Sonic Pocket Adventure
Posted at 03:54 on 19th August 2009 - permalink

This article is part of the NeoGeo Pocket Color: 10th Anniversary retrospective.

Sonic Pocket Adventure Sonic Pocket Adventure

While most of the games for the NGPC were developed by SNK (or their partners), there was a small but consistently high quality third party presence. SNK presumably offered favourable terms to encourage Capcom, Namco, Sega and Taito to speculate on the system. Titles including Puzzle Bobble Mini, Pac-Man and Sonic Pocket Adventure added some much-needed variety and brand power to the NGPC’s library.

Sonic Pocket Adventure is a loose port of Sonic 2, with a smattering of elements from the other Mega Drive Sonic games. The graphics are a bit less colourful (falling somewhere between Master System/Game Gear and Mega Drive standards) but Sonic’s trademark speed and responsiveness are intact. The classic Sonic 2 bonus stage (an into-the-screen slalom run) is also replicated here.

Sonic Pocket Adventure Sonic Pocket Adventure

The Obligatory Collecting Element involves finding jigsaw pieces scattered around the stages. There’s also a time trial mode and a two-player system link mode (“Sonic Rush”). Apart from a few cosmetic snips (Tails is largely absent, and the terrain is a little bit more angular), the game is still recognisable as Sonic 2. The developers realised that they were working with strong source material and haven’t fiddled with the formula too much.

While the content of Sonic Pocket Adventure is familiar, in revisiting it I was surprised at how difficult the game now seems. I remember completing the Mega Drive games dozens of times in the 1990s. These days I prefer games that offer more than straightforward tests of reflexes and patience, but it’s always a bit dispiriting to be reminded how badly your ‘skillz’ have atrophied.

Score: 7/10

Developer: Sonic Team/Dimps

Publisher: SNK/Sega

Supercede-o-factor: If you want a handheld platform game, the modern systems have the genre well covered, from New Super Mario Bros. to LocoRoco. If you want a handheld Sonic game, things get a bit sketchier – Sonic Rush Adventure on the DS is worth a look. If you want a Sonic game that evokes the character’s Nineties glory days rather than his ignominious post-Dreamcast decline (tired, flabby and surrounded by a multicoloured crowd of hangers-on) Sonic Pocket Adventure is the best choice.

Next: Faselei!

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