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    N-Z 
  • Names to Run Away From:
  • Never Shall The Selves Meet:
    • Through the mixed-up and convoluted story of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), this essentially takes place. There probably isn't a time where there aren't at least two Sonics/Silvers/Shadows running around at the same time, just in different locations. For example, late in the game, Sonic, Silver, and (strangely) Blaze find themselves on a cliff, while Doctor Eggman's Egg Carrier crashes into the side of a mountain, leaving Sonic to believe Elise is dead. Silver then suggests Sonic goes back in time to rescue her. While this happening, Sonic has already done so. He and Elise had already escaped the crash just as the carrier exploded. Then again, while there are multiples running around, they don't end up meeting each other, hence this trope being played straight, if unintentionally.
    • Averted in Sonic Generations. The entire gimmick of the game revolves around both Classic and Modern Sonics (and they meet up rather quickly.) In addition, there is also a meeting up of Classic and Modern Tails and Classic and Modern Eggman - who both pilot the final boss.
    • Sonic Forces sees Modern Sonic team up with Classic Sonic (now retconned to be Alternate Universe counterparts to each other, rather than the present and past versions of one Sonic). Again, an aversion as nothing bad in terms of space-time seems to happen.
  • Nice Mean And Inbetween:
    • We have the trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Tails is the mild-mannered best friend of Sonic, Knuckles is the tough, hot-headed friendly rival, and Sonic mediates the two, combining the kindhearted attitude with his cocky and snarky attitude (although it's mostly geared towards his foes).
    • Team Dark consisting of Shadow, Rouge, and Omega is a downplayed example. Rouge is the closest to nice in the group and by far the most social, Shadow is in-between in that he appears to be very cynical, egotistical, and moody, but is caring to others even if he doesn't show it, and Omega is the mean one due to being a Killer Robot who's on the team for the sake of Crush. Kill. Destroy! and considers just about anyone who's not Shadow or Rouge to be expendable.
    • The Babylon Rogues follow this trope too. Storm defaults to being the nice in the trio due to him being the most sympathetic in the group, Wave is in-between in that she appears to be very snobbish, but is the sanest of the group and Jet is the mean one to due to him being a trademark immature Jerkass for the sake of being short-tempered.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh:
    • In the Japanese incarnations of the games (especially the more recent of each), the Mad Scientist Big Bad Dr. Eggman gained a laugh rather like a Noblewoman's Laugh consisting of a long "OH" followed by a varying number of "HO"'s to increase comedic value. It is one of Eggman's most memorable traits in Japan but almost never heard in American dubbing. He finally says it in English if you play Sonic Rush. Get hit during a boss fight, and Robotnik will whoop it out. It's also occasionally heard during gameplay in Sonic Adventure 2. He also does this in the English version of Sonic Unleashed.

      In Sonic Colors, he actually laughs too loudly and injures himself.
      Eggman: HOOOO HOHOHOHO — ow... I think I gloated so hard, I pulled a muscle!
  • Wave the Swallow, per usual for the post-pubescent cast, of Sonic Riders, though there is as much official art of her being flat-chested as official art showing budding of the chest. The in-game model tends to the former.
  • Nonstandard Character Design:
    • Rouge the Bat is an anomaly in the otherwise noodle-limbed character designs in the series, since she has a much more anthropomorphic figure, complete with human-like breasts and legs suggesting actual anatomy.
    • While most of characters are based on animals and follow a strict design style, the Deadly Six from Sonic Lost World are instead based on demons (specifically Youkai), and look very out of place. Justified by the fact they are native to a different planet.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: In the games, it's actually not uncommon for Dr. Eggman or any of his henchbots to haul out old Eggmobiles, bases or the like. As early as Sonic 3 & Knuckles did these things get reused.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom:
    • Games released between 2007 and 2009 are sometimes criticized for being a speedy game with some platforming rather than the other way around (i.e., too much running). Sonic Colors averts this with a decent number of alternate routes, and in some levels, two goal rings, as does Sonic Generations.
    • Speed-oriented levels in Sonic Adventure 2 tend to be extremely linear, usually consisting in a single path with very few or no alternate routes.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Sky Sanctuary Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles features two Nostalgia Bosses. Mecha Sonic shows up piloting the boss vehicles from the first zone of Sonic the Hedgehog and the eighth zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before you fight him quill-to-quill. And said hog-to-mecha-hog fight shares some patterns with the Sonic 2 version of Mecha Sonic (aka Silver Sonic).
    • Getting all 180 emblems in Sonic Adventure 2 unlocks a 3D version of Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • Sonic Advance features a Nostalgia mini-Boss Rush in the final level, as Eggman's first two forms mirror those that he used in the first boss areas of Sonic the Hedgehog (Egg Mobile armed with a wrecking ball) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (A slow-moving drill car), complete with the boss music from their respective games.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog's stages has several stages from Sonic Adventure 2. Prison Island which takes elements of stages from the aforementioned island (Metal Harbor and Green Forest), except it's added with acid. The stages from the Space Colony ARK, namely Space Gadget, The ARK, and Cosmic Fall - have similarities of stages such as Crazy Gadget, Final Rush, and Final Chase.
    • Sonic Battle has Green Hill Zone as an unlockable stage.
    • Sonic Advance 3's Sunset Hill Zone. The level's layout isn't from a previous one, but its general aesthetic is very similar to Green Hill Zone (except, as the name suggests, at dusk), and it features remixes of its music.
    • Wave Ocean from 06 is very much like Emerald Coast in Adventure 1, intentionally of course. Both are beach levels with a lighthouse, and feature Sonic getting chased across a bridge by an orca.
    • Sonic Rush Adventure's Hidden Island 16 is a remake of Act 1 of Leaf Storm, the first zone of Sonic Rush.
    • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games:
      • Dream Alpine level uses the first stage, and one of the more difficult enemies, from Sonic Heroes, right down to the music.
      • Dream Bobsleigh, despite being named after an area of Sonic Chronicles, is the bonus stage from Sonic Heroes.
      • Many of the dream events in the game are like this. Dream Snowboard Cross is Radical Highway from Sonic Adventure 2. Dream Ski Cross is a Mario Kart pastiche, right down to the opening fanfare and countdown.
    • Then there's Sonic Chronicles, which not only re-used old levels, but hides an old EggRobo enemy and a Mega-Drive (Genesis in the US) in one of the level art, recycles old music in some of the stages, puts old sound effects to use (albeit in inappropriate places), and brings back enemies from the non-game canon. Chronicles doesn't contain so much as a nostalgia level, as it is chock full of nostalgic moments for the fans of all Sonic canons.
    • Adabat's levels in Sonic Unleashed are very similar to Emerald Coast and Wave Ocean, though without any chase scene.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is pretty much a Nostalgia Game, particularly Episode I whose levels and even bosses are generally inspired by various areas from the first two games.
    • Game Land from Sonic Colors has several stages based off of Act 1 level layouts for all of the zones from the original game.
    • Taken to Up to Eleven levels in Sonic Generations; you have 2.5D and 3D re-imaginings of levels from almost every major game from Sonic 1 to Colors. You also have Sonic, Tails, and Eggman in their classic looks, with Sonic being voiceless, and Metal Sonic returns as a boss. The level design will frequently make call-backs to other levels as well, like the water current tunnels from Hydrocity Zone appearing in Seaside Hill.
    • Sonic Mania features remastered versions of the zones from Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic CD and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Examples include Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Flying Battery and Stardust Speedway.
    • Sonic Forces has a Green Hill Zone covered in sand, and Shadow's levels remix music from Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up:
    • Sonic had a birthday in Sonic Generations. He's still fifteen years old. Humorously, before Sonic Adventure, his canon age was sixteen. He seems to be aging backwards! Also in Generations, he, Tails and Eggman are depicted as having aged quite a bit since their 16-bit days, not even being able to fully recall their early adventures in Chemical Plant or Green Hill Zone despite the above. His newest English voice actor as of Sonic Colors uses a noticeably deeper voice than previous ones, however, nothing points to Sonic actually aging.
    • The series has this trope in spades; none of the characters seem to grow any older than the age in which they were introduced, and some (like Charmy Bee) actually had their ages and mannerisms adjusted to be younger than what they were before.
    • Amy Rose seems to be an aversion, having aged from 8 to 12 between Sonic CD and Sonic Adventure, which seems reasonable... But is weird alongside Knuckles, who went from 15 to 16; Tails, who remained 8; and Sonic, who, as mentioned above, went from 16 to 15.
    • Infinite lampshades this in Sonic Forces. He mentions that Sonic and Tails (who are 15 and 8 respectively) have been fighting Eggman for decades.
  • Not So Invincible After All:
    • The player will still drown underwater or get crushed by moving platforms while invincible in the games.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3:
      • Ice Cap Zone Act 1 has a Knuckles-exclusive area where you must glide from wall to wall and avoid spiked balls. If you use debug mode or a glitch to get Super Sonic into the area, the spiked balls will damage you anyway, and since the damage knocks your ring count to 0, it ends your Super status. However, in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, this is corrected and the Super and Hyper characters can touch the spike balls with no repercussions.
      • The Launch Base Zone final boss Big Arms. If Eggman manages to catch you in the robot's arms, he'll carry you up and body slam you, causing you to lose your rings, even in Super Mode, causing you to revert to normal.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: The games might be the largest offender of this trope since Sonic's ability has always been to run really really fast. Not necessarily stop super fast. (Likewise, he doesn't suffer fall damage.) The closest the games get to depicting wall crash damage is to make him flatten against the wall, fall on the ground, and promptly spring back up, Disney-style (this was to be depicted in Sonic 2 and Generations, but cut out; it only appears in other 3D games like Sonic Unleashed (PS 2); the Sonic 2 Nick Arcade Prototype has this feature fully implemented.)

    In-game, you actually do slow down to a stop. During cutscenes, he skids to a halt. Make of that what you will.

    In Sonic Generations, a skill called "Stop on a Dime" allows Sonic to slow down quicker.

    Also, he does fall into Bottomless Pits.
  • Obvious Beta:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for the Game Boy Advance, the port of the first game, was a failure of epic nature despite the GBA having over twice the processing power of the Sega Genesis. It was rushed to come out on Sonic's 15th Anniversary. The developers did a quick and dirty port job, inserting the Sonic 1 map data into the Sonic Advance engine. The problem was that the engine was designed to handle data created around the GBA's 240×160 screen resolution, even though Sega Genesis games use a higher resolution. This caused the Sonic 1 data to overload the engine, making it take up too much memory.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos is essentially a beta version of Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble. All the levels are very short and devoid of life, with little to no badniks around. The physics are also very clunky, and even though you can play as Sonic or Tails, there is only one available ending: Sonic's default ending. Beating the game as Tails or as Sonic with all emeralds will lead up to a generic "Congratulations" screen. Also, the Master System version of Chaos seems to be a beta of the Game Gear version! Several music tracks are either unrefined or missing entirely, the presentation is lacking compared to the Game Gear version and some of the stages have their objects in different places. The biggest telltale sign however is Sonic's bad ending — in the Game Gear version he chases Robotnik and trips, falling on his face before jumping up and down on the spot in frustration. In the Master System version all of this animation for Sonic is missing and he simply rolls the whole time.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 3, did have a load of glitches (such as getting stuck in the walls in Carnival Night Zone). It was very clearly rushed, as most evident because it was split into two parts to meet the deadline. Most of these were fixed when locked onto Sonic & Knuckles, but others are only possible in the locked-on game (such as being able to take Hyper Sonic off-screen and get him to access areas only Knuckles should be able to reach). Playing Sonic with Tails in 3 & Knuckles in particular is an excellent way to trigger a plethora of problems (by either shifting the camera up or down then grabbing Tails in flight, players can cause crazy screen-wrapping and object clipping glitches that would fill a novel). The manual even handwaves the ludicrous amount of glitches, calling them Robotnik's "diabolical traps".
    • Knuckles Chaotix, the series sole entry on the 32X (itself an Obvious Beta of an add-on along with most of its meager library) was rushed for release so the 32X could have a Sonic game at launch, and it shows. The teamwork mechanic is wonky and unrefined, with the A.I. being extremely stupid, failing to make jumps and running into enemies constantly. The level design is very repetitive, drawn out and sometimes sparse when it comes to setpieces and enemies. There are also numerous collision bugs that can be unwittingly triggered by the aforementioned team mechanic.
    • Sonic R: While there aren't a lot of obvious glitches, other elements suggest that that the developers could have used a little more time to work on it. There are only five race courses, the controls handle poorly, and the racers are poorly balanced. Sega clearly Christmas Rushed it in a desperate attempt to give the Sega Saturn a Killer App for the 1997 holiday season, and it backfired horribly.
    • The original Japanese release of Sonic Adventure, while not as horrendously glitchy as other examples on this page, had some very bad bugs and camera issues. As a result, Sega delayed the game's Western release to address the glitches and other issues, pushing the release of the game - and the Dreamcast along with it - back by almost a year. The end result is an inversion of Bad Export for You: the Western version of the game was better than the original Japanese release. Sega would later re-release the Western version back in Japan as Sonic Adventure International.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 featured poor controls, poor hit detection, graphical errors, framerate problems, placeholder graphics from the old Sega Dreamcast games, a notoriously buggy physics engine, game-breaking unlockable abilities for Sonic due to the Action Gauge not draining, missing content, and Loads and Loads of Loading, with a distinct possibility of spending more time loading the game than playing it. Apparently, the game was more polished, but due to rushing for a Christmas release, the 15th Anniversary of Sonic, and the launch window of the PS3 and Sega firing its entire bug-testing crew prior to the game's release, the crew couldn't get it to run on the PS3/360 without constant crashes, and were forced to release an earlier, stable build.
    • Sonic Chronicles was released in the late beta phase. It's not unplayable by any means, but it had an abnormal amount of cut content (including the soundtrack, which was allegedly just fan remixes downloaded from the internet in MIDI format). What evidently happened was that BioWare was acquired by EA and decided to work on Dragon Age, since they had already fulfilled their contract to Sega.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I was essentially an experiment, as its glitchy physics engine and extensive rehashing of content from the older games can attest to. The game wasn't even intended to be made for consoles, let alone a sequel to the Genesis games; as the game refers to itself as "Sonic The Portable" within the game files and even in one of the zone's background assets too.note  Sega was depending on its reception to determine what should be improved in Episode II, or whether there should even be one. It being downloadable and not actually a physical release gave them less to lose.
    • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for the Wii U took four years to make, yet looks like a beta version rushed to release thanks to a Troubled Production. Before patching, it was possible to infinitely extend Knuckles' jump by pausing the game mid-jump, unpausing, and jumping again; you can respawn outside arenas with forcefields that turn off only when you kill the enemies in them (making the level Unwinnable by Mistake); and it's far too easy to go out of bounds.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter:
    • The series Hand Waves this by having Dr. Eggman seemingly get the funds for his schemes from Casino Night Zone. Doesn't do so very well because Sonic tends to gain far more rings than he loses whenever he passes through the Zone, making it far more generous than any real-life casino. Sonic Battle also went into much more detail about this: Eggman has his robots often commit small-time thefts too petty to attract the attention of Sonic, and he also sells stripped down versions of his robots to other corporations and companies to have a steady supply of cash while keeping the real good stuff for himself.
    • In addition to selling Guard Robos for extra cash in Sonic Battle, the Sonic Riders series reveals that he also owns two companies, Robotnik Corp — which sells air boards — and MeteorTech, a company that develops security robots. Yet another company, Eggman Enterprises, is mentioned in Sonic Colors, although it may be the same company as Robotnik Corp.
    • Beyond just "monetary" issues is the fact that Eggman's machines must require an utterly massive amount of natural resources and time to construct (not even factoring in R&D time), yet he always has some new, extensive machine on the ready when his last one fails. It doesn't help that beyond all the robots he has built, he has seemingly no other sentient biological creature with any significant role in his operations.
    • One of the most notable examples is in Sonic Adventure. The Egg Carrier, an absolutely massive aerial battleship is destroyed. Near the end of the game, Eggman reveals that he had another one.
    • Even more absurd then the Egg Carrier was the Death Egg, which first appeared in Sonic 2. It was a giant space station, similar to the famous Death Star. How could Doctor Eggman pay for that? It was explained in Sonic 3 & Knuckles that he was at least trying to repair rather than replace the Death Egg, but that doesn't explain the numerous extra space stations he whips up in the Sonic Advance Trilogy.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, Eggman produces a fleet of entirely expendable space ships solely for the purpose of luring Super Sonic into attacking his hidden superweapon.

      Ditto for the Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. Hell, every ship in Final Fortress could very well be a fortress in themselves.
    • One of E-123 Omega's lines in Sonic Heroes is "Worthless consumer models!," implying that Eggman produces and sells lower-quality robots for personal use.
    • Seemingly justified in Sonic Mania, when Dr. Eggman gets the Phantom Ruby. Not only does it morph his Egg Robos into the Hard-Boiled Heavies, it can also bend reality and send Sonic & friends into his old bases, complete with newly rebuilt robots and machines.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ:
    • A creepy, if not disturbing example exists in Sonic Adventure 2/Battle's Chao Garden. A special organ jingle plays instead of the designated one for your Chao's new alignment if it evolves into a Chaos-type
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), an organ plays in the scene where Mephiles kills Sonic.
  • Once per Episode:
  • One Game for the Price of Two: The series has a nasty habit of foreshadowing events of games that are only playable on other consoles, especially with the Wii. Liked Sonic Colors and want to play the direct sequel Sonic Generations? If your PC isn't built for gaming, then enjoy shilling out triple-digit monetary values for a 360 or PS3. If you bought Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I on WiiWare and want to play Episode II? Same deal (and to unlock Episode Metal will cost even more!).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Assuming they have no rings, every character would count as this, but this is not the case. Final Zone and Death Egg Zone in Sonic 1 and 2, respectively, have no rings whatsoever, effectively rendering Sonic a One Hit Point Wonder for the final confrontations. The 8-bit versions of Sonic 1 and 2 took this even further by offering no rings for any of the boss encounters.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
  • Overly Narrow Superlative:
    • Compared to his other, more impressive, title "the fastest thing alive," it's a little underwhelming for Sonic to be more commonly referred to as only "The world's fastest hedgehog." Then again, the few other hedgehogs in the series do prove themselves competent speedsters from time to time.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog, in one of his game's Multiple Endings, promises to become the most powerful hedgehog in the universe!
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females:
    • In the games all but two (Charmy Bee and Imperator Ix) male non-human characters wear nothing but shoes and gloves, and all females are fully clothed.
    • Zigzagged in Sonic Forces. The default outfit for the male avatar has him wear only gloves and shoes, and the default female avatar wears a bodysuit, playing the trope straight. However, it's entirely possible to dress a male avatar in full clothing, and some of the bodysuits, or rather the tattoos and fur patterns that replace the default bodysuit, allow you to fully undress a female avatar.
  • Panty Shot: In some games, the player can catch a rare glimpse of Amy and Cream's white panties under their skirts. Except for Sonic the Fighters, where she has no panties.
  • People Jars: Dr. Eggman captures animals and stores them in capsules, which act as Jars. His main use for them is to brainwash them to control his robots for him, so the robots somewhat act as Jars as well. In both cases, Sonic and the gang can free them; the capsules have a switch, while the robots can be destroyed and the animal within will be fine.
  • Pinball Spinoff:
  • Pinball Zone:
    • Almost every game in the series has at least one level where Sonic is buffeted about by flippers, bumpers, and the like (usually within levels decked out with a full casino theme, starting with Spring Yard and moving on to Casino and Carnival Night Zones), and Sonic Spinball was devoted entirely to the idea of Sonic being the pinball. The in-series tradition may have started because, since Sonic can curl into a ball and move rapidly and the series already featured him careening wildly around loops, through the air, and off of springs, putting him in a pinball machine wasn't much of a stretch.
  • The default Extreme Gear for male Xbox Live Avatars in Sonic Free Riders is blue, while its female equivalent is pink. The description of the latter lampshades it.
This model from Accelovice's women's line is a favorite among female riders. The fact that it's pink doesn't hurt!
  • Planet of Copyhats: Nearly every character who has ever been playable throughout the series has shown some degree of Super Speed, sometimes even after they were shown to be slow runners in a previous playable appearance. Sonic himself is still regarded as being in a league of his own as far as natural running speed goes though. This has gone so far as to extend to the very few playable appearances of non-Funny Animal characters at times.
  • Plot Coupon: The Chaos Emeralds are used in the games as either collectibles to unlock Super Sonic, or as actual pieces of the plot, with a few games either giving you a bad ending and/or not unlocking the final stage if you don't collect them all. The Master Emerald usually works the same way.
  • The Pollyanna:
  • Sonic. Even when things get really bad, he (almost) never lets up his carefree nature.
  • Polygon Ceiling: A notable example note : Sega have acknowledged that the 3D Sonic games — up until Sonic Colors — have a (not entirely unfounded) reputation of being plagued with bad camera angles, poor level design, and shaky controls. It's ultimately down to personal opinion as to which of the 3D games is the prime culprit. At the same time, the 2D Advance and Rush series released at the same time were quite highly regarded, which (along with a heavy sense of Retraux) could explain why Sonic Colors includes a lot of 2D platforming.
  • Pokémon Speak:
    • The Chao have done this starting with Shadow the Hedgehog. The way they talk is by repeating "Chao". This also includes Cream's pet, Cheese. They did this in earlier games as well, but usually spoke in childlike gibberish.
    • In the Sonic Runners Halloween Event, the boos, the ghosts that appeared in the haunted stages in Sonic Adventure 2, communicate by saying "boo".
  • Pop Culture Osmosis: Some evolutionary biologist must have been a Genesis gamer in his or her youth, as one of the genes involved in the development of the feather in birds and teeth in humans has been dubbed "Sonic hedgehog." No, really.
    • On a side note, if that gene gets mutated in any way in fetuses, the fetus will be born with Conjoined Eyes, just like the many hedgehogs in this series.
  • Pop-Star Composer:
    • Masato Nakamura from the J-pop band Dreams Come True wrote the soundtracks for Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Unfortunately, he held the rights to his music for the games, which left with him. The only music he didn't write was the drowning music and the chaos emerald jingle, which could and would be used for later titles.
    • Michael Jackson was reportedly hired to compose for Sonic 3. Some members of Sonic Team claim Jackson's involvement was unofficial and happened without Sega's knowledge if it happened at all; others claim to have possession of a complete soundtrack's worth of demos from Jackson. How much of his work actually made it into the finished game is unknown. (The fact that several of the credited musicians, like Brad Buxer, actually worked for Jackson makes it even harder to guess.) Rumors abound, though, about suspiciously similar songs, stolen beats, and whole messes of trouble relating to the situation.
    • Jun Senoue and his band Crush 40 wrote music for several of the 3-D games.
    • R&B musician Akon remixed Dreams Come True's "Sweet Sweet Sweet" for Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
    • The final boss theme of Sonic and the Black Knight, "With Me", is performed by Emma Gelotte and Tinna Karlsdotter from All Ends, the lead guitar work is done by Marty Friedman from Megadeth.
    • Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup performed "Endless Possibilities" from Sonic Unleashed.
    • Sonic Colors had Alex Makhlouf of Cash Cash do the main theme. Later on, they and Circuit Freq did remixes for Sonic Generations.
    • This goes all the way to Sonic Forces, where Douglas Robb of Hoobastank wrote and performed "Fist Bump".
  • Power Dyes Your Hair:
    • Sonic has his Super Form; after collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds, he turns gold, his eyes turn red, and is basically invincible.
    • This is taken Up to Eleven in Sonic 3 & Knuckles with Hyper Sonic. Sonic's fur changes colors 14 times a second in this form, following the pattern of white, green, white, orange, white, gold, white...7th emerald color, white, green.
    • When Blaze the Cat becomes Burning Blaze via the power of the Sol Emeralds, her lavender fur turns pink.
    • Silver the Hedgehog has his white fur turn golden-yellow when he enters his own Super State. Like with Sonic, his eyes also turn red.
    • Shadow's black fur turns into a golden lemon-cream color and his eye color becomes completely ruby red. Other than that, his additional fur colors, and quill style remains unchanged.
  • The Power of Friendship: The series seems keen on the theme of friendship.
    • In Sonic Adventure, the power of friendship restored the Chaos Emeralds' power after they've been drained by Perfect Chaos, giving Sonic the means to go Super in order to stop the rampaging beast from destroying the world. Justified in that the Emeralds' powers are activated and fueled by emotions (be it positive or negative), so Sonic and his friends opted to "channel" their positive emotions to restore them.
  • The general theme of Sonic Rush, where the power of friendship allows Blaze to access the power of the Sol Emeralds and go Super to stop the Eggmen from taking over the world.
  • Displayed in Sonic Forces. When Eggman is shocked that Sonic and the Avatar character got out of Null Space, Sonic explains that he had help from said Avatar. In the second instance, Infinite scorns the idea of friendship, but Sonic shuts him up by telling him the help of his friends has brought him this far to stop him and that his power influenced by the Phantom Ruby is the real illusion.
  • Getting Power Sneakers to boost your speed increases the tempo of the current background music for their duration. Except in Sonic CD where there's separate music for Power Sneakers — because the music was being played directly from the CD and couldn't be sped up. The PC version of Sonic 3D Blast doesn't use the invincibility music, for the same reason.
  • When you earn an extra life, the jingle lasts for a couple of seconds and often completely overrides the background music.
  • The Psycho Rangers:
    • They had a set of Psycho Rangers as early as the Saturn era. In Sonic R, there were Metal Sonic, Metal Knuckles and the Tails Doll whom Robotnik created to give Sonic and friends a hard time.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Team Dark consisted of Shadow, Eggman and Rouge: three villains with the same powers and move sets as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles respectively. They'd return with some adjustments as an Anti-Hero Team in Sonic Heroes: Rouge moved from Knuckles' counterpart to Tails', and Eggman was replaced by new character Omega, who filled the "Anti-Knuckles" slot.
  • Punny Name:
    • Sonic's companion Tails has the given name of Miles Prower, a pun on "miles per hour."
    • Dr. Ivo Robotnik has an unfortunate punny name when his nickname, Eggman, is used ("Ivo" is a reverse of "Ovi", the Latin root for "egg"). The word "robotnik" is Polish for "worker".
    • Rouge the Bat, whose name is a pun on Baton Rouge.
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • Espio the Chameleon is this for Team Chaotix, having studied in the ways of ninjutsu.
    • Knuckles the Echidna sports purple eyes and is shown to have incredible powers
    • Blaze the Cat has purple fur and wears mostly purple - she's a princess, protector of the Sol Emeralds and controls fire.
    • Big the Cat also has purple fur. Despite being a Gentle Giant, he is the strongest character in the franchise, being able to lift up a car as if it was a toy.
  • Puzzle Boss: The games stayed away from this trope for the first few games, but after discovering it, the designers seem to have positively adored it ever since.
    • That is to say, the first game still wasn't completely devoid of them. Star Light Zone's boss is only reachable by standing on a lever as he drops a bomb to launch yourself up high enough, or perhaps using yourself to launch the bomb.
    • The 2013 mobile version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 retroactively added one as the boss of the now completed (and also optional) Hidden Palace Zone: the main way to hurt Eggman is to trick him into going under homing bombs as it erupts. Doing so would knock him to the ground, where you can get to hit him a couple of times before he rises again to resume attacking. This, however, is a Zigzagged Trope — while this is the main method to attack him, playing as Super Sonic or Tails allows you to easily hit him without knocking him to the ground, and even without doing so, it's possible to take advantage of the water's buoyancy during the first phrase of his attack pattern in order to get enough height to reach and attack him.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog 3 has the Carnival Night Zone Act 1 boss. Your attacks can't hurt it... but they do make it vulnerable to its own attacks.
  • Sonic & Knuckles is the Sonic series's king of Puzzle Bosses. Flying Battery Zone Act 2 had a mid-level "boss battle" that simply ended after it attacked several times, Sandopolis Zone Act 1 had a boss that had to be dumped into quicksand, and no fewer than four stages (Flying Battery Zone Act 1, Lava Reef Zone Act 2, the mini-boss of Death Egg Zone Act 2, and The Doomsday Zone) had bosses that were defeated by getting them to hit themselves with their own attacks.
  • Sonic Adventure required Amy to knock Zero into an electric fence during her final confrontation with the robot, and Sonic and Knuckles to freeze Chaos 6 by throwing an object into its mouth.
  • Sonic Adventure 2:
    • Technically, a mech walker battle had an explosive canister in the center that could be shot to damage anyone in its vicinity, but it rarely proved useful. You were allowed to just whale on the enemy. Since the lock-on system loves to target anything and everything, it was more likely that you would hurt yourself with said canister. Not to mention that you pass through the middle a lot trying to get close to your opponent so that the Wave Motion Gun isn't as hard to dodge.
    • All bosses of have weak points except for Eggman/Tails and Rouge/Knuckles. For Sonic and Shadow, it's their backs. For the walkers, it's their cockpits. Some have trickier ones, like jumping up platforms to strike the weak spot on the Egg Golem's head, or hitting an hourglass so that light fills a pyramid to cause King Boom Boo (a giant ghost who breathes fire) to turn into a shadow on the ground... and then, of course, you have to chase said shadow and then dig into him. Then, after you dig him out of the ground, you have to chase him again and then finally punch him. But then of course, there's the two incarnations of the final boss: You have to grind the tubes hanging from his mouth to strike the weakspot on his back, and then later you have to homing attack eggs just to reach it the final time. Then, when he becomes bigger and badder (as in he melds himself into a space station that is quickly falling towards Earth), his weakspot actually changes places as you fight him.
  • Sonic Unleashed:
    • The Dark Guardian in the hi-definition version of requires you to push boxes to an area, which will remove his invincibility temporarily and progressively nullify his regeneration. (In the Wii version, though, he's the only boss that amounts to a plain old fisticuff fight, no exposing weak points involved.)
    • For that matter, the Dark Gaia Phoenix required you to throw barrels of water at it, or trick it into flying into said barrels of water, in order to render it vulnerable. The Dark Moray had a similar mechanic involving freezing it with canisters of cold gas before being able to attack its weak point safely.
  • Several in some of the newer 2D games. Sonic Advance 2's Super Sonic fight entailed smacking missiles back into Eggman. Sonic Advance 3 has a boss which can be damaged by the platforms that fall as you jump off them as everything scrolls up, and also one where you hit balls to make them deadly to Eggman (the balls bounce around the room). In Rush , there is a scarab beetle boss in which you have to smack the ball, and make it hit the back of Eggman. And in Rush Adventure , there's a boss in which you must smack a pendulum based system with enough force to hit the weak point at the top. Both Rush games also have you knocking missiles into the Eggmen in the Super fights.
  • Sonic Mania features one of the most literal examples of this trope in the series: the boss fight of Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 involves challenging Eggman to a round of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.
  • Race Against the Clock:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 features Dr. Eggman giving the entire world 24 hours to surrender before he fires the Eclipse Cannon. Later on, his grandfather's program is set into action, destroying everything in 27 minutes, 53 seconds.
    • In Sonic Heroes, Dr. Eggman threatens to unleash his new weapon in 3 days. It's really Metal Sonic.
    • Sonic Forces also features a premise similar to the Sonic Heroes example above. The Resistance is given 3 days before Dr. Eggman destroys the entire world.
  • Racing the Train: The games's titular character is famous for his speed, so naturally, he will occasionally have to outrun trains:
    • In Sonic Heroes, Rail Canyon Zone and Bullet Station Zone are set within a network of Dr. Eggman's supply trains. Occasionally, one (or more) of those trains will suddenly start moving in front of Sonic and the others, requiring them to outrun it, though if you're good at the Flight characters' hovering, you can just let the trains pass by without harming anyone.
    • Sonic mostly just runs through train crossings as the locomotives are passing by in the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) stage Radical Train, though towards the end, Sonic encounters a runaway passenger train with a bomb attached to it that Sonic has to catch up to and disarm before it explodes.
    • In Sonic Free Riders, Rocky Ridge is an 18th-century mining town. One version of the racetrack has the racers travel along two sets of railroad tracks with steam locomotives sometimes traveling through, requiring the racers to dodge them as they appear.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The various teams that congregate in the series. Special mentions go to Team Dark and Team Chaotix.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • Often, the various in-game jingles (Invincibility, Speed Up), the menu screens, some specific cutscenes, the title screen, and in later games the final boss all match the same theme, but with variations.
    • The series has its classic theme song music from the first two games, which was even referenced as late as 2001 in Sonic Advance. A bit more commonly, though, is the Round Clear music from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which has been used for over ten years when a character completes a stage. It's also heard as Sonic's victory theme in Brawl.
    • Some Game Gear spin-offs had Sonic - You Can Do Anything from Sonic CD as an level theme or invincibility jingle.
    • The series also has its infamous Drowning Theme, officially called "I Wanna Breathe", that is guaranteed to appear in any Sonic game where you can go under water without instantly dying.
    • Sonic Adventure's Twinkle Park/Circuit level reused the music from Sonic 3D Blast's Panic Puppet Zone.
  • The original Sonic Rush took this to extremes; there's only ten-odd songs, one for each stage and a few for the boss fights, but the majority of the rest of the game's soundtrack is just rearrangements of those tunes. So, you'll be hearing "What U Need" a lot earlier than the level it's featured in, as it's also the Main Menu music.
  • Much of Sonic Adventure 2's soundtrack is built around a single motif, which finally comes to a head with the song "Live and Learn" during the game's final boss fight.
  • Sonic 1 uses a scary remixed version of the main boss theme (Robotnik's Leitmotif?) for the final battle, as well as the cutscene at the end of Scrap Brain Act 2 where Robotnik drops you down the Trap Door.
  • The boss music in Sonic 2 also seems to be loosely remixed from the Sonic 1 boss theme, which, in turn, was remixed and used in the final boss for that game.
  • Although it had a different composer, the first half of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 &Knuckles main boss music is a Musical Pastiche of Sonic 1's boss theme, more resembling the Final Boss remix of it.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog has always been black and red, the universal colours of badassery. Before his Heel–Face Turn, it screamed 'bad guy', and even afterwards he's an Anti-Hero.
    • The race he was created from, the Black Arms, are red and black a lot.
    • Dr. Eggman/Robotnik generally dresses in a red jacket with black pants, and many of his robots (such as E-123 Omega) have a similar color scheme.
    • Zavok from Sonic Lost World is also red and black in skin color, as he is the leader of the Deadly Six and is certainly cruel and merciless.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Various characters of the series started off as enemies of Sonic, but even after they joined his side, they can still be found clashing against Sonic on occasion due to circumstances or contrasting lifestyles and personalities.
  • Replacement Flat Character:
    • Amy had started as a sweet-natured girl, but during Cream's introduction to the series, she would become more aggressive and short-tempered while still having her nice moments.
    • After Knuckles became more of an ally to Sonic and more of a hot-headed comic relief, Shadow takes the role of the stoic and serious rival from him.
    • Both cases are somewhat of an inversion in that Knuckles and Amy actually underwent Flanderization following the introductions of their "replacements", and were more rounded prior to that.
  • Replay Value: Sonic games generally have a low number of stages compared to most other platformers, which would make the game very short otherwise. What it lacks in stage number is more than made up for in the amount of alternate paths that you can take in getting to the goal. In several games, the replayability is even added to with the Chaos Emeralds, as finding them requires all your exploration ability. Adding onto THAT is the fact that the games were designed with speedruns in mind, encouraging you to replay levels and learn how to get faster and faster times, improving your rank if the game has them.
  • Reset Button:
    • A reset happens in the bad ending for Sonic the Hedgehog CD. Eggman presumably uses the Time Stones to CTRL-Z everything you did in the game.
  • Ret-Canon:
  • Retcon: Thanks to their debut game (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)) undergoing Cosmic Retcon at the end, Blaze and Silver were re-introduced into the series with new origins; Blaze's "new" debut game was Sonic Rush, while Silver's backstory was re-established and re-canonized in Sonic Rivals.
  • Revisiting the Roots:
    • Shortly after the release of Sonic Adventure 2 —which continued Sonic's trajectory into 3D gameplay and more elaborate and darker storylines— came the release of the first Sonic Advance, which played in 2D and served as a basic recreation of the earliest Genesis games (taking after Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in particular) in stage design, game mechanics, and a simple plot "Dr. Eggman kidnaps animals; Sonic rescues them". (Advance is however more of a downplayed example, as it wasn't explicitly stated to be based off of the originals and comes with its own fair share of changes, such as having the character designs and aesthetics introduced in Adventure and onwards.)
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was the first Sonic game specifically billed as a direct attempt at going back to basics, and was also the first 2D Sonic game released on consoles since Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • Half of the premise of Sonic Generations is that Sonic from the Classic era games is brought forward in time to the present, and also marks the first time Sonic's original design from that era is used in a new game. Classic Sonic plays very close to the original games, much closer than in Sonic 4, and is near indistinguishable in the 3DS version.
    • The second direct attempt at going back to the roots was made with Sonic Mania, built from Christian Whitehead's Retro Engine to replicate 1:1 the classic Sonic physics; designed by long-time fans and modders, the game was a mix of redesigned classic stages with new ones. Going the full retraux route of having 32-bit sprites reminiscent of the 16-bit sprites of the Genesis games, exclusively using the original designs, and billing itself as a direct sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles (and thus knocking Sonic 4 into Canon Discontinuity).
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Being colorful animals, the series' main characters are naturally predisposed to cuteness, and many a dedicated fan has even made the likes of the stubborn, cold-faced Blaze the Cat into something adorable.
  • The Rival: Sonic tends to attract a lot of these characters for various reasons.
    • Originally it was Knuckles. In his debut, Knuckles fought against Sonic and Tails due to manipulations by Dr. Eggman. After Eggman revealed himself as the Big Bad, Knuckles teams up with the duo to stop him. Afterward, probably due to their egos, Sonic and Knuckles clashed for one reason or another, mostly due to the latter being tricked by Eggman into doing so. Their rivalry has kind of dissipated in recent years due to other adversaries showing up and Knuckles becoming more of an ally, but still pops up now and then.
    • Since Sonic and Knuckles were slowly becoming friends, Shadow debuted as the new, darker rival for Sonic. Unlike Knuckles, Shadow was not being tricked into fighting the heroes and was in fact a dangerous foe in his debut. Originally, he didn't pay Sonic much attention outside of accusing him of copying his style, but due to Sonic's tenacity and cheating death, he earned Shadow's respect and acknowledgment as a Worthy Opponent. Even after Shadow's eventual Heel–Face Turn, this dynamic is retained and the two clash quite often before teaming up against a common foe.
    • Debuting alongside Shadow was Rouge the Bat, who served as The Rival to Knuckles. They're both treasure hunters, but it's more of a hobby for Knuckles and he guards the all-powerful Master Emerald instead, while Rouge is an outright thief who attempts to steal it. This dynamic tends to be laced with Foe Romantic Subtext, though.
  • Robo Speak:
    • While not exactly monotone, E-102 Gamma from Sonic Adventure does sound calm at all times. He talks to himself a fair amount, and while this doesn't hinder him at all, it doesn't make much sense, outside of letting players and viewers in on his data processes. Oh yeah, and stock phrases: "Insufficient data." "Does not compute." "Accessing data."
    • E-123 Omega from Sonic Heroes, on the other hand, gets an angry monotone, but better lines ("WORTHLESS CONSUMER MODELS!"). Interestingly, his voiced renditions of stock answers like "Affirmative.", "Negative." or "Illogical, does not compute!" fit his serious but also very angry character quite well. In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), he sounds more robotic, to a fault.
  • Robot Names: The E-Series robots all have this style of name, with E followed by a number. E-102 Gamma, and E-123 Omega are the main examples.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Tails is known to be mild-mannered and humble than Sonic, who is a bit cocky, but is nonetheless a nice guy.
  • Running Gag:
    • If it's an entirely 2D Sonic game, expect there to be a pit with two springs facing each other in at least one level.
    • Ever since Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Knuckles has the tendency to believe in Eggman's lies that Sonic is the bad guy, leading him to fight against Sonic until he realizes that he's been duped by the evil scientist.
    • Starting at Sonic Adventure, every now and then Sonic will fall from the sky, and land on his face note . Sonic Unleashed even uses the gag as Book-Ends to the story.
    • At least one character has said "Long time no see" in almost every game since Sonic Adventure.
      • In Sonic Adventure, Tails says this to Sonic in Sonic's story, and Amy says it to Sonic.
      • In Sonic Adventure 2, Knuckles says it when first meeting up with Amy and Tails, and Rouge says this to Knuckles just before their boss battle against each other.
      • Sonic Heroes:
      • Sonic says it to Tails and Knuckles in the opening cutscene for Team Sonic's story, and Rouge says this to Team Sonic before the Team Sonic vs. Team Dark battle.
      • Metal Sonic also says this to Sonic at the start of the final boss battle; one of the few cases where it has been a long time.
      • In Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic (see a pattern here?) says this to Shadow when you run into Sonic at the beginning of the very first stage.
      • In Sonic Rush, Blaze says this to Eggman Nega when she first meets him in Sonic's side of the story.
      • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic and Rouge both say this at multiple points each in the game.
      • In Sonic Rush Adventure, Eggman says this the first time he encounters Sonic in the game.
      • Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. Wave greets Tails with, "Long time no see, shorty!"
      • In the 3DS Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Tails says it towards the fog impersonating Mario & Luigi. Too be fair, they probably haven't seen each other after the winter Olympics.
      • After being absent from the core games since Sonic Unleashed, the catchphrase returned in Sonic Forces. Sonic says the line to Infinite in one of their later encounters. He also greets Classic Sonic with the variant, “It’s been generations since I’ve seen you.”
    • Starting with Sonic Adventure 2, Amy thinks someone else is Sonic, runs up behind them out of nowhere, and hugs them, and seconds later Amy sees she was mistaken.
    • Also, beginning in Sonic Unleashed, Eggman has a tendency to do his Evil Laugh before suddenly lapsing into a coughing fit.
  • San Dimas Time:
    • The level timers in Sonic CD, where you regularly travel hundreds of years through time mid-level on a regular basis. Subverted in that traveling through time will reset the timer to five minutes if the elapsed time was greater than that.
    • Time travel in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is exemplified by the line, "Oh no! We've got to hurry!" — if you don't complete the level in time, something bad happens in another time period. Interestingly, Sonic actually ends up being too late for one event — which he fixes by simply hopping back in time a few minutes.
  • Save Both Worlds:
    • In Sonic Rush Blaze is trapped on Sonic's world with the Sol Emeralds. If the Sol Emeralds aren't returned, both worlds will be destroyed.
    • In Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic and Tails discover they are trapped in Blaze's world. Eggman and Eggman NEGA team up at the end of the game to steal the Jeweled Scepter, which keeps the two worlds separated.
  • Scenery Porn: Sonic games are designed to push the graphical power of any console they're on, whether it be the Genesis/Mega Drive, Dreamcast, Wii, PS3, any console. Special mentions in this regard include the original Genesis games, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Colors. Sonic CD had some Scenery Gorn in its Bad Future stages, though the Good Futures could potentially outdo the past and present with the area showing technology maintaining the environment instead of destroying it.
    • Recent home console titles like Unleashed and Generations use Sonic Team's aptly-named graphics rendering tool, the Hedgehog Engine, which is capable of rendering close-to-CG quality imagery. Whilst graphical output is undoubtedly impressive, the results are definitely best viewed in 60fps and 1080p in the PC version of Generations.
    • Supposedly, on the day that Nintendo unveiled the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (which was also the same day SEGA unveiled the original Sonic game), a reporter went to a SEGA Rep and touted the increased graphical capabilities of the SNES over the Mega Drive; specifically citing the vast increase in the number of colors the system was capable of. The SEGA Rep's response was to take him to a curtained off area, and show him screenshots of Sonic and the latest Mario game, before asking "Who has more colors?"
    • Mystic Ruins from Sonic Adventure is this trope, adapting many of the breathtaking landscapes and sceneries the dev team witnessed on their trip to Central America.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, most people use technology almost identical to that in the present day, but the military has super-advanced robots (justified in that said military robots were reverse-engineered from Dr. Eggman's robots that had been destroyed). Space Colony Ark, which is supposed to be like 60 years old, has even more extremely advanced technology and was apparently the site of extensive genetic engineering.
    • Sonic Riders has Extreme Gear, highly advanced hoverboard technology, invented by the Babylonians, a society of anthropomorphic birds, thousands of years ago so they wouldn't have to expend as much energy flying around looking for treasure. The settings of the race stages in the spin off series tend to be more technologically advanced than some stages you encounter in the main series.
  • Science Fantasy: The series has always been a big fan of robots and machinery, and has also dabbled in time travel, alternate dimensions, aliens, and artificial life-form creation, while also containing many supernatural elements like the Chaos Emeralds and ancient gods.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Sonic Adventure has Chaos, who was sealed inside the Master Emerald in ancient times, until Eggman shattered it to free the water monster inside as part of his latest scheme. Ultimately subverted, as Chaos isn't evil, just really pissed.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has the sun god Solaris, forcibly split into two separate forms due to an experiment acted upon it: Iblis and Mephiles. Princess Elise served as Iblis' can, with her control over her sorrow being the lid — if she cries, the can is opened and Iblis is unleashed upon the world once more. Somewhere else, Mephiles is sealed away in the Scepter of Darkness until an encounter with Eggman shatters it.
  • Sonic Unleashed has Dark Gaia, who was sealed within the planet by his light counterpart a.k.a. Chip in a neverending cycle of planetary death and rebirth.
  • By the end of Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic does this to contain Erazor Djinn, using his own magic lamp against him.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • While well-known in Japan and Europe, hedgehogs themselves were this in many parts of the world, especially the New World,note  until Sonic made his species famous.
    • Knuckles has the honor of being the only major character in all of mainstream fiction (not counting in-universe characters) to be an echidna, which is already a rather unknown animal. Sonic Adventure introduced Tikal and several other echidnas from the past.
    • Fang the Sniper is half-wolf and half-jerboa.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The HD versions of Sonic Unleashed features Eggman Robots that can be spoken to as civilians, when visiting Eggmanland after completing the game. Three of said robots are named, "EF-MD1991"note , "EF-DC1998" and "EF-XB2006". Talking to EF-XB2006 prompts the robot into saying how he is the youngest of the fighters and therefore lacks experience. He's also apparently clumsy and is rubbish at doing anything right... it seems Sonic Team themselves didn't find THAT particular Sonic game any good. Also, once you complete Crisis City in Sonic Generations and release Blaze, she laments the fact that she was captured to begin with with a line that's rather... open for interpretation:
      Blaze: Sonic, I hope we can keep this slip up of mine just between the two of us, all right?
    • At the Sonic Boom festival, Sega released a trailer for the upcoming re-release of Sonic Adventure 2 declaring themselves "The masters of secrecy"... before showing all the web pages that revealed the existence of games like Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Generations and declaring that the game will be "leaking onto consoles" this Fall.
    • The Tumblr page announcing Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice states in its tags that it was going to be a lot better than the last one. Which, considering Fire & Ice is a sequel to the Nintendo 3DS Sonic Boom game, and Fire & Ice is also for the 3DS, this turns Rise of Lyric into Canon Discontinuity.
    • In LEGO Dimensions, if Sonic is paired up with the Lumpy Space Princess, he'll start to remember Princess Elise... only to wave it off, claiming he doesn't remember it much.
    • On the 10th anniversary of '06, the official Sonic twitter feed celebrated the company's biggest Never Live It Down moment once again.
    • On July 22nd 2016, Sega ran an anniversary live stream featuring upcoming games Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, which went poorly thanks in no small part to a loud buzzing sound that made it hard to hear anything else. In Mania itself, after defeating the Studiopolis boss, a "technical difficulties" screen appears accompanied by that same noise.
  • Set Bonus: The seven Chaos Emeralds in nearly all games; which are usually valuable to the player only when they are all collected. Originally, collecting them unlocked the Good Ending, and in later games the True Final Boss. They became very notable during the end of the classic era, when collecting all seven bestowed a Super Mode on Sonic or an ally during actual gameplay (Sonic 3 & Knuckles had the Super Emeralds — collecting all of those induced an even greater Super Mode). Individually, they rarely serve as anything more important than a Plot Coupon, maybe they might even allow for Cutscene Power to the Max, but in terms of functional gameplay, nada. The exception is Chaos Control, a teleportation technique that requires possession of at least one Chaos Emerald, though this rule isn't consistently followed in gameplay.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • If his name wasn't a dead enough giveaway, Shadow the Hedgehog represents this for the eponymous main character. Specifically, Shadow is what Sonic would be if he was willing to go through some extremes to get the job done.
    • The Babylon Rogues are this to the main trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.
      • Jet to Sonic. They both live a free life, but Jet is a self-absorbed, petty jerk, who only cares about winning and respects no one but himself.
      • Wave to Tails. They both tend to be the smart one of their group, but Wave completely lacks the humble attitude of Tails, and is very nasty and selfish.
      • Storm to Knuckles. They're both the strong ones of their group, are extremely loyal, somewhat hot-heads, and tend to be a bit shy around girls (which somewhat expose their tough image), but Storm is rather rude, insensitive, and obnoxious, and hangs with the wrong crowd.
  • Sheathe Your Sword:
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles:
      • The Flying Battery Zone Act 1 miniboss, Gapsule, involves you just making him hit himself. Technically speaking, you did NOT attack him!
      • The Act 2 miniboss, Barrier Eggman, is this as well. You defeat it by just avoiding its attacks until it apparently overheats and destroys itself.
      • The Sandopolis Zone Act 1 boss, Egg Golem, can be attacked, but the only way to actually destroy it is by making it fall into quicksand at the edge of the area. You can either repeatedly attack it to knock it back into the quicksand, or just stand in the quicksand yourself (repeatedly jumping so you don't sink) at the very edge of the screen and let it just jump into the quicksand by itself.
      • As well as this, Lava Reef Zone Act 2 boss, Hot Mobile. You just avoid falling in the lava or touching the bombs and eventually he will bomb himself to defeat.
    • The Quartz Quadrant boss in Sonic the Hedgehog CD involves you just avoiding his attacks, running toward him and letting the treadmill scrape off the floor of his machine. For someone with an IQ of 300, Eggman isn't very smart...
    • Averted in Sonic Advance 3. Egg Jack-in-the-Box, boss of Toy Kingdom Zone, slowly crawls toward one of the pits, and the way you defeat is by making them fall in the pit. But, if you let him approach the pit he is facing he'll simply slide back and forth in the arena for a while, and chances are that you will get hurt and killed in a blink. Or thrown into a pit.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy:
    • Due to his fishing levels in his debut game and his slowgoing, dopey personality, Big the Cat has mostly been relegated to goofy cameos. Harmless stuff, right? Continued aggression towards the character despite not having any relevant role in a main series title in years led to his Sonic Adventure 2 cameos being pointlessly Dummied Out of the GCN re-release (most of them return in the XBLA/PSN/Steam re-release), a cameo in Sonic Generations being cut and Sonic Team heads apologizing for bringing him in during a Q&A at the Summer of Sonic fan convention. He was eventually brought back for Team Sonic Racing.
    • After Silver's debut in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and prominent role in Sonic Rivals 2, he's been demoted to extremely minor roles.
    • Princess Elise, who also debuted in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), is a much straighter example. During the sneak peeks of Sonic 06, she was heavily hyped up, especially with the addition of Lacey Chabert as her VA. When the game was released, she quickly became the most hated character in the franchise because she is constantly kidnapped and developed a disturbing attraction toward Sonic, up to kissing Sonic's corpse to revive him in the Last Story.
    • Most of the characters introduced between Sonic Adventure and Sonic Unleashed have been demoted to very short appearances in recent Sonic games due to the re-emphasis on Sonic being the only mandatory playable character. Recent titles have Tails as the other only companion to Sonic.
    • Even after re-introducing other characters to the games, Sonic Team is still adamant about having Sonic be the only playable character until they've perfected the Sonic formula. Although they do seem to be trying to ease other characters back in and will presumably make them playable in a later game.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrink Ray:
    • In Sonic CD, shrink rays are present in Metallic Madness Zone. These allow Sonic to get through small spaces, and Sonic retains his regular jump height despite being smaller. There are also grow rays that return him to his normal size.
    • As Sonic Mania is a love letter to the games from the Genesis era, Metallic Madness Zone and its shrink rays return in that game. The boss of Act 2 is fought when Sonic and/or his friends are tiny.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow had called Sonic a fake hedgehog and that he isn't good enough to be his fake. Here's Sonic's response before the two start fighting (which, due to a glitch, interrupts Shadow's insult before he can finish, accidentally making it more fitting to this trope):
      Sonic: I'll make you eat those words!
    • From Shadow the Hedgehog, after Black Doom has given Shadow a Break Them by Talking about how it's In the Blood and that Shadow must join him:
    • There are several of these in Sonic and the Black Knight when Sonic confronts Merlina, who explains that the only way to save Camelot from its tragic fate is to use the power of Excalibur's Scabbard and the Underworld to make it eternal, only to have Sonic reply "What good is a world that goes on forever!?" The conversation even ends with this great exchange between the two characters:
      Merlina: My sorrow at its ruin runs deeper than the depths of the underworld... do you not understand?
      Sonic: No! And I don't want to!
  • Sigil Spam:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog makes a lot of cameo appearances in other Sega games. He even appears in the Sega CD and Sega Channel boot up. He is their mascot, and they want you to know it.
    • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, is particularly guilty of this. His logo ("EG" in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 or his face in other games) appears on many of his airships, robots, weapons, missiles, space stations, and even his bedding. Many of his robots are shaped like or modeled on him in some way too.
  • Signature Line:
    • Sonic Adventure:
      • "Aw, yeah, this is happening!"
      • "Get a load of this!", "All systems, full power!", and "No way! I can't believe this!"
      • "You little fox!"
      • " All's well that ends well, right?"
    • Sonic Adventure 2:
      • "Rolling around at the speed of sound..."
      • "Found you, faker!"
      • "I'll make you eat those words!"
    • Sonic Heroes:
      • "We'll show that creep the real superpower of teamwork!"
      • "Because we're Sonic Heroes!"
    • Shadow the Hedgehog:
      • "Find the Computer Room!"
      • "Where's that damn fourth Chaos Emerald?!"
      • "You know what they say, the more the merrier!"
    • Sonic '06:
      • "IT'S NO USE! TAKE THIS!"
      • "Darn! We're not gonna make it. Let's speed up!"
      • "That tornado's carrying a car!"
      • "NOW LOADING..."
    • Sonic Colors:
      • "GOOD! GREAT! AWESOME! OUTSTANDING! AMAZING!"
      • "No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me!" to a lesser extent.
    • Sonic Generations:
      • "That looks like a homing shot!"
      • "Time for a change of pace!"
      • "Hey, Sonic! Enjoy your future! It's going to be great!"
  • Single-Use Shield:
    • Sonic collects rings. If he's hit, he loses his rings instead of dying.
    • The shields found throughout the series also qualify. In the first two games, they did nothing more than take one hit for you.
      • In Sonic 3 & Knuckles and the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC version of Sonic Generations, and Sonic Mania, flame, bubble and lightning shields are available. While they are active, they protect the player from flames, let the player breathe underwater and attract rings, respectively. All three will (at least in S3&K) reflect projectiles without taking damage, but they still disappear after one hit from anything else (and in the case of flame and lightning, touching water). They even grant special powers to Sonic, activated on pressing the jump button while in midair (replacing his situational "insta-shield" move that slightly extends the range of his jump attack momentarily and gives him a short invincibility period): the flame shield lets him dash forward rapidly; the bubble shield lets him dash downward rapidly (Ground Pound!); while the lightning shield gives him a Double Jump.
      • The 3D games, the Sonic Advance series, and its handheld successors, have two shields available. They both act the same as in the first two games, but one will attract rings.
  • Sky Surfing:
    • In several games, Tails will fly a biplane and Sonic will stand on the wings.
    • In the Sonic Riders series, a mark of true Extreme Gear mastery is being able to achieve legitimate flight on a gear rather than the Not Quite Flight that most regular riders are capable of. The Babylon Rouges all have the technique licked to some extent, but Sonic ends up having trouble with it at first.
  • Slave Mooks:
    • Dr. Eggman's Badniks, Mecha-Mooks powered by tiny animals trapped inside them.
  • Smug Super:
  • The Southpaw:
    • Shadow. When it came to his own game it became much more obvious, with him holding his pistol in his left hand. Throughout the game he wields blades and guns left-handed. In video-game media he leads with his left hand - such as pointing, punching, crossing his arms and reaching out.
    • Espio is often seen posing and leading left-handed, and uses both hands for his shruiken and kunai - usually making his first strike with his left hand. It makes sense that a skilled warrior would learn to use both hands equally. And he's a Ninja.
    • While Silver is never shown handling weapons, in a lot of official artwork he leads with his left side, such as outstretching his left palm for his powers, major gestures, and reaching out to people, suggesting he too is left-handed.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: This pretty much describes most of Sonic's space exploration levels, with his sequence of hanging on to Robotnik's rocket ship escaping into the upper atmosphere and managing to reach the Death Egg in space being one of the most accurate examples.
  • Speedy Snail: In real life, hedgehogs are not known for being particularly fast. Sonic the Hedgehog practically made speed his one defining traits.
  • Spike Balls of Doom:
    • Uses spikeballs extensively. They are a rather common attack of many of the bosses in the series. Some of the spikeballs can be seen in environment spinning or mid-air. Also, some enemies, like Orbinaut, have spikeballs.
  • On a more Meta level, Sonic himself is one of these most the time, being a hedgehog and all. He's covered in spikes, and all his attacks require him to roll into a ball, often causing the doom of Dr Eggman's machinery.
  • Spikes of Doom: They appear all too often in the series. Unlike most other spikes though, only the sharp edges are typically damaging.
    • Curiously, the spikes in Sonic 1 would bypass Mercy Invincibility — and contrary to what you might think, it was actually totally intentional. This was removed in future games, as well as the Sonic Mega Collection version.
    • Mystic Cave Zone of Sonic 2 is home to the infamous inescapable spike pit. At one point, you need to grab a rope to lower a bridge to cross a pit. If you fall into the pit, you are speared repeatedly by a row of spikes at the bottom. It might as well be a Bottomless Pit, given that the shaft is so deep that it can't be escaped (except by Knuckles). Even worse if you're Super Sonic and therefore can't take damage until you've run out of rings (which happens incredibly slowly)...
    • Sonic The Hedgehog 3's Marble Garden Zone also has an enemy that subverted this: it looks exactly like a set of spike, until you got close to it, at which point it rises from the ground slightly and fires glowing projectiles at you. The spikes on top of this enemy don't actually hurt you, instead acting like a springboard, but this being an enemy, touching the sides of the spikes will.
  • The Spiny:
    • A fair number of Badniks qualify, although since the standard attack method is to hit an enemy while curled into a ball rather than necessarily to hit it from above, some of these are covered in spikes or other harmful stuff on all sides, rather than just the top, and must be defeated by waiting for them to revert to a vulnerable state or using invincibility.
  • Those goddamned Caterkillers. If you hit them in the wrong place, you not only lose your rings, but they also split into deadly pieces.
  • In some later games, some Badniks and other robots have ways of defending themselves against Homing Attacks. One example is Anton, an enemy from Sonic CD whose reinterpretation in Sonic Lost World has the saddle on its back as Sonic's Homing Attack target, causing Sonic to get trapped on it if he tries to use the Homing Attack.
  • Spiritual Antithesis:
    • As Mario's biggest rival in the 1990s, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog was designed to be "the anti-Mario" in many ways. Mario is famous for his jumping ability, and his levels are generally platforming challenges that take place on flat terrain; by contrast, Sonic is famous for his speed, and his adventures are usually fast-paced sprinting challenges that take place on hilly terrain (though they also include platforming). While Mario resembles a portly middle-aged man, Sonic is known for his youthful personality and "hip" attitude. And Mario's adventures are set in a fairy tale kingdom, and they're tongue-in-cheek throwbacks to classic high fantasy; conversely, Sonic's adventures take place in futuristic cyberpunk-inspired cityscapes, and they're often throwbacks to classic science-fiction.
    • Sonic Mania and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 were both created as Genre Throwbacks to the original Sega Genesis trilogy, both taking place after Sonic 3 & Knuckles. However, there are many differences:
      • The character designs used in Sonic 4 were the ones used from Sonic Adventure onward, while Sonic Mania brought back the original character designs.
      • Sonic 4 was developed as an Episodic Game that was ultimately unfinished, while Sonic Mania is a fully complete game.
      • Sonic Mania features Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, while Sonic 4 only features Sonic as the main playable character — Tails was incorporated into Episode 2, but he was only player-controlled in co-op mode. Sonic 4 never got to feature Knuckles at any point.
      • Sonic 4 uses Zones that are similar to (or, in some cases, look just like) Zones from the older games, while Sonic Mania reuses the actual old zones with updated layouts to keep things fresh.
      • Sonic 4's soundtrack attempts to mimic the sound limitations of the Sega Genesis, while Sonic Mania favors a more modern sound.
      • Sonic 4 is a Sprite/Polygon Mix for the first episode, and 2½D for the second. Sonic Mania generally favors a bitmap graphic presentation instead, with Polygonal Graphics only showing up in the Special Stages.
      • Sonic 4 uses a game engine descended from the Sonic Rush series due to being made by the same developers. Sonic Mania instead uses an engine designed specifically to replicate the mechanics of the Genesis Sonic games.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title:
    • The 360/PS3 "sequel" to the Sega Genesis Collection is entitled Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in America but Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection in Europe.
    • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. To be fair, over a third of the characters are from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

      The sequel takes it up a notch, removing "SEGA" out of the title and simply calling it Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. To be fair in this case, the game has a number of characters who aren't from Sega properties.
    • In-Universe example in Sonic Mania. If you beat the & Knuckles Mode as Knuckles, you get a special ending in which it's revealed that the whole Knuckles & Knuckles playthrough was just a retelling of the game by Knuckles called Sonic Mania & Knuckles.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • The games normally have strange spring things all around, in one case it being an enemy that hides like normal ground spikes until it picks up its head and shoots at you but its spikes are bouncy. Some of the mid-series games as features lever springs that don't bounce you nearly as high as red or yellow springs but are intended for short vaults.
  • The oddest example of a unconventional spring was the whole floor of the Sonic the Hedgehog CD Wacky Workbench zone.
  • Sprint Shoes: Many games have the Power Sneakers, a monitor item with a single shoe floating inside it. Breaking the monitor that holds them grants a few seconds of extra speed.
  • Squashed Flat:
    • Some characters in Sonic the Fighters have attacks that will flatten the opponent's head. And it's hilarious. You can even get smushed down to a small size (and on the XBLA/PSN versions, you get an achievement/trophy for doing so).
    • In Sonic Riders, players can get flattened. They will lose their board as they do so, however (but it reappears when they become 3D again).
  • Starfish Robots: Dr. Eggman has been so ridiculously prolific in animal-themed and outright abstract robots that he may very well have half of the examples in existence of this trope:
    • The iconic Crabmeats and Buzz Bombers in the original game's Green Hill Zone, based on crabs and hornets, respectively.
    • The Orbinaut is another staple enemy, a hovering round sphere surrounded by four spiked spheres. There have since been fire and ice variants.
    • Asteron, which actually IS modeled after a starfish, is found in Sonic 2. They approach Sonic from inside a wall and explode before Sonic can hit it.
    • The firefly trio in Sonic CD. They shoot lasers simultaneously when their abdomens are lit.
    • Spikebonker in Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a mace-tossing floating black cylinder with eyes and a big cone at the bottom. Toxomister from the same game is based on a spray can and emits clouds of Ring-draining smoke.
    • The Bouncer, a boss in Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos. The best description for this is a constantly-jumping round vaguely bird-like thing that spits out trios of hopping seagull robots.
    • Ticktock in Knuckles Chaotix is a floating cuckoo clock with a spiked pendulum weight. The boss of Amazing Arena is a sentient projector screen that can spontaneously create enemies displayed on it. The boss of Speed Slider is a demented merry-go-round.
    • Bladed Spinners in Sonic Adventure are stationary hovering robots who have razor-sharp propeller blades. Like Orbinauts, these have also become a staple of Eggman's robot forces. A lightning variant has since been made, completing the Fire, Ice, Lightning trifecta. From the same game, Zero is an antagonist to Amy Rose, a resilient human-sized green robot whose only human traits are that it has two arms and a head (albeit a gigantic and heavy one).
    • Golas and Unidus in Sonic Adventure 2 are essentially Orbinauts turned 90 degrees, their spinning balls of hurt now parallel with the floor.
    • Metal Madness and Metal Overlord in Sonic Heroes, the two powered-up forms of Metal Sonic. In these forms, he looks like what a robotic Sonic would look like if he were a giant dragon.
    • Little Fighters, in Sonic Unleashed, are disembodied hands of the (humanoid) Egg Shooters after the Shooters have been defeated. They are still able to function on their own to try to attack Sonic.
    • The Rotatatron and Refreshinator in Sonic Colors are huge robots modeled after Ferris wheels (to fit with Eggman's amusement park motif of the game). They trap Sonic inside and shoot lasers from the center of the wheel. Orcan and Skullian are autonomous twin zeppelins equipped with machine guns and can dump their cargo of spiked mines, with the Skullian's added ability to create portals.
    • SCR-GP and SCR-HD in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity are xenomorph-looking robots that can tuck into a wheel shape to travel at speeds comparable to Sonic.
    • Aside from Eggman, G.U.N. is an international military organization that sometimes has to cross paths with Sonic and other characters. Aside from the Hunters, all of G.U.N.'s robots are non-humanoid in appearance, from the hovering ovaloid Beetles (which only vaguely resemble them); to the Hawks, which are two rocket-propelled tanks with an energy ball spitting mechanism between them; to the Artificial Chaos, roughly six-foot tall cybernetic blue blobs, some of which can shoot lasers. These machines appear in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • The Starscream:
  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, you can have the titular character to turn against Black Doom, the Big Bad of the game, in the GUN Fortress Hero mission. Then after defeating Black Doom, Shadow takes the 7 Chaos Emeralds and declares to use them to take over the world for himself.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik. "Ivo" is an anagram of "Ovi", the latin term for an egg. And for a Bonus, according to Word of God, the "I" in "Ivo" is pronounced with a soft "e" like in many European languages instead of the usual English "ae", to make "Ivo" (Eevo) sound like "Evil".
    • Perhaps an obvious example, but starting with Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic's fox friend's name is Miles Prower. Even though the pun is obvious when it's spoken aloud, it's stealthy because when it's mentioned at all, it usually incorporates his nickname, thus, "Miles 'Tails' Prower," disrupting the pun. Also, when the later games added voice acting, they always use the nickname, so it never is spoken aloud.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Speed Highway has a large bell. Guess what comes out when you hit it. The answer? Rings. note 
  • The intro movie in Sonic CD has a particularly badass example of Sonic jumping on falling rocks before Spin Dashing through a large boulder and hopping off it before it crumbles away.
  • Story Arc:
    • Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles were also part of an arc called the "Death Egg Saga", as the games deal with Sonic's attempts to stop Dr. Eggman from launching the Death Egg. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a continuation of the "Death Egg Saga", since Eggman launches the Death Egg mk II in Episode II.
    • There is a three-game Story Arc dealing with Shadow. It started in Sonic Adventure 2, continued in Sonic Heroes, and resolved in Shadow the Hedgehog.
    • An in-game example is the character-based arcs in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), which has Sonic's, Shadow's and Silver's routes, followed by Last Story which is only playable when all others are completed.
  • Strictly Formula: The series almost always sticks to two basic plots;
  • Stronger Than They Look:
    • Knuckles is the strongest character in the Sonic universe, even if he's as small as Sonic or Tails.
    • In Sonic Chronicles, Sonic is the Jack-of-All-Stats except for being the fastest character in the game. In the usual gaming fare, he's a Fragile Speedster and somewhat of a Glass Cannon but it really just depends on whether you can hold on to a single ring. In Sonic Unleashed, he does indeed play this straight, as he is able to move fast, destroy tough enemies, and lose only 20 rings per hit. Sonic's "Sonic boost" ability also contributes.
  • Sudden Eye Colour: As a part of the redesigns for Sonic Adventure, most of the characters went from having Black Bead Eyes to having colored ones. Sonic has green, Tails has blue, Amy also has green, and Knuckles has violet.
  • Super-Deformed: The bulk of the series cast has ridiculously large heads in contrast to their small bodies, almost Bobblehead like in proportion.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The Games, tends to play with this trope.
    • Generally speaking, Sonic doesn't automatically die jumping into water (unless its a pitfall trap); the nightmare comes from getting out of the water, before he drowns - made difficult due to the removal of his speed and lack of fine control when submerged. The 3D games, however, with a few exceptions, tend to treat water as bottomless pits, to the point where, in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic dies in knee-deep water that he could easily walk out of.
  • Funnily enough, come Sonic Colors he seemed to finally overcome this by learning how to jump infinitely underwater. Of course, come the immediate sequel, Sonic Generations, he's somehow forgotten how to do this.
  • Sonic Boom dances around the issue a bit. From what was seen, the "water" Sonic can't swim in is filled with all sorts of nasty chemicals, which would justify the "instant death on entry" response.
  • Super Gullible: Knuckles seems to have a big problem with this. While him falling for Eggman's lie that Sonic was evil might have made sense the first time, as he had lived on the island all his life and had never heard of Eggman or Sonic, after Eggman reveals his true colors at the end of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, you'd think Knuckles would never trust him again. Unfortunately, he gets tricked into doing his bidding again in three more games (Triple Trouble, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Advance 2).
  • Super Mode: For Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, when they get all seven Chaos Emeralds, their fur stands up and becomes golden. Admittedly, Yuji Naka actually is a fan of Dragon Ball, and it had a big influence on Sonic. Blaze the Cat also has one using the Seven Sol Emeralds, though appearance-wise, it's merely a palette swap, with her lavender fur turning pink, and her purple coat turning red. Tails and Knuckles also have Super forms, but the effect is downplayed — they retain their normal appearance, simply gaining a glowing aura.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side:
    • Sonic has one in Sonic Unleashed. At night, he'll turn into Sonic the Werehog, a bulky werewolf-esque form of himself with super strength and stretchy arms. Though his personality remains more or less the same except for the obligatory howling. This exception is lampshaded after it is revealed that Chip is actually Light Gaia, a benevolent spirit, who is guarding the earth. Sonic then asks, if it could be Chip who keeps him from succumbing to Dark Gaia and becoming evil when in Werehog form, to which Chip replies that he has nothing to do with him, it's Sonic's kind heart alone which lets him keep his sanity.
    • Sonic and the Secret Rings introduced the Darkspine form, which Sonic transforms into by using the World Rings of rage, hatred and sadness.
  • Super Prototype:
    • Averted and then invoked in Sonic Adventure by E-102 Gamma. During his story, he faces off against his older brother E-101 Beta for a spot on Robotnik's E-100 series of enforcer mechs and soundly defeats him in battle. Later on, after revolting against Robotnik, Gamma goes on a mission to destroy his brothers to save the animals trapped inside. After handily defeating all of his brothers, E-101 shows up again, having gotten a dramatic overhaul with abilities far surpassing Gamma's. Gamma is still able to defeat him without too much trouble, though Beta sees to it that Gamma doesn't leave the battlefield.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has the Biolizard, the prototype ultimate life form which was enormous compared to its successor Shadow the Hedgehog. It was locked in suspended animation by GUN until Dr. Eggman reactivated it in the process of inserting the Chaos Emeralds into the Eclipse Cannon and sent the ARK hurtling towards Earth, after which it was defeated by Shadow but recovered and merged with the Eclipse Cannon in order to ensure that the colony would fall, only to be defeated again by the combined efforts of Super Sonic and Super Shadow. It is subverted in that the Biolizard seems to suffer from severe asthma, and even with a huge life support system attached to it, it can't sustain combat for half a minute without getting tired.
    • Invoked (but not in any meaningful manner) in Sonic Heroes. One of E-123 Omega's combo-score quips is "Worthless consumer models!" Additionally, when he earns an E-Rank at the end of a stage, he laments that he couldn't even beat Gamma or Beta.
  • Super Speed: Sonic is the foremost example, but nearly every character in the series has some level of this, even Eggman.
    • Taken to the next level in the Movie where Metal Sonic is able to fly in and out of the atmosphere in seconds and both him and Sonic are able to get to distant parts of the world in very short amounts of time. Taken Up to Eleven in Sonic X, where Sonic was able to outrun a lightning bolt in his base form.
  • Super Strength:
    • Sonic is known best for his Super Speed, but he's also capable of sending cars flying like footballs.
  • Knuckles is capable of shattering boulders ten times bigger than him with his fists.
  • With the Adventure series giving each playable character theme song, said theme tunes were often used as leitmotifs, which ended up having this effect at times. Take, for example, Sonic Adventure 2. Dr Eggman's Egg Golem. In the Dark Story, Eggman moves to strike Sonic, to his own theme music. Then Sonic's theme tune suddenly takes over. Sonic dodges the attack, jumps on the Golem's head, and—with a TERIAAAAA!—delivers a single flying kick to the mind-control device on the Golem's back, which destroys it and sends it attacking Eggman instead.
  • In the DS version of Sonic Colors, 'Reach for the Stars' kicks in (for about ten seconds before you beat the boss, unfortunately) when you activate the 'Final Color Breaker'.
  • Sonic Generations:
    • In the Shadow rival battle, the stage's music gets replaced by "Live and Learn" or "All Hail Shadow", when Sonic or Shadow (respectively) gain full power of the power-up they're chasing.
    • Another time is during the Time Eater boss fight, using the Super Sonic theme from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 mixed into the soundtrack. Does it first in the cutscene at the start when both Sonics turn super, and again for the last hit on the boss.
  • In Sonic Forces, the main theme "Fist Bump" plays when Sonic and the Avatar team up to use Double Boost.
  • There Are No Adults: Only Cream is shown to have a parent, and only one adult, Dr. Robotnik, is a main cast member.
  • This Is a Drill: Classic Sonic games had at least one type of badnik with a drill. Sonic 2 and 3 also had bosses with drills. Sonic Colors introduces enemies with drills to 3D.
    • One of the bosses in Sonic Unleashed had a drill.
    • Sonic Colors also has the yellow wisps which turn Sonic into a drill.
  • Three-Point Landing: Sonic and friends like to do that in newer games sometimes.
    • Chip subverts this multiple times at first, but finally manages a perfect landing just before the final level.
    • It's also been a Running Gag since Sonic Adventure for Sonic to royally botch at least one of these landings.
  • Tiered by Name: When Sonic's powered up by the Chaos Emeralds, he becomes ''Super Sonic" and turns yellow. There's other transformations from other sources as well, but this is the most famous.
  • Timed Mission: In the Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear games, you lose one life if the timer hits 10 minutes. Later games do away with this restriction.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). Shadow's story depends on a You Already Changed the Past Stable Time Loop (Mephiles breaking out of the Scepter of Darkness in the present is the direct cause of Shadow traveling to the past and sealing Mephiles in the first place). Meanwhile, in the Future..., Sonic directly contradicts this by traveling from the Bad Future to the present and successfully Set Right What Once Went Wrong (by preventing the death that was a direct cause of the Bad Future). And due to his interactions with both Shadow and Sonic, Silver's story uses both sets of time-travel rules, depending on the scene. Even if there hadn't been a Reset Button Ending, the temporal paradoxes probably would have caused the whole plot to erase itself anyway.
    • Even that's not correct anymore, because Sonic Generations centers around the Time Eater, a creature that can take places out of time. One of the places he takes, is Crisis City, the Bad Future version of 06's world. Even though, 06 never technically happened and shouldn't feasibly exist for the Time Eater to be able to access the events that happened in it, it somehow does, meaning that '06 does exist, but doesn't exist, simultaneously. Also, you play Crisis City where '06 fits in the timeline, not adjusting for the fact that Crisis City technically comes from a future that presumably took place well after the events of Unleashed and Colors. Fair enough, since Sonic first visited Crisis City in that order, but it still adds another layer of Timey-Wimey to everything.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tails has a noticeable one between Sonic Adventure and SA2; he builds himself a mech and is actually useful, and is somewhat able to think for himself.
    • Eggman also takes a massive level in badass between the same two games. He goes from letting Chaos do most of his fighting for him and trying to conquer only Station Square to trying to take over the world with a Kill Sat. He actually gets his hands dirty in SA2 (on-screen at least) and almost manages to successfully kill Sonic.
    • Lampshaded by Sonic: "You've turned into a big time villain, doctor!"
    • Don't forget about Amy. See Badass Normal.
    • Big the Cat in Sonic Heroes; similar to Amy, he gains speed and powers to keep up with the others (his rod acts as a firey ball and chain!). For the first time ever, we also see him kinda pissed off.
    • Team Chaotix undergoes a bit of this when they're re-introduced, too. Espio originally only had wall-clinging abilities, attacks using his tongue, and his iconic spinning top spindash with no sign of espionage. In his return, all of those skills (sans tongue) come together into him being a badass ninja whose skills are surpassed only by the volume at which he speaks. Charmy was previously one of the slowest characters in Knuckles' Chaotix whose only use was flying around indefinitely. Upon his return, he's become a lot stronger, being able to carry and perform attacks using his two teammates (One of which is huge by Sonic standards) and attack more effectively using his stinger. He even delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Robotnik in their ending. Vector was a tall and slinky crocodile who, besides his Doughnut Spindash, was pretty much a slightly weaker version of Knuckles. Upon his return, he's buffed up considerably, utilizes his crocodile jaws and fire breath to fight more effectively, and has become an expert detective who's had a running tradition of accurately figuring out plot-crucial information before anyone else whenever given the chance.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Amy started off as sweet and helpful in her earlier appearances, but in the later games due to flanderization, she has become more aggressive, bad-tempered, and is prone to hit people with her hammer with little provocation. This can be Depending on the Writer, however.
    • Knuckles is usually humble and easy-going, even if he is slightly blunt and hot-headed, but in games like Sonic Battle and in the Sonic Rivals series, he's more hot-headed and a bit hostile towards others compared to his usual self.
    • In the Sonic Rivals series, Silver acts much ruder and hostile to everyone than in his debut in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). He seems to have gotten better in his cameo in Sonic Colors DS.
    • While both Team Dark members Shadow and Rouge aren't the most pleasant people to talk to, Sonic Free Riders takes their antagonistic tendencies Up to Eleven. Shadow's ego and Rouge's greed are inflated to the point of Flanderization and they basically treat everyone around them like dirt. And that's not even going into the horribly apathetic way they treat E-10000B, working the poor robot to the point where his circuits are overheating from exhaustion. The other teams are outright disgusted at their behavior and Cream in particular practically begs them to get E-10000B fixed.
    • Tails, inexplicably, does this in Sonic Lost World. The childlike naivete and humility that defined him in previous titles was spontaneously replaced with a smug, self-centered, obnoxious, whiny, and snarky attitude. He had a falling-out with Sonic because he was interested in teaming up with Dr. Eggman to corrale the Deadly Six, even though he was perfectly fine with it before! The worst part is that he never owns up to it at the end of the game.
  • Tornado Move: Used by Sonic in some games. In Sonic Heroes, he and the other Speed characters can even whip up a tornado by rapidly moving in a circle.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chili dogs, for Sonic himself.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: Most notably, the Rings, Chaos Emeralds, and the Master Emerald.
  • Tuft of Head Fur: Tails has an Anime Hair-esque tuft on his head.
  • Underwater Ruins: One level in almost every game is set amidst underwater ruins.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Eggman's modus operandi in some games, especially the early ones.
  • Urban Fantasy: The series blends fantasy elements like the Chaos Emeralds with urban environments. Said environments were especially common in the post-Sonic Adventure, but they were present in the classic games too, albeit less prominently.
  • Urban Ruins: The Sonic series frequently employs this trope:
  • Video Game Flight: Tails' tails come in handy. Err, tail-y.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: We are talking about a franchise that has run for 25 years, has dozens of games under its belt (not counting how many ports and re-releases there are), has made hundreds of cameos in other games, has starred in an absolutely monstrous amount of tie-in comics and merchandise, five different cartoon series and an anime movie, made a top-billed cameo appearance in a Disney movie, and has sold over 85 million games worldwide. And from the looks of things, he ain't going nowhere anytime soon.
  • Video Game Settings: The series has always shamelessly used every standard platform level style.
  • Villain Decay:
    • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik went through this starting with Sonic Adventure, which is when he started to get into his habit of releasing sealed evil in cans and constantly failing to learn that Evil Is Not a Toy. In nearly every game since Sonic Adventure, he started to be constantly upstaged by the game's Big Bad while he is forced to help the heroes defeat him. Sonic Colors managed to get him back into the spotlight by having him refrain from trying to unseal an evil and made him go back to using his Mecha-Mooks to destroy Sonic and attempting to mind-control the entire Earth.
    • Sonic Generations plays with this: At first, the Big Bad just seems to be a pretty generic Eldritch Abomination, and Eggman's role is reduced to being a mere victim. But in the end, it turns out the Time Eater was really a robot piloted by the Eggmen all along. Yes, Eggmen, plural. In a similar way, Sonic Lost World has Eggman forming an Enemy Mine with Sonic after the group of demons that he had tried to control, the Deadly Six, betrayed him. However, he was just using Sonic to defeat the Deadly Six, and once they're out of the way, he tries to take over the world with a super-charged mech, leaving him as the final boss.
  • Villain of the Week: There have been several games where a new villain shows up to cause trouble instead of Dr. Eggman;
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: The games have traditionally ended with Sonic (and sometimes whatever ally he has at the time) using the Chaos Emeralds to go super, since the Final Boss would be too powerful otherwise, and much of the time, they're out in space or otherwise flying, which Sonic can't do on his own. Though, he does later prove he can take down Chaos, the former Final Boss of Sonic Adventure, in Sonic Generations without the Chaos Emeralds, or at least he has grown much in strength since then.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: This trope is used routinely in the franchise:
    • In most versions the Freedom Fighters, refugees from Dr. Robotnik's conquest and other sympathetic factions reside in beautiful pastoral or forested lands such as the original Green Hill Zone from the first game or Sonic Sat AM's Great Forest, a lush, green environment whose foliage is too thick for Dr. Robotnik's machines to navigate.
    • Robotnik himself invariably turns the lands he rules into cold, urbanized, hopelessly polluted wastelands made up of factories and overrun by Mecha-Mooks. Any given game's final world, generally taking place in the heart of Robotnik's domain, will be a robot factory owned and operated by the doctor himself. In a few cases, such as Oil Ocean Zone, these factories also affect the environments around them.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Die by drowning in the 2D games and Sonic does this.
  • Walk, Don't Swim:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog can't swim at all—developer Yuji Naka initially gave him this limitation under the mistaken belief that real-life hedgehogs couldn't swim. So, depending on the game, Sonic either runs underwater or has Super Drowning Skills. He can however, move over the top of the water if he is running fast enough.
    • The other characters walk along the bottom too but many of them have abilities that let them swim temporarily.
    • In 2D Sonic games since Sonic 3, Tails can swim (as a rough analogue to his ability to fly above water). However he tires fast and then sinks.
    • Knuckles can "glide" underwater in Sonic 3 & Knuckles in the Sonic Advance games this becomes a swim analogue like Tails' flying. The Sonic Advance series also gives Knuckles the ability to swim along the top of the water. In Sonic Adventure 2 he can swim freely and even gets a power-up that let's him breath underwater.
    • In Sonic Colors, Sonic finally learns to swim... sort of. He still sinks like a rock and runs underwater, but he's capable of Double Jumping infinitely while underwater, which is basically swimming in all but name. He loses it in Sonic Generations despite it taking place not long after Colours. The Wisps might be involved in that infinite double jump - except for the white wisps they DO allow him to breathe underwater (and Frenzy moves much quicker when underwater compared to on dry land, to boot!) The yellow Wisp also turns him into a tornado underwater, giving him basically complete manoeuvrability.
    • Extends to Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games in the swimming events: Other Sonic characters can swim but Sonic has to wear a life jacket and looks like he's trying to run through the water.
  • Walk on Water: Many, including "Tails" and Knuckles, of the running on water variety. This is also to avoid drowning in water in the latest 3D Sonic games. In fact, in Sonic Generations, Modern Sonic can boost underwater in order to get to the surface during Chemical Plant.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: Angel Island.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The ARK's Eclipse Cannon in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog, the Chaos Energy Cannon in Sonic Unleashed, the Death Egg in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Eggman's Interstellar Amusement Park in Sonic Colors had one built in as well, but that one was built for Mind Control rather than destruction.
  • Wheel o' Feet: The series staple of pretty much all characters who could actually run, though Shadow is a subversion with his "air skates", and Tails with his... tails. While the 2D games showed this whenever Sonic or Knuckles reached top speed, the 3D games brought about a 'motion blur' when they reached top speed (indicated by their hands flowing freely behind their backs). Since the 3D games primarily place the camera behind the character, however, it's hard to notice the effects of top speed.
  • When All Else Fails, Go Right: In his first three games, Sonic is always travelling from left to right across the various zones; it's understood that, even in the more maze-like sections, the intention is to go to the right.
    • The only exception in the original three (and a half) games is the final Death Egg zone, where the intention is still mostly to go to the right, but much more important than that is going up.
    • There are many examples in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 where you go up or left. Particular examples are Chemical Plant Zone and Mystic Cave Zone, which involve you having to go up, down, left, and right several times to reach the end.
    • There are several times when he is travelling left in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • The Sega Master System/Game Gear games were not very different. Only two levels in that Sonic 1 involve climbing and Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos features one special stage where the Chaos Emerald is above you.
      • The Game Gear version of Sonic 2, however, had you end one stage by going left.
  • Word Salad Title: Some of the zone names fit this, notably 1 Scrap Brain Zone, Sleeping Egg Zone, and Panic Puppet Zone.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Even as the archrival, Eggman is like this in the newer games. If he's set up to be the Big Bad, just imagine how tough that guy who destroyed his Death Egg in one shot is going to be!
    • Sonic himself suffered from this in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). All of his encounters with Silver end with him being dispatched rather easilynote 
    • The final level of Sonic Mania actually averts this. Heavy King turns on Eggman at the end of the game, but instead of usurping Eggman's position as Final Boss like what usually happens, the two are able to fight on even ground, and the Final Boss is a Mêlée à Trois between the two of them and Super Sonic.
    • The first thing we see from Sonic Forces's new villain Infinite is them kicking Sonic around like a ragdoll without getting hit once. That's right, this guy is faster than the Fastest Thing Alive!
  • White Gloves: Again, pretty much all the characters, even some of the humans.
  • World of Ham: Several characters in this series have very boisterous personalities. Even the more serious ones such as Shadow or Blaze are hammy at times.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz:
    • Some of the album titles use the word "Trax" or "Soundtrax".
    • The Chaotix.
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