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Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

The Big Shaker[1] (ビッグシェイカー[2] Biggusheikā?), also known as Doctor Robotnik's Whirlpool Machine[3] is an object that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a whirlpool-creating device created by Dr. Robotnik that Sonic the Hedgehog and his allies fought during the first part of the Angel Island incident.



The Big Shaker has a round-shaped body with red-metallic armor, and yellow lines in an X-formation on the center. Purple thruster missiles with yellow bands are attached to the lines. The machine also seems to have purple eyes.

Powers and abilities

The Big Shaker's main weapons in the battle are thruster missiles that protect it from attacks, as they are spinning around the body until it plants itself on the cylinder to use its whirlpool attack.


The Big Shaker is the boss of Hydrocity Zone Act 1 and the overall third boss of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the Big Shaker is fought with Sonic or Tails while in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, it can also be fought by Knuckles.

Boss guide

The Big Shaker is fought in a bowl-shaped arena half-filled with water, which the player falls into after going around the downward guiding loop. Small missiles (which presumably are thrusters for the robot) orbit its central body acting as a shield as it charges down both sides of the arena. The player is unable to hit the robot without getting damaged during this time. After the Big Shaker has charged twice, it settles down on the pole-shaped turbine in the middle of the arena, activating it to create a whirlpool underwater. This stirs up the water (and the playable character with it), rendering both the boss and the player unable to do anything until the stirring stops.

Hits can be scored either when the Big Shaker begins to activate or stop the turbine pole's functionality. After starting up its thruster missiles again, the Big Shaker starts repeating its attack pattern. The player can score the six hits needed to defeat this boss before the stirring starts for the first time with the help of a Water Shield. After this, the Big Shaker will be destroyed along with the turbine pole itself. When the signpost falls down, two Super Ring monitors are hidden under the center part of the bottom arena, each of which have a small gap between each other.

Knuckles getting damaged by the Big Shaker.

When playing as Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, the Big Shaker's attack pattern remains the same but the fight is more difficult due to Knuckles' reduced jump height; while he can jump over it, he is unable to jump high enough to resurface so he must Spin Dash up one of the sides of the arena periodically to prevent himself from drowning.

The battle can also be made a lot easier for Knuckles, however. If Knuckles climbs up the right side wall above the water before the Big Shaker begins its sweeping attack, and dodges that attack by gliding to the opposite wall twice. As the Big Shaker performs its whirlpool attack, Knuckles can jump off the wall, hit the Big Shaker from above, then glide and stick onto a wall and repeat to easily defeat it.


  • In the standalone Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the Act 2 boss BGM will play instead of the usual Act 1 boss theme for this boss battle. This is later fixed in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
    • An interesting glitch can also happen in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 when the player stays underwater until the drowning music starts playing and then jump out of the water. This time, the Act 1 boss music from Sonic & Knuckles will eventually start playing at the background. This glitch also works later in the boss battle with Egg Vortex, and is also present in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
  • It is possible to drown while fighting this boss, as the thirty-second limit still applies, although it is not possible to drown while the score is being tallied or during the transition to the next act.
  • In Sonic Mania, this mini-boss fight is referenced during the Laundro-Mobile's second phase.





  1. Flynn, Ian; Sega (8 December 2021). Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia. Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1506719276. "Bosses: Act 1 - Big Shaker."
  2. (in Japanese) ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ3 公式ガイドブック. Shogakukan. 1 July 1994. p. 31. ISBN 978-4091024794.
  3. Sonic the Comic #36, "Sonic 3 Part 3 - The Bosses"

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