Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Aquatic Ruin Zone (アクアティックルーイン Akuatikku Rūin?, lit. "Aquatic Ruin"), also known as Aquatic Ruins Zone or just the Aquatic Ruins, is the third Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, its various ports and remasters, and the lock-on game Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It is a forest on West Side Island that houses the ruins of an ancient civilization. As with most other Zones in this game, Aquatic Ruin Zone consists of two standard Acts with a boss fight at the end of Act 2.
Aquatic Ruin Zone is a series of Roman ruins on the outskirts of a forest. The background shows various fields covered in tall grass, with tall, brown mountains behind them and a blue sky above. The top and bottom of the Zone are covered in green flora that bear red fruit.
The overall ground here is made of peach bricks covered in grass on the top, although crumbling, yellow platforms appear here as well. Aquatic Ruin Zone is also decorated with various light gray pillars, some of which have traps that are marked by gray plaques with Dr. Robotnik's face on them.
During his hunt for the Chaos Emeralds, Dr. Robotnik would invade all of West Side Island, including Aquatic Ruin Zone, which he kidnapped the local Animals from while filling said Zone with Badniks.
Aquatic Ruin Zone soon after became the third Zone that Sonic and Tails would travel through to put a stop to Robotnik's operations. On their journey through the Zone, they eventually locate the doctor in the Egg Hammer, which they have a battle against. After his vehicle is defeated, Robotnik flees, while Sonic and Tails head to Casino Night Zone.
Aquatic Ruin Zone sports a couple of main terrain features that make it unique compared to the others. This includes water pool, which the playable character can drown in if they stay in it for too long without a steady supply of oxygen. Ancient breakaway columns are also found here. These objects lie dotted around the Zone, and will rise up when the playable character approaches them. By jumping into them, the player will be able to destroy them. Other obstacles include columns with Dr. Robotnik's face embedded on them. Their eyes will flash red when the player approaches them and after passing them, they will fire an arrow that flies horizontally and is usually dangerous in large numbers.
The player starts on a bumpy grassy road with three Rings, an arrow column and a breakaway column. Past the next arrow column is a upward hill that leads to a broken horizontal log acting as a tunnel/bridge. A Grounder rolls about on top of it. The road splits into two paths.
The high route is guarded by a Grounder. A Spring takes them through a loop to a quarter slant. The first Star Post can then be triggered. Across the next log bridge is a breakaway column. The roads then splits into two again.
- The second high route is a long road that starts with an arrow column. Five Rings can be collected by going fast across a Jump Ramp.
- The platform on top of a loop has a Shield monitor and another Jump Panel. If the player lands carefully across the three floating platforms and defeats a Whisp that will approach from below, they will reach the ruin with a Super Ring monitor and a Star Post. There is another floating platform that leads to the next high section.
After the quarter-slant is a yellow Spring, which can be taken to ascend up the high wall. A Grounder rolls at the summit of this wall, followed by another Grounder further down the path. The player will soon encounter a red Spring and an arrow column with a loop. The player could either try and take the Spring quickly, or wait until the arrow is out of the player's predicted path to avoid getting hurt. Is is then a simple dash to the Goal Plate, completing the Act.
The lower path of the first split has a Super Ring monitor parked by the short wall. The hill bends down to a Jump Panel, which if spun, will help collect the three Rings on top of a hidden Grounder and the water. The road flattens and has a gap, which takes the player underwater if they fall in. A yellow Spring there takes the player along a hidden quarter-slant and over the wall back to the top section mentioned in the third paragraph.
- The lower path of the split after the second breakaway column is a long pathway with a Grounder. After the waterfall, the road bends down to the next section: a "pit" with a red Spring on the left and two Grounders that will break through the wall and damage the player if they do not spin. This Spring will take them over the tall loop and under the water with two floating platforms; both will drop if stood on for too long. The player will need to jump quickly onto the step as soon as they stop. The path meanders upwards where a Grounder is guarding three Rings and a Shield monitor. A series of steps will take them to the top path as described in paragraph four.
- If the player falls off the the hidden platforms or ignores the Jump Panel they will be on this section. This route is intercepted by a Grounder and the same Whisp mentioned earlier. Beyond there is a Super Ring monitor and a Star Post. To the right is a hidden wall which cross paths under a tunnel where they will run past some pillars, collecting nine rings, before traversing under the water. There are three gaps, two of which have floating droppable platforms. Two Chop Chops will try to get in the player's way. Up a step is a Power Sneakers monitor. At the top of some more steps is an arrow column. Beyond there is a pit with a Super Ring monitor and two more Chop Chops. Above the pit is a triangular platform swing, which can be used to traverse to the other side. The player can collect three Rings before encountering a Whisp. They will also encounter a hidden Grounder, a red Spring and a tall loop. The road bends several times and sends the player down a vertical tunnel. A Jump Panel should help them get back up however, and help proceed them to the end.
Under the water the player will come across a bendy road with two Chop Chops. They will be stopped by a breakaway column, marking the next section. The triangular platform Springs will be useful for navigation. At the bottom of the first pit is a Super Ring monitor, an Air Bubble spring and two Chop Chops. Out of the pit is another Air Bubble, followed by another three-way section. The top right side is the preferred one to take. A Grounder rolls in the way.
The surface then converts into a bridge where some parts will disintegrate. Falling down to the bottom means the player must go left and start again. They can collect the Super-Ring monitor at the end of the pit on the right. Either way, they will encounter a broken pillar, which will crush them if the player is unlucky. There is also two Air Bubble supplies, one in the pit and one below the swing. Two Chop Chops will appear at the end of the bridge. Past that is a Jump Panel, with an Air Bubble protected by a Grounder. If the player is fast enough, they will reach the pillars above, where a Super Ring monitor can be broken on the next pillar. Below the pillars however are two solid platforms that can crush the player if they go underneath them. The road bends up to a breakaway pillar, and two crush pillars. A Chop Chop and a Grounder will be encountered.
The next point has an arrow column and an Air Bubble with two more pillar roads with disintegrable platforms. The player will need to duck to dodge the arrows if they want to collect an Air Bubble here. Below the pillar roads are a yellow Spring and two more Chop Chops. The road slants up. Another three Chop Chops take up the next road which meanders down and then up, with an Air Bubble supply in the middle. The road terminates to a spike pit with a floating platform in the middle. On the pillar is a Shield monitor and to the right of it is another Air Bubble supply. The road bends slightly upwards where there is a tall gap that requires a long jump. The player can hit the Spring and go around the half loop, collecting six Rings. However, because that pillar is not solid, they must be wary not to fall in the spike pit. After that is the last Air Bubble supply, a Grounder, and a Jump Panel, allowing them to return above surface and complete the Act.
At the start of the Act, the player will need to pass some arrow columns. After that, they will encounter a large area, with two swings at the top, five pillar platforms which lead to the middle route, and the underwater section at the bottom.* Get across the swings and the player will encounter a Grounder and a Whisp. Across the next gap are three Jump Panels, which can be used to ascend to the top, but they must watch out for the Whisp. Alternatively, they can go down the lower path and break the breakaway column and Grounder. The red Spring can be used to ascend the long half-pipe on the main route. The right side of the platform with the yellow Spring has a Star Post.
The next section has a swing. Land on that and the player should find two adjacent red Springs atop a background pillar.*** Touch them and the playable character will enter the next-highest section, where they can pick up an Invincible monitor. This long road has two Grounders, a breakaway column, a disintegrating floor, two Whisps, and a Star Post, before leading up to a gap. Atop the tall loop is a Super Ring monitor with a Jump Panel on its right. Enough speed will get the player over this gap and past another disintegrating floor. The player will then soon come to a halt thanks to a breakaway column.
At the end of the ledge is a floating platform and a swing. Take them both and the player will land on a platform with six Rings. There is also a Grounder and a red Spring below this platform. Enough rightwards momentum and good timing on the red Spring will ensure the player touches the pillar high up in the air. Jump across the long gap and the player will find a hidden platform with three monitors: two Super Rings and a One-Up.
Otherwise, the player will need to clear two breakaway columns and three arrow columns, two of the latter in one pillar, before the player reaches the end of the ledge. From there, across the swing, is a disintegrating platform and a gap with a loop, where a Whisp will be encountered. The end of this ledge is marked with a breakaway column. Here, the player can pick up a Super Ring monitor with a fast jump. A Star Post will then appear on the hill marking the Zone's boss.
*Along the middle route, which takes place in the shallow water, are two Chop Chops and two arrow columns. The road then steps up to a narrow tunnel. It then opens out on a gap with a droppable platform next to the wall and two Chop Chops.** Above the water are red Springs on the background pillar that cannot be reached. From here, the player must continue on, encountering a Whisp along the way. This is followed by another arrow column, which can be jumped over, or the player can drop into the narrow pit on the right. This pit has a yellow Spring on the left, which takes the player up a hidden quarter slant over a long wall. This road offers the player two choices.****
From there, the player can jump up on top of the tall loop, where they will encounter a Grounder, and continue on until they reach a breakaway column. This is followed by an arrow column, and a broken pillar after the next waterfall. The nearest Star Post here is located on the right of this broken pillar. The player can then take the local floating platforms over to the solid road above, and continue from here to the lower route described in the third paragraph. Otherwise, they will be traversing along the shallow water, where a Chop Chop will appear. From here, there is a Super Ring monitor parked on the left of this pit. In the middle of the waterfall is also the next broken pillar. A yellow Spring will take the player up the wall and bounce them above the water, where there are two Super Ring monitors and a red Spring to help them back to the top section as mentioned earlier. Between the wall with the yellow Spring is a hidden pathway, where the player will be encountering Chop Chops and Whisps (see the last paragraph).
***The player may wish to jump off the swing and reach the road on the right. They will then encounter some Whisps, followed by two broken pillars on the waterfall. The road then meanders downhill and leads into a pit with a hidden Grounder, a red Spring, and a tall loop. The road from here traverses underwater, where a Jump Panel and a hidden Grounder mark the next gap across to either side. The player must be careful not to touch the red Spring. If the player falls down, they can at least collect two Super Ring monitors as a consolation.*****
****The player may want to run through the tall Loop instead. Along this route, they will encounter the same obstacle mentioned in the paragraph above, with the road leading into shallow waters. The road then closes out with another Grounder, followed by two pillars floating on water. Here, two Chop Chops will try to bite the playable character if they fall off. The higher route has several steps with a Jump Panel on the end. The route is from here the same as the one mentioned in the sixth paragraph. If the player falls off the route at this point, they will have to run along a long road, encountering two more Chop Chops along the way, and fall into the last deep water section.
*The player may be unlucky and fall in deep water right from the offset. Here, a Super Ring monitor can be found parked on the left. They will soon after encounter a Chop Chop, guarding an Air Bubble supply. From here, the road bends down with a broken column which can once again crush the player if timed incorrectly. Also, two more Chop Chops will try to intercept the player. The next yellow Spring takes the player uphill. There, the player will encounter two more broken pillars, but they must also be wary of the arrow column and the next Chop Chop.
**To the right is a disintegrating platform with a Jump Panel at the end. Enough momentum will let the player land on an Invincible monitor, with a Chop Chop right next to it. Below the Jump Panel is a Power Sneakers monitor parked on the left side, two Air Bubble supplies and a Grounder. Another Jump Panel sits at the end of this road. A gap is also marked with a floating platform, with a Chop Chop trying to catch anyone that falls in the next pit. There is also another Air Bubble supply and a Super Ring monitor. From here, the road bends into a tunnel and opens out.
*****This section has a Chop Chop, an Air Bubble supply and a broken column. The road bends up to a horizontal yellow Spring attached to a wall, which the player will land on. Atop this wall is also an Air Bubble supply, where a Chop Chop and a Grounder will be encountered. To the left of the Air Bubbles is also a floating platform, which leads to another floating platform and two pillars, worth just four Rings. Beyond the Grounder are also four arrow columns attached to each other, which will fire all their arrows at once. From here, past the short wall is a gap leading to a floating platform with ten Rings and a Jump Panel, which, if utilized with enough speed, can take the player across the gap to the other side. Below the gap, there is an Air Bubble supply on the right and a yellow Spring on the left, which will take the player along a half loop and onto a pillar, where two Chop Chops will take them on. The player must then use a broken pillar to cross the gap. Afterwards, the player will see another Air Bubble supply and another Grounder. Past the ledge from here, where the road slides downhill, is a broken pillar and another Air Bubble supply. Over the wall from there, the road becomes hilly before the player encounters two more broken pillars. Over the last jumpable wall is a Booster, which can be used to ascend the long wall and run over the water. However, the player must watch out for Whisps and Chop Chops. From here, the road up the short wall on the right bends upwards. Here, they player will encounter an arrow column. By Spin Dashing to the left while using a well-timed jump off the edge however, the player will land inside a hidden tunnel, where a One-Up can be found. The player will then need to time their usage of the red Spring perfectly to avoid arrows as they go around the loop. They will then soon after come across the Star Post that leads to the boss arena.
The boss here has totem poles that rise up from the ground. Dr. Robotnik will then float above the poles and hit them in an alternating pattern with his hammer, causing the totems to fire an arrow. Once this arrow hits the other pole, you must jump on the arrow and hit the Egg Mobile.
In other media
Books and comics
Sonic the Comic
In the Sonic the Comic series and its spin-offs published by Fleetway Editions, Aquatic Ruin Zone is a Zone on Mobius. Originally, it was an outpost created by the Drakon Empire millennia ago that was eventually abandoned and sunk into the local bodies of water. In the present day, Sonic once came to this Zone on a mission where he ended up awakening and destroying a Sentinel. Tails would later come to this Zone to destroy the Spider-Moth.
- Several totem poles from the Aquatic Ruins (specifically during the boss battle) makes a cameo in Sonic Universe #53 during the Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man comic crossover event, Worlds Collide. It appears in the Skull Egg Zone while Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, Miles "Tails" Prower, and Rush explore the zone to find the two remaining Roboticized Masters, which are Knuckles Man and Rose Woman.
- In various preview magazines back in 1992, Aquatic Ruin Zone was named "Neo Green Hill Zone" (a name later used for the first Zone in Sonic Advance). This may have some connection to the concept that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was, in its early planning Zones, intended to have time travel like Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- In the children's books published by Ladybird, such as Robotnik's Oil and Sonic the Hedgehog Adventure Gamebook 1, this Zone was called "Aquatic Ruins Zone".
- In the Simon Wai prototype, the Zone's music plays differently compared to the final.
- Aquatic Ruin Zone's boss, the Egg Hammer, is teased in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II. In the boss level of Sylvania Castle Zone, Dr. Eggman will bring up two pillars similar to the ones used in the Aquatic Ruin Zone boss battle. However, he will destroy them with the Egg Serpentleaf before the battle starts.
- In the 2013 remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a misplaced level tile with no collision can be found in the upper area of Aquatic Ruin Zone, viewable by using Tails or Debug Mode.
- Aquatic Ruin Zone makes an appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog (Shogaku Ninensei) Chapter 10 from the Sonic the Hedgehog manga, though as a promotional screenshot of the game. Curiously, it has the sprites from the Simon Wai prototype.
|"StH2 Aquatic Ruin Zone ~Mega Drive Version~"||1:40||Masato Nakamura|
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 13.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 32.
- Prima Publishing (1993). "Sonic The Hedgehog for Sega Genesis". Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2: Sega's Official Player's Guide. Prima Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 1-55958-335-5.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 4-5.
- ARZ Act 2 misplaced tile. YouTube (14 April 2021). Retrieved on 15 April 2021.