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And ode to Emerl (and Sonic Battle also, I guess.)


"Show... power... OR I sh...all ob...ey... Sha...ll conqu...er a...ll... "

Emerl was a character that came out of nowhere from an game that came out of nowhere. Yet another creature with ties to ancient technology and Gerald Robotnik that Eggman resurrects to try and take over the world in a gameboy advance game that can best be described as Power Stone with Sonic characters. In no way should this character nor game have any real impact. And yet Emerl is probably one of the best Sonic characters in recent memory, and Sonic Battle is one of the most underrated games in the franchise. 

Sonic Battle did a lot of things right; storywise, it serves as the perfect epilogue to the events in Sonic Adventure 2. As weird as it was to see Shadow the Hedgehog still alive, him bumbling around with his memories gone and wondering what his purpose in life was kinda interesting (before Shadow the Hedgehog tainted it with convoluted bullshit) and the interactions between him and Emerl as killing machines trying to live peacefully among humans was great -- provided you can tolerate all of the text in Shadow's chapter. Jesus Christ. I also liked how it showed all the characters in their everyday life, like seeing where they lived among the humans -- Sonic just stands around bored like usual, Tails works at his lab, Rouge runs a nightclub when she isn't working as an agent, Amy Rose lives with Cream and Cheese in the city, Knuckles protects the Master Emerald. The slice of life approach works for the Sonic Universe and I wish the games were consist with the setting like the Archie series. 

What's also great about Battle is that it wasn't about Sonic; he was there and in the end "stopped the villain" (more on that later) but it wasn't his story, it was Emerl's. Emerl was slated to be yet another failed attempt by Eggman to take over the world but because he didn't work the first try, Eggman discarded him, leaving him to collect sand on a bench. But when Sonic discovered him and decided to help him his fate changed. Throughout the game we get to see how all of the other characters react to Emerl and come together in their own way to look after him. But then the bomb drops. Emerl is a Giziod, an ancient robot created by a long dead civilian (turns out the very much alive and in space Nocturnus Clan from Sonic Chronicles) bent on death and destruction. Fueled by the very chaos emeralds all the characters give him to help him grow and mature, he unlocks his true self and despite trying to fight it, succumbs and tries to blow up the earth with the Death Egg. 

"Power... Overflowing... Can't hold it in... Can't hold it in... Sonic... Shadow... Help... In such pain... Mom... It hurts... The pain..."

With Emerl gone, the player is given control of Sonic and is task with putting the robot down. Not so cut and dry "hero vs villain" story, is it? Sonic wins of course but he and the rest of the heroes are left with bitter tastes in their mouths. They had to kill the they all helped raise. Here's Tails with the morale of the story:

"Maybe one day... if the world finally knows true peace... if this world no longer needs weapons or wars... if we can make this world a truly peaceful place when we're older... if we can make a world where there's only laughter... Do you think we'll be able to play with Emerl again?"

That's dark as fuck for a game about a talking blue hedgehog in red shoes. But that's what makes Sonic Battle great; it catches you off guard. If Sonic Battle was the last game in the series, I would consider it a high note. 

If Sonic Battle was the last game in the series it probably would have good for the series overall but let's not go there. 

(Sonic Colors was good, though.)

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About Dark Chaoone of us since 8:49 AM on 11.15.2014