When you hear “Sonic Fighting Game,” what first comes to your mind? Do you think Sonic the Fighters? Maybe Sonic Smackdown? Or perhaps Sonic Forces: Speed Battle? When I hear it, I think of Sonic Battle for the Gameboy Advance (GBA). The game was released on Jan. 5, 2004, and received mixed reviews thanks to the design of the game and the skill points? So, is the game a forgotten classic? Or does it deserve to be overlooked by its fellow Sonic fighting games?
4000 years ago, an ancient civilization lived and created a robot called the Gizoid. Thousands of years later, Eggman has recovered the ancient robot and tries to use it but is unsuccessful. He disposes the piece of scrap in Emerald Beach and that is where our story begins.
We meet Sonic the Hedgehog who spots the Gizoid and finds out that the robot has the ability to replicate his opponent’s moves. In order for the robot to get stronger both mentally and physically, it has to obtain chaos emeralds. Play as several characters such as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, the Gizoid (now called Emerl), and others as they gather chaos emeralds for the robot and learn more about its past.
The story is actually pretty decent for a fighting game. Characters like Sonic and others aren’t the main focus, however, Emerl is. We see him grow from a silent protagonist to a sassy but kind robot. Despite the other characters not being the main focus, the game nailed the personalities of these characters INCLUDING Shadow (which is rare to see. To be fair, this game came out before Shadow the Hedgehog). The ending of the game was also a surprise for me. Not going to go too deep into it but it is probably one of my favorite endings in the Sonic franchise. Overall, while the story doesn’t give attention to most of the characters, it is pretty good. I give it an A-.
The gameplay is where I have the most problems with. Each battle you play as 2D characters in a 3D arena. I found the battles to be very repetitive. I ended up just spamming the special attacks which get the job done pretty well. Another problem is the difficulty. Sometimes it can be very easy but the match afterward can be almost impossible because your opponents can kill you in two hits.
As Emerl, you will collect skills that you can equip to the Gizoid. But the stronger the skill is, the more skill points it takes up. In order to increase it, you need to battle to gain more of those skill points. I would be fine with this if it weren’t for the fact you only get one skill point (or two on occasion) per battle. The weakest skills which you can equip (besides the ones you begin with) require at least 5 skill points. This means that if you want to use the skills you have, you’ll need to grind a lot.
The gameplay is fun at first but it starts to get very repetitive and frustratingly difficult by the time you are halfway through. I give it a B-.
The soundtrack is……fine. I don’t have any thoughts on it. It’s really not my taste. I give it a B.
To conclude, this game is pretty meh. The story is pretty good for a fighting game but the gameplay is frustrating. I give the game a 6.8/10.
At a Glance: Sonic Battle
Summary: Collect Chaos Emeralds to strengthen Emerl’s power and discover the robot’s true origins.
Rated: E for Everyone: Mild Cartoon Violence
Price: $11.99 (Gamestop)
System: Gameboy Advance (GBA)
Release Date: Jan. 5, 2004