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Shadow: What are you, anyway?
Sonic: What you see is what you get! Just a guy that loves adventure! I'm Sonic the Hedgehog!
Shadow: I see. But you know, I can't let you live. Your adventuring days are coming to an end!
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♪ Can you feeeeel life? Movin' through your mind? ♪

Sonic Adventure 2 was the long-awaited sequel to Sonic Adventure. It is historic for three reasons: It's one of the Dreamcast's final releases being released three months after the Dreamcast's official discontinuation, it came out on the franchise's 10th anniversary, and it wound up being the last Sonic game made before Sega quit making consoles and went third-party.

Per usual, Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik has hatched a new plot to conquer the world: reviving his grandfather's legacy, the now-abandoned Space Colony ARK. Professor Gerald Robotnik moved to the ARK so he could research a cure for his terminally-ill granddaughter Maria, but the project was mothballed by the corrupt military, causing Gerald to flip out and become incarcerated. Using the Chaos Emeralds to power the ARK's Wave-Motion Gun, Eggman can strong-arm the President into accepting his new world order. Joining Eggman in his scheme are two new accomplices: Rouge the Bat, a jewel thief with shady motives, and Shadow, a genetically-enhanced hedgehog who touts himself as Gerald's best achievement, and is able to teleport using Chaos Emeralds. Eggman accidentally frees him during a raid on Gerald's island prison, and Shadow makes clear his intent to make humankind pay for Maria's death.

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Sonic is mistaken for Shadow and falsely arrested. Breaking out of custody in "the capital" (which looks an awful lot like Sonic Team's then-headquarters of San Francisco), Sonic resolves to find out what Shadow is up to. Joining him are his inventor friend "Tails" Prower, who transforms his now-familiar plane into a Chicken Walker; and Knuckles the Echidna, who is searching for the Master Emerald after it gets broken by Eggman... again. Unfortunately for Knuckles, Rouge also has an interest in collecting the scattered emerald pieces.

Got that? The plot is much murkier than the previous games, with allusions to Gerald's insanity (the schematics on what turns out to be his old prison cell) and unlawful execution by the military, while still retaining the cheese the series is known for. For example, Sonic being mistaken for a black hedgehog with red stripes —and despite Sonic having already saved the world repeatedly.

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This is the first game in the series (barring Mascot Racers and Party Games) where you get to play as the villains, and by extension, the first where you play as Dr. Eggman. This game also introduced Shadow, Rouge, and the Exposition Fairy Omochao, each of whom would become mainstays. The structure has also been altered from Sonic Adventure: instead of selecting a single character and guiding them through a Hub Level, the Action Stages are all sequential, with the player selecting "Team Hero" or "Team Dark" at the start. Sonic/Shadow are put into the usual platforming stages, now built around rail-grinding. (It would feature just as heavily in Sonic Heroes, though less-so in Sonic '06.) Tails/Eggman pilot mechs and shoot their way through corridor levels, similar to E-102's levels in SA1. Just like last time, Knuckles/Rouge glide around open-ended stages and dig up emerald pieces and other treasures. Beat both perspectives and you unlock the "Last Story", which places both teams in an Enemy Mine scenario to save the Earth.

The Chao races from SA1 are expanded upon, with players able to raise "Hero" or "Dark" Chao depending on which character interacts with them. The game was updated for the Nintendo GameCube several months after the Dreamcast version as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, which added yet-more Chao stuff and completely overhauled the 2-player mode, which is probably where the "Battle" subtitle comes in. The GameCube port was the first Sonic game ever released on a Nintendo home console.

Following the success of its predecessor, an HD version of this game was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (through Xbox LIVE Arcade and Play Station Network respectively) on October 2nd, 2012 for $10; the additional two-player modes of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle are Downloadable Content for $3. The game was also released on PC via Steam on November 19th, 2012, marking its official PC debut.


Talk about low-budget flights, no food or movies, I'm outta here! I like troping better!

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    #-G 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: For the True Final Boss, Sonic and Shadow both go Super to defeat it. This is the only time in the game that anyone uses the Super forms.
  • Abandoned Mine: Knuckles' search for shards of the shattered Master Emerald brings him to Aquatic Mine, an abandoned coal mine located within the vicinity of Pumpkin Hill that can be accessed via the sewers of Central City. This is aptly summed up by the opening lyrics of the stage's theme, "Dive into the Mellow"
    "Let's take a dive, in Aquatic Mine. Once was a coal pit, but now it's a water ride."
  • Aborted Arc: There are a few intriguing hints that Sonic was the true Ultimate Lifeform: being able to use Chaos Control when only Shadow and his prototype, the Biolizard, are known to do this at the time, the lyrics of Final Chase questioning if Shadow is "really the Ultimate", and Shadow outright telling Sonic if the final battle goes on long enough. Sonic seems to be a bit shaken by that last one, muttering "Created—the Ultimate Lifeform?.." before Amy takes him out of his thoughts. No future games follow up on this.
  • Adapted Out: Big the Cat's cameos were stricken from the GameCube rerelease. Later rereleases would reinstate most of them.
  • Advertised Extra: For as much prominence as he has in the game's marketing and the story itself, Shadow rarely ever gets the chance to be playable. When counting the racing stages, Sonic gets 6 stages, while every other character gets 5. Shadow, on the other hand, only gets a measly 4 stages. He's not even playable during the events of Cannon's Core, where all 5 of the other playable characters get in on the action.
  • Affably Evil: Doctor Eggman, as usual. He's generally an ever-cheerful and pleasant guy, despite his desire to rule the world, and doesn't really want to destroy Sonic like he claims, and though he attempted to do so, he regrets it later, actually stating that he'll miss him. He also manages to get along with Tails in the end. It was also shown that he had his deepest respect for his grandfather.
  • Air-Dashing: Sonic, Shadow, Amy and Metal Sonic can dash forward in the air after they've already jumped, which will home in on enemies if there's one nearby.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • According to several strategy guides, Project Shadow was meant to figure out a way to achieve Immortality, which the then-President wanted to use for war. Gerald Robotnik didn't want to be a part of it at first because he thought that it wasn't something that mankind needed, but changed his mind because Maria contracted a Soap Opera Disease that he knew he could cure with the research.
    • The ARK was shut down because the GUN higher-ups did not trust Gerald or his research. When they heard about the violent tendencies of the Biolizard, they used it as a justification and cover-up for their massacre of the personnel, placed the blame on Gerald, and forced him to continue working under their scrutiny before executing him. This is explained in full in the Japanese version of the strategy guide.
    • A common question among fans is how Gerald was able to alter Shadow's memories after being incarcerated. This is also explained in the Japanese strategy guide, which states that after imprisoning him, GUN forced Gerald to keep working on Project Shadow under their supervision. So that was when he manipulated Shadow's memories as a way of "reprogramming" him to carry on his plan without the higher-ups noticing. Presumably, they eventually caught on that he had a secret agenda, which was what prompted them to sentence him to death row and shut down the project for good.
    • Played with for the True Final Boss, whose backstory and abilities are described in an in-universe manual, the Project Shadow Report printed from the ARK computer late in the Dark Story, which can only be read via high-definition freeze frame. The texture can be seen here.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Eggman and company raid Prison Island to steal the Chaos Emeralds G.U.N. is holding there and cripple the army by blowing the island up.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Enforced. Much of the early plot revolves around Shadow being Sonic's Criminal Doppelgänger, which made more sense in the prototype phase of the game's development when the character who eventually became Shadow still looked like Sonic's Evil Twin. By the time of the game's release, Shadow had undergone enough Divergent Character Evolution that he no longer resembled Sonic, but this element of the plot had not been changed, so many characters—Eggman, Amy, G.U.N., the media—carry on as if Sonic and Shadow were still identical.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The idea that someone would mistake Sonic for Shadow at first glance isn't that much of a stretch.
    • Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable in Real Life, to the point that people mistaking Shadow for Sonic isn't as big of a stretch as it may seem. To elaborate: 
    • This comes even before considering that Shadow is a fast-moving hedgehog handling a Chaos Emerald, when Sonic is the only one in his world that could fit such a description until Shadow showed up, or that Shadow was mostly seen at night on Radical Highway, a setting in which his black and red coloration gives him a certain amount of camouflage.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Why did GUN arrest Sonic? Were they using him for a patsy to hide Shadow's existence? Was it an honest mistake?
    • Why does the Egg Golem need a Restraining Bolt? Is it something Eggman created entirely on his own, or was it something already present in the pyramid base he was using (which appears to originally have been ancient Echidna territory) that he modified? The fact that it shares Battle Theme Music with King Boom Boo suggests that they're Ambiguously Related.
    • Did Shadow's creator go mad only after he fell past the Despair Event Horizon, or did he have Mad Scientist tendencies from the start? The ARK is filled with obsessive imitations of ancient Echidna iconography, including monsters modeled after an ancient god of destruction, and half of the ARK is designed merely to hide a Wave-Motion Gun capable of creating an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
    • Was Shadow actually created on the ARK, and are his memories of his time there real? Shadow's memories were at least edited by Gerald, and there's no record of Shadow himself in the Project SHADOW files on the ARK's computer. Shadow the Hedgehog would eventually declare that Shadow was born on the ARK, but Sonic Battle, which was released before Shadow's starring role, claimed Shadow was a weapon built for the military, suggesting Shadow was originally created on Prison Island after Gerald was taken into custody.
    • Is Shadow himself really the Ultimate Life Form? Despite his bold assertions, the lyrics of the background music for many of Shadow's stages indicate he suffers doubts, and Sonic being so Inexplicably Awesome gives him overt pause.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Actually happens in the script itself, causing confusion due to a combination of poor translation and voice actors using the wrong tone for the line.
    • When Amy comes to rescue Sonic from Prison Island, Sonic remarks "The reason I'm in here is because of that fake hedgehog!" The English voice acting makes it sound like he means "It's Shadow's fault I got arrested", when what he actually meant was "I got myself brought here on purpose so I could follow Shadow and learn more about him". Despite the iffy translation, however, this still manages to stay internally consistent (since Sonic's previous scene was his first encounter with Shadow and Shadow runs off while Sonic is cornered by G.U.N. before he himself can escape).
    • Just before Rouge's Security Hall level, Eggman tells Shadow to set the timer for 15 minutes, and Rouge replies "Five minutes should be plenty." This caused many players to think she actually told Shadow to set the timer for five minutes, which is not true - she only said she could do it in five minutes. Shadow still set it to 15, as seen in the cutscene after the Flying Dog boss fight which shows 10 minutes left on the timer.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Invoked. The plot is kicked off by Eggman raiding the GUN base on Prison Island to take the top-secret weapons his grandfather developed for himself.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • Unlike its predecessor, each story cycles between the Action, Shooting, and Hunting playstyles instead of selecting a character and playing through their stages with that character.
    • The Last Story has you play as almost every character in the span of a single level. In order, you play as Tails, Eggman, Rouge, Knuckles, then Sonic; Shadow takes on the stage's boss, and the Final Boss uses Sonic and Shadow at the same time.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The reward for completing all missions for each character is an alternate kart for the racing minigame, while the reward for all A ranks is an alternate costume for multiplayer mode. In the Dreamcast release, these were cosmetic changes, while later releases would change the characters' attributes. (Tails's alternate mech, for example, makes him a lot faster, but robs him of the ability to use special attacks).
  • Animal Theme Naming:
    • The Big Foot and Hot Shot Chicken Walkers belong to G.U.N.'s Spider Troop and Scorpion Troop, respectively—perhaps there are other G.U.N. troops named for arachnids.
    • The Flying Dog does not appear to belong to a troop, as it reports only to "headquarters", but directly takes the name of an animal.
  • Animated Adaptation: Like Sonic Adventure, adapted into The Anime of the Game Sonic X.
  • Another Side, Another Story: There are two sides — Hero and Dark. The Hero side follows Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they try to stop Eggman, while the Dark side follows Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow as they try to Take Over the World.
  • Antagonist in Mourning:
    • Subverted when Eggman utters a respectful farewell to Sonic after he thinks he's killed him via exploding capsule—if you should quit the game at that point and return later, Eggman laughs his ass off during the plot summary, bragging about his achievement without a hint of sorrow or regret.
    • Downplayed with Shadow's mildly disappointed comment on the same event, "I guess he was just a regular hedgehog, after all."
  • Antepiece:
    • City Escape introduces its ramps in the snowboarding segment at the start of the level so the player recognizes them for trick ramps and can acclimate to jumping and doing tricks. This sets the player up to recognize them and know what to do during the later parts of the level when Sonic encounters them while running around on his own two feet.
    • Both Tails's Prison Lane stage and Eggman's Iron Gate stage begin by presenting the player with a series of nearly harmless GUN beetles that won't do a thing while the player gets the hang of aiming, locking-on, and shooting before taking on more dangerous enemies like GUN hunters.
    • In the Hard Mode of Rouge's Egg Quarters level, all 3 keys are locked in cages, and unlike other times where cages block you, there are no missiles to destroy them. However, the first key is located in a cage near a monkey badnik, who throws large bombs at you. Assuming you don't reflexively smash the Badnik, one of these bombs may just land close enough to the cage to destroy it, revealing how you collect the keys this time around.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you lose a life fighting a boss, Omochao will usually spawn during your next attempt and give you a hint about defeating it.
    • The Hard version of the Hunting stages have fixed item locations instead of having them randomized, since the stages are already hard enough without any Random Number God influence. Ironically, this can make the Hard stages easier to complete than the randomized normal stages.
    • If you're having problems holding onto rings, just remember: rings only count if you collect them. Losing rings does not affect your score in the slightest. Knowing that should make getting A Ranks less patience-trying.
  • Anti-Villain: Shadow is motivated by vengeance for what happened to his best friend, Maria. His hatred for humanity is portrayed as sympathetic, and he's also portrayed as a Worthy Opponent for Sonic (even if the two of them do trade a few verbal jabs).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Chao have an odd habit of repeatedly jumping into the water feature of each garden, even when they can't swim. You'll sometimes get Chao that will immediately head straight back to the water right after being pulled out, and will repeat this several times. Thankfully, they can't actually drown, just flail their arms in a state of panic.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • After Eggman uses the Eclipse Cannon aboard the ARK to blow a chunk out of the moon as a warning shot, everyone becomes concerned about the seriousness of Eggman's threats and possible responses — never mind the fact that the effect on the tides alone would cause incalculable casualties in Real Life.
    • Every playable character Can Breathe In Space.
  • Armies Are Evil: G.U.N., in their debut, is a corrupt military organization that committed mass murder of civilians five decades prior to the start of the game, all the way down to an ill teenage girl who wasn't a threat to them, all because they changed their minds about the project that they commissioned Professor Gerald to create in the first place. When Shadow is released from Prison Island, G.U.N. attempts to cover up his existence by framing his theft of the green Chaos Emerald on Sonic and arresting him.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Rouge to Shadow, near the end of the Dark storyline. Rouge finds the results of Project Shadow, showing that the "real" test subject looks nothing like Shadow does. Rouge then asks "exactly who or what is standing in front of me?" However, it's ultimately a subversion, because Shadow's armor isn't broken; even with Rouge's evidence, Shadow says he's the real Shadow, and that it doesn't matter where he comes from or what he is as long as he fulfills his promise to Maria.
  • Aside Glance: Rouge does this at the end of one cutscene where she was presumably talking to the government about Project Shadow via walkie talkie.
  • Astral Finale:
    • The final act of both the Hero and Dark stories takes place aboard the Space Station Face Ship, Space Colony ARK. While the Dark Story cast gets there much faster, the final levels of both stories are set in and around the ARK.
    • The last battle of the game pits Super Sonic and Super Shadow against Finalhazard (Biolizard bonded with the Eclipse Cannon) on the outside of the Space Colony ARK as it plunges toward Earth.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • As Sonic, you can only hurt the Egg Golem by jumping up the platforms on its back and executing a Homing Attack on the red button atop its head.
    • Artificial Chaos are mostly made up of water, so you need to hit their heads to destroy them.
    • The penultimate boss can only be harmed by hitting the life support system strapped to its back.
    • The True Final Boss has large boils that spawn on random spots of its body. You need to ram into them to damage it.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Rouge. During her Previously on… segment for the Flying Dog boss, she begrudgingly admits to being trapped after getting distracted; further, she immediately delays her mission to hack the ARK's central control system when the computer tells her the Master Emerald has been detected.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The final battle is accompanied by the hard-rock song "Live and Learn" performed by Crush 40.
  • Badass Boast: The music to Wild Canyon has a low-key one from Knuckles.
    Knuckles: I'm gonna get those fools. They wanna play with my Emeralds? They playing with the wrong guy!
  • Badass in Distress:
    • Sonic gets arrested by G.U.N. twice. The first time, he got away by himself, but the second time, he's broken out by Tails and Amy. However, going by the Japanese script, he intentionally let himself get caught the second time, believing that doing so would lead him to Shadow. This was made more explicit in Sonic X.
    • During the Prison Island heist, Rouge gets trapped in the facility that the three Chaos Emeralds were located in.
  • The Badguy Wins: The true ending of the game takes place after Team Dark’s victory, Eggman was able to start up the Ark using the Chaos Emeralds which ends with a warning alarm going off. The True Story begins shortly afterwards with Gerald Robotnik’s final will being played, and both teams having to team up in order to stop his planet wide disaster from occurring. Whereas in Team Hero, the Ark is already in the process of being destroyed after Tails’ victory over Eggman.
  • Bag of Spilling: Sonic and Knuckles did not bring their Upgrade Artifacts from Sonic Adventure along for the ride. Luckily, there are similar and sometimes identical items available in their action stages that can give them the same abilities.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: In the revamped multiplayer of Battle, the characters of the 1P campaign are the Balance, while the two multiplayer-exclusive characters are the Power and the Skill. The Gimmick role is filled by the unlockable Palette Swaps of the main characters.
  • Bat Deduction: Knuckles is able to figure out the identity of the final boss, even though he's never seen it before and wasn't privy to the only information given about it.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: None of the characters appear to have any problem while moving around outside the Space Colony ARK. This can be at least partially handwaved for the Final Boss since Sonic and Shadow are in Super form, but every one of the six playable characters faces a space walk in normal form at some point, and none of them have any trouble breathing.
  • The Battle Didn't Count:
    • Whoever actually wins the first Boss Battle between each pair of rivals (including the only fight between Knuckles and Rouge) is completely ignored by the story. The cutscenes following these battles show the characters in a stalemate.
    • While the Hero Story's ending has it that the good guys beat the bad, and the Dark Story's that they didn't, the Last Story ignores the whole question of which team actually triumphed.
  • Behind the Black:
    • The instant Shadow pulls his Villain: Exit, Stage Left after first meeting with Sonic, The Hero finds himself completely surrounded by dozens of G.U.N. soldiers and robots, which leads to his capture.
    • During the Astral Finale, Eggman takes Amy hostage by somehow sneaking up on her in his heavy, stomping Chicken Walker.
  • Beneath the Mask: Rouge does really love gems, especially those that aren't hers, but she plays up the treasure hunter bit to hide her true activities. At the end of her introductory cutscene, she carefully notes Eggman's destination before turning back to Knuckles and asserting how all the world's gems are hers.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shadow manages to teleport Rouge (and three of the Chaos Emeralds, of course) off of Prison Island mere seconds before the whole island explodes.
  • Big Bad: While Eggman's the face of the operation, it's Shadow who's masterminding it. Later, in the Last Story, they both team up with the heroes (along with Rouge) note  to fight the True Final Boss.
  • Big Badass Rig: The GUN Military Truck. Even before its overhaul, it's still big, fast, and agile.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Pumpkin Hill overlaps this with Death Mountain, while its sister level Aquatic Mine combines this with Underground Level.
  • Bilingual Bonus: An army called G.U.N. is not just a horrible pun in English; "gun" is also the Japanese word for "army".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The final story ends with Shadow preventing the ARK from crashing into the planet at the cost of his life. Shadow the Hedgehog reveals he survived the fall and was kept alive and in stasis at the start of Sonic Heroes by Eggman, but even then, Shadow loses his memories and has to spend a long time getting them back.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The Boom Boos in the haunted stages have black eyes blinking every few seconds. They will turn into the yellow-eyed, fanged-grinning Boos once you hit them once.
  • Blackout Basement: In Lost Colony, Eggman arrives at the ARK, which has been abandoned for 50 years, leaving it dark. In order to improve the lighting to maneuver to the control room, Eggman must shoot the enemy robots.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Beyond script inaccuracies between the English and Japanese dialogue tracks, there are also some examples of poor word choices used for specific lines.
    • There's one thing that the translators consistently screwed up, and that was whether the word "emerald" is singular or plural. This is because Japanese nouns don't have plural forms, unlike English ones, requiring the translator to take note of the context to determine if a word is singular or plural. However, these translators didn't do that, leaving some characters to say "emerald" when they're referring to multiple Chaos Emeralds.
    • A similar incident occurs in the cutscene just before Rouge's Egg Quarters level, where she says she needs to find "that key". She should have said "those keys", since she needs to find three keys to complete the stage (and the door in front of her even has three locks).
    • Shadow's line "Is that what Chaos Control is?" after his fight with the Biolizard has caused many fans to scratch their heads — Shadow's been using Chaos Control throughout the whole game. In the original Japanese, he just commented "Chaos Control" with an affirmative tone upon seeing the Biolizard use it. The only way to make sense of it is to interpret it as an esoteric reference to the extent of Chaos Control that Shadow isn't capable of yet.
    • Shadow's line during his first fight with Sonic, "I'm the coolest", is another mistranslation. In the Japanese script, he simply said "Interesting", commenting on Sonic's abilities as he observed him during their fight.
    • In Japanese, Tails calls the ARK a Bernal sphere space colony, while the English version has him call it "the first Bernoulli spherical space colony".
    • Many minor vocalizations and grunts in the dub were left untranslated, but not undubbed—the English voice actors simply reread the original Japanese. These include Eggman's "Yosh" when petting a chao, and his grunts when pulling and pushing itemsnote , as well as Sonic's "Teriaaaaaa!" when fighting Egg Golem in the Dark Story cutscene.
    • When Sonic leaves Tails in charge before being shot into space, Tails claims that this is the first time Sonic asked Tails to do something for him, which sounds weird considering the two are best friends and he had aided Sonic many times in the past. In the original Japanese, Tails instead claimed that this was the first time Sonic put him in charge.
    • In the original Japanese, Eggman is confronted over the ARK's Colony Drop and he explains that if he'd found a method of preventing it, he would have done so earlier. The English dub appears to have mistaken his character, and when Eggman is confronted over the issue, he sounds as if he would've launched the Colony Drop himself if he'd known.
  • Blob Monster: The Artificial Chaos on the ARK created by Gerald Robotnik. They're made up of water or some other liquid with a mechanical head controlling the water and its shape.
  • Bombardier Mook: The Bomb Beetle, which is a robotic beetle that drops bombs. The bombs it drops can be picked up and thrown at other enemies, but they explode quickly, so you'll have to throw them fast.
  • Book Ends: Both the first and last levels of the Hero Story end with Sonic doing an Indy Escape, from the G.U.N truck in City Escape and from some flaming rubble in Final Rush.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy:
    • Downplayed during the King Boom Boo Boss Battle. Many doors in Eggman's pyramid base are sealed and must be opened by flipping over a nearby hourglass, which will briefly open the door. King Boom Boo, who is Weakened by the Light, seals the openings in the roof of his boss arena and is Genre Savvy enough to keep the hourglass safe nearby in the hands of a trusted Mook. Alas, he is not savvy enough to hide the hourglass where Knuckles can't get to it, and if the boss can be outflanked before he turns around, Knuckles can knock the ghostly goon out and let in the light.
    • Subverted with the battles against GUN's Humongous Mecha, each of which has stacked crates that the Player Character can jump up on to get the altitude needed to attack the cockpit. The mecha will immediately start strafing the arena and destroying these crates, forcing the player to be quick or wait for the boss to descend.
  • Boss-Only Level: Again, the boss fights are in their own segments from the stages, and no boss is encountered in a platforming/shooting stage. Also, the Final Boss level is just a boss fight, and nothing else.
  • Boss Rush: Beating a story unlocks a minigame where you fight each of the bosses faced in that story one after the other. Beating the Last Story unlocks the All Bosses mode, where you play through all of the bosses in a row; first is Team Hero, then Team Dark, and finally the Last Story.
  • Boss Warning Siren: Justified for the boss fight against the Flying Dog. In the cutscene preceding the battle, Rouge is caught sneaking into a maximum-security vault and triggers an alarm that alerts the boss to her presence.
  • Breakout Character: Shadow would go on to have a starring role in almost every subsequent game until Sonic Unleashed, get his own self-titled game, and then later on having his own story-centered campaign in Sonic Forces.
  • Break the Cutie: Eggman does this to Tails and Amy by shooting Sonic out of an explosive rocket before their very eyes, leaving them to think that Eggman finally killed their best friend (don't worry, he used Chaos Control).
  • Break Them by Talking: In their first battle, Shadow gives one to Sonic, gloating that he isn't good enough to be his fake, but Sonic responds with swearing to make him eat his own words.
  • Broken Armor Boss Battle: Doctor Eggman's fight against the Egg Golem is complicated by the fact that the Golem has a very tough stone exterior preventing it from taking damage. To defeat it, Eggman has to shoot it with his Volkan Cannon to punch holes in the stone, then fire missiles at the exposed parts.
  • Broken Pedestal: Even Eggman is surprised when Gerald turns out to be a nutbar. He does appreciate his deranged behavior, however, and would have used the Eclipse Cannon a long time ago if given the chance.
  • Call-Back:
    • Eggman trying to steal the Master Emerald is reminiscent of how he stole it in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, even down to using the same machine to do it.
    • The waterslide segment at the end of Sonic's part of Cannon's Core recalls the waterslide from Lost World in Sonic Adventure. It even has a tribal drum Musical Nod to highlight the connection.
    • The Cannon Core itself is built like a technological recreation of the Master Emerald Shrine as seen in flashbacks in Sonic Adventure. This probably has something to do with harnessing the Chaos Emeralds' power.
    • The Mystic Melody shrines and the platforms they sometimes create are also reminiscent of Lost World's architecture. This is even referenced by Knuckles, who mentions that these shrines look oddly familiar if the player looks at one of them before obtaining the Mystic Melody.
    • Sonic runs down a building in City Escape, just like he did in Speed Highway in the previous game.
    • Shadow's first level, Radical Highway, is basically a Call-Back to Speed Highway itself.
    • Tails is mentioned to have been awarded a Chaos Emerald for saving Station Square, referencing Tails' ending in Sonic Adventure.
    • There's a subtle one in the fact that Sonic learned Chaos Control by watching Shadow do it, a reference to how Tails learned how to Spin Dash by watching Sonic do it.
    • Whereas GUN robots release Chaos Drives when defeated, Dr. Eggman's robots have animals inside them as usual. Just like in Sonic Adventure, they can be collected for use in the Chao Garden.
    • The Artificial Chaos are Robot Me clones of Chaos, the Dragon with an Agenda of Sonic Adventure, and resemble Chaos in its basic state.
    • The Cyclone, Tails's Transforming Chicken Walker, is apparently a third version of the Tornado built sometime before the game. While its flying mode heavily resembles the Tornado 2 from Sonic Adventure, especially in its jet plane mode, it has its own unique design.
    • The Egg Golem boss inside of Eggman's pyramid base is at the very least a Mythology Gag referring to the Guardian and Egg Golem bosses in the Sandopolis Zone of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, if not the outright reappearance of either of those bosses.
    • Indeed, the fact that the Build Like an Egyptian stages have statues of echidnas itself suggests a throwback to the Sandopolis Zone in general. The other Boss Battle in the pyramid is against King Boom Boo, a throwback to the Hyudoro enemies haunting the pyramid in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  • Call-and-Response Song: Rhythm and Balance, the BGM of White Jungle—where Shadow races to rescue Rouge, having been provoked by memories of Maria—partly consists of Maria invading his thoughts and Shadow trying to stave her off.
    Shadow don't make me upset.
    I don't wanna hear you.
  • Call-Back: Eggman's attempt to snatch the Master Emerald early in the story is done the exact same way he did it in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but this time Knuckles prevents the theft by hitting the M.E. so hard that it shatters—and Eggman, in his Egg Carrier, is briefly knocked unconscious.
  • The Cameo: The Dreamcast release is littered with Big the Cat Easter Eggs where he can be seen during some cutscenes and levels or even used in multiplayer. The GameCube version removed all of Big's appearances (sometimes replacing them with a Ring) in levels and the Hero Story cutscenes and replaced him with Dark Chao Walker in multiplayer, but he can still be triggered in Dark and Final cutscenes. The HD re-release does not restore his multiplayer or Hero mode appearances, but reinserts him in most levels (his cameo in Wild Canyon is still kept out).
  • Camera Screw: The camera will sometimes pan out at the worst possible moments, such as in the outer-space levels.
  • Cardboard Prison: Prison Island, a prison and military base which, despite its name, is not The Alcatraz. Eggman is able to break in all by himself with his Eggwalker, then gets out with Shadow. Later on, Tails and Amy break in and get Sonic out.
  • Central Theme:
    • A common motif in this game seems to be misunderstanding.
      • For example, Sonic is mistaken for Shadow and wrongly arrested.
      • Shadow misunderstands Maria's final request and nearly destroys humanity instead of protecting it as she wanted him to.
    • Another common element in this game is imitation.
      • Sonic believes Shadow is a faker—Shadow, who is technically older, thinks the same of Sonic.
      • Tails creates a fake chaos emerald meant to disrupt the Eclipse Cannon.
      • Dr. Gerald Robotnik proves to have been a huge fan of ancient echidna culture—the ARK hosts an entire series of high-tech Chaos clones called, naturally enough, the Artificial Chaos; the last stretch of the Cannon's Core level imitates the waterfall segment of the Sonic Adventure's Lost World stage, complete with tribal drum Musical Nod, and adopts a lot of the snake imagery from the echidna temple; and the very heart of the Cannon's Core is an Effective Knockoff of the Master Emerald Shine on Angel Island in much better condition than the real thing.note 
      • The ARK itself is a Space Colony, a facility designed to imitate the conditions of earth and sustain onboard life.
      • Near the end of the Dark Story, Rouge discovers that the subject of Project SHADOW is not Shadow the Hedgehog, a fact she waves in his face when he confronts her for being The Mole, another kind of fake. They shoot barbs back in forth, in which Rouge openly speculates Shadow's identity and memories may all be fake—only for Shadow to decide that whether his memories are real doesn't matter because they're all he has.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: This game introduced Shadow the Hedgehog, which essentially started an arc spanned between this game (barring a brief break from it in tone with Sonic Heroes) and Sonic Unleashed, which ended it.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Tails mentioning that the fake Emerald had the exact same wavelength as a real Chaos Emerald came in handy later when Sonic used Chaos Control to escape Eggman's trap.
    • Those mathematical symbols on Sonic's jail cell in Prison Island? The ones that Amy comments on? Why yes, those were the calculation performed by Professor Gerald Robotnik to calculate how long it would take for the ARK to impact the earth. You see the cell in all of Gerald's diary entries.
    • Also, at the beginning, Knuckles tells Rouge that the Master Emerald is capable of nullifying the power of the Chaos Emeralds. At the end of the game, Knuckles needs to use the Master Emerald for that exact purpose.
  • The Chessmaster: Shadow the Hedgehog, who manages to take advantage of Eggman's ambitions in order to further his own hidden plan to get revenge on humanity for the G.U.N. massacre on the ARK 50 years ago.
    • And Shadow's actions, in turn, were the result of Gerald Robotnik placing subliminal messages and tampering with memories during Shadow's 50 year hibernation when he went mad.
    • Rouge also counts for this until her plan to obtain all of the Chaos Emeralds was stopped by Shadow at the end of the dark side story.
  • Chicken Walker:
    • Tails has upgraded the Tornado 2.0, his Cool Plane from Sonic Adventure, into a Transforming Mecha with a new walker mode called the Cyclone.
    • Eggman's Egg Walker, which appears to be another modular upgrade for his Egg Carrier in the style of many of his classic mechs.
    • The F-6t Big Foot and the B-3x Hot Shot, G.U.N.'s Humongous Mecha, each have a pair of legs that they can stand and walk around on. Averted with the R-1/A Flying Dog, which has two extra jets and is constantly in the air.
  • Chronic Villainy: From an unused voice clip in the ending cutscene, Eggman, after having a civil conversation with Tails about Gerald Robotnik, declares to take over the world without having to rely on ancient relics.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Rouge the Bat. In addition to present herself as suave and mysterious, she's also concerned primarily with stealing precious jewels. Also, her motif in her levels' music is scatting from a tenor female voice.
  • Clear My Name: Sonic gets mistaken for the recently-freed ultimate life form and gets captured by G.U.N. (twice) early in the Hero Story. Shortly before Sonic is captured a second time, Shadow steals a Chaos Emerald from a bank. Naturally, everyone assumes that this hedgehog is Sonic. One must wonder how color-blind the people of Sonic's world are. Possibly justified with the bank robbery, since it was night when it took place. G.U.N. has no excuse though.
  • Co-Dragons: Newcomers Shadow and Rouge both join up with Eggman to help him take over the world. At the same time, each of them is a Dragon with an Agenda.
  • Colony Drop: In the Last Story, installing all seven chaos emeralds into the Eclipse Cannon activates a self-destruct sequence that simultaneously causes both the cannon to start Explosive Overclocking and the colony itself to crash into Earth—like a moon-sized explosive round—as a way for Gerald Robotnik to take his revenge.
  • Combat Stilettos: Rouge wears these. Since she digs with her feet, they also help her search for treasure.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comic book did not adapt Sonic Adventure 2 originally. Instead, they interrupted their own Story Arc for one issue, and used that issue to line up their own canon with that of the game, ending the issue where Sonic Adventure 2 starts. The next issue began some time after the game ends, implying that everything in Sonic Adventure 2 happened. Eventually, Sonic Universe #2 showed what happened, with the story largely unchanged.
  • Coming in Hot: In the final speed stages, Final Rush/Chase, Sonic and Shadow will burn up when they drop into Bottomless Pits (read: fall to Earth). The final battle has the screen progressively glow red as the Finalhazard approaches the planet. After saving the world from the Eclipse Cannon, Super Shadow will run out of energy and plummet to Earth.
  • Composite Character: Done with bridges, of all things. The bridge featured in the game's intro and in Radical Highway combines elements of the two major bridges connecting to San Francisco, having the color of the Golden Gate Bridge and the shape and location of the Bay Bridge.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • In the Kart Race minigame, the player's controls are tremendously slippery, but computer opponents can make 90 degree turns instantly without losing any momentum.
    • Each character has a fight with his rival during the last leg of the story, in which the opponent can freely use and abuse multiplayer-exclusive skills while the player character can't. This is true whether you're playing as the heroes or the villains.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: In Mad Space, the hint computers are very uncooperative. The first hint for every emerald is written backwardsnote . The second and third hints aren't written backwards, but they tell you the opposite of what you need to know (though it's fairly obvious). These computers are one of the reasons behind Mad Space's That One Level status.
    • Even worse, a couple of emeralds have hint sets that are completely irrelevant to its location. This was likely the developers screwing up, though.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: When Rouge gets trapped in Prison Island's facility with a ticking time bomb, Shadow initially seems unconcerned, but after having a flashback of Maria, curses Rouge under his breath and turns back. He later claims that he just wanted to save the Chaos Emeralds Rouge found.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Tails is said to have got a Chaos Emerald for beating Eggman in Station Square, which happened back in the previous game. (Your guess is as good as ours as to how Station Square got the Chaos Emerald in the first place after the events of the game).
    • Also during the Last Story, Knuckles and Sonic stumble upon a temple-like structure that looks oddly familiar.
    • And at that shrine, he says the same prayer as Tikal in the previous game.
    • In Sonic's section of Cannon's Core, he slides down a water tunnel similar to Lost World (complete with soundtrack throwback).
      • The Mystic Melody shrines and the platforms that they sometimes create also have a similar design to Lost World's architecture.
    • The Artificial Chaos enemies swarming throughout the Ark are directly based off of the antagonist from the previous game.
    • In the Sonic vs. Shadow fight on the ARK, the collapsing pathway shares some similarity to the pathway of Kyodai Eggman Robo boss fight on the Death Egg.
    • There is an Egg Golem boss fight, which mirrors the one from Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • The E-1000 robots in Pyramid Cave, Egg Quarters, and Death Chamber are degraded mass-production variants of E-102 Gamma from the first Sonic Adventure, right down to the red and white color scheme (though their design is a bit simplified).
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Eggman will berate Rouge to hurry up through communicator with each minute you take in Security Hall, and similarly threatens and goads Sonic to hurry and save Amy in Crazy Gadget. Route 280 parodies this, when Rouge snaps at Eggman to be quiet when he phones in to check on her progress.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog just happens to not only be a super fast hedgehog with an identical moveset to Sonic, but has an uncanny resemblance to Super Sonic and is also able to go super like Sonic does, despite his creation predating Sonic's birth by 35 years.

      There is evidence to suggest this may be a subversion—Dr. Gerald Robotnik was very conscious of Angel Island, given the ARK is swarming with high-tech duplicates of Chaos and has a facsimile of the complete Angel Island shrine in the heart of the ARK's Cannon Core, so he may be conscious of Super Sonic's appearance in the mural from the Hidden Palace Zone and the Sonic statues in Hydrocity from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, so Shadow could be influenced by that.
    • Despite Sonic Adventure clearly establishing the Master Emerald was enshrined on Angel Island, Rouge and Knuckles are inexplicably introduced arguing over it in the middle of the who-knows-where desert, in a spot that just so happens to be located close enough to Eggman's base for the good doctor to swing by and make a gratuitous swipe at it for himself on his way back to headquarters.
    • Knuckles joins the heroes completely on accident, stumbling into them after getting lost in the sewers connected to the Aquatic Mine stage.
    • Sonic is imprisoned and taken to Prison Island, which just so happens to be where G.U.N. is holding the three Chaos Emeralds that Eggman and company attempt to steal.
    • Knuckles and Sonic just happen to cross paths when Sonic escapes the capsule he'd been trapped in, allowing Sonic to give Knuckles instructions to look after the others.
  • Conveniently Empty Roads: In several of the chase sequences, while there is a bit of traffic around, it's nowhere near the amount one would expect of major population centres or highways.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The reason why Sonic is captured by G.U.N. twice and why him and his friends are constantly chased throughout this game. Justified in that the only times that Shadow is seen by the police is during the night and that there only happened to be one well-known anthropomorphic male hedgehog in the world up until that point. That justification does not apply to G.U.N., though, as they were aware of who Shadow was and should have been able to tell that Sonic was not the escaped ultimate life form once they got their hands on him (twice)...if taken at their word, that is.
  • Curse Cut Short: In one of the unused voice clips, Sonic says, "Those robots are a total pain in the—" before seeing Shadow.
  • Cut and Paste Environments:
    • While there are numerous objects shared between multiple levels, the two that truly stand out are Knuckles' level Wild Canyon and Rouge's level Dry Lagoon, which share the exact same geography. The primary difference is that Knuckles' level is two stories which are swapped between at the middle, while Rouge's level is two entirely separate rooms.
    • Knuckles' Meteor Herd and Rouge's Mad Space both have similar designs for the top of the levels, featuring several small floating platforms and containers, as well as the tip of the ARK at the very top.
    • Even levels from differently themed characters aren't immune. One large room you might have noticed in Eggman's Iron Gate and Tails' Prison Lane is actually the primary room of Rouge's Security Hall, robbed of all vaults and with an obscenely large death pit instead. In Eggman's Chao mission, he even needs to go to the upper room which also appears in Security Hall.
    • Shadow's White Jungle stage is a derivative of Sonic's Green Forest—so much so that leftover data from Green Forest is still in the White Jungle stage, accidentally making the stage A-rank unobtainable through the method of collecting all the stage's rings.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: After spending a whole level escaping the military's pursuit and destroying one of their Chicken Walkers in a Boss Battle, Sonic is captured and taken to Prison Island at the end of the next cutscene.
    • This is Justified poorly in the Japanese script, where Sonic tells Amy he let himself be captured so he could look for clues into what was going on—something he clearly cannot do while locked up in his holding cell, where he has so little control of the situation that Tails and Amy have to come and rescue him.
    • The English script does an even worse job, thanks to Ambiguous Syntax resulting in a Dub Induced Plothole indicating that Sonic was unironically captured by G.U.N. because of Shadow.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In the Hero Story, Sonic engages in a Boss Battle against the Egg Golem. In the same sequence in the Dark Story, the fight is condensed into one flying kick, complete with a Theme Music Power-Up.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Thanks to different controller design, the port for XBLA and PSN changes the action button to the B and circle buttons, respectively, screwing with whoever is used to a GameCube controller layout... until you realize that X or square have the same exact function yet aren't showcased as THE button.
      • This is likely so that Omochao's voiceover would remain accurate in the new version of the game, since he specifically mentions the B button out loud.
    • The hint monitors can sometimes give wrong info, and they change every time you play the stage.
  • Dark Reprise: The mellow Chao Garden theme is given a dissonant minor-key remix for the Dark Garden version.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • SA1 was darker than the game series up to that point, and SA2 managed to be even darker. There's more than one character in the game who swears revenge on all humanity, and their motives are revealed in some cutscenes. Furthermore, Dr. Eggman, who you can play as in this game, is willing to use a "weapon of mass destruction" (yes, it is actually described as that in the game) as a means of trying to intimidate people into surrendering to his empire, by threatening to fire it at inhabited parts of the earth, and unlike the rest of the franchise, he's played mostly a serious character with very few humorous moments. He demonstrates its power by firing it at the moon, and takes quite a chunk out of it for that matter... add to that, of course, the government conspiracy sideplot, that involves them assassinating numerous innocent people on-board the ARK (with Maria even dying onscreen). This was perhaps the grimmest depiction of Sonic yet at this point in time.
    • Though the overall tone of some future titles was a bit darker, NOTHING in the rest of the series comes close to the last act of this game. Gerald's diary/execution speech rivals the most depressing and terrifying messages left behind in any Survival Horror. It helps that both voice actors for Gerald were incredibly good at getting his gut-wrenching despair and hatred for humanity across.
    • Sonic's Disney Death at the near-end of both the Hero and Dark stories are notable in that, while filled with like-you-would-really-do-it, the game seems to be pretty dead serious about it, despite the one involved being the series' namesake. Even more so with the version of the same scene seen in the Dark story, as there's literally no clue that Sonic would survive, despite No One Could Survive That!. (That is until he showed up as the Final Boss.)
    • The game also appears to kill off one of its introduced characters at the end. Future titles would retcon this, as said character turned out to be too popular to die.
    • It should also be noted that Maria was an innocent twelve year old. Yes, an innocent twelve year old is shot dead in a Sonic game.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Eggman for the Dark side is this gameplay-wise. Four of his levels are in the first half of the game, but he only gets one level in the second half. Downplayed, though, as he still does have the most playable sections of anyone on the dark side.
    • This is most likely intentional, due to original plans being to only have 3 playable characters, one for each gamemode - Eggman would've been the sole mech character, with Sonic and Knuckles being the sole platforming and treasure hunting characters.
  • Defeat Means Respect: After their fight in Meteor Herd, Rouge respects Knuckles enough to give him back the pieces of the Master Emerald that she stole. It helps that he saved her life just before that, too.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several Sonic Adventure playable cast members have much less to do in this story.
    • Amy was a playable character with her own story route that gave her some much needed Character Development in Sonic Adventure. In this game, she's more of a supporting character and is only playable in the multiplayer races and doesn't really accomplish a lot until the Last Story.
    • Big the Cat was reduced to The Cameo, and most of his appearances are Easter Eggs.
    • Even Knuckles the Echidna gets demoted—this game introduces Shadow as Sonic's cool new rival, displacing Knuckles from the role he had in classic games. On top of that, in Sonic Adventure, the shattering of the Master Emerald was a core plot element that released Chaos and caused Angel Island to plummet into the sea—in Sonic Adventure 2, the shattering of the Master Emerald is an Excuse Plot that gives Knuckles a reason to be interested in Rouge's activities and involve himself with the heroes.
  • Detonation Moon: Eggman blows up half of the moon with just six of the seven Chaos Emeralds, threatening to do the same to any country that doesn't submit to him. (Oddly, it's perfectly fine in some later entries, and still half-blown-up in others. Word of God states that you're usually seeing the part of the moon that's intact.)
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Due to the naming convention of the level tracks in the Adventure games, the first level's iconic rock song is called "Escape From The City ...for City Escape."
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • The game is programmed to spawn a Goal Point in stages meant to be completed by Knuckles or Rouge should you hack the game and play those stages with another character. These also come into play in the second emblem (Collect 100 Rings) for these stages; the goal point turns into a "Back" ring that refreshes the stage and spawns if the player gets hit and loses all their rings. This prevents the player from making the stage Unintentionally Unwinnable by collecting all the rings, but never having 100 at once.
    • In the HD re-release, Omochao's voiceover lines will be silenced on relevant hints when playing using an input that doesn't have the same button names as the Gamecube controller (such as the Playstation controller or keyboard on PC). It means that the player will have to read the subtitles to learn the tutorial advice he is providing, but does prevent any awkwardness of Omochao's audio referring to buttons that don't exist.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: During the Last Story, the Hero and Dark teams successfully avert the crisis, only for the True Final Boss to instantly bust out a backup plan and negate their efforts.
  • Dies Wide Open: Maria, in a very creepy subversion - she slumps against a control panel with her eyes closing, but they slowly open again after she's died. Shadow only sees her being shot at before he's jettisoned.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The penultimate section of Metal Harbor requires Sonic to board a rocket within 15 seconds before it lifts off. There are two possible boarding points, and making it to the second gives you a higher score.
  • 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. 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gerald held all of humanity responsible for Maria's death, when it was really just G.U.N. Justified by Gerald having gone insane as a result of the whole ordeal.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the Dark Story, Sonic rips off the Egg Golem's Restraining Bolt while Eggman is still in the room, and the instant the Egg Golem recovers from the hit it goes after the doctor.
  • Dog Got Sent to a Farm: Somewhat implied when you throw your Chao into the "Chao Departure Machine" and pick the "Good-bye" option. The game will insist that the released Chao will "live a happy life in a faraway forest" while some incredibly sad music plays. It will also remind you not once, but three times that there is absolutely no way you will ever see it again. It ends rather disingenuously with the same sad music still playing:
    All right.
    Say good-bye!
    Good-bye Chao, take care!
    Chao has returned to a faraway forest.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set:
    • About halfway through the game, Eggman hijacks the airwaves to announce his ultimatum: twenty-four hours until he destroys the earth with the Eclipse Cannon unless the world leaders agree to surrender it to him.
    • In the beginning of the Last Story the airwaves are hijacked once again, only this time it's showing a tape of the late Gerald Robotnik detailing his plan for revenge against humanity for Maria's death.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Inside the space shuttle, Sonic tells Knuckles not to touch the lever to get the remaining pieces of the Master Emerald after the shuttle hits a meteor. Knuckles does it anyways.
    Sonic: OH NO! DON'T TOUCH THAT LEVER!!
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Shadow only helps Eggman in order to trigger Gerald's Colony Drop plan to avenge Maria's death.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The game has the story split into two sides — the 'Hero' side with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, and the 'Dark' side with Shadow, Eggman and Rouge. Each character is matched to another, and fights their counterpart several times through the course of the game. Again, the fights are played from both perspectives.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Prof. Gerald gives one to all of humanity before GUN executed him, blaming them for the death of Maria and that he has planned their future demise by programming the ARK to crash towards the earth.
  • Eagleland: The United Federation, an obvious Fantasy Counterpart Culture for the United States, is Type 1 (the citizens are largely ignored, but the President and his secretary appear to be good people), but G.U.N. (a NATO analogue) is a constant thorn in everyone's sides.
  • Early-Bird Boss: The Big Foot, which appears right after City Escape and has the easiest attack patterns of any of the GUN Chicken Walkers (the Hot Shot has a Homing Laser and the Flying Dog is always flying). The Bounce Bracelet that Sonic obtains later will make this fight a cakewalk, since it can give Sonic the altitude to attack the cockpit immediately, letting players speed through the Boss Battle.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Chaclon (Chacron? Chaclone?), the Brilliant, but Lazy rival from the Chao Race of Sonic Adventure returns... but because Sonic Adventure 2 was adapted to the GameCube before the first Adventure, series-fresh players were liable to encounter him in Challenge Races with ominous titles like "He Returns" and "He Strikes Back"—without any idea of who "he" was.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Eclipse Cannon can produce one of these if all seven emeralds are gathered together, and Eggman demonstrates this on the moon. Gerald Robotnik instead has a Colony Drop program for the ARK kick in when all seven emeralds are collected, so as to make absolutely sure this occurs, compared to Eggman, who just intends to raze countries that don't submit to him.
  • Easily Condemned: Sonic falls into this when he was on the run from GUN after he was framed for stealing a Chaos Emerald.
  • Easter Egg: Big The Cat makes numerous cameos throughout the game in the original Dreamcast version. These cameos were removed from Battle.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: The Space Colony ARK was the world's first space colony, an artificial moon capable of hosting human life... and a top-secret research facility for the development of weapons of mass destruction. And then things went wrong and GUN raided the station, ultimately massacring nearly everyone aboard.
  • Enemy Mine: The Hero and Dark teams both team up in the Final Story to prevent the Colony Drop.
  • Escape Pod: Maria launched Shadow from the ARK aboard an escape pod. Then Eggman used one in an almost-successful attempt to kill Sonic.
  • Eternal Engine: The Trope Namer is a Tails action stage in the Hero Story. The level is set on the Space Colony ARK, with mechanical and engineered hazards like laser grids, Mecha-Mooks in G.U.N. robots and the man-made Artificial Chaos, hatches that suck him into space, and pools of goop that behave like pits, alongside having a futuristic technological design as would befit a Space Station. By extension, other levels that take place in the ARK, like Sonic's Crazy Gadget or Eggman's Lost Colony, also qualify due to using the same setting and stylings.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Eggman may want to use the Space Colony ARK to take over the earth, but he balks at the idea of using its power to kill all humanity.
  • Evil Counterpart: Gameplay and story wise, the Dark Story characters to the Hero Story characters - Shadow to Sonic, Eggman to Tails, and Rouge to Knuckles.
  • Evil Twin: Sonic considers Shadow this due to the latter framing him for stealing a Chaos Emerald. It's also hinted that Shadow himself thinks Sonic is this to him, thinking Sonic was trying to copy him. Justified in that Shadow is technically 50 years old as opposed to Sonic's 15.
    Shadow: "You, comparing yourself to me? Ha! You're not even good enough to be my fake!"
  • Evil Virtues: For Eggman, it's hard work. In the ending, Eggman reveals that he aspired to Gerald's great accomplishments from the time he was little.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Inverted during Shadow's Establishing Character Moment, where Shadow uses Chaos Control and Sonic has to figure out what just happened.
  • Extendo Boxing Glove: Eggman uses one as a close-range attack if he is standing in front of an enemy.
  • Extremity Extremist: Knuckles and Rouge use only punches and kicks, respectively. In addition, Knuckles only digs with his hands, and Rouge only digs with her feet.
  • Faceless Eye: The mechanism controlling the Eclipse Cannon where the Chaos Emeralds are initially installed has four floating modules in the shape of beach-ball-sized "Uh-Oh" Eyes.
  • Face Ship: The exterior of the activated Eclipse Cannon in its standby mode looks like a face with a long nose, and the folding panels along the rim of the colony evoke the Robotnik family mustache. Apparently, Eggman got his love for this from Gerald Robotnik.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Maybe one of the most egregious examples ever. The fact that EVERYONE seems to mistake Shadow for Sonic is pretty bad, but the fact that Amy Rose - who fawns over Sonic nonstop - somehow fails to notice that this particular hedgehog has the wrong hair, shoes, and colour to be Sonic until she's grabbing onto him is pretty bad. Oh, and she also fails to notice the series Big Bad standing right next to him.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Downplayed. When Knuckles shatters the M.E. to prevent Eggman from stealing it he also gives Eggman a straight-up concussion, but the doctor shakes it off as he escapes the scene a moment later.
  • Fastest Thing Alive:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog himself naturally, though this time around he's challenged by Shadow the Hedgehog, who's able to go neck and neck with him.
    • Chaclon, the grey rival chao from the "He Returns" and "He Strikes Back" Challenge Races, is the fastest rival chao in any of the races, with a maxed Run stat, in his second appearance—he's even faster running then the Final Boss of the Challenge Races.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: Downplayed. The game's official art for the Hero Chao features it with a Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose, while the official art for the Dark Chao is much more aggressive.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The Last Story's stage has you playing as Tails, Eggman, Rouge, Knuckles, and Sonic (in that order), with Shadow taking on the boss. You have to employ everything you've learned about the game to clear the stage.
  • Final Boss: Sonic and Shadow serve as this for the Dark and Hero stories, respectively. The Finalhazard serves as this for the whole game.
  • Final Speech: Gerald gives one before being executed by G.U.N.. It basically outlined his Colony Drop plans and pointed out his Disproportionate Retribution to all of humanity.
    • Shadow gives one believing that he has finally fulfilled Maria's final wish as he plummets to the earth after the Final Boss is defeated. Keep in mind that Sega originally planned to keep him Killed Off for Real when the game was released.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Knuckles and Rouge.
    • Wild Canyon, Knuckles's first stage after meeting Rouge, has plenty of Intercourse with You explicitly about Rouge in the lyrics of its background music.
    • After their Boss Battle, Knuckles saves Rouge from dying and they share an Almost Kiss, only for Rouge to back out and teasingly accuse Knuckles of being a Stalker with a Crush. Rouge eventually returns the shards to him under the pretense that they stink like echidnas, pretends belatedly to be aloof when he apologizes for any harm, and sneaks a smile over her shoulder after Knuckles runs off.
    • Knuckles and Rouge share a conversation during the credits of the Last Story in which Rouge reveals she intends to quit her job. She also drops a very suggestive line indicating her mind's occupied with something better than jewels. (However, Sonic Team would never capitalize on that and Rouge remains a thief and government agent in future installments).
  • Fog Feet: A Chao that plays with bats will eventually have its legs disappear; it'll hover above the ground instead.
  • Foil: Each playable character is one to their rival in some ways.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The password Eggman uses to access the console sealing Shadow is "Maria".
    • Rouge drops at least one hint of her ulterior motives every time she appears (notice how her gaze lingers on Eggman's retreating mech before distracting the audience with boasts of how all the world's gems belong to her), though most of her scenes are relegated to the Dark Story.
    • After Sonic and Tails crash the private conference between Eggman and the President of the United Federation, the president's Right-Hand Hottie alerts him that they have an incoming call from their agent. Near the end of the Dark Story, Shadow identifies Rouge as the president's agent.
    • The Prison Island cell Sonic was imprisoned is shown to have a lot of complex mathematical formulas written on it. It turned out to be the cell Gerald was originally held in after his imprisoning and from where he plotted his revenge.
    • During the cutscene right before Final Chase, Rouge reads about "Project Shadow" which not only implies there is more to Shadow's origins than originally shown, but also features a split second shot of a picture of the Biolizard (albeit at a low resolution because of the Dreamcast's limitations).
    • The song of Shadow's last stage Final Chase "The Supernatural" has the verse "I am the warrior, it's my way to go", foreshadowing Shadow dying fighting Finalhazard at the end.
    • The rim of the pit where Eggman first finds Shadow sealed away has some tiny writing on the floor, copy-pasted from a 2000-era article on black holes, that says "ASTRONOMERS ARE CONCLUDING THAT MONSTROUSBLACKS".
    • During the True Final Boss, Sonic starts to become more and more concerned about Shadow's energy levels, likely because the latter has never used his Super Form before. After Sonic and Shadow defeat The Final Hazard, they use Chaos Control to teleport the ARK outside Earth's gravitational pull. Super Shadow's energy gives out immediately after and he plummets to his demise.
  • Forgot I Could Fly: Downplayed. After the Astral Finale Boss Battle between Knuckles the Echidna and and Rouge the Bat, Rouge is so exhausted she misses her footing and plummets into a Slow-Motion Fall, only for Knuckles to immediately dive and catch her. By rights, Rouge could probably have saved herself, but Knuckles rescues her before she gets around to it.
  • Frame-Up: G.U.N., the international military organization that was holding Shadow as a Sealed Evil in a Can, frames Sonic to cover up the existence of Project Shadow—while it's never stated outright, and Sonic believes that the whole thing is an irritating mistake, G.U.N. is shown trying to intercept them both in separate areas of the city, catching up to Sonic far too quickly to not have spotted Shadow warping out. Shadow's theft of the green Chaos Emerald, which they aren't shown trying to frisk Sonic for, provides GUN with more justification for the frame, since news networks are attributing the theft to Sonic. Tellingly, they make no move to release Sonic from their custody when Shadow returns to Prison Island.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The "Blind Idiot" Translation inscribed at the rim of the pit where Shadow was sealed suggests that Shadow had some connection to black alien monsters, indicating that the Black Arms existed in some form as early as this game.
    • When Rouge is briefly showing Shadow the paper with information on the Biolizard, the text on the document is actually legible and contains some backstory concerning its development.
  • Full Set Bonus: There is apparently a substantial gap between the power provided by a full set of seven chaos emeralds and the power provided by a mere six. Despite the Eclipse Cannon being able to shatter planets when all seven emeralds are installed, Eggman's initial demonstration with only six of the emeralds can only partially destroy the much smaller moon.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • Subverted with Eggman's theme, "E.G.G.M.A.N.", which is even a Spelling Song—it's spelled out a few times at the beginning by a modulated voice in the background, but it doesn't seem to stand for anything. (Amusingly, it's also one of exactly two songs ever to use the exact phrase "I am the Eggman".)
    • The government military is referred to as "G.U.N.", or "Guardian Units of Nations" (essentially NATO).
  • Furry Confusion: Rouge the Bat is a playable character, but cartoony non-anthro bats can be found and rescued from the stages. The level "Death Chamber" takes it even further by adding in realistic bats hanging from the ceiling.
  • Furry Reminder: When Rouge first introduces herself to Shadow and Eggman on the ARK, she appears hanging upside down from the ceiling. Just like real bats do when they perch.
  • Game Mod:
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • All three of the good vs. evil battles are ultimately seen to end in draws, even though you have to win the actual fight for whichever side you're playing.
    • When facing Egg Golem in Hero Story, you have to (as Sonic) get behind it and jump up platforms on its back in order to homing attack its head's weak point to damage it; you need to do this several times. In the Dark Story, it's defeated by Sonic in a cutscene where he takes a giant leap at its weak point (a leap which, incidentally, is not possible when playing as Sonic) and defeats it in one kick. However, it comes back to life deranged and unstable, so Eggman has to put his golem down the hard way.
    • Averted in the final boss battle. Shadow's in-story failing super form is represented by his ring count starting lower and lower each time you switch to him after a certain point into the battle.
  • Gameplay Grading: You are ranked at the end of a stage based on your score (although you can automatically earn a perfect A if you collect every single ring in the stagenote ). The 100 ring and lost Chao missions, as well as the car-driving missions, instead rank you purely on time. All 3D Sonics following this game would use a similar ranking system.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Not as pronounced as in SA1, but still present. Sonic and Shadow are speedsters who have to race through platforming, Tails and Eggman control like a third-person shooter with some minor platforming, and Knuckles and Rouge are treasure hunters who have to find three items in each stage.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The second Sonic vs. Shadow battle, which is the Final Boss of the Hero and Dark storylines. Your opponent races ahead, with you unable to catch up. You have to hit them when whey miss with an attack five times to put them down.
  • Ghastly Ghost:
    • Boos are ghosts that serve as common enemies inside Eggman's pyramid base, Pumpkin Hill, and Aquatic Mine; they can grab the player, stopping them in their tracks and leaving them vulnerable to enemy fire. They have one of two faces—either with button eyes and mouths stitched shut like a Creepy Doll or with burning "Uh-Oh" Eyes and an open mouth of razor-sharp teeth.
    • King Boom Boo is a giant ghost who serves as the leader of the Boos and the boss of Death Chamber. Knuckles fights him, and King Boom Boo is invincible in the dark but weakened when he is exposed to sunlight. He has a small ghost following him around to hold an hourglass that temporarily lets light into the arena.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: King Boom Boo, the only undead boss in the series, and whom Knuckles happens upon while wandering about the Death Chamber. This is immediately followed up by Eggman being apparently blissfully unaware.
  • Good All Along: Rouge the Bat gives the impression of being just another villainous member of the Dark team, being a treasure hunter who antagonizes Knuckles by going after the Master Emerald and assists Eggman in his schemes, but as the story goes on, we learn that she is an undercover G.U.N spy sent to uncover Eggman's world domination plot and the secrets of the Space Colony. Then when Knuckles saves her life, she shows her Hidden Heart of Gold by helping him restore the Master Emerald, and even develops a crush on him. Rouge is definitely sneaky and underhanded with a big eye for jewels, but she isn't bad.
  • Got Volunteered: As Sonic and his friends approach to the center of Eggman's pyramid base, they needed a key to get inside. Sonic suggests that Knuckles should find it since he's "the world's greatest treasure hunter", much to his chagrin.
  • G-Rated Sex: Two Chao can produce new eggs by doing a Happy Dance. When a Chao is ready to dance, it sits down, displays a big heart above its head, and a ring of freshly blooming flowers sprouts around it. A Chao can even be induced to become more receptive to dancing by feeding it a heart fruit.
  • Grand Finale: The Final Story makes all of the characters from both stories playable and not only reveals the truth behind Shadow, Maria, and the ARK, but finishes with Super Sonic and Super Shadow.
  • Gratuitous English: Sonic in the Japanese dub, as usual for him. Notably, his rank comments are mostly in English (with the exception of B rank, where he literally says "Too easy! Rakushou da ze!" in Japanese and "Too easy! Piece of cake!" in English), plus his comment of "Hey guy, take care!" after beating Big Foot, as well as a few other examples.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The dub has several bizarre instances of Japanese words being left untranslated for seemingly no reason:
    • Dr. Eggman's "Yosh!" (Japanese for "Yes!/Alright!")
    • A strange case of this comes in "Kick the Rock!", as it's more or less Gratuitous English-Pronounced-in-a-Japanese-Way. The lyrics go "Ekidona, that's what I'm representin'" - "Ekidona" is "echidna" spelled phonetically in Japanese (the singer then adds Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable by pronouncing it "Eki-DOH-na").
    • Some other examples include Knuckles saying "Ora ora ora!" when digging (carried over from the previous game), and Sonic yelling "Teriaaaaa!" when defeating the Egg Golem in a cutscene.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Maria's last line in the Japanese version was "Adios, Shadow the Hedgehog". In the English dub, it becomes Gratuitous Japanese instead, as she says "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog".
  • Gravity Screw:
    • Crazy Gadget and its switches that make Sonic walk on the ceiling and walls. A memorable part at the end of the level involves navigating a series of these in space. There are other examples in the part of Eternal Engine where Tails floats inexplicably, and Cosmic Wall, where Eggman's mech can jump incredible heights due to lowered gravity.
    • Rouge's final level, Mad Space, uses the 'planetoid' subtype very excessively.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The plot of the game is ultimately due to the actions of the late Gerald Robotnik, who orchestrated a plan to destroy the earth after what G.U.N. did to him. Shadow was the only one in on it, taking advantage of Eggman's megalomaniacal ways to get it done.
  • Greed: Rouge the Bat, who only works with Eggman so she could have a chance to steal the Chaos Emeralds, the Master Emerald, and in addition finish the job for the government where she will get paid with even MORE jewels. Oh yes, and she also wants to add her crush and rival Knuckles' heart to that list.
  • Green Hill Zone: Rouge's first level, Dry Lagoon, is a textbook example, despite being set in a desert. The Trope Namer makes a return appearance if you collect all 180 emblems.
  • Grind Boots: Sonic's shoes were redesigned into this. Shadow's are also able to grind.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The hidden Secretary and Maria menu themes.
    • Some of the "Find the Lost Chao!" Missions are near impossible to complete without looking in a guide. In particular, all the steps that you need to do in Cannon's Core to find that Chao is pretty daunting.
      • While not as hard as Cannon's Core, the lost Chao in Radical Highway is particularly easy to miss.
      • Let's not forget that you need a powerup that can be a Guide Dang It! in itself to find to complete any of the Lost Chao missions in the first place.
    • Cannon's Core. Knuckles' mission is mostly underwater, with all the bubble-inhaling that implies, unless you found the really well hidden Air Necklace in a previous level which grants him unlimited time underwater.
    • Most of the different Chao can be made by experimenting around. The Chaos Chao however have requirements that are so specific you'd probably never know they even exist unless you look up a guide. One of the requirements is giving at least one of each of the TWENTY-ONE different animals to the Chao and have it not be set to a statistical preference (which means it would evolve into a "normal type" otherwise). And once you do that it doesn't even let you know anything changed until a couple hours later when the Chao finally evolves into a Chaos Chao.
    • In some of the Hard Mode missions for Knuckles/Rouge levels, some of the emerald pieces are hidden very obscure areas that they won't show up on the radar no matter where you look, and the hint computers don't help much either. Special mention goes to the second emeralds of Wild Canyon and Aquatic Mine.
    • In most levels, there is a golden beetle enemy that appears, then disappears after a few seconds. Destroying one of these beetle enemies really helps your rank in score-based missions (the first mission, the timed mission, and hard mode) as doing so gives you 1000 points. However, some of them are very easy to miss, particularly those in Pumpkin Hill, Cosmic Wall, Final Rush, and Final Chase.
  • Gusty Glade: There's a giant air current in the middle of Wild Canyon. Knuckles has to jump into it so it can propel him to the upper parts of the level.

    H-P 
  • Hammerspace: How Knuckles carts around his emerald pieces. (At least Rouge can claim to have a compartment).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shadow, after turning face in what is quite possibly the most famous example of this trope in a Sonic game. Overlaps with Redemption Equals Death.
  • Hero, Rival, Baddie Team-Up: In the Last Story, Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow infiltrate the core of Space Colony Ark together. Knuckles uses his incantation to control the Master Emerald, while Sonic and Shadow use the Chaos Emeralds to transform and fight the Biolizard.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Rouge. Despite her introductory cutscene showing her to be a vain "treasure hunter" with ulterior motives, her first stage requires her to rescue a turtle held captive by GUN robots, prompting the turtle to gift her with access to the second half of the level. At no point does the game tell you the turtle will help you, so Rouge's rescue of the turtle is largely for the sake of the rescue itself.
  • Hints Are for Losers:
    • Downplayed in the Treasure Hunt stages, where using hints lowers the bonus earned when collecting the relevant treasure. That said, the stages score primarily on speed, so using hints won't necessarily lock players out of an A-Rank.
    • Exaggerated in Rouge's Mad Space level, where the the hint monitors are reversed, as the hints either say the opposite of where the Emerald Shard really is, or are literally written backwards.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At one point, Eggman sics the Egg Golem onto Sonic. In Dark Story, Sonic destroyed the restraining bolt on the Egg Golem. Guess what it does with Eggman afterwards?
  • Holiday Mode: The original Dreamcast release of the game offered Halloween- and Christmas-themed Downloadable Content, usually Palette Swaps of the playable cast.
  • Hong Kong Dub: When the line takes longer to say in English than it did in Japanese, the next line will start while the previous one is still going... even when the next line is spoken by the same character. (It does lend a strange David Mamet flavor to the dub.)
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Eggman takes Amy hostage near the end of the game in order to get the last Chaos Emerald needed for the Eclipse Cannon off of Sonic and Tails. Or so we thought, see Out-Gambitted below.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The debut of Rouge the Bat is enough to make the game this in comparison to the other titles.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: Downplayed since the Dark Side story revealed Eggman knew, or at least suspected, that the heroes had a fake Chaos Emerald when he saw two readings for the final one show up on a monitor, knowing full well he had the other six. When he finally brought this up to Sonic and friends, Eggman just pretended like he knew for sure, only to get proven right when Tails slipped and asked how he knew the Emerald wasn't real.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Shadow's initial viewpoint, as well as Gerald Robotnik's. Though that's because GUN got cold feet on Project Shadow and forced the whole thing to be shut down, accidentally shooting Maria in the process, sending both Shadow and Gerald into despair.
  • Humongous Mecha: G.U.N.'s Big Foot, Hot Shot, and Flying Dog, which serve as a Warm-Up Boss for Sonic, Shadow, and Rouge, respectively. While they're big, they're also relatively slow with attacks that are easy to dodge.
  • Hypocrite: Rouge accuses Shadow of invading her privacy when he reveals he knows her true identity, while her entire job is to infiltrate Eggman's inner circle and investigate the ARK computer for information on Project SHADOW.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In one scene where Eggman steals the Master Emerald from Knuckles:
      Rouge: Thief!
      Knuckles: Look who's calling who a thief!
    • In the Last Story where Eggman learns about his grandfather had planned for the ARK to crash towards the earth:
      Eggman: That mad scientist!
      Amy: That should be you, right?
    • Also the scene where Amy breaks Sonic out of jail (after trying to wring a marriage promise out of him).
      Amy: (after Sonic runs away) Wait for me, Sonic! He's such a brat sometimes.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: "Supporting Me", the BGM for the Biolizard Boss Battle, is Shadow's meditation on his new outlook on life, looking to the future, acknowledging his need for Maria's support, and his acknowledgment that he won't have it anymore.
  • "I Am Great!" Song:
    • Invoked and inverted with "Rhythm and Balance" (the theme for White Jungle), which consists of Shadow insisting, over and over again, that he's not scarednote —i.e. the song is not about how Shadow is fearless so much as it's about how he's in denial.
    • Invoked with "The Supernatural" (the theme to Final Chase) where, instead of establishing Shadow's character to the audience, it's Shadow re-affirming it to himself, after Rouge's revelations about Project Shadow have caused him to doubt his own identity.
    I am the ultimate life, the perfect existence
    Nothing is unpredictable to me, nothing can surprise me
    • Subverted with "For true story", which is about how the various pleasures and glories of nature are supposed to be utterly insignificant to the Ultimate Life Form ("Stars don't twinkle, the moon doesn't shine... To the pure body, to the perfect experience.")... and also about how Shadow is skirting the edge of the Despair Event Horizon (i.e. because Sonic is somehow able to match him, which undermines Shadow's whole vision of reality).
  • "I Am" Song:
    • Sonic's, Knuckles', and Eggman's Image Songs It Doesn't Matter, Unknown from M.E., and E.G.G.M.A.N, respectively.
    • The BGM of many of Shadow's and Knuckles's is a look into their psyche and how they see themselves.
    • The lyrics of Escape from the City explain the basics of Sonic's personality to the player.
  • Image Song: All six playable characters, as well as Amy, have one. Sonic's, Tails', and Knuckles' themes are remixes of their original Adventure themes, while Amy's is exactly the same.
  • In Their Own Image: In the Build Like an Egyptian desert stages, enough of the original iconography remains to suggest that the whole region was originally echidna territory—according to the background music, Knuckles's Wild Canyon stage in particular is explicitly ancestral land. That hasn't stopped Eggman from plastering his face nearly everywhere both in and around his pyramid base.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: All the themes from Shadow's stages have distorted lyrics that are hard to make out, but "The Supernatural" and "Supporting Me" take this up to eleven in that some of their lyrics are so distorted that you're unlikely to realise that they're even there, let alone what's being said. For example, "The Supernatural" supposedly includes the line, "Tell me the truth, are you really the ultimate life?" — contrasting with Shadow's insistence that he is, and reflecting his state of self-doubt after Rouge shows him the article about the Biolizard — but good luck making it out.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: If you attempt to have Knuckles or Rouge dig on a surface too tough for them to dig into, they'll tell you "I can't!"
  • Insult to Rocks: Shadow finds it almost insulting that G.U.N. mistook Sonic for him.
    Shadow: "You're not even good enough to be my fake!"
  • Interface Screw:
    • The Mad Space hint monitors give you wrong or reversed directions.
    • Time Stands Still when Action Race or Treasure Hunt characters use their final Special Attack in multiplayer mode, making the opponent freeze and preventing them from being controlled. (Amy Flash only prevents the opponent from being controlled; it doesn't freeze the target). The frozen character must wait out a timer before being freed, but can accelerate it by Button Mashing.
  • Interrupting Meme: Some of the dialogue have characters interrupting each other's sentences right before they end it. This is due to the English vocal direction not choosing to match the lip flaps or timing in the games.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: The Egg Beetles in Rouge's second stage, Egg Quarters, which patrol the rooms for intruders, and, if they find one, attack it with lasers. They cannot be defeated and can only be dealt with by hiding in the shadows out of their sight. Luckily, they glow so bright that they illuminate the whole room in their light when they enter.
  • Irony: Sonic in prison. Not only is the Fastest Thing Alive unable to go anywhere while behind bars, not only is he unable to look for clues (which is his explicit purpose on the island, no less), the biggest clue of all is his own cell, which he doesn't appear to have noticed.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon:
    • In a departure from standard series lore, Sonic actually has more of a beef with Shadow, his Alleged Lookalike and Criminal Doppelgänger helping Eggman take over the world, whose escape and terrorist activities have caused GUN to start hounding Sonic. In fact, this is the only Sonic game to date where Sonic doesn't fight Eggman directly at all.
    • Inverted with Tails and Eggman, whose rematch during the Astral Finale is an example of "It's Personal with the Sidekick," thanks to Eggman having Sonic Thrown Out the Airlock.
  • It Runs in the Family:
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Two instances of this had happened.
    • Shadow shrugs off of the fact he saved Rouge's life, and says that he was saving the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Knuckles does this to Rouge after saving her from falling down the lava, claiming that he was saving the pieces of the Master Emerald.
  • I Will Show You X!: Shadow says this on a few occasions. On example is when you play as Sonic, Shadow says this to him in the start of their battle aboard the ARK:
    Shadow: Before this is over, I will show you the true power of Chaos Control!
  • Jiggle Physics: Different parts of different characters have this, the most notable examples being Sonic and Shadow's quills, and Rouge's ears and breasts.
  • Jump Scare: The boos in the haunted stages will pop up at the character's face while growing large in form before disappearing. They will do this when in miniature forms if the character gets close to it or just pop up from random places unseen, even in some of the areas where one of the Master Emerald shards is located.
  • Jungle Japes: Green Forest and White Jungle, which serve as the respective fifth and ninth action stages in the Hero and Dark stories, take place in a jungle. Both of these stages have a time limit due to Eggman setting up bombs to destroy Prison Island.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: Though not the actual call, White Jungle's soundtrack features a very kookaburra-like sound in the percussion at the beginning.
  • Just a Kid: Eggman insults Tails for being a kid in the beginning of their first battle:
    Eggman: You're just a kid! You couldn't beat me in a hundred years, stupid little fox!
  • Karma Houdini: The G.U.N. squad that raided the ARK fifty years ago appears to have never suffered punishment. Their attempts in the current day to capture Sonic all end in disaster for them, however.
  • Keep It Foreign: Maria's final words in the Japanese version are "Adios, Shadow the Hedgehog". In the English version it's "Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog".
  • Kick Chick: Rouge, to contrast Knuckles' punches only attack style.
  • Kill Sat: Space Colony ARK has a giant laser, which Eggman uses to great effectiveness to blow up part of the moon with the power of only one Chaos Emerald.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Maria. She did nothing wrong, and yet she gets killed in the confusion when G.U.N. comes onto the Space Colony ARK to forcefully shut down Project Shadow.
  • Knight Templar: G.U.N. will do almost anything to preserve world order. They got better eventually. Also, Gerald believed his Colony Drop against humanity to be "justice" for the ARK Disaster.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Shadow was a surrogate one for Maria, until Amy reminded him what Maria really wanted.
  • Lady and Knight: Maria Robotnik and Shadow the Hedgehog are an unusual pair of Bright Lady and Dark Knight. Maria is the pure and beloved granddaughter of the ARK's head scientist, while Shadow is The Unfettered Living Weapon who will ruthlessly pursue whatever objective he needs to in order to fulfill her wishes.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Knuckles' emerald-shattering punch is a two-fer for Eggman, who is not only suffering the natural consequences of attempting to steal the Emerald right in front of its Guardian, but is also getting comeuppance for his attempted theft of the Master Emerald in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, where Knuckles instead tried to wrestle it from his machine's claw and only got electrocuted for his trouble.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The President is not named, bears no likeness to any real American president, and the presidential logo looks nothing like the real one.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After you defeat Shadow for the second and last time in the Hero Story, Sonic quips "Game over, Shadow!" Considering that boss battle is the last bit of gameplay in the Hero Story, the Bond One-Liner can be applied to both Shadow and your game time.
  • Leave Him to Me!:
    • Sonic tells the other heroes to leave Eggman to him when Eggman confronts them in the pyramid base, leading to the Egg Golem boss.
    • In the Last Story, Shadow, after realizing Maria's true wish, tells Sonic and Knuckles to leave The Biolizard to him while they head to the Master Emerald shrine.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Sonic, even more so than usual. He's concerned only with stopping Eggman and pays little attention to Tails' strategy sessions.
  • Leitmotif: Many songs throughout the game feature the same recurring guitar riffs, along with some shared lyrics (for instance, in "City Escape" and the chorus of "Supporting Me"). It's only at the end of the game that they come together into the game's signature theme, "Live and Learn".
  • Lethal Joke Character: Amy Rose is easily the slowest of the Action Race multiplayer characters but has several dangerous advantages.
  • Level Grinding: Completing all of the Chao Garden emblems will require quite a bit of this. Not only do you need to pump your Chao full of stat-boosting animals and shards, but you need to keep completing quests to do it.
  • Lost in Translation: Sonic Adventure 2 has some of the screwiest translation of any game in the series, with several scenes having their tone shifted or dialogue that doesn't convey what was originally in the Japanese script. A Game Mod for the 2012 PC version attempts to rewrite the subtitles so, when played in Japanese, an English-speaking player can experience a more accurately translated script.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Getting A Rank on Treasure Hunting requires you to get all of the Emerald shards without using any hintsnote  and getting a good time. Since the locations are randomized and the radar only works for one piece at a time, getting a good set of easy-to-access locations (i.e. not requiring the use of a switch or in the ground) is necessary to get A rank.
    • Chao Karate gives control of your Chao to an A.I. Roulette and an ill-timed Critical Hit mechanics can screw you over. Sufficiently Level Grinding your Chao will mitigate (if not remove) the effect that the Random Number God has, as the Chao's stats will eventually be strong enough to dish out huge damage and/or take very little in return.
    • Chao races feature an actual hidden luck stat in some races along with randomized tripping.
  • Mad Scientist:
    • The Man Behind the Man. Prof. Gerald Robotnik was sane prior to GUN's assault on the ARK. After that his disillusionment with humanity drove him to strike back with his creation.

      Even when he wasn't a Misanthrope Supreme, Gerald Robotnik was at least tremendously eccentric—activating the Eclipse Cannon causes the ARK to lose half of its mass and become a Face Ship, the center of the colony is designed using the iconography of ancient Echidna culture, and the hordes of Artificial Chaos and the Biolizard all indicate he was a Maker of Monsters
      .
    • And then, there's Eggman, of course. As usually, he's more of a standard example of the cackling type of Mad Scientist.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Downplayed by Maria Robotnik, whose grandfather Prof. Gerald Robotnik was at minimum quite eccentric, even if he wasn't yet an Omnicidal Maniac, as seen by his exacting recreation of ancient echidna culture and making the ARK into a secret Face Ship.
  • Magic Music: The Mystic Melody upgrade, which can be acquired by all the six playable characters. It can allow a character to play a "mystical melody" with a transverse flute when near to the ancient ruins, creating new pathways in a stage. The Mystic Melody is essential for the "Find the lost Chao" missions.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Cannon's Core, the only action stage in the "Last" story. It's a multi-stage level that involves every playable character minus Shadow (who gets saved for the boss battle following Cannon's Core).
    • While not as long in terms of actual length of gameplay, Cosmic Wall does take awhile thanks to the conveyor belts Eggman needs to get between sections. To put this in persective, it has the highest time limit of any Timed Mission in the game at eight minutes (even Cannon's Core is only seven and otherwise no level goes above five).
  • Mecha-Mooks: The G.U.N. mechs are the recurrent enemies of the game. Eggman's badniks appear as well, but only for the pyramid levels.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The Prison Island section is essentially a three-way bout between Sonic and friends, Eggman's group, and G.U.N.'s military presence.
  • Metal Slime: Gold Beetles only appear for a brief moment in one specific part of each level, and vanish just as quickly. Destroying one nets you a huge amount of points for your score, which go a long way towards earning a better rank for certain level requirements.
  • Metropolis Level: The game has a few levels in the Central City. City Escape takes place in a San Francisco-esque neighbourhood complete with running down streets and escaping from a giant GUN truck, while Mission Street and Radical Highway are located within the city highways above the skyline, both include running away from authorities.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • Tails and Eggman's mechs are much slower and clunkier than everyone else, but possess great firepower that lets them destroy armies of mooks easily and have health bars that allow them to endure multiple hits without rings.
    • Amy, Chaos, the Dark Chao mech and Eggman's alternate costume in the multiplayer mode. They all run slower than their competition, but Amy can spam special moves for less rings than everyone else, Chaos has extra range on his attacks and can breathe underwater infinitely, the Dark Chao mech has the strongest attacks and alternate Eggman is even slow and can't lock onto targets but possesses brutally strong shots.
  • Mini-Me:
    • It's possible to raise Chao that can resemble Sonic, Shadow, and (although not showing up physically in this game) NiGHTS. Special Chao that look like Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose also exist, though they're unobtainable by normal means.
    • The Neutral Chaos Chao greatly resembles a smaller Chaos 0. Raise one from a Shiny Blue Egg and the resemblance is even more uncanny.
  • Mini-Mecha: Tails and Eggman's stages consist of piloting small mechs, with Tails' Cyclone being his new Tornado airplane that swaps its wings for a set of legs and Eggman's being his Eggmobile with legs and guns attached.
  • Mirror Boss: Each character fights their Hero/Dark counterpart twice, or in Knuckles/Rouge's case, once. The enemy characters can use moves from multiplayer fights, but the player can't.
  • Mirror Character: Deep down, Rouge and Knuckles are both stubborn and proud. Lampshaded after their Boss Battle, where they Speak in Unison, each demanding the other stop fooling around and return *their* emeralds.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Gerald's plot to get revenge from beyond the grave was focused on bringing suffering and ruination to people (Pretty much the entirety of humanity) who were not responsible for the ARK Incident or the murder of Maria and his colleagues.
  • More than Mind Control: It's heavily implied that Gerald "reprogrammed" Shadow to go along with his genocidal Colony Drop plan.
    Gerald: I designed its mind to be perfect. Pure...
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: The Boom Boos from the Death Chamber level have these that conceal their Slasher Smiles.
  • Moveset Clone: The game gives three sets - Shadow to Sonic, Eggman to Tails and Rouge to Knuckles.
  • Ms. Vice Girl: Rouge is secretly a government agent whose job is to protect the world from threats like Eggman and Shadow, and turns out to be Good All Along. Also, her passion is jewels, and in her free time she goes around greedily stealing gems wherever she can find them, not caring whether they're, y'know, necessary to the balance of the planet or not. Somehow, these two things never seem to clash — in fact, she's apparently only a good guy some of the time because the government pays her in jewelry.
  • Ms. Fanservice: This game introduced the world to Rouge the Bat. She has a big bust, a revealing outfit combined with Jiggle Physics, and wide hips that go hand in hand with a shapely rear.
  • Musical Nod:
    • City Escape appears as an instrumental in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.
    • The Call-Back to Lost World in Cannon's Core is also this. There is a water slide similar to the aforementioned level in Adventure, and the music changes to the drum beat of the music that was used in the water slide part of that level.
      • The music played during the cutscenes before and after the Biolizard reuses some parts of the music played during Lost World as well.
    • The Chao Race music used in this game got remixed for the main menu theme in Sonic Advance 3.
    • The melody at the beginning of City Escape's lyrics has the same rhythmic motif as an early segment from Sonic 3's Endless Mine. This connection was made more explicit in City Escape's Classic Remix from Sonic Generations, which directly samples the original track.
  • Mythology Gag: The Egg Golem first appeared as the boss of Sandopolis Zone Act 2 in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It also bears a striking resemblance to Guardian, the boss of Sandopolis Zone Act 1. Plus, both Egg Golem bosses are fought inside a pyramid.
    • Eggman attempts to steal the Master Emerald in the exact same way he did in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, even using the exact same machine to do it.
    • Sonic's introduction cutscene before his City Escape level is a reference to something that was Dummied Out of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Originally in that game, Flying Battery Zone was going to come in between Carnival Night Zone and Ice Cap Zone, and the level transition would have had Sonic using the door of the Flying Battery as a snowboard in Ice Cap. In the cutscene before City Escape, Sonic uses the door of the G.U.N. helicopter as a skateboard.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. Dr. Eggman comments in one of his story reminder monologues that killing Tails will be a pleasure, Sonic is told on a number of occasions that he is going to die. Amy is threatened with death a couple of times. Though Eggman never actually uses it, carrying that big pistol about in a couple of the cutscenes certainly shows that he means Serious Business. There's even a level called "Death Chamber" and the music used for the level constantly repeats those words. Even more blatant, Gerald specifically mentions the death of his young granddaughter at the hands of GUN. He also talks about a "death sentence for every human being on Earth".
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Shadow introduces Chaos Control by using a chaos emerald to stop time. During the Astral Finale, Sonic improvises a new kind of Chaos Control allowing him to teleport out of an enclosed space.
  • New Rules as the Plot Demands: Shadow's Incoming Ham Establishing Character Moment is as much about introducing the fact that the Chaos Emeralds can now be used individually via Chaos Control as it is about introducing Shadow.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tails gets manipulated by Eggman into revealing that the Chaos Emerald Sonic was going to trade for Amy was a fake, leading to Sonic's near death.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Every 5th mission for a level has a Hard mode challenge, where the level's difficulty borders on downright frustrating. Many consider Eternal Engine, Crazy Gadget, Mad Space, and Cannon's Core to be punishingly difficult already. Then you find out that even they have Hard Modes themselves...
    • Getting A-Ranks on the early Action and Shooting stages aren't too obscenely hard, but roughly halfway through the game they become incredibly annoying without resorting to Sequence Breaking shortcuts to get massive time bonuses. And let's not even talk about the Hunting Stages, the system for which has been tweaked to be even more annoying.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Zigzagged. The Hero and Dark stories happen at the same time, with the only variance between the two being who wins the boss fights that pit playable characters against each other. The Last story is equally led into by both. No matter who wins the Tails/Eggman and Sonic/Shadow fights, Eggman winds up with the last emerald (he's even seen grabbing it in the hero side ending) but the Eclipse Cannon is prevented from firing (as indicated by a warning light).
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The nation's capital is based on San Francisco, where Sonic Team was based at the time. Route 101, Route 280, and Mission Street all reference major roadways in the city. The Samba de Amigo references in Mission Street may serve as a dual reference to the Mission District, which was (and is still somewhat) largely Hispanic. Shadow's Radical Highway level is also based on the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • No Conservation of Energy: When Sonic and Shadow use Chaos Control to stop the falling ARK, the colony comes to a complete halt. The explosion of light was no where near big enough to be equal to its previous momentum. Of course, SEGA has never bothered to explain exactly how Chaos Control works, so...
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: Zig-zagged. They dubbed them...by having the English voice actors repeat the Japanese phrases. This is particularly noticeable with Eggman, who says things like "Yosh..." and "Hori!" even though it's Deem Brimstow saying it.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • In "City Escape", who decided it was a good idea to put a giant loop de loop with speed boosters that sends you hurling down a tall building in a public park area?!
    • Prison Island wouldn't pass OSHA standards either, most egregiously with the giant pit surrounding the area Rouge fights a G.U.N. robot in.
    • The OSHA would've had a fit if they set foot on the Space Colony Ark—the entire station is a giant death trap, most egregiously with its fragile air locks throughout the hallways.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Adventure 2 does away with Adventure fields and the ability to select characters, instead having the player experience every gameplay style in the same story, with stages coming one after another in sequence. Upgrades are found within the stages as well.
  • Nostalgia Level: Collecting all 180 Emblems rewards you with a 3D version of Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Not Bad: In the Hero Story in the first Sonic/Shadow boss battle, Shadow, who is defeated, says this to Sonic that he wasn't bad for an impostor.
  • Not Me This Time: At the start of the Last Story, Knuckles wrongly accuses Eggman of sending the ARK on a crash course to earth.
    Eggman: I'd have done this a long time ago if I had the chance!
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Amy Rose, who spends the game as a Non-Action Guy, is introduced on Prison Island after having somehow gotten there entirely on her own (Tails, by comparison, had to fly his Cool Plane to get there). She's also the one to bust Sonic out of prison with a stolen key card that she's gotten her hands on, somehow.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Sonic's reaction when Eggman traps him in the capsule pod rigged with explosives. This is also his reaction when the Egg Golem appears.
    • Tails' reaction when he realized that Eggman tricked him into revealing the Emerald was fake.
    • Knuckles' reaction when he gets caught by King Boom Boo in Death Chamber.
    • Amy's reaction when Eggman confronts her in the ARK while pointing a gun at her.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Gerald did not take Maria's death well. His plan involved crashing the ARK into the Earth to wipe out humanity for the sake of vengeance.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Shadow's flashback to Maria's dying moments in the Last Story plays out like it did the first time, but reveals that all Maria wanted was for the people of earth to be happy, not to see them all die like Shadow originally thought.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Biolizard becomes Finalhazard when he fuses himself with Space Colony ARK.
  • On-Site Procurement: Each of the six player characters has a power-up tucked away in each of their standard levels (i.e. not the racing levels or Cannon's Core). Some are necessary for level completion, while others are necessary only to complete special missions. Because the number of levels is uneven, some of the characters will have an advantage over their rival; these extras are unnecessary, but make things easier.
  • On the Next: After beating one of the two main stories, a trailer plays for the other one. After beating both of them, a trailer plays for the Last story.
  • Open Secret: Some of the characters gathered intel on Prison Island, a top secret military prison from a public news broadcast.
  • Out-Gambitted:
    • Sonic and Tails plot to give Eggman a fake Emerald that will explode when it's put into the Eclipse Cannon, thus making it unusable. Immediately detecting a spare Emerald signature, Eggman seals Sonic inside a rocket, causes Tails to accidentally spill the beans, and shoots Sonic out of the Ark to a most certain death.
    • The endgame is caused by this. In the Dark Story finale, Eggman is defeated, but he still is able to get the yellow Chaos Emerald and hooks it up to the Eclipse Cannon, allowing him to use it again and again. What he didn't know was that doing so ended up activating Gerald's giant middle finger to the world.
  • Overly Generous Time Limit: White Jungle has a time limit of ten minutes that Shadow has to complete the level before the bomb explodes, taking Rouge and the Chaos Emeralds with it. Even when stopping to check for secrets and explore a few nooks and crannies, it's quite easy to reach the goal with more than half the timer remaining.
  • Painful Rhyme: Enforced. Due to Hunnid-P having only one day to write and record all the music for Knuckles' levels, the rap features a great deal of twisted pronunciation, like forcing "Emeralds" to rhyme with "lose".
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The GUN Mecha-Mooks shoot extremely slow-moving shots that even Eggman could probably dodge while rolling out of bed, let alone Sonic. Certain GUN Hunters (designated "Gum Hunters") do attempt to fire blue projectiles that bind the player, but aren't any faster than the normal yellow ones.
    • The E-1000 series robots share this issue too, but (very slightly) make up for it by firing two shots in tandem from their dual laser cannons.
    • Averted in the Hard Mode versions of the levels. The enemies will fire shots that move faster than in normal difficulty, though you can still dodge them if you're quick enough.
  • Papa Wolf: Gerald loved his granddaughter Maria, and once she was killed, he almost destroyed the world.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The code to access Project Shadow and to fire the Eclipse Cannon is "Maria".
  • Path of Greatest Resistance: Because Sonic and Shadow can use the Homing Attack, which was introduced in the previous game, this game has paths identifiable (and accessible) only by finding a trail of stationary enemies. This is most commonly used to begin an expert path or for a shortcut; there are only two levels where this is actually required (excluding hard mode): Metal Harbor and Crazy Gadget.
  • Perpetual Motion Machine: The eternal engine developed by the ARK appears to be one, provide that it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Plot Armor: Because Sonic is the hero and obviously can't be permanently killed off, he's given a very contrived way of surviving getting jettisoned into space ala an explosive rigged escape pod by Eggman—he had a fake Chaos Emerald with him and was somehow able to use Chaos Control with it to teleport away. Even Sonic admits he has no idea how he was able to pull it off.
  • Plot Hole: Downplayed.
    • Despite Sonic Adventure establishing that the Master Emerald was necessary to keep Floating Continent Angel Island in the air, Angel Island and its current altitude are completely ignored by the plot, despite Angel Island falling being a risk of immense catastrophe.
    • During Knuckles's and Rouge's Boss Battle, the giant vent to the molten core of the planetoid they're on opens and provides a large updraft pushing both combatants into the air. During the cutscene afterwards, the vent remains open but inexplicably stops providing updraft, being more like how it behaved in the Meteor Herd stage.
    • GUN's motives for pursuing Sonic are never explained. Are they using Sonic for a patsy, are they legitimately under the impression that Sonic is Shadow, being Alleged Lookalikes and all? We don't know.
    • In the Last Story, Dr. Gerald somehow managed to not only plan his revenge but program the ARK and the Biolizard to carry it out despite being in GUN custody.
  • Police Are Useless: Even Sonic lampshades how GUN can't keep him contained.
  • Posthumous Character: Both Gerald and Maria Robotnik have been dead for 50 years, but Gerald's inventions and Maria's relationship with Shadow are extremely important to the plot. Gerald is also the real villain, as he made sure Shadow would have the earth destroyed as revenge for Maria's death.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Sonic nearly suffers one as a result of the aforementioned Power Copying.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Mystic Melody power-up is unique in the fact that everyone can obtain it, is only found at the end of very convoluted or out of the way detours, and allows you to interact with ancient ruins. However, while it will on occasion do something of note like generating a portal or rings, far and away its main use is to open doors or paths that hidden Chao are hiding behind, limiting its actual utility to Find the Chao missions. Investigating the melody-locked areas outside of Chao missions will only give you a 1-Up.
  • Pre-Final Boss: The Biolizard is fought just before you face him again as The Final Hazard.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: The scene of the Tornado escaping from the exploding Prison Island used a pre-rendered video of the island blowing up, and the Tornado was a real-time 3D model placed in front of the video. The cutscenes of the Eclipse Cannon firing at the moon, Sonic and co. taking the shuttle to the ARK, and about half of the cutscenes in the Last Story are also all pre-rendered, as are the opening cutscenes before the title screen — both the logo splash screen on the original Dreamcast version and the extended opening cutscene on Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
  • Previously on…: Upon continuing a story segment, the character that you're about to play as will give a brief summary of what's happened up to that point and what they're about to do. For the Last Story, Amy narrates for the Cannon's Core stage.
  • Product Placement:
    • Due to Sonic now wearing Soap Shoes, ads for them are all over the game. They were removed from the HD releases since Soap Shoes went out of business in the interim.
    • In Battle, there were ads for Phantasy Star Online Ep. I & II which was released around the time of Battle. Oddly these ads remained in the HD release, despite the game being discontinued.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Eggman is playable for the Dark Story Shooting stages.
    • Inverted for Amy who is reduced to an NPC in the original Dreamcast release. She is playable in Battle, though.
  • Psycho Prototype: The Biolizard as the prototype of Shadow. It has the mind of an animal and, according to supplementary material, its dangerous behavior was the reason why G.U.N. decided to have the ARK shut down 50 years before the events of the game.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Though in one of his more composed forms here, Eggman still obviously gets in the odd moment of childlike grouchiness. He commits to some outright Tantrum Throwing when the Eclipse Cannon's first run doesn't go as powerfully as hoped, which an amused Rouge mocks him over.
    Rouge: Look at you. Throwing a tantrum. Like a little kid! How totally embarrassing!
    Eggman: Don't forget your end of the bargain, Bat-girl! Where's my emerald?
  • Pumpkin Person: You can give Chao pumpkins to wear on their heads.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Eggman when you get an A-Rank.
    "NOW YOU KNOW WHY I! AM! THE BEST!"

    Q-Z 
  • Quicksand Sucks: In Tails' Hidden Base and Eggman's Sand Ocean levels. Quicksand is usually no problem, but since they're piloting walking mechs, it functions like a Bottomless Pit, meaning they lose a life if they fall in.
    • In Sonic's boss fight with the Egg Golem, he can easily jump out of the sand if the player spams the jump button.
    • Interestingly, in Hidden Base, there's a specific shifting platform that raises and lowers just enough for the player to start sinking in quicksand only to seemingly be pushed back out to safety. However, Tails will still die in mid-air as the programmers likely never expected a player to escape the quicksand in a mech stage.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: As with the previous game, it's debatable who won the character-on-character boss fights. Most of the cutscenes treat them as stalemates anyway, with two important exceptions being the final battles between Eggman and Tails and Sonic and Shadow. The endings of the Dark and Hero pathways contradict each other as a result, but both of them plausibly set up the Last Story.
    • In the Hero storyline, Tails defeats Eggman in revenge for Sonic's apparent death, while Sonic sends Shadow off to lick his wounds. Eggman still manages to sneak away with the last Chaos Emerald and place it into the cannon's console off-screen, but Sonic destroys the cannon before it can fire. Success! Right?
    • In the Dark storyline, Eggman defeats Tails, Shadow prevents Sonic from reaching the Eclipse Cannon, and Eggman's plan goes off without a hitch! So what's with the siren?
  • Reactor Boss: Eternal Engine, in which Tails fights the ARK's power generator.
  • Recurring Riff: The game's main theme, Live & Learn, has its opening riff incorporated into several tracks in the game, such as the menu tracks and many others.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Shadow originally died after falling from the ARK into the atmosphere. Later retconned.
  • Red Ones Go Faster:
    • Tails's unlockable multiplayer reskin takes his Cyclone mech and repaints it to look like his original plane, the Tornado, which is primarily red. In addition to the sweet paintjob, it runs at a speed that rivals the Cyclone's car form.
    • The very rare Phoenix enemy is a red model in the fairly common bomb-throwing Hornet series of robots, and it outpaces the regular models easily.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • This game abruptly introduces the government force of G.U.N. into the series, whose presence is a strong contrast in tone to the previous games, and they weren't even acknowledged or foreshadowed in previous installments.
    • Ditto for Rouge the Bat, whose first cutscene isn't really introductory the way Shadow's is. You may well have thought she was an already established character. Lightly corrected with Knuckles's Previously on… recap for the Wild Canyon stage—Knuckles and Rouge were fighting in the desert because Rouge had stolen the Emerald and he had finally tracked her down.
  • Remixed Level:
    • Inverted; instead of revisiting the same level with modifications, Adventure 2 has groups of stages that share specific assets to establish they're all part of the same setting. Shared-setting stages are all clustered together on the stage select map.
      • Sonic's Green Forest and Shadow's White Jungle are both set within the forest on the west side of Prison Island.
      • Knuckles' Pumpkin Hill stage and Shadow's Sky Rail are set within the same canyon surrounded by jack-o-lantern mountains.
      • Rouge's Security Hall, Tails's Prison Lane, and Eggman's Iron Gate are all set within the GUN base itself on the east side of Prison Island.
      • Sonic's Metal Harbor and Eggman's Weapon Bed are set on the exterior part of the base east of the island.
      • Tails' Hidden Base and Eggman's Sand Ocean stages both take place in the desert outside of Eggman's hidden base. Knuckles's and Rouge's first cutscene occurs somewhere in the Hidden Base stage.
      • Rouge's Egg Quarters, Sonic's Pyramid Cave, Knuckles' Death Chamber are both set within Eggman's base itself. The Egg Golem Boss Battle also occurs within the base.
      • Tails' Route 101 and Rouge's Route 280 both take place on the same stretch of highways.
      • Sonic's City Escape is set entirely within a city, while Shadow's Radical Highway is set on highways outside the main urban center; Tails's Mission Street transitions between the two settings. Sonic's fight with the Big Foot mech takes place in a city plaza at night.
      • Eggman's Cosmic Wall, Sonic's Final Rush, Shadow's Final Chase, Rouge's Mad Space, and Knuckles' Meteor Herd levels all take place in the not-quite-airspace outside the Space Colony ARK.
      • And lastly, Eggman's Lost Colony, Tails's Eternal Engine, Sonic's Crazy Gadget, and the Cannon's Core stages are all set within the ARK itself.
    • Played straight with Knuckles' Wild Canyon and Rouge's Dry Lagoon stage—each level is identical in layout save for some scenery changes (Dry Lagoon has water and more vegetation, Wild Canyon has more rocks and sand) and how each character transitions between the two halves of each level. The multiplayer versions of these levels elaborate further, with the multiplayer Wild Canyon being set at twilight and the multiplayer Dry Lagoon taking place at night.
    • The first Tails and Eggman Boss Battle takes place on one of the hangar platforms from the Metal Harbor or Weapons Bed stages, ringed with road blocks to fence you in.
    • The Flying Dog and Big Shot Boss Battles appear to take place in the same room, but the Flying Dog version has large steel fences that Rouge can climb.
    • Sonic's and Shadow's first battle takes place on a unique platform arena somewhere in the Green Forest stage.
    • The King Boom Boo Boss Battle takes place near the E-01 central engine in the Pyramid Core section of the Death Chamber stage.
    • Both Sonic and Eggman must fight the Egg Golem, but Eggman's fight takes place after Sonic's, so the main ring of the arena in Eggman's fight is already busted up and the sand below littered with platforms that he can jump and hover between.
    • Knuckles' and Rouge's Boss Battle takes place above a remixed version of the mining shaft in Meteor Herd, which suddenly has inexplicable upward gusts of heat when it opens that it doesn't have in the Meteor Herd stage itself.
    • The Downtown Race mini-stage in the Action Race multiplayer is the "snowboard" section at the start of City Escape remixed into an actual snowboard race with actual snow.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Shadow, thanks to Amy's speech. Though it helps that Shadow remembered that Maria told him to help humans, not eliminate them.
  • Reverse Polarity: The Chaos Emerald Tails provides to Sonic once aboard the ARK has the power to "reverse the energy field" of the gathered emeralds and cause an explosion. This is because that particular emerald is fake.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Chao return from Sonic Adventure. This time, they're cute enough to star in their own movies in-universe.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: The president's secretary, who comprehensively lays out the disastrous effects of the ARK's Eclipse Cannon for him and manages conferences between them and their agent.
  • The Rival: Sonic/Shadow, Tails/Eggman, and Knuckles/Rouge.
  • Rivals Team Up: All of the Hero and Dark characters team up in the final stage Cannon's Core to stop the Eclipse Cannon. In order, Tails, Eggman, Rouge, Knuckles, and Sonic complete the level, with Shadow taking on the boss. Then in the final boss, Sonic and Shadow (who had a Heel–Face Turn) turn into their super forms to fight the Finalhazard, Biolizard fused with the ARK.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Core part of Amy's philosophy. It's what caused Shadow to back down on his revenge against the world.
  • Rule of Cool: Shadow's Establishing Character Moment features him as an Incoming Ham Milking the Giant Cow Atop A Mountain Of Humongous Mecha, and because Talking Is a Free Action, Shadow ends with a Villain: Exit, Stage Left right when GUN catches up with Sonic. After this one scene, however, Shadow never again displays this level of theatrics (and no reason for Shadow to make this speech is given in the first place), so its main contribution is to be a cool way to show off the new character.
  • Rule of Drama: The game excuses Sonic's Cutscene Incompetence being captured by G.U.N. near the start of the story by having him claim he let it happen so he could look for clues—which is really just an excusenote  for Sonic to already be on Prison Island when Eggman, Shadow, and Rouge are making their big raid so he can find and fight Shadow.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Each team has three members. The Hero team has Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and the Dark team has Shadow, Rouge, and Dr. Eggman.
    • The members of each team are organized into three pairs of rivals: Sonic and Shadow, Eggman and Tails, and Knuckles and Rouge. Each pair of characters has its own style of gameplay.
    • The goal of Knuckles and Rouge's stages is to find three objects of a certain type.
    • Knuckles and Rouge can consult the hint monitors in each stage up to three times per each object.
    • There are three storylines in the game; Hero, Dark, and Last.
    • GUN has three Humongous Mecha, the Big Foot, Hot Shot, and Flying Dog.
    • Most playable characters have three Limit Breaks in multiplayer (excepting Metal Sonic, who has none, and the unlockable Palette Swaps, which usually have only one of the Limit Break from the set of three).
    • There are three Chao Gardens, each corresponding to the Neutral, Hero, and Dark types of Chao.
  • Sadistic Choice: Invoked by Eggman near the end of both the Hero and Dark stories: Eggman has Amy held hostage and lures Sonic to him, threatening to kill her unless Sonic relinquished the last Chaos Emerald needed to power the Eclipse Cannon. Sonic, having a fake Emerald designed to destroy the cannon, acquiesces to Eggman's demand. Unfortunately, Eggman already knew the Emerald was fake and had a trap set up for Sonic...
  • Sanity Slippage: Gerald Robotnik, as his diary indicates, definitely went through one after Maria died; I became scared as I could no longer control my thoughts... All I knew was that I wanted it to end...
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Even if she was a double agent, Rouge poses as one to Eggman, especially when she mocks him for throwing a tantrum when Sonic interrupted his conversation with the President through the screen.
  • Save the Villain: After their Boss Battle, Knuckles saves Rouge from falling down into a pit of lava, despite the fact that she tried to steal the Master Emerald. They Almost Kiss.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Knuckles and Rouge. During their introductory cutscene, after Knuckles shatters the Master Emerald to keep it out of Eggman's clutches, Rouge panics, seizes him by the throat, and throttles him until he calmly explains himself.
  • Say My Name:
    • Shadow yells out "Maria" when losing a life in levels. Also does this a lot of time during his flashbacks.
    • Amy and Tails both do this separately when Sonic exploded in the capsule. Or so they thought; Sonic manages to escape using the fake Emerald.
    • Tails mutters "Sonic..." whenever he dies in a level. He shouts it instead if he falls down a bottomless pit.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: Since you jump around from playing style to playing style, this can be in effect if you are much better at some characters than others.
    • Also, each stage has the same five missions in the same order. Depending on which character you are using, some of the missions will be easier or harder than usual. Tails and Eggman's stages have very few rings and LOTS of enemies, so the second mission, 'Collect 100 Rings!', is harder for them than it would be for other characters. The timed missions for Knuckles and Rouge tend to be harder than their 'Complete Hard Mode' missions since for them, while the emeralds are in very annoying and hard to reach places in Hard Mode, they're in the same place each time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After a handful of Master Emerald shards are lost during the approach to the ARK, Knuckles leaves Sonic and the others in the space shuttle to find them, with Tails lampshading that he bailed. After he successfully restores the emerald, he tries to reconnect with the others and finds Sonic, who asks him to look after Tails and Amy.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Shadow, who can fearlessly hold his own in the face of adversity, capable of harnessing the power of Chaos Control, and rivals Sonic's running speed.
  • Second Hour Superpower: Applies to certain upgrades that all of the characters receive early on, which grant abilities that become essential game mechanics throughout the rest of the game. It can be weird starting a new save file after playing on an old one for a while and realizing that these abilities aren't available from the very start of the game.
    • Sonic and Shadow get Light Dash shoes.
    • Tails and Eggman get Hovering boosters.
    • Knuckles and Rouge get digging tools.
    • Every character gets an upgrade that lets them break through iron crates.
  • Secret A.I. Moves:
    • In the Astral Finale Boss Battles against rival characters, The Rival can use Special Attacks that the player can only use in multiplayer (Shadow's Chaos Spear, Rouge's Black Wave, etc).
    • In Sonic's and Shadow's Final Boss battle, the boss uses a unique version of Chaos Control or Time Stop; Time Stands Still when using the multiplayer version of these special attacks, but in the story the boss uses it to Teleport in front of the player character if they fall behind in the race.
  • Secret Character:
    • In the Dreamcast version, getting all A ranks in a certain playable character's missions sees a member of the original Sonic Adventure cast Promoted to Playable in the 2P Battle Mode—Amy for Sonic, Metal Sonic for Shadow, Tikal for Knuckles, Chaos 0 for Rouge, Chao Walker for Tails, and Big the Cat for Eggman. These appearances are just reskins and have no effect on gameplay.
    • The GameCube version and its subsequent ports (with the Battle DLC) have all of the extra characters available right from the start (except for Big the Cat, who was replaced with the Dark Chao Walker), gives them a full set of unique animations, gives them unique stats to better differentiate them, and allows for players to compete with any characters in the same category, instead of only allowing Hero vs. Dark. A complete set of A ranks now unlocks alternate multiplayer skins for the 6 main characters instead, with those new skins also giving unique stats.
    • In the Updated Re Release for the Gamecube, each playable character has a menu theme that can be selected, which will alter the voiceover and background of the main menu system. Secret themes for Amy, Omochao, and Maria can be purchased from the Black Market in the Chao Kindergarten, and a fourth secret theme for the president's secretary can be unlocked at theme select screen itself via Classic Cheat Code.
  • Secret Final Campaign: Complete both the Hero and the Dark stories, and one final story that has you playing both factions becomes available.
  • Sentai: The Chao Rangers of the Challenge Races, a team of five highly-trained Chao who come in the colors Red, Green, Pink, Blue, and Yellow. Red is a Jack of All Stats, while the remaining four each specialize in different stats.
  • Serial Escalation: The special Lightning Bruiser gold and silver rival Chao from Sonic Adventure's Chao Race return in the Chao Race of SA 2... as the earliest, most basic Challenge race. There are eleven more races after them, each increasing in difficulty.
  • Sexy Walk: Rouge, to the point that when she runs, she keeps sashaying.
  • Shifting Sand Land: All of the stages surrounding and inside Eggman's pyramid base.
  • Shōnen Demographic: Moreso than the first game. The more darker, more action-oriented plot with some standard shounen anime elements (e.g. Shadow's tragic backstory, and the military vs. the cocky teenaged hero and his friends in a potentially world-ending battle) is one reason it's considered to be the most "anime"-esque of all Sonic games (minus one other glaring exception).
  • Shout-Out:
    • There are also a couple references to Phantasy Star Online. Random Drop boxes can be found in space stages. Some unlockable alternate costumes on the GameCube version are similar to what the characters in said game wear, and there are billboards advertising it scattered throughout the city levels.
    • During the famous scene of Eggman's video-message to the world, the mixture of Japanese and English text behind him is awfully reminiscent of Digivolutions.
    • The entire final sequence where Sonic and Shadow use Chaos Control to push ARK back into orbit is a reference to the climax of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
    • Some of the Achievements/Trophies for the HD remake are this. Heaven Or Hell & Beyond Good & Evil mainly.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 Writer Shiro Maekawa stated in a interview that the scene with Shadow and Maria views the Earth from Space Colony Ark was influenced by Please Save My Earth.
    • The ghost enemies are called Boos.
    • In Knuckles' monologue narration recap in the Hero's Story, before he enters the Aquatic Mine and Pumpkin Hill, he says "Sure feels creepy, but I'm not afraid of ghosts!".
    • A poster that reads "Planet of the Chaos" can be found throughout City Escape and the Big Foot boss fight, which is a tribute to Planet of the Apes. The Tim Burton remake of that film was released a month after this game.
  • Skewed Priorities: Knuckles' single-minded devotion to the Master Emerald becomes an issue once he joins up with Sonic and friends.
    • When the heroes enter Eggman's pyramid base, Knuckles prioritizes finding Rouge over stopping a possible world ending scheme.
      Knuckles: I saw Eggman go inside the pyramid, and, more importantly, I saw that bat girl go inside with him as well.
    • When the space shuttle the heroes are all on is damaged en route to the space colony, some of the Master Emerald shards are ripped out of the hatch. Knuckles (albeit understandably panicking) immediately seizes control of the space shuttle and causes it to spin even further out of control.
  • Sky Heist: Knuckles and Rouge's introductory cutscene (which is shared in both the Hero and Dark storylines) depicts Dr. Eggman attempting to steal the Master Emerald with the claw of his Eggmobile and take it back to his base. Knuckles jumps into the air and breaks the Master Emerald, apparently not wanting to get electrocuted again. Rouge is shocked when she sees this happen, but Knuckles tells her that if the Emerald is in pieces, he can restore it once he finds them all.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: While it's not quite Kiss, Knuckles and Rouge literally have this going on after the former saved her life.
  • Slasher Smile: The boos in the haunted stages have a scary, fanged-toothed smile.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: The main game is level 3. There are multiple paths through each level, with more being unlocked as you gain more items, and you can replay levels with different goals for more emblems. The chao raising mini-game, though, is decidedly level 6, for the game gives you no overall goal to accomplish in raising your chao.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Rouge is the only female character of the main 6 playable characters.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The themes for all of his stages seem to imply that Knuckles is gangsta.
  • Spear Carrier: The president's secretary, who has a few lines at the start and end of the scene where Sonic and Tails crash the president's meeting with Dr. Eggman... and also, for some reason, her own unlockable menu theme.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Downplayed. On several occasions, both Sonic and especially Tails go running off into action and leaving Amy behind, sometimes even telling her to stay put, despite Amy being competent enough to do things like get to Prison Island and secure a card key to Sonic's cell on her own. Lampshaded on the ARK, where Tails and Sonic out-and-out ignore Amy's presence while making plans to raid the cannon's core.
    Amy: I hate you! You guys always leave me behind and have all the fun!
  • Stepford Smiler: In the end of the Last Story, Sonic is noticeably grieved of Shadow's sacrifice, and when Amy goes to ask what's wrong with him, he assures that it's nothing and cheerfully informs her that it's time to head back to the earth. As everyone left the ARK, Sonic turns back, waving goodbye to the fallen Shadow in a pensive and solemn tone.
  • Storefront Television Display: One briefly shows up during the cutscene where Eggman demonstrates the Eclipse Cannon, with all of its TVs displaying his message while several passersby watch on in horror.
  • Storming the Castle: Exaggerated. Sonic and Tails raid Eggman's pyramid base to find the means to raid the Space Colony ARK so they can wreck the eclipse cannon and prevent it from being fired a second time.
  • Story Arc: This is the first game in the Sonic series to deal with the story of Shadow. It was later continued in Sonic Heroes and finished in Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • Stripperiffic: Rouge's unlockable Palette Swap for the multiplayer in Battle makes her look like she's going clubbing if not streetwalking.
  • Sugar Bowl: All of the Chao Gardens, where the most pressing issue is an empty stomach; even the Dark Garden, which looks like a haunted graveyard and has a pool of red liquid that may or may not be blood, is a pretty safe place for your cute little guys to reside.
  • Super Mode: Super Sonic, of course, but Super Shadow as well.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: The multiplayer attacks have the character's image pop in with a short animation before the attack is fired off. This is retained in the Hero/Dark counterpart boss fights when the enemy uses them.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Once Knuckles gets the Air Necklace upgrade in Aquatic Mine, he can breathe underwater indefinitely. This is especially useful for his section in the true final action stage, Cannon's Core, a majority of which takes place underwater.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In Mad Space, the hints are reversed: for the third hint, this usually manifests as the hint telling you not to go to a certain place and/or not to perform a certain action there.
  • Take My Hand!: Rouge makes a misstep in Meteor Herd (wearing stilettos in space doesn't seem as smart now, does it?), almost plummeting into the lava. Knuckles grabs her and hoists her back up.
  • Take That!: During development, the San Francisco-based devs were constantly being given parking tickets by attendants driving small three-wheeled cars. They retaliated by adding replicas of those cars into the game as G.U.N. vehicles and allowing them to be shot up and destroyed.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The logo has a blue top spiral half to represent Sonic, and a black and red bottom spiral half to represent Shadow, who debuts in this game.
  • Theme Naming: The Eclipse Cannon and Project SHADOW—an eclipse is an astronomical event where a celestial body casts its shadow on another celestial body.
  • Theme Tune Rap: Most of Knuckles' stage tracks take the form of raps about where he is, what's in the level, his goals and motivations, and bits of the game's story where applicable.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Knuckles's and Rouge's race for the Master Emerald shards is an Excuse Plot to keep an otherwise uninterested Knuckles involved with the heroes—he wants to get to Rouge and the emerald shards she's collected. Knuckles only contributes to the heroes' efforts when they invade Eggman's pyramid basenote  and when the complete Master Emerald is used during the Last Story—and the latter event is for all practical purposes immediately negated by the True Final Boss.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • In the G.U.N. boss fights, a G.U.N. soldier will utter this when defeated.
    • Also, the Dark characters will utter this when they are defeated for the final time.
    Rouge: This can't be true! I never lose!
    Eggman: No! I can't lose to Tails!
    Shadow: Impossible! I am the ultimate life form!
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • Tails vows to never forgive Eggman for blowing Sonic to smithereens, (or so he and Amy think).
    • Also Shadow's initial thoughts about Maria's death.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: A more literal sense than most applies to the watery Chaos Zero from the Sonic Adventure 2 Battle multiplayer, who can notably breathe underwater indefinitely, an ability that may give him great advantages on the handful of Treasure Hunt stages that have water, but is otherwise useless.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: During the Astral Finale, Eggman traps Sonic and ejects him from the Space Colony in an Escape Pod wired to explode.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Downplayed with the Treasure Hunt stages, where your final score is primarily determined by how quickly the player can isolate and collect all three treasures. The more time taken to find a treasure, the lower a score the player receives for it.
    • The penultimate section of Metal Harbor requires Sonic to board a rocket within 15 seconds before it lifts off.
    • In the story, Team Dark is using time-bombs to blow up Prison Island, which turns multiple stages into examples. Security Hall gives you five minutes to complete it, while Green Forest and White Jungle give you eight and ten minutes, respectively.
    • Every stage's fourth mission requires beating the level within a given time frame, with the specific time varying by level. Fourth missions for levels that already have timers just give you less time.
    • During the final Sonic/Shadow boss fight, if you don't beat the boss within ten minutes, the platforms will end and you will fall to your death.
    • The True Final Boss has to be beaten within five minutes. If you don't, the Finalhazard breaches Earth's atmosphere and kills everyone.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The trailer for the Hero story ends by saying "Farewell, Sonic... forever." This refers to Sonic's apparent death by space capsule... but teasing such doesn't make much sense, since you only get to see this trailer if you've already beaten the Dark story and thus already know that Sonic survives!
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Maria's last wish for Shadow was to make sure the people on earth could have a chance to be happy.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Eggman, rather than relying on an army of Mecha-Mooks in this game, mostly does his own dirty work, apart from aid from Shadow and Rouge, and he blows away entire armies in a machine that's nowhere nearly as intimidating as the huge machines he had in the last game, and he's FAR more competent than in any other appearance in the series.
  • Totally Radical: Some of the stunt bonus titles ("Jammin'!", "Tight!", etc.) have this feel to them, although it fits with Sonic's Mascot with Attitude style so it isn't out of place.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Although it only happens for one game, Sonic gives Rouge Shadow's inhibitor ring after he supposedly dies.
  • Translation Nod: During Dr Eggman's Do Not Adjust Your Set broadcast, text behind him displays both Eggman and Robotnik, the latter of which is his former English Dub Name Change. In the same game, Robotnik is the surname of Eggman's grandfather and cousin in both Japanese and English.
  • True Final Boss: Biolizard. It then went on to fuse with the Space Colony ARK, becoming Finalhazard.
  • Tube Travel: In the Crazy Gadget stage.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The Hero Story is a straightforward tale of Eggman's plot to Take Over the World with his new cohorts Shadow and Rouge; the Dark Story is a dive into Shadow's and Rouge's motives. The Last Story ties both lines together.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Maria Robotnik, the granddaughter of Gerald Robotnik.
  • Ultimate Life Form: Shadow has the honor of naming the trope. He's the ultimate life form, created by Gerald Robotnik for GUN, believing it would help cure his granddaughter's terminal illness. Since Shadow is just as capable as Sonic, this puts Shadow at odds with the Blue Blur, as Shadow is consistently surprised that Sonic can match him — or even surpass him.
  • Uncommon Time:
    • The intro music starts out in 12/4 as Sonic and Shadow are being introduced, then it changes to 11/4 as Tails and Eggman are being introduced, then 10/4 as Knuckles and Rouge are being introduced. It then switches to Common Time for the rest of the intro.
    • Mad Space's BGM is in 7/8 time.
    • There's one part of Sky Rail's BGM that is in 9+10+9+7+7/4.
  • Underground Level: Aquatic Mine. Doubles as Under the Sea and potentially Down the Drain.
  • The Unfought: This game marks the first time that Sonic doesn't directly fight Eggman. This is justified since this game is mainly focused on heroes fighting their gameplay counterparts (Tails vs Eggman, Knuckles vs Rouge, and Sonic vs Shadow).
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Rouge's response to Knuckles saving her life was angrily snatching her hand away from him, thus leading the two resuming their arguing. Then it's subverted when she gives him back the pieces of the Master Emerald that she stole, under the premise "they stink like echidnas do". Of course, when Knuckles thanks Rouge and apologizes to her, she actually smiles back at him after he leaves.
  • Unique Enemy: There's a red version of the Hornet-3 (the flying robot that's armed with 3 bombs that they launch towards the player when they get near) called the Phoenix, which goes faster than the stock model. They only appear in the Hard Mode version of Meteor Herd; none appear in Meteor Herd's normal mode, or in any other level, normal or hard mode.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: Every stage of the story has a hard version. Unlocking them requires clearing the first four missions of the stage, with hard mode serving as the fifth and final mission.
  • Updated Re-release: Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the GameCube features an overhaul on the game's multiplayer features, added new stages, readjusted the playing system so playing three games are no longer required, implemented an options for the 2P Battle mode games, all characters that were previously unlockable by getting "A" ranks with certain characters from the Dreamcast version are available from the start, and the 2P Battle mode runs at 60 FPS instead of 30 FPS. The extra characters themselves were also tweaked so they are no longer simply clones of the existing Team Sonic/Dark characters, however, Big the Cat in this version was replaced by the Dark Chao Walker. The game also features some gameplay tweaks, touching up some main character's models and shading, some gameplay refinements, and expanded on the Chao Garden. This version, however, did come with some downgrades with the visuals (especially during story cutscenes), a few missing or broken effects, and some sound mixing issues. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle would later serve as the basis for the HD port of Sonic Adventure 2 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, with the extra multiplayer features from Battle being sold as DLC, however, some of the issues from the GameCube port are worse in the HD version (e.g. the sound mixing, missing features that required connectivity with the Tiny Chao Garden).
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Downplayed. You can automatically earn an "A" rank in a level by collecting every ring. This is impossible on certain levels because some rings are placed in areas that you can't reach without going outside the game's limitations. White Jungle is super-guilty as an entire prototype level layout (for Green Forest, weirdly) is stored within the level data, resulting in almost half of the rings being unobtainable (you max out at 287 rings out of a "possible" 462).
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: This happens in the Final Story where the two ultimate life forms fight. Shadow, the perfected one, vs. the Biolizard, the failed prototype.
  • 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:
    • Chao. You can hit it, 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. With the introduction of Light and Dark Chao in this game, who is treating the Chao good or bad matters as much as how they're treated. So treating your Chao nicely with Shadow, Eggman, and Rouge will make them Dark as well as being cruel with the good guys will, and vice versa.
    • Omochao is another source of cruelty potential as mentioned above, but even Chao lovers like to torture the thing (the fact you can even interact with it at all is probably the developers acknowledging that some players would likely tire of him offering bits of advice even after no one was interested). Then again, it is a robot that just looks like a Chao and is not an actual Chao...
    • In one subversion, you can choose to put down Omochao instead of throwing him around like many players would do, and he'll thank you in one of the dialogues.
  • Villain Ball: Dr. Eggman, having detected the signal of one of the Green Rocks near his base, accidentally finds he's detected the Master Emerald and not one of the Chaos Emeralds. He has no current use or plans for it, but snatches it anyway and throws in a dig at Knuckles, both of which only prompt Knuckles to shatter it.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Dark Story has you playing as Shadow, Rouge, and Dr. Eggman, marking the first time in the Sonic series where you could play as the bad guys.
  • Villainous Legacy: Gerald Robotnik. The main conflict of the story is against Eggman, but it was Gerald's actions 50 years in the past that caused many of the problems in the game... and in a few of the sequels.
  • Virtual Pet: The Chao, which can be reared by each of the six playable characters from the main campaign and trained using small animals and Chaos Drives collected from the main character stages. New to this game is a system of Evolutionary Levels allowing the Chao to evolve into either Hero or Dark Chao depending on how they're treated by the various characters. The system would go through a complete overhaul for the GameCube versions.
  • Wham Line:
    • The Hero Story has this right before Green Forest, since the heroes (and by extension, the player if they haven't done any of the Dark Story first) have absolutely no idea what Eggman is planning:
      1st Mission: Escape from the island in 8 minutes!
      Dr. Eggman: (over Shadow's device) Shadow! What are you doing? Hurry and get back here right now before the island blows up with you on it!
    • This line from Dark Story reveals that somebody from Team Dark is not what they seem:
      Rouge: *into communicator* This is Rouge reporting!
    • In Last Story, it's clear something's wrong from the moment the Eclipse Cannon refuses to fire, but it's not clear what until this bombshell gets dropped:
      Rouge: It's all over for us.
      Knuckles: What do you mean?
      Rouge: I've just received a message from my boss. The space colony ARK is currently approaching the Earth at an incredible velocity. It probably... will impact Earth.
  • When She Smiles: Rouge is depicted of making seductive and devious expressions, but after Knuckles leaves after restoring the Master Emerald, she gives out a tender smile at him, marking a sign of her true feelings for Knuckles.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: The marketing of this games' story gives off the impression of a "good team vs. evil team" plot, but it is actually more of a case of good vs not-so good. The hero team of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are undeniably good. Rouge is a sneaky Anti-Hero jewel thief, but is also a hired undercover spy for G.U.N who is sent to uncover Eggman's plot and is actually Good All Along, and Shadow is a morally conflicted amnesiac character who is out for revenge over the death of his closest friend Maria (That is, until he finally remembers what he promised and what she really wanted). The most villainous character is Eggman, and even then he ends up being not all that bad either.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Gerald becomes somewhat sympathetic once you realize how he lost everything important to him. To see how far Gerald fell, just watch the cutscene in Shadow the Hedgehog where he instructs Shadow (via old video footage) to use the Eclipse Cannon for the good of humanity by destroying the Black Comet. All it took was the death of Maria for Gerald to go insane and completely alter his motives.
    • Shadow the Hedgehog also counts for this to a certain degree. The reason he's attempting to destroy humanity? Because he thought that his promise to Maria was for revenge. And as it turns out, that was actually a fake memory created by Gerald so he could carry out his revenge on humanity.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Eggman displays a sudden spike in competence when he locks Sonic in a space pod and then fires it into space—and then blows it up for good measure. As he overlooks the explosion, Eggman solemnly declares Sonic an "admirable adversary."
    • Shadow had a similar reaction: When witnessing Sonic's seeming death, Shadow says "Looks like he was simply an ordinary hedgehog after all" with a tinge of disappointment. Curiously both Eggman and Shadow are somewhat nonchalant, even amused when realizing he survived, Shadow even directly telling him he managed to impress him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Knuckles had no qualms in attacking Rouge, who can hold on her own against him. However, he reluctantly apologizes for this after restoring the Master Emerald. Besides, Rouge is a thief, so Knuckles has a right to do so.
    Rouge: You call yourself a hunter, attacking a lady? Shame on you!
    Knuckles: What kind of lady goes around stealing gems anyway?!
  • You Just Told Me: Eggman pulls a magnificent one on Tails and Sonic when they come to rescue Amy. Meaning, of course, that Tails was outfoxed.
    Eggman: You thought you could trick me with that fake emerald, didn't you?
    Tails: So... how did you know it wasn't the real one?
    Sonic: Tails!
    Eggman: Because you just told me, fox boy!
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After Sonic and company board the space shuttle and try to board the ARK, the shuttle is struck by a meteor and the hatch rips open. Master Emerald shards come pouring out and prompt Knuckles and Rouge to go hunting for them.
  • Your Size May Vary: In Sonic Adventure, the Master Emerald was as big as a car. In this game, it's about as tall as Knuckles. Also present within the game itself. In the cutscene before Cannon's Core, it's much smaller than usual even in this game, being able to fit in Knuckles' hand.

"C'mon, let's go home. To the planet as cool and blue as me!"

(Live and learn!)
Hangin' on the edge of tomorrow!
(Live and learn!)
From the works of yesterday-ay!
(Live and learn!)
If you beg or if you borrow...
(Live and learn!)
You may never...find your...waaa-aaaaaay!!

Alternative Title(s): Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

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"How's Maria?"

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