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Video Game / Sonic Chronicles

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Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008) is a RPG Spin-Off of the mind-eruptingly popular 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 Ix, and set things right once and for all.


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.


Tropes featured in the game:

  • Action Commands: During special skills, and non-damage dealing ones fail completely if you miss even one; see Useless Useful Spell, below.
  • Aloof Ally: Shadow when he joins the heroes.
    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.
  • 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.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: On account of being a dead franchise 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:
    For I, the illustrious Doctor Robotnik... have utterly and completely reformed!
  • But Thou Must!: Averted. 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 the SatAM cartoon.
    • The entire game was a Canon Immigrant, specifically of Knuckles' Archie Comics miniseries, hence all of the uncanny parallels between Shade, Imperator Ix, and the Nocturnus to the comics' Julie-Su, Finitevus, and the Dark Legion. Ironically, this is probably the closest game you'll ever get based on the comics.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: Several. The game is even helpful enough to provide you with a mini-encyclopedia on the previous Sonic 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.
  • Continuity Porn: Overall, the game makes a huge point to tie itself in with most of the games of the series...
  • Continuity Snarl: ...which falls flat on its face because it gets a ton of details wrong (some of which can be excused during the brief time skip, though some can't).
  • Darker and Edgier: The plot gets pretty grim at points, what with No Endor Holocaust being strictly averted.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rouge.
    • You can also have Sonic dabble in this, if you keep picking the "snarky" dialogue options. Not nearly as deadpan as Rouge, though.
  • 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.
  • Deuteragonist: After a few games out of the spotlight after Sonic Adventure, Knuckles gets an important role concerning the involvement of the echidna race.
  • Dimension Lord: Imperator Ix.
  • Duel Boss: The final battle between Super Sonic and Imperator Ix.
    • Also, General Raxos.
  • 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 certainly runs the Twilight Cage like one. His title is "Imperator" for crying out loud.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Super Sonic, as always.
  • 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 admittedly just took Archie's echidna history and adapted it to the games, which got EVERYONE involved with the game in trouble when Ken Penders filed for copyrights to prevent this scenario happening again and Archie didn't address it before the copyrights kicked in.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The backstory gives us the tyrannical, fascist dictator Imperator Ix vs the selfish, greedy and poor parent Pachacamac.
  • Fastball Special: Rather common in Sonic's special attacks.
    • Played completely straight with his combined special with Amy.
  • 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/catch-the-fleeing-enemies minigame.
  • Flanderization: This game sadly doesn't help with some of the more divisive characters. For example Big the Cat, usually just a mellow Ditz, is now a complete air head who speaks near solely in non sequiturs. You can also choose whether to do this or similarly invert it with Sonic's attitude. Played straight with E-123 Omega and Amy, however, as the former has been turned into the Bioware classic Robotic Psychopath party member andthe latter straights up lies about having a boyfriend to make Sonic jealous.
  • Fragile Speedster: Sonic, being most likely to act first, but not having very high defenses.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Downplayed, but 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.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Ix.
  • Good Feels Good: Surprisingly, Eggman discovers running and jumping and do-gooding is fun. Or does he?
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 of course.
    • 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: How 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 wouldn't be covering it anytime soon, and Aaron Webber, who is a social media coordinator at Sega of America, stated that "everything is canon".
  • Mass Teleportation: Any civilization that ended up in the Twilight Cage.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Eggman's usual brand as well as the Gizoids.
  • Mighty Glacier: Omega and Knuckles. They have higher defenses but aren't as powerful.
  • Missing Main Character: Some parts force you to use a party that doesn't have Sonic in it.
  • 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.
    • Eggman makes a cute little allusion to Mean Bean Machine by talking about himself when he was "young and full of beans".
    • The game even does this on accident. 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": In the first few chapters, we get quotes 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+: 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.
  • No Ending: Combined with Sequel Hook. The game ends with Sonic and friends learning that Eggman has taken over the world. And then they thank Bioware for being awesome.
  • Noob Cave: Green Hill Zone.
    Tails: Sonic! Look out! That armadillo looks angry!
    • Although, if you do a sidequest to free the animals from mind control, they will be replaced with repurposed Swatbots and other robots.
  • Obvious Beta: SEGA's contract with Bioware had just expired 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.
  • One-Hit Kill: Spartoi, a special Chao, allows for a random chance to oneshot an opponent regardless of armor when the character he's with attacks.
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: Built on the "Shedinja" model. 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.
  • Panty Shot: Amy when running in the overworld.
  • 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: Multiple. Whatever you do, make absolutely sure you follow Eggman's advice and don't go into Metropolis unless you're sure you've got everything you need. Also, make sure to get everything in Metropolis before trying to recapture the Master Emerald. And after that, get everything in Metropolis Ground Zero before finishing the chapter, and then make sure you have everything from the Twilight Cage before starting chapter 10.
  • Poor Communication Kills: When the heroes attempt to track down Eggman using a device, they end up finding Shadow in Mystic Ruins. But rather than tell them why he was there (Finding Omega), he instead picks a fight with Sonic when he feels they're accusing him of something. And 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.
    • If you can get Cream and Omega to join the party, Tails and Knuckles turn into these due to being outclassed in their niches.
  • Randomly Drops: Chao are obtained at random each time you get an egg. 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.
    • However, the randomness of the chao can be exploited by saving before checking the egg. Different chao are hatched every time you load the same save and check the egg.
  • Required Party Member: Often, especially when the team splits up.
  • 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 nano.
  • 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 there's this gem 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 Colony.
  • Space Pirate: In a sidequest, with Talk Like a Pirate epically mocked by Rouge.
    • "Aye. A speech impediment it be."
  • Spoiler Opening: If one looks carefully enough there is a brief gameplay clip in the introduction movie featuring Shade unmasked, and curiously in an area that CAN'T be accessed after you unlock her.
  • Squishy Wizard: Tails and Cream, to an extent.
  • Stock Subtitle: "Chronicles".
  • Stone Wall: Big.
  • 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. 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: A late-game Dual Boss 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:
    • 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: Done twice, in Chapters in 5 and 10.
  • 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.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Several special skills are completely useless if you don't input every single action command perfectly. If you didn't, congratulations, you just lost a turn and a bunch of PP.
    • There is a Chao that will automatically grant you perfect results... too bad the chances of finding one is at pure random.
  • Verbal Tic: Like Yoda, the Kron speak.
  • Villain Ball: Way to announce your plans for world conquest right in front of your lieutenant who believed you wanted to simply return to Earth, Ix.
  • 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 a previous game.
  • 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: You know it's this when even Big the Cat gets in on it.
    Is your name Froggy? No. Your name is Sonic. So-nic.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The Twilight Cage. This come back to bite our heroes by the time they get back.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic Chronicles The Dark Brotherhood


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