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The elevator (エレベーター,erebētā?), also referred to as warp zone (ワープゾーン,wāpuzōn?) or anti-gravity device (反重力装置,Han jūryoku sōchi?), is a gimmick that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a type of tube that can be used for quick transport between areas.
The elevators' appearance has varied between games and they are commonly found in industrial-themedZones. Each elevator tube systems have two large entrance halls connected to each other by long tubes or pipes. When the playable character enters an elevator, they assume either their Spin Attack form or their horizontal spin animation before being teleported to the other end of an extensive tube/pipe at high speed and are spit out. Much like high-speed warp tubes, the player cannot backtrack once they reach to the other end of an elevator.
In gameplay, when approaching the entrance to an elevator, the playable character will perform the Super Sonic Spin Attack before getting sucked through the elevator. Once through, the player is unable to backtrack through the elevator.
If the player chooses the lower pathway at the beginning of the Scrap Brain Zone Act 2, they will encounter the Act's third elevator, which has two diverging pathways. The player usually moves upwards through the elevator and ends up at the middle point of the elevator's tubeline, where the first pathway leads in the right direction. The second pathway is located above the first one and can only be taken if the player possesses at least fifty Rings. If these requirements are met, Sonic is automatically taken to the section above by the elevator, which contains a quick, linear pathway towards the fouth and final elevator in the Act. Alternatively, the player can collect rest of the fifty Rings on the first pathway and then go back to the third elevator and have it transport the playable character to the second pathway.
In gameplay, some elevators function much like they did in the original Sonic the Hedgehog; by entering the elevator's entrance, the playable character will automatically perform the Super Spin Attack before being sucked through its tube to the other end. In addition, Metropolis Zone Act 2 features a few elevator tubelines without entrances on the other end. These usually lead to vertical gaps with bumper walls or tight pathways. In the latter sitations, being spit out of these elevators in these sections allows the player to retain the momentum.
In gameplay, while these elevator itself is stationary, they will open up for the playable characters when approached. The playable character can then enter the elevator's vehicle and close down its hatch. The playable character will then start spinning at high speed before being transported through the elevator. Once on the other side of the elevator, the hatch will open for the playable character to exit this gimmick. Afterwards, the hatch will close up behind the playable character, thus keeping them from backtracking through the elevator.
In Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, there are different types of elevators called anti-gravity devices (反重力装置,han jūryoku sōchi?) in Death Egg Zone Act 2. These elevators consist of long vertical tubes with normal entrances/exits at the bottom and upside-down entrances/exits at the top. By entering these anti-gravity devices through their lower entrance, the playable character starts spinning at high speed before being send up to the other end of the vertical tube. When this happens, the playable character's gravitational pull will be flipped around, allowing them to move around on the ceiling until they either use another anti-gravity device, press a Gravity Control Switch or enter white tunnels that revert the gravity back to normal. In-between pathways also have sections where the player occacionally has to use Springs to cross long vertical tubes along the way. Also, during the Death Ball battle, the player has to use two anti-gravity devices in the arena in order to manipulate gravity and make a spiked buggy-like object fall into the Death Ball.
In gameplay, when the player enters the vehicle inside the elevator, a hatch will close down and the vehicle will slowly move up to the other end of the elevator tube. Upon exiting the elevator, the hatch will then close down behind the player and their combi-partner.
In gameplay, despite their varying appearances, the elevators in both Zones function the same. Like previously, using an elevator takes Sonic through a tube system at high speed to another area of its respective Zone. Also, after being transported to the other end of the elevator's tube system, the player cannot go back to the previous section via said elevator, although there are still alternate pathways that the player can use to backtrack through the Zones.