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A piece of corkscrew from Emerald Hill Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Corkscrews[1][2] (コークスクリュー[3][4] Kōkusukuryū?), also referred to as corkscrew speedways,[5] Spiral Highways,[6] corkscrew loops,[7] and corkscrew tracks[8] are common gameplay elements in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are long, corkscrew-shaped routes looping around themselves, which create bridges over wide gaps and hollow areas for the player. The corkscrews first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.


Like the traditional Shuttle loops, the corkscrews appear in the different-themed Zones. In order to pass through a corkscrew, the player must gained enough momentum to reach high speeds with their playable character in order to remain in contact with the surface of the corkscrew when passing through it. If the player has not gained enough speed or slows down while passing through a corkscrew, they will fall out of the loop and drop into the gap below it.

Corkscrews as first presented in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are well-known level structures in Emerald Hill Zone, where they are frequently placed above lower pathways. The player can easily gain momentum to pass through these corkscrews by running or spinning through regular downhill shuttle loops that come before them. In the 2013 remaster of the game, the eighth, hidden Special Stage features half-pipe forming large corkscrews. Games such as Sonic 3D Blast for the Sega Saturn and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II also feature Special Stages with half-pipe structures forming corkscrews.

A downwards corkscrew in Mecha Green Hill Zone, from Sonic Chaos.

Since their introduction, corkscrews have made numerous appearances in later games, such as in Sonic Chaos, where they are featured at Turquoise Hill Zone and Mecha Green Hill Zone. In the latter of these Zones, the corkscrews go downward into the chasms which have Bottomless pits below. They are also seen briefly in Hydrocity Zone Act 2 in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, where they go downward in a similar manner to those in Sonic Chaos, but are more automated. In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Neo South Island Zone also features regular corkscrews.

Corkscrews mostly appear in the 2D and 2.5D games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. However, they have also been featured in several 3D games as well, such as Speed Highway in Sonic Adventure and Radical Highway in Sonic Adventure 2. In these games, corkscrews are far larger than they are in the 2D and 2.5D games, and the player has to keep running through them to get to the other side, since these loops are usually set above bottomless pits.

Blaze running through a wooden corkscrew in Leaf Storm, from Sonic Rush.

In Sonic Advance 2, corkscrews are seen in Leaf Forest, where some sections of the loop's pathway can suddenly turn downward in a straight line and then proceed down the same route. In Sonic Advance 3, they are featured in Route 99, where some of them are placed over bottomless pits. Both regular and upward-facing corkscrews are featured in Leaf Storm of Sonic Rush, while regular corkscrews appear in Blizzard Peaks of Sonic Rush Adventure. In Sonic Rivals, the corkscrews appear near the end of both acts from Death Yard Zone and in Sonic Rivals 2, they are featured in Sunset Forest Zone and Neon Palace Zone. Splash Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I also has traditional corkscrews. Games such as Sonic Unleashed have Grind Rails in the form of corkscrews, and Tropical Resort in Sonic Colors also features large, automated corkscrews. Additionally, Green Hill in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations also has huge corkscrews, which are also featured in Speed Highway and even in Tropical Resort and Radical Highway in the Nintendo 3DS version of the same game.

In Sonic Dash, there are branching pathways that contain automatic corkscrew sections, which the player can access by choosing one of three Springs with "loop" mark above them. A few missions in the game involve crossing these corkscrew sections within certain amount of times. These automated corkscrew sections are also featured in Sonic Runners Adventure. In Sonic Mania and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, corkscrews are featured regularly in Green Hill Zone and Hydrocity Zone Act 2. Sonic Forces has corkscrews included in Ghost Town, while Egg Gate and Network Terminal features Grind Rails forming occacionally corkscrews. Both regular corkscrews and their Grind Rail variations are also common level structures featured in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle.






  1. Sonic Advance 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. 11 March 2003. p. 21. ISBN 978-0761540083.
  2. SEGA HARDlight (7 March 2013). Sonic Dash. iOS. Sega. "Missions: Visit a loop or corkscrew 3 times"
  3. (in Japanese) ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ2 メガドライブ公式ガイドブック. Shogakukan. December 1992. p. 34. ISBN 978-4091024145.
  4. (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 34. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega Mega Drive) North American instruction booklet, pg. 12.
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2: Sega's Official Player's Guide. Compute; Expanded edition. 1993. p. 75. ISBN 1-55958-335-5.
  7. Sonic Advance 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. 11 March 2003. p. 22. ISBN 978-0761540083.
  8. Sonic the Hedgehog (LeapFrog Didj) Game design document, pg. 42.
  9. Sinclair, Brendan (4 April 2012). Patented Game Mechanics That Might Surprise You. GameSpot.
  10. US5411272A. Google Patents.
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