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14 years of SA1


Rey Skywalker-Ren
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Nah! Not this SA1! I meant....

250px-Sonic_Advance_Coverart.png

this SA1!

Sonic Advance 1 is officially 14 years old today, well for people in the US. Sonic Advance was a game made for the Gameboy Advance and it mimics the past games, yet has it's own unique style to it. You get to chose from 4 characters; Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles and race through 6 zones, two acts per zone and defeat Dr Eggman once and for all.

Each character has their own abilities yet they play the same as in Sonic 3 and Knuckles:  Sonic's splice shield, Tails' flight, Knuckles' gliding and climbing abilities and Amy's piko hammer abilities. Unlike the other characters, Amy can't spindash nor can she curl up in a ball, however she still has abilities that can make life easier for the player such as the hammer jump which makes you jump higher, the hammer whirl which works great on certain enemies and bosses and the giant steps which allows to climb up steep terrain. 

The gameplay is the game as in the Genesis trilogy when it comes to rolling physics and pinball physics as well. This game actually captures the charm and spirit of the classics, unlike a certain other game as you truly imagined it. However with it, they added extra perks such as grinding. 

Oh and the game also has a Tiny Chao garden. Not that anyone cares... I think but it is there for those who loved to raise chao but it was there for a novelty purpose and wasn't forced to gain emblems. Which is a good thing!

The special stages may or may not be a pain through. I find that looking for them is a pain in the ass more so than the stages themselves. However I do believe the special stages are poorly designed. I am not a big fan of some of the level designs from the other stages as well, more so Angel Island.

The one thing I do want to say is that it's soundtrack to me is underrated. It has some awesome music that is very charming and cool. Especially these:

Well then, discuss~!

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Sonic Advance was the first Game Boy Advance game I owned! Heck, in a way I got a Game Boy Advance specifically to play it.

I never was able to get all the Chaos Emeralds, those Special Stages were dumb...

Otherwise, great game of which I have fond memories of ^^

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Sonic Advance is one of my favorite games. I think this game did so much right. While it's still a little rough around the edges, it's fairly slow paced, and a few of the levels are a bit bland, I still get tons of enjoyment out of it. I love the graphics, the soundtrack, the physics feel really nice, and the selection of characters is perfect.

Amy fits right in with the rest of the cast and she's got her own unique twist. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all play like they do in S3K, but Sonic was given a new technique, the Air Dash. This ability might not seem all that to someone who's just discovered it, but when you learn to use it and how to apply it to your playthroughs, I find it adds a ton of enjoyment and speed, to Sonic's moveset. It's a challenge to use it properly, but it's so satisfying to beat your previous level times, or to make a tricky jump.

 I think this game is so under rated, and I think it's definitely worth trying out if you've never played it.

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SA1 was probably the best of the Advance trilogy and probably the nearest to a worthy follow up to the Megadrive/Genesis gameplay. I have to agree with many that it felt more like a proper Sonic 4.

Amy was a clever and fun variation of the standard character gameplay, even if the rest of the roster felt a bit imbalanced, due to Sonic's lack of shield abilities and Tails and Knuckles gaining even more. It's a shame more games didn't reuse her play style.

The stages were fun if a bit derivative, there was a nice mix of retro references and a teeny bit of story. Not to mention a buff multiplayer (even if I sadly got to play very little of it), Time Attack and extras such as a mini Chao Garden giving tons of replay value. It was retro Sonic used to it's fullest potential.

I'm mixed about the graphics, they were palpable and the animations were fun, but not as lush as the old style games.

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Overall, I still do enjoy the game but not as much after the first few playthroughs way back when.

I think my biggest issue with Advance is its level design, to be honest. Some of the levels are designed quite well, there are plenty of moments where you can use speed and do some platforming and has a nice pace to it but there are does small moments where it kills the pace or obstacles that require some quick reflexes to avoid. Those moments can stack up quite a bit and it drags the game down a bit. The characters kinda take a while to get to their max running speed but that’s a small nitpick from me.

As for things I like, DIMPS went for the 3&K approach of multiple characters and made each character play relatively the same but each has unique abilities. Sonic has his Insta-shield and an Air Dash, Tails can fly, Knuckles can climb up walls and glide and Amy has her hammer. Amy is probably the most unique character out of the 4 though it’s quite obvious since the other 3 had pre-established gameplay styles from past games and just got some extra attacks. Amy can’t roll or Spin Dash so she relies on her hammer to clear levels and the hidden ability to jump super high from springs if she hits her hammer with one.  The levels look really nice, the sprite work is really good and gives the characters some personality based on various poses and the music is fantastic! The bosses are what I thought were DIMPS best and they’re still pretty good, though nothing that’ll make me say “that was an awesome boss battle” but still they’re fun to beat.

The special stages are an interesting idea but I have some issues. When it comes to those yellow areas where you have to do a trick to gain some extra rings, I wish there was a better way to tell when to do it outside of an easy-to-miss audio cue. Getting to the Special Stage Springs is pretty challenging to get to but once you know where they are, it’s simple enough to reach.

Overall, Advance 1 is still a good game in my eyes but it’s not the game I’ll immediately go back to if I’m bored. I’ll play through it, enjoy it and move on.

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I still have my GBA copy, but I recently downloaded the Android version... and later ripped the assets of it.

I have decided to put the three new midis that replaced Masato Nakamura's original compositions.  But perhaps the strangest thing is with the parts that make up the Egg Hammer Tank.  I don't recall it having a spikeball attatched to it.  Stranger still is that there's still the line of Eggman saying "Hey, go collect all the chaos emeralds!" in the game, but there's no language switch.

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bgm_50_boss_f2.mid

boss1_hammer.png

boss1_arm.png

boss1_body.png

boss1_car.png

boss1_egg.png

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Advance 1 is definitely my favourite of the Advance trilogy. It just does not have the same amount of BS that the two other games have: extremely annoying bosses, frustrating and cheap level design or just overly complicated gimmicks (not to mention the the great idea of making certain team nerfing the characters in A3). This game has mostly very good level design and I really like playing as all four characters. But this game continued the trend of having Chaos Emeralds only open the last part of the game. Heroes also did this same thing butin 2D game I think it is even less acceptable. I have never even bothered because the special stages just aren't fun and there isn't any easy way to beat them like there is in Heroes.

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I love Advance 1. The Advance series in general was the reason I got a Gameboy Advance all those years ago. Still have them all on cartridge, along with every other GBA Sonic title :P (Including Sega's Smash Pack).

But this was always my favourite title for something more akin to the original titles. I always thought it was a terrible tragedy that the Advance Trilogy never ever got re-tooled/remade for modern consoles. I mean if the N-Gage can get Sonic Advance 1, can't the Wii-U/Xbox One/PSN?

Just call it something like..."Sonic 'Advanced'

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Used to like this game a lot, I have particularly fond memories of playing it on a holiday to France.  Definitely found the Special Stages too hard to both find and play though.  I only ever discovered the one in Ice Mountain Act 1, and the perspective is just awful on them.  I'd clip through rings I was SURE I was above constantly, barely collecting 5 before the first checkpoint etc.

Awesome music and visual design though.

 

6 hours ago, Tailikku said:

I still have my GBA copy, but I recently downloaded the Android version... and later ripped the assets of it.

I have decided to put the three new midis that replaced Masato Nakamura's original compositions.  But perhaps the strangest thing is with the parts that make up the Egg Hammer Tank.  I don't recall it having a spikeball attatched to it.  Stranger still is that there's still the line of Eggman saying "Hey, go collect all the chaos emeralds!" in the game, but there's no language switch.

bgm_28_invincibility.mid

bgm_49_boss_f1.mid

bgm_50_boss_f2.mid

boss1_hammer.png

boss1_arm.png

boss1_body.png

boss1_car.png

boss1_egg.png

ed_emerald_hint.png

The original GBA version had a language switch, so it's likely just a leftover from that.  The music changes I'm sure are due to licensing.  Interesting that they used Sonic 4 music (ironic too considering people call Advance the real Sonic 4 sometimes), but the invincibility theme is pretty cool since that appears to be a new composition based off the game's opening theme.  More fitting for the game than the original Sonic 1 invincibility theme I think.

Personally, in lack of able to use the Sonic 1&2 boss music though during X Zone, they should've just left the regular X Zone music running for those bosses.  It's a cool song and you hardly get to hear any of it normally.

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2 hours ago, JezMM said:

Personally, in lack of able to use the Sonic 1&2 boss music though during X Zone, they should've just left the regular X Zone music running for those bosses.  It's a cool song and you hardly get to hear any of it normally.

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GBA Sound test anyone?  To be honest, this entry's sound test is extremely limited, missing several VS. and jingles.  It is even missing the Egg-X theme.  Thankfully Sega wised up with the 2nd game's soundtest, but fucked that up by forcing you to get the Chaos Emeralds as two of the four default chracters, since doing it once will just unlock the Tiny Chao Garden.  Then they wised up again in the 3rd game by making it available if you beat the game, regardless if you have any Chaos Emeralds.

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SA2's unlocking system would have been fine if the special stage entry procedure for that particular game wasn't absurdly intricate and tedious.

Agreed. I don't think I ever even saw a Special Stage in SA2 because of it. Kinda wish they'd just required 1 of the rings and any extras gave time/ring bonus or something to the SS. I think SA1 was the only one I managed to 100%.

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