The Chao (チャオ?) are creatures that appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Their role in the games are to be raised by the player in mini-games, similar to many virtual pets. Chao are somewhat complex: they respond to stimuli, have moods, require food and can be loving or fearful. The word Chao is a pun on Chaos, a word commonly used in the Sonic series and which is why the word remains unchanged when plural. The Chao are the good friends of Cream the Rabbit and Tikal. The most prominent Chao character in the series is Cream's best friend Cheese.
Making their first appearance in Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast (both in the plot and in a Chao-raising aspect of the game) and later in Sonic Adventure 2, Chao have recently come to be a large part of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Chao-raising and the main Sonic games tie together in a number of ways; items which are encountered in the main game can be used to raise Chao, collected Rings can be used to buy things for them, and several unlockable features are related to Chao. During raising, Chao have statistics: Swimming, Flying, Running, Power and Stamina, as well as a number of other properties which are not quite as obvious. These statistics can be raised through proper raising, and will enable a Chao to do better in their competitions: Chao Race and Chao Karate. Chao Eggs other than those acquired in visiting a Chao Garden for the first time or mating are colored differently and reflect how the Chao will look. For example, a Gold Egg is solid gold in color and will hatch a solid Gold Chao. Ways of hatching them include snuggling the egg (the kindest way), throwing the egg at a wall (the Chao will obviously not like this) and of course, simply waiting for the egg to hatch on its own. When they hatch, they can be trained to have different attributes and emotional states. The Chao from Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut can also favor Dark and Hero sides as well as the default Neutral alignment which can lead to variations in visual evolution. Depending on the game, they take varying times to evolve.
- 1 Description
- 2 Chao Gardens
- 3 Other game appearances
- 3.1 Sonic Shuffle
- 3.2 Good Friend Chao!
- 3.3 Sonic Heroes
- 3.4 Shadow the Hedgehog
- 3.5 Mario & Sonic series
- 3.5.1 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Game
- 3.5.2 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
- 3.5.3 Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
- 3.5.4 Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
- 3.5.5 Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
- 3.5.6 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
- 3.6 Sega All-Stars series
- 3.7 Sonic Rivals series
- 3.8 Sonic Unleashed
- 3.9 Super Smash Bros. series
- 3.10 Sonic Colors
- 3.11 Sonic Generations
- 3.12 Sonic Runners
- 3.13 Sonic Forces
- 3.14 Team Sonic Racing
- 3.15 Sonic Racing
- 4 Treatment
- 5 Other Chao
- 6 Cameo appearances
- 7 In other media
- 8 Reception and impact
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
After one Chao year has passed (about two to three hours for GameCube versions, an hour for Dreamcast), a Chao creates a cocoon and evolve into a more mature form. It will mature into a form that relates to the last stat item it has influenced (running, swimming, power, flying or stamina) and its alignment. During this evolution, a Chao raises one grade up in the level of its type, e.g. a swimming Chao who has a grade 'B' in swimming becomes an 'A'.
Alignment is determined by how the Chao was treated before its evolution, and the three alignments are Dark, Hero, and Neutral. There are three Hero characters (Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails) and three Dark characters (Shadow, Rouge, and Dr. Eggman) in Sonic Adventure 2. Petting, holding (in which case if you have separated the characters alignment it will make it worse), or cuddling a Chao with a character makes the Chao favor the character's alignment. Attacking, throwing, stepping on a Chao, or taking its food while it is eating makes it favor the opposite alignment of the character (this also applies if the Chao attempts to eat fruit that it dislikes). Every three times that a heart appears above a Chao's head and replaces the standard emotion, the Chao darkens or lightens a shade, a darker shade coinciding with becoming a Dark Chao, and vice versa; the Chao darkens or lightens a shade every time a heart appears above the Chao's head once when it's petted. A Chao's physical appearance is the chief indicator in understanding the alignment of a Chao. Dark Chao have leathery wings and a devil's tail, and are colored black, brown, and pink with a small spike ball on its head. It also has a symbol on its chest similar to Knuckles'. Hero Chao have feathery wings, a split tail, and a small halo on its head. They are colored white, blue, and gold. Neutral Chao are created by balancing contact by both Hero and Dark characters, or not paying attention to them. They are able to look like a lot of different characters. In Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, due to only heroic characters being playable, the Chao instead become Hero or Dark depending on the alignment fruits it is given. The alignment feature was nonexistent in the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure.
Chao will evolve a second time after one to three Chao years. However, the Chao will not go into a cocoon, and the changes are sometimes very subtle. A Chao will 'evolve' depending on which stat is the highest at the moment. However, it will not change its primary type. Like a child Chao's gradual evolution, the second evolution is not permanent, and can be changed. For example, if you had a Dark/Fly/Fly Chao and gave a lot of Green Chaos Drives/Animals it would become a Dark/Fly/Running Chao. However, if you then gave it Red Chaos Drives/Animals, its appearance would change again, and it would become a Dark/Fly/Power Chao.
After about five Chao years have passed, the Chao will either reincarnate or die. If the Chao has lived a happy life, it will be surrounded by a pink cocoon, and will be reborn as an egg and hatch as a Baby Chao. There does not seem to be a limit to how many times a chao can reincarnate itself. However, a Chao that has been ignored and abused during its lifetime will surround itself with a gray cocoon, and vanish with the cocoon.
Besides the normal evolutions, a special Chao called a "Chaos Chao" can be created. This can be done once the selected Chao has transformed at least two times. During that third or higher cycle of its life, if it is happy enough, given at least one of each animal in the game, and all its stats are around equal, it will become a Chaos Chao. Besides looking different than a normal Chao, the Chaos Chao has an endless lifespan. As of Sonic Adventure 2, there are three types of Chaos Chao; "Light Chaos", "Hero Chaos" and "Dark Chaos". To get a Hero Chaos or a Dark Chaos, the player should give them one animal from either the Hero or Dark characters respectively, and that all of their stats are around equal. Along with their apparent invincibility, Chaos Chao lack the ability to reproduce. They are the most difficult Chao to create.
After evolving, Chao gain the ability to reproduce. Chao have no gender and therefore can breed with any other adult Chao. Chao are in mating season when they sit down happily and are surrounded by a circle of flowers. While this happens twice naturally, it can also be achieved by purchasing 'Heart Fruit' from the Black Market in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle/Sonic Adventure DX and giving it to an adult Chao. Placing another Chao inside the circle may result in breeding. Most Chao are compatible; a Hero Chao can breed with a Dark Chao, and vice versa. It is believed that, to at least some degree, statistics and other characteristics are inherited. As mentioned above, Chaos Chao cannot breed.
Chao have various stats that affect their performance. The visible stats are ranked E-S, with S rank stats getting the best possible growth when leveling up. Beyond the five visible stats, two invisible stats known as Luck & Intelligence also affect a Chao's performance.
By giving a Chao small animals it will acquire some of the animal's characteristics. Besides a physical change to the Chao, this will also modify the Chao's stats based on the type of animal given. There are five types of animals in Sonic Adventure and seven in Sonic Adventure 2. They consist of Running (Green), Power (Red), Swimming (Yellow) and Flying (Purple). The fifth color, Blue, is a fairly even mixture of some or all of the other classes. The two additional types featured in Sonic Adventure 2 are Ghost (Black) and Imaginary (Gold), sometimes called Legendary. All animals raise the Luck and Intelligence bars by 20%.
In Sonic Adventure 2, Chaos Drives appear. Chaos Drives are items that pop out of machines created by the military organization G.U.N. when they are destroyed. These, like the small animals, also raise your Chao's stats. These are only in Sonic Adventure 2 and the GameCube adaptation. Like the small animals, the different colors each raise a certain stat. Yellow raises swim, purple raises fly, green raises run, and red raises power.
However, neither animals nor Chaos Drives can raise a Chao's stamina, only food can, mainly the fruit from the trees grown in the Chao Gardens. Also, a certain fruit called the Chao Fruit (bought at the Black Market) raises all stats, including Stamina, when it is given to a Chao.
In certain games like Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (after the evolution into a Hero, Neutral, or Dark Chao), Chao go into an either pink or gray cocoon at the end of their lifespan. The pink cocoon means that they are reincarnating, and the gray means they are going to die. Chaos Chao are immortal; thus, they will never enter into a cocoon once formed. A reincarnated Chao keeps all of its letter grades from its previous life as well as its skills, tools, awards, and even intelligence. Its stat levels will reset to 1, but reincarnated Chao also retain 10% of their stats totals prior to death. With enough time and effort, this enables the player to eventually maximize all stats if they're raised to lv. 99 in each lifetime. In the Dreamcast versions, since all stat increases are constant for every Chao, they are all reset instead.
Chao are apparently able to bond with other life forms, from animals to characters. This allows for the Chao to gain characteristics from them, and in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, enhance an ability of a character.
In Sonic Adventure 2, once a character has bonded with a Chao enough, it will recognize the character's whistle and follow it whenever that character whistles.
- Station Square Garden - This garden is the simplest, with a small water pool. This is also where one accesses the Chao races. It is found by entering the hotel and using the left elevator. In DX, a Black Market is added.
- Mystic Ruins Garden - This area is very large and complex, with stone relics and a small platform accessible by a wooden bridge, along with a waterfall. It is found by going behind Tails' Lab and taking the mining cart in the cave. In DX, the water is slightly more shallow and the bridge has been removed.
- Egg Carrier Garden - An island surrounded by water. This one tends to have problems of animals leaving the game's boundaries and getting stuck. To find it, go inside the Egg Carrier and go to the door with the buttons in front. Step on the buttons in the "secret" password's order, which is "Eggman", and then go in the door and use the teleporter. In DX, the water is significantly more shallow.
Sonic Adventure 2/Battle
- Neutral Garden - A peaceful looking Garden where the Chao Races take place in a cave called the Chao Stadium. This one is unlocked as soon as you get a Chao Key and finish the level you found it on. In Battle, there is also Chao Karate in the cave.
- Hero Garden - Another peaceful Garden. To get this raise a Chao into a Hero Chao. It has a small castle your Chao can fly from, a fountain (that your Chao uses to swim in), and a few broken pillars. The music in the Hero Garden is different from the Chao Garden, with the same rhythm, but added sound effects to make it echo and sound comforting. Sometimes described as "Chao Heaven". In Battle, the bridge and river are missing, the pool is bigger but also more shallow, meaning Tails cannot drown in the garden.
- Dark Garden - Not as serene as the others, it has some graves and a steel fence on some of the walls. It also has a tree with a cage hanging from it where you can put your Chao (it can, however, escape), a pool of "blood", and a small island on the other side of the "blood". The music presented in the Dark Garden is very demented version of the Neutral Garden music. There is also a mountainous region outside of the actual Dark Garden, with a mountain shaped in the face of a bat or demonic creature. A Dark Chao is needed to access it. Sometimes described as "Chao Hell". In Battle, the cave and mountain area are gone.
The Chao Gardens in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 have the ability to send Chao to an attached VMU (Visual Memory Unit) using the Transporter Machine (renamed to the Chao Transporter in Sonic Adventure 2). This results in the ability to play with the Chao away from the Dreamcast in a mini-games called Chao Adventure and Chao Adventure 2 respectively. The Chao walks on a path and is given a task. If done correctly, the player is rewarded with a fruit or seed which can be taken off the VMU and back onto Sonic Adventure 2 for planting. Seeds can be planted by a Chao with a watering can and a shovel, the latter which can be won in races in Sonic Adventure 2. In the Chao Adventure games, you can also attach two VMUs to breed Chao, check the stats of your Chao, and name them. In Chao Adventure, the Chao does not age like it does in gardens.
Sonic Advance/Sonic Advance 2/Sonic Pinball Party
Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Pinball Party feature the Tiny Chao Garden, which is a small simple garden with a small pool that is universal to every game. There is a shop where fruit and toys can be bought for the Rings that the player has collected during gameplay, and some minigames. The Chao can be transferable between these games and Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle via a GameCube/GBA link cable and the Chao Machine.
Sonic Advance 3
Sonic Advance 3 has a Chao Playground, which unlike a Chao Garden, is not for raising Chao. Instead, it is an area where the hidden Chao that the player has found during gameplay are located. When all ten of the Chao in the zone are found, the player can look for keys that enable the Special Stage for that particular zone. If the Chaos Emerald is obtained for a Zone, then it will be seen floating in the Chao Playground of the Zone it was found in. The Chao Playground can be visited at any time via Factory Ring.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, there is a Chao Garden where all Chao that have been found can be viewed and equipped. All Chao (with the exception of Cheese) can be obtained by collecting Chao Eggs and waiting a while for them to hatch. However, as with Sonic Advance 3, the garden is only for storing Chao, not interacting with or raising them. Taken out of the garden, however, they bond with the character they are attached to, and power them up with various effects in battle. A character can only be bonded with one Chao at a time.
Players can trade Chao with each other via the Nintendo DS wireless communications feature which can enhance the battle effects of these Chao.
Other game appearances
A Chao is in Sonic Shuffle as a secret playable character, unlocked by collecting certain amounts of Knuckles' pictures in the Sonic Room.
Good Friend Chao!
In Sonic Heroes, Chao appear in certain sections of odd numbered Bonus Challenge Special Stages where one Dark Chao and one Neutral Chao appear in a balloon and randomly toss a sphere or a mine for the player to collect or avoid respectively. They are also featured in two of Team Chaotix missions; in Ocean Palace where they must collect one and in Lost Jungle where they must collect multiple Chao.
Shadow the Hedgehog
In Shadow the Hedgehog, there are several Chao wandering in Cryptic Castle. Shadow can attack the Chao to fill his Dark Gauge. Cheese can be attacked as well, but once touched is considered to be rescued.
Mario & Sonic series
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Game
In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, neutral Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao serve as spectators during different events in both the Wii and Nintendo DS version of the game. Hot air balloons in the shape of Chao's heads also appear in the background of some of the events that occur outdoor. This includes the Archery and Single Sculls in the Wii version, and the Dream Long Jump and Archery events in the Nintendo DS version.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, neutral Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao appear as a part of the audience during different events in both the Wii and Nintendo DS version of the game. Once again, Chao-shaped balloons also appear during various events.
When training for the Ski Cross event, to complete training, the player must race a Chao to the goal. In the Nintendo DS version however, the Chao appear with more significant roles. In Curling events in particular, a pair of Chao form a part of the player's team, with the Chao's colors depending on their team. Here, they sweep the path for the player's curling stone. In Adventure Tours, also in the Nintendo DS version of the game, all three main Chao types and their various forms appear as non-playable characters that are scattered across the various maps. Here, they are often found standing next to boards where they host events and set challenges for the player. Some Chao also appear on the unlockable photo for Adventure Tours mode that features the mode's non-playable characters.
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
In Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, neutral Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao appear as a part of the audience during the various events in both the Wii and Nintendo 3DS version of the game. In the Nintendo 3DS version in particular, the Chao-shaped hot air balloons make return appearances in certain events.
In the Wii version of the game, a Chao makes an appearance on a free sticker that can be earned in London Party Mode. Cheese also appears in the company of Cream, who serves as a host for London Party Mode. In some mini-games, the player also has to count the number of neutral Chao flying around on the screen.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, a Chao duo comprises one of the teams that the player competes against in events that require a pair of characters to be used. However, the Chao themselves never participate in these events. Also, in the game's story mode, shortly before the Olympic Games began, a neutral Chao and Omochao were attacked by an Egg Pawn and Flapper, only to be saved saved by Bowser Jr.. The Chao proceeded to thank Bowser Jr. before departing with Shadow and Silver. A Chao was also seen appearing at the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games. In addition, Cheese appeared alongside Cream during the subsequent Phantasmal Fog outbreak.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, badges of a Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao can also be obtained from the badge machine.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
In Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, neutral Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao appear as a part of the audience during different events. Chao-shaped balloons are also once again seen in the background of various events. Chao also appear in certain events as referees and camera operators, such as the Ski Jumpinmg Large Hill event.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
In Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Chao serve as spectators during different events in both the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and arcade version of the game. However, only neutral Chao spectators appear in the Wii U and arcade version, while the Nintendo 3DS version features neutral Chao, Hero Chao and Dark Chao spectators. The Chao also appear in certain events as referees and camera operators, such as the Table Tennis and Rugby Sevens events in the Wii U version and the BMX and Table Tennis Plus events in the Nintendo 3DS version.
In the Wii U version of the game in particular, neutral Chao also make an appearance as a part of Sonic's float which occasionally appears on Copacabana Beach.
In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game in particular, various forms of Chao appear as additional teammates for Sonic or the Mii in the Football and Football Plus events if the player's opponent is Mario.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, neutral Chao once again appear as audience members, this time watching the different 2020 events from the sidelines. The Chao-shaped balloons also once again make an appearance during different outdoor events.
In the game's story mode, Chao appear as minor non-playable characters that the player can speak to by approaching them. The Chao, however, will only speak in their own language, which consist of multiple uses of the word "Chao". Cheese also once again appears alongside Cream as one of the supporting characters that appear during different events.
Sega All-Stars series
Sega Superstars Tennis
In Sega Superstars Tennis, lots of Chao sit on the sidelines of the Sonic the Hedgehog stage, the Green Hill Zone court. If the player manages to hit them with a tennis ball, they bounce up, flip upside down and then land on their feet.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Sonic Rivals series
Various Chao artwork appear as some of the 150 cards found in Sonic Rivals.
Sonic Rivals 2
The Chao play an important role in Sonic Rivals 2. At the beginning of the story, the Chao have appeared to have gone missing and Sonic and Tails suspect that Eggman Nega (masquerading as Eggman himself) is behind the disappearance. Silver, along with Espio, in the meantime tries to hide every Chao he can find from Eggman Nega's sight because of the doctor's intentions with the small creatures: he plans to feed them to a powerful beast named the 'Ifrit' which grants it invincibility and to be unleashed into Sonic's world, conquering the world with it. Later, Eggman Nega reveals to Espio and Silver that he has acquired more than enough Chao kept in a secret room of a mysterious mansion. Despite of this, Sonic and Tails discovered the secret room before Eggman Nega does and escorted the Chao away to safety.
The Chao are featured in one of the Battle games of Sonic Rivals 2 called Capture the Chao where the player has to find a route to their rival's base and capture the Chao there before the rival does the same to the player but the player's original Chao must still remain at the base for it to be counted. In Free Mode, there are ten Chao deployed in each act of the six zones and the player have to find and collect them (similar to Sonic Advance 3) to unlock cards. If the player acquires a Chao Detector (which each is unlocked by unlocking a card) for a Zone, it can be used to find them easily in each zone.
In Sonic Unleashed, there is a day mission in Spagonia and a DLC Act in Shamar that both require Sonic to collect ten Neutral Chao to complete the act. Additionally, the shy traveling merchant Wentos has a Chao hand puppet who does most of the "speaking" for him.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Chao make cameos in the cross-over game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl appearing as a collectible Trophy and Sticker:
|Image||Name||Page||ID||Area of Effect||Effect||User|
|Chao (Sonic Adventure Director's Cut)||276||690||N/A||Flinch Resistance +49||Everyone|
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, the Chao appear as a trophy in both versions of the game:
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Neutral Chao appears as Primary Spirit with the following characteristics:
|Image||Stat statistics||Spirit Battle|
|Base||Max||Enemy Fighter(s)||Enemy Power||Stage||Battle conditions|
|Squirtle (x4)||2,100||Windy Hill Zone||Rule(s): Item: Food
|Chao||Shield||★ (Novice)||"Escape from the City"||
|786||2||Can Be Enhanced at Lv. 99|
In Sonic Generations, there is a Challenge Act called Cream: Chao Hunt where Classic Sonic must collect enough Chao and beat Cream the Rabbit to the goal in Speed Highway. There is also a Challenge Act called Cream: Helping Hand where Modern Sonic must get through City Escape using rings provided to him by Chao.
In Sonic Runners, Chao appear as equippable Buddies.
Team Sonic Racing
In Team Sonic Racing, a group of Chao consisting of a Neutral Chao, Hero Chao, Dark Chao and Omochao appear as one of the playable characters (which are collectively referred to as "Chao"). In this game, they are members of Team Rose and Technique-Type characters. Their racecar in this game is the Chao Pod. Neutral, Hero and Dark Chao also appear on the stands in the background of the race tracks, serving as the audience.
During the events of the game, Team Rose's Chao joined Amy and Big on a picnic before coming along with their team to join the Grand Prix organized by Dodon Pa. During the races, the Chao spectators would panic when they spotted Zavok, which alerted the other heroes to the red Zeti's presence. At the end of the game, the Chao helped take the non-flying members of Sonic's friends off the Final Fortress, which had begun to crash, in order to save them.
A group of Chao that consists of a Neutral Chao, Hero Chao, Dark Chao and Omochao appear in Sonic Racing as unlockable playable characters with their Chao Pod. They become available by reaching League 4. Several Chao also appear as part of the crowd that watch the races.
Chao are kept happy if they are pet, fed, and generally taken good care of. If a Chao is treated well by a character, it will skip towards that character and will nuzzle next to it sometimes. It will also happily come to you when you whistle, and when held, will fidget with glee. This means that your Chao loves the player's character and in the case of the nuzzling, is asking for attention. The Chao will also jump up and down and giggle happily at your presence.
Chao abuse is a somewhat strange and negative form of Chao raising, in which one hurts their Chao. This can be done in a manner of ways, such as starving a Chao, leaving it in the water when it cannot swim, or simply inflict physical harm upon it. Chao abuse usually decreases the lifespan of the Chao, and the Chao can possibly die when it comes time to transform.
Players generally abuse their Chao either because they enjoy it, or wish to "help" a Chao change alignment by abusing it with a character of the opposite side; for example, if a Chao is abused by a dark character such as Rouge, it will tend to favor the hero alignment characters, or, if it is abused by a hero character such as Tails, it will tend to favor the dark alignment characters. However, mistreatment is in no way necessary in order to change a Chao's alignment, as treating them kindly with a character of the desired alignment works just as well. Much more commonly a player will throw their chao into walls to remove hats they wear, or even harm a chao simply by accident.
If a Chao is treated poorly by the character, it will usually stand and shiver in fear if the abusing character is close by, and when held, it will try to squirm out of the character's hands (this could also mean that the character has not fed the Chao for a while if it stops fidgeting with joy). If the Chao has been particularly abused, it might run away screaming from the abuser, run up to them and attack them (this has no effect on the character), or start crying.
In the original Sonic Adventure Chao were very fragile to raise and would quickly die if a character attacks them over and over, but after the Hero/Dark aspect was introduced in Sonic Adventure 2 Chao no longer die right away but instead their personality changes and they end up hating the character that abused them (however, they will still eventually end up dying after becoming an adult).
- Monochrome Chao are Chao that are a single color, which will not change, even if it is evolved or given Chaos Drives/Small Animals. They can be bought at the Black Market and come in colors pink, purple, red, orange, yellow, lime green, green, sky blue, blue, brown, black, gray, and white. There is also a monochrome normal, which is a normal colored Monochrome Chao that changes color depending on the main color of the alignment and type and can only be obtained through breeding.
- Shiny Chao are shiny versions of Monochrome Chao that can also be bought at the Black Market for a higher price. If a Shiny Chao is bred with a Normal Chao, there is a chance of getting a Shiny Normal Chao, a shiny version of an ordinary Chao.
- Jewel Chao are the Chao that can only be bought in the Tiny Chao Garden and the Black Market of Sonic Adventure 2 Black Market (Dreamcast version only). They are very similar to Shiny Chao except that they are metallic instead of shiny and almost look like jewels. Jewel Chao come in colors silver (white), gold (brown), ruby (pink), sapphire (blue), amethyst (purple), emerald (green), garnet (red), aquamarine (sky blue), peridot (lime green), topaz (yellow), and onyx (black). Two of them can also be obtained in the Adventure Fields of Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
In Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, a gold Chao, a black Chao, and silver Chao can be obtained. The black Chao is a Monochrome Chao, the gold Chao is a Jewel Chao, and the silver Chao is a Jewel Chao as well.
- Two-Tone Chao are unique Chao that can only be obtained by breeding a Monochrome Chao with a Normal Chao. They have a "main" color like Monochrome Chao, but also have a small blend of other colors. There is a Two-Tone version of every Monochrome Chao. It can be difficult to tell whether a Chao is Two-Tone or Monochrome, as there is sometimes little difference between the two. Normal Chao are also considered Two-Tone Chao as they are not a single color. If a Shiny Chao is bred with a Normal Chao, there is also a chance of getting a Shiny Two-Tone Chao. If the player wants a dark blue-and-black Shiny Two-Tone Chao, they need a dark blue Shiny Chao and a red-and-black Two-Tone Chao. The two need to mate. After which, the player should save the game and then go back and hatch it.
White Two-Tone Chao are unique in that they look exactly like Normal Chao when they are hatched, but depending on what they evolve into, they will look much different. For example, if a white Two-Tone Chao evolves into a Neutral Run Chao, instead of being light green, it will be white with blue streaks, pink limbs and a yellow stomach.
- Invisible Chao are unique Chao whose bodies are invisible, except for their emotion-dot. They can be obtained by breeding a shiny yellow/gray/lime green monochrome Chao with a Jewel Chao.
- Transparent Chao are Chao that have a see-through base color. They are obtained by breeding a Jewel Chao with any Shiny Chao. On the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX, they are always solid.
- Presudo Chao are Chao that have a solid color with a tint. For example, a shiny jewel pink is a shiny two-tone white with a green tint. This one is nicknamed the "Mint" Chao. A shiny jewel brown looks exactly like a shiny two-tone white. A shiny jewel normal Chao will look exactly like a shiny version of the two-tone normal.
- Character Chao are unique that greatly resemble three characters: Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. The Knuckles and Amy Chao are only available now through Action Replay, although they were officially released as part of events in Japan. The Tails Chao can be obtained via Phantasy Star Online or Action Replay. They are immortal, cannot breed, and are not affected by animal parts.
- Chaos Chao are Chao that are immortal. These can be obtained by getting a Chao to go through two transformations, then giving it at least one of all 21 animals. When the Chao evolves, as long as its stats are balanced, it will become a Chaos Chao. If it evolves Neutral, it will be a Light Chaos. If it evolves Hero, it will be a Hero Chaos. If it evolves Dark, it will be a Dark Chaos.
- Glitch Chao are glitched versions of the Silver Chao that only appear in the Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure 2. These Chao have oversized polygons and misplaced features on their body. If the polygons are too large, the game crashes. See Sonic Adventure/Glitches and Sonic Adventure 2/Glitches for more information.
- Hacked Chao are chao only obtainable by means of cheating such as Action Replay or using Chao Editors. Generally this category is used to refer to chao that only appear as Challenge Race opponents such as Omochao, Egg Chao, & small animals. The term can however apply to any chao that has illegitimately high stats or is obtained by means of cheating. A Jewel Tails, Knuckles, or Amy Chao would be another good example of this category.
- Bright Chao are unique versions of the Shiny Two-Tone Chao that are generated by some sort of quality error exclusive to the HD remake of Sonic Adventure 2. Hence their name, their appearance seems to be very bright. Other nicknames given are names such as "Neon Chao" or "Luminescent Chao". Bright Chao usually appear all white with little to no visible highlights. However, when the Bright Chao is a Dark Chao, you can start to see their colors and only their highlights appear bright.
- In Sonic Adventure, a poster found outside Casinopolis advertises a film called Chao in Space. This may be a reference to Lost in Space, and the poster resembles the posters for the movie Muppets from Space.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, posters in the City Escape stage advertise Chao in Space 2, featuring a Hero and a Dark Chao. The poster mentions that it is "now on DVD". There is also a Planet of the Chaos poster similar to the front cover of the 2-disc Planet of the Apes.
- Also in Sonic Adventure 2, a billboard with a Chao on it can be seen beside the road in the Kart Racing stages and mini-game. The billboard reads "Drive Safety!" instead of the correct "Drive Safely!"
- In Sonic Adventure 2, a Neutral Chao is playable in the 2-player shooting mode. In the GameCube version, there's also a Dark Chao who replaces Big the Cat. Despite the addition of the Dark Chao Walker, there is no playable Hero Chao, oddly enough - the neutral Chao Walker still sides with the heroes.
- In Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, a Chao is unlocked as Tails' extra kart in Kart Racing after all of Tails' Missions are completed.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), a rusted Chao billboard can be seen being blown around by the tornado in Shadow's glider section of the Crisis City stage.
- In Phantasy Star Universe there are rare monsters called "Jao" which looks like a more vicious version of a Chao. Chao and Omochao appear as types of Mags in the series as well. The Phantasy Star series was also created by Sonic Team.
- In the game Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, a Chao appears as an Egg Animal for the first mission.
- In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Chao are seen in the audience of the Seaside Hill tracks, and as seen as a trophy.
- Mega Man Star Force (Leo, Pegasus or Dragon versions) features a character known as Mr. Hertz who sometimes appears on the wave roads; when you talk to him, the portrait of his face resembles a Chao head.
- A monster called PuPu in the JRPG series Final Fantasy resembles a Chao, strangely.
- In Sonic Generations, posters for posters for Chao in Space and Planet of the Chaos are present in Speed Highway and City Escape. This is similar to Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, where similar posters could be found.
- Also in Sonic Generations, you can see a Chao in Space III poster when Silver uses Meteor Smash.
In other media
In the anime series Sonic X and its comic series published by Archie Comics, Chao are a species native to both Sonic's world and Earth. In this media, only Neutral Chao appear (the comic introduced Dark Chao as well) and there is no mention of their lifecycles or their trait-borrowing skills.
In the old days, the Knuckles Clan would injure some Chao during an attack, incurring the wrath of their guardian, Cjaos. Generations later, several Chao would appear to make Chaos happy following its defeat at the hands of Super Sonic.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Chao were a species native to Mobius and the offspring of Chaos. In this media, their lifecycles and ability to borrow the traits of those exposed to them are fully adapted into the comic's canon. After the cast encounter the Chao during the incident with Chaos, they slowly moved into New Mobotropolis.
After the storyline was rebooted following Worlds Collide, the Chao are now virtually identical to their game counterparts.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing, the Chao are a species native to Sonic's world. In this media, their history is identical to their game counterparts', up until after the events of Sonic Forces.
Chao's of different appearances and affiliations appear in this continuity, depending on who they were raised by. Some of the inhabitants of Sonic's world have their own Chao and sometimes compete in Chao Races.
Chao In Space
The Chao In Space animated short is based on the fictional in-universe Chao in Space films. It features a Neutral Chao dreaming about fighting a space battle, and contains many Chao-related references and Easter eggs.
Reception and impact
Chao and the Chao-raising system have received mixed to positive reviews. In a review of Sonic Adventure, GameSpot's Peter Bartholow stated that "[w]ith the Chao-breeding simulation and the minigames, Sonic offers much more beyond the completion of its story." IGN stated that "SA more than has the extras department covered." This enthusiasm was extended to IGN's reviews of Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Advance, and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut. GameSpot's Shane Satterfield was critical of the Chao raising feature in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, stating that "there's little in the way of interactivity" and that "the [C]hao training aspect using the Game Boy Advance is little more than a novelty." However, GameSpy's Shane Bettenhausen praised the feature in the game, comparing Chao to Tamagotchi digital pets. GameSpot's Frank Provo noted the appeal to "those people who might only enjoy pinball in passing" that Chao brought to Sonic Pinball Party. 1UP.com's Chris Baker called the Chao feature in Sega Superstars "ultimately worthless ... but some might find it amusing." In a review of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, GameSpot's Shiva Stella praised the level of strategy that the game's Chao system added. Destructoid's Jim Sterling voiced a similar opinion, although saying that Chao had been "rubbish" in previous games. In an official Sonic character poll by Sonic Team, the Chao were voted the sixth most popular characters in the series.
A Chao keychain was released as part of a Sonic X character keychain series. Between July 27 and September 8, 2002, Sega hosted events at Tokyo-based department stores to promote upcoming Sega video games. Attendees could download "Chao Mini Garden"s and exclusive Chao to their copies of Sonic Advance. Chao clothing clips, along with accessories based on other Sega characters, were available.
- "Chao" is pronounced like "chow", in singular and plural form.
- The Chao were voiced by Tomoko Sasaki in the periods of 1998-2001, 2004, and 2009–present. From 2003-2005, they were voiced by Ryō Hirohashi.
- Chao bear many physical similarities to the Nightopians from the NiGHTS series, another series by Sonic Team. This may be due to the Chao system using an advanced version of the A-life system that was originally used in NiGHTS into Dreams....
- In the cutscenes for Sonic Adventure, Chao had different models from those used in the Chao Garden. They had different shaped wings, similar to those of Hero Chao.
- Through a secret mission in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II, a game created by Sonic Team, it is possible to receive a "Tails Chao". This Chao resembles Tails to a great extent and cannot die or reproduce, much like a Light Chao.
- On the Sonic Adventure 2 official soundtrack (Multi-Dimensional), there is an instrumental song with Chao singing (or rather making Chao noises) in the background. This song plays in Chao Kindergarten.
- The Dreamcast version of Sonic Adventure states that the Chao Gardens were created in protected environments. Ironically enough, it is possible to drown when playing as the character Tails in either water pool in the Egg Carrier or Mystic Ruins Chao Gardens. It is also possible to die by jumping off the cliff or throw a Chao off to make it disappear in the Mystic Ruins Garden. In the DX version, this was changed: if a character falls out of a garden by using other glitches, they will appear in the middle of the garden without dying.
- Also, in the Sonic Adventure 2 Dreamcast version, while playing as Tails in the Dark Garden, going to the deepest part of the pool near the cave is deep enough for Tails to be successfully submerged in the water, causing him to eventually drown in the water. Tails is the only character who can drown because he is shorter than everyone else.
- It is possible to move a Chao from a GameCube into a Game Boy Advance without a Sonic Advance game. This creates a temporary Tiny Chao Garden, and is useful for moving Chao between Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. This garden also changes version depending on the game the GBA downloaded it from.
- In Sonic Adventure DX, a monitor in the Station Square Garden can bring up a hint menu. One of the hints is to watch the Chao's stamina bar, even though this stamina bar is from Sonic Adventure 2, and is not in either version of Sonic Adventure.
- In the Chao Garden, a pacifier was going to be an accessory for a Chao, but it was scrapped. The pacifier can still be used via cheats/hacking, but it makes the Chao's head disappear. The reason for this is likely because a separate model of both the Chao's head and pacifier was to be used in its place.
- Occasionally, a Chao will draw a picture of a Normal Chao on the ground. If you care for your Chao a lot, it may occasionally draw a picture of your character. Sometimes they draw a cake or pizza-like picture to show that they are hungry.
- Despite Sonic Adventure stating that Chao do not like to be in crowded groups (no more than eight), at Cryptic Castle, in Shadow the Hedgehog, there is a group of Chao vastly exceeding eight. Also, in Sonic Rivals 2, Silver stated that Chao live in packs.
- This may have been made to prevent the player from overcrowding their gardens, or having too many to raise. Another reason could be that only eight Chao can fit into a Garden due to memory. For example, if all three Chao Gardens were open in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, and the Hero Garden was full. If a ninth Chao was brought in, a random Chao in the garden would be moved to one of the other two gardens.
- In the Sonic Adventure series, Chao made baby noises, and in Sonic Heroes, they could even speak small sentences, such as Cheese saying "It's Chocola Chao." But now, the only thing Chao can say are their own names, in a Pokémon-esque manner.
- In Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast, E-102 Gamma can attack Chao by locking on to them and firing at them. In all other ports, Gamma cannot attack Chao.
- While in a Chao Garden, if there is a Chao above you for whatever reason (in the cage in the Dark Garden or flying around), you can jump to hit the Chao, causing the same effect to happen if you were to throw, jump on, or attack the Chao.
- An unknown toy was meant for the Chao in the Chao Garden, but it was scrapped. However, it can still be used through hacking or Fusion's Chao Editor. When the Chao uses the toy, it pulls out a stick with ink on one end and holds it for several seconds without moving, then the behavior stops.
- During the development of Sonic Adventure, it was suggested Chao be called "Chicka Monkeys", so not to confuse players with Chaos.
- Chao were originally meant to appear in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric where they would resemble small dragons.
- Normal Chao have the Fly Type as their ability type.
- According to Takashi Iizuka, Chao need very clean and pure water to survive, which is why they are not seen in too many places.
- According to the Chao In Space short animation, Chao are seemingly capable of feats of incredible physical strength, as a sleepwalking Chao was able to punch Eggman in the face with enough force to send him flying.
- There used to be a section of Sonic Team's website dedicated to the Chao called CHAO Laboratory, where relevant news, wallpapers and papercrafts were posted.
- A Chao year is 3 regular hours. When a Chao dies, it will come back to life if it is treated nicely. The maximum amount of lives for any Chao is 3.
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