Review - Sonic Advance 3 (GBA)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Fellow, Jul 8, 2008.

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  1. Fellow

    Fellow GBAtemp Fan

    Feb 24, 2008
    United States

    Published by: SEGA
    Developed by: Dimps
    Genre: Platformer
    Number of Players: 1
    Release Date:
    US: May 25, 2004
    Japan: June 17, 2004
    Emulators: Visual Boy Advance

    Sonic Advance 3 is the third installment to the popular Sonic Advance franchise. Sonic Advance is a Sonic the Hedgehog themed platformer that is exclusive to the Game Boy Advance hand held system, hence the Advance in the name of the game. The main story involves Dr. Egg man trying to obtain the Master Emerald, and through every boss fight, he uses a particular robot to help power the various machines that he uses. In this game, you can unlock additional characters by defeating certain bosses. Each character has their own attacks and special moves. In Sonic Advance 3, a new system has been introduced. In this game, you are able to play each stage with two characters, but not only will you be able to play with the traditional duo Sonic & Tails, but you can also play with a combination of other characters as well. Each character can be teamed with another. Depending on who your team consists of, you can perform different team moves.


    So, through each stage you have to choice of choosing your own characters, you will not have to start a new game to change characters. This games has 7 worlds, each world is similar to those of Kirby. Let me explain, when you enter a world, you and your partner will appear from a large golden ring, and from there you will be able to walk around the world, there will be platforms, and small golden rings that have numbers on them. There are three stages to each world, and when you complete a stage, the next stage will be assessable. In these worlds, there will always be three golden rings which indicate stages, a bonus stage, an emerald stage, and a boss stage. The boss stage will always open when all three stages have been completed. The bonus stage’s sole purpose is to give you extra lives, depending on how well you complete these bonus stages, you will receive different numbers of extra lives. They range from, killing all enemies in an area, or pushing a button when its color is red, over time the button’s color will change to yellow, then blue.


    Hitting the red button gets you three points, and each bonus gets harder, sometimes you will have to get a total of 14 points. So hitting the red buttons before they change colors is a priority to get all of the points required before the time limit expires. The bonus stages are heavily important because you will be dieing in this game constantly. The Sonic Advance games have a reputation of having bottomless pits, you wouldn’t be able to find these in Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic CD. These Advance games are somewhat different to the older counterparts. When the characters run at full speed, their feet no longer take a circular shape, instead you will encounter a more realistic feet movement, you will just see them moving rapidly instead of a circular blur of speed. Running full speed for about 6 seconds will put you in boost mode, where a character has appears to have clones of themselves moving behind them which acts as a speed blur. Also, the camera is able to keep up with the speed of Sonic, this made it seem like Sonic was moving at a radical speed, but this has been taken out for whatever reason. The jumping is slightly different, instead of remaining in a ball for as long you stay in the air, after a certain amount of time, your character in unravel him/herself out of the ball before landing back on the ground. This can become troubling because, if you are trying to kill an enemy, you will unravel your self out of the spin of the jump, and you will get attacked instead of the enemy being killed. Also, some characters don't even ravel themselves in balls, some just jump straight up with their feet out, like they hit a miniature trampoline. These characters require you to press a button in mid-air just to starting spinning. A new attack has been added to each character, each character has their own unique attack, and depending on who is your partner, it can change your attack. For example, if you are Knuckles with Sonic on your team, for whatever reason, you will not be able to glide, instead you will do a mid-air headbutt.


    So you actually have to choose your teammates wisely, because you will need certain abilities for certain stages and boss fights. Speaking of the boss fights, they are more problematic and arduous this time. The Sonic Advance series' bosses are much harder, and take much more time to kill. They can take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes depending on if you are a persistent patient player, or if you are an anxious impatient player. Being impatient will get you killed most of the time. A real Sonic player knows the ring splash glitch. This glitch stops at nothing to make your boss fights fail. For those who aren't familiar with the ring splash glitch, let me explain. In Sonic games, if you are attacked, rings will splash out of your character in every direction. Well, in boss fights when this happens, you expect the rings to bounce off the ground at least once so you can retrieve them, but instead they just fall right through the floor like they are transparent and can move through surfaces. This becomes annoying, because you don't have a chance to collect your stray rings because they fall right through the floor, and disappear before you can even get them back.


    You still are able to collect emeralds, which gives your Super Sonic, and gaining all of them will unlock a secret bonus stage that can only be played by Super Sonic. Going further into the gameplay, there is overall less loops in this game than there is in Genesis installments. There are more rails to grind on, more walls to climb, and objects to hang onto with two arms. The platforming aspect is extraordinary and fast paced.

    The stages are heavily vibrant and colorful, with extravagant music in the background that fits the atmosphere of each stage. I would say that the overall design of each stage is far more intricate than it's Genesis counterparts.


    The Japanese artists have done well to make a great 32-bit soundtrack, each stage has a different variation of one track, (remixes), this is similar to what was done in STH3

    With that stated, it's definitely worth a purchase, for a person who is new to the Sonic series overall, (doubtingly), or a person who enjoys the Sonic series overall. Not to mention the various items that can discovered through each stage, and the interactive multiplayer that expands up to four players.

    Graphics: 8
    Sound: 9
    Presentation: 8
    Gameplay: 8

    Overall: 8.25
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