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Classic Sonic receiving an S Rank, from Sonic Forces.

The Rank[1] is a mechanic that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a grading system used to measure how well the player performed in a particular event of a game, the most common being completing a level or boss fight.

Description

In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Ranks are represented as letter-grades. While the specific grade letters vary in range from game to game, they typically range from S or A to D or E. They are awarded based on how well the player performed after completing a particular event in a game. This can be something like completing a level or mission. Ranks are usually given alongside the score, and is often based on the player's score, which is influenced by common gameplay factors such as the number of Rings collected, time taken to finish the event, number of enemies defeated, the tricks pulled off, etc.. Some games though have certain levels and missions where Ranks are not awarded based on score alone, and may only be based on one or more gameplay factors, such as the time taken to complete an event. In games where the playable characters are present on the result screen, they will strike a different pose and/or give a comment based on the Rank the player got.

Usually, the player has to attain the highest rank (usually an "A" or "S") for some or all level missions of a game in order to receive rewards (like Emblems) or special bonuses, unlock new gameplay features, or obtain game achievements/trophies.

Rank list (in order)

The following list of letter grades used in the Sonic the Hedgehog games, listed from highest to lowest. The most commonly used ranks are in bold.

  • X Rank: Violet colored/Yellow colored (Sonic Riders series)
  • SS/S+ Rank: Brass colored (Sonic Riders series)
  • S Rank: Aqua colored/Platinum colored/Gold colored
  • AA/A+ Rank: Cyan colored/Purple colored (Sonic Riders series)
  • A Rank: Gold colored/Purple colored/Red colored
  • B Rank: Silver colored/Orange colored/Green colored
  • C Rank: Bronze colored/Yellow colored/Blue colored
  • D Rank: Steel colored/Green colored/Light Blue colored
  • E Rank: Rusty metal colored/Blue colored
  • F Rank: Purple colored[note 1]

Game appearances

Sonic Adventure 2

The result screen, from Sonic Adventure 2.

Ranks were first featured in Sonic Adventure 2, and later its remake Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, where they are given for Mission results. In this game, Ranks range from A to E. For Missions one, four, and five of every stage (except Route 101 and Route 280), the Rank is determined by the score, but if the player obtains every Ring in a stage and clears it, the player is always awarded an A-Rank. For Missions 2 and 3 of every stage, the Rank is based on the time taken to complete it.

The player is required to earn an A-Rank in every Mission in order to obtain all Emblems and unlocking extra bonuses for the 2P Battle mode. It also unlocks the "You Are The Legend" Achievement in the 2012 remaster.

Sonic Heroes

The result screen, from Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, Ranks range from A to E. In this game, Ranks are given for mission results, with score-based Ranks being given for all teams' first Missions and all of Team Sonic and Team Chaotix's Extra Missions. On the other hand, time-based Ranks are given for boss fights and all of Team Dark and Team Rose's Extra Missions.

The player is required to obtain an A-Rank on every Mission in the game to unlock Super Hard Mode. Ranks are also not recorded for completing the Sea Gate or the Super Hard Mode stages. In addition, the game's save files display the number of Missions the player has an A Rank on.

Shadow the Hedgehog

In Shadow the Hedgehog, Ranks range from A to E. The Rank requirements vary depending on the stage and mission completed. In this game, there are three types of points that determine the final score for a Rank; "normal" points are obtained by collecting Rings and items; "Dark" points are gathered by defeating GUN troops (and Badniks in Dark missions) and destroying things in the environment; and "Hero" points are earned by killing Black Arms, healing innocents, and putting out fires. The game calculates the Rank obtained through the three types of points. The total score for Dark missions equals the player's Normal score, plus their Dark score, plus their Time Bonus, minus their Hero score, and vice-versa with Hero missions. Time-based Ranks are featured for every boss battle.

Getting an A-Rank for every stage is required for the player to unlock Expert Mode.

Sonic Rush series

Sonic Rush

In Sonic Rush, Ranks range from S to C. In this game, Ranks are given for Act and boss results, and are based on the player's score after those events.

Sonic Rush Adventure

In Sonic Rush Adventure, Ranks range from S to C. In this game, Ranks are given for Act and boss results, and are based on the player's score after those events. In addition, the better the Rank the player gets, the more Materials they will receive after clearing an Act or boss fight (not including Hidden Islands or Deep Core).

Sonic Riders series

Sonic Riders

In Sonic Riders, the Ranks include grades X, SS, S, AA, A, B, and C. In this game, Ranks are rewarded differently that in the previous Sonic games. Rather than being given when a player clears a level or mission, the player is given a Rank when the playable character pulls off a Trick Action after setting off from either a ramp or turbulence. The higher the Rank the playable character achieves, the more Air the player will be rewarded with. In this installment, the Rank is based on how many Trick Actions the player pulls off after being launched into midair. However, if the playable character makes a bad landing from the jump (eg. landing while in the middle of performing a Trick Action), they will automatically get a C-Rank. The game also features the Legend Extreme Gear, which makes earning high Ranks easier.

Aside from the ranking of Trick Actions mentioned above, Sonic Riders also features Ranks in Mission Mode where the player is ranked based on how well they performed in a mission. Each mission has three different ranks: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The report of the Babylon Rogues member varies on the Rank the player receives. If the player gets the highest Rank in all the missions, they will earn the Chaos Emerald.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Ranks include grades X, SS, S, AA, A, B, and C. In this game, Ranks are, much like in Sonic Riders, given when the playable character executes a Trick Action. The higher the Rank the playable character gets, the more Gravity Points the player will be rewarded with. In addition, attaining at least an S-Rank will always allow the player to reach higher routes. In this game though, the Rank is based on the timing of the jump prompt for the Trick Action at the moment the player launches themselves. The game also features the Legend Extreme Gear which makes earning high Ranks easier. In addition each Rank has its own animation when performing a trick and a unique sound effect is played whenever an X-Rank Trick is performed.

Aside from the Ranking mentioned above, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity also features Missions and a ranking system similar to that of Mission Mode in the first Sonic Riders. Each mission has three different ranks: Normal, Super and Extreme. Eggman's comment for the mission varies on the Rank received. If the player gets the highest Rank in all the missions, they will earn the Chaos Emerald.

Sonic Free Riders

In Sonic Free Riders, the Ranks include grades X, S+, S, A+, A, B, and C. Like in earlier Sonic Riders installments, Ranks are given when the playable character executes a Trick. The higher the Rank the playable character gets, the more Air the player will be rewarded with. Like in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, the Rank is based on the timing of the jump prompt for the Trick Action at the moment the player gets launched. The game also features the Legend Extreme Gear which makes earning high Ranks easier. In addition, the game also feature a unique sound effect whenever an X-Rank Trick is performed.

Aside from the Ranking mentioned above, Sonic Free Riders also feature a mission-based gameplay which are required to be played as part of Grand Prix Mode, similar to the earlier Sonic Riders titles where the player is ranked based on how well they performed. Each mission has three different ranks: B, A and S. If the player gets the highest Rank in all the missions, they will earn the Chaos Emeralds.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Ranks range from S to D. In this game, Ranks are given for Action Stage, Boss, and Town Mission results, and are based on the player's score after those events. In the Story Mode, the player also earns additional Rings based on the Rank they receive. The player is required to obtain S-Ranks across all Missions to unlock every achievements in the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Sonic Rivals series

Sonic Rivals

In Sonic Rivals, Ranks range from S to C. In this game, Ranks are given for every Act and boss fight, and are based on the player's score after these events.

Sonic Rivals 2

In Sonic Rivals 2, Ranks range from S to C. In this game, Ranks are given for every Act and boss fight, and are based on the player's score after these events. In addition, in order to earn some cards, it is required by the player to achieve an S-Rank in specific Acts and Act 2 Battle modes.

Sonic Unleashed

In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, Ranks range from S to C. In this version of the game, Ranks are given for every level and boss fight, but not for any of the missions. They are awarded based on the player's clear time in daytime stages and boss battles (day and night), and on the player's time, Rings and amassed Dark Gaia Force in the nighttime stages. In the daytime stages in particular, the game's HUD displays the par time the player is required to finish the stage within to obtain a particular Rank starting with the S and if the time has elapsed beyond the threshold for S, the HUD will switch to display the par time for A and so on for the remaining Ranks.

It is worth noting that during a boss fight (day or night) Sonic cannot earn Ranks A or B; instead, he will earn an S if he wins the battle within the par time, and a C if he takes longer.

In this version of the game, earning certain ranks is the main way to collect the main stages' Sun and Moon Medals, with the number depending on the rank itself. The player will earn three for an S Rank, two for an A Rank, one for a B Rank, and none for a C Rank.

In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed, Ranks range from S to E. In this version of the game, Ranks are given for Act and boss results, and are based on the player's score after these events. If the player gets an E rank, "Results Screen - E Rank", an intentionally bad rendition of the normal result screen music track, will play, while the letter E disintegrates. Getting S-Ranks are also needed to obtain a number of the game's trophies/achievements.

It is worth noting that the final boss fight against Dark Gaia is the only level in this version of the game where Sonic does not earn a rank the first time he clears it.

Sonic and the Black Knight

In Sonic and the Black Knight, Ranks are present, but they do not use letter grades. Instead, they use a star rating, with the number of stars determining the rank (one being the lowest and five being the highest).

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, along with in the remaster Sonic Colors: Ultimate, Ranks range from S to D. In these games, Ranks are given for Act and boss results, and are based on the player's score after these events. Unlike previous games, clear time is not taken into account, as the player mainly has to worry about building up a high score, which is done by collecting Rings, utilizing certain moves, grabbing Special Rings, and making use of Color Powers and Super Sonic. Finishing with an A-Rank or higher will award one or three 1UPs respectively. Unlike previous entries, the player can control Sonic on the results screen for a short time until he strikes his Rank-dependent pose, and they can even jump onto and attack the score.

Although the Wii version and Sonic Colors: Ultimate both contain a tally of how many S Ranks the player has earned, earning all of them will not net the player any rewards.

In the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, Ranks range from S to D. In this version of the game, Ranks are given for Act and boss results, and are based on the player's score after these events. The number of White Wisps and Sonic's pose on the result screen will be determined by the player's Rank.

In Sonic Colors: Ultimate, lives are completely absent. As such, earning an A or S-Rank will instead net the player one or three Park Tokens. The results screen also features an added meter, signifying how long the player is able to control Sonic before he poses. It is also worth noting in this version that due to a glitch in the Tails Save system, the player will not lose the Rings they have collected before dying, and certain collectibles such as Red Star Rings and Park Tokens will respawn after each death. Thus, higher ranks are a lot easier to achieve due to it being easier to stockpile points.

Sonic Generations

In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, Ranks range from S to D. In this version of the game, Ranks are given for Act and boss results. In stage Acts, ranks are based on the player's score, which is calculated based on clear time and Rings. Every Ring collected is 10x worth of score. That alone however, will only give a Rank between A and D. Finishing an Act without losing a life will award a Perfect Clear bonus that raises the player's rank by one, which is the only way to get an S-Rank. In Challenge Acts on the other hand, Ranks are based on the player's clear time, and the Rank and its corresponding clear par time is displayed on the HUD. Getting S-Ranks are also needed to obtain a number of the game's trophies/achievements.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, Ranks range from S to D. In this version of the game, Ranks are given for Act, boss and Special Stage results, and are based on the player's score after these events. Unlike the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, there is no Perfect Clear bonus.

Sonic Lost World

In the Wii U version and PC version of Sonic Lost World, Ranks range from S to D. In these versions of the game, Ranks are given for Zones. However, they only appear in Time Attack mode, where they are given based on the time taken to complete the Zone. During a playthrough of a Zone, the Rank is displayed alongside the par time the player needs to complete in order to obtain that Rank. Once the par time has being passed, the next lower Rank with its respective par time is shown in its place.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, Ranks are awarded by default, and range from S to D. In this game, Ranks are given for Zone, boss and Special Stage results, and are based on the player's score after those events. From Ranks A through D, Sonic spins around and gives a thumbs-up; S ranks get a unique pose, in which he performs a side-flip and points at the ranking. Unlike the Wii U/PC version, Sonic will provide a quip as soon as his Rank appears upon completing a level or boss fight. However, in the Special Stages, he is silent and his Rank animation shows him collecting the Chaos Emerald before holding it in his left hand, regardless of the Rank he received. In addition, the better the Rank the player gets, the more Materials they will receive after clearing a level or boss fight.

Sonic Forces

The result screen, from Sonic Forces.

In Sonic Forces, Ranks range from S to C. In this game, Ranks are given for stage results, and are based on the player's score after these events. Like in Sonic Generations, both Sonics strike different poses depending on the Rank received, but the Avatar's victory pose will always remain the same, depending on the one chosen in the customization menu. Modern Sonic's pose will also remain the same regardless of Rank, but only after the Tag Team stages. In addition, one can complete Daily Missions to activate a Daily Mission Boost that will temporarily boost the amount of points given at the end of a stage, making it easier to get higher ranks.

Sonic Origins

In Sonic Origins, Ranks appear in the new Mission Mode, where they range from S to C. They are used to measure the player's performance in the game's different Missions. Furthermore, for each Rank the player acquires by completing each Mission, they will earn Coins, with the difficulty of each Mission determining the amount of Coins paid out with each Rank. The reward system is as follows:

Difficulty Rank
C B A S
1/5 stars 1 2 3 5
2/5 stars 2 3 5 7
3/5 stars 3 5 7 10
4/5 stars 5 7 10 15
5/5 stars 7 10 15 20

Rank comments

Sonic Adventure 2

Rank Transcript Clip
A Rank (Sonic Adventure 2).png "How was that? Perfect? Like me?"
B Rank (Sonic Adventure 2).png "It's all too easy for me."
C Rank (Sonic Adventure 2).png "Not too bad, I guess."
D Rank (Sonic Adventure 2).png "I guess I took a little too much time."
E Rank (Sonic Adventure 2).png "I'm ashamed to call myself a hunter!"

Sonic Heroes

Amy
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "We're, like, awesome!"
Result 028.png "I just knew we could do it!"
Result 030.png "Guess this will do..."
Result 032.png "Guess we coulda tried harder."
Result 034.png "We couldn't even impress Sonic like this..."
Cream
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "I'm so happy I want to tell everyone!" N/A[note 2]
Result 028.png "As long as we stay together, we can do anything!"
Result 030.png "Cheese, you did great too! Thank you!"
Result 032.png "That was pretty tough!"
Result 034.png "Disappointing..."
Big
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "Kinda super-duper happy!"
Result 028.png "That was good!"
Result 030.png "Not too bad, I guess."
Result 032.png "We should try to do better next time."
Result 034.png "I'm feeling a little blue..."

Espio
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "Impossible feat! Ultimate ninja power."
Result 028.png "Good job. Nothing more to be said."
Result 030.png "Not bad. No complaints."
Result 032.png "Be on guard. Focus, and prepare yourself."
Result 034.png "Insulting, your training has been a waste of time."
Charmy
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "Awesome! Totally awesome!"
Result 028.png "No problem!"
Result 030.png "Not bad, don'tcha think?"
Result 032.png "Maybe we could've done a little better!"
Result 034.png "OK, stop foolin' around!"
Vector
Rank Transcript Clip
Result 026.png "Perfect! The work of professionals, hah!"
Result 028.png "No complaints!"
Result 030.png "Not bad!"
Result 032.png "Maybe... this wasn't our day."
Result 034.png "Lackluster performance, I'd say."

Shadow the Hedgehog

Rank Transcript Clip
A Rank (Shadow the Hedgehog).png "Hmm. Perfect!"

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Rank Transcript Clip
S Rank (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)).png "What did you think of my beautiful technique?"
A Rank (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)).png "For me, it's a piece of cake!"
B Rank (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)).png "That was pretty good, I guess."
C Rank (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)).png "I guess I took a bit too long."
D Rank (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)).png "How can I call myself a treasure hunter?"

Sonic and the Secret Rings

Rank Transcript Clip
Gold medal.PNG "That was tight!"
Silver medal.PNG "Too easy!"
Bronze one.PNG "Phew! Just made it!"
No Medal "Huh, no problem."
Failed "This just isn't my day."

Sonic Unleashed

Xbox 360/PlayStation 3

Wii/PlayStation 2

Sonic and the Black Knight

Rank Transcript Clip
★★★★★ "[Whistles] That was tight!"
★★★★ "Too easy! Piece of cake!"
★★★ "Whew! Just made it!"
★★ "Hm, no problem."
"Shoot! Not my day."
Failed "I guess I'll hold back for now."

Rank Transcript Clip
★★★★★ "Heh heh, What's wrong?"
★★★★ "Done with nary a bit of trouble."
★★★ "A performance befitting a knight."
★★ "The time for practice is over."
"What the..!?"
Failed "I shall withdraw."

Sonic Colors (Nintendo DS)

Rank Transcript Clip
S Rank.png "Amazing!"
A Rank.png "Great!"
B Rank.png "Very good!"
C Rank.png "Good!"
D Rank.png "Don't give up!"

Sonic Lost World

Rank Transcript Clip
S Rank (Mini) (Sonic Lost World Wii U).png "Yeah-ha, Aced it!"
A Rank (Mini) (Sonic Lost World Wii U).png "Way to go!"
B Rank (Mini) (Sonic Lost World Wii U).png "I can live with that!"
"Not too shabby!"
C Rank (Mini) (Sonic Lost World Wii U).png "Eh, we could do a little better."
"Meh, average!"
D Rank (Mini) (Sonic Lost World Wii U).png "Room for improvement!"
"Hey! There's always next time."

Trivia

  • In Sonic Generations, almost the entire total score, and the Rank, are calculated by the time taken to complete the level. This means that, by completing an Act in a sufficiently fast time, it is almost always enough to earn an A or S Rank, assuming the player doesn't lose a life.
    • However, an orange bar counting as rings will extend off of the green bar representing time.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), since Knuckles is the only character who cannot finish a stage under normal circumstances, his Rank comments cannot be heard unless the player performs gameplay glitches that allow them to finish a stage with Knuckles.
  • Since Sonic Colors, after getting any rank, Sonic will do a pose for the player, but only when the time to interact with the results screen ends. In Sonic Generations, after getting the score results and rank, Sonic will do a pose, perform a move or just dance, depending on what rank the player receives.
  • Rankings were supposed to be given in Sonic Adventure as well, but the concept was scrapped during development time for unknown reasons.[2] However, the system was implemented into the next game, Sonic Adventure 2 and almost every other Sonic game released after.

Notes

  1. This was supposed to appear in Sonic Heroes, but it later got scrapped, so the E Rank is currently the lowest achievable Rank.
  2. This line is empty in the game's files.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 This line is said only after completing a boss battle.

References

  1. Sonic Heroes (Nintendo GameCube) United States instruction booklet, pg. 29.
  2. Unused Rank icons can be found in the game's files
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