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Sonic Advance 3 Game Boy Advance

Published by SEGA
Distributed by THQ
Developed by Team Sonic
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99

For a character who was so long an arch-enemy of Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog has helped to sell a fair few Game Boy Advance consoles. Whilst the GameCube versions of Sonic have been 3D and have introduced awkward camera angles the Game Boy Advance versions of Sonic have remained in 2D and, in my opinion, have been all the better for it. Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2 have been smash hits and it's no surprise that we now have a third game in the shape of Sonic Advance 3. It's not simply more of the same though and there's a few key differences here to make sure it's another game that Sonic fans will want to own.

As you would expect the story behind the game is a thinly veiled one and you can all guess who the enemy is. Dr Eggman has once again been showing his evil form and has used Chaos Control to fragment the world into 7 different parts. Eggman has plans for all of these 7 parts and plans to turn them all into a Dr. Eggman Empire. As a result of all this chaos Sonic and Tails have been cut off from their friends and have decided to team up in an attempt to return the world to it's former state. In order to accomplish this Sonic and Tails will need to find all of the 7 Chaos Emeralds and use Chaos Control against Dr. Eggman in order to reverse the destruction he has caused. Of course Dr. Eggman isn't just going to stand idly by and watch them now is he?

The difference that Sonic fans will notice is that this time you not only pick Sonic to control but you'll also have to pick another character too. At first there is only Tails available but eventually you'll have access to Knuckles, Cream and Amy Rose. Of course the idea of having to control 2 characters in a game such as Sonic may seem like a cumbersome one but it doesn't work out that way at all. You'll just control the one character, as per usual, and when you need assistance of your secondary character, which is know as a tag action (Tails can throw Sonic up in the air to reach platforms that would be otherwise inaccessible for instance), you just use the R button. Your secondary character will follow you even though for most of the time you'll have no control over them. What's especially good though is that Sonic will take on extra abilities depending on which character accompanies him which is excellent and adds something extra, least of which is replay value, to the game.

Aside from the main game you also have a Time Attack mode that allows you to replay levels you've already completed in an effort to go through them in the quickest time possible. There is also a Battle Mode for 2-4 players. In 4 player mode players 1 and 3 will team up against 2 and 4 for some co-operative action. If there are less than 4 players though a CPU controlled character can make up the numbers. The idea of Battle mode is to be the first to complete one of the games many acts. It's a simple enough multiplayer game but nevertheless it can be enjoyable. Thankfully both single-pak and multi-pak multiplayer games are supported.

If you've played either Sonic Advance or Sonic Advance 2 you'll know just how good the games look on the Game Boy Advance and once again with Sonic Advance 3 we have a game that looks great on the GBA. We all know that Sonic moves liked greased lightning and it's great to see the Game Boy Advance capture that speed sensation that we all know and love. With the game having such an impressive pace to it you might expect the detail in the backgrounds to have been slightly below that of the average GBA game but this is not the case and it looks exactly how you'd expect a Sonic game to look. Camera angles aren't an issue given the 2D nature of the game and you can even look up and down, if your character is stationary, by pressing up and down on the directional pad but this is probably a feature that most will never use.

Like most Game Boy Advance titles Sonic Advance 3 is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. You'll get the occasional piece of speech that's not subtitled such as the verbal 'Sonic Advance 3' that's called out on the main screen when you first load up the game but it's of no consequence and doesn't affect the game play at all. Most Game Boy Advance manuals are usually just little leaflets which offer little detail on the game but I'm pleased to say that the game manual for Sonic Advance 3 is actually very comprehensive and covers all the different actions the 5 characters can perform as well as all the information on the various game modes.

With 3 acts/levels in each world, around 8 boss fights, the Chao Playground and the high replay value (because of the ability to team up different characters and play through with different combinations) Sonic Advance 3 is top value for money and another great game from Team Sonic. The game itself isn't that long but as we've mentioned several times already it's got great replay value that more than makes up for it. The tag team element that has been added manages to keep the experience an original one and given how many Sonic titles there have been over the years this is an accomplishment in itself. It's also great to see both single-pak and multi-pak multiplayer options as not everyone is fortunate to have friends or relatives who can afford to buy copies of the game. SEGA may not make consoles anymore but once again they have proven that their mascot has lost none of his appeal and in Sonic Advance 3 Sonic the Hedgehog finds himself in another great Game Boy Advance game.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
A fine addition to the previous GBA Sonic games. The dual character setup works surprisingly well and helps to keep the game play fresh.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.