Reviewing Sonic Pocket Adventure

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Sparks, Sep 6, 2009.

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  1. Sparks

    Sparks

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    Sonic Pocket Adventure

    [​IMG]

    So recently, I pulled out the Neo Geo Pocket emulator to play Sonic Pocket Adventure again after many years, and to help study it for my own fan game.

    Most people just think of this as another installment of the 8-bit* Sonic games, it actually plays differently than the Game Gear games. To simply speak, it feels like some sort of amazing hybrid between Sonic 1, 2, 3K and CD.

    *A lot of technical people will probably correct me by saying it's not 8-bit, but I find it easier to say what the general public would call it.

    Starting up
    Basically Sonic Pocket Adventure starts off with the menu that seems more familiar in games like Sonic Advance (even though this preceeds that game). The game even saves your progress, much like Sonic 3. Most things here we're all familiar with in modern Sonic games, but seem to of pioneered from this game. Not much to discuss.


    Playing
    This game if anything, is a shrunken down version of Sonic 2, right down to a well duplicated 360 engine. Abilities are right from Sonic 2, as are the zones, for the most part. Neo South Island and Gigantic Angel however, are from Sonic 1; taking the Green Hill and Scrap Brain look. The rest of the levels are right from Sonic 2, but rather than just remaking the levels, the entire levels seemed to be redesigned with gimmicks from other games (Gigantic Angel sporting Metropolis Zone gimmicks). This seems to give the game a fresh new feel, along with brand new bosses in a Sonic 2 manner.

    The game, like any Sonic game, has Special Stages. Oddly though you get them in a Sonic 1 fashion (Get to the end with 50 rings), but played like Sonic 2 (Half pipe). This time around, like Sonic 1, there's only 6 Emeralds to get. The Seventh being stolen from Knuckles by Eggman. Get all 6, get the 7th from the Final Boss and you get the Super Sonic fight, which somewhat resembles Doomsday Zone.

    Listening
    All the music is from Sonic 3K, sans the Sonic Worlds theme and a remixed Special Stage theme. Some themes however, which would seem to be unfit to the level usually, are remixed to fit in (Mushroom Hill 1 given a water remix for Aquatic Relix) their given zone, or just changed somewhat to sound a bit fresher. Overall, the music is very impressive. The sound effects are given the same case, when compared to the Game Gear games at least.

    Replay Value
    The game at first seems like a normal "run through the zones" Sonic game, but theres a gimmick that turns this game into hell for the player; the Puzzle Pieces. In the game, there's puzzle pieces hidden in clever places that very often require major backtracking to get to one. Sometimes even, they can be seen just out of view as if teasing the player, then being hard to get in the most annoying ways possible. In fact, if you bother to go for the puzzle pieces, a bright idea is to turn off the time limit. Get the pieces and then go to the Puzzle Room to put your puzzles together. Yes I just said puzzles; there's six of them to put together, and not one piece is found in the game in a full chronological order.

    If you put a puzzle together, you get a colored picture of the puzzle, which is a picture of whatever character. Finish three and you unlock the sound test, which includes an animated DJ Sonic. Finish all six of the puzzles and you get the Special Stage Attack (because apparently they think we never get enough of them).

    Things that Make SPA Lose Points
    As mentioned before, this game duplicates the Sonic 2 engine mostly. However, one thing that is annoying is that Sonic tends to slip a lot, as if he were walking on ice. To top this off too, a lot of zones use platforms as gimmicks, which are very often small platforms where one screw up can mean not being able to go back, having to backtrack, or death. Another disadvantage of Pocket is not the game itself, but the Neo Geo Pocket. The screen size, like the Game Gear is at a whopping 160x144. Unless you're used to small screen sizes like the Game Gear, it might take time to get used to this. Have fun getting used to actually using the up and down buttons to see where you might be going while looking for puzzle pieces.

    Conclusion
    I think this is a very underrated game, and I'm surprised it gets such little recognition. It basically does what Sonic Advance should have done, and takes its preceding games, and somehow makes a fresh new feel by using nothing more than recycled ideas. A Neo Geo Pocket Color emulator, and Sonic Pocket Adventure ROM are both easy to get. I'd suggest anyone to grab them and check out this game if you haven't. It's definitely, in my opinion at least, the last "classic" Sonic game we had.
     
  2. OSM

    OSM

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    I've never owned a Neo Geo Pocket and I've always wanted to play this game, I've heard great things about it. I do agree it is very underrated, one of the last good 2d Sonic games from what I've heard.

    The only downside I can think about for this game is the Sky Sanctuary's BGM being used for the Final Boss. :psyduck:
     
  3. Tweaker

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    I always loved this game! I'd seen websites that documented and described it online for years when I was about 13 or so, and I was just totally enthralled by what it contained and how cool it sounded. After months of hint-dropping and pleading with my aunt, I got a Neo Geo Pocket Color and a copy of this game in 2003, which I promptly spent every waking moment playing as much as humanly possible.

    The levels were like poor-man's versions of Sonic 2, but I didn't care—I enjoyed playing it, with its the 8-bit renditions of classic Sonic tunes (plus a few I'd never heard before), updated level design and rich, simplistic renditions of Sonic 2—and, by extension, Sonic 1—levels used in a fresh and innovative way. The animation was smooth and pretty impressive for a handheld system at the time of its conception (I didn't have a GBA at the time), and as such it was able to handle a Sonic game pretty faithfully without too much trouble, unlike its other 8-bit predecessors; which, while enjoyable, couldn't quite cut it as well as SNK's handheld managed to.

    The puzzle piece system and subsequent plethora of unlockables from collecting them added onto the replay value of the game by months. After the rather short period of time it took me to beat the main game, I would spend every single day, hours a day, just scouring the levels for these puzzle pieces! In most cases they were hidden extremely well—in hard-to-reach areas, below hidden platforms or inside walls, above the screen where you can't see them well... no matter how much I searched, I always ended up finding a wild new path and a new couple of puzzle pieces I hadn't collected before. Before my copy of the game got stolen, I finished all but two of the puzzles; I never did get to finish them all.

    Also an increasing challenge were the very slick renditions of Sonic 2's special stages! Somewhat easier to control and subsequently easier to complete (but still no walk in the park), I spent at least three months trying to get all the emeralds in this game. Not only does it take a bit to get 50 rings by the end of a Zone later in the game, but the sheer number of times you had to re-trek through the level that same way with all the required rings because you kept dying was even worse! I can't tell you how many times I went through Sky Chase and the final level before I eventually got the last two emeralds! Once I did, though, I was thrilled with my reward—a new, rather unique take on the Doomsday experience, including a badass looking rendition of Super Sonic in 8-bit form inspired by Sonic 3 and a PSG rendition of Sky Sanctuary Zone, which believe it or not fit extremely well.

    Upon beating the boss and watching the final ending—complete with animated sequences and very pretty new art—I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment; this was a challenge that I truly felt paid off—with a great experience to boot! I continued to replay all of the zones again and again as long as I had the game. I was only 13 and no doubt easily impressionable, but shit—I know a good game when I see it, and there is no doubt in my mind that Sonic Pocket Adventure was a fantastic game.

    So... yeah—Sonic Pocket Adventure was great! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's even somewhat interested in it. You won't be disappointed. ;)
     
  4. corneliab

    corneliab

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    ...underrated? If anything, it's overrated.

    Now, I enjoy the game and have very fond memories of it (it was my first 2D Sonic and the NGPC was my first handheld system), but the whole thing's just rather, I don't know, blah. It's really just a watered-down version of Sonic 2 with different layouts, fewer zones, and scaled-down music (largely from S3&K). Puzzle pieces are neat, though.

    It's pretty common that I'll hear someone call the game "the last good 2D Sonic" or any such bull, despite it seeming pretty obvious that the Advance and Rush titles are far more ambitious and less derivative.
     
  5. Sik

    Sik

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    <!--quoteo(post=347476:date=Sep 6 2009, 03:38 AM:name=corneliab)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (corneliab @ Sep 6 2009, 03:38 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347476">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->It's pretty common that I'll hear someone call the game "the last good 2D Sonic" or any such bull, despite it seeming pretty obvious that the Advance and Rush titles are far more ambitious and less derivative.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->More like the last old-school Sonic game. Advance started the transition into the new age and the Rush series simply aren't even remotely similar to the old-school games at all.
     
  6. Phos

    Phos

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    Advance 1 was pretty good but the levels were lacking recognizable "landmarks", making it hard to tell where you were in a level, and later on, which way you should be going. Advance 2 was shit, plain and simple. Advance 3 wasn't as bad as 2, but was a tad scatter brained. The two Rush games are rather shallow, with no genuine difficulty, but a load of fake difficulty.

    Or to put it more simply:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Uberham

    Uberham

    King Of Oblivion Member
    You missed the special stages poor draw distance means you have to memorise all 6 stages to get the emeralds, you could wing it for the most part on S2 and do ok, not here.
     
  8. Mercury

    Mercury

    His Name Is Sonic Tech Member
    SPA is very nearly perfect. Sonic's sprites are adorable, better than any of the Game Gear ones, and the bosses are better than anything in the Advances.

    The most awesome part of it though is the level layouts. They are ingenious, and hark back to the days when Hirokazu Yasuhara worked his magic. It is the last Sonic game to feel like a Sonic game when you're playing it - and not just like a sidescroller with Sonic as a character in it.

    Unfortunately, this fantastic aspect of the game is almost completely overshadowed by the fact that all of the graphics and music are borrowed from previous Sonic games. This causes a lot of folks to dismiss the game as some sort of watered down remake. When it is said that the levels are "just from Sonic 1 and 2, but with different layouts", it totally passes over the fact that the different layouts are really fun and worth playing.

    I wonder sometimes if the team had just composed new music and tweaked the tilesets to be more original, if we wouldn't have the Sonic 5 of which we've always dreamed. On the other hand, you can look at SPA like a love letter to classic Sonic - a trip down memory lane for us old folks who grew up on Sonic 2. In addition to playing a fun Sonic game, you can play an additional game of "spot the gimmick", or "spot the BGM".

    So in the end, I don't think I'd change SPA at all, to make it more original. It's great at being what it is, and that's a little packet of Sonic goodness that brings a smile to a player's face. Sometimes you don't need a new character, a new zone, or a new music. Sometimes being fun is enough. (Somehow I find myself thinking of Megamix...) This is something Sega should remember.

    If there was one thing I'd change, though, it'd be the fugly intro/menu art. For a game that plays like a classic, the stretchy Sonic Adventure style is really jarring and inappropriate.
     
  9. Skyler

    Skyler

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    I first play SPA earlier this year on an emulator, and it's quite fun. It may not exactly be "Sonic 4," but it's a neat title in its own right. Maybe you could consider it as a taste of all the originals put together. Although, I hate the fight with Knuckles. :argh:
     
  10. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    <!--quoteo(post=347480:date=Sep 6 2009, 02:33 AM:name=Phos)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Phos @ Sep 6 2009, 02:33 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347480">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Advance 1 was pretty good but the levels were lacking recognizable "landmarks", making it hard to tell where you were in a level, and later on, which way you should be going. Advance 2 was shit, plain and simple. Advance 3 wasn't as bad as 2, but was a tad scatter brained. The two Rush games are rather shallow, with no genuine difficulty, but a load of fake difficulty.

    Or to put it more simply:
    *picture*<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    You do recognize this was about Pocket Adventure and not Advance, right? =P

    Anyways, Pocket Adventure is awesome. I've played it for hours and hours just to see how many levels there were I could remember from Sonic 1 or Sonic 2. Sadly, Sonic 2 wins it over; the reason why it's sad was because I wanted to see some Starlight action.

    But still, fantastic game. Little laggy though. (excusable; it was for the NGPC)

    <!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->If there was one thing I'd change, though, it'd be the fugly intro/menu art. For a game that plays like a classic, the stretchy Sonic Adventure style is really jarring and inappropriate.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    But I like the SA artwork ;_;
     
  11. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    <!--quoteo(post=347488:date=Sep 6 2009, 09:17 AM:name=Mercury)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Mercury @ Sep 6 2009, 09:17 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347488">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->The most awesome part of it though is the level layouts. They are ingenious, and hark back to the days when Hirokazu Yasuhara worked his magic. It is the last Sonic game to feel like a Sonic game when you're playing it - and not just like a sidescroller with Sonic as a character in it.

    Unfortunately, this fantastic aspect of the game is almost completely overshadowed by the fact that all of the graphics and music are borrowed from previous Sonic games. This causes a lot of folks to dismiss the game as some sort of watered down remake. When it is said that the levels are "just from Sonic 1 and 2, but with different layouts", it totally passes over the fact that the different layouts are really fun and worth playing.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    This, this and precisely this.

    I found the layouts to be some of the most excellently-designed in all 2D Sonic games, and anybody else who's tried to get Platinum ranks on all stages in Time Attack will be able to agree with me that there's a lot of depth in every little nuance of these layouts.

    In fact, I rate this game (despite it's odd physics in places, mainly re: jumping and bouncing off enemies/itemboxes and the overzealous crushing routine) slightly higher than Sonic 2 itself on the strength of this.
     
  12. Metal-Geo

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    Aaaah... Sonic Pocket Adventure sure gave me plenty of good times. I remember spending around 50 euros the day a local gamestore got it imported. The puzzle pieces kept me occupied for weeks.

    Oh man, the analog stick of the NeoGeo Pocket (Color) is still my favorite directional input for a handheld. Despite some saying the 'clicking' is annoying, an analog stick never felt so right. <3

    You know what? I'm gonna grab my NGPC and play some Sonic and Metal Slug right now.
     
  13. muteKi

    muteKi

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    It's okay, but I don't like it as much as some people here do, I guess.

    I played it once a long time ago via an emulator and mostly enjoyed it, certainly, but going back to play it, I see two things, really.

    One is that for example the first two levels are pretty much cut and paste out of Sonic 2 with only a little added here and there. Not unreasonable; Ristar for the Game Gear did that a few times too. However, the bits that aren't from Sonic 2 directly are a bit irritating, and I totally feel the style of Dimps in it. I don't like that second stage very much at all.

    In addition, the physics felt a little awkward; for some reason this sort of handling felt a bit more appropriate in the GG/SMS titles, but a bit wrong here. I don't know why I thought that, though.
     
  14. Bibin

    Bibin

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    SPA's been my favorite non-genesis sonic game for a while, with Sonic 1 and 2 for SMS following behind (the rest are a bit odd in terms of physics). I got a NGPC emulator on my PSP and just played that mostly, it was excellent.

    Did any of you ever notice also that the NGPC's port of Pac-Man is the most accurate home port ever created? Why the NGPC? It's perfect down to every last bug in the engine!
     
  15. Jayextee

    Jayextee

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    <!--quoteo(post=347554:date=Sep 6 2009, 04:13 PM:name=Metal-Geo)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Metal-Geo @ Sep 6 2009, 04:13 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347554">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->analog stick of the NeoGeo Pocket (Color)<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    That's digital, dude. The clicking you hear is microswitches; four of them.
     
  16. Phos

    Phos

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    <!--quoteo(post=347521:date=Sep 6 2009, 08:05 AM:name=Azukara)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Azukara @ Sep 6 2009, 08:05 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347521">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec--><!--quoteo(post=347480:date=Sep 6 2009, 02:33 AM:name=Phos)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Phos @ Sep 6 2009, 02:33 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347480">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Advance 1 was pretty good but the levels were lacking recognizable "landmarks", making it hard to tell where you were in a level, and later on, which way you should be going. Advance 2 was shit, plain and simple. Advance 3 wasn't as bad as 2, but was a tad scatter brained. The two Rush games are rather shallow, with no genuine difficulty, but a load of fake difficulty.

    Or to put it more simply:
    *picture*<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    You do recognize this was about Pocket Adventure and not Advance, right? =P<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    I was responding to corneliab's post. Probably should have quoted.

    Anyway, I really love this game. Secret Plant's boss is a contender for best is the series.
    <!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec--><!--quoteo--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->If there was one thing I'd change, though, it'd be the fugly intro/menu art. For a game that plays like a classic, the stretchy Sonic Adventure style is really jarring and inappropriate.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    But I like the SA artwork ;_;
    <!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
    Not a big fan of it. It's kind of all over the place, but in SPA, it makes him look like he's made out of marshmallow.
     
  17. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    It was sort of innapropriate to put the Adventure artstyle in a Genesis-styled game, but I'm sure that was only for cashing in on the Sonic Adventure hype that was around at the time of release.

    I love the SA1 art, I just didn't like it when they got <a href="http://www.captainwilliams.co.uk/sonic/sonic128bit/adventure/images/sonicadtrans.jpg" target="_blank">so bendy and "extreme" they lost control of Sonic and co.'s proportions.</a>
     
  18. corneliab

    corneliab

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    <!--quoteo(post=347480:date=Sep 6 2009, 12:33 AM:name=Phos)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Phos @ Sep 6 2009, 12:33 AM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347480">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Or to put it more simply:
    [​IMG]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

    Whoever made that chart is a bonafide idiot.
     
  19. Sik

    Sik

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    <!--quoteo(post=347736:date=Sep 6 2009, 06:51 PM:name=Azukara)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Azukara @ Sep 6 2009, 06:51 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=347736">[​IMG]</a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->It was sort of innapropriate to put the Adventure artstyle in a Genesis-styled game, but I'm sure that was only for cashing in on the Sonic Adventure hype that was around at the time of release.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Actually, I doubt I'd be wrong by thinking that the game was started before the Adventure style was set and finished after it was, which explains why there's an art style clash - it started as old-school Sonic and ended as new-school Sonic. Maybe it's because of this very same reason why it plays like an old-school game despite being already in the sixth generation time.
     
  20. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Yeah, it makes proper sense if you think about it. But I still think it was partially because they were trying to cash in on SA1 Mania.
     
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