The Current Sonic timeline

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Master Emerald, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. RDNexus

    RDNexus

    Previously XRick Member
    If you guys don't mind, I'd like to share with you my own vision of the "Modern" timeline, if possible, since @Master Emerald's "Classic" Timeline seems to be nicely fitting.

    SONIC 1
    SONIC CD
    SONIC 2
    SONIC 3K
    SONIC ADVENTURE
    SONIC ADVENTURE 2
    SONIC HEROES (as much as it pains me to name it here)
    SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG
    SONIC 06 (despite resetting itself at the end)
    SONIC UNLEASHED
    SONIC COLORS
    SONIC GENERATIONS
    SONIC LOST WORLD
    SONIC FORCES

    Battle & Advance 3, apparently placed after SHADOW, could still exist and Cream could still be counted through those two and Heroes.
    Me being the kind of Sonic Fan that liked the games with more of a proper plot, HEROES and all games from COLORS ahead felt pretty underwhelming to me plot-wise.
    Gameplay-wise, I liked GENERATIONS a lot. In UNLEASHED's case, I disliked them going full cartoon style for characters, after the realistic attempt in 06.

    Like I mentioned before, to me, the handheld games are like a variant of the main console games, hence making it kinda tricky to place games like the Advance, Rush and Rivals series into the Main Timeline.

    And I'm not eager to count SONIC 4 since it became quite the mess...in many ways...
     
  2. BlackHole

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    I suppose I'll write up a timeline for the modern games. If anyone remembers the classic timeline thread, you'll know why this might take a bit, especially since it'll tack onto the end of that.
     
  3. Xilla

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    Personally I've always seen the 8-bit Sonic 1 as an epilogue to the 16-bit one, with Sonic trying to track down the Chaos Emeralds that he'd just collected and to clean up the remains of Robotnik's influence from South Island. After that the 8-bit games just spin off into thier own thing.
     
  4. Pengi

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    It's probably best to assume that the games all take place in order of release, except when we're told or shown otherwise. Of course, it's now been established that Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic are separate universes, but we also know that Modern Sonic has experienced adventures similar to Sonic 1-3&K and CD. The Japanese release of Sonic & Tails 2 (Sonic Triple Trouble) seemingly established the Game Gear series as an alternate universe as well, by describing Knuckles as a stranger to Sonic. With all this in mind, it should be something like this:

    CLASSIC SONIC

    Sonic the Hedgehog
    SegaSonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog CD
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    [Sonic Generations]
    Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
    Sonic Mania
    [Sonic Forces]
    Sonic Mania Plus (Encore Mode)
    Chaotix
    Sonic the Fighters
    Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island
    Sonic R

    The Sonic Mania Introduction Manual (has anyone scanned this?) implies that Mania is the first time Sonic has battled Eggman since S3&K. As such, Sonic CD would have to take place between Sonic 1 and 2. The Art of Sonic Mania confirms that the events of the SegaSonic arcade game have already happened, so that would take place between Sonic 1 and 2 as well. There are conflicting reports of whether SegaSonic was released June '93 or October '93 (Sonic CD was released September '93) - I've put SegaSonic before CD, but it could be the other way around.

    Sonic Generations is a tricky one. Classic Sonic and Classic Tails already know each other, so from their perspective it's after Sonic 2. Classic Eggman was abducted from the final battle of Sonic 2. It seems that everyone was returned to where they came from after the end of the game, and the Death Egg crashing into Angel Island played out as it did before. It's best not to think too hard about it.

    Sonic Spinball was kind of a loose tie-in with the DiC cartoon shows, so I've ignored it.

    GAME GEAR SONIC

    Sonic the Hedgehog (GG/MS)
    Tails Adventures
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GG/MS)
    Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos
    Sonic Drift
    Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble
    Sonic Drift 2
    Tails' Sky Patrol
    Sonic Labyrinth
    Sonic Blast

    Just release order, except for Tails Adventures which is set before Sonic and Tails met (it could even take place prior to Sonic 1).

    MODERN SONIC

    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog CD
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles


    Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I / Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode Metal
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
    Sonic Adventure
    Sonic Shuffle
    Sonic Adventure 2 (first Shadow)
    Sonic Advance
    Sonic Advance 2
    Sonic Pinball Party

    Sonic Heroes (Shadow returns with amnesia)
    Shadow the Hedgehog (Shadow regains his memories)
    Sonic Battle (Shadow has his memories)
    Sonic Advance 3
    Sonic Riders
    Sonic the Hedgehog [2006] (first Silver, timeline resets)
    Sonic Rush
    Sonic Rush Adventure

    Sonic Rivals (first Silver in reset timeline)
    Sonic and the Secret Rings
    Sonic Rivals 2
    Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic and the Black Knight
    Sonic Free Riders
    Sonic Colours
    Sonic Generations
    Sonic Lost World
    Sonic Forces


    I've colour coded this one according to sub-series (orange: classic, red: core platformer, blue: Nintendo handheld, green: Riders, grey: Rivals, brown: story book, pink: Shuffle).

    It might be best to think of Sonic 1-3&K and CD as having "loosely" happened in Modern Sonic's world, to account for certain differences between the Modern and Classic universes (the location of the Master Emerald, Amy's age and attire, etc.).

    It's all fairly solid and linear, except for the Rush/2006/Rivals mess with Blaze/Silver/Eggman Nega. Sonic doesn't interact with Blaze in Sonic 2006, and he doesn't knowingly interact with Eggman Nega in Rivals 1 and 2, so it's hard to place them. The way I see it is, Blaze seals herself in another dimension at the end of Silver's story in Sonic 2006, and isn't seen in the last story. I believe this was an awkward attempt to serve as a prequel to Sonic Rush. Then the timeline is reset, but Blaze is disconnected from Sonic's dimension at that point, so she is permanently erased from it after the reset, and tethered to her new dimension. It doesn't make complete sense, but it's something. Then the Sonic Rush games happen with Eggman and Eggman Nega teaming up, Nega almost killing them both at the end of the second. Then the Rivals games happen, Eggman and Eggman Nega are now enemies, he reveals himself to be Eggman's descendant and Silver meets Sonic and co for the first time after the timeline reset. Eventually, the DS version of Sonic Colours happens, Blaze and Silver finally meet, but have a strange feeling they've teamed up before "somewhere, some time".

    Sonic Pocket Adventure is a bit of an odd duck. It doesn't really fit between SA1 and SA2, because Tails is supposed to have been awarded the yellow Chaos Emerald by the mayor of Station Square between games. There's also the strange detail of Knuckles protecting the purple Chaos Emerald, on the planet's surface, and fighting Sonic for no discernible reason. If it has to fit somewhere, it can be before Sonic Adventure, or before Sonic Advance.

    I've ignored Sonic Chronicles, since it ended on a massive unresolved cliffhanger, and according to Sonic Team, Knuckles is still considered to be the last echidna. I think it's safe to assume it's non-canon at this point.
     
  5. Hitlersaurus Christ

    Hitlersaurus Christ

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    Wildcard: Nothing in Sonic 1 suggests it's the beginning of the timeline, so CD, SegaSonic, etc could technically come before it.
     
  6. Fadaway

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    CD is a time travel romp anyway, so fit where needed.*
     
  7. rata

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    He can't spindash, so it has to be before Sonic CD. :specialed:
     
  8. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    Okay, let's copy the previous post I made when this topic came around and add a few things that have changed since then:

    Sonic 1 (8-bit) and Sonic 1 (16-bit) - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Two different tellings of the same adventure. We can even assume the original 16-bit level order (before it was changed for balance reasons) and they still fit together as Green Hill -> Bridge -> Jungle -> Labyrinth -> Marble -> Star Light -> Spring Yard -> Scrap Brain -> Sky Base. They share a lot of locations and is suggested to be Sonic's first meeting with Eggman.

    Tails' Skypatrol - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Could take place before, after, or concurrently with Sonic 1 (8-bit)/(16-bit); Tails being Tails before meeting Sonic or Eggman.

    Sonic 2 8-bit - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Tails meets Sonic on South Island, Eggman kidnaps him, Sonic saves him. Eggman realises the only thing that would beat Sonic is a robotic version of himself, develops Silver Sonic as a prototype.

    SegaSonic the Hedgehog - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Sonic meets Mighty and Ray, the three of them are kidnapped by Eggman (mostly as revenge for the South Island incidents) and they try to escape.

    Sonic 2 16-bit - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Mighty and Ray go their separate ways again; Sonic meets up with Tails to chase Eggman to Westside Island. Eggman fixes and improves Silver Sonic, also builds giant Eggman mech. Sonic develops the Spindash.

    Sonic 3K - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Eggman hears rumours of powerful Master Emerald on Angel Island, tricks Knuckles into thinking Sonic is the bad guy. Upgrades Silver Sonic to Mecha Sonic, upgrades giant Eggman mech.

    Sonic Generations (Classic) - Classic Universe only
    Classic Sonic seems to have been pulled right out after S3K - Tails is with him, but Knuckles isn't as he's guarding the Master Emerald and still suspicious of Sonic. Sonic's first encounter with Metal Sonic in the Classic Universe.

    Sonic & Tails - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Eggman starts shit again. In the Classic Universe, Sonic tries to develop the air dash after seeing Modern Sonic perform it, but can't quite figure it out. In the Modern Universe, Sonic develops the Peelout.

    Sonic 3K (Knuckles) - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Could take place before, after, or concurrently with Sonic & Tails; after Sonic and Eggman have had their little tiff on Angel Island, Knuckles cleans up the place and sorts out that rogue Egg Robo.

    Sonic & Tails 2 - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Eggman tricks Knuckles into thinking Sonic is the bad guy again. Fang decides to be an opportunist. Knuckles finally accepts Sonic as the good guy (for a while). Eggman unveils his new, perfect robot Sonic: Metal Sonic... except it's not quite finished yet. Sonic's first encounter with Metal Sonic in the Modern Universe.

    Sonic 3D - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Eggman starts shit in Flicky Island, upgrades giant Eggman mech again, continues working on new robot Sonic behind the scenes. Tails and Knuckles help Sonic defeat him. Sonic learns Homing Attack with the gold shield. In the Modern Universe, Sonic practices this until he can do it without the shield. In the Classic Universe, Sonic is too fixated on the air dash to realise the connection between the two.

    Sonic CD - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    The trio part ways. Sonic saves Amy, spends rest of life trying to run away from her. Eggman starts shit on Little Planet. In the Classic Universe, Sonic uses his previous experience against Metal Sonic and wrecks him. In the Modern Universe, Sonic uses his perfected Peelout to outrun him.

    Tails Adventure - shared by both Classic and Modern Universes:
    Could take place before, after, or concurrently with Sonic CD; Tails spends more time working on his technological abilities to help Sonic defeat Eggman, finds his own rival instead. While the Japanese manual says this takes place before Sonic and Tails meet, the US/Europe manuals disagree - I think it makes more sense here.

    Sonic the Fighters - Classic Universe only:
    A very loose adaption of Sonic 4's story in the Classic Universe, Eggman spends a lot of time rebuilding Metal Sonic after Sonic destroyed it. Sonic gathers a ton of friends beat the shit out of Eggman and minions on Death Egg 2. Sonic and Tails go off and do their own thing, Knuckles and Espio go elsewhere...

    Sonic 4 - Modern Universe only:
    Eggman fucks up Little Planet some more, recovers Metal Sonic and upgrades him, giant Eggman mech, and Death Egg again. Tails returns to Sonic to help defeat him.

    Sonic Mania - Classic Universe only:
    The Phantom Ruby appears due to anomalies in time, appears "simultaneously" in both the Classic and Modern universes, being much more powerful in the Classic universe as that's where the timeline rewrite is occurring. Classic Sonic's attempts at imitating Modern Sonic's air dash lead to him developing the Drop Dash instead.

    Sonic Forces (Classic) - Classic Universe only:
    The Chaos Emeralds amplify the power of the Phantom Ruby and allows Classic Sonic to appear, as an illusion, in the Modern Universe.

    Chaotix - Classic Universe only:
    While Sonic is in another universe, (Classic) Eggman decides to start shit again, upgrading Metal Sonic some more. Knuckles and co. arrive to save the day instead.

    Sonic Mania Adventures - Classic Universe only:
    Sonic returns from the Modern Universe, meets up with Tails and Knuckles, and Mighty and Ray.

    The rest of the games are Modern Universe only and order is effectively game order starting from Sonic Pocket Adventure. I'm not counting many spinoffs in this as they should be considered non-canon.

    Classic Universe:
    Sonic 1 (8-bit) and Sonic 1 (16-bit)
    Tails' Skypatrol
    Sonic 2 8-bit
    SegaSonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic 2 16-bit
    Sonic 3K
    Sonic Generations (Classic)
    Sonic & Tails
    Sonic 3K (Knuckles)
    Sonic & Tails 2
    Sonic 3D
    Sonic CD
    Tails Adventure
    Sonic the Fighters
    Sonic Mania
    Sonic Forces (Classic)
    Chaotix
    Sonic Mania Adventures

    Modern Universe:
    Sonic 1 (8-bit) and Sonic 1 (16-bit)
    Tails' Skypatrol
    Sonic 2 8-bit
    SegaSonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic 2 16-bit
    Sonic 3K
    Sonic & Tails
    Sonic 3K (Knuckles)
    Sonic & Tails 2
    Sonic 3D
    Sonic CD
    Tails Adventure
    Sonic 4
    Sonic Pocket Adventure
    Sonic Adventure
    Sonic Adventure 2
    Sonic Advance
    Sonic Advance 2
    Sonic Heroes
    Shadow the Hedgehog
    Sonic Battle
    Sonic Advance 3
    Sonic '06
    Sonic Rush
    Sonic Rush Adventure
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic Colours
    Sonic Generations
    Sonic Lost World
    Sonic Forces

    Spinball, Labyrinth, Blast, Shuffle, Pinball Party, and Drift are non-canon; Riders, Rivals, and storybook games are AU (or also non-canon).

    Sonic '06 is of course the story of how Blaze ended up in another dimension, and still exists in canon despite not quite happening (the presence of Sonic in Soleanna afterwards is a testament to the fact it's not completely erased).

    TL;DR: Generations caused Classic Universe Sonic to focus on the air dash, this developed into the Drop Dash; Peelout is a Modern Universe thing, eventually developed into the Boost. Minus Peelout but plus experience, Classic Universe Sonic was more direct in fights against Metal Sonic and caused more damage against him than his Modern Universe counterpart, massively diverging the timelines and creating the Phantom Ruby as a result.
     
  9. Pengi

    Pengi

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    Tails’ Sky Patrol isn't a prequel. The Japanese Sonic Labyrinth and Tails’ Sky Patrol manuals strongly imply that they happen around the same time.

    The JP Sonic 2 Mega Drive manual tells of how Tails first met Sonic on West Side Island, so the 8-bit Sonic 2 can't really be set before it.

    Sonic Rivals has to be canon, since it explains how Sonic and Silver came to know each other after the events of Sonic 2006 were reset.
     
  10. Adamis

    Adamis

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    Isn't Tails Adventure set before Tails met Sonic, or am I remembering wrong ?
     
  11. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    How does that go, so I can adjust things accordingly, please and thank you.
     
  12. Master Emerald

    Master Emerald

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    To be really honest I think we should settle on placing the solid sequences before trying to fit in Sonic the Fighters, Chaotix &c as their placement could happen everywhere after Sonic 2 as they didn't have their storylines referenced.
     
  13. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    I explicitly said in my post that I don't really give a shit about what the manuals say.

    Fair enough.
     
  14. Laughingcow

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    In the case of Sonic the Fighters, it clearly takes place before Sonic Adventure as Amy has her hammer.

    Edit: Nevermind the Chaotix bit, my memory failed. Still Robotnik knows about the Master Emerald ergo it must take place after Sonic 3 & K.

    http://info.sonicretro.org/Chaotix_manuals
     
  15. Pengi

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    The Japanese manual says "This is a story from before Tails met Sonic...", the American manual says "Sonic and Tails have temporarily parted for a little vacation time". http://info.sonicretro.org/Tails_Adventures_manuals

    Tails' Sky Patrol seems to happen around the same time as Sonic Labyrinth.

    Tails' Sky Patrol:

    Everybody will sometimes want to go on a self-interested journey alone...

    One day, Tails went out on a trip by spinning his two proud tails.
    It's not like he had a fight with Sonic or anything.


    https://info.sonicretro.org/Tails%27_Skypatrol_manuals

    Sonic Labyrinth:

    On that day, Sonic woke up in the afternoon. Tails has gone out who knows how many days ago, saying something about a self-interested journey.
    "Sometimes it's okay to be all on your own, too."


    https://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Labyrinth_manuals

    http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_2_(16-bit)_manuals#Translated_from_Japanese

    It's really quite interesting. The basic gist is that Sonic was taking a short vacation on West Side Island, Tails thought Sonic was cool and started following him around, Sonic let him be, but didn't really acknowledge him. Then Eggman started causing trouble, Sonic went to stop him and Tails followed. So the premise is that at the start of the game, in Emerald Hill Zone Act 1, Sonic and Tails aren't friends yet, haven't even spoken to each other.

    Then Sonic 3 & Knuckles takes place several days after Sonic 2.

    So, Sonic 2 is Tails' first adventure with Sonic and S3&K is his second.
     
  16. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Thank you kindly. I'll have to adjust my classic timeline, then, since I have them meet on South Island on its journey to Westside Island.
     
  17. AngelKOR

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    Wouldn't Sonic Pocket Adventure be a transition from the classic games to the modern (even taking place before Sonic 4) because Eggman even changes outfit in that game?
    Also, in theory, both the classic and the modern timelines started identical until the split caused by the time eater in generations, so up to sonic 2 both timelines are the same.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  18. Chaos Rush

    Chaos Rush

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    I agree, and there being another zone after Scrap Brain makes it feel like kind of a Sonic 1.5 thing.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less about the “timeline” since the games contradict each other and retcon each other all the time. I care more about looking at things from a gameplay-development perspective.

    In regards to that, some time ago I came up with a “classic Sonic games order” that’s not necessarily a “timeline” but just an order that fits the MD and SMS/GG games in a nice way (don’t think of this as canon, just think of this as a new interpretation):

    1. Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit) - Sonic goes through South Island collecting the six South Island Chaos Emeralds and defeats Dr Eggman

    2. Sonic 1 (8-bit) - after defeating Eggman on South Island, Sonic does a quick run through the island again to destroy the remaining robots and free the animals, and find out where the six Emeralds were scattered. But Eggman returns to the island with his new Sky Base, and Sonic must chase him off South Island once again. This game also introduces the “Act 3 is a boss arena” concept used in the next couple Sonic games...

    3. Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Some time after Sonic 1 8-bit, Dr Eggman chained up the Little Planet and enslaved the animals there, and built Metal Sonic. Amy Rose somehow wandered on to the planet into Palmtree Panic Zone. Sonic is running around Never Lake like in the intro and makes his way into Palmtree Panic of the Little Planet and goes on a wacky time traveling adventure and collects the Time Stones, saves the animals, defeats Metal Sonic, saves Amy Rose, and defeats Dr Eggman once more.

    4. Sonic 2 (8-bit) - after the events of Sonic CD, Dr Eggman is enslaving animals and ends up capturing a two-failed fox, Miles “Tails” Prower. Sonic sees more robots, a sure sign of Dr Eggman being up to no good again, so Sonic travels around riding mine carts and hang gliders and fights Dr Eggman and his contraptions along the way. Eventually after collecting the six Emeralds of whatever island they’re on, he defeats Dr Eggman once again, who was holding captive a two-tailed fox. After leaving Crystal Egg, Sonic ends up on West Side Island and he’s running and the two-tailed fox is following him (the ending credits). Also random but Green Hills Zone is actually Never Lake hence why it plays Sonic CD intro music.

    5. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit) - yup “Sonic 2” is the 5th game in this series lol. Anyways, picking up right after Sonic 2 8-bit’s ending, Sonic can’t seem to get rid of this fox who keeps following him. They eventually make their way to Emerald Hill Zone and it’s teeming with robots meaning Dr Eggman is up to no good again. As Sonic travels through West Side Island with Tails following, at first he is annoyed with Tails (especially because he keeps hitting bombs in the Special Stages) but eventually accepts him as his sidekick. Sonic and Tails collect the seven West Side Island Chaos Emeralds and make their way up to Dr Eggman’s Wing Fortress, and Sonic disables the Death Egg Robot and the Death Egg...for now at least.

    6. Sonic Chaos - after seemingly destroying the Death Egg, Tails takes Sonic back to South Island. After getting blown off the Death Egg, Dr Eggman parachute-lands on South Island and manages to find one South Island Chaos Emerald, and starts enslaving robots again. Sonic and Tails collect the Emeralds again and defeat Eggman again.

    7. Sonic 3 & Knuckles - after a brief return to South Island, Sonic and Tails see a huge island that wasn’t there before - and the Death Egg apparently landed on it! Sonic and Tails head off to investigate (Sonic 3 Tornado intro), and an epic adventure takes place. Sonic and Tails go through Angel Island, collect the Chaos Emeralds, foil the first relaunch of the Death Egg (which re-crashes on another part of Angel Island), collect the Super Emeralds, and Hyper Sonic battles the rebuilt Death Egg Robot in space. After the Master Emerald is saved and Angel Island floats back to the sky, Knuckles does a sweep through of the island to clean up the robots left behind, but not without complications, having to fight two deadly foes - EggRobo and Mecha Sonic (but Knuckles beats them).

    8. Sonic Triple Trouble - even after Sonic saved the Master Emerald twice and became an ally of Knuckles, Eggman tricks Knuckles again and because Knuckles is still gullible he actually believes him. After Sonic and Tails deal with Fang the Sniper and Dr Eggman, eventually Knuckles comes to his senses and becomes an ally of Sonic and Tails again.

    9. Knuckles’ Chaotix - Knuckles goes to some carnival island(?) and Team Chaotix is there along with Mighty the Armadillo and they go do stuff and fight Eggman or something. idk I’ve never played this game lol

    10. Sonic Mania - and the big finale that ties everything together. A strange gem appears via dimensional rift in Angel Island, wreaking havoc and causing the island to fall into the ocean again. After Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles go on a wild adventure dealing with the Hard-Boiled Heavies and Dr Eggman, they end up on Titanic Monarch and Super Sonic, Dr Eggman, and Heavy King have one grand fight for the possession of the Phantom Ruby. After Heavy King is defeated, the ruby opens up a portal and Sonic gets sucked in... Some time later the Phantom Ruby opens a portal again and Sonic safely returns. After returning from the portal, Sonic feels like he had a really bad dream. Anyways, the events of Sonic Mania’s Encore mode follows...
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  19. Sir_mihael

    Sir_mihael

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    Thing is, Pocket Adventure is really more of a 'Best of' events of Sonic, more like a clip show. As far as I can tell, the game was given no story at all.

    Or to be more open minded, we don't know enough about Pocket Adventure's storyline to really include it in any timeline. As far as we know, it could be a sequel to the Game Gear games, or set it in it's own stand-alone universe where the Sonic 2 and 3 didn't happen. :V
     
  20. Yeah, there are only a few games with strong continuity, as in where official material makes it explicit Sonic has met a certain recurring character for the first time. Sonic definitely first met Tails in 16-bit Sonic 2; Sonic definitely first met Knuckles in Sonic 3; and Sonic first met Shadow in Adventure 2 (barring any mutual amnesia).

    As such, the only continuity snags are 8-bit Sonic 2 and Triple Trouble.

    Every other characters debut is ambiguous enough that it doesn't really lock any of them into a particular sequence of events. I posit even moreso for inconstant characters like Mighty and Ray who aren't shown to be as close to Sonic as Tails. The only exception to Tails' absences accounted for being GG Sonic Blast.

    Those Game Gear games really throw a wrench into things.