Sonic Advance 2
As a survivor of the great Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis console war of 1991, I feel like Im in The Twilight Zone every time I control Segas hyper hedgehog on a Nintendo platform. But as long as hes in top-quality games like Sonic Advance 2, Im cool with him running in Marios crowd. This sequel improves upon every aspect of the first GBA Sonic: The graphics are snazzier, the musics catchier, the bosses pose more of a threat, and each character now sports a surprisingly deep arsenal of special attacks. Also, this time around it actually isnt a struggle to snag the Chaos Emeralds SAfs tense, robot-pursuit bonus stages are legitimately fun. That same creative spark doesnt quite carry over to the regular levels, as most are borrowed from previous Sonic games (Ive spun through a few fire, ice, and music-themed stages in my time). Luckily, theyre so exciting and pretty, you wont mind the lack of ingenuity. In fact, youll probably want to tackle these stages multiple times in order to unlock all the hidden goodies, which include secret levels and two additional playable characters. Plus, some wacky four-player versus games (when you link up multiple GBAs) and a Chao-raising simulation (when linked up to Sonic Adventure 2 on GameCube) further extend Advance 2s impressive depth. This is the best original action-platform game on GBA, hands down.
This is exactly what I hoped the first Sonic Advance would be a fun, fast-paced romp with level designs on par with those in the classic Sega Genesis games. Advance 2 is a pocket adrenaline rush; its the perfect complement to the more moderately paced Mario games already in your collection. Sonic has finally been given a slew of refreshing new moves the tornado attack, backwards somersault, megabounce, and more so hes no longer limited to his standard running, jumping, and spinning. My one gripe is that the game is way too short, but thats been a problem with Sonic games since their introduction a decade ago.
Simple fact, folks: Sonic belongs in 2D. Thats why I enjoyed the original Sonic Advance, and this sequel is just as good. The level designs are classic Sonic, and youll have to play them multiple times to explore everything. Level-specific animations also add an extra element of fun (like when you watch Sonic hold onto his blue butt as he slides down a hill in the Ice Paradise Zone). And while I was skeptical of the new character, Cream the Rabbit, she won me over her animations are cute and she attacks with a cuddly Chao, for crying out loud! The on-the-run boss fights get tiresome, but overall, this is a great continuation of the Sonic series.