Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, or just Sonic Pocket Adventure, is a side-scrolling Sonic the Hedgehog platformer for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, released late 1999-early 2000. The level art and setpieces are mostly based on the Genesis version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the music is primarily taken from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, and the art style is based off the then-new Sonic Adventure.
It was developed by SNK (who were also responsible for creating the Neo Geo Pocket Color itself), including people who would later establish the company Dimps. Dimps went on to develop games starring Sega's prickly little mascot, such as the Advance trilogy (the first of which has several nods towards this game), Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure, the Wii/PS2 versions of Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the DS version of Sonic Colors and the 3DS versions of Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World.
Often considered one of the best Neo Geo Pocket titles, and to many fans, Sonic the Hedgehog's best handheld game of the 8-16 bit era, especially following the poor reception to Sonic Blast and the Game.com version of Sonic Jam a few years prior. Despite this, Sonic Pocket Adventure has never seen an official re-release on newer platforms.
This video game provides examples of:
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Aerobase Zone.
- Alliterative Name: Cosmic Casino.
- Art Shift: In Gigantic Angel Zone, Dr. Robotnik starts using his modern clothing. When he starts the battle in his machine, he's suddenly in his classic clothes again, but then he runs off in his modern clothing once the battle is over.
- Bonus Level: The half-pipe Special Stages from Sonic 2. They're accessed via giant rings at the end of each first act that spawn if you have 50 rings on, as in Sonic 1.
- Canon Discontinuity: While it's certainly not the only Sonic game to be this, this seems to have been hit the hardest by this, since Ian Flynn said he was barred from even mentioning the game in the official Encylo-speed-ia for undisclosed legal reasons. To put this into perspective, even Sonic Chronicles, itself removed from canon due to legal issues, still got mentioned in the book. Ian Flynn would eventually confirm that the game is non-canon on the BumbleKast (June 26, 2023), and mention it owes to legal issues on Twitter.
- Casino Park: Cosmic Casino Zone, which is based on Casino Night but without the enemies.
- Collection Sidequest: There are a series of 96 puzzle pieces scattered around the game. They form six 4x4 pictures that unlock the Sound Test and Special Stage features at the Options menu.
- Dub Name Change: This is the last game to refer to the Big Bad solely as Dr. Robotnik, the name he had used in western releases up to that point. Later games and re-releases would enforce Dr. Eggman.
- Eternal Engine: Secret Plant Zone and Gigantic Angel Zone.
- Excuse Plot: There's no story given (not even in the manual) outside of "Dr. Robotnik is after the Chaos Emeralds again and Sonic has to stop him."
- Fake Difficulty:
- Some Slicers and Shellcrackers are set in rather unfair places yet again towards the end of the game alongside unpredictable crushers.
- The last few Special Stages feature bomb placements around rings that are just plain awkward to maneuver on. Thankfully the goals are not as strict as they would become in the Dimps-made games.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Dozens of puzzle pieces are hidden through the game. Chances are you will need a guide for the last few ones.
- Green Hill Zone: Neo South Island Zone.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Knuckles refuses to let Sonic have the last Chaos Emerald for unexplained reasons, which leads to Dr. Robotnik stealing it after the two fight.
- Megaton Punch: After Dr. Robotnik gets away with the seventh Chaos Emerald, Knuckles punches Sonic alllll the way to Sky Chase Zone.
- Nostalgia Level: This game is made entirely of Nostalgia Levels with some new level design mixed in. Particularly interesting in this regard are Neo South Island Zone and Gigantic Angel Zone, which are pretending to be different Nostalgia Levels; Neo South Island is Emerald Hill — with elements of Palmtree Panic — disguised as Green Hill, and Gigantic Angel is Metropolis dressed up to resemble Scrap Brain. Apparently the former went over well, because later versions of Green Hill would incorporate Emerald Hill's distinctive corkscrew paths.
- Pinball Zone: Cosmic Casino Zone.
- Puzzle Boss: After collecting all six Chaos Emeralds you must intuit on your own that you can knock the seventh one out of the supposed final boss to open the way to the true last battle.
- Recurring Boss:
- Sky Heist: After Sonic defeats Knuckles at the end of Aquatic Relix Zone, Knuckles drops the Purple Chaos Emerald, which is the only emerald Sonic doesn't get from the Special Stages. When Sonic tries to give the emerald back to Knuckles to show him he has no hard feelings, Dr. Eggman flies down in his Eggmobile, snatches it from them, and flies away. Knuckles gives Sonic a Megaton Punch to launch him into the air so Sonic can land on Tails' plane, the Tornado, and pursue Eggman to get the emerald back.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The musical choices start to get a little off in terms of appropriateness following Cosmic Casino Zone, such as placing the jumpy Mushroom Hill BGM (Act 1 to be precise) from S&K in act 1 of Aquatic Relix, which is modeled after the not so jumpy Aquatic Ruin Zone from Sonic 2. The most egregious instance of this trope, however, must go to the last few final boss battles. The tense Doomsday Zone's theme goes for Silver Sonic who isn't even the semi-final boss of the game. The standard final battle gets the similarly menacing final boss theme from Sonic 3, which leaves the epic special showdown with Dr. Robotnik with the hopeful theme from Sky Sanctuary of all things. It doesn't help that the true final boss is a spin on the aforementioned The Doomsday Zone from S&K and Sky Sanctuary's theme is not what one would expect for a final struggle above the Earth's atmosphere).
- Space Zone: Last Utopia Zone and Chaotic Space Zone.
- Super Title 64 Advance: One of a number of games for this system with the word "Pocket" in the title.
- Took a Level in Badass: Knuckles is noticeably more fast and aggressive in his boss fight compared to his fairly easy face off in Sonic and Knuckles.
- True Final Boss: Collect all seven Chaos Emeralds to face the real final boss of the story as Super Sonic.
- Underwater Ruins: Aquatic Relix Zone, which is based on Aquatic Ruin.
- Villains Want Mercy: Dr. Robotnik in the normal ending. Sonic then crushes his Egg Mobile. The same happens after Chaotic Space Zone.
- A Winner Is You: Clearing the secret mode in which you must beat all Special Stages in a row awards you with a congratulations screen.