A sequel to the hit Sonic Adventure and one of the Sega Dreamcast's final releases, and a title to mark the 10th anniversary of the series. It was also the last original Sonic game to be made before Sega quit making consoles.Mad scientist Dr. Eggman has a new plan to Take Over the World: reviving his grandfather's legacy, the abandoned space station "ARK". By using the Chaos Emeralds to power the ARK's most dangerous weapon, The Eclipse Cannon, Eggman plans to strongarm the world into accepting his new world order. Helping him in this new scheme are two accomplices: Rouge the Bat, a Femme Fatale jewel thief with shady motives; and Shadow the Hedgehog, a super-powered black hedgehog touted as "The Ultimate Lifeform".Enter Chronic Hero Sonic the Hedgehog, who is mistaken for Shadow and falsely arrested by the law enforcement agency "G.U.N.". After breaking out of custody, Sonic is on a mission to clear his name, beat his new-found ebony rival and stop Dr. Eggman. Joining him are Miles "Tails" Prower, a kid genius and Sonic's best friend; and Knuckles the Echidna, who is searching for the scattered pieces of the Master Emerald after it gets shattered... again.Got that? The plot is much darker than the already-pretty dark Sonic Adventure, as it contains vague allusions to a corrupt military and genocidal insanity, while still retaining the cheese the series is known for; For example, Sonic being mistaken for a black hedgehog with red stripes despite having saved the world repeatedly.This is the first game in the series — bar racing and party games — where you get to play as the villains, and by extension, the first where you get to play as Dr. Eggman. This game also introduced Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat, both of whom would become series mainstays.Like its predecessor, this game was also a big-hit critically and commercially, being hailed as a true swan song for the dying Dreamcast. It also, however, suffered some of the same Polygon Ceiling-related criticism of Camera Screw and bad controls that its predecessor had. It also ditched the hubworlds in favor of a traditional level-by-level form of progression.The game was re-released for the GameCube several months after the Dreamcast version as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (before its predecessor's remake), which added more Chao stuff and gave 2-Player Mode a complete overhaul (which is probably where the "Battle" subtitle comes in).Gameplay Types / Playable Characters:
Action Stage (classic Sonic style) — Sonic / Shadow
Hunting Stage (same as Knuckles from the previous game) - Knuckles / Rouge
There is also one driving stage each for Tails and Rouge. Beating one of them unlocks the single-player kart racing Mini-Game, while beating the other unlocks the two-player option.Following the success of its prequel, an HD re-release of the game was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 respectively through Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network on October 2nd, 2012 for $10; The additional two-player modes of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle are Downloadable Content for $3. The game has also been released on PC via Steam on November 19th, 2012, marking its official PC debut.
This video game provides examples of the following tropes:
Abandoned Mine: Knuckles' search for shards of the previously shattered Master Emerald brings him to Aquatic Mine, an abandoned coal mine located within the vicinity of Pumpkin Hill that can be accessed via the sewers of Central City. This is aptly summed up by the opening lyrics of the stage's theme, "Dive into the Mellow": "Let's take a dive, in Aquatic Mine. Once was a coal pit, but now it's a water ride."
Alleged Lookalikes: Sonic is constantly being mistaken for Shadow, another hedgehog. Shadow has upturned spikes, is black and red (rather than blue), and uses hoverskates. Their only similarity is that they're both fast hedgehogs. This is especially bad since, at the speeds they normally move, their superficial similarities would result in being seen as "A blueish blur" and "a red blur." Additionally, Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend got them mixed up, not even when they were moving fast.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: Unlike its predecessor, each story cycles between the Action, Shooting, and Hunting playstyles instead of selecting a character and playing through his/her stages with that character.
The Last Story consists entirely of this. In order, you play as Tails, Eggman, Rouge, Knuckles, then Sonic; Shadow takes on the stage's boss, and the Final Boss uses Sonic and Shadow at the same time.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: The rewards for getting all the emblems/A-Ranks for a character are an alternate outfit in 2P-Mode and an alternate kart in the kart racing minigame, although they do have some different attributes (Tails's alternate mech, for example, makes him a lot faster, but robs him of the ability to use special attacks).
Artistic License - Physics: After Eggman uses the Eclipse Cannon aboard the ARK to blow a chunk out of the moon as a warning shot, everyone becomes concerned about the seriousness of Eggman's threats and possible responses — never mind the fact that the effect on the tides alone would cause incalculable casualties in Real Life.
Black Eyes of Evil: The Boom Boos in the haunted stages have black eyes blinking every few seconds. They will turn into the yellow-eyed, fanged-grinning boos once you hit them once.
Blob Monster: Artifical Chaos on the ARK created by Gerald Robotnik.
Boss Arena Idiocy: King Boom Boo, like most other evil ghosts, gets weakened when he is exposed light, so why did he summon a small ghost to hold an hourglass that lets light into the arena?
Boss Rush: Beating a story unlocks a minigame where you fight each of the bosses faced in that story one after the other.
Boss Warning Siren: Justified the boss fight against the Flying Dog. In the cutscene preceding the battle, Rouge is caught sneaking into a maximum-security vault and triggers an alarm that alerts the boss to her presence.
Breakout Character: Shadow was originally meant to be a one-shot character for this game, but, not only did he become a series mainstay, he arguably got most of the development and plot focus in Heroes and even starred in his own game.
Break the Cutie: Eggman does this to Tails and Amy by shooting Sonic out of an explosive rocket before their very eyes, leaving them to think that Eggman finally killed their best friend (don't worry, he used Chaos Control).
Broken Pedestal: Even Eggman is surprised when Gerald turns out to be a nutbar.
The Cameo: Big the Cat can be seen during some cutscenes and even in the middle of some levels, as well as used in multiplayer... in the Dreamcast version. The GameCube version erased Big (sometimes with a Ring) in levels and replaced him with Dark Chao Walker in multiplayer, but he can still be found in Dark and Final cutscenes. The latest HD release does not return his multiplayer and Hero mode appearances, but reinserts him in most (but not all) levels.
Cardboard Prison: Prison Island, a prison and military base which, despite its name, is not The Alcatraz. Eggman is able to break in all by himself with his Egg Walker, then gets out with Shadow. Later on Tails and Amy break in and get Sonic out.
Chekhov's Gun: After seeing Shadow disappear in a flash of light as he used Chaos Control as many times as he did — and for that matter, seeing Sonic escape certain death via Chaos Control once before — was it really such a stretch to believe that Shadow had survived his plummet to Earth? On the same note, Tails mentioning that the fake Emerald had the exact same wavelength as a real Chaos Emerald came in handy later when Sonic used Chaos Control to escape Eggman's trap.
Those mathematical symbols on Sonic's jail cell in Prison Island? The ones that Amy comments on? Why yes, those were the calculation performed by Professor Gerald Robotnik to calculate how long it would take for the ARK to impact the Earth. You see the cell in all of Gerald's diary entries.
Also, at the beginning Knuckles tells Rouge that the Master Emerald is capable of nullifying the power of the Chaos Emeralds. At the end of the game, Knuckles needs to use the Master Emerald for that exact purpose.
The Chessmaster: Shadow the Hedgehog, who manages to take advantage of Eggman's ambitions in order to further his own hidden plan to get revenge on humanity for the G.U.N. massacre on the ARK 50 years ago.
And Shadow's actions, in turn, were the result of Gerald Robotnik placing subliminal messages and tampering with memories during Shadow's 50 year hibernation when he went mad.
Rouge also counts for this until her plan to obtain all of the Chaos Emeralds was stopped by Shadow at the end of the dark side story.
Clear My Name: Sonic gets mistaken for the recently-freed Ultimate Lifeform and gets captured by G.U.N. (twice) early in the Hero story. Shortly before Sonic is captured a second time, Shadow steals a Chaos Emerald from a bank. Naturally, everyone assumes that this hedgehog is Sonic. One must wonder how color-blind the people of Sonic's world are. Possibly justified with the bank robbery, since it was night when it took place. G.U.N. has no excuse though.
Comic Book Adaptation: Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book did not adapt Sonic Adventure 2 originally. Instead they interrupted their own Story Arc for one issue, and used that issue to line up their own canon with that of the game, ending the issue where Sonic Adventure 2 starts. The next issue began some time after the game ends, implying that everything in Sonic Adventure 2 happened. Eventually Sonic Universe #2 showed what happened, with the story largely unchanged.
In the levels near the end of each campaign where you face off against your same-mission-type Rival once again, they can use and abuse the usually 2-player-mode-only special attacks, but you cannot.
The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: In Mad Space, the hint computers are very uncooperative. The first hint for every emerald is written backwardsnote For example, Namgge Rotcod is really Doctor Eggman. The second and third hints aren't written backwards, but they lie to you. These lying computers are one of the reasons behind Mad Space's That One Level status.
They don't lie; they just tell you the inverse of what you need to know. Deciphering their clues is easy enough, but finding them is the problem.
Continuity Nod: Tails is said to have got a Chaos Emerald for beating Eggman in Station Square, which happened back in SA1.
Also during the last story, Knuckles and Sonic stumble upon a temple-like structure that looks oddly familiar.
And at that shrine he says the same prayer of Chaos as Tikal in the previous game.
Criminal Doppelgänger: Pretty much the reason why Sonic is captured by G.U.N. twice and why him and his friends are constantly chased throughout this game. Justified in that the only times that Shadow is seen by the police is during the night and that there only happened to be one well-known anthropomorphic male hedgehog in the world up until that point. That justification does not apply to G.U.N. though, as they were aware of who Shadow was and should have been able to tell that Sonic was not the escaped Ultimate Lifeform once they got their hands on him (twice). To be fair, it is implied that Shadow was completely unaware of Sonic's existence up until Sonic defeated the Big Foot.
Shadow might have known about Sonic's existence: when Eggman opened Shadow's pod, he verbally mentioned that Shadow was "not Sonic", and even thought that Shadow was Sonic, there to foil his plans already. However, Shadow had just woken up, so he might not have consciously understood what Eggman was saying.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Thanks to different controller design, the port for XBLA and PSN changes the action button to the B and circle buttons respectively, screwing with whoever is used to a Gamecube controller layout... until you realize that X or square have the same exact function yet aren't showcased as THE button.
Darker and Edgier: SA1 was darker than the game series up to that point, and SA2 managed to be even darker. There's more than one character in the game who swears revenge on all humanity, and their motives are revealed in some cutscenes. Furthermore, Dr. Eggman, who you can play as in this game, is willing to use a "weapon of mass destruction" (yes, it is actually described as that in the game) as a means of trying to intimidate people into surrendering to his empire, by threatening to fire it at inhabited parts of Earth. He demonstrates its power by firing it at the moon, and it happens to take quite a chunk out of the moon for that matter... add to that, of course, the government conspiracy sideplot, that involves them assassinating numerous innocent people on-board the ARK (with Maria even dying onscreen). Outside maybe the Archie comics, this was perhaps the grimmest depiction of Sonic yet at this point in time.
Though the overall tone of some futuretitles was a bit darker, NOTHING in the rest of the series comes close to the last act of this game. Gerald's diary/execution speech rivals the most depressing and terrifying messages left behind in any Survival Horror. It helps that both voice actors for Gerald were incredibly good at getting his gut-wrenching despair and hatred for humanity across.
The game also appears to kill off one of its main characters at the end. Future titles would retcon this, as said character turned out to be too popular to die.
It should also be noted that Maria was an innocent twelve year old. Yes, an innocent twelve year old is shot dead in a Sonic game.
Decoy Protagonist: Eggman for the Dark side is this gameplay-wise. Four of his levels are in the first half of the game, but aside from boss fights he only gets one level in the second half.
Deface of the Moon/Detonation Moon: Eggman blows up half of the moon with just six of the seven Chaos Emeralds, threatening to do the same to any country that doesn't submit to him. (Oddly, it's perfectly fine in some later entries, and still half-blown-up in others.)
Do Not Adjust Your Set: In the second variation Eggman hijacks the airwaves to announce his ultimatum: twenty-four hours until he destroys the earth unless the world leaders agree to surrender it to him. And in the third variation however, in the last story after all of the Chaos emeralds have been gathered the airwaves are hijacked once again only this time it's showing a tape of the late Gerald Robotnik giving his Final Speech which outlines his Colony Drop aimed at earth.
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Inside the space shuttle, Sonic tells Knuckles not to touch the lever to get the remaining pieces of the Master Emerald after the shuttle hits a meteor. Knuckles does it anyways.
Dueling Player Characters: The game has the story split into two sides the 'Hero' side with Sonic, Tails & Knuckles, and the 'Dark' side with Shadow, Eggman & Rouge. Each character is matched to another, and fights their counterpart several times through the course of the game. Again, the fights are played from both perspectives.
Dummied Out: The game contains a hidden level used by the developers for testing the game engine. It is only accessible by hacking or, in the case of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, a glitch.
Dying Declaration Of Hate: Prof. Gerald gives one to all of humanity before GUN executed him, blaming them for the death of Maria and that he has planned their future demise by programming the ARK to crash towards earth.
Eagleland: The United Federation is heavily Type 2.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Eclipse Cannon can produce one of these if all seven emeralds are gathered together, and Eggman demonstrates this on the moon. Gerald Robotnik instead has a Colony Drop program for the ARK kick in when all seven emeralds are collected, so as to make absolutely sure this occurs, compared to Eggman, who just intends to raze countries that don't submit to him.
Easily Condemned: Sonic falls into this when he was on the run from GUN after he was framed for stealing a Chaos Emerald.
"Fake" Twin: Sonic considers Shadow this due to the latter framing him for stealing a Chaos Emerald. It's also hinted that Shadow himself thinks Sonic is this to him, thinking Sonic was trying to copy him.
Shadow gives one believing that he has finally fulfilled Maria's final wish as he plummets to the Earth. Keep in mind that Sega originally planned to keep him Killed Off for Real when the game was released.
Fog Feet: A Chao that plays with bats will eventually have its legs disappear; it'll hover above the ground instead.
Foreshadowing: There's a bit during the cutscene right before Final Chase, where Rouge reads about "Project Shadow" which not only implies there is more to Shadow's origins than originally shown, but also features a split second shot of a picture of the Biolizard (albeit at a low resolution because of the Dreamcast's limitations).
Frame-Up: Shadow framed Sonic with the theft of the green Chaos Emerald. Somewhat deconstructed, as its implied that Shadow did not intend to frame Sonic for the deed, and in fact, had never even heard of Sonic up until after he stole the emerald, specifically shortly after Sonic defeated Big Foot. In fact, through most of the game, Shadow believed that Sonic was copying him.
Fun with Acronyms / Spelling Song: Averted and played straight respectively with Eggman's theme, "E.G.G.M.A.N." — it's spelled out a few times at the beginning by a modulated voice in the background, but it doesn't seem to stand for anything. (Amusingly, it's also one of exactly two songs ever to use the exact phrase "I am the Eggman".)
Furry Confusion: Rouge the Bat is a playable character, but regular Bats can be found and rescued from the stages. Most confusing is the fact that the Bat is only in this game.
The level Death Chamber takes it even further: It has actual, real-life bats. That's three different kinds of bats in one game!
All three of the good vs. evil battles are ultimately seen to end in draws, even though you have to win the actual fight for whichever side you're playing.
When facing Egg Golem in Hero Story, you have to (as Sonic) get behind it and jump up platforms on its back in order to homing attack its head's weak point to damage it; you need to do this several times. In the Dark Story, it's defeated by Sonic in a cutscene where he takes a giant leap at its weak point (a leap which, incidentally, is not possible when playing as Sonic) and defeats it in one kick.
Knuckles and Rouge actually run faster than Sonic and Shadow in gameplay.
Averted in the final boss battle. Shadow's in-story failing super form is represented by his ring count starting lower and lower each time you switch to him after a certain point into the battle.
Gameplay Grading: You are ranked at the end of a stage based on your score (although you can automatically earn a perfect A if you collect every single ring in the stage). All 3D Sonics following this game would use a similar ranking system.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Various BGM tracks have suggestive lyrics, but Wild Canyon takes the cake. One of the radars caught this one; the ESRB rating has "Mild Lyrics" as a descriptor. But apparently, SEGA's translators didn't.
"Yeah, Rouge, she's sexy and smooth! A double cross spot-thief, that's out for my jewels."
That may not be intentional though, as the song does mean it literally.note The lyrics were in reference to the fact that Rouge the Bat and Dr. Eggman attempted to steal the Master Emerald, and in the case of the former, its pieces.. However, they do use "damn" in at least 2 different songs, and the "Mild Lyrics" did not appear on the back of the box until Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, as the original did not have that.
Also the Biolizard when it fuses with the space colony and becomes the true final boss, Finalhazard. The Biolizard itself doesn't count, since, technically, it's featured in the Project Shadow report Rouge downloads from the main computer, though the resolution makes it hard to discern its image.
Got Volunteered: As Sonic and his friends approach to the center of Eggman's pyramid base, they needed a key to get inside. Sonic suggests that Knuckles should find it since he's "the world's greatest treasure hunter", much to his chagrin.
Not to mention some of the lyrics in Knuckles' level's songs, especially Wild Canyon.
Gratuitous English: Sonic in the Japanese dub, as usual for him. Notably, his rank comments are mostly in English (with the exception of B rank, where he literally says "Too easy! Rakushou da ze!" in Japanese and "Too easy! Piece of cake!" in English), plus his comment of "Hey guy, take care!" after beating Big Foot, as well as a few other examples.
In the English version, Dr. Eggman still says "Yoshi!" when he completes a level ("Yoshi!" being Japanese for "Yes!/Alright!").
A strange case of this comes in "Kick the Rock!", as it's more or less Gratuitous English-Pronounced-in-a-Japanese-Way. The lyrics go "Ekidona, that's what I'm representin'" - "Ekidona" is "echidna" spelled phonetically in Japanese (the singer then adds AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle by pronouncing it "Eki-DOH-na").
Gratuitous Spanish: In the Japanese dub, the line "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog" was "Adios, Shadow the Hedgehog".
Crazy Gadget and its switches that make Sonic walk on the ceiling and walls. A memorable part at the end of the level involves navigating a series of these in space, and it's pretty tough. There are other examples in the part of Eternal Engine where Tails floats inexplicably, and Cosmic Wall, where Eggman's mech can jump incredible heights due to lowered gravity.
Some of the "Find the Lost Chao!" Missions are near impossible to complete without looking in a guide. In particular, all the steps that you need to do in Cannon's Core to find that Chao is pretty daunting.
While not as hard as Cannon's Core, the lost chao in Radical Highway is particularly easy to miss.
Most of the different chao can be made by experimenting around. The chaos chao however have requirements that are so specific you'd probably never know they even exist unless you look up a guide. One of the requirements is giving exactly one of each of the TWENTY-ONE different animals to the chao. And once you do that it doesn't even let you know anything changed until a couple hours later when the chao finally evolves into a chaos chao.
In some of the Hard Mode missions for Knuckles/Rouge levels, some of the emerald pieces are hidden very obscure areas that they won't show up on the radar no matter where you look, and the hint computers don't help much either. Special mention goes to the second emeralds of Wild Canyon and Aquatic Mine.
In most levels, there is a golden beetle enemy that appears, then disappears after a few seconds. Destroying one of these beetle enemies really helps your rank in score-based missions (the first mission, the timed mission, and hard mode) as doing so gives you 1000 points. However, some of them are very easy to miss, particularly those in Pumpkin Hill, Cosmic Wall, Final Rush, and Final Chase.
Hints Are For Losers: In Knuckles and Rouge's levels, finding the Master Emerald Shard (or Door Key or Chaos Emerald) in a short amount of time without using any hint monitors would earn you a Perfect 2000 point bonus. In Rouge's Mad Space level, the hint monitors are reversed, as the hints either say the opposite of where the Emerald Shard really is, or are literally written backwards.
Hong Kong Dub: When the line takes longer to say in English than it did in Japanese, the next line will start while the previous one is still going... even when the next line is spoken by the same character. (It does lend a strange David Mamet flavor to the dub.)
Knuckles also does this to Rouge after saving her from falling into the lava, claiming that he was saving the pieces of the Master Emerald.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Knuckles showcases this when he rescued Rouge from falling into the lava pit after their fight for the Master Emerald shards. He then apologized for hurting her in their previous battle.
Jiggle Physics: Different parts of different characters have this, the most notable examples being Sonic & Shadow's quills, and Rouge's ears and breasts (yes, they really did animate a cartoon bat's breasts).
Jump Scare: The boos in the haunted stages will pop up at the character's face while growing large in form before disappearing. They pop up in miniature forms if the character gets close to it or just pop up from random places unseen.
Karma Houdini: G.U.N. Actually averted in that you can destroy their robots and the fact that you can even damage the pilots controlling Big Foot, Hot Shot, and Flying Dog.
Keep It Foreign: The iconic line, "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog", is replaced with "Adios, Shadow the Hedgehog" in the Japanese version.
Kick Chick: Rouge, to contrast Knuckles' punches only attack style.
Leeroy Jenkins: Sonic, even moreso than usual. He's concerned only with stopping Eggman and pays little attention to Tails' strategy sessions.
Leitmotif: Many songs throughout the game feature the same recurring guitar riffs, along with some shared lyrics (for instance, in City Escape and the chorus of Supporting Me). It's only at the end of the game that they come together into the game's signature theme, Live and Learn.
Level Grinding: Getting an A by getting the set amount of rings may require this. Completing all of the Chao Garden emblems will require quite a bit of this.
Luck-Based Mission: Treasure hunting levels have some of this by design—emeralds may randomly spawn in a location that cannot be reached without hitting a certain switch, for instance, making them harder to find by merely sweeping the stage. Chao karate, with its uncontrollable A.I. Roulette and Critical Hit mechanics, is an example that can be muted by sufficient Level Grinding. Chao races feature an actual hidden luck stat in some races along with randomized tripping.
Mad Scientist: Dr. Gerald Robotnik was sane prior to GUN's assault on the ARK. After that his disillusionment with humanity drove him to strike back with his creation.
Milestone Celebration: Coincides with the 10th anniversary of the original game. As such, collecting 180 emblems will unlock a 3D version of Green Hill Zone.
Mini Mecha: Tails and Eggman's stages consist of piloting small mechs through their stages, with Tails' Cyclone being his new Tornado airplane that swaps its wings for a set of legs and Eggman's being his hoverpod with legs and guns attached.
Misplaced Retribution: Gerald's plot to get revenge from beyond the grave was focused on bringing suffering and ruination to people (Pretty much the entirety of humanity) who were not responsible for the ARK Incident or the murder of Maria and his colleagues.
Ms Vice Girl / Anti Heroine: Rouge is secretly a government agent whose job is to protect the world from threats like Eggman and Shadow, and turns out to be Good All Along. Also, her passion is jewels, and in her free time she goes around greedily stealing gems wherever she can find them, not caring whether they're, y'know, necessary to the balance of the planet or not. Somehow, these two things never seem to clash — in fact, she's apparently only a good guy some of the time because the government pays her in jewelry.
The Call Back to Lost World in Cannon's Core is also this. There is a water slide similar to the aforementioned level in Adventure, and the music changes to the drum beat of the music that was used in the water slide part of that level.
The music played during the cutscenes before and after the Biolizard reuses some parts of the music played during Lost World as well.
Never Say "Die": Averted big time! Dr Eggman comments in one of his story reminder monologues that killing Tails will be a pleasure, Sonic is told on a number of occasions that he is going to die. Amy is threatened with death a couple of times. Though Eggman never actually uses it, carrying that big pistol about in a couple of the cutscenes certainly shows that he means Serious Business.
No Communities Were Harmed: The nation's capital is based on San Francisco, where Sonic Team was based at the time. Route 101, Route 280, and Mission Street all reference major roadways in the city. The Samba De Amigo references in Mission Street may serve as a dual reference to the Mission District, which was (and is still somewhat) largely Hispanic.
No Conservation of Energy: When Sonic and Shadow use Chaos Control to stop the falling ARK, the colony comes to a complete halt. The explosion of light was no where near big enough to be equal to its previous momentum. Of course, SEGA has never bothered to explain exactly how Chaos Control works, so...
No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Adventure 2 does away with Adventure fields and the ability to select characters, instead having the player experience every gameplay style in the same story, with stages coming one after another in sequence. Upgrades are found within the stages as well.
One-Winged Angel: The Biolizard becomes Finalhazard when he fuses himself with Space Colony ARK.
Out-Gambitted: Sonic and Tails plot to give Eggman a fake Emerald that will explode when it's put into the Eclipse Cannon, thus making it unusable. Having a feeling that this would happen, Eggman seals Sonic inside a rocket, causes Tails to accidentally spill the beans, and shoots Sonic out of the Ark to a most certain death. Good thing Sonic still has that fake Emerald in his hands, and it is powerful enough for Sonic to use Chaos Control...
Path of Greatest Resistance: Because Sonic and Shadow can use the Homing Attack, which was introduced in the previous game, this game has paths identifiable (and accessible) only by finding a trail of stationary midair enemies. This is most commonly used to begin an expert path or for a shortcut; there are only two levels where this is actually required (excluding hard mode): Metal Harbor and Crazy Gadget.
It's quite common in hard mode for there to be a trail of enemies that stops halfway across a bottomless pit and a trail of rings that begins where the trail of enemis stops. In these areas, you must cross the enemy trail, then light dash on the trail of rings to get across. note This is harder to do as Sonic because if you are too early on the light dash, you will do a bounce attack instead and fall to your death.
Crazy Gadget has an area like this in all missions with a grind rail and spring below the ring trail. note Because the grind rail acts as a safety net if your timing is off, this is a great area to practice this method of grossing gaps. Unfortunately, the rail is removed in hard mode.
Sarcastic Devotee: Even if she was a double agent, Rouge plays one to Eggman, especially when she mocks him for throwing a tantrum when he realized Sonic interrupts his conversation with the President through the screen.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: Since you jump around from playing style to playing style, this can be in effect if you are much better at some characters than others.
Also, each stage has the same five missions in the same order. Depending on which character you are using, some of the missions will be easier or harder than usual. Tails and Eggman's stages have very few rings and LOTS of enemies, so the second mission, 'Collect 100 Rings!', is harder for them than it would be for other characters. The timed missions for Knuckles and Rouge tend to be harder than their 'Complete Hard Mode' missions since for them, while the emeralds are in very annoying and hard to reach places in Hard Mode, they're in the same place each time.
Getting A-Ranks on the early Action and Shooting stages aren't too obscenely hard, but roughly halfway through the game they become incredibly annoying without resorting to Sequence Breaking shortcuts to get massive time bonuses. And let's not even talk about the Hunting Stages, the system for which has been tweaked to be even more annoying.
There are also a couple references to Phantasy Star Online. Some unlockable alternate costumes on the Gamecube version are similar to what the characters in said game wear, and there are billboards advertising it scattered throughout the city levels.
During the famous scene of Eggman's video-message to the world, the mixture of Japanese and English text behind him is awfully reminiscent of Digivolutions.
Every time you get a B-Rank in Knuckles' stages, Knuckles will say "Yeah, I feel good!", which sounds similar to one of James Brown's hit songs "I Feel Good".
Slasher Smile: The Attack Boos in the haunted stages have a scary, fanged-toothed smile.
Slap SlapAlmost Kiss: Knuckles and Rouge literally have this going on when they meet up in Meteor Herd.
Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: The main game is level 3. There are multiple paths through each level, with more being unlocked as you gain more items, and you can replay levels with different goals for more emblems. The chao raising mini-game, though, is decidedly level 6, for the game gives you no overall goal to accomplish in raising your chao.
Stealth Pun: The style of music played in Shadow's White Jungle stage, minus the Amen.
Stepford Smiler: In the end of the last story, Sonic is noticeably grieved of Shadow's sacrifice, and when Amy goes to ask what's wrong with him, he assures that it's nothing and cheerfully informs her that it's time to head back to earth. As everyone left the ARK, Sonic turns back, waving goodbye to the fallen Shadow in a pensive and solemn tone.
Sugar Bowl: All of the Chao Gardens, where the most pressing issue is an empty stomach; even the Dark Garden, which looks like a haunted graveyard and has a pool of red liquid that may or may not be blood, is a pretty safe place for your cute little guys to reside.
Super-Deformed: Curiously, Chaos Zero looks a lot "cuter" than he did in Sonic Adventure.
This Is Unforgivable: Tails vows to never forgive Eggman for blowing Sonic to smithereens, (or so he and Amy think)...
Also Shadow's initial thoughts about Maria's death.
Timed Mission: Several. Finalhazard hits the Earth after 5 minutes, so you better beat it in that time. Metal Harbour has a small example, where landing on a platform by a rocket suddenly gives you just 15 seconds to grab onto it. To make matters worse, there is a second rung higher up, which is the only way to A-Rank the stage, which can only be made with a couple of seconds to spare. To round the list off, Security Hall gives you 5 minutes to complete it, and Green Forest and White Jungle give you 8 and 10 respectively. Also, every 4th mission is one.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: This happens in the final story where the two Ultimate Life Forms fight. Shadow, the perfected one, vs the Biolizard, the failed prototype.
Video Game Caring Potential: Chao. If you are nice enough to a Chao, it will have a big smile on its face and clap whenever your character picks it up. Beware, however, that being too nice to a Chao might result in the little guy getting a spoiled personality, making it throw tantrums even when only a little hungry. Balance is the key, but regardless, if the Chao is happy enough, it will reincarnate into a baby at the end of its life.
Chao. You can hit it, throw it, put it in water and watch it flail if it doesn't know how to swim, make it starve, and all other sorts of things. Such abuse will result in the Chao crying a fountain of tears, blowing a raspberry at you, or if it's aggressive enough, it'll charge at you and futilely throw punches. If the chao is more sad/angry than happy, it won't reincarnate at the end of its life. With the introduction of Light and Dark Chao in this game, who is treating the Chao good or bad matters as much as how they're treated. So treating your Chao nicely with Shadow, Eggman, and Rouge will make them Dark as well as being cruel with the good guys will, and vice versa.
Gerald becomes somewhat sympathetic once you realize how he lost everything important to him. To see how far Gerald fell, just watch the cutscene in Shadow the Hedgehog where he instructs Shadow (via old video footage) to use the Eclipse Cannon for the good of humanity by destroying the Black Comet. All it took was the death of Maria for Gerald to go insane and completely alter his motives.
Shadow the Hedgehog also counts for this to a certain degree. The reason he's attempting to destroy humanity? Because he thought that his promise to Maria was for revenge.
"What you see is what you get: Just a guy that loves adventure. I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!"
Worthy Opponent: Eggman displays a sudden spike in competence when he locks Sonic in a space pod and then fires it into space—and then blows it up for good measure. As he overlooks the explosion, Eggman solemnly declares Sonic an "admirable adversary."
Shadow had a similar reaction: When witnessing Sonic's seeming death, Shadow says "Looks like he was simply an ordinary hedgehog after all" with a tinge of disappointment. Curiously both Eggman and Shadow are somewhat nonchalent, even amused when realising he survived, Shadow even directly telling him he managed to impress him.
Would Hit a Girl: Knuckles had no qualms in attacking Rouge, who can hold on her own against him. However, he reluctantly apologizes for this after restoring the Master Emerald.
You Just Told Me: Eggman pulls a magnificent one on Tails and Sonic when they come to rescue Amy.
Eggman: "You thought you could trick me with that fake emerald, didn't you?"
Tails: "So... how did you know it wasn't the real one?"