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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Did Metal Sonic really "betray" Eggman? Considering that he locked Eggman away safely in a room when he could have done much worse, and his goal was to defeat Sonic (what Eggman created him to do) and build a robot empire (Eggman's goal), it's possible that he simply deemed his creator to be unable to accomplish their goals himself and took matters into his own hands.
    • The final boss theme, "What I'm Made Of", is pretty vague on whose viewpoint the song is supposed to be focused on. The singer dares their persistent opponent to not hold back during their fight while also promising to show their foe how powerful they truly are. The song can be viewed as a Badass Boast from Sonic's perspective, but can just as easily be seen as Metal Sonic finally reaching his breaking point and going to extremes he normally wouldn't go to.
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    • Team Chaotix's client gives them a lot of stealth missions that encourage them to sneak past enemies rather than smashing them up. Is Eggman trying to keep the Chaotix from being discovered by Metal Sonic, or is he trying to subtly dissuade them from destroying his own robots? Or is it both?
  • Angst? What Angst?: For how much his sacrifice hit hard in Sonic Adventure 2, none of Team Sonic seems that concerned over the fact that Shadow is somehow still alive and has amnesia, with Sonic's first instinct being to engage in the same kind of banter he had with Shadow in the last game. Even Rouge, despite showing concern over whether or not Shadow is an android, doesn't sound all too surprised when she releases Shadow from his stasis pod and calms Omega down.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Metal Overlord. While Metal Madness is mildly challenging due to having one instant-kill attack, Overlord is one of the easiest bosses in the game — you can't even be directly harmed by him, and the only danger is running out of rings, which can be periodically refilled during the fight. Granted, you can't hurt him either unless you use a Team Blast, and it takes five Team Blasts to defeat him, but this simply turns the fight into a waiting game of countering projectiles to build up the gauge while watching your rings.
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  • Awesome Music: This game has its own section on this page.
  • Ass Pull: How and when Metal Sonic, a pure machine, became capable of copying biological data from living life forms and applying their abilities to himself, even giving himself the ability to shapeshift due to copying the supernatural abilities of Chaos, is given no explanation at all and basically comes right out of nowhere at the end. Not that many fans mind, of course, and this ability has become a staple of his character in future games anyway.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • On the more upward end of the trope, Big managed to ascend out of The Scrappy status for some fans due to being boosted into an impressive Power type with the same speed and capability as the standard characters. His dopey Manchild personality still remains to polarise the others, though.
    • Those that don't consider E-123 Omega as an Ensemble Dark Horse tend to view him as a flat Replacement Scrappy for E-102 Gamma.
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  • Best Level Ever: Many players hold Egg Fleet as the favorite, not only for the sheer sense of vertigo of being high up in the air (even compared to other airship levels in the series), but for the challenge offered by having to constantly dodge gunfire from the ships, and the sheer amount of alternate paths available. To put the cherry on top, the level features the playable trio creating a chain reaction that destroys an entire battleship with Rocket Accel. And Team Dark's version allows you to do it three times, with the third time standing in for the Goal Ring. Quite expectedly, there are a number of fans who were disappointed that Seaside Hill, essentially the Green Hill Zone throwback of the game, was picked to represent Heroes in Sonic Generations over Egg Fleet when, one, the Green Hill Zone was already in the game, and two, Seaside Hill had already made countless appearances in many spin-offs.
  • Breather Boss: Robot Carnival and Robot Storm for Team Chaotix. Their Team Blast gives you rings for each enemy it kills. Collecting rings fills the Team Blast meter. These fights throw a lot of enemies at you. Do the math.
  • Broken Base:
    • The game itself caused a sizable rift in the fandom. Depending on whom you ask, it's either a fun and engaging platformer with a nice variety of characters and the last good game before the franchise's Dork Age, or an unplayable mess with awful controls and the very game that started the Dork Age.
    • Team Chaotix's missions are heavily criticized, particularly the ones that involve searching for and collecting things. Taking the already divisive Treasure Hunting gameplay and trading its more open-ended levels for the usual linear setup this game has makes them even more tedious for many, and it doesn't help that you have to teleport all the way to the beginning of the level just to search for them again. To others, though, while they're certainly not perfect, that doesn't make them immediately worthy of revulsion. In fact, defenders have gone so far as to claim them as one of the highlights of the story, mainly for being the only gameplay style to actually differ. The Sonic fandom admittedly has a... shaky relationship with any gameplay that diverges from the standard "run to the goal" formula, but besides them, every other team in the game has slightly longer or shorter variants of the exact same lengthy series of levels with little to distinguish them from one another bar difficulty, and you have to play every single one in order to get the last story. With the big picture of the game in mind, they're a breath of fresh air surrounded by Fake Longevity and an incentive to actually look around in and explore the levels rather than blaze through them.
    • This game was pretty much the catalyst for Shadow's status as a Base-Breaking Character. Did bringing Shadow back cheapen his Heroic Sacrifice in Adventure 2, thus turning him into a Creator's Pet, or was it good just to see the Ultimate Life Form make a reappearance? Unfortunately, Shadow's self-titled game, a direct continuation of his arc in Heroes, would only further divide fans. note 
    • Metal Sonic's portrayal has received differing opinions; while some liked him becoming a threat in his own right wthout being a minion of Eggman, others found it wildly out of character and prefer the idea of Metal Sonic's character being like the original, only coldly loyal to Eggman. For what it's worth, all future appearances of Metal reverted him to his original personality, though Free Riders shows he retained the cunning demonstrated during his stint as the Big Bad despite being purged of any traitorous impulses.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • There wasn't really any effort to hide the fact that Metal Sonic is the real villain; he makes several, albeit brief appearances throughout the game, including the opening cutscene. Yet when he finally introduces himself, it's still treated as a shocking revelation.
    • It's also pretty damn obvious that Eggman is the Chaotix's client. If Vector tricking him into blowing his cover before the Robot Storm fight doesn't give it away for you, nothing will.
  • Character Rerailment: The Sonic Adventure series turned Knuckles into a dead-serious guardian ("Unlike Sonic, I don't chuckle, I'd rather flex my muscles!") in sharp contrast to what the artwork for the first game showed, and to his Sonic 3 & Knuckles portrayal of laughing at Sonic at every turn. This game was able to reconcile the two portrayals into a deceptively stoic yet laid-back Lancer who gets smug at getting one over Sonic.
  • Cliché Storm: The dialogue and characters' portrayals in this game are so shonen anime it hurts. For some players, at least.
  • "Common Knowledge": Some fans' interpretation of how Neo Metal Sonic came to be is that Eggman tried upgrading Metal Sonic's A.I. and was promptly Hoist by His Own Petard as a result. This is in contrast to how the Boss Banter for the Metal Overlord fight indicates that Metal "transformed [his] own body with [his] own hands" in response to all the defeats received from Sonic. For anyone that might assume his words were only referring to his One-Winged Angel form, material from Sonic Channel clears up that Metal himself was indeed personally responsible for upgrading himself into his "Neo" form, without any noted input from Eggman.
  • Continuity Lockout:
    • Unless you had already played Sonic CD (or some of the obscure spin-offs) before or assumed the Mecha Sonics from the original Genesis games were the same character (which they aren't), a new player would have no clue where Metal Sonic had even come from in the series or that the game was his major return.
    • Considering the game was meant to be a jump-on point for new fans of the series, Shadow's presence and large role in the plot can be somewhat confusing to those who hadn't played Sonic Adventure 2 beforehand.
    • A major plot point is that Metal Sonic gains the ability to shapeshift due to copying the DNA of Chaos from the Chao he kidnapped from Cream, which would make no sense at all to anyone who hadn't played the first Sonic Adventure and knew of Chaos and his connection to the Chao. note 
    • Considering how niche the Sega 32X was, many new players would have no idea that Team Chaotix debuted in Knuckles Chaotix rather than this game, nor would they realize that Mighty, Heavy, and Bomb were even characters from that game who were left out here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Though he only appears in the transformation for a few seconds, Neo Metal Sonic's design is the butt of many jokes, with some comparing him to a starfish in a butt-skirt. Even those who like the wizard-esque design think giving him pointy elf shoes was going a bit too far.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • A complaint about the Sonic Rivals series is that the characters were always picking fights with each other despite having the same goal. This happens in this game as well. Aside from the Team Sonic vs. Team Rose battle (which is due to Amy's Flanderization), however, the battles are a bit more justified by Team Sonic and Team Dark still having an antagonistic relationship while Team Chaotix are strangers to Team Dark and Team Rose.
    • While the game's focus on combat was criticized for a variety of Scrappy Mechanics (too frequent, too plodding on account of enemy lifebars and/or the level system, slippery controls), most players could deal with the constant breaks in the platforming action to some degree, as the game was designed around utilizing the respective strengths of each team member and most stages were still generally fast-paced enough (despite their length) to prevent the issue from becoming too grating. When later games (Unleashed and especially Rise of Lyric note ) featured an even greater imbalance of combat sections that proved even more monotonous and frustrating, fan reception was not nearly as kind.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The Team Blast mechanic makes it a bit too easy to deal with enemies. Frustrated with having to use the Speed characters to tip the armored mooks over? Just Homing Attack them for a minute and watch as your meter fills up, letting a team wipe out an entire room of enemies with ease. With a little patience, you can brute-force your way through the levels. Team Rose takes this to hilariously awesome extremes, as Flower Festival gives Barrier and Invincible power-ups while granting a free Level Up to each character along with the usual room's worth of destruction from the animation itself. Even better is Team Chaotix's, as Chaotix Recital provides the team with rings for every enemy killed... which makes it a cakewalk to get another Team Blast.
    • The character battles are completely trivialized by the Speed characters' Tornado Jump, turning the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors aspect they're supposed to have into a farce.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion stages feature the return of the ghosts from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure 2, and they aren't any easier to deal with here. They pop up everywhere and can easily mess with the flow of speed. Given the latter is a very long stage, this'll get frustrating.
    • Egg Bishops/Egg Magicians, one enemy with two different forms distinguishable by color. Egg Bishops (orange) have the ability to heal themselves and any enemy nearby. Egg Magicians (purple) can cast a spell that steals all your rings. And the worst part is if you use a tornado attack on them, it just flips them over to the opposite form, making a bad situation potentially even worse.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The infamous "Team Blast glitch." Switch to Flight Formation, then hold a Formation Change button and the Attack button at the same time. If you do it right, your Flight character will attempt to perform a Thunder Shoot, but with no ally to shoot, the Flight character will shoot "nothing" for a brief period of time, causing your Team Blast Gauge to accumulate at an insane rate. Perform this glitch thrice to get instant Team Blasts on command.
    • It's tough, but if you perform an action in a Story Mode team battle and restart the fight, it's possible to force the hitbox of said action to stay active through the restart. You can hit the other team through their opening animation and send them all off the edge and kill them instantly.
    • It's possible to use Flight Formation to get a team member stuck inside a slot machine at Casino Park, allowing you to gather an arbitrarily large number of rings (and, by extension, extra lives). Speedruns are particularly fond of this one for cheesing Team Chaotix's version of the level in record time.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In this game, Metal Sonic ends up backstabbing Eggman and trying to defeat Sonic himself by gaining more abilities with implied modifications. In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, Eggman rescues and fixes Metal Sonic. Knowing how little the scientist cares for his creations, that says a lot. Makes you a little sad for the doctor.
    • Team Sonic's theme song "We Can" singing about how much stronger Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are when they work together hits different with Tails becoming a non-playable character and Knuckles often being Demoted to Extra after Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
    • 2-Player Mode has an Easter Egg that allows players to play as a reskinned "metal" version of the team they pick, making the characters monochromatic and reflective, along with giving them Metal Sonic-esque Black Eyes of Crazy. A pretty harmless little bonus... that would later be used as the design basis for victims of the Metal Virus in the IDW comics.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: One may not have expected Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) to give this game anything but a few token nods, but the climax plays out like a homage to it. Team Sonic formed to take down Robotnik with the REAL SUPER POWER of TEAM WORK!, and they even use combination moves from this game. A very welcome inversion of the previously mentioned Harsher in Hindsight entry.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It's hard to hear Shadow saying "Space... Did you say SPACE???" nowadays without thinking of Portal 2.
    • During one of the Team Rose boss battles with Eggman's robots, Amy says "I think you underestimate our power!", which can be hard to listen to without thinking of a very similar line from Revenge of the Sith.
    • When defeated by Team Sonic, Metal Sonic laments how he can't defeat his nemesis with "It's no use." A few years later, Sonic would hear these same words from Silver as a memetically recurring annoyance in one of his toughest fights in the series. note 
    • Tommy Tallarico, a composer, former host of Reviews on the Run and a huge Sonic fan, gave a scathing review of the game and criticized the game's music for being "cheesy 80's rock music" (which Tommy's co-host cited to give him an aneurysm). Later on, he got to do the music for Sonic and the Black Knight.
    • When the game was still in development, there was a list of supposed teams that never came into fruition. One of the teams was going to involve these three members: Mighty, Ray, and Metal Sonic. While Metal Sonic himself ended up being the Big Bad and Final Boss of the game, Mighty and Ray were unfortunately left in the dust. Fittingly enough, 15 years later, Sonic Mania Adventures features Mighty, Ray, and Metal Sonic as the proper main characters in the fourth episode, albeit on opposite sides (with Metal Sonic targeting both Ray and Mighty as the latter had a Chaos Emerald in his possession which Eggman deviously needed for himself).
  • It Was His Sled: Metal Sonic was the real villain of the game, while Eggman was locked up the whole time. The trailers didn't even try to hide that Metal was making a comeback. His Trophy description in the fourth Super Smash Bros. doesn't help.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many fans only bother to play Heroes for Team Dark and Shadow's subplot, as any other team has an Excuse Plot of a story. The main exception to this is Team Sonic, due to the draw of being able to play as all three members of the series' premier Power Trio at once.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The Team Dark storyline makes a suggestion that Shadow is actually an android and then destroys the plausibility of it by having Neo Metal Sonic announce, quite plainly, that he's just copied the Ultimate Life Form data, which a robot fake would not have.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Metal Sonic gains enough sentience to overthrow Dr. Eggman and graduate into a much more serious threat. Flawlessly impersonating his creator, Metal Sonic issues a challenge to Team Sonic that would either end in him obtaining their data in their counterattack or conquering the world to start a "robot kingdom." Disguising himself as the real Sonic, Metal Sonic kidnaps Chocola Chao and Froggy to gain the data of Chaos and its shapeshifting abilities. He also lures Team Sonic with the Egg Albatross in Bullet Station to buy time for the Egg Fleet to deploy. Despite the involvement of four different capable teams, Metal Sonic takes everything in stride under the radar, acquiring more data than initially planned and playing them all until Dr. Eggman's real location is discovered. Although his statements as Metal Overlord bring his sanity to question, Metal Sonic remains one of Sonic's most dangerous foes. Even after being reprogrammed to be obedient, Metal Sonic showed his penchant for undercover gambiteering when he copied the data of all World Grand Prix participants for one final Extreme Gear race.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
  • Narm Charm:
    • The game has quite a bit of charm, but most notably the team songs are what make it. Team Chaotix is especially fun.
      TEAM CHAOTIX! They're detectives you want on your side!
    • Similarly, Team Rose's anthem "Follow Me" is so peppy and rocking it's hard to hate.
      Follow me inside, outside, through the stratosphere!
      The moon is shining for you, it knows that I adore you!
    • Metal Sonic's performance, as noted above, can definitely come across as comically exaggerated, but considering how loopy and megalomaniacal he is here and all the fan discussion it's invited, this adds a (possibly unintentional) layer of Nightmare Fuel to the character. Metal manages to serve as an effective Knight of Cerebus despite being a Card-Carrying Villain and his Villainous Breakdown upon defeat, where he furiously screams he's the "real" Sonic, is rather chilling.
  • Never Live It Down: A single throwaway line from the English manual referring to Dr. Eggman as a feminist has stuck with him, inspiring much Alternative Character Interpretation from the fandom. note 
  • Porting Disaster: The PS2 version. It's not unplayable, but it suffers from low-resolution textures, clipping, frame-rate drops (not to mention it runs at 30 FPS while the GameCube and Xbox versions run at 60 FPS), and a part of the audio clip when selecting Team Sonic being cut off.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Big at the very least ascended to more a Base-Breaking Character status due to having Took a Level in Badass and gaining a more conventional move set compared to his Adventure gameplay.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Rails, which began to be overused in the second half of the game, utilize a somewhat wonky control scheme, and often have Bottomless Pits under them.
    • When hit by an enemy, a character gets stunned for a second, giving you less time than usual to collect your rings before getting hit again.
    • Enemies having lifebars was a constant early complaint, since they messed up the flow of the game (especially if your characters weren't leveled, which meant that only Power-type characters could reduce their HP without additional effort, and later enemies carried HUGE life bars AND barred progress until defeat), and turned parts of the game into a crude Beat 'em Up instead of a traditional speed-based puzzle/platformer.
    • Flight Formation can be a pain, as you're forced to carry your teammates and speed is reduced greatly in this formation. And if your fly meter depletes fully (which it can do so very quickly), you sink like a rock, which can be frustrating if there's a Bottomless Pit below you, which is to say, quite often in fly-specific areas. Also, there's an inexplicable height cap when you attempt to fly that is all too easy to reach, which really ruins the point of a "Flight" formation. Attacking in Flight Formation can also be rather tricky, as it can be hard to aim with Thunder Shoot. Its sole saving grace is that turning to fire in this formation does not affect the flight meter, and with two power-ups collected, it actually does decent damage from a safe distance, which can make a few difficult enemies easier. Plus, teammates shot this way are homing projectiles to help with the aiming issue.
    • Power Formation fighters, specifically Knuckles and Omega, slide everywhere when doing their ground combos. This proves hazardous when you're fighting on very perilous platforms because you can slide right off to your death just by fighting back.
    • The most contentious aspect of the game's controls is the occasional shot of momentum characters get upon landing. It's especially egregious with the Speed characters, since, well, they're fast. So fast, in fact, that this momentum boost often sends them rocketing into Bottomless Pits.
  • Signature Scene: Metal Sonic's transformation into Metal Madness, and then Metal Overlord.
  • Special Effect Failure: The CGI in the cutscenes was low budget and generally mediocre, even for the time of its release. It's tolerable for most of the game, but it still has it's issues. The intro, which remember as a pre-rendered, has slowed down. And it really takes a nosedive in quality in the final cutscenes compared to the others and were they have noticeable errors. In one of them before the beginning fight with Metal Sonic, Amy's eyes glitch. And in the final cutscene, Rouge floats across the ground when she's clearly supposed to be walking (her body moves before the legs do, which makes it look like she's skating on ice).
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme for the Egg Emperor boss sounds exactly like "Perfect Crime" by Guns N' Roses.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • In the cutscene where Team Rose is tricked by an Eggman decoy, Big sadly utters out "Froggy, where are you? Let's go home." Even those who aren't big fans of Big have got to feel for him since he realizes that he's failed to rescue Froggy and is on the brink of giving up doing so in the process.
    • The Team Dark scene where Shadow spots a Shadow android, which gives him the thought that he may be an android as well. The shot where Rouge sympathetically looks at Shadow really tells the story.
    • Consider that Metal Sonic was apparently "reset" after the events of Heroes to end his insanity. If Metal's A.I. is more sophisticated than the Egg Pawns and comparable to the self-learning Gamma's, such a factory reset of his memory could be tantamount to a death or Mercy Kill. Free Riders dulls this by showing that while he was "reset", Metal has absolutely kept his cunning and personality.
  • That One Boss: Robot Storm is a tremendous pain in the ass, regardless of which team you're playing (Except for Team Chaotix). Already coming off of Mystic Mansion, one of the most difficult levels in the game, the player now has to fight a huge gauntlet of just about every enemy that they have fought up to that point, including Egg Hammers and Egg Bishops — enemies that can only be destroyed by the Power character and enemies that can heal other Egg Pawns respectively. The platforms on which you fight them are also very small, leaving little room for error; a single miscalculation with a Homing Attack (which, as mentioned below, is pretty screwy this time around) or taking a hit too close to the edge will send you plummeting to your death, and there are enough enemies that spawn in each wave that make dodging their attacks difficult and make it easy to fall off trying to do so. To top it all off, this fight is actually pretty long, arguably longer than the already punchy Robot Carnival, so if you die at any point in the fight, even if you're on the final wave of the battle, you have to start over from the beginning. The only saving grace to this fight is that Egg Fleet follows it.
  • That One Level:
    • In general, Team Chaotix's extra missions are incredibly tricky. Most of their levels' scavenger hunt mechanic requires them to thoroughly scour the level in order to get absolutely all of the things you're looking for; if you miss even one, it's back to the start for you, and you'll now have to try and remember where you've already been and look for out-of-the-way alternate paths that you missed the first time around. The ones that don't involve finding things aren't much better, since they'll either have a tight time limit that forces you to speedrun the level, make you go through without alerting a single enemy, or both.
    • Power Plant is normally easy unless you are playing as either Team Sonic or Team Dark. There is a section involving rising "energy" that you have to escape. Because this section involves extensive use of the Homing Attack, which is particularly wonky in this game, plenty of players have a lot of trouble with that. You could also use Flight Formation for the platforming, but again, Flight Formation isn't exactly the most polished part of the game.
    • BINGO Highway is already a tricky level for similar reasons to Rail Canyon, but with pinball tables instead of grind rails, especially the latter part of the level that is very generous with Bottomless Pits that can be difficult to avoid with the pinball controls and can send you back quite a long way if you die. The hardest version has to be Team Chaotix's second mission. Thought collecting ten casino chips was difficult when you are a pinball on a board riddled with instant death holes? Good, now collect all twenty of them! Mission 2 with Team Sonic is no cakewalk either if you're trying to get an A Rank due to the very tight time limit of six minutes combined with the tricky level design.
    • The trolley ride in Bullet Station. This entails controlling a trolley car through a Death Course with lasers and spiked balls everywhere. If you get hit once, your speed is drastically decreased and you lose the ability to control it. Twice and you lose the ability to steer, leaving the trolley to travel on a fixed path. Get hit a third time, and you die. Mission 2 with Team Sonic is just plain hard due to a combo of a tight time limit and having to kill enough enemies to get 40,000 points along the way. It also makes Team Chaotix's extra mission that much more frustrating, as you have to break every single storage capsule on the stage... including a handful of them scattered on the trolley ride, which you have to drive through while avoiding everything else.
    • Even worse is Team Dark's second mission in Rail Canyon to destroy 100 enemies in 10 minutes. This sounds easy until you realize that the level lives up to its name quite well, and about eight or more minutes will be spent grinding down rails with very few enemies to defeat, which means you have to hurry if you want to find 100 enemies in time, to the point where you will probably have to make it to the goal ring, which will send you back to the beginning of the level so that the enemies will respawn. It's like running a level twice in 12 minutes and destroying all of the enemies in your path at the same time.
    • Team Chaotix's second mission in Rail Canyon is just as frustrating if not more so because of the very tight time limit of six minutes. If you don't know the level inside and out and use every shortcut available, you're in for a world of pain.
    • Most of Lost Jungle is a bit tough, but otherwise manageable; up until the last segment that both Teams Sonic and Dark have to face. The player has to swing across several vines to get to the goal over bottomless pits, while avoiding a huge alligator that suddenly emerges and chases the team throughout the segment. Which sounds bad enough in itself, but the player has to wait for the vines when swinging to reach the peak of the swing before they can jump safely to the next vine; while also having to deal with the camera being positioned in front of the characters during this segment rather than behind the back (think the famous giant GUN Truck chase scene from City Escape from Adventure 2). This results in the vines making the player's timing extremely critical during jumps, while the player having to make out the vine reaching the peak of the swing amidst the incoming giant crocodile rampage in the background.
    • Mystic Mansion. Take a level even longer than this game's standards, add hundreds of Bottomless Pits out of nowhere, the terribly programmed karts, Mooks up the ass, and the freaking camera trying to stop you too, and you have a level that many young players never made it past. Bonus points for Team Sonic's final room, where you have to cross all three gaps with the different mechanics. While the Goal Ring at the end is a a godsend in this hellish place, it is negated due to the fact that this level comes just before Robot Storm. Luckily, Egg Fleet awaits just after this horrific place.
    • The Team Chaotix version of Mystic Mansion in particular is one of the most reviled levels in the game and is probably the longest level in the entire game—it can take as long as a half hour to complete unless you know exactly what you're doing. It has you putting out torches throughout the mansion. What makes it so hard? THE SPIDER WEB. You grind across the web, and Trial-and-Error Gameplay is in full effect; you have no idea if the path you grind down leads to torches or a Bottomless Pit. And if you're doing the second mission, the torches you need to put out are in the middle of the web and you need to jump off with good timing to avoid getting burned or falling out. Also, if you miss a single torch in either mission, you go all the way back to the beginning of the level.
      • Team Chaotix's Mystic Mansion missions can avoid this. As long as you don't die once, you can brute force both A ranks simply by killing every enemy you come across.
    • The second trolley ride in Team Sonic and Team Dark's versions of Mystic Mansion can cause quite a bit of controller tossing. The segment has you piloting a trolley down a spiraling rail rigged with laser tripwires that you have to jump over, but the layout of the rail and the awkward camera angle mean that you only have a split second to react to each one. Unless you have godlike twitch reflexes, this portion will kill you. A lot.
    • Final Fortress, for its multitude of mandatory enemy gauntlets involving the strongest enemies in the game. The rail sections with the lasers have also been known to induce ire, especially when the action escalates the closer the player gets to the end of the stage.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Many fans feel that the controls were made too loose and slippery compared to the Adventure games. While they help with speedy sections more, slower sections tend to be more frustrating than they need to be, particularly in the combat-heavy areas.
    • Some people were not fond of the designs for Tails' and Knuckles' super forms (more akin to a "Super Shield" than their actual transformations from S3&K) in this game.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some Sonic fans were a bit upset that in an otherwise simple plot, there's a glaring problem with Shadow's amnesia subplot, which is quickly brushed off as soon as he, Rouge and Omega team up. Those fans would've liked to see Rouge (or anyone else, for that matter) address Shadow's past to see if he's an android or not, but they just kinda leave him to figure it out himself. Granted, Shadow's past gets addressed in his own game, but the point still stands.
  • Vindicated by History: In comparison to the other Sonic titles released during this era of gaming, while it's still not at the level of Adventure 2 in the eyes of the fandom as a whole, Heroes has garnered a much more favorable reception in the years following its release, with some going as far as to hail it as the closest a 3D Sonic game has ever come to capturing the style of the Genesis era installments (a feat only rivaled by the later-released Sonic Lost World).
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Metal Sonic's One-Winged Angel, which involves a fast-paced sequence of parts of a blown apart tower assembling together into his new Metal Madness form, with Metal's head morphing into some... thing that completes his transformation, all lasting for circa 50 seconds.
    • The general art design and stage layout is very pretty. Colorful, expressive backgrounds with plenty of detail, smooth character models, and expansive views as you dash through stages gave the game the feel of a 3D conversion of the Genesis art.
  • Woolseyism: In the original Japanese version, at the start of the True Final Boss, Metal Overlord refers to Sonic by saying, "Long time no see, Sonic! My imperfect self..." This was changed in the English version to "Long time no see, Sonic! My loathsome copy!" Considering that Metal later refers to himself as a robot based on and designed to defeat Sonic, then claims to be the real Sonic at the end of the fight, this change helps better sell the notion that Metal has lost his mind in his own anguish and desire to outdo Sonic.

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