't consider it a sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but more like an alternate sequel to Sonic 1 in the vein of Sonic CD. I love Amy's moveset in this game and would love to see it unchanged in a future Classic game

I don't know what the heck happened with Advance 2's development, but it feels to me like a sequel made by people who didn't get what was good about the game they had just made. On the bright side, I think it may have made me appreciate Advance 1 better, after the initial "not as good as 3&K" shock.

And as for Advance 3... I think it's an ok game, wouldn't mind buying a remake of it without buzzy music. The character combinations were really interesting and would be cool to see in some other game.
This post has been edited by ICEknight: 01 October 2018 - 12:36 PM

#26 User is offline Laughingcow 

Posted 01 October 2018 - 04:26 PM

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The level maps of the games are fairly interesting when you look at them.

http://www.soniccent...s/sonic_advance
Advance 1 was clearly designed like a Classic Sonic game. Don't have much to else to say.

http://www.soniccent...sonic_advance_2
Literally the first four zone maps look exactly the same i.e. running downhill. It isn't until they change it up with Sky Canyon (which everyone hates) that things shift. It's no wonder they all feel samey.

http://www.soniccent...sonic_advance_3
Advance 3 looks fairly chaotic which isn't surprising. I think I may watch some speedruns to see if anyone can make sense of this.
Edit: Nope. They cheat using a jumping glitch that happens if you have Sonic as your partner.
This post has been edited by Laughingcow: 01 October 2018 - 04:35 PM

#27 User is offline HP Zoner 

Posted 02 October 2018 - 03:58 AM

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One thing I liked about the first Advance was the sense of progression it had during the first couple of levels. Going from the beach to the woods in Neo Green Hill was neat, and the seamless transition into a literal bridge to the next zone was quite unique for a Sonic game. You could see the outskirts of a city just before entering the Secret Base that followed, and then... the idea was completely discarded until the Egg Rocket. I would have liked to see the entire game with transitions of this sort, because they felt more natural than those in S3&K and Mania, despite the lack of cutscenes. I don't think a Sonic game needs this sort of thing, but it's nice when they try to tie the locations together.

#28 User is offline LastingTime 

Posted 02 October 2018 - 09:42 AM

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I enjoyed all of the advance series except for the death pits. They had great music and mips did an excellent job with the engine. Too bad they'd go on to make sonic colors and sonic rush. I liked sonic rush but it was not as good as advance.

#29 User is offline Grind Monkee 

Posted 02 October 2018 - 05:16 PM

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I loved Sonic Advance 1. All the throwbacks to the Sonic 2 Beta with the zone titles filled my teenage heart with glee shortly after discovering about it all.
Sonic Advance 3 was fine. The mixing characters mechanic was cool.

But christ, Sonic Advance 2. Hold right. Push A occasionally. Win level. Ignore special stages.

#30 User is offline HedgeHayes 

Posted 03 October 2018 - 10:02 AM

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Advance 1:
I liked this game, because it felt Sonic enough after so many years waiting for a new decent title, but it was the equivalent of adventure 1: have your last taste of the classic thing before moving entirely to the modern realm. Like the dreamcast title, it felt sort of a hybrid, as if both games were touching the same point of no return, only each one was on a different side of that point thanks to the number of dimensions they were on. bad points were that it felt short and easy save for special stages, since accessing and playing them was totally unattractive . I din't like having grinding rails either.


Advance 2:
Sometimes people says a game is forgettable, and I don't understand why, but now that I try to remember this game that in fact I owned (I lended it to my cousin and he lost it), the only things I can tell for sure are that I hated the auto-run bosses (well, I hate them in any game), and of course I outright ignored special stages if the game itself didn't appeal me. Besides that, I remember trying the new character, cream, and playing the first zone; the rest, is just gone from my head. I probably beat the game with at least one character, but nothing, I remember nothing else, but I don't think I hated it.


Advance 3:
I haven't played it, I think, except the very first act on an emulator. I didn't like it.


Bonus tracks:
I own a 2-in-1 cartridge containing Sonic Battle and Sonic Pinball Party, so...


Sonic Battle:
This game had some elements of my interest, such as having a large 3D arena to move around, the different arrangements and scenarios for more than 2 fighters... I also liked the plot despite not making very much sense finding a fists-only gamma clone and a returned chaos because of reasons. beating some enemies and training emerl was horrible, and the game overall was quite boring and I didn't felt comfortable enough with its gameplay.


Sonic Pinball Party:
Despite some illustrations, it's just a generic pinball game, and it's not very interesting to play as that either, so, I played just a couple of times and then ignored it.
This post has been edited by HedgeHayes: 03 October 2018 - 10:05 AM

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