Sonic Generations

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
3 Eras, 2 Sonics, 1 Epic Adventure.

"Double the speed, double the fun!
Celebrate 20 years of Sonic with Sonic Generations."

Sonic Generations is a main series title in the Sonic franchise, released in 2011 for the Play Station 3, Xbox 360, the PC (via Steam) and the Nintendo 3DS to commemorate Sonic's 20th Anniversary. The 360/PS3/PC versions of the game utilizes both 2.5D (mostly in the "Classic Sonic" sections) and a mix of 2.5D and 3D gameplay in the style of Sonic Colors Wii and Sonic Unleashed HD's daytime stages (in the "Modern Sonic" sections), while the 3DS version's "Modern Sonic" levels are stylistically similar to the Sonic Rush Series series and Sonic Colors DS. Both HD console versions and the 3DS version support stereoscopic 3D, though gamers without a 3D TV aren't required to use one to play the HD console versions as they can be played on any TV and the stereoscopic 3D on the 3DS version is not required to play the game properly and can be turned off, as it is typically used for visual effects on that version.

The story is that Modern Sonic and his friends are celebrating his birthday when a mysterious new enemy named 'Time Eater' crashes the party and sends them back to the past where Sonic meets his younger self, Classic Sonic. They both discover the world is losing its color, their friends have been petrified and the timeline has been disturbed. Both Modern and Classic must team up to stop this mysterious enemy, rescue their friends, restore color to the world, and fix the timeline.

Their journey takes them through three eras: Classic, Dreamcast, and Modern. The 3DS and console versions have different levels, and share only the famous Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1.

The stages are:

Xbox 360/Playstation 3/PC Version

Nintendo 3DS Version

Tropes used in Sonic Generations include:
  • 2½D: Used to varying degrees. Classic Sonic's gameplay focus remains strictly on a 2D plane in a 3D environment, while Modern Sonic's gameplay uses the same formula used for Sonic Colors and Sonic Unleashed's Daytime stages. The 3DS version is entirely in 2.5D, but with the Sonic Rush Series feel for Modern and a platforming-focused feel of the Genesis games for Classic.
  • Action Commands: By jumping off of certain ramps or through rainbow rings, Modern Sonic can perform tricks when you press in different directions. These are also used to dodge the orca's attacks in Modern Sonic's portion of Emerald Coast in the 3DS version.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom:
    • The G.U.N. Truck in City Escape in the HD version. In Modern Sonic’s version, it even sports giant, retractable buzz saws and jet boosters.
    • The orca in Emerald Coast in the 3DS version. Classic Sonic requires pure speed to get away from it, but Modern Sonic has to dodge its bites as well after it chases him into the air.
  • After the End: Crisis City in the HD version.
  • And I Must Scream: It's heavily implied that Sonic's friends are self aware while petrified.
    • In the epilogue, two different time-period versions of Robotnik are stuck in a state of absolute nothing for what appears to be a long, long time. Pokecapn's posse takes a note of how depressing it is in his Let's Play.
  • Art Evolution: Perfect Chaos has undergone a considerable redesign, looking much different than his original form. A comparison between the original and redesign can be seen here and here.
    • Apparently, this was how he was originally intended to look; however, due to technological limitations, they were unable to do it, resulting in the Chaos from Sonic Adventure. (The version seen in Sonic Generations does resemble the Perfect Chaos seen in the intro cinematic for Sonic Adventure and its DX counterparts.)
  • Ascended Meme: A subtle one: Shadow has that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald as a reward for his rival fight in the HD version. (His rival fight just unlocks the boss in the 3DS version, as Chaos Emeralds are gained through Special Stages in it.)
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Giant-sized Badniks appear in a mission in Green Hill. They're immune to any damage Sonic does, and are mostly used as bouncing platforms.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: Spagonia appears to be in the middle of a festival in the HD version, with balloons and confetti and giant swinging axes.
  • Auto-Tune: The classic remix of "Escape from the City" has it, though it's justified because it's there to pay tribute to and match the pitch of the Endless Mine melody.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • Super Sonic loses rings at a faster rate than usual. The modern version can now fly through levels in a manner similar to the Chaos Control ability in Shadow the Hedgehog. Unfortunately, doing so drains rings ridiculously fast, limiting its usefulness. Classic Super Sonic is also not that much faster (if any faster at all) than Modern Sonic.
    • One unlockable skill for Modern Sonic, Endless Boost, provides you with a Boost Gauge that never runs out, but also turns Sonic into a One-Hit-Point Wonder, unable to collect any rings. Can be seen as a Take That at the notion that Modern Sonic gameplay is simply "boost to win".
      • This ability gets a temporary upgrade to Difficult but Awesome in Seaside Hill. In most zones, the course is surrounded by pitfalls, but the course in this zone is surrounded by water, which Sonic can run across by boosting. This allows the player to do some major Sequence Breaking. See here.
  • Baby Talk: Very slightly with Classic Tails in the HD version, who has an adorable lisp and says "w-" when he means to say "r-" occasionally.
  • Badass: Both Sonics, but mainly Modern (as the end of the Egg Dragoon boss fight in the HD version will tell you).
  • Badass Adorable: Classic Sonic, both versions of Tails, and Metal Sonic.
  • Bad Future: Metal Sonic’s Stardust Speedway arena and Crisis City.
  • Bag of Spilling: In Colors, (Modern) Sonic can double jump and jump forever underwater. In Generations, he's lost both moves without any explanation.
  • Bash Brothers: Both Sonics.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Modern and Classic Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik.
  • Black Eyes: Classic Sonic and Tails.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The ability to name your skill sets in the HD version for easy identification is a good idea in theory. But here, you cannot use the PS3's keyboard feature and must instead choose two terms from a long, unalphabetized list. That in itself would not be unbearable, but after choosing two terms, they are automatically separated by an ampersand, unless the first term is "Skill Set" and/or the second term is a letter (the default naming scheme). Nearly every catchy title you can think of for your Skill Sets will be blemished by that obtrusive "&". Even PC gamers are stuck with this.
  • Book Ends
  • Border Patrol: Modern Sonic can run across the surface of Seaside Hill's ocean in the HD version, but if he runs too far off the main path for a couple seconds, the giant Chopper from Green Hill leaps from the water to snap him up.
  • Bottomless Pits: They exist, but like in Sonic Colors, you get a helpful warning sign alerting you to their presence. In tune with the tendency of this game to make call backs, said warning sign is the original Sonic death sprite.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Both hedgehogs look at their totals during their Act Clear endings, as well as the "Mission Cleared" text in the 3DS version's mission completion screens.
  • Brick Joke: Sonic's chili dog that goes flying away at the start. Since he returns right after he left, Sonic catches it before it hits the ground.
  • The Bus Came Back: Befitting of a game celebrating 20 years of the franchise, several characters make their first appearances in the console games since Sonic Unleashed made it a point to stop having so many characters.
  • But for Me It Was Tuesday: A heroic example: Modern Sonic remarks to Tails that the Time Eater's handiwork is nothing special, considering the interstellar amusement parks and genies in magic books they've dealt with in the past.
    • Sonic sounds almost resigned to his status as a Weirdness Magnet when delivering the line in question.
  • Call Back: Several of them, mainly to zones that couldn't be put into the game.
    • There is a corkscrew in Classic Green Hill Zone that is similar to the one in Emerald Hill Zone.
    • There are underwater sections in Seaside Hill in the HD version that are reminiscent of those in both the Labyrinth Zone and Hydrocity Zone.
    • Classic Sonic riding a skateboard is similar to the snowboard from Robotnik Winter Zone.
    • The waterslide in Chemical Plant in the HD version is reminiscent of the ones in Lost World and Cannon's Core.
      • Similarly, Sonic falling down the pipe with all the blobs of blue stuff is similar to the same things in Rooftop Run and Eggmanland from Sonic Unleashed and Aquarium Park from Colors.
    • Crisis City in the HD version has a climbing-up-a-cylinder segment similar to the tree segment in Mazuri and a similar segment in Sweet Mountain.
      • Another part in Classic Sonic's route has one reminiscent of the upwards ramp in Palmtree Panic.
    • Modern Sonic does the Sonic Adventure cover pose as his finishing trick.
    • One of Classic Sonic's Stage Clear animations is Sonic's official render in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • The platforms that fly when Classic Sonic runs on them in Sky Sanctuary Zone are based on the spinning blue tops of Marble Garden Zone. The twist, however, is that these platforms are temporary and wear out after enough running.
    • Every nation from Unleashed has their flags flying in front of Spagonia University (which both Sonics pass by) at the beginning of Classic Rooftop Run in the HD version.
    • In the HD version, Modern Sonic can ride around Seaside Hill in a go-kart, itself a nod to the bobsled in the original Seaside Hill and Bullet Station.
    • Modern Sonic mentions genies, magic books, aliens, and interstellar amusement parks in an early cutscene.
    • If you finish City Escape in the HD version with Modern Sonic's stage as the second one, Rouge calls him "Big Blue," which was her nickname for him in Sonic Chronicles.
    • One mission in Sky Sanctuary in the HD version has Classic Sonic race Amy. She races by spinning around like a cyclone with her hammer in hand.
    • One mission in Chemical Plant in the HD version has Modern Sonic have Amy pound her hammer to give Sonic a higher jump.
    • Classic Eggman mentioning that he's no longer referred to as "Robotnik" is this.
    • Perhaps the biggest - The game starts the exact same way as the original: Green Hill Act 1, with the level even starting the same way the original level did.
    • If you hit the ship in Modern Rooftop Run with enough robots, it will drop rings, like the bosses in Sonic Colors did.
    • The original Sonic the Hedgehog is playable. Unlocking it is a simple matter of getting the Sega Genesis controller from the Skill Shop.
  • Call Forward: Classic Sonic has several skills that reference the abilities and shields he can use past the original game. One of his last skills is the Homing Attack, a move that Modern Sonic can already use naturally.
  • CamelCase: Sonic the Hedgehog CD's Japanese soundtrack's music for the present time period of Palmtree Panic can be unlocked and the song has the title capitalized as "PalmTree Panic."
  • The Cameo: City Escape in the HD version is packed to brim with them. The names of some modern characters appear on a Chao in Space 2 ad. Some older faces, like Bark, Bean, and Fang, appear on wanted posters. Even Mighty and Ray can be spotted (on "Missing since 1993" posters, no less).
    • Orbot and Cubot appear in Eggman's flashback to The Stinger of Sonic Colors, which also explains why they are otherwise absent from Generations.
    • Big, Omega, |Princess Elise, Mephiles, Chip, and the Werehog appear briefly in archival screenshots in the credits.
    • Omega gets another cameo in Speed Highway, as one of the roads is 123 Omega Road. 123 is his number in the "E" Series.
    • Look carefully at the beginning of both stages of Planet Wisp and you'll see some White Wisps. There's even one in Classic Planet Wisp who dances exactly like Yacker does in the Loading Screens of Colors!
    • Statues of Jet and all three types of Chao can be unlocked in the Statue Room.
  • Captain Obvious: Of a peculiar kind. During the fight against the Time Eater in the HD version, a lot of Sonic's friends kindfully remind you "That looks like a homing shot," but only Shadow says "That's a homing shot" with certainty.
  • Cardiovascular Love: Rouge's challenges in the HD version require using her charm attack, which consists of her blowing heart symbols at Egg Pawns to make them lower their guard.
  • Casino Park: Casino Night Zone, in both versions (though it's only a proper level in the 3DS version).
  • Chainsaw Good: The GUN truck, which comes equipped with three giant buzz saws this time around in the HD version's Modern Sonic portion.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The signpost from Classic Crisis City passes by in the foreground a little while after it's first blown away.
  • Chekhov's Gun: There's some effort hiding Dr. Eggman from the player on the Death Egg Robot boss in the HD version and the Big Arm boss in the 3DS version, especially when he's "kidnapped" by Time Eater...
  • Collection Sidequest: The Red Star Rings in the HD version, returning from Sonic Colors.
  • Color Coded For Your Convenience:: Temporary platforms are associated with the color red.
  • Completely Different Title, The Foreign Subtitle: In Japan, the 360/PS3 versions of the game are titled Sonic Generations: White Time and Space, while the 3DS version is titled Sonic Generations: Blue Adventure. In western territories, all versions of the game are simply titled Sonic Generations. Even so, both versions have a white or blue backdrop on the boxart.
  • Continuity Nod: Being a game all about Sonic's history, there are loads of it. Now has its own page.
  • Continuity Porn: The entire game is this as it features levels from just about every major Sonic game in the series as well as games not in the major series, including the beloved Sonic CD.
    • Even more so considering the nature of the game as a sequel to the events of Colors; direct continuity is something rarely seen in more recent Sonic titles, so having it established and directly referred to in a game all about Sonic's history is a notable achievement on Sonic Team's part.
    • The preferred name or moniker for Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik can be thrown into confusion when Classic Eggman states no one calls him by his real name anymore. In as early in modern (western) continuity as Sonic Adventure, Eggman and Sonic use the Robotnik name, still preferring his real name in that time, Sonic using both.
  • Cool Board: Classic Sonic has a skateboard, in true early 90's fashion. Modern Sonic uses a snowboard in City Escape, just like old times, as well as in a mission in Rooftop Run.
    • Also, the ability to use a skateboard at will is one of the unlockable skills for Classic Sonic.
  • Cosmic Retcon: After the final boss battle, Silver is shown in the present with the rest of the cast.
  • Crisis Crossover: The current, green-eyed Sonic meeting his retro, black-eyed self through Time Eater's disturbance of the time holes. Both hedgehogs must team up to fix Sonic's timeline and defeat the Time Eater.
  • Credits Medley
  • Cruel Mercy Mode[18]: The Nintendo 3DS version of the game's Time Attack mode and the Challenges in the other versions counts as this. Previous handheld Sonic games' time attacks sent you straight to the "retry/change-zone/change-character/quit" menu after either finishing the level or dying, but in Generations this happens only after having completed the stage; dying results in either restarting the stage or respawning at the last checkpoint instead. While this makes the game's time attack the ultimate example of a practice mode ever seen in a videogame, it comes with a detail that deserves mention: respawning at a checkpoint doesn't set the timer to whatever time you happened to run past said checkpoint. So, if scoring a perfect time is your top priority, you have to restart the level manually.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: If you're used to the Homing Attack on the HD versions of Sonic Unleashed[19], you may have to readjust yourself to the standard Homing Attack controls used in all the other Sonic games for Generations HD[20].
    • There's also the issue of trying to do a Homing Attack as Classic Sonic and trying to do a Spin Dash as Modern Sonic.
    • Anyone who was used to playing Colors on the Wii's Classic Controller may have difficulty pressing the slide/stomp button without instinctively reaching for the Y/Triangle button.
      • The double-jump in Colors isn't present in Generations (double-tapping the jump button as Modern Sonic does the forward-air-dash move), which can seriously screw the player up when they accidentally try to double-jump up to a higher platform.
  • Dead Character Walking: There is an infamous glitch which crept from the infamous |Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 to the otherwise excellent Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations which makes Sonic, if he receives mortal damage while on a auto-scrolling sequence, still slide with his dead body on the track. He can even be controlled sometimes with the directional pad!
  • Death Throws: When you lose a life as Classic Sonic, aside from bottomless pits.
  • Deflector Shields: The Flame, Aqua, and Thunder shields return from Sonic 3 in certain missions, and can be equipped in any main level once said missions are completed. The bounce, flame dash, and spark jump capabilities are fully intact.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In a cutscene after Chemical Plant in the HD version, Modern Sonic says that he's getting "deja vu all over again," paraphrasing a famous quote from Yogi Berra.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?:
    • Cream asks Classic Sonic this upon being rescued.
    • Upon being rescued, Blaze wonders if Classic Sonic has gotten less spikey, i.e. has less hair.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Modern Sonic facing Perfect Chaos while not in Super Mode.
  • Difficulty Spike: Crisis City.
    • In the third Era, the challenge stages take a MASSIVE difficulty spike, especially the Doppelganger races which now leave extremely little room for error.
  • Divergent Zone Evolution: As Green Hill Zone has been brought back, Seaside Hill has understandably taken many liberties to differentiate itself from the zone it was originally supposed to be a throwback to. Most notably, it's incorporated some aspects of Ocean Palace from Heroes as well as added a water section.
  • Double Jump: Classic Sonic can do one with the Thunder Shield.
  • Double Unlock: Many skills require you to first complete a specific challenge, then buy it from the store.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Some of the Red Star Rings require you to take a lower path, going against regular Sonic logic to always take the highest path
  • Eldritch Abomination: Time Eater, a psychotic-looking (seemingly) mechanical being that's covered in a cloud of dark energy and features clockwork parts. All the gears and the purple smoke body may remind you of another children's game eldritch abomination...
  • Eldritch Location: Time Eater's boss arena, a cloudy reddish-purple void filled with floating props from the previous levels (trees and mountains from Green Hill, the G.U.N truck from City Escape, etc.), and giant golden clockwork parts.
  • Embedded Precursor: Sonic 1 is an unlockable game within the console version.
  • Eternal Engine: Chemical Plant. Planet Wisp is also well on its way, as it's being constructed on an idyllic alien planet.
    • As well as Eggmanland, which serves as the the battle arena against the Egg Dragoon.
  • Evil Laugh: Lampshaded by Classic Eggman as Modern Eggman laughs hysterically.

Classic Eggman: Wow. Will I really get that crazy?

  • Excuse Plot: A giant monster has caused Sonic's friends to become lost in time, and Sonic has to team up with his past self to race through locales from his earlier adventures in order to save them! Sounds good to me!
  • Exposition Fairy: Omochao. There is an option to turn him on/off, however.
  • Face On A Poster: The fate of Mighty and Ray.
  • Face Palm:
    • Modern Sonic, in response to Amy when he frees her.
    • Modern Sonic also has one when he finds out that Eggman is controlling the Time Eater, and is thus the Big Bad.
  • Face Ship: The Death Egg.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: After the ending credits, Classic Eggman finds out that Modern Eggman has never beaten Sonic. He gets discouraged by this and decides to go get his teaching degree. Modern Eggman thinks that's not a bad idea since he enjoys telling people what to do.
  • Fastball Special: Vector's ability in his Co-Op mission.
  • Final Boss: Hedgehog rivals aside, the boss fights are all final/true final boss fights from other Sonic games; the Time Eater is their successor for this game. The only exception to this is the Egg Dragoon (which was only the penultimate boss in Sonic Unleashed, although it did serve as the Werehog's Final Boss); it should also be noted that Shadow served as the Final Boss in Sonic Adventure 2's Hero Side story.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Done by Classic and Modern Tails sometimes. The Eggmen, as well.
  • Flight: The Orange Rocket Wisps return in Planet Wisp in the console version.
    • Modern Super Sonic is capable of limited flight (much higher than the few inches above the ground usually associated with in-level Super), though it eats through rings too quickly to be very useful.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Cyan Laser Wisps return in Tropical Resort in the 3DS version.
    • The Time Eater also fires lasers in the final battle.
  • Floating Continent: Sky Sanctuary.
  • Follow the Money: Naturally, especially evident when rings appear after hitting a switch.
  • Foreshadowing: After the cutscene in which Vector is freed, his text bubble correctly predicts the nature of the Time Eater.
  • Friendly Enemy: Silver.
  • Fungus Humongous: Mushroom Hill in the 3DS version.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Classic Doctor Eggman is surprised at how maniacal his future self is.
  • Game Breaking Bug:
    • In the PC version, it is literally impossible to play the game with most non-Xbox 360 gamepads. Due to a different input format between the 360 controller and other PC controllers, the game will interpret a non-360 controller as having random buttons fired at intervals, making Modern Sonic randomly quick-step left and right and cutscenes skip themselves (the game thinks that the player has pressed Start repeatedly when they haven't). The quick-stepping bug actually renders Seaside Hill Act 2 Unwinnable with a non-360 gamepad unless you hammer the boost button and get lucky.
    • The PC version has a couple of consistently-crash-causing spots. The most notable is Rouge the Bat's challenge for Modern Sonic in Seaside Hill, which has a very high chance to crash to desktop at any point during the stage.
    • Trying to access the online "Challenge Mode" can be an exercise in frustration, as something about the game's communication with the leaderboard data servers (which takes place every time the menu cursor is moved) causes it to almost always dump the user to the desktop with an error message when it tries to load record data.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: All of the zones seem to be full of color before you even start moving.
  • Gameplay Roulette: There are two gameplay styles, but both of them are closely similar, unlike the wildly differing styles in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Unleashed, for example.
  • Get Back Here Boss: All three Rival battles are fought this way.
  • Glass Cannon: What the "Endless Boost" does for Modern Sonic. He can boost endlessly through enemies, but will die instantly if he makes contact with something his boost can't protect him from.
  • Green Eyes: Modern Sonic.
  • Green Hill Zone: The Green Hill Zone, Seaside Hill, and Planet Wisp.
  • Hailfire Peaks: As in Sonic Colors, Planet Wisp combines the Green Hill Zone motif with an Eternal Engine. Crisis City is Lethal Lava Land mixed with After the End. Most of the levels are combined tropes, really, considering it's a Sonic game.
  • Hammerspace: Lampshaded by Modern & Classic Tails after the final boss. Specifically, where Sonic keeps all those rings he collects.
  • Hedgehogs Rock Out: The first half of the Perfect Chaos battle and the Theme Music Power Ups that occur in Shadow's Rival Battle are all accompanied by Crush40. On top of that, you have the option of replacing the default theme of any level, even the Final Boss, with any of the available Sonic music they unlock, which just so happens to include Open Your Heart, It Doesn't Matter, Live and Learn, Sonic Heroes, What I'm Made Of, I Am (All of Me), |His World, Endless Possibilities, and Reach For The Stars.
  • The Hero's Birthday: The game kicks off (and ends) at Sonic's birthday party.
  • Heroic Mime: Classic Sonic. The 3DS game, which has text boxes to make up for having less voice acting, only has punctuation like "?," "!," and "..." similar to the main characters of Nintendo and Camelot's Golden Sun series.
  • Hijacked by Ganon/The Man Behind the Man: The Time Eater is really just a creature transformed into a manned machine by Classic and Modern Eggman.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Silver ultimately loses his rival battle by being crushed by the gigantic ball of debris that he tried to attack Sonic with.
  • Hub Level/Playable Menu: The 360/PS3 version skirts the line by having one big 2.5D White Void Room Hub that serves as an "interactive menu" for selecting levels/bosses, talking to Sonic's friends, accessing extra content, etc. Within the narrative, Tails explains that said void is where the stages end up falling into after the Time Eater distorts their position in time and space.
  • Human Cannonball: There are cannons which shoot Sonic out of them.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Death Egg Robot, Egg Dragoon, and Egg Emperor. The Time Eater is also revealed to be one.
  • Idle Animation: Classic Sonic still glares at the player impatiently when idle. He may also occasionally cross his arms in frustration, snap at the player and point to the right (even when he's facing the left, now, minus the snap), look at his wrist, and lay on the ground after a while.
    • Modern Sonic's animations are from Unleashed and Colors, plus a unique idle animation if he's standing in water.
  • I Got Bigger: Classic Sonic and Tails are Modern Sonic and Tails as young children.
  • Indy Escape: Both acts of City Escape, and other levels.
  • Internal Homage: Tons of them. Rooftop Run (originally from Sonic Unleashed) has zipline platforms like in Sonic 2's Hilltop Zone and dropping platforms with spikes on them like in the original game's Marble Zone.
    • And the Classic level ends with what appears to be Sonic & Knuckles' Flying Battery, complete with Eggman logo.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Invincibility is back for both hedgehogs.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Crabmeats do a little happy dance and fall laughing when they hurt Sonic.
    • Modern & Classic Tails have a conversation about where Sonic actually puts all of those rings, with Modern Tails mentioning that he keeps forgetting to ask.
    • One of the tutorial images has Omochao rambling on next to an annoyed Sonic.
    • Right before the final battle, Tails refers to Classic Dr. Eggman as Dr. Robotnik. Classic Eggman replies in a matter-of-fact way that nobody calls him that anymore.
  • Large Ham: Spanish Sonic. Also, German Doctor Eggman has been acknowledged by Sonic Team to be the perfect voice for the good doctor. To be fair, he's also the standard German dubbing voice for a certain other large ham.
  • Law of One Hundred: The game returns to giving an extra life at 100 rings, which had been not used in Sonic Colors.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Crisis City.
  • Leitmotif: A music piece that accompanies the Big Bad.
  • Lighter and Softer: The general tone of the game’s plot.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: The "Collector's Edition" for the 360/PS3 versions of the game comes with a statue featuring both Modern and Classic Sonic, a commemorative Gold Ring, the "20 Years of Sonic Art" book[21], the "20th Anniversary Sonic Soundtrack"[22], the "History of Sonic: Birth of an Icon" documentary[23], and Downloadable Content[24]. Only available in Europe and Australia though.
    • The Japanese-exclusive "Special Editon" comes with a crystal cube featuring Modern Sonic with the Classic Sonic TV as the indentation.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: How Classic Sonic deals damage to the Death Egg Robot boss in the HD version in the first phase of the battle.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Though only Classic and Modern Sonic are playable, a majority of his friends do show up as non-playable characters.
  • Made of Explodium: Just about anything the GUN truck plows through.
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness
  • Milestone Celebration: Developed as part of the franchise's 20th anniversary.
  • Mirror Boss: The Rival Battle with Shadow. Until one of them gets a power-up, or Sonic falls too far behind Shadow, the two hedgehogs basically have identical abilities, boosting included.
  • Missing Trailer Scene, Never Trust a Trailer: Remember all that cool CGI footage from various trailers? Yeah, only one of those is in the game... snucked away in the Attract Mode (and is thus entirely missable), which is quite unusual for a modern Sonic game.
    • Neither Kele Okereke or My Chemical Romance are heard anywhere in the game.
  • Mission Control: Omochao, to some extent. All of Sonic's friends join in as well in the final boss battle, calling out incoming attacks. Might qualify as a case of Stop Helping Me!.
  • Monster of the Week: A tradition since Sonic Adventure, Time Eater is the one for this game. Subverted: it was a monster but it's turned into a manned robot by Dr. Eggman with the help of his past self.
  • The Mothership: Classic City Escape's GUN truck can dump off more Mooks on Classic Sonic.
  • Musical Nod:
    • Classic "Escape from the City" has a brief remix of Endless Mine, from Sonic 3 and the melody of the City Escape trial version.
    • Modern's version of "Escape from the City" uses pieces of the theme for the Snowboard Race multi-player level and "It Doesn't Matter" from Sonic Adventure 2.
    • An entire section of Modern Seaside Hill is practically devoted to remastering Ocean Palace. That's right, they haven't just subliminally seduced you with the use of putting traits from older Sonic series selections into newer songs, but they mashed-up two themes from Zones of the same category!
    • A remix of "Door into Summer" from Knuckles Chaotix is the theme for the Collection Room.
      • The song that plays for Classic Sonic's Ring Time power-up is a remix of the special stage theme from Knuckles Chaotix.
    • Modern Sky Sanctuary lifts its extended bits directly from the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games rearrangement of Sky Sanctuary.
    • The cover of "Super Sonic Racing" samples this Sega Saturn promo; more precisely, the lines "We are five years away from entering the 21st century" and "Introducing Sega Saturn!"
    • Sega pulled us a rather tricky one with this one: Super Sonic's theme begins with the intro of Live and Learn, only to be followed by a remix of Sonic the Hedgehog 4's Invincibility.
    • Does the theme for obtaining an S Rank sound familiar? It's a remix of a verse from Sonic's Adventure theme.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Sonic shredding air guitar sure looks familiar...
    • In the opening cutscene, Classic Sonic can briefly been seen having a sharp fang in his mouth. This is an obvious nod to his early concept art, which depicted him as having fangs.
    • When Classic Dr. Eggman appears, C. Tails calls him "Robotnik". The doctor then says nobody really calls him by his name anymore.
    • Vector sets up a venue in one of the Modern Rooftop Run challenges, with him playing the keys. In the scrapped Sonic Band, he was the keyboardist.
    • The pink water in Chemical Plant makes Modern Tails really nervous.
    • The opening to Sonic and Shadow's rival battle is exactly like the opening to Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.
      • While said rival battle takes place outside the space colony ARK, the SA2 opening is actually set in Radical Highway instead. That level in question marks Shadow's first playable appearance in the whole series, so, if you also consider that Shadow and Sonic never actually faced each other in Radical Highway, the re-use of the level in the 3DS version of Generations for the rival battle due to technical constraints suddenly becomes more justifiable.
    • There are a few grape vines in Sky Sanctuary's hub. According to the Sonic 3 manual, these were Knuckles' Trademark Favorite Food.
    • One of the missions--specifically the race against Tails in Green Hill as Modern Sonic--is called "Way Past Fast", possibly in a nod to SATam.
      • Sonic actually calls himself "the fastest thing alive" in one of the first cutscenes in the 3DS version.
    • Bark and Bean are seen on "WANTED" signs in City Escape along with Fang as a cameo, likely a reference to the Archie comics where they are Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains (their allegiance is completely ambiguous in their one game appearance).
  • Nerf: In the console and PC version, the Sonic Boost's ring-attracting effect has been reduced from Unleashed and Colors.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Apart from the launch trailer, none of the CGI shown in the trailers exists in the game; in fact the trailer at the start is the only cutscene to use CGI, the rest use gameplay models.
  • Nintendo Hard: Beating The Time Eater without getting hit gives you a trophy/achievement. On the bright side, you're free to play Star Light Zone on said fight.
  • No Death Run: Completing an act without losing any lives gives you a Perfect Bonus, which boosts your rank by one full letter grade. In the main levels, the coveted S rank is only attainable by giving an A-rank performance with no deaths.
Restarting an act lets you try for the Perfect Bonus again, at the cost of a life[25]. Strangely, dying before reaching your first checkpoint eats up one life and sets the clock back to 0:00:00, as if you had restarted the act, but the Perfect Bonus is no longer attainable[26].
It's possible to earn S-ranks in the challenge levels even if you lose a life, as completion time is the only deciding factor. But since dying will usually set you back a considerable amount of time, a No Death Run is still recommended.
  • Nostalgia Level: Every level in the game is derived from old Sonic games, though the level design is mostly new. It works both ways; Modern Sonic plays through classic stages with the new style of gameplay, and Classic Sonic plays through newer stages with nostalgic gameplay.
  • Not So Fast Bucko: In Act 1 of Crisis City in the HD version, as you approach the goal sign, it gets carried away by a flaming tornado.
  • Oh Crap: Classic Sonic has no dialogue, but his expression at the Time Eater's initial appearance is definitely this.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Chemical Plant's Mega Mack features these, unlike the original level. Seaside Hill also has them, which is, again, a new thing as Seaside Hill's original iteration had no underwater gameplay.
  • Palmtree Panic: Green Hill Zone, Emerald Coast, and Seaside Hill.
  • Pinball Zone: Casino Night. It's a full-fledged world in the 3DS version, but just the setting for a pinball minigame in the console version.
  • Playing Tennis With the Boss: One side mission requires you to bat music notes back and forth with Vector.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • The Red Burst Wisps return in Tropical Resort in the 3DS version.
    • The Fire Shield power-up from Sonic 3 finally makes a return. It still allows Sonic to perform a fire tackle.
    • Iblis' minions return in Crisis City.
  • Pop Star Composer: Alex Makhlouf, of Cash Cash, does a few remixes for the game.[27] Tony Harnell and Ted Poley also returned to sing "Escape from the City".
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Thunder Shield.
  • Preorder Bonus: Preorders from GameStop in the US or GAME in the UK net you the Casino Night DLC minigame. On the other side of the pond, Japanese preorders come one of two bonus soundtrack CDs (depending on the ordered version) containing the original songs of just about every first stage in the franchise.
  • Red Alert: Used during Chemical Plant's meltdown in Modern Sonic’s level.
  • Retcon: Even more of this occurs with Crisis City, as when Blaze is rescued, her first speech balloon post-cutscene has her state that Crisis City was her fault.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Classic Sonic and Classic Tails.
  • The Rival: Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic.
  • Sampling: The JP Stardust Speedway remix samples the original JP Bad Future Stardust Speedway and JP Present Stardust Speedway.
  • Scenery Porn: Lots, as is to be expected in a Sonic title.
    • Scenery Gorn: Crisis City, and the ruined Station Square in which you fight Perfect Chaos.
  • Sega Hard: The Doppelganger Races. Good. God. The premise is simple enough: run through Act 1 or 2 of a zone and reach the finish before the doppelganger. There's several major problems, though. The doppelganger is fast. Better-than-A-grade fast. And you can't slow him down in any way, because he's intangible (a physical representation of an imposed time limit; a "time ghost", if you will).
To add insult to injury, even if you do manage to win, you are almost guaranteed to be awarded a D-grade, because once you go over S-grade time, every 5-15 seconds afterward will drop you one more full letter grade. By the way, since this is a challenge level, you can't equip any skills, and you can't boost your grade by collecting rings (AND unlike most challenge levels, there are no pick-ups to reduce your time). Even if you've managed to get an S-grade in the act proper, you will find yourself 10% more bald than when you first started playing the Doppelganger Race. Have fun.
    • Some of the "friend" challenges aren't a whole lot easier, especially Vector's two. In his Crisis City one, you end up fighting the wind as you try to guide him. In his Rooftop Run one, you have to chase notes and try to homing attack them back to Vector, but you end up having to basically memorize where the notes will go so you can get to them. The usual homing attack length seems shortened.
    • And introducing Charmy's friend challenge at Planet Wisp. My god...
  • Shout-Out: Several, which is only natural considering the nature of the game:
    • At some point in the Modern Sonic gameplay, you're offered the chance to make air combos. The finishing pose will remind you of something very familiar and fond [dead link].
    • City Escape has new billboards that include a mock iPhone... and honey! It seems that old advertisement is back.
    • The first part of Modern Sonic's S Rank pose is based on Usain Bolt's "To Di World" pose.
    • The NiGHTS Resort re-appears in Radical Highway.
    • The cutscene prior to the battle with Shadow has Sonic and Shadow mimicking the updated opening for the Gamecube version of Sonic Adventure 2 (Battle).
    • One of Planet Wisp's challenging acts features all three elemental shields. The mission itself is called "With Your Powers Combined".
    • The hardest achievement is called "Can't Touch This".
    • The game's Big Bad, The Time Eater, is reminiscent of another Eldritch Abomination who consumes time, the Time Devourer. They are both even fought in an Eldritch Location.
    • Sky Rail's propeller Springs can be found in one of Sky Sanctuary's challenges.
    • Silver's Psychic Knife attack looks familiar to another boss that did it...
    • In the 3DS version, some missions will require you to get through an entire stage without losing a single life. All missions of this type are titled "Die Hard".
    • Before the game was released, SEGA used the original blue-text-on-white-background logo, complete with "SEEGAA." It was changed to the newer one in the full game.
    • In Act 1 of Sky Sanctuary, there are platforms that allow Sonic a small degree of flight when he runs across them, similar to the tops from the Marble Garden Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • Shown Their Work: Classic Sonic looks exactly like the original Sonic design from the Genesis games, starting with the coloring details (black irises and flesh-colored eyelids), all the way to the animations and sound - even the Cheeky Mouth looks identical. He’s closer to his smaller and cuter Japanese design, as opposed to his attitude-infused Western design used on the box-art for the US versions of the original Sega Genesis trilogy (which Sonic Team admittedly hated).
    • All of the Classic Character designs featured in the game seem to be based off of these artworks specifically: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5].
    • Orcas, likely as a reference to the one that chased Sonic in Emerald Coast in Sonic Adventure, help Sonic cross large bodies of water in Seaside Hill in the HD Sonic Generations. Emerald Coast does appear in the 3DS version, but not the HD one, and in the former, it chases both Sonics in their acts as it did in its debut.
  • Silent Snarker: Classic Sonic on occasion.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: This peaceful theme plays during a few Co-Op missions. Even in Crisis City's.
    • The game lets you invoke this by allowing you to switch out the BGM of a stage or boss for any song you have unlocked in challenges. Yes, you are fully allowed to fight Perfect Chaos to the sound of Emerald Hill Zone if you really want to.
  • Stable Time Loop: The ending shows Classic Sonic attempting to perform the Air Boost, suggesting that he learned it by watching his future self do it in an earlier cutscene.
  • Stealth Pun: In the classic stage of Speed Highway there's a ring-related pun with a bell.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see Modern and Classic Eggman bickering inside the Hub Level, now completely emptied by the restoration of the timeline.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Omochao. Thankfully, the main menu contains the option to turn it off.
    • The same can not be said of the rest of the cast in the final battle. It most certainly does not help that the final battle is also That One Boss.

Voice #1: It looks like a homing shot!
Voice #2: Be careful Sonic!

    • What makes them even more annoying is that, the one hint you really need, namely "aim at the core and boost" gets drowned out by a dozen repetitions of "that looks like a homing shot".
  • Super Speed
  • Taken for Granite: What Time Eater does to Sonic's friends.
  • Taught By Experience: Eggman makes sure the Monster of the Week is completely under its control by mechanizing it, instead of failing to control it like in most previous games.
  • Temporary Platform: Lots of them. Both stationary and moving ones.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In the Rival Battle with Shadow, when either Sonic or Shadow goes on the offensive, the music switches to Live and Learn or All Hail Shadow, respectively.
    • When Classic and Modern Super Sonic combine to strike the final blow on the Time Eater, the music changes to the Sonic 4 invincibility theme.
  • Time Travel
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Mad Convoy went from a nearly harmless sloth that could be defeated by a small arch that they could clearly see a mile away to a monstrosity in Generations! It is far larger than the Sonic Adventure 2 counterpart, it can destroy entire buildings without leaving a dent, and is able to contain gigantic saw blades and a rocket that gives it enough power to not only fly, but run up a wall. Not much better in the Classic version of City Escape where it is willing to tear down the city just to flatten a small blue mammal!
    • Modern Sonic, who can defeat Perfect Chaos without transforming into Super Sonic.
      • Also, the final hurdle of Rooftop Run for Classic Sonic is climbing a very tall clock tower fighting off lots of badnicks and performing tricky jumps along the way. Modern Sonic just runs straight up it in a matter of seconds.
    • Silver's psychic powers are shown to be considerably more powerful in this game than they've ever been shown to be before. He's also much faster, easily able to keep up with a boosting Sonic.
    • In the span of two games, Eggman went from enslaving an alien race to power a theme park, to transforming an Eldritch Abomination into a Humongous Mecha that rips apart time and space.
    • The Trollnado from |'06, arguably, which still chucks cars and other rubble at Sonic as though it were sentient. What takes the cake is that it steals the sign post at the "end" of Act 1.
  • Under the Sea: Chemical Plant, Seaside Hill and Water Palace. The last two double as Underwater Ruins.
  • The Unexpected: Classic Sonic's appearance in the initial teaser trailer.
    • Five older characters[28] appear on posters in City Escape - Three are wanted, two are missing.
    • Sonic Boom and the US Stardust Speedway theme, especially since the game use the JP/EU version by default and the 2011 port of Sonic CD was thought that it only had the JP/EU soundtrack at the time.
  • Unflinching Walk: After Classic Sonic defeats the Death Egg Robot and it falls over, he lands on his feet in a badass pose.
    • And then not one second later, he flinches as the robot explodes behind him.
  • Variable Mix: The BGM in Modern Sonic's Green Hill and Sky Sanctuary stages have a percussion track that changes tempo depending on how fast Sonic is moving. This is also used in Sonic Colors, in which the bass line in that game would vanish while boosting.
    • The speed shoes return in Classic Sonic's stages, so naturally the tempo picks up while using them.
    • The Death Egg Robot has two additional drum tracks as the fight progresses.
    • The Time Eater's theme seamlessly changes styles according to which Super Sonic is in control; from an orchestral style for Modern Super Sonic to an electronic style for Classic Super Sonic.
    • The hub world, which has a mix based on every stage in the game.
  • Villain Team-Up: The union between Modern and Classic Eggman.
  • The Voiceless: Classic Sonic, keeping with the spirit of the Genesis games. Oddly enough, Classic Tails and Classic Eggman do talk.
  • Wall Crawl: The Pink Spike Wisps return in Planet Wisp on the console version. Modern Sonic can also run along (and up and down) walls in Speed Highway and City Escape.
  • Wall Jump: Can be done on certain surfaces as Modern Sonic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happened to Orbot and Cubot when Eggman found the Time Eater. It's assumed he just left them in space.
  • White Void Room: It's used as the Hub Level.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The "Mad Skillz" achievement.
    • One of the words available to name your Skill Sets with is "Skillz."
  1. The setting for the fight against the Death Egg Robot (Sonic 2's final boss).
  2. in the form of a DLC
  3. The setting for the Rival Boss Fight against Metal Sonic.
  4. Which also takes design cues from Marble Garden and includes an interior section reminiscent of the Hidden Palace.
  5. The setting for the fight against Perfect Chaos (Sonic Adventure's Final Boss).
  6. The setting for the Rival Boss Fight against Shadow.
  7. This zone is mostly based on the following act, Ocean Palace. Act 1 also takes level design cues from Hydrocity Zone
  8. You also fight Silver here.
  9. Spagonia with a festival theme, with a few appearances by the Flying Battery
  10. The setting for the fight against a completed version of the Egg Dragoon (Last Boss against Dr. Eggman in Sonic Unleashed).
  11. Pink (Spike) and Orange (Rocket) Wisps appear here. Act 1 also takes level design cues from Metropolis Zone
  12. You also race Metal Sonic here.
  13. The setting for the Big Arm Boss Fight (Sonic 3's Final Boss).
  14. You also race Shadow here.
  15. The setting for the Biolizard Boss Fight.
  16. The setting for the Egg Emperor Boss Fight.
  17. With Red (Burst) and Cyan (Laser) Wisps returning. Also the setting for the Silver race.
  18. Not to Be Confused With Easy Mode Mockery.
  19. where it was shared with the 'Boost' button (X on 360 and Square on Play Station 3).
  20. Pressing the 'Jump' button (A on 360, X on Play Station 3) in mid-air to perform it.
  21. Featuring never before seen artwork.
  22. Featuring a selection of tracks handpicked by Sonic Team.
  23. An exclusive collection of interviews and footage charting Sonic’s life from inception through to becoming one of the most iconic characters in videogame history.
  24. The Casino Night Zone Pinball Minigame, a 20th Anniversary theme, and a Super Sonic costume for your Xbox 360 Avatar.
  25. alternatively, you can quit to the level select and re-enter, saving you a life, but subjecting you to extra loading time
  26. this can thankfully be circumvented by restarting the act before the loading screen pops up
  27. If you really want to know the specific remixes he did, according to the OST's booklet they are: Classic Speed Highway, "Going Down!?", Classic City Escape, "Super Sonic Racing" and US Stardust Speedway for the console version; Classic Radical Highway, Modern "Back 2 Back" (Water Palace), Big Arms and the Special Stages for the 3DS version.
  28. Bark the Polar Bear, Bean the Dynamite, and Fang the Sniper from Sonic the Fighters and Sonic Triple Trouble along with Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo from SEGASONIC Arcade and Knuckles Chaotix.