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The One Where it's a role-playing game with midi music.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008) is a RPG Spin-Off of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise for the Nintendo DS, developed by none other than BioWare.

A while after Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik's latest defeat, the doctor is still missing in action, and is presumed dead. The peace doesn't last very long, though, as Sonic receives a call from Tails explaining that Knuckles has been kidnapped by a mysterious new group named the Marauders, who have also stolen all the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic then teams up with Tails, Amy, and Rouge in order to rescue Knuckles. Things quickly spiral out of control, with a renewed Eggman (who seems to be on the side of good), the Marauder Army, and having to go to another dimension to retrieve the stolen Chaos Emeralds, where they will have to ally with other races they meet (and rescue), defeat the Dimension Lord Imperator Ix, and set things right once and for all.

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A sequel was announced, but nothing's been heard since. The game took heavy inspiration from the Archie Comics canon, causing a legal situation with writer Ken Pendersnote  to ensue and essentially cause any future for the series to be abandoned.


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Tropes featured in the game:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Thanks to the party collecting the Chaos Emeralds in the second half of the game, Sonic is able to turn into Super Sonic and face off against a Master Emerald-powered Imperator Ix for the final battle.
  • Action Commands: POW moves are performed by following touch screen prompts, with a mix of tapping circles as they appear, sliding the stylus across a moving circle's path, or rapidly tapping a circle. Messing up causes the move to deal less damage or whiff completely. These prompts are also used for dodging the special moves of enemies.
  • Aloof Ally: Shadow when he joins the heroes. He's back to being moody and disagreeable, only working with them because of the situation at hand.
    Shadow: Just don't expect me to join in on your group hugs and picnics.
  • Animated Actors: The credits are delivered by having Sonic, Tails and Omega break the fourth wall to discuss the developers.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: After working together with Eggman, Tails seems to think of him less as an enemy and more as a fellow scientist, often commenting things like "Wow, I bet Eggman would love to see this!". If you call him out on it, he'll stop.
  • Animation Bump: Battles in the game run at 60FPS when it involves only two combatants. That gets cut in half (or worse) when more combatants are added into the fray. One-on-one battles that pop up during the game end up invoking this as nearly all the battles in the game involve at least four fighters per side and thus miss out on the framerate boost. It helps that one-on-one battles in the game usually tend to be bosses.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: On account of being a dead miniseries that was screwed over by legal trouble, the game (and by extension this mini-series) ends with Eggman having successfully taken over the world.
  • Badass in Distress: The game's plot kicks off by having Knuckles kidnapped by the Marauders after they overwhelm him and Tails in a fight. By the time the heroes track him down, he's already managed to break free.
  • Blatant Lies: Eggman is pretty obviously not to be trusted, but since he's not the main villain this time the heroes still need to cooperate with him.
    For I, the illustrious Doctor Robotnik... have utterly and completely reformed!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After discovering that Eggman took over the world while they were gone, Sonic and Tails point out that they'll have to wait until the next episode to see what happens next. Cue them and Omega reading the credits.
  • But Thou Must!: Subverted. If you complete the optional quest of reuniting Cheese with Cream, she'll ask to join you on your quest. If you refuse her enough, she'll give up.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Emerl was picked up from Sonic Battle, dusted off, and woven into the Nocturnus' history.
  • Canon Immigrant: The SWATbots from Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) appear as common enemies; there is even a small event where you can find an old SWATbot and depending on what you tell it, it'll either peacefully deactivate itself or fight the party.
  • Can't Catch Up: Averted by giving earned experience points to everyone, whether they're in your party, back at the safehouse, and even the characters that haven't met you yet.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: The only time you're allowed to have Sonic outside your party is when you're controlling two different parties.
  • Co-Dragons: Scylla and Charyb, two unique Gizoid commanders who both serve as second-in-command to Ix. They are major obstacles in Chapter 10, as they hold the final two Chaos Emeralds and the party needs to split up to pursue them.
  • Colony Drop: Once again, Angel Island ends up falling when the Master Emerald is stolen. Unfortunately, it crashed onto a city this time.
  • Console Cameo: A Model 1 Sega Genesis can be seen alongside an Eggrobo in the Metropolis level, and in the Kron Colony level, a Sega Genesis controller can be seen hanging from a beam.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: The game is controlled entirely through the touch screen. Special (usually character-specific) actions are usually heralded by a little pop-up that you click.
  • The Comically Serious: Knuckles and Shadow border on this, with their serious attitudes contrasting with the goofy things other characters say.
  • Continuity Nod: Several. The game is even helpful enough to provide you with a mini-encyclopedia on the previous Sonic the Hedgehog games in one of the menus so you can get caught up on any of the relevant backstory that you might not have played before or had forgotten about.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Sonic and company return to Earth after saving the universe... only to discover Eggman successfully took over the world while they were gone.
  • Darker and Edgier: The plot gets pretty grim at points, what with No Endor Holocaust being strictly averted in the destruction of Metropolis.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Rouge doesn't play a notable role in the story, but she tends to suddenly pop up for a line or two of sharp dialogue during certain parts of the game.
    • Sonic turns into this via the "snarky" dialogue options, though he's not nearly as deadpan as Rouge.
  • Demoted to Extra: Team Chaotix only get a brief cameo in one chapter (and Vector is the only one seen on-screen), being the only team from Sonic Heroes not to have all three members playable.
  • Deuteragonist: After a few games out of the spotlight after Sonic Adventure, Knuckles gets an important role concerning the involvement of the echidna race.
  • Dialogue Tree: As Tails explains it, you usually can choose between getting through the conversation as fast as possible, being nice, being neutral, and being snarky and rude. The "fast as possible" option is, of course, marked with Sonic's grin.
  • Dimension Lord: Imperator Ix rules over the sealed alternate dimension known as the Twilight Cage, and has invaded Sonic's world with the intent to conquer it.
  • Downer Ending: Eggman takes over Earth while Sonic and friends were stopping Ix.
  • Duel Boss:
    • General Raxos notices that the team outnumbers him four-to-one, and requests a duel with Sonic instead of a standard fight.
    • The final battle between Super Sonic and Imperator Ix.
  • Dummied Out:
    • Farfinkle, one of the viral Chao, cannot be unlocked in the Japanese version of the game. This involves a Game-Breaking Bug with its special ability to inflict a random status effect.
    • Echidna versions of all the Blue Ridge Zone Sidequest characters can be found in the code, notably Timothy and his father. There's also an actual child named Timmy, along with dialogue to match that fact.
    • There is also a robot echidna with an arm cannon, along with art for items.
  • Easily Forgiven: Shade to varying degrees. You have the choice to be instant buddies with her or tell her she's an asshole at the start of her Heel–Face Turn, but either way you end up comrades.
  • The Empire: Ix runs the Twilight Cage like one. He insists it's to the benefit of the other aliens in the Twilight Cage, but they are much worse off under his rule.
  • Expy: Shade is pretty clearly an expy of Julie-Su, and the Nocturnus are expies of the Dark Legion. There's even an expied area with the Twilight Cage. BioWare mostly took Archie's echidna history and adapted it to the games, which got everyone involved with the game in trouble when Ken Penders filed a lawsuit in response. It came full-circle later in Archie's run, when the "Twilight Zone" to which the Dark Legion was banished was retconned to be Chronicles' Twilight Cage.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The backstory gives us the tyrannical, fascist dictator Imperator Ix vs the selfish, greedy and poor parent Pachacamac.
  • Fastball Special: Most of Sonic's special attacks involve him launching into an enemy, such as his special with Amy, where she launches him into enemies with her hammer.
  • Final-Exam Boss: The last battle with Ix tests to see how good you are with the Action Commands, and the one right before it checks your skill at the fleeing/chasing minigame.
  • Flanderization:
    • Big the Cat, usually just a mellow Ditz, is now a complete airhead who speaks near solely in non-sequiturs.
    • E-123 Omega doesn't get much dialogue, so for the most part BioWare made him into one of their classic Robotic Psychopath party members without much else depth.
    • Amy's attachment to Sonic and hot-headed attitude are amplified in this game, to the point where she lies about having a boyfriend to make Sonic jealous.
  • Fragile Speedster: Sonic, being most likely to act first and getting multiple actions per turn, but not having very high defenses.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Eggman is particularly keen on mentioning how he'd already thought of details first mentioned by other people. He does gamely admit that Tails had an idea he hadn't thought of for solving the Marauders problem, though he is a little put out that it doesn't involve any pain.
  • Glass Cannon: Shade has high attack and strong POW techniques, but is pretty fragile and occasionally needs to use Cloak to buff her defenses.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Ix.
  • Good Feels Good:
    • Surprisingly, Eggman discovers running and jumping and do-gooding is fun, though it's most likely a bluff.
    • Shade makes it clear she feels better within Sonic's benevolent team than doing Ix's dirty work.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Tails constantly reminding you to save your game. You can tell him to stop doing that, though.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Shade the Echidna defects to the side of good after learning of Ix's true intentions.
    • In the backstory, it's shown that all of the Twilight Cage races were conquerors of some sort. When the Argus Event took them to the Twilight Cage, the Nocturnus conquered them and cruelly dominated them all. This had the somewhat positive effect of causing the other races to have a Heel Realization, since they saw the pain of being dominated.
    • Dr. Eggman. Until you learn it's a load of bologna.
  • Hive Mind: The Voxai are all united under an Overmind that gives them suggestions. Under the rule of the Nocturnus, it's turned into blatant mind control.
  • Hypocrite: Imperator Ix accuses the other Twilight Cage races of being evil conquerors bent on controlling everything. This apparently makes it excusable for him to be an evil conqueror bent on controlling everything.
  • Immune to Mind Control: During the battle with the Voxai Overmind, there are four characters who are immune to his control. They are Sonic himself, E-123 Omega, Cream the Rabbit, and Big the Cat. Sonic is immune because he was in possession of a Great Emerald at the time, which gave him some protection, Omega because he's a robot, Big because he's The Ditz, and Cream because she's only six years old.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Amy is a "Shifter" party member, with focus on both attack and support. She doesn't excel in any particular area, but her attack and defense are good, she can move twice per turn, and she has a number of offensive and buffing/debuffing POW moves.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Though Shade believes she is doing good and merely helping her kind reach home, she is willing to follow through with Ix's rather brutal strategies of doing so without question. She does not flicker an eyelid at his squad invading innocent civilians or brutally ambushing Sonic and Knuckles until Ix blurts out his true goals of world domination, that is.
    • A Hannibal Lecture by Ix later in the game suggests him to be a Knight Templar himself, claiming he intends to make the world a better place by conquering it.
    • Near the end of the game, Knuckles confesses that he's worried Sonic might be this towards the Nocturnus Clan, leading Knuckles to give Ix a Last-Second Chance before Sonic can get there.
  • Leaked Experience: Notable in that party members don't actually level up from it until you put them back in the party for the purpose of distributing extra stat and skill points.
  • Left Hanging: Cliffhanger aside, what's the deal with the "Argus events" that sucked all the races into the Twilight Cage?
  • Lightning Bruiser: Shadow has high attack and defense than Sonic, but still moves three times per turn, making him a powerful damage dealer without much support to speak of.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Nocturnus clan is able to escape the Twilight Cage to obtain the Chaos Emeralds and Master Emerald by using their warp technology; they create a "bubble" of Twilight Cage reality around themselves, which, in Shade's own words, essentially allows them to leave without ever really leaving at all. Of course, she also states that the bubbles degrade with time and they'll be forcibly drawn back when they do. The only way to truly leave would be to use the wormhole made by the Master Emerald.
  • Loose Canon: Kevin Eva, who was the community manager of Sega Europe in the mid-2000s, insisted that Sonic Chronicles is non-canon and should be considered "Alternate Universe"; the implication is that the Ken Penders lawsuit with Archie and Sega, which involved using substitutes of his own characters from the Archie Sonic comics, makes it very unlikely that elements from the spin-off will ever pop up again. However, he has also said in the same breath that the series' canon is in constant "flux" and can change at any given moment. Ian Flynn, chief writer of the Archie Sonic comics, suggested that Sonic Chronicles rather occurs late in the chronology and thus is the reason why the comics never covered it, and Aaron Webber, who is a social media coordinator at Sega of America, stated that "everything is canon".
  • Mass Teleportation: All the civilizations that ended up in the Twilight Cage were imprisoned there by mysterious "Argus events" that moved them into it.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Eggman's usual brand as well as the Gizoids.
  • Mighty Glacier: Omega and Knuckles. They have higher defenses than most party members and strong POW moves, but aren't fast and don't get many actions every turn.
  • Missing Main Character: Two parts of the game force you to break the team into two parties, leaving one group with Sonic and the other with a different leader.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Eggman and Shade, since Eggman leaves the party during the same chapter Shade joins.
  • Mythology Gag: The game refers to a lot of plot threads that Sega discarded or forgot about, especially from Sonic Battle, and there are plenty of actual franchise references.
    • The Codex is filled with references to the Gizoid and the Fourth Great Civilization, which appear as plot points in Sonic Battle. The reason they're everywhere in the Codex is because they end up being the main villains, making this a sequel of sorts to Battle.
    • The Fourth Great Civilization were contemporaries of the Knuckles Tribe during their heyday — the Knuckles Tribe being Knuckles' ancestors, from Sonic Adventure.
    • Amy uses Tarot cards, as per her original bio all the way back to Sonic CD.
    • You encounter SWATbots and roboticized animals, concepts taken from Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM)
    • Eggman makes a cute little allusion to Mean Bean Machine by talking about himself when he was "young and full of beans".
    • One quest has the team deliver a young boy back to his home in Central City, but he refers to it as "Emerald Town", which was where Tails lived in Sonic Battle.
    • The whole concept of a still-living echidna race, exiled to the Twilight Cage, is an attempt to integrate what the Archie Comics did with their echidna race first.
  • Never Say "Die": Knuckles being imprisoned and set up for execution by the Nocturnus is never outright stated, leading to vague lines like "we'll waste whatever time Knuckles has left" and "they wanted to get rid of me, but Shade ordered them to lock me up and keep me alive".
  • New Game+: The game restarts almost immediately after the end credits. Characters join your party at the same level they were at the end of the game. You're given the freedom to reassign all of their points used to boost their special abilities (except Sonic, since he technically never joins the party), allowing you to play around with new strategies. For some odd reason, although Chao Eggs regenerate, allowing you to collect any rare ones that you may have missed last time, rings don't, which means you have to depend on selling items back to the shops in order to make any more money.
  • Noble Demon: Shade pre-Heel–Face Turn. She's a strong enforcer of the Nocturnus, but acts because she believes she's doing the right thing.
  • No Ending: Combined with Sequel Hook. The game ends with Sonic and friends learning that Eggman has taken over the world while they were in the Twilight Cage. And then the credits roll, with Sonic, Tails, and Omega chattering throughout.
  • Noob Cave: Green Hill Zone is the first map of the game, being pretty simple to navigate and having hypnotized animals as its main threats.
  • Obvious Beta: SEGA's contract with BioWare expired during development and they shifted their efforts to Dragon Age: Origins. As such, the game was released in a late beta stage, resulting in a bare-bones RPG with essentially no real sidequests. One of the most noticeable problems is the music and sound effects; most areas use placeholder MIDI-format music of very low quality, and pretty much all sound effects in battle are placeholder noises.
  • Odd Friendship: During Eggman's stint as a member of your party, he and Tails strike up a friendship based on their mutual interest into technology. Tails gets a bit too into it, which Sonic can call him out on.
  • Off-Model:
    • The hearts on Rouge's boots are in the wrong location: they're supposed to be on the very end of her feet, but her Chronicles model puts them much further up.
    • Shade has much smaller eyes during the final cutscene that make her look noticeably off.
  • One-Hit Kill:
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: Super Sonic and Super Imperator Ix both do massive damage with each blow, but if they don't take out their opponent in one turn (by not executing the Action Commands perfectly for Sonic, or by the player screwing up enough Action Commands for Ix), their health regenerates and they have to start over.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Amy claims to have a new boyfriend named Dexter. He's never seen, and depending on dialogue choices, Sonic suspects she's making him up. If you're nice to Amy throughout the game, she eventually admits that she made him up.
  • Optional Party Member: Cream and Omega, both of which are lost until you complete the game should you fail to recruit them before their respective Points Of No Return.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Due to the multiple Points Of No Return, almost everything, most notably both Optional Party Members and a lot of rings. Though there's always a second chance to obtain them with New Game+.
  • Point of No Return: The game repeatedly locks you out of earlier content as the game progresses, though usually with warning. Entering Metropolis in Chapter 5 locks out the first half of the game, Metropolis and Angel Island turn into Metropolis Ground Zero after Chapter 5, the Twilight Cage cannot be left after entering it at the end of Chapter 6, and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon prevents you from returning to the rest of Twilight Cage.
  • Poor Communication Kills: When the heroes attempt to track down Eggman using a device, they end up finding Shadow in Mystic Ruins. Rather than tell them why he was there (he was looking for Omega), he instead picks a fight with Sonic when he feels they're accusing him of something. When they meet him again, he tries to run away from them and has to be beaten by Sonic again to get him to talk with them.
  • Precursors: Someone lived in the Twilight Cage before anyone else did, and Nestor calls them this.
  • Quirky Bard: While Rouge is certainly one of the most entertaining characters, she's not very good aside from her very valuable steal ability and the team moves, since her own moves either deal low damage or have poor support effects.
  • Randomly Drops: Chao are obtained at random each time you get an egg, which are in limited supply. You could get all the best ones right off the bat or end up with crappy ones throughout the course of the game. Somewhat helped by the ability to trade Chao with friends or savescum for the rarer ones.
  • Required Party Member: Whenever the team splits up, certain party members are set into the teams and can't be swapped out, while others may be needed to reach collectibles.
  • Revision: The ancient Echidna society from Sonic Adventure are here dubbed the Knuckles Clan, implicitly indicating that Knuckles, as the Last of His Kind, was named after his clan rather than given a personal name.
  • Respawning Enemies: Monsters will keep on respawning when you have your back turned for only a second.
  • Rod-and-Reel Repurposed: Big's basic attack has him casting his fishing rod at enemies and reeling them in.
  • Sadist: Scylla, who is downright maniacal.
    Scylla: Stop and soak up the pain!
  • Scylla and Charybdis: The names of two locations as well as two robot guardians.
  • Series Continuity Error: The in-game codex, with such little gems like stating that Sonic and Shadow "teamed up together to fight Eggman" in Sonic Adventure 2, despite that never happening at all as everyone in that game had to work together to stop the ARK from plummeting into Earth.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Can be seen by treating Amy nicely — before the attack on Nocturne, she'll ask to speak with Sonic privately.
    • If you're sarcastic with Amy, the scale tilts towards a ship tease with Sonic and Rouge instead.
    • At times, it looks like Sonic and Shade are flirting with each other.
    • Shade and Knuckles, with the way they look out for each other and this line from Rouge. (Considering her own Ship Tease with Knuckles this is kinda shocking.)
      Rouge: You were always into older woman, huh, Knuckles?
    • You can ask Rouge if she's got a crush on Knuckles. She denies it, although she admits he has a certain "rugged look".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snake Talk: The N'rrgal, serpentine slime aliens, drag out their "s" sounds.
  • Space Pirate: In a sidequest, with Talk Like a Pirate mocked by Rouge.
    Rouge: Seriously, why would a pirate from another dimension even talk like that?
    "Aye. A speech impediment it be."
  • Spoiler Opening: If one looks carefully enough, there's a brief gameplay clip in the introduction movie featuring Shade unmasked, though oddly it's in an area that can't be accessed even after you unlock her.
  • Squishy Wizard: Tails and Cream have the worst defenses of the party, but their POW moves are some of the most helpful in terms of support.
  • Stone Wall: Big has very good defenses and a number of POW moves that let him tank easily, but he's very slow and his attack is beaten out by other party members.
  • A Taste of Power: Dr. Eggman has a lot of HP, a lot of PP and a ridiculously powerful and easy-to-execute special attack in Bombardment, as well as an instant kill attack against robots when used in conjunction with Tails. It's not a typical Taste of Power in that you don't start out with him, but he does leave the party about halfway through the game.
  • There Is Another: There's an entire clan of echidnas that were exiled to the Twilight Cage long ago.
  • Timmy in a Well: Parodied in a side quest where an old man asks you to retrieve his son from a well. Timothy technically is in a well, but is a grown man and doesn't need saving; maintaining the well is his job.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Overmind tries to scare Sonic by using mind control on the rest of the party. If Big is present, however, he just comments that his head hurts.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Sonic, especially when the more snarky dialogue choices are taken. The one piece of dialogue you can not select manually from Sonic is during Knuckles' confrontation with Ix, which rather bluntly demonstrates he trusts Knuckles about as much as vice versa:
    • While Shadow is far from the nicest character you'll meet, he suffers from this in where he is even more bitter and aggressive towards Sonic.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The opening cinematic trailer within the game shows Shade playable in the Mystic Ruins Zone which is impossible to achieve in-game.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Chapters 5 and 10 focus on the party splitting up to cover large regions. The game alternates between each party as they complete story objectives.
  • Used to Be More Social: Through some dialogue options after rescuing Knuckles, there are Sonic's pals expressing a bit of resentment towards Sonic for abandoning them for two years after their last battle with Eggman.
  • Verbal Tic: The Kron speak with backwards, Yoda-like sentencing.
  • Villain Ball: Ix announces his plans for world conquest right in front of his lieutenant who believed he wanted to simply return to Earth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shade knows what she does under Ix is wrong, but views it as necessary to escape the Cage. Once she realizes Ix was using the Nocturnus to fuel his bid for conquest, she promptly defects from him.
  • World of Snark: The game has a lot of BioWare snark in its writing, and even Big the Cat gets in on it.
    Is your name Froggy? No. Your name is Sonic. So-nic.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Amy doesn't believe Eggman has actually reformed. Then she invokes this trope when Knuckles says he might actually be telling the truth.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Your characters need to level up further before they can dash/fly/smash through obstacles despite having beaten Eggman and used those skills in previous games.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time passes faster in the Twilight Cage dimension. This come back to bite our heroes by the time they get back, as Eggman had plenty of time to conquer the world with nobody to stop him.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic Chronicles The Dark Brotherhood

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