Sonic Heroes (ソニック ヒーローズ) is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sonic Team USA and released in 2003 and 2004 for multiple platforms (consoles Xbox, GameCube, PS2 and the computers PC). This game differs from other Sonic games by allowing the player to take control of one of four teams, each with three characters, who have abilities unique to them.
The game introduces several new gameplay elements. Unlike most Sonic games, where players control one character, three characters are available at any time to choose from, as the player may switch the party's leader freely, whilst the other two characters follow. Each character has an individual ability - speed for fast stages, power for breaking objects, or flight for reaching high platforms - and the player must use these abilities to traverse the fourteen stages. Each stage has a different layout for each team, providing different challenges for each story. Each ability is also represented in the interface by color; blue for speed, yellow for flight, and red for power. Each ability also has an element associated with it: Speed uses wind, Fly uses thunder and Power uses fire. These can be used to solve various puzzles, most notably in Team Chaotix's Mystic Mansion stage. Each team also has a Team Blast skill, which can be performed when the Team Blast meter becomes full. This can be achieved by performing such actions as destroying enemies or collecting rings.
In addition to controlling three characters, the player may select one of the four teams available to use at the beginning of the game; each team has one member capable of the aforementioned skills, but follow a different, yet intertwined, storyline. Each team also has a unique Team Blast skill.
- Speed: Sonic the Hedgehog
- Flight: Miles "Tails" Prower
- Power: Knuckles the Echidna
- Head of the Team: Sonic the Hedgehog
Team Sonic is the title team of Sonic Heroes. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles receive a letter from Doctor Eggman telling them of a new ultimate weapon that will be ready within three days, challenging them to stop him. The three heroes band together once again to foil Eggman's plans. This team and associated levels are designed to be of medium difficulty, and contain high-speed sections. Their secondary missions involve reaching the goal within a time limit.
Team Blast: Sonic Overdrive/Super Sonic Power (when in Super forms):
Sonic Overdrive is Team Sonic's Team Blast from the game Sonic Heroes. The move consists of Knuckles throwing Tails, who spins to gain momentum, and throws Sonic, who attacks surrounding enemies multiple times at light speed. While the gauge is resetting, attacking while in the air with Sonic allows him to do a smaller version of the Team Blast called the Light Speed Attack. Sonic does the same thing with Tails as the leader while the gauge resets, but instead does it when Tails kicks him off with a Thunder Shoot. During the final boss, Metal Madness, under Super Transformation, the trio performs a different team blast, where all three power up, then charge Metal Sonic in a barrage of Homing Attacks.
It is possible that this attack was based from a similar attack Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles used on Metal Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.
- Team Sonic is the only team to have more than 1 victory stance (which include their normal stance, the one used in the Egg Fleet level, and the one used as team Super Sonic).
- Team Sonic is the only team where the "Power" character is not larger than the other characters.
Rouge sneaks into one of Eggman's bases after hearing that Doctor Eggman is accumulating valuable treasures. Instead, she finds Shadow the Hedgehog, thought to be dead, encased in a capsule and without memory of who he is, and comes across a robot, E-123 Omega, bent on destroying Eggman's robots. Realizing that all their problems lead to Eggman, the three anti-heroes team up. This team and associated levels are designed to be of hard difficulty, requiring skill and concentration to endure heavy battle. This team's secondary missions involve wiping out 100 enemies in the stage.
Team Blast: Chaos Inferno:
The Chaos Inferno is Team Dark's Team Blast. It consists of Shadow performing Chaos Control, whilst Omega, lifted up by Rouge, rotates the top half of his body and fires large lasers from his hands. It also stops time momentarily once complete, so that all enemies, doors and switches are frozen in place. There is however a glitch that allows the Team to spin on an invisible pole. The Chaos Control wears off when the Team Blast gauge resets.
- Named after the Dark story mode in Sonic Adventure 2, which was the first playable appearances of both Shadow and Rouge.
- The only team in the game with a member that debuts in this game, as well as the only team with an inorganic member.
- Speed: Amy Rose
- Flight: Cream the Rabbit and Cheese the Chao
- Power: Big the Cat
- Head of the Team: Amy Rose
Each character of Team Rose is trying to find someone important to them; Amy searches for Sonic and hopes that defeating Eggman herself will impress him. Big is searching for his amphibian friend, Froggy again, and Cream is seeking out Cheese's lost brother, Chocola. With a picture in the newspaper (of Froggy and Chocola being carried off by who they believe to be Sonic) as their only clue, the three join up to find their lost companions. This team and associated levels are designed for younger players, with shorter missions, which allows them to bypass the more difficult sections of many stages. This team is the only one to include the tutorial level in Story Mode. The secondary missions for this team entail the collection of 200 rings.
Team Blast: Flower Festival:
Flower Festival is the Team Blast attack used by Team Rose in the game Sonic Heroes. Big bounces Amy and Cream on top of his umbrella with a shower of flowers raining down on the area, destroying all enemies. All three members level up by one and grants them temporary invincibility, high running speed, and a shield afterwards. The invincibility wears off after the gauge resets itself.
- The only team in the game to have 4 people (although Cheese is just a extension of Cream).
- Ironically, despite having easier main missions, their sub missions are at times quite difficult, due to if you're hit, you lose EVERY ring, and thus, would have to start over again.
- This is the only team which can't use the Wall Jump technique.
- Speed: Espio the Chameleon
- Flight: Charmy Bee
- Power: Vector the Crocodile
- Head of the Team: Vector the Crocodile
Team Chaotix is composed of quiet, ninja-like, and disciplined Espio the Chameleon; their headstrong music-loving leader Vector the Crocodile; and the air-headed flying ace Charmy Bee. They run their own detective agency, and receive a mysterious package with a walkie-talkie in it. A stranger gives the team instructions through this device and claims that if the job he has for them is completed, the Chaotix will be "rewarded handsomely". Espio is wary of the job, but Vector, with dollar signs in his eyes, reminds him that they "never turn down work that pays". This team and associated levels provide a different experience, as most are mission-based, and are only complete when the mission target is met. Because of this, their stages frequently loop back to the start so that players can scour the stage for anything that may have been overlooked. The missions mostly consist of collecting or destroying stage-specific items (Chao are often the target for collection). The secondary missions usually add an extra challenge to the normal goal, such as collecting or destroying twice as many targets or completing the mission without being seen by the enemies or elements inside of a level (for example, the frogs in Frog Forest). Strangely, like Team Rose, Team Chaotix bypasses most of the really challenging parts in certain stages, such as the gauntlet of lasers in Final Fortress.
Team Blast: Chaotix Recital:
Chaotix Recital is the Team Blast move used by Team Chaotix in the game Sonic Heroes. Espio, Charmy, and Vector begin singing and playing instruments badly, causing all of the surrounding enemies to explode, whilst ring bonuses are received for each enemy destroyed. While the gauge is resetting, enemies destroyed during that time drop a random amount of rings. Collecting rings also refills the gauge, potentially allowing the player to perform another Blast immediately after the first is complete.
- Despite Team Rose being the beginner team, and supposed to be the easiest, many find Team Chaotix the easiest team, due to Espio being able to turn invisible and run past enemies without being noticed.
- The only team in the game that has no member who is a mammal, as Charmy is an insect and Espio and Vector are reptiles.
- Chaotix's Sonic X debut is an episode based on their story in the game.
- Team Chaotix are arguably the most diverse team in the game in terms of moves.
- In the Robot Storm and Robot Carnival boss battles, Team Chaotix is considered the easiest to use since the special effect of their team blast gives them plenty of rings to immediately refill the gauge after using it, thus taking out waves of robots with ease.
This is a list of the levels in Sonic Heroes. Also, three levels from this game (Seaside Hill, Casino Park, and Final Fortress) reappear in the third installment of the SEGA Superstars series, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.
- Seaside Hill
- Ocean Palace
- Grand Metropolis
- Power Plant
- Casino Park
- BINGO Highway
- Rail Canyon
- Bullet Station
- Frog Forest
- Lost Jungle
- Hang Castle
- Mystic Mansion
- Egg Fleet
- Final Fortress
As characters interact, they sometimes make references to past Sonic games:
- Amy: "This weather reminds me of our last attack on the Egg Carrier!" (allusion to Sonic Adventure) in Final Fortress, though she wasn't attacking the Egg Carrier, she was in jail upon it.
- Amy: "This place reminds me of Casinopolis!" (allusion to Sonic Adventure) in Casino Park, even though in Sonic Adventure she never actually entered the Casinopolis level during the course of Sonic Adventure.
- Knuckles: "We have jungle mushrooms on my island too, but not this huge!" (allusion to Mushroom Hill Zone from Sonic & Knuckles) in Frog Forest.
- Shadow: "Space? Did you say SPACE?" when replying to Rouge who said, "We might even be at the edge of space." (allusion to Shadow's "fatal fall" from space or Space Colony ARK in Sonic Adventure 2) in Egg Fleet.
- Shadow: "Some things never change, do they?" as a response to Rouge mentioning going after the Master Emerald at the end of Team Dark's story (allusion to Sonic Adventure 2).
- Metal Sonic: "I was created for the sole purpose of destroying you," when addressing Sonic (allusion to Sonic CD) in Metal Overlord.
- Knuckles: "The Egg Carrier is nothing compared to this!" (allusion to Sonic Adventure) in Final Fortress.
- Big: Big's quest for Froggy is reminiscent of his story in Sonic Adventure. In addition, the giant frogs in Frog Forest and Lost Jungle appear to be the same as Froggy.
- Rouge: "I haven't heard from The President lately." (allusion to Sonic Adventure 2) while the player stands still for a while on any stage.
- Omega: "I couldn't even beat Gamma or Beta." (allusion to E-102 Gamma and E-101 Beta from Sonic Adventure) when the player gets an E rank as Team Dark, when you finish the level with him.
- Knuckles: "Maybe it was the GHOST of Shadow we saw before!" teasing Tails and referring to how Shadow was thought to have died in Sonic Adventure 2.
- Knuckles: "She never gives up does she?" (allusion to Sonic Adventure 2)
- Cream: "Amy, are you sure Mr. Sonic is here?" (Allusion to Sonic Advance 2 when Cream calls sonic Mr.Sonic.)
Reviews of Sonic Heroes were mostly average to positive, depending on the platform; Metacritic averages range from 64% for the PlayStation 2 version (based on 29 reviews) to 73% for the Xbox version (based on 28 reviews). Game Rankings averages ranged from 60% for the PC version (based on 18 reviews) to 74.5% for the GameCube version (based on 95 reviews).
Reviewers noted several positive aspects to the game. These included the gameplay style; whilst the transition to 3D has been noted as rough for the Sonic franchise, Sonic Heroes came close to the series' 2D roots. Sound design was also praised, described as "inexorably linked" to the experience and "at least very pristine" with "perfectly implemented" sound effects, running in Dolby Pro Logic II. Graphics design and environments were also highlighted, described as colorful, vibrant and cheery, with consistent art design and an exceptionally vibrant color palette. Framerate was also consistent for the Xbox, Gamecube and PC versions, although a drop in framerate in the multiplayer component was noted.
It also attracted several negative criticisms. Often cited were the game's camera control system, described as "uncooperative" and "terrible". Camera control compounded an additional problem regarding the controls relative to the camera's position, such that pushing forward may or may not move the character in the same direction the camera is facing. Falling from the level's platforms into the deep pits below was also criticized. The game's voice acting also came in for criticism, described as "horrendous" and "the biggest misstep in the sound design" such as the infamous line "What are we gonna do Sonic?" and Tails' helpless personality.
In 2004, Sonic Heroes was the sixth bestselling game in the United Kingdom overall, and a full year after its release, was still at number eight in the all-price chart. The game ultimately sold well enough to enter all three consoles' "best-sellers" lists: Greatest Hits/Platinum for the PlayStation 2, Platinum Hits for the Xbox, and Player's Choice for the GameCube. The game was also released in a package with Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on Xbox.
The game's designer, Takashi Iizuka, stated that he did not want to make Sonic Heroes another Sonic Adventure title, as he was worried only core gamers would buy the title, instead preferring to create a game for general users to adapt to.
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