Sonic and the Black Knight (ソニックと暗黒の騎士, Sonikku to Ankoku no Kishi) is a title within the Sonic the Hedgehog series, released exclusively on Wii as the second entry in the Sonic Storybook subseries, following on from Sonic and the Secret Rings. The game is directed by Tetsu Katano, who was the lead programmer of the Sonic Adventure titles and Sonic Heroes. Set in the world of King Arthur, the game combines Sonic's trademark speed with a new sword-fighting system, utilizing of the Wii Remote's motion-sensing functionality. Note that series villain Eggman is absent here, making this the only Sonic game that he does not appear in.
Sonic and the Black Knight was de-listed in 2010, following on from SEGA's decision to remove all Sonic titles with average Metacritic scores from retail stores in order to increase the value of the brand after positive reviews for Sonic 4 and Sonic Colors.
Sonic and the Black Knight was first revealed at Nintendo's pre-Tokyo Game Show (TGS) 2008 press conference. Developer Sonic Team, a subsidiary of publisher SEGA, decided to focus on combat and cinematic presentation for the game rather than the level design-oriented Sonic Unleashed. Gameplay for Sonic and the Black Knight differs from traditional games in the Sonic series by mixing in the new element of swordplay with the traditional Sonic platforming and speed. Swordplay is implemented through the Wii Remote. Gameplay is more similar to Sonic Unleashed than Sonic and the Secret Rings; Sonic's movement is controlled with the analog stick as he is on a set course, and gameplay is mainly 3D.
The stages feature townspeople that the player can harm and some that Sonic can interact with; these actions and the player's deeds will be judged at the end of each stage, updating his "knight ranking" accordingly. By interacting with these characters the player may do a quick-time button input. Doing so correctly will take away twenty of Sonic's rings and give them to the townsperson, and in return, he shall receive a gift at the end of the stage. In some stages, it is required to give a specific amount of rings to townspeople before reaching the goal. In stages where this is not required the townsperson will reward Sonic with an item. There are 242 items in the game, some of which can be gained by opening treasure chests in the stages. Any items collected during a stage must be identified at the end of the stage by using Sonic's "ID points" Rarer items cost more ID points than others. An online mode allows treasures to be traded between registered friends.
The game changes the traditional level items, such as springs and speed pads, into "fairies." These fairies come in varying colors; Yellow elements will be used as a group of one to twenty rings, and Blue fairies will be used as speed boosts and springs, and Red will be used to fill the "Soul gauge." This gauge is filled by defeating enemies and collecting Red Fairies, and is used to unleash a powerful lock-on attack, Soul Surge. On only the first few stages, the "pearls" from the previous game, Sonic and the Secret Rings, appear as apples.
The skill system from Sonic and the Secret Rings also returns, but has been 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. Each playable character has three styles to chose from. At first, only the balanced "Knight" style is available, but later, "Cavalier" and "Paladin" styles are unlocked. They deal with the aspects of speed and power, respectively. As levels are completed, the player gains a number of "Followers" that is used as Experience and as the number of followers goes up, the number of skills the player has in a certain style are increased. For other characters beside Sonic, their styles are not increased, rather, their swords have their abilities and a sword's skills get better.
Once a certain point in the story is reached, Sir Gawain (Knuckles), Sir Lancelot (Shadow), and Sir Percival (Blaze) will be playable from that point on. They each have their own characteristics; for instance, Knuckles has dual swords that double as boomerangs and has the ability to glide, Blaze can surround herself with fire and use more lunge attacks than Sonic, and Shadow can use Chaos Powers. In story mode, they can use different swords from their original swords, unlike Sonic, who can only wield Caliburn. And instead of their styles getting better, their swords get stronger.
Up to four players can play, choosing between one of 12 characters to partake in a number of different kinds of battles. Characters include Sonic, Lancelot (Shadow), Gawain (Knuckles), Percival (Blaze), Blacksmith (Tails), Nimue (Amy), Galahad (Silver), Lamorack (Jet), Shadow, Knuckles, Blaze and King Arthur.
A wizard named Merlina, granddaughter of the original Merlin, 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, in order to break Arthur's curse and save the kingdom. Sonic must also collect the blades of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table and Excalibur itself if he is to restore King Arthur's sanity and return him to a benevolent ruler. Sonic is assisted in his travels by a kind blacksmith and the legendary Lady of the Lake. Facing dragons, King Arthur's warriors from the Underworld and the Knights of the Round Table (who bear similarities to Shadow the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna, and Blaze the Cat), Sonic collects the blades and enters a showdown against the Black Knight. However, when the dust settles, it is revealed that King Arthur was merely an illusion, and that Merlina was using Sonic so that she could become all-powerful and make the kingdom last forever. Sonic fights her, but takes a severe beating the first time and Caliburn is destroyed. Sonic's resolve to stop her, however, is great, and with this resolve (as well as the Knights' blades), Caliburn is restored and revealed to be the true Excalibur and Sonic is turned into Excalibur-Sonic (a variation of Super Sonic). With their new power, they fight Merlina (who has become the Dark Queen) and convince her that, although her world may be ending, she needs to live life to the fullest. With the fight over, the Knights of the Round Table are about to disband (due to King Arthur's death), but Caliburn says that he is the one who chooses the king, who is Sonic (since only the true king could have pulled Excalibur from the stone). After the credits, Sonic tries to tell Amy of his adventure, but she thinks he missed her date on purpose. The game ends in a fashion similar to Sonic and the Secret Rings, with the book "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" changing to "Sonic and the Black Knight".
Face to Faith is the official vocal songs soundtrack for the video game Sonic and the Black Knight that was released on April 8, 2009 in SEGA Direct Stores in Japan. It features five vocal tracks that were featured in the game, with "Seven Rings in Hand ~Fairytales in Trance~" by Bentley Jones and "With Me ~Massive Power Mix~" by Crush 40 as brand new bonus tracks created especially for the album.
Tales of Knighthood: Sonic and the Black Knight Original Soundtrax is the licensed soundtrack of the 2009 video game Sonic and the Black Knight. It was released by Wave Music Entertainment on April 8, 2009 in Japan's SEGA Direct Stores only.
According to text accompanying a video on Crush 40's official YouTube page, a third soundtrack album will be released in North America and Europe, making Sonic and the Black Knight the first game in the series to have a soundtrack album released outside of Japan since Sonic Heroes.
This was also the last game that had the Sonic X cast, until SEGA replaced the cast with new voice actors for Sonic Colors.
Molten Mine's background music is a rearranged version of the "Action Theme" from Black Dawn, an old (and completely unrelated to the Sonic universe) PlayStation and Saturn video game released in 1996. The music itself was originally made by Tommy Tallarico.
Sonic and the Black Knight has received mostly mixed reviews, with a Metacritic average of 54 out of 100, based on 51 reviews, and a GameRankings average of 55.67%, based on 42 reviews. The game entered the Japanese sales chart at thirtieth place, and the North American Wii charts at tenth.
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". In the 2009 Nintendo Power Awards, it was voted the "Best Action Game" by the voters.
IGN gave the game a 3.9/10, praising the game's visuals and the overall presentation, but went on to state that the gameplay was "broken" and cited the controls as "unresponsive".
The British Official Nintendo Magazine gave the game 78%, praising the games 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 swinging the Wii Remote and the time Sonic actually swings.
The game was voted the Worst Wii Game of 2009 by the ScrewAttack community.