Appearance in The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog
|Franchise||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|First appearance||The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog (2023)|
- “I must get... my wish! I WILL NOT FAIL!”
- —Mirage Express, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog
The Mirage Express is the main antagonist and final boss of The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.
It is a decommissioned cargo train that worked with the Conductor for over thirty-two years. Recently, it was modified into a passenger train-like Badnik by Dr. Eggman to transport civilians away from their hometowns. During Amy Rose's birthday, amid fears of being abandoned by the Conductor, the Mirage Express selfishly served the doctor under the promise that it would reunite with its friend but met its demise at the hands of Sonic and his friends.
The Mirage Express was created a few decades ago. For thirty two years, until very recently, the train would work under the Conductor, and the two would become very close, to the point that the Mirage Express was noted to be its own "co-conductor".
Recently, the Mirage Express was among the cargo trains that were modified by the evil Dr. Eggman into passenger train-based, autonomous Badniks powered by Animals. The doctor's plan was to use said trains to transport civilians away from their home towns.
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog
In The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Mirage Express was boarded by Amy, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Vector, Espio, Rouge, Blaze and Shadow; all of whom had come to celebrate the pink hedgehog's birthday. There, the Conductor gave Amy the birthday key, and instructed the train's robotic arms to ensure everything went as planned. Afterwards, the birthday girl held a murder mystery game onboard the Mirage Express and instructed everyone the basics and their respective roles.
Following Amy's explaination of the game, all of her friends went to their respective posts: Knuckles, the "sheriff" was stationed at the Saloon Car; Vector, the "butcher", and Espio, the "poet" and assigned "murderer" stayed at the Library Car; Rouge, a "titan of industry", and Blaze, a "business tycoon", were sent to the Casino Car; Shadow, the "locksmith", was placed at the Lounge Car; and Sonic, the "ship captain", was sent to the conductor car. Meanwhile, Amy, the "journalist reporter", and Tails, the "detective", stayed at the Dining Car, along with a quokka named Barry who had just started working at the Mirage Express, waiting for an hour for the "mystery" to unfold.
Being the "murderer" of the game, Espio was given a tranquilizer dart and a blowdart by one of the Mirage Express' robotic arms. Following the instructions given by the train's "staff", the chameleon headed to the conductor car while Vector and Shadow were distracted playing Super Monkey Ball with Knuckles at the Saloon Car. Meanwhile, Sonic and the Conductor made a shocking discovery: the train itself was powered by a Flicky, thus making it a Badnik. Soon after, the hedgehog was attacked by Espio, who shot him with the blowdart he was given. Sonic tried to reveal him his learning, but the "murderer" disappeared. Soon after, the Mirage Express began accelerating like crazy, and robotic arms appeared and captured the Conductor and the fainting hedgehog, the latter of whom was sent to the Dining Car. Meanwhile, Tails, Amy and Barry were left unconscious and would find themselves trapped in the train's closet after waking up.
Breaking free from their containment, the three came across Sonic's body at the Dining Car, but assumed that he was just playing along. Continuing to the Saloon Car, Tails lost trace of Amy and was joined by Barry in their search for clues to find the murderer. Following that, they entered the Library Car, where they found the pink hedgehog, who headed out to find the clues on her own. Continuing along, the duo entered the Casino Car, where they helped Rouge and Blaze carry out a heist of a Fabergé Chao egg at the safe. Afterwards, they resumed their search at the Lounge Car. Here, the two were joined by Amy and Shadow in their investigation and went to the conductor car.
After finishing their search, the four called all of their friends to announce the suspected murderer. Meanwhile, Amy and Vector went to the Dining Car and retrieved Sonic's body, which, much to their horror, was still unconscious and hurt too. While the others carried out an emergency procedure to save the hedgehog's life, Tails and Barry revealed who they suspected was the murderer, Espio, thanks to evidence they had found in their search. Following that, Sonic miraculously woke up and revealed the truth of what had actually happened. The chameleon confessed to being the "killer" and explained that he had attacked the blue hedgehog with a tranquilizer dart due to being instructed by the Mirage Express itself to do so. Furious, Amy began breaking the train's walls, and was joined by Vector. However, this caused the train to reveal its intentions through its robotic arms. Afterwards, it began accelerating once again, knocking all of the heroes out.
Waking up all the way back to the Dining Car, Sonic and Barry answered a videocall from Dr. Eggman, who revealed that he had modified the Mirage Express into a Badnik for his future plans. In the aftermath, the hedgehog began destroying all of the train's locked doors, saving his trapped friends. When all of the heroes had been freed, however, the scientist made another call and asked the train to go faster so it could get to his base quicker. The group then joined forces to stop this from happening, with Espio freeing the Flicky that was powering the Mirage Express. In the end, a furious Amy smashed the front of the train with a powerful blow from her Piko Piko Hammer, severely damaging it. The ensuing explosion sent her flying, but she was saved by Sonic. Now rendered harmless, the deactivating Mirage Express apologized to the Conductor for its actions and went offline. The heroes then began properly celebrating Amy's birthday, while Eggman was left disappointed at the train's failure.
Like in the previous "DreamGear" minigames, the player has to make Sonic overcome an obstacle course on a flat, long platform in an isometric environment. During the whole fight, the hedgehog will automatically run forward. Meanwhile, the Mirage Express will follow along on the side, or in front of Sonic in the later phases, but is entirely harmless.
During the boss encounter, the player can control him by moving him to the sides of the course or by making him perform a Spin Jump. Along the way, they also have to collect a specific number of Rings to advance, as failing to do so will force them to re-start the segment. Additionally, the player can find several obstacles, such as iron balls, spikes, crumbling surfaces that reveal bottomless pits, shurikens, the Mirage Express' robotic hands, etc. Touching any of the aforementioned hazards causes the player to lose ten Rings. Getting hit without any Rings, or falling into a pit, will cause them to retry the segment. Apart from these obstacles, Springs and floating, 10 Rings-type Item Boxes are present too. If the player does succeed in reaching the end with enough Rings or more, they will continue to the next segment.
There are a total of six segments during the boss fight. While all of them control basically the same, the Mirage Express progressively gets more and more agressive, and the player will have to collect more and more Rings while Sonic moves faster over time and more obstacles appear. At the end of each segment, there is also a short cutscene of the hedgehog's friends interacting with the train and helping him stop it.
The following number of Rings are required for each segment by default:
With "Assist Mode" triggered in the options menu, the player can make the Mirage Express fight a bit easier if they are having a tough time beating it. Some of the available options to help during the boss battle are a reduction in the required Rings and/or speed, the disablement of bottomless pits, and invincibility.
The Mirage Express is a white express train whose outside is decorated with stickers of white stars and red, yellow and blue stripes, which meet at the front forming a star shape with the front window. It has a total of seven different railroad cars: the broom closet, Dining Car, Saloon Car, Library Car, Casino Car (which also has an elevator that leads to a safe), Lounge Car and conductor car. While these cars can only be accessed in order, a vent connecting the Dining Car to the conductor car, as well as a secret passageway connecting the Library to the Lounge Car, are also present.
Like all Badniks, the Mirage Express has an AI that allowed it to have a degree of sentience and emotion. Despite this however, the Mirage Express' AI was more advanced compared to the average Badnik, making it feel more complex emotions and have the ability to talk.
When the Conductor considered retiring, the Mirage Express felt betrayed by him and did not want him to leave it. The train has heavy abandonment and loneliness issues, as it would go as far as to trap its friend so he could not move and lead Sonic and his friends to Eggman's base so it could not feel lonely. Additionally, the train became infuriated when Sonic called it "selfish" for its actions and insisted that the Conductor should stay with it. However, right before the Mirage Express passed away, it apologized for its actions, and understood that it was time for the Conductor to move on.
Powers and abilities
Being a train, the Mirage Express could run at impressive speeds, matching Sonic's own, even when moving backwards. It was also equipped with very advanced technology, such as robotic arms that could perform a variety of tasks and clean up any trash after events. Noticeably, these arms had a security system that could detect any weapons or explosives being brought onboard, ensuing passenger safety. Additionally, the train had an intelligent data processing system implemented in it that allowed it to work in tandem with the conductor, assuring smooth travel for the passengers. Despite this, it could not access its full suite of capacities without a conductor present.
At some point, the Conductor promised to be with the Mirage Express forever, which made it developed some kind of devotion and obsession with the Conductor over the years, wanting to be friends with him forever, and having a twisted belief that this is what friendship is about. However, as the Conductor himself says, he did the promise when he was a young man, but now he is old and tired and needs to retire. The Mirage Express would later accept this fact, right before its death, as the train apologized for trying to stay with the Conductor forever. Despite the Mirage Express' actions, the Conductor did not had any grudge against it, he waved one last goodbye saying he would never forget their time together. After that, the Conductor's wife asks who's the green Flicky that was powering the Mirage Express, when the Conductor refers to it as an "old friend" (despite the Flicky being a separate being that was merely just powering the Mirage Express).
- Amy Rose
- Barry the Quokka
- Blaze the Cat
- Espio the Chameleon
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Rouge the Bat
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Vector the Crocodile
- The Mirage Express is the second train-based Badnik in the series, the first being Marve-Shupopolous-Gou from Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble.
- Despite this, neither of these Badniks share anything in-common besides both being based on trains.
- The Mirage Express is one of the only Badniks to be a final boss.
- Tails' lore card having his Flicky best friend joining the Eggman Empire foreshadows the nature of the Mirage Express.
- The Mirage Express shares some vague similarities with E-102 Gamma, but ultimately both are unrelated to each other.