|Sonic and the Black Knight|
Tetsu Katano (director)
Wii Optical Disc
Sonic and the Black Knight (ソニックと暗黒の騎士 Sonikku to Ankoku no Kishi?) is a game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, released exclusively on Wii as the second entry in the Sonic Storybook series, following Sonic and the Secret Rings.
Set in the world of King Arthur, the game combines Sonic the Hedgehog's trademark speed with a new swordfighting system, making use of the Wii Remote's motion-sensing functionality to a fighting style similar to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
A wizard named Merlina, granddaughter of Merlin, running away from some pursuer, summons Sonic to help free the mystical realm of King Arthur, who has been possessed by an unknown evil that comes from Excalibur's scabbard, and is now ruling the realm as the tyrannical Black Knight. Sonic's speed alone will not end the Black Knight's reign, so he must take up the talking sword, Caliburn and master swordsmanship in order to break Arthur's curse and save the kingdom.
Part One - Invasion From the Underworld
In the World of Camelot, while on the run from the Black Knight and his demonic minions of the underworld, Merlina is surrounded by the Black Knight's minions, and, before she is taken, performs a summoning ritual that brings Sonic to her world. Sonic defeats the Black Knight's minions before Merlina teleports them both away in a whirlwind. The Black Knight sends out his three Knights of the Round Table, who are still loyal to the Black Knight despite his evil, to find and kill Sonic and Merlina on sight. Merlina explains that the Black Knight, once King Arthur, is immortal, as he possesses the scabbard of Excalibur. After training Sonic in the art of swordsmanship, Merlina explains that King Arthur was once a wise and just ruler, but became corrupted by the power of immortality granted by having possession of Excalibur's scabbard. Sonic acquires Caliburn, a talking sword who is highly skeptical of Sonic's abilities, and they head off on their quest while Merlina goes into hiding (Merlina explains that she would be recognized in town). They first find the Blacksmith (Tails' counterpart in the game) in the Castle Town, in order to sharpen Caliburn's blade. The Blacksmith recognizes Caliburn, but cannot remember when he has heard of its name before.
Sonic heads off to see Nimue, the Lady of the Lake (Amy's counterpart in the game) and previous owner of the scabbard of Excalibur, to find out how to stop the Black Knight; on his way, he encounters and defeats Lancelot (Shadow's counterpart in the game), one of the Knights of The Round Table, and claims his sword. The Lady reveals that she will only assist Sonic when he becomes a true knight and presents him with three tests to be completed in three days. After completing them, Sonic soon encounters a crying child whose village was abducted by a dragon and decides to help her. Sonic soon encounters and defeats Gawain (Knuckles' counterpart in the game), and takes his sword before he can kill himself out of shame with it, asking him if there is more to being a knight than serving a king. With the townsfolk saved, Nimue reveals that she was the crying child and was testing Sonic, and that he can blunt the scabbard's power by retrieving the sacred swords wielded by the Knights of the Round Table. Afterwards, Sonic meets Percival (Blaze's counterpart in the game) and defeats her before saving her from falling from a cliff, an act that finally earns him Caliburn's respect and the title of "Knight of the Wind". Merlina has seen those events from her reflecting pool, and arrives to inform Sonic that the Black Knight is on Faraway Avalon. Sonic and Caliburn pursue and defeat the Black Knight with the power of the three sacred swords.
Part Two - The Rise and Fall of the Dark Queen
Having fought and defeated him by using the four Sacred Swords (including Caliburn), Merlina reveals to Sonic and The Knights of the Round Table that King Arthur was an illusion conjured by her grandfather, Merlin. She then takes Excalibur's scabbard to become all-powerful, so she can be the new queen.
Sonic and the Knights of the Round Table are forced to flee and, with Nimue's help, set off to use the sacred swords to defeat Merlina by putting up a barrier around the kingdom, which is then revealed that is too weak. After the four swords form a barrier around the castle, Sonic confronts Merlina, who explains that she knows the kingdom will soon come to an end, and wants to make it last forever. Sonic battles her, but is outmatched; in the process, Caliburn is broken in half, and Sonic takes a very severe beating. Nimue and the Knights watch Sonic's efforts, and shout at him to run. Sonic refuses, resolving to stop Merlina no matter what. Sonic's determination, combined with the power of the sacred swords, repairs Caliburn, and the duo transform into Excalibur Sonic and the true Excalibur, respectively, while Merlina transforms into a monstrous creature known as "The Dark Queen". After a long battle, Sonic and Caliburn manage to defeat Merlina. Though Merlina continues to lament the fate of the kingdom, Sonic gives her a flower and tells her that, while all worlds have to end, they merely need to live life to the fullest in the time that they have; reminiscing about her grandfather, Merlina takes his advice to her heart.
Afterwards, Lancelot says that the Knights of the Round Table will have to disband now that King Arthur is gone, but Caliburn reminds them that he is the one who chooses the one to be king; thus, Sonic is the true King Arthur. After the credits roll, Sonic, who has been taken back to his world, explains his journey to Amy Rose. She then complains that he is lying and forgot about their date, then proceeds to attack him with her Piko Piko Hammer. The game then shows a book titled King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table change its title to Sonic and the Black Knight, the same process in the previous game, Sonic and the Secret Rings.
Sonic is the main playable character. Gawain, Percival and Lancelot are the other playable characters in story mode, but they are optional. Several other characters can also be unlocked to be played in multi-player only, such as Sir Galahad and Sir Lamorak, as well as the Sonic series counterparts of the Knight of the Round Table (see below). Also available in multi-player are Amy Rose and the Blacksmith.
Like Ali Baba and Sinbad in Secret Rings, most of the game's Arthurian characters are modeled on Sonic's friends from his own universe. A table of characters with their Sonic series and Arthurian counterparts is included below:
|Sonic Characters||Arthurian Roles|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Himself (although revealed as the true King Arthur at the end of the game)|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Blacksmith|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Sir Lancelot|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Sir Gawain|
|Blaze the Cat||Sir Percival|
|Silver the Hedgehog||Sir Galahad|
|Jet the Hawk||Sir Lamorak|
There are a total of thirteen playable areas in Sonic and the Black Knight which are all based on the medieval times and places of debris:
- Misty Lake
- Camelot Castle
- Deep Woods
- Titanic Plain
- Crystal Cave
- Molten Mine
- Faraway Avalon
- Knight's Passage
- Shrouded Forest
- Great Megalith
- The Cauldron
- Dragon's Lair
- Dark Hollow
Gameplay for Sonic and the Black Knight differs from traditional games in the Sonic series by mixing in the new element of swordplay, along with the traditional Sonic platforming and speed. Swordplay is implemented through the Wii Remote and hence, similar to Sonic and the Secret Rings, however players no longer control Sonic's movement on rails as the team say they have learned from the biggest criticisms about it. The gameplay is mainly 3D, but occasionally the camera will shift to a side-scrolling perspective for traditional 2D gameplay.
Swordplay is implemented so that players can slice through enemies without slowing down, but when faced with more formidable enemies, players will engage in advanced swordplay, able to thrust, parry, and even perform a buzz-saw maneuver mid-jump. The sword is not only used for combat; players may thrust it through a wall while falling to slide from it. A lot of criticism of this game comes from the continuous swinging of the sometimes unresponsive Wii Remote.
The stages feature townspeople that the player can choose to help or injure; these actions and the player's deeds will be judged at the end of each stage, updating the player's "Knight's Honor Bonus". Helping the townspeople will boost this bonus, while hurting them will make it drop. By helping out grateful citizens, players will be able to purchase new items from them, acquiring items such as gauntlets, magical tomes, and new swords. There are 247 items in the game, some of which can be gained by opening treasure chests in the Missions. An online mode allows treasures to be traded. Additionally, the player can collect townspeople by completing Missions, which will increase the player's title, thereby unlocking additional Skills, better items and more support from the townspeople.
The game changes the traditional level items, such as springs and speed pads, into "fairies". These fairies come in varying colors; yellow fairies are used to gain rings, blue fairies are used as springs and as speed boosts, and red fairies are used to fill up the "Soul Gauge". This gauge, much like the Soul Gauge in Sonic and the Secret Rings, is also filled by defeating enemies, and is used to unleash a powerful attack called "Soul Surge". Besides the rails from previous games, players can fire a ballista and then grind across its rope. There are also unlockable abilities that you can acquire through the different missions.
The mission-based system from Sonic and the Secret Rings also returns, but the missions are easier to complete. Each stage consists of multiple missions which feature different stipulations. The skill system from the aforementioned game also returns, but were reviewed to adjust any problems that were present in that game; the skill system is also designed so as not to interfere with the game's tempo. There are also Legacy Missions in the game where you simply must head to the Goal Ring and the items of earlier 3D Sonic games appear. They are: springs, dash panels, Goal Rings, rings and Eggman's flying robots. Some items of Sonic and the Secret Rings also appear, like the Platinum Ring and the seven World Rings as collectible items.
There are twelve playable characters in the game. There are various multiplayer battle modes in the game; playable characters include:
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sir Lancelot
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Sir Gawain
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Sir Percival
- Blaze the Cat
- Amy Rose
- Sir Galahad
- Sir Lamorak
- King Arthur
Veteran composer Jun Senoue returns to compose music for this installment, mixing familiar Sonic themes with a Celtic style. In addition, his band, Crush 40, will be returning to perform the main theme of the game, "Knight of the Wind".
The ending theme for Sonic and the Black Knight is "Live Life", which can be known as Merlina's theme and Crush 40 is the performer. This song is slower than most of Crush 40's heavy rock songs, giving it a slower, more peaceful feel.
- King Arthur: The whole game is based on the legend of King Arthur.
- Dragon's Lair: The event where Sonic has to enter a dragon's lair and fight a dragon may be based off the 1983 interactive movie, Dragon's Lair.
- Dave the Barbarian: In Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic goes around with a talking sword. Dave the Barbarian also had a talking sword.
- Saint Seiya: When Sonic becomes Excalibur Sonic, the armor adheres to his body.
Sonic and the Black Knight has received generally mixed reactions from game critics, with a Metacritic average of 55 out of 100, based on 45 reviews, and a GameRankings average of 55.91%, based on 34 reviews.
Nintendo Power gave the game a 8/10, stating the gameplay is "pulled off in a fine fashion", but also said the main story is "fairly short". IGN gave the game a 3.9/10, praising the game's visuals and the overall presentation, but went on to state that "most of the dialog [of the story] is so badly written" and the camera which "proves downright obtrusive at points, shooting Sonic's movements behind foreground barriers -- a huge frustration". Famitsu gave the game a 26/40, comprised of two sevens and two sixes. GameDaily gave the game a 7/10, citing that "repetitive combat, easy missions and limited controls keep it from greatness," but acknowledged its "attractive presentation, decent combat and bonus content." The British Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game 78%, praising the game's visuals and soundtrack, but criticizing the sword play mechanics and multiplayer element. GameSpot also notes that while the sword is useful slashing through enemies, there is a noticeable delay from the time the player swings the Wii Remote and the time Sonic swings.
Sega of America held a competition for fan artwork of Sonic characters. The top 20 of the US, Europe and Japan were placed in the game for display and their artists will win a free copy of the game. Artists had to be a registered user on Sega's website to submit art.
There was a fuss over a plagiarized photo by an Italian contestant, whose copy was that of another artist, who happened to post it on DeviantArt. The original artist was later located and compensated for the mistake.
Two soundtracks were produced. The first, Face to Faith: Sonic and the Black Knight Vocal Trax contains 10 vocal/instrumental songs from the game, while Tales of Knighthood: Sonic and the Black Knight Original Soundtrack features over 70 songs. Both were released on 8 April 2009.
Australian EBGames offered toy swords with pre-orders of the game.
- The main menu music is a rendition of "The Ash Grove". 
- Strangely, King Arthur's horse makes galloping sounds in mid-air.
- Even though the game is set in King Arthur's era, Shadow as Sir Lancelot is still seen using his Hover Shoes, although they can be assumed to be of a magical variety.
- There are several in-game references made by Sonic:
- Before Sonic fights Lancelot, Sonic says "Some things never change," referencing the battles he had with Shadow.
- When Sonic meets Nimue, he runs away since Nimue resembles Amy, similar to how Sonic runs away from Amy most of the time.
- When Sonic meets Gawain, he states "You look just like this knucklehead I know," and "You sound just like that knucklehead, too," referencing the reckless fights between the two in a few games.
- During some scenes, certain character songs from Sonic Adventure (Sonic, Knuckles/Gawain, Amy, and the Blacksmith/Tails) and Shadow the Hedgehog (Shadow/Lancelot), play in the background. Lancelot, Gawain, and Percival have medals which are used as equipment that change the background to their respecting themes from the selected video games below.
- Knuckles/Gawain: "Unknown from M.E." from Sonic Adventure.
- Shadow/Lancelot: "All Hail Shadow" (Crush 40 version) from Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) and "Throw It All Away" from Sonic Adventure 2 (cutscene only).
- Blaze/Percival: "Vela Nova" from Sonic Rush.
- Tails/Blacksmith: "Believe In Myself" from Sonic Adventure.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: "What I'm Made Of" from Sonic Heroes and "It Doesn't Matter" from Sonic Adventure (cutscene only).
- Amy: "My Sweet Passion" from Sonic Adventure.
- This is the first 3D Sonic game that Dr. Eggman does not appear in (even a storybook version of Eggman does not appear in this game) even though his robots appear in the Legacy missions. However, in this game, the Joker Card (one of the game's many collectible items) has the Eggman Empire's symbol printed on it.
- However, Eggman is also seen on some of the winning fan art of this game.
- The dash ring from Sonic and the Secret Rings makes an appearance with a minor change; instead of being mechanical, it's a ring of purple fairies.
- A violin instrumental version of "It Doesn't Matter" (Sonic Adventure 2 version) plays when viewing the fan art video.
- The apples in the tutorial reference the Soul Gauge pearls from Sonic and the Secret Rings.
- When Sonic and Caliburn are about to encounter the Dragon in the Dragon's Lair, Sonic says "Yeah, this brings back memories; except last time it was with Shadow." This is a reference to the battle with Biolizard in Sonic Adventure 2, or it may be a reference to the boss fight in Lethal Highway against the Black Bull in Shadow the Hedgehog.
- This is the first Sonic game where Sonic is actually seen eating chili dogs, although he has been seen eating chilli dogs before in the cartoons.
- Jet the Hawk appears for the first time as a playable character outside of the Sonic Riders series, the first time playable off his Extreme Gear, and the first time he appears without Wave and Storm.
- In the original Arthurian legends, the Knights of the Round Table that appear in this game all had some blood relation to another one:
- The ending sequence and the prologue in the game manual implies that Sonic agreed to take Amy Rose on a date, before being side-tracked by his Arthurian adventure. This marks the first Sonic game where Sonic ends up being unlucky in the end.
- This is the fourth Sonic game with an E10+ rating. The three previous ones were Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Unleashed.
- This game is one of the three Sonic games that do not play the main theme during the final boss fight, the other ones being Sonic Heroes and Sonic Generations.
- This is the only game besides Sonic R and Sonic Adventure that features Tails Doll (in the fan artwork for both America and Canada).
- This is the only Sonic game where Sonic uses a weapon throughout the entire game.
- The background music at the Blacksmith shop is a violin instrumental of Believe In Myself, Tails' theme song in the Sonic Adventure series.
- During one level in the Deep Woods, Sonic says he can see a very big tree, but he's looking the other way.
- In the "Townsperson" bio in the gallery section, it's said that 'they breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen'. It's possible that the townspeople are either made of plants or are somehow related to plants.
- The spell that Merlina chants at the beginning ("Ifalas zaras I e zaraq! Ifalas zaras I e zaraq!") is the same spell that Erazor Djinn used to summon Ifrit. However, the subtitles in Black Knight are different, and even state that she's saying two different phrases.
- This is the first 3D Sonic game without a 3D ending.
- In Knight's Passage, when you play as Sonic, he says "Who was it treating me like a rat again?", a possible reference that Erazor Djinn constantly called Sonic a rat in Sonic and the Secret Rings.
- Coincidentally, "Sonic and the Secret Rings" is the other game where most cutscenes are shown like a story book.
- Amy makes an appearance as herself, rather than Nimue, at the end of this game. However, she is only heard but not seen.
- At first, Galahad and Lamorak were in the main story, but for some unknown reason, Sega took them out.
- Most of Sonic's lines appeared in the earlier games, for example:
- That was tight!
- Too easy!
- Whew, just made it!
- Heh, no problem.
- Shoot, not my day!
- This is the first Sonic game where a British cast was included.
- During the Legacy missions, there are items and gimmicks seen in the other Sonic games, as well as the Flappers from Sonic Heroes and the Silver Rings (which give you 20 Rings) from Sonic and the Secret Rings.
- When Sonic uses his homing attack, he'll grunt just like Shadow.
- The seven World Rings from Sonic and the Secret Rings appear as collectible items in the Legacy missions.
- This is the third Sonic game where Amy chases Sonic with her Piko Piko Hammer at the end of the game (but it was not shown). The 2 previous ones are Sonic Rush and Sonic Riders.
- This is the last Sonic game that features the 4Kids cast, as they would be replaced with newer voice actors (with the exception of Mike Pollock, the voice of Dr. Eggman) starting with Sonic Free Riders and Sonic Colors. However, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing also had the 4Kids cast, which means they voiced new words, lines and phrases for the characters (including the past ones).
- Sonic's model in this game appears to be a modified version of his Sonic and the Secret Rings model, which is why Sega and Sonic Team used the PhysX engine. However, using the same engine, the Wii version of Sonic Colors is similar to the day stages of Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360 and PS3 versions) and Modern Sonic's gameplay in Sonic Generations (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions).
- All the swords that Sonic wields are weapons that were used by King Arthur in the legends: "Calirent" was a knighting sword that was used for ceremonies, "Caliburn" represents the sword in the stone, and "Excalibur" was the sword the king used until his death.
- Calirent was later taken by Mordred and used to kill King Arthur.
- Each member of the Knights of the Round Table, with the exception of King Arthur, are based off rivals of Sonic. Each one debuted as an enemy, before coming a more friendly rival of Sonic in later games.
- The "Ring-Giver" missions refer to the fact that Sonic is true King Arthur in the story, as Anglo-Saxon kings were called "ring-givers".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "SEGA Announces Sonic and the Black Knight for Spring 2009", Sega UK, 2008-07-21, archived from the original on 2008-09-03, http://www.sega.co.uk/news/?n=2139, retrieved on 2008-07-21
- ↑ Sonic and the Black Knight. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-08-05.
- ↑ Palgn.com.au
- ↑ SEGA :: GAMES :: Sonic and the Black Knight. Sega.
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 Steve Thomason (September 2008). "Sonic Unsheathed". Nintendo Power.
- ↑ Matt Casamassina. Sonic & the Black Knight Review: Stuck in the Dark Ages.. Retrieved on 4 May 2014.
- ↑ http://blogs.sega.com/usa/2008/08/28/sonic-and-the-black-knight-fanart-contest/#more-105
- ↑ http://www.sega.com/sonicblackknight/contest/us/
- ↑ http://www.atamaii.com/sonic-black-knight.html
- ↑ http://www.cmdstore.com/sonic-jazwares-5-inch-series-1-black-night.html
- ↑ http://www.tssznews.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/figure15.jpg
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=WWCE-31197
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=WWCE-31198
- ↑ http://www.ebgames.com.au/images/products/146224_deal.jpg