The Soapbox feature allows our authors and individual contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random things they think about. Today, Stuart is pleading for the power to get his hands on a certain trilogy on Nintendo Switch Online…
Game Boy Advance is coming to Switch Online! Maybe! Almost certainly, anyway! Hopefully. Ahem.
Look, it’s not confirmed, but it’s as good as, which was enough to prompt me to write a rant imploring Sega and Nintendo to overcome their old differences and bring back the almost forgotten classic Sonic series. An era of revival for 2D Sonic fans. Yes, I am of course talking about the venerable Sonic Advance series. Three games, one tangentially related RPG battle (Sonic Battle) and multiple pinball (Sonic Pinball Party).
The latter two don’t really understand this, though that doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer – Sonic Battle has a very emotional story to Sonic play, and Pinball Party is a really good time. These are mainstream games, the ones I want the most – Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 and… er… (check Wikipedia) Sonic Advance 3. I mean, come on! They haven’t been re-released—other than an appearance on the Wii U eShop Japan—since their original arcs on GBA cartridges in 2001, 2002 and 2004 respectively. Yes, I can feel some die-hard Sonic fans stabbing me in the back about the 2003 N-Gage version. from the original game, Sonic N. I know, mate. Trust me, I’m obsessed too.
Either way, the game would be a perfect candidate for the rumored Switch Online service and I pray to the various gaming gods for that to happen. While the Sonic Advance series isn’t perfect, I thought it was a bit brilliant and I wanted to take the time to explain exactly why each game is specifically worth your time, effort and energy.
Sonic Advance kicked things off with the first 2D Sonic game since Sonic & Knuckles in 1994. Wait, no, that’s not quite right – brilliant Sonic the Hedgehog . Pocket Adventure for Neo Geo Pocket Color hit that ill-fated system in late 1999. Well, this is the first ‘high-profile’ Sonic 2D game and the first Sonic game on the Nintendo system (alongside Sonic Adventure 2: Battle which launched on the same day, December 20, 2001). ). This seismic at that time, the real “snowball in Hell” moment for gaming.
But that’s not the point; that point, dear reader, is one that should be expressed as eloquently as possible: Sonic Advance slaps. My friends, this is one game; it’s no match for the classic Mega Drive but closer than anyone dares admit. The ability to play as Tails and Knuckles with their familiar skills makes things feel even more vintage. Best of all, now you can play as Amy Rose with her Piko Piko Hammer, new from Sonic Adventure. It’s more than just a new inclusion – it changes the game, makes it much more difficult and forces you to approach it with more caution. He can’t spin sprints and isn’t invulnerable when jumping – but some new hammer-based moves can take his place.
A sequel is coming next year, creatively titled Sonic Advance 2, and is most famous for introducing the disgustingly-named Cream the Rabbit, Sonic’s newest companion and the de facto “easy mode” for an already fairly easy game. His ability to throw his little friend Chao – the also disgusting Cheese – at enemies from almost anywhere on the screen makes him a cute little death machine.
There’s also a new, and very divisive, focus on speed. You know the common (and inaccurate) criticism of classic Sonic that it’s just “hold the right to win”? Well, Sonic Advance 2 is probably the closest the series has ever come to making that little one joke a fact. Of course, not entitled to win, but you are encouraged to go faster than ever with the prevalence of speed-boosting pads, simplified grinding mechanics, and the new ability to get additional speed bursts while running non-stop. a few seconds. Even boss battles see you chasing Robotnik as he accelerates away from you in his newest mecha monstrosity, taking shots.
It’s hard to really like Sonic Advance 2, but if you fall for its charms, it will become your favourite. The music and visuals are fantastic and – for better or for worse – this is probably the hardest Sonic game to include all seven Chaos Emeralds. However, you have to unlock all of them. You’ll need to get all of the Emeralds with each of the other four characters to play Amy, which sadly isn’t really worth the effort as she’s made less interesting than she was in the original Sonic Advance. Huu! Hiss!
Next up, onto Sonic Advance 3, a game so weird that when its ROM files were leaked before release, many people assumed it was some kind of fake fan attempt. Look, there’s a lot about the Advance 3 that’s a little… off. The physics feel like they’ve been changed and the game feels weightless at times. It’s also odd how the entire fast-paced structure of the first two titles has been overhauled with a whimsical, almost maze-like hub area that has you exploring empty, uninteresting enemy-free spaces to find the “Ring of Action” that leads to each zone; which also now has three acts each instead of two, with the fourth boss action found separately in the hub.
So far, very strange, but it’s still a great time. The main new mechanic is the team-up movement; At the start of the game you choose two characters from the same five players as the previous game, then send them out into the world. It’s cool because you can just leave Sonic behind while, say, Knuckles and Cream goes on an adventure. Since many of the team’s moves (used by holding down the ‘R’ key) are based on propelling you into the air, the levels have increased verticality and honestly feel pretty expansive. Finding the Chao hidden in each round, is a significant challenge to take on, though more fun than collecting the special rings in Advance 2.
It almost goes without saying that the music here reigns supreme; the last zone “Angel of Chaos” is sometimes very epic and foreboding. The story is sort of a follow-up to Sonic Battle – ignore it. Treat it as 21 levels of 2D Sonic and you’ll be hard-pressed not to enjoy it.
So again, Nintendo – Sega – anybody – I implore you to make this series available once again, and the Nintendo Switch Online service is the perfect opportunity. In fact, it would be better for everyone if you (Nintendo, I’m talking to you) would just do what I say every time.
So, the Sonic Advance series huh? Then the Klonoa game. Then Kururin Paradi— [Snip! – Ed]