Took the liberty of replaying the entirety of the Advance series yesterday and I gotta say, fuck Sonic Advance 3. Sonic Advance was a good game. Forgettable but it gets the job done as a Sonic game on the go. The physics are fine (not genesis perfect but close enough). The extra attack button seems to exist purely to facilitate Amy cause I never had to use it at all playing through as Sonic. The implementation of special stages as a single spring in each zone was nice but the lack of an in zone Super Sonic is a glaring drawback. The levels are all forgettable except for Egg Rocket zone which is a case of Love/Hate for me. The concept is spot on but the existence of outside areas over large deathpits doesn't work in a level where you are racing upward against a clock. I want to hurry and not die but if I do, I'll find myself launched outside by some random spring/speedbooster. As far as multiple characters are concerned, there isn't a point beyond padding the game (All emeralds collected + beating game with all characters in order to unlock Moon Zone). Tails and Knuckles could help you search for the Special Stage spring, that's it. Lastly, there is Amy....I get they were just making her consistent with her Adventure moveset but couldn't she just spin horizontally with the hammer as her jump? I mean, Espio did that back in Chaotix. Likewise, the "Giant step" doesn't produce enough momentum and can't be used in small spaces making it just suck. Her regular hammer attack both is too slow and lacks an efficient hitbox. Only her Hammer whirl consistently works (because it has the same properties the standard curl with added horizontal range). She's the worst character in the game which sucks. How the hell does a character with a Magic Hammer suck (yes it's canonically magical, see Sonic the Fighters)? Sonic Advance 2 was an odd bit of genius. Sonic is fast, meaningfully so because you have to earn it unlike later incarnations where it is just a button press away. Gotta say, it's fun but gets old after a couple levels. It's clear this wasn't designed as anything more than something to play on the go so I can forgive the shallowness. That said, the levels (except for Music Plant) are all samey. This cannot be helped as it is limiting to have this much speed without long stretches of running which drowns out the level gimmicks. Despite the levels being six times the size of the previous game (Yuji Naka interview with Prima games, 2003) they feel about the same as the previous game, things feel smaller thanks to the speed. I did enjoy the concept of having every boss fight be fought while running. Now as for the other playable characters....They might as well not exist. Much like the previous game, their abilities are wasted. Even moreso now that chaos emeralds aren't shared amongst the cast (there are unlockables...which all suck). Only one that shows some use is Cream against boss fights, everyone else might as well be a Sonic recolor. Speaking of special stages, who in the nine hells thought it was a good idea to have the player collect seven emblems in levels where exploration is near impossible? Your only option is consistently replaying the level and memorizing the paths where the emblems are which is just not fun. This is made worse with said emblems having to be gotten in one perfect run, you die, you lose the emblems. Why make getting the non-rewards so bloody hard. Speaking of which... Amy Rose, the "bonus character". I still have the manual for Sonic Advance 2 and in it, it tells you Amy is a "bonus character" that must be unlocked. WHY? Every character must be unlocked but it goes out of the way to tell you Amy is something special when she is just a Sonic recolor with panty shots (because her Advance 1 moveset has been abandoned). Why is Amy gated like she's Super Sonic or something? I know I'm complaining a lot but there is legitimately something special here. Boost Mode has some serious speedrunning potential not to mention that having more rings makes it easier to activate (you get more forward momentum with more rings, other than that the physics are the same as Advance 1). The trick system does wonders for quick moments with branching paths and has saved my ass more than once aside from just being well, fun. It's short shallow fun, just don't binge and you'll have a good time. Sonic Advance 3....Fuck this game. Just right up the ass with a 2 in. x 10 ft. Galvanized Steel Pipe This game was released in 2004. Shadow the hedgehog was released in 2005. 2006....Yuji Naka clearly stopped giving a shit around this time. Where do I fucking begin? The physics suck. They've increased the forward momentum in an attempt to make Sonic even faster without thinking that maybe the controls would suffer. Jumping is now janky and Sonic is as slippery as a fish. Furthermore, this affects his collisions meaning slopes and the like react unnaturally. Boost mode is completely useless as a result. The levels suck. They took inspiration from Knuckles Chaotix and its labyrinthine level design and failed. The levels are so poor that they have to put arrows every so often to guide the player because there is no method to the madness. And I haven't even talked about the death pits, poor platforming over said deathpits, and nonsensical enemy placement where enemies hit you once knocking you into a deathpit. I may be wrong but I don't think Knuckles Chaotix had any deadpits. None at all. The teams suck. Who wants to play as Sonic without his spin jump? How bout a Tails that can't fly. You know what would be better? Being able to just switch between two characters with all of their abilities. You don't even need any of the other teams because Sonic and Tails with the weird leapfrog super jump covers most situations. The running animations are fucked. I don't even know how they messed this up. Animation varying based on speed is a staple of Sonic games and was perfectly implemented in Sonic Advance 2 so what the fuck happened? Getting into special stages sucks. Collect seven chaos in the levels then find the key needed to unlock a secret spring in the hub....What happened to collecting 50 rings and jumping into a giant ring? Why is this so convoluted? The boss fights are ass. One of them is just Robotnik in a giant slow wheel....What even is this? I have nothing good to say about this game. Not a damn thing.