Ah, the glory days of the 16-bit era. How I long for them. While I owned a NES, and loved all three SUPER MARIO BROS. games on the system, I was drawn to the Sega Genesis because of the gameplay of the SONIC games. They were so much faster, and were filled with more action. While Sonic has had a couple of pretty good games on the Dreamcast, none of his 3D adventures have been able to touch his old side-scrolling games. Someone at Sega knew this, and that's the reason we have SONIC ADVANCE for the Game Boy Advance.
Sonic returns to his roots in his debut for the Game Boy Advance. Once again, the evil Dr. Robotnik has devised a plan to capture all eight of the chaos emeralds, and it's up to Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy to stop him (you know, the usual outline for a SONIC game).
I was really surprised at how well SONIC ADVANCE plays on the system. I guess I'm just not used to a handheld being able to handle so much. SONIC ADVANCE is the best-looking Sonic side-scroller since SONIC CD (well, I'm not counting the Neo-Geo pocket version that came out a few years ago). And that's really something when you're comparing a handheld system to a console. It just shows you that in only a few years technology can make huge strides.
The game handles about the way you'd expect. Sonic and his pals can run, jump, do spin moves, then do a special move. Sonic does a special spin, Knuckles punches, Tails hits enemies with his tails, and Amy hits enemies with a hammer. The levels are pretty straightforward too. You just run along, grabbing rings as you go, avoid being hit by enemies, and then defeat Dr. Robotnik at the end. Robotnik has a few nasty surprises in store for you, but all of his forms should be easy to beat.
A multiplayer mode is included where you and up to four of your friends can race through the levels and see who is the fastest. Also included is a Chao mini-game, which is in essence a virtual pet. You have to feed it, pet it, and make sure it stays happy. You can trade your Chao pet with friends who have a Game Boy Advance, or you can hook it up to the Nintendo GameCube and trade.
Even though this is a Game Boy Advance game, SONIC ADVANCE is the best SONIC game released since SONIC CD. All Sonic fans should look into picking this game up, as should everyone that owns a Game Boy Advance. This game shouldn't be missed.