Sonic Advance 3

Video Game Review: Sonic Advance 3 for the Game Boy Advance
By Noah Diekemper

Sonic Advance 3 (2004) is a game that, even though it departs from some of the things that made the first two in the series such great games, is still an enjoyable, lasting experience on its own.

Let’s cut to the chase; this game gets at the heart of why Sonic was always so great: this is a game with excellent level design such that one can either take the time to learn the level and just blast through it at mach speeds, or one could take the time to explore, collect rings, defeat badniks, and have a fun time of a different kind.

Built onto this well-constructed framework (which extends into a full twenty-one levels) is an extremely fun soundtrack with all-around great, catchy, synthesized music. The graphics for this game, too, are beautiful, detailed, and just fun to watch.

On top of the well designed stages, there’s also fourteen minigames, four minibosses, nine bosses, and seven special stages, all also very fun and well conceived and executed.

The multiplayer, which basically serves as a handheld, Sonic version of New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s multiplayer, is also a lot of fun.

There are, unfortunately, a number of smaller failings that kept this game from becoming the classic it should have been; minor details that, when accumulated, grow to be fairly bothersome. Little things, like how there is no longer a point system, and enemies instead merely drop rings upon destruction; there is an unlockable special stage mode in the game, which you have to access by entering a certain button combination on the main menu, not just the first time, but every time you want to play it; the lives icons are silhouetted, and in ugly colors, at that; there is no way to return the menu screen once you enter the story mode; this game brings back Cream, Cheese, and Emerl (or G-mel, I don’t really know), all essentially useless characters (why not bring back Metal Sonic, who could have completely replaced G-mel for literally all intents and purposes, already exists, and is infinitely more loved as a character, and Fang the Sniper, aka Nack the Weasel, for whom the same goes, except he could replace Cream as the fifth playable character); and, perhaps the single biggest failing, the tiny chao garden from the first two games is gone.

Despite this small, albeit numerous, missteps, this game remains amazing and a lot of fun; years after my first acquiring this game, I still pull it out to play from time to time. In my opinion, this was the last truly great Sonic game.

Final Score: 9/10

Reviewer’s Completion: Knuckles, Amy, and Cream unlocked; all stages clear; all seven chaos emeralds collected; Altar Emerald (Final Boss) cleared; Nonaggression (Super Sonic boss) cleared.

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