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Sonic News Network
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The Boss Gate Key,[1] or just Boss Key,[2] is an object that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a special type of key that is needed to unlock Boss Gates.


Boss Keys are fairly standard key types with designs that differ between games. However, they typically have a guard and a head at the end of the shaft that resembles the teeth of a skeleton key.

In gameplay, Boss Gate Keys are used to open up for Boss Gates, thus allowing the player to fight the bosses behind them. To obtain a Boss Gate Key however, the player either has to progress with the game until a certain point, upon where the Boss Gate Key is obtained, or clear a certain number of challenges. In addition, Boss Gate Keys may be split up into parts that must be acquired and then reassembled before they can be used. In other cases, Boss Gates may might require multiple Boss Gate Keys to be unlocked, meaning the player has to collect more than one Boss Gate Key to open a Boss Gate.

Game appearances

Sonic Unleashed

A Boss Gate Key, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

The Boss Gate Keys first appeared in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed under the name Gaia Keys (ガイア神殿の鍵 Gaia shinden no kagi?, lit. "Key to the Gaia Temple"). In this game, they resemble ancient tan and brown keys with a round guard that has horns and an eye in the middle, short hilts, and a head with teeth on both sides on the end of the hilt.

Story-wise, each Boss Gate Key grants access to its local Gaia Temple via their Boss Gates. While there are seven Gaia Temples in the game, only four Boss Gate Keys are available. This is because the player automatically accesses the Gaia Temples in Eggmanland, Mazuri and Chun-nan without the need for a Boss Gate Key.

In gameplay, each Boss Gate Key is split into to halves: one Sun Key and one Moon Key.[3] Both these keys are needed to form one whole Boss Gate Key. To obtain both halves for a key, the player has to clear the main daytime Act (which holds the Sun Key) and nighttime Act (which holds the Moon Key) on its continent. This means, for example, to get the Boss Gate Key for Spagonia's Boss Gate, the player must clear both the daytime and nighttime version of Rooftop Run Act 1. When playing through these Acts for the first time, the Boss Gate Key halves will serve as the Goals; after that, they will be replaced with Goal Rings.

It should be noted that different continents' key halves cannot be used to substitute others. That means for example that Holoska's Sun Key cannot be used as a substitute for Spagonia's Sun Key if the player wants to form a whole Boss Gate Key.

In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, the Gaia Keys are replaced with the Planet Tablets.

Sonic Generations

A Boss Gate Key, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, the Boss Keys made a return appearance. In this game, they are golden keys with the roman numerals "XI" and "III" inside a round guard and a head at the end of the shaft that resembles the teeth of a skeleton key.

In gameplay, each Boss Gate in the game requires three Boss Gate Keys to be unlocked, making a total of nine Boss Gate Keys needing to be found. After both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic clear all the Acts in an Area of White Space, three Boss Gate Keys will appear around that Area. However, these keys will be surrounded by unpassable shields that makes them unobtainable. In order to obtain them, the player has to clear one Stage's Challenge Act in either Act 1 or Act 2 for each of the keys. Once a Challenge Act has been cleared, the shield will be lowered and the Boss Gate Key can be picked up.

In other media

Archie Comics

Main article: Gaia Key (Archie)

Gregorios exposits on the Gaia Keys, from Sonic the Hedgehog #272.

In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Gaia Keys from Sonic Unleashed appear, though they share some elements from the Sun Tablets, Moon Tablets and Planet Tablets.

In this media, the Gaia Keys open up for the inner chambers of the Gaia Temples. In turn, they have been entrusted to select families who keep their duty a secret. Hoping to resolve the Shattered World Crisis, the sage Gregorios revealed the existence of the Gaia Keys to the Freedom Fighters and provided them with the identities and locations of the keyholders.






  1. Sonic Generations (Xbox 360) United Kingdom instruction booklet, pg. 15.
  2. Sonic Team (9 December 2008). Sonic Unleashed. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Collection Room. "Prof. Pickle: Yes, to operate the Boss Gates, you'll need to assemble the Boss Key. The daytime and night stages should each hold a separate key. Those two can then be fused into a single key, and used at the gate."
  3. Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360) United States instruction booklet, pg. 14.

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