Sonic Advance 2
Sonic Advance 2 is a perfect objectification of the phrase "too much of a good thing is a bad thing", except for "bad thing"
VROOOOOM! This looks fun, huh? It won't be after you do nothing but it for 15 levels with five characters.
being "really frickin' awful thing".
Take a level like Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic 2. It was cool, because you could just zoom everywhere, around loop-de-loops, fly high in the air up slopes, with nothing to stop you; and that was unique to that level, with every level in the game having something unique to them, like Metropolis Zone's corkscrew lifts and teleporters, and Hill Top Zone's carriages and lava chambers.
Sonic Advance 2, however, just uses Chemical Plant's gimmick for every single level. EVERY SINGLE LEVEL. And it's not even done right, because instead of just letting you fly loose, they have to COMPLICATE things with springs and rails, or outright STOP YOUR ASS FLAT with spikes and robots.
And hey, remember the Act 2 boss in Mushroom Hill Zone? It was fun, as it was a running battle, and the only one in the
The third boss, which is fought in the same manner as the first two bosses, and the rest after: RUNNING BATTLE
game, so it made a nice change.
And whaddaya know, it's in Sonic Advance 2 as well! They screwed it, too. They made more inventive bosses, sure, but they're more frustrating than enjoyable. One of the bosses drops bombs, and has a platform on it's tail that you need to bounce on to hit Robotnik. This would be fine, if the bombs didn't have a ridiculous blast range that hit you from just about anywhere, and if the platform didn't flip over occasionally so you can't bounce off it. It gets utterly ridiculous when you damage it halfway, where the bombs fall even faster, leaving you little breathing room. And to top it off, there's slopes to screw up your jumping, allowing you to either completely miss the platform, or leap straight into a bomb. Marvellous.
And that's just one boss.
Cream demonstrates what most of the pits are in the game: Unavoidable.
Also, how about them Game Gear games, where your visibility was limited and there were a couple of annoying pits in some stages? They expanded on that, and made every level float above a giant pit, and have many parts where unless you make split second reactions to an unseen danger ahead of you, you fall into them. Brilliant!
And the Special Stages are back again, and yeah, they were annoying to get to in Sonic Advance, but now they're diabolically evil. You have to find seven special rings which are in highly obscure areas, and due to the fact you're pretty much rushed everywhere, they're just about impossible to get. Once you've got them, you have to complete the level without dying; keep in mind of the aforementioned pits and Badniks. Once that's done, you're sent to the Special Stage, where you have to collect a ludicrous amount of rings in a similarly ludicrous sized arena, while being hounded by Zero, the robot from Sonic Adventure, who takes rings off you; all this in a ludicrous time limit. Awesome!!
Obscene amount of rings to collect? Check. Limited time to collect obscene amount of rings? Check. Unseen danger that pulls you from your goal? Check. Ludicrously huge area to find rings? Check.
ALL CHECKS! You got an unenjoyable and simply frustrating Special Stage!
Oh, and remember how choosing different characters was useful, as they had unique powers and paths to follow? They made their powers useless as areas only they can reach have nothing exciting, and those powers are useless for anything else. RADICAL!!!
Oh-ho, how could I forget sarcasm? It's the best way to write an article about a game you despise!
To be serious, Sonic Advance 2 is really awful (imo). The stages lack anything worthwhile, the bosses are repetitive, the Badniks are simply there to punish you for not knowing what to do in a uninteresting and unvarying environment, and it's a pathetic excuse for a sequel to a game that looked like it could return to Mega Drive style gameplay.
To be fair, there's a couple of good points. The graphics and sound are, as you'd expect from a Sonic game, excellent, with smooth animation and fitting tunes. Cream, while an uninteresting and cheap character, is a good choice for a beginner, what with her having Tails' flexibility and an easy way to attack enemies. One of the new features is a positive addition; the tricks: Fly off a ramp or into the air, and hold R and a direction to do a trick that boosts you in that direction. It's great for getting up that ledge you're just not close enough to, or to blast away from dangerous terrain. It's a shame that they were essentially fazed out in Sonic Advance 3, as they were incredibly helpful.
And Knuckles now demonstrates how a rail slightly slanted is just TOO MUCH for anyone to land on, and instead prefers death than even try to grind on it. He's a kooky one, that Knuckles.
However, despite that, there's still a hell of a lot of suck in the game, most already mentioned. The rails are now an important factor of the game (unlike the original Sonic Advance, where only Sonic and Amy could use them, and they were more or less stairs to a different area), and this wouldn't be so bad if these problems didn't exist:
a) landing on them at the wrong angle, while playing the wrong animation, or just about anything results in falling right past them and most likely in to a pit.
b) speed is essential while on them, as you constantly have to leap from rail to rail, or from rail to platform. If you're not fast enough, BAM BITCH, pit for you.
Yeah, I know Sonic Advance was very slow for Sonic standards, and it's physics were pretty weird, but it stayed true to the Mega Drive style gameplay, and it was a wonderful nostalgic feel. Playing Sonic Advance 2, I have nothing but a grimace on my face all the time it's on. I'm serious. Sonic Advance 3 has less pits and slightly more unique features to levels, but it's still nothing wonderful. Why oh why. =(