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Join the quest to defeat the evil Dr. Eggman!

— Tagline

Sonic Advance 3 (ソニックアドバンス3 Sonikku Adobansu 3?) is an action platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Dimps and published by Sega and THQ.

The game was released on June 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. It would be later re-released for the Wii U's Virtual Console on May 2016 in Japan only. The game uses elements from Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2, as well as allowing the player to choose an additional partner, who augments the player's actions.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

After the Emerl incident, Dr. Eggman has used the leftover data from Emerl to create Gemerl.[1] Later, using Chaos Control, Eggman breaks the earth into seven pockets of reality with the intent of conquering each section and turning them into the Dr. Eggman Empire (Eggmanland in the Japanese manual).[2][3] Sonic is left stranded with Tails in Route 99, and teams with him to find their friends, Knuckles, Amy and Cream; and restore the world by finding the Chaos Emeralds.[3] Whilst on their journey, Sonic and Tails find their friends, who join them. They also face off with Eggman's various machines.

Eventually, Sonic and his friends go to Altar Emerald, where they have a fight against Gemerl and Eggman in the Hyper Eggrobo. The ending of the game from there will depend on the player's progress:

  • If the player is not using Sonic as a lead character and/or has not collected all seven Chaos Emeralds after defeating the Hyper Eggrobo, Eggman and Gemerl will escape as the Master Emerald restores the planet to normal. The game will then end with Omochao taking a picture of Sonic and his friends.
  • If the player is using Sonic as a lead character and has collected the seven Chaos Emeralds after defeating the Hyper Eggrobo, Gemerl will betray Eggman and snatch the Chaos Emeralds from Sonic, which he uses to become Ultimate Gemerl. After Ultimate Gemerl has left. Sonic, using the Chaos Emeralds as well, becomes Super Sonic, and teams up with Eggman to defeat the robot. After that, Gemerl is turned back to normal and consumed in a massive explosion. Sonic later wakes up among his friends and set outs on new adventures while Knuckles stays behind to guard the Master Emerald. Days later however, Cream and her mother Vanilla find Gemerl's body on a beach, and give it to Tails, who repairs him and reprograms him into a friendly robot. After that, he gets to live a peaceful life with Cream and her family.


Image Character Biography
Advance3 sonic.png Sonic the Hedgehog A free spirited hedgehog that hates evil. He can be short tempered at times, but never turns his back on those in need of help.[4]
Tails 29.png Miles "Tails" Prower A friendly kid fox with two tails, who thinks of Sonic as a favorite big brother. He loves tinkering with machinery.[5]
Knuckles 16.png Knuckles the Echidna A powerful Echidna with spiky fists, and Sonic's best friend and rival. He's sincere in nature, but a little gullible and easily misled.[6]
Cream (Sonic Advance 3).png Cream the Rabbit Cream is a polite little rabbit that takes her tiny Chao "Cheese" wherever she goes. She means well, but can act a little childish at times.[7]
Amy 14.png Amy Rose Sonic's self professed girlfriend that he can't seem to escape from. She never leaves home without her trademark Pikopiko Hammer.[8]


Sonic Advance 3 is a 2D side-scrolling platforming video game, which plays similar to past 2D Sonic games. In it, the player takes control of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Cream and Amy, each with their own individual abilities.

Sonic Advance 3 contains seven Zones, each of them having separate hub worlds called "Zone Maps" that include three Acts, a boss fight and two minigames that are used to gain extra lives. Rather than seguing immediately between Acts as happens in other 2D Sonic the Hedgehog titles, Sonic Advance 3 uses a "hub" system where the characters have to explore a separate world from the Acts in order to enter each Act. Once all three Acts are found and cleared, the player can then move onto the boss. In the interconnecting hub, players can also exchange who their active pairing is by entering the giant Factory Ring near the entry point and switch between past Zones that were completed.

As with past 2D Sonic games, the main goal of Sonic Advance 3 is to beat all Acts in less than ten minutes. Rings can be found scattered throughout the game. As with past titles, Rings protect the playable character from attacks; if the player is hit while carrying at least one Ring, they will survive, although at the cost of dropping all their Rings. However, if they receive damage while not having any Rings, they will lose a life, or get a Game Over if they run out of lives. In the former, the player will respawn at the latest Checkpoint they touched, or in the start of the Act if they have not touched any Checkpoint. Extra lives can be obtained by gathering one hundred Rings or breaking 1-Up Boxes.

Unlike past games, Sonic Advance 3 requires the player to select a playable character and a partner character to assist them. Player 1 controls the leader character, while the partner is controlled by either a second player or an AI. Additionally, players can use a special ability known as Tag Action; the player can pick up the teammate by holding Rgba.png, and then release it to perform various special actions.

Character team actions

  • Sonic - Gives a super burst of speed, as if walking over a speed booster.
    • Only having Sonic as a partner (or being Sonic) will let the player enter Boost Mode.
  • Tails - A super high jump aided by Tails. (ground action)
  • Knuckles - Can be thrown forward at enemies. (ground action)
    • Glides forward with his partner riding on his back. (air action)
  • Cream - Cheese becomes a character Chao and can be used by the characters in the same way Cream uses Cheese. (air and ground action)
  • Amy - A super high jump aided by Amy's hammer. Can be used repeatedly to escape deep water.
    • A small double jump, which can be made into an abnormally high bounce if the player times it right. (air action)

Besides the character actions, a partner affects the way the leader acts. For example, Amy will act similar to the way she did in Sonic Advance, but when teamed with Sonic, she will play the way she did in Sonic Advance 2, with an automatic Spin Attack and a Spin Dash. Each team-up has a categorization showing its strength, which is either Flying, Power, or Speed.

Character partner effects

Anyone partnered with Sonic makes a speed team, anyone except Sonic partnered with Knuckles makes a power team and any combination of the remaining three (Tails, Cream, Amy) makes a flying team.

  • Sonic partnered with:
    • Tails - Similar to Sonic Advance, but he loses his Insta-Shield and Jump Dash. Sonic gains the air tricks he was able to do in Sonic Advance 2 (propelling him upwards, left, right or downwards), but have a more precise timing and are colored yellow instead of blue.
    • Knuckles - Sonic gains some aerial moves, such as the Bound Attack, an upward dash and his Insta-Shield attack. His somersault attack also becomes fiery and more powerful.
    • Cream - Sonic gains a forward dash attack similar to the Fire Shield dash from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles) and the Homing Attack in later games. He also has unlimited air underwater via a bubble that surrounds him, much like the Aqua Shield's effect from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, it disappears upon leaving the water and doesn't protect him from damage.
    • Amy - Sonic's ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Sonic does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and must use his air attack to curl up. Amy's animations change to reflect her crush on Sonic. Sonic grinds rails on a snowboard.
    • Eggman - Only available in the Nonaggression Zone as Super Sonic. Super Sonic charges Eggman as a fireball. The strength of the attack varies according to how long the button is pressed.
  • Tails partnered with:
    • Sonic - Tails behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance 2, including the aerial tricks.
    • Knuckles - Tails' ground attack becomes Tornado Attack. Tails gains the Insta-Shield attack like Sonic's. Tails flight becomes a gliding attack like Knuckles', though he cannot climb walls.
    • Cream - Tails flies with his tails underneath him, but only for a shorter time and gains more height per press of the A button similar to Cream's flight. His horizontal distance is also greatly impaired and he gains the Homing Attack.
    • Amy - Tails' ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Tails does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and the player must press B in mid-air to curl up. Tails also flies holding his hammer, which can be swung without interrupting his flight, and his flight speed increases.
  • Knuckles partnered with:
    • Sonic - Similar to Sonic Advance, except his gliding ability becomes a head first aerial dash (similar to his forward trick ability from Sonic Advance 2).
    • Tails - Knuckles' punch attack becomes an uppercut. Knuckles also takes a small jump before gliding, and glides with his fist extended forward.
    • Cream - Knuckles behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance, except that he can use a homing attack while gliding.
    • Amy - Knuckles' ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Knuckles does not curl up into a ball when he jumps, and must use his air attack to curl up. He also gains his downward punch attack from Sonic Advance 2. After gliding into a wall, Knuckles can dash up walls in a similar style to a Spin Dash.
  • Cream partnered with:
    • Sonic - Instead of a homing attack, Cheese dashes forward a short distance for an attack. Like Knuckles, she also can tread water in this match-up, in her case using a floating ring.
    • Tails - Instead of flying, Cream pulls out an orange umbrella and floats.
    • Knuckles - Cheese by default flies defensively in circles around Cream, automatically damaging any enemies in range.
    • Amy - Cream's ground attack becomes a hammer attack. Cream does not curl up into a ball when she jumps, and since her aerial attack is to throw Cheese, she cannot curl into a ball while jumping. She also gains the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2 and a hip drop attack.
  • Amy partnered with:
    • Sonic - Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance 2, but with an aerial forward dash added by pressing A while jumping in mid-air.
    • Tails - Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance, except that she can glide slowly down with balloons, and her aerial hammer attack gives her an extra upward boost.
    • Knuckles - Amy's standard ground hammer becomes huge. Amy has a forward dash similar to her Spin Dash in Sonic Advance 2, but she does not curl up into a ball when she uses it (resembling the Super Peel Out). In addition, by pressing down and B on the ground, she will do a forward flip with her hammer, and pressing it in the air will use her Spinning Hammer Attack (that she also has with Sonic).
    • Cream - Amy behaves the same way she does when partnered with Tails, but her aerial hammer attack gains her no extra air. Instead, she has the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2.
  • Eggman partnered with:
    • Eggman is only playable in 2-Player mode. He cannot tag action with Super Sonic in 2-Player mode. Holding the Rgba.png as Eggman causes the same effect as if Super Sonic tagged Eggman in 1-Player mode. Super Sonic cannot tag at all in 2-Player mode when partnered with Eggman.



Button formation Character action
Controlpadds.png left/right Move
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Look down
Holding Rgba.png > Releasing Rgba.png Tag Action
START Pause the game


Playable characters

Non-playable characters



  1. Egg Hammer 3 (Route 99) (only appearance)
  2. Egg Ball No.2 (Sunset Hill) (only appearance)
  3. Egg Foot (Ocean Base) (only appearance)
  4. Egg Cube (Toy Kingdom) (only appearance)
  5. Egg Chaser (Twinkle Snow) (only appearance)
  6. Egg Pinball (Cyber Track) (only appearance)
  7. Egg Gravity (Chaos Angel) (only appearance)
  8. Hyper Eggrobo (Altar Emerald) (only appearance)
  9. Ultimate Gemerl (Nonaggression) (only appearance)


  1. Route 99
  2. Sunset Hill
  3. Ocean Base
  4. Toy Kingdom
  5. Twinkle Snow
  6. Cyber Track
  7. Chaos Angel
  8. Altar Emerald
  9. Nonaggression


Role English voice actor Japanese voice actor
Sonic the Hedgehog Ryan Drummond Jun'ichi Kanemaru
Dr. Eggman Deem Bristow Chikao Ōtsuka
Miles "Tails" Prower William Corkery Ryo Hirohashi
Knuckles the Echidna Scott Drier Nobutoshi Canna
Amy Rose Jennifer Douillard Taeko Kawata
Cream the Rabbit Sarah Wulfeck Sayaka Aoki
Menu announcer Jon St. John

Special quotes

  • Unbreakable bond - Sonic & Tails
  • Fighting buddies - Sonic & Knuckles
  • Lovely couple - Sonic & Amy
  • Team Jubilee - Cream & Amy


On 25 May 2016, Sonic Advance 3 was re-released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan at the price of ¥702.[9]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.37%[10]
Metacritic 79/100[11]
Review scores
Publication Score B[12]
Famitsu 30/40[13]
Game Informer 6.75/10[14]
GamePro 3.5/5[15]
GameSpot 8.4/10[16]
GameSpy 3.0/5.0 stars[17]
GameZone 9/10[18]
IGN 9/10[19]
Nintendo Power 3.9/5[20]

Sonic Advance 3 was reportedly "racing off store shelves" as soon as it was released.[21] The game also received positive reviews from critics, with respective scores of 79% and 81.37% at review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings.[10][11] It later won Handheld Game of the Year at the 2004 Golden Joystick Awards[22] and sold over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone.[23]

Critics gave mixed opinions to the team-up dynamic. Nich Maragos from celebrated that Sonic Team had "finally [come] up with a way of introducing teamwork and variance between characters that doesn't overwhelm Sonic's bread-and-butter gameplay." Maragos singled this out as the main divider between Sonic Advance 3 and Sonic Heroes, a game that he found surprisingly linear in level design considering that it, unlike Sonic Advance 3, was in 3D.[12] Maragos, GameSpot's Frank Provo, IGN's Craig Harris, and Game Informers Lisa Mason appreciated the increase in replayability Sonic's friends brought.[12][14][16][19] However, Mason, as well as reviewer Stardingo from GamePro, thought that they played too much like Sonic and did not add much to the experience.[14][15] Darryl Vassar of GameSpy took a different point of criticism: he acknowledged the presence of genuinely different character abilities, but perceived that their only purpose was to find Chao, whom he called "pointless".[17] Maragos noted that the "mid-air trick" system from Advance 2 was optional in Advance 3, but spoke positively about its usefulness in locating "hidden areas".[12] Harris argued that such varying team abilities contributed to occasional "cheapness" in the level design, because "most of the characters have absolutely no defense when hopping off items like springboards".[19]

However, the gameplay was mostly well-received otherwise. Vassar acclaimed the level design: he both called the levels "enormous and fast" and praised the slower, smaller sections for "keeping the levels distinct and adding short interludes to the constant running and loops."[17] Harris also praised the "clever" level design.[19] However, Mason found it "simplistic",[14] while Stardingo saw "repetition" in the typical formula.[15] Maragos criticized the bipolar difficulty of the bosses and some minor control issues.[12] Vassar, however, appreciated the return from Advance 2s running-based boss battles to more traditional ones.[17] Further praise from Harris, conversely, went to the multiplayer mode and—along with Stardingo—to the presence of a hub world, which Harris and Stardingo thought gave the game structure.[15][19]

The game's aesthetics were also well received. Provo stated that "in terms of graphics and sound, Sonic Advance 3 is on par with the best that companies like Nintendo and Konami have had to offer this year". He specifically complimented the character animations, simulations of underwater waves, and in-depth background effects.[16] Vassar praised Sonic Advance 3 for continuing Advance 1 and 2's emulation of the "colorful, angular, and stylized look" of the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, as well as its "twangy, upbeat tunes".[17] Stardingo thought similarly overall but criticized the "garish" themes of the level Toy Kingdom.[15]


  • Strangely, this game was not mentioned on Sega's American Sonic Website (Sonic Central).
  • The partner aspect is similar in concept to the partner system from Knuckles' Chaotix, although Sonic Advance 3 does not replicate the "bungee cord" effect, instead using a system similar to Tails' AI-controlled system.
  • Amy as Sonic's partner is the only choice in the game that causes non-gameplay related sprites and animations to change depending on the selected characters.
  • If the player selects Knuckles as a player character and Sonic as a partner, the life symbol will look like a mirrored version of the cover of Sonic & Knuckles.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the Tiny Chao Garden is absent.
  • For unknown reasons, Knuckles is incapable of using Mid-Air Trick Actions in this game, unlike all the other characters.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the player can use two characters. (Unless one counts the cheat code in Sonic Advance where the player can have Tails follow Sonic.)
  • If the player gets all the Chaos Emeralds, a code will pop up for the Secret Stage Mode. The player has to go to the main menu, highlight "Main Game" and press "Up, R, Down, L, Right, Left". Once that's done, the player can play the Special Stages.
  • Many of the music tracks from Sonic Advance 3 are remixes of themes that appeared in previous Sonic the Hedgehog games. While most originate from Sonic Battle (with Route 99 using music from Tails' Lab, Altar Emerald using music from Holy Summit, and Nonaggression and the title sequence using the leitmotif of E-120 Phi and Gemerl, as well as excerpts from Colosseum's music), the main menu uses the Chao Race theme from Sonic Adventure 2, and Sunset Hill's music is a remix of Green Hill Zone's music from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. While the music for Sunset Hill is based on the music for Green Hill Zone, it also has elements of the music from Central City in Sonic Battle.
  • The Tag Actions used by Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Amy as partners function very similar to their special abilities used in Sonic Advance's "Team Play" mode.
  • When Sonic and Cream are paired, Sonic can still acquire Air Bubbles despite not needing them.
  • This is the final game in which the original English voice actors reprise their roles for Sonic, Eggman, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Cream before they were replaced with the 4Kids Entertainment voice actors from Sonic X.
    • It is also the only Sonic Advance game to feature voice acting and the second and final Sonic game for Game Boy Advance to feature voice acting overall, the first being Sonic Battle.



Sonic Advance 3 - Commercial 1


Sonic Advance 3 - Commercial 2


  1. Sonic Advance 3 Japanese website (Japanese). Retrieved on 21 April 2021. "『ソニックバトル』で登場した“エメル”のデータをもとに、Dr.エッグマンが生み出したロボット“ジーメル”が新登場!アタッチメントをつけることにより様々な機能を発揮可能。 ソニックたちを待ち受ける!"
  2. Flynn, Ian; Sega (8 December 2021). "Sonic Advance 3". Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia. Dark Horse Books. p. 144. ISBN 978-1506719276. "Dr. Eggman has used the power of the Chaos Emeralds to unleash Chaos Control, splitting the world into pockets of reality."
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) North American instruction booklet, pg. 4.
  4. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction manual, pg. 8.
  5. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction manual, pg. 10.
  6. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction manual, pg. 12.
  7. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction manual, pg. 14.
  8. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction manual, pg. 16.
  9. Sonic Advance 3 (GBA) heading to the Wii U VC in Japan on May 25th. The Sonic Stadium (18 May 2016). Retrieved on 21 May 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sonic Advance 3. GameRankings. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Sonic Advance 3: Game Boy Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Maragos, Nich (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA): Sonic and friends -- wait, don't run away!. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  13. ソニック アドバンス3. Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 810. June 2004.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Mason, Lisa. Right Round Baby, Right Round. Game Informer. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Stardingo (June 17, 2004). Review: Sonic Advance 3. GamePro. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Provo, Frank (June 23, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: Sonic Advance 3 is a great, fast-paced platform game, and the tag-team play mechanic really enhances the overall experience.. GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 28, 2007. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Vassar, Darryl (June 14, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA). GameSpy. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  18. Zacarias, Eduardo (June 13, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 Review. GameZone. Archived from the original on March 15, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Harris, Craig (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: The traditional Sonic adventures continue to shine on the Game Boy Advance in a tremendously fun sequel.. IGN. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  20. "Sonic Advance 3". Nintendo Power. No. 182. August 2004. p. 122.
  21. SONIC ADVANCE 3 Now Available for Game Boy Advance; Third Title in Franchise Racing Off Store Shelves. THQ (June 7, 2004). Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  22. CVG Staff (November 5, 2004). Golden Joystick Awards 2004: Winners announced!. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  23. ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver. ELSPA. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.

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