The land of mystery meets the legend of speed.
Sonic and the Secret Rings (ソニックと秘密のリング Sonikku to Himitsu no Ringu?) (formerly known by the working title Sonic Wild Fire and Sonic and the Secret of the Rings) is a video game within the Sonic the Hedgehog series that was released exclusively for the Wii on 20 February 2007 in North America, 2 March 2007 in Europe, and 15 March 2007 in Japan. This is the first 3D Sonic game since Sonic 3D Blast to feature Sonic as the only playable character in Story Mode. It is the first installment in the Sonic Storybook Series.
The story begins with Sonic napping. Upon awakening, he reaches to check his clock and accidentally grabbing a ring. Shahra, the Genie of the Ring, pops out of a book of the Arabian Nights and into Sonic's world. She reveals that an evil entity from her world, the world of the Arabian Nights, Erazor Djinn is absorbing the power of the book and causing its pages and the world within to disappear. If he is not stopped, his power will be unleashed onto the real world unless the "Legendary Blue Hedgehog" told of in the stories can stop him. Shahra gives Sonic a ring that seals a contract between her and her new master. Sonic rubs it as instructed, and is asked for a wish. He sneezes from a cold and humorously asks for a few handkerchiefs. After doing so, he wishes to travel into the world of the Arabian Nights and flies into the book on a magic carpet.
As Sonic travels inside the book's Tunnel of Pages, Erazor approaches Sonic and Sonic is shot in the chest with a flaming arrow that is slowly burning out like a fuse. Erazor then tells Sonic that he will remove the curse if Sonic brings the seven World Rings which are scattered throughout the worlds in the book. If he fails to do so, the arrow will burn until it eventually extinguishes along with Sonic's life force. With his life on the line, Sonic heads off to locate the World Rings for Erazor and Shahra continues to go along on Sonic's journey, feeling guilty for getting him involved. Sonic sets off into the world of Arabian Nights with goals of locating the seven World Rings, in hopes of understanding the mystery of their power.
The first place he searches is in the desert world of Arabian Desert to search for the sultan, King Shahryar, the main character of the Arabian Nights, who resembles Dr. Eggman. Sonic first thinks that Eggman is behind the entire plot to erase the Arabian Nights world and attempts to question him. Shahra stops him and neither she nor King Shahryar know who Dr. Eggman is. After a short talk, King Shahryar is swooped up by a "pterosaur" commanded by Erazor, which Sonic grudgingly saves him from. This scene leads up to the next world, Dinosaur Jungle. Depending on what levels the player decides to go to, Sonic will either go straight to Dinosaur Jungle, or go on farther in Sand Oasis to meet Ali Baba (whose real world counterpart is Tails) and fight the world's boss, the Sand Scorpion who holds one of the seven World Rings Sonic must collect. After the Yellow World Ring is picked up from the remains of the monster, it is revealed that whoever gathers up all seven World Rings will be offered as a sacrifice to open a gateway between worlds.
After Sonic clears the world, he moves onto the Evil Foundry, a large, metal, industrial-like stage where Sonic confronts Erazor, who summons the Ifrit Golem, a gargantuan fire giant. Sonic and Shahra freeze time to escape (although they later return to finish him off) instead of confront the overwhelmingly powerful Ifrit. Ali Baba thinks that they should find his friend, the wise Sinbad, to help them defeat the Ifrit. Sonic and Shahra go to the Levitated Ruin and free a trapped Sinbad (the Arabian Nights counterpart of Knuckles) who tells them that the best way to destroy the Ifrit is to, "splash some water on him". Sonic sarcastically replies and causes a feud between the two characters, thus emulating their real world relationship. Ali Baba forces his way between the two to stop the fighting and says the only problem with that plan was getting enough water to stop such a large fire golem. Sinbad replies that he was getting to that part before he was interrupted, saying that they would be able to get enough water to beat the Ifrit with the Water Blue Ring, a ring Sinbad used to control storms before it was stolen by pirates. Sonic heads off to Pirate Storm in order to confront the pirates and take back the Water Blue Ring. After defeating the world's boss and acquiring the ring, Shahra hands Sonic a mysterious relic and tells him to use it if he has no choice. The pair then return to the Evil Foundry to face off with the Ifrit.
After a challenging battle, Sonic defeats the Ifrit, but finds a time bomb. They escape and throw the time bomb into the air. It explodes, revealing the fire ring. As Sonic takes up the ring, he realizes the cause of the Ifrit Golem's anger. The seven World Rings contain various emotions, with this particular ring containing rage. Sonic then goes to the Skeleton Dome and meets the undead King Solomon, who has been turned into a floating skull by Erazor Djinn. Sonic agrees to confront the resurrected forty thieves and get the king his original body back. King Solomon then tells Sonic that he must face Erazor in his lair, knowing that Erazor is said to be a Genie of the Lamp, just like Shahra is Genie of the Ring. King Solomon is still weary and senses death approaching. Sonic then goes to the final world, Night Palace, where Erazor resides. After several challenging obstacles, Sonic finds and confronts Erazor Djinn. It is the player's decision whether he wants to go on to find the last world ring or face Erazor. Sonic says the last world ring seems to be "sealed with sadness" and Shahra reveals he is the genie from Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. After a heated battle, Erazor is defeated by Sonic. However, before he can be completely defeated, he escapes through a door and proceeds to lock it. The lock can only be opened by the seven World Rings, so Sonic returns to the different worlds of the Arabian Nights to locate the remaining rings.
After Sonic collects the rings, the door opens and a "Last Chapter" is revealed as another mission under Night Palace. In the last story, Erazor convinces Shahra to give him the seven World Rings that she and Sonic have collected. Shahra complies and reveals that she and Erazor were once together and that she wants to be back with him. Sonic rubs his ring and commands Shahra to do what she "feels is right", causing her mind to crack at the two different choices she wants to make. Erazor tries to sacrifice Sonic, the collector of the World Rings, in order to gain their full power and gain the abilities of the creator. However, Shahra blocks Erazor's blade and is struck down in Sonic's place. As Shahra dies in his arms, Sonic makes one final wish for Shahra to grant - asking her to "not die, and for things to go back to the way they were". Although she does not have the power to grant the wish, the mysterious relic she gave to Sonic returns to its original state. Soon after, Erazor absorbs the power of the seven World Rings and transforms into Alf Layla wa-Layla. However, his transformation is not complete as he is required to sacrifice and absorb Sonic, the collector of the Rings. Suddenly, three of the World Rings (Sadness, Rage, and Hate, which were his feelings at the time) infuse with Sonic, causing him to undergo a radical transformation into a new form: Darkspine Sonic.
After a vicious battle, Sonic destroys Alf Layla wa-Layla and Erazor is returned to his original state as well as Sonic. Sonic, now controlling Erazor with his lamp, wishes to bring Shahra back to life, return the world back to normal, and for Erazor to be sealed away in the lamp forever. Erazor is forced by the power of the lamp to grant Sonic's wishes, even though he expresses a denial to do so, after which, he is sealed in his lamp forever (during the credits, there appears to be a shot of Sonic throwing Erazor's lamp into the lava pit from which the Ifrit Golem emerges from). Shahra, though back to life, is still overcome with grief from her earlier betrayal of Sonic. Sonic understands this, and wishes for mountains of handkerchiefs so she can cry for as long as she needs to, touchingly alluding to the start of the story.
After the credits roll, Shahra, as the narrator, says that Sonic ran endlessly until he found his way back to his own world. He is said to have had many adventures along the way, some with Ali Baba and Sinbad, but Shahra states that these stories are "for another time". She then bids a touching farewell to Sonic, the "Legendary Hedgehog". After the second credits roll, a cutscene is seen where the Arabian Nights book shows the beginning of "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp". The title changes into "Sonic and the Secret Rings".
Enemies scattered throughout the game are described as "spirits". Each enemy has different attributes depending on their predominant color. Purple and green enemies are normal enemies and have no special attributes while red enemies can spew fire in a rotary or linear motion. To defeat some of these enemies, Sonic will need to make usage of some of the 104 skills that will be available to him as the game progresses.
In Adventure mode, players control Sonic with the Wii Remote by holding the controller sideways with both hands and will be able to use the controller in unique ways that take advantage of the Wii Remote's control mechanisms. Unlike other Sonic games, in which Sonic is controlled directly, Secret Rings features an indirect "on-rails" method of control in which Sonic moves forward automatically in a semi-linear path. Sonic's movement can be controlled by tilting the controller left or right.
Sonic has special moves that can be both customized and combined to suit certain situations. Sonic can use some of 104 new skills throughout each of the stages in this game. With special skills equipped, Sonic can perform new moves, his existing moves are improved, and certain effects are bestowed. For instance, one defensive move enables Sonic to, upon sustaining damage, lose only ten rings instead of the usual twenty. Another increases the range of his homing attack, and a third grants him the ability to back flip. A fourth grants him a Soul Gauge with which to perform super moves. There is also an Experience Point and leveling system, in which the player's score, collected Fire Souls and some skills contribute towards increasing the player's level. Leveling up grants the player more points with which to equip skills, a higher cap on the number of rings you can hold and an increased Soul Gauge. Players have to, before selecting a stage, decide which skills would be best-suited for the respective mission and equip certain skills over others. Since there are so many skills, players may customize one of the four "Skill Rings" available, so they do not have to select all the skills they need each time they enter a new level.
When Sonic's Soul Gauge is sufficiently full, using the D-pad enables Sonic to use one of two abilities. "Speed Break" boosts Sonic to incredible speeds and grants him partial invincibility, allowing him to defeat enemies, break certain objects, and ignore certain hazards. "Time Break" slows down time for better aim and obstacle evasion, and can expose certain items and objects (such as some Fire Souls) that would be invisible and impossible to collect or interact with otherwise. Both moves require a base amount of Soul (around fifty points, which can be checked in the Pause Menu, along with other statistics,) to initiate, and then continually drain Soul while in operation. Also, one skill, named "Soul Resurrection", allows Sonic to take a hit without dying at zero rings by depleting his Soul Gauge by a hundred points. To build up energy in this "Soul" meter, small collectible "fire orbs", called Pearls, are dispersed throughout each stage. Also, certain Skills can increase the Soul Gauge. Certain stages will also present the need for Sonic to utilize different mechanisms to reach new areas. These special stage-unique abilities and mechanisms range, depending on the stage.
Types of Rings
|Ring||Adds a single ring to your possession.|
|Rich Ring||Adds twenty rings to your possession.|
|Pearl||Charges up the Soul Gauge.|
|Rich Pearl||Charges up the Soul Gauge twenty times more than a normal Pearl.|
|Fire Soul||A hidden item that unlocks goodies.|
There are four modes in the game: Adventure, Party, Special Book, and an Options mode to configure game settings.
Adventure mode consists of the eight stages that players will navigate Sonic through as part of the game's main plot, the eight stages are:
- Lost Prologue
- Sand Oasis
- Dinosaur Jungle
- Evil Foundry
- Levitated Ruin
- Pirate Storm
- Skeleton Dome
- Night Palace
The game's storyline takes roughly ten to fifteen hours to complete, but for devoted players who want to unlock bonuses and all 104 of Sonic's skills, it will take a total of thirty hours or so to complete. In doing so, Sonic Team has attempted to give the game additional replay value.
The game features a multiplayer Party mode that can support up to four players simultaneously. This mode allows connectivity with GameCube Controllers for players 2-4, a feature that was never mentioned by Sega. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy are all default characters, but Shadow, Cream, Silver, and Blaze are all unlockable characters that can be accessed only after meeting certain requirements in the game. "Fire Souls", hidden items found in some of the game's missions (three in each applicable one), unlock various "goodies" for this mode. Obtaining a certain number of Fire Souls will unlock new mini-games, new modes/options, or one of the four secret characters. This multiplayer mode takes the form of having players compete in select mini-games out of the total forty, either individually or collectively in consecutive orders based on secular gameplay modes. One mode, "Genie's Lair", has players participating in a variety of mini-games for an opportunity to open a treasure chest with goals of locating Sonic Tokens. Too, the game spans a total of 6 different, theme-inspired modes that enable players to participate in select mini-games. The six boards also feature various "mini events", similar to Sonic Shuffle. The actual mini-games themselves have players performing various tasks that take advantage of the Wii Remote's capabilities, although some are quite minimal and could, quite easily be executed with the Gamecube Controller. Omochao serves as the "announcer" for the Party Mode of the game, somewhat similar to his minor role in Sonic Riders.
In Special Book mode, players can play the 225 bonuses in the game that are unlocked by beating levels quickly, achieving various milestones and discovering secret areas. Some of these unlockables include movies of the making of the game, cutscenes, video interviews, concept artwork and music from the game.
In addition to Sonic the Hedgehog, several other characters appear in the game. Many of these characters are new to the franchise; however, some older characters from the franchise have returned to portray Arabian Nights characters. These returning characters are recognized throughout the game by Sonic, but do not recognize him in return.
- Shahra: A special, eager young genie/djinn who enlists the help of Sonic. In the game, she grants Sonic special abilities and bonuses to help Sonic in his quest. She appears as a ball of light in the stages, similar to Tikal in Sonic Adventure and she appears to have a strong relationship towards Erazor. In the end of the story she is revealed as having a partnership of sorts with Erazor. However, she does not believe this is the "right path" when Sonic wishes for her to "Do what you truly think is right!". When Erazor attempts to sacrifice Sonic, she saves him, sacrificing her own life. Her name is a reference to an alternate name of the 1,001 nights character Scheherazade. She is later brought back to life with Sonic's first wish on the Erazor Djinn's lamp. She has a habit of calling Sonic "Master" even though he prefers her to just call him by name. It is hinted that she and the Erazor Djinn were once in love or were friends.
- Erazor Djinn: An evil genie/djinn named Erazor who threatens the existence of the Arabian Nights world. Erazor is the genie from Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. In his story, Erazor was punished for his wrongdoings long ago, and would be freed from his lamp after he granted the wishes of 1,000 people (three wishes per person). After being freed, he had a hatred for the creator for writing him into such a story. At the start of the story, he strikes Sonic with a flaming arrow, forcing him to go on a hunt for the world's seven "World Rings", unbeknownst to him what really threatens the Arabian Nights world. In the main storyline, he resides in a large palace absorbing the power of the Arabian Nights book, causing the pages to disappear, and waiting for Sonic to collect the World Rings. Along his journey, Sonic will learn more about Erazor and how the real world has also become endangered. His name is an obvious pun on "eraser", and "razor", as he is erasing the pages of the Arabian Nights book, and that his weapon is a giant razor blade. He has a habit of calling Sonic a "rat".
- Kri Ma Djinn: As revealed on the official US site, creatures known as "Kri Ma Djinn" make appearances in some of the mini-games. "Majin" is the Japanese pronunciation of "Ma Djinn" and "Majin" also means "demon person" in Japanese.
- Pri Ma Djinn: As revealed on the official US site, a genie known as "Pri Ma Djinn" makes an appearance in some of the mini-games.
- Uhu: A "Wind Genie" who appears in the missions of some of the game's stages. He is "known for his speed" and as such, Sonic will, in certain stages, have to face him in a race to the end of the level.
- King Solomon: A wise old king who resides in a chamber inside the Skeleton Dome. He is the original figure who stopped the enemies many years ago before Erazor tried to take over. In the game he appears as a large skeleton because of something, that is not revealed, that Erazor has done to him.
- King Shahryar (Persian: شهریار) of Persia, seen after the Sand Oasis stage. He has recently been attacked by an unknown entity and he mistakes Sonic for the attacker. He takes on the appearance of Dr. Eggman.
- Ali Baba, first seen in the Sand Oasis stage after Sonic saves him from being attacked by Erazor's henchman. His purpose in the story is small, he gives advice at various points in the game and tells Sonic where to find Sinbad. He takes on the appearance of Miles "Tails" Prower.
- Sinbad the Sailor, seen in the Levitated Ruin stage. His only purpose in the game is to help Sonic find the Water Blue World Ring, which was taken from him by pirates when he was captured. His appearance and the role he plays in relation to Sonic ties into the Levitated Ruin level. He takes on the appearance of Knuckles the Echidna.
- Big the Cat: Makes easter-egg appearances in all of the game's stages. This is accomplished by braking and standing still in a certain spot for a few seconds, revealing a short cutscene with him. This unlocks entries in his own "diary" in the Special Book that contains many bonus pictures of him in some of the stages. The empty spaces give instructions on where these spots can be found. Rather than portraying any Arabian Nights characters, he appears as himself.
The main theme "Seven Rings In Hand", which is played in several different places within the game, including the menu screens, the opening cinematic, the final boss fight, and whenever a level is completed, is performed by Steve Conte and composed by Namano Mashurio.
The main audio music generally remains consistent with the Sonic (Pop Rock Mixes) formula while featuring some "Middle Eastern touches" in keeping with the game's main theme.
The soundtrack for Sonic and the Secret Rings "Seven Rings In Hand: Sonic and the Secret Rings Original Sound Track" is available through Sega Direct. Some of the musical performers in the soundtrack are Steve Conte, Le Club Bachraf (Yoshiko Matsuda, Jun Chikuma and Takako Nomiya), Soul Toul, and Runblebee, who performed select audio tracks in Sonic Riders, and Jun Senoue who returned to compose some of the music along with Namano Mashurio.
Through the Special Book, the game also features remixes of some of the game's music tracks. It was rumored that one of these was a remix of "Throw It All Away", Shadow's theme from Sonic Adventure 2, but this turned out to be false. This rumor is thought to be brought on by the first verse of Sand Oasis' music sounding very similar to the first verse of "Throw It All Away".
Steve Conte also performs "Worth a Chance" during Shahra's crying and Sonic comforting her and the final credits of the game.
Sonic and the Secret Rings was produced over a span of approximately two years, while it was programmed over a span of approximately one year. The idea for the game centered around the potential abilities of the Wii Remote. Yojiro Ogawa has stated that the next-gen Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was originally planned to be ported to the Wii; he later elaborated that to port this game would mean that it would not launch until a significantly later date than Sonic and the Secret Rings, and Sega wanted to release a Sonic game much closer to the Wii's launch. With less time to develop the game than normal, and two different play modes, the development team for this Sonic game was much larger than that of a normal Sonic game.
The game has gone through several name changes. It was first announced as "Sonic Wild Fire" by Sega at E3 2006. then as "Hyper Sonic" at the Nintendo Press Event and again as "Sonic Wild Fire" in all of the following trailers. After E3 it was then changed to Sonic and the Secret of the Rings before being slightly modified into Sonic and the Secret Rings in August 2006. Sega preferred the original name "Wild Fire" over "Secret Rings" (that is, "Wild Fire" was to have been the final name), but changed it so it was more relevant to the story and the Arabian Nights stories.
The game's art and setting were heavily influenced by Shadow of the Colossus, Prince of Persia, and God of War, which were the inspirations behind the Arabian Nights setting.
Sonic and the Secret Rings has received positive scores from critics, who praised the game for its graphics, varied challenges, as well as its many resolved issues that were present in preceding 3D Sonic games, making it the most well-received installment in the series since Sonic Heroes, generally being seen as an overall improvement, particularly after the overwhelmingly negative reviews for the 2006 title Sonic the Hedgehog. It was also a commercial success. The current GameRankings average is 72%, while Metacritic ranks it with a 69 out of 100 score.
Nintendo Power sported the game's highest rating, that being an 8.5/10. However, the game was criticized for tough controls, an unappealing story (loosely based on the Arabian Nights) and that the player is now forced to do missions that are both tedious and repetitive to complete just for the sake of advancing the storyline (in previous 3D Sonic titles, missions were optional). The game's multiplayer mode was also criticized for being too similar to the Mario Party series and the mode, as a whole, has been dubbed as "unoriginal".
|Gaming Age||B+ (75%)|
|Official Nintendo Magazine||81%|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||6.5/10|
An adaption for Sonic and the Secret Rings was published by Archie Comics, which was included in all copies of the game if bought at Target. It was a minor adaption and only several parts of the story was told in this special issue. The images were illustrated by Tracy Yardley and Ian Flynn wrote the story.
- This is the first Sonic game for the Wii.
- The box art represents the three different skill elements (fire, wind and darkness).
- This game seems to be the sixth time in the 3D Sonic games that (in the final story) the villain of the game transforms into a more powerful version of themselves by some means.
- This game also marks the first time that Sonic is seen living in a house (look closely at the first cinematic where Sonic first meets Shahra).
- The genie in the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp couldn't grant wishes that brought back the dead; as a result, Sonic couldn't really have brought Shahra back to life; however, most of the 1001 Nights had been destroyed at that point, so the rules from that story have been destroyed as well.
- Iblis and the Ifrit are mentioned and played in boss modes here.
- This is the first modern console game where Sonic is the only playable character in the main storyline.
- There are many references to this game in Sonic's crossover Wii titles, For example, the song "Let the Speed Mend It" is unlockable in the gallery of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Also in Super Smash Bros. Brawl there are collectible stickers of Erazor Djinn and Shahra, the song "Seven Rings in Hand" can be used in Sonic's stage and on Sonic's Trophy info one of the two games he is credited with is Sonic & the Secret Rings. Also, the spell that Merlina used to send Sonic into her world in Sonic and the Black Knight was similar to the spell that the Erazor Djinn used to summon the Ifrit.
- This was the first game to feature Shadow without an appearance from Rouge.
- The next game in the Sonic Storybook Series, Sonic and the Black Knight, has the seven World Rings as collectibles. The reward for collecting all seven is the song "Seven Rings in Hand" by Crush 40, allowing to be played on the Gallery screen.
- In the first CG clip, when Sonic lands on the ground, then stands up, you'll notice that the flame is gone. But after genies are flying around the palace, the flame reappears.
- Most fans and resources say that the game design partly looks like Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
- At twelve songs, this game features some of the most vocal songs in a game in the series that are not remixes or reused: Seven Rings In Hand, Worth a Chance, Let the Speed Mend It, The Wicked Wild, The Palace That Was Found, No Way Through, The White of Sky, Unawakening Float, Poison Spear, How It Started, Blue On The Run, and It Has Come to This.
- On the back of the box of Sonic and the Secret Rings, it is stated that Sonic has never faced a genie before. This could be proven false as to the fact in Sonic Riders, Sonic fought the Babylon Guardian with the Babylon Rogues. However, this might also be false because in the game Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, Babylon Guardian is revealed to be a spaceship, and the Babylon Guardian could simply be a security measure.
- In the scene when Erazor Djinn is summoning Ifrit, he says a chant which is very like the one Merlina says in the first cutscene of Sonic and the Black Knight to summon Sonic.
- Despite being a spin-off game, Sonic and the Secret Rings is referenced in Sonic Generations when Sonic is pointing out to Tails that their current predicament is "no stranger than rescuing genies in magic books."
- In one of the cutscenes, Sonic says "hell". However, the context is as in the gates of Hell, not profanity.
- On the SEGA licensed desktop wallpaper, there is a typo. It reads "Sonic the Hedghog", instead of "Sonic the Hedgehog".
- One of the Skills in the game (Skill #30) has the word "gauge" spelled wrong, as it's spelled "guage."
- In the E3 2006 demo of Sonic Wild Fire, after the result screen Sonic would give the player a grin and a thumbs-up. Sonic also does exactly this in the cancelled Sonic DS during the results screen. It is likely this was reused from Sonic DS, as both of these games were the first of each new Nintendo system.
- Though the game is not considered to be part of the main series, it was featured in the Sonic 20th anniversary trailer with the all the other main series console games up to that point (with the exception of Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 4).
- Shiro Maekawa wrote the base plot line, but director Yojiro Ogawa rewrote half of it. Conversely, for Sonic and the Black Knight, Maekawa was allowed to write whatever he wanted.