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Video Game / Sonic Rivals

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Always race to win.
Sonic Rivals is a 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog platform-racing game for the PlayStation Portable, published by Sega and developed by Backbone Entertainment in 2006 (with a sequel, Sonic Rivals 2, released in 2007).

The main objective in these games is to race through each stage and beat your "rival" to the finish line. Stages are broken up by boss fights, where both characters fight against one of Dr. Eggman'snote  robots, with the winner determined by who can land more hits.

Sonic, Knuckles, Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic are playable in the first game, while Tails, Rouge, and Espio are added to the playable roster in the second game.

The game is canonically Silver the Hedgehog's debut in the franchise, ignoring Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

Tropes used in the Sonic Rivals series:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: In Espio and Sliver's story, Eggman Nega's legs are caught in debris following the Ifrit's defeat and he's forced to beg them for help. It doesn't work and they leave him in the Ifrit's dimension.
  • Amusement Park: Sky Park Zone is a theme park in Onyx Island with roller coasters, balloons and prize booths.
  • And I Must Scream: The series has Eggman Nega on both ends of the trope. In the first game, he uses a special camera to turn people into cards and planned to do this to the entire world. He gets sealed in a card himself by the end of the first game, but he breaks out of the card by the second game, only to get trapped in the Ifrit's dimension at the end.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Each playthrough of the original Rivals ends with the main character searching for more cards, and immediately cutting to the credits.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In both games, completing a certain objectives will lead to the characters gaining alternate costumes as awards. They are purely cosmetic, however.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI characters in the boss fights. The goal of boss fights is to get a certain number of hits (6 for most bosses) before your rival does. However, this tends to be laughably easy, as the rival AI is so inept they are lucky to get maybe 2 hits max. In the second game they are notably better, at least enough to actually win some of the time.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • In the first game, Metal Sonic — who was reprogrammed into serving Eggman Nega — was the only playable character not to get his own story. In the second game, he teams up with Shadow and has a story arc of his own.
    • Tails, Rouge and Espio go from collectable cards in the first game to playable characters in the second.
  • Big Bad: Eggman Nega in both games. In the first game, he wants to transform many things into cards and eventually the entire planet, and in the second, he is stealing Chao so he can awaken the Ifrit and cause it to wreck havoc in Sonic's world.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Mystic Haunt Zone is a haunted mansion filled with ghosts. Sonic and Tails even encounter ghostly counterparts of themselves in here.
  • Big "NO!": Used by Shadow, Rouge, and Silver in the sequel when they respawn.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • This is one of Knuckles' Voice Grunting quotes during his dialogue with the other rivals.
    • Silver says this to Knuckles, only for Rouge to call out the telekinetic hedgehog's tone of voice.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Metal Sonic in the first game was reprogrammed by Eggman Nega into serving him instead of Eggman.
    • The Ifrit does this to either Tails or Sonic and Rouge or Knuckles, depending on whom you're playing as.
  • Casino Park: Neon Palace Zone is a casino city with bright lights and slot machines. There's even multiple numbered blocks to play Bingo on.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the second game, Knuckles, Rouge, and the others don't believe Silver when the latter tells everybody that he needed the Chao to save the world from the destruction of the Ifrit. They make fun of him for this. Silver was proven right at the end, though.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: In the end of Knuckles and Rouge's story, Knuckles angrily chases Rouge, who stole the Master Emerald from him.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Anyone not in the lead gets his or her top speed increased.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: It's got Rubber-Band A.I. and the ability to spam special abilities just to catch up to you.
  • Conflict Ball: Very much so. Instead of the characters working together to save the day, they resort to fighting each other to get to Eggman first.
  • Continuity Nod: In Shadow's ending, he says that he "won't lose to someone who blames his own failures in the past." This hearkens back to the resolution of his Story Arc that occured in Adventure 2, Heroes, and Shadow.
  • Cool Train: The final boss of the first game is Egg Destroyer, a train that also works like a space rocket and the player has to break it apart car by car. It's made by Eggman Nega to travel far from Earth and capture it with his card-making camera, with the front stylized after his face.
  • Darker and Edgier: These games are certainly much edgier than the 8-bit, Advance, and Rush games. Darker, maybe. The various characters seem unusually willing to fight each other for no particular reason other than to reach a certain destination faster. They don't even help each other defeat the bosses, even though said bosses are mutual enemies.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Downplayed, you have an infinite number of lives, but if you die it will set you back somewhat, possibly enough to allow your rival to win.
  • Death Mountain: Death Yard Zone in the first game, Frontier Canyon Zone in the second.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: In the sequel, Silver does this to Sonic very nastily before Act 1 of Sunset Forest:
    Silver: Move aside, Sonic!
    Sonic: Hey, Silver. Long time no see. Guess you're looking for Eggman too, huh?
    Silver: I said move aside!!
  • Ditto Fighter: Metal Sonic's special ability has him copying his opponent's special ability and using it himself. In when he goes up against Metal Sonic 3.0 in the story mode for the second game, he copies Sonic's special move by default.
  • Excuse Plot: The first game's plot consists of Eggman (later revealed to be Eggman Nega) planning to turn the world into a card, and the four characters must fight each other in order to save the world. The 2nd game's plot is a little more detailed — something about Eggman capturing all the Chao to feed to an Iblis-expy called the Ifrit — but by and by the "plot" is mostly characters insulting each other for no particular reason.
  • Eviler than Thou: Unlike the last time where Eggman and Eggman Nega were the Big Bad Duumvirate, here Nega takes Eggman captive before the events of the game and intends to sacrifice him as fuel in his device in order to destroy the world.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Eggman Nega reveals that Eggman will never succeed, and that his failures ruin the Robotnik name.
  • Fighting Your Friend: At the end of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Rouge's stories, the Ifrit takes control of the teammate the player didn't choose (Tails for Sonic, Rouge for Knuckles and vice-versa), forcing the player character to fight them alongside the Ifrit.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Silver and Espio in the second game. Initially, their first meeting was iffy, then they teamed up, and at the end of their story, they become respectful towards each other.
  • Good Is Not Soft: At the end of Espio and Silver's story after Ifrit is defeated, Eggman Nega gets trapped under some rubble and begs for help. Silver simply tells him "You reap what you sow, Eggman"
  • Green Hill Zone: Forest Falls Zone in the first game. It resembles the Green Hill Zone down to the vibrant color scheme and checkerboard dirt.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: While The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard in the levels, the AI suffers from Artificial Stupidity in boss fights, and the bosses take very little effort to defeat anyway.
  • Hate at First Sight: Since this is Silver's official debut due to the Retcon in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), he gets this from the other three characters due to his hostile attitude.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Of its own accord, Metal Sonic tears out the Chaos Emerald powering it to save Shadow from being trapped in the Ifrit's dimension.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Eggman Nega unleashes the Ifrit, and upon its defeat he is sealed within the Ifrit's dimension.
  • It Was with You All Along:
    • In Rivals 2, Knuckles and Rouge spend the entire game searching for the Master Emerald by using an Emerald detector. In the ending, the Emerald detector is damaged and it turns out the Master Emerald was inside it all along.
    • A similar case happens with Shadow and Metal Sonic later on in their story. The portal to the Ifrit's dimension opens despite Eggman Nega having collected only 6 of the Chaos Emeralds. It turns out that the seventh Chaos Emerald was inside Metal Sonic all along and was used as a power container, much to Shadow's surprise.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Chaotic Inferno Zone is a city ravaged in ruins, set in a distant Bad Future with molten lava and is home to the Ifrit itself.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: What the series is all about. Even Team Dark members Shadow and Rouge clashed against each other in the second game.
  • The Lost Woods: Sunset Forest Zone is an immense forest at sunset with giant leaves and trees.
  • Magical Camera: Eggman Nega's camera can turn whatever it's pointing at into a card, which is how the Big Bad takes captive those who are dear to player characters and wants to try to do the same with the world. According to Tails, it uses unknown technology to turn matter into data.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Eggman Nega's motivation, which is only revealed in Shadow's playthrough, is to erase the "failures" of Dr. Eggman, because Nega apparently didn't have anyone recognize his genius because of Eggman's failures.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The vocal theme of Rivals 2, "Race to Win", is only one minute long.
  • Mirror Boss: Once a level, actually, with only special abilities being the difference. It's quite jarring with characters like Knuckles and Silver, who aren't supposed to be Mirror Bosses and have been established to have slower foot speeds and different skill sets in every other game in the franchise.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Rivals 2 is virtually identical to the first game, running on the same engine and console. The only differences being the addition of Tails, Rouge and Espio as playable characters, Battle Modes that take place in-between acts, and all-new zones.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In the end of Silver's story in Rivals, he commends Sonic and Shadow for being brave, but doesn't mention Knuckles.
  • No Ending: The endings in the first game are this. Despite the main characters completing their respective missions (Sonic rescuing Amy, Knuckles retrieving the Master Emerald, Shadow rescuing Rouge, and Silver defeating Eggman Nega), they set off to rescue the other victims that are trapped in the cards.
  • Nominal Hero: In Rivals 2, Metal Sonic plays a heroic role for the first time, but only because he is under Eggman's control to fight off Eggman Nega.
  • Not a Date: In the second game, Sonic teasingly asks Knuckles if he and Rouge are going on a date, much to the echidna's annoyance.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Knuckles picks up on this just before he fights Rouge in the final level.
    Knuckles: Rouge! There you are! What's wrong? You're too quiet.
  • Palette Swap: With the exception of super moves, all the characters play exactly alike.
  • Palmtree Panic: Blue Coast Zone in the second game. It even includes elements of Greek architecture similar to Apotos from Sonic Unleashed.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Knuckles and Silver are never shown smiling in the game, even if they express happiness in some scenes.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: In the first game, Tails, Amy, Rouge, the Master Emerald and Dr. Eggman were turned into cards by Eggman Nega's camera, who intends to do the same with the entire planet and gets captured himself in the ending.
  • Playing with Fire: Ifrit is a flying beast made of lava and magma, and can shoot fire from its mouth at will.
  • Poor Communication Kills: This is how many rival battles begin.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Magnet Powerup, which works almost identically to the electric shield from previous games in that it attracts rings to you.
  • Recycled Premise: Silver's story in the second game involves going back in time to save the future from a lizard-like fire demon who was unleashed into the world. To rub it in even further, said demon resides in a ravaged lava-filled city.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Sonic's adventurous red to Tails' cowardly blue.
    • Silver's short-tempered and bossy red to Espio's calm and stoic blue.
  • Retcon: Eggman Nega was altered from being Eggman's counterpart from an Alternate Universe in Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, to being his Identical Grandson from Silver's future and not thinking fondly of Eggman.
  • The Rival: This is what the series is all about, hence the name. Instead of working together like in previous games, the characters are racing and battling each other in order to stop Eggman (actually Eggman Nega in disguise).
  • Rivals Team Up:
    • This happens in Meteor Base Zone, the final level of the first game. One character of each story is assisted by a rival in one act and another in the next — Sonic is assisted by Knuckles and Shadow, Knuckles is assisted by Sonic and Silver, Shadow is assisted by Silver and Sonic, and Silver is assisted by Shadow and Knuckles. What makes this odd is that Sonic and Silver don't team up in the stage, nor did Knuckles and Shadow.
    • Knuckles and Rouge in the second game. Despite being both treasure hunters, they both (reluctantly) team up to retrieve the Master Emerald.
  • Robot Me: Metal Sonic 3.0, a Robot Me for another Robot Me.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Colosseum Highway Zone is an ancient ruins located in Onyx Island, with marble columns and stone statues.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: In one hand, the Rivals games have to be canon in order to explain how Sonic becomes familiar with Silver following Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) being Ret-Gone. However, this subseries has never been officially released in Japan (despite Iizuka writing them) and Eggman Nega's obviously rewritten background (which also appears in Japanese bios, interestingly) adds several continuity-related problems that have yet to be answered to this day.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Every good guy who gets turned into a card is technically this, but breaking the can seems to be very easy, given that any card retrieved gets immediately turned back into the character.
  • Shout-Out: Rouge's "Raider" outfit seems to be a shout out to Tomb Raider.
  • Shipper on Deck: In Knuckles and Rouge's story, Sonic teases Knuckles about the latter and Rouge being on a date.
  • Ship Tease: Good God, Shadow and Rouge runs high in the first game. In one scene, when Shadow attacks Eggman Nega, he calls Rouge's card 'his'. In the very last cutscene, Rouge says 'That's my Shadow', and gets more flirty than usual when she's asking Shadow to look into 'their' future. Granted, she mentions that they are treasure hunting together, but this seems like an invitation to a date. Shadow tries to back out, and we don't know if he gave in. But, this is Rouge we are talking about, so... you never know.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Crystal Mountain Zone is a frigid mountain with crystals, hence the name.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Rouge is the only playable female character in the second game.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Similar to the US version of Sonic CD, hard rock plays on every level, even the bright and cheery ones. Particular noteworthy is Sunset Forest Zone, which also features the heaviest metal possibly heard in the series yet.
  • Space Zone: Meteor Base Zone is Eggman Nega's base of operations set in deep space. It is notably the only Zone in the first game not to take place in Onyx Island.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: The first game favors Shadow's route since he is one of only two characters to learn "Eggman" is actually Eggman Nega in disguise (the other being Silver) and the only one outright to get the villain's Motive Rant.
  • Strictly Formula: Rivals 2 repeats the plots of the first game with each character. Silver traveling to the present time to find Eggman Nega who is disguised as Eggman, Knuckles searching for the stolen Master Emerald, and Shadow assisting Eggman in battling Eggman Nega. Sonic's story is an exception, as he and Tails must rescue the Chao.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Knuckles and Rouge in the second game. Justified in that Knuckles doesn't trust Rouge to help him retrieve the Master Emerald from Eggman. It doesn't help that Rouge stole it from him in the end of their story.
  • Timed Mission: Both acts of the final zone (Meteor Base) in the first game and certain acts for certain characters in the second have no rival and instead just have the goal of reaching the finish line before the time is up.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Most of the characters spend time insulting and fighting each other in order to get to the main villain instead of working together to find him. The villains just do their gloating routine as usual.
    • Silver is a more noticeable example. In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), he was a noble hero from the future who could be misguided with his intentions of building a better future. Then the events of that game were erased, and in here, Silver is terribly rude and hostile to everyone he meets during his pursuit of Eggman Nega.
  • 2½D: The first 2D Sonic games to ditch sprites entirely and use 3D graphics and variable camera angles. The games look great for this reason, with many spectacular loops and corkscrews that fly all over the place, and a similar approach was adopted by the 2D sections of "modern" Sonic games, and Dimps for the Sonic games on Nintendo 3DS.
  • The Unfought: In Rivals 2, just almost each character of all teams have fought two members of the other team once or twice. The battles that didn't occur were Sonic vs. Rouge, Tails vs. Knuckles, Sonic vs. Metal Sonic, Tails vs. Shadow, Knuckles vs. Espio, and Shadow vs. Espio.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You have the ability to mix and match parts of each alternate outfit in order to customize a character's appearance. At least, in the first game.
  • Voice Grunting: Only in the first game; as the second game contains voice acting instead. It's actually not too bad, although many will be inclined to skip it.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Egg Kong in Death Yard. Unlike most bosses, your rival (Metal Sonic) doesn't try to get hits on the boss and instead attacks you, and if you die you can just respawn as many times as you want as usual. As such, the only way to lose is for the timer to run out, and considering you have about 5 minutes, you would pretty much have to lose on purpose.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic Rivals 2