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

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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.

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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.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 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 

Vote on the best game in the series here!


Tropes throughout the games: Tropes A-D | Tropes E-M | Tropes N-Z

    Numbers 
  • 1-Up: In all of the mainstream platformers you get a 1UP by destroying TV monitors with the character's head on it. Additionally, you can get a 1UP via Law of 100 with the rings you collect in the levels, though this noticeably harder compared to other series, due to Sonic losing rings when he takes damage.
    • Starting with Sonic 2, you also get lives for every 50,000 points you score in most installments.
    • Some Zones in Sonic 3, as well as some special stages, allow you to gather hundreds of rings. However, the Law of 100 only counts for when you reach 100 and 200 rings.
    • One of the main reasons why Sonic Colors is the first Sonic game in ages you're likely to see the Game Over screen in more than once is that for the first time 100 rings don't give extra lives. The only way to get lives is to find them hidden in levels or get A rank or better or attack your score during the results screen.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 4 on consoles, you can match 3 cards with the Sonic symbol on it to get free lives in Casino Street Act 2. If you only get 1 or 2 cards at one time, they will stay on screen for 15 seconds or so. You can also match ring symbols (worth 10 rings for 3) or Eggman symbols (worth nothing).
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
  • Generations has the final boss as both Super Sonics, and after that they are unlocked for use in normal stages, as an equippable skill that can only be used on its own.
    A 
  • Ability Required to Proceed: While levels that require an ability to clear always give you the ability right before you need it, games since Sonic Colors have generally had bonuses hidden behind gates and platforms that need clever applications of the games' various abilities use to breach. Since they're one use, this often requires picking up an ability and then finding a way hold onto it instead of using it when you're otherwise supposed to. In Colors, this would also mean passing by paths you can't access the first time you play a stage, and then replaying it again after unlocking that ability in a later stage.
  • Absentee Actor:
  • Abusive Precursors:
    • The ancient Echidnas. One clan, Knuckles' ancestors, raided the shrine of the Master and Chaos Emeralds for power, trampling the innocent Chao and awakening the fury of their guardian god Chaos, who promptly went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that was stymied until the events of Sonic Adventure. Another clan, rivals of the first, was even worse, working to conquer the world with high technology and Killer Robots known as the Gizoids until someone sealed them in the Twilight Cage, where they remained until the events of Sonic Chronicles.
    • The ancient Babylonians from Sonic Riders were a kingdom of Sky Pirates.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Most of the male characters wear nothing except shoes and gloves. Chip from Sonic Unleashed wears even less, only a necklace.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension:
  • Acrofatic:
    • Dr. Eggman spends most of his time in machines, but when he gets out, he tends to display impressive feats of strength and agility. These range from keeping pace with Sonic himself and competing as an Olympic athlete, to being able to punch a moving train and knock it off its tracks in Sonic Riders. Notably, in Sonic Lost World, he was able to shatter a large wall of ice with his bare hands.
    • Big the Cat also qualifies. He's enormously fat but also superhumanly strong, and in Sonic Heroes he has no problems navigating the loop-de-loops with his teammates.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Any and all of the various flying (and occasionally climbing) characters from the franchise have probably been subject to this at some point, in and out of the games. Granted, the thing that's after them may be very tall (and flying isn't as fast as running), but in some cases, it's just strange. For instance, there's a cutscene in Lava Reef Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles where Knuckles pushes a boulder down some stairs just after whichever character you're playing as (either Sonic or Tails) goes up them, knocking them back down again so they have to go up again. If you're playing as Tails, the game doesn't let you fly over the (slow-moving) boulder!
  • Action Bomb:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog's Star Light Zone has bomb-shaped robots that lumber around for a few seconds before exploding, releasing four fireballs in the process. They get a size upgrade in Sonic CD.
    • Sonic and Knuckles has enemies in Lava Reef Zone who disguise themselves as rocks. When you get close, they lose their disguise, blink for a second, and explode.
    • The boss of Sonic Mania's Metallic Madness Act 2 has Doctor Eggman piloting a machine that deploys different robots out of the glass pipes on the sides. Befitting the origin of the level, the pipe on the player's left deploys Amy Rose robots that grab onto the player or their AI partner and explode.
  • Actionized Sequel: The series does it every few years. While the franchise was always known for its fast-paced gameplay, the games have been getting faster and faster as the series evolved: the Sonic 3 & Knuckles stages were more speed-oriented than those of previous games, which had more slow Platforming stages than speedy stages. Then came Sonic Adventure, in which Sonic's gameplay was faster than anything than came out before it. Then there was Sonic Adventure 2, which increased the speed in addition to nixing the first game's hub overworlds. Ditto for Sonic Advance 2, which was faster and more speed-oriented than previous games. Then done again in Sonic Rush, which introduced the Boost, and finally taken to a whole new level in Sonic Unleashed, which adapted and expanded the crazy fast, boost-based gameplay of Rush into 3d. Inverted with Sonic Lost World, which significantly slowed down things in an attempt to go back to the series' Platforming roots.
  • Action Prologue:
    • In Sonic Adventure, the first accessable story campaign, Sonic's, opens with our hero going toe-to-toe with Chaos in the streets of Station Square.
    • Both campaigns in Sonic Adventure 2 pulls this: the Hero story opens with Sonic breaking out of captivity and escaping through the city, while the Dark story opens with Dr. Eggman blasting his way into a military base.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis:
    • There are several signs of the advanced Echidna civilization on Angel Island in the games, but the most technologically advanced is the Sky Sanctuary which is in the clouds and has teleporters.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
      • The final boss (unless you have all seven Chaos Emeralds) is the Great Eggman Robo, Eggman in a Humongous Mecha. The second phase of this fight has him chasing you across the exterior of the Death Egg, which is collapsing behind you. This apparently isn't enough of a threat on its own, though, as Eggman periodically shoots flames and ridiculously huge laser beams at you.
      • The boss of Sandopolis Zone, Egg Golem (no, not that one), a lumbering mechanical sphinx that shoots lasers from its forehead while slowly marching forward. You can only run so far from this one: If you take too long, it pancakes you into the wall at the other end of the room.
      • The boss of Lava Reef Zone (with Sonic; Knuckles doesn't face a boss in that zone). It chases you up a staircase while the screen force-scrolls past several bottomless pits and fires spiked balls at you. The only way to defeat it is to let gravity turn its attack against it.
    • The boss of Stardust Speedway in Sonic CD. You race with Metal Sonic to reach the (booby-trapped) finish line while Eggman follows close behind you continuously firing a death ray. Fall too far behind Metal Sonic and the beam kills you instantly.
    • Sonic Advance 3 uses the Crocomire variant in one fight. If the Toy Kingdom boss advances all the way to the left, he uses an attack that covers the entire battle area and seems to be unavoidable. Every hit knocks him slightly to the right, and if knocked all the way to the right he falls off a ledge.
    • The final fight against Zavok in Sonic Lost World has him turn giant and chase you up a vertical shaft. This fight was a source of Guide Dang It! for a number of players, as they assumed that this was an example of a Type 2 Advancing Boss of Doom, but if you get to the top of the shaft, Zavok just kills you. What you're supposed to do is use the Bounce Attack to use the exploding crates that Zavok had used in an earlier stage of the fight against him.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom:
    • In the first game, Act 2 of Marble Zone has lava that starts flowing from left to right when you get to its level, if not before. It's only one narrow, if longish, passage before you can jump up to a high open area, but for the length of that passage, there's an Advancing Wall of Doom — and if you're not careful, it'll advance almost as fast as you do.
    • The Master System Sonic The Hedgehog had a version during Jungle Zone Act 2. Most of the level is a vertical climb. The camera followed you up the level, but not downwards. If you fell and hit the bottom of the screen during that section, it was instant death time. The near identical Game Gear version didn't have this, I'd guess because it would've made the level stupidly hard with the Game Gear's lower resolution.
    • This is the entire premise of the SegaSonic the Hedgehog arcade game. One of these is always after you, be it lava, ice stalactites, tornadoes, or gears.
    • Sonic 3:
      • In Angel Island Zone, Act 2 of, there's a portion before the Boss Battle where the screen starts scrolling to the right, then Robotnik's airship starts dropping bombs at you. If you let off the speed for a second, you'll drift too far left and get hit. All you have to do is hold right for 20 seconds.
      • On the other hand, the advancing brick wall in the very next level — the beginning of Act 2 of Hydrocity Zone — was pretty darn nerve-wracking.
      • Then there's the section in Marble Garden Zone where an earthquake starts bringing the land and the ceiling together and you have run before your escape window is closed and you're crushed between the two.
      • In Sonic and Knuckles, in between the two Boss Battles in Flying Battery Zone, Act 2, you have to run through the collapsing airship quickly, otherwise you'll be crushed between it and the single wall and floor that remain airborne.
      • Then in the next level, Act 2 of Sandopolis Zone had several areas where throwing a switch would cause sand to pour from the ceiling, and the sand would form a floor rising from below. With the winding passageways of the level, you could easily get crushed between the sand and the ceiling if you dawdled.
      • Yet again, the Death Egg Zone Final Boss isn't really an Advancing Wall of Doom, but sorta becomes one if you die on your first try (there's no place to get rings on subsequent attempts). He's pretty easy, though; it's the run afterward that's tough, as you have to stay ahead of a collapsing platform and hit the fleeing Robotnik at the same time. Doesn't sound too hard, but unless you hit Robotnik just right, the rebound as you bounce off will launch you to your doom or rob you of your momentum (causing you to fall to your doom).
      • And then there's the pachinko-themed bonus levels, in which you collect powerups while outrunning a glowing double helix that crawls steadily upward.
    • Sonic CD's Stardust Speedway Act 3. You are racing against Metal Sonic and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman is chasing after the two of you in his pod shooting lasers of death out from the bottom. If you touch it, you die. If you beat Metal Sonic, it slams against the locked door and then Robotnik flies at the door, blasting the mech to pieces.
  • Sonic Heroes:
    • The game features a section where you have to climb out of a vat of "energy" (lava) that's rising up below you in Power Plant. It's more difficult if you're playing as Team Dark, but then again, so is most of the other stuff in the game.
    • In the Ocean Palace level (the first level), there's a section where you run from one...then two...then three gigantic, ornately carved stone wheels. Apparently created and placed there for no reason other than to harass anyone who should happen upon that particular hill.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) contains infamous mach speed (mock speed) levels where Sonic was forced to run forward regardless of what happened to him, including if he died. If hit, he reacted by what appeared to be break dancing while still barreling forward at insane speeds. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Aerith and Bob: The main characters are named Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Eggman/Robotnik, and... then there's Amy, and Tails is just a nickname: his real name is Miles Prower. The human characters are given pretty realistic names (Gerald, Maria, Elise). Ivo, Marine, and Rouge are real names as well, though significantly rarer. Further fantastical names include Cream, Shadow, Silver, Blaze, Vector, Espio, Charmy, Jet, Wave, and Storm.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Amy Rose seems finally ready to give up her Sonic-chasing days and become her own person at the end of Sonic Adventure. By Sonic Adventure 2, not only was she back in full Sonic-chasing mode, she had in fact gotten worse about it. However, it should also be noted that she had decided she should be more independent and not rely on Sonic to rescue her as much anymore, and became a full-on heroic Action Girl at the end of her story. In this area of her Character Development, this trope is averted; she retains her Action Girl qualities and rarely - if ever - plays the damsel in distress again after Sonic Adventure. Granted, the Sonic-chasing thing is still an issue, but at least she kept some of her growth intact.
    • Tails himself gets hit pretty hard with the trope. He learns to become independent and more confident in himself during Sonic Adventure and is able to take on Dr. Eggman by himself in the final level, thus proving to Sonic that he can kick ass without having to rely on him all the time. As the series went on, Tails slid right back to his pre character development where he is content to being Sonic's sidekick and letting him do all the work while Tails himself provides support. Tails hits his lowest in Sonic Forces where he cowers in fear as some enemies approach him and calls out to Sonic for help, despite the fact that Tails should have the experience and know how to fight by this point.
    • Doctor Eggman is more or less completely incapable of retaining knowledge of the fact that Evil Is Not a Toy, despite having unleashed Sealed Evil in a Can only for it to turn on him and require his turning to Sonic for help about a half dozen times by now. He seems to have learned this by Sonic Colors... only to backslide into it by the time of Sonic Lost World (though in that instance, the issue was more or less kick-started by Sonic knocking the conch controlling them out of Eggman's hand; before that, he actually had the situation under control and ended up staying as the Big Bad anyway, at the end).
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Rouge the Bat and Blaze the Cat. The former was the first additional major female character after Amy Rose (whom only started becoming an Action Girl herself recently at that point) and was an adversary for Knuckles. The latter debuted a few years later, but is noticeable for being the only female character to match Sonic's skill in combat and is also the only female to have a Super Mode of her own.
  • Age Lift: Sonic's original age was either a "15~16" estimate or 18 depending on the source, Tails and Amy were 8, and Knuckles was 15. When Sonic Adventure was released, Sonic was narrowed to 15, Tails stayed 8, Amy became 12, and Knuckles became 16.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Dr. Eggman loves building these.
    • In the Sega Master System/Game Gear version of the first game, the last level, Sky Base Zone, is the franchise's first example of the trope.
    • It started showing up in the 16-bit games with Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Wing Fortress Zone.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles featured Flying Battery Zone as the second level of the expansion.
    • The massive Egg Carrier from Sonic Adventure. It's also the first one whose abilities other than flying and being really big are shown. It's armed with missile launchers, a fleet of robotic jet fighters, laser cannons (tons of these damn things in Sky Deck), robot staff, transformation capabilities, and to top it all off, a Wave-Motion Gun. He has a second one in reserve, even.
    • In Sonic Heroes, he really ups the ante with an entire fleet, with the flagship being at least as twice as big as the original Egg Carrier, and twice as armed.
    • Altitude Limit Zone from the first Sonic Rush game would be an example if it had some actual structure and was more than a flying rail system. It still has plenty of aircraft, though.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Eggman uses a redesign of Adventure's Egg Carrier. It's mostly seen in cutscenes, and there aren't any levels on board, although Sonic's final boss is fought on it.
    • The opening of Sonic Unleashed features a whole fleet of these similar to the Heroes example, only they're in space. Sonic still has no trouble destroying them, despite the lack of air. The first boss, the Egg Cauldron, is a less exotic example.
    • In Sonic Generations, another one of these is seen terrorizing Spagonia. If you're really skilled, you can even destroy it on foot.
    • Sky Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is very heavily based on the aforementioned Wing Fortress Zone (acts 2 and 3) and the level immediately before it, Sky Chase Zone (act 1 and the boss). It also contains elements of Flying Battery Zone.
  • Airborne Mook: The series has quite a few, like the Buzz Bombers and Buzzers. They tended to fly within Sonic's attack range, though, and most are rather easily dispatched.
  • Air Plane Arms:
    • Sonic has run this way ever since Sonic CD, his Super Mode also flies like this.
    • Parodied by one the many Uncanny Valley NPCs of Sonic 2006. A man with Sonic hair and a familiar dress style will challenge Sonic to a race, claiming to be the real Sonic, and he reenacts this style of running. He's really, really slow, though, and it's almost impossible to lose against him.
    • Tails (whether he's flying or not), Knuckles, Amy, Cream, and Eggman all do this when running full speed.
  • Alien Invasion: Sonic and his allies have dealt with a few:
    • The Black Arms invade in Shadow the Hedgehog, though the all-out assault on Earth had been planned out at least fifty years prior. The purpose, however, is not so much to conquer or destroy as it is to obtain the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Inverted in Sonic the Hedgehog CD: Doctor Eggman and his robot army invade the Little Planet in order to take it over. Eggman succeeds, covering the planet in a metallic shell, requiring Sonic to travel to the past.
    • The Marauders in Sonic Chronicles, though not strictly aliens, do arrive en masse from an alternate dimension, and their attempt to conquer Earth plays out very much like one.
    • The Zeti attempt an invasion in Sonic Lost World, though the invasion force consists of only six members. They each can psychically hijack an unlimited number of machines to do whatever they want, making them a major threat anyway. Sonic immediately takes the fight over to their planet, the Lost Hex, and stops them before they can do any significant damage.
  • All in a Row:
    • Tails follows Sonic like this in many of the games, though with partial delay. He also attacks enemies, sometimes proving himself useful (Grabbers in Chemical Plant Zone), sometimes not (Special Stages in Sonic 2).
    • The Flickies in Sonic 3D Blast follow Sonic to the letter. Having the chain of Flickies get hit would cause them to separate, as would having Sonic get hit, though you don't lose rings if a Flicky takes a hit. This was based on an earlier 2D game called, appropriately enough, Flicky.
    • In Sonic Heroes the the other members of your team follow you around like this in the Speed and Power formations, through in the Power formation the characters will generally try to stand in a V behind the Power characters and auto-attack weaker enemies for you.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well:
    • At the end of Sonic Adventure, Tails says this in the English dub. While looking out at the flooded ruins of what once was Station Square, devastated by what was for all intents and purposes a god. Averted in the original Japanese script, in which he was simply expressing relief that Chaos had calmed down and stopping his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman destroys the moon. In real life, this should bring about an immediate and devastating apocalypse, thanks to both the inevitable meteor shower and the flash flooding of 7/8th of the planet, but after this cutscene (and for the rest of the series), it's just business as usual.
  • Alliterative Name : Every level in Sonic 3D and Sonic the Hedgehog CD has an alliterative name (e.g. Rusty Ruin in the former and Collision Chaos in the latter), and many other levels from games that don't have this for every level (Mystic Mansion, Sky Sanctuary, Eternal Engine, Coral Cave, Jungle Joyride).
  • 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:
    • According an official Sonic website, ZERO from Sonic Adventure is the "zeroth" E-Series robot with the official designation of E-100 Alpha.
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • According to several strategy guides, Project Shadow was meant to figure out a way to achieve Immortality, which the then-President of the United Federation wanted to use for war. Gerald Robotnik didn't want to be a part of it at first because he thought that it wasn't something that mankind needed, but changed his mind because Maria contracted a Soap Opera Disease that believed he could cure with the research.
      • The ARK was shut down because the GUN higher-ups did not trust Gerald or his research. When they heard about the violent tendencies of the Biolizard, they used it as a cover-up for their massacre of the personnel, placed the blame on Gerald, and forced him to continue working under their scrutiny before executing him. This is only explained in full in the Japanese version of the strategy guide.
    • Ever wonder why Sonic inexplicably turns into a werehog in Sonic Unleashed? The manual had the answer, the whole time.
      "Dr. Eggman then, from the safety of his control panel, reversed the polarity of the Chaos Emeralds releasing the dark energy within. The energy was then fired as a powerful beam towards the world...Due to his proximity to the Chaos Emeralds as the dark energy was expelled, Sonic underwent a new transformation. His muscular density increased, his claws sharpened, his teeth grew into fangs and his body became covered with a lush heavy fur. Sonic had transformed into a Werehog."
    • The manual for Sonic Mania explains a bit more about the Hard-Boiled Heavies, including their names, personality traits, and even their genders. It also refers to the game's Mineral Macguffin as the Phantom Ruby.
  • All Your Colors Combined:
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Over the course of Sonic Heroes, Metal Sonic goes around scanning the heroes and gaining their powers. By the end of the game, his final form combines Sonic's speed, Tails's flight abilities and intelligence, Knuckles's strength, Shadow's Chaos Control abilities, and Chaos's ability to merge with water, manifested as control of metal, since he is made of metal. He uses this last power in particular to create a truly monstrous final form by merging with Eggman's armada.
    • In Sonic Colors, the Final Boss is Eggman in a machine (big surprise) that uses a few of Sonic's many wisp-gained powers. Later on in the battle, he starts combining abilities together.
    • In Sonic Generations, one of Classic Sonic's Challenge Missions for Planet Wisp uses this as a title. You must use Sonic the Hedgehog 3's Bubble, Lightning, and Fire Shields to progress through the level.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: In the series, you can only stay underwater for a limited amount of time and when you're Almost Out of Oxygen, the Magic Countdown appears and the music starts playing.
  • Aloof Ally:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog. He helps out every now and then, but he's a pretty standoffish individual, even to his own friends. He lampshades this in Sonic Chronicles:
    Shadow: Don't expect me to join in on your group hugs and picnics!
    • Knuckles the Echidna (apparently) prefers to work in solitude and keep his distance from the others. But that's understandable since he is destined to live alone, guarding the Master Emerald.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming:
    • Hedgehogs (Sonic, Shadow, Silver, etc) tend to have S names, Amy being the Odd Name Out.
    • The 2-player race courses in Sonic 3 & Knuckles follow the alphabet (Azure Lake, Balloon Park, Chrome Gadget, Desert Palace, and Endless Mine).
    • All of Sonic R's courses begin with R.
  • Always Someone Better:
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: A lot of characters fall under this category:
    • Sonic in particular is famous for being a "blue hedgehog" ("The Blue Blur" being his nickname), but there are also pink, black and silver hedgehogs, purple cats, red echidnas, yellow polar bears, green tufted ducks, black armadillos with red shells, green hawks, the list goes on and on. Originally, Naoto Ooshima drew Sonic with black fur, but quickly changed it to blue so it would match the Sega logo.
    • The small animals found in the badniks of certain games are also oddly colored, such as purple peacocks with red tails, pink and purple elephants, pink seals, purple penguins, and blue gorillas.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: It's never mentioned when the series takes place. Is it set in the 1990s, contemporary times, 20 Minutes into the Future, or the far future? On one hand the characters dress and live in a modern day-esque setting and the flashbacks to 50 years ago have a mid-1900s aesthetic (what with the monochrome photographs and the overall fashion). Yet, even 50 years ago they had futuristic advanced technology and science far beyond early 21st century standards.
  • Amen Break:
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore:
    • Inverted with Sonic himself. Early in development he was the lead in a rock band with an electric guitar, had a slightly fanservicey Token Human girlfriend named "Madonna", apparently had fangs and a spiked collar, and fought monster-looking creatures (instead of robots with cute animals inside). Sonic Team was asked to soften him up for American audiences. Sonic's Mascot with Attitude personality stayed in western media though, while Japan had a more laid-back Sonic which transferred elsewhere starting with Sonic Adventure.
    • The original boxart for Sonic the Hedgehog gave us a fairly confident looking Sonic with a tasty palette of colors surrounding him. The US boxart gave him a chubbier redesign with mohawk-like quills note , the art has him posing for a 'tude expression, and they sprayed him with a coat of airbrush. Even the original members of Sonic Team said they despised this Americanized Sonic design—there were especially baffled as to why the American branch of the company decided he needed the redux in the first place, considering Sonic was designed to appeal to Western audiences right from the start. Sonic's Western redesign has tellingly appeared in-game precisely once, on the title screen of the Europe-only Master System release of Sonic Chaos, and nowhere else. In Sonic 2 and especially Sonic 3, Sonic has a larger smirk and bolder color shading on the American box art than the Japanese.
    • Dr. Eggman/Robotnik's classic design looked like a happy smiling spherical fellow in the Japanese games. The American games made him a constantly scowling spherical fellow with... no eyes. This isn't even taking into account the weird cartoon-based design they switched to for some of the later boxart.
    • Eggman's Dub Name Change to Robotnik is in itself an example of this, changing from a goofy Beatles reference to the more menacing Czech word for "slave." Also, while Eggman was always seen as comical in Japan, Anglophone Sonic media often made him a more malevolent character. Then the series reverted the Doctor's name back to Eggman from Sonic Adventure onward, with SEGA establishing that Robotnik was the character’s given name and Eggman a nickname.
    • The Sonic the Hedgehog CD boss music and game over music go from being upbeat in the Japanese version to downright frightening in the American version.
    • The EU covers went in and out with both the Japanese and American styles. Interestingly cases such as Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos actually used Japanese promo artwork not related the region's original cover.
  • Amplifier Artifact:
    • Chaos Emeralds. It's been commented by the writers of SEGA that they don't simply grant new powers, but amplify what one already had, as well as modify a few powers occasionally.
    • The Chaos Emeralds had the Amplifier Artifact treatment pulled on themselves by the master Emerald to form the Super Emeralds.
    • The series is almost built around them when you throw in almost every other collectible item. The World Rings, Sacred Swords, Sol Emeralds, etc, etc...
  • Eggmanland from Sonic Unleashed. Roller coasters regularly going off the rails, bottomless pits beneath the ferris wheel, open lava pits, free-roaming monsters, and more robots than should even be legal. And the less said of what Eggman used to build this joint in the first place the better.
  • Dr. Eggman's Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park from Sonic Colors. Not quite the standard look for this trope, what with the bright colors and the food-themed world, but still not a place to take the kiddies thanks to Eggman's robot minions and the alien enslavement. Eggman's PA announcements also indicate this place to be extremely unsafe.
  • Anachronic Order:
    • The first Sonic Adventure works on the principle of "many stories happening at once" principle. The game starts with Sonic as the playable character, then as other characters are met, their story lines can be played out, some of which start before the start of Sonic's. To add to the Mind Screw, some battles are fought in the same location but use a different character, including one situation where you were beaten (possibly) twice before! Oh, and character upgrades earned for a character show on the model after they had been earned, which may or may not fit the chronological order.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has shades of this. The two concurrent plots (Knuckles could be considered a third) have overlaps but don't begin simultaneously — for starters, the opening of the Hero Story is set after the fourth mission on the Dark Story.

      Though this does actually result in at least one case of something being out of order. In both the Hero and Dark Stories, Knuckles and Rouge's confrontation over the Master Emerald which ends up with Knuckles shattering it to keep it away from Eggman occurs immediately before Stage 2 — yet, as mentioned above, Sonic's first meeting with Shadow happens right after Stage 1 of the Hero Story (there's a boss fight in between Stages 1 and 2 which separate these two events), while in the Dark Story the same cutscene occurs after Stage 4. Beyond that, the overlaps all occur in chronological order, though there's definitely some skipping involved — the boss fight right after Dark Stage 9 mirrors the one following Hero Stage 4, but then Dark Stage 10 itself is pretty much happening simultaneously to Hero Stage 9.
    • Sonic Battle does this as well. Although Rouge's story is chronologically first, it's the third one played.
    • Sonic games tend to come out in chronological order, but there are notable exceptions:
      • As a result of delays, Sonic the Hedgehog CD (1993) came out between Sonic 2 (1992) and Sonic 3 (1994), but it takes place either before Sonic 2 or after Sonic & Knuckles (1994).
      • Tails Adventure (1995): While rarely considered canon, it's clearly meant to be a prequel to Sonic 2 (1992).
      • Sonic Battle was released concurrently with Sonic Heroes (2004), but can only possibly take place after Shadow the Hedgehog (2005).
      • By extension Sonic Advance 3 (2004), which is a sequel of sorts to Sonic Battle, can only take place after Shadow the Hedgehog as well.
      • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Its two parts came out in 2010 and 2012 respectively, but it takes place right after Sonic & Knuckles (1994).
      • Sonic Mania (2017) takes place shortly after Sonic & Knuckles (1994), replacing the now non-canon Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 features two intertwining storylines in Hero and Dark; hero has the players switching between Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails, while Dark has them using Eggman, Shadow, and Rouge. All six characters are used in the final ending.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has three main storyarcs for Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, though other supporting cast members in the Sonic series will briefly take over as minor playable characters during each story (Tails and Knuckles for Sonic; Rouge and Omega for Shadow, and Amy and Blaze for Silver). Sometimes even one of the main three characters will be playable in another character's story mode: for example, in Sonic's story the player briefly controls Silver at one point.
    • Sonic Riders Zero Gravity, has two intertwining storylines- the heros and the Babylon Rogues. The heroes team has (again) Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, while the Babylong Rogues team has Jet, Wave and Storm. Amy gets a level for herself- though, oddly, her level is in the middle of the Babylon Rogues' story, even though she spends most of her time with the Hero team. And her objective is to outrace a computer-controlled Babylon Rogue.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails, a fox, are about the same size, which is unrealistic by itself. Both can be estimated to be about three feet tall at most. It's not just Sonic and Tails though, Wave the Swallow is roughly the same size as her acquaintances Jet the Hawk and Storm the Albatross, Charmy the Bee is pretty big for a bee, Rouge the Bat is roughly the same size as the other characters, etc.
  • Animesque: Inverted deliberately so to appeal to the Western market. The Funny Animal characters are designed in Inkblot Cartoon Style (with a mix of anime in the Modern incarnation), an emphasis on techno, rap, and rock for a lot of the music throughout the series, and the general "attitude" was to appeal to the "rebellious" nature commonly associated with countries like the United States.
  • Another Dimension:
    • Sonic Rivals 2 is about Eggman Nega plotting to free a demon that was trapped in Another Dimension.
    • There's also the Twilight Cage from Sonic Chronicles, which seems to collect powerful civilizations from several dimensions.
  • 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.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Although the characters were always anthropomorphic, they have become more so over the years. Their proportions have changed a bit, and they've become more likely to wear clothing beyond the traditional shoes and gloves, with some characters who were introduced later on always being fully clothed. This also leans into Humanoid Female Animal, since it's mostly female characters who wear clothes. Even Sonic himself has acquired additional clothing on occasion - in some early concept art for Sonic Riders he was fully clothed, and in Sonic Boom he wears a scarf.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In the Game Gear/Sega Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the labyrinth boss battle takes place completely underwater, but you cannot drown on the stage. because the drowning timer is turned off.
    • One of Sonic the Hedgehog's signature abilities, the Spin Dash, came about because of one of these. In the original game, the only way for Sonic to gain speed was to run forward, which made some stages frustrating, as the player would have to backtrack through the level if they didn't have enough speed to clear an obstacle. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 fixed this by giving Sonic the Spin Dash, which allowed him to accelerate to full speed from a standstill. The Spin Dash has been used by almost every Sonic game since then, and some ports of the original Sonic give you the option to turn on Spin Dash for it.
    • In the original Dreamcast release of Sonic Adventure, the Egg Carrier chao garden had a very deep pool of water that chao liked to drown in. The water was so deep that it completely submerged all player characters, making it impossible to reach the flailing chao when they swam out too far. The Updated Re-release rectified this by lowering the water level so it was shallow enough to rescue them.
    • Sonic Heroes: During some boss fights, the players can gain level 3 with one orb container.
    • Sonic Mania
      • Most of the level layouts, enemies and obstacles taken from previous games have been toned down in difficulty, starting with the platforming sequence from Green Hill Act 2 that now has a bed of spikes instead of a bottomless pit. Mechanics that slowed the pace too much, such as the elevators from Flying Battery, have been left out as well.
      • The boss of Chemical Plant Zone removes the stage timer for the duration of the fight, mainly because of the Unexpected Gameplay Change and the RNG involved with it. Furthermore, Eggman's AI for it is also pretty bad, so as to give the player a good chance to win since it's an early-game boss and players may not be familiar with the source material and its strategies. Despite being based on original rules, the aforementioned boss includes Double Rotationnote , a function that was originally introduced in Tsu.
      • The Final Boss area is considered separate from the atrociously long Marathon Level that precedes it, and resets the timer upon entering the area, as well as setting a checkpoint right before the boss.
      • Though the Special Stages have a simulated low draw distance, the Chaos Emerald-carrying UFO always remains visible regardless of how far away it is, preventing the player from losing track of it.
      • Unlike in past entries, stage elements aren't used up by the AI-controlled character in a Sonic and Tails game, an "& Knuckles" game or in Encore Mode, so the AI won't deprive the player character of an oxygen bubble, platforms won't fall before the player stands on them, etc.
      • In Oil Ocean Zone Act 2, entering a submarine and then exiting it will reset the ring-stealing toxic fumes. Additionally, the fumes mechanic is removed completely for the boss fight.
      • At the start of the True Final Boss fight that is only playable after getting all seven Chaos Emeralds, just before your character turns Super, they are silently given a Lightning Shield to help collect the rings that fly across the stage.
    • Sonic Unleashed and every Sonic game since then puts a sign over a Bottomless Pit, indicating which pits are bottomless and which aren't, avoiding players having to find out for themselves through trial and error.
    • For the first three Genesis games, the requirements for entering the Special Stages and getting the Chaos Emeralds became more lenient with each game. In the first, you had to make it to the end of the Act with 50 rings and then jump into the giant ring just after the goal post (which you could easily miss if you running at full speed, and if you do there's not enough time to run back and jump into it,) and you don't get a giant ring in Act 3 nor anywhere in Scrap Brain Zone, effectively giving you a maximum of 10 attempts to get 6 Emeralds. In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, touching a checkpoint with 50 rings activates a Special Stage warp, giving the player as many tries as there are checkpoints, and in Sonic 3 & Knuckles access to Special Stages is gained through finding giant rings hidden in each level, and the ring requirement is removed completely. Meanwhile, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, meanwhile, while backsliding in making you get to the end of an Act with 50 rings and play a minigame to get a Time Stone, also made getting the Time Stones completely optional for getting the Good Ending, as you could also do it by traveling to the past in each Act and hunting down and destroying a certain machine that's producing Badniks.
  • Anti-Hero Team:
    • Team Chaotix. They'll do good, but they expect to be paid-handsomely. Vector at least has his better moments, such as finding a kid's lost toy for free.
    • Team Dark, consisting of Shadow, Rouge, and E-123 Omega, have been this ever since Sonic Heroes. They may help save the world, but mainly for their different reasons. Shadow only fights whoever gets in the way of his goals, Rouge is only interested in jewels, and Omega attacks whatever the former two point him at.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • It varies from game to game, but Dr. Eggman sometimes fits this. He is forced to become an anti-villain whenever he realizes he's bitten off more than he can chew - in some occasions he has teamed up with the good guys to save the planet, because he'd have nothing to conquer if the planet was destroyed. Notably, in Sonic Heroes, Eggman does nothing villainous at all other than building the Egg Fleet ("The Eggman" seen throughout the game is Metal Sonic, the real one doesn't turn up until the end of Chaotix's story).
    • Shadow started off as one in his debut appearance in Sonic Adventure 2. His goal was to use the Chaos Emeralds to destroy the world with the Space Colony ARK crashing down towards it in order to avenge the death of her best friend, Maria. This was until Amy convinced him to save the world, which made Shadow realize Maria doesn't want him to destroy it after all.
    • Merlina from Sonic and the Black Knight is a noticeable exception to the standard Big Bads in that she has a legitimately good desire but horribly misguided ways at going at it. She wants to prevent the fated destruction of the Arthurian kingdom. Her method of doing so, however, is to cast a spell of immortality upon the land that will cause the world to stagnate and plague it with monsters from the Underworld, and she's perfectly willing to kill Sonic if he stands in her way. She's also completely honest about helping Sonic defeat the corrupted King Arthur and save the kingdom as doing so will allow her to get her hands on his immortality-granting scabbard and ensure her plans of a "utopia". Sonic essentially spends their final battle having to beat it into her head with words and swords that her idea of "eternal salvation" isn't good for anyone in the long run.
  • Anvil on Head:
    • In Sonic Shuffle, Eggman would drop a 16t weight on the character who was unfortunate enough to be the furthest away from the Precioustone after it has been collected, causing the victim to lose half his/her rings.
    • In Sonic Riders, attacking someone whilst riding the OpaOpa Machine resulted in the victim getting a weight dropped on them.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • One of the alternate playable characters in multiplayer is Tikal. Every time she uses a special attack, she might say "I'm sorry."
      • Knuckles apologizes to Rouge for going rough on her following their fight (after she returns the Master Emeralds shards to him).
    • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has Blaze, sort of. She sometimes says "Sorry" a bit timidly when she passes other racers. Funny how she doesn't when she hits others with an attack item.
  • Arbitrarily Serialized Simultaneous Adventures:
    • In Sonic Adventure, you have six playable characters whose individual stories you have to complete before unlocking the final story that connects all six.
    • Likewise, in Sonic Adventure 2, you play through two stories, which all take place simultaneously, each with three characters, and a final story that connects the two.
    • Ditto in Sonic Heroes, with four stories, each with three characters, and a final story that connects all four.
    • Once more in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) with three campaigns (Sonic/Tails/Knuckles, Shadow/Rouge/Omega, & Silver/Blaze/Amy) and a final segment that is unlocked when completing all three.
  • Arc Hero: Sonic Team has done this throughout the franchise, to the point you could almost subtitle them based on the Arc Hero.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Sonic and Tails, plot wise a new sidekick, gameplay introducing two player mode.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Sonic and Knuckles, plotwise 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. Plotwise 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 and 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.
    • Sonic Forces Sonic and Avatar, giving fans a chance to make a customizable self insert, who has personal beef with new antagonist Infinite (who Eggman 'modified' as well making the custom character thing meta.) The avatar represents a third style of gadget and wisp based gameplay separate from modern or classic Sonic.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Inverted in Sonic Colors, when Dr. Eggman gives his copyright notice, he provides these rules:
      Dr. Eggman: All unauthorized photography, video reproduction, or shutting down of generators is strictly prohibited. Thank you.
    • Played straight in Sonic Lost World, during the cutscene where the Deadly Six turn against Dr. Eggman:
      Dr. Eggman: "I hone your abilites, I equip you with the most powerful mechs I can create, I even give you a giant sandwich, and you still disappoint me!"
  • Art Evolution:
    • In Sonic Adventure, Sonic was remade to be taller, have green eyes, and have longer limbs and quills. He has since become more compact, and his limbs more shorter, to the point where in the Sonic Unleashed beta he was his classic design with green eyes; his fur color was also darker in the early to mid 2000s. From 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.
  • The Artifact:
    • Amy's name stands out amongst a cast of characters like "Sonic", "Knuckles", "Shadow", "Cream", and "Blaze". The only major Funny Animal character with a similarly name is Miles Prower, who goes by the name Tails. Amy's oddball name is because she originates from an early manga where most of the cast had regular names like "Nicky" and "Polly". Amy was transferred over without much of a name change. She was briefly called "Rosy the Rascal" during the 1990s but this was discarded with Sonic Adventure.
    • 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. And with his Back Story already fleshed out in Sonic Adventure, he only appears because fans expect him to.
    • 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.
    • A good portion of Sonic's friends have become this, being reduced to cheerleaders for Sonic's final fights. A lot of this comes from fan criticisms that Sega was introducing too many playable characters and thus having to give each of them different play styles that detracted from the series' standard high-speed platforming. With Sega responding by cutting down the playable cast to just Sonic and a couple of other characters, the rest of the cast had little purpose.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Chaos Emeralds become this in the wrong hands; they've been revealed to be the power source for a BFG enormous cannon held within a space station, and said cannon can end the world when at full power.
  • Artificial Gravity: The series is known for its space levels that actually reverse the gravity, making you walk on the ceiling, or, in the case of Crazy Gadget, the walls.
  • Artistic Age:
    • Amy is only eight in the classic games and is twelve in the post-Adventure games, but looks like as a teenager like Sonic.
    • Many characters like Espio, Knuckles, and Shadow (physically speaking in Shadow's case) seem like adults due to their demeanors and deep voices, but are only in their late teens. Rogue is only nineteen but looks ten years older. It doesn't help that her second English voice made her sound like she was in her thirties.
    • In the classic games, Sonic and Amy look the same age. They're almost the same height and there's no noticeable difference between the two. However, Sonic was between 16 and 18 while Amy was 8. The Adventure redesigns make their age difference (which is only 3 years now) more clear.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology:
    • Tails Adventure gives us the Battle Bird Armada, a paramilitary organization whose ranks include Doctor Fukurokov, an owl with a beard.
    • The Babylon Rogues are neither shown to be able to fly (rather, they ride upon sky-surfing hoverboards). They also generally resemble one another, despite Jet, Wave, and Storm being a hawk, a swallow, and an albatross respectively; all very different species. Oh yeah, and the second game they're in implies they're the descendants of aliens.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel:
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the flickies that appear when the player destroys a badnik share the same palette as Sonic, so when Sonic transforms into Super Sonic, any flickies on the screen are also golden. While this extends to Sonic 3 & Knuckles for the same reasons (and also applies to Knuckles if he's chosen as the player character), it is acknowledged when Tails collects the seven Super Emeralds and becomes Super Tails. Upon him doing so, four golden Super Flickies immediately appear onscreen and follow him everywhere, attack any enemy on screen, and turn back to their usual default blue when Tails loses his power.
    • There were glitches that let you turn Tails into Super Tails in Sonic 2 and the first-released half of Sonic 3 before the combined Sonic 3 & Knuckles added an official version of this form.
  • Ascended Meme:
  • Ash Face: After every battle in the Genesis games, Doctor Eggman acquires this face before retreating.
  • Aside Glance:
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Sonic, whether after clearing a mission, beating the big bad, or just to piss off Doctor Eggman, will likely do a bunch of fancy stuff, but will always end his pose with a thumbs up.
  • Ass Kicks You:
    • Rouge the Bat in Sonic Adventure 2's multiplayer mode has the Hip Drop move, which involves butt-stomping the ground so hard it causes an earthquake that stuns her opponent, even from all the way across the map. As they use the same moveset as Rouge, the cameo character Nights also does this.
    • Amy Rose can dash into her opponents rear-first in Sonic the Fighters and Sonic Battle. In the Updated Re-release of the former, this is one of a few moves copied from her by Honey the Cat, which was likely taken because her source character also made use of this trope. In the latter, the robot Emerl can copy her.
  • Asteroids Monster: Some forms of Artificial Chaos in Sonic Adventure 2 (and all of them in Shadow the Hedgehog) are of the re-forming variety; to destroy them you have to break them apart and destroy the smaller ones, then attack the core, but if you don't destroy the small ones quickly enough, they reattach to the core.
  • In Angel Island Zone, Act 2 of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, there's a portion before the Boss Battle where the screen starts scrolling to the right, then Robotnik's airship starts dropping bombs at you. If you let off the speed for a second, you'll drift too far left and get hit. All you have to do is hold right for a few seconds until the barrage stops.
  • In Sonic & Knuckles, during the Boss Battle in Mushroom Hill Zone, Act 2, the screen scrolls right, forcing you to leap over spiked hurdles to pursue Robotnik. Later in the same game, the screen starts scrolling to the right during the boss battle of Lava Reef Zone, Act 2. The real danger of this area is simply jumping from platform to platform to keep up with the screen.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) features areas of Sonic's levels that have been dubbed by one speedrun as "Mach Speed Zones." Sonic is forced to run forward, jumping and dodging obstacles, and can not leave his assigned course by too much or get hit by too many objects unless he wants to breakdance into oblivion.
  • Sonic Lost World throws in one more, for old time's sake: Desert Ruins Zone 4 scrolls forward at a slow pace with a whirlwind at the back that will kill Sonic if he touches it.
  • 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.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has Sonic's magic Hands ability. Useful on about one enemy in the game in Cannon's Core, only accessible after you have beaten most of Hero story, and it's usually much easier to homing attack enemies. However, the power to magically turn enemies into nothing like that is awesome, just that enemies have no health bars, which were introduced in Sonic Heroes.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog:
    B 
  • Backported Development:
    • In the first Sonic Adventure game, Tails and Amy have flashbacks dating back to the times of the classic Megadrive games. In them, Sonic, Tails and Amy are depicted in their modern designs. The devs apparently didn't feel like making alternate models for a few seconds worth of footage. This wasn't really a problem until Sonic Generations came out and established that the characters used to look like their classic designs in their younger years, though.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, there are numerous cutscenes which show Shadow fifty years ago. Throughout the game, he acquires numerous bits of equipment, and the items you've got are visible on his character model even in the flashback cutscenes.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Tails. In case you don't know him already, he's a young two-tailed fox who likes to invent things and also likes to go on adventures with his bestest buddy Sonic. Take this moment from Sonic Adventure 2, for example:
      Tails: ... Sonic...
      Eggman: Huh?
      Tails: Sonic has asked me — for the first time — to do something for him. I won't let him down; I won't give up!
  • Blaze is every bit as cute as the other examples here, but if you mess with the Sol Emeralds, she will burn you to death.
  • Argument could be made for most of the cast, including Shadow. The resident badass Anti-Hero is three feet tall and fluffy.
  • Sonic himself has a particularly awesome one near the end of both Hero and Dark Stories:
Sonic: "What you see is what you get, just a guy that loves adventure. I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!"
Sonic: "I'm Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog! I have no master except the wind that blows free!"
  • There is also the fact that nobody so far has contested Shadow's claim to being the ultimate life form. He introduces himself as such at least once in every game he appears in, including the game where he had amnesia for the entirety of it and didn't know who he was.
  • Sonic spouts one in Sonic Colors when Eggman issues a public service announcement on Planet Wisp.
Eggman: All of the planets found in Eggman's Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park are, as far as you know, wholly owned by Eggman Enterprises and its subsidiaries. All unauthorized photography, video reproduction, and shutting down of generators is strictly prohibited. Thank you.
Sonic: Eggman! I am going to save this planet, and I am going to free these aliens! No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me! We can save ourselves a lot of time and broken robots if you just quit now!
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Tails. He is a freaking genius, even making a robotic suit that rivals Eggman's, while at the same time being fairly fast, having the ability to fly, and, in some games, being able to take out Eggman by himself. Not through intelligence, though. No, through beating the ever loving crap out of him! In Sonic Adventure, he has to go and beat Eggman to a missile then take on one of Eggman's mechs by himself, saving the city SINGLE HANDEDLY.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • In Sonic Riders, Dr. Eggman wins the final race and technically beats Sonic. However, the treasure he sought out turns out to be just a carpet, making the victory empty for Eggman.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Mephiles succeeds in his plan to kill Sonic, causing Iblis to escape from Princess Elise so he can merge with it to become Solaris. Fortunately, everyone's able to revive Sonic and hit the Reset Button to stop Solaris from destroying all of creation.
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood ends with Eggman having taken over the world.
    • The plot of Sonic Forces revolves around Dr. Eggman successfully conquering the world, and Sonic and his friends have to take back control.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Sonic 3 picks up directly after Sonic 2 (with the canonical ending being that you got all the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic 2). Hence, Sonic uses them in the opening cinematic to turn into Super Sonic, before Knuckles jumps up and startles him, losing the emeralds. Knuckles then picks them up, and presumably hides them all over the island, prompting the player to collect them again.
    • Averted between Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, courtesy of the lock-on cartridge of the latter. If you continue into Sonic & Knuckles from a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 save file, you retain any and all emeralds that you've collected in that game. If you have all seven, however, you can choose to play this straight by giving them up at the first bonus stage... in favor of powering them all up one at a time to enter an even more powerful super mode.
    • Averted in Sonic Unleashed, in which Sonic holds onto the Chaos Emeralds through the entire game.
    • Between Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic lost his Light Speed Shoes and Light Speed Attack. Knuckles lost his Shovel Claws. All of them are replaced in the second game — however, there are also the missing Crystal Ring (Sonic), Jet Anklet, Rhythm Badge (Tails), and Fighting Gloves (Knuckles). Tails' lost items are slightly justified, due to the Unexpected Gameplay Change, but...
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal:
    • Inverted, since most of the characters wear nothing but shoes and gloves. (Some of the characters, such as Ix, Charmy, and most females do wear actual clothes, but also have shoes and gloves.)
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space:
    • It varies in the games; most stages set in space don't have a problem with breathing, but there are some exceptions, especially any stage where only Super forms are permitted. Whether the need for Super Mode is due to problems breathing or need for the power of hovering/flight generally granted by such forms can be somewhat unclear. It may be possible that the other space station-based stages have artificial atmosphere. Strangely, even though they can survive in a vacuum, Sonic and co. can still drown if they stay underwater for too long.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, even though characters can get sucked out of the space station through broken windows, none of them have any trouble breathing in the vacuum when they venture outside.
  • Behind the Black:
    • Used once in Sonic Advance. After the fight with Mecha Knuckles, Eggman is revealed to have been just to the right of where the fight took place. The second he gets scrolled on-screen, he panics and drops the level's animal capsule.
    • In one cutscene from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Dr. Eggman is standing alone, in the middle of a large window. There is nothing in view that could possibly be hiding a person. Sonic asks Eggman where Princess Elise is; the camera zooms in on Eggman, and without moving from his position, he pulls Elise into view from just off-camera.
  • Benevolent Architecture:
    • Many stages in the series. Most obvious are loop-de-loops as natural formations or as urban structures that no one but Sonic can reasonably take.
    • No matter where Sonic goes, from high-facilities, to ancient, long-abandoned ruins, there's never a shortage of conspicuous red springs, launchers, anti-gravity rails, etc
    • One have to wonder why Dr. Eggman decides to fill his bases with rings, springs and item monitors...
  • Sonic Unleashed:
    • One particularly glaring example occurs during an early Werehog stage. The Werehog can hang from ledges and edge along them. There's a ledge that's blocked by a wooden balcony, so the player has to drop down so he can hand-over-hand. On the other side is a ledge with a staircase going up to a locked door. Below is a hundred-foot doubtlessly fatal drop to the sea. The balcony mentioned earlier is coming out of the side of the staircase, which is a blank wall. Earlier in that stage is a ledge the Werehog can grab onto in the form of a rooftop. When he climbs onto the rooftop, the gradually turns into a small local park with no change in elevation.
    • The highways in Skyscraper Scamper stage can be this. Some of them lead directly into the sides of buildings. One of them, in particular, shows traffic traveling on it. If you watch the cars and trucks when they reach the buildingside, they travel right through the building. Some of the skyscrapers themselves are also so unusually shaped as to make no sense. One such building in a Werehog stage has so little area per floor that there's not enough space for stairs and barely enough for an elevator (without a counterweight). And then there's the area's counterpart to the Manhattan Bridge, which for no in-universe reason, leads to a flat island, then continues 90 degrees to the left.
  • City Escape Act 2 in Sonic Generations has one section set in a public park. The only exit to this park leads to a wide halfpipe, then down the side of a building.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Sonic's berserk button is calling him a rat. Erazor Djinn pushed it in Sonic and the Secret Rings and... yeah... let's just say Erazor probably wishes he was dead right now.
    • Knuckles will flip out if you steal/are trying to steal/he believes you are going to steal the Master Emerald.
    • Rouge found out the hard way that Tails does not like it when people flirt with him.
    • Do not tell Amy Rose that Sonic doesn't feel the same way about her or that she doesn't have a snowball's chance with him, unless you want a hammer to the head. Not even the object of her affections himself is safe from this.
    • Infinite from Sonic Forces does NOT like being called weak! 'Episode Shadow' reveals that, after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the titular hedgehog, Shadow rubs salt in the wounds by telling him how pathetic he is. This drives Infinite to insanity and is what causes him to go From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Be the Ball: Turning into a ball is a game staple. Sonic Spinball is a full game based around him acting as a pinball, and other games have pinball-themed zones.
  • Betty and Veronica: The series has a few cases of this, most notably with the outgoing and flirtatious Amy (Veronica), to the shy and reserved Blaze (Betty). In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), shy and introverted Elise is the Betty to Amy's outspoken and independent Veronica.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Dr. Eggman. The patron saint of Hoist by His Own Petard, he even ends Sonic Adventure 2 on surprisingly amicable terms with the heroic members of the cast. Considering how useless he seems to be, you almost start to feel sorry for him. And then you turn around and take a look at his track record. His original shtick of sealing animals inside his robot minions, either to provide power or AI or just plain For the Evulz (or some combination of these reasons) already catapults him far past the Moral Event Horizon, and has demonstrated enough Offscreen Villain Dark Matter to construct his very own Death Star-esque Doomsday Machine note , as well as two Airborne Aircraft Carriers in the same game. Consider also that Sonic Unleashed starts off with Sonic tearing his way through Eggman's space fleet. Let's read that again: Eggman's space fleet. It's not that Eggman sucks as a villain; it's that Sonic is just that good (that, and Eggman has an unfortunate habit of trying to harness the power of Eldritch Abominations that are far beyond his control). And even then, he eventually gets complete control of one!
      • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Eggman single-handedly conquered Little Planet, reducing it to a post-apocalyptic dystopia with no organic life in sight in the future. That should give you an idea of what the Earth's fate would be if Sonic wasn't around to put a stop to his every scheme.
      • Dr. Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2 starts off the plot by personally destroying a big chunk of a top secret military installation and hacking the computer security system surrounding the Sealed Evil in a Can. And the first thing he did after getting the ARK and the Chaos Emeralds was blow up half the moon and give the entire world a 24 hour "surrender-or-die" demand. Eggman is over confident, but his track record kind of warrants it.
      • The aforementioned Sonic Unleashed opening shows what happens when anyone —Sonic included— underestimates Eggman, as it ended with him nullifying Super Sonic and breaking the Earth in pieces.
      • The ending of Sonic Chronicles. Eggman doesn't go with the rest of the gang to stop Ix, claiming he needs to operate some groundside machine to let the others through. Thanks to the differential time flow inside Ix's prison, by the time Sonic et al get out, Eggman's rebuilt Eggmanland and may well have taken over the world.
      • And then there's Sonic Colors. Not only was he the Big Bad for the entirety of the game, but had it not been for a broken piece of a robot damaging a vital component of his latest weapon, he would've succeeded in his ultimate plan to mind-control the entire population of Earth with Sonic and Tails none the wiser.

        Eggman had also managed to enslave three planets and an inhabited Asteroid Thicket, as well as build the largest space fleet seen yet, completely under Sonic's nose, and covered much of the land on all of the planets and asteroids with his own metal facilities. He would've completely snuffed Planet Wisp of life as well had Sonic not caught on in time, and he may have succeeded with Sweet Mountain.

        Really, Colors would have ended up as a victory for Eggman if it weren't for one simple fact: The hero was actually being proactive rather than atypically reactive. Rather than wait for the villain to begin his rampage, the hero decided to investigate his machinations without any reason other than he is an irredeemable villain!
      • There's also Sonic Forces. In that game, Eggman has actually taken over the world, thanks to a mysterious gemstone called the Phantom Ruby. With the help of a former mercenary named Infinite, they have defeated Sonic and took him to the Death Egg's prison cells. He even shows up with a Phantom Ruby-powered Death Egg Robot near the end of the game; but was defeated by a trio consisting of Sonic, Classic Sonic, and the Avatar.
    • Sonic. He is generally a plucky, carefree guy who often searches for the thrill of excitement, spends most of the time cracking jokes and is hardly ever serious, in which his silliness usually annoys his more serious rivals, like Knuckles or Shadow, or even the aforementioned goofy Eggman himself. And where he goes he's usually wearing a grin on his face... all while plowing through destructive forces of nature. And when he gets all of the Chaos Emeralds...
  • Big Badass Rig: The GUN Truck from Sonic Adventure 2. It's big enough to fill a whole street, agile enough to make sharp turns at said size, and fast enough to keep up with Sonic. The truck gets turned Up to Eleven in Sonic Generations; there, it has rockets for added mobility (including driving along walls), it's constantly dispensing GUN robot troops, and it has three gigantic buzzsaws that it tries to puree you with.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has three Big Bads: Eggman for Sonic's story, Mephiles for Shadow's story, and Iblis for Silver's story. All three serve as final bosses of their respective nemesis's story, but in the last story, Mephiles and Iblis merge into Solaris, the final boss, and Eggman joins forces with the heroes to defeat him.
    • Sonic Unleashed has both Eggman and Dark Gaia serving as the Big Bads, with Sonic fighting Eggman by day and Dark Gaia's monsters by night, though Dark Gaia defeats Eggman once awakened and serves as the final boss.
    • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has Eggman and SCR-HD/Master Core: ABIS, though ultimately ABIS is the sole Big Bad of the game as Eggman doesn't have a true antagonistic role beyond creating ABIS and his robots in the first place.
    • Sonic Mania has Eggman and the Heavy King. BOTH of them are fought as the final boss in a sort of three-way battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Tails gets such a moment in the normal ending by flying the Tornado to catch Sonic in the sky after the Death Egg's explosion. If playing as Tails alone, Sonic gets this moment instead. If all seven Emeralds are collected as Sonic, he goes Super after leaving the Death Egg and flies alongside the Tornado instead.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow (who was a villain at that time) manages to teleport Rouge (and three of the Chaos emeralds, of course) off of Prison Island mere seconds before the whole island explodes.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):
      • As Princess Elise was being under attack by Eggman, Sonic spins around like a whirlwind, makes a one-liner, destroys Eggman's robots, and takes Elise to safety while escaping from Eggman's other machines.
      • In Sonic's first two confrontations with Silver, he is ultimately incapacitated and at Silver's mercy, only for one of his allies (first Amy, then Shadow) to arrive just in time and distract Silver long enough for Sonic to get away. Later in the story, Silver would turn from attacker to rescuer as he jumps in to save Sonic from an army of robots, after he learned that Sonic isn't responsible for his future's destruction.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In Sonic Adventure 2:
      • In the Dark Side story, Sonic busted the Restraining Bolt on the Egg Golem boss. After throwing a small fit, the Golem turned to Eggman and attacked him in dramatic slow-mo, accompanied by Eggman shouting in a deep voice, "NOOOO...!!!"
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):
    • Sonic and Shadow both yell "No!" (the latter much more dramatically) upon dying, while Silver cries "No... not now..."
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • One of the last cutscenes to the story mode of Sonic Unleashed has one from Eggman after his servant Orbot unintentionally tears him a new one for losing to Sonic again
      Orbot: You can simply begin your plans anew. Even if all of your efforts this last time were utterly wasted. Even if it was a complete and utter humiliating loss. Even the most pathetic loser in all the world would surely have the chance to—
      Eggman: OOOOOOOOOOH SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!
    • He does again at the end of Sonic Colors while being sucked into a black hole.
      Eggman: [over the PA system] We at Eggman's Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park ensure that safety is our number one priority.
      Eggman: [about to be sucked in] Oh, SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio:
    • Sonic Heroes:
      • Team Chaotix features Vector (Big), Espio (Thin), and Charmy (Short).
      • Team Rose has Big (err, Big), Amy (Thin), and Cream (Short).
    • The Babylon Rogues of Sonic Riders follow this pattern as well, with Jet the Hawk (short), Wave the Swallow (thin), and Storm the Albatross (big).
    • In the first Zone of Sonic Lost World's final world, Zazz (Thin), Zomom (Big) and Master Zik (Short) attack Sonic sequentially in a Boss Rush.
    • In the Sonic Boom video games (as well as the cartoon of the same name), as part of the character redesigns, the main trio of Team Sonic consists of Knuckles (Big), Sonic (Thin), and Tails (Short).
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In Sonic Adventure, Sonic got Perfect Chaos to calm down and stop being the destroyer of worlds... but by this point, Station Square was already flooded and in ruins. And it gets worse, the city was flooded/destroyed over the course of a few minutes, so it's likely that most, if not all, of the people living there couldn't get away in time.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has Shadow sacrifices himself to save the Earth and to accomplish his promise to Maria. Subverted in later games, when it turns out Shadow survived and Eggman's robots found him. The worst that happened to him afterward was a case of Laser-Guided Amnesia, from which he recovered.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, after Dark Gaia is stopped, Chip/Light Gaia seals himself along with the beast in the Earth's core.
    • Sonic Mania: Super Sonic defeats Eggman and destroys Heavy King, but the Chaos Emeralds react with the Phantom Ruby, cutting off Sonic's transformation and tearing a hole in time and space that pulls Sonic in. The Titanic Monarch is destroyed and the Little Planet is liberated once more, but Sonic is nowhere to be found...which leads into the events of Sonic Forces.
    • In Sonic Forces, after defeating Eggman and his Phantom Ruby-powered Death Egg Robot, Classic Sonic begins to fade away, about to go back home to his own dimension. He offers one last fist bump to Tails before he disappears. Sure, the world may be saved from Eggman's rule, but he has left quite a mess, so the Resistance has to clean it up; one at a time.
  • Black-and-White Morality:
    • Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are good; Doctor Eggman is evil. Shadow and Rouge border on the Grey morality, though.
    • Usually averted from Sonic Adventure onward. Chaos is a legendary beast who caused the destruction of a whole ancient civilization, and almost that of the modern world as well, but he's actually the protector of the Chao and guardian of the Chaos Emeralds and has no evil in his heart, he just got consumed by rage when an ancient tribe hurt the creatures he was defending in its lust for power. Gerald Robotnik programmed the ARK to destroy the Earth and struck a deal with Black Doom that would result in humanity being attacked and conquered by an alien race, but it's revealed that he wanted to help everyone by creating the Ultimate Life Form, and was also desperate to cure his beloved granddaughter of her illness, which forced him to accept Black Doom's help; he actually created the Eclipse Cannon to warrant that humanity had a way of stopping the Black Arms when they arrived and attacked. It's just that he went insane when said granddaughter was killed by the government's army. Solaris seeks to destroy time and space, but he's actually a good deity who went insane after being experimented on. Emerl is a robot designed as a weapon of mass destruction, but gains a kind and heroic personality through the game as a result of hanging out with Sonic and his friends and copying their traits, and keeps this one until the end, even after his programming makes him go berserk. Merlina, who is Sonic's guide and ally in Sonic and the Black Knight, is revealed to be the Big Bad at the end, but her intentions and motivations aren't evil.
    • Played straight in more recent mainstream titles. In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, Eggman's silliness masks an ever growing competence culminating in Generations with him actually maintaining full control of the Eldritch Abomination he unleashes. Also in Unleashed, Dark Gaia is very much evil, while Light Gaia (AKA Chip) is very much good.
  • Blinded by Rage:
    • Knuckles is sometimes depicted as blundering and reckless as a result of his short temper.
  • "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.
    • In the Spanish instructions of Sonic games, Sonic was often referred to as Sónico, adding the male suffix, and made liberal use of the verbs "Salvar"note  and "Remover" (as in, to rescue or shake your save file).
    • The Italian instructions for the original Sonic the Hedgehog called the main character "the Sonic" all the time.
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • The English dub of has problems. Unlike the original Sonic Adventure, the dialogue was not rewritten for English, but translated. This led to various odd-sounding sentences in the game. One example is near the end of the game, where the Biolizard teleports outside of Cannon's core. Shadow then exclaims "Is that what Chaos Control is?" as if the Biolizard teleporting somehow gave Shadow a knowledge of how Chaos Control worked. The intended context was "Was that Chaos Control?". One line that really screamed that out was 'But, there's no way you could use the Chaos Control using an emerald that is fake!' And then there's the message that appears on-screen at the start of the battles with the Biolizard and FinalHazard: "The Prototype of the Ultimate Life".

        This also extends to Eggman's English voice actor using the word "yosh" when clearing a level or petting a Chao. "Yosh" can be translated from Japanese as "Yeah!" or "All right!"
      • The French subtitles are horribly mangled. "Le prototype est resté en vie et a placé la station sur une course de collision course de collision avec la planète !", which roughly translates as "The prototype has stayed alive and located the station on a collision race collision race with the planet !". And yes, they did repeat "course de collision".
    • The English version of Sonic Heroes had Tails saying "Look at all those Eggman's robots!". The translators also mixed up "robot" and "clone" in Team Dark's ending.
    (Omega is about to destroy a room full of Shadow clones, on Shadow's orders)
    Rouge: Hey Omega... did I ever tell you that... Shadow is a robot... and... oh, never mind. Good luck.
    Omega: You know about cloning. The original must exist somewhere.
    • In-universe in Sonic Colors. Tails' uses a translator to speak to Yacker properly. Unfortunately (or for us, fortunately), it keeps screwing up the translation, leading to phrases like watering flowers with dances.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Sonic can be considered a very heroic one, as he's "the guy who loves adventure". In other words, he loves the thrill of cheating death many times over and facing impossible odds for the adrenaline rush. This is why he has Dr. Eggman as his nemesis, because Sonic and his addiction to combat and danger wouldn't be complete without that overweight mad-scientist and his robot-armies (many of whom are mindless machines so he's not killing them) feeding as much of his suicidal tendencies as possible. This and his sense of justice.
    • Knuckles is of a similar mold, if not even more so than Sonic since Knuckles just enjoys picking fights and punching things in contrast to Sonic. Despite the fact he's job is to guard the Master Emerald, sometimes Knuckles lets strong foes grab it so he can have fun getting it back, Knuckles of course finds a worthy rival in Sonic, and later, Rouge.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • Maria Robotnik died of a gunshot wound. Despite this, her death is consistently depicted as bloodless. There's not a single drop of blood in any canon depiction, even in the uncensored version of Shadow the Hedgehog. It's made more noticeable because her dress is baby blue, which should stain very easily.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog there is no blood OR gore. Sega planned on adding it in, but decided not to add it so the game would be rated E10+ instead of a T rating. You can't even actually KILL anyone besides the aliens (GUN soldiers just lie on the ground and call out for help.) Even though it is implied that in a few of the endings you killed Eggman by breaking his neck or destroyed the human race.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Doctor Eggman's specialty. Constantly hatching up crazy world domination schemes and brilliant inventions, he tries to kill Sonic time and time again to the point that his Villain Song in Sonic Adventure 2 has him declaring his yearning of victory over the blue hedgehog. And in many cases, he does trap the blur blur or get the perfect opportunity. Except time and time again, his inventions have a glaring weakpoint, his Evil Gloating leaves himself wide open for retaliation, there's a significant issue that Sonic can take perfect advantage of, or he flatout spares Sonic in his few moments of victory which bites him in the ass rather quickly every time.
    • In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Eggman actually rescues Sonic from falling to his death — in order to try killing him his preferred way, in a Sarlacc pit. Justified in that, at this point, Sonic was supposed to have one of the Chaos Emeralds on his person, so letting him fall into a pit of lava would definitely put a bit of a wrinkle in Robotnik's plans. Said Sarlacc pit is also one of the hardest boss fights in the entire franchise.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Eggman ambushes Sonic and Tails as they leave Casinopolis. He sprays them with Knockout Gas instead of deadly poison gas, steals one of the two Chaos Emeralds they're carrying, then just leaves them there to wake up instead of finishing them off. Arguably justified in that he spends most of the game using the heroes as a MacGuffin Delivery Service.
    • A glaring case would be the beginning of Sonic Unleashed. Eggman lures Sonic (in his Super Mode) into a trap, and uses the chaos energy to split the Earth apart in his efforts to unleash Dark Gaia. With Sonic now in his werehog form and weakened at his feet, Eggman's response is to.. drop Sonic out of an airlock along with all the depowered Chaos Emeralds. Sonic survives the fall with no issue (which Eggman entirely expected but didn't care for), while the Chaos Emeralds that avert the infamous Bag of Spilling serve to let Sonic both put the world back together and simultaneously regain his Super form for the Final Boss. Orbot, one of Eggman's personal robots, points out this major oversight, to which Eggman attempts to (poorly) proclaim it was for the sake of a challenge.
    • Zavok of the Deadly Six in Sonic Lost World. Instead of personally supervising the roboticization of Tails, he and Zomom just leave him all alone in the lab. Being the Smart Guy he is, Tails successfully modifies the machine he's bound to to his own advantage.
    • Sonic Forces has two instances:
      • The villains finally have Sonic in their clutches, but instead of killing him, they instead choose to imprison him aboard the Death Egg for six months, which allows Sonic to eventually break out and stop them. Zavok mentions that Eggman wanted to show Sonic his completed empire before jettisoning him out into space. (In other words, they wanted to rub Sonic's failure in his face, then kill him.)
      • Infinite gets a moment of this after his first boss battle. After defeating Sonic, Infinite arrogantly deems him Not Worth Killing and leaves. Eggman later chews him out for doing so, correctly predicting that Sonic will continue to be a threat to their operations as long as he's still alive.
  • Bonus Feature Failure:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 lets you play as Tails, who is identical to Sonic in every way except he can't go into Super Mode, and unlike in later games he can't fly when controlled by the player (except in the HD mobile version). Sonic 3 does the same with Knuckles. He was playable in its multiplayer but got no abilities while Tails could fly, putting the fox into Game-Breaker status. Locking Sonic 3 on Sonic & Knuckles still doesn't give Knuckles any abilities despite the fact that he has extra powers in singleplayer. This is especially bad because Knuckles actually has the proper chibi-sprites for gliding and climbing in Competition mode, even in Sonic 3 alone.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog:
      • There are hidden keys in every level that, once you get them all, unlock a secret door for that level. While most of the doors have powerful weapons or enable shortcuts, the door in Lost Impact gives you an armored car... in a close-walled, cramped space station level. And you can't even take it very far, as there are walls you have to spin dash under, and rail segments where the car can't go, almost immediately after you get the prize. In fact, most of the unlockable weapons/secret doors are like this in Shadow. Particularly egregious are the secret doors for Westopolis (similar to Lost Impact, it gives you a bad-controlling lowrider with no special weapon which you get 75% of the way through the level) and Lethal Highway (a minigun with 80 ammo, which is pathetic if you were hoping for a More Dakka rampage). The worst is Mad Matrix, which just opens an alternate path to the Goal Ring. This is only remotely useful if you're trying to save some time to A-rank the neutral mission, and even then it's far from necessary.
      • The weapons you unlock for completing certain endings are extremely Nerfed Infinity -1 Swords, particularly the Omochao Gun and Egg Vacuum, which are powerful but have a laughable ammunition capacity (even when leveled up!) that hardly makes it worth the effort.note 
      • Getting an A rank on every mission on every stage would unlock Expert Mode, supposedly like Sonic Heroes's Super Hard Mode, where the levels' layouts are changed to be a lot harder, and you go through every stage, one after the other, without stopping. But in Shadow, they barely changed any of the layouts at all.note  And by that point, you've probably played through all the levels so many times, there isn't any point to playing what's mostly the same ones all in a row.
    • Sonic Adventure DX has Metal Sonic as the all-emblems reward. However, he is identical to Sonic in every way, and can only be used in Trial Mode. What's worse is that he only flies at medium speed, switching back to running at maximum speed, so you don't even get that. He also gets his own emblems to collect, but nothing happens if you collect them all.
    • In an odd example, Sonic Advance 2 let you unlock the Tiny Chao Garden by meeting certain conditions in the game... Even though the first Sonic Advance had the exact same mode available from the start. Amy being the final unlockable isn't impressive either. In the first Advance, her slow, non-rolling moveset greatly changed how you had to handle the game, but here she plays just like everyone else.
    • In Sonic Forces Red Star Rings give new bonus stages and put Number Rings in the stages. Whilst not bad, this is still disappointing considering in previous games red star rings gave you things like concept art and new music. Once you collect enough they unlock a new type of item to collect; Silver Moon Rings, which are a much straighter example considering all you get for collecting them all is an achievement.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog has six Chaos Emeralds, each with its own special stage, which can be accessed by having at least 50 rings at the end of certain levels. If an emerald is missed, the special stage can be replayed after playing the others, but there are only 10 chances total. Collecting them all slightly changes the ending. The 8-bit version doesn't have Chaos Emeralds in the special stages; they're hidden in the regular stages instead.
    • Sonic 2 has seven emeralds. This time, special stages can be accessed through any checkpoint, leading to the potential for a lot of special stage attempts, but in practice it's tricky outside of the first and fourth zone. Aside from changing the ending, this game let you turn into Super Sonic with 50 rings, which meant high speed and invincibility at the cost of rings. The 8-bit version of this game also has the Chaos Emeralds hidden in the regular stages instead.
    • Sonic And Knuckles (without lock-on) has a limited number of big rings hidden throughout the game which each give one chance at an emerald. In addition to Super abilities for Sonic & Knuckles, a final, secret stage can be unlocked if the emeralds are collected as Sonic. However, as mentioned later, locking Sonic 3 onto the cartridge allows for battery saves, and infinite shots at the challenging special stages.
    • Sonic CD has Time Stones in the Special Stages; no Super Sonic, but getting them all and finishing the game will result in the good ending. Interestingly, there's an alternate way: if you destroy the generator found in every level's Past version, you get the good ending without needing the Time Stones.
    • Later 8-bit Sonic games such as Sonic Chaos, Sonic Triple Trouble, and Sonic Blast require the emeralds to be obtained within special stages, much like the 16-bit Genesis/Mega Drive games. Chaos and Triple Trouble each have six emeralds (with five hidden in special stages and the sixth having to be recovered from the final battle with Robotnik) and Blast has five. Collecting all the emeralds in Blast grants players access to the true final battle with Robotnik.
  • Most new Sonic games use the Chaos Emeralds as straight-up Mac Guffins. Sonic Heroes is an exception where they follow this trope. There are keys in cages in various... interesting locations throughout the stages. A Power character breaks the cage, and once the cage was broken the key just has to be picked up like a ring or some such. Losing your rings means losing the key (due to this, people usually use Team Rose, the game's "easy mode"), and getting to the end of the stage with the key gets you into the special stage after it adds up your score. You can only get the Chaos Emerald if you get the key in the second stage of any theme (basically, second act) - the first act just gets you points and lives. Getting all the Emeralds and completing the story for every team unlocks the Last Story (True Final Boss and the true ending).
  • In Sonic Colors, it's actually impossible to get the Emeralds the first time through, due to the complicated procedure required to get them. First, you have to start collecting lots of special rings, of which there are five in each Act. You can start getting Emeralds once you have at least 120 of them; you need all of them to get all the Emeralds. Then, you have to finish the Sonic Simulator stages unlocked by the special rings; completing all 3 in a group (for example, 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3) unlocks one Emerald. The reason it's impossible to get all the Emeralds the first time through is because some of the special rings in earlier Acts can only be reached by using Wisps unlocked later on. Getting all the Chaos Emeralds doesn't affect the story, but it does unlock the ability to play as Super Sonic; however, this disables Wisp powers (sometimes tweaking level layouts correspondingly), so it's more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
  • Boobs of Steel: Boob size seems to be proportionate to how badass you are as a woman. There's Cream, with none at all, who is very weak. Then there's Amy Rose, who has a gigantic hammer and pounds people with it. Then there's Rouge, who kick-boxes and has not only got large breasts (for a kid's game) but also displays actual cleavage. Though one has to take into account that Cream is a child and Amy is a pre-teen while Rouge is a government agent. Though Blaze the Cat is the most badass of them all, while being said to have a case of A-Cup Angst.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles begins with Sonic and Tails riding the Tornado across the ocean at the end of an adventure, with Sonic utilizing his Super Form to fly alongside the plane. It ends the exact same way, except with Sonic utilizing his newly discovered Hyper Form.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), due to a Reset Button Ending, ends by showing how the opening cutscene plays out differently in the new timeline.
    • Sonic Unleashed ends the same way it began, with Sonic crashing face-first into the ground from a great height, except this time Sonic is cured of his werehog problem, and the unconscious Chip is just an illusion.
    • The first thing you'll see in Sonic Colors is the title character running along side the Wisps. In the final battle, just before dealing the final blow, Sonic and the Wisps run side by side, ready to bring their powers together.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The trend started with the first game (which has the Final Zone), and really took off after The Doomsday Zone, with the final bosses of most games take up their own level, usually played while in Super Mode. In addition, the second game's Death Egg Zone was just two boss fights. Exaggerated in every Sonic game since Adventure, which all give bosses their own levels.
    • Sonic 3D Blast gave each boss their own level as well.
  • The Game Gear platform games and Sonic CD have the trope in downplayed form; the third acts in these games are boss levels, but contain a very short platforming/pre-fight area prior to the boss. The two exceptions are Sonic 1 Game Gear's "Scrap Brain Act 3", which is navigating through a maze of hallways with no boss fight, and Sonic 2 Game Gear's "Green Hills Act 3", where the platforming is bouncing across hills of springs with one-hit kill spikes waiting for Sonic should he fall, plus no checkpoint, making this stage one of the contenders for That One Level in this game and the Sonic series in general.
  • Bragging Theme Tune:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 brings us Eggman's theme:
      The story begins, with who's gonna win
      Knowing the danger that lies within
      Aboard the Ark, a genius at heart
      Wanting to unlock the mysteries of life

      I am the Eggman, that's what I am!
      I am the Eggman, I've got the master plan!
    • Shadow the Hedgehog provides Shadow's theme All hail Shadow! Seriously, just listen to those lyrics without thinking at any point that Shadow must be a force to be reckoned with.
    • Sonic Forces has the theme of Infinite. Even if it emphasizes the character's Inferiority Superiority Complex, it's still a menacing Villain Song.
      I'm the tallest of mountains, I am the roughest of waves
      I'm the toughest of terrors, I am the darkest of days
      I'm the last one that's standing, don't try to stand in my way
      'Cause I've been up against better, just take a look at my face

      'Cause if you're messing with me, I am a dangerous weapon
      I am the sharpest of blades, I'll cut you down in a second
      'Cause I was born in this pain, it only hurts if you let it
      So if you think you can take me, then you should go and forget it
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • The "Story" mode of Sonic Pinball Party begins with Dr. Robotnik having kidnapped Sonic the Hedgehog's companions, Tails and Amy, and hypnotized them against him. This leads to Tails and Amy acting violent towards Sonic and having red eyes and a Slasher Smile. Knuckles is the only one not to fall under this, as he simply wants to beat Sonic. Sonic is able to snap Tails and Amy out of the trance by beating them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • When you beat a boss monster in some games, Sonic or any other character you're controlling will salute you for succeeding.
    • In most games, if Sonic is kept still for a long time, he will look at the player and tap his foot. In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 he also looked at his hand (as if he was looking to a watch), and in Sonic 3 he would even point to the player and then point forward. Special mention goes to Sonic CD, where if you leave him sitting for 3 minutes, Sonic will yell, "I'm outta here!" and jump out of the screen, resulting in a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • Sonic Chronicles:
      • The ending cutscene. After the heroes exit Nocturne and return to their own world it turns out that Eggman played the heroes for fools and had deliberately helped them to get to Nocturne in order to get all the necessary time to take over the entire world without the meddling of Sonic and his friends. Tails and Sonic then end up having a conversation about how they didn't expect such an ending, how impressed they were of it and how they'll have to wait for the next episode in order to see what happens next. Tails then ends up telling Sonic about the makers of the game, BioWare, and ends up listing the whole cast credits at which point you can, as Sonic, tell Tails that you want to skip it.
      • Tails would in fact break the fourth wall a few other times before when he constantly reminded you to save your game unless you tell Tails to stop reminding you.
    • In Sonic Colors (Wii version), when Tails tells Sonic the aliens are called Wisps, he turns to the camera and says "Yeah, I'll just stick with 'aliens' if that's okay with everybody."
  • 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."
    • Sonic Adventure 2. The game has one story, which you can play from the good side or dark side. Whichever side you're on, that team has to succeed in everything they do. So the outcome of a fight between, say, Sonic and Shadow, differs depending on whose side you're on. Although, besides the fights between good and dark characters, the story of both sides happens in parallel ways and fits perfectly, which is why both can lead to a "Final Story" without much problem.

      Most of them make sense on both sides. Tails and Eggman's first fight ends with Eggman retreating. Even on the evil campaign, it's implied Eggman had to retreat because of him (due to a little trouble). Sonic and Shadow never finish their first fight (they are interrupted by Eggman saying the island's gonna explode), and Knuckles and Rouge's fight ends with Knuckles saving Rouge from lava, no matter whose story you play. It's the last two that change the story (though even in the second battle between Tails and Eggman on the hero's side, Eggman successfully gets away with the Chaos Emerald that Tails had, and we never see what happens with Sonic and Shadow's final fight other than Sonic placing the fake emerald into the core, which may or may not have happened).
  • Bullet Time:
    • The "Chaos Control" abilities introduced by Shadow in Sonic Adventure 2 allow the user to warp space and time including slowing it down.
    • Sonic exclusively can slow down time with a "Time Break" ability introduced in Sonic and the Secret Rings which was later used in Sonic Generations, but it slows Sonic down as well.
  • Bullying the Dragon:
    C 
  • Central Theme:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Technology is not inherently evil as long as mankind does not misuse it. The Bad Future shows us a portrait of a world overrun completely by technology but Good Futures illustrate technology and nature co-existing in harmony, making for a better Little Planet.
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • Poor Communication Kills. For example, Sonic is mistaken for Shadow and wrongly arrested. Shadow misunderstands Maria's final request and nearly destroys humanity instead of protecting it as she wanted him to.
      • Are people innately good, or innately evil?
    • Sonic Heroes - The supah awesome power of TEAMWORK!
    • Sonic and the Black Knight - Who Wants to Live Forever?
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) - Do The Needs of the Many really outweigh the the needs of the few? Since Elise is used as a living seal for Iblis the world is safe from destruction, but she obviously suffers from it and has to force herself not to cry so as to not release the god through her tears. After being confronted about it by Amy, Silver wonders whether or not it's right to kill Sonic to save the future and later on in the story Silver is reluctant to seal Iblis inside of Blaze thus sending her into another dimension and out of his life even though doing so will keep the world safe. At the end of the game, when Elise has to blow out the Iblis Flame to stop it from ever existing, she is hesitant to do so since that will erase the meeting between her and Sonic. She even cries, "I don't care what happens to the world!" She has to choose between keeping the first friend she ever made and everyone else.
    • Sonic Generations - Take the best of the past and look forward to the future.
    • Sonic Rush - You can't always do things by yourself. Blaze's reluctance to accept Sonic's help causes her to force him into fighting her, after which she finally welcomes his help.
    • Sonic Lost World - Don't rush into things without thinking through first.
    • Sonic Forces - Teamwork and friendship, as well as facing fears.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Dr. Eggman was a typical evil cartoon villain that wanted to take over the world in the most obscure way, which was capturing animals and turning them into robots that would do his bidding. By the time Sonic Adventure came to be, Dr. Eggman took a more dark approach to his evil schemes, such as trying to control a god with unlimited power and then deciding to fire a missile at a city when he fails in his original plan. Dr. Eggman even takes control of a weaponized space colony and fires a laser at the moon, cutting it in half! And that was only a warning shot! Dr. Eggman's darker persona stayed with him for a while although Sega attempted to dial it back a bit by making Eggman a bit more cartoonish for the narm factor, which can be seen in Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Dr. Eggman does return to his roots with animal capturing in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 as a throwback to the classic games.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 gives Eggman a reasoning behind his villainous behavior, besides just wanting to rule the world for kicks. His grandfather, Dr. Gerald Robotnik, was executed fifty years ago. Eggman has a high level of respect for Gerald and his desire to take over the world is in part stems as retribution for his grandfather's arrest and death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • The series has a pretty shaky history of consistent characterization, which makes sense since multiple writers are working on the series and some never communicate with each other. Because of this, characters tend behave very differently between games Depending on the Writer, with very broad traits to keep them recognizable. This especially evident when one compares how the plot is handled through years. Starting out, the games had as much plot as you would expect from a 2D platforming series in the 90's (As in, barely) and characterization was very minimal (Sonic was the Mascot with Attitude, Tails was his sidekick, Knuckles his rival, etc) but starting in Sonic Adventure the series adopted a more cohesive and serialized narrative not unlike common Shonen Anime/Manga, and characters and relationships became much more dynamic. (Series Breakout Character Shadow the Hedgehog debuts here, and has the most fleshed out background of any character to date,) but after much criticism over that direction, starting with Sonic Unleashed the series is back to simpler characterizations and plot to allow for more broader narratives but mostly ignored the character development that took place before. (I.e. Tails is mostly back to being Sonic's sidekick despite his bout of independence before.)
    • A couple characters have some rather notable changes in characterization from their first appearances:
      • Amy Rose in Sonic CD is a rather generic Damsel in Distress incapable of fighting for herself, and the only hint that she is a Stalker with a Crush is when Sonic finally saves her from Metal Sonic and she gives him a huge hug while he looks kind of uncomfortable.
      • Knuckles in Sonic 3 & Knuckles is seen laughing incessantly every time he sets off a trap on Sonic. This aspect of his personality was completely dropped later on, with most of the games portraying him as borderline having No Sense of Humor. His theme song in Sonic Adventure even outright says "Unlike Sonic, I don't chuckle".
    • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric portrays Sticks the Badger as a somewhat naive and childish character who uses You No Take Candle-style dialogue, a far cry from her later appearances in the rest of the ''Sonic Boom'' sub-franchise where’ she’s a pint-sized Conspiracy Theorist who speaks in proper English.
  • Cheeky Mouth:
    • Sonic is usually depicted with a side-mouth, along with much of his supporting cast such as Knuckles who is almost never seen any other way. However, most characters in Sonic Adventure and its sequel were modeled with their mouths dead-center in the front of their faces, which looked awkward enough that subsequent games made it a deliberate art design choice that Sonic's mouth should always be at the side. This gets really noticeable with the "Night of The Werehog" animated short they did. Sonic walks past a mirror, mouth facing camera, but on the mirror, he looks as if he has no mouth at all.
    • Sonic Heroes and the Wii-version of Sonic Unleashed averted this by simply not drawing mouths on the character models, though the cutscenes still had them. But the Werehog had one.
    • Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations actually have Cheeky Mouth programed into the rendering engine so that Sonic's mouth is always closest the the camera. If you're able to get him at the right camera angle, You can get this.
  • Cheerful Child:
    • Cream the Rabbit. She's a very cheerful, kind-hearted, and optimistic 6 year old rabbit girl who enjoys playing outside, gathering flowers, and playing with her cute sidekick, Cheese the Chao.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Sonic Adventure:
      • Immediately after the first level (Emerald Coast), Tails explains to Sonic that his new Tornado II prototype is powered by a Chaos Emerald, which he later uses to power the finished Tornado II. Near the end of Sonic's story, the monster Chaos gets six of the seven emeralds. Where was the seventh? Still inside the Tornado II.
      • In Tails's campaign, when shown a vision of the past, Tikal recites a poem to Tails that her grandmother taught her. In the Super Sonic campaign, Tikal realizes that the poem alludes to the Master Emerald controlling the power of the Chaos Emeralds, and uses the Master Emerald's power to seal Chaos within it to prevent the destruction of the world.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, before the first Knuckles/Rouge stage, while the two are arguing, Knuckles tells Rouge that the Master Emerald has the power to neutralize the Chaos Emeralds. During the Last Story, Rouge reminds Knuckles of that very fact, so Knuckles heads to the core of the Eclipse Cannon to use the Master Emerald to stop the Chaos Emeralds from making the Space Colony ARK do a Colony Drop.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Dr. Eggman was having way too much fun at the beginning of Sonic Adventure. "You know NOTHING, fools! It's Chaos, the GOD of DESTRUCTION!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHA'!!!" In Sonic Generations, even his past self is thrown off by his scenery chewing tendencies.
    • Also, the Anti-Climax Boss of Sonic Heroes, the Metal Overlord comes out with such gems as "This victory shall soon turn into DESPAAAAAIIIIRRR!!!", "IT'S! TOO! LAAATE!!" and, of course, "BUUURRNNN! TOOOOO DEEEAAATTHHH!!!", complete with voice echo! What's more, he is ACTUALLY eating the ship while he's on while doing so (implied). What's more, he gets worse after he takes off!
  • Chromatic Arrangement:
    • Sonic is Blue, Knuckles is Red, and Tails is Yellow. However, there are rare occasions when the trio is Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow (black).
    • However, in SegaSonic the Hedgehog, the original power trio consisted of Sonic (blue), Mighty (red) and Ray (yellow). This trio came back in Sonic Mania Plus, more precisely in Mighty and Ray's endings.
    • This is exaggerated to ridiculous levels in Sonic Heroes. All playable trios are color coded based on their power; Blue (for speed), Yellow (for flight), and Red (for power) after Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles
    • Where Team Sonic is a Primary Pigment Color trio, Team Chaotix is a Primary Light Color trio terms of their auras Vector (Green), Espio (Blue) and Charmy (Red).
  • Clothes Make the Superman:
    • In some early localized manuals for games, they make the apocryphal claim that Sonic's speed comes from his sneakers, but this info has never been taken as canon. In-game he does have Power Sneakers which can temporarily triple his existing speed, though, with the introduction of the Super Peel Out, Sonic can run at the same speed naturally anyway. The presence of numerous characters who can run at high speeds in the series make it clear that it's just a natural ability for Sonic and has nothing to do with his footwear.
    • Unlike Sonic, Shadow the Hedgehog's speed isn't natural and instead comes from his Hover Shoes, which are pretty much sneakers with in-built thrusters that allow Shadow to propel himself at high speed. As a result, he doesn't "run" so to speak but instead moves like he's wearing a pair of roller skates.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Coconuts enemy tosses coconuts at Sonic. If Sonic isn't careful, said coconuts can hit him on the head.
  • In Sonic Unleashed, in an exclusive cutscene of Sonic and Chip at Adabat, Sonic gets clocked in the head by a bunch of coconuts due to a mishap by Chip's appetite.
  • Colony Drop:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles: Sonic knocking the Death Egg out of orbit in Sonic 2 serves as the catalyst for Sonic 3. Fighting Big Arm in the Launch Base (as Sonic, anyway) botches the Death Egg's launch, causing it to fall back to Angel Island. At the end of Sonic and Knuckles, you're tasked with averting this trope with Angel Island itself by getting the Master Emeralds as well as the Chaos Emeralds. Failure to do so results in an ending where the island falls out of the sky and into the sea. Unlike most colony drops, though, this one seems harmless for everyone involved.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 had the Space Colony ARK dropped. Dr. Eggman's grandfather, professor Gerald Robotnik, brought to despair over the death of his granddaughter Maria, exacts revenge in spirit by programming the colony to crash into Earth. The presence of the gargantuan Biolizard makes matter far worse, as it tries to fuse with the colony and forcibly drag it down into the planet. After both Sonic and Shadow power up to their super forms, the duo ultimately slays Biolizard, but with the colony swiftly entering Earth's atmosphere, they have only seconds to stop an imminent doomsday. Sonic's solution to stopping this is to use Chaos Control to send it back into orbit. Shadow, on the other hand... does the unthinkable.
    • Sonic Advance 2: The Downer Ending has Sonic falling out of the sky while Eggman's space colony does the same in the background, exploding violently on impact.
    • Sonic Forces: Once the Phantom Ruby reached its full power, Dr. Eggman initiated his plan to eradicate the Resistance: have Infinite drop an artificial sun onto them.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Each of the characters' fur/feather/body color tends to follow them everywhere.
    • Team Dark is more complicated however:
      • Shadow's fur is Black with Red highlights and wears silver shoes, he is usually associated with Blacks and Grays or Dark Red, but his attacks and auras are all orange to contrast with Sonic's blue theme.
      • Rouge has White fur, and wears a black bodysuit with White gloves a pink heart and pink accents. Tends be associated with Pink/White, but her auras are magenta and attacks are typically black.
      • Omega is Red, Black and Gray. Like Shadow he is also associated with Blacks, Grays, and Reds, but his auras are a deep purple.
    • The Wisps from Sonic Colors come in different colors, and as such, they represent different powers. So far, we got Laser (Cyan), Drill (Yellow), Rocket (Orange), Spikes (Pink), Cube (Blue), Hover (Green), Frenzy (Purple), Burst (Red), Void (Violet), and in Sonic Lost World, we get the Asteroid (Indigo), Eagle (Crimson), Rhythm (Magenta), Lightning (Ivory), Quake (Gray) and Bomb (Black) Wisps.
    • The Hard Boiled Heavies of Sonic Mania are all color-coded based mainly on their upper bodies. Heavy Gunner is blue, Heavy Shinobi is green, Heavy Magician is yellow-orange, Heavy Rider is magenta, and Heavy King is gold and red.
  • 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..
    • The first level and Green Hill Zone of the original Sonic the Hedgehog is the Trope Namer, Green Hill Zone. The first level and Green Hill Zone of the sequel is Emerald Hill Zone.
    • In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, the Chao race courses were all named after gemstones and the prize for winning is a medal following that color scheme.
  • 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.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Several characters (to save on space, unless noted all of these characters have Super Strength, Super Speed, and Super Toughness):
    • Sonic himself: In addition to his normal speed powers, he can generate a temporary forcefield around himself, has seemingly endless stamina, can surround himself in fire, can create small tornadoes, and can home in on enemies at high speed in the air while spinning. He's also got crazy levels of acrobatics
    • Knuckles can glide long distances, and burrow deep underground. He can toss fireballs and lightning. He also seems to have some ability to actually sense where treasure is buried. Tikal has similar abilities, if Sonic Adventure 2's two player mode is any indication.
    • Rouge has most of Knuckle's ablities, with the addition of outright flight, and the ability to attack with darkness.
  • 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.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 Battle:
      • In racing mode of if a player gets killed he will respawn at the checkpoint with an ability ready to use. This can be problematic if there is a long stretch of no rings after the checkpoint as players may commit suicide specifically to fire a Sonic Wind/Chaos Spear at the opponent. A stalemate can occur if both players repeatedly do it to each other. The only end to this is when the time runs out or one player gives up.

        Keep in mind that a stalemate of this nature is not as easy to pull off as it sounds, as the power-up you get is based on the distance between the two racers. If you're within close distance, you'll usually only get a Speed-Up, medium distance gives you a special attack and long distance gives you a time stopping power. There are not that many levels available that allow for the kind of distance traveling necessary to cause an endless cycle of attacks.

        The comeback mechanic also becomes enhanced by distance in the race modes. If the two are neck and neck, they'll cycle through their specials normally. If a character is far behind, they'll only get Sonic Wind/Chaos Spear and Chaos Control/Time Stop while the person far ahead will only get Speed-Ups and the odd Chaos Spear/Sonic Wind.
      • This also shows up in the treasure hunting mode where your character, upon revival, is given either their Interface Screw special attack or, if they're an emerald behind, their paralyzing move.
      • There are also unlockable alternate outfits for all of the core cast that give them infinite access to one skill every 20 rings instead of cycling between the three.(For example, Shadow gets access to 5-second Chaos Controls and Sonic gains access to Sonic Wind) The character is, however, able to access their other powers after death thanks to the comeback mechanic.
    • In Sonic Rivals and Sonic Rivals 2, any racer who isn't in 1st place gets an increased top speed. There are long empty sections in each stage to allow them to catch up.
    • The head-to-head multiplayer in Sonic Lost World has each stage divided into segments. When one player reaches a checkpoint, however far behind the other player was will be roughly however far ahead that player will be when the next segment begins.
  • Comic-Book Time: The characters in the games never age. Sonic's age was not set in stone (ranging from 16 to 18) until it was codified as 15 in Sonic Adventure. He has stayed that age since, even though he had a birthday in Sonic Generations. This all is made even more painfully obvious by the aging of characters like Amy (who went from 8 in Sonic R to 12 in Adventure while Tails stayed 8). In Sonic Forces, Infinite remarks that Sonic has beaten Eggman "for decades."
  • Comic Trio:
  • And last up is the Babylon Rogues in Sonic Riders. Jet is the impulsive schemer, Storm is the blind idiot, and Wave is the powerless one who usually complains about Jet's reckless behavior.
  • Compilation Re-release:
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • Sonic Labyrinth a game where Sonic has to solve puzzle mazes by collecting keys. The catch is Sonic has lost his super speed with the exception of his spin dash ability, at the hands of his nemesis Dr. Eggman. According to the manual scenario Eggman snuck into Sonic's house while Sonic was sleeping and stole his Sneakers to send him on this crazy quest.
    • It's a general Acceptable Break from Reality for villains to have large winding fortresses instead of just blocking the hero with a wall or having them fall into lava, but special mention must go to Sonic Spinball, in which Robotnik builds a "Pinball Defense System" to stop his nemesis who is well known for curling into a ball.
    • Mephiles's plan from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) could have ended so early if he just killed Elise, thereby releasing Iblis, but he had to overblow the whole plot, making the entire plan completely useless. He had plenty of other options, too:
      • He could even have just cut up a few onions in front of her.
      • He could have skipped the manipulation altogether and just merge with the clearly unleashed Iblis in Silver's time period. It's not like Iblis is being subtle and hard to find.
      • Even what he ends up doing, killing Sonic, would have been fine. Given the ease of which it was done, and that he only does it because his more complicated plan failed spectacularly, you have to wonder why he didn't just do that in the first place.
  • Confused Question Mark:
    • In Sonic the Fighters, right after Dr. Eggman zaps your character with a cloning ray (which produces a grayscale doppelganger).
    • In Sonic Adventure, the Chao sometimes turn the floating balls atop their heads into question-marks.
  • Continuing is Painful: Every single game since Sonic Adventure 2 (except for Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations) will reset your score to zero every time you die. To add insult to injury, every level is ranked at the end, so if you die at any point past the first checkpoint, expect an infuriating "E" rank as you reward for getting to the end. Dying close the beginning of the level gave you enough time to make up your score, but dying near the end (or even worse, at the last checkpoint) would make sure you got nothing but an "E". A "D" if you're lucky. The time bonus and ring bonus simply aren't enough to make up for the raw score you get over the level.
    • Die once on the final boss of Sonic (3) & Knuckles, and you get no rings for your next attempt. What's worse is that, in order to get to this boss, you have to go through a long stage, then fight a boss which utilizes a frustrating gimmick that can take some time to get to work. What makes this a problem? The timer doesn't reset. Have fun beating that boss with ten seconds left on the clock. It's not a problem with the True Final Boss though.
    • In Sonic Heroes, nearly every level in the game is a 10-15 minute marathon (the Chaotix mission for Mystic Mansion approaches half an hour) — sure, none of the jumps are individually particularly hard, but you have a good chance of messing up one somewhere along the line. Good luck A-ranking the Hard mode, where each level is 10-15 minutes of raw Platform Hell where you can die if your Light Dash causes you to Blue Tornado instead. It gets infuriating trying to complete such long levels without dying (AND making sure you're doing well enough to get the A Rank you're trying to preserve).

      As you progress through levels, hitting checkpoints and killing enemies, your teammates will gain levels, up to level 3. When you've got a full team at level 3, destroying enemies is a joke and platforming can be done quickly and smoothly. But if you die, you are sent back to your last checkpoint with all three of your team members at level 0. If you couldn't do it at level 3, be prepared to try again with the clunky, slow and weak abilities of a level 0 team.
    • Sonic Unleashed is even more brutal. While score is reset, the time isn't. In the nighttime stages, score is even more important than usual. Sonic is slow as a Werehog, which means your time bonus is pretty useless. A death takes such a heavy toll on your score, that most levels in the game can be S ranked purely by not dying, regardless of any other effort placed on killing enemies or getting score. On top of that, dying will bring you back with an empty unleash meter.
    • 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.
    • Dying in Sonic Generations negates you from earning an S rank in that stage, plus keeps whatever time you had when you died. In the challenge acts, while time is the only factor for S ranks, you'll likely have to start over from the beginning to get them, since you probably won't make it in time.
  • Continuity Creep: The games went from being almost completely separated with extremely little plot to having dense plots with immense amounts of cutscenes and backstory, to the point where it no longer makes sense sometimes. Interestingly it rarely ever crosses over multiple games; you can play Shadow the Hedgehog without having played Sonic Heroes, for example, as the links between other games tends to be only for a few specific events that are given due exposition when brought up again.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom:
    • They turned up a lot on the 16-bit games, where Sonic is on a conveyor belt and has to be really quick to avoid being crushed by something or cut with descending buzzsaws.
    • The boss of Gene Gadget Zone in Sonic 3D Blast takes place on one of these, with a large row of spikes at the end of the conveyor belt. The player must hit Eggman's ship, avoiding spike strips and missiles.
  • Cool Plane: Miles 'Tails' Prower started out piloting the Tornado, Sonic's red WW1 biplane that got regularly upgraded over the series. In Sonic Adventure it gets shot down and replaced by the Tornado II, which had the ability to shift into an X-shaped wing mode, and got upgraded in the sequel (Sonic Adventure 2) so it can transform into a Mini-Mecha called the Cyclone and a car. A new red Tornado (or perhaps a repaired and upgraded version of the original) called the Tornado-1 was later introduced.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Dr. Eggman wears a pair of round-frame sunglasses at all times with the intended effect of making him look more intimidating. Imagine what he would look like without them. At least they help build an image.
  • Creative Closing Credits:
    • Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood has the game's characters giving the credits in dialogue. Yes, seriously. Omega eventually joins them. Playing as Sonic, you can eventually tell Tails to shut up. This brings you back to the title screen.
    • Sonic Colors has a credits sequence in which you can run on, jump into, homing attack, boost, and use Wisp powers on. While the Sixteen-Minute-long credits sequence plays the game's theme, Reach For The Stars, the ending theme, Speak With Your Heart, and some orchestrated stuff.
  • Credits Medley:
  • The beta version of Sonic 3 actually had its own ending medley too, where it would play music from all stages in it and Sonic and Knuckles (except for Carnival Night and Mushroom Hill Zones, for some reason), but was very likely cut from release version due to the splitting of the game into two parts. That beta is for a game called Sonic 3 Limited Edition which would've had both games on one cart. It's not a Sonic 3 beta per se.
  • The cannons on the Egg Fleet in Sonic Heroes have crosshairs that appear on the ground. Apparently the characters can see them too: "Get away from those target markers!"
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Doctor 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 several games, he's also uncovered evidence of multiple ancient, extraterrestrial, trans-dimensional artifacts, beings, and civilizations. Evidence of these, as well as the corresponding research, would revolutionize the world, exonerate him and his grandfather multiple times over, herald him as pioneer in science, history, among other fields, and essentially hand him the world on a silver platter!
    • In Sonic Heroes, E-123 Omega sometimes makes references to Dr. Eggman's "consumer models." This implies some of the robots he mass-produces are for sale to the general public.
    • In Sonic Battle Rouge outright states that Eggman sells generic versions of his E-100 Series models as security droids.
    • Sonic Riders has Robotnik Corp, a business venture of Eggman's 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. Eggman also makes an offhand mention to how him selling his technology helps pay for his schemes to defeat Sonic.
    • In Sonic Colors, he manages to grab several planets, build amusement parks and rides on them, and tethers them to the Earth with a Space Elevator without affecting any planet's gravity. He broke so many rules of physics with the stunt alone, and the 3DS version implies it is a really fun park (in the Wii version, Sonic snuck his way in there the day before it opened.) If only Eggman wasn't using this as an excuse to harvest life energy from aliens to build a Mind Control Ray to Take Over the World! Even Sonic and Tails 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.
    D 
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles, despite being very bright and colorful, is terrifying in many ways compared to the previous games that were more on the whimsical side. The very first level, taking place in a jungle, has one of Eggman's mechs napalm the whole jungle, forcing you to press on in what is now a firestorm where even the blue skies in the background is replaced by an orange haze from the fires. If you are playing Sonic 3 alone, the Final Boss battle has the skies grow dark as menacing music plays for the fight. (The same music also plays for the second to last boss fight in the complete version of the game.) If you collect all the Chaos and / or Super Emeralds in the complete game, the climax of the battle between Sonic and Eggman takes place in outer space with Super or Hyper Sonic giving chase as this music plays. Should Sonic run out of rings here, he falls to his death with the world below him. Knuckles' final boss fight itself isn't horrifying, but the background event during the fight is; Angel Island is tilting side to side as if it's struggling to stay in the air and is slowly falling down as the fight drags on. The 10 minute time limit you usually get for each level also doubles as the time limit for the island before it falls down completely. Yikes.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog CD has Bad Future versions of each of its zones, and creepy unlockable artwork. Also, the American release had some very scary music, in contrast to the upbeat music from the JPN/EUR release.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball is based on Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and features a much darker aesthetic than the main series games. One of the bosses actually shows the animal robotization process in horrid detail.
    • The Sonic Adventure series goes beyond Sonic games prior to it in intensity as the games adopt a more cinematic feel. The first ends with the large-scale destruction of a modern city by a creature reacting to atrocities committed by an ancient civilization led by a tyrannical, abusive father. The second surpasses that by dealing with use of "weapons of mass destruction" (and yes, they are actually called that in the game) to threaten whole countries, a military conspiracy involving the deaths of numerous innocents in a space colony, and threats to the survival of the world from anguished people with a vendetta against it. A case can be made for this game's 'Final Story' being the grimmest part of any game in the Sonic series. Gerald Robotnik's diary detailing his reaction to the loss of his granddaughter Maria is pure horror, containing such lovely lines as "I lost everything, I had nothing more to live for, I WENT INSANE!" (this part is helped by the fact that Gerald's voice actor was actually really good).
    • Shadow the Hedgehog takes place during an alien invasion with Sonic's rival Shadow suffering from amnesia and caught in the middle of a four way conflict between Sonic, Eggman, the military, and the aliens. The game expands upon the space colony incident from Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow can choose to be Good, Evil, or Neutral with branching endings and a Karma Meter based on the missions you choose to complete. The game is also a Third-Person Shooter hybrid and features Shadow uttering mild swear words like "damn" and "hell" when he gets hit.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) attempts to toss Sonic into a hyper-realistic world, where he protects a princess who is the container of Iblis, one half of Solaris, a time god from Eggman. Along the way, he, Shadow, and Silver deal with a conspiracy where it is revealed in the final storyline Sonic dies to upset Elise to release Iblis ancient monster from her body, allowing that and the other villain, Mephiles, to merge to form Solaris, slaughtering the space-time continuum in the process. And then Elise kisses Sonic, reviving him with the power of the Chaos Emeralds, and restoring the space-time continuum from the damage dealt by Solaris, in the process.
  • ZigZagged with Sonic Lost World. The dialogue is much harsher than previous games, with multiple references to mutilation, genocide, and death. Over the course of the game, Sonic's party is steadily picked off by the Deadly Six, who take every opportunity to taunt him about it, leading Sonic to come dangerously close to the Despair Event Horizon. These all clash greatly with the game's graphics, which are the most brightly-colored and cartoony graphics ever seen in the series.
  • Sonic Forces established itself as darker from its initial announcement trailer, which showed Sonic fighting robots amidst Crisis City-esque wreckage and heavily implied that Eggman had finally succeeded (to some degree) for once. The story trailer shows Infinite killing civilians and uttering some of the darkest phrases in the entire series.
Infinite: Fine. I will teach you fear. And then pain.
  • Dartboard of Hate:
    • E-102 Gamma's first level in Sonic Adventure has him blowing up little doll-like figures of Tails and Knuckles, with the main objective being to destroy a similar doll for Sonic.
    • A more straight example is the "Sonic Darts" mini-game in the Versus mode of Sonic Shuffle. The game involves throwing darts at a dartboard with a picture of Dr. Eggman on it. Since it is a play order mini-game, the player who gets closest to the center gets to move around the board first.
  • 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.
  • Decade Dissonance: The series suffers from this. In Sonic Adventure 2 the main city is clearly based on San Francisco with modern buildings and ordinary vehicles. Meanwhile in Sonic Heroes and Sonic Riders there are extremely futuristic locales with flying cars, anti-gravity transporters, and buildings that'd look at home on Coruscant. And there's even tribal villages too. Whether the series is supposed to be set in the twentieth, twenty-first, or twenty-second century is a matter for debate, given that building a city-sized space station wasn't an obstacle 50 years before the series' present. Sonic Forces has this trope within the same game: You have the location simply known as "City," which looks like a traditional Latin American town from the early 20th century, and then you have the bright, shiny Crystal Spires and Togas looking Metropolis.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
    • The robot enemies when destroyed tend to do a small "Pop", releasing the animal inside unharmed. On the rare occasions they aren't, they tend to die sans explosions.
    • Bosses tend to go down in a flurry of explosions. The Genesis games tend to combine this trope with Load-Bearing Boss when it comes to final bosses, which more often than not means Defeat Equals Everything Exploding.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Many newcomers fight Sonic, usually out of misunderstanding, before joining his side. This dates back as far as Knuckles (from 1994's Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but several times since) to the additions of Blaze (Sonic Rush) and Silver (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)). The real baddie usually shows up midfight, making the opposing character perform a Heel–Face Turn split-second.
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • Shadow is an exception in that he's the one orchestrating the evil, so even after his defeats at the hands of Sonic, he continues to be evil, and his Heel–Face Turn comes later in the Last story.
      • Also, this is played straight with Knuckles, who manages to befriend Rouge after he defeats her in a battle, and soon afterward saves her life and earns her respect.
  • Deflector Shields: In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the three shields used by the heroes are able to deflect various types of small projectiles. Made even cooler when the Fire shield makes most fire-based attacks pass right through, the Lightning shield doubles as a ring magnet, and the Water shield lets you breathe underwater indefinitely...until the time limit runs out, of course. These three shields returned in Sonic Generations.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Rouge the Bat. Beginning as a villainous jewel thief who wanted to acquire the Master Emerald for herself, seemingly unconcerned about its powers to stop evil acts in the right hands, the plot later reveals her to be a government agent, although she still steals jewels on the side, and the government itself is depicted as less than pure in Sonic games, and she seems to discover the value of friendship eventually. Perhaps it is Shadow's act of rescuing her from death in a base that self-destructs that opens her mind to this, as she becomes fairly loyal to him in subsequent games, returning the favor multiple times. She also gives Knuckles back the Master Emerald after he saves her life, and it is suggested that they fall in love; they nearly kiss, though both stop and quickly hide their emotions. Knuckles claims he was just trying to save the Master Emerald; Rouge is sour-grapes about it.
    • Blaze. Initially, she's extremely seclusive and chilly. She believes that she has to do everything by herself, and reacts with anger and confusion when the other characters suggest she get Sonic's help. This is best shown when, at the halfway point of Rush, she forces Sonic to fight her to see who should go after Eggman. By the end however, she's grown more friendly and open, mainly due to Cream's encouragement.
    • Shadow. He spends the majority of his debut game waging war against humanity, trying to kill Sonic and being a total Jerkass. But an act of kindness drives him to begrudgingly rescue Rouge, and Amy convinces him to save the world from the monster he helped unleash. From that point on, he's been shown to defrost considerably, taking an active role in defending the Earth, warming up to both Rouge and Omega, working alongside Silver and making a conscious effort to help Sonic.
  • 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. For example, the first mini-bosses in Sonic Mania will sometimes glow red making them dangerous to touch, but can still be hit for damage using this tactic.
    • Also in Sonic Mania, reaching each multiple of 100 rings awards a 1-up, which resets whenever rings are spilled. The Hyper Ring power-up makes it much easier to reclaim rings the next time they're spilled. By collecting over 100 rings and then spilling them with the Hyper Ring active, it's possible to earn additional 1-ups.
  • Demoted to Extra: Every character in who isn't Sonic, Tails, or Eggman had this happen to them to varying degrees. From Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) onwards, 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. They do however make playable appearances in various spin off titles.
    • Even Tails isn't immune to this. Granted, it's not as pronounced as he 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 note  and in games like Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations he mostly just hangs around while Sonic is taking care of business.
    • Amy Rose. She's more or less the fourth semi-main character along with Knuckles and Tails, but rarely gets much focus outside playable games. In the Game Gear spinoffs she appears in the two Drift games, and in the first Adventure and Heroes, she becomes a main character. In Adventure 2 she has an important role helping Shadow follow his Heel–Face Turn, but otherwise spends her time lamenting she doesn't have much to do and is an alternate skin in multiplayer. 06 gives her a minor role, but otherwise ever since that game she gets non-playable cameos in Unleashed, Generations, and briefly Lost World, but that's it.
    • Cream the Rabbit. Outside of Heroes as part of Team Rose, the second and third Advance games, Battle, and the uncanonical Chronicles, she's not had any playable appearances, and is lucky to get side character status.
    • 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).
    • Chaos has no real role in Sonic Battle's plot; his appearance is just for the sake of having Emerl copy skills from him.
    • 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. 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.
    • 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.
  • Denser and Wackier:
  • To a certain extent, Sonic Unleashed. While still relatively serious, the game took a very lighthearted turn in comparison to previous games, with the addition of Chip, a lot more comic relief, more cartoony cutscenes and humans designed to look more like they came out of a Pixar movie.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Sonic himself was originally marketed as a spunky, Mascot with Attitude in America, but his actual personality in games, while somewhat irreverent (he'd actually quit the game if you took too long in Sonic CD) was still pretty muted and therefore, up for interpretation as the Japanese marketing toned down the attitude somewhat. Starting in Sonic Adventure, Sonic's personality was adjusted to being more of a laid-back Stock Shōnen Hero, and that personality stuck until Sonic Colors which re-established a lot of the spunk and attitude that the character had in the 90's.
    • Tails was Sonic's adorable sidekick who struggled to keep up with him, but still held tons of admiration for his hero. Sonic Adventure saw Tails strike out on his own as a hero without relying on Sonic's help, and fully evolved into The Smart Guy of the group. After Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, Tails became somewhat more abrasive and sarcastic towards Sonic's antics, as well as becoming a Non-Action Guy who stands back and let's Sonic do all of the heavy lifting.
    • Amy Rose. Sometimes she's a normal girl who has a rather affectionate crush on eponymous hero, but still cares about her friends and their well-being. Other times, she's an obsessive and clingy Stalker with a Crush who thinks about nothing but Sonic, threatens people with violence when they don't inform her of his whereabouts, and may even hallucinate that he's around when he isn't.
    • In his debut, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Knuckles was a chuckling, and mischievous rival to Sonic. Sonic Adventure and onward established him as an Aloof Ally who only helps Sonic out of necessity and convenience, and then later on after Sonic Heroes sees Knuckles acting as a helpful friend towards Sonic. Even his attitude towards his duties has changed, he originally took his job as a guardian more seriously and only left his post when forced to, but nowadays his role and duties are rarely acknowledged and Knuckles just shows up as if it's the most natural thing in the world. He was also originally presented as a serious foil to Sonic, but now is mostly Plucky Comic Relief.
    • Dr. Eggman. Sometimes he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely wants to make the world a better place. Other times, he's merely a Pragmatic Villain who wants to keep the world intact so he can rule. Still other times, he's one hair short of an Omnicidal Maniac who would trigger near-apocalyptic events just to rule over the few survivors.
    • Shadow was originally a quiet and stoic individual who was motivated by the loss of a close friend, and then trying to find out his own identity after gaining amnesia. His self-titled game characterized him as 90sAntiHero who only cares about himself and will turn on anyone, friend or foe, to get what he wants, and then the Last story of that game characterizes him back to his original persona, and that stuck for a few years. Then after 2010, he Took a Level in Jerkass and now only seems to care about stroking his own ego as the "Ultimate Lifeform". His relationship with other characters is never consistent either; sometimes Shadow sees Sonic as a Worthy Opponent and respects him as an equal even if they don't always see eye to eye, and other times he has nothing but contempt for Sonic and constantly wishes to one-up him. Rouge and Omega are either Shadow's closest friends who he cherishes, or they're just tools that he uses to further himself.
  • 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.
  • Detonation Moon: In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman blows up half of the moon with the Eclipse Cannon to show the world he's not messing around when he announces he's conquering the world. The laser blows off part of the moon, revealing a molten core and apparently having no influence on the planet's oceans. The moon seems none the worse for the wear in all following games, including one where the final battle happens on the surface. According to Word of God, the Moon is still broken, it's just always facing the other way when we see it. Unfortunately, that still doesn't quite make sense, as the moon always face the same way towards Earth. And then it shows as broken again when the plot for the game after that, Shadow the Hedgehog, needs to continue dealing with said Kill Sat.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • In Sonic Rush Adventure, following the fight between Super Sonic & Burning Blaze and the Egg Wizard, the mech begins to unleash its ultimate attack, only to be distracted by Marine firing some kind of energy beam from her fist. Up until this point, there was nothing in the story that suggested that she was anything but a normal, if a tad annoying, little girl.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic gets killed plot-wise. However, suddenly Elise feels "Sonic's presence in the wind" and someone has an idea to try to bring him back with the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
  • Dismantled MacGuffin:
    • Knuckles' storyline in Sonic Adventure, as well as the main reason for the plot's existance, is because the Master Emerald shattered due to heavily implied interference by Eggman. He proceeds to collect the shards to restore it, which somehow scattered from the island into a casino, an underground temple, and one of Eggman's bases.
    • This plot point returns with less influence in Sonic Adventure 2; this time, Knuckles himself breaks it as Eggman tries to do away with it. This time there's two characters collecting the pieces.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud:
    • Jumping into a tornado in Sonic Adventure, perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Shadow the Hedgehog is encouraged. Not to mention the surrounding platforms are completely unharmed except for occasional flying debris. Possibly lampshaded in the latter; Knuckles shouts for help when sucked up, despite it being the only possible way forward for himself and Shadow.
    • Averted in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Part of the Crisis City stage involves Sonic running away from a whirlwind—while he's a remarkably short distance away from it unaffected by the wind, he has his hands (actually feet) full dodging all the flying shrapnel around it.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Sonic dislikes being referred-to formally or being given titles. Examples include insisting that Shahra call him by his name instead of "Master", stopping the Knights of the Round Table bowing to him once it is revealed that he is the genuine King Arthur and stopping people such as Cream and Elise calling him Mr.
    • Also, Blaze the Cat dislikes being called Highness. She tolerates "Princess Blaze".
  • Downer Beginning:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog: Shadow is struggling with amnesia and haunted by visions of a young girl dying. And then the Black Arms appear and lay siege to Westopolis.
    • Sonic Unleashed kicks off with Eggman draining Super Sonic of his energy and using it to firing a gigantic laser at the Earth resulting in awakening an Eldritch Abomination and splitting the Earth into several pieces.
    • Sonic Generations begins with Classic Sonic romping through Green Hill, only to run into the Time Eater, who then crashes Modern Sonic's birthday party.
    • Sonic Forces: Sonic goes to confront Eggman, only to face off with the mad scientist's new ally: Infinite, who beats Sonic effortlessly. Sonic is captured, and Eggman goes on to conquer 99.9% of the world.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: In the games, Dr. Eggman seems to have a talent for attracting these:
    • Eggman outright designed Metal Sonic to be a Dragon with an Agenda, programming him to have the sole purpose of destroying Sonic. This came back to bite Eggman in Sonic Heroes, where Metal Sonic's drive to beat Sonic overrode his loyalty to Eggman, and apparently Eggman has reprogrammed him to be less disobedient in Metal Sonic's later appearances.
    • In Sonic Adventure, the water god Chaos initially submitted to Eggman's control, but only because Eggman was feeding him the energy needed to pursue his vengeance against the whole world. When Chaos absorbs all of the Chaos Emeralds, he immediately kicks Eggman aside.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow initially swears loyalty to Eggman, but it's later revealed that Shadow has his own plans for destroying the world out of revenge for the death of his surrogate sister Maria and creator Gerald Robotnik. Unlike most examples, Shadow never tries to get rid of Eggman directly when his plans come to fruition, but he does refuse to obey him afterwards.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic's temporary death at the hands of the villain came without warning or any form of foreshadowing. Despite being the title character, his death was unceremonious and abrupt.
    • In Sonic Lost World, the main villains are the Deadly Six, six entirely new characters each with their own unique personality, and among the darker Sonic villains, while bringing a sense of humor at the same time. How do they go out? Three of them, Zazz, Zomom, and Master Zik, are fought in a row at Zone 1 of Lava Mountain, and only take two hits before they are (presumably) destroyed as if they were common enemies. Zeena puts up more of a fight but goes a similar way, while Zor falls into the lava when Sonic hits a switch. Zavok on the other hand has more of a climactic battle with his giant form and fall down a shaft into lava (which is fitting since he's the main villain, although he is Hijacked by Ganon after his doom). Unlike Metal Sonic in the previous game, their deaths happen during gameplay rather than in cutscenes. However, their deaths are up to debate given that Eggman mentions recruiting them again in the ending.
  • Drought Level of Doom:
    • The final stages of Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequel give you no rings, forcing you to go through one boss in the former and two in the latter with no protection whatsoever. The 8-bit version of the first game also has Sonic trek through the whole last level without any rings, while the 8-bit sequel has no rings for any of the boss levels.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles's final zone, Death Egg Zone, does the same thing with the three-form Final Boss in Act 2: a checkpoint activates and there are no rings during this section, so if you die during the fight, you will have to fight all three forms again with no rings.
  • Dub Personality Change:
  • Duel Boss:
    • The Wing Fortress Zone and Death Egg Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has no Tails to help you, as he was gunned down at the start of Wing Fortress. Wing Fortress is a full level, while Death Egg is two consecutive Duel Bosses.

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