Shadow! We're in big trouble!
— Tails, Shadow the Hedgehog
Air Fleet is a stage in the Shadow the Hedgehog. It is one of the five fifth stages and can be reached by completing the Hero mission of Central City, the Normal mission of The Doom, or the Dark mission of Sky Troops.
Central City lies in ruins, despite the best efforts of Knuckles and G.U.N. to reduce the damage by defusing the Black Arms' explosives. The Eggman Fleet has been decimated during a confrontation with the Black Arms' fleet, and Black Doom has shown Shadow his past destroying one of GUN's most powerful machines. The future looks bleak for Sonic's world. High in the skies of Sonic's world, G.U.N.'s flying battleships are evacuating from Central City. At Central City, in the White House, The Commander arrives with two of his men and urges the President to evacuate to a more fortified position to protect themselves from the advancing Black Arms, which the President reluctantly agrees to after some encouraging words from the Commander. Shadow and Black Doom stand outside the building as they watch the President escape towards the G.U.N. flying battleship holding position overhead. Black Doom orders Shadow to follow the President (which the player can choose to do or not). Shadow then skates off towards the battleship that the President's escape pod is going to as it begins to depart.
Immediately upon starting the stage, Shadow runs into Tails, who asks for Shadow's help in protecting the President's shuttle from the Black Arms' boarding parties by defeating all the aliens. If Shadow chooses to side with Black Doom instead, he must destroy the shuttle, which is being conveyed on a monorail track through the ship. Shadow can switch the rails in places with the junction switches where the path forks to send the pod into dangerous Black Arms-controlled regions of the ship, but it is generally up to the hedgehog himself to deal massive damage to the vehicle; as such, the Shadow Rifle is a good choice of weapon for this mission, or if the Shadow Rifle is not unlocked yet, the Semi-Auto Rifle or Heavy Machine Gun since ammo for them is commonplace. Either way, the player will have to watch out, as some rails are electrified.
The following weapons can be found in Air Fleet:
- After using the pulley to go up above the secret door, Triangle Jump through the hallway and enter through the top door.
- On the first junction, take the more dangerous path, and destroy the containers on the left side of the room with the appearing GUN Trooper to get the key.
- After the third Checkpoint, head for the large circular room. You have to use you Spin Dash on the red slime to reach the upper level where the key is.
- After the fourth Checkpoint, take the safe path, and destroy the container next to the first GUN Turret.
- The final key is after the seventh Checkpoint in the large circular room on the top level between two large GUN containers. Once again, you must use the Spin Dash on the red slime to reach the top.
|Destroy the President's escape pod!||Destroy the President's ship before it reaches the end.||
Leads to: GUN Fortress
Find the Chaos Emerald!
Objective: Reach the Goal Ring.
- Use Chaos Control in areas where more jumping than running is required.
- Throughout the Facility, there are fans that will try to blow you backward. To keep from being blown away, grab on to the bars and hang on until the wind stops. After the wind stops, Spin Dash forward and jump over the laser turrets to exit the area.
- You can't grind along the electrified rails, because they are electrically charged! The only way you can do this is with an Air Saucer. Alternately, you can fill your gauge up and grind while you are invulnerable. These electrically charged rails save a little time, but more importantly, they often lead to a weapon cache.
- The first trouble spot occurs after the third Checkpoint. Once you are outside of the facility, you will see moving platforms. Jump across to the third one. Spin Dash along the wall between the lasers, and grab onto the pole and climb up. It is fairly simple to do, but at least a couple of you will fall at least once.
|≥ 20,000 points|
|< 8,000 points|
Leads to: Black Comet
|Protect the escape pod from the black creatures!||Destroy 35 Black Arms.||Always take the green path.
At each checkpoint, you should have these many Black Arms defeated:
|≥ 33,000 points|
|< 10,000 points|
Leads to: Lava Shelter
Behind the Secret Door
Behind the door is a Black Arms Air Saucer. When mounted, it enables Shadow to grind along the electrified rails safely. The rails lead to a secret room filled with weapons (including a 'Shadow Crate'), extra lives and a health unit for the vehicle. The saucer can be used all the way through until the end of the level, but this will require some careful riding. A helpful tip: if you want to complete the level with the saucer or reach other electrified rails further along the level, double jump continuously when there is a steep slope to overcome them.
- Even after the escape pod is destroyed, in the GUN Fortress stage, it appears without a single dent or scratch from the mission.
- When Doom's Eye says "This shall be the last time that the humans ever see the sun" during this stage, he might be foreshadowing how the Black Comet will be teleported down to Earth and launch its attack during the Last Story.
- There are multiple paths to this stage in which Shadow never even sees Eggman, yet he still comes to the conclusion that he is an android if the player does the Hero mission.