The Neo Geo Pocket Color, surprisingly was released in Europe, for some reason, SNK makes these awesome games but they’re very expensive like the original Neo Geo, with it’s accurate arcade graphics, but was and still expensive what with it’s £200-£500 price on eBay.
The Neo Geo Pocket Color looks like it’s cheap but I doubt it, the only way I can play over 80 games (that’s how many that was released for the system, I won’t be surprised if you asked yourself what’s a Neo Geo) is an emulator, and one that caught my eye (and one that I would assume would be the last game I would play) was Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグポケットア ドベンチャー Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Poketto Adobenchā), developed by SNK under the supervision of Sonic Team, making sure they don’t screw it up before they do, and it was released in December 1999 in North America, and May 2000 in Japan and was released in Europe too.
Long story short there isn’t one really but the game play and level design are taken from Sonic The Hedgehog 2 but got music from Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Jam, with all new bosses, and that’s really it for the game play and music, but you know what, it actually emulates the original very well what with it’s limited graphic design, the speed is just like the original, the level design is like the original, this is what the Master System Sonic games should have been.
So you got levels like Emerald Zone, Chemical Plant, Aquatic Base, etc. They have been altered a bit due to limitations but they actually took time to alter it and make sure you never tell the difference. The special stages are taken from Sonic 2, and surprisingly have been downgraded well. The bosses are the only things that are original, there quite easy apart from the first last boss and the last boss is stupidly easy.
The new stuff are puzzle pieces, collect them and they’ll be made available in Puzzle Room. The Puzzle Room features three modes: Build Puzzle, View Puzzle, and Puzzle Initialize. In Build Puzzle you can build the puzzle by using pieces you found during the game. Viewing the Puzzle allows players to…well view puzzles they have completed. Puzzle Initialize lets to release all puzzle pieces back to be found again, it’s a silly gimmick and you wouldn’t miss it if it wasn’t included in the game.
In addition to the single player mode, it has multiplayer gaming for two players. In order to compete, two people are required to have a Neo Geo Pocket Color and a copy of the game, and one link cable. Player 1 is always Sonic, while player 2 is Tails. The multiplayer component is entitled ‘Duel Room’ and features two modes: Sonic Rush and Get the Rings. The objective of Sonic Rush is to compete to finish a zone first. The objective of Get the Rings is to compete in collecting a specified amount of rings. If one of the you have obtained the specified rings first, they are declared the winner and the other automatically loses. You’re also able to lose if they lose too many rings to the point that the zone has inefficient amount of rings. You might as well play 2 player Sonic 2 because that’s what it is.
My problems with the game is the camera, whenever you turn around it delays and then moves which is quite annoying but it’s a nitpick and it doesn’t bother me that much and the fact that the game is not only short but too easy at times, I literally beat the game in probably an hour.
Did you Know? Sonic Pocket Adventure was one of the games from the Neo Geo Pocket Color to be included in IGN’s DSi Virtual Console Wishlist.
Overall, it’s just a big surprise, thinking that you’re going to get a dull game actually delivers a Sonic game worth being next to the classics, the level design, music, everything is just classic Sonic with some essence of new Sonic. While it might not be completely perfect, it at least was very entertaining and I would love to play it again. As handheld game, it does Sonic justice after a few years of terrible Sonic games, this game was released before the Advance series and released after that shoddy Sonic Jam for the Game.com.
The funny thing about this is that IGN, the most biased game review website ever to be put on the face of the Earth (among other gaming review sites), gave this game a 10 out of 10, full marks, despite the issues, I know they reviewed it years ago and it was the early years, but remember, whenever they give your favourite game a low score for a nitpick, look at their review of this game and ask yourself “WHAT?” But you can trust me…no really, nobody pays me to write these reviews, I’m a freelance 🙂
Nevertheless, it’s probably one of my favourite games for the ill-fated Neo Geo Pocket Color…well the only game I properly ever played on the handheld.
You can get it on the Neo Geo Pocket Color.