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Game Profile
Game Boy
Sonic Team
GENRE: Fighting
PLAYERS:   1-4
January 05, 2004
Sonic Colors

Sonic Colors

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

More in this Series
 Written by D'Marcus Beatty  on March 05, 2004

Review: Sonic Smash Brothers?Sonic Boom!

After Mario, Sonic probably has the highest recognition factor of all console mascots. Ask any little kid about the super-swift, blue, cocky Sega mascot and they'll give you his name and game titles immediately. Adding to his visibility is the plethora of titles he stars in, which has gone from a trickle to a veritable deluge lately. Fast on the heels of the blue hedgehog's latest 3-D foray in Sonic Heroes comes Sonic Battle, a Game Boy Advance game starring Sonic in a fighting game. Seriously.

Sonic Battle has Sonic and friends, including the ever-present Tails and Knuckles as well as some lesser known Sonic characters like Rouge and the evil twin-esque Shadow the Hedgehog, foiling yet another of Eggman's plots. This time, it involves a robot with the ability to assimilate fighting moves directly observed, which gives the robot almost unlimited learning and fighting capacity. Sonic happens upon the robot washed up on a beach, and immediately gets confronted by other characters who are trying to capture to robot for themselves. Sonic becomes the robot's protector, and trains the robot to fight off attackers for itself, which sets the stage for the story mode.

The game itself focuses on battles between characters, usually four but sometimes less. The ?A? button attacks, the ?B? button jumps, the L trigger blocks and replenishes health when held down, and the R trigger performs special moves. The control system may sound simple, and it generally is, but there is more depth than meets the eye. Each character has three possible special moves, which can be assigned to either jump or ground or guard before each battle, and each move changes depending on whether it's assigned to air or ground. In addition to that, there are juggles, combos, and juggle attacks that generally depend on the direction being pressed. The end result is a variety of moves that, although it doesn't compare to Tekken or Dead or Alive, provides enough moves to keep the combat from being a mindless button masher should the player choose to employ strategy.

The story mode has eight episodes that allow you to follow a different character from the game, giving the opportunity to master all of the characters. This elongates the story mode, making the story mode an 8-12 hour affair, depending on the player. In addition to the story mode, there is also battle mode, challenge mode, training, and mini-game mode. Like any fighting game, after finishing the story mode, players will probably spend most of their time in battle mode, especially if they have friends that they can compete against or with.

Another opportunity that the game offers is the ability to help train the robot, Emerl. While playing through the game, Emerl will accumulate moves, allowing the player to create a fighting style that is an amalgam of other characters' abilities.

Sonic Battle does have its share of shortcomings. The environments are fairly simple, with little to no interactivity. The only things that the environments contribute are platforms that players can jump onto, but these offer almost no utility. Sonic Battle probably also could have benefited from a throwing ability, which is a feature that is standard in almost all fighting games, even mascot inspired games like Super Smash Brothers.

Bottom Line
Sonic Battle isn't the best fighting game in its genre, but it does enough things well to make it into a good game. Try it out if you're a fan of Super Smash Brothers- type games, or if you have some friends with Game Boys that you can play against.

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