Leaf Storm (リーフストーム Rīfusutōmu?) is the first and second Zone for Sonic the Hedgehog and Blaze the Cat, respectively, that appears in Sonic Rush. During the events of Sonic Rush, Sonic goes to Leaf Storm to stop Dr. Eggman, while Blaze goes to Leaf Storm to find another one of her missing Sol Emeralds.
Leaf Storm is a giant forest area located on an unknown island during the events of Sonic Rush. Leaf Storm takes several inspirations from previous Sonic the Hedgehog video games, namely the Sonic Advance trilogy. The player, who can control either as Sonic the Hedgehog or Blaze the Cat, can run on tree-top shuttle loops while running at high speeds, as well as performing Trick Actions to earn more energy for the Tension Gauge, which will in turn give the player more energy to use the Sonic Boost. The player can also grind on rails that are essentially made of vines of trees, swing on vines to avoid bottomless pits, and can run through corkscrew tree branches. There are even points where the player will run down on a vine-branch, but will then be saved by bungee ropes that will launch him/her up into the air.
Leaf Storm has only two acts per story mode, and both story mode acts are identical, with the exclusion of Sonic having the Special Generators in the acts of his story mode, in which the said generations can whisk Sonic to the Special Stage if Sonic uses enough Sonic Boost energy to get through. There are no differences between the levels, other than the music, which is the song "Right There, Ride On", being different depending on the character the player has chosen.
In the gameplay of this stage, the red Chaos Emerald can be found by Sonic if the player controls Sonic and then sends him to the Special Stage via the Special Generators. However, the blue Sol Emerald can be found by Blaze the Cat, but the emerald can be seen after defeating Egg Hammer Mega.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Being the first stage of the game, there is no cutscene prior to Sonic starting out his stage, being one of the few rare times in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series where the video game starts out without a direct cutscene to explain what is happening (this would eventually move on to Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations). Once Sonic gets through both acts, he will encounter Dr. Eggman in his newest mech, Egg Hammer Mega. Once destroying the robot, Eggman will escape the boss fight, while Sonic finds a blue mysterious gem. Suddenly, a mysterious female cat, unbeknownst to Sonic in which the cat is Blaze, will swipe the gem, and leave the scene. Confused, Sonic then runs out to find her, as he heads towards his best friend's laboratory, Miles "Tails" Prower.
Blaze the Cat
While on her search for the missing Sol Emeralds, Blaze and her "new friend" Cream the Rabbit move along to Leaf Storm to find the second Sol Emerald. After Blaze goes through both acts of Leaf Storm, she will then encounter Doctor Eggman once again in his Egg Hammer Mega robot. Once she defeats Eggman, a nearby Sonic the Hedgehog finds a mysterious blue gem, which is a Sol Emerald. He then is ambushed by Blaze, who steals the emerald and leaves the scene. Blaze then continues to run through the her next location, which is Mirage Road.
In the beginning of Act 1, the player runs through a long narrow platform until the player reaches several springs to use to get through the act. While grinding on Grind Rails, as well as performing Trick Actions in the process, the player will encounter several enemies, the majority of them being Egg Pawns. Corkscrew vine rails and tree branches are somewhat tricky, but can be easily forgettable if the player uses the Sonic Boost. Using bungee ropes to provide the player to launch in the sky helps with avoiding bottomless pits, while Winding Ropes will spin the player around until reaching a spring which will then launch the player in the air. Shuttle loops in the act provide the player more time to speed up through the level. The final area of this act has the player move downhill to the Goal Ring, which will then indicate the player finishing the act.
Act 2 begins with the player, who controls Sonic or Blaze, moving upward through platforms with help from nearby springs and ramps. This act has some similarities between Act 1, such as the robots and gimmicks used in this act, but precise platforming skills are put to the test in the latter half of this act. This act provides more points where the player can perform Trick Actions, as in the final part of the act, a giant wheel with Eggman's face will chase the player through a long descending platform in which the Sonic Boost technique will need to be used. It is possible, however, not to use the boost up until the part where a ramp will send the player to the Goal Ring, though. A Goal Ring will mark the end of the act.
The first or second boss in the game for Sonic and Blaze, respectively, Egg Hammer Mega is essentially the easiest boss in Sonic Rush. The boss is also simple, as the Egg Hammer Mega boss will target the player by heading towards the player's location, and will smash its head down, giving the player the chance to jump and hit the Egg Mobile on its head. Egg Hammer Mega, towards the point where the boss needs to be hit four or three times, will then put its head down on the rock platform during the boss fight, and will spin back and forth along the platform, hoping to knock the player off. This boss only needs eight hits to defeat if the player had selected the story settings to normal mode, while if the player put the story settings on easy mode, it will lower the boss fight to six hits.
- Act One of this stage has an interesting section where multiple platform steps appear with springs on the far right of each platform. However, in the video game Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, in the zone Splash Hill Zone, a section just like the section in Leaf Storm in Sonic Rush appears. Whether this is a coincidence is anyone's guess.
- At the E3 2004 demo of Leaf Storm, the music of the stage was different from the music used in Leaf Storm on the final product of Sonic Rush. However, this music would later be used for the cutscene where Blaze steals the Sol Emerald right in front of Sonic, which coincidentally, happens at Leaf Storm.
- It could be a possibility that Leaf Storm might take place at the Mystic Ruins jungle that appears in several Sonic the Hedgehog video games, as it can be told by Tails' laboratory nearby Leaf Storm and a nearby desert location called Mirage Road in which matches up with Mystic Ruins being right next to a desert level called Sand Hill.
- This is the only stage where Tails will not assist Sonic, which is caused by the story mode where Sonic meets up with Tails after the Leaf Storm stage.
- In the sequel to Sonic Rush, Sonic Rush Adventure, the layout of Hidden Island 16 has the exact same stage layout as of Leaf Storm's Act One layout.
- There is a glitch that occurs at Act One while playing as Sonic; when Sonic uses the Invincibility item, if Sonic makes it through the last section of the act, there will be no music to play after the invincibility theme ends.