Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (ソニッククロニクル 闇次元からの侵略者 Sonikku Kuronikuru Yami Jigen Kara no Shinryakusha?, lit. "Sonic Chronicle: Invaders from the Dark Dimension") is a Nintendo DS role-playing game based on the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was developed by Canadian RPG developer BioWare, which is now a part of Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America and Europe in September 2008. It focuses on the events surrounding the kidnapping of Knuckles the Echidna and the disappearance of the Chaos Emeralds, which leads into a much larger story. This game is notable for being the first (and so far only) RPG in the Sonic series.
Four thousand years ago, there were two rival civilizations co-existing peacefully with each other: the Knuckles Clan and the Nocturnus Clan. The former was the keeper of the Master Emerald and sought to expand its territories. Unwilling to yield their territories to their rival clan, the Nocturnus Clan soon declared a war of expansion against the Knuckles Clan. Eventually, an unanticipated cataclysm destroyed the Knuckles Clan and ripped Angel Island from the surface of the planet. Meanwhile, the Nocturnus Clan and everything associated with it disappeared for unknown reasons, never to be seen again.
Back to the present day, Dr. Eggman is defeated for good, with Knuckles, Amy, and Sonic distracting the scientist while Tails sabotages Eggman's ship, the Egg Carrier, which falls to Eggman's base in Metropolis. As all his of machines were destroyed and suspicious activity ceased, Dr. Eggman was presumed dead. As things had gone quiet, Sonic decided to go on a solo adventure around the world, and the others thus went on their separate ways.
After some considerable time had passed, Sonic received a call from Tails while on his vacation, stating that Knuckles had been kidnapped. Traveling to Central City with Amy Rose to meet with Tails, they are escorted by Rouge the Bat to G.U.N. headquarters to meet the Commander. He informs them that they, along with Team Chaotix, have been watching the Marauders for some time and have managed to locate their hideouts, but searching them for Knuckles proved fruitless. However, Tails managed to find and fix broken communicators found at each hideout, which allows them to pinpoint the location of the Marauders' base to the Mystic Ruins.
Traveling by Tails' Tornado plane to avoid the soldiers guarding the Ruins, they meet up with Big the Cat who helps them locate the base, where they find Knuckles escaping from some robots. Leaving the base, they find Angel Island gone. Back at Tails' workshop, Tails develops an Eggman Tracker to locate Eggman and find out his connection to these events. After searching around previous areas for a while, including running into Shadow, Tails assembles a set of Eggman's devices the group discovered along the way to disable a force field they had located in Green Hill during their search. Inside, they find Eggman, who claims to be a reformed character, revealing that he survived the crash of the Egg Carrier by anticipating his own defeat and making a robot that would rescue him and nurse him back to health. Eggman informs the team that Angel Island is being pulled to Metropolis, the location of the Marauders' main base.
Taking the Tornado once more to go to Blue Ridge Zone in order to enter Metropolis from there, they meet Shadow and join up in order to find E-123 Omega, who Shadow was looking for, but are attacked in Metropolis by Shade and her Marauders. Shade reveals herself to be an echidna of the Nocturnus Clan, leaving Knuckles, supposedly the last of the echidnas, shocked. After Sonic defeats her, she blocks the main pathway to Metropolis, but Eggman finds another route through a railway tunnel. Once there, Eggman tells them of a weapon in his lab that could help defeat the Marauders, provided he has the necessary parts. Dividing into two teams, one group, with Sonic and Knuckles, head to Angel Island to get the Master Emerald before the Marauders, and the other, led by Tails and Eggman, assists in making the weapon. Tails and his team develop a non-lethal weapon designed to return the Nocturnus to their unknown home. Meanwhile, Sonic's team infiltrates a Nocturnus airship headed for the island, but encounter problems when the enemy manages to disable the ship's weapon. Tails and Eggman use one of the remaining weapons in Metropolis to shoot down the surrounding ships to clear the way for Sonic, but accidentally shoot the ship on which their friends are on, sending them onto Angel Island. Once on the Island, Sonic and Knuckles confront the Nocturnus leader, the Grand Imperator Ix, who reveals his plot to take over the dimension.
This revelation shocks Shade, who believed that Ix merely wanted to bring the Nocturnus Clan back to earth, for they had been sealed in the alternate dimension called the Twilight Cage during the Argus Event. It's minions come close to defeating Sonic and his team, but just as they are on the verge of defeat, Tails and Eggman arrive to save them, using a teleporter under Metropolis to get to the Island. They use their non-lethal weapon to transport several of the Nocturnus back to the Twilight Cage. The team fights Ix, but he escapes and steals the Master Emerald (which is considerably smaller in this game), causing Angel Island to fall from the sky. Ix sends the heroes and Shade flying away. Knuckles saves Shade as the island crashes into Metropolis. From there, the group witnesses Ix creating a wormhole which transports the Nocturnus back to their realm, ready to dominate. Tails and Eggman come up with a plan to follow him, deciding to build a vehicle that could cross into the alternate dimension. However, the collision with Angel Island knocks the city's power out. Sonic and a reformed Shade team up to restore the power, and also retrieve a Dimensional Buffer to help Tails. The group leaves in the vehicle, dubbed the Cyclone, while Eggman remains behind, saying that he must make sure that they can return.
Once in the Twilight Cage, the Cyclone crash lands on a rocky planet, the Kron Colony, after being damaged during the inter-dimensional trip. Tails suggests that they can power the ship up with a Chaos Emerald, and locates one on the colony. The team are confronted by the Kron, giant rock creatures who believe them to be Nocturnus spies. The Kron are gifted weapon makers and were forced by Ix to create weapons and armor for his troops. The warehouse used by the Kron to produce these weapons is powered by a Chaos Emerald, and Sonic and team offer to liberate the colony from Ix's control. They manage to take the Emerald, and win the trust of the rock people, and travel onward. The Nocturnus home world of Nocturne is blocked off from the heroes by a force field, prompting them to visit the N'rrgal colony, the home of the slug-like, energy-leeching N'rrgal people.
The N'rrgal suck all the energy from the Cyclone, but Tails discovers that another Chaos Emerald is located on the planet. The N'rrgal queen meets the team and tells them that the bitter rivals of the N'rrgal race, the Zoah, are in possession of a powerful weapon, and that they cannot risk confronting them in battle. She offers their Chaos Emerald in return for the Zoah's weapon. Sonic and his team then head to the Zoah colony, where they must find and dispatch this "weapon." Upon talking to the Zoah leader, the team discovers that they are in allegiance to Ix, but only because he defeated their chief in single combat, and according to Zoah law, whoever defeats the leader can have any one favor from them, even the service of the entire race. Sonic challenges the leader to a battle, and frees the Zoah from their servitude. The leader gives them a Chaos Emerald, revealed to be the weapon given to them by Ix. The team realizes that Ix gave both the Zoah and N'rrgal Emeralds to keep the two races in check for his plans. Upon revealing this information to the leaders of the two races, they gain the trust of the Zoah and N'rrgal.
Tails finds two more Emeralds in the Voxai Colonies. The Voxai are a race at peace, capable of mental domination. However, the Overmind, a group of three Voxai who rule the colonies, are truly loyal to Ix, and have taken control of the citizens, corrupting their minds. The team lands on Voxai Colony Beta, and meets Thebes, a citizen who has escaped the control of the Overmind. He tells them of the source of the Overmind's power, the Chaos Emeralds, with which they were able to dominate the minds of all the people in the Voxai colonies. Thebes leads them to a teleporter to take them to Voxai Colony Alpha, which is guarded by a psychic field to block out trespassers. Once there, they confront and defeat the Overmind. Thebes becomes the new Voxai leader, and gives them the two Chaos Emeralds given to them by Ix. With the last two emeralds on Nocturne, the team gathers the leaders of the Kron, N'rrgal, Zoah, and Voxai to the Kron Colony, where they all team up and come up with a plan to invade Nocturne. The united races, led by Sonic and his team, launch an assault on the Nocturnus home world.
The Voxai find weaknesses in the force field around the planet, while the N'rrgal suck energy from it, and the Zoah launch a missile created by the Kron that can penetrate it. Sonic and his friends pass through the opening made by the united races, and encounter Prefect Charyb and Prefect Scylla, two Gizoids who wield the elements of water and fire, respectively, each with a Chaos Emerald. The group splits in two, Sonic and Tails leading one group and Knuckles and Shade leading the other. Knuckles is reluctant to kill Ix, believing that the Nocturnus can be saved, but promises not to let this belief interfere with the mission. The two teams lower the force field around Nocturne, allowing the forces from the other Twilight Cage races to enter. Sonic's team destroys Charyb, while Knuckles' team kills Scylla, each winning a Chaos Emerald. Knuckles' team confronts Ix in his throne room, while Sonic's team comes in from a balcony to witness the fight. Sonic at first believes that Knuckles is betraying them, but is proven wrong when he watches them fight. Knuckles wins the fight, followed by Sonic fighting Ix, causing Ix to run. Sonic's team then gets a second chance to fight him, and also emerges victorious while Knuckles retrieves the Master Emerald. Ix uses the Nocturne to achieve a Super Transformation. Sonic uses the Chaos Emeralds to become Super Sonic and defeats him.
As Nocturne begins to fall, and is nearly destroyed, the team escapes in the Cyclone and heads back to earth. Once back in Metropolis, they find Eggman waiting for them with a rebuilt empire, who immediately attempts to shoot them down. Apparently, time moves much slower in the Twilight Cage and what seemed to be only a short while has actually been several years on earth, giving Eggman plenty of time time to rebuild his empire. The game ends with Sonic, Tails and Omega rambling about the makers of the game, and, as the team is about to confront the new Eggman Empire, the words "THE END?" appear on the screen, ending the game with a cliff hanger.
|Sonic the Hedgehog||The world's fastest supersonic hedgehog sports an attitude and a sarcastic grin. When his tour of the world is interrupted by a call for help, he knows he has no choice but to return at breakneck speed. Evil deeds to Sonic are like a red rag to a bull, and when his friends are caught up to it, there's no holding back.|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Believed to be the last of his kind, Knuckles is the stoic guardian of the Master Emerald. Despite being Sonic's rival, they've often worked together to recover the Master Emerald from the villains who sought to steal it. His spiky fists pack a mighty punch and enable him to climb vertical faces with ease.|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Tails is a kid fox with two tails and a zeal with helping Sonic, who he has always thought of as a big brother. With Eggman out of the picture, his engineering skills have become unrivaled. His ingenious creativity has been put to good use during Sonic's extended absence, building wondrous mechanical marvels for the betterment of society.|
|Amy Rose||Amy is a pink hedgehog with a big heart and an unrelenting yearning for Sonic's affection on her own terms. Though generally good natured, she gets hot-headed when riled, and her weapon of choice, the Piko-Piko Hammer, can always be relied upon to make her feeling clear. She missed Sonic while he was away, but a lot can change over time.|
|Rouge the Bat||Rouge is a sassy and flirtatious bat with an eye for jewels and treasure, and a knack for stealthily procuring them. She has been contracted by GUN (Guardian Units of Nations) via the president, which makes her an advantageous ally, though Sonic and friends feel better keeping an eye on their valuables when she's around.|
|Big the Cat||Big is a giant cat who lives in a hut in the Mystic Ruins, and he spends his days fishing with his best friend Froggy. He's a little slow-witted, but doesn't pretend to be otherwise, and he always does right by his friends. He's enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the past few years, so he is apprehensive about having to leave his home on another adventure.|
|Cream the Rabbit||Cream is a well-mannered young rabbit with flapping ears that enable her to fly. She's rarely seen without her best friend; a dapperly attired Chao named Cheese. Though she detests violence in all its forms, there's no telling what she might do when the safety of her friends is threatened. Her favorite food is ice cream, which she would happily eat every day.|
|N/A||The Marauders||This group is filled with secretive and surreptitious criminals with black hearts and villainous intent, not to mention access to an array of highly unusual weapons and mechanical devices. Although they've been making their presence known in Central City of late, little else is known about who they are and what they're after. As Knuckles found out first-hand, they don't back away from a fight and they pose a formidable enemy for anyone who dares to stand in their way.|
- This section provides a general gameplay overview. For more detailed information on combat and POW attacks, see Combat statistics in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
As with many RPGs, there are two main types of the gameplay feature: adventure fields and combat. In the adventure fields, a character is controlled by tapping the stylus where the player wants the character to go. Action bubbles appear when near obstacles that can be interacted with, and are used to traverse certain features of the environment, such as loop-de-loops. Navigation can also require a certain character to be in the lead for progress to continue, taking advantage of that character's special ability, be it flying, climbing, or dashing through loops. Puzzle elements also feature, allowing the party to work together to complete a task, usually involving pressing switches in various areas to make something happen.
Enemies can be seen walking around in the adventure fields. Depending on the party's level, enemies may be aggressive and move towards the player. If an enemy is touched, combat begins. Battles are fought in a close-up, turn-based battle arena. Standard attacks are available as well as special attacks, dubbed POW Moves, which can be performed by following the on-screen prompts and tapping the stylus when and where you are indicated to. These moves use up POW Points, in a manner similar to "Magic Points" in other RPGs. Both solo and team Pow Moves exist. Team attacks require two, three, or all four characters, and drain Pow Points from each. All of these POW moves require the player to perform real-time events on the touch screen with the stylus but are extremely powerful if performed successfully. Examples of individual special attacks include Sonic's Axe Kick and Knuckles' Uppercut. Some of the game's team special attacks include the Blue Bomber, which requires Sonic and Tails, and Hail Storm, the most powerful special attack in the game, which requires Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. After combat is complete, items are found, ranging from stat boosters to character equipment - equipable in one of three slots (hands, feet and accessories) per character. Experience Points are given at the end of each battle, and when a character levels up, their stats increase as well as their health and POW Points replenish. Players are also given a bonus point, which he/she can place in any stat that he/she wishes: speed, attack, defense, or luck. Players are also given special attack points, which can be used to purchase Pow Moves, or to increase the level of existing moves. Increasing the level of a move makes it more powerful, and increasing the chance that status effects will be inflicted.
Characters are also able to collect and equip up to forty different Chao, each with their own ability to enhance a party member's stats or other beneficial effects. The better a Chao's effect, the more difficult it is to find. These Chao are stored in the Chao Garden and, using the wireless connection, players can swap Chao they have collected with other players. Trading Chao also causes them to level up, increasing their stat boosts.
- Power: Characters in this class focus on attacking and have POW moves that are all focused in dealing damage to enemies. They regain 1 PP per action when defending.
- Shifter: Characters in this class are balanced between fighting and supporting the team but may lean more to one side within their attack POW moves and pure status effect causing moves. They regain 2 PP per action when defending.
- Support: Characters in this class have low attacking power and have POW moves that focus only on supporting the team or applying negative status effects on enemies. They regain 3 PP per action when defending.
|Image||Character||Class||Stats (lvl. 1)|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Power||33||7||7||8||14||3|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Support||27||9||5||7||20||2|
|Rouge the Bat||Shifter||27||6||6||8||19||4|
|Big the Cat||Support||50||7||4||6||10||2|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Power||33||7||5||6||14||2|
|Cream the Rabbit
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Power||30||6||7||8||18||1|
|Shade the Echidna||Power||52||6||5||8||22||2|
- Guardian Units of Nations
- Vector the Crocodile
- Nocturnus Clan
- EggRobo (cameo)
- Swat Bots
- Hostile Reception
- The Search for Knuckles
- A Wolf in the Shadows
- Battle for Angel Island
- Black Hole Sun
- Quest for the Chaos Emeralds
- Sector Scylla
- Sector Charybdis
- Citadel Showdown
During February 2008, Sega announced that it would be giving fans the opportunity to vote on the name of a hostile alien race that would appear within the game. Until 4 March 2008, fans were able to visit Sega of Europe's Sonic portal, Sonic City, and vote for their preferred name. The winning entry in the contest was The Zoah, a reference to the town in "Panzer Dragoon Saga." The name was suggested as a potential name initially by Sega Nerds.
In a preview of the game featured in the February 2008 issue of Nintendo Power magazine, details were given on some of the game's features, as well as confirming its name. One of the details it confirmed was that there would be eleven playable characters, but only nine had been announced at that point. The interview also stated that the game would feature areas from previous Sonic games, ranging from classic fields such as Green Hill Zone, Central City, Angel Island and Mystic Ruins, to new locations such as Blue Ridge Zone.
As Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood ended with a cliff hanger, there is a great deal of expectation amongst fans that a sequel is being worked on. Producer Dorian Kieken (Sonic Chronicles Associate Producer) later confirmed that the sequel to the game was already being written, but the title is unknown. However, it was then stated that no plans for a sequel are in the works. Despite this, an article on TSSZ News hinted that the sequel might have been developed as an unannounced handheld BioWare title. However, since EA acquired BioWare, plans of a sequel seem to have been dropped, and Sonic Chronicles became a one-shot game.
|Nintendo World Report||6/10|
|Official Nintendo Magazine||93%|
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was generally well-received by critics, garnering a 74% average at aggregate site Metacritic based on 54 reviews, and a 75% average at GameRankings, based on 44.
The game received positive reactions in the area of graphics and environments, being "bright, colorful, and cheery", "undeniably nice-looking" with "slick presentation," and with cut-scenes that are "visually sharp." Chris Scullion of Official Nintendo Magazine called the game "a fantastic Sonic game" and "a superb RPG game in its own right."
As Sonic's first transition into the RPG genre, the overall scenario, including the game's story and dialogue, were received with mixed reception. Critics acknowledged that, compared to other games in the genre, the "chapter-based story is predictably lightweight and cartoony," and though interesting enough, it "takes a backseat to the actual gameplay." Combined with a generally low difficulty level, described as "phenomenally easy," the story and scenario were cited as a good reason that this entry would be suitable as a role-playing game for younger gamers. Reviewers also agreed that the story only begins to become more elaborate and interesting in the second half of the game. The cast of playable characters, who some reviewers acknowledged were less than well received in previous Sonic games, were generally received well, and were "well written and likeable."
Further to the reception of the RPG design, gameplay elements of the role-playing genre also received mixed reception. Some reviewers cited the "overbearing" battle system becoming "an annoyance," while others found the combat system a "joy," with a good difficulty level and "some great tension." The lack of multiplayer options, aside from the ability to share Chao, was also seen as a disappointment.
Archie Comics has made an adaptation of Sonic Chronicles titled "Invaders from Beyond", featuring the kidnapping of Knuckles. The short strip only covers this incident, thus serving as a prequel of sorts and ends by urging readers to buy Sonic Chronicles to find out "what happens next".
The characters and concepts of the game have also been adapted into the primary canon of the series, though they have thus far only been referenced in various comic issues. A fuller disclosure of information took place in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia.
- This is the only Nintendo DS exclusive Sonic game to not have Blaze the Cat.
- Team Rose is mistakenly called "Team Amy" in the game.
- Vector is the only member from Team Chaotix who appears in the game (via textbox in Chapter 2).
- Dr. Eggman is never playable at the same time when Shade the Echidna is.
- Blue Ridge Zone, like Station Square, is named after a real-world location—the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- In the game's intro, Shade the Echidna is shown in the Mystic Ruins. This is impossible to achieve in the main game, because the player can't return to the Mystic Ruins after they unlock Shade. Also, a different section of the intro shows the team in Metropolis Ground Zero, but with only three characters on the team: Sonic, Amy, and Rouge. Normally, the team would had four characters long before this point. These are likely from a beta version, and were never removed from the intro.
- This game includes a lot of references to past Sonic features, such as Green Hill Zone, the first version of the Tornado, Swat-Bots (from the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series and the comic series by Archie Comics), Metropolis, Capsules, and a Sega Mega Drive, as well as Station Square in Blue Ridge Zone.
- This game is the first to mention the term "roboticization" (albeit in a side mission), a word used to describe the process of a character turning into a robot used for Eggman's own dastardly deeds.
- After completing the game, the player can start a new game while inheriting some gameplay data aspects of that completed game file. This includes the following:
- Levels of all characters (the total number of Points assigned to POW Moves is still reset for each character).
- All Equipment, Consumables and Chao
- All Rings collected via exploration (such Rings do not respawn).
- During Chapter 10, when facing the Gizoid Centurions and Prefect Charyb underwater, the characters involved will lose a lot of points in their Defense stats for the rest of the game. The effects carry over if a new game is started from the previous data, but because all the other characters start from level 1 again, only Sonic is affected by the carry over.
- This game may be one of the first to implement elements from the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog comic series to the game series for the following reasons:
- The appearance of the Swat-Bots.
- A group of evil echidnas locked in another dimension (Nocturnus Clan = Dark Legion).
- A female echidna from said group that defects from it (Shade the Echidna = Julie-Su).
- The villain is a white-furred echidna (Imperator Ix = Doctor Finitevus).
- The concept of roboticization (though briefly mentioned in the plot of the game and never seen).
- This is the first Sonic game since Sonic R to have one of the emeralds appear in a different color such as orange and pink.
- On the FAQ on the website for the English version, Vector is called "Vector the Alligator."
- Though the strategy guide confirms five Viral Chao, only Stugs has been officially allowed for use. The Japanese version added three in an easily obtainable manner, leaving only one unused in that version. All five are in the game data and can be glitched into the game via hacking.
- This is also the first game to feature Chao interactivity since Sega Superstars.
- Much of the music used in the game are remixed versions of themes from previous and the classic Sonic games. The reason for this is unknown.
- In Blue Ridge Zone, an old man says a boy named Timmy is in a well, an obvious reference to the 1980 film, "Lassie".
- One of the knickknacks in Nestor's home is a Sega Mega Drive controller.
- In the game, Shadow is shown to have a missing a quill on his head.
- This is the second handheld Sonic game with artwork not done by current Sonic character artist, Yuji Uekawa, the first being Sonic Battle.
- Throughout the course of the game, the player has the choice to engage in a romantic subplot between Sonic and Amy.
- This is the second game where Eggman is playable without a machine, the first game being Sonic Adventure 2.
- Chapter 6 is called "Black Hole Sun" in the game, is the title of a song performed by the American grunge band, Soundgarden, from their 4th studio album, Superunknown.
- The image in the top screen of the party selection mode depicts Amy drawn with normal gloves, like the ones Sonic wears, unlike the golden bracelets she usually wears.
- According to Ian Flynn, head writer on Archie Comics, the game takes place a few years after the main timeline; however, former Sega Europe community manager Kevin Eva stated that fans should consider the game an alternate universe due to its troubled production, but noted that the canon is essentially in constant flux at any given time for Sega's convenience.
- This game, in particular the Nocturnus Clan's resemblance to the Dark Legion from Archie Comics, is believed to be one of the reasons Ken Penders filed a lawsuit against SEGA, and by extension, why Archie Comics ended up completely rebooting its franchise starting with the conclusion of the Sonic & Mega Man: Worlds Collide arc.
- In the manual of the game, in the prologue section, a screenshot of Angel Island from Sonic X was used.
- Before the official launch, Sega released a Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood browser mini game for social networks like Windows Live, Facebook and MySpace.
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