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"It's time to crack that Eggman wide open. Yeah, let's party!"
Sonic

Sonic Heroes is an entry in Sonic the Hedgehog series which was released at the end of 2003. It's notable for being the first Sonic game to be Multi-Platform, having releases on all three sixth generation consoles; prior to this, Sega had quit making consoles and ported several re-releases of older games to the Nintendo GameCube and new games exclusive to the Game Boy Advance (the Sonic Advance trilogy).

Its primary gameplay gimmick is teamwork, and as such the story focuses on four teams of three: Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix. Each team has a Speed, Power, and Flight character with an associated formation. Each formation can be immediately switched with the press of a button.

  • Team Sonic, consisting of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Being heroes, they just want to stop Dr. Eggman. Their levels are squarely in the middle difficulty-wise.
  • Team Dark, consisting of Shadow (amnesiac and seeking answers from Eggman), Rouge (looking to steal an alleged secret treasure from Eggman), and Omega (successor to Sonic Adventure's Gamma with a burning hatred for Eggman). Their levels tend to be the longest and hardest, teeming with the most enemies.
  • Team Rose, consisting of Amy (stalking Sonic yet again), Big the Cat (wants to find his friend Froggy, who's missing again), and Cream the Rabbit (wants to reunite her friend Cheese with his brother). Their levels are designed to be the easiest with short length, low enemy count, and generous Power-Up distribution.
  • Team Chaotix, consisting of Espio, Charmy, and Vector from the titular 1995 game. Having opened a detective agency since their first adventure, they take on a mysterious client and investigate Dr. Eggman's new scheme. Instead of just running to the Goal Ring, the Chaotix are asked to accomplish specific objectives (finding hidden Chao, collecting rings, etc.) to complete most of their stages. Their levels can be wild cards in difficulty, depending on the task given.

It was later followed up with Shadow the Hedgehog, which wrapped up the loose threads in Team Dark's storyline.

A teamwork gimmick would also be used in Sonic Advance 3, but with a team of two instead of three and the ability to choose different character combinations.


The real super power of trope-work!

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  • Actually a Doombot: Eggman, after you defeat the Egg Albatross. In Team Sonic's story, the fake Eggman mocks them and reveals it was just a distraction while he prepared and unleashed his Egg Fleet; in Team Dark and Rose's stories, it just laughs at them, much to their annoyance. Subverted in Team Sonic and Dark's stories, where once the characters' backs are turned, the fake Eggman melts and reforms into Metal Sonic. Interestingly, Tails recognizes that the fake Eggman isn't a mere Eggman robot when he takes a closer look, but has to drop his investigation to catch up with Sonic and Knuckles — right before Metal reveals himself.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: Despite his amnesia, Shadow appears to recognize some events from Sonic Adventure 2. The first thing he does after being awakened by Rouge is rescue her from Omega (though Omega was shooting at him too, so he might have just been killing two birds with one stone). Then, when he sees Sonic in the jungle, Shadow appears to recognise him. Finally, when Rouge talks about stealing the Master Emerald again, Shadow remarks that some things never change. Granted, it's unclear how much is him genuinely recognizing anything, or whether Rouge gave him an off-screen refresher on the previous game's events.
  • A.I. Breaker: If you fly out of the enemy team's reach in a Team Battle, they'll spin around in circles until you land.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Metal Sonic, the real villain of the game, has gained a personality over the years, and has grown disillusioned at never being able to fulfill his purpose of defeating Sonic. In a surprisingly astute move, he mutinies by locking up Eggman, taking over his empire, and impersonating him, as well as secretly copying the data of the heroes to become all-powerful.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. Seemingly to go up to eleven from two Egg Carriers, he created an entire fleet of them that serve as a pair of levels that are simply nightmarish to those who are afraid of heights.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Metal Sonic spends the game scanning the heroes and gaining their powers: Sonic's speed, Tails' flight, Knuckles' strength, Shadow's Chaos powers, and (by way of proxies that have been in contact with him) Chaos' shapeshifting ability, manifested through metal instead of water. A dummied out line indicates he also copied Espio's Chameleon Camouflage.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The story ends with it unclear whether Shadow is the real deal, or merely another robotic copy. Shadow the Hedgehog would reveal through a tricky Easter Egg that, yes, he is the real Shadow and was rescued by Eggman. This would explain why Eggman's secret treasure would contain him, although it doesn't explain why Omega identifies him as one of Eggman's robots. Team Dark's version of the Egg Albatross battle also appears to shoot down the prospect of Shadow being an android with Metal Sonic's declaration of copying the Ultimate Life Form's data.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: In the scene after the Egg Albatross boss, Amy and Omega do this in their respective stories after being tricked by an Eggman decoy.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: When Team Dark uses their Team Blast, not only doe all enemies freeze, but so do all switch activated objects. Fortunately, the timer stops too, so having to wait on switches won't affect the rank.
  • Anti-Hero Team:
  • Arbitrarily Serialized Simultaneous Adventures: The game has four different stories, each with three characters, and a final story that connects all four together after they've all been beaten.
  • Art Evolution: The first true post-Dreamcast 3D title, this game evolves upon Adventure's art style. This is most noticeable when it comes to the characters' fangs. Sonic and Rouge no longer show their canines when they talk. Super Sonic has a new look as well, with more dramatically upward pointing quills meaning he no longer has the same silhouette as Shadow.
  • The Artifact: Knuckles' role as the guardian of the Master Emerald is absent in this game. For some unexplained reason, he left his post to join Sonic and Tails in their quest to stop Dr. Eggman.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • During Team Battles, flying out of the enemy team's reach makes them spin around in circles without attacking until you land. Since you can fly infinitely as long as you stay in one place, you can safely use Thunder Shoot until the Team Blast meter is full to make the fight much easier. That is, as long as the enemy team doesn't kill themselves first.
    • If you fall or jump off a ledge, the other two characters will follow you to their deaths.
  • Bag of Spilling: Each time you start a new zone, all your levels reset to zero.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Team Sonic is the balance, having the least frills and medium-length levels; Team Rose is the power, with a Team Blast that gives them invincibility, a barrier, and a Power-Up for each member; Team Dark is the skill, with a Team Blast that stops time so they can bypass threats without reaction or running up the clock; Team Chaotix is the gimmick, with unusual mission-based levels and a Team Blast that provides them with rings (which directly fuels the next Team Blast).
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio:
    • Balance: Tails, Rouge, Cream, and Charmy.
    • Speed: Sonic, Shadow, Amy, and Espio.
    • Strength: Knuckles, Big, Vector, and Omega.
  • Battleship Raid: Egg Fleet (a raid on multiple battleships) and Final Fortress (a raid on one massive battleship).
    Eggman: (monologue at the start of Egg Fleet) Muhahaha... you fools must all have a death wish? Witness this invincible battleship, built by the hands of a genius. It's [sic] power...unmatched throughout the universe!
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The characters do quite a lot of lampshading, especially in the later stages: How did Eggman build all those battleships? Why did he build so many? How the hell does Final Fortress stay in the air? Why would he add self-destruct mechanisms?
  • Big Bad: Metal Sonic is the true villain, while pretending to be Eggman.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion take place around and inside a haunted castle.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Big the Cat remains his dopey mellow self looking for his lost frog (again). He proves fiercely protective of the rest of Team Rose throughout the game though, especially Cream. He comforts her repeatedly when things start to get too daunting for her, and Team Chaotix hassling her for her Chao actually leaves him understatedly angry.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Sonic lets one out when you lose a life via Bottomless Pit.
    • Eggman lets one out when the Egg Emperor is defeated.
    • Metal Overlord also belts one out when hit by a Team Blast.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Averted with Team Sonic (as they're all the same size) and Team Dark (as none of the members are really short), but played straight with Team Rose (Big, Amy, and Cream, respectively) and Team Chaotix (Vector, Espio, and Charmy, respectively).
  • Big "WHAT?!": Vector has three of these in the Team Chaotix cutscenes.
    • When Charmy barges into their office with the walkie-talkie, saying they've got work.
    • When Cream accuses them of abducting Chocola.
    • When Charmy tells him that making a fool of himself isn't anything new for him.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The manual infamously describes Dr. Eggman as a feminist. Although the Japanese manual says nothing about his opinions on women, it's believed that the localization team added bits of text from other sources in order to make the description longer, and the Japanese website for the Sonic X anime does use the word "feminist" when describing Eggman. However, in Japanese, the word has different connotations, and would be more accurately translated as "chivalrous".
    • "Look at all those Eggman's robots!", which quickly went memetic among the fandom.
    • Another rather egregious example is in the final level. When you press a self-destruct switch to detonate the ship you are currently on, Tails asks "Wonder why it self-destructed?" In the original Japanese script, he instead asks "Why would he put a self-destruct switch there?"
    • As in Sonic Adventure 2, there are clips of English voice actors reciting the original Japanese instead of translation. In one case, during the opening logo, Sonic says "Yahoo!"... as if he were Japanese and speaking Gratuitous English.
    • Metal Sonic's infamous line calling Sonic his "loathsome copy" is this. In the Japanese original, he instead calls him his "imperfect self", referencing the fact he (Metal Sonic) was created to be Sonic's superior copy. The dub makes it sound as though Metal Sonic completely lost his mind and thinks he is the original Sonic.
  • Blow You Away: Speed characters have access to the Tornado Jump, which flips enemies over, removes shields, and can be used to climb poles and activate propellers. Once they hit max level, though, they can eschew using Tornado Jump entirely in favor of just using Homing Attack, as it gains Tornado properties at Level 3.
  • Bombardier Mook: The Bomb Flapper, a flying robot enemy that drops bombs. These bombs cannot be picked up and thrown at other enemies, so it has to be destroyed like any other Airborne Mook: have your team's Flight member knock it out of the sky with Thunder Shoot, then destroy it with the Speed or Power member. If your Flight member is upgraded to Level 2, then they can destroy the Bomb Flapper with one Thunder Shoot.
  • Book Ends: In the previous two games, the main threats Sonic faced were Perfect Chaos and Shadow. This game's threat is a powered up Metal Sonic using the abilities of both Chaos and Shadow, along with those of Sonic himself.
  • Bottomless Pits: Lots of them are present in the game, to the point where almost every single level after Power Plant is suspended high in the air.
  • Breaking Old Trends: The Egg Pawns introduced in this game are almost entirely uniform in appearance, a major step away from the random assortment of robots Eggman would field in previous games.
  • Breather Episode: Coming off the significantly darker and more realistically styled Adventure 2, Heroes overall is this. It has a much more lighthearted and comedic tone, a simple plot that wouldn't be out of place in a Saturday morning cartoon, and bright, colorful visuals that are akin to the Genesis titles. Notably, Team Dark's subplot would carry into the next installment, which also has the darker, more realistic tone of Adventure 2.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Lost Jungle is a swamp in its lower areas.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After being absent from the series since their debut in Knuckles Chaotix, Vector, Espio, and Charmy return as major characters in this game.
    • After being absent from the main series since Sonic the Hedgehog CD (unless you count several spin-offs he popped up in and two very brief cameos in Sonic Adventure), Metal Sonic makes his grand return in this game, and as the real villain of the whole thing.
  • Call-Back:
    • During the introductory cutscene for Team Sonic, Tails appears piloting the Tornado 2 in its jet plane configuration, which he built in Sonic Adventure. (It's been slightly expanded since its original appearance so that Knuckles can hang out in the back seat.)
    • The Japanese versions of the game scripts had one that got lost in translation. In Sonic Adventure 2, when Shadow calls Sonic stubborn for surviving after being shot into space, Sonic jokes about his stubbornness being his saving grace. Here, upon learning that Shadow survived falling from space at the end of said game, Sonic comments "Heheh. Seems like stubbornness is a saving grace for both of us."
    • Team Rose enters the fray because Chocola and Froggy have been kidnapped; the ending of their story indicates that this was so Metal Sonic could copy Chaos's data.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: While Eggman has always been like this, at least to some degree, Heroes marks one of his hammier displays of mustache-twirling in the post-Genesis era. Team Sonic's story starts with Eggman personally mailing out a letter declaring he'll take over the world with his new weapon in three days, and it just keeps going from there. Then it turns out that this is Metal Sonic disguised as Eggman, and he turns out to be no less subtle than his creator, albeit a whole lot more menacing.
    Egg Emperor: I'll show you what real evil is!*
  • Casino Park: The Trope Namer appears here along with BINGO Highway.
  • Cast Herd: The 12 playable characters are herded into four groups of Power Trios with their own stories.
  • Central Theme: "The real (super) power of teamwork!" From the story right down to the central game mechanics, characters working together is the driving theme of this game.
  • Character Level: Collecting certain power-ups allows individual team members to upgrade one level (with a total of three upgrades each), which allows them to do more damage to enemies and upgrades their abilities. The levels reset upon death or completion of a stage.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rocket Accel is taught in the tutorial and proceeds to be unnecessary for the rest of the game, until one puzzle in the second-to-last stage demands its use. Thankfully, Sonic and Shadow can both circumvent this with the somersault motion of their Solo Attacks, though the momentum generated by Kick is largely counteracted by the conveyer belt moving in the opposite direction, requiring the player to rapidly chain together multiple Kicks in order to proceed.
  • Chess Motif: Eggman's new series of robots have a semi-obvious chess motif — the obvious ones are the Egg Pawn, the Egg Bishop, and the Egg Knight; the rook and king pieces are represented by the Egg Hammer and the Egg Emperor, respectively (and as the most powerful in the series, the Emperor may pull double duty for the queen piece as well).
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles provide the classic Blue-Yellow-Red arrangement, which in this game has been expanded in role to refer to Speed, Flight, and Power character types. This particular arrangement of colors can be found all over the game if you look, such as on certain grind rails.
  • Competitive Balance: There are three different character types in the game, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Conflict Ball: Any battle between two teams has pitiful justification.
  • Continuing is Painful: Losing a life results in not only losing all your points (more-likely-than-not destroying your chances of getting a good rank for that level unless you died near the beginning of the stage), but it also resets your level-ups, making whatever killed you before more likely to kill you again.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Stay idle as Team Dark and Rouge might say "I haven't seen the President lately." This references the United Federation's president introduced in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • When you get a E rank with Omega, he will say "I couldn't even beat Gamma or Beta."
    • In the cutscene before the Team Sonic vs. Team Rose fight, Amy tells Sonic that there's no way out of marrying her, which is similar to when she asks him to marry her in the Prison Island scene in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • In Casino Park with Team Rose, Amy mentions that the level reminds her of Casinopolis.
    • In Frog Forest with Team Sonic, Knuckles remarks that the mushrooms in the level are huge compared to the ones from his island.
    • Shadow's encounter with Sonic has some shades of their encounter from Sonic Adventure 2. With quotes such as "What was with that hedgehog that looked like my twin?" and "Just a fake. Like I thought." (He says the former at the START of the fight, for some reason.)
    • The Team Sonic vs Team Dark fight marks the second time Sonic and Shadow clashed at a forest area. The first being at Green Forest.
    • If you stand still for a few seconds in Hang Castle as Shadow, he will say "Sonic... Why does that name... bother me so much?"
    • In Mystic Mansion, Knuckles comments "Ghosts must really like me for some reason..." He had previously faced ghosts in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure 2.
    • Shadow's quote "Even if I'm not real... I'm still the Ultimate Life Form, Shadow the Hedgehog!" sounds similar to his quote in a Sonic Adventure 2 cutscene where he mentions that he's still Shadow despite his memories not being real.
    • When Rouge comments about being near the edge of space while progressing through the Egg Fleet, Shadow replies with "Space? Did you say SPACE?"
    • In Final Fortress, Knuckles comments that the Egg Carrier is nothing compared to the massive fleet they're on. Also in the same stage, Amy comments that the stormy weather reminds her of when she was on the Egg Carrier.
    • In the Team Dark ending, Rouge tells Shadow that she's going to steal the Master Emerald since Knuckles is around here. Shadow remarks that some things never change.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: E-123 Omega is this to E-102 Gamma, his older brother from Sonic Adventure. Like Gamma, Omega is a member of the E-100 series of robots who has turned against Dr. Eggman, and he even somewhat shares Gamma's physical appearance. However, Omega is a lot more violent and destructive than Gamma was, destroying anything that stands in his way rather than just what needs to be destroyed. Further, while Gamma Grew Beyond Their Programming and realised the immorality of Eggman's actions, Omega opposes Eggman out of sheer spite.
  • Costume Copycat: Metal Sonic disguises himself as Eggman through the entire game, while the real one is locked up and gives orders to Team Chaotix. Presumably the "Sonic" seen in the newspaper article that kicked off Team Rose's quest was also Metal Sonic in disguise.
  • Crutch Character: Team Rose is effectively the game's "Easy Mode." They have the shortest and easiest levels along with a Purposely Overpowered Team Blast, making them good for learning the ropes and seeing all the levels, but their low speed makes it extremely hard to get the later Chaos Emeralds with them, forcing you to use one of the other teams.
  • Curse Cut Short: Not said in the game, but in the "Team Chaotix" theme song. At the end of the song, the singers sing "They're gonna kick your—."
  • Cut and Paste Environments: All the Teams go through the exact same levels at the exact same times and fight Metal Sonic disguised as Eggman in the exact same fights. While there are enough differences in the actual levels, the storyline is a giant Contrived Coincidence.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: While in-game any team can get any Chaos Emerald in the bonus stages, the Last Story confirms that Team Sonic got the blue Emerald, Team Rose got the yellow and purple Emeralds, Team Dark got the green and white Emeralds, and Team Chaotix got the red and cyan Emeralds.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Team Chaotix inverts this with the way their Team Blast works. The Team Blast gauge is filled by killing enemies and collecting rings, and with every enemy Team Chaotix kills with their Team Blast or during the Team Blast's cooldown, they collect a few rings. If you are in a place or boss battle with enough enemies, it's possible to pull off consecutive Team Blasts.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: A mild example in the North American PlayStation 2 version, as the Cross (❌) and Circle (⭕️) buttons were not switched from their Japanese functions (being no and yes, respectively), making menus rather frustrating to navigate. The European version however corrected this.
  • Death Mountain: Rail Canyon and Bullet Station, home to (one of) Eggman's Supervillain Lairs.
  • Determinator:
    • Shadow, as proven in this stage dialogue:
      Rouge: Doesn't look like we'll be able to move on.
      Shadow: No problem, let's keep moving.
    • Metal Sonic certainly counts, rebelling against his creator and having engineered everything that happens from behind the scenes for the sole purpose of defeating Sonic. This sees him take on every playable character in the Last Story, three of whom are in their Super Modes, and take an incredible amount of punishment from Team Super Sonic in the process — which is only enough to force Metal Sonic to revert to his original form before he finally goes offline. Compare this to most other villains not named Eggman, who typically don't survive their final encounter with (Super) Sonic.
  • Developer's Foresight: Team Rose's stages are much shorter than other teams, as they are meant to be the Easy Mode of the game. However, by using certain exploits with flight formation, it's possible to bypass the Goal Ring and access parts of the stage the team is normally never meant to visit. Doing so reveals the team not only has unique object layouts past the point where the level normally ends, but also dialogue that is otherwise never heard (such as Amy, Cream, and Big commenting on the VIP table in Casino Park and giant mushrooms in Frog Forest). Bullet Station is particularly notable as it has a completely unique Goal Ring a little ways past the team's normal endpoint for the stage that does not appear for any other team.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The Team Rose vs. Team Sonic boss has you (as Amy) beat Sonic up because he refuses her romantic advances. Granted, you also play as Sonic in the same situation, but the in-game dialog has Knuckles assume that it's Sonic's fault and the opening to the next level implies that Sonic ran away rather than fight back. Trying to have a male hero try to force a woman into marriage may not actually be considered appropriate for an all-ages game, but with the genders reversed, it's technically Played for Laughs.
  • Dreadful Musician: The Chaotix during their Team Blast. So horrible they can blow up everything around them. Outside the Team Blast, one of Vector's combo finishers* is to use his singing voice to damage enemies.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The game has the characters split into four teams of three, with two of the other teams serving as Boss Battles during the game — Team Sonic & Team Chaotix fight Team Rose & Team Dark, whilst Team Dark & Team Rose fight Team Sonic & Team Chaotix.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Team Sonic and Team Rose. Averted by Team Dark and Team Chaotix.
  • Elemental Powers: Each type has an elemental association — Speed types will Blow You Away, Fly types will Shock and Awe, and Power types are Playing with Fire.
  • Emergency Weapon: While the flier's attack is to throw their allies at enemies who usually return back into formation fast enough that you almost never find yourself without anything to attack with, in the rare situation the other allies are incapacitated and the flier has nothing to launch, they all have an alternate attack they can perform solo: Tails and Rouge throw dummy rings, Cream has Cheese attack, and Charmy stings.
  • Eternal Engine: Grand Metropolis and Power Plant. Rail Canyon, Bullet Station, Egg Fleet, and Final Fortress also qualify to a lesser extent.
  • Excuse Plot: In contrast to the Sonic Adventure games, Heroes deliberately aimed for a much more simplistic plotline, in order to serve as a "jump-on" point for newcomers to the series. The only exception is Team Dark's story, due to the subplot involving Shadow.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Team Sonic's story begins with Eggman informing them via letter that he'll Take Over the World in three days' time. This deadline ticks down to "24 hours left" by the fifth stage (Casino Park) and by the time they reach the seventh (Rail Canyon), Tails tells Sonic that they only have until sunset to make it to Eggman's base. From there on, time is no longer kept (as Eggman's Egg Fleet launches with Team Sonic in hot pursuit), but it's not implausible that the remainder of Heroes stretches out over a few more days at best.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game suffers in a few places from cagey controls and awkward physics. Take the Special Stage Emerald Challenges, where you must race and overtake the Chaos Emerald at high speed while navigating through scattered mines — a difficult enough concept even if you didn't have to worry about the controls wigging out as you race along the walls, cutting your speed at the most awkward times. Not helping matters is the fact that the yellow Chaos Emerald — the third Chaos Emerald — marks an unexpected and considerable difficulty spike from the previous two to the point that it tends to be one of the last Emeralds collected by several players.
  • Fake Longevity: In order to unlock the Last Story, you must complete each Team's individual story, which is standard enough and has been Sonic Team's standby since Sonic Adventure. The problem is that each different story consists of four almost-identical playthroughs of the same 14 levels and 7 bosses, with the main differences being different arrangements of enemies and "longer" stages that often amount to extended repetitions. note  After beating the Last Story, you are then required to get an "A" on every single mission on the game, including the extra missions, which means playing through each of the 14 stages with all four teams at least one more time (at least twice if you still need to get an "A" on the regular mission). Then, you unlock Super Hard Mode.
  • Fastball Special:
    • The Power characters can pick up the other team members and perform this in various ways. Knuckles' Fire Dunk and Omega's Fire Shot are performed as their aerial attacks, while Big's Fire Knock and Vector's Fireball are part of their ground attack string.
    • Team Sonic's Team Blast, the Sonic Overdrive, has the team flinging each other over to the enemies close enough for Sonic to perform the Light Speed Attack. More specifically, Knuckles swings around Tails and Sonic with a Human Hammer-Throw, whereupon Tails then kicks Sonic at the apex of their jump to launch him and initiate the attack.
      Sonic: Blast away!
  • Floating Continent: The Final Fortress is so darn big that it stretches as far as the eye can see.
  • Flying Seafood Special: The Egg Fleet consists of ships that resemble sharks, sawfish, and manta rays. The (huge) flagship, Final Fortress, is a whale shark.
    Big: Look at all the fishy ships!
  • Forced Tutorial: Sea Gate in Team Rose's storyline.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The game drops very obvious hints about the Chaotix Detective Agency's client:
      • When fighting the Egg Hawk, the client can be heard saying: "Agh! I knew it was him! Don't hesitate! It's part of your job, get him!" with the "him" referring to Metal Sonic.
      • After defeating the Egg Albatross, Charmy remarks that their client sure seems to know a lot about Dr. Eggman, and Espio suggests that they're connected to Eggman somehow. Vector, meanwhile, drops a pretty big hint that he's already figured out that their client is Eggman.
        Vector: You know, oddly enough, I've had the same strange feeling about our client's real identity. [glances back at the dummy Eggman] It could be you-know-who...
      • When Team Chaotix is about to fight the Robot Storm at the Mystic Mansion, Vector calls "Eggman" a mustache moron, before asking his client if he's the real deal (they had earlier defeated a fake). The client takes an odd amount of offense to Vector's remark before stopping himself. It's later revealed that their client was Eggman all along.
      • The Chaotix have to infiltrate Egg Fleet without being detected, while the other teams just fight their way through. Their client is Eggman and their goal is to free him from Metal Sonic, whereas the teams are all there directly or indirectly thanks to Metal Sonic's plans but he never planned for them to be there, so them being discovered before they reach the point where they can get the keys to his cell would be something Eggman would want to avoid.
      • Vector openly speculates about Dr. Eggman's finances during the Egg Fleet level. Turns out the good doctor hasn't got a dime.
    • After Team Dark defeat Eggman at Rail Canyon, they find a destroyed Shadow Android, opening the possibility that the Shadow we've been following since the start of the game is also an android]]. However, the same scene also has Metal Sonic stating that the Ultimate Life Form's data has been successfully copied, implying that, yes, that is the real Shadow we've been playing as.
    • In Hang Castle, an Eggman statue becomes a Metal Sonic statue when the castle flips upside-down, foreshadowing the fact the Eggman in this game is actually Metal Sonic in disguise.
    • Prior to Team Dark's first boss battle, after Omega threatens Eggman, Eggman remarks, "You must be Omega..." Even if he had abandoned him, it seems odd for Eggman to not recognize his own creation. That's because it's really Metal Sonic masquerading as Eggman.
    • When standing idle in Frog Forest as Team Dark, Omega will say "Shadow, that android must be an alien. Unable to analyze." Fast forward to the next game, where Shadow is revealed to have the DNA of Black Doom.
  • Fragile Speedster: Speed characters are the fastest of the three classes, but have average power and the worst defensive options.
  • Free Rotating Camera: Subverted in Hang Castle, as some sections force you to keep the camera upside-down.
  • Friendship Song: The main theme song "Sonic Heroes" is centered around this, as is Team Sonic's theme song "We Can."
  • Furry Confusion: Vector is an anthropomorphic crocodile. Lost Jungle includes a giant non-anthropomorphic alligator as a hazard. Team Chaotix takes an alternate route through the level, so the twain never meet. Team Rose (which fights Team Chaotix after Lost Jungle) doesn't encounter the alligator either.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: During Team Dark's Chaos Inferno Team Blast, Shadow reaches into Omega's chassis and pulls out the green Chaos Emerald to perform Chaos Control (whether the Emerald served as a power source for Omega or the robot was simply safeguarding it is unknown, although, given subsequent games, the latter is more likely). However, you still have to collect that particular Emerald via the Special Stages (with any of the four teams). Later on, during the Last Story, where the teams reveal that they've been collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds separately, Omega is seen in possession of the green Emerald, implying that he still had it all along.
  • Gameplay Grading: Depending on your score or your time taken to complete, you are awarded a letter grade at the end of each level or boss fight, respectively, with "E" being the worst, and "A" being the best. Getting all "A"s is required to unlock the final mode of the game.
  • Geodesic Cast: Each of the trios are organized with the Speed-Flight-Power gameplay mechanic.
  • Ghastly Ghost: Pumpkin Ghosts appear as common enemies in Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion. They can usually be found in confined spaces, such as behind unlockable doors, near switches, or in corridors. They can randomly appear and vanish at any time, and laugh wickedly at the player when they touch them, removing their shields or making them lose rings.
  • Giant Mook: The Egg Hammers, which first appear in Lost Jungle, then become a recurring mook for the rest of the game.
  • Gigantic Moon: The moon is absolutely enormous in the sky, taking up at least half of it and easily dwarfing any background structures and details. There are certain camera angles in which the moon occupies all visible sky. (Rather impressive, considering what happened to it in the previous game.)
  • A God Am I: Metal Sonic, who declares himself the ultimate overlord of a new robotic kingdom.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority:
    • The Gilded Egg Knight has more health than the standard Egg Pawn.
    • The Gold Cameron has a more durable shell than the Green Cameron.
    • The Gold Klagen are no tougher than regular Klagen, but will attempt to escape after abducting a character instead of hovering in place, making them more threatening.
    • The E-2000R is a gold-colored version of the regular E-2000 with more health.
    • And of course, there's Super Sonic in the Last Story.
  • Grand Finale: Finishing all four stories and collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds unlocks the Last Story, bringing all the teams together to fight Neo Metal Sonic.
  • Gravity Screw: There are switches in Hang Castle and Robot Storm that invert the gravity when pressed. The former stage has two different pieces of background music that change depending on if the gravity is upside-down or right-side up.
  • Green Means Natural: The giant green frogs from the Frog Forest can cause it to rain, which allows plants to grow instantly. They can also summon plants, allowing the team you're playing as to access new areas.
  • Ground Punch: The combo finishing attack for Knuckles. Leveling him up will make his combo finisher to erupt in a larger burst of flames and eventually cause an eruption of fireballs that showers down on enemies at Lv. 3.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game does a somewhat poor job of explaining the rail mechanics, simply saying you press the corresponding button (Square (🔲) on PS2, B on GameCube, and X on Xbox) to go faster. Since pushing it causes the character to do a little flip on the rail that can generate a bit of speed, some players can be led to assume that's the speed boost mentioned and begin Button Mashing on rails to spam that small boost. While the flip does produce a set amount of speed, the player actually needs to hold down the button as they go down the rail in order to continue accelerating. This leads to the final stretch of Final Fortress, where the player has to grind down a rail fast enough to avoid a laser beam, and the spam technique will not generate enough speed to avoid death. This is the only part of the game where it actually matters to use the proper grinding technique.
    • The game also poorly explains how the boosting in the Special Stages work. Like rail grinding, it simply tells you to use the 🔲/B/X button to boost. Since pressing the button generates a small speed boost, most players are going to mash the button to spam the boost in order to catch up to the Chaos Emerald. However, holding the button will grant a continuous boost that is much faster than simply mashing, making the Special Stages significantly easier.
    • It is, in fact, possible to negate the Egg Emperor's infamous jousting charge if you let Eggman put too much distance between you during the battle's chase sequence. Viable methods of countering it are the Tornado Jump (any Speed Formation character), a perfect Rocket Accel (Sonic and Shadow), or a well-timed attack from a Power character.
    • There's one point in Mystic Mansion with Team Dark where you come across a locked door with two unlit torches. The key to solving the puzzle is to attack the torches with Omega, as Power characters use fire attacks, and this will light the torches to open the door. However, this is the only time in the game where such an ability is required, and it's easy to assume the fire aspect is purely cosmetic rather than having any environmental effect. Plus, every other puzzle in the game usually requires activating a switch or defeating all the enemies in a room, so you wouldn't think to try attacking an inanimate object that looks like a decoration in the first place. The only solace is your teammates will provide vague hints that point towards lighting the torches, but they won't indicate what you're supposed to do in order to do so.
  • Hailfire Peaks:
  • Hammerspace: In the Last Story, Cream pulls a Chaos Emerald from out of nowhere.
  • Hard Mode Filler:
    • As noted under Fake Longevity, this game not only has Hard Mode Filler, it also has Easy Mode Filler. Team Dark and Team Rose's stories are essentially the "Hard Mode" and "Easy Mode", respectively, to Team Sonic's story, and completing all of them is required to access the Last Story.
    • The very last thing you unlock in single player is "Super Hard Mode", which is the same 14 stages as the story campaign, only much more difficult, and with no bosses or Gameplay Grading.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Super Hard difficulty, which you can unlock by getting 120 emblems and an A rank in every mission in the game. It's the Team Sonic campaign with elements of the Team Dark stages and bits of the Team Chaotix stages sandwiched in, but with a lot more enemies that have been considerably toughened up. There are also no continues, meaning a Game Over sends you all the way back to Seaside Hill. On the upside, you can save between levels, stack up on extra lives between stages, you don't have to fight any bosses or get the Chaos Emeralds in this mode, and there's no rankings or emblems to acquire either.
  • Haunted Castle: Hang Castle.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Vector calls Rouge a "broad" right before their fight.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Egg Hammers, which can only be destroyed by the Power character. In Mystic Mansion, Robot Storm, and Final Fortress, there is a Heavy-Egg Hammer variant that wears a Roman-styled helmet that shields its only weak point; the helmet can be removed by waiting for it to get dizzy after its Spin Attack, then knocking it over, or by using the Speed Formation's Tornado Move (or you can just Team Blast the thing).
  • Hey, That's My Line!: Sonic says this verbatim just before engaging Team Dark in a boss battle:
    Shadow: Well then, it'll be a date to DIE for!
    Sonic: Hey, that's my line!
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Each Flight member of their respective team is able to carry both their teammates while flying (though they do eventually tire out), even when the Power team members are several times their size. The latter especially applies to Team Dark (Rouge with Omega), Team Rose (Cream with Big), and Team Chaotix (Charmy with Vector).
  • Human Cannonball: This game features cannons where how it fires will depend on who the team leader is when you enter it. Entering the cannon with the Power member will give you free control of the cannon. Also, in Bullet Station, the player team will occasionally use a really big cannon, which is the size of an entire building.
  • Human Ladder: Any of the four teams can assume this position at any time, in order for the "Fly"-type character to take the lead.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During missions that require the Chaotix to slip past enemy detection unnoticed, approaching inactive enemies will sometimes trigger the below exchange.
    Espio: Hey, they're asleep, so stay quiet and move slowly...
    Charmy: (loudly) Okay!
    Vector: (even louder) WHAT ARE YA DOIN'?! BE QUIET!!!
  • I Just Want to Be You: Hinted to be the cornerstone of Metal Sonic's motivation (see There Can Only Be One below).
  • Informed Attribute: Shadow is stated to have amnesia, yet in a few instances, he does seem to recognize things from the previous game. For example, he appears to recognize Sonic prior to the fight against his team, though the extent to which he recognizes him is unclear.
  • It's Personal: Averted; neither Amy nor the Chaotix make any Call-Backs to their respective debut games during their battle with Metal Sonic, despite him having personally antagonized them in said games. For the latter group, this was likely because they were "re-imagined" for this game, rendering the former debut Canon Discontinuity and making this encounter with Metal Sonic their first. Furthermore, having either make it too personal would detract from the Central Theme of The Power of Friendship.
  • Jerkass Ball:
    • Sonic seems to have grabbed it in the Team Sonic vs. Team Dark scene. Upon seeing Shadow, while Tails and Knuckles are surprised to see him alive after his Heroic Sacrifice in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic snarkily comments about how Shadow is "stubborn and full of surprises" whereas one would expect him to be just as shocked as his teammates if not more so (considering he's the one who had to confirm Shadow's status to the other SA2 characters). It doesn't help that Heroes invokes the Conflict Ball between all four teams, meaning it's not long after that Sonic and Shadow are at each other's throats.
    • Amy pulls this during both team battles she's involved in. In the first, she eagerly demands Sonic to marry her, then proceeds to beat the crap out of him for no real reason (despite finding Sonic being Team Rose's primary goal) and is upset when he runs away after the fact (not helped by Cream's dialogue implying they think that Sonic was the one who started the conflict in the first place). In the second, she randomly gives a rude retort when Vector attempts to politely ask them about Cheese, which angers all three of the Chaotix and makes them drop the politeness to angrily demand they hand Cheese over. This, in turn, angers Team Rose, who assume the Chaotix were the ones who kidnapped Chocola. Even after the fight, Amy simply dismisses them as "losers" and nothing is ever addressed about how Amy was the one who started it in the first place by being rude to Vector.
  • Jungle Japes: Frog Forest and Lost Jungle take place in a jungle with mushrooms the size of skyscrapers, and giant frogs that make it rain.
  • Jump Scare: The pumpkin head ghosts that occasionally pop up out of nowhere and the crocodile that Teams Sonic and Dark must outrun at the end of Lost Jungle.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Dr. Eggman has gotten away with his crimes, such as destroying Station Square in the former and blowing up Prison Island in the latter. In this game, he gets imprisoned by Metal Sonic, who overtakes his evil plan, and gets a one-sided beating from Team Chaotix when he tries to bail out of paying them. Things haven't gone right for him ever since.
  • Kid Hero: All of the Fly characters are this with the sole exception of Rouge.
  • King Mook: The Egg Emperor is this for the whole Egg Pawn series, but the gold color, spear, and shield mark it as one for the Egg Knights in particular.
  • Knight of Cerebus: As soon as Metal Sonic reveals himself, the Lighter and Softer feel of most of the game suddenly breaks down.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Shiny mooks that only Power characters can damage (such as the giant mooks).
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: As the cast all begin to head off their own ways at the end of the game, Team Chaotix realise that Eggman hasn't paid them for the detective work they anonymously hired them for, then notice them trying to sneak off, and proceed to give chase.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When fighting the Egg Emperor as the Chaotix, Espio comments "This must be the final stage."
  • Leave Him to Me!:
    • Various characters of any ability type will tell this to their teammates when encountering Eggman's robots or when approaching a specific obstacle to advance. A variant involves one teammate designating that another should take the lead due to the present state of affairs.
    • In the Last Story, Sonic tells Eggman that he'll take on Metal Madness on his own. The rest of the characters object to this and offer Sonic their help, which he eventually accepts.
  • Left Hanging: Shadow's plot thread of whether he's an android clone or not is left unresolved, to be picked up in the next adventure.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Tons of it. Let's put it this way: all the teams are technically on the same side, but they continually fight each other for petty reasons and misunderstandings. This is especially noticeable with Team Dark, who keep attacking people just in case their opponents might save the day before they can for their own reasons.
  • Levels Take Flight: Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. The former involves the player hopping from airship to airship as they gradually tear through Eggman's aerial armada before landing on his flagship, which is where the latter stage takes place.
  • Lighter and Softer: In comparison to Sonic Adventure 2, at least. Adventure 2 dealt with themes like terrorism, government conspiracies, trauma, and the possibility of Shadow's memories not even being real. By comparison, Heroes is your standard "save the world" Excuse Plot with characters who aren't nearly as complex, with nothing from the main antagonist ever reaching the darker themes of both Adventure games. That is, of course, except for Shadow's subplot.
  • Limit Break: Team Blast, a joint attack by the whole team that can be expected to decimate every robot in the immediate vicinity. Team Blast is enabled by filling its meter, by collecting rings, hitting enemies, and doing certain actions:
    • Team Sonic has Sonic Overdrive, which allows Sonic to use his Light Speed Attack while the Team Blast Gauge is resetting, either alone (in place of Blue Tornado) or when launched by Thunder Shoot or Fire Dunk.
    • Team Dark has Chaos Inferno, which stops time until the meter runs out.
    • Team Rose has Flower Festival, which gives everyone a level up, a shield, extra speed, and invincibility (the latter two only last until the meter runs out).
    • Team Chaotix has Chaotix Recital, which generates a random ring value from every destroyed enemy, sometimes even enough to trigger a second Team Blast, and continues generating rings from destroyed enemies while the meter resets.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: The jellyfish-like Klagen enemies are armed with tractor beams that can imprison a team member, rendering them unusable until the Klagen is destroyed or decides to let them go; letting your entire team get captured will cost a life. They also have a golden Elite Mook version that abducts a team member and attempts to fly away with them in tow; if it succeeds, that team member is lost until you hit the next checkpoint. If this happens, pray that you can progress without them. Or you can just use a Team Blast, which calls the lost teammate back to perform it (and yes, each teammate has a way to charge the Team Blast meter, even solo). Metal Madness has a similar ability to encase characters using his spines, which can likewise be disastrous for players caught unaware.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Vector figures out who the Chaotix's client is somewhere around the Egg Albatross fight, and confirms it just before the Robot Storm fight. Espio and Charmy never figure it out, and Vector doesn't tell them, so they're genuinely shocked to discover that their client is none other than Doctor Eggman.
  • Locomotive Level: Rail Canyon and Bullet Station are massive railroad networks within an extremely large canyon, with plenty of armored trains.
  • Loud of War: Team Chaotix's Team Blast uses their horrible singing to cause the robots in their radius to explode.

    M-Z 
  • Magic Skirt: Zig-zagged with Team Rose; Invoked in that there are several points where the team will be falling, going upside down on loops, bouncing on springs, and traveling up fans, and Amy and Cream's dresses will stay fully upright. Subverted in that both Amy and Cream's panties are quite visible during said events.
  • Marathon Level: Almost every stage in the game is pretty long, but the most notable are:
    • Final Fortress, as to be expected from the last non-boss level.
    • Mystic Mansion from the Chaotix's story has you trying to extinguish all the torches in the level with Espio's whirlwind... for some reason. If you miss one, you have to search through the whole level from the beginning. A clean speed run of the level, skipping enemies, without having to backtrack for a missed torch, will take upwards of 10 minutes.
  • Meaningful Echo: At the beginning of Grand Metropolis in Team Sonic's story, Sonic tells Tails and Knuckles that they'll find Eggman and "show him the real power of teamwork!" Come the Last Story, Sonic gives a brief Rousing Speech to the rest of the playable cast right before the final showdown with Metal Madness and declares they'll show Metal the real super power of teamwork.
  • Metropolis Level: The Grand Metropolis and Power Plant levels take on a more futuristic aesthetic with flying cars dotting the background. The pathways are constructed of translucent energy flowing through pipes, and some of them are blocked off by Eggman's robots, which need to be defeated in order to progress.
  • Mighty Glacier: Power characters are the strongest of the three classes and have decent defensive options, but are balanced through slower speed. Downplayed slightly in that just about every player character has some degree of Super-Speed, but switching to Power Formation sees the Speed and Flight characters hang back to match pace.
  • Monstrosity Equals Weakness: While Metal Madness is somewhat challenging due to some cheap moves, such as a Three-Hit Kill if he encases the party in his energy prisons, Metal Overlord is an out-and-out pushover when faced with the souped-up Team Sonic. The only real difficulty is the fact that he's Nigh-Invulnerable to everything save a Team Blast, and it takes five of those to finish him off.
  • Mood Whiplash: The dark tone of the Last Story in contrast to the generally Lighter and Softer feel of the rest of the game.
  • Moveset Clone: Team Dark shares most of their moveset with Team Sonic:
    • Shadow shares his running speed, Tornado Move, temporary wall cling duration, and Light Speed Dash with Sonicnote .
    • Rouge shares her dummy ring attacks (when solo) with Tails.
    • Omega retains Knuckles' close-range melee attacks, aerial fire dunk, and explosive combo enders.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Robot Carnival and Robot Storm, where the melee is the boss. Robot Carnival (the first one) takes place on one platform, but in Robot Storm, you have to go between platforms after defeating certain numbers of waves. Also, in Robot Storm, the enemies are tougher.
  • Multi-Platform: The fact that the game was being released for all three of the then-current gen consoles was a major selling point. The PlayStation 2 version is generally considered inferior to the GameCube and Xbox versions due to things such as clipping and inferior framerate.
  • Musical Nod: The "upside down" theme to Hang Castle is composed almost entirely of an ambient remix of a riff from Sonic 2's Mystic Cave BGM.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Lost Jungle features a gigantic alligator that chases after Team Sonic and Team Dark at the end of the level.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Metal Overlord is so powerful that most of Team Super Sonic's attacks can't hurt him, though they can counter his projectiles. Only the Team Blast can effectively get through his defenses, and it requires five of them to finally finish him off. Knuckles and Tails lampshade it, noting that he's tough and asking if he's invincible after the fourth one.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Team Chaotix loses a life if detected by a frog in Frog Forest, or one of Eggman's robots in Egg Fleet.
  • Not Me This Time: Throughout the story, all of the teams pursue Eggman when he unleashes the Egg Fleet to conquer the world. However, it is later revealed in the endings that not only is Eggman, for once, not responsible for the world domination plan, but in fact he was locked up by the one actually responsible: Metal Sonic.
  • Not So Stoic: Even Shadow of all people is startled by the sudden appearance of a pumpkin ghost in Hang Castle.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: In Sonic Adventure, the Egg Carrier was the pinnacle of Eggman's mechanical achievement. In Heroes, Eggman somehow has the resources to develop immense fleets of such airships, plus the Final Fortress. Zig-zagged at the end of the Team Chaotix story — he hasn't got anything to pay Team Chaotix with.
  • One-Winged Angel: Metal Overlord. After completely copying the data of Team Sonic, Shadow, and Chaos from Froggy and Chocola, Metal Sonic transforms into a dragon-like monster, powerful enough that only Super Sonic (and Tails and Knuckles) can defeat him.
  • Palmtree Panic: Seaside Hill and Ocean Palace.
  • Parasol Parachute: Big does this with his umbrella, as a direct Shout-Out to My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Pendulum of Death: These appear in Hang Castle. As is fitting for the setting, they're mere set dressing.
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: The "O" in "Heroes" has its hollow replaced by Sonic's head.
  • Pinball Zone: Casino Park and Bingo Highway both have many pinball tables.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: At 3'7", Knuckles is the only Power character who doesn't tower over Speed and Flight types; for reference, he's only four inches taller than Sonic.
  • Playing with Fire: Power characters can use fire attacks. This actually becomes relevant for Team Darknote  in Mystic Mansion.
  • Plot Hole:
    • A possible one in Team Sonic's story.
      • The basis for their story is Dr. Eggman sending the heroes a letter claiming he will take over the world in three days, but there's several inconsistencies with this. During the intro to Casino Park, Tails states they "only have 24 hours left" and Eggman himself states during the intro to Robot Carnival that they "only have one more day" in his Evil Gloating, despite the previous levels all taking place during the day and Sonic's remark ("Boy, Amy sure doesn't give up that easily") suggesting the battle with Team Rose was very recent, and the casino levels taking place at night indicates it should be the end of the first day, not the second. Later on at Rail Canyon, Tails claims they "have until sunset", despite 1. Rail Canyon and Bullet Station both take place at sunset, and 2. Rail Canyon is the next stage after BINGO Highway, which indicates it should take place on the second day. Nothing is ever brought up to explain where the missing day went, none of the characters bring up the inconsistency either, and no mention of time is given prior to Casino Park, so it's unclear if there was an off-screen time skip between Ocean Palace/the Egg Hawk battle and Grand Metropolis. Even more confusing, the time the remaining levels after Rail Canyon take place at indicates two more days at the very least, meaning Team Sonic was doomed to fail from the start. Granted, it's possible Eggman/Metal Sonic was simply bluffing about the whole three day thing since he needed to lure them in so he could copy their data, but this is never confirmed for sure, and there's still an inconsistency with the times Tails and Eggman give unless the backdrops of each level are purely aesthetic (or at least not meant to be strict indicators of the passage of time).
      • It's possible Metal Sonic could have been referring to launching the Egg Fleet in three days' time, but Sonic's remark about the fake Eggman being "a trap to stall for time" seems to contradict this, and you would still need to presume a Time Skip occurred at some point between Egg Hawk and Grand Metropolis to make it work.
    • Another as a result of Gameplay and Story Segregation: The green Chaos Emerald is obtainable in the first Special Stage, but regardless of whether or not the player collects it, Team Dark canonically has possession of it as indicated by their Team Blast and Omega revealing that particular Emerald in the cutscene prior to the battle with Metal Madness. While Sonic Adventure 2 already established fake Chaos Emeralds can exist, this clearly is the real deal, thus raising the question of why any of the teams — Team Dark included — need to go through the hassle of "recollecting" it.
  • The Power of Friendship: More like the real superpower of teamwork! Heroes is the debut of Sonic's trust in the power of friendship and his tendency to preach about it, which carried over to Sonic Rush, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (a different Sonic, though), and Sonic Forces.
  • Power Trio: All four teams have three members each.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: Nearly every cutscene is pre-rendered; the only ones that aren't are the occasional level introductory cutscene, which not every stage gets.
  • Precision F-Strike: Downplayed, but still significant: In the English dub, Amy Rose occasionally blasphemes. It's not much, but it pushes the envelope for something G-rated.
    Amy: Oh my god!
  • Properly Paranoid: Espio is suspicious of the Chaotix's new client pretty much immediately, but Vector tells him not to be silly and reminds him that they never turn down work that pays. Espio's suspicions are justified when it's revealed that not only is their client Dr. Eggman, but he had no intention of paying them.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Team Rose's Team Blast, to make their gameplay even more beginner-friendly. In addition to destroying all nearby enemies (like all Team Blasts), it levels up all three characters and gives them a shield, a speed boost, and an invincibility power-up.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The battle between Team Rose and Team Sonic, from Amy's point of view. Even after winning the match, she still fails to get Sonic to reciprocate her feelings like she intended. (The Japanese script at the start of the next level implies he lost on purpose)
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: If players press the Attack button rapidly as Knuckles without moving, he will start throwing a quick series of punches in front of him until the player moves the Left Stick.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: With the game using the simple storytelling style similar to the classic games, it's difficult to determine which team encountered Eggman and defeated him in the three boss fights and which team won the team battles. Despite this, Metal Sonic still copied the Chaos data of Froggy and Chocola in Team Rose's ending and copied Shadow's data in the middle of Team Dark's story while the Chaotix learn that the real Eggman was locked up in a room by Metal Sonic.
  • Recycled Plot: With a twist. In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Eggman runs a False Flag Operation to lure Sonic into a trap so that he can scan Sonic's data to give it to Metal Sonic. In the Team Sonic story of Sonic Heroes, it turns out Metal Sonic is running his own False Flag Operation—taking the guise of Eggman—to lure Sonic and friends out so he can scan Sonic's data for himself.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Super Sonic and Metal Sonic, whether it's the normal one, Neo Metal Sonic, or Metal Overlord.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
  • Ret-Canon: In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Robotnik copied Sonic's "essential life data" as part of his plan to create Metal Sonic. Here, Neo Metal Sonic has apparently gained the ability to do this in his own right.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Compared to the Darker and Edgier stories of the Sonic Adventure duology, the story and overall tone of this game is much more lighthearted and juvenile.
  • Rewrite: Takashi Iizuka confirmed that the Chaotix were "re-imagined" for the game — not "re-appearing", which may mean that their debut game has been written out of canon.
  • Rhino Rampage: The Rhinoliner enemy is a robotic rhino who inhabits Rail Canyon and Bullet Station. Rhinoliners are mounted to rails and have speeds that rival that of the players as they travel across them. They can attack by shooting spiked cannonballs, but can be destroyed by either strong attacks or running out of rail.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Rising lava at the end of Power Plant with Team Sonic and Team Dark.
  • Robot Wizard: One of the robots in Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion is the Egg Bishop, which can cast a healing spell on any robots it is near, including itself. When flipped over with a tornado jump, the Egg Bishop becomes the Egg Magician, which instead casts a spell that can drain rings from any team players within range of it.
  • Rod And Reel Repurposed: Big can use his fishing pole as a bat and Amy and Cream as balls to attack enemies. He can also swing his fishing pole in a circle to attack enemies around him with his lure.
  • Scenery Porn: In true Sonic tradition, the color palettes for everything here are vivid and refreshing.
  • Secret Final Campaign: Get all the Chaos Emeralds and beat every team's story to unlock the True Final Boss, which has you using Team Rose, Team Chaotix, and Team Dark in that order for the first portion of the battle, followed by Team Sonic becoming Team Super for the final showdown.
  • Sequential Boss: Egg Albatross has three different segments with different weaponry and attack patterns, which must be destroyed in succession. The final phase is none other than the Egg Hawk, the game's first boss, though it lacks its rotary attack from the first showdown due to the level layout.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • After the Egg Albatross Boss Battle, Dr. Eggman is clearly shown fleeing through the air in his Egg-O-Matic, only for the ensuing cutscene to have the various teams approach his prone body on the ground and discover it's Actually a Doombot.
    • After the Lost Jungle level, Team Rose and Team Chaotix become Dueling Player Characters. During the Boss Battle, Espio protests that there must have been a misunderstanding... as if he were not personally ramping up tensions by demanding Cream hand Cheese overnote  during the preceding cutscene.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: In Team Chaotix's ending, the camera pans over to the shadows on the wall as Charmy stings Eggman repeatedly.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Egg Pawns and Egg Knights can show up carrying shields, which can be removed by Speed characters' tornado attacks or by just breaking them through damage. The E-2000 enemies in Egg Fleet have a shield built into their left arm that they can use to block attacks, and will do so very liberally; you'll have to bypass this by either stunning them or waiting for them to fire their laser cannon.
  • Ship Tease: Shadow's instinctive reaction to Rouge's presence is to save her once Omega starts letting loose with lead, despite having no logical reason to do so aside from maybe wanting to pay her back for being the one to let him free. Even if you don't view their scenes through a romantic lens, Heroes marks the beginning of the pair's True Companions status that has endured ever since.
  • Shock and Awe: One of the main abilities of Flight characters is Thunder Shoot, which can be used to paralyze enemies.
  • Shout-Out: After taking down the Egg Albatross (and in Team Rose's story, the Egg Emperor), the Doombot pilot melts into liquid metal, like Terminator 2's T-1000. Neo Metal Sonic then reforms himself into his own appearance.
  • Sleepy Enemy: Some of Dr. Eggman's robots are asleep, and will attack the player if they are awakened. Team Chaotix's storyline in particular has missions where Vector, Espio, and Charmy have to get to the goal ring without being detected by the robots. As a chameleon, Espio can use his Invisibility to easily sneak past the robots.
    Espio: Hey, they're asleep. So stay quiet and move slowly...
    Charmy: (Loudly) OK!!
  • Smarter Than They Look: Vector is a money-hungry roughneck, but he knows who Team Chaotix's mystery client is well in advance of actually meeting them face-to-face, and the client speculates that he knew the whole time.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: The end of Team Chaotix's theme.
    They're gonna kick your... (gong noise)
  • Speed, Smarts and Strength: Applies to Team Sonic and Team Dark.
    • Sonic and Shadow are the speed.
    • Tails and Rouge are the smarts.
    • Knuckles and Omega are the strength.
  • The Spiny: One of the Flapper variants sprouts red spikes every few seconds to make itself Homing Attack proof. Downplayed with spear-wielding Pawns and Knights, whose weapons will cause damage if you Homing Attack into them but are otherwise fully vulnerable.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Amy flies into this territory in this game due to the Flanderization of her obsession with Sonic. She went from wanting Sonic to respect her to only wishing for them to be married in this game.
    Amy: Sonic, give up! This time, you're MINE!
  • Stance System: Each team basically operates as one, so each formation thus represents a stance. The bottom line is that each formation offers different benefits at the cost of other functions or coming with less situation-appropriate traits, so the player is required to switch between them on the fly to one that best suits the current situation. This being a Sonic game, generally, Speed Formation sees the most use, followed by Power and then Flight. However, throughout the game, there are various sections that are clearly tailored for certain formations (for example, wide open pits with sparse platforms for Flight, or a series of large fans to traverse with the air maneuver with Power).
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Rouge does this to Shadow and Omega in the start of the Team Dark story, which then leads to the three teaming up to find Eggman together.
  • Stationary Boss: For the first three phases of the True Final Boss, Metal Madness stands in one spot while downloading his final transformation. Teams Rose, Chaotix, and Dark all take turns attacking his weak spots while dodging his attacks.
  • "Staying Alive" Dance Pose: Big will turn to the camera and strike one of these if he goes through a rainbow ring.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Team Chaotix has to deal with no less than two missions where they cannot be seen or else they instantly lose. The first stealth mission has you avoiding frogs while the second mission requires avoiding enemies altogether. Their extra mission in Ocean Palace adds a stealth requirement to the regular objective.
  • Stone Wall: Flight characters are the weakest of the three classes, but make up for it by having the best defensive options. While actually faster than the Power characters, their unique mechanics make gaining and keeping momentum very difficult.
  • Story Arc: Team Dark's story continues the story of Shadow the Hedgehog that was introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, which would be concluded in Shadow the Hedgehog (and, to a lesser extent, already in Sonic Battle).
  • Suddenly Voiced: Metal Sonic, who goes back to being The Voiceless in all subsequent games. The Chaotix also have their first speaking roles here.
  • Super Mode: Team Sonic does this to beat Metal Overlord, although only Sonic visibly changes. Tails and Knuckles remain their usual orange and red colors and gain similarly colored Battle Auras instead.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Egg Emperor, apparently; if you use a glitch to force Amy to phase through the "death plane"*, Egg Emperor's charge attack will follow you through the death plane.
    Egg Emperor: CHARGE!
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Speed beats Flight, Flight beats Power, and Power beats Speed.
  • Take Over the World: Eggman's back at it, and this time he's sporting enough to give the heroes a three-day grace period before his Egg Fleet makes a move. Team Sonic's story is explicitly a race against time to foil Eggman's latest attempt at world domination. The twist that it's Metal Sonic impersonating Eggman and pulling the strings changes nothing, as Metal has designs to become the overlord of a robot kingdom.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: Some of the later levels like Bullet Station and Hang Castle require solving puzzle-embedded mechanics.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Implied with Shadow and Omega. As Rouge tries to get them to team up and find Eggman together, the two give each other an uncomfortable glare. They soon put aside their resentment later on.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The background of Heroes' logo has the Speed, Flight, and Power symbols, which all playable characters are categorized by.
  • There Can Only Be One:
    • Metal Sonic asserts his desire to beat Sonic and prove himself the superior doppelganger he was created to be (or "the real Sonic").
    • Shadow's identity crisis is further compounded when he discovers a broken robotic copy of himself, although he doesn't say anything about it and it is instead Rouge and Omega who briefly muse about the development at the end of their story route.
  • This Was His True Form: When Metal Sonic reveals himself throughout the story (after the Egg Albatross battle and in the Last Story), he's in his upgraded "Neo Metal Sonic" state. Once Team Super Sonic finally manages to subdue him as Metal Overlord, Metal reverts back to Neo Metal Sonic and then his original, Sonic CD design while lamenting his inability to defeat Sonic yet again.
  • Three Approach System: Each member of their respective team fits the archetype of Speed, Flight, or Power. The current leader decides the current approach of the trio, with a Speed character leading allowing fast speeds and homing attacks, a Flight character leading allowing safety and an advantage against aerial enemies, and a Power character leading allowing powerful attacks.
  • Timed Mission: Team Sonic's (as well as some of Team Chaotix's) extra missions involve having to complete their levels with an additional time limit.
  • Time Skip: Team Sonic's story begins with Dr. Eggman challenging the trio to stop him in three days. Fast-forward to Casino Park, the fifth level of the game, Tails informs Sonic they only have 24 hours left, meaning either the events of the story skipped ahead two days or it took two days for them to make it from Seaside Hill all the way to Casino Park*.
  • Title Drop:
    • The beginning of Team Sonic's story when they get the "invitation" from Dr. Eggman. He starts the letter off by exclaiming "Guess WHAT, Sonic Heroes?!"
    • Another one comes in the ending, right after Metal Overlord reverts back to Metal Sonic.
      Metal Sonic: It's no use... but why can't I defeat you?
      Sonic: Because we're Sonic Heroes.
  • Token Flyer: Each team has one member who has the ability to fly; Team Sonic has Tails, Team Dark has Rouge, Team Rose has Cream, and Team Chaotix has Charmy.
  • Token Minority: Team Chaotix is notable for being the only team in which its members are all non-mammalian (two reptiles and an insect).
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • In Team Dark's ending, Rouge and Omega discover a room full of robo-duplicates of Shadow aboard the Final Fortress, in tubes that looked suspiciously like the one the playable Shadow was kept in in their opening cutscene. This casts doubt on whether or not the Shadow that joined them on their quest was the real Shadow or just a robot, but Eggman reveals in the final battle of Shadow the Hedgehog — if the player is able to stay alive for a whopping nine minutes — that he is the real Shadow, whom Eggman recovered after Sonic Adventure 2.
    • Inverted with Metal Sonic. He's become so insane, he goes in and out of saying he was built to destroy Sonic, only to then delude himself into believing he is the real Sonic and that Sonic is his copy!
  • Tomorrowland: Grand Metropolis and Power Plant, complete with High-Tech Hexagons all over the place.
  • Tornado Move: Sonic and the other Speed characters can whip up a tornado by rapidly moving in a circle while airborne.
  • Totally Radical: Sonic and Knuckles dip into this on occasion with lines like "That was tight!" and "Too cool!" It makes sense for Sonic, to an extent, but Knuckles? Not so much.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: They didn't even try to hide Metal Sonic coming back.
  • Tranquil Fury: Espio and Shadow are this by default, but the usually-loud mouthed Vector manages to pull this off effectively in the Chaotix ending, where, after realising Eggman can't pay them, he nonchalantly chastises the doctor for promising what he doesn't have and begins cracking his knuckles menacingly. Eggman immediately realises they're screwed.
    Vector: (cracking his knuckles menacingly) Some nerve promising whatcha ain't got.
  • Transformation Sequence: In the end of the Last Story, Neo Metal Sonic gets a very detailed nigh-minute-long sequence depicting him transforming into his Metal Madness form.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Shadow, of the physical trauma variety.
  • True Final Boss: Two of Metal Sonic's forms in the Last Story: Metal Madness and Metal Overlord. The first form is fought by Team Rose, Team Chaotix and Team Dark respectively, while the second is fought by Team Sonic in their Super Forms (though Tails and Knuckles get a "Super Shield" as opposed to their transformations from Sonic 3 & Knuckles).
  • Underground Monkey: Notably, this game introduced a series of badniks that all share visible design themes with mild variations.
    • The Egg Pawns are Eggman's new footsoldiers, and can be found armed, unarmed, shielded, and even decorated for the Casino Park levels... and that's before you get to the Egg Bishop, Knight, and Hammer. The game's Final Boss, the Egg Emperor, is even their King Mook.
    • The Flapper enemy has eight different variants where its color determines its ability; they come in red (no weapon), green (cannon), blue (machine gun), neon green (lightning), yellow (searchlight), magenta (bombs), dark purple (retractable spikes), and silver (only destructible in Power Formation, can be equipped with the other variants' weapons).
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Due to their "client" giving them rather arbitrary conditions for progressing, Team Chaotix's runthrough of the game switches gameplay styles quite a bit, which can be quite jarring, especially if the player beat all the other teams' playthroughs first.
  • The Unfought:
    • Dr. Eggman appears to be the Big Bad throughout most of the game, but the player gets a Bait-and-Switch when they discover that it was actually Metal Sonic impersonating him and that Metal Sonic is the true villain of the game. This also makes Heroes of the very few Sonic games where Dr. Eggman is never directly fought by anyone.
    • Neo Metal Sonic is never fought until he transforms into Metal Madness/Metal Overlord.
    • Story-wise, each of the teams only faces two of the remaining three. Team Sonic never meets Team Chaotix, and Team Rose never crosses paths with Team Dark.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • Espio's Leaf Swirl makes him invisible and lets him dispatch enemies by throwing ninja stars. Since Vector and Charmy can no longer see Espio, they just stay put and teleport to him when he shows himself again. Trouble is, if you jump into a cannon while you're invisible, your teammates don't follow you in, and there's no way to fire or otherwise exit the cannon until they do. You are forced to restart the entire level at the expense of one life.
    • For Seaside Hill's extra mission where you need to find all 20 hermit crabs, the game sometimes glitches and two of the crabs never spawn, forcing you to restart to complete the mission.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: Once every emblem is collected and every stage and boss is cleared with an A rank, Super Hard Mode is unlocked. While the stages are more difficult, the bosses are not fought.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The characters find a statue of Dr. Eggman at Hang Castle. They comment on it. Then they flip the level over, revealing a statue of Metal Sonic. Not a single word is said about it.
  • Ur-Example: This is the first 3D Sonic game with a "Boost" function that is gained by collecting items and has a power bar. Here, however, it can only be found in the Special Stages, and is ultimately unrelated to the Boost gameplay from later Sonic games.
  • Variable Mix: Hang Castle has two different versions depending on the stage's orientation, while Mystic Mansion progresses through different parts as you go from one area to another.
  • Verbal Backspace: If you stand idle in Power Plant as Team Dark, Rouge will say, "There's no jewels— I mean, Eggman here!"
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The aptly named "Final Fortress" level, which takes place entirely on Eggman's giant flagship with the most powerful Elite Mooks available, a plethora of rails over Bottomless Pits sections, laser cannons at the ready, and a dark and stormy atmosphere throughout.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can attack the frogs in Frog Forest and Lost Jungle with the power characters, which causes them to flee, but otherwise doesn't affect anything.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Eggman decides to directly send Team Sonic an invite challenging them to foil his plot to Take Over the World as opposed to, you know, just waiting three more days and letting his Egg Fleet launch undetected (or at least with far less resistance). This appears to be an Invoked Trope on Metal Sonic's part, as he needs to draw Sonic and the others out in order to copy their DNA data, but ends up playing the trope straight since everyone assembling at the core of Eggman's flagship ultimately leads to Metal Overlord's defeat at the hands of Team Super Sonic.
    • At Final Fortress, various outposts are outfitted with Detonator Switches that deal heavy collateral damage to Eggman's armada and nothing else. Tails outright asks why Eggman would have Self-Destruct Mechanisms installed, though the English version mangles it, instead presenting the question as Tails cluelessly asking why there was a self-destruct sequence at all.
  • Villain Decay: This game has Eggman's lowest moment in the entire series: getting kidnapped and upstaged by his own robotic minion Metal Sonic.
  • Villain Song: One possible interpretation of the True Final Boss theme, "What I'm Made Of", is Metal Sonic telling Sonic about his maddening motive to finally defeat him and prove his worth.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: Another possible interpretation of "What I'm Made Of" is Sonic's Badass Boast to Metal, daring him to try and copy his power and see how that works out for him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Metal Overlord, upon his defeat.
    "Guooooo! Why! I had it all! I am the ultimate overlord, Metal Sonic! I am the real Sonic!"
  • Visible Invisibility: Espio can be turned invisible to the other characters — or at least, the enemies — using his Leaf Swirl technique. He becomes visible by using Leaf Swirl again or by taking damage.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Both exhibited and implied by Metal Sonic, since he not only shapeshifts from the Actually a Doombot knockoff of Eggman piloting the Egg Albatross, but apparently took the exact form of Sonic when kidnapping Chocola and Froggy judging by the newspaper photograph seen in Team Rose's opening cutscene.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction: The end of the first cutscene of the Team Rose story, with Big.
  • Walking Spoiler: Metal Sonic, although the "Spoiler" aspect has largely been done away with among most fans in the years following Heroes' release. Even Super Smash Bros. casually spoils this development by means of Metal Sonic's Trophy description in the fourth game.
  • Wall Jump: Sonic, Shadow, and Espio can perform the Triangle Jump, which is this in a nutshell. Espio's, uniquely, allows him to stay on the wall for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Final Fortress has several of these. Towards the end of the stage for both Team Sonic and Team Dark, you have to avoid twelve of them, side by side, while rail grinding, followed by a much bigger cannon that you have to switch to Flight Formation to avoid.
  • Welcome to Corneria:
    • "Look at ALL those Eggman's robots!"
    • "There's more?"
  • Wham Line:
    • Team Dark's storyline has one near the very start when the apparent Eggman robot trying to shoot Shadow into Swiss cheese shouts a very peculiar line that immediately catches Rouge's attention, causing her to break up the fight and leading to the birth of the titular team.
    • Downplayed, thanks to the game throwing in lots of clear Foreshadowing beforehand, but at the end of Team Chaotix's storyline, Vector reveals that he already knows who the client is.
      Vector: Dr. Eggman, I presume.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: During Egg Fleet and Final Fortress, the characters will occasionally comment on the sheer size and scale of Eggman's battleship fleet, wondering how he was able to build them all and why he built so many. One of Vector's idle quotes in Egg Fleet is him remarking that Eggman must be really rich to afford all this. As it turns out, the Chaotix learn Eggman hasn't got anything to pay them with.
  • The Wild West: Rail Canyon and Bullet Station are massive railroad networks within an extremely large canyon. As it was built and operated by Dr. Eggman, it has a metallic, industrial look to it, but Eggman fully embraced the western setting in his decor and unusually (for him anyway) large amounts of wooden structures. While Bullet Station opts for hard rock, the music for Rail Canyon even has a distinct "Western Surf" feel to it.
  • Wingding Eyes: In Team Chaotix's introductory cutscene, Vector and Charmy react to their new client's promise to "pay handsomely" by getting dollar signs in their eyes. Averted by the more suspicious Espio.
  • "With Our Swords" Scene: The Last Story sees the 12 playable characters all pull out the Chaos Emeralds they've gathered throughout the game and give them to Team Sonic so they can defeat Metal Sonic.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: In the Team Sonic story, Eggman lures the heroes to his Supervillain Lair at Bullet Station, only to reveal that the base was a Disc-One Final Dungeon, the pilot of the Egg Albatross was Actually a Doombot, and that his true goal was to distract them while he launched the Egg Fleet.

Sonic Heroes! (Sonic Heroes!)
Find you, confine you, defyin' your reign!
Sonic Heroes! (Sonic Heroes!)
Settin' the stage for a hero's parade!

 
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Team Dark

Team Dark, consisting of Shadow, Rouge, and E-123 Omega, have been this ever since Sonic Heroes. They may help save the world, but mainly for their different reasons. Shadow only fights whoever gets in the way of his goals, Rouge is only interested in jewels, and Omega attacks whatever the former two point him at.

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