|Level Theme||Ancient Château|
It was once a glorious manor house in the centre of a lush forest, but was appropriated for defensive purposes during an unspecified war, leaving many of the gardens, and the Château itself, heavily damaged.
Knuckles starts his story in the gardens of the Château, tracking the signal of Chaos Energy coming from the underground dungeons. He is ambushed inside in the main hall by the Chaos Knight, which sets fire to a large section of the Château and the gardens. Knuckles escapes the Château and chases the Chaos Knight back to Season Ruins, where Sonata the Wolf is fighting Dr. Eggman. Eggman flies off, and Knuckles and Sonata fight the Chaos Knight together. Knuckles leaves in pursuit of Eggman to the Frosty Bunker.
Sonic investigates Radiant Bastion after rescuing Cream from Eggmans Robots in Eternity Park. She explains how she and her mother escaped Eternal Forest from a huge, dragon robot. Sonic and Cream find Eggscavators looking for an Emerald under the eyes of an Eggman projection. They are found out and attacked by the Egg Hydra on the Château rooftops. Sonic assumes Eggmans plan must involve the Chaos Emeralds, and returns to Tails in Vectopolis.
Blaze exits the Mysterious Vestige into the gardens of the Château and detects the same energy as Knuckles. She finds a Sol Emerald deep within the ruins, but is attacked by the rebuilt Chaos Knight. The fight between the two nearly consumes the entire Château in flames, though Blaze barely escapes into Tempest Forest.
Sonic the Hedgehog
|Sonic the Hedgehog|
Sonic and Cream being the level on top of ramparts surrounding the manor, and the two must work together to reach a safe place to fall into the gardens. Cream can carry Sonic across steep or otherwise dangerous falls, though Sonic will sometimes have to follow this up with a well timed homing attack.
Once the duo have made it into the gardens, Cream will fly through a hole in the roof of the Chateau, while Sonic will have to find another way in. There are two options here, and the entire level divides in two from this point. Sonic can either boost straight through a window or encourage a Rhino badnik to charge into a gate on the far right of the gardens, where Sonic can break into the forest.
In the forest route, Sonic can grind tree branches and use vines to get higher up to the treetops. One vine can throw Sonic straight to the top of the section if it's boosted into correctly. Ancient ruins similar to the ones in Tempest Forest have twisting columns which shoot arrows at Sonic, and QTE actions will allow Sonic to jump from branch to branch at high speed. The entire section has a Tropical Jungle vibe to it, as there isn't a set way to get higher in the level. Sonic will eventually get high enough that he can boost into the same hole which Cream flew into. From there, the burning remains of the section burned down by the Chaos Knight in Knuckles level must be navigated. This involves a lot of hurried platforming, as the fragile remains of the rooms will collapse.
The route through the Chateau itself is slower and arguably less exciting than the trip through the forest, but the sequence is also much shorter, and ultimately takes less time to complete. The inside of the Chateau is in ruins, gaping holes in the floor and fallen beams of wood are just two of the many obstacles Sonic may have to deal with. Some can be dealt with using a well-placed boost, while others may require a bit more thought, such as moving objects to perform a wall run. Sonic will eventually emerge in one of the side gardens, where destruction of the remaining castle walls provide a path up to the meeting point with the other path: The burning section of the Chateau.
The level ends on the roof of the Chateau, and is followed directly by the fight with the Egg Hydra.
Knuckles the Echidna
|Knuckles the Echidna|
Knuckles begins in the forest section of Sonic's level, though his climbing ability allows him to bypass many of the hazards Sonic must face, as he can simply climb up the ruins and glide through.
Knuckles enters the Château through the front door which collapses behind him, and is almost immediately confronted by the Chaos Knight. Trapped in the main hall, the Chaos Knight sets fire to the Château, though this causes many of the weaker walls and floors to collapse, allowing Knuckles to escape through the corridors, though the fire will also block off certain routes if they are not accessed quickly enough, forcing Knuckles to take a detour.
The level ends in a kitchen-like area where Knuckles is able to escape through an underground passage. He then chases the Chaos Knight to the Season Ruins.
Blaze the Cat
|Blaze the Cat|
Blaze's level will take place mostly in the manor and the dungeons underneath, and will be very puzzle orientated. One section will take place in the library, and involves knocking around bookshelves like a lunatic and using a chandelier to smash a mirror.
The Radiant Bastion includes the ruined, grey ramparts that outline most of the manor, but much of the action in the stage revolves around the Château itself and the surrounding gardens. The walls surrounding the Château are an almost patchwork-like composition of different stonecraft and materials as a result of them being constantly knocked down and restored during wars. The most common is a rough granite surface which appears to be at least partially natural, though even wooden fencing can be seen in areas.
The Château itself is slowly being assimilated into the shrubbery which surrounds it, though there are clear signs that it was once a colourful, majestic manor.