Arid Sands (ホットデザート Hotto Dezaato?, lit. "Hot Desert") is the sixth or seventh Action Stage on the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed (depending on the order of previous stages), and the fifth Stage on the PlayStation 2/Wii version of Sonic Unleashed. It takes place in a desert which includes both Shamar and the outskirts outside of town.
Arid Sands takes place across Shamar and extends into the outskirts. The town areas are placed in the flat and rock-free landscapes, and features closely packed, medium-sized flat buildings whose architecture is based off real-life buildings in the Middle East. Along the sandstone streets are sheets of cloth which are sat up on the buildings, shallow fountains along the roads, and bushes and palm trees just outside said streets. On the PS3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed, the town areas also have outdoor shops and marketplaces along the roads.
Outside Shamar, a large desert makes up the outskirts. A sand-colored rocky landscape dominate this desert, creating formations like pillars, cliffs, valleys and gorges. These outskirts also hold the ruins that Shamar are renowned for. These ruins include sand-colored stone walls, paths and temples, with pillars being a prominent design element. Found all over the desert, these ruins either stick out of the sand, stand on top of the rocks, or are carved into the cliffs. Also, a few palm trees grow along the paths in this desert. Additionally, on the PS2/Wii version of Sonic Unleashed, the desert has a few oases as well.
In the daytime acts, Arid Sands is lit up by the sun and has a blue sky with a thin cloud cover. In the nighttime acts, Arid Sands is lit up by the buildings in town and torches in the outskirts, and has a deep night sky.
After Professor Pickle pinpointed a Gaia Temple in Shamar, Sonic and Chip went to Arid Sands to find the key fragments to unlock the gate to the Gaia Temple. Arriving during the day, Sonic and Chip located a key fragment. Shortly after, the duo returned during nighttime and found the second key fragment.
Using the key fragments, Sonic the Werehog and Chip accessed the area of the Gaia Temple, only to be ambushed by Dark Guardian, whom Sonic defeated. Inside the Temple, Chip activated it and Sonic placed the powerless yellow Chaos Emerald into the Temple's pedestal, restoring the Emerald's power and bringing Shamar's continent back to its proper place.
In the daytime acts of Arid Sands on both versions of Sonic Unleashed, the gameplay features a great deal of wall jumping and platforming across the various ruins. On the PS3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed, the daytime acts have stone pillars as hazards, which can fall down on Sonic when he runs by them and cause damage upon impact. On the PS2/Wii version of Sonic Unleashed, the daytime acts of Arid Sand have sections of shifting sand that can push the player off course when walking across them.
In the nighttime acts of Arid Sands on both versions of Sonic Unleashed, the water barrel gimmick is used. The player can use these barrels to extinguish the local Fire Masters and make them vulnerable.
Head for the Goal
This act includes the majority of Arid Sands, with the player passing through Shamar and the desert area filled with ancient ruins. At the beginning of the act, the player first travels through a few sharp turns, alternating between sand paths and building blocks, before entering the town. After passing through the city, the player comes across a bridge over an oasis, followed by a series of gorges with stone paths. From there, now in the middle of the act, the player will enter another section filled with ruins rising from the desert sand, which he/she has to travel across. After leaving the ruins section, the player enters a new series of gorges with ruins in the cliffs. After that, the player will re-enter Shamar, with the Goal Ring at the end.
Gather Rings at Top Speed!
This mission mainly includes the middle section of the "Head for the Goal" mission act, taking place across the section filled with prominent ruins. Here, the player has to collect 270 Rings within one minute and thirty seconds. Once that is done, the mission is completed, and the player is rewarded with a Moon Medal.
Don't Break Anything Along the Way!
This mission includes roughly the last third of the "Head for the Goal" mission act, spanning from where the player re-enters the gorge area from the ruin section to the end of the act. Here, the player has to make it to the Goal Ring within one minute and thirty seconds without breaking any of the pots that are located on the path. Once the mission is completed, the player is awarded with a Moon Medal.
Gather Rings at Top Speed!
This act takes place in an area separate from the "Head for the Goal" mission act, which is filled with large temple ruins. Here, the player has to collect 70 Rings within one minute. Once that is done, the mission is completed, and the player is rewarded with a Moon Medal.
|Land a Lightspeed Dash!||Use the Light Speed Dash to reach the Goal Ring within one minute.|
|Gather Rings at top speed!||Collect 70 Rings within one minute.|
|Gather Rings at top speed!||Collect 150 Rings within one minute.|
|Time Attack! Race for the Goal!||Reach the Goal Ring within one minute.|
Act I: The City of Sand
This act takes place within the walls of Shamar. Here, the player has to travel through the streets and alleys of the town and make it to the exit out of Shamar. Throughout the act, the player simply passes through the various streets and alleys and has to defeat incoming waves of enemies in order to proceed. At the end of the act, the player has to defeat a wave of enemies and then a Big Mother in order to access the Goal Ring.
|Target time for mission: 8'00"000|
Rings required: 344
Force required: 2528
Act II: Scorched Rock
This act takes place in the rocky outskirts near Shamar. Here, the player passes through a long and wide gorge that cuts through the rocks. At the beginning of the act, the player enters the gorge where he/she has to defeat a wave of enemies. After proceeding through the gorge, the player arrives at a recess, where he/she has to defeat some enemies and use a water barrel to extinguish some flames blocking the path. From there, the player ascends the cliffs and arrives in a open gorge filled with ruins and a bottomless pit that he/she has to cross using narrow paths and Dark Bats. After having defeated a wave of enemies on safe grounds, the player proceeds and then has to defeat some minor enemies and two Big Mothers to access the Goal Ring.
|Target time for mission: 9'00"000|
Rings required: 200
Force required: 1504
Act III: Valley of Spirits
This act takes place deeper within the mountainous areas of the desert, as the player arrives inside narrow valleys forged deep within the rocks. At the beginning of the act, the player has to travel precariously over bottomless pits using swinging poles. From there, the player enters another area with a large bottomless pit, where he/she has to proceed across extremely narrow bridges while avoiding Egg Flames' attacks. After that, the player enters a new section where he/she has to use moving platforms to cross a third bottomless pit to get to the other side. The player then has to defeat a series of Deep Nightmares and two Titans to access the Goal Ring.
|Target time for mission: 7'00"000|
Rings required: 244
Force required: 2192
Act IV: Altar of Oblivion
This act takes place inside the deepest depths of the gorge in the desert, with ruins carved into the narrow rock walls everywhere. At the beginning of the act, the player passes through the gorge and eventually arrives in a open area with temple doors, and he/she has to find the correct door leading out of there. The player then has to retrieve a water barrel from inside a side gorge filled with flamethrowers to extinguish some flames blocking the main path. From there, the player proceeds through the gorge and arrives in an area where he/she has to defeat a wave of enemies. The player then has to solve a puzzle by using an iron crate to activate a switch that unlocks the path and then use another iron crate to prevent some flamethrowers blocking the unlocked path. At the end of the act, the player has to defeat a series of enemies and a Red Titan to access the Goal Ring.
|Target time for mission: 10'00"000|
Rings required: 248
Force required: 1792
|Special Mission! Find the treasure!||Find five hidden treasure items within three minutes.|
|Break nothing en route to the goal!||Reach the Goal Ring within three minutes without breaking any obstacles.|
Description (PS3/Xbox 360)
This act covers the majority of Arid Sands, stretching across Shamar and the desert outskirts of the town that are filled with ruins. At the beginning of the act, the player starts out by racing through the town of Shamar, sometimes having to use the Sonic Drift to make it through the streets with sharp turns. As the player leaves the town, he/she will race through the desert to an area filled with ruins, running through at least three sections of ruins. After the third section, the player is sent into a large valley in which he/she has to grind on grind rails to a new section of ruins. After leaving these ruins, the player arrives in a gorge area where he/she first has to run along the walls and on the bottom of the gorges, before arriving at the Goal. It is in this act that Sonic and Chip are looking for one of the halves of Shamar's Gaia Key.
This act takes place inside a canyon filled with ancient ruins and focuses on quick time event gameplay. Here, the player moves from section to section, using blue springs which propel the player onto rocky features around the canyon walls, or Trick Jump Panels that send the player flying through midair, until the player reaches the Goal Ring. Failing to complete any quick time event will result in the player falling into a bottomless pit, forcing the player to restart the stage over from the beginning.
The majority of this act takes place inside the town, while the remainder occurs outside of town, and focuses heavily on combat. In this act, the player first proceeds through different town squares and passages, where he/she has to defeat all enemies present in the area in order to unlock the path and proceed. In some cases, fights occur in small spaces with little room to attack. Around the middle of the act, the player arrives in a large square with a sealed door to the left that the player has to pass through. This door, however, can only be unlocked when the player brings all four Key Stones that are scattered all over the square to the pedestals at the door. Once unlocked, the player proceeds to the outskirts of Shamar, where he/she is faced with the Master variant of Dark Gaia's Minions while having to scale a cliff using blocks. At the end of the act, the player then has to defeat a Titan and more of the Master variant of Dark Gaia's Minions to unlock the Goal. It is in this act that Sonic and Chip are looking for one of the halves of Shamar's Gaia Key.
Apotos and Shamar Adventure Pack DLC
The downloadable content pack for the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed, the "Apotos and Shamar Adventure Pack", introduced two additional daytime and nighttime acts for Arid Sands in the game. These acts are basically extensions of the original acts in the game, but are much more difficult to complete. The pack was released on Xbox Live for $4.13 on 21 May 2009 and on the PlayStation Network for $3.00 on 4 June 2009.
This act is basically the same as the daytime Act 1 in the game, except the act has been modified, having been given a generally harder layout with more gimmicks, more enemies and more hazardous and abundant obstacles, such as spikes and bombs.
This act takes place amongst the ruins in the bottom of a large canyon. Here, the player's objective is to find and collect all ten Chao that are scattered all over the stage within ten minutes. Throughout the act, the player has to either defeat certain enemies within an area or utilize various gimmicks in order to reach the next area with Chao, while also avoiding hazardous obstacles such as spikes, bombs and flamethrowers.
This act takes place in the canyons and gorges in the outskirts of Shamar. Here, the player first starts out by moving through the canyon, taking out enemies and ascending the cliffs. After reaching the top of the cliffs, the player will face a Titan and a few minor enemies. After passing through the area with the Titan, the player continues further down a new section of the canyon, using Dark Bats to cross gaps and bottomless pits all the while. After passing through a sealed door, the player will enter an area where he/she has to defeat two Titans and a few other minor enemies, before making the Goal Ring appear.
This act takes place in the ruins adorning the walls of the canyon in the desert. Here, the player starts out on a platform on the wall of the canyon. From there, the player has to cross over a bottomless pit using climbing poles hanging from ruins above the player and/or Dark Bats. After the first section of climbing, the player will arrive on a small platform with a Titan on it, whose attacks can easily knock the player into the pit. From there, the player proceeds to some lower platforms and then enters another section in which the player has to cross a bottomless pit using poles and/or Dark Bats. After this, the player will arrive at another platform where he/she has to defeat another Titan and some Fire Masters to make the Goal Ring appear.
The boss of Arid Sands is Dark Guardian, a member of Dark Gaia's Minions. It can be fought after unlocking the Boss Gate in Shamar's Entrance Stage in the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed, and after unlocking the Boss Stage in Shamar's Gaia Gate in the PlayStation 2/Nintendo Wii version of Sonic Unleashed. For this boss, the player fights as Sonic the Werehog.
During this fight, Dark Guardian will attack the player by trying to hit Sonic with its hammer, punching him, charging at him or calling forth lightning to strike him. Additionally, in the PS2/Wii version, Dark Guardian can teleport itself away and heal itself.
The way to defeat Dark Guardian differs between each version of Sonic Unleashed. In the PlayStation 2/Nintendo Wii version, the player simply has to fight it head-on and inflict enough damage. In the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 version, however, Dark Guardian cannot be defeated in direct combat; after taking some damage, it becomes invulnerable and eventually returns with restored health. To fully defeat it, the player has to push all three blocks in the arena to the Moon Altar and then reduce its health to zero.
Nearly all Acts/Missions in Arid Sands in both versions of Sonic Unleashed contain a number of collectibles the player can obtain when playing through them:
|6||Head for the Goal|
|17||Act IV: Altar of Oblivion|
|21||Act II: Scorched Rock|
|28||Act IV: Altar of Oblivion|
|44||Head for the Goal|
|45||Act II: Scorched Rock|
|46||Act I: The City of Sand|
|58||Act III: Valley of Spirits|
|76||Act III: Valley of Spirits|
|85||Act I: The City of Sand|
|86||Act I: The City of Sand|
|90||Act III: Valley of Spirits|
|8||Gather Rings at top speed! (70 Rings)|
|10||Act II: Scorched Rock|
|11||Act IV: Altar of Oblivion|
|15||Act I: The City of Sand|
|18||Act II: Scorched Rock|
|5||Head for the Goal|
|18||Break nothing en route to the goal!|
|28||Gather Rings at top speed! (150 Rings)|
|29||Time Attack! Race for the Goal!|
|31||Special Mission! Find the treasure!|
|28||Day Act 1|
|10||Day Act 1|
|26||Night Act 1|
|27||Night Act 1|
|11||Day Act 1|
|12||Day Act 1|
|13||Day Act 1|
|43||Day Act 1|
|45||Night Act 1|
|61||Night Act 1|
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Arid Sands goes by the name Arid Sands Zone. In this media, it is a region of Sonic's World in Midesta and is where the Midesta Egg Army has their stronghold.
- The ruin at the end of the daytime Act 1 in the PS3/Xbox 360 version of Sonic Unleashed bears a strong resemblance to the monastery at Petra in Jordan.
- The DLC Act 3 is similar to Act 3 for Rooftop Run. This marks the second appearance of Chao in the game.
- In Sonic Lost World, in the Nintendo 3DS version, Desert Ruins Zone 2 has similar background music to the Daytime background music used in Arid Sands.
- Also, the theme of the Deadly Six is similar to the night time theme of Arid Sands.
- In the nighttime stage of Arid Sands in the Playstation 3/Xbox 360 version, there is a fountain with a statue that looks like a lady, holding a vase, and pouring out water. This may be a reference to Aquarius.
|Arid Sands - Day||Tomoya Ohtani||4:01|
|Intro: Arid Sands - Night||Kenichi Tokoi||0:08|
|Arid Sands - Night||Kenichi Tokoi||3:48|