Sonic Heroes is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series released at the end of 2003. It's notable for being the first Sonic game to have Multi Platform release on all three consoles after Sega quit making consoles (prior to this, Sonic stuck to the Gamecube with several rereleases of older games and the Game Boy Advance for the 2D Sonic Advance trilogy) as well as the first original 3D Sonic game after Sonic Adventure 2. Its primary gameplay gimmick is teamwork, and as such the story focuses on four teams of three: Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix. Each team has a Speed, Power, and Flight character with an associated formation. Each formation can be immediately switched with the press of a button.
Team Sonic consists of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. They get a letter from Dr. Eggman in which the evil doctor boasts that he has created the ultimate weapon to Take Over the World, and tells the trio that they have three days to stop him from launching it.
Team Dark consists of Shadow, Rouge, and E-123 Omega. All three are after Eggman, but for different reasons. Rouge wants Eggman's secret treasure, Shadow is currently amnesiac after being frozen in suspended animation and wants answers from Eggman, and Omega wants to kill the doctor for demoting him to secret base security.
Team Rose consists of Amy, Cream--with her Chao friend Cheese--and Mr. Big. Big must once again find his missing pal Froggy, Cream wants to reunite Cheese with his brother Chocola, and Amy, of course, wants to track down Sonic.
Team Chaotix consists of Espio, Charmy, and Vector. They are a group of detectives who are tasked with various missions from an unknown client that communicates with them via walkie-talkie. Vector and Charmy are eager to fulfill their client's tasks as they are promised a hefty cash reward; although skeptical, Espio is forced to join his comrades.
The game's reviews were rather mixed, but mostly positive, with the Game Cube version getting the highest overall scores, and the PlayStation 2 version getting the lowest. Fans and critics alike praised all of the callbacks to previous games and the return of Special Stages, but criticised the requirement of team-ups, the light-hearted storyline (which is rather ironic as later games would be called out for their complicated plots), and retaining some of the 3D problems of Sonic Adventure.
Was later followed up by a semi-sequel called Shadow the Hedgehog that wrapped up several of the loose threads in Team Dark's storyline.
A teamwork gimmick would also be used in Sonic Advance 3, but with a team of two instead of three and the ability to choose different character combinations.
- Actually a Doombot: Eggman, after you crash his Albatross. Once your back is turned, though, the robot melts and reforms into Metal Sonic.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Egg Fleet and Final Fortress.
- All Your Powers Combined: Metal Sonic spends the game scanning the heroes and gaining their powers: Sonic's speed, Tails's flight, Knuckles's strength, Shadow's Chaos powers, and (by way of proxies that have been in contact with him) Chaos's shapeshifting ability, manifested through metal instead of water.
- Anticlimax Boss: Metal Overlord. While Metal Madness is mildly challenging due to having one instant-kill attack, Overlord is one of the easiest bosses in the game!
- Bag of Spilling: Each time you start a new zone, all your levels reset to zero.
- Badass Longcoat: Neo Metal Sonic.
- Big Bad: Metal Sonic.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Hang Castle and Mystic Mansion.
- Also Haunted Castle.
- Big No: Sonic lets one out when you lose a life via Bottomless Pit. Metal Overlord also belts one out when hit by a Team Blast.
- Blind Idiot Translation: "Look at all those Eggman's robots!" Doubles as Memetic Mutation.
- Another rather egregious example is in the final level, when you press a self destruct switch to detonate the ship you are currently on, Tails will say "Wonder why it self destructed?" when in the original Japanese script, he said "Why did he put a self destruct switch there?"
- Bottomless Pits: Lots of them are present in the game, to the point where almost every single level after Power Plant is some level suspended high in the air.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Lost Jungle is this in the lower areas.
- Casino Park: The Trope Namers.
- Cast Herd: All playable characters are herded into Power Trioes.
- Continuing Is Painful: Losing a life results in not only losing all your points, but it also resets your level-ups, making whatever killed you before more likely to kill you again.
- Continuity Nod:
- "The Egg Carrier's nothing compared to this!"
- "This place reminds me of Casinopolis."
- "Some things never change, do they?"
- "This weather reminds me of our last attack on the Egg Carrier!"
- "I couldn't even beat Gamma or Beta."
- "Space? Did you say SPACE?"
- "There are large jungle mushrooms on my island, too... but not this huge."
- Costume Copycat: Metal Sonic disguising as Eggman through the entire game, while the real one is locked up and gives orders to Team Chaotix.
- Also, presumably the "Sonic" seen in the newspaper article that kicked off Team Rose's quest was also Metal Sonic in disguise.
- Cut and Paste Environments: All the Teams go through the exact same levels at the exact same times and fight Metal Sonic disguised as Eggman in the exact same fights. While there are enough differences in the actual levels, the storyline is a giant Contrived Coincidence.
- Death Mountain: Rail Canyon and Bullet Station.
- Double Standard Abuse (Female on Male): The Team Rose vs Team Sonic boss has you (as Amy) beat Sonic up because he refuses her romantic advances. Granted, you also play as Sonic in the same situation, but the in-game dialog has Knuckles assume that it's Sonic's fault and the opening to the next level implies that Sonic ran away rather than fight back. Having a male hero try to force a woman into marriage would probably not be considered appropriate for an all-ages game, but with the genders reversed it's Played for Laughs.
- Dreadful Musicians: The Chaotix during their Team Blast.
- Egocentric Team Naming: Team Sonic and Team Rose. Averted by Team Dark and Team Chaotix.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Metal Sonic. Surprisingly, its just Ryan Drummond's Sonic voice given a robotic makeover.
- Fastball Special:
- The "Power" characters can pick up the other team members and perform this for their aerial attacks.
- Team Sonic's Team Blast, the Sonic Overdrive, has the teammates flinging each other over to the enemies close enough for Sonic to perform the Light Speed Attack..
- Flying Seafood Special: The Egg Fleet consists of ships that resemble sharks, sawfish and manta rays. The (huge) flagship, Final Fortress, is a whale shark.
Big: "Look at all the fishy ships!"
- Foreshadowing: When Team Chaotix is about to fight the Robot Storm at the Mystic Mansion, Vector calls "Eggman" a moustache moron, before asking his client if he's the real deal (they had earlier defeated a fake). The client takes an odd amount of offense to Vector's remark before stopping himself. It's later revealed that their client was Eggman all along.
- Also, in the scene where Team Dark defeats Eggman at Sky Canyon, because of their finding a destroyed Shadow robot, and later a large collection of Shadow robots in stasis, people had been speculating that the Shadow they discovered in the beginning of the game may have been a robot., however, the same scene as their discovery of the destroyed Shadow bot had Metal Sonic stating that the Ultimate Life-Form's data has been successfully copied, implying that yes, the Shadow Rouge discovered is indeed the real Shadow.
- In Hang Castle, a flipped Eggman statue becomes a Metal Sonic statue.
- Free Rotating Camera
- Furry Confusion: Vector is an anthropomorphic crocodile. Lost Jungle includes a giant non-anthropomorphic alligator as a hazard. Team Chaotix takes an alternate route through the level, so the twain never meet.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In a sense. During Team Dark's Chaos Inferno Team Blast, Shadow reaches into Omega's chassis and pulls out the green Chaos Emerald to perform Chaos Control (whether the Emerald served as a power source for Omega or the robot was simply safeguarding it is unknown, although, given subsequent games, the latter is more likely). However, you still have to collect that particular Emerald via the Special Stages (with any of the four teams). Later on, during the Last Episode where the teams reveal that they've been collecting all of the Chaos Emeralds separately, Omega is still in possession of the green Emerald, implying that he still had it all along.
- Giant Mook: The Egg Hammers, who first appears in the jungle stages, then becomes a recurring Mooks for the rest of the game.
- A God Am I: Metal Sonic.
- Jungle Japes: Frog Forest and Lost Jungle.
- Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Shiny mooks that only power characters can damage (such as the giant mooks).
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When fighting the Egg Emperor as the Chaotix, Espio comments "This must be the final stage."
- Let's You and Him Fight: Tons of it. Let's put it this way: all the teams are technically on the same side, but they continually fight each other for petty reasons and misunderstandings throughout the game anyways. This is especially noticeable with Team Dark, who kept attacking people just in case their opponents might have saved the day before they could for their own reasons.
- Levels Take Flight: Egg Fleet and Final Fortress. The former involves the player hopping from airship to airship as they gradually tear through Eggman's aerial armada before landing on his flagship.
- Lighter and Softer: In comparison to Sonic Adventure 2, at least. That is, up until Last Story.
- Limit Break: Hitting enough enemies increases a power meter that allows you to use a Team Blast.
- Loud of War: Team Chaotix's blast uses their horrible singing to cause the robots in their radius to explode.
- Marathon Level: Almost every stage in the game is pretty long, but most notable are Power Plant and Mystic Mansion, the latter of which is That One Level.
- Final Fortress, too, but that's to be expected from the last non-boss level.
- Mystic Mansion from the Chaotix's story has you trying to extinguish all the torches in the level with Espio's whirlwind... for some reason. If you miss one you have to search through the whole level from the beginning. A clean speed run of the level, skipping enemies, without having to backtrack for a missed torch, will take upwards of 10 minutes.
- Mood Whiplash: The dark tone of the Last Story in contrast to the generally Lighter and Softer feel of the rest of the game.
- Multi Mook Melee/Wolfpack Boss: The boss battles following Bingo Highway and Mystic Mansion are this.
- Multi Platform: The fact that the game was being released for all three of the then-current gen consoles was a major selling point. The PlayStation 2 version is generally considered a Porting Disaster due to things such as clipping and inferior framerate.
- Musical Nod: The "upside down" theme to Hang Castle is composed almost entirely of an ambient remix of a riff from Sonic 2's Mystic Cave BGM.
- Nintendo Hard: Later Team Dark stages.
- And the optional Super Hard Mode, which is ironically less difficult than the requirement for unlocking it: All A-Ranks.
- Even the Hero stages (which is what a lot of newcomers are going to play automatically, this being a Sonic game) are rather difficult when they rely mostly on rails. The broken camera and controls brought over from the Sonic Adventure series aren't really helping, either.
- Not Me This Time: Throughout the story, all of the teams pursue Eggman when he unleashes the Egg Fleet to conquer the world. However, it is later revealed in the endings that not only is Eggman, for once, not responsible for the world domination plan, but in fact he was locked up by the one actually responsible: Metal Sonic.
- Off-Model: The boxart shown above; although he's in front of Sonic, Knuckles is much smaller. This was later fixed for the PAL boxart.
- One-Winged Angel: Metal Overlord.
- Palmtree Panic: Seaside Hill.
- Pinball Zone: Casino Park and Bingo Highway.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: At 3'7", Knuckles is the only power character who doesn't tower over speed and flight types; for reference, he's only four inches taller than Sonic.
- Power of Friendship: More like the real superpower of teamwork!
- Power Trio: All four teams.
- Real Life Relative: Subverted in English with the Corkery family: son William voices Tails, while his father Bill and sister Emily respectively voice Chaotix members Espio and Charmy.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Super Sonic and Metal Sonic, whether it's the normal one, Neo Metal Sonic, or Metal Overlord.
- Rewrite: Word of God confirmed that this game did not bring back the Chaotix, but reinvented them for the game, meaning that Knuckles Chaotix, their debut game, has been written out of the Sonic canon.
- Scenery Porn: In true Sonic tradition.
- Shout-Out: Metal Sonic mimics the liquid metal shtick of Terminator 2's T-1000.
- Story Arc: Team Dark's story continues the story of Shadow the Hedgehog that was introduced in Sonic Adventure 2, which would be concluded in Shadow the Hedgehog.
- The Spiny: One of the Egg Flappers sprouts red spikes every few seconds to make itself Homing Attack proof.
- Stock Subtitle: "Heroes."
- Suddenly Voiced: Metal Sonic, who goes back to being The Voiceless in all subsequent games.
- Super Mode: Team Sonic does this to beat Metal Overlord.
- Talking to Himself: Sonic and Metal Sonic are both voiced by Ryan Drummond and Junichi Kanemaru for English and Japanese, respectively.
- Teamwork Puzzle Game
- There Can Only Be One: Metal Sonic's desire to beat Sonic progressed into a full-on insanity in this game as he believed himself to be the real Sonic (all the while still acknowledging that he was built with the purpose of defeating Sonic) with lines like, "No long time no see, Sonic, my loathsome copy" and "I am the real Sonic!" To a lesser extent, Shadow's identity crisis is further compounded when he discovers a broken robotic copy of himself, although he doesn't say anything about it and it is instead Rouge and Omega who briefly muse about the development at endgame.
- Title Drop:
- The beginning of Team Sonic's story when they get the "invitation" from Doctor Eggman. He starts the letter off by exclaiming, "Guess WHAT, Sonic Heroes?!"
- The ending when Metal Overlord reverts back to Metal Sonic.
Metal Sonic: "It's no use... why can't I defeat you?"
Sonic: "Because we're Sonic Heroes."
- Tomato in the Mirror: In Team Dark's ending, Rouge and Omega discover a room full of robo-duplicates of Shadow aboard the Final Fortress in tubes that looked suspiciously like the one the playable Shadow was kept in in their opening cutscene. This casts doubt on whether or not the Shadow that joined them on their quest was the real Shadow or just a robot, but Eggman reveals in the final battle of Shadow the Hedgehog that he is the real Shadow, whom Eggman recovered after Sonic Adventure 2.
- Tomorrowland: Grand Metropolis and Power Plant.
- Totally Radical: Sonic and Knuckles dip into this on occasion with lines like "That was tight!" and "Too cool!" It makes sense for Sonic, to an extent, but Knuckles? Not so much.
- Trailers Always Spoil: They didn't even try to hide Metal Sonic coming back.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Shadow, of the physical trauma variety.
- Turtle Power: The giant turtles of Ocean Palace.
- The Unfought: Dr. Eggman appears to be the Big Bad throughout most of the game, but the player gets a bait & switch when they discover that it was actually Metal Sonic impersonating him and that Metal Sonic's the true villain of the game.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The characters find a statue of Dr. Eggman at Hang Castle. They comment on it. Then they flip the level over, revealing a statue of Metal Sonic. Not a single word is said about it.
- Villainous Breakdown: Metal Overlord, upon his defeat.
"Guooooo! Why! I had it all! I am the ultimate overlord, Metal Sonic! I am the real Sonic!"
- Villain Song/"The Villain Sucks" Song: Depending on how one interpret the lyrics, "What I'm Made Of," the theme of the (True Final Boss) Final Boss is either Metal Sonic telling Sonic about his maddening motive to finally defeat him and prove his worth or Sonic's Badass Boast to Metal, daring him to try and copy his power and see how that works out for him.
- Wall Jump: Sonic, Shadow, and Espio can perform this.
- We Can Rule Together: Of a sort. More like, I can rule, and you can benefit, but mostly an attempt to get out of skinflinting the Chaotix.
Eggman: "When I conquer the world..." (dramatic fist raise) "I will PAY YOU!"
- Wolverine Publicity: The first stage, Seaside Hill has gotten a form of this, as it has appeared in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, and as the representative of this game in Sonic Generations.