Written by Paul Monopoli
System: Game Gear
Tail’s Adventures is one of the lesser known games in the Sonic series. It was one of 2 Tails only games on the Game Gear & unlike the previous game “Tails’ Sky Patrol” this one wasn’t a Japanese exclusive.
This particular game is a prequel to Sonic 2, & Tails hasn’t met Sonic at this stage. The story goes that Tails’ home was invaded by the “Battle Kukku Army”, & that they are attempting to find & use the Chaos Emeralds to conquer the world. I don’t think I need to tell you that Tails decides to stop them, but I just did anyway.
The story in the Western releases takes place after Sonic 2. You could place it wherever you want really, but as I own the Japanese version of the game I’ll go by that. Anyway, enough about the story, let’s see how the game plays.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the animation is spectacular. Tails is really well animated & the colours are vibrant. The problem lies in that this is a portable system with a small screen, & the Tails sprite is rather large. The programmers did compensate by allowing you to use up & down to see what’s above & below you, but your view still feels a bit restricted when you start playing. There is the odd “leap of faith”, but Tails’ flying ability normally helps out there.
Yes Tails still has the ability to fly, but it’s a little different. Button 1 will first let you jump, but push it again while in mid air, or push up & jump, & you fly. The controls differ from the Sonic games in that if you push jump for a third time Tails will just drop. When he’s flying you use the directional controls to move him around while he stays in the air rather then tap the jump button. Speaking of which, Tails initially doesn’t have a lot of stamina & as soon as you start flying he’s gasping for air.
Button 2 will use your currently selected item. There is no jumping on the enemy in this game… well not without hurting yourself anyway. Instead you use weapons. Tails starts off with an unlimited supply of bombs at his disposal.
I admit, I was a bit taken aback by this. It kinda feels like it’s not really a Sonic game, but that they just put in one of the characters to sell the units. I could be wrong of course, but that’s what went through my mind.
You only have 1 life, but a decent amount of health, represented by the number of rings in the upper left corner of the screen. You start off with a maximum of 10 rings at any time, but as you collect the Chaos Emeralds, the amount of rings & length of time Tails can fly for increases.
While you only have 1 life, the game does have a password system. As was typical of platform games from this period, there is a map screen. If you go to Tails’ house on the map you can get the current password or input another one to take you further into the game. You can also manage your items in Tails’ house.
Boss battles aren’t terribly difficult. The characters look like they fit in the Sonic world, & there isn’t much more I can really say about them. They’re nothing special really.
Some levels of the game take place underwater. Personally I wasn’t that big on these levels. They’re not bad per se, but when I play a platform game, I like to play a “platform” game, but I suppose some people could consider this to be a welcome distraction. I’ll leave it there. They’re not bad, but I feel they’re unnecessary.
The music is a bit basic really. It sounds out of place in a lot of areas, particularly during the intro, where nice boppy music plays along while one of the soldiers in a mech-type-thing burns down the forest around him. The sound effects do what they’re supposed to. If you’ve played Sonic & Bomberman you know what sounds to expect when you jump or throw a bomb at someone.
The difficulty for the game is just about right. It starts off very easy, but challenges you a little later on. There are puzzles you need to work out to complete certain parts of the levels. You are required to use the aforementioned items to work out ways of getting through the level. Items include little remote controlled Tails robots, remote controlled bombs, spin dash, teleports and more.
You can only bring 4 items with you per level, so choose carefully because it can be frustrating to have to start a level all over again because you don’t have the right item.
When all is said & done it’s a decent game. Not spectacular by any means, but it plays a good game, & that’s all we can ask really. The frustration from repeating levels until you get the right items can feel a bit unfair at times, but at least it’s not like Monty on the Run. In that game you choose your items at the start of the game & if you choose wrong you start the whole game again.
I give this one 78% It’s good but not great.