The Sonic Rush series is a pair of games in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog franchise developed by Sonic Team with Dimps and released for the Nintendo DS: Sonic Rush (2005) and Sonic Rush Adventure (2007). Both games are similar to the Sonic Advance trilogy in that they are reminiscent of the classic side-scrollers for the Mega Drive/Genesis.The two games have a storyline involving inter-dimensional travel in one way or another, and thus we are introduced to Sonic and Dr. Eggman's alternate dimension counterparts: Blaze the Cat and Dr. Eggman Nega. The Chaos Emeralds also have alternate dimension counterparts in the form of the Sol Emeralds, which Blaze must protect at all costs.A gameplay feature introduced in this pair of games is the Sonic Boost; while holding down the X or Y buttons, your character will gain a boost of speed as long as the tension meter is not empty; the meter can be filled up by destroying enemies and performing tricks. The Boost would later be a major part of gameplay in later 3D Sonic games.Like the Advance trilogy, the two games received a solid reception despite the Unpleasable Fanbase. Sega have all but admitted that the DS version of Sonic Colors (2010) can be considered an unofficial third installment in the series.note Additionally, the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations can be considered an unofficial fourth installment as well.Playable Characters
Sonic the Hedgehog: Slightly faster and can perform the Homing Attack. Compared to Blaze, his running animation has smaller but faster strides.
Blaze the Cat: Superior airtime and distance with R-trigger tricks and can slow her descent by shooting flames from her feet. Her running animation is slower than Sonic's but she takes much larger strides.
These would notably the last "original" Sonic games that Dimps made before they switched to making adaptations of Sonic Team-made console games for handhelds.
This series provides examples of:
2½D / Sprite/Polygon Mix: In an... odd way. Everything except Sonic and Blaze in normal levels is a sprite, but the bosses, their arenas, and special stages use full 3D graphics and somewhat 3D gameplay. And then there's the hang glider in Altitude Limit and the mine cart in Coral Cave, both of which play in 3D, but all the obstacles (save the lava pits in the latter) are sprites.
Anti-Grinding: If you attempt to bounce on the same spring multiple times in order to fill the boost meter, the game will give you less and less energy until you get none at all. Rush Adventure adds to this by giving you bonus boost stars only after the first bounce off any spring.
Big Bad: Dr. Eggman and Dr. Eggman Nega in the first game and Captain Whisker in Adventure.
Bigger Bad: Captain Whisker was actually working for Eggman and Eggman Nega.
Blade Lock: Sonic and Blaze do a variation with their heads by boosting into each other in the Sonic vs. Blaze boss fight.
Bottomless Pits: Loads in Rush, but notably much less frequent until near the end of the game in Rush Adventure.
Call Back: The cutscene leading to the Last Story in Rush calls back to the opening cutscene of the Perfect Chaos fight in Sonic Adventure, as the Sol Emeralds are reduced to ordinary stones due to Eggman and Nega draining their power, and Blaze's friendship powers them back up.
Dr. Eggman and Dr. Eggman Nega describe the Chaos and Sol Emeralds as being sort of a north and south pole to each other in the first game. In Adventure, Sonic and Blaze describe it the same way after defeating the very men who first described it that way.
Continuity Snarl: This series says Blaze is from another dimension. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) says she's from the future. Epileptic Trees tries to rectify this, with one theory stating that Blaze's world is really the future and she only thought she'd traveled to another dimension. With the release of Rush Adventure, however, this viewpoint holds little ground, as that game goes into further detail about the nature of her world and makes it clear that it is indeed a parallel universe.
In 2012, it was confirmed by Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team, that Blaze is indeed from another dimension, and that Sonic 06 should be ignored.
Actually, Malcolm X was the first to make a coffee reference. The line comes from "Message to the Grassroots", one of his most famous speeches.
Malcolm X: It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, because it's too strong"...
Dual Boss: Captain Whisker and Johnny in Sonic Rush Adventure.
Duel Boss: You face off against the other playable character as the boss of the first game's Dead Line.
Dueling Games: Sonic Rush Adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Released within several weeks of each other, both games involve their respective protagonists getting caught in a storm that washes them ashore in a land they've never seen before with their equipment destroyed or lost. Both games have a ship-building feature and paths across the oceans drawn using the DS's touch screen. The games have incredibly similar color schemes and an annoying new character who cannot pipe down but is good with nautical vehicles. As if that wasn't enough, both games have a haunted ship with a green tinge for their fourth stage.
Guide Dang It: Sonic Rush seems to leave a lot to the player to guess, to the point that the game's own manual doesn't even explain game controls. Some basic moves aren't intuitive, and most interestingly Night Carnival Zone has a point that requires the use of a non-intuitive to move past, creating a trap point much like Carnival Night Zone and its infamous barrel.
Hijacked by Ganon: In Adventure, the Big Bad is initially Captain Whisker; however, the real villains are Eggman and Eggman Nega, which is a nice twist because with Eggman, the reverse is usually true. Unfortunately, the plot is spoiled because Whisker looks so much like Eggman, not to mention that Mike Pollock is credited as Eggman/Nega in the credits, which you see BEFORE the complete end.
Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: As Hideki Naganuma composed for the first game, it carries his trademark hodgepodge of genres and samples. Rush Adventure didn't have him as a composer, though its soundtrack mimics his style anyway.
Nerf: The Rolling Attack's ability to pick up momentum from hills was massively nerfed in order to encourage more use of the new boost.
Nitro Boost: This game marks the first appearance of the Sonic Boost ability. It would later be introduced to the 3D series in Unleashed, Colors, and modern Sonic's ability in Generations.
Nostalgia Level: The final secret island in Adventure is a remake of the first zone from its predecessor.
Palmtree Panic: The Hidden Island levels in Adventure, the ones that are original levels and not based on Adventure's first 5 stages anyway.
Pause Scumming: In the special stages, you control Sonic using the touchscreen. By moving the stylus across the screen, you move Sonic around to the left and right. The thing is, Sonic doesn't actually move towards where you're touching, he just instantly appears at any spot you touch. So if you're having trouble, you can pause the game, touch the area you want Sonic to be at, and unpause to have him appear there much faster than you would normally be able to move your hand.
Press X to Not Die: In the zone 7 boss, mashing the B button would push Blaze (or Sonic) of the edge of the platform, but do nothing or mash too slowly, and they will push you off.
Rank Inflation: Both games embrace this trope like their 3D brothers, awarding you a lettered rank based on your score in an act/boss fight. The levels are, from best to worst, S, A, B, and C. Furthermore, in the second game, ranks also serve a purpose besides bragging rights; the better your rank, the more of a mineral you'll get.
At first glance, in contrast to their actual colours, Sonic seems like a good fit for Red Oni (passionate, adventurous) while Blaze seems to be the Blue Oni (stoic, loner). This dynamic, however, is completely shattered during the Dead Line Zone boss fight. Blaze, with her temper finally at its limit, instigates the battle against Sonic, who originally had no intention of fighting her. Then, during the actual fight, Blaze is the one whose emotions explode while Sonic is the one who tries to calm her down. The same occurs at the end of Rush Adventure, where Blaze, in a moment of desperation, nearly blindly runs headfirst into danger, and Sonic has to calm her down and make her see reason. The developers likely did this on purpose, to provide a nice contrast between the two protagonists: Sonic is the free and adventurous, yet level-headed and cool one, and Blaze is the outwardly stoic and blunt, yet inwardly highly emotional one.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: In Rush, the last stage is much easier than either of the ones preceding it, and the fourth stage is harder than stage five. For Blaze, the level orders are switched around, meaning one of the most challenging/cheap levels is the first one she plays!
Sequel Difficulty Drop: Adventure is easier and has shorter stages than Rush. Most likely due to the ship segments as well and all the missions, but Adventure's levels also have less cheap hits and bottomless pits, so it's easier for more... fair reasons. But 100%ing it is harder due to more challenges, some of which are evil.
Shout-Out: To Sonic Advance 2: near the normal ending of Blaze's story, Eggman kidnaps Cream.
The music for the true final boss stage in the first Rush game samples Malcolm X. Yes, that Malcolm X.note The sample is Malcolm saying "too black" and "too strong" from his famous "Message to the Grassroots" speech ("It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong"); Public Enemy also used those voice samples as the intro for the original version of "Bring Da Noise".