Sonic is on a race against time to save the world... and himself!
Mad scientist Dr. Eggman has a new plan to Take Over the World: using the Chaos Emeralds to release a titanic abomination called Dark Gaia from its imprisonment, then building his new empire on the ensuing ruins.Eggman is successfully able to capture Sonic, drain the Chaos Emeralds of their negative energy and use them to powera big honking laser beam that awakens Dark Gaia and shatters the world into seven pieces. However, this plan has an unintended side effect: caught at the source of the blast, Sonic is bathed in negative energy and develops an awkward case of lycanthropy.Cursed into the form of a "Werehog" and cast down to Earth, Sonic must now do what he does best: foil Dr. Eggman by recharging the Chaos Emeralds and putting the world back together one continent at a time. Helping him is Chip, a small critter with amnesia and a mysterious connection to Dark Gaia.Leaked and then officially announced in early 2008 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and PlayStation 2, Sonic Unleashed was hoped to be the game that would stab a jolt of life into the stagnated Sonic franchise, which suffered from hitting the Polygon Ceiling hard and had most recently put out the widely-criticized 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game. Thus, when the Werehog was subsequently leaked and then revealed, Internet Backdraft immediately ensued, with many fans and even professional sites basically screaming "WHAT THE EFF, SONIC TEAM". This carried over to many professional reviewers' opinions, some of whom gave the game even lower scores than its widely-panned predecessor. In contrast, the fans' general opinion is that Sonic's levels are much more along the lines of what a current-generation Sonic game should be like; you'd be hard-pressed to find such an opinion on the Werehog.Oddly, it turned out that Unleashed was for all intents and purposes two games — the version released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was developed by Sonic Team while the PlayStation 2 and Wii versions were developed by handheld Sonic developer Dimps. While they all share the same story, similar gameplay mechanics, and level names, the actual design of the levels, as well as the way the player progresses from one to the next, is completely different between the two versions. The Wii and PS2 versions have many more Werehog levels, but to compensate each level is much shorter. There's also a 2D version for mobile phones by Gameloft.Released in Japan as Sonic World Adventure.
This game exhibits examples of:
Action Commands: This game marked their introduction to the Sonic series. The two Tornado Defense missions are meant to get you used to the button inputs, and there are several points in each level where you input several buttons in a row to perform tricks and reach higher ground. They're also a fast and efficient way to instantly kill enemies in Werehog stages, as well as racking up points in said stages.
All There in the Manual: It's never explained in-game exactly why Sonic transformed into the Werehog, but the instruction manual actually contains some insight into this. It turns out, when Eggman used the Chaos Emeralds to unseal Dark Gaia, Dark Gaia and the Emeralds became linked. Due to Sonic's close proximity to the Emeralds at the time, he absorbed some of Dark Gaia's energy. Since Dark Gaia is shown to only affect people at night, this is why Sonic only transforms when the sun goes down. This also explains why Dark Gaia absorbed some dark energy from Sonic to gain power, removing the Werehog transformation.
And Your Reward Is Edible: The Chili Dogs that are obtainable from the Don Fachio Hot Dog Vendors upon successful completion of the missions they offer.
Art Evolution: Stemming from complaints about Sonic 06's copious uncanny valley, Unleashed brings a major overhaul to the series' art style, from realistically rendered worlds with cartoon anthropomorphic animals in them, to stylized backgrounds to better match the characters. The humans are a lot more stylized and cartoony than they were in previous games. Sonic himself also got a slight redesign, shortening his limbs and quills that create a look that bridges the gap between his classic and modern designs.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Pretty obviously with the hubworlds. They're all obvious expies of real-world locations, and their names (and the names of the people in them) sound stereotypical of said locations, yet obviously don't mean anything.
In the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 version of the game, Sonic blatantly looks at the score panel for his overall rank on the end of mission results, and reacts accordingly. He also glances towards the screen a few times in cutscenes.
He does this in the Playstation 2/Wii version as well. If you play as the Werehog, however, whether he rejoices or turns around and slumps onto the floor in a brief hissyfit depends on your end of stage ranking.
In the first (or second, if you count the intro) cutscene, when he finds out Chip has amnesia, he basically does this:
Sonic: Uh oh.
(He turns to the camera)
Sonic: Did I fall on him?
Camera Screw: The camera is actually pretty good at doing its job for the most part, until you reach balance beams, when the camera constantly swings around to get behind Sonic. Impatient players may find themselves suddenly falling off the beam, and, at worst, plummeting to their death.
Check Point Starvation: In the HD versions of the game, one mission involves getting to the end of Eggmanland, a Nintendo Hard stage that indeed is comparable to those of the old 8-bit games—without any usable checkpoints and with a time limit. It is also by far the longest stage in the game, considering the time limit is 45 minutes.
Consulting Mister Puppet: An NPC, Wentos, in the PS3/360 version of the game, has a Chao puppet that helps him overcome his shyness and generally speaks for him while he is still too shy to interact with others.
Continuing Is Painful: As per tradition with most modern Sonic games, dying in a level resets your points, which can be a major blow if you're trying to rank well.
In his idle animation (at least in the Wii/Playstation 2 version), Sonic lies down a la Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and at the start of some levels in the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 version, he stretches his legs a la Sonic Advance 2.
Also, in the Wii/PS2 version, there's an NPC who compliments Sonic's eyes, then remarks "They don't change color, do they?" Could be a subtle Take That against people who complained aboutSonic having green eyes from Sonic Adventure onward or merely a lampshading that Sonic's eyes do change colour - From green in his normal form, to red when he transforms into Super Sonic.
Convection Schmonvection: A good portion of Eggmanland takes place over lava, which Sonic seems to have no qualms about standing ten feet over.
Crate Expectations: There are some here and there, used for pressing switches and hurling at enemies.
Cut Song: The PS2 version misses out on both Savannah Citadel tracks, as well as the level and hub themes for Empire City. The 360/PS3 version doesn't include the full length Gaia Gate theme, which only appears in a very short cut-scene in the HD consoles version.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: If you've trained yourself to instinctively press the jump button in midair near an enemy, you may have to readjust yourself, since the homing attack was moved to share the same button as the boost in the PS3/Xbox 360 versions.
Dark Is Evil: Although Sonic has the same personality in his fierce looking 'werehog' form, this is only because of his strong heart. All other characters influenced by Dark Gaia become either evil or depressed at night, although a few possessed citizens simply reverse their personalities, making laid-back, meek characters manic and cheerful instead.
Date Rape Averted: A G-rated version of this trope. Werehog Sonic stops Professor Pickle's possessed assistant from harassing Amy.
Deadpan Snarker: Orbot takes every opportunity to snark at Eggman when things go wrong, much to Eggman's annoyance.
Demonic Possession: Some of the townsfolk become possessed by Dark Gaia at nighttime, either making them depressed, evil, or have some other personality unusual from their normal selves. You can perform 'exorcisms' on them by giving 'em a flash with your camera and then "expel Dark Gaia from their hearts" by defeating waves of Dark Gaia enemies who suddenly appear.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Along with the Hedgehog Engine, designed to make the lighting look as great as possible, Sonic Team also went to a lot of effort to make the animations look smooth. This included minor animations that didn't matter to the game but were pretty cool to be there in the first place. For example, when Sonic walks up to a set of stairs, he will put one leg onto the step in front of him. His idle animations even work with it.
The NPC characters in the hubs are also surprisingly well fleshed out, and have their own subplots an sidequests, some of which span over the entire globe (Hualin from Chun-Nan leaves her village to do something other than make meat buns for the rest of her life, Eric and his wife visit Chun-Nan after it gets restored, Samara from Shamar gets hopelessly lost looking for her home country, etc). If you care to, you can end up doing a whole lot of rather pointless things that amount to little in the overall plot, but still have self-contained meaning.
In Eggmanland on the PS3 and Xbox 360 version, if you attempt doing the second Werehog segment (the balance beam pipes) as the Hedgehog, the path to the next area will be blocked by a laser grid with an extra life in front of it.
Die, Chair! Die!: The Werehog is actually rewarded after missions based on how many orbs (Dark Gaia Force) he collects, much of which can be obtained from destroying random scenery.
Eggman: That was... err... all part of my plan! Part of the big picture! Where's the fun in having my plans succeed without any challenge?!
Does Not Like Spam: Chip really dislikes spicy food and he and Sonic, of course, hates eating anything from Eggmanland. Curiously, Sonic's very low EXP gainage from (presumably nutritious) fish and seafood strongly implies that he hates both.
Dummied Out: The Wii/Playstation 2 version lost Empire City (and by correlation, the Skyscraper Scamper levels), all but one of the missions for Mazuri (the Egg Beetle boss, leaving out the Savannah Citadel levels), and quite a bit of the other missions.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Basically the result of Eggman's big laser in the opening - although unusually for this trope, all of the planet's continents are wholly intact, atmosphere and all, merely floating a mile or so higher above the planet's core than usual. In addition, while this trope usually entails killing everyone on the planet, here absolutely nobody is worse for the wear, still living peacefully on the surface; the only issue is some earthquakes here and there, and the gaps between the floating continents being difficult to surmount without air transport. Sonic's objective is to reverse this and set all the continents back down onto the planet's core.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Possibly unintentional, but the Werehog bosses— Dark Gaia Phoenix (Fire), Dark Moray (Ice), and Dark Guardian (can summon Lightning). There's also the Egg Dragoon, which attacks with all three elements.
Fundamentally Funny Fruit: The Dureek food item. Which are obviously the Sonic world equivalent of the Durian fruit. The inventory even describes them as the "King of fruits" and in a reference to their inspiration's love it or hate it reputation in the real world, also suggests that you "try it and see". Chip can't make up his mind about how he feels about them after being fed one but Sonic seems to absolutely love them going by the extremely high EXP value he gains from just one.
Funny Background Event: During some cutscenes, while Sonic is talking to someone, Chip is doing something in the background, like swimming in the air, and only contributes to conversations when food comes up.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: You have to collect medals, save people from spiritual possession, and gain powerup items to advance in the stages in the PS3/Xbox 360 version. This is simplified in the Wii/Playstation 2 version, where you only need to beat the stages and required missions and talk to the right people.
Grievous Harm with a Body: Can be used on any night level enemy that isn't a Dark Titan or Big Mother. The flavour text for the Rex enemies even suggests trying this.
Guide Dang It: In the Wii/PS2 version, unlocking the last Chun-nan day mission requires you to collect 150 secret items. And what's even worse, unlocking the last Adabat mission requires you to collect all of them!
Helpful Mook: The Dark Bat enemies, which are harmless and give the Werehog something to hang on to. There are other variations, which follow another trope entirely. Then there are also fan enemies which can be used to kill enemies or solve a few simple puzzles.
Whenever a Thunder Ball shows up next to water, chances are the game's telling to toss it into water For Massive Damage.
By the same group (Pokecapn, Kung-Fu Jesus, medibot, and IlluminatusVespucci) who did the infamous LP of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), plus MyNameIsKaz. Notable Crowning Moments Of Funny can be found in Medibot's (successful!) attempt to identify all 288 items the goons picked up during the playthrough, Kung-Fu Jesus successfully and accidentally predicting that someone was at his door, and Kaz's spot-on impersonation of Professor Pickle — skipped text and all. Also, their reaction to the final QTE against Perfect Dark Gaia, where they had to mash a button 60 times when the most they had to do before was 16.
Lightning Bruiser: Sonic becomes one here, instead of being the usual Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon, since he only loses rings proportional to his ring count upon being hit (or down to the previous level, in the PS2's case) and keeps his speed and enough strength to destroy robots.
Loads and Loads of Loading: It's usually bearable, but it gets particularly bad when you have to switch between Hedgehog and Werehog modes for Eggmanland on the PS3 and Xbox 360 version, as the game has to load up a new Sonic and respective assets midstage every time you switch.note Five times, to be exact.
Loading Screen: In the HD versions (when switching between day and night), the Xbox 360 version focuses more on Sonic's transformation, whereas the PS3 verion has a medallion switching between it's sun and the moon sides.
Lovecraft Lite: The game has shades of Lovecraft's works, especially the backstory behind Dark Gaia, but it has a little bit in common with classic mythological origin/apocalypse stories as well. Yes, there's a giant betentacled monstrosity that destroys the world when it wakes up from an eons-long power nap, but there's also a good entity that puts the world back together and sends Dark Gaia back into slumber.
Macguffin Escort Mission: Sonic's quest to deliver each of the seven depowered Chaos Emeralds to the seven Gaia Temples in order to repower them and restore the continents of the world.
All of the werehog levels are about three to four times as long as the day stages, and the day stages are already fairly long by speed level standards in the Sonic series (3-5 minutes). This is averted in the Wii/PS2 version, though at the cost of a greater number of them.
Metronomic Man Mashing: Sonic the Werehog can do this to some of the bigger mooks once he gets his elasticated hands on them.
Multi-Platform: Besides the Wii, Playstation 2, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, a version for the mobile phone, the gameplay of such will be more in tune to the Sonic Rush titles.
Multi-Stage Battle: The Egg Dragoon fight, in which Eggman twice destroys the platform you're standing on.
Orbot, who debuted in this game, didn't get his name until Sonic Colors.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: After supposedly getting overpowered with ease by Super Sonic, Eggman lures him into a trap and uses him as a power source to blow up the Earth after the hedgehog gets a bit too cocky with him.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: Averted, he loses rings rings proprtional to his ring count when he gets hit in this game, with 20 rings being the minimum amount lost. The PS2 version drops you to the previous level instead (60, 30, or 0 rings, if you had 90+, 60-90, and 30-60 respectively).
Painful Transformation: Though it's not as explicit or as inhuman-looking as most examples, it's implied that Sonic's under a lot of pain when turning into the Werehog. It becomes really noticeable in Night of the Werehog (the in-house short released to promote the game), because for the last few minutes Sonic's been smiling and messing around - only to stop in front of a window looking out to the full moon, where he breaks into uncontrollable shaking, nearly collapses and (once it's all over) howls horribly.
Pause Scumming: Since the game doesn't hide the QTE prompts when you pause, if you pause every single time the moment a prompt shows up it gives you plenty of time to see it and hit the correct buttons. This is very helpful in the Tornado Defense stages.
Personal Space Invader: The Egg Shackles and the Egg Bursts sticks to Sonic and slowly takes rings away before (in the case of the Egg Burst) exploding.
Pintsized Powerhouse: The Dark Guardian, a boss, is this when compared the other bosses: It's tougher than a Big Mother or a Titan (Although way easier to beat than the latter). Can you believe it's barely any taller than a Deep Nightmare?
One of Eggman's boss machines, Egg Devil Ray, is most probably called so because it attacks you with laser beams. However, the main unit happens to be shaped like an electric ray (as in, a fish). Good like realising this if you're not a native English speaker - or just happen to not know fish in general.
Puzzle Boss: Shamar's boss, Dark Guardian (at least in the PS3/360 version. The Wii/PS2's version is a straight-up brawl.)
Quad Damage: One of the powerups in nighttime stages boosts attack.
Ramen Slurp: Sonic is shown doing this in the photo montage in the credits.
RPG Elements: The PS3/Xbox 360 version has them, where you can collect crystals to earn EXP, which you can then dump into various skills for both Hedgehog and Werehog to improve their abilities (with much more emphasis on the Werehog). The PS2 has a simplified version in the form of Dark Gaia Force, which automatically improves the Werehog's abilities at set intervals of Force collected.
Rubber Hog: Sonic's Werehog form has arms that can stretch.
Running on All Fours: Sonic the Werehog does this to move faster as his legs are too short to allow easy running in bipedal stance.
Satiating Sandwich: The Hero Sandwich food item, which provides a big 50 EXP when eaten by Sonic. They're amongst the best food items Sonic can eat in terms of EXP value.
Shoo Out the Clowns: During the final battle, the comical villain Dr. Eggman, following his defeat in the Egg Dragoon battle, is swatted out of the center of the Earth by the monstrous Dark Gaia.
Shoot the Medic First: Well, they're called Heal Masters and all you've got is your fists but you've got the idea. Heaven help you if one shows up with Titan backup. Your death will be slow and painful.
Shoryuken: Or more like Sho-Hog-ken and Sho-Claw-Ken.
The final unlockable video (at least in the PS2/Wii version) is clearly based on a scene from Kung Fu Panda.
Also, the final battle in the Wii version appears to have a homage to Punch-Out!!
Small Annoying Creature: Chip in the Wii version. He is much less so in the PS 360 version, since he only speaks up during gameplay if you walk into an assist icon, thus reducing the Stop Helping Me! quotient. His cutscene antics are actually pretty funny most of the time.
Soundtrack Dissonance: During the credits, "Endless Possibilities" (Sonic's theme; 90's pop rock) plays first, while "Dear My Friend" (Chip's theme; a slower, more somber song) plays second. The Wii/PS2 version's credits show various scenes from the game, in chronological order— thus, the first song plays while they show cutscenes from the beginning of the game, and the second song plays mainly during scenes from the last few levels. In short, the song about friendship plays while you see Dark Gaia turn into Perfect Dark Gaia.
Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The last acts in the game, particularly Eggmanland, have no other way to win aside from dying tons of times and memorizing all the hazards by heart. The level designers were apparently aware of this, given that 1-up tokens (which mercifully respawn on death this time, unlike Sonic '06) are often located in front of checkpoints preceding some of the more frustrating sections.
True Final Boss: Averted; this is the first game in the series where the Super Sonic battle doesn't need to be unlocked with any extra effort.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: All the anthropomorphic characters, but especially the Werehog. Most of the human characters don't seem to care much about a hairy monstrosity with spiky shoes and super stretchy arms.
Variable Mix: When Sonic uses his speed boost, the bass instruments of the background music almost disappear due to the air rushing by.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Enemies in Werehog stages don't actually fade until their death animation ends. Any attack interrupting that just resets the animation. Knowing that, one can spend as long as they wish keeping the poor abomination on the edge of life and death to rack up a combo.
You can attack citizens to your heart's content, and they'll react accordiglngly.
Wreaking Havok: The Havok physics are much better implemented here than in the last 3D adventure. It's best shown in sections where some enemies fly in front of you while you're at top speed to try to laser you, and the best way to beat them is to knock other enemies into them.