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A Killer App for the Sega Dreamcast, and the highest-selling title for that system, Sonic Adventure is the first successful 3D entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The first attempt at a full-fledged 3D platformer Sonic X-treme was cancelled after a long and troubled development. Sonic 3D Blast was an isometric 2D game with Rare-style 3D models, sans the special stages in the Sega Saturn port. Sonic R and Sonic the Fighters were racing and fighting games, respectively—and obscure ones, at that. Sonic Jam was an early test of the Sonic Adventure engine.

It was released in Japan on December 23rd, 1998, and was localized for North America, Europe and Australia between September-December of 1999. That's a total of five years after the last mainline Sonic game hit U.S shelves. The gap would have been much shorter had Sonic X-treme not been relegated to vaporware. (X-treme was intended to be Sega's answer to Super Mario 64.) Sega, and especially Sonic Team, had a lot riding on this game after having fallen into both a creative and financial rut in the late nineties. The U.S. release of Adventure was slated for the milestone 9/9/99.

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The most notable element to the game is the increased focus on story, with voice acted cutscenes telling a much more elaborate plot than previous games. Dr. Eggman, formerly known as "Dr. Robotnik" in the States (it's still his surname according to his bio) has decided to switch gears after his space station went completely tits-up in the last (chronological) game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Hiding in the skies aboard his airborne aircraft carrier, he aims to shatter the Master Emerald and release an ancient morphogenic creature known as Chaos from its confinement. Chaos is weak and anemic in its current state; the Doctor requires the seven Chaos Emeralds to empower it to world-conquering levels. Afterwards, Eggman plans to raze the Hub City of Station Square and restructure it into his own dystopia. He succeeds in splintering the Master Emerald before the game starts; an act which draws six unlikely friends to Station Square, whose adventures unfold in a "Rashomon"-Style plot:

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Playable Characters and their gameplay types:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog: A virtuous blue hedgehog capable of running at supersonic speeds. Sonic's gameplay style is the most reminiscent of the side-scrolling games: just get to the goal, which is sometimes an animal capsule reminiscent of the Genesis/Mega Drive games and sometimes a Chaos Emerald. As in previous games, Sonic figures heavily in the game's Golden Ending, along with his Emerald-charged Super Form.
  • Miles "Tails" Prower: A two-tailed fox who is Sonic's adopted brother. He's a boy genius with an aptitude for building machines almost on par with Eggman's creations. Each stage pits the player against Sonic (and later Eggman) in a race to the goal. His levels are just a single section of Sonic's levels, hopelessly broken by Tails' flying ability. Sonic can teleport across the map for this very reason, but even speed-boosts can't help him.
  • Knuckles the Echidna: Last descendant of an ancient clan and current Guardian of the Master Emerald. When Chaos is released from the Emerald, it is broken into pieces and scattered across Earth. Without its power, Angel Island falls from its place in the sky and into the Mystic Ruins, and Knuckles takes it upon himself to track down the missing pieces and restore the Emerald. Thus, the goal of his stages is to collect three shards, using his Spider-Sense to pinpoint their locations and his sharp knuckles to unearth them. He used the same gimmick in Sonic Adventure 2, as did his foil Rouge the Bat.
  • Amy Rose: A pink hedgehog last seen in Sonic CD, she is mostly defined by her adolescent crush on Sonic. She meets a bird on the run from one of Eggman's robots and resolves to return it to its family. Amy must outrun ZERO, an implacable robot in pursuit of the bird, and climb a giant balloon which will carry them away. (Unbeknownst to Amy, the bird is carrying a Chaos Emerald in its locket.) Amy is not very agile, but she carries a large mallet for protection. She can also use the mallet to pull off acrobatic maneuvers.
  • E-102 "γ" (Gamma): One of Eggman's robotic enforcers, the second in the E-Series line. It later turns against its creator at Amy's urging. Armed with a laser cannon, its goal is to shoot up enemies and get to the end before time expires. It can combo-kill enemies using a target function, which is relevant to the "A-Rank" (i.e. expert) levels. The targeting mechanic was re-used for Tails' and Eggman's missions in SA2, though modified to remove the time limit and replace it with a plain health meter.
  • Big the Cat: A slow-witted, lazy, but warm-hearted fisherman. After his pal Froggy swallows a strange-looking jewel and runs away from home, Big trails him to Station Square. The goal of his 'stages' is to fish Froggy out of a body of water; there is little danger posed to Big himself, though there are a few of Eggman's robots milling about. Accordingly, Big's fishing pole can double as a weapon.


The hub sections connect each level via a train station, dinghy or (in the case of urban levels) entrances to certain buildings like Twilight Park and the Casino. Station Square, along with two other hub worlds (Mystic Ruins and Egg Carrier), also contain equipment that permanently changes your character's model and grants them new abilities. For instance, the Light Shoes let Sonic glide across a line of rings in the air, while the Jet Anklet hastens Tail's flying speed. Such items will recur in later 3D Sonic entries.

Sonic Adventure introduced the Chao Races (pronounced "Ciao"), featuring a clan of mons called the Chao. These creatures can morph when exposed to animals freed from Eggman's robots in every level. Each animal bestows different physical traits on a Chao, along with raising its stats to make it competitive in the races. The Chao exist mostly outside the chronology and story of the main game, though winning the races is required for 100% Completion. The Chao Race made a comeback in Sonic Adventure 2, with "Hero" and "Dark" Chao added to reflect the Yin-Yang theme. SA1 also introduced the concept of Emblems, which are awarded for replaying old stages and beating various high scores. Though mostly a Bragging Rights Award, collecting all of them will unlock something. (Playable Metal Sonic in Sonic Adventure DX, a 3-D remake of Green Hill Zone in SA2, and a versus battle mode in Sonic Heroes.)

The theme/final boss music was performed by Crush 40, who would go on produce bangers for most of the 3D games up to Sonic Riders—and they deftly avoided attaching their names to Sonic '06, too. Fun fact: When Robotnik is selecting his playlist in the live-action movie, there is another playlist named "Crush 40".

After the Dreamcast tanked and took down Sega's hardware department with it, Sonic Adventure saw an Updated Re Release for Nintendo GameCube and PC in 2003, dubbed Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. (Oddly enough, it came out after SA2's re-release, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.) It added special missions and some unlockable games from the Game Gear library. As of September 15th, 2010, it is now available (sans the Game Gear games...kinda) for purchase on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, with the DX: Director's Cut extras sold separately. A similar version popped up on Steam roughly six months later.

A direct sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, was released in 2001 to commemorate the series' 10th anniversary. Rumors of a third iteration of the Adventure series linger on, though some would argue that Sonic '06 was Adventure 3 in everything but name (and quality). Also worth noting is that Sonic Unleashed is titled Sonic World Adventure in Japan, and it shares story elements with the Adventure games.


Sonic Adventure provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to G 
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Averted with Station Square's sewers, played straight with those of Casinopolis (you get dumped in there if you lose a game of pinball and come away with less than 100 rings or you play the level as Tails).
  • Abusive Parent: Pachacamac didn't have any qualms in ordering his echidna soldiers to trample his own daughter just to get to the Emerald shrine.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: The FMV intro looks far more epic and impressive than most the story depicted in-game.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted with Gamma. Being one of Dr. Robotnik's creations, his AI was evil by design, but later malfunctioned and turned good.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Egg Carrier and the Egg Carrier 2.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The game actually makes use of this trope a number of times in order to progress from level to level.
    • For example, Sonic and Tails travel through the sewers of Casinopolis in order to find the Chaos Emerald located there.
    • This is also how Gamma and Amy choose to travel through the Hot Shelter in the Egg Carrier.
  • All for Nothing: In the end of Tails' story, Eggman, having lost both Chaos and the Egg Carrier, decides to destroy Station Square by blowing it up with a missile. But to his dismay, it fails to explode. He goes to detonate the warhead, but Tails beats him and disables it. Sadly, in Super Sonic's story, Chaos has obtained the seven Chaos Emeralds and transformed into Perfect Chaos causing Station Square to be completely inundated and destroyed anyways. That said, the people of the city are still grateful to Tails for his actions, as seen in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • According to an official Sonic website, ZERO is the "zeroth" E-Series robot with the official designation of E-100 Alpha.
    • Said website also states Chaos' origin as a Chao mutated from the Chaos Emeralds' energy.
    • One of the game's official strategy guides gives names and E-Series numbers to all of the game's badniks. Said guide also explains a little more of the ancient echidna's backstory, such as Pachacamac's warmongering being pivoted by the death of his mother (Tikal's grandmother).
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: At the end of the game, as the characters are recuperating after their battle against Perfect Chaos, Tails invokes this trope verbatim in the English dub, despite the fact that the city has been completely inundated and destroyed.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: A staple of the franchise. That countdown music is unnerving.
  • Already Done for You: Given that the storylines (apart from the Super Sonic storyline) are done in a "Rashomon"-Style, expect this to happen very often.
  • Amusement Park: Twinkle Park.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In DX, getting all medals unlocks Metal Sonic, who is essentially a reskinned Sonic with slightly altered animations. You can only use him in Trial mode.
  • Animated Adaptation: The whole game was adapted into an arc in The Anime of the Game Sonic X, along with its sequel.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Play through the main story from 6 different perspectives. Each character also gets a piece of the backstory of Chaos and the echidna race, only by playing through all stories do you get the complete sequence. And, at least in the English dub, each story's dialogue subtly differs "Rashomon"-Style to reflect the viewpoint of the player character.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The spirit of Tikal is often in the overworlds, giving you hints on where to go next if you touch it.
    • At certain points in Adventure Mode, the loudspeaker will announce "There are no trains in service at this time", which helpfully prevents wasting time running to the train.
  • Apocalypse How: Chaos' destruction of the echidna civilization 3,000 years ago is a Class 1. Then Chaos' destruction of Station Square is a Class 0 since the citizens likely evacuated and survived.
  • Armed with Canon: The localization team pokes fun at the "Robotnik" name debate just before the Egg Hornet battle. Dr. Robotnik throws a tantrum and insists on being addressed by his real name; everyone just ignores him and continues calling him Eggman.
  • Art Evolution:
    • This game introduced the "modern" art style for Sonic and his friends that would be used in future games. Amy was the one affected most by this, as she no longer looks like a pink Sonic in drag. However, the Sonic-themed pinball table in Sonic's version of Casinopolis does feature stock artwork from the earlier games.
    • Angel Island is noticably redesigned from its Classic Era counterpart in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, along with being much smaller. Here is the original, contrasted to this counterpart.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Tails' levels have you race against Sonic, who is technically another player controlled by an AI. Because of this, Sonic tends to struggle when dealing with obstacles (which is particularly notable at the end of Casinopolis, where he takes a very long time just to jump through a bunch of spikes), but he makes up for this by rubber-banding his way to the goal. The last race against Eggman averts this because he's not an AI at all, instead he just follows a straight path to the goal.
    • The fights against the other playable characters in the game (such as Sonic vs. Knuckles) aren't much better, as they simply charge at you and don't bother dodging your attacks. Because of this, each fight will usually last under twenty seconds.
  • Ascended Extra: Amy, originally a semi-recurring side character beforehand, gained a prominent playable role in this and many titles following it.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The first example of the series. Sonic, upon harnessing the remaining positive energy within the Chaos Emeralds, transforms into Super Sonic and the main riff of "Open Your Heart" sets the scene. The theme also continues into the battle proper, providing the music for the first half of the fight.
  • Back for the Finale: Though Gamma is gone by the end of his story, the pink Flicky that was powering him shows up to represent him during Super Sonic's story.
  • Balloonacy: A single balloon is all Amy needs to float away from ZERO's grasp.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Tikal.
  • Battle in the Rain: Sonic's first encounter with Chaos.
  • Big Bad: Eggman, of course.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Eggman, who Chaos eventually turns on and absorbs the Emeralds.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The Hot Shelter and Sky Deck suggests that the Egg Carrier is this.
  • Big "NO!": Pachacamac belts out one after his conquest invites the wrath of a furious Emerald-powered Chaos onto his tribe.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In Knuckles' story, the Rad Red has finally recovered all of the pieces of the Master Emerald and successfully reassembled it. However, he's still bound to his mission to guard the emerald alone.
    • In Gamma's story, Gamma dies after destroying its brothers to free the Flickies, but a Flicky of its own is free as well, setting up the ending in Amy's story.
    • In Super Sonic's story, Chaos is neutralized, but Station Square remains a flooded mess. In Sonic Chronicles, it's nothing more than a tumble-down shanty-town in which the survivors live, located in Blue Ridge Zone.
  • Blob Monster: Chaos, who's made of water.
  • Body Horror: The way the scene of Gamma finding Beta being rebuilt following the training exercise at the beginning of Gamma's story plays out. Gamma's reaction is flatly neutral due to his monotone voice and lack of a face but the experience itself is designed to evoke a sense of Beta undergoing an unwanted transformation from the point of view of the player.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Early in both Sonic and Tails' stories, following Casinopolis, Eggman successfully ambushes them, sleep gassing them, and stealing their recently acquired Chaos Emerald. Rather than simply using a lethal gas to begin with, or killing them immediately afterwards, he leaves them alone to wake up unharmed the next morning.
  • Bookends: Knuckles' story begins and ends with him narrating how he was fated to stay forever on Angel Island guarding the Master Emerald. In the beginning, he mentions that he doesn't know why he was given this role in life, but in the end, he suggests he may be better off not knowing.
  • Born-Again Immortality: The Chao can come back from death this way if raised correctly. In fact, dying and being reborn twice is one of the requirements for a Chao to become a perfectly immortal Chaos Chao.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: The arena Amy fights ZERO in is enclosed by an electric fence. If you knock ZERO into the fence, it will reveal a button in its head. Hitting this button damages and ultimately self destructs it.
    • Knuckles would not have defeated Chaos 6 if it weren't for the ice robots scattered all over the arena (for Sonic's fight with Chaos 6, see Tactical Suicide Boss below).
  • Boss Rush: Beating a story unlocks a mini-game where you fight each of the bosses faced in that story one after the other (the exception being Super Sonic, whose story only consists of a single boss fight with some Adventure Field navigation beforehand). Gamma's version is strangely restricted to only the Adventure Field battles against E-101 Beta and E-101 Mark II, lacking any of his in-level bosses.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • Outside of the three E-Series robots not named 101 in Gamma's story, all the boss fights and character duels are self-contained on the main adventure fields (though the last boss fights for Sonic and Tails start right after the player completes their final action stages, but are not directly connected to those stages outside of terrain).
    • This is also what the final storyline regarding Super Sonic is. This storyline, which appears after everything else in the main story is completed, only has Sonic running to two plot locations in the Mystic Ruins, with the second, done by taking the cart into the back jungle, starts the long series of cutscenes and eventually the Perfect Chaos Final Boss fight as Super Sonic, which is the only challenge in this storyline. Infamously, grabbing the Crystal Ring powerup in this story is a Game-Breaking Bug if you quit and reload, since the game doesn't know where to load from.
  • Boss Tease:
    • Amy Rose's story and gameplay consists of being hunted by, and running away from, E-100 ZERO, a robot specifically designed to end your run and capture the small bird you're carrying. While you can temporarily slow it down in action stages, you can only really defeat it in your final encounter. Justified in that Amy can't access the tough robot's weakpoint without the electrified fences in the boss arena.
    • E-102 GAMMA's story will, at one point, lead you into a cutscene wherein your "big brother", E-101 BETA, is being rebuilt in a funky new form, in what probably registers as robotic Body Horror for poor Gamma and Beta. E-101 BETA Mk.II is the last boss for Gamma, to be fought much later.
      E-102 GAMMA: "THIS IS THE WRONG ROOM."
    • Sonic's ineptitude will provide Dr. Robotnik with all the Chaos Emeralds he needs to mutate his pet Eldritch Abomination into stronger forms. He starts in his Chaos 0 form, ramping all the way up to his Perfect Chaos form once he absorbs all 7 emeralds - this form is seen in the opening cinematic, as well as its desctruction of the city. Chaos 1 appears in a cutscene, but is never fought; Chaos 3 and 5 are never even seen.
  • Broken Bridge: Parts of the Mystic Ruins, including Angel Island itself, are blocked off by pedestals that require magic stones. The same goes for Station Square, except that the keys are more mundane. Also, after the Tornado crashes, Sonic (who landed in Station Square) and Tails (who landed in the Mystic Ruins) can't reunite because the train isn't running since the workers have gone on strike, with striking workers standing outside the station in Station Square (all of the characters except Big get to deal with the strike blocking access to or from Station Square). And lastly, if the player exits Tails' last Action Stage before completing itnote , the trains will not be operating for some reason even though there is a missile crisis going on.
  • But Now I Must Go: Both Tikal and Chaos.
  • Call-Back:
    • Icecap first appeared as "IceCap Zone" in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and it opened with a snowboarding segment, too. Red Mountain's inner section is also clearly part of Lava Reef from Sonic & Knuckles. Both are set on Angel Island.
    • After the Sky Chase minigame, Tails has a flashback to his first meeting with Sonic, originally narrated in the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 manual.
    • Amy Rose has a flashback to her kidnapping in Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
    • The ending to Sonic's story mode is more or less a 3D tribute to the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog, complete with Sonic's "YEAH!" Shot into the camera.
    • The cutscene right after the player beats Red Mountain during Sonic's story seems to be a call-back to the cutscene before the final level in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • The Cameo:
    • NiGHTS, from NiGHTS into Dreams..., has their own pinball board in Casinopolis and will even appear in person sometimes.
    • Metal Sonic and Mecha Sonic appear in stasis tubes at Eggman's Mystic Ruins base.
    • Tails Doll, along with doll versions of Knuckles and Sonic, appear as training dummies in Gamma's first level and Sonic's tenth and final level.
    • In the DX version, Cream the Rabbit appears at certain points in the Adventure Field (only in Station Square), and Chris Thorndyke from Sonic X appears as a billboard in certain missions.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A Shrinking Violet in Station Square has a major crush on the guy who works the counter at the Burger Shop. She can't muster up the courage to tell him how she feels, so, she ends up hanging around the shop all day, not saying anything. From his vantage point, she's a Stalker with a Crush. Towards the end of the entire game's storyline, she figures out a way to overcome her problem: get a job at the Burger Shop alongside her object of affection.
  • Captain Obvious: Quite a few snarky moments if you look closely.
    (the Egg Carrier changes its shape)
    Tails: Ahhh, wow! It's changed shape. Did you see that?
    (Sonic gives him a weary look, and ignores him)
    Sonic: Darn! This makes it harder for us to get to the bridge!
    Tails: I hate it when he doesn't listen...
    • Also, Gamma, due to being a robot. It states:
    Gamma (when transported into the past via a vision): "This presents a problem."
    Gamma (after seeing what happened to Beta after defeating him at the beginning): "This is the wrong room."
  • Casino Park: Casinopolis.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This was the first game in the franchise where the tone started to move on from a cartoon tone to a darker, shonen-anime esque tone. The real antagonist, Chaos, isn't a standard "take over the world" bad guy, but a vengeful, mourning creature of god-like power who wiped out an entire civilization (and this is also the first game in the series where characters are explicitly killed, albeit off-screen) and is stated to have come very close to causing an apocalyptic scenario. The stakes are raised much higher here than in any of the previous entries.
  • Character Development:
    • Tails learns to take on troubles without Sonic's help, and he even musters up the courage to stop Eggman's attack on Station Square.
    • Knuckles, who starts the story wondering why he was tasked with guarding the Master Emerald, accepts his duty after learning more about his echidna ancestors.
    • Amy goes from being a Damsel in Distress depending on Sonic to save her to an Action Girl beating up the very robot that constantly pursued her.
    • Gamma learns about love and caring, which motivates it to stop being a mindless servant to Eggman, go on its own mission, and eventually has to die to free the bird trapped inside of him.
  • Characterization Marches On: This game marks the first time Knuckles is portrayed as stoic and serious in contrast to his debut in Sonic 3 & Knuckles where he was constantly laughing at you when he activated one of his traps.
    "Unlike Sonic, I don't chuckle. I'd rather flex my muscles!"
    —"Unknown From M.E.", theme of Knuckles
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Chaos Emerald inside the Tornado 2. It plays a major role in setting off the events for the Super Sonic chapter.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Retroactively. Metal Sonic appears in Amy's story in a flashback of Sonic CD, and as a Easter Egg inside Eggman's base in Mystic Ruins. He would return as the Big Bad in Sonic Heroes.
  • Child Prodigy: Tails was implied to have this in previous games, but this is probably the first major series game note which shows the full extent of his technical skills, such as his mechanically powered house and his transforming airplane.
  • Climax Boss: Several for different character modes, mostly aligned to their Character Development:
    • The Egg Walker is the Final Boss of Tails' mode, culminating in him developing independence from Sonic and stopping Eggman on his own.
    • The Sonic/Tails vs. Gamma boss. While pathetically easy whoever you play as, it occurs just after Gamma's Pet the Dog moment releasing Amy from an unknowing Eggman, leading Amy to break up the fight and provoke his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Also E-101 Beta Mk II, Gamma's Final Boss, happening straight after Gamma establishes its Foregone Conclusion that it will sacrifice itself to complete its E-Series rescue mission.
  • Color-Coded Characters: As shown on the character select screen, each character's menu items are shown in a different color:
    • Sonic - Blue
    • Tails - Orange
    • Knuckles - Red
    • Amy - Pink
    • Big - Purple
    • Gamma - Gray
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Was adapted in story arcs in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog and also as what was notably the last new story arc in Sonic the Comic.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Present in Tails' stages, specifically of the Rubber-Band A.I. variety.
    • More infamous is Chaclon/Chacron, a Chao that shows up in the Chao Races upon their completion. What makes him a cheater is that he's constantly in the "boost" state and runs right past the tree he's supposed to shake. He graciously gives the competition a head start, but once that time is up, he'll burst right out of the gate.
  • Console Cameo: E105ζ (E-105 Zeta) is made of six Dreamcasts located around the grey blocks under his cannons.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There's this line:
      Sonic (to Knuckles): "Did Eggman trick you again?"
    • One of Amy's memories is of Sonic saving her in Sonic the Hedgehog CD. However, the models weren't changed.
    • When playing other characters' stories, your allies will sport any power-up accessories you picked up for them in their stories.
    • After getting their powers drained by Perfect Chaos, the Chaos Emeralds look the same as the Super Emeralds did in Sonic 3 & Knuckles in their powerless state (except for the size, of course), prior to being fully restored by the player.
    • Tails has a dream reminiscing his first meeting with Sonic, as previously told in the Japanese manual of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
    • In the Japanese version, a random NPC makes reference to Sonic's prior adventures in Little Planet and Angel Island.
    • Amy wields the Piko Piko Hammer, which she was first seen with in Sonic the Fighters. As a nod to this, one of its upgrades is called the Warrior Feather ("Fighters Feather", in the original Japanese release).
    • A thing that would have been lost to most non-Japanese players is that the game's story makes major references to a number of lore details introduced in the classic games' Japanese manuals. For instance, the backstory with a ancient civilization attempting to misuse the Chaos Emeralds before being wiped out overnight for their actions was first mentioned in the Japanese manuals of Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. Similarly, Chaos and his dragon-shaped ultimate form are a reference to the story prologue from the Japanese Sonic 3 manual, which mentions an ancient mural predicting the appearance of a legendary dragon that would bring disaster after coming out of an egg.note  A similar mural is also seen in Lost World.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Sonic and Gamma can survive just fine in the incredibly hot volcano section of Red Mountain, with lava and geysers being the only hazards that damage them. Then again, this is true of all Sonic games where the characters don't suffer any ill effects from standing only a few inches above a lava pit.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Eggman. Not only does he have the God of Destruction at his command, he has a giant flying carrier (although it functions more like a battleship), a second carrier to use against Chaos if it goes rogue, a HUGE missile stationed off the coast of Station Square should the Egg Carrier and Chaos be defeated, and a giant base in the middle of Mystic Ruins. All of this raises the question, however, of why he needs to gamble with controlling the God of Destruction to destroy just one city with all of these fairly potent back up plans.
  • Creature-Breeding Mechanic: Both games include Chao gardens. Chao may be trained and any two may be crossed, with the usual Lamarckian mechanics coming into play. This doesn't affect anything outside of the garden, though.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As in most games in the franchise, Sonic and the cast can take any amount of damage, from a barrage of Eggman's launched missiles to an explosion a third the size of the Egg Carrier, without any outward sign of injury, but after their last ring is lost, brushing against a robot chimp is enough for a K.O.
  • Crystal Prison: The Master Emerald is this to Chaos.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • In the final route of the game, Eggman hops into the Egg Carrier 2 to tame Perfect Chaos. It's on-screen for maybe ten seconds before Perfect Chaos blows it up.
    • The Sonic/Tails vs. Gamma battles usually play the outcome as such, depending on which character is playing. In Amy's case, Sonic is winning, but with Gamma still holding ground.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Many cutscenes, due to the generally stilted choreography. Sonic in particular seems to forget how to run and ends up walking to close distance when he needs to run to prevent something bad from happening.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Now we know why Sonic refuses to sit in the cockpit of Tails' plane — because gravity means nothing to him. He survives falling several kilometers to the ground not once, but twice in the game. The second time, Sonic's body endures a comical pancake effect when he hits the ground, but he's no worse for wear.
    • In Tails' ending, he manages to fly all the way from Station Square to the Mystic Ruins without getting tired.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Especially compared to most Sonic games released before it. It's nothing compared to, say, Sonic Adventure 2 or Shadow the Hedgehog, but this game literally starts off with an opening FMV depicting a city being flooded by Perfect Chaos, and later in the game, we see the echidna tribe kill the Chao, before being wiped out themselves.
    • Gamma's story is this to the rest of the game, complete with an explicitly Bittersweet Ending. Super Sonic's story has a somewhat grimmer tone than the rest of the game as well, in which the destruction of Station Square foreshadowed by the aforementioned cutscene takes place.
    • Eggman also plays a more No-Nonsense Nemesis role in this, relying on cunning to collect the Chaos Emeralds and generally not putting on more of a show than necessary. By the end of Tails' story, he's also very agitated and ready to kill anyone who gets in his way without mincing words (this carries over into the end of Sonic's story, which takes place afterwards, where he's in no mood to put up with Sonic's 'tude).
  • A Day in the Limelight: Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, who are generally supporting characters in Sonic's adventures, all have their own campaigns here that greatly flesh out their characters. Particularly noticeable with Amy since she was mostly relegated to cameos in spin-off titles prior to this game. This game also marks the first time you play a character from Eggman's perspective, as Gamma starts off as a part of his crew before defecting.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: Spinner and Thunder Spinner are fitted with these. Speed Highway also features a Helicopter Blender obstacle.
  • Denser and Wackier: Big's story is much more offbeat and lighthearted compared to most of the other character modes.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The stage tracks for both Adventure games have a naming convention where they list the track name "...for [Stage Name]". This leads to redundancies such as "Run Through the Speed Highway ...for Speed Highway" or "Sky Deck A Go! Go! ...for Sky Deck."
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you're thinking bringing a bunch of rings into Casinopolis from the adventure field (probably for an instant emblem), don't bother. The game will just reset your ring count to zero.
    • Head back to Station Square as Amy between escaping the Egg Carrier and going to Final Egg, and there will be fewer NPCs, with a good deal of the remaining ones talking about the missile that Eggman launched at the city. The train strike has even stopped to help with evacuation.
    • Big's adventure stages have distinctly little to do with speed relative to those of the other playable characters, so they aren't timed and he doesn't have the traditional checkpoint goalposts. Instead, the weight of the largest fish Big catches is recorded and retained the event that Big dies or his fishing line breaks.
    • Even though there is little opportunity to drown in this game, and the odds of it happening are long to match, the production team went ahead and included drowning animations and vocal effects for all of the playable characters except Gamma, in addition to bringing the classic Sonic drowning music up to full orchestral caliber.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The final battle against Perfect Chaos.
  • Dig Attack: Knuckles can dig underground once he finds the shovel claws upgrade. This is mostly used to find Master Emerald pieces that are buried underground, starting with Red Mountain (the first Knuckles action stage played after Knuckles obtains the claws) note . Sonic Battle takes this one step further by having Knuckles' burrow ability as a special move, in which after he goes underground, he can move under an enemy and pop up from below to his or her surprise.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tails modifies his plane so he and Sonic can fly up to the Egg Carrier. This seems to go smoothly until Tails realizes he forgot to equip landing gear just as they're about to land the plane.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Big isn't too creative with the names, as his frog friend is named Froggy.
  • Doing In the Wizard: In-game, Chaos is consistently portrayed as being some kind of genuine deity that the echidnas worshiped, and having some unexplained connection to the Chaos Emeralds and the Chao—where exactly he came from is never explained in the story. Out of universe, Sonic Channel's profile of the character claims that he is just a Chao mutated by the energy of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Double Knockout:
    • This happens after the Sonic (or Tails) vs. Knuckles fight, both characters run up to each other to attack, only to knock each other to the ground, followed with Sonic or Tails dropping the two Chaos Emeralds, which are then immediately taken by Eggman and fed to Chaos (this creates Chaos 4; the vs Knuckles fight on all sides goes directly to the Chaos 4 boss fight).
    • This can happen in the end of the Egg Viper boss battle, in which it specifically tries to take Sonic down with it.
  • Downloadable Content:
  • The Dragon: Chaos to Eggman. If just to get the Emeralds. Gamma's role in preserving him and helping against the heroes prior to a Heel–Face Turn may apply them as Co-Dragons.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Chaos only helps Eggman to get the Emeralds so that Chaos can go One-Winged Angel and destroy the world.
  • Dream Sequence: The visions of the echidnas' ancient history work as this.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Not unlike Super Mario 64, this game marks the transition from a dub name to the original name and does so by using both, in this case Dr. Robotnik and Dr. Eggman.
    • Outside of the obvious turning point for the series villain, a few minor elements were renamed when the game went International, such as Mystic Ruin to Mystic Ruins and Spina to Spinner.
    • Two of the upgrades had their names changed - Rhythm Brooch became Rhythm Badge and Fighters Feather became Warrior Feather (though its Japanese name, "Senshi no Hane", is a more-or-less literal translation). All the others have the same (English) name in both versions of the game.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The game has Sonic and Knuckles fight again, and he also duels with Gamma. However, playing through as Knuckles and Gamma allows the player to fight Sonic, and playing as Tails puts him in the fights instead of Sonic.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Due to the technical limitations of 3D modeling from back then, the cutscenes depict the characters with very blank or basic expressions and rigid to nonexistent body language—many cutscenes just have the characters standing in idle, neutral poses while talking. It's somewhat jarring compared to the elaborately choreographed cutscenes seen in later games.
    • The English voice acting can also be like this, such as Knuckles' absolutely apathetic "oh no" whenever Sonic hits him during their fight. (It was clipped out of context from a beta cutscene, for some reason.) Gamma has this completely intentionally, though. Then there's the scene where Tails is about to crash his plane near Sonic at the beginning of Sonic's story, and Sonic reacts to it very dully.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Some unused textures, music and sprites exist inside the game, at least one unused cutscene (see above), and data listing at least three unmade levels. The DX remake also has a lot of the options and extras from the original's online mode inside its memory that can be accessed via hacking, such as the extra Twinkle Circuit mini games.
    • Through some glitching and flying, you can have Tails play Sonic's first stage...or, at least part of it. The second half is unfinished, leaving Tails to plunge to his death. But the fact that the first half is fully playable probably shows that they planned to have Tails be in that stage.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Sonic Adventure's A-Life system differs significantly to all the other versions used from Sonic Adventure 2 onward. Neutral Chao were the only ones available in the game, and normal color baby Chao used the blue and green coloration of the Neutral/Normal evolutions instead of their usual blue and yellow, though the ones in the cutscenes had this. Coconuts grew at an insane rate compared to the ones in Sonic Adventure 2 and even the DX version, feeding them increased a Chao's tiredness and boosted their max HP (a stat not present in any other game with Chao) and falling coconuts could hurt them. On the subject of injuring Chao, while throwing only upset them as usual, attacking them caused them to lose HP, and they died if it hit zero - even the immortal Chaos Chao. Chao sounded and behaved quite differently, and used animal trait actions much more often, while the changes that took place during second evolution happened to be absolutely insane and often broke their models.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: All six character stories, though it's rather bittersweet in Gamma's case.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Collecting rings as Sonic in Casinopolis will build up a golden statue of himself in the lobby. It takes 5,000 rings to fully complete it, even though only 400 are required to beat the level.
    • Cream the Rabbit makes a short appearance in DX. See video here.
    • This one should take a couple minutes to get to - a hidden room.
  • Eggshell Clothing: In DX, Chao can wear eggshells on their heads.note  Both halves of an eggshell completely disappear in the original Dreamcast version when a Chao hatches.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chaos, a slime creature whose innards can be seen through it. They get more mechanical as he absorbs more Emeralds, until his final form.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Super Sonic, at the very end.
  • Elite Mook: The E-100 Series robots were designed by Eggman to be more more intelligent and dangerous than his normal Badniks. Gamma can challenge Sonic just on his own, and in his own story comes seconds from defeating him outright.
  • Embedded Precursor: DX includes all of the Game Gear Sonic games available to unlock, by collecting enough Emblems.
  • Eternal Engine: Final Egg. Sky Deck and Hot Shelter to a lesser extent.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Chaos is only using Eggman so he can destroy the world with the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Exposition Fairy: Tikal is always there to guide the player.
  • Expository Pronoun: Gamma initially refers to himself with the formal neutral pronoun "watashi", but near the end of his story, he switches to the informal and masculine "boku" when he realizes that he must self-terminate in order to complete his mission, indicating his gradual humanization.
  • Expy: Twinkle Park is one for Sega's Joypolis amusement park.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While it's not acknowledged by the characters themselves, Sonic is shocked to hear from Tails that Angel Island has fallen again during the Super Sonic story, despite the fact that he is lying down in view of where it fell.
  • Fanfare: While addressing his robots, Eggman plays his own canned fanfare music. Pretty amusing.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: A superpowered deity, abandoned civilizations, fantasy magic, ghosts, time travel and talking animals are all present in the game, with some science fiction elements and even a "Ghost in the Machine" story for one of the major characters sandwiched in.
  • Filler:
    • Big the Cat's plot has almost no bearing on the rest of the game's storyline. The only thing that ties him into it is that his pet frog swallowed an Emerald, and has Chaos' tail.
    • Similarly, Amy's plot is only tied in via the Emerald her Birdie is holding (which is stolen halfway in) and her being the catalyst for Gamma's Heel–Face Turn, which ironically ends his own relevance to the central story.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: The cops unloading their magazines at Chaos 0.
  • Fixed Camera: Made more adjustable in the DX version.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Eggman, once again, tricks Knuckles into fighting Sonic as a way to nab two Chaos Emeralds. To a lesser degree, the first Emerald is nabbed from an opening when Sonic and Tails get cocky post-battle with Eggman's Egg Hornet.
  • Floating Continent: Angel Island before the Master Emerald was shattered, and Windy Valley. Angel Island only broke away from the mainland after Tikal used the Master Emerald to stop Chaos' rampage by sealing them both in it.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that Tikal had actually managed to send Gamma's mind to the past foreshadows him becoming sentient in his chapter.
    • At the start of Knuckles' story, when the Master Emerald is broken, you can see a Hint Ball (in other words, Tikal's spirit) fly out of it.
    • When Eggman introduces the Egg Carrier to Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, he notes that it "pales in comparison to the power of Chaos". When he pulls out a second Egg Carrier during the Last Story, Perfect Chaos swats it out of the sky in a matter of seconds.
    • In Final Egg, Sonic & Amy will occasionally face off against a badnik known as the Egg Keeper, which can float, speed forward, and can capture the player. This otherwise one-off enemy serves as a foreshadowing for both Gamma's final boss, which utilizes the same propulsion method, as well as an enemy from a later game, Sonic Heroes, which has a similar means of halting the player's progress.
    • After Gamma first defeats Beta and earns Robotnik's permission to serve aboard the Egg Carrier, Beta silently insists on coming along with them. Annoyed, Robotnik rolls with it and allows Beta to come with them, mumbling that they could "always use a set of spare parts." Not long after, Beta is basically torn apart and rebuilt into a very different robot for his rematch with Gamma.
  • For the Evulz: This is about the extent of Eggman's characterization in the game—his only goal is to destroy Station Square so he can build his own evil amusement park, Eggmanland (Robotnikland in the English dub), over its ruins.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Six main character storylines that both run alongside and intertwine with each other, with one overarching storyline that most of them loosely tie into (a vengeful monster has been released by the main villain, and is secretly pulling strings to eventually destroy the world).
  • Free Rotating Camera: Not universal though.
  • Friendly Playful Dolphins: Dolphins jump around you in Sonic's first stage, "Emerald Coast", if you're looking in right place at the right time. The appearance of these dolphins and their numbers seems to be performance based, or it might be random.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Only Sonic and Tails interact with all five other characters in the story, with Knuckles, Amy, Big and Gamma never really meeting one or two. They can still occasionally find them as generic NPCs to assist in unlocking them however.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Some of the game's glitches allow characters to access levels or parts of levels that they normally can't, and can also access stages out of order. However, doing this can cause glitches that, at best, make the level unbeatable, and at worst, make the game unbeatable. One of these is a bug that allows Knuckles to enter Casinopolis early. While you can play through the level without incident, the problem occurs when you beat it; Tikal whisks Knuckles away to the past... and he's stuck there. The game doesn't necessarily freeze, as Knuckles is still able to move around and explore, but Tikal and her father are glitched in a way that has them standing in midair. This prevents the cut-scene that ends this sequence from playing, making it literally impossible for Knuckles to ever leave the past.
    • The Crystal Ring is an optional upgrade that depletes the time it takes for Sonic's Light Speed Dash to charge. Most players grab it during their first session, but if you choose to collect it during Super Sonic's story, it will essentially ruin your save file. There is usually no auto-save feature, as Super Sonic's stage is just one long level, but acquiring the upgrade forces the game to save. That wouldn't be a problem, unless you have to switch off the console. Trying to reload the game will then lead to you seeing a Dummied Out recap screen, before either being dumped in an inescapable Hedgehog Hammer room, a bottomless pit, or simply freezing the game altogether. The only way to bypass this is to start a new file, which is incredibly frustrating, because Super Sonic is only unlocked after completing the other six characters' stories.
    • Windows will crash in certain times in DX, most commonly during the fight with the Egg Hornet.
  • Game Mod: The 2004 PC version of the game has a dedicated modding community. Not only is there a mod loader that adds support for widescreen and custom resolutions, but mods exist that fix numerous glitches and add lost content back in (such as the DLC missions and holiday events). The Steam version can be made compatible with these mods through the BetterSADX converter.
    • The Dreamcast Conversion Mod faithfully restores all of the textures, special effects, sounds, and level geometry of the Dreamcast version that were lost when the game was ported to other systems. The Lantern Engine mod also restores the Dreamcast's more atmospheric lighting, and yet another mod reverts the character models to their lower poly Dreamcast versions.
    • A gameplay overhaul mod-hack making waves completely revamps aspects of the game by adding Shadow the Hedgehog, a better Metal Sonic, as well as an in-game Super Sonic and even Hyper Sonic. Sonic himself also gets a boost (a la Sonic Unleashed onwards), a bounce attack, instant light-speed dash, and more. And that's just Sonic. It has to be seen to be believed.
    • The SADX Heroes mod is notable for bringing stages from Sonic Heroes into Sonic Adventure DX. These aren't truncated or redesigned stages either, but direct 1-to-1 lifts from Heroes into the Adventure engine with Adventure gameplay and enemies (thus lacking the team gameplay mechanic). Interestingly, every stage is still completable.
  • Gameplay Roulette:
    • The gameplay style changes very frequently in Sonic's story. Outside of the series-standard platforming, there are a couple of pinball minigames in Casinopolis, snowboarding in Ice Cap, racing in Twinkle Park, and two different Rail Shooter segments.
    • The non-Sonic stories mix up the gameplay styles. Tails's levels have him race against Sonic (and, later, Eggman) to get to the goal first, Knuckles has to search segments of each level to find Master Emerald pieces, Amy runs from the robot ZERO with some stealth mechanics, Gamma does timed run-and-gun sequences, and Big the Cat's story forgoes platforming almost entirely for a finishing simulator.
    • The entire game was made to be this due to Sonic Adventure doubling as a sort of tech demo of what the Dreamcast was capable of doing.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • There are some really neat examples where the intertwining storylines of each character affect the game itself. For instance, the reason Sonic's Sky Deck stage tilts all over the place in its third act? That's because Knuckles is required to switch the gravity around in his segment.
    • Chao who are properly cared for are granted Born-Again Immortality and come back to life as babies at the end of their life cycle, out of sheer love for their owner. This crops up in the game itself when we see that Chaos' Chao friends have been successfully resurrecting through the years since Chaos was sealed—and when Sonic returns him to his normal form, they finally get to play with their favorite caretaker again.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Gamma's Emerald Coast stage, he is inexplicably required to destroy Robotnik's badniks to complete the level, even though the level is set before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Genre Shift: The previous games in the series were surrealistic cartoon platformers with science fiction elements. This game shifts the tone of the series to a shonen anime fantasy adventure, and cranks up the science fiction and magical elements.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Gamma's theme sneaks in the repeated phrase "It's my pleasure. Ready to die." It is so distorted and eclipsed by the instrumentals that any censors would have missed it.
    • The original 1998 Japanese release includes a risque cowgirl billboard. The cowgirl even moans.
  • Gimmick Level: Sonic's version of Casinopolis has a Chaos Emerald inside a large vault, on a platform that's too high for Sonic to jump onto. To reach the Emerald you need to fill up the vault with 400 rings so the floor is high enough to jump off of, and to get the rings you need to play pinball (with Sonic as the ball) instead of platforming. Skilled players will know to intentionally lose a pinball game with under 100 rings in order to get to the sewer level, where it's much easier to rack up cash.
  • Going Through the Motions: Not a major example, but quite noticeable in Amy's ending when she performs her boss victory animation and then abruptly snaps back to her standing animation.
  • Go Through Me:
    • In the backstory, Tikal tries to defend the Chao and the Chaos Emeralds from her dad and his soldiers. Said soldiers brusquely push her aside and proceed to incur Chaos' wrath.
    • In the aftermath of Sonic's (or Tails') fight with Gamma, regardless of who wins, Amy intervenes to convince the victor to let the other live.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • Sonic in the Japanese dub sometimes speaks English with a thick accent, such as when he tells players to "Serect yo kaakta!" This became a defining trait of his character in later games.
    • Level names, location names, and upgrade names are in English in both versions.
  • Gravity Screw: Most notably in Lost World, where panels on the wall glow when orientated correctly by hitting a switch, allowing Sonic and Knuckles to simply walk up the wall. The last part of Sky Deck changes orientation as well, and Knuckles can actually control this.
  • Growing with the Audience: Prior to this game, the Sonic series was a fairly standard children's video game series in terms of setting and plot. With many of the original Sonic fans grown-up, this game decided to appeal to both older and newer fans with the new direction of the game. The art style took a more realistic bent, and the story dealt with more mature themes such as the genocide of an ancient race, the growing sentience of an otherwise robotic minion, and learning to stand up for yourself, with Character Development for nearly everyone involved.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game has a few Adventure Field emblems that can be tricky to find. One of them in the Mystic Ruins requires flying over a large, seemingly empty space as Knuckles — and the emblem itself won't show up because of the draw distance until you're actually close to it, so you wouldn't even think about jumping and gliding across that super large bottomless pit unless you somehow knew the emblem was there. Another one in the Egg Carrier requires you to fly on top of the giant spinning contraption at the back end of the ship's outside area as Tails, however the emblem is only collectible when the ship is in wings out mode that separates the front and back ends of the ship and allows you to enter the Sky Deck stage. You change the ship around by pressing a big red switch on the ground located in the control room near the giant spinning thing. Every time you come to the Egg Carrier after it's landed in the sea the ship is always set to wings in mode by default. It's so obscure to that even if you went up there the first time with the ship in wings in mode and found no emblem up there then you'd think that particular emblem was located somewhere else leaving you stumped until you finally looked up and found you have to transform the ship to make the emblem appear.
    • Most of the secret optional power ups/upgrades for all the characters, despite not being explained or shown in the manual, are not that difficult to find if you take time to explore the Adventure Fields (except for one upgrade for Big that is actually found in secret area of Ice Cap). However, Amy's Long Hammer upgrade just takes the cake for this trope. In order to obtain it, you have to play the Hedgehog Hammer mini-game again after getting the Warrior Feather in the Adventure field (doing it from Trial mode in the game's menu will not work) and get a certain high number of points. On top of that, you have to play the mini-game after the Egg Carrier has landed in the ocean, so either go back there after killing Zero, or go back immediately after Tails drops you off in Station Square by taking the boat by the sea, and NOT immediately after getting the Warrior Feather. Nothing in the game ever hints at giving the Hedgehog Hammer another go after the Egg Carrier crashes, so many would have seen no point in playing the game again other then to get the emblem for it in Trial mode.
    • Amy's got another example that's more of a case of Figure It Out Yourself. She's pigeon-toed with an overlapping gait and runs a lot slower than she would otherwise, so the way to get her grade A emblems is by getting her to take the biggest leaps possible as you move through her stages.
    • Chao raising in the original Dreamcast version is poorly explained. You can only see a Chao's stats, give them a name, and have access to all the different types of fruits if you transferred them into your VMU via the machine located in every garden. However, this is not explained by the game, nor its manual. The first game has a monitor in the Station Square garden hinting that different fruits have different effects on the Chao, but doesn't explain how to obtain them. There is also a Tikal hint orb which tells the player that animals can change the Chao's appearance, but omits the fact that it also affects the Chao's stats.

    Tropes H to P 
  • Hall of Mirrors: A segment exclusive to Amy's version of Twinkle Park.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Before the events of Sonic Adventure, in order to save the world from Chaos' destruction, Tikal sealed him, along with herself, in the Master Emerald.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Inverted by Chaos taking over the role of central villain from Eggman in the final story.
  • Hints Are for Losers: Touching one Hint Orb in Knuckles' B Rank missions disqualifies you from getting the Emblem.
  • Hobbling the Giant: Tails' storyline ends with a battle against the Egg Walker. To defeat it, Tails has to get underneath it to trick it into trying to stomp him. During this time, Tails has to attack its feet, causing it to lose its balance and giving Tails the opportunity to attack Dr. Eggman, who will then be low enough for him to attack.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The lipsyncing is just plain bizarre and off a lot of the time.
  • Hope Spot: Zig-zagged at the end of Amy's story. Birdie is reunited with his family, and everything seems okay... then suddenly ZERO shows up and swats Birdie out of the sky. After ZERO's defeat, Birdie wakes up and is seemingly okay, but as he flies off, he suddenly rapidly drops from sight... only to soar triumphantly back into view and fly off with his family in tow.
  • Hub Level: Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and the Egg Carrier.
  • 100% Completion: Getting all of the emblems entails beating the action stages again, under more challenging circumstances. At most, you have to:
    • Sonic: Finish each action stage within an allotted timeframe.
    • Tails: Beat Sonic or Eggman again (they're faster).
    • Knuckles: Same as Sonic, only the allotted time is one to two minutes.
    • Amy: Same as Sonic.
    • Big: Catch a fish weighing in at 2000 grams and catch Froggy.
    • Gamma: Reach and dispose of a particular target within a certain amount of time left on the clock.
  • "I Want" Song: Tails's and Amy's themes: Believe in Myself and My Sweet Passion.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Played with during Gamma's story. Gamma is perfectly capable of self-terminating, it's just that up until the penultimate boss Gamma doesn't realize that his self-given mission technically requires him to kill himself. The moment of contemplation concerning his mortality that he has when he realizes this is almost heart-breaking despite almost no dialogue or music being present in the scene. He ends up averting this trope and allows himself to die from his injuries so that the Flicky inside of him can be freed.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Knuckles says this, agreeing with Tails that Sonic is the only one who can harness the true power of the Chaos Emeralds after Perfect Chaos absorbed their negative energy.
  • I Owe You My Life: Not directly stated, but Gamma's resolve to rescue the animals trapped inside the E-Series robots was partly due to Amy saving its life. Said act by Amy was also provoked by Gamma freeing her and Birdie from Eggman's cell inside the Egg Carrier (which would later crash land into the ocean) making it both issued and returned at the same time.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries: The brown paper bag Amy carries in the introductory cutscene to her story.
  • Idiot Ball: All three incidents when Sonic and Tails lose Chaos Emeralds to Eggman. The third time this occurs, when two Chaos Emeralds are knocked out of Sonic/Tails's Hammerspace (depending on what character you're being) by a sharp impact. He then proceeds to lie there while Eggman lazily floats over and beams them up. Eggman lampshades this in the Tails vs. Knuckles storyline, where he calls them "Bumbling idiots".
  • Ignorant of the Call: Most of the cast react this way to Tikal's flashbacks. Near the end of his story Sonic fails to get the message that he should go after Chaos instead of Eggman.
  • Implausible Deniability: Knuckles seems to pull this off after Sonic asked him if he got tricked by Eggman again. This quote from Knuckles' story sums it up:
    "Like, you weren't?"
  • In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: The Egg Viper, but it gets harder as you go on.
  • Incoming Ham: Eggman, Eggman, Eggman.
    "YOUUUUUUUUUUU KNOOWWWWWWWWWW NOTHING, FOOOOOOOOOOOOL! It's CHAOS! The GOD! OF DESTRUCTION!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Indy Escape: At various points in Sonic's storyline, he has to evade the jaws of an angered orca, an avalanche and an Indiana Jones-esque flaming boulder.
  • Insult Backfire: Sonic calls Robotnik "Eggman", and he protests that his name is Dr. Robotnik. Wait, what does he call himself nowadays? Averted in the Japanese track version, where this just doesn't happen — instead, Sonic makes a simple remark that it's been a while since they've seen each other.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Right towards the end of Twinkle Park for Sonic, there's an iron gate blocking you from getting to a spring if you end up on the right side of it. You can barely jump higher than it by yourself and you can definitely jump higher than it if you get up some speed with a Spin Dash. However, the game won't let you pass it from that side, you have to circumnavigate the entire circular roof to approach the spring from the other side.note 
  • Kaizo Trap: Egg Viper. The camera angle isn't great either, so even if you know his suicide attack is coming, you won't be able to tell where he's gonna hit so you may still die anyway. And beware of losing too many platforms, because the Viper will take you down if it's the last platform remaining. Cue rage.
  • Karmic Death: Implied. Chaos absorbs the Emeralds to transform into Perfect Chaos, wiping out Pachacamac and the echidnas for all of their actions towards Tikal and the Chao.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Eggman does it a lot in this game. He's portrayed as a lot more evil here than in most portrayals.
    • In the flashback of the final story, Pachacamac ordered the echidna warriors to charge to the Emerald shrine, in which they trampled Tikal and injured the Chao, just so they can seize the Chaos Emeralds. Chaos didn't take kindly to this.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Chaos. He is the first major threat Sonic and co. face that has no humorous quirks or traits whatsoever in persona and design; while his threat is genuine, he isn't seen as much more than a Dragon to Eggman until the climax and finale, when things truly take a turn for the worse when he finally turns on Eggman and gets all of the Emeralds.
  • Last Breath Bullet: The defeated E-101 mk.II gets in one last shot at Gamma before exploding; the shot fatally wounds Gamma and he too is destroyed shortly after.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Fakery Way" for Amy's section in Twinkle Park starts out in a quiet, cute tone, but slowly becomes much more creepy and menacing.
  • Last of His Kind: Knuckles is the only echidna alive. Though Tikal's spirit lingers around after being released from inside the Master Emerald.
  • Leitmotif: Every character is accompanied by their theme tune when they appear.
  • Lens Flare: Present in some of the cutscenes, as well as Emerald Coast and Sky Chase Act I.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Red Mountain, combined with some Death Mountain.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Eggman tricks Knuckles into fighting Sonic for the second time (or Tails if you play as him).
  • Levels Take Flight: Sky Chase reappears with two acts, and allows Tails to actually fire upon incoming enemies with his Tornado.
  • Little "No": Sonic shouts one of these any time he dies.
  • The Load: Tails generally achieves nothing worthwhile when he tags along when you play as Sonic, and he becomes outright detrimental if you're hunting down specific animals because of his tendency to run into the path of them and pick them up. Before DX, his movements followed the player's button inputs and usually lead to him going astray very quickly, and there was no way of disabling him. He tags along with Sonic as much as he can in DX, but in both versions he struggles to attack enemies and is often caught up in and immobilised by Sonic's own attacks.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • A few jingles and themes were unused in gameplay or for purposes different from how they are labelled (eg. "Calm After The Storm" is labelled as the theme for the crashed Egg Carrier Adventure Field in the Sound Test, but is used only in a short cutscene in Gamma's story). Many tunes were also truncated and can only be heard in full in the games' official soundtrack.
    • Subverted with the "Leading Lights" theme for Lost World. Playing through Sonic's story, it will only play in Sonic's third "act" of the level...a single room where the level ends after literally taking just a few steps. Once you play through Knuckles' version of Lost World though, you'll hear this song again, and this time it will finally get the playtime it deserves.
  • Macguffin Delivery Service: Sonic and friends do a terrible job of keeping the Chaos Emeralds away from Eggman and Chaos.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Speed Highway, a highway that uses loop-de-loops, corkscrews and has gaps missing, all while being high in the air.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Sonic calls Knuckles a "Knucklehead" for the first time.
  • Mama Bear: Amy to Birdie. In one instance, she adamantly refuses to give Birdie to Gamma, which then led to his change of heart. In the other instance which stands out more, Amy was enraged when ZERO knocks Birdie out cold and was very keen on bashing him with her hammer.
  • Mêlée à Trois: By the end of the game, Chaos no longer abides by Eggman's repeated failures to feed it Chaos Emeralds and lashes out, trashing Station Square and absorbs all the Emeralds power on its own. Eggman knows he screwed up so he attempts to stop Chaos himself but only sees his latest Egg Carrier destroyed. Then Sonic steps in, takes what positive energy remains in the Chaos Emeralds, turns Super, and deals with the problem.
  • Missing Secret: Gamma's story recap before heading to Emerald Coast says that he must equip "S-type armor" to proceed. There is no such upgrade, and it's never mentioned outside of this text.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Gamma states this in his story recap following releasing Amy and Birdie and disobeying his master's orders.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The music for Twinkle Park's hovercraft and Windy Valley's "The Air" segments are remixes of the Panic Puppet and Green Grove themes from the Genesis version of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island. Twinkle Park's "Pleasure Castle" stage is a remix of an unused theme from said game, too, though this wasn't known until years after the fact. Also, the second part of Emerald Coast has a Musical Nod to the first boss theme from that game. Jun Senoue, the composer for both games, stated on the official soundtrack that he included these nods because the Genesis version of Sonic 3D never got released in Japan and he didn't want his work to go to waste.
    • The invincibility music quotes "You Can Do Anything" at one point.
    • In Sonic's Casinopolis stage, you can use Sonic as a pinball ball, just like Casino Night Zone, among other examples.
    • The logo sequence in the opening FMV is a reference to the logo sequence in the OVA, even using the same sound effect.
    • The Tornado launch sequence was taken from the OVA as well, along with the idea of Knuckles being a treasure hunter.
    • "Leading Lights" sounds very similar to Mushroom Hill Zone in parts.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, if you listen closely to Gamma's theme song, the distorted voice in the background repeats: "It's my pleasure. Ready to die."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Knuckles being tricked into fighting Sonic led the two colliding with each other. As a result, Sonic fumbles the two remaining Chaos Emeralds (one of them being green which Knuckles thought was a piece of the Master Emerald), only for Eggman to steal them and power up Chaos into his fourth form. As Sonic best puts it:
    Sonic: Smooth move, knucklehead!
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Sonic does not have a way to defeat Chaos 6, but luckily Eggman keeps dropping ice-spewing egg robots onto the battlefield that Sonic can use to freeze Chaos and hit him.
    • E-101 Mark II fires one last shot at Gamma before exploding, killing them both and releasing their Flickies.
    • Eggman's mistreatment of the E-Series and Amy played part in Gamma's Heel–Face Turn. In Gamma's own story at least, had this not occurred, he would have destroyed Sonic for him.
  • Nobody Poops: Surprisingly averted. One Action Stage (Hot Shelter) contains men's and women's restrooms, both of which can be entered, though not used. Which is odd, since it's inhabited solely by Eggman and his army of robots.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.:
    • Big the Cat loses a Life if he breaks the line on his Fishing Rod.
    • Gamma loses a Life if the time runs out, implying that he's running on battery power.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Station Square is a death trap, boasting a highway with loops and a pleasure park containing floating platforms and a hall of mirrors where the flooring tends to give way beneath you.
    • Eggman would be in trouble if a safety inspector took a good look at the Egg Carrier's Sky Deck.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Some of the levels as other characters, who only play in certain parts of them:
    • Casinopolis as Tails takes place entirely in the sewers.
    • Speed Highway as Knuckles features essentially none of the highways and much less speed, due to being an emerald hunting stage in the lower streets of the city.
    • Gamma's Final Egg is his first level.
  • Obvious Beta: The game was rushed for its original Japanese release after development for it was halted in order for it to be made for the Dreamcast instead, and was loaded with glitches, forcing Sonic Team to delay the U.S. release by a year to patch it up. Even then, the game still has loads of glitches, so it's very easy to break wide open, most notably in the DX port, which adds even more glitches than the original Dreamcast game. This page gives many examples of them.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Somehow Big managed to fly Tails' highly advanced Tornado plane back to his home with zero experience. Sadly we see about a second of him taking off from the Egg Carrier. No Sky Chase minigame for you, Big.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: ZERO in Amy's levels.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Eggman was somehow able to build a second, fully functional Egg Carrier right alongside the original, just in time before the final battle.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • Knuckles says this when he is sent in a flashback in the past for the third time. Also, Sonic says this in his story after encountering Chaos, who has transformed into his 6th form.
    • If you fail at Sky Chase Act II, the Tornado will spiral downward in the same way it did after completing Act I. Tails even screams "Not again!"
  • One-Winged Angel: Chaos becomes Perfect Chaos after he drains the energy out of all seven Chaos Emeralds.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: In almost all of the previous Sonic games, the threat always came from Eggman and his machines, and he simply intended to use the Chaos Emeralds as a means to an end. Chaos is the first major villain in the series to rely entirely on mystical powers instead of the threat of science and machinery to achieve his goals note  and unlike the one-shaded goals of Eggman, Chaos is driven by a vengeful rage to use his power to destroy the entire planet. Even Eggman is left at his mercy when he reaches his full power as Perfect Chaos. He is also the first character in the series to have explicitly killed another character—specifically, he drove the entire Echidna race to near extinction.
  • Palmtree Panic: Emerald Coast. Bonus points as the 2000 Millenium DLC changes the music of this stage to the Trope Namer.
  • Pals with Jesus: Tikal and Chaos, God of Destruction.
  • Panty Shot: Amy belts one out in most of the cutscenes she's in, most prominently when you choose her in the character select screen. This is made unsettling by the fact that she's only 12. And a hedgehog.
  • Papa Wolf: Chaos to Tikal and the Chao, as the echidnas learned the hard way.
  • Path of Greatest Resistance: Ever since Sonic Adventure introduced the Homing Attack, nearly all Sonic games since then have had paths identifiable (and accessible) only by finding a trail of stationary midair enemies. This is most commonly used to begin an expert path or for a shortcut; very rarely is it actually required.
  • Pensieve Flashback: Tikal's M.O. for giving the playable characters Exposition on the backstory of Chaos and the ancient Echidna civilization.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Tails has only one chance to get the Rhythm Badge before the area it's in becomes inaccessible.
  • Pinball Zone: Sonic's version of Casinopolis features Sonic and NiGHTS-themed pinball tables. Naturally, Sonic is the pinball.
  • Plot Coupon: The Chaos Emeralds and finding them is the main focus of the story for both the heroes and the villain.
  • Police Are Useless: Station Square's police force tries to shoot Chaos 0, but being a water monster, all their bullets go right through him. Upon discovering this, they immediately retreat.
  • Polygon Ceiling: Most noticeably, the camera is spastic in its best moments, and secondary aspects of the game (such as the overworld and mini-games) are far less polished than the stages proper. Said stages are generally considered a solid conversion of the classic 2D gameplay to 3D, though, so it's more of a subversion.
  • Pooled Funds: Averted; Sonic builds a pile of 400 rings in Casinopolis so he can walk on it to get the Emerald.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Rather than talk to Sonic about why he's after the Master Emerald shards, Knuckles instead immediately starts a fight with Sonic and Tails without reasonably asking the two directly about it, which could have prevented the whole fight in the first place.
  • The Power of Friendship: The bond of Sonic with his True Companions allows him to unlock the full potential of Super Sonic with the Chaos Emeralds, although Tails does say that Chaos only absorbed the negative energy of the Emeralds.
  • The Power of Love: The song playing through this, "Open Your Heart", also suggests it works as this.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: The opening cutscene before the title screen, most scenes involving the Egg Carrier, and Perfect Chaos's introductory cutscene are all pre-rendered. The remaining cutscenes are done in-engine.

    Tropes R to Z 
  • Raising Sim: The Chao Garden, which can still be done even when the main story is completed.
  • Random Events Plot: Big's story has nothing meaningful to do with any of the other protagonists' stories. He has zero interest in the conflict over the Chaos Emeralds (he doesn't even know what they are, thinking the one in his possession is just a simple gem that he considers a lucky charm) or the threat Chaos poses. He only intersects with the other protagonists completely by chance during his quest to rescue Froggy, who himself only gets entangled in the mess thanks to consuming a Chaos Emerald and thus drawing the attention of Dr. Eggman. No one even learns Big's name at any point.
  • "Rashomon"-Style:
    • Who won in the character vs. character fights? It depends who you ask. Most of the dialogue was re-recorded for each story even when it doesn't need to be.
    • In Sonic and Tails's stories, the character played as is the one who fights most of the bosses and puts the keys in the Mystic Ruins. Chaos 4 is also apparently fought simultaneously by Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, with the actual combatant being the one you're currently controlling. Chaos 6 is fought by Sonic and Big simultaneously but then Knuckles arrives after Sonic gives chase to Eggman and definitively defeats Chaos 6 in his own battle (until the Super Sonic story, obviously).
    • Also applies heavily to the dialogue in cutscenes that appeared in multiple characters' storylines. Though the general meaning of what's said stays the same, the exact words will often be different (though this doesn't occur in the Japanese version) and sometimes, which character says what will get switched around. Most notably, it occurs in Tails' story, which has large sections that overlap with Sonic's; many of Sonic's lines from his story are given to Tails instead.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Chaos 4 is fought by Sonic, Tails and Knuckles in each of their stories, and Chaos 6 is fought by Sonic, Knuckles and Big in their playthroughs as well (though Big's fight is completely reworked to focus on his fishing mechanics). For Knuckles and Big, Chaos 6 is also the final boss of their stories.
    • Dr. Eggman's Egg Hornet is also fought twice in the game, and both by Sonic and Tails very early in their stories.
    • As for E-101, he's the first and last boss fought by Gamma in his story. The first fight is after completing Gamma's intro stage, while the second and last is the last boss in the playthrough.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: This game introduced Chao to the series.
  • Robo Speak: On paper, Gamma speaks like this, using stock phrases like "Insufficient data," and "Does not compute," but his voice is more of a smooth and suave baritone than purely Machine Monotone. In the Japanese text, his dialogue is spelled mostly through katakana, as well.
  • Rod And Reel Repurposed: While Big the Cat does use his fishing rod primarily for fishing, he can also use it to attack enemies from a distance if he aims it at them. He can also use his fishing rod as a club if he is standing next to an enemy.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: Tails' racing levels against Sonic, which have him pulling closer behind you if you go too far ahead. Even skipping whole sections in Windy Valley won't do any good.
  • The Ruins I Caused: The team looking down upon the flooded Station Square post-Chaos.
  • Rule of Three: Tails' and Knuckles' stories has three bosses, Knuckles gets a vision of the past on three separate occasions (whereas the other five characters only get one), Amy's storyline has three levels (the fewest level count any character has in this game), and three of Gamma's levels focus on hunting down the rest of the E-100 Egg Carrier crew.
  • Sampling: "Red Hot Skull", the theme that plays in the underground section in Red Mountain, samples its drumbeat from a Hip-Hop remix of "Ghetto Red Hot" by Super Cat (the instrumental version, to be exact).
  • Scenery Porn: It may look a bit dated now, but it was considered highly impressive back then when put side-by-side with games on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Unfortunately, DX ruined a number of the textures and scenery and every further port decreased the quality more.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Chaos was originally sealed in the Master Emerald along with Tikal when he was about to destroy the world, but in modern times, Eggman freed him by destroying the Master Emerald. Subverted however that, when it turns out Chaos isn't actually evil, just very angry and vengeful.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Tikal, technically.
  • Self-Deprecation: Surprisingly, Big has a subtle bit of this near the end of his game, after rescuing Froggy from the Hot Shelter:
    Big: If something happens now... There's no point to my rescuin' you. I don't know who would bother to rescue us both.
    • Naturally, though, this is just before Sonic offers him a helping hand.
  • Self-Serving Memory: While it's not mentioned in the game itself, the official strategy guide gives this as the reason for any differences between the character's stories.
  • Sequence Breaking: Sonic Adventure has plenty of glitches of its own, enough for sequence breaks to be prevalent.
    • By knowing where to continuously jump at with Tails, you can glitch behind the wall at the hotel pool. From there, you can fly over to Casinopolis and complete it. However, because the doors from Casinopolis will remain closed if you didn't unlock it, you may need to do another glitch to leave.
    • Casinopolis can be beaten within 15 seconds if you jump the right way and glitch through a wall.
    • Final Egg with Sonic can be finished in under a minute. The first section of the game has no real glitches, however the second section can be bypassed by getting inside the rotating fan which will not deactivate the death box allowing you to finish it stupid early. The third and final section is the worst. You can spin dash through a nearby wall behind the spider elevator, sending you into complete darkness, however if you steer correctly, you'll send Sonic falling down onto the end platform and finishing the stage.
    • Red Mountain has a large portion that can be skipped by less than 30 seconds in, Sonic can Spin Dash towards a rock on what appears to be a false wall which turns out to be real, then Spin Dash around this wall after landing on said rock and you'll put yourself near the entrance of the mountain. This can be broken further by activating the event lava rise box by glitching Sonic high enough to get the lava to rise to its highest height, bypassing the entire stage.
    • If you glitch correctly in Ice Cap with Sonic, the first section can be finished nearly in 5 seconds, the second section can be glitched right away through the large wooden door you have to find a way to open by running around, and you can glitch through a wall near the snowboarding section, allowing Sonic to run down the mountain instead, but he'll never activate the timer again, meaning that whatever time it said at the end of the second section of this stage is the time that'll finish when you reach the end of the stage regardless of how long it took.
    • Twinkle Park can be glitched as well with Sonic to allow for heavy sequence breaking. If you maneuver Sonic right, you'll skip the roller coaster. Go a step further and you can put yourself with a good Spin Dash jump right near the end of the stage.
    • A correct Spin Dash jump on Speed Highway can skip the last 30% of the first section. Another Spin Dash jump on the final section can throw you over the buildings to the exit, meaning Sonic doesn't have to run around them and waste any time.
    • If one does a good Spin Dash jump, they can skip the majority of the tornado simply by jumping in the right direction and landing on a spring, skipping the bridge and the trampoline.
    • Another good Spin Dash jump can bypass the entire final section of Sky Deck where the ship turns sideways. The player can put themselves right at the spring. If you can hit it before the ship flips entirely, you can actually finish the stage without having to monkey-bar around, then flip the ship back to a normal gravity.
    • Lost World can also be glitched with Sonic. A correct Spin Dash jump can throw Sonic through the door at the snake pool, bypassing the switch pressing section. The player has to perform this while standing on the stone snake head outside the snake pool.
  • Shooting Gallery: Gamma's section of Final Egg has Gamma partake in one of these, with the goal of the level being to destroy a stuffed doll of Sonic. Destroying stuffed dolls of Tails and Knuckles adds extra time to Gamma's time limit.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shower Scene: Possible in Casinopolis with Sonic if you have him stand under a showerhead, whereupon he'll start scrubbing himself. Knuckles can also trigger the water spray, but he has no custom animation for it.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Icecap, with an Ice Palace section.
  • Smoke Out: Eggman employs a variety of these tricks, including a flash grenade and sleeping gas.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Out of the 6 characters, Amy is the only female playable character.
  • Soft Reboot: The game served as a "refresh" for the Sonic series after its declining popularity during the Saturn era. All of the characters were re-designed to be taller and skinnier (and in Amy's case, older as she's aged up from eight to twelve years old) as opposed to the shorter and rounder designs of the Genesis era, the old setting of Mobius was retconned in favor of the series taking place on Earth, Dr. Robotnik's name was semi-changed to his Japanese name Dr. Eggman (Robotnik is established as his surname but Sonic calls him Eggman to taunt him), the mostly pop-based soundtrack of the Genesis games was replaced by a soundtrack that encompasses multiple genres (though future games would mostly be rock-based), and the games' storylines would become darker and more complex. This trope is compounded when Sonic Forces infamously retcons the Genesis games (and Mania) into taking place in an Alternate Continuity.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Using the good power of magical jewels will give you the superpower to beat up a vengeful deity and make him good again, or at least wise up to what a jerk he was.
  • Spin Attack: Tails can swipe his tails as an attack, which is upgraded to infinite spinning with the Rhythm Badge. Amy can do the Spin Hammer Attack and swing her hammer while spinning, but she can't move while spinning.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening cinematic contains the destruction of Station Square and Chaos's final transformation. It may have been intentional to prevent players from putting the game down after completing Sonic's story. Or just to get some extra mileage out of the lengthy FMV sequence.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The Egg Carrier's various appearances often start with this.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Quite a few different puzzles appear at varying points across the levels and characters, notably in Lost World.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Sky Deck is full of cannons and explosions. Twinkle Park also features barrels that, once attacked, explode on a timer.
  • Sudden Name Change: The Floating Island suddenly changed to Angel Island as of this game; Angel Island Zone was the name of the first level of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but it wasn't the name of the island itself.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Everyone. The early games didn't even have subtitled lines.
  • Super Prototype: Subverted with the E-series robots. The first in the line, ZERO (aka E-100 Alpha), is quite inferior to even the 101 model, Beta (and also has a markedly different design compared to every subsequent model). Beta, meanwhile, loses out to the 102 model, Gamma, who then goes on a quest to destroy the rest of the series all the way through 105 Zeta. Beta gets upgraded into a "Mk. II" revision partway through Gamma's story but it doesn't help and it gets destroyed for good in the rematch.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: There are LOTS of them in this game.
    • If Eggman never dug into the ground with the Egg Hornet, Sonic would have never destroyed it.
    • Chaos 2 already has two very effective attacks: one has him bounce all over the arena as a giant ball, and the other covers the entire floor, so why does he have to try to punch Knuckles?
    • Had Chaos 4 never popped out of the water, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles would have never defeated him.
    • When Sonic fights Chaos 6, Eggman throws ice robots onto the arena. All Sonic needs to do is attack the robot and throw it at Chaos to make him vulnerable. Chaos would have won had Eggman not gotten involved.
    • Eggman should know better than to stick his head out of the Egg Viper.
      • He also should know better than to make its wheels separate from its body and move flat-side up.
  • Taking You with Me: After the player delivers the final blow to the Egg Viper at the end of Sonic's story, you'll be notified that "he's up to something". Sure enough, Eggman/Robotnik will do a final attack by plowing through the platform Sonic is standing on to drop him. You will need to have at least two platforms left when you reach this stage to survive and win the fight.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Playing Gamma's story at least, which allows you to fight and defeat Sonic in battle (though Amy stops him just short of finishing the job). So far Gamma is the only one of Eggman's robots to individually defeat Sonic in the games storywise (albeit branching storywise).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Knuckles' theme "Unknown from M.E." has a verse which he views teamwork, especially in regards to Sonic:
    I have no such things as weak spots
    Don't approve of him, but you got to trust him
    This alliance has a purpose
    This partnership is only temporary.
  • Temple of Doom: Lost World.
  • That's No Moon!: The excavation team at the Mystic Ruins is flummoxed by a "mountain" which suddenly appeared from nowhere. Unbeknownst to them (and the player, at first), it's actually Angel Island.
  • Theme Song Power Up:
    • Played with in the final battle against Perfect Chaos. "Open Your Heart" (the game's main theme and Super Sonic's personal theme, more or less) plays during the first half of the battle. After you hit Chaos a number of times, it revives and the second half plays out under Perfect Chaos' own theme. It's subverted because Super Sonic doesn't defeat the creature for good while his own theme is playing, inverted because Perfect Chaos' own theme ("Perfect Chaos Revival!") is what plays during the second half (after it's rejuvenated) so Chaos is the one powering up to its own theme, and averted because it doesn't do a lick of good anyway (it's already losing by the time its music starts up; you just have to land the finishing blow (or two, give or take).
    • Again played with during the Sonic vs. Gamma battle. Depending on who you play as, the character with the upper hand will have their theme play as they get ready to land the final blow. Amy will stop them just short of doing so however. In Sonic's case, however, it continues so as to be played straight as he heads off to defeat Eggman and Chaos 6.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Tails' stages have him racing against Sonic and, in the last level, Eggman. He has a limited amount of time to get to the goal before they do.
    • All of Gamma's levels and his Final Boss have a 3 minute timer. The timer can be increased by destroying enemies, with the amount granted being larger if more enemies are destroyed at once. The A-Rank versions of his stages shorten the timer along with requiring the objective be attained with a certain amount of time remaining.
    • All of the A-Rank versions of the stages, with the exception of Big's levels, have a timer. Since Gamma's and Tails' levels are already timed in the other ranks, the time they are given is shortened.
  • Tranquil Fury: In contrast to his usual Large Ham, Eggman's encounter with Tails in the Egg Walker has him speak this way. Surprisingly, it's very unsettling.
  • True Final Boss: Perfect Chaos, caused by absorbing all 7 Chaos Emeralds through negative energy.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The game contains six subplots (seven if you count Tikal's) which all come together in the last story.
  • Uncommon Time:
    • The boss music for Chaos 6 alternates between a 7/8 and a 4/4 time signature.
    • Fanfare 4 "Dr. EGGMAN" is in 7/4.
  • Understatement: Gamma's concise nature of speaking creates such gems as "This is the wrong room" after accidentally walking in on its older "brother" being seemingly cannibalized for parts and upgraded while still active, or "This presents a problem" after being seemingly teleported back in time.
  • Underwater Ruins: Lost World, in parts.
  • Under the Sea: There's watery segments here and there, but the only extended underwater segments are in Big's stages and are mostly optional.
  • The Unfought: Chaos 1 is never battled, despite being seen in a cutscene. Chaos 3 and 5 are skipped entirely due to it absorbing two emeralds at once.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Tikal and the other Echidna residents seem completely nonchalant about the heroes' presence, or even a friggin' robot in the flashbacks to the past. About the only reaction they will make is if the player attacks them or jumps on them. Though, it might be because Tikal isn't truly transporting the heroes back in time and rather making them have visions of the past.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake:
    • The original release had several glitches that allowed you to get stuck. You can glitch through the roof of the train station at the beginning of Tails' story, and play through Casinopolis before the casino area was unlocked... only to find yourself unable to leave the area, thanks to the pathways to and from Casinopolis still being sealed shut, and stuck there by the game's auto-saving, permanently ruining the entire save file (which has stories for six characters). It isn't impossible to leave the area, but it requires pin-precision platforming to the point where those with less patience might not find wasting that time to be worth it.
    • You can opt to obtain Sonic's optional upgrade in Super Sonic's story and then save and quit. When you load the game, you'll get text indicating what has last happened in the game, just like in any other character's story. When you obtained the Crystal Ring determines what the text says. (For those who haven't played the game, that's not supposed to happen in Super Sonic's story.) When the "previously" text is finished scrolling, the game will freeze. Interestingly, the background art is the CG of Perfect Chaos as he looked before his final in-game design.
  • Updated Re-release: The GameCube DX version, which upgraded the character models and added some new features and a catalog of Game Gear games.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Gamma the robot is made to fight its "brother" Beta, who is the more advanced of the two. To Eggman's surprise, Gamma wins, so it is charged with carrying out the doctor's missions. Later, Beta is rebuilt and battles Gamma again. Gamma just barely manages to win again, but unlike the previous battle, it results in its death.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Pachacamac's reasoning for wanting the Chaos Emeralds taken from the shrine. It does nothing to cover up his power hungry nature and lack of regard for life at that point.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: The true first one after the isometric Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Chao. If you are nice enough to a Chao, it will have a big smile on its face and clap whenever your character picks it up. Beware, however, that being too nice to a Chao might result in the little guy getting a spoiled personality, making it throw tantrums even when only a little hungry. Balance is the key, but regardless, if the Chao is happy enough, it will reincarnate into a baby at the end of its life.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Likewise, you can hit the Chao, throw it, put it in water and watch it flail if it doesn't know how to swim, make it starve, and all other sorts of things. Such abuse will result in the Chao crying a fountain of tears, blowing a raspberry at you, or if it's aggressive enough, it'll charge at you and futilely throw punches. If the Chao is more sad/angry than happy, it won't reincarnate at the end of its life. You can kill your Chao outright this way in the original version.
    • Also, in the original Dreamcast version, E-102 could actually shoot the Chao!
    • To a lesser extent, as you play a stage as Sonic with Tails following you, you will find yourself attacking Tails. A few instances in doing this is by jumping in front of him or using a spin dash.
  • Villain Ball: Eggman's programming and distribution of his E-100 series is questionable to say the least:
    • E-102 Gamma's gameplay utilises a timer, with Gamma shutting down if it runs out. The only way to replenish it is to shoot enough targets. Of course Eggman has also sent out an army of badniks per area, leaving them Gamma's primary method of keeping his timer going.
    • After Gamma proves more competent than his brethren, Eggman fires the other three E-100 models off the elite squad to do other random less important duties. This leaves Gamma to fight Sonic solo shortly afterwards. Given Gamma alone is implied to be a tough opponent for Sonic (almost killing him in Gamma's own storyline), things might have gone quite different if Eggman had kept his other three E-Series.
  • Villainous Breakdown: An absolutely chilling one from Eggman at the end of Tails' story, not shown anywhere else. Due to the loss of both Chaos and the Egg Carrier, Eggman snaps and completely ditches his Large Ham and Card-Carrying Villain tendencies and goes from a cackling, somewhat intimidating Mad Scientist to an Omnicidal Maniac with a horrifyingly low growl of a voice. He then attempts to nuke Station Square with himself in it, and very nearly gets away with it if not for the missile being a dud. After Tails beats him to the missile and disarms it, Eggman snaps further, jumps in a giant spider-mech and resolves to kill everyone himself. This line absolutely seals it:
    Eggman: (in a low growl, directed at Tails) You fool. Away! Before I make mincemeat out of you.
  • The Voiceless: Chaos never says a word outside of bubbles and ripples in the altar pond during the flashbacks, and Tikal is the one who relays his feelings to the audience.
  • Warm-Up Boss:
    • For Sonic, Chaos 0, a brief and easy boss fight that the entire game starts off on.
    • For Gamma, he first fights E-101 Beta, a boss so incredibly easy that it can be beaten in less than five seconds by just button mashing Gamma's canon.
  • Wham Episode: Besides being the series comeback into the mainstream, it shook a lot of things up in terms of content. The threat of Eggman is usurped by a monstrous, magical deity. The Chaos Emeralds are upgraded from bonus power-ups to magical, plot relevant artifacts, and their backstory is finally shown and elaborated upon. The tone is darker and the stakes are raised much higher than previous threats in the series. This was also the first game in the franchise where a character (or rather, an entire civilization) was out-and-out killed.
  • Wham Line: "Units remaining.... Gamma...Beta."
  • Welcome to Corneria: Averted. The human citizens of Station Square and the Mystic Ruins have different conversations depending on who they're talking to and storyline progress. There's even a few subplots, such as a shy girl steadily gathering the courage to ask a burger shop employee out, a disgruntled railroad employee eventually starting a labor strike (temporarily blocking access to the Mystic Ruins), and a couple breaking up over an affair.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Gamma's story deconstructs this trope by virtue of being a playable mook. (Well, an Elite Mook, but still).
  • Wheel o' Feet: Sonic when running at top speed, but only in the original Japanese release of the game. The International version and all future versions removed the effect.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Towards the end of Tails' story, Eggman, having lost Chaos and the Egg Carrier, decides to destroy Station Square by blowing it up with a missile. But to his dismay, it fails to explode. He goes to detonate the warhead, but Tails beats him and disables it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Chaos. He only acts antagonistically because he has been sealed away so long without proper closure to the attack on the Chao and the emerald altar.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Knuckles and Big's themes have their moments, but special mention goes to Amy's theme, "My Sweet Passion":
    I do understand the feelings of a Persian cat
    (But the Sphinx looked so cute I had to shave it)
    He reminds me of parsley when he's standing there all alone
    (Makes me wanna be his speciality)
  • "YEAH!" Shot: All the characters' end of act poses. Sonic and Tails' endings do one as a Call-Back to those of the classic Genesis games.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Eggman sorta does this to Gamma's E-Series brethren after they fail to retrieve the Chaos-enhanced Froggy, dispatching E105ζ (Zeta) for a torturous upgrade and demoting E103δ (Delta) and E104ε (Epsilon) to random areas.
    • After Sonic, Big, and Knuckles foil their Villain Team-Up one last time and Eggman leaves him for dead on the sinking Egg Carrier, Chaos attacks the doctor out of spite before going solo. An angry Eggman later attempts revenge with the Egg Carrier 2, but Chaos, now in Perfect form, quickly swats him away again.
  • Your Cheating Heart: A couple standing at the elevators at Station Square's hotel are arguing after the woman has discovered that her boyfriend is seeing another woman. Eventually, both women and the man are seen arguing at the swimming pool.
  • Your Size May Vary: Similarly to when they are upgraded to the Super Emeralds in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the Chaos Emeralds are shown to be much larger where they are too big to fit in your pocket in Angel Island during the past then later in the present time.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The first fight against E-101 Beta in Gamma's story can be beaten in less than five seconds without even getting a chance to fire a shot by just button-mashing Gamma's cannon.

Can't hold on much longer...
But I will never let it go!
I know it's a one-way track...
Tell me now how long this'll last!
I'm not gonna think this way...
Nor will I count on others!
Close my eyes and feel the burn...
Now I see what I gotta do!
Open your heart, it's gonna be alriiiiiiiight! Yeah!

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