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  • Anticlimax Boss: There's only one boss battle in Big's story and it's possible to beat it in seconds.
    • The bosses with playable characters, along with the first few E-Series battles have particularly slow AI and can be defeated before they even so much as make a proper attack.
  • Best Level Ever: Consensus seems to be Speed Highway, the fastest-paced Sonic level in the game. Sega appears to be part of the consensus, as they practically brought it back in Sonic Adventure 2 (under the name "Radical Highway") and chose it as the representative stage of this game in Sonic Generations.
  • Contested Sequel: This game started the trend of creating the series' notoriously Broken Base.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Hello? Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Deader Than Disco: While initially praised by critics, the years after have not been kind to this game -- in fact, the recent Xbox Live and PSN port has been savaged by critics. However, fans and gamers, as well as indy reviewers like The Video Game Critic have been much kinder to the game, and the Xbox Live version is now one of the highest rated games there. A number of the professional critics also made it clear that they considered the game itself So Okay It's Average or even decent, but took it to task for the sloppy porting job.
  • Good Bad Bug: Any person who competes on these games sure know how to abuse the bugs in the games. Casinopolis in 16 seconds sure stands out.
    • Not to mention some glitches in the game that allow characters to enter usually inaccessable areas or play around with unused content in the game (there is a glitch method for nearly every character to get into Emerald Coast for example). Granted a lot of them have the potential of screwing up gameplay or save data.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the Last Story, Perfect Chaos floods Station Square, leaving the city a destroyed mess, and no doubt drowning many people. Fast forward to 2011, and we have the Sendai tsunami and earthquakes.
  • Memetic Mutation: ↑ & ↓ & ↻, thanks to the sampling in Speed Highway.
  • Moral Event Horizon - The Echidnastrampling and killing the poor chao standing in their way just to get to the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald. They didn't have qualms about taking down Tikal either (she wasn't killed though); even her FATHER Pachacamac didn't care, just as long as they seized the emeralds. This wasn't a very good idea.
  • Most Annoying Sound - "Get a load of- Get a load of- Get a load of this!"
    • "No way, I can't believe this!"
    • The moaning in the background music of the Mystic Ruins Adventure Field. Which you'll have to hear a lot of.
    • The Chao in the original Dreamcast version of the game make some really annoying sounds. They have an very annoying habit of throwing tantrums every 5-10 minutes for fruit and the sound of their crying is really irritating and will make you want to throw them or attack them.
  • Nightmare Fuel - Chaos, in general. Especially when Knuckles is alone on the soon-to-crash Egg Carrier with Chaos 6.
    • Will you continue?
    • If you exploit a glitch that allows Knuckles to reach Sky Deck through the Egg Carrier's swimming pool, you'll enter his flackback with Tikal as normal, but there will be no dialog whatsoever. Even when you reach the area where the emerald shrine is on fire and Tikal and the chao are laying on the ground, no cutscene plays, making it seem as though they're all dead. The kicker? You're stuck here forever. If you quit the game and return to Knuckles' adventure, he'll still be there with nothing to do but watch the shrine burn endlessly. The only way to fix it is to start a completely new file.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Somehow Big managed to fly Tails' highly advanced Tornado plane back to his home with zero experience. Sadly we see about a second of him taking off from the Egg Carrier. No Sky Chase minigame for you, Big.
  • The Scrappy - Big the Cat for a great many people, and not just because of his levels.
    • Base Breaker: Of course he has garnered a plausible fanbase over the years to balance it, especially following his cameos in the latter title below.
  • Scrappy Mechanic - While all of the 3D games have bits of this, SA1 has one of the most loathed in the form of Big the Cat's fishing stages. If you jiggle the control stick even slightly the wrong way, you don't get the fish on the hook, you move the line the wrong way, and you have to reel it in exactly right or it will just magically get off the hook, at minimum stress, when it's right next to you. Also if you do managed to snag the fish you have to be careful when reeling it in because if you put too much strain on the line to where the line meter gets very high and becomes red it will break the line and this makes you lose a life! For some reason......
    • Hunting for Emerald shards is also well-hated. Though hunting for the shards is hated much more in the sequel due to the downgraded radar. In this game the radar showed multiple shards whenever they are close making it easier for them to find and keep track of and you can find them in any order you want. In the sequel however the radar only has one object show even if the two objects happen to be close and in the same area you are in making them drag on and far more tedious.
    • The Chao Races are just one gigantic example of this. Hoo boy where do we even begin? You have no real control over your chao or it's actions in the race and the actions it decides to do are just down to pure dumb luck Your supposedly allowed to give your chao a small boost of speed whenever it sparkles by tapping the corresponding button for it of whatever version you are playing however the sparkles can also happen to the CPU chao so they can also be given speed boosts. Which makes no logical sense as why would you want to make the CPUs have a chance at winning? The sparkle usually picks the CPU chao and not your own chao especially when you feel your chao needs an extra boost. Your chao will flat out fall asleep at least once in the race thereby allowing enemy chao the chance to pass or just flat out ruin your run at beating your personal best time on the race if you don't make it race immediately after it's woken up in the garden. Sometimes they will fall asleep right at the start of the of the race or right near the finish line just to annoy you even more. They will sometimes just stand still like an idiot for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to waste valuable time and let other chao pass. In the race where they have to shake a nut from a tree and eat it they will sometimes stop after eating the fruit often allowing the other chao to pass. If the game decides it hates your guts it will make your chao stand like an idiot before reaching the tree then it will make the chao stop after eating the nut very likely putting you in dead last if you don't have a very fast running chao. Sometimes if your chao trips right as it's going off a ledge it will fall stopping dead in its tracks for a few seconds while throwing a stupid tantrum which once again is just there to waste your time. There is no way to wake your chao up immediately if it falls asleep, stop your chao from stopping for no reason in the middle of the race, after it's eaten the nut or just tripped off a ledge unless you happen to get the speed sparkle but of course that's very likely not going to happen. There's a shortcut in two courses where chao can jump off a bridge and either fly into the water below or fly right across cutting off a massive chunk of the race and a Curb Stomp Battle depending on how high their flying stat is. It's all down to luck if your chao decides to take the shortcut or not. Even if your chao has very high flying stat and it's down in 7th or 8th it will likely just ignore the shortcut and take the long way. This is made even more frustrating by the part that there are secret silver and gold CPU chao with very good stats and their flying is high enough to take the super shortcut if they feel like taking it. Chances are luck won't be on your side and your chao decides to be an idiot and either ignores the shortcut or decides to fly down into the water one of the silver/gold CPU's will take the super shortcut causing you to instantly and cheaply lose the race! The Dreamcast version is even more annoying because of two courses having a spot where your chao will just go over and play with toys wasting time and allowing other chao to pass it's once again all down to luck that they don't do this and there's also no way to stop them playing with the toys before they feel like stopping. The toy part thankfully removed in the DX versions but at the same time you can't flat pause the darn race and reset if you feel like the race isn't going well and you are forced to wait until the race is over and suffer the potential annoyance and humiliation of your chao losing and seeing that one stupid CPU chao that so didn't deserve to win jumping up and down on the 1st place podium when should have been your chao and rubbing salt in your wound.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The Chao Gardens.
  • Tear Jerker: Gamma's death.
    • Tikal's implied death.
  • That One Sidequest: Try the Ski Slope Snowboarding mission in the DX version's mission mode and you'll find it very hard to not go crazy trying to beat it, to add insult to injury you can't save the mission as your last one or you risk running into a game breaking bug that corrupts your save file.
  • That One Level - Hot Shelter as Amy. It's not especially difficult, but it's like the level equivalent of Goddamned Bats: very long and full of annoying mechanics like doors you have to open by twizzling the analogue stick (which, if you have the PC version of SADX, means mashing the arrow keys in the correct order) and key hunts. Meanwhile the robot Zero is chasing you and putting you under constant pressure the whole time. No wonder the developers gave it an A-Rank time of 6 minutes 30 seconds...
    • Most of this is because Sonic generally visits the majority of any given stage, but Sonic never goes to Hot Shelter, so Amy gets the job of showing the level off instead. Amy's playstyle deals with slower gameplay than Sonic's does.
    • Some of Sonic's A-Rank levels are horrendous, and the first level (Emerald Coast) is a prime example. It's a fairly straightforward level to run through on the C and B levels (finish the level and finish with 50 rings, respectively). For the A-Rank, though, you have only two minutes, forcing one to take all of the stage's normal shortcuts (as in the ones the developers wanted you to take, not Game Breaker shortcuts found by speedrunners). It gets worse with levels like Red Mountain and Lost World, to name a few.
  • The Woobie - Tikal
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