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Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

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Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
SonicChronicles.png
Well at least the game's failure wasn't as devastating as Anthem...
Genre(s): Role-playing
Platform(s): Nintendo DS
Release: AU: September 25, 2008
EU: September 26, 2008
NA: September 30, 2008
JP: August 6, 2009
Developer(s): BioWare
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: Canada
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog


"This can't suck, it has to be good, because if this game isn't good, i don't know what the hell i'm going to do with myself!! Come on, Sonic Chronicles, come on!"
ClementJ64, moments before he is devastated by the game's quality

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is a 2008 role-playing game released for the Nintendo DS. It was developed by BioWare and published by Sega. It is Sonic's first and only RPG title.

Plot

The entire story can be summed up like this:

"A lost tribe of Echidnas have appeared from another dimension and they're trying to conquer everything, Sonic stops them....And than a plot twist at the end!! And that's it."
ClementJ64

Bad Qualities

  1. The main RPG gameplay is broken beyond belief. Sometimes touch commands won't register or it won't matter at all, some enemies and bosses are extremely overpowered and other times your characters will get randomly ambushed.
  2. Very uncanny, off-looking and expressionless character models. They look blocky to the point they resemble peeled potatoes or dollar store bootleg figurines. It makes the infamous Pakistan McDonalds versions of the characters look like Final Fantasy VII's in-game overworld models by comparison.
  3. The music is grating and extremely unpleasant to listen to. Most of the soundtrack consists of poorly remixed tracks from other games. It’s explained by a former developer that the actual soundtrack was made for it, but due to the still unnamed legal issues, they where forced to use MIDI songs of old games instead.
    • On top of that, the sound effects are also horrendous. They are mostly a bunch of loud, cartoony and non-human sounds, or are recicled from the Genesis games. One of the worst sound effects is the robot sound (which sounds like a drunk Q*Bert), and the grunts the characters make when getting hit. Rumor has it that BioWare downloaded stock sound effects off the internet.
  4. The art style is inconsistent: as Chariii5 and ClementJ64 pointed out, the animated cutscenes look like either cheap animations you would find on Newgrounds or PBS comic books, the chapter title cards and intro sequence have both cool and unique art, and the character portraits in-game look like ripped stills from Sonic X.
  5. The story is filled with a ton of plot-holes and confusing elements. Why do the Nocturnus Clan want to rule over everything? Why did time fly by when the gang was in the Twilight Realm? Why can’t Shade be a descendant of the nocturnus clan instead of being ancient herself? It really twists your head like this.
  6. The Nocturnus Clan is a very poorly written villian group. According to Ken Penders, they are a rip-off of his Dark Legion group from the Archie Sonic comics.
  7. The main cast has been extremely dumbed down in this game, with everyone of them coming off as clueless idiots. Nobody forced Eggman to come with them when they were about to go to the Twilight Realm when it was obvious that Eggman was being suspicious.
  8. You can’t change your characters on the fly, you have to get back at Central City. Also some of the characters are suck in combat but are necessary in order to make progress in the overworld maps (particularly Big).
  9. Tails constantly tells you to save your game, which gets annoying after a while.
  10. The game tries to connect its plot with games like Sonic Battle with the appearance of Emerl's species, the Gizoids, and the SwatBots from Sonic SatAM, but it ended being up non-canon, so its comes off as desperate attempt to cater to hardcore fans of the series.
  11. Very poor boss selection with some of the fights dragging on and on due to their high health.
  12. The final battle is pathetic as you only need to land the majority of the attacks against Emperor Ix since Super Sonic deals very high damage. It's the final battle with General Scales from Star Fox Adventures all over again.
  13. The game ends on a cliffhanger which not only means you just wasted your time, but also that the game as a whole ended on a sour note. Altough the reason is that…
  14. … the game was planned to have a sequel, hence the title Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, like this was intended to be the first of a series of games, but was cancelled due to the poor reception and the lawsuit. Basically, BioWare put that cliffhanger there just so they could have made another game (which would probably be very short in length) for a quick money grab. They clearly possibly had time to program and code a final dungeon segment and the battle with Eggman. This possibly means the game was potentially rushed.

Good Qualities

  1. Nice overworld maps.
  2. The Genesis sound effects are nice to listen to.
  3. It does give us some insight on the Ancient Echidna tribes from Sonic Adventure.
  4. While on topic, it has more callbacks to previous games than Sonic Generations and Mania combined.
  5. It introduces Shade the Echidna.
  6. You can make the characters stronger or gain new abilities by equipping them with Chao, which is a pretty creative feature.
  7. Also the Chao Garden returns (altough in a different way)!
  8. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood as a game had some fantastic ideas that could have work, but its' execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Reception

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics. It however got mostly negative reviews from gamers for its clunky touch-only gameplay, the hideous in-game models, poor story, and the lack of magic that pre-EA BioWare is known for. Somecallmejohnny used to think this was a good game, but he heavily regretted saying that years later. AntDude criticized the awful sound design and overall gameplay, Gillythekid simply refused to play past the beginning because it was so bad, and Chariii5 really hates the game because it was so poorly made and written, and stated that pretty much nothing matters in this game.

Trivia

  1. Shortly after this game's release, former head writer of The Sonic Archie Comics, Ken Penders, sued BioWare, Electronic Arts and Sega for "plagiarizing his characters in their game". The case was eventually dismissed however. The lawsuit is part of the reason why it never got a sequel. It is also why The Nocturnus Clan and Shade have never made an appearance since, outside of their headquarters being used suprisely for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games as one of the event courses.
  2. The game was delisted from retailers, along with several other bad Sonic games in 2010.
  3. In the trailer, there is a 4-second scene from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog pilot.

Videos

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