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The Sonic Runners 1-UP

The 1-Up icon, that appears as separated item in games such as Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World.

1-Up, also referred to as One Up, One-Up, Extra Life and Lives, is a term used in videogames, which refers to the power-up / item that gives the number of chances the player has to complete the game. When a life is lost, the player will restart at the previous checkpoint, and a Game Over results for the player when all lives and continues are lost.

1-Ups are present in almost every single Sonic the Hedgehog game.


Extra Life HUD

Several head-up displays from Sonic games, which show the number of lives.

1-Up is a power-up which grants an extra chance of playing. Through the series, there have been numerous ways to gain extra lives, but the most common methods are collecting 100 Rings in a Zone/Bonus Stage, scoring a certain amount of points, breaking Item Boxes/Monitors that show the icon of the playable character (In some simply reading "1-Up"), or, in certain titles, finding a floating, glowing icon that displays a miniaturized version of Sonic's head. When the player gains 1-Up, a small fanfare or sample can be heard in the background while the in-game music stops, but returns back to normal after it ends. The HUD usually shows the playable character's icon and the amount of lives that are left.

If a player gets hit and has one or more rings in their possession, they will lose all of their rings or some of them, but will not die. If the player is hit when they have no rings, they will lose a life and return to the last checkpoint or the beginning of the act. There are other ways to lose lives, such as drowning, falling into a bottomless pit, or being crushed, and in these cases, the player will lose a life regardless of how many rings they have. If a player loses all their lives, it will result in a Game Over (unless the player has got Continues).

There aren't any specific, regular form for 1-Ups in the Sonic series, as the player gains them from specific items and objects. The most known, recurring form for 1-Ups are either variants of Monitors / Item Boxes, which contain an image on them, usually the head of the character who is being controlled. The variety of images on an 1-Up Monitor / Item Box depends on the number of playable characters available. In later games, mug-shots on the Item Boxes were simply replaced with a "1UP" picture, disregarding who the playable character is.

In more recent entries such as Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations which exclusively star Sonic as the player character, 1-Ups are not contained within Item Boxes and are simply a glowing icon of Sonic's head, floating on the ground; the physical appearance has been changed numerous times depending on the setting of the game's rules, however.

Game appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog games in Sega Genesis

1-Ups are able to be obtained in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. When the player collects 100 rings in all previously mentioned games, the player gets rewarded with one extra life. By collecting 200 rings it's possible to gain a second extra life, but if the player loses all collected rings and tries to collect 100 rings again, the game will not give an extra life again. In all five games, Extra Lives can also be found from Monitors. These Monitors feature an icon of the head of the playable character (Sonic, Tails or Knuckles). Several gimmicks involved to get rings or points such as slot machines can gain easily over 100 rings to get an Extra Life. Multiplayer mode of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has also possibility to gain extra lives similar way and if one of players loses all lives, he/she loses the round.

Each time the player achieves a score of a multiple of 50,000 (50,000, 100,000 etc.) in any game between Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic & Knuckles, the player can earn an extra life. Also in Sonic CD, instead of the normal fanfare music in the other four games, the player will hear Sonic yelling "Yes!" upon obtaining the extra life.

Gaining lives is not exclusive to normal stages. Playing in Special Stages and Bonus Stages can also earn Extra Lives. In the Special Stages of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, if the player collects 100 Rings from the stage, he/she will get one extra life as they would in a regular stage. In the Special Stages of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the player will not get extra life by collecting over 100 or 200 rings, but depending on the results after the Special Stage, the player can get one after earning a multiple of 50,000 points as previously mentioned. This works similarly in Special Stages of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, in which it is possible to achieve a Perfect Bonus, which is worth 50,000 points; hence, another Extra Life, and in 2 of the 14 special stages in the game, there is the possibility to get over 100 rings, which give the player an extra life similar to the Sonic 1 special stages, and are represented by the ring loss sound effect. The Gumball Machine and Magnetic Orbs variations of the Bonus Stage in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles have pink gumballs with a "1UP" icon on it; getting ten Super Ring gumballs can also earn an extra life as well. In the Slot Machine type, the player can normally earn extra lives by collecting 100 or 200 rings.

Master System and Game Gear games

Getting extra lives in Master System and Game Gear titles varies in several ways. While 1-Up monitors (the icon features either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles depending on which game they appear) are included, the player can also get 100 rings normally, obtaining an Extra Life, but the ring count starts from the zero again, as the ring count at the HUD is only two-digit. In Sonic Blast, if Sonic breaks a 1-Up Monitor that has a Knuckles icon on it, the player will not get an extra life, as it's only meant for Knuckles, and viceversa.

In some games, running past the Signpost can get you 1-Ups as well. The player is able to get 1-Ups in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, if the signpost stops rotating and shows Sonic posing on the plate. In Sonic Chaos, if the player heads to the signpost with the number lands on 3 of the same numerals in a timer row (for expl. 22:2), the player will also get a 1-Up. In Sonic Chaos, Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, and Sonic Blast, if the signpost at the end of the stage shows the current playing character, they will also earn a 1-Up.

In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the player is able to get extra lives by gaining 50,000 points to the score. When the player clears the game completely, each remaining life that is left is worth 5,000 points at the final score tally. In the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Chaos, collecting 100 rings in Special Stages of the game is possible, while in Sonic Chaos, there also there Giant Rings, that can give ten rings more, which can help collecting Extra Lives easily. When the player clears the Special Stages at the first act of the Zones in Sonic Blast, Sonic or Knuckles get rewarded with an Extra Life.

Sonic Adventure to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Extra life 02

The item box with extra life.

Main 3D games starting from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 have retained most of the same possibilities to gain extra lives from previous earlier games. The player is able to get extra lives by collecting over 100 or 200 rings and breaking Item Boxes, which have icons of playable characters on them from Action Stages. Like many other Item Box power-ups, 1-Ups are also showed below the screen after collecting it.

The same way as in Sonic Adventure titles, the player is able to earn Extra Lives in Sonic Heroes. However it is the first game in the series where the life icons of the playable characters are replaced with simple "1-UP" pictures. When the player completes the Bonus Challenge types of Special Stages, the player gets rewarded with several extra lives. Playing as Team Chaotix while performing their Team Blast (called the Chaotix Recital) rewards a large number of Super Ring bonuses when used near a crowd of enemies, which is an easy way to gain extra lives.

Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush games

In all Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush titles, there are Item Box variations, which read 1-Up on them, and work identically to in previous games. In the Sonic Advance series, it features the playable character's icon on it, while in the Sonic Rush games, it has a simple "1-UP" logo on it. Like earlier games in the series, getting 100,000 points will earn an Extra Life in the Sonic Advance entries. This doesn't occur in the Sonic Rush games.

In Sonic Advance 3, there are two types of mini-games, which either involves open the large capsule by using five buttons quickly as possible or destroying all Badniks from the arena as soon as possible. Depending how fast the player completes these mini-games, he/she gets rewarded with certain amount of Extra Lives. These are non-existent in multiplayer modes of all games, which are based on different types of gameplay.

Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors


The 1-Up card as it is seen in Sonic Colors.

Extra lives in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors can't be collected by breaking Item Boxes or collecting 100 rings. They are small, black and yellow colored floating cards, which have Sonic's logo on the plate. They are also usually located branching pathways and semi-hidden areas of day or night stages. By simply touching it, they will give an extra life. In the Wii/PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Unleashed, extra lives only appear in temple puzzles and grant a permanent extra life to the player's count.

Extra lives can be obtained similarly in the Wii version of the Sonic Colors. However, when the player clears a stage with an A/S Rank, the player will be awarded with one to three Extra Lives. In the Wii version, the lives must be collected in the result screen quickly before Sonic strikes a pose. If the player attacks the text in the result screens, sometimes extra lives pop out from the text. In the Nintendo DS version, the live(s) are simply given to the player. In the Nintendo DS version of the game, they can be obtained in a similar way to the Sonic Rush games, by collecting 100 rings or breaking Item Boxes with "1-UP" on them.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Extra lives in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 are able to be obtained similarly to earlier installments. Both Episode I, Episode II and Episode Metal have Extra Lives in Monitors, which have once again the playable character's icon on the Monitor's power-up (Depending on the episode: it either shows Sonic, Sonic and Tails or Metal Sonic). The player is able to get an Extra Life by collecting 100 and 200 rings. Note that in these games, the maximum number of lives obtained is 999 and in Episode Metal, Metal Sonic retains the same number of lives Sonic and Tails had in Episode II.

Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World

SonicGenerations 2012-03-12 20-50-54-63

Extra Life as seen in Sonic Generations.

Extra lives in Sonic Generations are featured similar in Modern acts for each stage like in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. However they are now illustrated as floating objects, which resemble Classic Sonic's head and can be collected by simply touching it. Extra Lives in classic acts can be obtained by collecting 100 rings or breaking Monitors with Sonic's icon on it. Extra lives can be purchased in Omochao's Skill Shop.

Extra lives can be collected in a similar way in the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World, where they are represented as floating icons of Sonic's heads. There are also five Number Rings, which also by collecting them all at one place can reward with an extra life. Extra lives can sometimes also appear and be collected from the Lost Hex map.

In Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, extra lives are featured similar lto the Classic acts in console/PC versions of the game, as they can be found in Monitors or can be obtained after collecting 100 rings in both Classic and Modern acts at each stage. In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, however, they are illustrated and featured like in Wii U version as a floating icon of Sonic's head.

Originally in Sonic Lost World, collecting 100 Rings would not grant a 1-Up, and the normal starting life counter was at four (however, if the save file had less than four lives, and the game was closed, the life counter would reset to four when the game was booted up again). To make the game easier, the starting lives were later changed to nine, and collecting 100 rings awarding a 1-Up was added later on in version 2.0.0.

Sonic Mania

In Sonic Mania, 1-Ups are featured and can be obtained in a similar fashion to earlier titles: Collecting 100 to 200 rings can earn the player an extra life, as well as breaking Monitors with the current playing character's icon on it will grant one. Scoring a certain amount of points, like in the Genesis games, can grant an extra life.

Other game appearances

In Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, the only way for the player to get an extra life is to gain 20,000,000 points. After the player clears the game, each remaining extra life that is left is worth 5,000,000 points at the score tally. Sonic 3D Blast has normally extra lives in monitors, that must be smashed in order to be obtained. An Extra Life can also be collected by getting 100 rings. If the player has got all the Chaos Emeralds from the Special Stages, the player is able to go back those Special Stages to get rewarded with extra life after clearing it.

In Tails' Skypatrol, Extra lives are earned after getting 10,000 and 30,000 points, while there can be also small yellow sign objects with 1-Up hidden in each of game's area and are able to be collected. In Sonic Labyrinth, the player can normally get extra lives by getting 100 rings (however the ring count goes back to zero after reaching over 100), but there are also small, sparkling purple notes to give extra lives too, which appear less frequently than others. In the game's Bonus Stages, the logic of ring counting is different as collecting one ring apparently gives twenty five normal rings, while getting four of these rings earns the extra life. Extra lives in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure can be get normally by breaking 1-Up Monitors or collecting 100 rings.


  • The fanfare music that plays after getting an extra life can be a short variation of the game's main theme or title screen music. Since Sonic Adventure, it is heard to be a variation of the Chaos Emerald jingle from earlier games, while handheld games keep to use different, traditional short jingles.
    • Fanfare jingles are later reused, as the one in original Sonic the Hedgehog gets reused in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the Sega Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast. The Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast is the one reused from Sonic & Knuckles, while Sonic Mania and all episodes of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is actually reused, which is a remastered 1-Up jingle from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, if the player clears the Act in exactly 9:59, the player earns a grand total of 100,000 points, which is the equivalent of two extra lives.
  • Getting a Time Over in certain specific Sonic games and in the early main installments of the Sega Genesis will cause an instant loss of life.
    • However, this is not the case in Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure: if the Time Limit is set to ON, and the player gets a Time Over, they will not lose a life.
  • In Launch Base Zone of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles), there is a trick to earn an infinite number of lives. By standing on one of the alarms and charging up a Spin Dash without releasing, a Flybot767 will fly over at Sonic. Because he is spinning, it will get destroyed and give points. The player can just simply remain charging for more Flybot767 robots to appear and be destroyed granting him a higher amount of points which will eventually turn into lives. 
  • Knuckles' Chaotix is notable to being one of the three platforming titles in the whole series to have infinite lives and to not feature the Game Over. When the player hits to the enemy without having shield or rings, he/she gets transported back to hub-world of the game, Newtrogic High Zone.
  • Sonic Adventure features unused music track, that possibly is meant to be an extended extra life jingle.[1] However it isn't used despite being listed in the music files of the game. It is later used in Sonic Adventure 2, while not being featured at Sound Test and years later a slight remix is featured in Sonic Generations, but becomes unused once again.[2] All three games used the Chaos Emerald jingle while getting an extra life.
  • Pre-ordering Sonic Lost World via Amazon in the U.S. will grant the player twenty-five extra lives.
UnleashedWii 1up

Unused 1-Up

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