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Franchise / Sonic the Hedgehog
aka: Sonic

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"I'm Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog!"
Sonic, in various games.

One of the most popular video game franchises of all time, and one that is both famous and infamous.

A fast blue hedgehog, a two-tailed fox, and a red echidna who protects a bunch of Green Rocks go down to the local pub. A floating fat man with a penchant for robots bursts in on their Happy Hour martinis to announce his schemes to Take Over the World with the aforementioned green rocks. The hedgehog, fox, and echidna put down their drinks, mutter something along the lines of "Aw, hell naw!", and proceed to kick the floating fat man's ass from here to New Brunswick. Rinse and repeat, adding lots and lots more characters (some of which can be found here).

And that's Sonic the Hedgehog in a nutshell — well, except for the pub part (and the "hell, naw" part... usually).

Created in 1991 for the then-fledgling Sega Genesis (and not-so-fledgling Sega Master System) by a group of fifteen people tasked with creating a mascot to compete with the face of video games (who were later to be named Sonic Team), Sonic quickly became the gaming company's mascot, immediately replacing Sega's previous mascot, Alex Kidd. The spunky, ever-lovin' cobalt-blue insectivore grew in strength and speed with each sequel to put its creators into a healthy competitive spot with Nintendo (and other, lesser gaming companies, most notably Hudson Soft and SNK) during the 16-bit Console Wars.


The games were positively brilliant. The sprites were incredibly well-drawn, the levels were huge and expansive with a few alternate paths, and they incorporated many design features like loops, corkscrews, and crumbling ledges that were never seen before in any game. Many entertainment companies were given the license to produce no less than four cartoon series, seven comic series, countless books, a sunday comic strip, and even an anime movie, all to capitalize on Sonic's success. For a while, the Sonic series even overshadowed Nintendo's poster boy, Mario, due to the technical whizziness of its concept (helped by Sega dropping the term "Blast Processing" into its ads) and the proto-Badass nature of its main character. (This was the predecessor to the eventual family-friendly versus mature games debate, with a hedgehog with an attitude standing in for killing beeyotches.) And the concept was so simple: The aforementioned trio of Sonic (the hedgehog), Tails (the fox), and later Knuckles (the echidna) try to thwart Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik's (the floating fat man) attempts at world domination using his army of robots and the Chaos Emeralds. Run fast, collect rings, bash robotic critters, and it's all good.


Sonic hit a bit of a Dork Age during the run of SEGA's Saturn console, which was a good deal less successful than its predecessor. The spinoff game, Sonic R, was the only noteworthy Sonic game on the console. Sonic X-treme was announced, but it was cancelled due to a permission dispute between developers, and filled in at the 11th hour by an upgraded port of the less-than-stellar Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island.

The series got revitalized in a truly 3-Dimensional incarnation on SEGA's next console, the Dreamcast. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were noted for their production values and ambitious plotlines, but also criticized for questionable gameplay choices and other teething problems; such as the screwy camera and awkward controls usually found in platformers that tried to make their first jump to 3D. Sonic Team attempted to address these concerns with Sonic Heroes, which focused more on team-based gameplay and less on story. The physics, graphics, and gameplay of its successor, Shadow the Hedgehog, drew some ire, but it mainly received criticism for its melodramatic story and dialogue.

And then came the game simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, usually referred to as Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, which was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and 2007 for the PlayStation 3. By forcing the game out for a Christmas release, what was yet another attempt to undo the Polygon Ceiling became a very Obvious Beta that actually accentuated the issue. Among the game's many criticisms was the Havok physics engine and loading times reaching lengths that hadn't been seen in almost a decade.

As the ire towards the 3D Sonic games reached its peak, Sega went for a simpler route with Sonic Unleashed, getting rid of much of the main cast and completely revamping the gameplay to a simpler style involving "boosting", much like Dimps' 2D Sonic Rush Series, while pairing it with a completely different gameplay style for variety. The tone was also considerably lighter than the progressively serious tone that characterized the previous games. Unleashed received a mixed reception for the latter style, but it was considered a step in the right direction for giving the series the exhilarating speed experience it needed and addressing much of the problems that previous Sonic games had.

Sega listened to the reception and refined the boost-centric gameplay for the Nintendo-platform-exclusive Sonic Colors and the milestone-celebrating Sonic Generations, further reducing the prominence of the large cast and lightening the tone to a more humorous Saturday Morning Cartoon tone. Sonic Lost World continued the latter trend, but introduced a completely new Mario-inspired gameplay style, which has led many to ponder if Sega has gone too far with the Lighter and Softer trend just as they did with the Darker and Edgier trend before.

In 2017, Sega released Sonic Mania, a new 2D sidescroller done in the style of the original 16-bit games. Developed by fans and former romhackers, the game has received wide critical acclaim, making up for previous attempts to bring the classic 2D gameplay back and, at least for the time being, creating a lot of goodwill for the franchise again.

As mentioned, some titles in the series have been notable for suffering mixed to negative critical reception. In line with all the controversy, large varieties of theories exist to explain why the Sonic series is struggling in terms of reviews such as hastened development for deadlines, a lack of talent or caring from the development team, over-reliance on new "gimmicky" gameplay styles or features, taking the series in too dark a direction, unrealistic demands from nostalgic fans, or the inability to give the franchise a concrete identity.

Nevertheless, the series still remains massively popular and beloved by many fans in spite of the absurd controversy, and is among the top 10 best selling video-game franchises of all time. Do not let all that has been stated above fool you, beyond all the disappointments, constant jabs, and notorious fanbase, one thing is still clear: People do love Sonic.

A feature-length Live-Action Adaptation based off the franchise is in the works at Paramount after having been stuck in Development Hell since the 1990s, and is set for release in 2020. Neal Moritz of The Fast and the Furious fame and Tim Miller of Deadpool are executive producing this film, while Jeff Fowler, best known for the 2004 short Gopher Broke, will direct in his feature film debut.

Sonic has also appeared in every Super Smash Bros. game since Brawl.

Here's where you can discuss all matters pertaining to this series.

Games and other media featuring Sonic:

    open/close all folders 

    Main Series Games 

    Handheld Games 

    Racing / Sports Games 
  • Sonic Drift (Game Gear, 1994) (Japan only)
    • Sonic Drift 2 (Game Gear, 1995)
  • Sonic R (Sega Saturn, PC, 1997)
  • Sonic Riders (Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, 2006)
    • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (Wii, PlayStation 2, 2008)
    • Sonic Free Riders (Xbox 360 Kinect, 2010)
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii, Nintendo DS, 2007)
    • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Wii, Nintendo DS, 2009)
    • Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii, Nintendo 3DS, 2011)
    • Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U, 2013)
    • Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, 2016)
    • Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Nintendo Switch, 2019)
  • Sega Superstars (PlayStation 2, 2004)
    • Sega Superstars Tennis (Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, 2008)
    • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, 2010)
    • Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed (Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, 2012)
  • Team Sonic Racing (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, 2019)

    Spinoff Platformers 

    Other Spinoffs 

    Other Arcade Oddities 
  • Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car - a kiddie ride in the form of a police car with a monitor embedded inside. Japan only. Also arguably Sega's earliest attempt to bring a Sonic game into arcades, predating SegaSonic the Hedgehog by a whole year.
  • SegaSonic Popcorn Shop - basically a popcorn vending machine with a game for kids to play while they wait for their popcorn to be ready.
  • SegaSonic Cosmo Fighter Galaxy Patrol (often shorted into Sonic Cosmo Fighter) - another kiddie ride with an embedded monitor, this time in the form of a jet. Again, Japan-only.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog kiddie ride - a kiddie ride in the form of Sonic's car in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

    TV and Video 


    Comic Books 



Vote on the best game in the series here!

Tropes throughout the games:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Most of the male characters wear nothing except shoes and gloves. Chip wears even less, only a necklace.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: A lot of adaptations do this. Perhaps most notably, Sonic Satam turns Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik from a clownish Anti-Villain to a (mostly) deathly serious overlord. Sonic's personality in different medias can range anywhere from an incorruptibly kind and laid-back Ace to a Jerkass Knight In Sour Armor. Pretty much the whole cast that has been in more than one interpretation of the franchise has undergone this process to some extent.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Some games, such as SegaSonic, CD, Chaotix, and 3D Blast use alliterative names for all levels.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Angel Island's inner workings are astonishingly intricate, from Hydrocity to Sandopolis to the Hidden Palace.
  • Aerith and Bob: Although most characters' surnames are "the (species)", like Sonic the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna, and Rouge the Bat, two anthropomorphic main characters break this convention: Amy Rose and Miles "Tails" Prower. Neither of these two characters are considered foreign to the others, and even dimensional traveler Blaze the Cat follows the main convention. It's also worth noting that these two are the only two animals with names considered normal on Earth.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Robotnik's favorite type of weapon, starting with Sky Base in the Sega Game Gear Sonic the Hedgehog and continuing with the Egg Carrier and its variations in the modern games.
  • Alternate Continuity: Taken Up to Eleven, as the Sonic series has various different continuities in it.
    • After Sonic Generations reintroduced Classic Sonic as the past self of Modern Sonic, Sonic Forces reestablished that this version of Classic Sonic is now from another dimension. This is due to Sega mandating that Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic are to continue together as separate franchises, so there is effectively a split timeline between Sonic Adventure and Sonic Mania.
    • The animated miniseries Sonic Mania Adventures appears to be an alternate take on the events of Sonic Mania Plus.
    • Both the video game(s) and cartoon of Sonic Boom has its own distinct continuity from the main series video games.
    • The 2019 live action/CGI Sonic movie is also set in its own distinct timeline.
    • The Sonic the Hedgehog OVA, aka Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie has its own self-contained timeline.
    • The three DiC Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons which each have their own distinct continuity; Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (unofficially called Satam Sonic), and Sonic Underground.
    • The Archie Sonic the Hedgehog continuity, which technically consists of two continuities in itself due to undergoing a Continuity Reboot late in its run. And thats not counting the fact that the Archie comics prior to the reboot had its own established multiverse with a potentially infinite number of alternate Sonic universes).
    • The IDW Sonic the Hedgehog comic is also set in a universe distinct from the Archie Sonic comics.
    • The UK-exclusive Sonic the Comic is likewise its own distinct timeline.
    • Various Sonic-related manga with little to no consistent canon between them.
    • And then there are various non-canon one-off stories (i.e. the Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic, the Sonic the Hedgehog Story Comic) storybooks (i.e. Stay Sonic) and non-canon crossovers with other video game franchises like Super Smash Bros, along with games of dubious canon like Sonic Spinball.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Each of the Chaos Emeralds are cut to perfection. The seven emeralds were originally just eight-sided gems; they were later changed to diamonds to reflect the Master Emerald.
  • All There in the Manual: Among Sonic's various, obscure, contradicting origin stories is that he was born on Christmas Island, and that he gained his speed from an experiment with Dr. Kintobor.
  • Always Night: The haunted house levels in some games, as well as some of the casino levels.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Be honest; have you ever seen a blue hedgehog in the wild? How about pink or silver?
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Old American artwork of Robotnik depicted him as constantly scowling (and with black eyes), as opposed to the oddly-always-smiling Eggman of the Japanese artwork. In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Robotnik had his 'evil' design, but was a bumbling boob prone to Angrish.
    • Amusingly Inverted in the original design for Sonic made by Sega of Japan, which included fangs, an electric guitar, and a spiked collar. It turns out that this was actually an attempt to invoke this trope to attract American audiences. It was the American Sega team that trimmed him back to the Wild Ace we know and love.
    • Attempted to be invoked again in Shadow the Hedgehog. Interviews with Team Sonic reveal that the gun-toting dark turn of the game was supposed to attract American audiences specifically. It failed.
  • Another Side, Another Story: A lot of games have this from the start (for example, 2 sides in Sonic Adventure 2, etc.), though they're usually accessible from the beginning. However, the Sonic Riders subseries unlocks the alternate "Babylon" storyline after you're done with the Heroes, and Sonic Adventure allowed you to start a character's story immediately after you encountered him in someone else's part of the game.
    • Knuckles's story in Sonic 3 & Knuckles may also count, since several pieces of evidence within that story claim it to take place after Sonic and Tails's stories.
    • This was also in effect in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) with three different characters' scenarios, but in the end it practically meant the developers only had about a dozen levels and were forced to re-use them all twice to make the game long enough. And that's not counting the fact that the final level is a bunch of Remixed Levels.
  • Arc Hero: Sonic Team has done this throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, to the point you could almost subtitle them based on the Arc Hero. Of course, it eventually became a never-ending Debut Queue and led to some backlash due to Loads and Loads of Characters.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Sonic and Tails, plot-wise a new sidekick, gameplay introducing two player mode.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Sonic and Knuckles, plot-wise a new rival, gameplay introducing characters with different abilities.
    • Sonic Adventure 2: Sonic and Shadow, plot-wise another new rival who was directly related to Space Colony Ark and Gerald Robotnik's experiments. Also introducing the idea of seeing the plot from different perspectives with Hero Mode and Dark Mode.
    • Sonic Heroes: Sonic and Tails and Knuckles. Plot-wise, the Power of Friendship on full display, and gameplay-wise, the Stance System of changing the leader on the fly.
    • Sonic Rush: Sonic and Blaze, who had a direct relationship with new Arc Villain Eggman Nega.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Sonic, Shadow, and newcomer Silver, who came to stop Sonic from becoming the Iblis Trigger and creating his Bad Future.
    • Sonic Unleashed: Sonic and Chip, a new sidekick also directly related to the new Arc Villain. Gameplay was more about the contrast between default Sonic and his new werewolf-like form.
    • Sonic Colors: Sonic and Yacker, or the Wisps generally, a new powerup system.
    • Sonic Generations: Sonic and Sonic, bringing it full circle for the anniversary, combining new gameplay with classic gameplay.
  • Arc Words/Running Gag: At least one character has said "Long time no see" in almost every game since Sonic Adventure.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Tails says this to Sonic in Sonic's story, and Amy says it to Sonic.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles says it when first meeting up with Amy and Tails, and Rouge says this to Knuckles just before their boss battle against each other.
    • In Sonic Heroes, Sonic says it to Tails and Knuckles in the opening cutscene for Team Sonic's story, and Rouge says this to Team Sonic before the Team Sonic vs. Team Dark battle.
      • Metal Sonic also says this to Sonic at the start of the final boss battle; one of the few cases where it has been a long time.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic (see a pattern here?) says this to Shadow when you run into Sonic at the beginning of the very first stage.
    • In Sonic Rush, Blaze says this to Eggman Nega when she first meets him in Sonic's side of the story.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic and Rouge both say this at multiple points each in the game.
    • In Sonic Rush Adventure, Eggman says this the first time he encounters Sonic in the game.
    • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. Wave greets Tails with, "Long time no see, shorty!"
    • In the 3DS "Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games", Tails says it towards the fog impersonating Mario & Luigi. Too be fair, they probably haven't seen each other after the winter Olympics.
    • After being absent from the core games since Sonic Unleashed, the catchphrase returned in Sonic Forces. Sonic says the line to Infinite in one of their later encounters. He also greets Classic Sonic with the variant, “It’s been generations since I’ve seen you.”
    • So far, two games in the series, specifically Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, have featured a line that involves "A million faces" and how "one by one they fall".
  • Art Evolution: See the page image? Sonic, as depicted on the left, is what he used to look like. In Sonic Adventure, he was remade to be taller, have green eyes, and have longer limbs and quills. It was modified further in that direction in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Sonic Unleashed onwards, his looks are now a hybrid of the "Classic-Era" and "Adventure-Era" designs. This is Lampshaded in Sonic Generations, where the current-style Sonic teams up with his very different-looking Genesis-era self. Over the years, we have this.
  • The Artifact: The franchise has had some trouble finding ways to keep all of its facets relevant.
    • Knuckles was Sonic's first example of The Rival, but has since been displaced by Shadow, who was first introduced as Sonic's Criminal Doppelgänger.
    • The Master Emerald has also been less and less utilized, often merely as an excuse to include Knuckles, even though by rights it should be one of the most important artifacts in the franchise, since it can both enhance and suppress the powers of the Chaos Emeralds.
    • The Babylon Rogues from the Sonic Riders series have also become this, even within their own spinoff. Part of their story involves their connection with the Floating Continent called Babylon Garden, but since Babylon Garden's story appears to have been concluded, they've been reduced to token opposition in Extreme Gear competitions.
  • Artistic Age
  • Artistic License – Biology: Several character designs are disturbingly quirky from a physiological standpoint:
    • The way Sonic's face is designed makes it look like his two eyes are connected to each other, which, by definition, makes him a double-irised one-eyed hedgehog. Also, his lack of hips and general lack of anatomy should make it impossible for him to exert any speed or strength, much less the kind he achieves.
    • Even if we look past the improbability of two soft tails having the strength and friction to even make Tails hover, much less airborne, they couldn't possibly spin in a helicopter-like pattern without getting quickly twisted and tangled up. Brawl in the Family lampshades this by Sonic asking Tails how he rotates his tails like that. The comic reveals Tails does it by rotating his bum cheeks, much to Sonic's further confusion.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Emeralds are primarily green, occasionally veering into yellow or blue. The Chaos Emeralds, however, are all the colors of the rainbow. It can be explained as the devs going by the Japanese meaning of the word, as "Emerald" can be used as a generic term to refer to any gemstone in Japan.
  • Ash Face: Dr. Robotnik is prone to have it in some of the 2D games after his creations are defeated.
  • Astral Finale: Frequently.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Several games offer a "Perfect" bonus for collecting every single ring in a stage; the Genesis games offer a 50,000-point bonus and Sonic Adventure 2 gives you an A rank regardless of your score. However, given that getting hit knocks your rings out and you typically can only get a limited number of them back afterwards, and that you'd have to do some very thorough exploration that in 16-bit games will likely take you to the 10-minute limit, the Perfect bonus is virtually never worth it.
  • Bag of Spilling: Sonic and co. are forced to constantly recollect the Chaos Emeralds in each game. With the sole exception of Sonic 3 and Sonic Unleashed (where Sonic starts off with the Emeralds and loses them as a plot pointnote ), the games offer no explanation as to why they keep losing the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Bash Brothers: Sonic and Tails, in many incarnations. Can also apply to any character alongside Sonic, including his younger self.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Apparently, Sonic and his friends are able to breathe in space (as seen in several games and Sonic X), including Dr. Eggman, the one human main character, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Pocket Adventure, and Sonic Advance 3.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Knuckles and Rouge have displayed this at times.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Springs, zip lines, ramps, speed boosters, and other helpful devices have a knack for showing up where they're most needed to get through a level.
  • Berserk Button: The following is what you should do if Sonic catches you harming Tails in any way, shape and/or form: stop what you're doing, turn around, and run. Not that it'll matter, but just a suggestion. Also, don't call him a rat unless you want to be ranted at.
    • Knuckles will flip out if you steal/are trying to steal/he believes you are going to steal the Master Emerald.
    • Never suggest to Amy that Sonic really does not love her. Especially if you are Sonic.
  • Black and White Morality: While the series sometimes dips into greyer areas, the general tone of the franchise has largely been basic Good Vs. Evil conflicts. Even the more morally ambiguous characters are just jerks at the worst.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Before the developers had settled on a name for Sonic, he was referred to as "Mr. Needlemouse". The Japanese word for "hedgehog" is "harinezumi". Guess what a literal translation of that would yield.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables: The Chaos Emeralds were the former Trope Namers, and examples in the first two games. The third game introduced unlimited attempts at the emeralds, moving them away from this trope, and since then most games have had them collected automatically during cutscenes, making them normal MacGuffins.
  • Boss-Only Level: A trademark of the series; first there was Final Zone, and then it really took off after The Doomsday Zone, with the final boss of every game gaining its own level, usually played in Super Mode.
    • In fact, every boss gained its own level around that time.
  • Bottomless Pit: Relatively rare in the early Sonic games, but increasingly common as the series has gone on. Taken Up to Eleven in Heroes, where every zone after Power Plant is basically a giant pit with platforms and grind rails suspended over it.
  • Break Out Mook Character: The Moto Bug, playable in this Game Mod.
  • Broad Strokes: Many of the games in the series (outside of the story-arc -driven Adventure era games) tend to have light continuity between each other at best. Kevin Eva, who was the community manager of Sega Europe in the mid-2000s, claimed the reason for this is because Sega and Sonic Team like to play fast and loose with what's considered canon or not in the series, and that what's considered canon or non-canon can and has frequently changed over time, hence why Sega and Sonic Team are so vague and indecisive over the series timeline.
    "One of the things I also went on to say in that thread was that the canon was and is somewhat in flux all the time. As since it is, for want of better phrasing, whatever SEGA want or need it to be at the time. So it could easily change."
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Chaos Control!" "Sonic Wind!" "Black Wave!"
  • Canon Discontinuity:
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Swatbots of SatAM fame have been introduced into Chronicles, although with a notable armor overhaul.
    • Amy and Charmy first appeared in the Sonic manga produced by Shogakukan in 1992, albeit looking rather different. Amy was lifted from there and redesigned for Sonic CD. A 1993 manga redesigned to fit more with the Sonic look, with the same characters, was released... and Charmy was subsequently lifted and used two years later in Knuckles' Chaotix. Arguably one of the most successful stories of a canon immigrant, as shown above with the 'Ascended Extra' point.
    • Sonic's love for chili dogs in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has been more tightly integrated into the official canon in the past few years; there's a chili dog salesman in Unleashed, Sonic is summoned with two in-hand in the opening of Black Knight, and he's given one as his birthday present from Tails in Generations.
  • Cartoony Tail: Tails has two tails that enable him to fly like a helicopter when he spins them. There's no indication of how this is anatomically possible.
  • Casino Park: The Trope Namer, from Sonic Heroes, but most games feature a casino level anyway.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: While the early games were lighthearted, cartoony games, the series started shifting into a more serious, shonen-anime like tone with the Sonic Adventure duology. Sonic Heroes briefly went back to a more cartoony tone (sans the Last Story), only for the series to reach the epitome of its Cerebus Syndrome with Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Due to complaints about this, Sega has been consciously going back to the series' more lighthearted, cartoony roots, with hints of it in Sonic Unleashed (despite still taking itself seriously), and officially starting with Sonic Colors. With that being said, Sonic Generations may have some darker, serious moments at points — although it still has much of the series' lightheartedness still on board to balance it out. After all, it is a milestone game for the whole series. As of Sonic Lost World, Sega seems to be taking the series back in a more serious direction, as the game has some dark moments and the tone is closer to the Sonic Adventure games, and Sonic Forces is the darkest the series has been outside SA2.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: What bosses in 2D Sonic games do when they run out of hitpoints.
  • Chaos Architecture: Good luck trying to find a consistent model or design for recurring locations in the Sonic series. Take Angel Island, for example, the recurring Floating Continent and home of the Master Emerald; it's gone through several different designs over the series, and most notably it was significantly shrunk down in size in the Adventure series.
  • Cheeky Mouth: Most Sonic characters exhibit this occasionally. Not as a cost-cutting animation measure, mind you, but actually as a signature style that has stayed with Sonic since his first appearance. The trope is even ubiquitous enough to occur on 3D models, such as the trope picture above. Needless to say, whichever cheek is most visible to the viewer will usually be where the mouth is.
  • Color-Coded Stones: Both played straight and averted. The Master Emerald, which stands alone, is green. The Chaos Emeralds are a set of seven; only one is green and the others are differentiated by color. Given the Real Life example below, they should probably be called Chaos Beryl instead.
  • Combat Parkour: Sonic takes full advantage of his speed and agility to flip and bound around badniks and Eggman's mechanical creations, expertly weaving between and around attacks before either striking them directly or kicking their missiles back at them. The parkour-like aspects of his fighting style are more apparent in cutscenes and in the animated adaptions.
  • Comeback Mechanic: The games that support multiplayer races will usually have a feature that swaps two players' locations in the stage. Sometimes, it's a hidden item, and sometimes, it's a character's ability. Naturally, this is only useful to a player who's fallen behind.
  • Compilation Re-release: Practically all of the original games from the Genesis and Master System up to the Dreamcast were re-released on later (non-Sega) consoles in some form or another.
  • Conjoined Eyes: Most of the hedgehogs.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Almost every Sonic game since Adventure resets your score to zero every time you die, almost assuring a bad rank if you're far enough into a stage.
    • Sonic Colors doesn't reset your score but unfortunately, it doesn't reset the time back to 0:00 (or whatever it was when you most recently hit a checkpoint) either. It continues from what it was when you died. So it's still painful.
  • Continuity Creep: Continuity was increased heavily around Sonic Adventure, with several plot points often hinging on those of previous games. However, this was inverted from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) onward, since the games from that point on have been much less connected to one another aside from offhand nods.
  • Continuity Nod: As of Sonic Adventure, the Sonic series now makes frequent nods to previous games. Sonic Chronicles in particular is full-on Continuity Porn.
  • Cool Airship: The Egg Carrier from Sonic Adventure, as well as Eggman's Eggmobile hovership that he uses at every possible opportunity. (Bonus points for Eggman's Eggmobile being an installable cockpit for many of his mecha.)
  • Cool Plane: The Tornado and the Egg Carrier.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: It has repeatedly happened that Eggman suddenly finds himself out of his league when his schemes provoke godlike horrors, such as Perfect Chaos, Dark Gaia, and Solaris, and Sonic has to go Super to bail Earth — and Eggman — out of the mess the doctor had caused.
  • Credits Medley: One of the oldest examples of this trope in videogames. The 16-bit games traditionally replay the whole soundtrack over the credits.
  • Crosshair Aware
  • Crossover: Thanks to the Olympic Games series, Sonic has one with the Super Mario Bros. franchise, its historic rival.
    • Sonic characters also crossover with other Sega characters in the Tennis and All-Stars Racing installments of the Sega Superstars series.
    • Sanrio and Sega have also collaborated with Sanrio characters dressed up in Sonic outfits in honor of the series' 25th Anniversary.
    • In the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Let's Meet Sonic", Sonic and Tails visit Lakewood Plaza Turbo and help KO fight Lord Boxman.
  • Cultural Translation: Subtle but still there. Some of the classic designs were changed a bit outside of Japan, in the official art. For example, Sonic was given a mohawk, his eyebrows became more expressive (which was carried onto Adventure everywhere), and he became slightly more built, while Tails became more stereotypically cute (chubbier, rounder, shorter snout, shorter fur, belly fur combed flat, etc).
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Eggman shows an incredible talent in weaponry, vehicle, and robot design, and an ability to mass-produce many of these designs. Of course, even if he doesn't want to sell his inventions, he also shows a fondness for casino and theme park designs, and could probably gain a lot of money and influence just by entertaining people.
    • In Sonic Colors, even our heroic duo admit that they'd happily pay to enjoy Eggman's new theme park for a while... if it wasn't such a painfully obvious trap, of course.
    • He actually does cash in on his inventions in Sonic Battle and Sonic Riders. In the former, he sells generic versions of his E-100 Series models as security droids, and in the latter, he runs Robotnik Inc. which provides a good handful of the Extreme Gear of the first game including, hilariously enough, the personalized gears of roughly half the cast. He also runs the security service Meteor Tech which, while having an ulterior motive in the end, did seem to legitimately provide security services for Future City and the rest of the continent it resides on.
  • Darker and Edgier: Shadow the Hedgehog and his self-titled game, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Adventure 2, even, what with its themes of revenge, government conspiracies, military weapons projects, and apocalyptic scenarios.
    • Sonic Adventure turns darker and edgier towards the end.
    • Preceded by Sonic CD, which possessed numerous Bad Futures, and had a much more downbeat tone than any of the Genesis titles.
    • SatAM was darker than the games to the point of being an In Name Only adaptation.
    • The second Sonic X series (third season outside of Japan) was darker than the first one. And before that, the Sonic Adventure 2 adaptation was darker than rest of the show.
    • And then there's Sonic Forces, in which Eggman has conquered the world and... it's not a pleasant place to live. Nor will it remain habitable for much longer if Eggman is allowed to remain in power.
  • Death by Origin Story: Maria and Gerald Robotnik for Shadow.
  • Death Course: Even in the middle of nowhere, out in the ocean or in the middle of a forest, Sonic and the gang will inevitably cross paths with crates, spikes, drills, and other nasty hazards.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Almost every enemy that is defeated throughout the series explodes, from Badniks that explode in a puff of smoke as the animal inside is freed to Eggman's various boss machines that fall apart as explosions engulf them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The gang's usual method for making new friends. Happened with Knuckles, The Chaotix, Gamma, Shadow, Rouge, Silver, and Blaze.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: In the classic games, a number of bosses can be defeated more quickly by getting hit, recovering at least one of the spilled rings, and taking advantage of the remaining Mercy Invincibility to get hits on the boss, bypassing their defenses.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Every character in Sonic the Hedgehog who isn't Sonic, Tails, or Eggman had this happen to them to varying degrees. Between Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Boom in 2014, the only playable appearance by a character other than Sonic were Tails and Metal Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 2, as well as Tails piloting vehicles in bonus stages of Sonic Rush Adventure and Sonic Lost World. Some other characters were playable in the spin-off game Sonic Rivals 2 (2007).
    • Knuckles and Shadow were not in Sonic Unleashed, and the two and Amy didn't appear in the Wii version of Sonic Colors. The setting of the latter game logically prevented appearances from other characters, but the DS version inserted random cameos of most of the cast. This continued the trend of other supporting characters solely making cameos in most in other games.
    • The Chaos Emeralds also go from being a central plot point of the series to an optional extra sidequest in both versions of Sonic Colors, although this is averted for Chaos Emeralds on the DS port. Gathering all of them allows you to access the True Final Boss and also to witness the Golden Ending.
    • Tails does get substantial time as a supporting character even in the games he is not playable in, but considering in-story he is Sonic's partner in heroism, his gameplay role still seems limited. For example, in the standalone Sonic & Knuckles, he only appears in the closing cutscene if the game is played as Sonic.
    • Chaos has no real role in Sonic Battle's plot; his appearance is just for the sake of having Emerl copy skills from him.
    • Flickies for Sonic the Hedgehog CD, where they can be seen on Little Planet, yet are not relevant to the badniks like in the other classic games (instead, flowers pop out of them).
    • The wisps in general in Sonic Lost World, since there is no explanation for their presence. One kind of them, the White Wisps, just get cameos since Sonic does not need them to boost.
    • Classic Sonic rarely appears in newer games because as far as Sega is concerned, he and Modern Sonic are one and the same. They have a mandate that the former can't appear alongside Modern Sonic in either newer games or in merchandise unless a time travel explanation is involved (which was the case in Sonic Generations).
  • Depending on the Writer: Whether Amy is a borderline-abusive Stalker with a Crush or just a girl working with Sonic who happens to have feelings for Sonic varies depending on the game, although recent games have (thankfully) gone for the later route.
  • Derivative Differentiation: The Sonic series was obviously influenced by Super Mario Bros., but in contrast to Mario's strategic, defensive platforming, Sonic's gameplay usually leans more towards casual, heavily streamlined platforming romps with rollercoaster/pinball like physics and design with emphasis put on maintaining speed and precision timing more than anything else, with occasional standard, slower platforming, combat, puzzles, and minigames sandwiched in.
  • Detective Animal: Team Chaotix, which was reintroduced in Sonic Heroes as the Chaotix Detective Agency.
  • Detonation Moon: In Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Deus ex Machina: The Chaos Emeralds have frequently served as an 11th-Hour Superpower source for the heroes ever since the first Sonic Adventure.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Common in the 2D games.
  • Disney School of Acting and Mime: The earlier games avoid this, but the games from Sonic Adventure 2 and onward starting relying on broad acting gestures like these.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The 8- and 16-bit games are well-known for their final stages being Boss Only Levels with no Rings, forcing you to defeat the Final Bosses without getting hit.
  • Duel Boss: Shadow, General Raxis, and Pir'Oth Ix's Super State in Sonic Chronicles.
  • Dummied Out: Can be considered a Trope Codifier. Every game in the series has something major in it missing, and sometimes new games are born from those scrapped elements.
  • Eagle Land: Arguably, this is the idea behind Sonic's character design. He is a mishmash of different western Funny Animals (in fact, in one of his earliest character concepts, he was a grey rabbit with a bowtie, and his body and head shape were reminiscent of Felix the Cat), he is the same color as the American flag (but recent information points that his trainers were made red and white to match Santa Claus' colour scheme), and his 90s snarky, aloof attitude and penchant for XTREME hobbies were distinctly non-Japanese. (He also speaks in Engrish in the Japanese version.) He also has a tendency to roam the lands randomly helping people, not unlike wild western heroes like Shane. All of this was intentional on Sega's part, since the Japanese branch knew that the Genesis (and to a lesser extent, the Master System) sold more in America than in their own country, and with Nintendo's Super Famicom looming on the horizon, they knew they would need some kind of hook to keep from being trounced internationally.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The original Sonic games were much more cartoony than the later entries, and the original game only had six emeralds, no Super Sonic, and no spin-dash as well as the "Spike Bug". Even if you had mercy invincibility, landing on spikes would kill Sonic.
    • Gameplay mechanics and art style differences aside, the original US branch of Sonic had a distinctive backstory from the Japanese continuity of the games, as presented in the Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic, which the original Sonic Bible did consider to be the series canon backstory by Sega of America of the time. This included differences like there being seven Chaos Emeralds from the beginning, Sonic initially being brown and having regular quills until he ran so fast one day that the heat fused his quills together and changed his color to cobalt blue, Dr. Robotnik starting off as a good man named Ovi Kintobor (who was even a friend to Sonic and built him specialized shoes to protect himself from the heat of the high friction speed he could achieve), until he unwittingly turned himself into the evil Ivo Robotnik via a malfunctioning invention of his. This was either ignored or forgotten over time, but it was eventually nullified once Sega of Japan decided that the US branch of Sonic should share the same canon as the Japanese games, starting with Sonic Adventure and on.
  • Elemental Powers - Not crucial to the characters, but they show up from time to time:
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Super/Hyper/Darkspine/Whatever versions of the core Sonic Trio (and Shadow/Silver/Blaze).
  • The Empire: The Eggman Empire.
  • Enemy Mine: Sonic Adventure 2's memorable Cannon's Core level.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Generally, every 100 rings in a level and 50,000 points overall will give the player an extra life, though that has varied.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Most notable ones will cause temporary invincibility in several games.
  • Evil Laugh: Robotnik's weird "Ohohohohoho!" along with Shadow's maniacal laughter in his own game as well as Mephiles in Sonic '06.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of the games in the series (mainly the pre-Sonic Adventure games and the more recent entries from Sonic Colors and onward) rely in paper-thin stories that amount to "Save the world from the bad guy and his evil robots!"
  • Exposition Fairy: Started out as the Floating Advice Reminder, then turned to the actual characters themselves noting your abilities, usually the NPC secondary characters.
  • Expy:
    • Rouge the Bat is basically an animal take on Morrigan from Darkstalkers.
    • The Nocturnus are very similar to the group of Echidnas, the Dark Legion, from the Archie Comics, and Shade is similar to Julie-Su, and their home dimension "The Twilight Cage" has a similar name to the Dark Legion's dimension "The Twilight Zone". Ix also looks similar to the Sonic the Comic character Dr. Zachary, and Archie's version Dr. Finitevus.
    • The Ifrit in Sonic Rivals 2 is very clearly an expy of Iblis. Like Iblis, the Ifrit is an immortal fire monster named after a djinn in Middle Eastern mythology, and who is responsible for destroying the world in Silver's future. Even their designs are similar, with the Ifrit resembling a winged version of one of Iblis' forms.
  • Faceship: Dr. Eggman builds a lot of these with his face on them, most notably the Death Egg.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Eggman never succeeds at any of his plans in the long run, either due to Sonic getting in the way, or because whatever force he's using spirals out of his control, and whatever little victories he does earn now and then are short term at best. Eggman Nega in Sonic Rivals reveals that he will never succeed, and that his failures ruin the Robotnik name.
  • Family Theme Naming: There's a small family all named after dairy products: Cream the Rabbit; her mother, Vanilla, and her Chao, Cheese. Other Chao associated with Cream were named Chocola and Milk.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The series features numerous different elements of fantasy mashed together, from ancient long forgotten civilizations with powerful demigods, aliens that can range from evil to friendly, superhero and shonen anime elements, light science fiction hallmarks, ghosts, monsters, magical artifacts, mutants, storybook characters, "Ghost in the Shell" type stories (i.e. the story arc of Gamma in Sonic Adventure) and so on.
  • Fanservice: Rouge the Bat.
  • Fastball Special: Sonic seems to make a natural projectile. Very common in Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Heroes.
  • Fictional Earth: The games takes place on Earth, however the geography is completely different and countries are replaced with fantasy versions.
  • Fireballs: From the Marble Zone of the first game to the latest Sonic games.
  • Flash of Pain: Bosses in the 2D Sonic games tend to do that.
  • Floating Advice Reminder: Started in the Sonic Adventure games with Tikal and Omochao, then exploded from there.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The ending sequences to many 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games feature Sonic (or Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, etc.) jumping towards the player and posing while suspended in air. Sonic the Hedgehog 2's ending is the most notable: both Tails's plane and (Super) Sonic fly away from the player only to come back head first.
  • Follow the Money: Often, rings lead you somewhere. In the 3D games, it's often even possible to perform a light speed dash, which makes Sonic follow a path made out of rings.
    • The rings have been put into arrow formation in most games right up to Colors as a way of making this trope even more obvious.
  • Free-Range Children: Most of the characters are minors (Tails is 8, Amy is 12, Sonic is 15, etc.), and very few of them have legal guardians. Cream (6) lives with her mother Vanilla, Charmy and Espio have Vector, and Blaze is a princess and is stated to have a living family, though they are unseen. In some cases, an explanation is given; Tails is an orphan, and Knuckles is the last of his species. The rest are unexplained.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Used by numerous bosses throughout the series.

  • Gainaxing: This becomes more prevalent in later games, but especially with Rouge the Bat and her ample "assets".
  • Game Mod: Fan reprogramming of the series has become so developed and widespread that parts of SEGA themselves have started to approve it. SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub even has built in compatibility with fan mods.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In 3D games, all the loops and rings and other items are strangely absent during cutscenes.
  • Gameplay Roulette: The main console games starting with Sonic Adventure have been infamous for this. They have steadily gotten better with this, since Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations only feature two styles of gameplay, and Sonic Colors averts it completely.
  • Glowing Gem: Both the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald frequently glow, particularly when used to give power to someone or something.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Robotnik gained a pair of them in Sonic Adventure and, aside from a brief moment in Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), never used them, maybe because he has the aforementioned Scary Shiny Glasses.
  • Gratuitous English: Once Sonic got a voice, though in all fairness, his 'tude pretty much justified it. See here for more.
  • Gravity Barrier
  • Green Aesop: This is what the series used to revolve around, with Sonic functioning as a nomadic Nature Hero of sorts. Unlike most examples of the latter trope, he is quick to utilize technology to fulfill any tasks he needs to do, but he still seems to carry disdain for Eggman's wanton environmental destruction. Unlike most examples of the former trope, the Aesop was actually subtle.
    • This is taken to its apex in Sonic CD, where Sonic has the ability to prevent Robotnik from turning the future into a post-apocalyptic, mechanized hell by defeating certain robots in the past. One of the cartoons, Sonic Sat AM, would take the green overtones of the games and expand on them.
      • CD also showed that, utilized properly, technology could benefit the environment via the Good Futures, which showed nature and technology working in harmony.
    • Every continent you visit in Sonic Unleashed is beautiful... then you get to EggmanLand.
    • The general aesthetics of the games, especially the earliest ones (and levels of later games that draw inspiration from them) plays with this trope, as the "nature" Sonic is protecting appears to already be pretty artificial already (such as being made up of geometric shapes or the ground having that checkerboard pattern on them).
  • Green Hill Zone: Trope Namer, and sometimes used as a Nostalgia Level.
  • Growing with the Audience: The series started doing this with Sonic Adventure. Both it and its successor represented a time when the original Sonic fanbase was now older, and thus they started to appeal to the older fans. The original "standard cartoon game" aesthetic of the original games was replaced with a darker, more realistic bent. The stories went from "save the world from goofy mad scientist" to complex epics involving themes such as genocide, growing up, and corrupt governments. This continued until Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), at which point the ire towards Sonic's stories getting needlessly convoluted and dark forced Sega to reverse the trend.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Sonic and friends have always triumphed over Eggman and whatever villain rears their ugly head in the end, no exceptions. At worst, they'll just temporarily incapacitate him. Even killing him, which Mephiles the Dark succeeded in doing in Sonic 2006, was a short-term setback for Sonic thanks to the Chaos Emeralds. The Archie Comics even have this enforced on them due to mandates that none of the core cast are allowed to die and Sonic is never allowed to suffer a long term defeat — even if Eggman gets the upper hand over him on occasion, Sonic always has to overcome him in the following issue.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Generally, the bosses in the series are easier than the levels, save for a few Wake Up Call Bosses.
  • #HashtagForLaughs: Since 2015 and under the influence of a new PR team, the social accounts started posting more silly and self-aware posts, as well as being more involved with their fans. On their Tumblr account, the posts are usually followed by funny tags telling how their office life is, asking the followers to send drawings of their coworker "Angry Sandra", or teasing the development of Big's Big Fishing Adventure 3.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Tails constantly reminding you to save your game in Sonic Chronicles. You can tell him to stop doing that, though. It won't stop him, but you can.
  • Helpful Mook: Many airborne enemies throughout the series like to position themselves so that Sonic could homing attack through them to the place he needs to go.
  • Hijacked by Ganon/Make Way for the New Villains/The Man Behind the Man: The games started using these kind of twists once the series made the leap to 3D;
    • Sonic Adventure was the catalyst of this trend; Chaos, who Eggman had planned to exploit to destroy Station Square and build Robotnikland, ends up becoming the real threat of the game.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald Robotnik, despite being dead, ends up becoming the major threat, with his Eclipse Cannon being rigged to destroy the Earth via Colony Drop if it got the Chaos Emeralds put into it.
    • In Sonic Heroes, Metal Sonic is revealed to be the true villain, having imprisoned Eggman and impersonated him, pulling strings so that he could copy the data of all four teams, all as part of his scheme to get revenge on Sonic.
    • In Sonic Battle, Emerl, the robot you were training the whole game, becomes the game's final boss after Eggman drives him berserk with the Final Egg Blaster.
    • In Sonic Advance 3, if you collect all the Emeralds and beat Altar Emerald's boss, Gemerl (a robot that was built from the remains of Emerl) turns against Eggman, steals the Emeralds from you and transforms into a new form, forcing Super Sonic and Eggman to team up in order to defeat it.
    • In Sonic 2006, Mephiles the Dark, who was originally Solaris until he was split between himself and Iblis, kills Sonic, which makes Princess Elise cry, which unleashes Iblis and allows Mephiles to merge with it back into Solaris, which nearly leads to the space time continium getting destroyed. Eggman is an ant compared to the threat he poses in this game.
    • In Sonic Rush Adventure, Eggman and Eggman Nega turn out to be the real threat behind Captain Whisker.
    • In Sonic and the Black Knight, Merlina is the cause behind everything that's going on in the game.
    • In Sonic Free Riders, Eggman is the main threat of the game as usual, but for the final race, Metal Sonic pulls this trope a second time by briefly taking the center stage, having gone behind Eggman's back by disguising himself as another robot so he could secretly study the other racers, and then challenge Sonic to a one-on-one race by using all the data he compiled to his advantage.
    • In Sonic Generations, Modern Eggman and Classic Eggman are controlling the Time Eater.
    • Sonic Lost World has Sonic and Eggman team up for an Enemy Mine early in the game, Eggman looking upstaged by the game's villains for the bulk of the game, but at the start of the last area, Eggman fakes his death and sneaks off to complete his final mech in time to be the game's final boss.
  • Homage:
    • Super Sonic is a throwback to Dragon Ball Z.
    • The Death Egg is, of course, a Star Wars reference. The Eclipse Cannon likewise brings the Death Star to mind.
  • Hover Board: The Extreme Gear in the Sonic Riders series.
  • Hover Skates: Shadow wears a pair.
  • Hub Level: Knuckles' Chaotix, Sonic Adventure, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic Advance 3, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Generations.
  • Huge Holographic Head
  • Humanlike Hand Anatomy: The characters have a strange variation of this; their hands are human-like, but their feet are very... not human, but not exactly those of their derived species, either. Their feet are just... ovals. No features, no toes, nothing. They look like ovaloids flattened on the sole part. Note that most of the characters wear shoes anyway, so you rarely have to behold their flipper feet.
    • This has somewhat changed in Sonic Forces, where if the avatar character is wearing sandals, he/she is shown with only one toe on each foot.
  • Image Song: Since Adventure, every main 3D installment gives at least each player character one of these.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Sonic and Dr. Eggman were the only characters introduced in the first game. Sonic's most well-known friends, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose, were introduced respectively in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: The series has many bosses defeated in this manner.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: They are seen throughout various levels in the series.
  • I Have Many Names: Apparently, whether it's "Eggman" or "Robotnik". Outside of Japan, it's both as of Sonic Adventure games. Said game established that Robotnik is his true name, while Eggman is an alias. Sonic Adventure 2 also hinted (but didn't outright confirm) that this is true in Japan as well, by giving his grandfather the name Gerald Robotnik.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own
  • Informed Ability: Sonic's speed is sometimes this relative to the other main characters, especially in the older games before the characters' abilities had speciated as much. For instance, some of the earlier games contain situations where Knuckles, Tails, and even Robotnik can run as fast as Sonic. Tails can still fly as fast as Sonic runs, but they make sure it looks like he's flying. Not running.
    • Especially prominent in the 2D games. In every single one before Sonic Advance 3, all characters share the exact same running and jumping physics, with the sole exception of Knuckles having a lower jump in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Amy not being able to curl into a ball in Sonic Advance.
    • Adverted in most 3D games, where Sonic is noticeably faster than the rest of the cast as a result of Divergent Character Evolution. (Except when he's not.)
  • Informed Flaw: Eggman is no doubt fat, but it's often said to be from overeating, and we have only seen him actually eat once. Then again, he took down a twelve inch sandwich in two bites during that one instance, so this has some merit. He probably eats offscreen.
  • Informed Species:
    • Sonic barely resembles a real hedgehog. The same goes for every other hedgehog character — Shadow, Amy, Silver, and others.
    • Knuckles looks nothing like an echidna (different snout, quillocks, etc) but as the most famous echidna in popular culture, he gets away with it better.
    • Charmy the Bee, Mighty the Armadillo, Wave the Swallow, Jet the Hawk, Storm the Albatross, Rogue the Bat, and many, many others don’t resemble their species. Some of them even look like humans in costumes.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Let's start with the fact that Sonic, a hedgehog, is friends with a two-tailed fox and an echidna. Foxes actually have been known to eat hedgehogs in real life. There was also Shadow the Hedgehog's sibling-like relationship with Maria, who was human.
  • Insistent Terminology: The early games' manuals were insistent that getting hit with no rings would cause you to lose a "try."
  • Insult Backfire: Outside of Japan, Robotnik's "Eggman" name was first used by Sonic as an insult in the original Sonic Adventure, and Robotnik promptly corrected him that his name was Robotnik, not Eggman. By Sonic Adventure 2, he's embraced the nickname, presumably because he wanted to use the name "Eggman Empire". Or maybe he embraced it earlier than that, considering he uses it as a password on board the Egg Carrier in the first Adventure game.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Present in many Sonic games, whether in classic "starman" fashion from item boxes, to some variations like the purple wisp in Sonic Colors Wii.
  • Invisible Anatomy: The anthropomorphic characters have five fingers, but oddly enough, have no toes. This especially shows with Big and Tikal, who wear sandals. Human characters, on the other hand, do have toes.
    • In Sonic Forces, the avatar character can be seen with only one toe on each foot if he/she is wearing sandals.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Knuckles has some really odd, if not outright boneheaded, ways of protecting the Master Emerald from thieves.
  • Kaizo Trap: The Egg Viper in Video Game/Sonic Adventure and Death Egg Robot from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will crash through the floor after you beat them, and send you falling to your doom if you don't get out of the way (in the case of the Egg Viper) or hit it one last time (in the case of the Death Egg Robot).
  • The Kiddie Ride: The infamous Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car (and less famous Sonic Cosmo Fighter) are actually kiddie rides imbued with a monitor and controls for playing a simple game while the ride is in motion. System 16, an arcade board site, classifies these rides as Sega Kiddy Ride Hardware[1], and notes that in reality they're usually powered by a Sega C-2 or ST-V board.
  • Killed Off for Real: E-102 Gamma remains dead as of Sonic Adventure.
  • Kill Sat:
    • The Death Egg.
    • The ARK. Of course, when the "Kill Sat" part fails (and due to the machinations of Professor Gerald Robotnik), it's Colony Drop time.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Omega once commented on the size of Eggman's ridiculously huge bases with:
    "ERROR! Unable to determine how a base this size has gone undetected. ERROR!"
  • Last of His Kind: Knuckles.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The games from Sonic Adventure and on took the series in very different directions both in tone and gameplay, especially in the mid-2000s. Having human characters appear on a regular basis, the tone generally becoming more serious, the Chaos Emeralds being significantly played up in importance, and having new superpowered villains taking the center stage away from Eggman are just some of the many ways the later games contrast the Classic era of the series.
  • Law of 100
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The Death Egg for the Death Star.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: First came Sonic vs. Knuckles, then came Sonic vs. Shadow, then came Sonic vs. whoever Sega decided to pit him against for that game. Spilled over into the comics, as well, with some very painful results.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Classic Era Sonic in contrast to many of the Modern Era Sonic games is much more lighthearted, surrealistic and wacky in tone. It's safe to say that characters like Chaos, G.U.N., Shadow, Black Doom, Mephiles the Dark/Iblis and Dark Gaia do not exist in that timeline.
  • Limited Wardrobe: With the exception of spinoffs such as the Sonic Riders games, the characters generally stick to their usual attire.
  • Live Item: The small animals that power Eggman's badniks in the Sonic Adventure titles.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: To an extent; many of the later titles feature an excessive amount of key characters, albeit usually from the same pile of a dozen or so, with some one-shots as well. It's more a case of Loads and Loads of Main Characters. Recent games have cut down on this, however, mainly focusing on Sonic, Tails, Eggman, Orbot, and Cubot, while other characters play minor roles.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is infamous for this.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover:
    • Happened in 1998 with the Sonic Adventure reboot; many characters like Fang the Sniper were removed in favor of new characters like Shadow and Blaze.
    • Happened again to a lesser extent in 2008 with Sonic Unleashed and the games after that point. While other characters are still present, their roles were greatly minimized, with Sonic himself being the only playable character, and the plots focusing on Sonic, Tails, Eggman, and newcomers Orbot & Cubot, with a few one-off characters that serve as plot devices.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Robotnik/Eggman's face has showed up on everything from Mecha-Mooks to spacecraft.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Sonic the Hedgehog himself, the Trope Namer
  • Meaningful Name: Practically everyone has one. Sonic is faster than sound, Knuckles has spikes on his fists, etc.
  • Made of Iron: Everyone is; it seems to be a part of the way creatures function in-universe. Few machines can compete with their durability.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future...: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was horrible about this. Characters will shout "WE'VE GOT TO HURRY!" and run as fast as they can... to save somebody 200 years in the past.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Eggman loves them.
  • Mercy Invincibility: As long as you had at least one ring or shield to your name, this'll kick in when you're hit... unless you're bouncing on spikes in the first version of the original game.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Chaos Emeralds. Generally, no matter what the world-threatening danger is, the Chaos Emeralds will either unleash it or stop it. Or both.
    • Also the Time Stones, Chaos Rings, Master Emerald, Super Emeralds, Sol Emeralds, World Rings...
  • Mixed Animal Species Team: The franchise features a lot of different animal teams over the years in it's different iterations such as Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, Team Chaotix, the Freedom Fighting groups, and etc.
  • Mood Whiplash: Pretty much a staple of the series itself. Things can go from humorously comedic to dark and apocolyptic in a manner of moments.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Robotnik, with his grandfather Gerald providing a Face–Heel Turn variant.
  • Motion Blur: He's even nicknamed "The Blue Blur". In some of the 3D games, Sonic can create a blur by Spin Dashing. In fact, everyone who can use the Homing Attack has their own motion blur.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rouge the Bat was a bizarre attempt at trying to introduce this kind of character into a series otherwise aimed at kids. Her design is basically if you took Morrigan from Darkstalkers and turned her into a cartoon bat. Besides her exposed cleavage and tight-fitting jumpsuit (which could be replaced with an even more skimpy outfit in the original Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2), she even acts promiscuous and flirty with the other characters. The tie-in series like Sonic X did not shy away from this aspect of her character.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Dr. Eggman Nega. In Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, he's Eggman from a parallel universe. In the Sonic Rivals games, however, he's Eggman's descendant from 200 years in the future.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The games, animated series, and merchandising have all long been popular across many ages and both genders. This is probably at least in part due to the fact that many of the people who played the original games in the early nineties are now in their twenties and it's nostalgia setting in.
  • Multiple Endings: Dates all the way back to the first game, though it wasn't until Sonic 3 & Knuckles that the difference was of any significance. Shadow the Hedgehog has 10 different endings, plus the final ending, and 326 total ways to complete the game.
  • Mythology Gag: Sonic's favorite food is chili dogs. This was created by DiC for the cartoons. Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Unleashed are full of them. He's also seen eating two in the beginning of Sonic and The Black Knight.

  • No Conservation of Energy
  • No Ending: Combined with Sequel Hook. Sonic Chronicles ends with Sonic and friends learning that Eggman has taken over the world. And then they thank Bioware for being awesome.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Takashi Iizuka said in a 2017 interview that Eggman blowing up half the moon in Sonic Adventure 2 did not affect the world's tides, even though by all accounts it should have caused catastrophic flooding worldwide.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Rouge the Bat, being an animal take on Morrigan, is an anomaly in the otherwise noodle-limbed character designs in the series, since she has a much more anthropomorphic figure, complete with human-like breasts and legs suggesting actual anatomy.
  • Noodle People: Nearly everyone.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Some of the more recent entries are sometimes criticized for having too much running and not enough platforming.
    • Conversely, the games that tend to receive this criticism generally feature more alternate paths and collectable items than earlier 3D games.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Robotnik's Santa-esque chuckle.
  • Nostalgia Level: The extra 3D version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog's Green Hill Zone in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • There are also Nostalgia Bosses in Sonic Advance, in the form of Sonic 1 and 2's first bosses in the X-Zone.
    • Sunset Hill Zone from Sonic Advance 3 certainly qualifies. It even has the music!
    • The final level in Sonic Chronicles can apply sorta. It has a remixed version of the Final Boss fight music from Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • Sonic Battle has Green Hill Zone as an unlockable stage.
    • Sky Sanctuary Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles features two Nostalgia Bosses. Mecha Sonic shows up piloting the boss vehicles from the first zone of Sonic the Hedgehog and the eighth zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before you fight him quill-to-quill.
      • And said hog-to-mecha-hog fight shares some patterns with the Sonic 2 version of Mecha Sonic (aka Silver Sonic).
    • Sonic Rush Adventure's Hidden Island 16 is a remake of Act 1 of Leaf Storm, the first zone of Sonic Rush.
    • Wave Ocean from 06 is very much like Emerald Coast in Adventure 1, intentionally of course. Both are beach levels with a lighthouse, and feature Sonic getting chased across a bridge by an orca.
      • Adabat's levels in Sonic Unleashed are very similar to Emerald Coast and Wave Ocean, though without any chase scene.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is pretty much a Nostalgia Game, particularly Episode I whose levels and even bosses are generally inspired by various areas from the first two games.
    • Taken to Up to Eleven levels in Sonic Generations; you have 2.5D and 3D re-imaginings of levels from almost every major game from Sonic 1 to Colors. You also have Sonic, Tails, and Eggman in their classic looks, with Sonic being voiceless, and Metal Sonic returns as a boss.
    • Sonic Forces has a Green Hill Zone covered in sand, and Shadow's levels remix music from Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Sonic has been around long enough to have had major changes to his voice and physique, and only vaguely remember his earliest adventures. But Modern Sonic is officially 15 both before and after his 'birthday' in the beginning of Sonic Generations.
  • Obvious Beta: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Boom Rise Of Lyric. To ridiculous levels.
  • Once per Episode: Once the characters started to have voice actors by Sonic Adventure, the line "Long time no see!" is always uttered at least once in every game.
  • Off-Model: This Pakistan McDonald's commercial has gained some infamy for it.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: No matter how much havoc Sonic wreaks on Robotnik's bases, he's always got enough badniks, eternal engines, and wave motion guns for another world domination bid come next game. It reached a peak in Sonic Adventure, where after Sonic and co. spend the entire game taking down the Egg Carrier, he shows up with another Egg Carrier to try and subdue Chaos.
    • Further still, in Sonic Unleashed, he produces a giant fleet of space battleships solely as bait for Super Sonic.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: The series has a nasty habit of foreshadowing events of games that are only playable on other consoles, especially with the Wii. Liked Sonic Colors and want to play the direct sequel Sonic Generations? If your PC isn't built for gaming, then enjoy shilling out triple-digit monetary values for a 360 or PS3. If you bought Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I on WiiWare and want to play Episode II? Same deal (and to unlock Episode Metal will cost even more!).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Assuming they have no rings, every character would count as this, but this is not the case. Final Zone and Death Egg Zone in Sonic 1 and 2, respectively, have no rings whatsoever, effectively rendering Sonic a One Hit Point Wonder for the final confrontations. The 8-bit versions of Sonic 1 and 2 took this even further by offering no rings for any of the boss encounters.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Many people don't remember that Tails' real name is Miles Prower.
    • Eggman/Robotnik was retconned in later installments to be Robotnik nicknamed Eggman. Naturally, the Eggman name is used a lot more than the Robotnik one, even by himself.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Sonic the Werehog.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Present throughout all of the 2D games where a Down the Drain, Underwater Ruins, or Under the Sea level is present. Also exists in Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations.
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Outside of alternate media, this is the default rule for non-human characters in the Sonic franchise. The one exception comes in Sonic Forces. By default, the male avatar is naked and the female one wears a bodysuit, but not only is it possible to fully dress a male avatar, but also if you select a body tattoo or fur pattern for a bodysuit, you can have a pantsless (or nude) female avatar.
  • Panty Shot: In some games, the player can catch a rare glimpse of Amy and Cream's white panties under their skirts. Except for Sonic the Fighters, where she has no panties.
  • People Jars: Dr. Robotnik captures animals and stores them in capsules, which act as Jars. His main use for them is to brainwash them to control his robots for him, so the robots somewhat act as Jars as well. In both cases, Sonic and the gang can free them; the capsules have a switch, while the robots can be destroyed and the animal within will be fine.
  • Physical God: Chaos the God of Destruction, Illumina the Goddess of Dreams, the Master Emerald, Chip a.k.a. Light Gaia, Solaris, and possibly Emerl who is also referred to as a God, even though he's artificial.
  • Pinball Spinoff: Sonic Spinball and Sonic Pinball Party.
  • Pinball Zone: Almost every game in the series has at least one pinball-themed level, whether a regular level or a Bonus Stage. Despite the "zone", the Trope Namer is not from this series.
    • Act 2 of Casino Street Zone in the iOS version of Sonic 4 is nothing but a pinball machine where you need to get a certain amount of points in order to complete it.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Amy and Sonic, obviously.
  • Planet of Copyhats: Apparently speediness is an anthro trait.
  • Platform Game
  • Plot Coupon: The Chaos Emeralds are used in the games as either collectibles to unlock Super Sonic, or as actual pieces of the plot, with a few games either giving you a bad ending and/or not unlocking the final stage if you don't collect them all. The Master Emerald usually works the same way.
  • Polygon Ceiling: A notable example note : Sega have acknowledged that the 3D Sonic games — up until Sonic Colors — have a (not entirely unfounded) reputation of being plagued with bad camera angles, poor level design, and shaky controls. It's ultimately down to personal opinion as to which of the 3D games is the prime culprit. At the same time, the 2D Advance and Rush series released at the same time were quite highly regarded, which (along with a heavy sense of Retraux) could explain why Sonic Colors includes a lot of 2D platforming.
  • Pop Culture Osmosis: Some evolutionary biologist must have been a Genesis gamer in his or her youth, as one of the genes involved in the development of the feather in birds and teeth in humans has been dubbed "Sonic hedgehog." No, really.
    • On a side note, if that gene gets mutated in any way in fetuses, the fetus will be born with Conjoined Eyes, just like the many hedgehogs in this series.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Masato Nakamura (from the J-pop band Dreams Come True) composed the music for Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Famously, Michael Jackson was supposed to compose for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. What happened then? Nobody quite knows, but everybody has an opinion. Jun Senoue and his band Crush 40 wrote music for several of the 3-D games. R&B musician Akon remixed Dreams Come True's "Sweet Sweet Sweet" for Sonic 2006, Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup performed "Endless Possibilities" from Sonic Unleashed, and Cash Cash performs the main theme for Sonic Colors. This goes all the way to Sonic Forces, where Douglas Robb of Hoobastank wrote and performed "Fist Bump".
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Sonic's various transformations throughout the years.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Macguffins of the series are far more powerful when used by the positive feelings of the cast, as opposed to negative feelings. This trope is especially Anvilicious in Sonic Adventure, Sonic Rush, and Sonic Heroes.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Magnetic Shield, which debuted as the Lightning Shield in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • Power Up Motif: Invincibility powerup has a theme in games where it exists.
  • Prepare to Die: One of Eggman's phrases in Sonic Battle.
  • Private Detective: Vector, Espio, and Charmy were revamped into this role for Sonic Heroes onwards.
  • The Psycho Rangers:
  • Punny Name: Miles "Tails" Prower, and Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik (and his legion of egg-themed machines). Also, Super Sonic.
  • Puzzle Boss
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Reconstruction: Since the flop of Sonic '06, the games seem to be trying to go back to the original Platforming and Speed outlook of the Genesis series.
  • Recurring Riff: In many Sonic games, the main theme of a particular game can be heard throughout the game.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Various characters who started off as foes to Sonic will end up on his side, but still clash against him every now and then. Shadow is a prominent example.
  • Replacement Flat Character:
    • Amy had started as a sweet-natured girl, but during Cream's introduction to the series, she would become more aggressive and short-tempered while still having her nice moments.
    • After Knuckles became more of an ally to Sonic and more of a hot-headed comic relief, Shadow takes the role of the stoic and serious rival from him.
    • Both cases are somewhat of an inversion in that Knuckles and Amy actually underwent Flanderization following the introductions of their "replacements", and were more rounded prior to that.
  • Replay Value: Sonic games generally have a low number of stages compared to most other platformers, which would make the game very short otherwise. What it lacks in stage number is more than made up for in the amount of alternate paths that you can take in getting to the goal. In several games, the replayability is even added to with the Chaos Emeralds, as finding them requires all your exploration ability. Adding onto THAT is the fact that the games were designed with speedruns in mind, encouraging you to replay levels and learn how to get faster and faster times, improving your rank if the game has them.
  • Ret-Canon:
  • Retcon: Thanks to their debut game (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)) undergoing Cosmic Retcon at the end, Blaze and Silver were re-introduced into the series with new origins; Blaze's "new" debut game was Sonic Rush, while Silver's backstory was re-established and re-canonized in Sonic Rivals.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The series, after going 3-D and having elaborate storylines and darker characters, begot Sonic Advance, which played in 2-D and was very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in stage design, game mechanics, and the simple plot of "Dr. Eggman kidnaps animals; Sonic rescues them."
    • Less successful was Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, which was another try at going back to basics. However, its physics made it impossible to play like the old games, making this a failed attempt.
    • This would be remedied, ironically, in a game designed to evolve the series further: Part of the premise of Sonic Generations is that Sonic from the classic games is brought forward in time to the present. Classic Sonic plays very close to the original games, much closer than in Sonic 4, and is near indistinguishable in the 3DS version. Classic Sonic was so well-received, considering the fandom's Broken Base, that Sonic 4: Episode II will be based on Classic Sonic's physics in Sonic Generations.
    • Fully realized with Sonic Mania, built from Christian Whitehead's Retro Engine to replicate 1:1 the classic Sonic physics; designed by long-time fans and modders, the game was a mix of redesigned classic stages with new ones in the style of the original pixel art, answering the question "What if Sonic 3 & Knuckles had a follow-up on the Saturn?". The result was a commercial success and one of the best-reviewed games of 2017.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
  • The Rival: Sonic tends to attract a lot of these characters for various reasons.
    • Originally it was Knuckles. In his debut, Knuckles fought against Sonic & Tails due to manipulations by Dr. Eggman. After Eggman revealed himself as the Big Bad, Knuckles teams up with the duo to stop him. Afterward, probably due to their egos, Sonic & Knuckles clashed for one reason or another, mostly due to the latter being tricked by Eggman into doing so. Their rivalry has kind of dissipated in recent years due to other adversaries showing up and Knuckles becoming more of an ally, but still pops up now and then.
    • Since Sonic & Knuckles were slowly becoming friends, Shadow debuted as the new, darker rival for Sonic. Unlike Knuckles, Shadow was not being tricked into fighting the heroes and was in fact a dangerous foe in his debut. Originally, he didn't pay Sonic much attention outside of accusing him of copying his style, but due to Sonic's tenacity and cheating death, he earned Shadow's respect and acknowledgment as a Worthy Opponent. Even after Shadow's eventual Heel–Face Turn, this dynamic is retained and the two clash quite often before teaming up against a common foe.
      • Debuting alongside Shadow was Rouge the Bat, who served as The Rival to Knuckles. They're both treasure hunters, but it's more of a hobby for Knuckles and he guards the all-powerful Master Emerald instead, while Rouge is an outright thief who attempts to steal it. This dynamic tends to be laced with Foe Yay, though.
    • Blaze was a bit of a rival to Sonic during the first half of Sonic Rush.
    • The Babylon Rogues to Team Heroes in the Sonic Riders series. Jet to Sonic, Wave to Tails, and Storm to Knuckles, respectively. Since the premise of the series is racing, this is a bit more justified; that, and the Rogues are just jerks. Jet definitely takes it the farthest, though, being almost obsessed with proving that he's the fastest there is, and since Sonic is known as "The Fastest Thing Alive"...
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shadow's reaction to Maria's death. Attempt on humanity prevented by Amy. Results in the genocide of the entire Black Arms race, as Black Doom can be considered indirectly responsible for her death.
  • Rolling Attack: Sonic can do that. Often others do rolling attacks too.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In Sonic Adventure 2, Amy of all people stops Shadow's Roaring Rampage of Revenge with a speech about this.
  • Running Gag: There's very few that last more than a single game, but Knuckles getting tricked by Eggman, for one, eventually turned into this.
    • If it's an entirely 2D Sonic game, expect there to be a pit with two springs facing each other in at least one level.
  • San Dimas Time: The level timers in Sonic CD, where you regularly travel hundreds of years through time mid-level on a regular basis. Subverted in that traveling through time will reset the timer to five minutes if the elapsed time was greater than that.
  • Scenery Porn: Sonic games are designed to push the graphical power of any console they're on, whether it be the Genesis/Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Wii, PS3, any console. Special mentions in this regard include the original Genesis games, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Colors. Sonic CD had some Scenery Gorn in its Bad Future stages, though the Good Futures could potentially outdo the past and present with the area showing technology maintaining the environment instead of destroying it.
    • Recent home console titles like Unleashed and Generations use Sonic Team's aptly-named graphics rendering tool, the Hedgehog Engine, which is capable of rendering close-to-CG quality imagery. Whilst graphical output is undoubtedly impressive, the results are definitely best viewed in 60fps and 1080p in the PC version of Generations.
    • Supposedly, on the day that Nintendo unveiled the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (which was also the same day SEGA unveiled the original Sonic game), a reporter went to a SEGA Rep and touted the increased graphical capabilities of the SNES over the Mega Drive; specifically citing the vast increase in the number of colors the system was capable of. The SEGA Rep's response was to take him to a curtained off area, and show him screenshots of Sonic and the latest Mario game, before asking "Who has more colors?"
    • Mystic Ruins from Sonic Adventure is this trope, adapting many of the breathtaking landscapes and sceneries the dev team witnessed on their trip to Central America.
  • Schizo Tech: Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 feature relatively innocuous and modern aesthetics, while just about everything from Sonic Heroes on features clearly futuristic technology.
  • Science Fantasy: The series has always been a big fan of robots and machinery, and has also dabbled in time travel, alternate dimensions, aliens, and artificial life-form creation, while also containing many supernatural elements like the Chaos Emeralds and ancient gods.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: It started with Chaos in Sonic Adventure and has become increasingly more evil, more sealed, and more uncanny from there.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • How many hedgehogs in fiction can you name off the top of your head, much less ones that headline a whole series (porcupines don't count)?
    • Knuckles has the honor of being the only major character in all of mainstream fiction (not counting in-universe characters) to be an echidna, which is already a rather unknown animal.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man. Sonic (manly man) and Tails (sensitive guy)... however, when it comes to Knuckles, Sonic is the Sensitive Guy while Knuckles is the Manly Man.
  • Set Bonus: The Chaos Emeralds in most games. Whether they allow the player to become Super Sonic, view the true ending, or both.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Silver started out overhyped, but since Sonic '06 and the Rivals games, he's pretty much been reduced to being a member of multiplayer rosters.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Shadow has done this twice, once to Black Doom in the final story of Shadow the Hedgehog and later to Mephiles at the end of his story in Sonic 2006.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog makes a lot of cameo appearances in other Sega games. He even appears in the Sega CD and Sega Channel boot up. He is their mascot, and they want you to know it.
    • Some post-Sonic Adventure games (including the Sonic Advance Trilogy) show Eggman's property having a stylized depiction of his face on them (its design is inconsistent from game to game). The same goes for G.U.N.
  • Single-Use Shield:
    • Sonic collects rings. If he's hit, he loses his rings instead of dying.
    • The shields found throughout the series also qualify.
      • In the first two games, they did nothing more than take one hit for you.
      • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC version of Sonic Generations, and Sonic Mania, Flame, Water, and Lightning Shields are available. While they are active, they protect the player from flames, let the player breathe underwater, and attract rings, respectively. All three will (at least in S3&K) reflect projectiles without taking damage, but they still disappear after one hit from anything else (and in the case of flame and lightning, touching water). They even grant special powers to Sonic, activated on pressing the jump button while in midair (replacing his weak "Insta-Shield" move that slightly extends the range of his jump attack momentarily): the Flame Shield lets him dash forward rapidly; the Water Shield lets him dash downward rapidly (Ground Pound!); while the Lightning Shield gives him a Double Jump.
      • The 3D games, the Sonic Advance series, and its handheld successors, have two shields available. They both act the same as in the first two games, but one will attract rings.
      • The fan-made Sonic Robo Blast 2 has no less than five such shields available — the blue Force Shield, which can take two hits; the white Whirlwind Shield, which gives your character a double jump; the green Elemental Shield, which makes you fully immune to environmental hazards; the red Armageddon Shield, which can be detonated to damage everything nearby; and the yellow Attraction Shield, which draws in rings, but shorts out in water.
  • Slave Mooks: The little robots with animals in them.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The series many spinoffs and tie ins are all over the place with this, and almost none of them follow the games to a tee:
    • The three DiC Sonic cartoons (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Sat AM, and Sonic Underground) land squarely on the In Name Only end of the scale. The only thing tying them to the games are Sonic himself, Tails, Robotnik (who all look and act very different from his game counterpart) and the very sporadic use of Chaos Emeralds and rings.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is a Recognizable Adaptation. It doesn't reuse any story material from the games, but the art style and tone very closely match the original games, Sonic CD in particular.
    • Sonic X hovers between being a Near Identical Adaptation and a Pragmatic Adaptation, sometimes bordering on Recognizable Adaptation. The first two seasons directly adapt both of the Sonic Adventure games quite faithfully and follow the art style and personalities of the games to a tee, but it also adds a lot of new characters and story arcs that aren't in the games. The third season shifts gears and creates an entire new story arc that has absolutely nothing to do with the games aside from the characters sticking around.
    • The Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic is a Recognizable Adaptation, following the aesthetic of the original game to a tie, but having an origin story that is completely different from the game continuity.
    • The Sonic the Hedgehog Story Comic manga is a Near Identical Adaptation. It follows the art style and basic conflict of the games much more closely than the western promo comic, but throws in some minor anime elements and human characters that arent present in the first game.
    • The other Sonic manga published Shogaku Ninensei, CoroCoro Comic, and Shogakukan, in stark contrast, are In Name Only takes on the series.
    • The Archie Sonic comics varied with this. The early comics started as a Recognizable Adaptation (sometimes bordering on In Name Only, but just barely more faithful than Satam) of the games, but quickly veered off by introducing a truckload of new characters and story arcs instead of just adaptating the conflict of the games, making it a Pragmatic Adaptation instead. The Continuity Reboot did away with this, with the new timeline basically being a Near Identical Adaptation of the games with some Pragmatic Adaptation elements sandwiched in.
    • The UK-based Sonic the Comic has a similar situation of being both a Recognizable and Pragmatic Adaptation. On one hand, it does follow certain elements of the original games faithfully, but on the other hand, the liberties they take tend to greatly deviate from the source material. The unofficial continuation of it deviates even further from the source material.
    • Sonic Boom hovers between being a Recognizable Adaptation and an In Name Only adaptation. The core characters and their personalities are still intact, but absolutely nothing else from the games, not even the Chaos Emeralds, are present.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Most of the main characters are Funny Animals, excluding the humans, robots, and non-anthro animals. Rouge is much more humanlike than the rest of the animals.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: Sonic lies far on the fantastic end of the scale, with the possible exception of Sonic 2006.
  • Small, Annoying Creature: Chip and Omochao love flying around and dispensing useless advice.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Levels in classic Sonic games have a lot of them. Some of them are in 3D games too.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: This pretty much describes most of Sonic's space exploration levels, with his sequence of hanging on to Robotnik's rocket ship escaping into the upper atmosphere and managing to reach the Death Egg in space being one of the most accurate examples.
  • Speed, Smarts and Strength: Appears with the three main characters - Sonic the fastest, Tails the Gadgeteer Genius and Knuckles the strongest.
  • Speedy Snail: In real life, hedgehogs are not known for being particularly fast. Sonic the Hedgehog practically made speed his one defining traits.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Very commonly used. A lot of them can be found within stages, one of the notable enemies called Orbinaut has spiked balls surrounding it and many bosses fire spiked balls, too.
  • Spikes of Doom: One of the common elements throughout the series. There is also the infamous Spike Bug. Its name is something of an Artifact Title, as there is substantial evidence now that it's not a bug and was intentionally programmed in (though it was "fixed" in later revisions of Sonic 1).
  • Spin Attack: Sonic's trademark maneuver. Comes in normal and Spin-Dash flavors (in certain games).
  • The Spiny: A fair number of Badniks qualify, although since the standard attack method is to hit an enemy while curled into a ball rather than necessarily to hit it from above, some of these are covered in spikes or other harmful stuff on all sides, rather than just the top, and must be defeated by waiting for them to revert to a vulnerable state or using invincibility. Others, though, look more like the Spinies of other games and can be dispatched by rolling into them. Oddly enough, an enemy with this exact name is not an example of this.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Chao Gardens which debuted in the Adventure games are this to the Nightopians from NiGHTS into Dreams.... The Chao are even based on an upgraded version of the A-Life system from NiGHTS.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Springboards are common objects in Sonic series. Often, other things like bumpers and sometimes even clouds do the same thing too.
  • Sprint Shoes: Most games in the series have these, generally called High Speed Shoes/Super Sneakers/Power Sneakers depending on the game.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: When anyone goes into their Super Form, they usually adopt this pose.
  • Starfish Robots: Dr. Eggman has created a ton of these. See the trope page for details.
  • Stealth Pun: Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. "Ivo" is an anagram of "Ovi", the latin term for an egg.
    • And for a Bonus, according to Word of God, the "I" in "Ivo" is pronounced with a soft "e" like in many European languages instead of the usual English "ae", to make "Ivo" (Eevo) sound like "Evil".
  • Steam Vent Obstacle
  • Strictly Formula: The series almost always sticks to two basic plots;
  • Super-Deformed: The bulk of the series cast has ridiculously large heads in contrast to their small bodies, almost Bobblehead like in proportion.
  • Super Drowning Skills/Walk, Don't Swim: Since his first appearance in 1991, Sonic has never been able to swim. His allies, Tails and Knuckles, can. Sonic sinks like a rock in water and relies on air bubbles to survive underwater. This is taken to its logical extreme in some of the recent games, where even contact with water causes instant death.
    • In the Mario & Sonic games, Sonic wears a life jacket during the swimming events.
    • As of Sonic Colours, Sonic can swim upwards by jumping in the water, Mario-style. The yellow Wisp also turns him into a tornado underwater, giving him basically complete maneuverability. Suddenly the great blue terror isn't so terrible.
  • Super Gullible: Knuckles seems to have a big problem with this. While him falling for Eggman's lie that Sonic was evil might have made sense the first time, as he had lived on the island all his life and had never heard of Eggman or Sonic, after Eggman reveals his true colors at the end of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, you'd think Knuckles would never trust him again. Unfortunately, he gets tricked into doing his bidding again in three more games (Triple Trouble, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Advance 2).
  • Super Mode: For Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, when they get all seven Chaos Emeralds, their fur stands up and becomes golden. Admittedly, Yuji Naka actually is a fan of Dragon Ball, and it had a big influence on Sonic. Blaze the Cat also has one using the Seven Sol Emeralds, though appearance-wise, it's merely a palette swap, with her lavender fur turning pink, and her purple coat turning red. Tails and Knuckles also have Super forms, but the effect is downplayed — they retain their normal appearance, simply gaining a glowing aura.
  • Super Speed: Sonic is the foremost example, but nearly every character in the series has some level of this, even Eggman.
    • Taken to the next level in the Movie where Metal Sonic is able to fly in and out of the atmosphere in seconds and both him and Sonic are able to get to distant parts of the world in very short amounts of time. Taken Up to Eleven in Sonic X, where Sonic was able to outrun a lightning bolt in his base form.
  • Super Strength: While it is usually power characters like Knuckles and Omega that have this emphasized, almost all characters have some level of it. In the movie and Sonic X, even Sonic is capable of incredible feats of strength that would give game Knuckles pause.
  • The Team: Various throughout the series. Sonic Heroes takes this and runs with it with no less than four teams of Power Trios. The breakdown is as followed:
  • Team Rocket Wins:
    • Eggman has never bested Sonic in the long run, but there has been a handful of times where he managed to get the upper hand. In Sonic Adventure 2, this happens a couple of times — the destruction of Prison Island, the firing of the Eclipse Cannon, and the scene where Sonic nearly dies (and is conveniently saved because Sonic somehow knew how to use Chaos Control). In Sonic Unleashed, he actually manages to defeat Super Sonic, steal the Chaos Emeralds from him, tear apart the planet, and sent Sonic flying helplessly out into space. And Sonic Forces, well... where to begin?!?
  • Teens Are Short: The teenage heroes such as Sonic, Blaze, and Knuckles are significantly shorter than the adult Vector the Crocodile and Vanilla the Rabbit.
  • Temporary Platform: All over the place in numerous games.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When Sonic goes Super Mode, usually by the end of the game. Or when picking up an invincibility powerup.
  • There Are No Adults: Only Cream is shown to have a parent, and only one adult, Dr. Robotnik, is a main cast member.
  • This Is a Drill: Classic Sonic games had at least one type of badnik with a drill. Sonic 2 and 3 also had bosses with drills. Sonic Colors introduces enemies with drills to 3D.
    • One of the bosses in Sonic Unleashed had a drill.
    • Sonic Colors also has the yellow wisps which turn Sonic into a drill.
  • Three-Point Landing: Sonic and friends like to do that in newer games sometimes.
    • Chip subverts this multiple times at first, but finally manages a perfect landing just before the final level.
    • It's also been a Running Gag since Sonic Adventure for Sonic to royally botch at least one of these landings.
  • Tiered by Name: When Sonic's powered up by the Chaos Emeralds, he becomes ''Super Sonic" and turns yellow. There's other transformations from other sources as well, but this is the most famous.
  • Timed Mission: In the Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear games, you lose one life if the timer hits 10 minutes. Later games do away with this restriction.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tails has a noticeable one between Sonic Adventure and SA2; he builds himself a mech and is actually useful, and is somewhat able to think for himself.
    • Eggman also takes a massive level in badass between the same two games. He goes from letting Chaos do most of his fighting for him and trying to conquer only Station Square to trying to take over the world with a Kill Sat. He actually gets his hands dirty in SA2 (on-screen at least) and almost manages to successfully kill Sonic.
    • Lampshaded by Sonic: "You've turned into a big time villain, doctor!"
    • Don't forget about Amy. See Badass Normal.
    • Big the Cat in Sonic Heroes; similar to Amy, he gains speed and powers to keep up with the others (his rod acts as a firey ball and chain!). For the first time ever, we also see him kinda pissed off.
    • Team Chaotix undergoes a bit of this when they're re-introduced, too. Espio originally only had wall-clinging abilities, attacks using his tongue, and his iconic spinning top spindash with no sign of espionage. In his return, all of those skills (sans tongue) come together into him being a badass ninja whose skills are surpassed only by the volume at which he speaks. Charmy was previously one of the slowest characters in Knuckles' Chaotix whose only use was flying around indefinitely. Upon his return, he's become a lot stronger, being able to carry and perform attacks using his two teammates (One of which is huge by Sonic standards) and attack more effectively using his stinger. He even delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Robotnik in their ending. Vector was a tall and slinky crocodile who, besides his Doughnut Spindash, was pretty much a slightly weaker version of Knuckles. Upon his return, he's buffed up considerably, utilizes his crocodile jaws and fire breath to fight more effectively, and has become an expert detective who's had a running tradition of accurately figuring out plot-crucial information before anyone else whenever given the chance.
  • Tornado Move: Used by Sonic in some games. In Sonic Heroes, he and the other Speed characters can even whip up a tornado by rapidly moving in a circle.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chili dogs, for Sonic himself.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: Most notably, the Rings, Chaos Emeralds, and the Master Emerald.
  • Tuft of Head Fur: Tails has an Anime Hair-esque tuft on his head.
  • Underwater Ruins: One level in almost every game is set amidst underwater ruins.
  • Unreliable Canon: In the early days, the in-game stories are simple Excuse Plots about Dr. Eggman trying to rule the world through robots, with Sonic stopping him. SEGA encouraged production of alternate storytelling media, resulting in at least six groups of people working independently on their own interpretation of the franchise, each with their own continuity totally separated from the video games. With the exception of Sonic X, which came later, most kids in the 90s accepted at least one of these adaptations as canon with the video games, a precursor of the franchise's infamous Broken Base today.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Eggman's modus operandi in some games, especially the early ones.
  • Urban Fantasy: The series blends fantasy elements like the Chaos Emeralds with urban environments. Said environments were especially common in the post-Sonic Adventure, but they were present in the classic games too, albeit less prominently.
  • Urban Ruins: The Sonic series frequently employs this trope:
  • Video Game Flight: Tails' tails come in handy. Err, tail-y.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic


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