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Your favorite moments of Sonic storytelling


Wraith

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A friend of mine and I were talking about Sonic Adventure a few weeks ago and how  well Chaos is foreshadowed and implemented into the game. Chaos is the beginning of the Monster of the Week setup that had a chokehold on the series, but I don't think a new villain that's less civilized and more monstrous is a bad idea and I'd even say it made sense at this point int he series's life. 

Anyway;  the game opens with Chaos destroying the city in a visually spectacular sequence, with all the characters seemingly in awe at his might except for Sonic, who's charging toward danger with his trademark grin as always. Not phased by the opposition. He turns to the screen as if to tell the player "we got this.". It's awesome, but more importantly this puts perfect chaos and the destruction of station square in the back of your mind for the entire game as you walk around the block enough times to grow somewhat attached to it. Sonic Adventure is a series of 6 individual stories that have the pieces of a larger tragedy traced throughout , and that tragedy ties back to the opening movie of chaos stomping all over the city. You learn throughout the game as chaos gets stronger and stronger throughout the game that the opening has happened before, and the effects were so catastrophic that Knuckles is essentially the last of his species because of it. 

Throw in a likable character like Tikal by a power hungry individual invoking chaos's wrath, and there's suddenly a lot of parallels between then and now to create some urgency around Chaos. The stories ends with him seemingly destroyed or an afterthought in all of them, but that can't be it, right? That opening couldn't have just been for show.

But then a gigantic question mark appears on the character select screen, impossible to ignore. Chaos sneaks around everyone who'd been smacking him around for the entire game, outwitting them and taking the emeralds. The opening happens, this time with none of the adrenaline pumping, heart pounding rock music or the ultimately upbeat vibe. Chaos tears the city to pieces swiftly.

The resolution is a bit cheesy but I think that's part of why chaos works where the other monsters don't. Chaos is revealed to be grieving the loss of  their friends and the only way to truly stop the destruction is to soothe his pain. Sonic basically uses the positive energy of the chaos emeralds as some kind of flip side of chaos drawing out the energy from negative emotions(this is kind of a cool idea to me but it was never mentioned before and never will be again so you can call it an asspull if you like) to pull it off. Tikal reveals Chaos can still see his friends and departs to valhalla or whatever, The city is destroyed but Tails admits he never liked this shithole anyway so it's f- look, it's about about whether or not they stuck landing, I liked the buildup. I liked the foreshadowing, and I liked the payoff. I liked what it added to the lore without leaning too hard on older games.. I liked that they made a different, more tragic villain since Eggman was getting kind of tired even back then. It was cool. Sonic Adventure was cool

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4 minutes ago, Conquering Storm's Servant said:

What exactly are we sticking with here? The games, or can we use any medium like the cartoons, the comics, etc?

I intended for this to be about positive  moments from the games but you're free to talk about whatever

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For all it did wrong, at least 06 got Shadow post-STH down pat. He solved the past, and is just doing his best to complete the mission given to him and deal with all the crap in the way. It just feels like he got re-railed into the badass he was after being an amnesiac for the past 2 games. Also, this:

Why can't we have this Shadow back? It stinks this version of him had to be wasted on a game like 06.

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Just now, Josh said:

I intended for this to be about positive  moments from the games but you're free to talk about whatever

If you intended this for stick to the games then.

I'll be an oddball out and pick Forces for this one. I know it's not the best storytelling (and godfuck was I looking forward to a darker story where Eggman finally conquered the world), but one of the positive parts I felt was with Infinite's loyalty and Eggman's pragmatism.

Infinite is the one superpowered "Monster of the Week" who never turns on Eggman, not of his own will and agenda, nor of something warping/glitching his mind. He's definitely not my favorite character even among antagonists, but I can't help but appreciate this breath of fresh air after having Eggman constantly upstaged and betrayed.

Heck, it's an even bigger achievement on Eggman's part too, as in Generations he beats a god, here in Forces he damn near creates a god that will follow him with utmost loyalty even if said god argues or disagrees with his ideas.The pragmatism on Eggman's part comes in mainly in the end, but it shows that Eggman has actually learned his lesson from dealing with superpowered entities and has prepared just in the even said entity fails or betrays him. Really makes him as smart as he likes to portray himself.

Now if only Forces was more developed and rounded, but that's not for this topic.

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Regarding 2006, I agree that Shadow is at his best there, and I also love Team Dark as a whole.  In Heroes, they were kind of argumentative and needed Rouge to pull them together.  In 2006, they feel like they actually care about one another, and it's clearly this interpretation that lead to their great portrayal in the Archie Comics too.  I really love it.

Also from 2006, honestly?  I really love the ending.  The flashback scene with young Elise and her Dad, transitioning to Sonic and Elise blowing out the candle, all with INCREDIBLY moving music from Mariko Nanba*, was perfectly done.  It's just a shame that everything proceeding it failed to create any emotional investment particularly.  I also felt the ending hit more powerfully when I thought (mistakenly, since I first experienced the story in segmented video files I downloaded since I didn't have an Xbox and youtube wasn't a way to watch things in HD yet) that the fade to black was the ending and didn't know there was an epilogue scene.  The epilogue scene is nice, but could've come after the credits I think.

*Note: It took me forever to notice that the recurring "sad theme" for Elise related themes, namely "Don't Cry No Matter What", that leads up to the more hopeful sounding version used here, was a dark reprise of the main melody from her vocal theme too.  Love that detail.

 

Again, along the theme of "great ending, shame about the build-up (though honestly, to a significantly lesser extent for my tastes).  I fucking LOVE Episode 52 of Sonic X.  It was the absolute perfect send-off to the series. The only catch is that I am far more invested in the extended Sonic/Amy scene when he finally returns than I am for the Chris montage, but eh, regardless of their execution, Sonic and Chris were the main characters and the flashforward was neat, I can deal.

To this day though, Natsu no hi, the song from the Amy scene (in the original TV airing that is, just in case anyone only knows this scene from the DVD version that uses The Shining Road), still hits me with a heady wave of nostalgia for my teenage years and that era of Sonic.

 

I'm sure I have some stuff from better Sonic media too (though personally I love Sonic X overall despite everything so yeah, just saying) but I don't have time to type up paragraphs and paragraphs now so I'll come back to the topic later if I think of more.

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This isn't my point, I read it from someone else. In the Satam cartoon, the 1 minute intro is great in that it has a catchy song, good animation, and also that it sets up the entire backstory of the series, with Sonic's speed and personality, Robotnik taking over, Sally and the Freedom Fighters on missions against Robotnik, an overview of the chracters. I think if you knew literally nothing about Sonic and watched an episode of Satam, the intro would help explain what the show is about.

Been meaning to rewatch Satam one day, havn't watched it for over a decade, but it seems like it's the one Sonic TV show that has managed to hold up from what others say.

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Pretty much the entirety of Black Knight. For as many missteps as that game had, it utterly nailed the story and characterization of Sonic.

 

Its one of the rare times where Sonics "I gotta do what I gotta do" attitude is put to any real test (I'd argue that the only other game to do so to this degree was Battle). Sonic takes on someone else fight, guided only by his own sense of what was right and wrong, and was willing to see it through to the end. He killed King Arthur. But it wasn't malicious or out of place, it was Sonic simply being the hero he needed to be at that point in time. When the situation changed and Merlina became the big bad, he saw an opportunity for redemption and took it.

Between his interaction with the Knights, Caliburn and the civilan populous, BK was a delightful, well rounded and surprisingly deep story experience. Its just so satisfying.

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My favorite moment in Sonic games will probably always be conversation between Shadow and Sonic on ARK (SA2 of course).
Yes, the music is kinda ruining the experience, yes it's a bit cheesy. But scene is soo good I'm willing to overlook it. His rivarly with Shadow peeks at this moment. I love how they start by just walking and talking. It's not Sonic trash talking Deadly Six or Eggman, you can feel tension in the air. Even Flynn's Sonic would ease the tension with a joke.

It's not super serious either, it's just the right amount. Sonic's attitude is juuuuust right, perfectly encapsulating his character.

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SA1's storytelling in general sticks out to me. Each character contributes to the main plot in some way, directly or not, and everyone has their own arc that makes you care about these idiots individually as well. Combine that with how well they built up to Perfect Chaos and you've got yourself some pretty good storytelling.

In comparison I think SA2 does a decent job with it's characters (I still find the Sonic VS Shadow and Rouge VS Knuckles stuff interesting) and even general plot, but the finale (i.e. Biolizard) has barely any build up and honestly feels pretty disconnected from the rest of the game. For me at least, that's the only thing that makes it feel like a step back.

 

Also, something that's been on my mind lately...despite everything, I genuinely love the scene Shadow the Hedgehog The Game ends on. I honestly wish the buildup to it was better because just looking at it on it's own, that's honestly the perfect ending to Shadow's arc. It's a refreshingly simple scene where Shadow finally lets go of all the pain his past has caused him. In the JPN script they even echoed the "sayonara" (well, "adios") line and sure that's one of the game's many "Hey Kids, Remember SA2?" Moments but...y'know, I think it works in this case, so I can't complain. But yeah, I think it says something that I've always enjoyed that scene no matter how many problems I have with the rest of the game.

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Gamma's story in SA will always be special to me. A lot of emotion, and with the most menacing Eggman that the games have ever featured.

And honestly, Tails' story in the same game is also special to me, despite the fact that there really isn't to much to it. Just a few cutscenes of Tails' remembering his past with Sonic, a few lines of dialogue on how he can't depend on his friend forever, and an awesome one-on-one showdown with Eggman. But it gets the job done portraying the theme of growing up and finding your own individuality.

But as for objectively the best piece of Sonic storytelling in any medium, my nomination would have to go to Cosmo's sacrafice in Sonic X. Eggman's speech to Tails followed by seeing Tails actually being forced to kill his loved one for the greater good. That's some hardcore shit and it's executed really well... in the JAPANESE version.

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I feel like I better understand what Sonic Adventure was trying to do from reading the first post of this thread.  Adventure is essentially extending the character select approach and tailored routes of S3&K by giving each character a fully-developed story that ties into the overall storyline.  It's just regrettable that the existence of the final storyline takes it from an overall position of "play as these characters if you want" to "you have to play as these characters," so seeing what their playthroughs are like no longer feels like an optional bonus.  A difficult balance; I'm not sure what they could have done better.  ...This isn't necessarily related to my favourite moments of Sonic storytelling, it's just a reflection that came to me.

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Sonic Heroes tried to do what SA1 did (bringing many connected storylines to one finale ending): Basically, Metal Sonic wants revenge against Sonic and Amy.

-Metal Sonic wants to frame Sonic for stealing Chao and Froggy, so that Amy chases him to help her friends Big and Cream.

-Metal Sonic also imprisons Eggman, so he calls the Chaotix to lead them to the Egg Fleet.

-Rouge wants Eggman's treasure, Shadow wants explanations and Omega wants revenge against Eggman.

-These 12 characters end up on Egg Fleet.

The problem is that the game favored gameplay more than story!

It's still very clunky, and a step down from SA1, which is till now the best storytelling of Sonic till now!

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6 hours ago, JezMM said:

Regarding 2006, I agree that Shadow is at his best there, and I also love Team Dark as a whole.  In Heroes, they were kind of argumentative and needed Rouge to pull them together.  In 2006, they feel like they actually care about one another, and it's clearly this interpretation that lead to their great portrayal in the Archie Comics too.  I really love it.

 

Aside from Rouge and Omega often being satellite characters for Shadow, Team Dark's dynamic is rather lovely.

I agree that how Eggman prepared for Infinite and the Resistance was rather impressive. Also, while it isn't the best story as well, I liked that Lost World tried to challenge Sonic and his cocky attitude as it felt like one of the few leading series games that wanted to make him learn some lesson and develop his character.

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Sonic 3 & Knuckles as far as I'm concerned is still the best storyteller in the series as it reveals the plot effortlessly throughout. 

Probably the best moment of storytelling in the entire series is the end of Sky Sanctuary. Mecha Sonic finally collapses and doesn't explode but sparks a bit, which should give some inferences of how he's different from all the other bosses so far. Then the foundation Sonic and Tails were standing on starts to collapse and then turns to pieces. All that's left of this section of Sky Sanctuary is the one pillar, with a small path winding around. Sonic and Tails barely make it on and run as the pillar turns to dust below them. Finally the Death Egg shows itself and they disappear from sight, with only the quiet rumbling of the Death Egg left standing. It's incredibly ominous and shows the troubles it took to make it to the Death Egg. 

Other good moments are integrated into the stages themselves, like how the Death Egg can be seen embedded in the ceiling at the beginning of Lava Reef and becomes closer and closer in the background as you progress. By the time you make it to the 2nd act boss, it's taking up a good half the background. It's a really good way of showing progress that pretty much all other Sonic games lacks (apart from CD, with seeing good futures in the third zones) and gives incentive. Another key one is Eggman finally showing Knuckles his true colours, taking the Master Emerald right in front of him, electrocuting him and leaving him for dead while the entire Hidden Palace shakes as the Death Egg is inferred to be lifting off. We basically see in about 10 seconds that a primary antagonist of the game was really in a ruse this whole time, the main antagonist start his true plan, and the start of the plan put into action all without words. It's all done effortlessly and doesn't feel like baggage at all unlike most of the modern stuff. 

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Sonic and Shadow's rivalry in SA2 worked well, as it's one of the few times Sonic was challenged on a personal level and not just some impersonal "save the world" kind of thing. Sonic's motivation isn't just to stop Shadow because he's a "bad guy", but because he's the guy who framed him, and even more, he's the guy who outsped him. This "fake hedgehog" is a challenge to his very identity, and every time they meet Sonic is trying to close the gap between them and reassert himself, first with the "faker" exchange and fighting him to a draw, and then by not just matching his cheat ability but arguably surpassing him with it.

I also really appreciate Lost World for making a story that is about the main characters and not just making a story that happens around them. It's far from the greatest story ever told, but it actually allowed the characters to have real flaws and for those flaws to help drive the story, rather than every plot point being some contrivance or some event that was out of their hands. Sonic is cocky and impatient and he charges into situations without thinking them through. Tails' self esteem is still a bit fragile and when he feels his worth to Sonic is slipping he lashes out at the person he thinks is responsible for it. Unfortunately neither really gets a solid resolution or response to those flaws, but actually having something to struggle with makes them more interesting characters than they would be otherwise.

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Elise kissing sonic. Yea I know most hate it but as a early 90s kid it didn't bug me. I actually did a joyful tear up when she did it and super sonic came down to that amazing music. It proved the emeralds granted wishes like the dragon balls.

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I love this thread. It is helping me appreciate some excellent moments in Sonic games where the story may or may not work all that well. 

SA1 is my fav Sonic story in general. General awkward writing/voice over/animation aside, I replayed it recently and the whole saga of Chaos is very well done. The way the stories all intersect is nice, but I especially like how throughout all of them we see little pieces of the Tikal backstory, and everything is hinted at, and we're left wondering what the greater purpose is of all this, and it all comes together in Super Sonic's story. I'd be retreading what Josh covered with Chaos but there are other moments in SA1 that I really like.

Some small ones, but I love that in Tails story, characters like Eggman will say "Well, well, well, if it isn't Sonic and Tails" or Amy on the Egg Carrier will yell "Sonic! Tails!" when they come to save her, as opposed to in Sonic's story where they just say "Sonic." Is Sonic an egotistical bastard who doesn't remember his best bud being acknowledged or does no one care about Tails except in his fantasy retelling of events? Or is the true canon just Eggman saying "oh hey it's you jerks" and Amy saying "well fucking finally, some assholes to get me outta here!?" The world may never know, I love it.

I think my favorite storyline in SA1 tho is Gamma's and particularly the way it intersects with Amy's. It starts off it's just "wow, you get to be one of Eggman's robogoons!" Which is cool, but it evolves into something so much more. The second you meet Amy and Birdy we learn that there's something more to this Gamma feller than just following Eggman directives, Amy's speech really resonated with him somehow, and gazing into the bird's eyes clearly had a profound impact on him.  Gamma than eneds up leaving Robotnik to pursue his own ends... We get a weird little spiel about "Eggman enemy, E series robots friends" and how Gamma must save them... Then we enter the level and we gotta save our "friends" by blowing the bastards u- Oh wait there's animals in 'em! Of course, they're Badniks! Within Gamma beats the heart of some poor Flicky! Eggamn! The absolute madman!  But then at the end there are only two left.. It's brother vs brother. And in the end, just before his own explosion, Beta hits Gamma with a sucker punch that leads to both robots being destroyed together. We know what would have happened otherwise- Gamma would have ultimately had to off himself to save the bird inside him. It's an interesting exploration of the animal in a badnik concept- and really a lot of it is still up to interpretation- we could probably have long discussions about being a badnik trapped in a bot- but regardless, Gamma's story is really a beautiful tale of one who has to go against everything they ever knew to do what's ultimately right, and I think that's a great thing.

I also like how in Amy's story, you find these two birds at the end just sorta hanging out on the Egg Carrier. If you played Amy's game first you might be thinking, "well,w hat exactly are those two just doing out in the middle of the open?" Well, you play Gamma's story afterward, you realize it was Gamma and Beta. It wasn't just a nice speech from Amy that turned Gamma to the good side- he was looking into the yes of his own flesh and blood. Also a nice touch, when we see Amy show up in Super Sonic's story, it's not Birdy who's paling around with her. It's a pink bird- Gamma. Even with the robot blown up, all the characters end up coming together at the end, even if just to stand around while Sonic went Super. It's a nice touch, gives the whole thing a sense "this was meant to be."

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6 hours ago, Marco9966 said:

Sonic Heroes tried to do what SA1 did (bringing many connected storylines to one finale ending): Basically, Metal Sonic wants revenge against Sonic and Amy.

-Metal Sonic wants to frame Sonic for stealing Chao and Froggy, so that Amy chases him to help her friends Big and Cream.

-Metal Sonic also imprisons Eggman, so he calls the Chaotix to lead them to the Egg Fleet.

-Rouge wants Eggman's treasure, Shadow wants explanations and Omega wants revenge against Eggman.

-These 12 characters end up on Egg Fleet.

The problem is that the game favored gameplay more than story!

It's still very clunky, and a step down from SA1, which is till now the best storytelling of Sonic till now!

You forgot Metal Sonic transforming into an animated letter supposedly from Eggman and delivering himself to Tails. 

Or at least it's my headcanon. Because when he could transform into a BROKEN Eggman doll or robot or whatever, why not paper ?

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SA2's story is one I like looking back to from time to time.  Mainly for the mystery aspect of it all and how things come full circle.

Part of it is because I glanced over the story a little when I was younger and the realizations hit me harder as I grew and looked back on SA2, but I like the subtle nod to S3&K and SA1 and how they tell an underlying story and motive through the levels. It's never explicitly said through cutscenes or anywhere really, but it's very strongly implied that Dr. Gerald based the Biolizard off of Perfect Chaos and was practically forced to recreate it for the Space Colony Ark, hence why you see a lot of Artificial Chaos only within the Ark levels, why there's so much water everywhere in the later stages as you get closer and closer to the Biolizard boss, which is also filled with nothing but water. I like that when you piece the level clues together, it helps the cutscenes that were leading you to believe how our Shadow's not the actual Shadow nor the ultimate life form everyone thought Dr. Gerald was referring to.

S3&K comes into play with Shadow and the Chaos Emerald Shrine. In the Last Story, everyone should know about the emerald shrine replica that Sonic and Knuckles deduced what kept the Ark's core working, and since this was done, then Dr. Gerald must've seen two murals at Angel Island on the way. One of Perfect Chaos in SA1's Lost World, and more importantly, the S3&K prophecy mural with the ancient super hedgehog figure in space as well which implies where he got the "Shadow the Hedgehog" idea from. And it can't be a coincidence that right after all of this, both Sonic and Shadow go fight in super forms against some giant entity in space. It was like a spin on S3&K's final boss and prophecy, but for Dr. Gerald, Shadow and the Biolizard.

So yea. That's what I enjoy about SA2's story. The hints and call backs are not so much in your face, but the clues are there for you to find and think over and gives a reason to look back on past games. I like how it tells you that it's a sequel without it being so obvious about it, and the more I think about it, the more I gotta give the writers a pat on the back for that take.

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On ‎4‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 9:54 AM, ClassicKnuckles said:

Sonic Unleashed's opening- It just captures the essence of Sonic so well. 

A thousand times this! 

Everything about that glorious bit of animation just encapsulates what made Sonic so darn appealing to me as a kid (and even still as an "older kid" lol)

It was the arguably the best opening to a Sonic game ever. Though I still love Sonic CD's 90s flair, SADX's epic buildup, and Heroes' cheese-factor.

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Personally, when it comes to the games most of my favorite storytelling moments can be found in Sonic Adventure's tale of both Gamma and Amy.

The first because, besides me liking pretty much anything that has to do with robots, is that it was a pretty interesting experiment to see things from the perspective of one of Eggman's bots. I don't think there is better way to show just how selfish and cruel Eggman can be than how he treats his minions as disposable hardware.

However, Gamma also had things going on for him, such as how that one robot seemed to have something that made it different from the others: Gamma cared. This made him confused because such a sentiment pretty much went against Eggman's programming. Also the way the cutscenes, as rudimentary as they were, managed to convey some subtle things such as Gamma being perceived by me as a character that felt guilt over how his success in finding Froggy resulted in the other E-series robots being vanished, or how when he enters the room where Beta is being stripped to parts was a robot's equivalent of a disturbing scene of excessive torture. The there is the encounter with Amy, taking note of how she protected the bird, and perhaps because of Gamma's need to solve the conflict within, he inquires as to why Amy is doing that.

Finally, there is the part where after deciding to no longer follow Eggman's commands, Gamma comes to the conclussion that, in order to save his friends, he has to destroy them. This is IMO tragic because, the robots themselves bear no guilt of how Eggman programmed them as it was something out of their control. Plus, you also have to consider how within each robot there was a small bird, a living being being deprived of it's freedom to sustain the robot in which they were encased.

As for Amy, I found her story to pick my interest much more than either Tails, Sonic or Knuckes because how it shows that you do not need to have powers like Sonic's speed or a special talent like Tail's intelligence to be a hero, and that everything one needs is just the will to do what is right. Second, I think this was a good way of reintroducing Amy, who in her original CD debut was relegated to be a damsel in distress for Sonic to rescue but here, her being captured actually works in her favor because not only does she manages to escae without relying on Sonic to come to her rescue, but introduces what I feel is Amy's most notable and noble trait: her empathy. Sure, any good guy character will display it towards anyone who is in trouble, but, how many characters do you know that extend said empathy to those who are working for the bad guy? Amy notices this in Gamma when the robot asks about why she cared so much for this apparently insignificant bird, and latches to it, becoming the catalyst for Gamma to eventually break free, which is the more evident when from Gamma's POV story, during the sequence in which he struggles to override his prgramming, Amy is oe of the things that Gamma focuses on.

Regarding other media, I'd have to say that IDW's second issue for not only displaying the fun interaction between Sonic and Amy (a very rare sight given how the games hardly do anything with them together), but also for showing some of the things that made me like Amy so much, such as how she actually supports Sonic's way of doing things and would never do anything to change him, instead of being this supposed character that slows him down or holds him back like her detractors love to argue, as well as how even when Amy finally gets the invitation to join Sonic on his adventures, she places the needs of the viccies and the resistance before her personal happiness, which makes sense given how much like them, Amy once was in the same situation of being a victim, and undesrtands probably better than anyone else their problems. Also, it made me smile to see how apparently the writters also shared my thought on who should had been the Resistance's leader. Indeed, Cap'n Commander Rose should had been a thing.

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  • 2 years later...

Personally I feel like some of the stuff in the post-Colors games gets looked over.

The scene in Colors where Tails realizes Yacker is gone and Sonic (noticeably not cracking jokes) just stares at the Wisps having their Hyper Go-On power sucked out is honestly some pretty good subtle storytelling. You can see in Sonic's eyes just how mad and determined he is.

In Forces while not a storytelling moment I do love Sonic’s trash talk to Eggman during the final battle "Your plan will end just like all your plans end. With you surrounded by a bunch of busted robot parts wondering how you could fail so hard."

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