Sonic Battle (ソニックバトル Sonikku Batoru?) is a fighting game developed by Sonic Team for the Game Boy Advance. The gameplay consists of 2D sprites fighting in three dimensional environments similar to the Double Dragon games. Unlike traditional fighters, it is beginner-friendly and easy to play, featuring no complicated combos or button inputs that need to be memorized to perform special moves.
Many years ago, a sentient weapon was created by an ancient civilization. After being lost for millennia, the weapon, known as the Gizoid, was unearthed and researched by Professor Gerald Robotnik. It remained dormant for another half century before being discovered by, of all people, Gerald's grandson, Dr. Eggman. Frustrated at his inability to get the dormant Gizoid to work properly, Eggman dumped it at Emerald Beach where it was found once more, this time by Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic names the Gizoid "Emerl", who gets wrapped up in the affairs of Sonic's friends, both allies and rivals. Through his encounters with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, Gamma, Rouge, and Shadow, Emerl turns from a soulless robot into a fun-loving mech with personality traits from all of those he had met. But while the gang is having fun raising their new mechanical friend, there are those who recognize Emerl's true power. Now that Emerl is working again, Eggman has his eye on it, Rouge wants to turn it into a master thief, and Shadow feels that, despite Sonic's efforts to humanize him, Emerl is still a weapon of mass destruction.
The story comes to a close when Dr. Eggman challenges Emerl to a battle aboard his new Death Egg. While Emerl is able to defeat the mad doctor, Eggman takes advantage of Emerl's core programming - to obey who is the strongest - by using the Death Egg's Final Egg Blaster to destroy several stars. However, the conflict between Emerl's new personality and his programming causes Emerl to lose control. He knocks out Eggman and turns the Final Egg Blaster toward earth. Sonic tries to use the Master Emerald to neutralize Emerl's Chaos Emerald powers, but when that fails, he is forced to defeat him in combat. He does so, and with one last goodbye, Emerl is destroyed, but Sonic believes that they will see him again someday.
Sonic Battle is very different from normal Sonic games in terms of gameplay, being a fighting game instead of a fast-paced action-adventure platformer. In story mode, players can explore the overworld, which is made up of "Emerald Town", "Holy Summit", "Central City", "Night Babylon", and "Gimme Shelter", though during some parts of the story only certain maps can be visited. However, every map can be accessed during Emerl's story. By going to a selectable area, the player may train with other characters, fight E-121 Phis, or continue the plot.
Battles take place on 3D arenas with 2D sprites and are split up into Point, Survival, and Time modes. Point Battles require the player to be the first to get a certain amount of points by KO'ing other characters participating in the battle. Survival requires the player to defeat all opposing characters by KO'ing them until they run out of lives. Time Battles require the player to reach a certain objective within a certain amount of time.
Before the battle starts and before the player re-enters the battle after being KO'ed, they are able to select from three different Special Attacks: Shot, Power, and Trap. Shot attacks are mid-to-long range attacks which can be directed in any of the eight directions (with the exception of Shadow's Chaos Magic, which can only be aimed in the four primary directions). Power attacks are typically signature attacks of the character and vary between each character. These attacks normally focus a lot of damage in one go. Trap attacks involve the character placing or releasing an explosive device which launches the opponent upward and briefly blinds anyone hit. During selection, the player selects which attacks will be Ground, Aerial, and Guard. Ground is the basic Special Attack, used when the character is on the ground. Aerial is a variant of a special attack used while the character is in the air and is often an air-to-ground attack. The Special Attack selected as Guard automatically protects you from opponents' moves in the same category. For example, if Guard is on Shot, all Shot moves are automatically blocked until you die and reset your Guard.
All characters are also capable of healing themselves at varying speeds. Defending from special attacks and healing allows characters to fill up the Ichikoro Gauge. When this gauge is full, the character flashes and their next special attack will be a one-hit K.O. if it hits. However, it will instantly fill the gauge of anyone who blocks the attack.
In Story Mode, after a battle when Emerl is present, Emerl gains Skill Points based on how well the player fought: winning earns 1 point; winning without losing a life earns 2 points; exiting at one point in Tails' story or winning without losing a life while battling two optional Phis earns 3 points; winning without getting hit earns 5 points; and winning without getting hit while battling two optional Phis earns 6 point. Giving an Emerald Shard or a Chaos Emerald to Emerl gives him 10 points. These points allow skills that Emerl has copied from the battle to be selected as part of Emerl's moveset. These skills are ranked one to six stars, with each star being worth five points. The total point worth of the skills cannot exceed the total number of Skill Points Emerl has, and the maximum amount of obtainable Skill Points is 500.
|Emerl is capable of strengthening himself by acquiring his opponent's moves. Collect as many moves as possible and customize Emerl's fighting skills!|
Sonic the Hedgehog
|Sonic is a hedgehog who runs at supersonic speed. Check out his excellent balance of attack, defense moves and ability to run at super-sonic speeds. Knock-out opponents using a snappy dance-inspired move!|
Miles "Tails" Prower
|"Tails" has invented a number of unique combined moves. Create a variety of combos with his consecutive attacks and inventions.|
Knuckles the Echidna
|Knuckles is an enthusastic fighter who can knock down his opponents with only a single hit. Keep punching opponents to defeat them quickly!|
|Amy is a cheerful and energetic girl who attacks opponents with her Piko Piko Hammer. You may win a battle by simply swinging it around.|
Shadow the Hedgehog
|Shadow can move from place to place without detection. He will vanish and attack, and then appear again. Watch out for his ultimate speed!|
Cream the Rabbit
|Cream has a constant companion in her best friend, Cheese. Joining hands, Cream and Cheese not only work well together, but also give each other courage!|
Rouge the Bat
|Rouge is the "world's greatest thief." There's no doubt that her battle style will rock your world!|
|Dr. Eggman, a genius scientist, is always hatching plots to take over the world. He was allegedly in the process of attempting to make use of Emerl for an unknown purpose....|
E-102 "Chaos Gamma"
- Emerald Beach (Sonic)
- Tails' Lab (Tails; enter for Virtual Training in Emerl's story)
- Chao Ruins (Knuckles)
- Battle Highway (Shadow)
- Club "Rouge" (Rouge)
- Amy's Room (Amy)
- Library (Cream)
- Metal Depot (Chaos Gamma)
- Holy Summit (Chaos)
- Death Egg (Dr. Eggman; only playable in Emerl's story)
- Colosseum (can used during Virtual Training and Battle Mode)
- Green Hill (can be unlocked for Battle Mode by completing Emerl's story)
All arenas except for Death Egg can be used in Battle Mode.
Besides Story Mode and battle arena fights, there are a number of other game modes available for single or multiplayer by connecting the Game Boy Advance with up to three others via a link cable. These include "Battle Mode", "Challenge Mode", "Training", "Mini Games", "Battle Record", and "Options".
In "Battle Mode", players can select characters and arenas to spar in.
In "Mini Games", 2D mini games can be selected. These games are largely unrelated to the fighting motif. These include:
|Soniclash! (Multiplayer only)- The only minigame to be available for play at the start of the game, Soniclash! sees players bounce around a pinball-like arena, rolling around in ball form.|
|Tails' Fly & Get (Multiplayer only)- Unlocked by beating Tails' episode in Story Mode. Fly & Get is an aerial ring-collection game which inspired a later Sonic Cafe mobile phone release, Tails' Flying Get.|
|Knuckles' Mine Hunt - Unlocked by beating Knuckles' episode in Story Mode. Here, Knuckles plays a game of minesweeper. Due to a design oversight, there is no way to exit the minigame once it is started. However, no data is lost by turning off the system while playing Mine Hunt. Unlike the other minigames, this is for one player only, although you can transfer it to another Game Boy Advance with no cartridge inserted.|
|Amy's Treasure Island (called Treasure Hunt occasionally) (Multiplayer only)- Unlocked by beating Amy's episode in Story Mode. This game plays similarly to Knuckles' missions in the Adventure titles.
Players: Amy, Cream, Knuckles, Rouge.
|Shadow's Speed Demon (Multiplayer only)- Unlocked by beating Shadow's episode in Story Mode. Players race down a highway toward a goal while avoiding obstacles and launching off ramps. You can accelerate to higher speeds by jumping off ramps.
Players: Shadow, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles.
Secret Combo Cards
Combo Cards representing each character can be obtained by entering a code at the Sonic Team building in the Central City area during Emerl's story.
- Sonic: 75619
- Tails: OTrOI
- Knuckles: yU3Da
- Amy: alogK
- Cream: ZAhan
- Shadow: ArmIa
- Rouge: AhnVo
- Gamma: tSueT
- Chaos: EkiTa
Note: these skills are worth six stars (30 skill points). When activated, Emerl will perform a rapid combo consisting of that character's techniques. This assault cannot be cancelled once it's activated unless it's interrupted by an enemy attacking the user or blocking it.
|Metacritic||69 out of 100|
The game received generally mixed to positive reviews from critics. According to review aggregator site Metacritic, the game has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". According to the video game review aggregator site Game Rankings, the game has a score of 69.34%. While some critics praised the game's "surprisingly deep arena-fighting gameplay", graphics, and multiplayer mode, others dismissed it for its "limited moveset" and use of 2-D sprites on a 3-D fighting arena.
IGN gave the game a positive review, saying "It does try hard to be what Smash Bros. is, and even though the game doesn't quite reach the same status Nintendo and HAL created for the Nintendo consoles, Sonic Battle has enough stuff to make it one of the top original fighters on the Game Boy Advance system." GameSpy also gave a positive review, saying "A solid and pleasantly deep arena beat-'em-up with lots of longevity, and through the presence of the Hedgehog and his posse adds absolutely nothing to the game, it's nice to see them getting work in these tough economic times." Nintendo Power gave a more mixed review, saying the "moves are limited, but the overall experience is tons of fun." GamePro also gave a mixed review, criticizing the game's story mode, saying "The biggest problem with Sonic Battle is the poor game design in Story mode. Earning Skill Points, and thereby new abilities for Emerl the Robot, is a grueling ordeal." Gamestyle gave a more negative review, saying "Fighting really isn't Sonic's strength - at least not with regard to good gameplay.".
Chronology and Legacy
The storyline of Sonic Battle was loosely adapted for TV in episodes 45 and 46 of Sonic X, entitled "Prize Fights" and "A Wild Win" respectively. The story is later continued in Sonic Advance 3 (in which a new robot, G-merl, is built from Emerl's data) and heavily referenced in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
- Oddly, the seven Chaos Emeralds are all green in this game, and the Master Emerald does not have its own separate sprite. Meanwhile, Emerald Shards have their own sprites.
- Strangely, when Sonic gets the Master Emerald, he states "A Master Emerald." This is most likely a typo.
- When Chaos Gamma appears before Sonic, Tails and Emerl, Sonic and Tails quickly mistaken him as Gamma, whom they haven't seen since Sonic Adventure. Knuckles and Amy also mistake him as Gamma. Rouge notes that he looks similar to Omega.
- Even though Knuckles seems to remember Gamma, the two have never actually met. Knuckles merely followed him to get to the Egg Carrier.
- When entering Central City, a blue sign that reads "Sonic Team" is easily seen. Emerl can enter it in his story where he can input certain codes to obtain combo cards.
- Shadow's card password is an anagram of "Maria".
- Knuckles' is a reference to his designer Takashi Yuda.
- Chaos' is possibly an anagram of Tikal, replacing "l" with an "E".
- The Japanese version has a language option where players can choose from Japanese to English. Some differences and mistranslations can be seen.
- One example is in the beginning of Rouge's story where Rouge calls the hacker, which is Eggman, a "dirty bastard" for hacking the Central Computer.
- Another example is the menu, where the game asks if the player is going to continue the story or play a different episode. The whole menu text itself is different in the English releases of the game and has a massive mistranslation (pictured on the right).
- This is the first post-Sonic Adventure game with 2D artwork on the front cover not illustrated by Yuji Uekawa.
- The artwork resembles the style of Puyo Pop Fever, another game made by Sonic Team.
- Although this game was released before Sonic Heroes, there are several references to the game including Rouge mentioning Omega and Shadow's presence there. Therefore, it can be inferred that this game appears to take place after the events of that game.
- If that is the case, it is unknown how Shadow remembers his past, given that during the events of Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog he could not remember anything beside Maria. This probably means that the game takes place sometime after Shadow the Hedgehog.
- Dr. Eggman's base in the game, "Gimme Shelter," shares the name with the popular Rolling Stones song.
- In the Shibuya Downtown course in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Sonic Battle artwork can be seen on a plane.
- In Virtual Training, even though the player receives the same amount of lives as the opponents, getting K.O.'d once will end the Virtual Training session.
- This is the first time that Shadow, Rouge and Chaos are featured playable characters on the Gameboy Advance.
- This is also the first time they make an appearance on a handheld system.
- This is the only handheld system Chaos was featured on before being on the Nintendo Switch.
- Sonic Battle credits
- Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance. GameRankings (2004-01-05). Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance Reviews. Metacritic (2004-01-05). Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- Sonic Battle Critic Reviews for Game Boy Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- GamePro Media: (2010-01-13). Sonic Battle Review from GamePro. Web.archive.org. Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- January 13, 2004 3:38PM PST (2004-01-05). Sonic Battle Review. GameSpot.com. Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- GameSpy: Sonic Battle - Page 1. Gba.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- Sonic Battle - IGN. Gameboy.ign.com. Retrieved on 2013-04-09.
- Sonic Battle at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.