The Chaos Emeralds (カオスエメラルド, Kaosu Emerarudo?) are recurring objects in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are seven ancient emeralds and mystical relics tied to the Master Emerald, with powerful properties and abilities. Those that hold the Chaos Emeralds can use their powers for a variety of things, such as initiating a super transformation, powering machines, and warping time and space. Anyone who combines all seven Chaos Emeralds can command ultimate power.
Throughout history, the Chaos Emeralds have been the center of countless world-threatening conflicts and have been targeted by multiple factions on both earth and beyond, who seek them for their immeasurable powers. In the hands of villains they have been used for doomsday weapons and schemes for world domination, and in the hands of heroes they have been used to save the world. Over time, the Emeralds have been gathered multiple times, though they tend to scatter themselves after each usage and reset the hunt for them.
The Chaos Emeralds' background are shrouded in mystery and no one knows where they come from. They have been around for several millennia, even predating the Master Emerald which has existed since before recorded time, and have played a large role in numerous events. The Chaos Emeralds' power has been passed down into legend, and the power of all seven brought together has been described from the emergence of a mysterious power to no less than a miracle.
Throughout history, civilizations have sought to harness the Chaos Emeralds' power: according to legend, the ancient civilization on West Side Island used the Chaos Emeralds for the advancement of their society and achieved great prosperity. Other civilizations that knew about the Emeralds included the Babylonians and the Black Arms, the latter who have visited earth for at least 2,000 years. The Emeralds also have a connection to the Gaia Temples which are more or less than ten thousands of years old. There as well numerous locations that are said to have held the Chaos Emeralds at one point (some of which claim to have done so since ancient times), including Cocoa Island, Angel Island, Flicky Island, West Side Island, and South Island (which shifts along the sea due to the Emeralds' presence). It is unknown how valid these legends are, given how some contradict others regarding the Emeralds' resting place, although this might be due to the Emeralds' tendency to appear wherever they are needed.
It is said that in the far ancient past, the Chaos Emeralds would be used for evil purposes. One such instance was when West Side Island's prosperity lead to avarice as some people wanted the Emeralds for evil, sparking a conflict so great that the gods had to intervene and seal the Chaos Emeralds on the island. Witnessing this misuse, the gods created the Master Emerald to balance out the Chaos Emeralds' power and equipped the gem with the ability to nullify and control them. An ancient mantra associated with the Emeralds would eventually arise, explaining their connection and abilities.
Over 4,000 years ago, the Chaos Emeralds and the Master Emerald resided in the Altar of the Emeralds, a shrine in the outskirts of the Mystic Ruins which was protected by a sacred barrier, where a colony of Chao lived peacefully. Among the shrine's inhabitants, the mystical water beast Chaos, the guardian spirit of the Chao, would assume the role of safeguarding the Chaos Emeralds. Around 4,000 years ago, ancient echidna civilizations knew of the Chaos Emeralds and sought their secrets. The Nocturnus Clan were known to have been experimenting with the Chaos Emeralds as a part of the creation of the Gizoid, while the Knuckles Clan revered the Chaos Emeralds as sacred objects. Around this time, Tikal, the daughter of chief Pachacamac of the Knuckles Clan and a friend to the Chao and Chaos, was allowed into the shrine where she could behold the Chaos Emeralds.
As the Knuckles Clan faced extermination at the hands of the Nocturnus Clan, chief Pachacamac and his followers launched a raid on the altar to take the Emeralds and gain undisputed power. Tikal stood between them however, begging her people to leave the creatures and the Emeralds. However, her pleas fell on deaf ears, and the men trampled over Tikal and the Chao alike in the process, prompting Chaos to appear. In a fit of rage, it used the Chaos Emeralds to become Perfect Chaos and wiped out the clan's civilization in vengeance, before it was sealed in the Master Emerald by Tikal. After this event, the Emeralds were named the "Chaos Emeralds" by the surviving members of the Knuckles Clan due to their connection with Chaos, and they have since been primarily guarded by the echidnas.
Over fifty years prior to Shadow the Hedgehog, the Chaos Emeralds were researched by Gerald Robotnik for Project Shadow, which enable him to create the Chaos Drives, and for his studies of the Gizoid.
Powers and traits
Described as holding enough power to let their possessor control the whole world, each Chaos Emerald is said to possess mystical properties and contain unlimited amounts of highly potent and powerful chaos energy that is said to give life to all things. Even alone, their power is unmatched by pretty much anything else in the universe, except by the Power of the Stars and the Master Emerald; just one Emerald can grant access to unlimited power and radiates enough chaos energy to repel the incomplete Time Eater, power an entire Gaia Temple, and destabilize the crust of a planet. It is often said that those whom combine all seven Chaos Emeralds will gain ultimate power and unlimited energy.
The power of each Chaos Emerald is described as being able to “transform thoughts into power”; by "sensing" people's thoughts, the Chaos Emeralds can generate the chaos energy they contain which make them an everlasting source of energy. Oppositely, the Emeralds can absorb chaos energy exposed to them. By focusing one's thoughts, the Emeralds can even bend reality to achieve certain feats, such as showing visions, performing rituals, reviving the recently deceased and even make them react and move on their own. Additionally, each Emerald can float in midair on its own power.
The Chaos Emeralds' power can be harnessed with or without physical contact, and can be done so over great distances. When harnessed by living beings, they allow different Chaos Powers, such as Chaos Control, and occasionally enhance the wielder's abilities. Harnessing all seven Chaos Emeralds will bestow a Super State, a form that grants flight, invulnerability, different Chaos Powers, and increased innate talents. Additionally, a Super State user can transfer their power to others bestow them with a Super State. However, Super States generally do not last long, as they consume tremendous amounts of energy. The Emeralds can also be harnessed to power machinery, such as the Eclipse Cannon. Potentially, their power can as well be used for nuclear or laser based weaponry.
The type of chaos energy the Emeralds produce is based on thoughts. Positive thoughts, such as friendship and caring, generate positive energies and negative thoughts, such as anger and hatred, generate negative energies. If the Chaos Emeralds are either absent of their negative energies or all of it, they become inert and lose their lustre. The only known ways to restore them from this state is through peoples' thoughts, the Gaia Temples, or by returning their energy. The Chaos Emeralds can as well take on other powers, like when the Overmind psychically treated them into Great Emeralds which boosted their psychic powers, or potentially be enhanced.
The Chaos Emeralds amplify their own power the more of them there are used in the process. This is mainly demonstrated with the Eclipse Cannon: with five Emeralds it could destroy a large city, with six Emeralds it could blow up half of the moon and with all seven it could destroy planets and pierce stars. Like the Master Emerald, the Chaos Emeralds appear to possess some form of sentience, as they can seemingly act on their own and remain stable despite the current conditions. Supposedly, this also explains for their tendency to show up where they are most needed.
Each Chaos Emerald is linked to each other and act like magnets that can attract or repel each other. This for example allowed Tails to pinpoint Dr. Eggman's location on Space Colony ARK because he had the rest of the Chaos Emeralds in his possession. After using all seven Emeralds though, they will usually scatter themselves, meaning that they can only be used for one purpose together before disappearing again. While they can end up anywhere in the world, they quite often end up in Special Stages, which are strange alternate dimensions.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
In the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, there are six Chaos Emeralds which can be found in each of the six Special Stages. In the game, while Dr. Robotnik has been taking over South Island, he has been searching for the Chaos Emeralds which are lying somewhere on the island.
After getting the six Chaos Emeralds and clearing the game, the player gets the good ending of the game; after foiling doctor's plans, Sonic returns to Green Hill Zone, where the Chaos Emeralds start to hover and rotate in the mid-air. After that, the Emeralds disappear in a flash, with new kinds of flowers having appeared around the Green Hill Zone for Sonic. In the bad ending, after the credits sequence, Robotnik is seen throwing Chaos Emeralds around in his hands with the words "Try Again" written below. The Emeralds Robotnik is seen throwing around in that scene depends on which Chaos Emeralds the player was not able to get before the ending.
While the plot is mostly identical in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Chaos Emeralds are not found in the Special Stages, but rather, each one of them are hidden in the game's regular Zones. Each of six Chaos Emeralds are worth of 20,000 points at the Zone's game's score and are colored dark blue in the game. Collecting all six Chaos Emeralds changes the ending, where they start hovering above South Island from Sonic's hands and dispose of the pollutant above the island caused by the Scrap Brain Zone. After that, the Chaos Emeralds vanish.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, all seven Chaos Emeralds are featured for the first time, which can be collected by completing each of the seven Special Stages in the game. In the game, Dr. Robotnik is once again after Chaos Emeralds, which are this time lying somewhere on West Side Island to finish his newest creation, the Death Egg. When the player obtains all seven Chaos Emeralds, Sonic is able to turn into Super Sonic in regular Zones, and, if the game is locked on to Sonic & Knuckles, Knuckles can turn into Super Knuckles. Collecting all of them will unlock the good ending of the game as well; instead of being saved by Tails as in the bad ending, Super Sonic flies from exploding Death Egg in the last second, with Tails on the Tornado and a Locky herd flying behind him in the sky.
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