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Was Sonic's Chaos Control a Deus Ex Machina?


CertifiedNobody
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CertifiedNobody

I was browsing TVTropes and saw this:

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  • 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.

Is that the case? I've always considered that to be perfectly reasonable given Sonic's past uses of the Chaos Emeralds and him seeing Shadow perform Chaos Control earlier in the game. Is this an actual critique people have with the game?

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A bit, but it's far from the most egregious one out there. SA2's framed around duality, with Sonic and Shadow being the clearest mirrors of each other out of the 3 playable pairs, and it establishes in their first meeting that Chaos Control is what separates them. Sonic spends the game playing catch-up, and closes the gap right at the end, not just learning how to use Chaos Control but doing it in a way Shadow didn't think was possible, reestablishing him as top dog. Thematically, it's on point. Mechanically, Sonic's had more experience using the emeralds than anyone even if he's never seen this particular use before, and it's not as if they've ever established much in the way of rules regarding how the emeralds work or what it takes to use them; it's hard to seriously argue that he picks it up too quick when we're never given reason to believe it's out of his reach. I think it certainly could've been set up better, but it works well enough that I can't see reason to object to it.

Silver using it is kind of dumb, though. Thematically it means nothing for him and he doesn't even seem to know what the emeralds are at first. It seems like it was just a way to try to tie the hedgehog trio closer together and to make narratively convenient time holes.

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Mechanically the chaos emeralds bend tho suit the story so there's nothing new there. My only problem is that, emotionally, it doesn't feel all that earned. This might just be a nitpick, but I like for new powers to be tied to psycology, and Sonic doesn't really have to rewire his brain or change his approach to tap into his new power or beat Shadow at the end. Theres no real realization or character beat underlining it. He doesn't have to consider what Shadow has that he doesn't. He's just about to die, so he figures it out. 

I wouldn't go so far as to call it an asspull, but it does need a bit more meat for me. 

With Silver, I think the intent was that he'd learn a thing or two from Shadow after initially considering him an adversary, but the story doesn't do enough to form a meaningful connection between them so it doesn't resonate. 

 

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MetalSkulkBane

It's a shame that Silver didn't lived up to the Hype of Next Big Thing, that would somewhat excuse him having that power. Because so far it was Sonic/Shadow thing or guys who cheated their way (Metal copy power, Black Doom's link to Shadow).

Lore wise, I always assumed Sonic can do this because he spend so much time with rings, Special Stage and Chaos Emeralds that he's sorta mutated into naturally created ultimate life form.
Heck this is my explanation how he went from being "really fast for a hedgehog" to "boost into Perfect Chaos and win".

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In my headcanon super transformations are a form of chaos control as well (since they involve manipulating chaos energy), not to mention that Sonic kinda does a Chaos Control with six emeralds at the end of the 8 bit version of Sonic 1 in order to clean South Island from pollution.

So, I don't think it's out of place for Sonic to be able to perform it... the fact that they let him do it with a fake emerald always bothered me a bit, because it makes very little sense in my opinion. The emerald was fake, it was supposed to not have any chaos energy in it, and if it did, it's still weird because it would mean that chaos emeralds (even if weaker) can be cloned artificially, which would make all the battles for the emeralds between Eggman and Sonic pointless, in the whole series.

Probably the fake emerald was more like a huge chaos drive, which are artificial energy sources based on chaos emeralds somehow, but wathever, it's still a mess; if chaos drives are artificial chaos emeralds, then what's the point of searching for the actual things when they can make some new fake ones every time.

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CertifiedNobody
3 hours ago, Iko said:

In my headcanon super transformations are a form of chaos control as well (since they involve manipulating chaos energy), not to mention that Sonic kinda does a Chaos Control with six emeralds at the end of the 8 bit version of Sonic 1 in order to clean South Island from pollution.

So, I don't think it's out of place for Sonic to be able to perform it... the fact that they let him do it with a fake emerald always bothered me a bit, because it makes very little sense in my opinion. The emerald was fake, it was supposed to not have any chaos energy in it, and if it did, it's still weird because it would mean that chaos emeralds (even if weaker) can be cloned artificially, which would make all the battles for the emeralds between Eggman and Sonic pointless, in the whole series.

Probably the fake emerald was more like a huge chaos drive, which are artificial energy sources based on chaos emeralds somehow, but wathever, it's still a mess; if chaos drives are artificial chaos emeralds, then what's the point of searching for the actual things when they can make some new fake ones every time.

The emerald had the same properties as the original but was much weaker,  they also aren't compatible with the actual emeralds, and Sonic was exhausted after performing the action, so I think it's safe to say they don't make a worthwhile alternative to the real deal.

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MetalSkulkBane
5 hours ago, Iko said:

In my headcanon super transformations are a form of chaos control as well (since they involve manipulating chaos energy), not to mention that Sonic kinda does a Chaos Control with six emeralds at the end of the 8 bit version of Sonic 1 in order to clean South Island from pollution.

So, I don't think it's out of place for Sonic to be able to perform it... the fact that they let him do it with a fake emerald always bothered me a bit, because it makes very little sense in my opinion. The emerald was fake, it was supposed to not have any chaos energy in it, and if it did, it's still weird because it would mean that chaos emeralds (even if weaker) can be cloned artificially, which would make all the battles for the emeralds between Eggman and Sonic pointless, in the whole series.

Probably the fake emerald was more like a huge chaos drive, which are artificial energy sources based on chaos emeralds somehow, but wathever, it's still a mess; if chaos drives are artificial chaos emeralds, then what's the point of searching for the actual things when they can make some new fake ones every time.

I don't know if every magic spell that can be done with Chaos Emeralds counts as "Chaos Control". Be that Super Sonic, Spears  or magical island cleaning. I think "warps time and space" is impressive enough.

As for Fake Emeralds. Hmm. Maybe Chaos Drives are just super strong batteries that eventually need to be recharged and Fake Emerald was like stronger version of it. Putting it into Eclipse Canon tricks machine into trying to take way more energy than Fake Emerald had inside, thus causing malfunction.
Keep in mind that these days Shadow can teleport without Emeralds (no matter what Sega says) so maybe you just need a lot of chaos energy, not emeralds themselves for short distance teleport.

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I mean, Super transformation, and the Chaos powers are all derived from the same source, so lumping them together makes sense.

 

As for Sonic, I can see the logic that his prior exposure to chaos energy made him proficient. I do think its something that could have used more build up, like maybe Sonic trying to master the move before he pulls it off for real.

 

If only to give a sense that Sonic was attempting to close the gap between him and Shadow. But yea, as it stands, it does just kind of come out of nowhere.

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