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Video Game: Sonic Heroes

"A Tough Team for a Tough Job"
— Advertising slogan

Sonic Heroes is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series released at the end of 2003. It's notable for being the first Sonic game to have Multi-Platform release on all three consoles after Sega quit making consoles (prior to this, Sonic stuck to the Nintendo GameCube with several rereleases of older games and the Game Boy Advance for the 2D Sonic Advance trilogy) as well as the first original 3D Sonic game after Sonic Adventure 2. Its primary gameplay gimmick is teamwork, and as such the story focuses on four teams of three: Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix. Each team has a Speed, Power, and Flight character with an associated formation. Each formation can be immediately switched with the press of a button.

Mad scientist Dr. Eggman has a new plan to Take Over the World: a Doomsday Device that he claims will allow him to conquer the world in three days. This declaration sets into motion a chain of events that sweeps up four teams of three in their wake:

  • Team Sonic, consisting of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Being the heroes, they just want to stop Dr. Eggman. Their levels are roughly in the middle difficulty-wise.
  • Team Dark, consisting of Shadow (amnesiac and seeking answers), Rouge (wants to plunder Eggman's treasure vaults) and Omega (wants revenge on Eggman). Their levels tend to be the hardest, with the most enemies.
  • Team Rose, consisting of Amy (wants to track down Sonic), Big the Cat (wants to find his missing friend Froggy) and Cream the Rabbit (wants to reunite her friend Cheese with his brother). Their levels tend to be the easiest.
  • Team Chaotix, consisting of Espio, Charmy and Vector. Having opened a detective agency in the time since their first adventure, they take on a mysterious client who hires them to investigate Dr. Eggman and his new scheme. Their levels have a scavenger mechanic, where you're asked to gather a certain amount of an item before completing the level.

The game's reviews were rather mixed, but mostly positive, with the GameCube version getting the highest overall scores, and the PlayStation 2 version getting the lowest. Fans and critics alike praised all of the callbacks to previous games and the return of Special Stages, but criticized the requirement of team-ups, the lighthearted minimalist storyline, and retaining some of the 3D problems of Sonic Adventure.

Was later followed up by a semi-sequel called Shadow the Hedgehog that wrapped up several of the loose threads in Team Dark's storyline.

A teamwork gimmick would also be used in Sonic Advance 3, but with a team of two instead of three and the ability to choose different character combinations.


This game provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: Eggman, after you crash his Albatross. Once your back is turned, though, the robot melts and reforms into Metal Sonic.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Metal Sonic, the real villain of the game, has gained a personality over the years, and was disillusioned by never being able to fulfill his purpose of defeating Sonic; in a surprisingly astute move, he mutinies by locking up Eggman, taking over his empire, and impersonating him, as well as secretly copying the data of the heroes to become all-powerful. However, its clear that he's not only a cold-blooded egotist, but also literally insane, as he believes he is the real Sonic, and Sonic is his "loathsome copy!"
  • All Your Powers Combined: Metal Sonic spends the game scanning the heroes and gaining their powers: Sonic's speed, Tails's flight, Knuckles's strength, Shadow's Chaos powers, and (by way of proxies that have been in contact with him) Chaos's shapeshifting ability, manifested through metal instead of water.
  • Anti Hero Team: Team Dark.
  • Ax-Crazy: Whatever Metal Sonic did to upgrade himself, it has pretty clearly made him lose his mind. During the final battle, he shouts that he's a robot based on Sonic and that he's the real Sonic at the same time, to the point that he calls Sonic his "loathsome copy".
  • Bag of Spilling: Each time you start a new zone, all your levels reset to zero.
  • Badass Longcoat: Neo Metal Sonic.
  • Big Bad: Metal Sonic.
  • Big "NO!": Sonic lets one out when you lose a life via Bottomless Pit. Metal Overlord also belts one out when hit by a Team Blast.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: "Look at all those Eggman's robots!" Doubles as Memetic Mutation.
    • Another rather egregious example is in the final level, when you press a self destruct switch to detonate the ship you are currently on, Tails will say "Wonder why it self destructed?" when in the original Japanese script, he said "Why did he put a self destruct switch there?"
  • Bottomless Pits: Lots of them are present in the game, to the point where almost every single level after Power Plant is some level suspended high in the air.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Lost Jungle is this in the lower areas.
  • Call Back: Amy forcing Sonic to marry him is something similar to the Sonic Adventure 2 scene where she will tell Sonic about Shadow's whereabouts if he agrees to marry her.
  • Casino Park: The Trope Namer.
  • Cast Herd: All playable characters are herded into Power Trioes.
    • Geodesic Cast: Each of the trios are organized with the speed-power-flight gameplay mechanic.
  • Character Level
  • Conflict Ball: Any battle between two teams has pitiful justification.
    • Teak Dark and Team Chaotix fight when Rouge accuses the Chaotix of being after Eggman's treasure on the basis of them looking like "creeps." Chaotix in turn think Team Rouge works for Eggman (which, to be fair, Shadow and Rouge did in Sonic Adventure 2).
    • Amy tries to force Sonic into marrying her by beating the crap out of him. Big and Cream believe that Sonic has Froggy and Chocola though, so at least they have some excuse.
    • For the Chaotix and Rose fight, the Chaotix are searching for Chao under their client's orders, and Vector attempts to politely ask Team Rose for theirs. Amy's reply is snarky enough to anger all three of them.
    • Sonic and Shadow challenge each other simply because the "they both have a date with Eggman."
  • Continuing Is Painful: Losing a life results in not only losing all your points, but it also resets your level-ups, making whatever killed you before more likely to kill you again.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Costume Copycat: Metal Sonic disguising as Eggman through the entire game, while the real one is locked up and gives orders to Team Chaotix.
    • Also, presumably the "Sonic" seen in the newspaper article that kicked off Team Rose's quest was also Metal Sonic in disguise.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: All the Teams go through the exact same levels at the exact same times and fight Metal Sonic disguised as Eggman in the exact same fights. While there are enough differences in the actual levels, the storyline is a giant Contrived Coincidence.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Team Chaotix inverts this with the way their Team Blast works. The Team Blast gauge is filled by killing enemies and collecting rings, and with every enemy Team Chaotix kills with their Team Blast, they collect a few rings. If you are in a place or boss battle with enough enemies, it's possible to pull off consecutive Team Blasts.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: A mild example in the PlayStation 2 version, as the Cross (X) and Circle (O) buttons were not switched from their Japanese functions (being no and yes, respectively) when brought to the West; making menus rather frustrating to navigate.
  • Determinator: Shadow, of all people, as proven in this stage dialogue:
    Rouge: Doesn't look like we'll be able to move on.
    Shadow: No problem, let's keep moving.
  • Dreadful Musicians: The Chaotix during their Team Blast.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The game has the characters split into 4 teams of 3, with two of the other teams serving as Boss Battles during the game - Team Sonic & Team Chaotix fight Team Rose & Team Dark, whilst Team Dark & Team Rose fight Team Sonic & Team Chaotix.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Team Sonic and Team Rose. Averted by Team Dark and Team Chaotix.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Metal Sonic. Surprisingly, it's just Ryan Drummond's Sonic voice given a robotic makeover. The same applies in Japanese for Junichi Kanemaru.
  • Excuse Plot: In contrast to the previous Sonic Adventure games, Heroes deliberately aimed for a much more simplistic plot with the general conflict, in order to serve as a "jump-on" point for newcomers to the series. The only exception is Team Dark's story, due to the subplot involving Shadow.
  • Fastball Special:
    • The "Power" characters can pick up the other team members and perform this for their aerial attacks.
    • Team Sonic's Team Blast, the Sonic Overdrive, has the teammates flinging each other over to the enemies close enough for Sonic to perform the Light Speed Attack.
  • Flying Seafood Special: The Egg Fleet consists of ships that resemble sharks, sawfish, and manta rays. The (huge) flagship, Final Fortress, is a whale shark.
    Big: "Look at all the fishy ships!"
  • Forced Tutorial: Sea Gate in Team Rose's storyline.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Team Chaotix is about to fight the Robot Storm at the Mystic Mansion, Vector calls "Eggman" a mustache moron, before asking his client if he's the real deal (they had earlier defeated a fake). The client takes an odd amount of offense to Vector's remark before stopping himself. It's later revealed that their client was Eggman all along.
    • In the scene where Team Dark defeats Eggman at Sky Canyon, because of their finding a destroyed Shadow robot, and later a large collection of Shadow robots in stasis, people had been speculating that the Shadow they discovered in the beginning of the game may have been a robot. However, the same scene as their discovery of the destroyed Shadow bot had Metal Sonic stating that the Ultimate Life Form's data has been successfully copied, implying that yes, the Shadow that Rouge discovered is indeed the real Shadow.
    • In Hang Castle, an Eggman statue becomes a Metal Sonic statue when the castle flips upside down.
  • Free Rotating Camera
  • Friendship Song: The main theme song "Sonic Heroes" is centered around this, as does Team Sonic's theme song "We Can".
  • Furry Confusion: Vector is an anthropomorphic crocodile. Lost Jungle includes a giant non-anthropomorphic alligator as a hazard. Team Chaotix takes an alternate route through the level, so the twain never meet. Team Rose (which fights Team Chaotix after Lost Jungle) doesn't encounter the alligator either,
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In a sense. During Team Dark's Chaos Inferno Team Blast, Shadow reaches into Omega's chassis and pulls out the green Chaos Emerald to perform Chaos Control (whether the Emerald served as a power source for Omega or the robot was simply safeguarding it is unknown, although, given subsequent games, the latter is more likely). However, you still have to collect that particular Emerald via the Special Stages (with any of the four teams). Later on, during the Last Episode, where the teams reveal that they've been collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds separately, Omega is still in possession of the green Emerald, implying that he still had it all along.
  • Giant Mook: The Egg Hammers, who first appears in the jungle stages, then becomes a recurring mook for the rest of the game.
  • A God Am I: Metal Sonic. And with this newfound god complex comes some shades of Omnicidal Mania...
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Egg Hammers, which can only be destroyed by the power character. In Mystic Mansion and Final Fortress, there is an Armored variant that wears a Roman-styled helmet that shields its only weak point.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: This exchange between Sonic and Shadow:
    Shadow: Well then, it'll be a date to DIE for!
    Sonic: Hey, that's my line!
  • Furry Ladder: Any of the four teams can assume this position at any time, in order for the "fly" type characters to take the lead.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Espio: "Hey, they're asleep. So stay quiet and move slowly."
    Charmy (loudly): "Okay!"
    Vector (even louder): "What are ya doin'? Be quiet!!!"
  • I Just Want to Be You: Hinted to be the cornerstone of Metal Sonic's motivation (see There Can Only Be One below).
  • Knight of Cerebus: As soon as Metal Sonic reveals himself, the Lighter and Softer feel of most of the game suddenly breaks down.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: Shiny mooks that only power characters can damage (such as the giant mooks).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When fighting the Egg Emperor as the Chaotix, Espio comments "This must be the final stage."
  • Leave Him to Me: Various characters of any ability type will tell this to their teammates when encountering Eggman's robots.
    • In the last story, Sonic tells Eggman that he'll take on Metal Madness. Subverted when the rest of the characters want to help him out and Sonic eventually accepts their help.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Tons of it. Let's put it this way: all the teams are technically on the same side, but they continually fight each other for petty reasons and misunderstandings throughout the game anyways. This is especially noticeable with Team Dark, who kept attacking people just in case their opponents might have saved the day before they could for their own reasons.
  • Levels Take Flight: Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. The former involves the player hopping from airship to airship as they gradually tear through Eggman's aerial armada before landing on his flagship.
  • Lighter and Softer: In comparison to Sonic Adventure 2, at least. That is, up until Last Story.
  • Limit Break: Hitting enough enemies and doing enough actions increases the power meter that allows you to use a Team Blast.
  • Loud of War: Team Chaotix's blast uses their horrible singing to cause the robots in their radius to explode.
  • Marathon Level: Almost every stage in the game is pretty long, but most notable are Power Plant and Mystic Mansion, the latter of which is That One Level.
    • Final Fortress, too, but that's to be expected from the last non-boss level.
    • Mystic Mansion from the Chaotix's story has you trying to extinguish all the torches in the level with Espio's whirlwind... for some reason. If you miss one, you have to search through the whole level from the beginning. A clean speed run of the level, skipping enemies, without having to backtrack for a missed torch, will take upwards of 10 minutes.
  • Mood Whiplash: The dark tone of the Last Story in contrast to the generally Lighter and Softer feel of the rest of the game.
  • Multi-Mook Melee/Wolfpack Boss: The boss battles following Bingo Highway and Mystic Mansion are this.
  • Multi-Platform: The fact that the game was being released for all three of the then-current gen consoles was a major selling point. The PS2 version is generally considered a Porting Disaster due to things such as clipping and inferior framerate.
  • Musical Nod: The "upside down" theme to Hang Castle is composed almost entirely of an ambient remix of a riff from Sonic 2's Mystic Cave BGM.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The later Team Dark stages.
    • The optional Super Hard Mode, which is ironically less difficult than the requirement for unlocking it: All A-Ranks. Mystic Mansion's That One Level status gets taken Up to Eleven, though.
    • Even the Sonic stages (which is what a lot of newcomers are going to play automatically, this being a Sonic game) are rather difficult when they rely mostly on rails. The broken camera and controls brought over from the Sonic Adventure series aren't really helping, either.
    • Inverted with Team Rose stages, being designed for novice players. They are shorter versions of Team Sonic stages with less enemies and traps and weaker bosses. In addition, Team Rose has a Purposefully Overpowered Team Blast. However, Team Rose is slightly slower than the other teams, making the later Special Stages nigh-impossible to complete with them.
  • Not Me This Time: Throughout the story, all of the teams pursue Eggman when he unleashes the Egg Fleet to conquer the world. However, it is later revealed in the endings that not only is Eggman, for once, not responsible for the world domination plan, but in fact he was locked up by the one actually responsible: Metal Sonic.
  • Off Model: The boxart shown above; although he's in front of Sonic, Knuckles is much smaller. This was later fixed for the PAL boxart.
  • One-Winged Angel: Metal Overlord.
  • Panty Shot: Amy and Cream both show this in Team Rose's cinematic cutscenes.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: At 3'7", Knuckles is the only power character who doesn't tower over speed and flight types; for reference, he's only four inches taller than Sonic.
  • The Power of Friendship: More like the real superpower of teamwork!
  • Power Trio: All four teams.
  • Precision F-Strike: Downplayed, but still significant: In the English dub, Amy Rose occasionally blasphemes. It's not much, but it pushes the envelope for something G-rated.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: Team Rose's Team Blast, to make their gameplay even more beginner-friendly. In addition to destroying all nearby enemies (like all Team Blasts), it levels up all three characters and gives them a shield and an invincibility power-up.
  • Real-Life Relative: Subverted in English with the Corkery family: son William voices Tails, while his father Bill and sister Emily respectively voice Chaotix members Espio and Charmy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Super Sonic and Metal Sonic, whether it's the normal one, Neo Metal Sonic, or Metal Overlord.
  • Remember the New Guy: Chocola never appeared before this game, and hasn't appeared since.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Compared to the Darker and Edgier stories of the Sonic Adventure duology, the story and overall tone of this game is much more lighthearted and juvenile.
  • Rewrite: Word of God confirmed that this game did not bring back the Chaotix, but reinvented them for the game, meaning that Knuckles Chaotix, their debut game, has been written out of the Sonic canon.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Rising lava at the end of Power Plant (with Team Sonic, at least)
  • Scenery Porn: In true Sonic tradition.
  • Shout-Out: Metal Sonic mimics the liquid metal shtick of Terminator 2's T-1000.
    • The cutscene before Team Chaotix's first boss battle has this:
    Espio: "It's Dr. Eggman!"
    Charmy: "Dr. who?"
  • Story Arc: Team Dark's story continues the story of Shadow the Hedgehog that was introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, which would be concluded in Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • The Spiny: One of the Egg Flappers sprouts red spikes every few seconds to make itself Homing Attack proof.
  • Standing Between The Enemies: Rouge does this to Shadow and Omega in the start of the Team Dark story, which then leads to the three teaming up and find Eggman together.
  • Stealth Pun: Vector is an alligator detective...
  • Stock Subtitle: "Heroes."
  • Suddenly Voiced: Metal Sonic, who goes back to being The Voiceless in all subsequent games.
  • Super Mode: Team Sonic does this to beat Metal Overlord.
  • Talking to Himself: Sonic and Metal Sonic are both voiced by Ryan Drummond and Junichi Kanemaru for English and Japanese, respectively.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Implied with Shadow and Omega. As Rouge tries to get them to team up and find Eggman together, the two give each other an uncomfortable glare. They soon put aside their resentment later on.
  • There Can Only Be One: Metal Sonic's desire to beat Sonic progressed into a full-on insanity in this game as he believed himself to be the real Sonic (all the while still acknowledging that he was built with the purpose of defeating Sonic) with lines like, "Long time no see, Sonic, my loathsome copy!" and "I am the real Sonic!" To a lesser extent, Shadow's identity crisis is further compounded when he discovers a broken robotic copy of himself, although he doesn't say anything about it and it is instead Rouge and Omega who briefly muse about the development at endgame.
  • Title Drop:
    • The beginning of Team Sonic's story when they get the "invitation" from Doctor Eggman. He starts the letter off by exclaiming, "Guess WHAT, Sonic Heroes?!"
    • The ending when Metal Overlord reverts back to Metal Sonic.
      Metal Sonic: "It's no use... but why can't I defeat you?"
      Sonic: "Because we're Sonic Heroes."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In Team Dark's ending, Rouge and Omega discover a room full of robo-duplicates of Shadow aboard the Final Fortress in tubes that looked suspiciously like the one the playable Shadow was kept in in their opening cutscene. This casts doubt on whether or not the Shadow that joined them on their quest was the real Shadow or just a robot, but Eggman reveals in the final battle of Shadow the Hedgehog that he is the real Shadow, whom Eggman recovered after Sonic Adventure 2.
    • Inverted with Metal Sonic. He's become so insane, he goes in and out of saying he was built to destroy Sonic, and then deludes himself into believing he is the real Sonic, and that Sonic is his copy!
  • Tornado Move: Sonic and the other Speed characters can even whip up a tornado by rapidly moving in a circle.
  • Totally Radical: Sonic and Knuckles dip into this on occasion with lines like "That was tight!" and "Too cool!" It makes sense for Sonic, to an extent, but Knuckles? Not so much.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: They didn't even try to hide Metal Sonic coming back.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Shadow, of the physical trauma variety.
  • Turtle Power: The giant turtles of Ocean Palace.
  • The Unfought: Dr. Eggman appears to be the Big Bad throughout most of the game, but the player gets a bait & switch when they discover that it was actually Metal Sonic impersonating him and that Metal Sonic's the true villain of the game.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Due to their "client" giving them rather arbitrary conditions for progressing, Team Chaotix's runthrough of the game switches gameplay styles quite a bit, which can be quite jarring, especially if the player beats all the other teams' playthroughs first.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The characters find a statue of Dr. Eggman at Hang Castle. They comment on it. Then they flip the level over, revealing a statue of Metal Sonic. Not a single word is said about it.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Espio's tornado attack makes him invisible and lets him dispatch enemies by throwing ninja stars. Since Vector and Charmy can no longer see Espio, they just stay put and teleport to him when he shows himself again. Trouble is, if you jump into a cannon while you're invisible, your teammates don't follow you in, and there's no way to fire or otherwise exit the cannon until they do. You are forced to restart the entire level at the expense of one life.
  • Variable Mix: Hang Castle has two different versions depending on the stage's orientation, while Mystic Mansion progresses through different parts as you go from one area to another.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Villainous Breakdown: Metal Overlord, upon his defeat.
    "Guooooo! Why! I had it all! I am the ultimate overlord, Metal Sonic! I am the real Sonic!"
  • Villain Song/The Villain Sucks Song: Depending on how one interpret the lyrics, "What I'm Made Of," the theme of the (True) Final Boss is either Metal Sonic telling Sonic about his maddening motive to finally defeat him and prove his worth or Sonic's Badass Boast to Metal, daring him to try and copy his power and see how that works out for him.
  • Visible Invisibility: Espio can be turned invisible to the other characters — or at least, the enemies.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction: The end of the first scene of the Team Rose story; with Big.
  • Walking Spoiler: Metal Sonic, although it's largely in It Was His Sled territory among most fans.
  • Wall Jump: Sonic, Shadow, and Espio can perform the Triangle Jump, which is this in a nutshell. Espio's, uniquely, allows him to stay on the wall for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Final Fortress has several of these. Towards the end of the stage for both Team Sonic and Team Dark, you have to avoid twelve of them, side by side, while rail grinding, followed by a much bigger cannon that you have to switch to flying formation to avoid.
  • We Can Rule Together: Of a sort. More like, "I can rule, and you can benefit," but mostly an attempt to get out of skinflinting the Chaotix.
    Eggman: "When I conquer the world..." (dramatic fist raise) "I will PAY YOU!"
  • Wolverine Publicity: The first stage, Seaside Hill, has gotten a form of this, as it has appeared in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and its sequel Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, and as the representative of this game in Sonic Generations.


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alternative title(s): Sonic Heroes
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