Bashing Sonic Advance 2

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by BSonirachi, Aug 6, 2020.

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  1. BSonirachi

    BSonirachi

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    Yeah, I personally find these "Bashing/Complimenting" threads kind of annoying for flooding GSD and getting in the way of other discussions, but I'm also making this because of the support I'm seeing Sonic Advance 2 get more than Advance 1 or 3 in a recent charity event on Twitch, and I felt I wanted to get things off my chest, so I'm a hypocrite in that sense by making this thread.

    Anyway, I really don't like Sonic Advance 2 and find it to be one of the most overrated Sonic games ever, not to say people are wrong for liking it (people are free to like whatever they like at the end of the day and I respect that), just that I don't understand what other people see in it to hold it to such high degree. Say what you will about Sonic Advance 3, and even I can agree that game has problems as much as I liked it, but I feel like people are overlooking the problems of Advance 2, with some of these people even saying it has almost no problems compared to Advance 3, and that bothers me. There's a lot for me to say, so I'm breaking each paragraph up into bullet points:
    • Advance 3 has been slammed by fans for bad level design, but personally, I feel Advance 2 shares Advance 3's design problems (unfair Badnik, spike and pit placements, perhaps more pits than 3) on top of the larger emphasis on speed suffering more by the GBA's screen crunch, meaning you're more likely to hit an enemy you had no time to react to. On top of that, every level is structured very samely with repeated obstacles and rails, so familiarity of the layouts is harder to achieve, and there is less substance in gameplay than the other two Advance games. What you have is level design which not only has unfair obstacles that Advance 3 had emphasised, but lacking in substance. Once you get to Sky Canyon, everything becomes miserable.
    • As far as level themes go, most of them feel very generic, with the only exceptions being Music Plant (plus points for the Ristar inspirations) and Techno Base (as cyberspace levels are very rare in the series), particularly in comparison to the other two games having more detailed-looking backgrounds, and Advance 3 shaking up the level theme order.
    • Characters feel kind of dialled back in terms of abilities and uniqueness. While Tails and Knuckles still have their signature moves of flying and gliding/climbing, there is less incentive to using these moves due to the game's design. Cream is the notable exception, as she has a moveset that allows her to "Cheese" a lot of the game.
    • The bosses are terrible. Almost all of them have you always running with Eggman getting away in a vehicle. While some of them are creative, you have to build up speed to get close enough to attack, and combined with sluggish acceleration and that you have to find a good window to attack results in very tedious boss fights when playing as anyone who isn't Cream. Need I say more about the Egg Saucer and its inconsistently instant-KO hand?
    • The process of getting the Chaos Emeralds across all three Sonic Advance games is bad, but Advance 2's is the worst. To get to the Special Stage, you have to collect all seven Special Rings in a single life, which means you're essentially forced to follow a specific path to get them all and thus discouraging variety in what paths to take to get to the goal, and on top of that, you have to remember so many of their locations. Combine this with the game wanting you to go as fast as possible at the same time, and you are very likely to miss these rings. Then, you have to do them all on each Zone with every character in the game, and that is absolute tedium. Collecting the Chao in Advance 3 wasn't a good time either, but at least with them they are permanent collectables and are shared with every character.
    • The unlockables are not really worth the time spent going after the Chaos Emeralds for, especially considering three of them were features available from the beginning in Advance 1. Amy's unique gameplay traits were discarded in order to make her a mere clone of Sonic, plus there is no additional reward for getting all the Chaos Emeralds with her and therefore no reason to do so, thereby making her the weakest character by logic.
    Despite all the problems I have gone on about, there are a few good qualities about it, as the sprite work is as great as the other Advance games, and it has more memorable songs than Advance 1 in spite of the GBA's weak sound chip. Sonic Rush and its sequels followed this game's example of making you go fast all the time, and though they too have level design issues of their own I feel they executed the ideas seen in Advance 2 a whole lot better than Advance 2 did. As a whole though, all the negatives I have outweigh the positives, and with Advance 3 having more things I like about it than what I don't like, Advance 2 is the worst of the Advance trilogy for me. If anything, I'd prefer to go to Advance 1, or even Advance 3.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  2. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    I dind't know there was enough complimenting of Advance 2 out there to need a bashing thread, but I have already referenced this game in other bashing/complimenting threads to shit on it. The best way to bash Sonic Advance 2 is just saying it's Sonic Advance 2; that should be enough for anyone that played it to understand. I like they created Cream, though; but they ruined her by adding a chao companion (they ruined a lot of things by adding chao to them).
     
  3. The special stages are a paaaaaaaaiiiiiiiin to get to with every character besides Cream. And you're moving way too fast a lot of the time, so a lot of the level design seems same-y.

    Otherwise I like it. Not fantastic by any means (and the weakest of the Advance trilogy if you ask me), but it's still an enjoyable romp. It sort of reminds me of SA2's Sonic/Shadow levels, but in 2D.
     
  4. Overlord

    Overlord

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    A diagram of a typical Sonic Advance 2 level: \

    On a less meme-y note (though it's still true): the special stages are impossible to get to (I managed to ONCE, on the first level, with a guide from GameFAQs. I then promptly died. Never again. At least in 3 you only have to find each Chao once ever, not all in a row every fucking attempt), Sky Canyon Zone in general can get in the fucking sea, and Sonic Advance 2 is the game that gave us the infamous Bitch Slap Of Death, a Sonic boss that can instantly kill you in a single hit even if you have rings.

    1 and 3 are far better games.
     
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  5. E-122-Psi

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    I don't mind the Chao mechanic, it was something to make her gameplay distinctive, the bigger problem is that the gameplay design doesn't really lend to balancing out her big strengths with flaws. She can 'Cheese' pretty much every boss with little sense of strategy due to how they're approached, and nothing is really designed to repel the attack in any way and make it a bit more challenging.

    I feel like they should have approached Cream's other abilities differently. The ears for flying was a fun characteristic but I feel it should have at least played differently from Tails, and while there are more limitations with her's to balance it, the faster less platform focused gameplay makes them far less of a hinderance. Outside of brief water sections, she's pretty much Tails but better (considering Tails was already the 'easy mode' of the game).

    Maybe Cream should have lacked spin moves like Amy in the first Advance (a shame Amy's gameplay was dumbed down too), that would have balanced her big advantage and demanded more intuition from the players.


    And I agree with nearly everyone else's key complaint. Getting the special stage keys is ASS. Hiding seven keys in an incredibly fast paced level (often with one way routes) is just not a favourable gimmick at all. The special stages themselves are okay (I love the ZERO cameo) but it's hard to enjoy them knowing the high stipulations you need to go through all over again if you don't win this time round.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  6. Sid Starkiller

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    Pretty much what Overlord said. I was stubborn enough to get all the Emeralds with every character (with a guide, obvs) and yeah, those Special Stages can get fucked. Not just getting to them, either, they play like ass. And why do you need to get them for all the characters? Why couldn't the Tiny Chao Garden and sound test be there from the start like in Advance 1? Why couldn't Amy just be unlocked with Super Sonic after getting the Emeralds once?

    Why is every boss except one a running boss? Having 1 (or for a 10+ zone game, 2) works as a change of pace to avoid monotony, but not all of them! And most of them were really tedious. You know how people complain about Mania's boss taking forever to expose their weak points? Advance 2 does it for most of its bosses as well.

    Sky Canyon is proof that there is no God. Half the time you can barely tell where you're going, and all of a sudden R Tricks are vital to progression, sometimes even just to avoid bottomless pits! The only clue is an arrow of rings that you have a fraction of a second to react to. They're QTEs in all but name. And I can't be the only one who thought the game was repeatedly glitching on me when the Bitch Slap of Doom reared its ugly head.

    And there was far too much focus on speed to the detriment of all other gameplay. Some people say Advance 3 made it worse, but I personally thought 3 toned down the worse excesses of 2, bringing it back around to actually being fun again.

    So yeah, liked 1, loved 3, but Sonic Advance 2 fucking SUCKS.
     
  7. Josh

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    I agree this thread is an easy match for the popular consensus of Advance 2, but that's exactly why it's different. This is more "let's vent about this awful game," and less, "let's nitpick the games we like or find the good parts of the games we usually vent about."

    I bet some of you remember this image that made the rounds back in the mid-2000s:

    [​IMG]

    Anyway. Far and away the biggest flaw in Advance 2 is the level design. Nobody minds if I quote myself, right?
    ---
    Advance 2 isn’t trying to be fast in the way the Genesis classics were fast. In fact, this game is no longer trying to recreate Sonic’s old-school design principles at ALL. Instead, it wants to replicate Sonic Adventure 2’s speed stages, in a sidescroller. And… the issue there REALLY should have been more obvious.

    The reason SA2 could be a game about speed was BECAUSE IT WAS IN 3D. From this perspective, the player can see ahead into the distance, and Sonic’s superpower can be so much more breathtaking. So it made sense to refocus the game around spectacle platforming, which would be realized through skillful, snappy reactions through mostly-linear layouts.

    However, this is important: There is no technical reason the 16-bit series couldn’t have been designed this way. The Genesis was more than capable of a 2D spectacle platformer. So let’s answer a question that, apparently, nobody involved in Sonic Advance 2’s development ever asked: If the Genesis games COULD have been faster, speedier, and more spectacular... why weren't they?

    The camera’s perspective is limited in a side-scroller. The stage layouts had to be carefully designed so that most of the time, momentum was something that a player cultivated and maintained through their own skill. You didn’t just go fast for the sake of it, you used Sonic’s abilities in tandem with the physics and terrain to weave the character through the geometry of a zone. Speed for speed’s sake would be completely missing the point. It could not be something that was just handed to you.

    Because if it hypothetically WAS something that the game constantly GAVE you, if every single level was filled with boosters that rocketed you into top speed, if the whole goal of 2D Sonic was to make the player just “FEEL LIKE SONIC” instead of pushing them to be good AT Sonic…

    Then unless the developers were extremely careful, they might wind up with a game where the speedy spectacle would wear out its welcome through constant repetition, where the only way to present a challenge would be obstacles the player couldn’t have time to react to. They might make a game where every single level, regardless of what it looked like, would FEEL like a race track suspended over a bottomless pit.
     
  8. MainMemory

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    I thought I was the only person who liked Advance 2. All I ever hear about it is Sky Canyon SP Rings hold right to win.
     
  9. Starduster

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    Thought this was Adventure 2 for a second and now I'm rather disappointed. Alas, I can only echo the previous complaints of SP Rings being complete dick and breaking the flow of the level design and what makes this game fun and unique unless you're Kirbymastah. Also the game has a few gotcha moments in the level design, but otherwise it remains a brilliant romp that offers a fun twist on Sonic gameplay without reinventing the wheel. Also the art and OST in this game just ooze style and that freerunning/parkour philosophy the level design presents, especially with the trick system.

    Oh dear, I'm meant to be bashing the game, aren't I?
     
  10. kyasarintsu

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    I have no qualms with a game like this wanting to be a mindless thrill ride or simple breezy platformer. What I don't like is that it is that the experience is really uneven, with plenty of frustrating moments.
     
  11. Oh, something of a bash: this is the first 2D Sonic game to give Sonic the homing attack. Not really a problem in Advance 2, but we all know what direction that would lead Dimps in...
     
  12. SystemsReady

    SystemsReady

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    Unlike some responses in here, I think 3 is even cheaper than 2 is, and 2 at least has the benefit of feeling hectic.

    But I hate the fact that the level design is completely at odds with how to get to the special stages. Hell, maybe there shouldn't be special stages, simply getting to the end with the seven rings would get you the emerald, but no, you have an extremely difficult method to get to extremely difficult special stages to get chaos emeralds to...wait why is the chao garden locked behind this
     
  13. Crasher

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    I disagree - while the other level's base themes aren't very unique outside of the two mentioned (green hill, lava, ice, air, eggman base), the most of the actual level aesthetics and themes are all unique compared to previous Sonic games and other platformers. Hot Crater is a factory set in a volcano crater. Ice Paradise is set in an iced-over city. Sky Canyon is... well, I'm not sure what to describe it. It's like a windmill powerplant in a canyon. Egg Utopia is a weird mix of earlier final zones. They may all draw from some typical platformer tropes/Sonic tropes, but with a unique twist. The only exception is Leaf Forest - but even that's different from previous first Sonic levels, as it's more, well, forest-like than other "first levels with hills" in the franchise, but is generic in most platformers. Compare that to Sonic Advance 1, which is basically just rehashes of previous Sonic levels aside from two zones (Secret Base and Egg Rocket). Out of seven.

    Actually being on topic, I dislike how samey the level design feels after a while. I personally enjoy Sonic Advance 2 (I think it's a decent game once you get over the fact it's more like a rougher version of Rush, or a 2D Adventure 2 centered around the speed stages), but each level has this general feel of always going downhill. What makes it worse is the medals, which seem like they'd be better fit in Sonic CD. I can see what they were going for - you're encouraged to go through stages as fast as possible. The medals are there to make you map out a route through the stage so you can gather them all. The game design encourages you to go fast through each level, so you're rewarded when you can get all of the medals in a stage without breaking from the flow. The issue is that the GBA screen is far too small, to the extent that it's incredibly frustrating to see the level (especially since it's such a fast game), and the stages themselves aren't exactly well defined in terms of where you are in the stage (which isn't made any better through the GBA screen).

    It's basically a speed-running challenge. It's not for everyone - not everyone likes the idea of needing to map out a route through a stage. Personally, I like the idea, but I feel like the execution was poor due to constraints of the system itself.
     
  14. I've been playing Advance 2 with aim to actually beat it because of this thread. I'll give a more detailed analysis at our Beaten in 2020 thread, but I'll give you two major issues I have right here. It's definitely not as good as I remember:
    1. Sonic has so many unnecessary abilities in the game. The only ones I find useful are the spin and jump dashes and those air maneuvers from going off springs. You never have to use the bounce, the insta-shield does very little outside bosses, you need to be EXTREMELY close to enemies to perform the homing attack (and it stops your momentum), and that weird kick move is (A) useless and (B) completely breaks the pace.
    2. You know how Forces is (justly) criticized for needlessly simplifying the boost formula? Well, I think this is pretty close to what you'd get if you needlessly simplified the classic formula. You're just holding right and occasionally jumping three-fourths of the time. It's definitely not as bad as Forces given the classic formula is stronger than the boost, but it's not all that great either.
    I'm not saying Advance 2 is bad - it's still a fine game, it looks great visually, and there's plenty of spectacle and replay value - but it's got quite the blemishes.
     
  15. Palas

    Palas

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    ???????? Sonic Advance 2 is absolutely horrible and the worst 2D Sonic game???????? why would we need a bashing thread for it???????
     
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  16. Funny way of spelling "Sonic the Hedgehog 4" :V
     
  17. Zephyr

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    I have a lot of nostalgia for Advance 2. Every time I go back to it, though, the pits quickly have me angrily putting the game down.

    I think Cream's a good mechanical addition, with Cheese feeling like a retooled "Super Tails" flicky. In that sense, though, she should have been the unlockable character, since she's like Ultra Easy Mode.
     
  18. E-122-Psi

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    I feel like it might have been more balanced if they increased Cream's actual vulnerability to make up for Cheese being able to destroy at whim. That or made Cheese's target radius more limited or have things able to hurt or KO him if not timed well.

    Cream's only downsides are compared to Tails, who himself is the easy mode, not in terms of base Sonic mechanics., and even then said downsides are trivialised by how fast paced the gameplay is (sure you can't swim, but it's often easier to just RUN through the water now anyway). Sure using Cheese cancels out rolling and flying, but even THAT has advantages since it means she can pick up momentum quicker.
     
  19. Sid Starkiller

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    Why the hell would Ultra Easy Mode be unlockable? Generally the point of such a mode is for the really little kids who can't win normally.
     
  20. Thunder Bro

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    Cream technically was unlockable, although you only needed to beat the first zone.
     
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