The difference is night and day.
Sonic Unleashed, known in Japan as Sonic World Adventure (ソニックワールドアドベンチャー Sonikku Wārudo Adobenchā?), is a game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Sonic Team Japan and published by Sega for the Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. This is the first main series Sonic game on the Wii and last for the PlayStation 2. The game follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he attempts to restore the world to normal after his nemesis, Dr. Eggman, splits the world's continents into pieces with a powerful new ray weapon and the power of the Chaos Emeralds to harness the power of Dark Gaia, as well as his struggles with his new beast form generated by Dark Gaia's energies, Sonic the Werehog.
Whilst incorporating Sonic's traditional platforming and trademark speed, the gameplay style for this game is notably different, focusing on 2D side-scrolling platform gameplay rendered with 3D visuals, as well as behind-the-back, third-person stages; gameplay seamlessly transitions between these two styles. This radical change in gameplay, coupled with the focus on extreme speed and boosting (during the day stages), makes this game considered at least in part the first "boost 3D" Sonic game, due to its style that was later represented in Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Forces.
The PlayStation 3 version was available to be streamed on the PlayStation 4 and PC via the PS Now subscription service, with PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Sony Bravia Smart TV (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 models), Sony Blu-Ray players and Samsung Smart TV support for the service being dropped in 2017. In late November 2018, the Xbox 360 version of the game was made backwards compatible with the Xbox One, although unlike Sonic Generations, it does not support Xbox One X enhanced graphics/features.
The development of Sonic Unleashed was announced in April 2008. Sonic Unleashed was originally intended to be the third installment of the Sonic Adventure series and subsequently, at an early development stage, had the working title Sonic World Adventure, complete with work-in-progress logo. However, the development team began to introduce enough new innovations to separate it from the Sonic Adventure titles, and so a new title, Sonic Unleashed, was decided upon. It was then later revealed that the game's name in Japan would in fact remain Sonic World Adventure for its release there.
One of the main objections that the producer Yoshihisa Hashimoto had alongside the development of the game were ways to avoid having the game "on-rails" like in the past titles, but still maintaining an interactive feel while presenting vigorousness and sense of speed. This intention lead to eclectic actions, implementation of actions such as Quick Step/Drift/Stomping/Sonic Boost (the latter carried out from Sonic Rush), and additions of objects that change paths depending on the correctness of the button input (which would become the Real-Time Interactions). The Quick Step idea was drawn from the fact that usually, the player moves in a 3D gameplay using the left stick, but since it is analogue, it limits the user’s move to linear directions. So it is difficult to let them run non-stop within a complicated 3D environment by the left stick alone. Thereby, a system that allows Sonic to move quickly and avoid the obstacles was needed and that was when the technique was brought.
Another concept that the project leader of Sonic Unleashed, Yoshihisa Hashimoto, sought for was to make "more than 2 rings makes little difference in the game play." So, the "Ring Energy" concept was created; in which collecting many Rings is rewarded, marrying the concept of the ring and the speed. As more rings collected, more energy is accumulated and the faster Sonic will be. By consuming Rings, it also allows Sonic to "Sonic Boost", "the fast accelerating feature".
Along the way, the team also came with the Werehog concept, which dates back when he and Sachiko Kawamura wanted to "implement a stimulating element." And based on that, they wanted to transform Sonic into something wild. And added that they worked to give him a "special ability" emerging from the note that "If Sonic uses his legs and runs fast, so it will probably be fun to have Werehog use his hands for a powerful and light action." Thus, coming up with the idea of stretching arms, although they knew that such concept may collide with mixed reception from fans early in development. The storyline of Sonic Unleashed had also a prominent part in the development. And it was early decided that the story should be very simple and easy to understand, but not get rid of it entirely.
In term of models' design, the Art Director Sachiko Kawamura looked at redesigning the Sonic character model, aiming to create the 'ideal' Sonic that fans around the world would recognize. She tried to find a balance between the modern design of Sonic the Hedgehog and his classic appearance in the original titles. One of the many noticeable changes to the Sonic model was the placement of his mouth, which appeared on the side of his face when used in cutscenes to resemble the look of the original model art for the character, rather than the center as had become the norm in previous 3D games, though the "usual sub characters" were excluded from that change. As for the design of the levels, each was based on a real life locale, stemming from the idea of "what if Sonic were in the real world?". Even though its cues were taken from reality, the game still strove to be more cartoony than the previous effort. Additionally, due to Sonic being faster than he was in previous titles, each action stage was conceptualized to be as long as "10~20Km".
The game was being developed internally by Sonic Team. It is a multi-platform release on the Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. There are two development "silos" that work on two separate builds of the game: one for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version, and one for the Wii and PlayStation 2 version. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions run on Sega's "Hedgehog Engine", which has been in production for three years and produces a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The Wii and PlayStation 2 versions do not take advantage of the Hedgehog Engine, instead using a modified version of an existing, internal Sega engine.
The Wii version of the game has been developed specifically to take advantage of its controller's capabilities, with notable differences in gameplay. The game uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk option; whilst character movement and basic actions are assigned to buttons, certain actions will benefit from physical movements. It supports the GameCube controller, and also the option of using the Classic Controller. The levels, whilst sharing the same styles, themes and motifs as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, are different to those shared between the Wii and the PlayStation 2 versions, and Dimps was only involved with design of the daytime stages for these versions.
Initially, it was stated that Sonic Unleashed was to be intended solely as a single-player experience, and would not offer any multiplayer or online modes. This was then cast into doubt when references to online modes were alluded to around E3 2008, but a later interview re-iterated that Unleashed would have no online modes at all. A demo was said to be available on the PlayStation Store and on Xbox Live near to the game's release, and was released recently.
The title was first brought to public attention when the Sonic Unleashed name was trademarked by Sega on 12 March 2008. Screenshots of cut scenes, artwork, and a video were leaked ten days later; the title was then officially confirmed by Sega on 3 April 2008 with a small selection of screenshots and an updated video.
Gameplay primarily consists of two modes. The first is 2D side-scrolling platform gameplay, rendered with 3D visuals (as found in the Sonic Rush and Sonic Rivals series), with seamless shifts to behind-the-back, third-person stages. Concepts returning from past games include Sonic's trademark high-speed gameplay, as well as improved lock-on for automatically targeting and hitting enemies. In the 2D gameplay, sliding across the ground also returns, and a new feature, "Drift" allows Sonic to slide around a corner at high speed. Players will also be able to perform a new side-step maneuver known as "Quick Step", allowing Sonic to instantly dodge obstacles to the left or right. As the player goes through the game and Sonic gains more Experience Points, the player is able to upgrade and gain new abilities for Sonic and Sonic the Werehog.
An on-screen Ring Energy meter can be filled by collecting rings, which is used to activate a temporary speed increase known as Sonic Boost, during which time the camera uses a fish-eye effect and motion blur; hitting enemies and obstacles will reduce the meter. Action Chaining allows the player to collect energy more quickly, by collecting rings faster or by stringing together sets of actions, including button input sequences, some of which will be in midair. Repeated action chains will allow the player to perform special moves or access different routes in the level. Shield pick-ups from previous games will make a return, protecting Sonic from various hazards.
The second is 3D beat-em-up style gameplay with platforming and puzzles thrown in. During night sections of the game, Sonic transforms to his alternate Werehog form, and gameplay shifts from fast-paced action to a slower, more platform-oriented style of gameplay. The Werehog form allows Sonic a great deal of strength, and gameplay involves smashing enemies and destructible environments, whilst his stretchy arms will allow him to reach high platforms and perform special attacks. Completing Real-Time Interactions on weakened enemies in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version grants the player a Critical Attack bonus. The Ring Energy meter changes to two bars, Unleashed and Vitality; the Vitality Bar acts as a health bar and replenishes by collecting rings, whilst the Unleashed Bar activates with a button to increase attack strength, decrease vitality loss from enemy attacks, and enables special moves, and replenishes by defeating enemies and destroying objects.
- Apotos (Windmill Isle): This level is the first level in the game and serves as the backdrop to most of the tutorials in the game. Its architecture is influenced by Greek Mediterranean architecture, like the real Greek island of Chora, Mykonos Greece. It also looks similar to the Greek city of Santorini.
- Spagonia (Rooftop Run): A level influenced by western European architecture, like the real Italian city of Siena.
- Mazuri (Savannah Citadel): The sandy, desert-like level inspired by Africa. This is present in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version as a hub world, day and night stages, on the Wii/PlayStation 2 version it is only playable for the boss battle against the Egg Beetle and as a hub world.
- Holoska (Cool Edge): An icy location, most likely based on Alaska (due to the name).
- Chun-nan (Dragon Road): A level inspired by China's architecture. It includes a run along what looks like the Great Wall.
- Shamar (Arid Sands): A stage designed to resemble a Middle Eastern desert landscape, probably Petra, Jordan.
- Empire City (Skyscraper Scamper) A location based on New York City where Sonic is shown to run between skyscrapers. This stage is only available on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- Adabat (Jungle Joyride): A level inspired by Angkor, Maldivian, and Southeastern Asia themes. It contains many flowing rivers and high cliffs.
- Eggmanland (Eggmanland/Crimson Carnival (Japan)): Eggman's empire, based on an island near the fifth continent. The stage is combination of an amusement park and a factory. It resembles a fusion of Circus Park, Lava Shelter, Hot Shelter and Final Egg.
Levels have been designed so that the two aforementioned modes of 2D and 3D gameplay will be switched between roughly every fifteen to thirty seconds. In addition, the game features a day-and-night system; some parts of the action stages have been specially built so that time will pass, and these can be played as either Sonic or his werehog form, while others are only built for one specific form, and during these areas, time will not pass. The player is easily able to advance time manually during the areas allowing either form, should they prefer one or the other.
The game also features town stages, or "hub-worlds", that are set in the same environments as the action stages and players also are able to walk around the environment freely and speak to townspeople, even gaining items from them. However, this "overworld" can be completely ignored, should the player prefer to simply play through all the stages. Optional side-quests are also available from these stages, for instance, using Tails to fly the Tornado plane; side-quests will be the only time characters other than Sonic will be playable. Such side quests are only available for the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Due to the different power and capabilities of the consoles of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 compared to the Wii/PlayStation 2, there are significant differences between the two versions of the game released. Note that there is an additional mobile phone release developed by Gameloft that sports completely different gameplay, so it is not considered here.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, when the player runs into a specific part of a stage, the level halts as Chip speaks and reads the words on the screen. On the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3, they are only read rather than spoken by using the Hint Rings, and they do not interrupt gameplay.
- The hub world in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version involves selecting an area to go to as opposed to exploration. Also, the time of day is only changeable after the continent has been restored.
- Stages in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version tend to be faster-paced with brighter contrast and narrower pathways (requiring reflexes and memorization for survival), while stages in the Wii/PlayStation 2 versions of the game use more subdued colors, have wider pathways/more environmental space, and utilize a greater variety of alternate routes, focusing more on efficient usage of speed to reach the goal.
- In the daytime stages, Sonic does not get an extra life after getting a hundred rings in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version (nor are there extra life items); however, in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, he does, on top of extra lives being collectable on their own.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, lives work differently and are "permanent". Sonic, by default, always starts levels with three lives. For example, if Sonic lost some lives in a stage, he would regain them by the start of another stage. To obtain more lives, Sonic must visit unlockable areas within the Gaia Gates that contain extra life items, which will permanently increase the number of chances Sonic has to complete a single level.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, Homing Attack and Grab lock-on reticles are green, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, they are red.
- The Mazuri and Empire City levels were not included in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version (except for Mazuri's boss).
- The Mazuri boss battle stage is also rendered differently; the Wii/PlayStation 2 version has the path move towards the right, while the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version moves it to the left.
- The Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version features Tornado Defense levels, which are absent from the Wii/PlayStation 2 version.
- Sonic begins with all of his abilities in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, while he must acquire some of them in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version via progression. That being said, in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Sonic will still face mandatory tutorials on certain moves at roughly the same points where he would have unlocked them in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- Sonic the Werehog is the only one who levels up and what he gains is predetermined when he acquires a certain number of orbs in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version. He also has significantly fewer moves than in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version. In addition, he collects Dark Gaia Force instead of Chaos Orbs in order to improve his abilities.
- Sonic's top speed and Sonic Boost gauge can't be leveled up permanently and are determined by rings gathered in the stage in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version. If Sonic takes damage, he levels down by one bar of boost. The Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version allows these to increase in level for the rest of the game.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, the Sonic Boost is performed by holding down the boost button. It works continuously, and can be filled by collecting Rings and can be leveled up to increase the bar length. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 Version, the Sonic Boost works by pressing the boost button and the boost lasts for two to three seconds. It's filled by collecting Rings, performing Action Chains and drifting. It costs one square of the bar to use a single boost and the bar can be increased by collecting Rings from a total of three bars to six.
- Action Chains are a feature found only in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version. When Sonic strings together certain types of combos, he can create an Action Chain. The more moves Sonic does, the more Boost power he gets.
- Action Chains must be initiated with destroying two enemies consecutively. They can be continued by destroying more enemies, touching speed pads, starting grinding and ring dashing. However, they cannot be continued by boosting, drifting, stomping, using jump pads (and their blue springs), or using pulleys.
- Sonic must search for Sun and Moon Medals in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version in order to progress through the main campaign. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Sun and Moon tablets are used to access levels instead, and these are gained automatically. The Medals are earned based on the player's rank, or gathered automatically by completing missions, and they're solely used to unlock Secret Areas at Gaia Gates.
- Gaia Gates are not present in a playable state in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version. However, this version features fully explorable hub worlds.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the Gaia Gates serve as the hub worlds. In them, Sonic can use his medals to open up various puzzles, which are home to a variety of extras (including extra life items). Their only other function is to serve as a simpler level select.
- Sonic's rank in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version is determined by score and its worst ranking is E; the requirements to attain an S-Rank also vary slightly by level. On the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, regular Sonic's ranks are determined by completion time while Sonic the Werehog's are judged on three factors: level-up orbs gathered, completion time and number of rings gathered and the worst ranking of this version is C.
- Receiving an E in any act in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version or failing a mission in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version causes the Results BGM to play an alternate version that is poorly performed.
- For boss battle rankings, the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version is determined by score. The Wii/PlayStation 2 version uses time as its sole factor and has no ranks aside from S, which earns a medal and C, which does not award any bonuses.
- For the final fight against Dark Gaia, the player can only earn a rank after beating the boss a second time in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the rank is earned right away.
- Eggmanland is one long stage where Sonic switches forms in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it starts with the daytime stage and missions before switching to five night-time levels. Also, there is no explorable Gaia Gate.
- Whenever Sonic dashes across water in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version's daytime stages, he is seen running on the water. But in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Sonic appears to surf when he runs on it. This is also seen in a later game, Sonic Generations (3DS).
- Likewise, Sonic will keep his momentum when dashing across water in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version to likely accommodate for the fact that the boost button cannot be held down, whereas in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version he must remain in motion whenever he is on water to prevent himself from sinking.
- During some segments where Sonic flies through the air to attack a target through a real-time interaction, Sonic will Air Boost towards his target in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, or Homing Attack towards it in the Wii/PlayStation 2 versions.
- Whenever Sonic is running along a wall, he'll either run along it slanted upwards a bit (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3) or run along it completely perpendicular to it (Wii/PlayStation 2).
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it is possible to Spin Dash. Sonic spins automatically whenever he encounters a speed pad in mid-boost. Also, at the beginning of the level, if the player presses the boost button or swings the Wii Remote just as the countdown ends, Sonic will not only start off with a Spin Dash, but he will also get one free boost. If the player presses the button or swings too late, Sonic will trip and fall over for a few seconds.
- Sonic has fewer voice clips in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version. For example, he only has one clip for boosting, while there are at least three in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- The levels in the game are much more challenging in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, and are much longer, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the levels are much shorter, and offer easier gameplay. Also, the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version is the only version in which the day stages have three acts for every continent.
- However, some of the optional missions in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version come with their own exclusive level geometry, suggesting that the developers might have originally intended to include more daytime acts per continent.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, the "Hedgehog Engine" is used. This is used to reflect light off everything on screen to produce CGI quality graphics in-game. As people would expect, the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game received more praise on the graphics front, however, the Wii/PlayStation 2 version was commended as well. This engine is also used to load levels while players play them. This is needed to keep up with the incredible speeds Sonic reaches in the daytime stages of the game without encountering too many framerate or slowdown issues. It can allow Sonic to reach in excess of 300 MPH (483 km/h). Since the Wii/PlayStation 2 consoles cannot handle the capabilities of the Hedgehog Engine, the daytime stages were created by Sonic Team in cooperation with Dimps to supply alternative but similar gameplay.
- Additionally, the Wii/PlayStation 2 version has all the cutscenes pre-rendered unlike the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, which has the non-CGI cutscenes rendered using the aforementioned engine. This makes them clearer and far less darker than in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, although the cutscenes do run slightly better in the latter version.
- In the nighttime stages, Sonic appears to run faster when dashing in Wii/PlayStation 2 version compared to the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version. His speed also seems to be less controllable and can shatter objects by running into them. Also, the "aura" on his attacks are blue in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version (and also red, green, and yellow), while it is purple on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3, which is another thing to note regarding the graphical differences. Interestingly, the auras turn blue when Sonic activates his Unleashed Mode in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, the Star Posts or Checkpoints appears in the daytime and nighttime acts as well. But in the Wii/PlayStation 2 versions, the Star Posts appears exclusively in the Time Attack missions during the daytime sections, and they add time.
- The Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed was the last main-series Sonic game until Sonic Lost World to feature item capsules in levels. In the night stages, these hidden objects hold extra Gaia force, Unleashed force, or hidden extras. In day stages, they only hold hidden extras. In Gaia Gates, they can hold hidden extras, extra lives, or unlock missions.
- They behave slightly differently than other Item Boxes in the series. They cannot be destroyed with Homing Attacks, but can instantly be destroyed when touched.
- They resemble the item boxes of the Sonic Rush series, and the design reappears in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the night acts have names, and Apotos, Spagonia, Holoska, and Chun-nan each have three acts, Shamar and Adabat both have four acts, and Eggmanland has five acts. In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, each world (except for Eggmanland) has two acts, simply called Act 1 and Act 2.
- The Wii/PlayStation 2 version of the final boss (Perfect Dark Gaia section) has Super Sonic fight it by himself while in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version the Gaia Colossus fights Perfect Dark Gaia along with Super Sonic.
- The PS2 version also has some differences compared to the Wii version. In the PS2 version, Sonic's looks and renderings are more alike to his appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). His quills also do not move like in the Wii version, and the PS2 version gives him a darker blue shade.
- The PS2 version also sports longer load-times.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Tricks can only be performed one button at a time, while in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, all buttons can be performed simultaneously.
- The Wii/PlayStation 2 version has backward compatibility to its console successors (PS3 except for Slim and Super Slim models for the PS2 version and Wii U for the Wii version). The Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version is incompatible with it's console successors (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) due to hardware incompatibilities.
- However, as of March 7, 2017, the PlayStation 3 version can be playable on PlayStation 4 and PC via the PlayStation Now service, with PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Sony Bravia Smart TV (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 models), Sony Blu-Ray players and Samsung Smart TV support being dropped in the same year.
- Also, as of November 29, 2018, the Xbox 360 version can be playable on Xbox One via backwards compatibility. However, it does not support Xbox One X enhancements.
- As of April 2014, the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version is downloadable and also sold as a disc while the Wii/PlayStation 2 version is only sold as a disc.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, Sonic appears to slow down when he begins to side scroll but in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, Sonic retains his speed.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version's opening cinematic, the screen format is cropped to 21:9 (2.37:1) and the game logo will appear. On the Wii/PlayStation 2, the screen format is un-cropped and is at its original screen format of 16:9 (1.88:1) and the game logo does not appear. Furthermore, the opening cinematic from the Wii/PlayStation 2 version can be watched with English Voices on Marza Animation Planet's official website without subtitles and the game logo as well as the Bonus DVD in Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Selection with Japanese subtitles and the Japanese logo for the game, in which is shown in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- Additionally, the cinematic is shown after the title screen in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, while in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it plays before the title screen.
- When Sonic switches between his day and night forms in the Xbox 360 version, the loading screen includes an animation of him transforming, while the PlayStation 3 version just shows a rotating Sun/Moon Medal against a white background.
- Stage progression in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version is mission-based (specifically the daytime half; the Werehog's missions are completely optional, aside from tutorials), much like the Sonic Storybook Series. With each continent he visits, Sonic must first play through the day stage normally, before replaying it multiple times with a constantly changing goal. Missions for both Sonic and the Werehog are present in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version as well, but all of them are optional.
- Cutscenes are skippable in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, but not in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version.
- The in-game language can be changed in both versions of the game, but in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it only affects the in-game text, whereas it changes the text and the voice acting in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- The bonus Sonic and Chip cutscene from Chun-Nan appears in both versions of the game, but the ones for Holoska and Adabat only appear in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
At the beginning of the story, Sonic is confronting his nemesis, Dr. Eggman, aboard his flagship. Eggman then activated the ships defense systems, activating the cannons and bringing forth a horde of Egg Fighters. After seeing the obstacles, Sonic boosted forward and began dodging the batteries fired from the cannons. Bounding across the flagship, Eggman brought forth his Mech and unleashed a flurry of machine gun fire. After running across the ceiling while dodging missiles, Sonic ran through the Flagship's hallway. Eggman fired his Mech's grappling hook-like arm and grabbed Sonic. After being pulled to Eggman in the Mech's grasp, Sonic summoned the Chaos Emeralds from within himself and became Super Sonic in order to stop him, destroying Eggman's mech, Eggman fled in his Egg Mobile and fled from his Flagship. After chasing Eggman through space and destroying half of his fleet, they finally arrived at Eggman's Research Facility and knocking Eggman himself to the ground. As a trap, Eggman pretends to plead for mercy. When Sonic is close enough, he activates the Chaos Energy Cannon, which traps Sonic in the center and begins drawing the Chaos energy out of Sonic and the Emeralds in a fashion that is clearly extremely painful for him.
After the weapon is charged, Eggman fires a laser at the earth to wake a monster known as Dark Gaia, splitting the planet. The dark energy of the Emeralds is brought out by the ray, transforming Sonic into a monstrous version of himself and rendering the Chaos Emeralds gray and powerless. Eggman then opens an airlock which sucks Sonic and the drained Emeralds out into space and down to earth. While Sonic is saved from a fatal landing due to an unknown energy source, he still ends up taking a heavy fall. After pulling himself out of the dirt, Sonic encounters a winged imp-like creature. Sonic then asks the creature what his name was and the creature couldn't remember his own name or history (which Sonic thinks he landed on him, causing the memory loss). Sonic agrees to help the creature restore his memory during their journey.
After exploring the city of Apotos, Sonic names the creature Chip and the two run into Tails at night. Tails immediately recognizes Sonic even though he is in his Werehog form and reveals that Professor Pickle of Spagonia University may be able to help them on their adventure. Once they reach Spagonia, they discover Dr. Eggman has kidnapped Professor Pickle for his knowledge on Dark Gaia. After traveling to Mazuri and freeing him, Professor Pickle explains the nature of Dark Gaia and reveals that restoring power to the Chaos Emeralds via the Gaia Temples would help the planet return to normal. Sonic then sets out to the seven Gaia Temples to restore the Emeralds and reassemble the planet. In Spagonia, Sonic and Chip run into Amy at night, who doesn't recognize Sonic in his Werehog form. He later saves Amy from Dark Gaia's influence and she, upon learning her savior's identity, decides to help Sonic and Professor Pickle. All the while, Dr. Eggman makes plans to reassemble Dark Gaia and finish Eggmanland.
During the restoration of the sixth Chaos Emerald and continent, it's revealed that Chip is in fact Light Gaia, the opposite of Dark Gaia, and he lost his memories because, like Dark Gaia, he was prematurely awakened by Eggman's laser when Eggman started the Time of Awakening, where Chip and Dark Gaia was meant to awaken, too early; likewise, Dark Gaia has not yet been fully reborn due to his premature awakening, and Sonic must stop Eggman before Dark Gaia's full powers return to its normal state.
At this point, Sonic travels to the location of the last temple, over which Eggman has built Eggmanland using an extraction of Dark Gaia's power. While Sonic is able to restore the last emerald and defeat Eggman's newest mech, Dark Gaia becomes complete, by draining the dark energy that Sonic had that turned him into Werehog, knocking Dr. Eggman out of the way to keep the power for itself. Sonic is too weak to move so Chip uses the Gaia Temples to form a body called Gaia Colossus to combat Dark Gaia with, Sonic recovers on the Gaia Colossus and helps Chip fight Dark Gaia. Chip and Sonic hold off the beast, but Dark Gaia manages to drown the planet in darkness, achieving its fully-matured form in the process. Sonic then transforms into Super Sonic using the seven Chaos Emeralds and takes Perfect Dark Gaia down with the help of Gaia Colossus, but the battle leaves him too drained of his energy to escape. As the final continent moves back into place, Chip flings Sonic back onto the surface while he remains behind. After Sonic wakes up, Chip's necklace and some parting words are found on the ground. Sonic then picks it up and puts on the necklace as a bracelet to remind them of their adventures together. The game ends as Sonic runs off with Tails, who is in the Tornado, to another adventure.
While these characters were confirmed to appear in the game, there were two playable characters: Sonic and the Werehog (although the player does take control of Chip for brief sections during one boss battle). However, optional mini-games were going to be available, during which time another character was planned to be used in order to complete them. Tails also controls the Tornado plane in missions similar to that of Sonic Adventure, but can only be played in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Chip (Light Gaia)
- Amy Rose
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Professor Pickle
- Dr. Eggman
- Dark Gaia
The game's soundtrack was released as the album Planetary Pieces. The game's theme song is "Endless Possibility" sung by Jaret Reddick. The themes of the various continents are developed with the culture of each region in mind. Each stage features instruments that are synonymous to the real-world area that the levels are based on, with the exception of Eggmanland, which uses synthesizers to emulate the industrial theme. The ending theme, "Dear My Friend", is about the brief but touching friendship between Sonic and Chip. The game's orchestral theme, "The World Adventure" plays during the title screen and the credits, and is used as a leitmotif throughout the game. Most of the soundtrack was composed by Tomoya Ohtani, who had previously composed Sonic '06 and Sonic Rush Adventure. The orchestral tracks were performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Archie Comics stated that they had plans for an adaption of Sonic Unleashed, and made one a few months later. The adaption was simply titled "Sonic Unleashed" and featured the scene where Super Sonic changes into the Werehog, but with some minor changes, such as the Gaia Manuscripts never being mentioned and Chip being nowhere to be seen. Following the reboot of the series that occurred at the end of the Sonic & Mega Man: Worlds Collide crossover, the new continuity quickly introduced an adaptation of Sonic Unleashed to the main storyline as opposed to the non-canon previous adapt. Again a number of changes took place:
- Sonic's World shattered due to the lingering effects of the Genesis Waves as opposed to having a weapon powered by the Chaos Emeralds fired at it.
- Sonic's transformation into the Werehog is delayed, and caused by exposure to Dark Gaia's energy seeping out of the planet as it begins to break up.
- Chip is found by Knuckles the Echidna and the Chaotix rather than Sonic, and is given his nickname by Charmy Bee.
- The Freedom Fighters and Uncle Chuck, Tikal and Chaos from Sonic Adventure, and various other characters take part in the adaption who did not appear in the game.
- The storyline of the game is interrupted by a story arc inspired by Sonic the Fighters and by the Worlds Unite crossover.
A Japanese magazine has also released a manga adaption of Sonic Unleashed. This manga was the first sighting of Chip. Close to the game's release, Sega revealed a trailer for an upcoming short animated film tilted Sonic: Night of the Werehog. The film, starring Sonic and Chip, has no dialogue, except for two instances where Sonic says "whoa" and "oops." The film is about 10 minutes long and was released in November 2008 alongside the game.
|Badge||Name||Description||Requirement||Trophy Class||Xbox Live Gamescore|
|Ace Pilot||Pull off some flawless flying||Finish Tornado Defense Act 1 with 100% Health.||Silver||20|
|Airdevil||Improve your Air Boost!||Use the Air Boost for the first time||Bronze||10|
|Almost There||Save the fifth continent.||Bronze||25|
|Basher||Get your Werehog level up||Get your Werehog's Combat to Level 5.||Bronze||10|
|BFF's||Become better friends with Chip||Feed Chip a lot of food.||Silver||20|
|Blue Meteor||Dash through the white walls at top speed||Finish Windmill Isle Act 2 in under 2'35".||Bronze||20|
|Blue Streak||Create an unbeatable Hedgehog||Max out Sonic The Hedgehog's stats.||Silver||30|
|Combo King||Work on your combos||Accumulate 10,000 total Combos||Silver||20|
|Crasher||Get your Werehog level up even higher!||Get your Werehog's Combat to Level 15.||Bronze||10|
|Creature of the Night||Get a high score with Sonic the Werehog||Get an S-Rank for the first time with Sonic the Werehog||Bronze||15|
|Day Tripper||Race through all stages||Complete all daytime Stages.||Bronze||20|
|Exotic Toppings||Eat all the hot dogs in Mazuri.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Mazuri.||Bronze||10|
|First Time Customer||Buy something from Wentos.||Buy a product from the Traveling Salesman Wentos Shop.||Bronze||10|
|Fried Clam Roll||Eat all the hot dogs in Adabat.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Adabat.||Bronze||10|
|Full Moon||Collect all of the Moon Medals.||Silver||50|
|Get on the Exorcise Bandwagon||Drive dark spirits away||Exorcise all the possessed townspeople||Bronze||20|
|Getting the Hang of Things||Get a high score with Sonic the Hedgehog||Get an S-Rank for the first time with Sonic the Hedgehog.||Bronze||15|
|Gyro with Relish||Eat all the hot dogs in Apotos.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Apotos.||Bronze||10|
|Half Moon||Collect half of the Moon Medals||Silver||30|
|Hard Boiled||Eat all the hot dogs in Eggmanland.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Eggmanland.||Bronze||10|
|Hard Day's Night||Blast through all stages||Complete all nighttime stages.||Bronze||20|
|Hedgehunk||Talk with people in the pursuit of love||Complete all missions for Louie Montaine and Ana.||Bronze||5|
|Helping Hand||Help someone in need||Complete all missions for a townsperson.||Bronze||20|
|Hungry Hungry Hedgehog||Eat everything in the world||Buy all the world's food, including one of each hotdog and Wentos' special food.||Silver||30|
|Hyperdrive||Improve your Lightspeed Dash!||Light Speed Dash for the first time.||Bronze||10|
|I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost||Someone is dealing with spectral troubles||Help Marcantonio in Spagonia and Adabat.||Bronze||5|
|Iced Hotdog||Eat all the hot dogs in Holoska.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Holoska.||Bronze||10|
|Kebab on a Bun||Eat all the hot dogs in Shamar.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Shamar.||Bronze||10|
|Ketchup and Mustard||Eat all the hot dogs in Empire City.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Empire City.||Bronze||10|
|Knockout Brawler||Smash, smash, and smash some more||Defeat 1,000 enemies.||Silver||20|
|Lay the Smackdown||Improve your Stomp!||Use Stomp for the first time||Bronze||10|
|Looking Better||Save the second continent.||Bronze||25|
|Oh, You Shouldn't Have!||Give a souvenir to the Professor.||Bronze||10|
|One More to Go||Save the sixth continent.||Bronze||25|
|Partly Cloudy||Collect half of the Sun Medals||Silver||30|
|Picking Up The Pieces||Save the fourth continent.||Bronze||25|
|Pig in a Blanket||Eat all the hot dogs in Spagonia.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Spagonia.||Bronze||10|
|Power Overwhelming||Create an unbeatable Werehog||Max out Sonic The Werehog's stats||Silver||30|
|Ring Leader||Gather Rings from all over the world||Accumulate 5,000 Rings.||Silver||20|
|Sausage Fried Rice||Eat all the hot dogs in Chun-nan.||Clear all Don Fachio missions in Chun-nan.||Bronze||10|
|Smasher||Get your Werehog level up some more!||Get your Werehog's Combat to Level 10.||Bronze||10|
|Social Butterfly||Talk to people around the world||Speak with all 100 townspeople, including each Hotdog vendor.||Silver||30|
|Speeding Ticket||Become the fastest thing alive||Complete Arid Sands Act 1 in under 2'50".||Silver||20|
|Still a Jigsaw Puzzle||Save the third continent.||Bronze||25|
|Still Broken||Save the first continent.||Bronze||25|
|Sunny||Collect all of the Sun Medals.||Silver||50|
|That's Enough, Seriously||Give every souvenir to the Professor.||Bronze||20|
|Thrasher||Get your Werehog level way up there!||Get your Werehog's Combat to Level 20.||Bronze||10|
|Wall Crawler||Improve your Wall Jump!||Wall jump for the first time||Bronze||10|
|World Savior||Complete the game.||Gold||100|
|100% Clear||This is the platinum trophy and is unlocked automatically when all of the other trophies have been unlocked. (PS3 only)||Platinum||N/A|
Back in 2008 when the game was released to public, the game seemed to not have any downloadable contents planned to release for it, evidenced by the back cover of the Xbox 360 version that does not mention that the game supports downloadable content (although it was not even corrected later in the platinum hits).
On 12 March 2009, the first Downloadable Content (DLC) pack was released for the Xbox 360, with "Chun-nan Adventure pack" name on it; the expansion includes four new daytime stages and two new Nighttime stages for the said country. A frame rate patch was also included to fix frame rate issues on areas and levels in the game such as the hub-worlds and Adabat. The package costs US$3.13 to download for the Xbox 360 and US$1.99 on the PlayStation 3, while the frame rate patch comes free. On 26 March 2009, an additional expansion was released called the "Spagonia Adventure Pack". Just like the pack before it, it contains four new daytime stages and two new nighttime stages. Later, a "Holoska Adventure Pack" and a "Mazuri Adventure Pack" were released on 9 April 2009 and 30 April 2009 respectively, also containing four daytime levels and two nighttime levels. On 21 May 2009, another DLC Pack was released including extra levels for Apotos and Shamar, including five daytime levels and four nighttime levels between the both of them. In 11 June 2009, yet another DLC pack was released that included extra levels for Empire City, and Adabat, including five daytime levels and four nighttime levels between the both of them, and it was also said to be the last DLC content for Sonic Unleashed. On 2 April 2009 the "Chun-nan Adventure Pack" was released for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Network, with all other DLC from the Xbox 360 Version were released to PSN later on.
|Metacritic||66/100 (Wii/PlayStation 2)|
|Game Informer||6.5/10 (Wii)|
4.5/10 (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)
|Nintendo World Report||4/10 (Wii)|
Sonic Unleashed received mixed reviews. Initial anticipation when the first media for Unleashed was revealed was high, as the demonstration videos hinted at a possible return of Sonic to his traditional platforming roots, especially after the decrease in the series' popularity and critical success after Sonic's transition to three-dimensional gameplay and a number of poorly received titles in the franchise that preceded it, such as the 2006 games, Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis. However, critical reception to Sonic Unleashed was mixed, with Metacritic aggregate scores of 54 and 60 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions respectively and 66 out of 100 for the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions. GameSpot gave the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions each a 3.5/10 while giving the Wii version a 7.0/10. The added element of motion controls for the Werehog sections, as well as text-based hub worlds and better Werehog level design and camera system, were reasons cited for the higher review scores for the Wii version of the game, though a few review websites, such as 1UP, gave the Wii version a lower score than its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts.
Positive elements of Unleashed remarked upon by reviews include the environments, such as the "postcard-perfect architecture" and the graphics, with stages looking "absolutely gorgeous" and being "very pretty and lovingly animated", with one reviewer comparing them to a playable Pixar film. Praise was given to the technical competence of SEGA's new Hedgehog Engine as a whole on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, with "bright cartoonish graphics that fly by without a stutter"; however, some complaints were raised about frame rate reduction when large numbers of enemies appeared during the Werehog sections. Although the Wii and PlayStation 2 versions do not use the Hedgehog Engine, graphics for these platforms were still praised for their high quality, with the title being nominated for Best Graphics Technology for the Wii by IGN in its 2008 video game awards. The soundtrack to the game was also praised as being an improvement on more recent installments in the series; use of an orchestral score, rather than rock as in more recent games, was appreciated.
An overwhelmingly negative reaction was given by critics to the Werehog concept and corresponding night-time sections, which contributed greatly to the lower-than-expected review scores. Complaints stemmed from the game's change of speed, from high-speed daytime sections to the slower, night-time sections; the "pace-breaking combat levels" were described as "plodding", as well as "lethargic" and "combat-heavy". Further to the change of pace, the new style of gameplay that accompanies the night-time levels was widely criticized, involving "frustrating" platform elements and combat described as not "terribly interesting" and "boring", some reviewers felt that the Werehog as a concept did not mix well with the daylight areas and traditional Sonic gameplay; GamePro's review described them as "dreadfully out-of-place", while IGN stated that they have "nothing to do with Sonic whatsoever", feeling that the Werehog was "being slapped on" to the Sonic experience.
In stark contrast to the Werehog sections, many reviewers found the daytime levels to be enjoyable, especially the "exhilarating" sense of speed they provide; with "the most satisfying gameplay of any Sonic title in years", the game "perfectly captures the feel of classic Sonic". Many also enjoyed the mixture of, and transition between, 2D and 3D sections. Indeed, many reviewers remarked that they would have appreciated the game more had it comprised solely of, and expanded upon, the daytime levels. However, GameSpot's reviews for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions argued that the controls were "unresponsive" in the daytime levels and that most of them were "horribly designed", instead describing the Wii version as a "vastly superior experience", with its daytime levels praised for better control and design.
Aside from the criticism of Werehog levels, further aspects of the game were criticized, contributing to the mixed review scores. The quests that players must undertake in hub-towns were described as "inane" and "tedious", where "figuring out what happens next involves aimlessly wandering through towns and speaking to citizens, only to discover that most of them don't know what we're looking for". The story and overall tone of the game, including the new character Chip, were criticized, some remarking that it was too juvenile, or comparable to that of a Saturday morning cartoon. Most reviewers also felt that the English voice acting for characters was poor. Some fans however feel that this is one of Jason Griffith's best roles as Sonic in a long time.
Despite most reviewers preferring the Wii/PlayStation 2 versions of the game over the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 versions.
Sonic Unleashed (preview build)
On December 6, 2016, user "N!NJA" of the Sonic fansite, "Sonic Retro" leaked a disk containing the preview version of Sonic Unleashed for the Xbox 360 version. This version contains most of the content in the final version, albeit with a number of differences:
- This version has a full debug mode (its menu is mostly written in Japanese).
- This version has a near-stable 60 FPS.
- Sonic the Hedgehog's Spin Jump has a mild blue aura instead of the bluish one in the final version of the game.
- The Werehog stages contain the HUD system seen in the E3 previews, such as the original "Shield" and "Vitality" gauges.
- Sonic the Werehog's circular attacks create green slashes instead of purple ones.
- The Medals' counter icons have different lightening.
- The Sun and Moon symbols are different on the World Map, and there is a twin-tail icon in the upper left area of the map screen.
- When Tails is explaining how the World Map works, his talk bubble has a different icon for Tails than that used in the final version.
- Some Town Stages have other names alongside those used in the final version; Spagonia has for example the "European Union" name instead of the title image, and Shamar has "Petra"). The descriptions for some of the Town Stages are also different from those in the final version.
- Unlike the levels, the bosses' names are written in English. Most of them retain their English names from the final version, except for the Egg Devil Ray (which is named "Egg Ray Fish") and the Dark Guardian (which is named "Dark Gaia Keeper").
- There is a time counter in the Entrance Stages, unlike in the final version.
- A white font color is used for the options of the pause menu in this version.
- The Skills option is placed at the end of the menu when playing as Sonic the Werehog in this version.
- Villagers have random numbers and letters instead of dialogues.
- Sonic has no Rank comments in this version.
- Every enemy has a name label that appears above them when encountered. However, some do not have the name they were given in the final version (the Fright Master is named "MasterSpooky')
- The arrow icons that appear above Dark Gaia's Minions are different from the final version.
- When one of Dark Gaia's Minions are defeated, it will cry with a rough voice instead of a high-pitched screech in the version.
- There is a Fright Master in the Nighttime version of Windmill Isle which cannot be encountered in the final version.
- The Little Rexes are purple in this version of the game, instead of green.
- The Egg Fighters have different sounds for their movements in this version.
- The amount of Rings dropped when taking damage is rather random, unlike in the final version.
- Sonic's model in the cutscene is the same used in gameplay, unlike in the final version of the game, which has a separate model for each situation.
- Sonic does not start each stage with the sentence "Ready... Go!" in Japanese or "Here we... Go!" in English.
- When a Point Marker is passed, no speed calculation appears, unlike in the final version of the game.
- There are no Chaos Orbs in the daytime stages.
- In the nighttime stages, the Chaos Orbs are colored dark-grey.
- Unused level and object layouts exist in this version.
- After finishing a Stage, Mission or a Boss Battle the player is given the option to restart it right from the result screen without having to navigate back to the level select screen.
- Sonic Unleashed was originally going to be titled Sonic Adventure 3, until the team decided to make this game more focused on Sonic.
- This is the final main series Sonic game to feature the 4Kids Entertainment voice cast (except Mike Pollock).
- Sonic Unleashed is the third Sonic game with the rating of E10+.
- The game's art direction and cut-scenes are widely inspired by animations of the Pixar Animation Studios, which explains why the humans have a cartoon-ish appearance in contrast to the anime-styled/realistic look from the previous games
- A PC port of the game was planned but later scrapped for unknown reasons. However, some ported files can be found in the PC version of Sonic Generations, such as button hints at loading screens, images of purchasable goodies, Sonic and Werehog life icons, and an uncompleted renderer which is capable of rendering directional shadows.
- The cover artwork was originally going to use lenticular printing to have Sonic turn into the Werehog. For unknown reasons, the idea was scrapped and the two were split in half instead.
- Between the HD games, the PlayStation 3 version runs faster at 60fps rather than a capped 30fps, but also contains more noticeable frame rate dips (though it also drops in the Xbox 360 release in certain areas). Certain special effects such as Sonic's speed dust particles are also enhanced on PlayStation 3, though miscellaneous details such as windmills in the distance are missing. Also, the PlayStation 3 version does not offer motion blur. Character models are very slightly enriched on the PlayStation 3, while the Xbox 360 employs smoother shading. The transition between day and night was also changed to be a silent screen showing the Sun and Moon medals for the PlayStation 3 version rather than Sonic's transformation. Between the SD games, the Wii release is generally regarded as superior, as the PlayStation 2 version has fewer polygons and dimmer lighting.
- Sonic's model in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game is made up of 19,887 visible polygons or 'tris', which made it the most high-definition model of Sonic until Sonic Forces.
- When booting up the PlayStation 3 version of this game, some of Sonic's sprites from Sonic the Hedgehog are used before the Sega motto loads up. This happens again in Sonic Generations.
- The achievement "I ain't afraid of no ghosts" is a reference to "Ghostbusters"'s theme song.
- This is the first Sonic game where Sonic can collect at least 1,000 or more rings in a stage (daytime), as other games' ring cap limit is 999.
- In the opening cinematic, a Dreamcast console can be spotted when Eggman pushes the button to fire the laser. It is seen again later when the Egg Dragoon is defeated. In the cutscene where Sonic loses his Werehog transformation, a Dreamcast can be seen to the left of Eggman. The Dreamcast also makes an appearance in the scene after the Egg Dragoon is defeated; when Eggman is seen attempting to command Dark Gaia to destroy Sonic, the Dreamcast, along with a controller and a game case (with Dr. Eggman's 2D art for Sonic Rush as the cover) can be seen to the right of Eggman.
- In the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, in the nighttime Spagonia HUB to the right in a small lane, a person in the shower can be heard whistling the theme from the teaser trailer.
- This is the first game in the main series to be known by a different name in Japan, where it goes by the name Sonic World Adventure. The next is Sonic Generations, which was given subtitles based on the consoles it was released on.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of the game, Mazuri is a playable level, but in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, it only features a boss battle. Similarly, the entire Empire City level was cut from the Wii/PlayStation 2 version.
- Despite the divided opinions, this game sold 2.45 million copies in a short period of time. It has since sold over 5 million copies as of 2012, making it one of the highest selling Sonic games of all time. 
- This is the first Sonic game from the main console series since Sonic Adventure not to have Crush 40 perform the theme song.
- This is the first main series game to not feature Knuckles the Echidna since Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and the first console game to not feature Shadow the Hedgehog since Sonic Adventure 2.
- It's worth noting that they were planned to appear in the game, but were later scrapped.
- There are some level segments that are not used in the game's final version, though they can still be accessed in the game (Xbox 360 version) with glitches. These areas were later recycled as levels for the DLC Adventure Packs. A number of changes were also made in these areas, which can be seen by people not owning the DLC and using the Werehog's combo trick to access them:
- Jungle Joyride Act 1 (Night): After the Goal Ring in Jungle Joyride's main Night stage, there is a sealed door. By using the wall-walking glitch, it is possible to cross through this door. There is a large, unused, empty chamber within. If accessed from the ghost mission instead of the main level, the door will be open, and there will be objects inside. There is a tree which can be knocked down and used as a bridge, floating platforms, and switches that raise the water level. The platforms and the kill zone raise, but the room's unique water level puzzle is clearly unfinished- the water graphics remain in place. At the top of the room, there is a door. Beyond the door is an ornately detailed chamber containing the original Goal Ring.
- Arid Sands Act 1 (Night): After the Goal Ring in Arid Sands' main Night stage, there is a sealed door. By jumping onto it from a well-positioned water barrel and using the uppercut, followed by the midair Y-Y-A combo, the player can fall into an unused canyon area. It's empty, but the player can open the sealed door from the other side. The player must bring water barrels to the bottom of the chasm, stack them, and perform an uppercut-grab to go on. There is a huge chunk of level which is empty. Inside it is, among other things, two pillars the player can knock down which don't appear elsewhere. Eventually, they will reach a pit, which is uncrossable without objects to bridge the gap. Beyond it is a fairly large stretch of level that leads up to the Gaia Temple.
- The Nighttime levels of Skyscraper Scamper and Dragon Road also contain such areas. The former also has a javelin throwing gameplay gimmick for the Werehog, which was never finished entirely and therefore does not function properly. This gameplay gimmick was never recycled for the area's corresponding Adventure Pack DLC either, and was left unfinished. It can be found in the mission called 'Play It Cool'. (http://sonic.wikia.com/wiki/File:Werehogjavelin.png)
- Tails, Amy and Professor Pickle do not seem to have been affected by Dark Gaia. The Professor even remarks that he knows his assistant is affected by Dark Gaia, and that he must do something to help him.
- The manual incorrectly states that the LT and RT (360)/L2 and R2 (PS3) are not used in the day stages, but they are used to perform the Sonic Drift. It is also stated in the day stages section of the manual that if Sonic doesn't reach the goal within 10 minutes, he'll lose a life. This isn't true in the game itself, meaning the player can take as much time as needed to clear a day stage. (This is a reference to the classic Sonic games and also Sonic the Hedgehog 4, where the player has to finish each act within 10 minutes).
- One cutscene contains a reference to the ending of Sonic the Hedgehog CD. The cutscene plays after the first exorcism of the game. During the cutscene, Sonic (in his Werehog form) is seen carefully putting Amy on the ground after having saved her, with her eyes closed, then quickly leaving by swinging across buildings when she opens her eyes and turns to look at him. Much like how in the ending of Sonic CD, he put Amy on the ground, and then, while her eyes were still closed, he carefully backed away and then ran off just as she opened her eyes.
- Examining the contents of the game disc reveals what some of the regions intended names were before they were swapped for their current names. It seems some of them were named after actual locations on earth.
- Apotos - Mykonos, Greece
- Mazuri - Great Mosque of Djenne, Djenne, Mali, Africa
- Holoska - Alaska, Greenland, Antarctica
- Spagonia - Siena, Tuscany, Italy, Spain, London
- Chun-nan - Great Wall of China, Yanqizhen, Huairou District, Beijing, China
- Shamar - Petra, Jordan, Iran, Iraq
- Empire City - New York City, New York, USA (with Central Park as the hub world), Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Adabat - Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia (location); Thailand (flag),
- Eggmanland - Disneyland, Luna Park
- In the Xbox 360 version, after Perfect Dark Gaia is defeated and the earth is returning to normal, Chip says "Sonic, You must live." while the subtitles say "Sonic, You have to live.".
- This is the only Sonic game where Sonic never loses the Chaos Emeralds throughout the game.
- On the official website, the rating in the trailer showed is E10+ but the audio is the "E for everyone" rating clip.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, the player can access the Spin Dash move by either pushing the boost button at the right times during takeoff in day stages, boosting shortly before or after running onto a dash panel, or boosting in certain areas (such as right before a loop).
- In the Android and iOS versions of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, there is a mission called "Sonic Unleashed" where the player plays as Sonic to destroy wolf-like robots, referencing Sonic's Werehog form.
- In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, there are two achievements named after songs from the British band The Beatles.
- This is the final main series Sonic game on the PlayStation 2, as well as the last Sonic game to be released on a 6th generation console.
- This is the second game to have a different level entrance screen than the rest of the Sonic games. The first was Sonic Adventure.
- In the demo version of Sonic Unleashed on the Xbox 360, the game will read Sonic World Adventure, the Japanese title and list a Japanese URL.
- In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of the game, the day/night times in the cities were a point and click static map which included the Gaia Temple, which was the exploration world and level select with its own "level" music. However, in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version, this was removed to bring the hub worlds in.
- For some reason, when Eggman split the earth open, none of the oceans and water fell into the core.
- Dr. Eggman's artwork for this game has the same pose as his artwork in Sonic Channel.
- If the player looks around "BONNY'S KITCHEN" in the Empire City HUB closely enough, there is a magazine named "WORLD TREASURE" on the cover that appears to be Shamar.
- During nighttime stages in the Wii/PlayStation 2 version, when Sonic picks up a box, the box's shadow won't show up but Sonic's shadow will continue to show.
- The Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed notably has more blood than the HD versions, as shown in multiple instances other than Dark Gaia's transformation listed above. During the fight with Dark Moray, green blood sprays out of the monster every time one of his warts is destroyed. During the running sections of the Dark Gaia fight, droplets of green blood fly into the air after Sonic attacks one of his eyes.
- The trophy/achievement "Pig in a blanket" is a reference to a traditional European snack of the same name, consisting of sausage wrapped in bacon.
- In the cutscene "A New Journey" when Sonic looks around after the fall, if one looks at the Chaos Emeralds in the shot, they will see the purple emerald has still got its color.
- As Of December 2009, Sonic Unleashed was labeled as an “Xbox 360 Platinum Hit” and has the “Xbox 360 Family Games” label after selling over three million copies. It was labeled as an “Xbox 360 Classics” title in PAL regions. Although Sonic Unleashed did not sell well enough to become a “PS3 Greatest Hits” title in the NTSC region, it sold enough copies in the PAL region to become a “PS3 Essentials” title.
- The daytime level theme for Savannah Citadel has a similar melody to the opening of the end credits medley for Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit).
- This game shared a few things in common with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
- Both the main characters turned into a wolf-like being in numerous points in their respective game (Link becomes a wolf when he's in the Twilight Realm and Sonic becomes a werehog at night)
- Both main characters were accompanied by a supporting character (Midna for Link and Chip for Sonic)
- Both games have a character who suffered amnesia (Ilia and Chip)
- Both games have a major antagonist alongside the series overall antagonist (Zant/Ganondorf and Dark Gaia/Eggman)
- "Unleash the Beast". Official Nintendo Magazine (Future US) (29): pp. 37. "With Sonic Unleashed being developed internally by Sonic Team (no matter what you might heard elsewhere about the game being spread across American and European development teams)..."
- Halverson, Dave (May 2008). Sonic the Hedgehog Unleashed. Imagine Publishing. 20. http://www.tssznews.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/play10.jpg. "Sonic Team is managing the Wii development, but the coding and some of the design is being handled by some of our external partners in Japan. Fans of Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure will be pleased to hear that Dimps is involved in designing the Wii stages!"
- "Sonic Unleashed". Nintendo Power (Future Publishing): pp. 67–69. August 2008.
- Riley, Patrick. Interview with Ricardo Torres. Gamespot: Sonic Unleashed Interview 1. 2008-05-16. (Interview). Retrieved on 2008-05-16.
- Sonic Unleashed 28–31. Imagine Publishing (July 2008). Archived from the original on 13 September 2008.
- Robinson, Andy (2008-04-09). Sonic Unleashed "has no relation" to Sonic 360/PS3. Official Nintendo Magazine. Computer and Video Games. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
- ArchangelUK (10 June 2008). "Sonic World Adventure". SEGA Blog. Sega. Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved on 13 June 2008.
- SEGA_SonicUnleashed (2 December 2008). Blog by SEGA_SonicUnleashed-IGN. IGN.com. Retrieved on 21 August 2016.
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