1-Up: Either in form of a monitor or capsule with a character's head on it or a Sonic icon, depending on game.
Abusive Precursors: The ancient Echidnas. They attacked the adorable and innocent Chao, and, although unknowingly, Awakening the Sleeping Giant, Chaos, an innocent god, just to steal his Chaos Emeralds. They created countless unstoppable robots in order to conquer the world. Both of which had to be sealed thus handing down the problem to us. In Sonic Chronicles, one clan of Echidnas return and try to conquer our world again. Which pushes them past just being Neglectful Precursors.
Ascended Fanboy: Tails. He follows Sonic one day and becomes interested in him. He eventually wants to become like him though Sonic ignores him. After Sonic and Tails had gone on an adventure to defeat Eggman, they become friends and he lets him tag along with him, eventually developing a bond. Also, Amy in the Archie Comics.
Ash Face: Dr. Robotnik is prone to have it in some of the 2D games after his creations are defeated.
Berserk Button: The following is what you should do if Sonic catches you harming Tails in any way, shape and/or form: stop what your doing, turn around, and run. Not that it'll matter, but just a suggestion.
Knuckles will flip a shit if you steal/are trying to steal/he believes you are going to steal the Master Emerald.
Black and White Morality: While the series sometimes dips into greyer areas, the general tone of the franchise has largely been basic Good Vs. Evil conflicts. Even the more morally ambiguous characters are just jerks at the worst.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Before the developers had settled on a name for Sonic, he was referred to as "Mr. Needlemouse". The Japanese word for "hedgehog" is "harinezumi". Guess what a literal translation of that would yield.
Bonus Stage Collectables: The Chaos Emeralds were the former Trope Namers, and examples in the first two games. The third game introduced unlimited attempts at the emeralds, moving them away from this trope, and since then most games have had them collected automatically during cutscenes, making them normal MacGuffins.
In fact, every boss gained its own level around that time.
Bottomless Pit: Relatively rare in the early Sonic games, but increasingly common as the series has gone on. Taken Up to Eleven in Heroes, where every zone after Power Plant is basically a giant pit with platforms and grind rails suspended over it.
The Swatbots of SatAM fame have been introduced into Chronicles, although with a notable armor overhaul.
Amy and Charmy first appeared in the Sonic manga produced by Shogakukan in 1992, albeit looking rather different. Amy was lifted from there and redesigned for Sonic CD. A 1993 manga redesigned to fit more with the Sonic look, with the same characters, was released...and Charmy was subsequently lifted and used two years later in Knuckles Chaotix. Arguably one of the most successful stories of a canon immigrant, as shown above with the 'Ascended Extra' point.
In a case of What Could Have Been, Sonic Sat AM characters Sally Acorn and Bunnie Rabbot were planned to appear in multiple early projects (including early concepts for Sonic Xtreme), though ultimately have only a brief cameo in Sonic Spinball to show for it.
Sonic's love for chili dogs in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has been more tightly integrated into the official canon in the past few years; there's a chili dog salesman in Unleashed, Sonic is summoned with two in-hand in the opening of Black Knight, and he's given one as his birthday present from Tails in Generations.
Cartoony Tail: Tails has two tails that enable him to fly like a helicopter when he spins them. There's no indication of how this is anatomically possible.
Cash Cow Franchise: Still quite profitable after 20 years. Even the less-than-stellar games have made a surprising profit. In particular, the Archie Comic series is also going strong, it being the longest-lasting comic series based on a video game character.
Color-Coded Stones: Both played straight and averted. The Master Emerald which stands alone, is green. The Chaos Emeralds are a set of seven, only one is green and the others are differentiated by color. Given the Real Life example below they should probably be called Chaos Beryl instead.
Combat Parkour: Sonic takes full advantage of his speed and agility to flip and bound around badniks and Eggman's mechanical creations, expertly weaving between and around attacks before either striking them directly or kicking their missiles back at them. The parkour-like aspects of his fighting style are more apparent in cutscenes and in the animated adaptions.
Comeback Mechanic: The games that support multiplayer races will usually have a feature that swaps two players' locations in the stage. Sometimes, it's a hidden item, and sometimes, it's a character's ability. Naturally, this is only useful to a player who's fallen behind.
Compilation Re-release: Practically all of the original games from the Genesis and Master System up to the Dreamcast were rereleased on later (non-Sega) consoles in some form or another.
Continuing Is Painful: Almost every Sonic game since Adventure resets your score to zero every time you die, almost assuring a bad rank if you're far enough into a stage.
Sonic Colors doesn't reset your score but unfortunately, it doesn't reset the time back to 0:00 either. It continues from what it was when you died. So it's still painful.
Continuity Creep: Continuity was increased heavily around Sonic Adventure, with several plot points often hinging on those of previous games. However, this was inverted from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) onward, since the games from that point on have been much less connected to one another aside from offhand nods.
Sonic characters also crossover with other characters in the Tennis and All-Stars Racing installments of the Sega Superstars series.
Cultural Translation: Subtle but still there. Some of the classic designs were changed a bit outside of Japan, in the official art. For example, Sonic was given a mohawk◊, his eyebrows became more expressive (which was carried onto Adventure everywhere), and he became slightly more built while Tails became more stereotypically cute◊ (chubbier, rounder, shorter snout, shorter fur, belly fur combed flat, etc).
He actually does cash in on his inventions in Sonic Battle and Sonic Riders. In the first he sells generic versions of his E-100 model robots as security droids and in the latter he runs Robotnik Inc. which provides a good handful of the Extreme Gear of the first game including, hilariously enough, the personalized gears of roughly half the cast. He also runs the security service Meteor Tech which, while having an ulterior motive in the end, did seem to legitimately provide security services for Future City and the rest of the continent it resides on..
Dummied Out: Can be considered a Trope Codifier. Every game in the series has something major in it missing, and sometimes new games are born from those scrapped elements.
Eagle Land: Arguably, this is the idea behind Sonic's character design. He is a mishmash of different western Funny Animals (in fact, in one of his earliest character concepts, he was a grey rabbit with a bowtie, and his body and head shape were reminiscent of Felix the Cat), he is the same color as the American flag (but recent information points that his trainers were made red and white to match Santa Claus colour scheme), and his 90s snarky, aloof attitude and penchant for XTREME hobbies were distinctly non-Japanese. (He also speaks in Engrish in the Japanese version.) He also has a tendency to roam the lands randomly helping people, not unlike wild western heroes like Shane. All of this was intentional on Sega's part, since the Japanese branch knew that the Genesis (and to a lesser extent, the Master System) sold more in America than in their own country, and with Nintendo's Super Famicom looming on the horizon, they knew they would need some kind of hook to keep from being trounced internationally.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The original Sonic games were much more cartoony than the later entries, and the original game only had six emeralds, no Super Sonic, and no spin-dash as well as the "Spike Bug". Even if you had mercy invincibility, landing on spikes would kill Sonic.
Elemental Powers - Not crucial to the characters, but they show up from time to time:
Enemy Mine: Sonic Adventure 2's memorable Cannon's Core level.
Sonic and Eggman have teamed up on multiple occasions when they've had a common enemy: Sonic Adventure 2 against The Biolizard, Sonic Advance 3 against Gemerl. Generally it's because Eggman wants to take over the world, not destroy it, and he can't take over the world if there's no world to take over, so generally if someone (or something) wants to destroy the world Eggman will usually fight against them, either with Sonic or without. The fat scientist makes this point almost verbatim in Shadow the Hedgehog as he watches the Black Arms wreck up Westopolis.
Shadow has teamed up with characters he's considered enemies several times, most often in his own game. The final cutscene features Knuckles and Eggman actually having a fun moment together
Every 10,000 Points: Generally, every 100 rings in a level and 50,000 points overall will give the player an extra life, though that has varied.
The unfortunate cause of Sonic X-Treme'sVaporware status, as well as the replacement of all the game voice actors with their Sonic X counterparts.
Executives often meddled to get games out for a Christmas release. It happened, but not too consequently, in some of the classic games. The original Japanese Sonic Adventure was buggy, and that's why they made a rerelease there with all the fixes made in the English version.
This is the reasoning behind the unfortunate state of Sonic 2006 also; it was rushed out to release in time for both the Christmas period and Sonic's 15th Anniversary, and as a result is wrought with bugs and is quite obviously unfinished.
Expy: The Nocturnus are very similar to the group of Echidnas, the Dark Legion, from the Archie Comics, and Shade is similar to Julie-Su, and their home dimension "The Twilight Cage" has a similar name to the Dark Legion's dimension "The Twilight Zone". Ix also looks similar to the Sonic the Comic character Dr. Zachary, and Archie's version Dr. Finitevus.
The Ifrit in Sonic Rivals 2 is very clearly an expy of Iblis. Like Iblis, the Ifrit is an immortal fire monster named after a djinn in Middle Eastern mythology, and who is responsible for destroying the world in Silver's future. Even their designs are similar, with the Ifrit resembling a winged version of one of Iblis' forms.
Faceship: Dr. Eggman builds a lot of these with his face on them, most notably the Death Egg.
Family Theme Naming: There's a small family all named after dairy products: Cream the Rabbit; her mother, Vanilla, and her Chao, Cheese. Other Chao associated with Cream were named Chocola and Milk.
Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The ending sequences to many 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games feature Sonic (or Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, etc.) jumping towards the player and posing while suspended in air. Sonic the Hedgehog 2s ending is the most notable: both Tails's plane and (Super) Sonic fly away from the player only to come back head first.
Green Aesop: This is what the series used to revolve around, with Sonic functioning as a nomadic Nature Hero of sorts. Unlike most examples of the latter trope, he is quick to utilize technology to fulfill any tasks he needs to do, but he still seems to carry disdain for Eggman's wanton environmental destruction. Unlike most examples of the former trope, the Aesop was actually subtle.
This is taken to its apex in Sonic CD, where Sonic has the ability to prevent Robotnik from turning the future into a post-apocalyptic, mechanized hell by defeating certain robots in the present. One of the cartoons, Sonic Sat AM would take the green overtones of the games and expand on them.
CD also showed that, utilized properly, technology could benefit the environment via the Good Futures, which showed nature and technology working in harmony.
Humanlike Hand Anatomy: The characters have a strange variation of this; their hands are human-like, but their feet are very... not human, but not exactly those of their derived species, either. Their feet are just...ovals. No features, no toes, nothing. They look like ovaloids flattened on the sole part. Note that most the characters wear shoes anyway, so you rarely have to behold their flipper◊ feet.◊
Image Song: Since Adventure, every main 3D installment gives at least each player character one of these.
I Have Many Names: Apparently, whether it's "Eggman" or "Robotnik". As of the Sonic Adventure games, it's now both. Robotnik is his true name, while Eggman is an alias. In territories where the Robotnik name was used, this was established in the first game (See Insult Backfire below), whilst territories that used Eggman established it in the sequel.
Informed Ability: Sonic's speed is sometimes this relative to the other main characters, especially in the older games before the characters' abilities had speciated as much. For instance, some of the earlier games contain situations where Knuckles, Tails, and even Robotnik can run as fast as Sonic. Tails can still fly as fast as Sonic runs, but they make sure it looks like he's flying. Not running.
Especially prominent in the 2D games. In every single one before Sonic Rush, all characters share the exact same running and jumping physics, with the sole exception of Knuckles having a lower jump in Sonic 3 And Knuckles.
Informed Flaw: Eggman is no doubt fat, but it's often said to be from overeating, and we have only seen him actually eat once. Then again, he took down a twelve inch sandwich in two bites during that one instance, so this has some merit.
Insult Backfire: Outside of Japan, Robotnik's "Eggman" name was first used by Sonic as an insult in the original Sonic Adventure, and Robotnik promptly corrected him that his name was Robotnik, not Eggman. By Sonic Adventure 2, he's embraced the nickname, presumably because he wanted to use the name "Eggman Empire". Or maybe he embraced it earlier than that, considering he uses it as password on board the Egg Carrier in the first Adventure game.
In Japan, it's implied that this had happened long before the games added voice actors as the Robotnik name was made canon in Adventure 2 via Eggman's relatives, Gerald & Maria Robotnik.
Invincibility Power-Up: Present in many Sonic games, wheter in classic "starman" fashion from item boxes, to some variations like the purple wisp in Sonic Coors Wii.
Invisible Anatomy: The anthropomorphic characters have five fingers, but oddly enough, have no toes. This especially shows with Big and Tikal, who wear sandals. Human characters, on the other hand, do have toes.
Kaizo Trap: The Egg Viper in Sonic Adventure and the Giant Eggmech MKII from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will crash through the floor after you beat it, and sent you falling to your doom if you're in the middle of the arena.
The Kiddie Ride: The infamous Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car (and less famous Sonic Cosmo Fighter) are actually kiddie rides imbued with a monitor and controls for playing a simple game while the ride is in motion. System 16, an arcade board site, classifies these rides as Sega Kiddy Ride Hardware, and notes that in reality they're usually powered by a Sega C-2 or ST-V board.
Let's You and Him Fight: First came Sonic vs. Knuckles, then came Sonic vs. Shadow, then came Sonic vs. whoever Sega decided to pit him against, that game. Spilled over into the comics, as well, with some very painful results.
Loads and Loads of Characters: To an extent; many of the later titles feature an excessive amount of key characters, albeit usually from the same pile of a dozen or so, with some one shots as well. It's more a case of Loads and Loads of Main Characters.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: The games, animated series and merchandising have all long been popular across many ages and both genders. This is probably at least in part due to the fact that many of the people who played the original games in the early nineties are now in their twenties and it's nostalgia setting in. It helps that all Sonic games have a good mix of Scenery Porn, Awesome Music, and lots of Awesome Moments with a little darkness and Fanservice thrown in. Unfortunately, this means you get Fan Dumb from all directions.
Multiple Endings: Dates all the way back to the first game, though it wasn't until Sonic & Knuckles that the difference was of any significance. Shadow the Hedgehog has 10 different endings, plus the final ending, and 326 total ways to complete the game.
Mythology Gag: Sonic's favorite food is chilidogs. This was created by DiC for the cartoons. Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Unleashed are full of them. He's also seen eating two in the beginning of "Sonic and The Black Knight".
Nostalgia Level: The extra 3D version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog's Green Hill Zone in Sonic Adventure 2.
There are also Nostalgia Bosses in Sonic Advance, in the form of Sonic 1 and 2's first bosses in the X-Zone.
Sunset Hill Zone from Sonic Advance 3 certainly qualifies. It even has the music!
The final level in Sonic Chronicles can apply sorta. It has a remixed version of the Final Boss fight from Sonic 3.
Sonic Battle has Green Hill Zone as an unlockable stage.
Sky Sanctuary Zone in Sonic (3) & Knuckles features two Nostalgia Bosses. Mecha Sonic shows up piloting the boss vehicles from the first zone of Sonic the Hedgehog and the eighth zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before you fight him quill-to-quill.
And said hog-to-mecha-hog fight shares some patterns with the Sonic 2 version of Mecha Sonic (aka Silver Sonic).
Sonic Rush Adventures Hidden Island 16 is a remake of act 1 of Leaf Storm the first zone of Sonic Rush.
Wave Ocean from 06 is very much like Emerald Coast in Adventure 1, intentionally of course. In both levels Sonic gets chased across a bridge by an orca.
Adabat's levels in Sonic Unleashed are very similar to Emerald Coast and Wave Ocean, though without any chase scene.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is pretty much a Nostalgia Game.
Taken to Up to Eleven levels in Sonic Generations, you have 2.5D and 3D re-imaginings of levels from almost every game since Sonic 1 to Colors. You Also have Sonic, Tails and Eggman in their classic looks with Sonic being voiceless and Metal Sonic returns as a boss.
Not Allowed to Grow Up / Comic Book Time: Sonic has been around long enough to have had major changes to his voice and physique, and only vaguely remember his earliest adventures. But Modern Sonic is officially 15 both before and after his 'birthday' in the beginning of Sonic Generations.
Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: No matter how much havoc Sonic wreaks on Robotnik's bases, he's always got enough badniks, eternal engines and wave motion guns for another world domination bid come next game. It reached a peak in Sonic Adventure, where after Sonic and co. spend the entire game taking down the Egg Carrier, he shows up with another Egg Carrier to try and subdue Chaos.
Further still, in Sonic Unleashed, he produces a giant fleet of space battleships solely as bait for Super Sonic.
Old Shame: This trailer showing clips of the various Sonic console games throughout the years, with Sonic himself looking pretty exasperated once they get to Sonic Heroes (around the time the critical backlash of the games began). Also, much more polished beta footage of '06 is used, as well as only the daytime stages of Unleashed. However, Sonic and the Black Knight is completely omitted from the video, whilst it's predecessor, Sonic and the Secret Rings notably wasn't.
One Game For the Price of Two Consoles: The series has a nasty habit of foreshadowing events of games that are only playable on other consoles, especially with the Wii. Liked Sonic Colors and want to play the direct sequel Sonic Generations? If your PC isn't built for gaming, then enjoy shilling out triple-digit monetary values for a 360 or PS3. If you bought Sonic the Hedgehog 4 episode 1 on WiiWare and want to play part 2? Same deal (and to unlock Episode Metal will cost even more!).
One-Hit-Point Wonder: Assuming they have no rings, every character would count as this, but this is not the case. Final Zone and Death Egg Zone in Sonic 1 and 2, respectively, have no rings whatsoever, effectively rendering Sonic a One Hit Point Wonder for the final confrontations. The Game Gear versions of Sonic 1 and 2 took this even further by offering no rings for any of the boss encounters.
Eggman/Robotnik was retconned in later installments to be Robotnik nicknamed Eggman. Naturally, the Eggman name is used a lot more than the Robotnik one, even by himself.
Only Six Faces: The design style for the characters tends to be very strict. Nearly every character has either Sonic's or Tails' facial structure, and even in terms of body have the same 'noodle limb' proportions, albeit with slightly varying height. Minor characters tend to subvert this however.
The Other Darrin: The series have gone through a veritable revolving door of voice actors throughout the years, some more controversial than others. Tails, in particular, has gone through more voice actors switches than any other character. In both the English AND Japanese versions.
Plot Coupon: The ubiquitous Chaos Emeralds and their daddy, the Master Emerald.
Polygon Ceiling: A notable example note The trope's original name was "Sonic Syndrome": Sega have acknowledged that the 3D Sonic games - up untill Sonic Colors - have a (not entirely unfounded) reputation of being plagued with bad camera angles, poor level design, and shaky controls. It's ultimately down to personal opinion as to which of the 3D games is the prime culprit. At the same time, the 2D Advance and Rush series released at the same time were quite highly regarded, which (along with a heavy sense of Retraux) could explain why Sonic Colors includes a lot of 2D platforming.
Pop Culture Osmosis: Some evolutionary biologist must have been a Genesis gamer in his or her youth, as one of the genes involved in the development of the feather in birds and teeth in humans has been dubbed "Sonic hedgehog." No, really.
Pop-Star Composer: Masato Nakamura (from the J-pop band Dreams Come True) composed the music for Sonic 1 and Sonic 2. Famously, Michael Jackson was supposed to compose for Sonic 3. What happened then? Nobody quite knows, but everybody has an opinion. Jun Senoue and his band Crush 40 wrote music for several of the 3-D games. R&B musician Akon remixed Dreams Come True's "Sweet Sweet Sweet" for Sonic 2006. This goes all the way to Sonic Colors, where Cash Cash performs the main theme.
Reconstruction: Since the flop of Sonic '06, the games seem to be trying to go back to the original Platforming and Speed outlook of the Genesis series.
Recurring Riff: In many Sonic games, the main theme of a particular game can be heard throughout the game.
Replay Value: Sonic games generally have a low number of stages compared to most other platformers; which would make the game very short otherwise. What it lacks in stage number is more than made up for in the amount of alternate paths that you can take in getting to the goal. In several games, the replayability is even added to with the Chaos Emeralds, as finding them requires all your exploration ability.
Revisiting The Roots: The series, after going 3-D and having elaborate storylines and darker characters, begot Sonic Advance, which played in 2-D and was very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in stage design, game mechanics, and the simple plot of "Dr. Eggman kidnaps animals; Sonic rescues them."
Less successful was Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, which was another try at going back to basics. However, its physics made it impossible to play like the old games, making this a failed attempt.
This would be remedied, ironically, in a game designed to evolve the series further: Part of the premise of Sonic Generations is that Sonic from the classic games is brought forward in time to the present. Classic Sonic plays very close to the original games, much closer than in Sonic 4, and is near indistinguishable in the 3DS version. Classic Sonic was so well-received, considering the fandom's Broken Base, that Sonic 4: Episode II will be based on Classic Sonic's physics in Sonic Generations.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shadow's reaction to Maria's death. Attempt on humanity prevented by Amy. Results in the genocide of the entire Black Arms race as Black Doom can be considered indirectly responsible for her death.
Rolling Attack: Sonic can do that. Often others do rolling attacks too.
Running Gag: There's very few that last more than a single game, but Knuckles getting tricked by Eggman, for one, eventually turned into this.
If it's an entirely 2D Sonic game, expect there to be a pit with two springs facing each other in at least one level.
San Dimas Time: The level timers in Sonic CD, where you regularly travel hundreds of years through time mid-level on a regular basis.
Scenery Porn: Sonic games are designed to push the graphical power of any console they're on, whether it be the Genesis/Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Wii, PS3, any console. Special mentions in this regard include the original Genesis games, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. Sonic CD had some Scenery Gorn in its Bad Future stages, though the Good Futures could potentially outdo the past and present with the area showing technology maintaining the environment instead of destroying it.
Recent home console titles like Unleashed and Generations use Sonic Team's aptly-named graphics rendering tool, the Hedgehog Engine, which is capable of rendering close-to-CG quality imagery. Whilst graphical output is undoubtedly impressive, the results are definitely best viewed in 60fps and 1080p in the PC version of Generations.
Supposedly, on the day that Nintendo unveiled the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Which was also the same day SEGA unveiled the original Sonic game), a reporter went to a SEGA Rep & touted the increased graphical capabilities of the SNES over the Mega Drive; specifically citing the vast increase in the number of colors the system was capable of. The SEGA Rep's response was to take him to a curtained off area, and show him screenshots of Sonic & the latest Mario game, before asking "Who has more colors?"
Mystic Ruins from Sonic Adventureis this trope, adapting many of the breathtaking landscapes and sceneries the dev team witnessed on their trip to Central America.
Sealed Evil in a Can: It started with Chaos in Sonic Adventure and has become increasingly more evil, more sealed, and more canny from there.
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man. Sonic (manly man) and Tails (sensitive guy)...however, when it comes to Knuckles, Sonic is the Sensitive Guy while Knuckles is the Manly Man.
Set Bonus: The Chaos Emeralds in most games. Whether they allow the player to become Super Sonic, view the true ending, or both.
Shoo Out the New Guy: Silver started out overhyped, but since Sonic '06 and the Rivals games, he's pretty much been reduced to being a member of multiplayer rosters.
Sonic collects rings. If he's hit, he loses his rings instead of dying.
The shields found throughout the series also qualify.
In the first twogames, they did nothing more than take one hit for you.
In Sonic 3 And Knuckles and the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC version of Sonic Generations, flame, bubble and lightning shields are available. While they are active, they protect the player from flames, let the player breathe underwater and attract rings, respectively. All three will (at least in S3&K) reflect projectiles without taking damage, but they still disappear after one hit from anything else (and in the case of flame and lightning, touching water). They even grant special powers to Sonic, activated on pressing the jump button while in midair (replacing his weak "insta-shield" move that slightly extends the range of his jump attack momentarily): the flame shield lets him dash forward rapidly; the bubble shield lets him dash downward rapidly (Ground Pound!); while the lightning shield gives him a Double Jump.
The 3D games, the Sonic Advance series, and its handheldsuccessors, have two shields available. They both act the same as in the first two games, but one will attract rings.
The fan-made Sonic Robo Blast 2 has no less than five such shields available — the blue Force Shield, which can take two hits; the white Whirlwind Shield, which gives your character a double jump; the green Elemental Shield, which makes you fully immune to environmental hazards; the red Armageddon Shield, which can be detonated to damage everything nearby; and the yellow Attraction Shield, which draws in rings, but shorts out in water.
Space Does Not Work That Way: This pretty much describes most of Sonic's space exploration levels, with his sequence of hanging on to Robotnik's rocket escaping into the upper atmosphere and managing to reach the Death Egg in space being one of the most accurate examples.
Spike Balls of Doom: Very commonly used. A lot of them can be found within stages, one of the notable enemies called Orbinaut has spiked balls surrounding it and many bosses fire spiked balls, too.
Spikes Of Doom: One of the common elements throughout the series. There is also the infamous Spike Bug. Its name is something of an Artifact Title, as there is substantial evidence now that it's not a bug and was intentionally programmed in (though it was "fixed" in later revisions of Sonic 1).
The Spiny: A fair number of badniks qualify, although since the standard attack method is to hit an enemy while curled into a ball rather than necessarily to hit it from above, some of these are covered in spikes or other harmful stuff on all sides, rather than just the top, and must be defeated by waiting for them to revert to a vulnerable state or using invincibility. Others, though, look more like the Spinies of other games and can be dispatched by rolling into them. Oddly enough, an enemy with this exact name is not an example of this.
Super Drowning Skills / Walk, Don't Swim: Since his first appearance in 1991, Sonic has never been able to swim. His allies, Tails and Knuckles, can. Sonic sinks like a rock in water and relies on air bubbles to survive underwater. This is taken to its logical extreme in some of the recent games, where even contact with water causes instant death.
In the Mario & Sonic games, Sonic wears a life jacket during the swimming events.
As of Sonic Colours, Sonic can swim upwards by jumping in the water, Mario-style. The yellow Wisp also turns him into a tornado underwater, giving him basically complete maneuverability. Suddenly the great blue terror isn't so terrible.
Super Mode: For Sonic, Shadow, and Silver when they get all seven Chaos Emeralds, their fur stands upand becomesgolden. Admittedly, Yuji Naka actually is a fan of Dragon Ball, and it had a big influence on Sonic.
Super Speed: Sonic is the foremost example, but nearly every character in the series has some level of this, even Eggman.
Taken to the next level in the Movie where Metal Sonic is able to fly in and out of the atmosphere in seconds and both him and Sonic are able to get to distant parts of the world in very short amounts of time. Taken Up to Eleven in Sonic X where Sonic was able to outrun a lightning bolt in his base form.
Super Strength: While it is usually power characters like Knuckles and Omega that have this emphasized, almost all characters have some level of it. In the movie and Sonic X even Sonic is capable of incredible feats of strength that would give game Knuckles pause.
Team Rocket Wins: In Sonic Adventure 2 this happens a couple of times. The destruction of Prison Island, the firing of the Eclipse Cannon and the scene where Sonic nearly dies.
Chip subverts this multiple times at first, but finally manages a perfect landing just before the final level.
It's also been a running gag since Sonic Adventure for Sonic to royally botch at least one of these landings.
Tiered by Name: When Sonic's powered up by the chaos emeralds, he becomes ''Super Sonic" and turns yellow. There's other transformations from other sources as well, but this is the most famous.
Took a Level in Badass: Tails has a noticeable one between Sonic Adventure and SA2, he builds himself a mech and is actually useful, and is somewhat able to think for himself.
Eggman also takes a massive level in badass between the same two games. He goes from letting his Chaos do most of his fighting for him, and trying to conquer only Station Square to trying to take over the world with a Kill Sat. He actually gets his hands dirty in SA2 (on screen at least) and almost manages to successfully kill Sonic.
Lampshaded by Sonic, "You've turned into a big time villain, doctor!"
Team Chaotix undergoes a bit of this when they're re-introduced, too. Espio originally only had wall-clinging abilities, attacks using his tounge and his iconic spinning top spindash with no sign of espionage. In his return, all of those skills(Sans-tongue) come together into him being a badass ninja who's skills are surpassed only by the volume at which he speaks. Charmy was previously one of the slowest characters in Knuckles Chaotix who's only use was flying around indefinitely. Upon his return, he's become a lot stronger, being able to carry and perform attacks using his two teamates(One of which is HUGE by Sonic standards) and attack more effectively using his stinger. He even delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Robotnik in their ending. Vector was a tall and slinky crocodile who besides his Doughnut Spindash was pretty much a slightly weaker version of Knuckles. Upon his return, he's buffed up considerably, utilizes his crocodile jaws and fire breath to fight more effectively and has become an expert detective who's had a running tradition of accurately figuring out plot-crucial information before anyone else whenever given the chance.
Tornado Move: Used by Sonic in some games. In Sonic Heroes, he and the other Speed characters can even whip up a tornado by rapidly moving in a circle.
Underwater Ruins: One level in almost every game is set amidst underwater ruins.
Unreliable Canon: In the early days, the in-game stories are simple Excuse Plots about Dr. Eggman trying to rule the world through robots, with Sonic stopping him. SEGA encouraged production of alternate storytelling media, resulting in atleastsixgroupsofpeople working independently on their own interpretation of the franchise, each with their own continuity totally separated from the video games. With the exception of Sonic X, which came later, most kids in the 90s accepted at least one of these adaptations as canon with the video games, a precursor of the franchise's infamous Broken Base today.
Video Game Long Runners: We are talking about a franchise that has run for two decades, has dozens of games under it's belt (not counting how many ports and re-releases there are) has made possibly dozens, maybe hundreds of cameos in other games, has starred in an absolutely monstrous amount of tie-in comics and merchandise, four different cartoon series and an anime movie, and has sold over 50 million games worldwide. And from the looks of things, he ain't going nowhere anytime soon.
Video Game Settings: The series has always shamelessly used every standard platform level style.
Walk on Water: Many, including "Tails" and Knuckles, of the running on water variety. This is also to avoid drowning in water in the latest 3D Sonic games. In fact, in Sonic Generations, Modern Sonic can boost underwater in order to get to the surface during Chemical Plant.
Wheel o' Feet: The series staple of pretty much all characters who could actually run, though Shadow is a subversion with his "air skates", and Tails with his... tails. While the 2D games showed this whenever Sonic or Knuckles reached top speed, The 3D games brought about a 'motion blur' when they reached top speed (indicated by their hands flowing freely behind their backs). Since the 3D games primarily place the camera behind the character, however, it's hard to notice the effects of top speed.
When All Else Fails, Go Right: In his first three games, Sonic is always travelling from left to right across the various zones; it's understood that, even in the more maze-like sections, the intention is to go to the right.
The only exception in the original three (and a half) games is the final Death Egg zone, where the intention is still mostly to go to the right, but much more important than that is going up.
There are many examples in Sonic 2 where you go up or left. Particular examples are Chemical Plant Zone and Mystic Cave Zone, which involve you having to go up, down, left and right several times to reach the end..
There are several times when he is travelling left in Sonic 3 And Knuckles.