Jump to content

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Battle

Message added by Dreadknux,

This topic was good and got turned into TSS REVIEW: Sonic Battle at some point.

Recommended Posts

Sonic Team are on a roll here. Shortly after their dry patch of useless updates and ports, we receive Sonic Pinball Party, an adequate and faithful ball-bashing (pun intended) experience with a heavy dose of Sonic. Next came Billy Hatcher, which despite its lack of interest from most people, is a damn fine game to play. Sonic Heroes is around the corner, and along with it comes a new GBA Sonic game. Does Sonic Battle do itself justice by yet again parting from Sonic's platform-hopping roots?


The thing you realise when you begin to play this game is that Sonic Team and Dimps knew exactly where they were going with this. The atmosphere and art style is just right for a handheld brawl, the music is jumpy and excessively head-banging (albeit tinny head-banging, obviously) compared to the sane and peaceful tunes we're used to from the Mega Drive titles. But while this is a completely new departure for Sonic, the music, maps and general feel of the game has got Sonic Team's stamp all over the place. You KNOW there's magic just up ahead.


The story? Sonic finds a mysterious robot at his home in Emerald Town (don't start, all you continuity geeks out there), that just several days before had been owned by Eggman (who kicked them out for being useless to him). Absorbing Chaos Emeralds, the robot (affectionately called "Emerl" for it's need for the gems) establishes a 'link' relationship with Sonic, and from there, everyone wants a piece of Emerl. Whether it's Tails attempting to research the robot's roots, Rouge using it as an elaborate jewel-snatching thief, or even Shadow wanting to discover the connection between his existence and Emerl's... The whole crew are here lined up; Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, Shadow, Rouge and even Gamma and Chaos make welcome appearances here. Although Gamma is not how you'd remember him by...


The main feature of the game - Story Mode - is completely engaging and immersing to all players, oldie or newbie. The cutscenes are demonstrated with jazzy graphical flair, and surprising (yet always welcome) Sonic oriented joking about - one chapter ends with Knuckles confiding in Emerl to keep a secret (yes, Knux gets tricked by the fat doc once again). After acknowledging "their little secret", Emerl immediately goes and yells it out to all and sundry, making for hilarious fun-poking all characters. The Story Mode itself is very satisfying in length; you play each episode one by one, with each chapter focused on a particular character. Beginning with Sonic and ending with Emerl, battles with other characters ensue as "boxercise", friendly warm ups (between allies) and serious stuff - playing as Rouge with Emerl while battling a hyped-up Sonic and Amy tag team really packs the pants.

The battles themselves are very well laid out. Each stage is a basic 3D composition - rectangle playing field, with a 3D box (detailed as something different each level) here and there to jump on. However, the action's all in the playing rather than the level design. A is your jumping move, and a double jump move can be used too to evade danger. B is your standard punching and combo move, useful for looking fly. L Button is your shield (tap it once), or you can hold it to charge your health back up whenever you have a spare moment. Healing also energises your 'Special' Meter, but more on that later. Before you start each life, you are requested to pick two special moves. The special moves are assigned to your R Button, and there is a different one for when your character is on the ground or when they are in midair. You can choose either a "Shot" (usually a projectile attack), "Power" (strength move), or "Set" (usually mines and bomb placement) assignment to your "Ground" and "Air" specifications. The third option is not used, and is instead outed for your blocking move. When your 'Special' Meter (tiny bar above your thick Health Meter) is full, your character begins to flash. If you use a Special move (Ground or Aerial) on an enemy and it connects, they get KO'ed instantly. Each character has different varied abilities - Shadow's heal power is very slow, for instance, but his moves are harder to avoid, whilst Cream may be weak in her power, yet her heal can regenerate her health meter the fastest.

Then, of course, there is Emerl. Emerl is effectively a customisable character, learning attack and defence techniques (in the form of cards) from standard characters simply by watching them fight or being attacked with the moves itself. The joy with Emerl is that, as a customisable, as long as you unlock them, you can use moves from any of the characters - you may wish to have Sonic's first attack, Knuckles' second, Shadow's Heavy Attack and opt for Tails' standing pose. Each time you win a battle with Emerl, you win Skill Points to use for him - these are to use your ability 'cards' that you collect during battle. Many moves require stars to be used by Emerl - each star requires 5 Skill Points, which means that if you want to excel in an area, you may have to compromise on others. Emerl is a fantastic extra that you'll want to toy around with whenever you're on the move, until the next time you fight a bout with a friend who has a copy of Sonic Battle.

When playing solo mode, there is one loophole discovered when playing against computer opponents. Only one Special Attack (R Button) will be effective against a computer opponent (either your midair attack or ground attack). To beat them it's mostly a case of finding out which one is effective, and using that over and over again until they die. Then, when they respawn, use the other Special Attack instead to get the same effect. It makes playing the Solo mode a little shallow and can dampen the need for players to actually learn the combos and jumping manoevres in tandem to look like a pro. Of course, when you have human players up for a round that knows what's going on, you're not going to get that chance often. And this loophole usually becomes necessary when playing against seemingly futile battles. But really, you should get better at the game, and not cheat. =P

Aside from the Story, there's a Battle Mode, where one to four players can enjoy a random custom battle on any stage (Green Hill becomes playable once you complete the Story Mode, incentive fans) on any setting. You can also pit your Emerls in this mode too, to see which out of you and your mate's robot is the better customised. Challenge Mode is a one player affair where you have a string of five matches to play on various difficulties, Training is obvious, and Minigames is a section that stores minigames collected when completing parts of the Story Mode. These range from multiplayer quickies to one player minute-modes, such as a Minesweeper-a-like featuring Knuckles. The groovy thing about this mode is that you can send the minigames over to a friend's empty GBA for them to play later on.

Sonic Battle has everything a "Sonic" game has to offer: a compelling gameplay aspect that will have you begging for more, a lasting story mode (compared to Pinball Party's laughable 'Story'), extras to the ton, and a mutli-player mode that just won't let up! Seriously, slam in the cart with some like-minded mates and you'll never stop playing. You'll be laughing or cursing to your mates as they learn moves, you learn better moves, and then they kill you. The music is spot on, and everything is wrapped in an energetic package that will have you wish you hadn't been so unsure when looking at this game. Those who are doubting it, rent it or import it (since it's only released in Japan), play with a couple of friends, and all doubts will be lifted from your mind. This is the best Sonic offshoot ever created and, without a doubt, is the "Smash Brothers" for the Game Boy Advance. Let's Battle!

View full story

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.