Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Cliff's Excavation Site is the first hub world area in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. It is a rocky region with an archaeological dig site set up by Cliff and his workers to excavate the remains of the Ancients' civilizations and some Sentinels. It can be accessed after clearing Lyric's Tomb. From here, the player can access the game's first five levels.
Team Sonic came to the site looking for Cliff's aid to help shred light on Lyric the Last Ancient's schemes after they released him. From this location, the team found the first three Chaos Crystals to halt Lyric's plans before moving on to Bygone Island.
Cliff's Excavation Site is a large and orange-colored rocky region near the coast, with pillar-like mountainsides enclosing it. While flora is not abundant and the majority of the ground is covered in dust, there are patches of pale grass and pine trees outlining the cliffs. Dividing the area is a wide river with a waterfall in the west. An ancient bridge in the middle of the area connects the two river sides.
As an excavation site, objects related to mining and digging can be found here. This include wooden support beams for shafts and holes, wooden scaffolds and bridges, some digging equipment and a wrecking machine. There are as well a few structures from the time of the Ancients present, namely three large gates (one to the south and two to the north) that block the player from the areas behind them. A few bridges for speed level sections can be found in various locations.
The southern part of this area consists most of canyons cutting through large masses of rock, except in some spots along the riverside. The northern area is more open and is the heart of the excavation site. In the middle, Cliff and his workers have set up a camp, a small harbor, supply containers and digging equipment. There is also a large construction pit where they are unearthing an old Sentinel and the Tornado. To the east is the mining area. This area holds mine carts, rails and the entrance to the Mines, an underground mining shaft network that are connected to an underground room from the Ancients which contains the Shock Crystal. Even further to the east lies the Raptor, a harbor-like area from the Ancients. To the west lies Salty's house and the dock for his Riptide.
In the present, Cliff led an archaeological expedition to this location to find Lyric's tomb. Team Sonic later came here to ask Cliff for information on Lyric. The elder told them about Lyric's history and how he was imprisoned for attempting to destroy the world using his army of Sentinels. Begrudgingly, Sonic revealed they had released Lyric, so Cliff provided them with a plan: Lyric needed the Chaos Crystals to reboot his army so they would just have to get the Crystals first.
With Cliff's help, Team Sonic found the first Chaos Crystal in the Mines. On the way back, Knuckles and Amy met Foreman Fred and helped him free some trapped miners. Foreman Fred then gave them a Power Glyph as a reward.
Continuing onward, Team Sonic used their Chaos Crystal to find another and a map to the rest. Back at the site, Team Sonic met Salty who let them use his Riptide to reach the next Crystal after they repaired it. Returning with their next Crystal, Team Sonic met Cliff at the Raptor where the elder had an aircraft from the Ancients, the Tornado, which they used to reach Bygone Island and the last Chaos Crystals.
Cliff's Excavation Site is a free-roaming and non-linear area. It serves as a central hub from where the player can access the follow areas:
To enter these areas from Cliff's Excavation Site (with the exception of Lyric's Tomb), the player must unlock the sections containing their entrance points. This is done by using the correct Chaos Crystal at their respective Crystal Locks. In this level, the majority of the objectives focus on proceeding to the next area.
This level contains a variety of gimmicks, especially for the character actions for the playable characters. This includes Spin Ramps and Spin Balls for Sonic, Climbable Walls and diggable ground for Knuckles, Balance Beams and Beam Swings for Amy, Tails Vents for Tails and holes for Buddy Bot. In addition, there are Hydro Gates that let the player Hydro Dash on the river. It also has a few speed level sections, where the player runs down a long path with speed-enhancing gimmicks while avoiding hazardous obstacles, which lead to collectibles or new sections.
From within this area, the player can participate in both obligatory and optional side-quests by interacting with the non-playable characters, though some cannot interacted with before reaching a certain point in the game. Completing the optional side-quests will award the player with either Power Glyphs or paths to new collectibles.
Cliff's Excavation Site has nearly no enemies, most of which are encountered during side-quests. There are also nearly no environment hazards besides the bottomless waters and turning wheels on the river that causes damage. There are also a few puzzles to solve with the Button and Enerbeam mechanic, through they are scarce.
When first entering Cliff's Excavation Site, the player has to go to Cliff at the construction pit to proceed. For there, the player has to enter the Mines by solving a small Button puzzle near the entrance. This will open a path to the Mines, where the AVA must be used to reveal the entrance to a hidden room. Inside this room, the player must solve a small puzzle to get the Shock Crystal before heading back. On the way, the player must complete a side-quest from Foreman Fred by finding the miners inside the Mines. During this side-quest, the player controls only Knuckles and Amy.
Once outside, the player must go to the first Crystal Lock in the south and enter the Abandoned Research Facility. After returning from Lyric's Weapon Facility, the player must then unlock the Crystal Lock to the northwest. There, the player has to complete a side-quest for Salty by collect parts for the Riptide by defeating enemies in different locations, and then enter River Rush. Once back from the Pit, the player must open the Crystal Lock to the northeast and complete a speed level section to proceed to Bygone Island.
This level has the following total of collectable items:
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