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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)
Aqua Lake Zone

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Pick up speed and skim the surface of the lake, picking up Rings as you go. When you go under, don't go for too long without air, or you'll lose a Chance. Take a deep breath from bubbles that float up from some of the blocks. Or when a big bubble comes your way, use it to float toward the top of the screen.

— Description, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear)[1]

Aqua Lake Zone (アクアレイク[2] Akua Reiku?, lit. "Aqua Lake") is the third Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit). As with all other Zones in the game, Aqua Lake Zone consists of two standard Acts followed by a shorter, third Act which contains the Zone's boss at its end.


Aqua Lake Zone is an area composed of pink rocks and underwater tunnels, with pipes and fountains appearing on some of its surface areas. Several purple mountains with waterfalls flowing off of them can also be seen in the background of this Zone. Also, certain deeper underwater areas of Aqua Lake Zone are composed of yellow rocks and pillars, and contain greenish water in contrast to the clearer waters of the Zone's shallower areas.


On his quest to rescue Tails from the clutches of Dr. Robotnik, Sonic passes through Aqua Lake Zone and locates the Chaos Emerald hidden within its underwater tunnels. Then, after a brief battle with one of Dr. Robotnik's Master Robots, Balance Master, Sonic destroys the Prison Egg located in the Zone and runs off towards Green Hills Zone to continue his journey.


Aqua Lake Zone is the only Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) to feature water, which it has an abundance of. While the first Act features small underwater stretches which the player can "skip" across by rolling onto their surface with a Spin Attack, the second Act is entirely underwater, and features high-speed warp tubes. Both Acts prominently feature breakable blocks and two different types of air bubbles, the first of which functions normally, while the second of which are large enough to surround Sonic entirely, and float him upwards until he either jumps, or hits the surface or a object.


Act 1

The first Act starts out on a flat stretch of land which slowly descends towards a water surface which branches into two paths. The player can either "skip" across the water surface using a Spin Attack, or go into the water. Along the top path, the player speeds through a loop before encountering a series of springs and breakable blocks which they can either roll through or bounce across (although navigating the Springs can allow the player to find a hidden 1-Up monitor). Regardless, both lead to another pit of water which, should the player fail to correctly "skip" across, will drop the player into the end of the bottom path. Alternatively, the player can drop into the very start of said water pit, dropping them down to a ledge overlooking the bottom path with a 1-Up monitor. However, if the player does successfully cross the pit, they will reach a flat area with the Bonus Plate. Along the bottom path, the player can collect a 1-Up by traveling left through a wall to a hidden room. By continuing to the right, the player has to navigate a series of underwater tunnels while grabbing air bubbles and avoiding the giant spears and Badniks present. Eventually the path leads to a section where the player has to ride a large Air Bubble upwards, then continue onwards to a diagonal Spring which launches them over a pit of spikes, to a second, underwater Bonus Plate. Additionally, hitting the diagonal Spring with enough momentum can grant access to another Spring which launches the player to the aforenoted 1-Up on a ledge.

Act 2

Unlike the first Act, the second Act takes place almost entirely underwater, and features more emphasis on vertical platforming. The player starts out on a flat area above the water which leads underwater to a downwards tunnel and a high-speed warp tube. Depending on the player's input, the tube can take them to several different small rooms, although they all eventually emerge into a large pit of spikes which the player has to avoid by either using well-timed jumps, or the provided Invincibility monitor. The player must then continue onward to a section where they have to successfully use a large air bubbles to float up a winding tunnel, then enters a second high-speed warp tube which deposits them at the bottom of a large shaft when navigated correctly. The player then has to float up the shaft using a large Air Bubble, avoiding the spears and Zaririns attacking them from the sides. Should the player scale the shaft successfully, they will reach a flat area of ground containing the Bonus Plate.

Act 3

The third Act returns to the structure of the first Act, being a level mainly set above the water with some underwater sections. This Act begins with the player standing on a flat stretch of land which gradually descends into a shallow section of water which the player either has to "skip" across or wade through, leading to another pool of water with a series of breakable blocks above it. Should the player take the top path and break the blocks using the Spring provided, they will skip across the remaining area of the pool, and arrive at the boss area for Balance Master. If the player takes the bottom path, they will have to use a large air bubbles to float upwards towards the boss arena, avoiding spikes and walls along the way. After defeating the boss, the player is able to move past the boss area to destroy the Prison Egg and complete the Act.


Main article: Balance Master

The boss of Aqua Lake Zone is Balance Master, a mechanical sea lion that attacks the player by means of an inflatable, explosive ball. The player must hit the ball as Balance Master is still in the process of blowing it up, in order to do any damage. Other attacks will be repulsed, as the machine simply bounces the player atop its robotic nose, before tossing him to the side of the screen.

Chaos Emerald location

The magenta Chaos Emerald in Aqua Lake Zone is located in Act 2. Here, the player can find the Chaos Emerald by navigating the second high-speed warp tube correctly to a secret room. Although there are many ways of doing this, the easiest way is to just hold left on Controlpadds.png when entering the tube, which will cause the player to turn left twice when the tunnel branches, leading the player to the secret room, and the Chaos Emerald, by extension.


  • Aqua Lake Zone Act 2 features a Power Sneakers monitor in the Sega Master System version, and is the only instance in the game which it appears. In the Sega Game Gear version, it is replaced with a Super Ring monitor.
  • In Aqua Lake Zone Act 2, there seems to be a collection of Rings that spell out "RAY" in the middle. The significance of these is unknown.





Name Artist(s) Length Music track
"Aqua Lake Zone" Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi Hataya, Tomonori Sawada 3:23


  1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) United States instruction booklet, pg. 12.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Game Gear) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 20.