Dr Robotnik is attempting to conquer the world once again; but this time he's not using clunky machines. He's going straight to the source, using a new piece of technology he's gained the ability to transfer matter between the real and digital world. His latest plan is to capture the inhabitants of Mobius on the computer network while using video game characters and new digital versions of his badniks to take control and become Supreme Commander of the real world.
Tropes used in the book are:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Robotnik's password is "Sonic is an eggscruciatingly egotistical enemy of egg-lovers everywhere".
- Body Uploading: Anyone who touches one of the computers connected to Dr. Robotnik's EGCS (Electronic Graphics Creation Computer System) network is scanned by a beam of light emerging from the monitor, then their body twists its shape into two-dimensions, and disappears into the screen, and into the digital world within the system. Getting out proves to be a lot trickier (which, of course, was Robotnik's plan).
- Breaking the Fourth Wall'Oh Great' Sonic grated, 'We've only just started this adventure, I've no idea of what I'm meant to be doing yet and I've got a sidekick who's going to be talking Martian at me for the whole of the rest of the book.'
'What book?' Tails asked.
'You're too young to understand,' Sonic smoothed hastily.
- Cyberspace: The computer system is split up between a TRON-like world and a raw data area made up of golden pulsing lines of data traveling through an area with no up/down yet is still 3D. Iggy calls the latter cyberspace.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- Dr. Robotnik's Electroic Graphics Creation Computer System (EGCS)
- Sonic threatens a badnik with a Binary Logistical Unprogrammer For Friendliness; of course, it was a BLUFF.
- The Tails-built Robotnik Anti-Virus And Geek Exterminator, or RAVAGE tank for short.
- Haunted Technology: Inside the raw-data section of the computer, there exists a deleted program that has coalesced stray bits of code to become more tangible. It calls itself the Ghost in the Machine.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: After the intro, the first sentence, word for word, is this.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
- As Tails is attempting to free his friends trapped in cyberspace, he's attacked by large falling blocks (that come in L, S, and I shapes) that fuse together and a large yellow sphere with a split in the middle, like a mouth, that makes electronic gulping sounds.
- Robotnik is also bringing characters out of the computers to help in conquering Mobius, including a blond fighter in a red karate suit and a black-haired blue-costumed female called "Chin Lie". Sonic recognizes the latter as being from "Road Warrior Two".
- In the games directory of the computer system, the gang finds Space Intruders, Froggy, Golden Hatchet, Super Hang-Up, Kid Camel, Thunderbird 4, Sprung, Frankie Zapper, Skippy the Porpoise, Flemmings, Kip Killer, Double Crutch, Zoom Patrol, and Super Gimbo Land.
- Let Me Get This Straight...Iggy: You want me to go in there with you because some undefined weird sense of yours says that it might be dangerous?
Iggy: Okay, that sounds fair. What are we waiting for?''
- Magic from Technology: Anything built in the computer can be brought into the real world; at one point, a massive tank appears out of thin-air.
- Medium Awareness:
'But aren't we videogame characters anyway?' asked Tails, who had joined them by the ailing rabbit.
- Sonic mentions the reader and the fact he's in the book several times. What's better is that he also references the games, commenting that the Mystic Cave Zone had great background music.
- Later, when the inhabitants of Green Hill Zone are infected by a virus, we get this gem;
'Well normally, yes' Sonic agreed, 'but at the moment we're characters in a book. Look, this talk is all getting very complicated, and we've got a real problem to deal with here.'
- Off-Model: Rather impressive, as it's a book, but the cover (as seen above) looks like it's drawn by somebody who was told what Sonic looked like down a phone.
- Pun: As with the rest of the books, Robotnik is constantly cracking egg-based puns, to the annoyance of everybody.
- Product Placement: At the end of the book, Sonic and Tails sit down to play on their Game Gear.
- Robospeak: Sonic is trying to taunt a computer and has little success, until he unleashes an epic stream of invective in the spirit of this trope:"You vacuum tube! You low resolution one K valve driven punch-card programmed obsolete pile of junk! You nasty black and white two bit console!"
- Sdrawkcab Alias: The book uses "Dr. Kintobor created Sonic and turned into Dr. Robotnik in a failed experiment" as the backstory.
- Shout-Out: The computer system's flying fortress is one long one to the Soviet Union: it's shaped like Moscow's famous St Basil's Cathedral, calls itself the Communal Collective of Computer Programs — or CCCP for shortnote — talks in stereotypical communist propaganda language (calling Tails a "treacherous running-dog capitalist") and declares "We will bury you!" before attempting to do so with a series of falling blocks that sound a lot like a well-known Russian computer game.
- Super Speed: Its Sonic, so naturally, he's got his usual super-speed.
- Take That!:
- Two of Sonic's animal friends become convinced they are world-famous plumbers who must save a princess by jumping on people's heads. The descriptions are less than flattering: "...I musta wear a stupido hat and daft-looking blue overalls, and I musta have a big bushy moustache, and I musta run very slowly and say daft things-a in a silly fake accent..."
- Later, when asked if he would like to play Super Gimbo Land, Sonic is insulted; as if he would ever play something so slow!
- Teleporters and Transporters: The whole digitization of matter was intially envisioned as being nothing more than an easy way to get around the planet; then Robotnik expanded on this plan.
- This Is a Drill: Burrow-bots and Grounders make an appearance, armed with their deadly drills.
- Weaponized Teleportation: Once Robotnik discovered the digital world and that he could take stuff out of the computer, it kicks off the plot of the book.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Sonic is reluctant to attack Chin Lie, as "he isn't in the habit of whacking babes".
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: Sonic reckons that he was inside the raw data of the computer for around half an hour; Porker says it was more like 6 seconds. This, of course, leads Sonic to boast about being the fastest thing alive.