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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Come and get some, Eggman!" The tone Sonic says this line in certainly doesn't help.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In October 2011, an article was written that theorized the possibility of the lyrics in Knuckles' stage music metaphorically telling the story of Knuckles being a drug addict who's hallucinating the Sonic universe to escape from his grim reality, interpreting a scrapped final level as his overdose-induced death. It's a combination of Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker.
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  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable in Real Life, to the point that people mistaking Shadow for Sonic isn't as big of a stretch as it may seem. To elaborate  This comes even before considering completely understandable mitigating factors like people seeing a fast-moving hedgehog handling chaos emeralds at night. It would, if anything, be extremely strange for a layperson not to make such a mistake.
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: Omochao, a Chao-esque robot with a penchant for stating the obvious. Sega had to have known how much the mecha twerp would annoy players, so it can be hit, thrown, and whatever else you can think of to shut it up, although sometimes it will chew you out for the abuse. Oh, and as if people didn't hate it enough already, Omochao's role was expanded in the HD remaster to include tips before levels, although at least he keeps its mouth shut in those cases. That being said, at least Omochao's tutorials are optional and don't intrude on the gameplay, and some of its placements actually turn out beneficial for certain situations, so this trope is downplayed compared to other examples (including some of its own appearances later on down the line).
  • Awesome Music:
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Shadow. To some Sonic fans, Shadow is one of the best characters in the series for a cool design, interesting backstory, and being Darker and Edgier than Sonic in a way that made him more interesting. To other fans, Shadow is one of the worst in the series for being a copy of Sonic, his backstory being perceived as Wangst, and feeling that his darker personality doesn't fit the Sonic universe. Even more than a decade after Sonic Adventure 2 was first released, it's still hard to get a consensus on Shadow, especially with his controversial later appearances in mind.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • City Escape, featuring Sonic boarding down the roads, grinding on rails, catchy music, and outrunning a giant truck. It was later remade for Sonic Generations, this time with the truck equipped with tint saw-blades.
    • Radical Highway is the end-all be-all of highway-based Sonic stages. The music combines with getting to play as a Darker and Edgier Moveset Clone of Sonic who is bent on revenge. No wonder it was the representative for the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, as well as where you race Shadow.
    • Metal Harbor is another beloved level, perhaps on par with City Escape. The level has the most alternate pathways and exploration, the spaces are much wider, giving you the only time to breathe in the normally fairly narrow levels, it marks the spot where the player regains one of his most iconic items — the Light Speed Shoes, and there's a fast-paced timed dash to the rocket before it ignites, and topping it all off, a quick but satisfying sequence where you drop dozens of feet below to a slope with the snowboard before hitting one last loop and colliding with the goal ring.
    • Cosmic Wall is perhaps the most well-liked mech stage in the game, considering it gives Eggman plenty of breathing room, allows him to fly using his Jet Engine, has plenty of enemies to shoot to get a high score, and is sandwiched between the much more difficult Mad Space & Final Chase stages.
    • Final Rush, the final stage of the Hero side story, which has Sonic grinding multiple rails in a final push to stop the ARK cannon. This level can be punishing due to its lack of footing, but do it right and it truly is a "rush" as you slide at the speed of sound through the space above the planet. The pumping music helps keep the intensity through the stage.
  • Breather Level:
    • While Meteor Herd is a hard level with a huge layout and sudden meteor strikes, it's nowhere near as hard as the levels it's sandwiched between. For Knuckles' stages in general, Meteor Herd is also a relief for players who had to deal with the ghosts, considering that Knuckles has three stages involving them (Pumpkin Hill, Aquatic Mine, and Death Chamber).
    • Cosmic Wall, which comes after the frustratingly difficult Mad Space, is a walk in the park. Even though it is extremely long and there are lots of enemies, the enemies rarely attack. Also, the weak gravity makes it practically impossible to die via Bottomless Pit. Finally, the level in general is really fun. In the Dreamcast version, the point threshold for an A rank is extremely easy to obtain due to the massive number of enemies, though Battle fixes this. On the downside, this level is followed by a battle against a very angry Tails, so if you miss the Protective Armor upgrade (which is found on this levelnote ), he will destroy you in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Broken Base:
    • Both non-Sonic gameplay styles have been brought under the divisive umbrella of "alternate gameplay" in the years since Sonic '06. Supporters of it say that the variety truly showed off the potential of the characters' abilities and was one of the best things about the game. Detractors say that the alternate gameplay was incredibly slow, completely unnecessary, and (nearly) dragged the game down if it weren't for the Action stages. There's also the thorny question of whether or not they represent an improvement over Adventure's. While Sonic and Shadow stages are pretty much unquestioned as the best, are the others genuinely bad, or are people just complaining because they have to play multiple styles at all?
      • Treasure Hunting is either seen as a fun diversion from the main Action gameplay with the ability to freely glide around and explore, or a tedious slog that takes too long, pads out the gameplay, and takes time away from Sonic levels. Is the completely arbitrary nerfing of the emerald radar something that shoots the game in the foot, or does improved stage design partially make up for it?
      • Shooting is either a Catharsis Factor-filled romp with the ability to just blow up everything in sight, or again, another slow experience that doesn't belong in the game and, again, takes time away from Sonic levels. There's also the argument of whether or not they're better than their Gamma predecessors, with Gamma gampelay fans citing that he controls and turns faster and has a unique objective in his various boss fights, while fans of Tails/Eggman mech stages point out that Gamma is outright slippery while his counterparts have the weight a gun-shooting mech ought to, the stages are actually built to accommodate the playstyle rather than awkwardly placing a character in a shortened version of a stage built for Sonic, and that even though the playstyle is slower, it still has a chance to get fast if you can build up enough momentum.
    • Fans are torn on what is the definitive way to play the game: Dreamcast or Gamecube? This is made divisive by the fact the latter was a part of the early 2000s Newbie Boom, meaning many Sonic fans grew up on it. There's nothing game-breaking in the Gamecube port, but there are numerous minor graphics issues (as seen in this video comparison). These include worse lightning effects, everyone being much darker toned than in the original, and many small details being removed. As a result, many see it as inferior to the Dreamcast version. Fans who prefer the Gamecube port, however, say its gameplay improvements and higher-quality character models make it a superior Polished Port.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • The massive supply of targetable enemies and objects in Weapons Bed and Cosmic Wall make it very fun to charge the homing laser as long as possible, and watch the screen fill with explosions, tons of bonus points, and Eggman's amused little chuckle is very satisfying.
    • Throwing Omochao at enemies. Whether it's the first or hundredth time, anything to get him to stop talking and boy is it fulfilling! Hitting the real chao in the gardens can prove to be quite a stress relief too to some people.
  • Contested Sequel: While many consider this one of the best Sonic games ever, some don't like the level progression structure in comparison to the original, since the player is forced to cycle between multiple styles in the same story instead of choosing a playstyle along with the story. Some do like it as a way to streamline the story compared to the slower-paced Sonic Adventure, and others even appreciate the greater differences in gameplay between the characters. In general, the original Adventure had a better plot and a heavier focus on traditional "Sonic-style" gameplay, but this game is seen as having better level design, focus, and presentation.
  • Demonic Spiders: The Artificial Chaos. They have very fast attacks, only their head is vulnerable, and a few can reproduce or hide in their bodies to be invulnerable.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Chao, the adorable little creatures who debuted in SA1, soon ascended to this status after SA2B fleshed them out to a massive extent. There's a ridiculous amount of people who bought the game with the prime objective of/solely for raising them, and there are nearly as many members of the fandom begging for Sega to bring back Chao just the way they were in the Adventure series, not like the seriously diluted Chao Garden minigames available on some of the newer titles. Except Omochao.
    • Despite her relatively minor role in the plot and subsequent games, Rouge the Bat is also fairly liked for being the second female character added to the series after Amy Rose, and her status as a Dark Action Girl and Ms. Fanservice. People also like her her flirty and playful nature as well as her relationships with Knuckles and Shadow.
  • Evil Is Cool: Eggman takes the lead in this game. He takes out an army, succeeded in destroying half of the moon, and even came close to destroying Sonic for good!
    • Shadow too, though it's revealed later that he wasn't actually evil, still, is obviously qualified. He was the mastermind behind the plan, and is Sonic's definite equal. See also Magnificent Bastard below.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Shadow and Maria is quite popular, despite them being of different species. (And surrogate siblings.)
    • Knuckles/Rouge as well. You could make a convincing claim that they have the most mutually-reciprocated feelings in the series, with some regret that their apparent UST wasn't followed up on after the game.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • An example related to the story. At the very end of the Hero Mode story, Sonic is able to use Chaos Control, after seeing Shadow using it earlier in the game, to save himself from Eggman's burning space pod. Fans agreed that it was a blatant Deus ex Machina at best and Ass Pull at worst, but accepted it anyway because the alternative would have been killing off the titular character of the franchise. Fast-forward to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and the brand-new character Silver the Hedgehog is able to use Chaos Control perfectly after seeing someone else do it, just like Sonic did — but with the crucial difference that this was not relegated to a single moment in the ending, but done frequently throughout his story campaign with even less justification than in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • While the first Sonic Adventure planted the seeds for the series shedding its surreal, cartoon-like tone in favor of a serious, sometimes whimsical Shonen Anime style of plot and writing, Sonic Adventure 2, more than any other game in the series, is truly responsible for crystallizing it. While this game's story is far darker than those of previous Sonic games, it also features attempts at a stronger narrative and actual Character Development that allowed fans to look past that. Later attempts to apply a serious story to the series tended to lack satisfactory narratives and Character Development, and without any of the qualities that made the stories of the Adventure games work, all that was left were (now even more ramped up) Darker and Edgier aspects that made the series seem like an over the top parody of itself, especially with Shadow's spinoff game and the highly controversial 2006 game.
    • The stage Green Hill Zone has become infamous over the years for being constantly reused as a Nostalgia Level. This game features Green Hill Zone as a Nostalgia Level, but it was an optional bonus level as your reward for collecting all of the Emblems, and the stage had not reappeared in a mainline Sonic title since the first game. When later games reused Green Hill Zone, they had it as the mandatory first level as opposed to kicking off the journey with an original stage, and it reappeared so frequently (it was featured in both of 2017's Sonic titles, Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces) that fans began to view the reuse of Green Hill Zone with contempt.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • In the "Dark Side" ending, it's shown that unbeknownst to Eggman, the laser has overloaded as he tried to fire it with the power of all seven Chaos Emeralds, which is what the Cannon's power was source was intended to be — whilst it's possible Gerald Robotnik underestimated the power of the Emeralds, in the "Hero Side" ending, Sonic manages to prevent the ARK's cannon from firing, potentially causing the resulting overload that occurs in the "Dark Side" ending. This makes even more sense when one remembers that in the "Hero Side" ending, there is a moment when you see Eggman's hand reaching for the Chaos Emerald. When Amy and Tails look out the window, and we have a clear view of the entire room, Eggman is gone, presumably having taken the Emerald to the cannon's core. Cue "Dark Side" ending.
    • The Last Story ending has a subtle reason for why Shadow powers down from his Super form and Sonic doesn't — you start the preceding boss battle with Sonic, and each successful hit switches the other hedgehog in, whilst the one who is not being used collects some rings to stay powered up, and it's a six-hit boss. Whilst traveling past the boss leads to the characters switching out again, Shadow is meant to be the one to get the last hit.
    • The title of Eggman's theme song "E.G.G.M.A.N." is strange, since Eggman isn't an acronym for anything. However, the way it's written does invoke the way the game's Boss Subtitles appear one letter at a time. You can almost hear the typewriter sound effect.
    • Gerald's prototypes of ultimate life were based on the mythos of Sonic Adventure. The Biolizard was designed after Perfect Chaos, and Shadow was designed after Super Sonic. This explains why a replica of the Master Emerald shrine was on the ARK, the numerous Artificial Chaos, and why both the Biolizard and Shadow could use Chaos Emeralds.
  • Fridge Horror:
    • Biolizard has gills on his neck approximately half Shadow's height, and several gills on either side of his body more than twice Shadow's height. He also has air vents at the base of his neck, not to mention the numerous pipes connecting him to his life-support system. Yet despite all this, he still has to hyperventilate. It's no wonder that he's the prototype.
    • When the Colony Drop begins, Professor Gerald's ultimatum is in the form of a video file. He's standing in front of what appears to be his cell on Prison Island. At the end, once he's finished his speech, someone off-camera asks him if he has anything more to say. When Gerald replies that he does not, that person barks out a "Ready!" to some other people off-screen. It takes a few minutes to realize this, but this appears to be Gerald's last words before he faces a firing squad.
      • In the Japanese version of Sonic X, you can hear the gunshots.
      • From that same speech, he says that he "designed [Shadow's] mind to be perfect, pure" (or, in the Sonic X adaptation, he mentions that he will follow his orders without question). It's a long shot, but it could mean that he somehow manipulated Shadow while he was contained, possibly going so far as to change his memories about Maria.
    • During City Escape and the freeway chase segments as Tails or Rouge, cars are presented as obstacles. Running into them causes them to fly into the air and eventually explode. Some of them happen to be driving at the time. Think about it.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Sonic is this if you have acquired the Magic Hand and the Bounce Bracelet upgrades. For the Magic Hand, you can have the option to turn your enemies (except ghosts) into balls. For the Bounce Bracelet, this can be useful for the two Shadow boss fights and the Big Foot boss fight — for the former, just quickly defeat Shadow by repeatedly using the Bound Attack when you're close to him, and for the latter, you can bounce up high enough to home attack Big Foot. The Bounce Bracelet is also used often in speedruns and to a literal game breaking extent in tool-assisted speedruns.
    • In Battle, there is Metal Sonic and Amy, Chaos, and Tails' alternate costume for the racing, treasure hunting, and shooting modes respectively.
      • Metal Sonic: Lacks specials, but he moves much faster and jumps much higher than the rest of the 'hogs and he has an invincibility shield to boot.
      • Amy: She may be slow and can't jump high, but she gets her specials every 10 rings rather than 20, and her freeze doesn't lock her opponent in midair, meaning she can send them plummeting to their death. It's not uncommon for her to continuously kill you and freeze you into submission. She's also faster on rails than other characters.
      • Chaos: He's also slow, but he can breathe underwater, has a radar that detects emeralds from further away, his punches all have a long reach, and his third special freezes the opponent for a whopping 30 seconds!
      • Alt Costume Tails: No specials, but he moves at speeds that would make Sonic blush!
  • Genius Bonus: In Dry Lagoon, Rouge's first stage, she immediately encounters a turtle held at gunpoint by two GUN robots. Destroying the robots will have the turtle carry her to the second part of the stage as thanks. Random Video Game Caring Potential moment? No. It's a reference to a Japanese folk tale.
  • Goddamned Bats: The ghosts. Seriously. They rarely pose a threat to the characters in the game and at best, they're just there to Jump Scare the players. They are especially annoying in Pyramid Cave, where Sonic has to go through a long corridor in a limited amount of time and there are ghosts all over the damn corridor that hold you in place and waste precious seconds.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The Chao Key glitch in the digital port. It allows any of the main six to access any of the multiplayer stages.
    • Another glitch relating to the Chao is that if you place an animal or Chaos Drive in front of a Chao, you can keep giving the Chao the item an infinite amount of times. There's a spot next to a toppled pillar in the Hero Garden that prevents a Chao from moving and makes the glitch easier to abuse. Good for raising up your Chao's stats.
    • It's difficult but possible to set off a chain of glitches that allow the multiplayer characters to visit the Chao Gardens.
    • Another one is during the first Sonic vs. Shadow fight where you can briefly tap the roll button, but for some reason, the animation doesn't play, yet still treats the character you're playing as as if they were still rolling, with invincibility frames and all, which results in a hilarious situation where the boss can't hurt you and actually gets damaged when they run into you.
    • If one leaves the game on for an extended period of time while in the Chao Gardens, the Chao can get some Game-Breaker stats, get glitchy graphics, and otherwise evolve into otherwise impossible to obtain chao such as Tails, Amy, and Knuckles chao (the latter two of which were Dummied Out), and Omochao. However, their stats can be 0 or maxed out at 9999 at random as well.
    • Most Tool Assisted Speedruns make use of items in otherwise unintended ways to get through levels far faster than they ever should be able to.
    • The safe doors in Security Hall can be opened simply by Screw Kicking them, for whatever reason. It helps immensely, as the process of unlocking safes is otherwise quite time-consuming.
    • As Tails and Eggman, locking onto a bunch of enemies and whistling allows you to get the point bonus you would get for hitting the combo, without actually killing anything. For the G.U.N. robots that shoot several bombs at you, or lots of small enemies that pose no threat, you can easily rack up points for that A rank.
  • Growing the Beard: Both versions of this game did a lot to improve the Chao system into the current one that cemented the creatures' status as Ensemble Darkhorses. The introduction of Hero and Dark Chao aside, the Dreamcast release added Chaos Drives that allow the fine-tuned raising of stats, the ability to remove animal parts with ease, the Chao Kindergarten to give Chao new talents and as a way of keeping old animal talents as toys and instruments, Chao races were massively expanded upon to give a wide range of challenges, offer a plethora of new toys for Chao to use and fix the cheering mechanic, and seeds to plant more trees from the Chao Adventure 2 minigame on the VMU; while Battle on the Gamecube gave players the ability to buy special fruits, hats, and several dozen new colours of Chao eggs from the Black Market, the ability to see a Chao's stat proficiency and name them in-game, connecting with Sonic Advance's Tiny Chao Garden to offer new fruits and more jewel-tone Chao; easier transferring of Chao between memory cards and a new competition in the form of Chao Karate.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The phrase "weapons of mass destruction" already seems a bit out of place in a kid's game, but it feels quite different in light of how frequently that phrase was used in the lead-up to the Iraq War.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Remember the introductory movie of the remaster? Shadow and Sonic did face each other, but never in Radical Highway... until the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations. Especially noteworthy considering the beginning of the very same boss battle has a different Shout-Out in the home console version, in that the intro movie is referenced by Sonic and Shadow's Mirrored Confrontation Shot; however, the battle itself takes place outside the Space Colony ARK.
    • A major area of the game is Prison Island. The area has several levels on both sides before it's blown up, but despite that, just the name "Prison Island" will make some Xenoblade fans laugh.
    • The whole plot counts. Let's see: The black and red "edgy" character was created as a part of a Mad Scientist's experiments, and is later abandoned by them. They later find a rival in the character with blue motifs, whose abilities match their own. Eventually, it turns out that the Mad Scientist wants to get rid of all of humanity, which climaxes in a battle in space with a Golden Super Mode that ends with a Heroic Sacrifice. The spoilers wouldn't need to be tagged if not for the fact that they're major plot twists for another work.
    • There's many comparisons to Mega Man Zero. A mad scientist who is behind everything bad takes control of a satellite with a death laser to force global surrender and after being defeated by the resident stoic anti-hero with a red motif, he fuses with the satellite to crash it on earth. Forcing the anti-hero to stay behind to make sure he is dead for real, only to get himself killed in the explosion. Said anti-hero also woke up after a long sleep in stasis, has altered or half-forgotten memories that periodically come back to him, a young, innocent girl he loved dying which breaks his idealism, was created by the current mad scientist's predecessor to destroy humanity, only to save it, and has a blue rival boss. Better still, this time said blue rival is actually a fake copy.
    • In the Crazy Gadget stage, Eggman says "Sonic, you're too slow!" if you need more than four minutes to reach the final room. Fast forward to Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Sonic says this in one of his taunts, making this to be one of the infamous memes.
    • In the Chao Garden one of the mini-games is "Chao Karate". Sonic and the others would partake in Karate in Mario and Sonic 2020!
  • Hype Backlash: Back when this game was first released and a few years after, it was considered the best of the 3D Sonic games due to its different styles of play and its surprisingly complex plot. Nowadays, those are the exact reasons people call this game overhyped and nowhere near as good as it was touted. Sonic Unleashed's non-werehog gameplay is seen as a better example of a "proper" 3D Sonic title today, though whether this game or its immediate predecessor did a better job with the 3D gameplay of the time is up for debate.
  • Idiot Plot: Shadow and Sonic are clearly not identical in spite of the two being hedgehogs able to move at lightning speed. At some point in the game, G.U.N., Eggman, Amy and the general public all mistake Sonic for Shadow. In G.U.N.'s case, it's implied at times both in this game and later ones that they may have used Sonic as a scapegoat for Shadow due to wanting to limit public awareness.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Many people are accusing the XBLA and PSN ports of this.
  • It Was His Sled:
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • A large number of people who bought Battle have admitted that they only did so to raise Chao.
    • Many play the game only for the Sonic and Shadow stages, considering them to be the only enjoyable part of the game.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Shadow the Hedgehog was an Ultimate Lifeform that lost his best friend Maria and his creator Dr. Gerald Robotnik when they were killed by the government. Imprisoned but eventually released by Gerald’s grandson, Dr. Eggman Robotnik, Shadow enacted a plan to destroy all of humanity as revenge. Playing on Eggman’s ego and his grandfather’s legacy, Shadow manipulated the doctor into gathering Chaos Emeralds, misdirecting everyone into thinking it was for powering a Kill Sat. This diverted everyone’s attention from his real plan of performing a Colony Drop. He even manages to expose Rouge as a government agent. Shadow’s plan is only foiled because Amy Rose helps him remember Maria’s final request for Shadow to protect the people of Earth and so he decides to help stop his own scheme, almost sacrificing himself. Shadow, in his first appearance, was as devious as Sonic villains come and even as a hero is one of the franchise’s most competent characters.
  • Memetic Molester: The boos from Pyramid Cave often grab a character from behind, often referred to as the "rape ghosts."
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
    • In the English dub, the voice acting often overlaps itself. Somebody's lines will suddenly and mercilessly override someone else, or even another of their own lines. Interviews years later would clarify that the voice director didn't bother syncing up the characters' lip flaps to the English vocals. It shows.
      • Sonic vs Shadow 1's introductory banter. The hedgehogs argue over who is the fake one, then Sonic interrupts and rushes through Shadow's line, referring to the sentence Shadow didn't finish!
      • Upon seeing Shadow first use Chaos Control, Sonic interrupts his own line.
    • Occasionally, the VAs go into complete and total monotone. Particular stickouts include a few of Tails' lines and Knuckles' near-robotic "Hand over the Master Emerald, give them to me."
    • Shadow's "I'm the coolest!" line when you first land a hit on him. The more you play through the game, the more out-of-character it sounds for him.
    • Eggman gets a touching scene in the end in which he opens up about how much his grandfather inspired him to become a great scientist, but now questions his admiration after his plan to destroy the world was revealed. And then Tails proceeds to ruin the moment with a generic, Non Sequitur "We all did it together!"
    • Any scene with Knuckles in it becomes this once you get all his upgrades, what with the Hammer Glove/Shovel Claw combo giving him oversized hands, and the Air Necklace and Sunglasses making him look like he's trying to be cool, combine to make Knuckles look more ridiculous than he ever has before. As Sonic Shorts put it:
    Omochao: "You got: a serious spinal condition from carrying so much junk!"
    • The scene we're supposed to take seriously of Knuckles saving Rouge from falling to her death. The problem is that Rouge is a bat, with wings. (And you just finished a boss fight in which the same pit releases enough updraft that it's impossible to fall into in the first place.)
    • Tails apparently got all of his intel on a top secret military prison from a public news broadcast. The area is meant to be a highly restricted area.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The rap songs that play during Knuckles' stages combine this with Awesome Music.
    • The same goes for the City Escape theme, which has become ingrained into Sonic fans' minds in spite of its utterly ridiculous lyrics and cheesy instrumentation. Jun Senoue seems to enjoy writing awesome music with cheesy lyrics, and then making it work.
    • The fight against the Finalhazard can be a bit ridiculous, if not flat-out humorous, since you're fighting a giant mutated, laser-blasting lizard creature with a Face Ship's nose shoved up its butt. But that's okay, because "Live and Learn" is blaring in the background. And Shadow and Sonic have both teamed up to fight this beast in their Super forms. And you're in outer space.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The ghosts in Pumpkin Hill, Aquatic Mine, and Death Chamber. Some of them are invisible and don't reveal themselves until after you get close to them, at which point they'll pop out in your face and grow very large before dissipating. They're scattered randomly throughout these levels, and you have absolutely no way to detect them, although some can be behind the walls, objects, on the ground, etc.
  • Porting Disaster: Battle's HD rereleases are nowhere as bad as Sonic Adventure - the maingame is particularly intact outside of several aspect ratio issues in a number of cutscenes and has decent controls. However, it wrecked the Chao system in a lot of ways. Fruit textures tend to glitch into using other Chao Garden models when exiting the Chao Stadium. All of the things exclusive to the Tiny Chao Garden such as many fruits, jewel Chao and the official character Chao are unavailable. Planted trees render minuscule and float in midair. Shiny twotone Chao's textures are broken and render with bright whites over most of their bodies. Most of these changes are remedied through the Chao World Extended mod, at least.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Tikal's guiding successor Omochao is pretty much the equivalent of Navi in the Sonic universe - small, needlessly and annoyingly helpful and damn-near unavoidable at times, especially when you start losing against a boss multiple times. He's also got a grating voice and his tirades can go on for ages at times. Thankfully, the devs appeared to predict this would happen and also made him an object which you can hurt, pick up, throw and use as a weapon, complete with him breaking, although as momentarily as it is. Things got worse when his prominence escalated in future games and the HD remaster, where he can now appear before the start of a level.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The radar in hunting levels only detects one object at a time. The previous game worked on all three objects at once, and has fewer detection levels than it. Also, due to the levels being very large and the emerald locations being randomly generated, it can result in running up and down the level, struggling to find that emerald shard.
    • The action/platforming characters' abilities are all mapped to one button. All of them. Each with a specific timing and means to activate it; but multiple timings can occur simultaneously with the running characters. So, when you approach a bottomless pit with a trail of rings, one of two things can happen: Either your light speed dash will kick in and you'll fly through the path of rings, or your somersault will kick in and careen Sonic/Shadow down a pit. You can also stop what you're doing and cycle/be sure you're on the right ability unless you're doing a time attack or another stage where you don't have that luxury. It can make those stages a pain.
      • The same thing can happen in the Chao Garden; there's nothing like trying to pick up/pet a Chao and accidentally somersaulting into it and upsetting it instead. Battle alleviated some of these problems by making Sonic and Shadow unable to somersault and spindash in the Chao Gardens, and mapped the other characters' attack prompts to the Y button cycle.
    • Each of the Chao Gardens have a different rate at which gradual evolution occurs. It's higher than normal in the Hero Garden, but practically nonexistent in the Dark Garden which means that most Chao living there won't finish second evolution by the time they die.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The game introduced several iconic elements to the series, which have been commonplace since, so it might not seem all that special. How much it's aged is left to other conversations.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The Chao gardens, to the point where you could rename the trope Sidetracked by Chao. The gardens feature more thematic differences, the affection and behavior mechanic has been expanded upon, the shop is much, much larger and more varied in content, plenty of fair if challenging races requiring both Hero and Dark Chao to be raised to enter, etc. Indeed, most of the game's longevity comes from grinding for rings to buy and raise a cuddly lil' moe blob of your own. This was so popular in fact, that cries of returning them to the games/making stand-alone gardens and chao have been requested even to this day.
  • Signature Scene:
    • City Escape is the game's iconic level, setting the tone for the game, having an unforgettable song in the background, and that truck chase (itself a Signature Scene) capped it off very nicely. Not only did the level get a reprise in Sonic Generations but it's generally considered a high mark in game design overall.
    • For cutscenes, due to Memetic Mutation, Sonic and Shadow's faceoff before and after their respective forest stages. The whole thing is immensely quotable, for reasons under Narm.
    • The final boss fight from both campaigns where Sonic and Shadow square off one final time. Everything about it from the setup to the initial sprint to the boss fight itself is remembered fondly and is cited as one of the most exceptional character battles in the series.
    • Eggman tricking Sonic into a space pod and launching him into space, killing him... and the subsequent reveal that Sonic survives regardless.
    • Gerald Robotnik speech declaring his plan to drop the space Colony Ark onto Earth.
    • Shadow's fight with the Biolizard.
    • And of course, the final battle outside the Space Colony ARK where Super Sonic and Super Shadow make the final stand against the Finalhazard to prevent the space station from falling to Earth, cued up to main theme of the game "Live and Learn". This scene was recreated in Sonic X, complete with "Live and Learn" (although only in the original Japanese cut).
  • Signature Song: "Live and Learn" and "Escape from the City" are common ones in the game, while the rap music form Knuckles' stages are a close second.
  • That One Boss:
    • The penultimate boss Biolizard is noted for being extremely hard. It rotates at just the wrong speed so Shadow will either run into its mouth or get tail-slapped. For the last hit, it triggers a Gravity Screw with some Depth Perplexion so Shadow will collide with several bubbles whose depth is almost impossible to determine. It's even worse in the Dreamcast version, which has a glitch where getting tailslapped can knock Shadow into the water and kill him instantly. It got a well-deserved nerf when it returned for Sonic Generations (the Nintendo 3DS's actual visual 3D helped, too).
    • The following battle with the Final Hazard can be just as bad, partly due to its randomly spawning weak spots and somewhat finicky controls. Added to a 5-minute limit, hard-to-avoid lasers and orbs that throw you back, Rings that drain so fast that you'll worry more about them than the actual time limit, and you get a final battle that, while extremely epic, can also be a source of frustration.
    • Even the final boss fight in the Hero and Dark stories between Sonic and Shadow can be this. Not only is the rival hedgehog fast and hard to hit, but if he's behind you he will always use Chaos Control, disappear and then reapppear soon enough, and if you're too far away from him he'll use his special attack, which can be extremely annoying. Making matters even worse is that it's a stealth Time-Limit Boss, as unlike the True Final Boss, which explicitly says that there's a time limit, nothing says in the game that the seemingly infinite trail will end and make your character fall into space if you take over ten minutes to defeat the rival.
    • Egg Golem with Eggman is pretty annoying too, and it doesn't help that unlike Sonic who can jump out of the quicksand if he falls in, the much heavier Dr. Eggman will instantly sink and cost you a life (Eggman's battle DOES add stable platforms down there to avoid it, but it's pretty easy to miss those, even when hovering). Not to mention that, unlike Sonic, who is smaller, faster, and can take multiple hits (as long as you pick up your rings), Eggman is bigger, slower, and has a limited health bar as well. Also the Golem is malfunctioning after Sonic defeats it, so Dr. Eggman has to deal with it being considerably faster and more erratic with its attacks and movements.
    • The second Tails vs Eggman battle. The level has no rings, meaning no regaining health, and your enemy will pull out special attacks that do massive damage are extremely hard to dodge with the slow character you use. Fortunately, the version when fighting as Eggman becomes a Breather Boss if you got the Protective Armor upgrade in Cosmic Wall.
  • That One Level:
    • The driving missions where you cannot hit the wall or any of the other cars, mainly because of the dodgy controls and how it almost seems like the cars are trying to specifically hit you in those missions. Thankfully, the civilian cars do not appear in the mission where you have to avoid contact with the guardrails.
    • For the shooting levels, there is Eternal Engine. In Tails' two previous levels (Mission Street and Hidden Base), you used dynamite to create platforms and reveal paths. In this level, the dynamite is placed on hatches in several rooms. Should you shoot a dynamite pack, the hatch it is on will open and act as a vacuum trying to suck you into space. Dynamite can also be found on walkways, creating new gaps that you must hover over should you accidentally shoot it. In Hard Mode, this level's difficulty is taken Up to Eleven with many more enemies, lots of more dynamite, and small platforms replacing almost all of the large platforms. It's pretty much the opposite of Cosmic Wall, and a microcosm of people's complaints about shooting stages as a whole.
    • Security Hall and Mad Space is this for the treasure hunting levels due to the sheer size of the worlds, the bad clues given and, in the case of the former, the five-minute time limit. It doesn't help that in Mad Space, some of the hints you get are reversed not just in text, but also in meaningnote . Worst of all, not all of them are reversed, meaning you might have to spend time going through the whole stage just to find them.
    • The Hard Mode version for Egg Quarters. All the keys are located inside three cages and this requires you to get a bomb from the monkey robots, place it close to the cage, and let it destroy it. You would have to get close enough to the bomb to pick it up or else kicking it will cause damage. And as if the Egg Beetle robots was bad enough, there will be no green lights to warn you of their arrival and you have to take cover in the shadows.
    • Knuckles can have it almost as bad with Death Chamber and Meteor Herd (almost only being because his stages lack any of the infuriating gimmicks of Rouge's). The former can have several rooms where the radar doesn't go off until you go to another room entirely, while Meteor Herd is yet another huge space level like Mad Space.
    • The Hard Mode version of Pyramid Cave. As if the boos grabbing you around the corridor was bad enough, there will be Boom Boos that will get in your way (and there will be a few Jump Scare boos, too). In addition, there is the section where you would have to take the second key to unlock the second corridor. Instead of jumping up the platforms, you have to stand on the metal boxes and throw them to the next platform. You'll also have to avoid the robots shooting you.
    • Crazy Gadget, due to the element of Gravity Screw and the maze-like final section where a single wrong move can lose a life. Hard Mode makes it even worse due to the exploding variety of the artificial chaos enemy being everywhere. Also, hard mode requires you to pull off some insane stunts over bottomless pits and go through the maze-like section at the end at least twice to find a very well-hidden switch that unlocks the goal ring. note  On the plus side, even if you die and have to restart from the second checkpoint, it is still possible to A-rank the mission from there if you play through the rest of the level well enough, though that's no easy task.
    • Metal Harbor on its own is quite short and simple; A-ranking it is where you'll find trouble. The only way to actually earn enough points for the A-rank is to reach the topmost handle of the rocket. The time limit before the rocket launch is very strict, and failing to grab onto the rocket in any way counts as a death.
    • Final Rush and Final Chase for Sonic and Shadow, respectively. The former is frustrating because it's filled with grind rails that you have to precisely jump on, or else you end up falling to your fiery death (which is easy to do if you're going too fast). The latter is frustrating because it's filled with pillars that make Shadow spin around (which many players have criticized for being wonky or glitchy) and for having several Artificial Chaos, some of which you have to bounce off of just to get to one of said pillars; and you will have to avoid hitting the meteors. It's worse for the Hard Mode version for the latter as there will be more meteors you'll have a hard time avoiding and Artificial Chaos being more aggressive in attacking you when you try to bounce off of them to get to the pillars.
    • And then there's the dreaded Cannon's Core. You have to play as every character (except Shadow) back to back, and each character's segment is roughly the size of an average stage on its own. There are very few checkpoints, quite a few annoying puzzles and mechanics, Artificial Chaos galore, and if you lose all your lives (or if you're forced to shut off the game console) before finishing all five segments, you have to start the whole thing all over again. Also, God forbid you go through Knuckles' section without the Air Necklace.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some people disliked the new mech stages and treasure hunting stages, compared to how E-102's and Knuckles' stages were handled in Adventure.
    • E-102's stages had the "race against the clock" element to them, where you were on a timer and shooting enemies added onto your time. This encouraged speeding through the level while shooting stuff along the way, which meant your progression was rarely halted by having to blow stuff up that stopped you. Also, the levels felt more open, Gamma was (relatively) fast, and it used the usual rings to protect you instead of an HP bar. All of this made E-102's stages match up more with the style of Sonic's while putting its own spin on things, rather than being forced into a slow, clunky character navigating through cramped corridors. (Cosmic Wall nonwithstanding.)
    • The treasure hunting stages between the two games remained pretty much the same, but with a big exception: The Emerald Radar. In Adventure, the radar not only detected all 3 Emeralds at once, it was also more sensitive and complex than Green to Yellow to Red. This simplistic design made digging Emeralds very annoying to track down in particular, although Battle remedied this by adding a '!' over your character's head when you were rigt on top of the Emerald. Also, the levels in Adventure never got anywhere near as big or maze-like as Knuckles' later stages, and Rouge's Mad Space.
    • For all the improvements Battle made to the Chao system, there was one thing that they dialed back on: The Hero and Dark Gardens. In the original, the Hero Garden had a river and a bridge, although the pool was at least made bigger in Battle to compensate (and shallower so Tails wouldn't drown). The Dark Garden really got the shaft, because it lost both its cave and the big winding hill, so now it hardly stands out from the regular Garden outside of aesthetics. The reason for this change is unknown, but its possible it was either so the player could find their Chao easier, or so the Chao could navigate the Garden easier, as their pathfinding leaves a lot to be desired. (To see this in action, try giving your Chao a tree seed and see how long it takes for them to find a planting spot.)
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The game never explores how Eggman feels about his family being murdered by a corrupt government; in fact he doesn't seem to care at all despite allegedly having a great amount of respect for his grandfather. The whole plot is just about Shadow and his feelings. It's a shame, as it could have worked as a great Freudian Excuse for Eggman's behaviour throughout the series. Of course he wants to take over the world; the world is run by a cruel military that destroyed his family!
  • Tough Act to Follow: Despite some of its faults Sonic Adventure 2 has one the most beloved stories of the entire series, especially those who grew up with it. The later entries had trouble topping it. Either trying to capture the magic and failing or going for a lot more of a comedic, light-hearted bent.
  • True Art Is Angsty: They took a series previously known more for colourful backgrounds and cutesy creatures and turned it into a tale of revenge, grief for lost loved ones, and attempted use of a weapon literally capable of wiping out all of humanity. Sonic Adventure 1 was already this compared to the earlier Sonic games, but Sonic Adventure 2 took it even further...
  • Uncanny Valley: The human characters (sans Eggman) look a little... off.
  • Unfortunate Character Design: Rouge's car is supposed to be modeled after her head, but many fans think it looks disturbingly phallic.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Taken Up to Eleven compared to the first game, Adventure 2 features numerous effects and design choices that pushed the Dreamcast to its limit. Destroyed enemies break apart with trails of fire and sparks following the pieces down. It's even faster than the first Sonic Adventure, and runs at an unbroken 60 frames per second, even in stages where the screen is filled with explosions such as Eggman's first stage. Light sources have a visible "motion trail" effect when the camera moves, character models are fully detailed with individual fingers (a step up from the blocky, LEGO-handed models of the first game), and each level is packed with architecture to give the surroundings a realistic, lived-in feel. It's the closest you could get to playing a blockbuster Hollywood action film in 2001.
    • The Dreamcast version actually packs in a lot of special graphical trickery, especially in terms of lighting and shadow, that the GameCube revamp strangely decided to greatly simplify or remove, and unfortunately were kept edited in the HD port. This is most obvious after completing Tails' Prison Lane stage, as Sonic's cell uses realistic shadowing through the bars only in the Dreamcast version. But still, even the ports still look great to this day...
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Shadow is on a quest to destroy humanity because the government murdered his best friend, an innocent child, in order to cover up his existence. She was also the granddaughter of his creator Gerald Robotnik, which is made horrifying by his speech, which actually begins with the statement "This is a death sentence for every human being on earth" and ends right before he's executed by a firing squad. There's a reason why the ESRB rating was changed from E to E10+ when it was rereleased for XBLA, PSN, and Steam.
    • The opening of the Dark story also begins with introducing Eggman massacring an army.
    • This game also introduces Rouge whose Jiggle Physics are the most prominent out of any appearance.
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