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RELEASE DATE (NA): December 20, 1999 GENRE: Platformer
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Authentic where it matters.

Pocket Adventure is like a clip show episode. It is a short endeavour, sweet and simple, and borrows content from several Sonic the Hedgehog games. However, just like a clip show, it is unmistakably all old and all predictable. Going in, you know what you are going to get. Old jokes, old scenes, old moments. At least it's no Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge.

This portable instalment in the long-running franchise is authentic when considering Sonic's physics, weight, and speed. Level design is quite accurate compared to the 16-bit games from which they drew inspiration, though there is a suspicious abundance of squashing traps near the end of the game. Parts of the level layout are questionably unfitting in the last few stages, but getting around them is simply through memorization and determination.

Each "zone" is lifted from a previous Sonic the Hedgehog game, although with different names (Aquatic Ruin is now Aquatic Relix, etc). Two of the zones featured in this game are a combination — level layout and enemies of one zone, but the art assets of another. Art assets are reworked from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but the zones and enemies are taken exclusively from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The music is a mixture, mostly taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic and Knuckles, and none of it fits with the zone it has been applied to. Music tracks also appear to be in the wrong order and the music is also butchered completely.

Looks familiar, somehow, like a mole on the back of my hand.

Perhaps the strongest part of the game is the visual appeal. Despite Sonic the Hedgehog's idle expression resembling the man at the checkout who left his wallet at home, every other part of the presentation is solid. Nicely detailed sprites and backgrounds showing just what the Neo Geo Pocket Colour can do and do well. Attempting to implant the Sonic Adventure style into a classic Sonic the Hedgehog game isn't without its oddities, but I will let it pass on account of being the only Sonic the Hedgehog game for the system.

Pocket Adventure brags lasting appeal and replay value in the form of collectible cards which are hidden around each level. These cards are then used to complete sliding tile puzzles, which aren't a very enticing thing, to be completely honest. Other extras include a Time Trial mode, and two multiplayer modes that require linking together two systems. But in all reality, Pocket Adventure has no lasting appeal or replay value. There is an extra level to unlock after collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds, but that isn't too difficult to do.

Despite being a solid and sound entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, it is not even as remotely as enjoyable to revisit as the titles it borrows from. If the game had attempted to create new levels or utilize new themes, it could have been better. With Sonic the Hedgehog games, there is a lot of scope for new ideas - compare the later Game Gear and Master System games with their Genesis cousins. Different villains, different stories, different music and levels. It is impossible to berate the game for its copying, though, because Pocket Adventure is still nonetheless one of a glut of many fantastic titles for the Neo Geo Pocket Colour.

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