TGS 2003Sonic Battle Impressions

We check out Sonic the Hedgehog's upcoming Game Boy Advance brawler.

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We tried out Sonic Battle, the upcoming Game Boy Advance fighter starring Sonic the Hedgehog, on the show floor at Tokyo Game Show 2003. The game features a cast of familiar faces from the Sonic universe, along with some newcomers. From what we've seen, this 2D brawler seems to be coming along pretty well.

We played through a tutorial level that filled us in on navigating the world map, how to initiate combat by moving an arrow over to marked dots on the map, as well as the basics of combat. The opening sequences featured appearances from Sonic Team's three most famous characters: Sonic, Knuckles, and Miles "Tails" Prowler, as well as a new robot character. Following the standard discussion you'd expect in a tutorial, the battle began. The demo let us play only as Sonic and, pitted us against the aforementioned robot for a timed brawl that would be won by earning enough points before the clock ran out.

The basic combat mechanics in the game seem solid. You attack with the B button, jump with A, block with L and use R to trigger assorted special powers that you equip before the fight. Despite the Game Boy Advance's seemingly limited button setup, the game seems to let you perform combos and aerial attacks just fine.

The game's graphics seem quite good. Sonic Battle's characters are represented onscreen with large sprites that animate smoothly. Sonic and company sport the new looks that have been used in the recent Sonic Advance games for the GBA, and look a bit more edgier, except for Tails, who continues to look like an extremely wholesome sidekick. The arenas are cool and have some polygonal elements that, while a nice touch, seem a bit blocky.

So far Sonic Battle looks like it will offer a change of pace from the recent entries in the Sonic franchise on the GBA. The game is scheduled to ship later this year in Japan.

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