Angel Island (エンジェルアイランド Enjeru Airando?), also known as the Floating Island (浮遊島 Fuyūtō?), is a prominent location in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a landmass that floats high in the sky using the eternal energy of the Master Emerald; without it, the island will inevitably plummet from the sky. The island is inhabited by various Animals and is also the home of Knuckles the Echidna, who is the guardian of the Master Emerald and the only surviving member of the Knuckles Clan that once inhabited the island.
- 1 Concept and creation
- 2 Description
- 3 History
- 4 Other game appearances
- 5 Points of interest
- 6 In other media
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Gallery
- 9 References
Concept and creation
The idea of a levitating island goes back at least as far as Nephelokokkygia ("Cloud Cuckoo Land"), the airborne city of birds from Aristophanes' play The Birds; another example is Laputa from Johnathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels.
Angel Island is likely to have been inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's interpretation of Laputa - a lost city, that is featured in his 1986 animated adventure film Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Similarities between Laputa and Angel Island include their dependency on a giant green gem to stay aloft, in Laputa this was called a Levistone. Many backgrounds for various Zones in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are heavily influenced by number of Laputa's locations and both games' story sequences bear strong similarities to many scenes from the film.
Angel Island is a large, floating island located in the skies, which floats thanks to the Master Emerald. If the Master Emerald is either shattered into pieces or lost, Angel Island will fall down to the ocean. However, the island is still buoyant enough to float on top of the sea without sinking. The island is also not able to counter forces pushing it downward, such as the extra weight of the Death Egg.
Angel Island has many different natural environments, such as jungles, deserts, volcanos and frozen landmasses. However, other areas built by civilizations also appear, such as underwater temples undercavern systems, bases and urban areas.
Over 3.000 years ago, Angel Island was an ordinary continent and part of the Mystic Ruins, where it was the location of the Altar of the Emeralds containing the Master Emerald and its Chaos Emeralds. One night, Pachacamac, the leader of the Knuckles Clan, decided to storm the Altar of the Emeralds and take the Emeralds to gain power. However, Pachacamac's daughter, Tikal, tried to stop them, believing using the Emeralds for power was terrible. Pachacamac did not listen and he raided the shrine, injuring or killing residential Chao in the process. This act infuriated Chaos, the Guardian God of the Chao, who used the seven Chaos Emeralds to transform into Perfect Chaos and destroyed most of the Knuckles Clan. Before Perfect Chaos could go destroy everything else in its blind rage, Tikal sealed it inside the Master Emerald.
Over time, stories about Angel Island's creation arose, saying that the Gods arrived (likely after the incident with Perfect Chaos), removing the territory as an island and used the remains of the Knuckles Clan to make it float into the sky, isolating the Master Emerald from the world.
After that, the Emeralds became known as Chaos Emeralds. In the present day, Knuckles the Echidna is the only surviving member of his tribe and assumed the duty as guardian of the Master Emerald. It is unknown if the Chaos Emeralds scattered after Chaos was sealed, but it is known that the civilization of West Side Island used one of the seven Emeralds before it is believed the Gods sealed it away to prevent another misuse of power, and five or six of them may have been resting in the depths of Cocoa Island a very long time before the events of the series.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and its lock-on version Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Knuckles the Echidna was doing his usual duty of patrolling the Floating Island's altar. Much for his surprise however, the Chaos Emeralds in the altar started to shine and vibrate strongly before a bright flash erupted from them, knocking Knuckles out. In that moment, Dr. Robotnik's Death Egg crashed into the Floating Island after being heavily damaged by Sonic the Hedgehog. The incredible impact destroyed many of the Floating Island's mountains and forests, and pressed the island into the ocean, which created a large tsunami when the island hit the ocean. However, the Floating Island did not sink into the water; instead, it simply floated slightly on the ocean as if nothing had happened. Robotnik, who had survived the fall of the Death Egg, was aware that the Chaos Emeralds were somewhere on the island. He also detected the energy of the island's Master Emerald, which he realized he could use to power the Death Egg and re-launch it into space. As such, he began capturing the local Animals and turning them into Badniks while re-modeling the Floating Island's environment into a more severe one using an environment-changing machine.
Meanwhile, Knuckles regained consciousness, only to discover that the altar had been partially destroyed and that the Chaos Emeralds were missing. He also found the Death Egg. This sight made Knuckles deduce that the Death Egg was from the legendary dragon described in the Chaos Emerald's altar, which stated that the Death Egg would bring disaster to the island. He later began to look for the Chaos Emeralds across the island until he met Dr. Robotnik. The doctor, who learned about Knuckles' duty, told him that he was a kind scientist who was investigating the Death Egg. He also "warned" him about Sonic, who supposedly was an evil hedgehog who was trying to disrupt his investigations and steal the Master Emerald. Believing Robotnik, Knuckles teamed up with him to stop Sonic at all cost.
Some time later, Sonic and Tails arrived at the island to investigate the cause of a recent tidal wave. On the way, Sonic became Super Sonic and flied to the island, only to be attacked by Knuckles, who stole his Chaos Emeralds. After this, Sonic and Tails continued through the island to fight Robotnik attempting to re-launch the Death Egg. Despite being pushed by Knuckles' antics, they managed to make their way to Robotnik's Launch Base Zone, where the doctor was repairing the Death Egg. They boarded a convenient platform beneath the operational ship and had a throwdown with Robotnik. Sonic and Tails defeated Dr. Robotnik, making the Death Egg lose flight and plummet all the way down into Lava Reef Zone.
Sonic & Knuckles
In Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Sonic and Tails ended up in Mushroom Hill Zone, where they decided to travel to Lava Reef Zone to stop Dr. Robotnik once and for all. Despite sometimes being pushed by Knuckles and the doctor, they made their way to the volcano, where they tried (in vain) to stop Robotnik. Shortly afterwards, they entered Hidden Palace Zone, where they had a showdown with Knuckles. After Knuckles was defeated, the three heard some ruckus further away in the palace, and they ran off. The three found out that Robotnik took advantage of the commotion to find and steal the Master Emerald. Knuckles discovered who the real villain is and tried to stop the doctor, only to get electrocuted. While Robotnik escaped with the Emerald, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles fell down to a hidden room. Knuckles, after regaining consciousness, took Sonic and Tails to Sky Sanctuary Zone with the use of an teleporer. There, they witnessed the Death Egg being relaunched to the sky. Despite the complications, Sonic and Tails managed to infiltrate the Death Egg in time. Later, the heroes managed to destroy the Death Egg and retrieve the Master Emerald to Knuckles.
Much time later, Knuckles was relaxing on the Floating Island until he was attacked by an EggRobo. Enraged, he decided to take off after the robot. Eventually, he arrived in Sky Sanctuary Zone, where he saw the Floating Island slowly falling onto the ocean. There, he also had a showdown against Mecha Sonic, who tried to make use of the stolen Master Emerald. After the robot was defeated though, Sky Sanctuary Zone began to crumble. However, Knuckles and the Master Emerald were saved by Sonic in the Tornado. With the Master Emerald back in good hands and brought back home, the Floating Island started to float into the sky again.
In Sonic Adventure, and its remake Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Master Emerald, was suddenly shattered, revealing Chaos (and also, secretly, a strange red orb form of Tikal). Knuckles attacks Chaos, but is swiftly defeated, and Chaos melts away. Due to the Master Emerald's power being distributed amongst the scattered shards, the island crashes in the Mystic Ruins below, confusing the researchers and explorers about where the Ruin's new "mountains" came from. Knuckles goes on a quest to find all the pieces, which he eventually does at the end of his story, raising the island after nearly destroying Chaos in the process. In the game's "Final" story (Super Sonic), the island falls again due to Chaos and Tikal not taking their rightful places back in the Master Emerald. Later, Eggman crashes on the grounded Angel Island in his floating pod, after Chaos had betrayed and attacked him. Chaos then steals the six Chaos Emeralds Knuckles brought to the shrine after previously defeating him.
Sonic Adventure 2
In Sonic Adventure 2, Rouge the Bat steals the Master Emerald, which is shattered by Knuckles himself due to Eggman trying to steal it while Knuckles and Rouge were arguing. Rouge is furious, but Knuckles explains he did it as an emergency measure as only he can put it back together. It is unknown if the desert area that the Master Emerald is seen in during the first cutscene is located on the Angel Island, or if Rouge had taken the Master Emerald with her, and that Knuckles had chased her to the current location (though Knuckles and Rouge's recaps suggest the latter case). The "Wild Canyon" stage may also be located on the island, as there are several Echidna murals on it, and the lyrics to the music (which is assumed to be Knuckles' thoughts), contains "I've gotta protect this place, I'll do it for my race".
Sonic Advance 3
In Sonic Advance 3, Eggman uses Chaos Control to split the world in seven pieces. The seventh piece is Chaos Angel, a large amount of floating ruins set in a semi-apocalyptic theme. The ruins are assumed to be part of Angel Island, as the boss of Chaos Angel is fought right at what is now called Altar Emerald. In the background of the final boss fight in Altar Emerald, there is an altar holding the Master Emerald, indicating that the fight takes place at Angel Island.
Prior to the events of Sonic Rivals, Doctor Eggman Nega brings Onyx Island, which is the future version of Angel Island, to the present. Sonic and Tails travel to the island to investigate only for Tails to be imprisoned in a card thanks to Eggman Nega's camera. Knuckles seeks Eggman Nega for the Master Emerald's disappearance in which as he took a picture of the Master Emerald, it disappears in all existing time frames.
In Sonic Forces, Knuckles was on Angel Island, resting next to the Master Emerald, until Silver the Hedgehog appeared to warn him about trouble of some sort involving Dr. Eggman. However, the two soon noticed that the island around them had suddenly disappeared, and in its place was the Mystic Ruins, due to the influence of the Phantom Ruby being in Eggman's hands. There, Knuckles and Silver fought Chaos and managed to suppress it. However, Chaos disappeared, along with the Mystic Ruins. Knuckles then went along with Silver to warn the rest of their allies that danger was approaching while Eggman watched with glee and was satisfied his test on Angel Island worked.
Other game appearances
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2013)
In the 2013 re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Floating Island makes a brief appearance in the good ending of the game, which is seen if all the Chaos Emeralds are collected. The Death Egg is shown approaching the Floating Island, and then the aftermath of the crash is shown, revealing Dr. Robotnik's survival. He immediately throws a childish temper tantrum in front of his wrecked Death Egg Robot, as certain echidna-shaped eyes slowly reveal themselves from within the bushes and ominously stare at the doctor. This scene is missing from previous versions of the game, as the only difference shown in the original game's endings is the presence of Super Sonic and/or different Animals.
Sonic Advance series
In Sonic Advance, Angel Island is simply a zone in itself. It is filled with ancient ruins and some sand, and the boss is a robotic Knuckles, which ironically pokes fun at Knuckles. Its overall appearance highly resembles the Sky Sanctuary Zone.
Sonic Advance 2
In Sonic Advance 2, the floating Angel Island is seen on the stage select map. Upon selecting the island, the player enters the Sky Canyon stage, which is seemingly set on a cloudy, canyon-filled mountain. When you first finish the level in story mode as Sonic, the boss is Knuckles himself, who has been tricked by Eggman.
Sonic Pinball Party
In Sonic Battle, Knuckles lives on a mountain known as "Holy Summit", an area that resembles the Sonic Adventure Adventure Field. Some ruins and an altar is nearby, and Chaos can be fought in the crater. While it is possible that this is indeed Angel Island, the adjacent areas appear to be either mainland or a normal island.
In Sonic Jump, Angel Island is visited by Eggman where he intends to get the last of the Chaos Emeralds from Knuckles. Knuckles refuses to hand over the Chaos Emerald and, suddenly, Sonic shows up. Knuckles isn't too thrilled to see Sonic but when Knuckles looks over at Sonic, Eggman uses that opportunity to steal the Chaos Emerald. Sonic wants to know what Eggman is going to do with all seven of the Chaos Emeralds and Eggman replies that he is going to take over the world as usual. However, Eggman plans to use the Emeralds in his latest creation, the Brainwash Beam. With that, Eggman takes his leave. Knuckles blames Sonic for distracting him, but Sonic replies that Knuckles was the one who turned his attention away from Eggman. Fortunately, Tails breaks up the argument. Sonic asks Tails where they could find Eggman and Tails says that Eggman has to be in outer space since it's the only way to send the brainwash waves across the world. Tails continues saying that Eggman may have a space station in South America and plans to use a rocket to launch into space from there, prompting the trio to head to South America.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Angel Island disappears from its normal location over Mystic Ruins; it is revealed that the leader of the villainous Marauders, Ix, was using the Chaos Emeralds to tow the Island over to his base in Metropolis with the intent on invading it and stealing the Master Emerald. Angel Island seems smaller than it usually is, but if the player looks around the top right area of the map on the top screen, a section of trees and/or mountains can be seen, which could mean the island continues more in that direction and the player only moves around a small area at the edge of Angel Island.
Points of interest
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
- Angel Island Zone
- Azure Lake
- Balloon Park
- Carnival Night Zone
- Chrome Gadget
- Desert Palace
- Endless Mine
- Flying Battery Zone
- Hidden Palace Zone
- Hydrocity Zone
- IceCap Zone
- Launch Base Zone
- Lava Reef Zone
- Marble Garden Zone
- Mushroom Hill Zone
- Sandopolis Zone
- Sky Sanctuary
Sonic Advance 3
In other media
Sonic the Comic
In the Fleetway-published Sonic the Comic continuity, Angel Island remains largely the same. However, it is never referred to as 'Angel Island'; instead, the comic uses the name Floating Island. The Island was able to fly by the power of its six Chaos Emeralds; however, if the Master Emerald is removed, the island will fall regardless. As in the games continuity, Knuckles lived alone on the island for as long as he could remember, with only ruins and ancient texts to help him understand his long-departed people, the Ancient Echidnas.
Originally thought to be a myth, the Floating Island became a centrepoint for many of Dr. Ivo Robotnik's operations after the doctor discovered the island, mainly the reconstruction of his Death Egg II. However, the island was firmly purged of his influence after Sonic and Knuckles destroyed the Death Egg. Afterwards, the Floating Island would serve as a refuge for the Emerald Hill Folk until the end of Robotnik's tyranny. Regardless, the Floating Island would still be attacked by villains seeking its valuable contents, like Robotnik, the Drakon Empire and Ms Alpha's gang. During the last arc of the comic, Knuckles was forced to scatter the Chaos Emeralds to keep them from Chaos, making the Floating Island plummet into the sea were it sank.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Angel Island was first known as the "Floating Island." It was created six hundred years ago when the scientists Jordann and Kayla-La discovered the White Comet about to hit the city of Echidnaopolis. With the aid of the Fire Ants and many Chaos Emeralds, lifted a massive of land from Downunda and into the sky.
The Floating Island hosted many settlements, but the communities of note echidnas of Echidnaopolis and the Dingo Regime of Cave Canem. Tensions were high between the two due to the Dingo Regime often raiding their neighbors for technology. The breaking point came when the dingoes unleashed a nuclear strike. The attack was foiled, but the island was ruined by the nuclear fallout. Guardian Hawking used Dimitri's research to move the settlements into its own pocket zone while he and the Brotherhood of Guardians oversaw the cleanup of the island. It took a hundred years to return it to its natural splendor, but eventually almost all societies were returned to the island.
The Happyland Amusement Park was erected overnight by Dr. Ivo Robotnik as a plot to destroy the Knothole Freedom Fighters. The after-effects of the Ultimate Annihilator broke down the last of the pocket zones, destroying Cave Canem and returning Echidnaopolis to the island. The island was renamed "Angel Island" after Knuckles' distant ancestor Angel-La. Soon after, the Eggman Empire invaded the island and destroyed Echidnaopolis while establishing a new version of Cave Canem. The Dingo Regime briefly took control of the island only to have their city wiped out by the fourth Enerjak.
Following the events of Worlds Collide, Angel Island has become nearly inextinguishable from its game counterpart.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing, Angel Island is a location that houses the Master Emerald, protected by Knuckles. Its past is virtually identical to its game counterpart's up until after Sonic Forces.
Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
In Sonic the Hedgehog animated series, the Floating Island a mythical island above Mobius where the Time Stones are located. Discovered by Dulcy Sonic the Hedgehog and Sally came to the island to get the Time Stones and go back in time to stop Dr. Robotnik before he took over Mobius.
In Sonic Underground, Angel Island is referred to only as the Floating Island and is aloft by a Chaos Emerald. Sonic and his siblings went to the Floating Island to look for their mother, where Knuckles mistook them as thieves seeking the island's Chaos Emerald. Learning that Sleet and Dingo lied to him, Knuckles teamed up with the Sonic Underground and stopped them.
In the anime series Sonic X and its comic series published by Archie Comics, Angel Island mostly mirrors its role in the games, with some differences. The island was originally part of Sonic's home planet, but was transported to Earth via Chaos Control later in the series. The island and its Master Emerald would then play a role in the series during its adaptations of the events of Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, before being sent back to its original planet.
Angel Island was later revealed to be the location of the Planet Egg, which is the planet's life source. When the Planet Egg was stolen by the Metarex, the planet's flora started to wither until the Planet Egg was returned when the Metarex were defeated.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Subspace Emissary mode has an area known as the Isle of Ancients. In the last part of the level, "Outside the Ancient Ruins," the island has a similar appearance to Angel Island if one looks into the background.
- Strangely, when the Master Emerald was shattered in Sonic Adventure 2, the fate of Angel Island is never mentioned. Given previous circumstances, it is likely to have returned to the surface until Knuckles was able to bring the Emerald back. Sonic Universe #63 appears to take this view, as it is mentioned that the island had fallen during the events that took place in the game.
- There is actually a real location nearby California, United States, called Angel Island.
- The island as first presented is shown to be massive, possibly the size of a continent, seen most obviously in backgrounds of stages such as the IceCap Zone, Carnival Night Zone, or Sandopolis Zone. Between games, the island's size seems to vary.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) United States instruction booklet, pg. 4.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 4.
- Sonic Research Zone - Sonic 3 <> Laputa Comparison
- Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction manual, pgs. 4-6.
- Sonic Forces: Stress Test, "Stress Test"