Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood Review
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: BioWare 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 30, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

In addition to the many pitched battles, The Dark Brotherhood does allow for players to do a bit of exploring in classic Sonic environments. The interesting landscapes are nicely detailed and do a great job of imparting the unique feel of the world of Sonic. This is definitely a sharp-looking DS game that employs an exceptional painted style. As pretty and interesting as the environments and characters in The Dark Brotherhood are, the sound effects and music are terrible. The beeps and blips are unimaginative and somewhat grating. I found myself muting the volume for most of the time during play and catching up on several of my favorite podcasts instead.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot

While exploring the different levels, players will have to use unique abilities that each of the characters posses in order to gain access to every portion of the assorted stages. For example, Sonic is able to use his speed to dash into jumps, loop-ramps, and pipes; Rouge the Bat and Cream the Rabbit can fly the party across gaps, and Big the Cat can withstand poisonous fog. Later on, you'll also use characters to smash boxes, climb cliffs, and even use stealth abilities.

There are also many elementary puzzles throughout the game. Successfully completing these puzzles will grant you access to important areas, and you will be rewarded with items. These puzzles are a diversion from the glut of fighting that makes up the majority of the levels, but they aren't engaging enough to provide for a proper respite.

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Finally, a Pokémon-like creature-collecting mechanic was added to the game. Throughout the title, you will come upon a series of mottled eggs. These eggs can be collected by walking over them. After awhile, these eggs will hatch into Chao. Chao are little creatures that give your characters, and party in general, specific boons once they have been linked, or, "bonded" to one of the members. For example, one Chao may increase your defenses or damage-dealing capabilities; another will attract enemies so that the brunt of physical attacks will be focused on your "tank" character; or even the likelihood with which you will hit enemies will be augmented by certain Chao. The abilities that Chao convey depends upon their rarity, as rare Chao can be quite difficult to obtain. By getting together with fellow owners of The Dark Brotherhood, players will have a much better chance of collecting all the creatures available. Additionally, players are rewarded by trading their Chao via Wi-Fi because Chao can only be leveled up in this manner. This creature-collecting mechanic was lost on me, but I could see how youngsters might find it incredibly addictive.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is a noble effort by the folks at BioWare to translate the lore of SEGA's beloved hedgehog and his cronies to an RPG format. Largely, the game succeeds at providing an interesting experience. However, it seems to be too simplistic for its own good, lacking the depth of gameplay needed to make it truly special. As such, The Dark Brotherhood is a good first step, but it is more likely to appeal to fans than to the gaming community at large.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.7
Graphics
The detailed environments and character models bring you right into the world of Sonic. This is an excellent-looking DS game.
3.5
Control
The control scheme is functional and responsive. However, I soon became bored with the repetitive battle mechanics.
1.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It seemed as though the music and sounds were quickly thrown into the game; by far the weakest link in this title.
3.5

Play Value
This is a simple RPG that should have youngsters and true Sonic fans very excited. For everyone else, there are better RPGs out there.

3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Lightning-fast Combo Moves: It wouldn't be a Sonic game without speed and combo moves and precisely-timed cursor control accelerate the 4-character team gameplay Unique character Combo moves bring exciting variety and strategy to battles.
  • New Party System Gameplay: Sonic Chronicles introduces the party system for diverse team tactics using each of the 11 playable character's unique and customizable skills and powers.
  • Over 20 Areas to Explore: Players will venture to new and classic Sonic environments while solving puzzles and dodging obstacles. Just as in combat, some challenges will require teamwork to solve.
  • Online Trading and Collecting: Collect several types of artificial Chao lifeforms, each with varying power-ups and abilities that help in combat and elsewhere. Players can exchange their Chao with friends via local wireless play.
  • Epic Storyline Unfolds over Two Acts: Sonic and friends must use teamwork and strategy to uncover and defeat the mysterious menace that is destroying their world. Along with a storyline filled with twists and turns, new characters add to the excitement.
  • New Story So Far Feature: Players get a quick recap when they return to play to remind them of where they left off in the story.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood screenshot - click to enlarge

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