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Sonic Advance Cover Art.jpg

The Sonic Advance trilogy is a trio of games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

Co-published by Sega and Dimps and designed in the vein of the classic Mega Drive/Genesis side-scrolling platformers, this trilogy is essentially lip-service for older fans, with some elements of Sonic Adventure thrown in.

The first game, Sonic Advance (2001), is perhaps the most reminiscent of the older games. The plot is very minimal (thwart Dr. Eggman!) and the gameplay is a bit slower than its successors but features a little more emphasis on platforming. This was the first 2D side-scroller in the series to feature Amy Rose as a playable character. It was also the first ever original Sonic/Sega game (Not counting Sonic Adventure 2: Battle as it was a port) to appear on a Nintendo system after Sega's switch to software manufacturing. Was ported to the short lived Nokia N-Gage as Sonic N, but suffered from being transposed from the horizontal screen of the GBA to the vertical screen of the N-Gage (it also removed the Tiny Chao Garden).

In Sonic Advance 2 (2002), Cream the Rabbit and her chao companion Cheese join Sonic and friends in the battle against Eggman after he abducts her mother and Tails. The gameplay is definitely the most extreme in the trilogy; the focus on speed is greater (to the point of making all but one boss a running battle), all of the characters now have the ability to grind on rails, and they can perform tricks with a press of the R-trigger after going off a ramp/spring to gain more momentum.

The first two games both feature a special condensed Chao Garden (although for some inexplicable reason the developers made it so you had to unlock it in the second), and the Game Cube-GBA link cable can be used to import/export chao from and to the Gamecube ports of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2.

In Sonic Advance 3 (2004), Eggman literally splits Earth into seven zones through the power of the Master Emerald, and uses a familiar robot that can emulate our heroes' abilities to try and take over the shattered world. Sonic and friends must reunite with each other in order to bring the planet back together and stop Eggman. The gameplay focuses on teamwork (kind of like Sonic Heroes or Knuckles Chaotix) by having you select a player character and a partner character out of five characters (Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, Cream); the different combinations have different abilities. The stage design is like a fusion of its predecessors, combining the platforming action of the first game and the high-speed hijinks of the second. This game was especially notable for its All There in the Manual story. The black robot Gmel is actually the robo-reincarnation of Sonic Battle's robot Emerl.

Although the Unpleasable Fanbase often reared its ugly head, the trilogy as a whole was very well-received.

Followed by a spiritual successor of sorts in the Sonic Rush games for the Nintendo DS, which were also critical successes.

Tropes used in Sonic Advance Trilogy include:
  • All There in the Manual - The Japanese supplementary material for the first game reveals backstory on the Angel Island Zone boss, Metal Knuckles. Apparently, Eggman began making it in secret while he had the real Knuckles tricked into thinking Sonic was bad guy in Sonic The Hedgehog 3, secretly examining the echidna behind his back, and it was finally ready to go in this game. Because not everyone has read this supplementary material, Metal Knuckles may come across as a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere.
  • Back From the Dead - Emerl, who was rebuilt as Gemerl by Eggman, then reprogrammed by Tails back into his Emerl personality in 3, cheering up everyone after the ending of Sonic Battle.
  • Back That Light Up - The third game had different color settings to suit different Game Boy Advance backlight arrangements.
  • Band Land - Music Plant Zone in the second game.
  • Bonus Feature Failure - In an odd example, Sonic Advance 2 let you unlock the Tiny Chao Garden by meeting certain conditions in the game... Even though the first Sonic Advance had the exact same mode available from the start. The third game doesn't even have this feature.
    • Also from Sonic Advance 2, there is Amy, who is unlocked after the game is 100% completed. She (who in the first game was slow and couldn't roll, but had her own advantages) is little more than an alternate skin of Sonic.
    • A glitch in Sonic Advance makes rings not transfer to the Tiny Chao Garden from the main game if the save data is deleted. Fortunately, Sonic Pinball Party, which is in a Compilation Rerelease with this game, does not have this glitch.
  • Boss Rush - The first two game feature this. In the X-Zone in the first, before you fight the Egg X, you must go through memory lane by battling the ball-and-chain mobile from Sonic the Hedgehog and the infamous drill mobile from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in that order, both made easier by taking half the number of hits to beat (both bosses are accompanied by GBA-style rearrangments of the boss themes from their respective games). In XX (yes, it's really called that) in the second, you must go through all of the bosses you fought so far in the game before you get to fight the Super Eggrobo Z.
  • Bottomless Pits - Present in all of the regular levels of these games (the only exceptions being Neo Green Hill Zone in the first one, Leaf Forest in the second and Ocean Base in the third), though they are more common in the second and third games (looking at you Sky Canyon).
    • Did we mention that these bottomless pits are insanely long? You find yourself falling for quite a while.
    • One of the Levels in the third game is nothing but a bottomless pit, you just stand on a platform and avoid obstacles or die.
    • The second game suffers from "Bottomless Pit Syndrome", mainly because most of the levels have that as the only obstacle with the occasional badnik or two.
  • Casino Park: Casino Paradise.
  • Cyberspace/Tomorrowland - Techno Base from 2, Cyber Track from 3.
  • Down the Drain / Underwater Base - Ocean Base in the third game.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom - What Eggman does in the beginning of the third game.
  • Eternal Engine: It wouldn't be a Sonic game without such levels.
    • Secret Base, Egg Rocket, and Cosmic Angel in the first game.
    • Hot Crater and Egg Utopia in the second game.
    • Ocean Base in the third game.
  • Excuse Plot - The first two games (the plot for both is "Dr. Eggman is up to his old tricks again!"). The third game's opening cutscene is this (Eggman actually does use the emeralds, and splits the world into seven zones), but as All There in the Manual states, there's more to the plot than meets the eye.
  • Expy: Mecha Knuckles, for Sonic R's Metal Knuckles.
    • The rabbit that sometimes pops out of badniks is an expy of Pocky, one of the animals from the Genesis games. See Furry Confusion below.
  • Furry Confusion - Cream the Rabbit is a playable character in the second game. When the badniks are defeated, the animal used to power it pops out. One of the animals that can pop out is a significantly less anthropomorphic rabbit.
  • Game Breaking Bug - Erasing the save file in 1 or 2 (sometimes?) causes the Tiny Chao Garden to stop collecting rings. It can only be fixed by collecting as many rings as you had when you erased the file, or transferring your rings to a Sonic Adventure game.
  • Green Hill Zone - Leaf Forest in the second game and Sunset Hill (which doubles as a Nostalgia Level) in the third. Oddly enough, Neo Green Hill from the first is less like this and more like Palmtree Panic.
  • Guide Dang It - Some Special Springs in 1 (protip: Ice Mountain has two), Special Rings in 2 (especially them) and the Chao in 3 might be very difficult for the player to locate. Bottomless pits, pesky speed boosters and unbacktrackable areas tend to make exploration even more difficult.
  • Hopping Machine - The Egg Spring, one of Robotnik's boss vehicles in the first game. It returns in the third game; see Recurring Boss below.
  • Hub Level - For all seven zones in the third game, in a style not too dissimilar to the hubs of the Kirby's Dreamland games.
  • Jack of All Stats - Knuckles. The first game's game guide gives him slightly above average in each of the three stats (Speed, Jumping, Special Skills). It also makes sense when you consider that he's normally a Lightning Bruiser.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version - The boss music from the first game sounds a lot like the Jaws theme.
  • Lethal Joke Character - Amy Rose in the first game is slow and can't roll. However, she has a high jump and can attack from standing without needing to build up speed (this includes an absurdly fast dash attack.) She also has a better attack range due to her Piko Piko Hammer. She completely trivializes one of the bosses (who rely on Super Drowning Skills) by high jumping to the top of the screen (and catching a breath) and smacking Robotnik on the way down.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Hot Crater Zone in the second game.
  • Nintendo Hard - It is hard to meet the requirements to get to the special stages in all three, but this is compounded by:
    • In the second game, you have to collect seven very well hidden SP Rings and not die at all before finishing a stage. Many of these rings were in difficult to access areas and backtracking was hard and, in some cases, impossible. Dying made you lose everything, forcing you to restart the entire stage. On top of that, you only got one shot a finishing the special stage; failing meant doing all of that over again.
    • Sonic Advance 3, on the other hand, had you searching for ten well hidden Chao spread between the three zones and the area map. Fortunately, the Chao garden will tell you the number of Chao in each zone and the map. Unfortunately, there was no official strategy guide for this game, unlike the other two, meaning you had to look online or explore almost every path to find them all. You permanently collect a Chao once getting it, which is fortunate, because some require specific teams or multiple playthroughs. When you have all 10, you have to find a key hidden somewhere in that game's considerably expansive levels and finish the stage with it (losing it if you die). They were mercifully often out in the open, they also had multiple locations within a stage making dying not as much of a problem (although you could only collect one per run through a stage), and you could have up to nine at once (nine separate tries).
    • Sonic Advance 2 may have had the hardest activation of the special stages, but their stages were much easier than the ones in Sonic Advance 1 or 3. 3's stages were incredibly difficult compared to the previous game, especially the last one, and unlike the second game which had a strategy guide to walk you through the locations of everything important, the third game didn't have one to help you out, so you were completely on your own.
  • Nostalgia Level - Several from Sonic Advance: Neo Green Hill Zone, Casino Paradise, Cosmic Angel/X-Zone and The Moon are all obvious homages to Green Hill Zone, Casino Night, the Death Egg and The Doomsday respectively.
    • Sunset Hill in Advance 3 is what Green Hill became after Eggman's reality warping experiments at the beginning of the game.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You - If the Sonic 2-like rescue scene in Advance 1's ending wasn't enough, Advance 2's first ending shows the player character falling from space to the ground without any injuries.
    • For that matter, the ending of 2 when you clear True Area 53. Is Vanilla really that much more likely to survive falling from space if she's in Sonic's arms at the time?
      • Considering Sonic's apparently immune to falling damage, one could assume that if he lands feet-first and everything's fine. Though he does have a habit of falling face-first instead...
  • Pinball Zone - Casino Paradise in the first game.
  • Platform Battle - Goddamn it, Twinkle Snow Eggman.
  • Power of Friendship - The gimmick of the third game.
  • Recurring Boss - The Egg Hammer Tank from Pocket Adventure appears in both Sonic Advance 1 and 2, and gets a Spiritual Successor in 3.[1] The Egg Snake appears in Advance 1 and 3. There are other throwbacks as well: Advance 2's Techno Base Boss is a improved version of Pocket Adventure's Secret Plant Boss, for example.
    • It also applies across the games themselves: The boss of Cosmic Angel from the first is slightly altered and appears as Chaos Angel's boss from the 3rd. Ocean Base's boss feels like a cross between the bosses of Secret Base in the first game and Egg Utopia in the second game.
  • Ring Out Boss - The boss in the third game's Toy Kingdom Zone.
  • Rise to the Challenge - The boss in Twinkle Snow (in the third game) does this with a bottomless pit. It, along with the Toy Kingdom, Cyber Track and Altar Emerald bosses, are the only boss fights in the trilogy with Bottomless Pits involved.
  • Robotic Reveal - Metal Knuckles in the first game, halfway through the fight.
  • Shout-Out - In Sonic Advance 2, Tails is kidnapped by Eggman! Now where have we heard this before?
    • For no particular reason, characters 'must stay paired in Sonic Advance 3, which combined with the other gimmick of changeable movesets makes this game a spiritual successor to Knuckles Chaotix. Not to mention badniks are powered by rings.
    • It is much closer to the Sonic and Tails mode seen in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3.
    • The icons replacing characters' portraits by the life counter in Sonic Advance 3 are a stylistic throwback to the Sonic and Knuckles logo. Selecting Knuckles as the main character and Sonic as the supporting character reconstitutes its horizontally mirrored version.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World - All three games feature this kind of zone, the one in the first (Ice Mountain Zone) doubling as a water level.
  • Sublime/PainfulRhyme - Ice Paradise in the second game.
  • Speed Echoes - Get fast enough, and a doppleganger follows you. The distance between the echo and the character depends on how fast they're moving.
  • Spiritual Successor - The first game, to Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, and the third game, to Knuckles Chaotix.
  • Super Drowning Skills - Averted, you don't die on contact with water. But you still drown if you stay submerged too long.
  • Super Title 64 Advance
  • Temple of Doom - Chaos Angel in the third game. Includes Lift of Doom in Act 3, but there is an alternate route...
  • Timed Mission - As first seen in Sonic Pocket Adventure, this series subverts the trope by letting the player disable the time limit at the options screen.
  • Title Scream - In the third game. And it is hamtastic. The title was softly spoken in the second game.
  • Toy Time - Toy Kingdom in the third game.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay - A big complaint for the trilogy, but disproportionately so for some levels.
  • Tube Travel - Secret Base, Egg Rocket and Ocean Base.
  • Under the Sea - Ice Mountain, Ocean Base and Twinkle Snow. Despite the names, Ocean Base has much less underwater platforming than Twinkle Snow does (both are from 3), and Advance 2 foregoes having a water zone entirely, with Leaf Forest Act 1 having a couple of pools of it making up all the water in the game.
  • Underwater Base: Ocean Base in the third game.
  • Unwilling Suspension - Tails in Sonic Advance 2, at the boss of Music Plant Zone.
  • Wheel-O-Feet - Used only with Sonic, and only in the first game.
  1. The third game's hammer boss also shows up in Sonic Rush Series.