Video Game: Sonic Storybook Series
aka: Sonic And The Secret Rings
The Sonic Storybook Series
is a series of spinoffs to the Sonic the Hedgehog
franchise, whose stories are modeled after classic literature, with Sonic and friends as main characters of the story.
So far, two entries in the series have been released on Nintendo
- Sonic and the Secret Rings (2007), based on 1001 Nights: Came about due to the time issues with attempting to port Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) for the Nintendo Wii, in time for launch.
- Sonic and the Black Knight (2009), based on the legend of King Arthur.
Tropes present in both titles include:
- Alternate Self: Several of Sonic's friends and foes appear as characters in the stories the games adapt.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Speed Break!" "Time Break!"
- Character Customization
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase
- Continuity Nod: When Merlina calls Sonic to her world, she uses the same spell that Erazor did when summoning the Ifrit, albeit very slightly modified. It's quite weird, given that the spell in question roughly translates to "Satan Arrive!". Our Hero, ladies and gentlemen!
- Sonic sure loves them Chili Dogs.
- Lots of people wonder where exactly Sonic is crashing at the beginning of Secret Rings' story, considering he doesn't have a house of his own... except he does.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: New ones, unique to each game.
- Exposition Fairy: Shahra and Caliburn.
- Furry Confusion
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sonic's snarky attitude was more emphasized than the other game incarnations.
- Mad Lib Fantasy Title
- Nitro Boost: The Speed Break/Soul Surge.
- Recycled In Space
- Taken for Granite: Gargoyles in Secret Rings and and fish-like Knights of the Underworld in Black Knight are capable of turning Sonic to stone. Oddly enough, it's instantly fatal in Black Knight without the Stone Brooch or Petrification immunity equipped, but is not fatal in Secret Rings — you just have to shake the Wii Remote to break free.
- Underground Level
- Universal-Adaptor Cast: All of the recurring series' characters, except Sonic himself.
- Sonic himself does end up playing a role of one of the characters, though he retains his own personality regardless. It's implied in Sonic and the Secret Rings that Sonic is standing in for Aladdin; in Sonic and the Black Knight, it's revealed in the ending that Sonic is the true King Arthur (the one fought earlier was a fake created by Merlin.)
Tropes exclusive to Secret Rings:
- Adaptational Heroism: As the resident stand-in for King Shahryar, Dr. Eggman is not so much evil as a petty Jerkass, even serving as a minor ally to Sonic's quest at one point.
- Arabian Nights Days: It is an adaptation of 1001 Nights, after all.
- Arrows on Fire: The curse Erazor places on Sonic takes the form of a flaming arrow embedded in his chest.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Darkspine Sonic.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: This was likely the reason why Shahra sacrificed herself for Sonic's sake and did not jump to Erazor's defense whilst he was dooming him to his eternal prison. Sonic was probably the first master who treated her with genuine kindness and concern, who didn't disrespect her or treat her like magical property who can fulfill his wildest dreams.
- Benevolent Genie: Shahra
- Bilingual Bonus: Erazor Djinn's transformed state, Alf Layla wa-Layla is part of the Arabic name for the 1001 Nights (Kitab Alf layla wa-layla)
- Bleak Level: Skeleton Dome.
- Body Horror: The horrifyingly painful transformation Erazor goes through when he absorbs the world rings.
- Book Ends: Sonic's first and last wishes are for handkerchiefs.
- Bottomless Pits: Levitated Ruin appears to consist of mostly this, but it's actually pretty hard to fall off due to invisible walls. Oh, you can lose rings alright...
- The Cameo: Big the Cat can be spotted in all of the levels in the game. To trigger his appearance, you have to stand still in a specific spot on the level for a couple of seconds. You also get a page of his diary whenever you do so.
- Catching Some Z's: Sonic's snoring is subtitled as Z's.
- Chekhov's Gun: The item Shahra gives Sonic after gaining the World Ring in Levitated Ruin turns out to be Erazor's lamp, which he turns on him in the ending.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Darkspine Sonic, the form Sonic takes after unintentionally absorbing the World Rings of Sadness, Rage and Hatred. Whilst his appearance gives off vibes of great evil (Purple-Indigo color scheme, No Mouth, blank pupil-less Glowing Eyes of Doom), this definitely isn't the case regarding his personality and actions. Whilst undoubtedly vicious, Darkspine acts entirely in the interests of the Arabian Nights and even seems to be insecure as he begs for Shahra's power and calls out to her during the battle against Alf Layla Wa-Layla.
- Defiant to the End: Erazor's attitude even as he is being sucked into his lamp for eternity is to try and talk Shahra into stopping Sonic and he even insults Sonic by calling him a dirty rat. He even boasts about how the world belongs to him.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Shahra dies in Sonic's arms after taking the bullet for him. She gets better.
- Don't Call Me Sir: Sonic will not be addressed as 'Master'.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: Darkspine Sonic does this to Alf Layla wa-Layla after seeing his only companion in the entire game get temporarily killed. He beats the crap out of Alf Layla furiously with his bare hands.
- Evil Laugh: When Erazor is bragging to Sonic about how he is immortal and can't be truly defeated, he gives a straight "Mua ha ha ha ha!" laugh before he finds out Sonic is holding his lamp.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Sonic wishes for Erazor to be sealed in the lamp for the rest of time, and then he drops the lamp into the furnace. It's unknown whether the lamp survived or not.
- Final Boss, New Dimension: The fight against Alf-Layla-wa-Layla takes place in a giant black void. Considering that at this point, all but the last few pages of the Arabian Nights have been sucked dry, this makes sense.
- Fire of Comfort: Sonic's (Presumed) house has a pretty comfortable-looking fireplace.
- Fog Feet: Shahra appears like this for most of the opening cutscene.
- Gangplank Galleon: Pirate Storm.
- Genie in a Bottle: Erazor and Shahra are the genies of the Lamp and Ring, respectively, from Aladdin.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: King Solomon's eyes appear like this.
- Good Is Not Soft: Sonic painfully inflicting wishes upon Erazor, as well as sealing him away in his lamp forever would come off as chilling (especially in comparison to his treatment of Chaos) if Erazor hadn't been established as a truly evil being throughout the game.
- Good Morning, Crono: Happens at the beginning with Shahra trying to wake up Sonic. Give the poor guy credit, though; it was 2:55 in the morning!
- Guttural Growler: Darkspine Sonic has a very sinister angry growl of a voice.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Plays whenever Time Break is used.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Shahra dies saving Sonic from being killed by Erazor. Fortunately, she gets better.
- Incendiary Exponent: Sonic is literally on fire throughout pretty much the entirety of the game due to the Flame Arrow sticking out of his chest.
- Insistent Terminology: Justified: Sonic is most certainly not a rat, regardless of what Erazor might say. This turns into an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! when he's sealing Erazor away.
Erazor: I cannot be denied by the filthy rat! Whyyyyyyyyy?
Sonic: (flips open the lamp to let Erazor in) I told you, I'm not a rat! (closes lamp and raises tip, revealing flame on the end) I'm a HEDGEHOG. (blows out flame)
- Instant Waking Skills: Sonic in the opening cutscene, though the shock of seeing Shahra for the first time may have contributed to his sudden wakefulness.
- Justified Tutorial: Almost all of the "Lost Prologue" missions.
- Kick the Dog: Erazor's mocking of Shahra as a "mere Genie of the Ring" moments after murdering her.
- Lethal Lava Land: Evil Foundry.
- Levels Take Flight: Levitated Ruin is set on a flock of rukhs. The stage gets its name because they carry the ruins of small cities on their backs.
- Light Is Not Good: Alf Layla wa-Layla note was formed by Erazor absorbing the World Rings of Prayer, Joy, Pleasure and Wishes.
- Literal Genie: Shahra is actually this, as shown by Sonic's first and third wish. It's less noticeable because Sonic is probably Genre Savvy, and definitely doesn't care.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Justified: the one who gathers the World Rings is the one who needs sacrificed for someone to get control over them, so Erazor had to have someone else gather them for him. When he sacrifices Shahra by mistake, it results in an incomplete transformation.
- Magic Carpet: Used by Sonic and Shahra in several cutscenes, as well as in one part of Night Palace's first mission.
- Marked Change: Darkspine Sonic.
- Meaningful Echo: Sonic's last wish of handkerchiefs for Shahra is a throwback to his very first wish.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The World Rings.
- Morton's Fork: Basically, no matter what Sonic does, he'll lose. Either he gives the World Rings to Erazor hoping to have his flame arrow removed whilst juggling with the idea that Erazor will use him as a sacrifice to gain true control of the Rings, or he doesn't and the flame arrow kills him anyway. Lucky that Shahra threw a wrench into his works via self-sacrifice, preventing Erazor gaining true control of the World Rings and bringing about a series of events that ultimately worked in Sonic's favor.
- Mundane Wish: Sonic's first wish after being asked what he wants by Shahra? Handkerchiefs. Though to be fair, he was in desperate need of some at the time because of a sneezing fit caused by a cold he had come down with a day before.
- He makes this same wish in the end, when Shahra is in need of them.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling/Spider-Sense: In the first mission of Dinosaur Jungle, Sonic remarks that his quills are starting to "tingle" before a T-rex smashes through a rock wall to attack him.
- Nintendo Hard: The later missions are all insanely hard, and mostly consist of the Avoid the Pearls/No Damage/X Ring Chain variety with crazy obstacles. They're optional, however.
- Oh, Crap: Erazor when he realizes that Sonic has his lamp and thus can force him to grant him three wishes.
- One-Winged Angel: Erazor has a rare non-inflicted version happen to himself when he absorbs the World rings.
- Open Sesame: Sonic tries uttering this at the World Ring door. It doesn't work.
- Our Genies Are Different: Shahra, Erazor, and the other Djinn.
- Painful Transformation: Judging by the sounds of Sonic and Erazor's screams mid-transformation, as well as the straight-up Body Horror Erazor experiences, achieving the World Rings' version of a Super Mode is not a pleasant experience.
- Perfect Health: Sonic's cold seems to disappear after the first cutscene.
- Pinky Swear: Sonic does this with Shahra, promising that he'll have her smiling by the end of their adventure.
- Portal Book
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Darkspine Sonic has quite long, downward-pointing quills.
- Punny Name: Erazor Djinn, who uses a giant straightrazor as a sword.
- Prehistoria: Dinosaur Jungle.
- RPG Elements
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Erazor was sealed inside his lamp by King Solomon some time before the story starts. He manages to escape after granting the wishes of one thousand people, just to cause even more mayhem. Sonic manages to reseal him inside his lamp and finish him off once and for all.
- Shifting Sand Land: Sand Oasis.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus all appear in "Dinosaur Jungle".
- Super Mode: Darkspine Sonic, a result of Sonic absorbing the green, red, and purple World Rings to fight the mutated Erazor.
- Taking the Bullet: Used twice throughout the story:
- After the initial Lost Prologue missions, where Sonic takes a flaming arrow to the chest for Shahra.
- Right before the final fight, where Shahra takes a fatal blow from Erazor's sword to protect Sonic.
- Targeted Hedgehog Sacrifice: As the one who collected all seven World Rings, Sonic was meant to be sacrificed for Erazor to gain control over them. When he kills Shahra instead, he does get their power, but he's stated in-game as being incomplete.
- The Gloves Come Off: Darkspine Sonic's entire attitude when it comes to fighting Alf Layla Wa-Layla. Not only does he look like Shadow with his quills down, not only does he kick a giant blue ball of Arabian Nights back at his opponent, not only does he pummel the transformed Djinn in the protruding heart with his bare hands, but he does not wear gloves.
- The Power of Hate: One of the World Rings Darkspine Sonic used to transform was the Green one, which contains hatred. Therefore, Darkspine is effectively powered by hatred. Considering Erazor just murdered Shahra, Sonic's got plenty of that.
- The Worsening Curse Mark: The size of the flame on Sonic's chest is directly proportionate to how much time he has left until it extinguishes along with his life force. Near the end of the game, it is tiny.
- Video Game Settings:
- Villainous Breakdown: Erazor when Sonic is permanently sealing him inside his lamp.
Erazor: "Shahra, I know you're there! Please, stop him! We can start over, the two of us! I swear! I swear it! The world is mine! I cannot be denied by that filthy rat! Whyyyyy?!"
- Voice of the Legion: When Erazor Djinn uses the World Rings to transform into Alf-Layla wa-Layla, he speaks in a more high-pitched and distorted voice.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After the final boss, the flaming arrow on Sonic's chest just disappears without explanation.
- Working Through The Cold: Sonic has a cold at the beginning of the story, but it doesn't stop him from going on an adventure to save the Arabian Nights storybook.
- Wreathed in Flames: Two words: Speed Break.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Sonic's predicament upon being struck by the flame arrow.
Tropes exclusive to Black Knight:
- 100% Heroism Rating: Successfully completing missions will cause Sonic to gather a number of followers proportional to how well he does in the mission (each mission has a specific total number of followers you can collect).
- Absentee Actor: Eggman doesn't appear at all. It's essentially the only Sonic game he doesn't have a part in.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: "There's nothing Excalibur can't cut through."
- Adaptational Villainy: Inverted with the Lady Of the Lake.
- An Aesop
- Artifact of Doom: The scabbard of Excalibur has a remarkable habit of serving as The Corrupter. After receiving it from Nimue, King Arthur became a power-hungry tyrant. Merlina's efforts to depose the king were actually to take the scabbard for herself.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning
- BFS: King Arthur's sword, the Deathcalibur, which is actually produced by the Scabbard of Excalibur itself.
- The final boss, Merlina/The Dark Queen, has four gargantuan swords used to fight Sonic. They're gargantuan Deathcaliburs.
- Whilst Sonic, Gawain, Percival, and Lancelot's swords are normal-sized, they're still longer than the characters are tall.
- Don't forget Excalibur.
- Big "NO!": Sonic does this when Caliburn is bisected by the Dark Queen.
- Blade Brake: All the player characters can do this.
- The Cameo: Silver and Jet also have Round Table alternates, but they only appear in multiplayer.
- Cavalier Consumption: Sonic seems more interested in eating his Chili Dog(s) than taking Arthur and his Mooks seriously.
- Continuity Nod: Black Knight has a few instances in the levels where Sonic talks about past experiences that something reminds him of.
- Crush Blush: Percival (Blaze) blushes lightly after Caliburn says "Save the hugs and kisses for later" towards her and Sonic.
- Crying Little Kid: Played with. Sonic stumbles across a child weeping over her parents and fellow townspeople being kidnapped by a dragon, and decides to go clear up the mess himself. However, it turns out that the child is really Nimue in disguise, employing a Secret Test Of Character to see what Sonic would do. He passes with flying colours.
- Dark Reprise: With Me, the Dark Queen's battle theme, is both this and a Boss Remix for Merlina's Leitmotif.
- Deadpan Snarker: Caliburn.
Caliburn: ...Onward, young knave!
Sonic: Stop calling me that! I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!
Caliburn: Very well, then. I shall call you Knave the Hedgehog.
- Sonic has this part of his personality turned up a few notches, too.
Lancelot: Will you abandon your sword and flee?
Sonic: Sounds good to me!
- The Dragon
- Driven to Suicide: Knuckles/Gawain, after losing to Sonic in a duel. Sonic confiscates his sword before he can go through with it.
- Surprising that it worked, considering the bullet directly beneath this one. Confiscating one sword shouldn't have done much good, since Gawain/Knuckles wields two...
- Dual Wielding: Knuckles/Gawain employs two swords at all times.
- Excalibur in the Stone: Subverted: It seems that the two are separate swords at first, but then it's revealed that Caliburn (which Sonic has been carrying around the entire game) is actually the true Excalibur.
- Eccentric Mentor: Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.
- Establishing Character Moment: The game is often commended for demonstrating Sonic's personality very well.
- Fish out of Water
- Get Back Here Boss: King Arthur. Ironically, he says to Sonic, "It looks like there's only one thing you're good at: Running away."
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Merlina's corrupt alter ego Dark Queen.
- Supernatural Is Purple: Merlina's dress and hair when she becomes the Dark Queen.
- Harmless Freezing: Characters don't take damage from being frozen, they are merely immobilized until they break free.
- Instant Armor: Excalibur-Sonic gets this during his transformation.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: This games features two of them; The Mist Dragon and the Earth Dragon.
- Lava Surfing: In The Cauldron stage.
- Let's Play: By pokecapn, medibot, Kung Fu Jesus, and IlluminatusVespucci. There's also one by Hellfire Commentaries.
- The Middle Ages
- My Master, Right or Wrong: The Royal Knights, particularly Lancelot. Gawain and Percival have more reservations, but Gawain has the strongest reaction to failing in his duties.
- Mythology Gag:
- When you are on the character select screen right before starting a level in one-player mode, Sonic's thumbs-up pose looks very similar to his official render in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Lancelot and Gawain employ instrumental versions of the classic "Throw It All Away" from Sonic Adventure 2 and "Unknown from M.E." from Sonic Adventure. The riff from SA's "It Doesn't Matter" kicks in right before Caliburn becomes Excalibur.
- No Ending: The story just sorta stops after the final battle with the revelation that Sonic is King Arthur or at least his story book equivalent. Whether this was meant as a Sequel Hook or not remains to be seen, but that's not how it ends.
- Nominal Hero: Inverted. Sonic is essentially a nominal villain; Merlina warns him that setting out to defeat King Arthur is not the work of heroes and Sonic says "he doesn't mind being the bad guy", but this is never explored. The fact that the game employs a 100% Heroism Rating mechanic also makes things strange.
- Noob Bridge: The Will-O-Wisps are glowing blue orbs of energy that explode and can hurt you when hit. You're supposed to use the "kick" mechanic to kick them into things. Thing is, that mechanic is only really used twice in the main game, and those instances are easy to miss, so you might not even know you can when you find the Wisps much more often in the post-game.
- Not Worth Killing: King Arthur's reaction to Sonic after their first fight.
- Pimped Out Cape: Merlina.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Amy's dress as the Lady of the Lake.
- Pop-Star Composer: Frickin' Marty Friedman from Megadeth does the guitar work for the final boss theme.
- Pragmatic Hero: Sonic was fully willing to allow The Grand Kingdom to come to an end rather than allow Merlina to use her magic to make it eternal. His quote pretty much sums this up:
Sonic: "I don't mind playing the bad guy once in a while."
- Recycled Soundtrack: The Molten Mine background music is a rearranged theme from the obscure shooter Black Dawn. It gets more blatant in the multiplayer mode.
- Reverse Grip: How Shadow/Lancelot prefers to wield.
- Rose-Haired Sweetie: Amy/Nimue and Merlina before the latter becomes the Dark Queen.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Arthur, both the fake and the genuine article, Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Save the Villain: Sonic, to Percival, though calling her a villain is a bit of a stretch.
- Sequel Difficulty Drop: Present, due to not having to unlock basic maneuvers.
- Ship Tease: It's not hard to see the cutscene in which Sonic saves Percival as one for Sonic/Blaze.
- Stab the Sky: Sonic does this upon defeating King Arthur.
- Standard Status Effects: Paralysis will prevent Sonic from being able to move temporarily, poisoning will cause ring drainage, freezing has the same effect as payalysis except you have to break free of the ice, petrification equals instant death, and confusion will make Sonic occasionally hallucinate and see enemies as treasure boxes and vice-versa.
- Stood Up: Apparently Sonic's adventure in Aruthurian times sidetracked him from going on a date with Amy.
Amy: (After Sonic explained what happened) That's the lamest excuse ever! You just forgot about our date!
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Played with. Merlina is obviously this to Shahra from Secret Rings, and is made out to fill a similar role in the story. Then it turns out she's the game's main villain.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Happens literally at least four times in the game.
- Talking Weapon: And does it. Caliburn is amazingly egotistical.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sonic and Caliburn snark at each other a lot even when they team up.
- Technicolor Toxin: When a character is poisoned, purple bubbles will appear around them.
- True Blue Femininity: Amy/Nimue's dress.
- Videogame Caring Potential: You can perform Acts of Chivalry by giving rings to the townspeople (providing that you have 20 to give) and in return (if you succeed on the Quick Time Events) said towns-person will give you an item. Doing will also add to the Knight's Honor bonus.
- Videogame Cruelty Potential: You can actually attack the innocent townspeople. Doing so has a negative impact on your score however and can saddle you with negative titles.
- Video Game Settings:
- Villain Song: "With Me", the final boss theme, is sung from the boss's perspective.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Merlina turns out to be one. Her reasons for doing so are so sympathetic that Sonic doesn't hold any grudge against her after defeating her.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Sonic and Merlina take opposite views on this — Sonic would rather make the most of his time, while Merlina would rather not see Camelot face its eventual fall.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: It's stated that King Arthur turned evil due to Excalibur's scabbard of immortality. Judging by all evidence, something similar happened to Merlina as well.