Chao (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Chao (Sonic the Hedgehog)

General CVG character

firstgame="Sonic Adventure"
series="Sonic the Hedgehog"
inuniverse=Sonic character
species= Chao
A Chao (pronounced: chow), singular and plural form Chao) is an artificially intelligent, virtually generated lifeform from the "Sonic the Hedgehog" video game series. Their role in the games is to be raised by the player in mini-games, similar to Tamagotchi. Chao are somewhat complex, responding to stimuli; they have moods, they require food, and they can be loving or fearful. The word "Chao" is a pun on "Chaos", a word commonly used in the Sonic series.

First appearing in, and made popular by, "Sonic Adventure" for the Dreamcast (both in the plot and in a Chao-raising aspect of the game), later in "Sonic Adventure 2", and further enhanced in "Sonic Adventure 2: Battle" and "Sonic Advance", Chao have recently come to be a large part of the "Sonic the Hedgehog" franchise. The A-life system used for the Chao was introduced in "Nights into Dreams..." as the Artificial Intelligence in the Nightopians. Chao-raising and the main Sonic games tie together in a number of ways: items which you encounter in the main game can be used to raise the player's Chao, collected Rings can be used to buy things for them, and several unlockable features are related to Chao. During raising, Chao have statistics: Swimming, Flying, Running, Power, and Stamina, as well as luck and intelligence, which are invisible to the player. These statistics can be raised through proper Chao raising, and will enable a Chao to do better in their competitions: racing and karate.

Life Cycle


Chao start life in an egg state. There are many different eggs, reflecting the type of Chao that will hatch from them. Speckled eggs, found in the Gardens when no other Chao are present, hatch neutral Chao; these Chao are blue with yellow highlights, but may change color as they grow. Colored, shiny and jewel Chao are purchased and maintain a single color throughout their lives; additionally, shiny Chao sparkle and jewel Chao have a metallic sheen.cite web |author=Sonic Team
publisher = Sega of Japan |url= |title=Sonic Team's Chao Laboratory |accessdate=2007-12-10

Ways of hatching them include rocking the egg, throwing the egg against a wall, or simply waiting for it to hatch on its own. If an egg is thrown to hatch it, the Chao will not be pleased at first, but the throwing method doesn't cause permanent negative influences on the Chao. In Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, the eggshells can be sold for a quarter of their value when purchased, excluding speckled eggshells, sold for 50 rings in the black market. In both versions, however, the eggshells can also be used as hats once a Chao is given a certain animal.

First Evolutions

When Chao hatch, they may be trained and have different attributes and personalities. Chao from Sonic Adventure DX, and both versions of Sonic Adventure 2 can also favor "dark" and "hero" sides as well as the default "neutral" side, which can lead to variations in visual evolution. Depending on the game and environments, they take varying times to evolve.

After awhile, or when stamina reaches Level 16, a Chao creates a cocoon (White in the Dreamcast versions, and blue in the Gamecube versions) and evolves into a more mature form. When the Chao comes out of this cocoon, it is an adult and can mate. The Chao ages by one "Chao year" around every three to four hours, depending on a number of environmental influences, and has a total lifespan of five "years".

Second Evolutions

Very late in a Chao's life, usually after its second natural mating season, it will begin a second evolution. This evolution is a gradual process and your Chao will not form a cocoon. During this process, a Chao's appearance may also be altered based what stat is increased. For example, if a running Chao is taught flying, it will become a Run/Fly Chao.

Unlike the first evolution, a second evolution can be reworked, meaning the Run/Fly Chao could potentially become a Run/Swim Chao.


After evolving, Chao gain the ability to reproduce. Chao are genderless,cite web |author=Sonic Team |publisher = Sega of Japan |url= |title=Official character profile of the Chao |accessdate=2007-12-10] and therefore can breed with any other adult Chao. Chao are in mating season when surrounded by a circle of flowers; while this happens twice naturally, it can also be achieved by purchasing 'Heart Fruit' from the Black Market in "Sonic Adventure 2 Battle" and by finding them while playing the "Chao Adventure 2" VMU mini-game. Giving them to an adult Chao will make the Chao go into a mating season. Depending on two Chao's opinions of one-another, they may mate naturally when one realizes the other is in mating season. If two different colored Chao mate, the resulting Chao may have a unique color.

Every time a Chao mates it loses two hours of its life span.Fact|date=October 2008 However, Heart Fruit-induced mating seasons have no effect on its lifespan.

Death and Reincarnation

In no fewer than eight hours, the Chao will enter another cocoon; if the Chao was treated lovingly, it will "reincarnate" as an egg, and all its stats will be one tenth of their original value. However, if it was treated cruelly, or completely ignored, it will die.

In the Dreamcast version the cocoon is white, but in the Gamecube version a pink cocoon reveals it will reincarnate, while a gray cocoon reveals it will die.

Chaos Chao

Through regular care, a Chao will follow the same pattern of birth, evolution, and reincarnation, as long as the Chao is treated well by the player. But there is a way to have a Chao evolve so it will become immortal: The Chaos Chao. The Chaos Chao is named after the Sonic Adventure character Chaos, and is very similar in appearance.

In the original Sonic Adventure there was only one form of Chaos Chao, the "Light Chaos Chao" or just "Chaos Chao". With the inclusion of alignment based evolution forms in 'Sonic Adventure 2', two more Chaos Chao forms were added for Hero and Dark, with the Light Chaos Chao being the neutral form. The Hero evolution form is also known as an "Angel Chao", and the Dark evolution also called a "Devil Chao". Colored Chao retain their special colors, creating interesting and unique looking Chaos Chao.

When a Chao becomes a Chaos Chao, they lose the ability to mate and giving them animals will no longer give them special parts, although they still gain stats, and can still wear hats if the player desires.


Alignment is determined by how the Chao was treated before its evolution. The three alignments are Dark, Hero, and Neutral. There are three Hero characters (Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails) and three Dark characters (Shadow, Rouge, and Dr. Eggman) in "Sonic Adventure 2". Petting, holding, or cuddling a Chao with a character makes the Chao favor the character's alignment; likewise, attacking, throwing, or jumping on a Chao makes it favor the opposite alignment of the character. Neutral Chao are created by balancing contact by both Hero and Dark characters.

Every time that a heart appears above a Chao's head and replaces the standard emotion, the Chao darkens or lightens a shade, a darker shade coinciding with becoming a Dark Chao, and vice versa. A Chao's physical appearance is the chief indicator in understanding the alignment of a Chao. It will become whichever type has influenced it the most by the end of its child lifespan, it is not based on stats.

In "Sonic Adventure DX", due to only heroic characters being playable, the Chao instead become Hero or Dark depending on the fruits it is given.

There are five Chao that resemble certain characters: Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose. The Sonic and Shadow Chao can be obtained by breeding, while the Tails, Knuckles and Amy Chao were given away in Japan, and cannot be obtained by breeding; though they can be obtained by hacking, using Action Replay, the Tails Chao can be legitimately obtained from Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II

There are also Chao that resemble NiGHTs/Reala from "NiGHTs Into Dreams" that can be obtained by breeding, and a special black Reala Chao that can be obtained via hacking.


By giving a Chao a "small animal", it will acquire some of the animal's characteristics. Besides a physical change to the Chao, this will also modify the Chao's stats based on the type of animal given.

There are five types of animals in "Sonic Adventure" and 7 in "Sonic Adventure 2". They consist of Running (Green), Power (Red), Swimming (Yellow) Flying (Purple), and General (Blue). The two additional types featured in "Sonic Adventure 2" are Ghost (Black) and Mythical (Orange). The Mythical Animals consist of the Phoenix, Dragon, and Unicorn, while the Ghosts consist of a Bat, Skeleton Dog, and Sea Creature (also known as a Kappa or Half-Fish). Giving a Chao a Skeleton Dog allows it to wear hats that are given to them by the playable characters (Although in Sonic Adventure DX, it is the Penguin that does this), it also removes all previously acquired animal parts.

The Ghost and Mythical animals give better than average stat increases and do not lower any stats. Some special Chao look the same, but do special tricks. For example, giving a Dragon to a Chao will give it the ability to breathe fire.

In "Sonic Adventure 2", Chaos Drives were introduced and also raise a Chao's stats, but without changing a Chao's appearance. Chaos Drives are items that power machines created by the military organization G.U.N., they are obtainable when the machine is destroyed.

Like the small animals, the different colors each raise a certain stat. Yellow raises swim, purple raises fly, green raises speed, and red raises power. Unlike the Small Animals, Chaos Drives only raise the stat that the color represents.

Neither Small Animals nor Chaos Drives can raise a Chao's stamina, only food can. Also, a certain fruit called the Chao Fruit raises all stats, including Stamina, when it is given to a Chao. These are only in "Sonic Adventure 2" and the GameCube ports "Sonic Adventure: DX" and "Sonic Adventure 2: Battle".

Special tree seeds can be bought from the Black Market in Sonic Adventure 2, and the Chao can plant them in the gardens, though not until it has won the Watering Can and Shovel from the Chao Races.

Chao Gardens

Every Chao lives in a Chao Garden. Each garden is unique, though they all have these things in common: Areas for Chao to swim, trees that grow fruit to feed the Chao, and a VMU/GBA Transporter.

Seven Chao Gardens have been created, so far.

Sonic Adventure

The Station Square garden is the first garden you can visit. It is inside the hotel, and can be reached by using the elevator on the left. It is a very plain garden, having a flat floor and hotel walls, there is also a pool and a small fountain, and the entrance to the Chao Race. The VMU/GBA Transporter is next the Chao Race door. There are also two transporters to easily get to other gardens (Once they've been unlocked), they are located next to the exit.

The Mystic Ruins garden is the second accessible garden. It is can be reached by going into the cave next to Tails' Workshop and riding the mine cart. This garden has a ancient ruin theme, there is a large lake with a waterfall (Which can be reached by a bridge leading up to a ledge), and several ruins. The VMU/GBA Transporter is next to the exit, the Garden Transporters are next to it.

The final Chao Garden is Egg Carrier garden. It is accessible by entering a password at the door under the large monitor inside the Egg Carrier, the password is "E-G-G-M-A-N". The entire garden is a small island in the ocean, it is a sandy beach complete with a beach chair and ocean backdrop. There is a large missile lodged in the ground, and small inaccessible room on the top of a hill. The VMU/GBA Transporter is next to the missile and the Garden Transporters are next to the hilltop room.

In the Gamecube port, Sonic Adventure DX, a few aesthetic changes were made, including removing the high ledge in the Mystic Ruins garden, and shallower water in the Egg Carrier garden.

Sonic Adventure 2

In Sonic Adventure 2, the Adventure Fields were removed, so all of the Chao Gardens are located in one area, called Chao World. The Chao Lobby is the first room, and all of the Gardens can be accessed from it. In the middle of the Chao Lobby is the exit, the garden entrances are on different sides of the room.

The first accessible garden is simply called the Chao Garden. It is a grass field with a cliff, a small pond, and a small hill with several ledges. The VMU/GBA Transporter is located near the cliff. The Chao Stadium entrance is inside the hill.

There are two extra gardens, but unlike Sonic Adventure, they can only be unlocked if you raise certain Chao:

If you raise a Hero Chao, an upwards staircase will appear in the lobby, this leads to the Hero Garden. This garden has a very peaceful theme, and is associated with Hero Chao. There is a gazebo-like structure, and a small pool which leads into a river. The VMU/GBA Transporter is located on the other side of the river, it also has a special Hero Garden design.

If you raise a Dark Chao, a downwards staircase will appear in the lobby, this leads to the Dark Garden. It has a Halloween-esque theme to it, and is associated with Dark Chao. It is decorated with tombstones and dead trees, there are two ponds, a small one and a slightly larger one, in both the water is colored red, making look like a pool of blood. There is a large hill in the corner of the garden, and at the bottom of the hill is a cave. The VMU/GBA Transporter is located next to the exit, and has a special Dark Garden design.

Raising Chao in certain gardens does not have any effect on their alignment, the garden themes are purely aesthetic.

There is a fourth room in the Chao Lobby, the Chao Kindergarten. Inside the Chao Kindergarten is the Classroom, where up to four Chao can learn a new trick, such as drawing or playing drums. Next to the Classroom is the Principal's Office, the Principal Chao gives the player advice on raising Chao. The last room is the Doctor's Office, where the player can check a Chao's health. In the Gamecube port, two more rooms were added: the Black Market, where the player buy various items and rare Chao Eggs, and the Fortune Teller, where the player can name Chao.

In the Gamecube port, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, several changes were made to the gardens, including: removing the river in the Hero Garden, removing the smaller pond and mountain in the Dark Garden, replacing the garden-themed transporters with the normal transporter, and adding the Black Market and the Fortune Teller to the Chao Kindergarten. The Chao Gardens are also significantly smaller.

Chao Adventure

Though not technically a garden, this mini-game is exclusive to the Dreamcast versions. It can be accessed from the VMU Transporters located in the gardens. The Chao is presented with a task, and if done correctly, is awarded with a fruit (SA1) or a seed (SA2).

The VMU is also the only way to check a Chao's stats, or to name it, it is also possible to connect two VMUs to mate Chao. Chao do not age while in the VMU.

Tiny Chao Garden

The Tiny Chao Garden is a garden exclusive to the Game Boy Advance. As its name suggests, it is very small and only one Chao can live in it at a time. A side menu replaces the Black Market, to buy fruit, toys and unique Jewel Chao eggs.

The garden comes with Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, and Sonic Pinball Party; though a temporary one can be downloaded from Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.

Chao Competitions

Chao Races

Chao can compete in races with each other, in which they use their different skills (Swimming, Flying, Running, Power, Stamina, Luck and Intelligence) in a large variety of courses.

Each skill a Chao has affects how fast it covers certain terrain in each course. Certain skills pertain to different events, for example, improving a Chao's swimming skill would improve well it does in a swimming race.

Chao Karate

Despite its name, Chao Karate is more like boxing than karate. Two Chao can fight each other in five-stage tournaments, the winner advances a stage.

The stats also come into play here, but represent different skills: Swim becomes Defense, Fly becomes Stealth, Run and Power remain the same, and Stamina becomes Health.


Video games

"Sonic Adventure" and "Sonic Adventure 2" are the Chao's most prominent appearances. In Sonic Adventure, the Chao play a vital role in the plot. Though absent in the plot of Sonic Adventure 2, its Chao system marked a major improvement in the "A-Life" system.

In "Sonic Adventure 2 Battle", the Chao are playable in multiplayer. The Chao Walker is faster but weaker and frailer than normal, while the Dark Chao Walker is slower yet absurdly more durable and powerful. In Kart Racing, a Neutral Chao Car can be unlocked when all of Tails' emblems are collected.

In "Sonic Heroes" Chao make an appearance as parts of many missions that Team Chaotix need to complete. Cheese the Chao accompanies Cream the Rabbit and his brother Chocola also makes an appearance (This marks Chocola's first and only appearance).

Every "Sonic Advance", "Sonic Advance 2" and "Sonic Pinball Party" has a "Tiny Chao Garden" of its own, which is a small simple garden with a small pool that is universal to every game.

"Sonic Advance 3" has a Chao Garden, but it is not for raising Chao. Instead, it is an area where the hidden Chao that the player has found during gameplay are located. When all ten of the Chao in the zone are found, the player can look for keys that enable the Special Stage for that particular zone.

Chao also appear in "Super Smash Brothers Brawl" as a trophy.

In Sega Superstars, an Eyetoy game for the PlayStation 2, there is a simplified Chao Garden, where you can pet and tickle a single Chao by waving your hand on its head, or its belly. It includes many elements from the other games, such as feeding, toys and pool, though it omits any breeding aspects.

Chao appear in "Sonic Rivals 2". Several of them are kidnapped by Eggman Nega to feed to an inter-dimensional beast called "Ifrit". Silver the Hedgehog and Espio the Chameleon hid most of them, while Sonic and Tails set out to rescue the rest.

Despite the lack of being a more centrally interactive feature since Sonic Adventure DX, the Chao have an important role in gameplay in the Bioware game: "".

External links

* [ Official Sonic Team Chao Website]
* [ Sonic City Chao]
* [ Chao Island]
* [ Unofficial Chao Help Site]


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