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The Altar of Emerald,[5] also known as the shrine of the Master Emerald[4][6] (マスターエメラルドの神殿[7] Masutā Emerarudo no shinden?, lit. "Master Emerald's shrine"), the altar[3] (祭壇[1][8] Jìtán?) or the Pillar (ピラー[2] Pirā?), is a location that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is an ancient shrine on Angel Island that served as the housing area of the Master Emerald and the seven Chaos Emeralds approximately 3,000 years ago in Mystic Ruins, where it was inhabited by a colony of Chao and their guardian Chaos.[9] However, following an attack on the altar by the Knuckles Clan, the Altar of Emerald was abandoned and made a part of the newly created Angel Island. There, the Master Emerald would remain, guarded by those from the Knuckles Clan.[9]

In the present day, much of the Altar of Emerald has decayed, but remains a vital point of interest on Angel Island. Knuckles the Echidna can usually be found at the Altar of Emerald, guarding the Master Emerald.[10][11]

Description

The Altar of Emerald from approximately 3,000 years ago, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

The Altar of Emerald is a large stone structure. Approximately 3,000 years ago, it was a beautiful and pristine structure filled with pure and clean water situated on solid ground. Back then, in consisted of two stone circles stacked on top of one another, with the top circle smaller than the one on the bottom, forming a two-story high structure. Notably, the first layer of the altar had a ring of bushes growing close to the walls of the second layer of the altar and a water pool surrounding the second layer on the first layer, with water flowing down the walls from there. In front of the altar was also a staircase leading up to the top platform of the altar. Up there, in the center of the top platform of the altar was a recess for the Master Emerald to rest in, with a shallow pool of water surrounding it. Furthermore, the top of the altar had a dome-shaped stone roof held up by stone columns around the edge of the top platform. Also, surrounding the the Altar of Emerald were two short stone rims filled with clean water, each forming two shallow basins around the altar. Notably, on the innermost of these rims were seven tall stone pillars, one for each of the seven Chaos Emeralds, circling the altar. In addition, growing in the outermost basin and circling the altar were eight lush palm trees. On the further edges of the altar were gravel on the ground. Lastly, surrounding the outermost circular perimeter of the Altar of Emerald were several stone pillars that one could walk between with stone bars on top of them, forming a wall of short around the altar, with the exception of the front which served as an entrance gate.

Over the millennia, the Altar of Emerald fell into disrepair. In the present day, the roof on the top platform of the altar is gone, leaving only a few brown columns. In addition, the water basins around the altar have dried up and the bushes and palm trees are gone. Instead, their basins are filled with grass growing in them. Also, the seven Chaos Emerald pillars have mostly crumbled away, leaving few of them with high statures. Also, the stone pillars on the outermost circular perimeter of the altar are virtually gone, leaving but a few stumps of them on the ground. Lastly, the Altar of Emerald resides on a floating isle on the "coast" of Angel Island, which is connected to the mainland by a wooden suspension bridge.

History

Past

The Chao living in peace at the Altar of Emerald, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

It is not known who or what created the Altar of Emerald. Approximately 3,000 years ago,[9] the Altar of Emerald was located just outside the ancient village of the Knuckles Clan in the Mystic Ruins. Back then, the altar served as the housing place of the Master Emerald, which rested in the center of the altar, and the seven Chaos Emerald, which were enshrined on seven pillars around the altar. In addition, the altar was inhabited by a colony of Chao and their guardian deity, Chaos.[9] Chaos itself would serve as the guardian of the shrine, and would use the power of the Chaos Emeralds to keep the water around the altar pure while protecting its people from foreign enemies.[12] It was thanks to Chaos' efforts that the vulnerable Chao were able to live at the Altar of Emerald in peace.[13] In addition, Chaos would safeguard the Chaos Emeralds in the altar.[14]

The Altar of Emerald eventually became the target of Pachacamac, the chief of the Knuckles Clan, who sought the seven Chaos Emeralds in order to expand his clan's power and ensure their future way of living.[9][15] However, each and very attempt by the Knuckles Clan to rob the altar of the Chaos Emeralds were thwarted by Chaos.[9][16] As such, the Altar of Emerald would remain the one place within the Knuckles Clan's territory that Pachacamac did not control.[17]

Tikal entering the Altar of Emerald's inner sanctum, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

Eventually, Tikal, the daughter of Pachacamac, came to the Altar of Emerald where she came across the native Chao, whom she quickly gained the trust of thanks to her kind and gentle nature. Immediately after, she encountered Chaos. She was surprised to see it at first, but they soon established an emotional bond.[9] Eventually gaining Chaos' trust, Tikal was allowed into the center of the Altar of Emerald. On top of the altar's center, Tikal discovered the Master Emerald, which let her piece together its connection to the Chaos Emeralds from an ancient prayer that her grandmother had taught her.[18][19]

The Altar on Emerald set ablaze by the Knuckles Clan, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

Not long after, Tikal came to the Altar of Emerald to warn Chaos that her father was planning one final attempt to raid the altar with his clan. Tikal pleaded Chaos to take the Chao and leave the altar for their own safety, but Chaos insisted that it could not leave the Altar of Emerald, leaving Tikal with no other choice but to attempt dissuading her father from going through with his plan.[20] Unfortunately, Tikal's efforts were in vain, as Pachacamac and his men soon after attacked the Altar of Emerald in the middle of the night, setting it ablaze. During the invasion, Tikal and the Chao stood in Pachacamac's way in front of the altar. However, Pachacamac moved them out of the way by force, and headed towards the center of the Altar of Emerald. However, they were blocked by Chaos, who had been corrupted by its anger over seeing its people and friends getting hurt by the Knuckles Clan. In its fury, Chaos used the seven Chaos Emeralds' negative energies to transform into Perfect Chaos. With this power, Chaos destroyed Pachacamac and his men, before moving out to destroy the rest of the world as a part of its rampage. When Tikal recovered and noticed Chaos' devastation however, she hurried into the Altar of Emerald and used her prayer to have the Master Emerald stop Chaos. In response, the Master Emerald sealed Chaos and Tikal's consciousness inside itself, ending Chaos' threat. However, the Chaos Emeralds had gone missing and the Altar of Emerald was abandoned.[9]

In the aftermath, the surviving members of the devastated Knuckles Clan suspended the Altar of Emerald and its surrounding area into the sky with the Master Emerald's power, creating Angel Island. There, these echidnas would lived, bearing the duty of observing and protecting the sealed Master Emerald in the Altar of Emerald as its guardians, so that an incident like the one with Chaos could never happens again.[9] In the present day, the Altar of Emerald has decayed much over time. However, it remains the primary holding site for the Master Emerald, both of which are looked after by the last descendant of the Knuckles Clan: Knuckles the Echidna.[21]

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the Altar of Emerald was, as usual, being patrolled by Knuckles, who oversaw the seven Chaos Emeralds enshrined in it. Thanks to the Chaos Emeralds' power and the altar, the Animals of the Floating Island were able to live in safety. As Knuckles checked one of the Chaos Emeralds to see if there was anything wrong with it however, the Emerald in front of him glittered and began to vibrate abnormally. As this unprecedented phenomenon befuddled Knuckles, the Chaos Emerald began to vibrate more and more intensely. Just as the vibrations reached their peak, there was a flash of light with a screech and Knuckles got knocked unconscious as his body was thrown outside the altar, just as the Death Egg impacted the Floating Island. When Knuckles recovered, he found the altar half-destroyed and the Chaos Emeralds gone without a trace. As Knuckles then left the altar, he discovered the Death Egg on his island. Afterwards, Knuckles kept patrolling the altar for the next few days while looking around on the island, until he came across Dr. Robotnik.[1]

Knuckles' Chaotix

In Knuckles' Chaotix, the power of the altar on the Floating Island would be amplified, which caused tectonic movements in the sea, resulting in an island rising up from the ocean. Furthermore, the energy of the altar was transforming the island from a mere rocky mass into a green paradise. In addition, the altar's energy would fill out a mysterious space, creating the six Chaos Rings.[2] All of these effects produced by the altar caught the attention of Knuckles, Dr. Robotnik, and several others, who went to the island it had created in order to investigate it.

Sonic Adventure

Knuckles dozing in the Altar of Emerald, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

In Sonic Adventure, its enhanced port Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and its 2010 remake, Knuckles had fallen asleep in the Altar of Emerald while guarding the Master Emerald. However, he was soon awoken from his sleep when Dr. Eggman shattered the Master Emerald. As a result of the gem's destruction, Chaos and Tikal were released from it. Knuckles tried to attack the former when spotting it in the altar, but got knocked out of the altar by Chaos. When he the came to, Chaos had fled. Soon after, due to the Master Emerald's absence in the altar, Angel Island fell from the sky and landed on the coast of the Mystic Ruins. Going on a hunt for the Master Emerald's shards, Knuckles eventually returned to the altar with most of the shards and used them to partially rebuild the Master Emerald. However, the Master Emerald was still missing a few pieces, prompting the Master Emerald to show Knuckles that they could be found on the Egg Carrier. Setting out, Knuckles soon returned to the Altar of Emerald with the last Master Emerald fragments and six of the Chaos Emeralds, which he would place in the Altar of the Emerald. After then fully reassembling the Master Emerald, Angel Island took flight once more, allowing Knuckles to rest and resume guarding the altar and its contents.

However, despite the Master Emerald being back in the Altar of Emerald, Angel Island soon after fell from the sky once more. Suspecting that it had something to do with the six Chaos Emeralds he brought back to the altar, Knuckles thought about bringing in Sonic when he found Eggman and his Egg Mobile crashed in front of the Altar of Emerald. Immediately after, Chaos showed up at the Altar of Emerald, where it defeated Knuckles and took the six Chaos Emeralds from the altar before escaping. Not long after, Sonic and Tails arrived at the Altar of Emerald, where they found the beaten Knuckles and Eggman. As Eggman left the altar in his Egg Mobile to get back on Chaos for betraying him, Sonic and Tails set out to find the last Chaos Emerald before Chaos, although not before Tikal came by and showed Sonic a vision of the past.

Sonic Adventure 2

The replica of the Altar of Emerald in Cannon's Core as Knuckles unleashes the Master Emerald's power, from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

In Sonic Adventure 2, its enhanced port Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and its 2012 remake, Sonic and Knuckles discovered a replica of the Altar of Emeralds in the Cannon's Core that they had infiltrated in order to use the Master Emerald to neutralize the energy of the Chaos Emeralds, which had been transferred to the altar, which were propelling the Space Colony ARK towards earth in order to destroy the planet. This replica was made in the image of the pristine version of the altar, complete with pillars for the Chaos Emeralds to be enshrined on and a recess for the Master Emerald in the center. In addition, the core of the Eclipse Cannon was situated right above the altar which functioned like a beating heart. It was speculated by Sonic that the core had probably been designed like the altar in order to harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds.[22][23]

As Sonic and Knuckles headed for the altar, the Biolizard appeared from the Eclipse Cannon's core in an attempt to stop the heroes. Fortunately, Shadow showed up and distracted the Biolizard, allowing Sonic and Knuckles to get the Master Emerald to the altar's center. Inserting the Master Emerald into the altar, Knuckles proceeded to use Tikal's Prayer to call upon the Master Emerald's power and stop the Chaos Emeralds. Upon doing so however, the Biolizard used Chaos Control to warp outside the ARK and merge with the Eclipse Cannon, thus becoming the Finalhazard, which let it keep the ARK on its collision course. In response, Sonic and Shadow assembled in the altar and used the Chaos Emeralds there to transform into Super Sonic and Super Shadow, and save the earth.

Sonic Advance 3

Sonic and his crew assembled at the Altar of Emerald as they use the Master Emerald to restore the world, from Sonic Advance 3.

In Sonic Advance 3, after Dr. Eggman split the earth into seven pocket dimensions with Chaos Control,[24][25] the Altar of Emerald ended up in Chaos Angel. To undo Eggman's mischief, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, and Cheese traveled to the Altar of Emerald in order to use the Master Emerald in the altar to invoke Chaos Control again and restore the world. Upon arriving at the altar however, Dr. Eggman and Gemerl attacked them with the Hyper Eggrobo. After defeating the villains, the heroes used the Master Emerald's power in the altar to return the world to normal. After Super Sonic and Eggman had then teamed up to defeat Ultimate Gemerl, Sonic woke up at the altar after passing out during the fight, where he was met by his friends. With a happy ending finally secured, Sonic, Tails, Amy, Cream and Cheese left the Altar of Emerald while Knuckles stayed behind to resume his duty of guarding the Master Emerald.

Sonic Forces

The Phantom Ruby's illusions appearing around the Altar of Emerald, from Sonic Forces: Stress Test.

In Sonic Forces, a short while before the War to Take Back the Planet, Knuckles was resting next to the Master Emerald in the Altar of Emerald, musing about how long it had been since Sonic dragged him into another escapade, when Silver suddenly showed up. As Silver tried explaining that trouble was coming however, Dr. Eggman secretly used the Phantom Ruby to create a physical illusion of Pachacamac's village near the Altar of Emerald. Not long after, a Chaos Phantom Copy appeared on top of the Master Emerald and attacked Knuckles and Silver. Upon defeating the Chaos Phantom Copy however, all of the illusions around the Altar of Emerald disappeared. As Silver then explained of the coming of an event that would devastate the future. Knuckles and Silver left the altar and headed down to earth to prepare for whatever was coming. Having deemed his stress test of the Phantom Ruby a success, Eggman left the Master Emerald to itself in the Altar of Emerald, convinced that he did not need it with the Phantom Ruby's power at his disposal.[11]

In other media

Animation

Sonic X

The Altar of Emerald, from "So Long Sonic".

In the Sonic X anime series and its comic series published by Archie Comics. It is a large and ancient shrine on Angel Island that the Chaos Emeralds and Master Emerald have been stored in at various points in history. Unlike its game counterpart however, it is surrounded by fewer ruins, and it is not located on a separate floating chuck of land. Instead, it is part of Angel Island's mainland.

In the past, the Altar of Emerald was inhabited by Chao and Chaos, the latter of whom guarded the Altar of Emerald. However, an attack from the Knuckles Clan left it in ruins and drove Chaos to destroy the world. In the present day, Knuckles would usually stay at the altar and guard the Master Emerald. A replica of the Altar of Emerald can also be found in the core of the Space Colony ARK.

Sonic Frontiers Prologue

The Altar of Emerald is set to make an appearance in Sonic Frontiers Prologue.

Books and comics

Archie Comics

The Shrine Isle, from Sonic the Hedgehog #186.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the altar of Angel Island was formerly located in the interior of the island and was known as the Chaos Chamber. However, it later became a small island that floated off the "coast" of Angel Island during the battle between Super Sonic and the fourth Enerjak, to which was is connected by a wooden bridge. As its name suggests, it became the site of the Master Emerald shrine, and thus a typical gathering place of the Chaotix.

After the Super Genesis Wave rewrote history, Shrine Isle became nearly identical to its game counterpart.

IDW Publishing

The Altar of Emerald, from Sonic the Hedgehog #30.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing, the Altar of Emerald is an ancient shrine on Angel Island where the Master Emerald rests. Its past is virtually identical to its game counterpart's, up until after the events of Sonic Forces. It first appeared during Neo Metal Sonic's occupation of Angel Island, where he made the altar into his throne and base of operation. This base was later destroyed when Neo Metal Sonic transformed into Master Overlord, although Knuckles quickly got the Master Emerald back to the altar. There, Knuckles would resume guarding the Master Emerald. During the Metal Virus plague, the altar later served as the hub from where the heroes and villains worked on ridding the world of the Metal Virus.

Trivia

  • The Altar's appearance and location have changed several times during the course of the Sonic the Hedgehog game series, suggesting that more than one shrine may exist on Angel Island.

Gallery

Artwork

Screenshots

Gallery

Other

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 34-36.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chaotix (Sega 32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Knuckles' story). "Knuckles: What... I'm back in front of the altar!"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sonic Team (23 June 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: The Core (Last Story). "Knuckles: What's that? It looks just like the shrine of the Master Emerald!"
  5. Adventure Field map, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
  6. Stratton, Bryan (17 June 2003). "Sonic the Hedgehog's Adventure Fields and Action Stages". Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 15. ISBN 978-0761542865.
  7. Sonic Team (23 June 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: The Core (Last Story) "Knuckles: これは! マスターエメラルドの神殿そのまんまじゃないか!"
  8. Sonic Team (23 December 1998). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Knuckles' story). "Knuckles: こ こ は ・・・ 祭 壇 の 前 か ! しかし・・・何だったんだ、今の?"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 "カオスエメラルド伝説" (in Japanese). ソニックアドベンチャー ナビゲーションガイド. SoftBank. 16 March 1999. pp. 156–158. ISBN 978-4797308624.
  10. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Opening sequence (Knuckles' story). "Knuckles: As far back as I can remember, I've been living here, on this dark island... Always guarding the Master Emerald from anything that can harm it. I don't know why I was given this job... Why it was my fate... Destined to be here...forever!"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Sonic Forces: Stress Test, "Stress Test"
  12. Sonic Channel (Japanese). Characters: Chaos. Sega. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved on 3 July 2015.
  13. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Gamma's story). "Tikal: These little creatures are too vulnerable without its protection. This protection allows them to continue singing in peace."
  14. Sonic City. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved on 4 July 2015.
  15. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Knuckles' story). "Tikal: Father! Please don't! / Pachacamac: Tikal, the 7 Emeralds are essential to our survival. It is for the good of all our people. / Tikal: How can I make you understand? Attacking other countries, stealing and killing...can't be the right path to peace. No one has the right to take their holy grounds. I beg you father!"
  16. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Amy's story). "Knuckles Clan tribesman: We made a lotta money with our power. But whenever we tried to get the Emeralds, some strange force always stopped us."
  17. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Knuckles' story). "Knuckles Clan tribesman: Our Chief is Pachacamac. He's awesome! He controls everything around here, except the altar..."
  18. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Big's story). "Tikal: So these are the 7 Emeralds... ?! Could it be? The servers are... the 7 Chaos Emeralds... Unified by one that is the controller... The 7 Chaos... The controller itself... Could this be the Emerald that controls the 7 Chaos?"
  19. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Tails' story). "Tikal: The servers are the 7 Chaos Emeralds. Hello there, friend. How are you? / ... / Tikal: Huh? It's something my grandmother taught me. I never to forget it. It goes like this... 'The servers are the 7 Chaos. Chaos is power... Power enriched by the heart. The controller is the one that unifies the Chaos.' But I'm still not sure what it all means. But the number 7...is the same as the number of Emeralds there are."
  20. Sonic Team (9 September 1999). Sonic Adventure. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Mystic Ruins (Knuckles' story). "Tikal: I beg of you. Hear me now. My father is coming here soon. And I fear what may happen. You must take everyone away from here! Oh please! So, are you saying you can't leave this place? I understand... Let me talk to my father again! There must be a better way to do this. Don't worry, my friends. I won't let you down. I must do something... quickly."
  21. Sega, SEGA HARDlight (19 September 2019). Sonic Racing. IOS. Sega. Area/Level: Knuckles the Echidna: Driver info. "Last descendant of the Knuckles Clan and protector of the Master Emerald."
  22. Sonic Team (23 June 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Cannon's Core. "Sonic: They probably designed the core like the shrine to harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds."
  23. Sonic Team (23 June 2001). Sonic Adventure 2. Dreamcast. Sega. Area/Level: Cannon's Core. "Sonic: おそらく、カオスエメラルドの力を引き出すために、マネて作ったんだろ"
  24. Sonic Advance 3 (Game Boy Advance) United States instruction booklet, pg. 4.
  25. Flynn, Ian; Sega (8 December 2021). "Sonic Advance 3". Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia. Dark Horse Books. p. 144. ISBN 978-1506719276. "Dr. Eggman has used the power of the Chaos Emeralds to unleash Chaos Control, splitting the world into pockets of reality"

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