So, with the release of Sonic 4 recently, I've noticed a lot of looking back at Dimps' Game Boy Advance games. I'm kinda glad for this, as I have fond memories with Advance 1, so they seemed worthy of their own discussion.
Thoughts on Advance 1:
It wasn't the best 2D.5 game ever, but I have to rank it above Sonic 1. The Zones were really enjoyably, not "super duper fast," plenty of platforming, and to add, a very basic but fun cast of characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Eggman). It even had a "Mecha Knuckles" fight, which was a nice touch IMO. Playing it again recently, I felt the engine was.. actually pretty solid. I give it a 9/10.
Thoughts on Advance 2:
This was a drastic leap from Advance 1, and pretty much began setting the stage for what we notoriously criticize Dimps for today. The whole game was about memorizing paths and making the right action (usually by button combo abilities) at the right time, which in later levels became almost annoyingly mandatory for some sections. Also littered with hold right to win (or left in rare cases). However, I found the boss fights unique, fun, and yet challenging at the same time. They, as well as the usual enjoyable soundtrack, to me save the game from a low rating, so I say 7/10. Close to 6 though.
Thoughts on Advance 3:
Advance 1 was classic. Advance 2 was a leap. Advance 3 is an oddball. Replayed this recently as well, and the level layouts in Route 99 heavily reminded me of Splash Hill Zone, right down to quarter ramps going down into wall springs semi-commonly (if that's a word). It also felt and played a lot like Advance 2, this time around though player abilities depended on what character combos you had. A neat feature as it could lead to a lot of shortcuts. To me the level design wasn't bad, but nothing special either. I never found myself dieing in this game a lot, thankfully. Some stupid cheap shots though. Once again boss fights and music were a good highlight. Advance 3 offers one of the longest exploits to getting the Chaos Emeralds though. I give it a 7/10. Almost a 6/10 simply because of the Twinkle Snow boss though. That thing was the Devil without Cream.. who you don't get til the Zone after.
I think I missed out a lot of points, but this is definitely seems to be a topic gaining interest lately.