The ending of Sonic and the Secret Rings was basically one big crowning moment for Sonic. Erazor makes a short speech on how he is immortal and thus cannot be vanquished, then Sonic pulls out Erazor's lamp. Remember that Erazor is the same genie of the lamp from Aladdin. Sonic wastes no time wishing for Shahra to be restored to life, to return the stories to the way they were before Erazor started messing with 'em, and finally, to seal Erazor back into his lamp for eternity. And he does this in an epic fashion. Really, three laser beams from the lamp right in the chest. OWNED. And there's the last thing he says to Erazor...
Erazor: The world is mine! I cannot be denied by that filthy rat! WHHHHHHYYYYYY?!? Sonic: I told you, I'm not a rat! *closes the lid, and brings the flame up to his mouth* I'm a hedgehog! *blows it out*
Erazor has just killed Sonic's closest friend throughout Secret Rings, and then Sonic absorbs all of the Rings that channel negative emotion. What happens? You get a badass, firewielding, pissed off, dark purple, white stripes Darkspine Sonic! And just the way you BEAT Erazor with Darkspine is awesome. You kick his giant energy ball back at him like it's a soccer ball, then you charge forward and start pounding. Then, Sonic just unloads machinegun-fast punches, ending in one giant explosion. Now THAT is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
The Black Knight
Excalibur Sonic gets one with his finisher on the Big Bad of Sonic and the Black Knight. Sonic flies back, charges up the sword, takes aim, and does a Kingdom Hearts' Cloud styled attack. And then, of course, Caliburn says:
"There's nothing Excalibur can't cut through!"
The Knights of the Round Table all have their own little moments of awesome. It would have been way more awesome if the Jet and Silver look-alikes had made it into the story mode.
Sonic says this line twice in the course of Black Knight, but the second time he pulls it out is made of awesome and win.
Sonic: I told you! I don't mind playing the bad guy.
It really frames Sonic's personality correctly. In that it doesn't matter who is wrong or who is right. He's fighting for what he believes in, the view of the world be damned.
Why are we forgetting the ending of Sonic and the Black Knight? The pre-final-boss cutscene was just truly amazing. Sonic is getting beat to a bloodly pulp by Merlina and doesn't even fall to his knees. And then his determination to not just let evil win turns Caliburn into Excalibur. GODDAMN EXCALIBUR. And if you play it right, the final boss can easily be a Curb-Stomp Battle, making the CMOA truly complete.
The Medals play character themes, making playing through the levels that much more badass. Especially "All Hail Shadow" thanks to the Epic Riff.
Lancelot Returns. Irritated by the Badass Decay of Shadow/Lancelot? This one is for you. Lancelot can finally cut loose, using timing, ruthlessness, and Chaos powers galore, making the easiest boss the most difficult one.