Sonic Advance 3

Sonic Advance 3

Release date(s)

Game Boy Advance
JP 17 June 2004
NA 7 June 2004

EU 18 June 2004
Virtual Console (Wii U)
JP 25 May 2016


128-Megabit ROM cartridge

Join the quest to defeat the evil Dr. Eggman!
— Tagline

Sonic Advance 3 (ソニックアドバンス3, Sonikku Adobansu 3?) is an action platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Dimps and published by Sega and THQ.

The game was released on June 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. It would be later re-released for the Wii U’s Virtual Console on May 2016 in Japan only. The game uses elements from Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2, as well as allowing the player to choose an additional partner, who augments the player’s actions.


Dr. Eggman tears the Earth apart into seven pieces using Chaos Control with the intent of turning each piece into the Eggman Empire. Sonic must team up with Tails in order to find their friends (Knuckles, Amy and Cream), collect the Chaos Emeralds and use Chaos Control in order to restore the world. Whilst on their journey, the heroes will have to face off with Eggman’s various machines, including G-merl, an “ultimate fighting robot” created from Emerl’s data.[1][2]



Basic gameplay is identical to Sonic Advance and Sonic Advance 2. This time however, Sonic Advance 3 introduces a new game feature. Sonic Advance 3 requires the player to select a playable character and a partner character to assist them. This is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 2: the player picks two characters and controls one while the other will just follow along controlled by the computer (or player two in multiplayer mode).

Additionally, players can use a special ability known as Tag Action; the player can pick up the teammate by holding Rgba.png, and then release it to perform various special actions.

Character team actions

  • Sonic – Gives a super burst of speed, as if walking over a speed booster.
    • Only having Sonic as a partner (or being Sonic) will let the player enter Boost Mode.
  • Tails – A super high jump aided by Tails. (ground action)
  • Knuckles – Can be thrown forward at enemies. (ground action)
    • Glides forward with his partner riding on his back. (air action)
  • Cream – Cheese becomes a character Chao and can be used by the characters in the same way Cream uses Cheese. (air and ground action)
  • Amy – A super high jump aided by Amy’s hammer. Can be used repeatedly to escape deep water.
    • A small double jump, which can be made into an abnormally high bounce if the player times it right. (air action)

Besides the character actions, a partner affects the way the leader acts. For example, Amy will act similar to the way she did in Sonic Advance, but when teamed with Sonic, she will play the way she did in Sonic Advance 2, with an automatic Spin Attack and a Spin Dash. Each team-up has a categorization showing its strength, which is either Flying, Power, or Speed.

Character partner effects

Anyone partnered with Sonic makes a speed team, anyone except Sonic partnered with Knuckles makes a power team and any combination of the remaining three (Tails, Cream, Amy) makes a flying team.

  • Sonic partnered with:
    • Tails – Similar to Sonic Advance, but he loses his Insta-Shield and Jump Dash. Sonic gains the air tricks he was able to do in Sonic Advance 2 (propelling him upwards, left, right or downwards), but have a more precise timing and are colored yellow instead of blue.
    • Knuckles – Sonic gains some aerial moves, such as the Bound Attack, an upward dash and his Insta-Shield attack. His somersault attack also becomes fiery and more powerful.
    • Cream – Sonic gains a forward dash attack similar to the Fire Shield dash from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles) and the Homing Attack in later games. He also has unlimited air underwater via a bubble that surrounds him, much like the Aqua Shield’s effect from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, it disappears upon leaving the water and doesn’t protect him from damage.
    • Amy – Sonic’s ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Sonic does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and must use his air attack to curl up. Amy’s animations change to reflect her crush on Sonic. Sonic grinds rails on a snowboard.
    • Eggman – Only available in the Nonagression Zone as Super Sonic. Super Sonic charges Eggman as a fireball. The strength of the attack varies according to how long the button is pressed.
  • Tails partnered with:
    • Sonic – Tails behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance 2, including the aerial tricks.
    • Knuckles – Tails’ ground attack becomes Tornado Attack. Tails gains the Insta-Shield attack like Sonic’s. Tails flight becomes a gliding attack like Knuckles’, though he cannot climb walls.
    • Cream – Tails flies with his tails underneath him, but only for a shorter time and gains more height per press of the A button similar to Cream’s flight. His horizontal distance is also greatly impaired and he gains the Homing Attack.
    • Amy – Tails’ ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Tails does not curl up into a ball when he jumps and the player must press B in mid-air to curl up. Tails also flies holding his hammer, which can be swung without interrupting his flight, and his flight speed increases.
  • Knuckles partnered with:
    • Sonic – Similar to Sonic Advance, except his gliding ability becomes a head first aerial dash (similar to his forward trick ability from Sonic Advance 2).
    • Tails – Knuckles’ punch attack becomes an uppercut. Knuckles also takes a small jump before gliding, and glides with his fist extended forward.
    • Cream – Knuckles behaves the same way he does in Sonic Advance, except that he can use a homing attack while gliding.
    • Amy – Knuckles’ ground attack becomes a hammer attack, and Knuckles does not curl up into a ball when he jumps, and must use his air attack to curl up. He also gains his downward punch attack from Sonic Advance 2. After gliding into a wall, Knuckles can dash up walls in a similar style to a Spin Dash.
  • Cream partnered with:
    • Sonic – Instead of a homing attack, Cheese dashes forward a short distance for an attack. Like Knuckles, she also can tread water in this match-up, in her case using a floating ring.
    • Tails – Instead of flying, Cream pulls out an orange umbrella and floats.
    • Knuckles – Cheese by default flies defensively in circles around Cream, automatically damaging any enemies in range.
    • Amy – Cream’s ground attack becomes a hammer attack. Cream does not curl up into a ball when she jumps, and since her aerial attack is to throw Cheese, she cannot curl into a ball while jumping. She also gains the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2 and a hip drop attack.
  • Amy partnered with:
    • Sonic – Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance 2, but with an aerial forward dash added by pressing A while jumping in mid-air.
    • Tails – Amy behaves the same way she does in Sonic Advance, except that she can glide slowly down with balloons, and her aerial hammer attack gives her an extra upward boost.
    • Knuckles – Amy’s standard ground hammer becomes huge. Amy has a forward dash similar to her Spin Dash in Sonic Advance 2, but she does not curl up into a ball when she uses it (resembling the Super Peel Out). In addition, by pressing down and B on the ground, she will do a forward flip with her hammer, and pressing it in the air will use her Spinning Hammer Attack (that she also has with Sonic).
    • Cream – Amy behaves the same way she does when partnered with Tails, but her aerial hammer attack gains her no extra air. Instead, she has the aerial tricks from Sonic Advance 2.
  • Eggman partnered with:
    • Eggman is only playable in 2-Player mode. He cannot tag action with Super Sonic in 2-Player mode. Holding the Rgba.png as Eggman causes the same effect as if Super Sonic tagged Eggman in 1-Player mode. Super Sonic cannot tag at all in 2-Player mode when partnered with Eggman.


Sonic Advance 3 contains seven Zones, each of them having separate hub worlds that include three Acts, a boss fight and two minigames that are used to gain extra lives. Rather than seguing immediately between Acts as happens in other 2D Sonic the Hedgehog titles, Sonic Advance 3 uses a “hub” system where the characters have to explore a separate world from the acts in order to enter each act. In this regard, it functions similarly to the Adventure Fields. Once all three Acts are found and cleared, the player can then move onto the boss. In the hub, players can also exchange who their active pairing is by entering the giant Gold Ring near the entry point and switch between past Zones that were completed.

Route 99

Route 99 is the first Zone of Sonic Advance 3. In contrast to other side-scrolling Sonic games, it is a man-made urban city built around a large metropolis arranged with rails, construction and switches. The boss is a giant hammer that the player must hit after it tries to crush him/her.

Sunset Hill

Sunset Hill is the second Zone of Sonic Advance 3. It’s a tribute to Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog, and the music is even similar to Green Hill Zone’s (with different variations between the three Acts). It consists of hourglass-like structures that spring the characters in an upward direction, poles to swing on, water slides, and bottomless pits that are arranged throughout the Zone. The boss is a giant wheel that rolls around the boss room, even on the ceilings.

Ocean Base

Ocean Base is the third Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This is considered to be Eggman’s base under the sea. Players can climb waterfalls similarly to climbing sand columns in the Sandopolis Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. The second and third Acts each have areas with water. There are many platforms that try to crush the characters, some with spikes that pop out of the top. The boss is similar to the Egg Frog from Sonic Advance 2.

Toy Kingdom

Toy Kingdom is the fourth Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This Zone is a happy land filled with toys, balloons and castles. Clowns, toy soldiers and wind up tigers will attack the characters as well as piggy banks that suck up the characters’ Rings. The boss is a giant jack-in-the-box that attacks in unpredictable ways when hit. The boss must be defeated by being pushed into a bottomless pit.

Twinkle Snow

Twinkle Snow is the fifth Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This is an ice-based Zone containing platforms that must be crouched upon to lower and spring upward. All three Acts of this Zone involve being underwater to get to new areas. The northern lights appear above the mountains in the background of this cold Zone. The boss chases the characters up falling platforms into a giant igloo. Using Tails for this battle is best as the player can try to fly to the next platform in case he/she falls.

Cyber Track

Cyber Track is the sixth Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This is a cyberspace-based Zone that features moving platforms that are placed everywhere. Some travel along set paths, and some collapse after a bit. It is possible to fall up and die if the gravity is switched. The boss hides below a platform and can only be hit by knocking back the colored balls it shoots.

Chaos Angel

Chaos Angel is the seventh Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This Zone is known to be Angel Island that Eggman has taken control of. This is one of the few final standard Zones from a Sonic game not to take place in a man-made base. The boss of this Zone attacks by knocking the characters into spikes and there is switched gravity to make it more difficult. Cream’s Chao is good as the player can use it from a distance.

Altar Emerald

Altar Emerald is the eighth and final Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This the altar that holds the Master Emerald. Here the player fights G-merl and Eggman’s final boss robot. He uses robot hands and balls to attack. It is difficult to do, but the player has to ride up the balls or ride on the robot hands as they rise up again after destroying two platforms and hit him on his weak spot. This battle is easier with Tails as the player can just fly directly to attack the cockpit without using the balls.


Nonagression is the ninth and true final Zone of Sonic Advance 3. This Zone is unlocked upon collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds and completing the Altar Emerald stage as Sonic. G-merl disobeys Eggman and transforms into Ultimate G-merl, forcing his master to team up with Super Sonic to stop his creation. The background is strange and slightly demented, too.



Special quotes

  • Unbreakable bond – Sonic & Tails
  • Fighting buddies – Sonic & Knuckles
  • Lovely couple – Sonic & Amy
  • Team Jubilee – Cream & Amy


Advance 3 JP Wii U Virtual Console.jpg

On 25 May 2016, Sonic Advance 3 was re-released on the Wii U’s Virtual Console in Japan at the price of ¥702.[3]


Sonic Advance 3 was reportedly “racing off store shelves” as soon as it was released.[15] The game also received positive reviews from critics, with respective scores of 79% and 81.37% at review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings.[4][5] It later won Handheld Game of the Year at the 2004 Golden Joystick Awards[16] and sold over 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone.[17]

Critics gave mixed opinions to the team-up dynamic. Nich Maragos from celebrated that Sonic Team had “finally [come] up with a way of introducing teamwork and variance between characters that doesn’t overwhelm Sonic’s bread-and-butter gameplay.” Maragos singled this out as the main divider between Sonic Advance 3 and Sonic Heroes, a game that he found surprisingly linear in level design considering that it, unlike Sonic Advance 3, was in 3D.[6] Maragos, GameSpot’s Frank Provo, IGN’s Craig Harris, and Game Informers Lisa Mason appreciated the increase in replayability Sonic’s friends brought.[6][8][10][13] However, Mason, as well as reviewer Stardingo from GamePro, thought that they played too much like Sonic and did not add much to the experience.[8][9] Darryl Vassar of GameSpy took a different point of criticism: he acknowledged the presence of genuinely different character abilities, but perceived that their only purpose was to find Chao, whom he called “pointless”.[11] Maragos noted that the “mid-air trick” system from Advance 2 was optional in Advance 3, but spoke positively about its usefulness in locating “hidden areas”.[6] Harris argued that such varying team abilities contributed to occasional “cheapness” in the level design, because “most of the characters have absolutely no defense when hopping off items like springboards”.[13]

However, the gameplay was mostly well-received otherwise. Vassar acclaimed the level design: he both called the levels “enormous and fast” and praised the slower, smaller sections for “keeping the levels distinct and adding short interludes to the constant running and loops.”[11] Harris also praised the “clever” level design.[13] However, Mason found it “simplistic”,[8] while Stardingo saw “repetition” in the typical formula.[9] Maragos criticized the bipolar difficulty of the bosses and some minor control issues.[6] Vassar, however, appreciated the return from Advance 2s running-based boss battles to more traditional ones.[11] Further praise from Harris, conversely, went to the multiplayer mode and—along with Stardingo—to the presence of a hub world, which Harris and Stardingo thought gave the game structure.[9][13]

The game’s aesthetics were also well received. Provo stated that “in terms of graphics and sound, Sonic Advance 3 is on par with the best that companies like Nintendo and Konami have had to offer this year”. He specifically complimented the character animations, simulations of underwater waves, and in-depth background effects.[10] Vassar praised Sonic Advance 3 for continuing Advance 1 and 2‘s emulation of the “colorful, angular, and stylized look” of the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, as well as its “twangy, upbeat tunes”.[11] Stardingo thought similarly overall but criticized the “garish” themes of the level Toy Kingdom.[9]


  • Strangely, this game was not mentioned on Sega’s American Sonic Website (Sonic Central).
  • The partner aspect is similar in concept to the partner system from Knuckles’ Chaotix, although Sonic Advance 3 does not replicate the “bungee cord” effect, instead using a system similar to Tails’ AI-controlled system.
  • Amy as Sonic’s partner is the only choice in the game that causes non-gameplay related sprites and animations to change depending on the selected characters.
  • If the player selects Knuckles as a player character and Sonic as a partner, the life symbol will look like a mirrored version of the cover of Sonic & Knuckles.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the Tiny Chao Garden is absent.
  • For unknown reasons, Knuckles is incapable of using Mid-Air Trick Actions in this game, unlike all the other characters.
  • This is the only Sonic Advance game where the player can use two characters. (Unless one counts the cheat code in Sonic Advance where the player can have Tails follow Sonic.)
  • If the player gets all the Chaos Emeralds, a code will pop up for the Secret Stage Mode. The player has to go to the main menu, highlight “Main Game” and press “Up, R, Down, L, Right, Left”. Once that’s done, the player can play the Special Stages.
  • Many of the soundtracks from Sonic Advance 3 are remixes of themes that appeared in previous Sonic the Hedgehog games. While most originate from Sonic Battle (with Route 99 using music from Tails’ Lab, Altar Emerald using music from Holy Summit, and Nonaggression and the title sequence using the leitmotif of E-120 Phi and G-merl, as well as excerpts from Colosseum’s music), the main menu uses the Chao Race theme from Sonic Adventure 2, and Sunset Hill’s music is a remix of Green Hill Zone’s music from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. While the music for Sunset Hill is based on the music for Green Hill Zone, it also has elements of the music from Central City in Sonic Battle.
  • The Tag Actions used by Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Amy as partners function very similar to their special abilities used in Sonic Advance’s “Team Play” mode.
  • When Sonic and Cream are paired, Sonic can still acquire Air Bubbles despite not needing them.
  • This is the final game in which the original English voice actors reprise their roles for Sonic, Eggman, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Cream before they were replaced with the 4Kids Entertainment voice actors from Sonic X.
    • It is also the only Sonic Advance game to feature voice acting and the second and final Sonic game for Game Boy Advance to feature voice acting overall, the first being Sonic Battle.



Sonic Advance 3 – Commercial 1


Sonic Advance 3 – Commercial 2


  1. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) North American instruction booklet, pg. 4.
  2. Sonic Advance 3 Japanese website (Japanese). Retrieved on 21 April 2021. “『ソニックバトル』で登場した“エメル”のデータをもとに、Dr.エッグマンが生み出したロボット“ジーメル”が新登場!アタッチメントをつけることにより様々な機能を発揮可能。 ソニックたちを待ち受ける!”
  3. ↑ Sonic Advance 3 (GBA) heading to the Wii U VC in Japan on May 25th. The Sonic Stadium (18 May 2016). Retrieved on 21 May 2016.
  4. ↑ 4.04.1 Sonic Advance 3. GameRankings. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  5. ↑ 5.05.1 Sonic Advance 3: Game Boy Advance. Metacritic. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  6. ↑ Maragos, Nich (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA): Sonic and friends — wait, don’t run away!. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  7. ↑ ソニック アドバンス3. Famitsu (in Japanese). No. 810. June 2004.
  8. ↑ Mason, Lisa. Right Round Baby, Right Round. Game Informer. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  9. ↑ Stardingo (June 17, 2004). Review: Sonic Advance 3. GamePro. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  10. ↑ Provo, Frank (June 23, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: Sonic Advance 3 is a great, fast-paced platform game, and the tag-team play mechanic really enhances the overall experience.. GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 28, 2007. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  11. ↑ Vassar, Darryl (June 14, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 (GBA). GameSpy. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  12. ↑ Zacarias, Eduardo (June 13, 2004). Sonic Advance 3 Review. GameZone. Archived from the original on March 15, 2008. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  13. ↑ Harris, Craig (May 27, 2004). Sonic Advance 3: The traditional Sonic adventures continue to shine on the Game Boy Advance in a tremendously fun sequel.. IGN. Retrieved on June 6, 2014.
  14. ↑ “Sonic Advance 3”. Nintendo Power. No. 182. August 2004. p. 122.
  15. ↑ SONIC ADVANCE 3 Now Available for Game Boy Advance; Third Title in Franchise Racing Off Store Shelves. THQ (June 7, 2004). Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  16. ↑ CVG Staff (November 5, 2004). Golden Joystick Awards 2004: Winners announced!. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.
  17. ↑ ELSPA Sales Awards: Silver. ELSPA. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved on June 7, 2014.

External links

Sonic Advance 3

Main article | Staff | Glitches | Gallery

Playable characters Sonic (Super Sonic) | Tails | Knuckles | Amy | Cream | Cheese
Non-playable characters Eggman | Vanilla | G-merl (Ultimate G-merl) | Chao | Omochao
Zones Route 99 | Sunset Hill | Ocean Base | Toy Kingdom | Twinkle Snow | Cyber Track | Chaos Angel | Altar Emerald | Nonaggression | Special Stage
Enemies Akatento | Aotento | Ape | Bu-bu | Buzzer | Clam | Condor | Gaogao | Gekogeko | Ginpe | Guards | Guruguru | Hariisen | Jousun | Juggling | Kamaki | Kyacchaa | Marrun | Minimole | Muugaden | Spina | Takkon | Uutsubo | Yadokka | Yukigasen
Bosses Egg Hammer 3 | Egg Ball No.2 | Egg Foot | Egg Cube | Egg Chaser | Egg Pinball | Egg Gravity | Hyper Eggrobo | Ultimate G-merl
General Amy Dash | Big Hammer Attack | Boost Mode | Bound Attack | Chao Attack | Chao Ball Attack | Chao Spinning Attack | Dash Climb | Dog Paddle | Double Mid-Air Glide | Double Punch | Drill Claw | Fire Sliding | Flying | Floating Fall | Grinding | Hammer Attack | Hammer Jump | Hammer Propeller Flying | Head Slide | High Propeller Flying | Hip Drop | Homing Attack | Jump Dash | Leap | Look down | Mid-Air Dash Glide | Propeller Flying | Mid-Air Chao Attack | Mid-Air Chao Ball Attack | Mid-Air Chao Spinning Attack | Mid-Air Glide | Mid-Air Hammer Attack | Mid-Air Hammer Jump | Skid Attack | Spin | Spin Dash | Spin Jump | Super Sonic Boost | Spinning Hammer Attack | Spiral Upper | Tag Action | Tail Spin Attack | Tail Swipe | Tornado Attack | Upper Spin | Wall Climb | Wind Attack
Mid-Air Trick Actions Big Air (Happy Spring, Hop Jump, Petit Step) | Long Wind Jump (Humming Top, Sweet Roll, Window Jump) | Stop ‘n’ Slam (Bound Attack, Spinning Hammer Attack, Propeller Descent, Hip Drop)
Gimmicks and obstacles Balloon | Bungee Rope | Checkpoint | Dash Panel | Flywheel | Grind Rail | High-speed warp tube | Iron ball | Jump Panel | Minecart | Platform-raising Wheel | Pole | Pulley | Propeller Spring | Seesaw | Snowblower | Special Spring] | Spin ring | Switch
Items Act Ring | Box (1-Up, 5 Ring Bonus, 10 Ring Bonus, Confusion, Invincibility, Minus Ring, Maximum Speed, Mosaic, Random Ring Bonus, Ring Magnet, Shield, Slow, Swap, Transparency) | Capsule | Chaos Emerald’ | Factory Ring | Goal Medal | Ring | Special Key
English voice actors Ryan Drummond (Sonic) | Deem Bristow (Eggman) | William Corkery (Tails) | Scott Dreier (Knuckles) | Jon St. John (Announcer) | Jennifer Douillard (Amy) | Sarah Wulfeck (Cream)
Japanese voice actors Jun’ichi Kanemaru (Sonic the Hedgehog) | Chikao Ōtsuka (Eggman) | Ryō Hirohashi (Tails) | Nobutoshi Canna (Knuckles) | Taeko Kawata (Amy) | Sayaka Aoki (Cream)
Other Angel Island | Chao Playground | Corkscrew loop | Fly Type | Freeze | Mini-Games | Power Type | Shuttle loop | Sonic Factory | Speed Type | Time Attack | Tornado 2


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