Chronic Hero Sonic the Hedgehog, a sarcastic but virtuous blue hedgehog capable of running at supersonic speeds.
Sonic's best friend, Miles "Tails" Prower: a young genius fox with an aptitude for building machines on par with Robotnik's creations.
Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of the Master Emerald within which Chaos was sealed. When the Master Emerald is shattered by Robotnik, Angel Island falls from its place in the sky and into the sea. Knuckles takes it upon himself to track down the missing pieces and restore the Emerald (and Angel Island) to its former glory.
Amy Rose, a pink hedgehog with an all-consuming crush on Sonic. After she meets a young bird on the run from one of Robotnik's robots, Amy resolves to return the bird to its family.
Big the Cat, a lazy but warm-hearted fisherman who is seeking to rescue his best friend Froggy from the clutches of Chaos.
E-102 Gamma, one of Robotnik's most advanced robots, who eventually turns against its creator.
Sonic Adventure was generally praised as a revival for the series, which had been wallowing in spin-off games and remakes during the Sega Saturn era. However, a few points of criticism would haunt later iterations, like the gratuitous Camera Screw, Gameplay Roulette, a few noticeable bugs, and slippery controls — problems that have sealed Sonic's reputation as having having a subpar 3D leap. It has nevertheless remained popular among fans as a defining game for the sequels that followed.A direct sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, sold in 2001 to commemorate the series' 10th anniversary, and rumors of a third iteration of the Adventure series linger on.Re-released for the Nintendo GameCube and PC in 2003 as Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut (ironically after its sequel's remake), which added special missions and unlockable Game Gear games. As of September 15th, 2010, it is now available for purchase on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network, with the DX: Director's Cut extras sold separatelynote but does not come with the Game Gear games. Roughly half a year afterwards, it also saw a release in this manner on Steam.Playable Characters and their gameplay types:
Sonic the Hedgehog — Sonic's gameplay style is the most reminiscent of the side-scrolling games: Just get to the goal (which is sometimes an animal capsule reminiscent of the Genesis games, sometimes a Chaos Emerald, occasionally just an end area).
Miles "Tails" Prower — Sonic's lil' two-tailed fox buddy. All of Tails's stages pit you against Sonic (and later Robotnik) in a race to the end of the stage. The stages are just a single section of Sonic's stages, hopelessly broken by Tails' flying ability. Sonic is a cheating bastard for this very reason, but even speed boosts can't help him.
Knuckles the Echidna — Current Guardian of the Master Emerald. When Chaos is released from the Emerald, it is naturally broken into pieces. Thus, the goal of each of the echidna's stages is to find three shards, using his Spider-Sense to pinpoint their locations. Reappeared in Sonic Adventure 2 for Knuckles and Rouge.
Amy Rose — In her stages, Amy must outrun Zero, a robot in pursuit of her, and get to the giant balloon that will carry her away. Zero is actually not after Amy, but instead the little bird she is carrying, who unbeknownst to her, has a Chaos Emerald in its locket. Amy is not very strong or agile, and carries a mallet for protection.
Big the Cat — After his pal Froggy swallows a strange looking jewel and runs away from home, Big chases after the frog. The goal of each of his stages is to fish Froggy out of a body of water; indeed, these sections qualify as minigames, with little danger posed to Big himself. Nevertheless, Big's fishing pole can double as a weapon.
E-102 "γ" (Gamma) — Shoot things up and get to the end of the stage before time runs out, which can be increased by combo-killing multiple enemies at once. Like Knuckles', this also was re-used for Tails and Eggman's modes in Sonic Adventure 2
Air-Vent Passageway: The game actually makes use of this trope a number of times in order to progress from level to level.
For example, Sonic and Tails travel through the sewers of Casinopolis in order to find the Chaos Emerald located there.
This is also how Gamma and Amy choose to travel through the Hot Shelter in the Egg Carrier.
All Is Well That Ends Well: At the end of the game, as the characters are recuperating after their battle against Perfect Chaos, Tails invokes this trope verbatim, ignoring the fact that the city has been completely inundated and destroyed.
Another Side, Another Story: Play through the main story from 6 different perspectives. Each character also gets a piece of the backstory of Chaos and the echidna race, only by playing through all stories do you get the complete sequence.
And the exact same scenes get alternate dialogue.
Art Evolution: SA1 introduced the art style for Sonic and friends that would be used in future games. Amy was the one affected most by this, as she no longer looks like a pink Sonic in drag. However, the Sonic-themed pinball table in Sonic's version of Casinopolis does feature stock artwork from the earlier games.
Ascended Extra: Amy, originally a minor semi-recurrer beforehand, gained a prominent playable role in this and many titles following it.
Badass: Sonic. Thanks to the new 3D presentation, we now get to see him outrun a killer whale, run down a building, and even take out a water god.
Balloonacy: A single balloon is all Amy needs to float away from Zero's grasp.
Book Ends: Knuckles's story begins and ends with him narrating how he was fated to stay forever on Angel Island guarding the Master Emerald. In the beginning, he mentions that he doesn't know why he was given this role in life, but in the end, he believes he is better off for that.
Born-Again Immortality: The Chao can come back from death this way if raised correctly. In fact, dying and being reborn twice is one of the requirements for a Chao to become a perfectly immortal Chaos Chao.
Boss Arena Idiocy: The arena Amy fights Zero in is enclosed by an electric fence. If you knock Zero into the fence, it will reveal a button in its head. Hitting this button damages it.
Knuckles would not have defeated Chaos 6 if it weren't for the ice robots scattered all over the arena (for Sonic's fight with Chaos 6, see Tactical Suicide Boss below).
Boss Rush: Beating a story unlocks a minigame where you fight each of the bosses faced in that story one after the other (the exception being Super Sonic, whose story only consists of a single boss fight with some Adventure Field navigation beforehand).
Also, Gamma only fights Beta and Beta II. The other E-100s are left out.
Even Big only fights Chaos 6, but it's just for the sake of having the player fish out Froggy as fast as possible.
Broken Bridge: Parts of the Mystic Ruins, including Angel Island itself, are blocked off by pedestals that require magic stones. The same goes for Station Square, except that the keys are more mundane.
Call Back: Icecap first appeared as "Ice Cap Zone" in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and it opened with a snowboarding segment, too. Red Mountain's inner section is also clearly part of Lava Reef from Sonic & Knuckles. Both are set on Angel Island.
When playing other characters' stories, your allies will sport any power-up accessories you picked up for them in their stories.
After getting their powers drained by Perfect Chaos, the Chaos Emeralds look the same as the Super Emeralds looked like in Sonic 3 & Knuckles in their power-less state (except for the size, of course), prior to being fully restored by the player.
Convection Schmonvection: Sonic and Gamma can survive just fine in the incredibly hot volcano section of Red Mountain, with lava and geysers being the only hazards that damage them. Then again, this is true of all Sonic games where the characters don't suffer any ill effects from standing only a few inches above a lava pit.
Crazy-Prepared: Eggman. Not only does he have the God of Destruction at his command, he has a giant flying carrier (although it functions more like a battleship), a second carrier to use against Chaos if it goes rogue, a HUGE missile stationed off the coast of Station Square should the Egg Carrier and Chaos be defeated, and a giant base in the middle of Mystic Ruins.
Critical Existence Failure: As in most games in the franchise, Sonic and the cast can take any amount of damage, from a barrage of Eggman's launched missiles to an explosion a third the size of the Egg Carrier, without any outward sign of injury, but after their last ring is lost, brushing against a robot chimp is enough for a K.O.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Now we know why Sonic refuses to sit in the cockpit of Tails' plane — because gravity means nothing to him. He survives falling several kilometers to the ground not once, but twice in the game. The second time, Sonic's body endures a comical pancake effect when he hits the ground, but he's no worse for wear.
Darker and Edgier: At least in comparison to most Sonic games released before it. This game literally starts off with its opening cutscene depicting a city being flooded by Perfect Chaos, and later in the game, the echidna tribe crosses a Moral Event Horizon.
Gamma's story is this to the rest of the game, complete with an explicitly Bittersweet Ending. Super Sonic's story has a somewhat grimmer tone than the rest of the game as well.
Development Hell: This wasn't the first attempt to bring Sonic to (non-isometric) 3D platforming. Sonic X-treme for the Sega Saturn was supposed to do this, but turmoil within the company over the game's direction reduced it to Vapor Ware. According to Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka in an interview for the first issue of Official Dreamcast Magazine, SA1 was at one time supposed to be a Saturn game, but the idea was scrapped when the company decided to focus on the Dreamcast.
Dueling Player Characters: The game has Sonic & Knuckles fight again, as well as E-102 Gamma. However, playing through as Knuckles & Gamma allows the player to fight Sonic, and playing as Tails puts him in the fights instead of Sonic.
Elite Mook: The E-100 series robots. Oddly despite their more advanced intelligence and power than Eggman's usual badniks (apparently enough to rival Sonic individually abiding by Gamma's story) they are mostly given mundane tasks by the doctor such as searching for a frog in a beach.
Everything's Better with Spinning: Tails can swipe his tails as an attack, which is upgraded to infinite spinning with the Rhythm Badge. Amy can do the Spin Hammer Attack and swing her hammer while spinning, but she can't move while spinning.
Failed a Spot Check: While it's not acknowledged by the characters themselves, during the Super Sonic/Final Story Sonic is shocked to hear from Tails that Angel Island has fallen again, despite the fact that he is lying down in view of where it fell.
Friendly Playful Dolphins: Dolphins jump around you in Sonic's first stage, "Emerald Coast", if you're looking in right place at the right time. The appearance of these dolphins and their numbers seems to be performance based, or it might be random.
Gravity Screw: Most notably in Lost World, where panels on the wall glow when orientated correctly by hitting a switch, allowing Sonic and Knuckles to simply walk up the wall. The last part of Sky Deck changes orientation as well, and Knuckles can actually control this.
Heroic Sacrifice: Before the events of Sonic Adventure, in order to save the world from Chaos' destruction, Tikal sealed him, along with herself, in the Master Emerald.
Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted by Chaos taking over the role of central villain from Eggman in the final story.
Hints Are For Losers: Touching one hintball in Knuckles' B-rank missions disqualifies you from getting the Emblem.
Hong Kong Dub: The lipsyncing is just plain bizarre and off a lot of the time.
Hub Level: Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and the Egg Carrier.
100% Completion: Getting all of the emblems entails beating the action stages again, under more challenging circumstances. At most, you have to:
Sonic: Finish each action stage within an allotted timeframe.
Tails: Beat Sonic or Robotnik again (they're faster).
Knuckles: Same as Sonic, only the allotted time is one to two minutes.
Amy: Same as Sonic.
Big: Catch a fish weighing in at 2000 grams and catch Froggy.
E102 Gamma: Finish each stage within a certain amount of time left on the clock.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: Played with during Gamma's story. Gamma is perfectly capable of self-terminating, it's just that up until the penultimate boss Gamma dosen't realize that his self-given mission technically requires him to kill himself. The moment of contemplation conncerning his mortality that he has when he realizes this is almost heart-breaking despite almost no dialogue or music being present in the scene. He ends up averting this trope and allows himself to die from his injuries so that the Flickie inside of him can be freed.
I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Knuckles says this, agreeing with Tails that Sonic is the only one who can harness the true power of the Chaos Emeralds after Perfect Chaos absorbed their negative energy.
I Owe You My Life: Not directly stated, but E-102 Gamma's resolve to rescue the animals trapped inside the E-Series robots was partly due to Amy saving its life.
Said act by Amy was also provoked by Gamma freeing her and Birdie from Eggman's cell inside the Egg Carrier (which would later crash land into the ocean) making it both issued and returned at the same time.
Idiot Ball: All three incidents when Sonic and Tails lose Chaos Emeralds to Robotnik. The third time this occurs, when two Chaos Emeralds are knocked out of Sonic/Tails's Hammerspace (depending on what character you're being) by a sharp impact. He then proceeds to lie there while Robotnik lazily floats over and beams them up.
Ignorant of the Call: Most of the cast react this way to Tikal's flashbacks. Near the end of his story Sonic fails to get the message that he should go after Chaos instead of Robotnik.
Implausible Deniability: Knuckles seems to pull this off after Sonic asked him if he got tricked by Eggman again. This quote from Knuckles' story sums it up:
Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Right towards the end of Twinkle Park for Sonic, there's an iron gate blocking you from getting to a spring if you end up on the right side of it. You can barely jump higher than it by yourself and you can definitely jump higher than it if you get up some speed with a Spin Dash. However, the game won't let you pass it from that side, you have to circumnavigate the entire circular roof to approach the spring from the other side.note However, unlike other examples, this CAN be circumvented by simply jumping at the spring from one of the floating platforms leading to the roof. If you execute a homing attack at it, the game won't block your progress, which is good for the A Emblem.
Kaizo Trap: Egg Viper. The camera angle isn't great either, so even if you know his suicide attack is coming, you won't be able to tell where he's gonna hit so you may still die anyway. Cue rage.
Kick the Dog: Robotnik does it a lot in this game. He's portrayed as a lot more evil here than in most portrayals.
Knight of Cerebus: Chaos. He is the first major threat Sonic and co. face that has no humorous quirks or traits whatsoever in persona and design; while his threat is genuine, he isn't seen as much more than a Dragon to Eggman until the climax and finale, when things truly take a turn for the worse when he finally turns on Eggman and gets all of the Emeralds.
Levels Take Flight: Sky Chase Zone reappears, and allows Tails to actually fire upon incoming enemies with his Tornado.
Long Song, Short Scene: A few jingles and themes were unused in gameplay or for purposes different from how they are labelled (eg. "Calm After The Storm" is labelled as the theme for the crashed Egg Carrier Adventure Field in the Sound Test, but is used only in a short cutscene in Gamma's story). Many tunes were also truncated and can only be heard in full in the games' official soundtrack.
Malevolent Architecture: Speed Highway, a highway that uses loop-de-loops, corkscrews and has gaps missing, all while being high in the air.
Mama Bear: Amy to Birdie. In one instance, she adamantly refuses to give Birdie to Gamma, which then led to his change of heart. In the other instance which stands out more, Amy was enraged when Zero knocks out Birdie out cold and was very keen on bashing him with her hammer.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Knuckles being tricked into fighting Sonic led the two colliding with each other. As a result, Sonic fumbles the two remaining Chaos Emeralds (one of them being green which Knuckles thought was a piece of the Master Emerald), only for Dr. Eggman to steal them and power up Chaos into his fourth form. As Sonic best puts it:
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sonic does not have a way to defeat Chaos 6, but luckily Robotnik keeps dropping ice-spewing egg robots onto the battlefield that Sonic can use to freeze Chaos and hit him.
Nobody Poops: Surprisingly averted. One Action Stage (Hot Shelter) contains men's and women's restrooms, both of which can be entered, though not used.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Somehow Big managed to fly Tails' highly advanced Tornado plane back to his home with zero experience. Sadly we see about a second of him taking off from the Egg Carrier. No Sky Chase minigame for you, Big.
Panty Shot: Amy belts one out in most of the cutscenes she's in, most prominently when you choose her in the character select screen. This is made unsettling by the fact that she's only 12.
Papa Wolf: Chaos to Tikal and the Chao as the echidnas had learned the hard way.
Path of Greatest Resistance: Ever since Sonic Adventure introduced the Homing Attack, nearly all Sonic games since then have had 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; very rarely is it actually required.
Pinball Zone: Sonic's version of Casinopolis features Sonic and NiGHTS-themed pinball tables. Naturally, Sonic is the pinball.
Polygon Ceiling - The camera and controls are a point of criticism to the game, and these would continue into later games, creating a bad 3D reputation for the series.
Poor Communication Kills: Rather than talk to Sonic about why he's after the Master Emerald shards, Knuckles instead immediately starts a fight with Sonic and Tails without reasonably asking the two directly about it, which could have prevented the whole fight in the first place.
The Power of Friendship: The bond of Sonic with his True Companions allows him to unlock the full potential of Super Sonic with the Chaos Emeralds, although Tails does say that Chaos only absorbed the negative energy of the Emeralds.
"Rashomon"-Style: Who won in the character vs. character fights? It depends who you ask. Most of the dialogue was re-recorded for each story even when it doesn't need to be.
In Sonic and Tails's stories, the character played as is the one who fights most of the bosses and puts the keys in the Mystic Ruins.
Rule of Three: Tails' and Knuckles' stories has three bosses, Knuckles gets a vision of the past on three seprate occasions (Upon clearing stages 2, 4, and 5 (Whereas the other five characters' storylines gets one)) on his storyline, and Amy's storyline has three levels (The fewest level count any character has in this game).
Scenery Porn: It may look a bit dated now, but it was considered highly impressive back then.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Chaos was originally sealed in the Master Emerald along with Tikal when he was about to destroy the world, but in modern times, Robotnik freed him by destroying the Master Emerald. Subverted however that, when it turns out Chaos isn't actually evil, just very angry and vengeful.
Amy's intro cutscene has a bag marked "YU-2 Mart". YU-2 was what Yuji Naka was credited as in the Genesis Sonic games.
Shower Scene: Possible in Casinopolis with Sonic if you have him stand under a showerhead, whereupon he'll start scrubbing himself. Knuckles can also trigger the water spray, but he has no custom animation for it.
Smoke Out: Eggman employs a variety of these tricks, including a flash grenade and sleeping gas.
Spoiler Opening: The opening trailer contains the destruction of Station Square and Chaos's final transformation. Since this is the first Sonic game with an unlockable secret finale, it may have been intentional to prevent players from putting the game down after completing Sonic's story. Or just to get some extra milage out of the lengthy FMV sequence.
Stock Video Game Puzzle: Quite a few different puzzles appear at varying points across the levels and characters, notably in Lost World.
Suddenly Voiced: Everyone. The early games didn't even have subtitled lines.
Except Sonic and Eggman. They talked in SegaSonic The Hedgehog. (Ray and Mighty did too, but only Mighty reappeared, and even then only in Knuckles Chaotix.) A few months later, Sonic sometimes exclaimed in Sonic CD (Usually upon getting a 1-Up).
If Eggman never dug into the ground with the Egg Hornet, Sonic would have never destroyed it.
Chaos 2 already has two very effective attacks: one has him bounce all over the arena as a giant ball, and the other covers the entire floor, so why does he have to try to punch Knuckles?
Had Chaos 4 never popped out of the water, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles would have never defeated him.
When Sonic fights Chaos 6, Eggman throws ice robots onto the arena. All Sonic needs to do is attack the robot and throw it at Chaos to make him vulnerable. Chaos would have won had Eggman not gotten involved.
Eggman should know better than to stick his head out of the Egg Viper.
He also should know better than to make its wheels separate from its body and move flat-side up.
Team Rocket Wins: Playing E-102 Gamma's story at least, which allows you to fight and defeat Sonic in battle (though Amy stops him just short of finishing the job). So far Gamma is the only Eggman droid to individually defeat Sonic in the games storywise (albeit branching storywise).
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Knuckles' theme "Unknown from M.E." has a verse which he views teamwork, especially in regards to Sonic:
I have no such things as weak spots Don't approve of him, but you got to rely on him This alliance has a purpose This partnership is temporary.
That's No Moon: The excavation team at the Mystic Ruins is flummoxed by a "mountain" which suddenly appeared from nowhere. Unbeknownst to them (and the player, at first), it's actually Angel Island.
The Voiceless: Chaos never says a word, and Tikal is the one who relies his feelings to the audience.
Theme Song Power Up: Played with in the final battle against Perfect Chaos. "Open Your Heart" (the game's main theme and Super Sonic's personal theme, more or less) plays during the first half of the battle. After you hit Chaos a number of times, it revives and the second half plays out under Perfect Chaos' own theme. It's subverted because Super Sonic doesn't defeat the creature for good while his own theme is playing, inverted because Perfect Chaos' own theme ("Perfect Chaos Revival!") is what plays during the second half (after it's rejuvenated) so Chaos is the one powering up to its own theme, and averted because it doesn't do a lick of good anyway (it's already losing by the time its music starts up; you just have to land the finishing blow (or two (give or take)).
Tranquil Fury: In contrast to his usual Large Ham, Robotnik's encounter with Tails in the Egg Walker has him speak this way. Surprisingly, it's very unsettling.
Uncommon Time: The boss music for Chaos 6 alternates between a 7/8 and a 4/4 time signature.
Understatement: Gamma's concise nature of speaking creates such gems as "This is the wrong room" after accidentally walking in on his older brother being seemingly cannibalized for parts and upgraded while still active, or "This presents a problem" after being seemingly teleported back in time.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Tikal and the other Echidna residents seem completely nonchalent about the heroes' presence, or even a friggin' robot in the flashbacks to the past.
Updated Re-release: The GameCube DX version, which added some more character cameos (namely Cream) and a catalog of Game Gear games. Further upgraded with the PSN and XBLA, with trophy/achievement support.
Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Gamma the robot is made to fight his "brother" Beta, who is the more advanced of the two. To Dr. Eggman's surprise, Gamma wins, so he is charged with carrying out the doctor's missions. Later, Beta is rebuilt and battles Gamma again. Gamma just barely manages to win again, but unlike the previous battle it results in his death.
Utopia Justifies the Means: Pachacamac's reasoning for wanting the Chaos Emeralds taken from the shrine. It does nothing to cover up his power hungry nature and lack of regard for life at that point.
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.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Likewise, you can hit the Chao, 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. You can kill your Chao outright this way.
You Have Failed Me: Robotnik sorta does this to Gamma's E-Series brethren after they fail to retrieve the Chaos-enhanced Froggy, dispatching E-105ζ Zeta for a torturous upgrade and demoting E-103δ Delta and E-104ε Epsilon to generic "badniks" in random areas.
Which doesn't make a great deal of sense when you remember that they're the Egg Carrier's crew. How is Gamma meant to keep the place running by himself?