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The Fan[1] (ファン Fan?), also known as the Fan Block (扇風機ブロック senpūki burokku?, lit. "electric fan block"), is a gimmick and obstacle that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are powered machine used to create flow within a fluid (typically liquids or air) that can push the playable characters in one direction.


The Fans, as their name implies, are mechanical machines with propeller-based fans. Stripped down to their basic design, the Fans consist simply of impellers that constantly suck in fluids (typically liquids or air) and spew them out up front as a powerful stream. The more modern Fan in the Sonic series has a more elaborate design however, consisting mainly of an impeller with a circular frame around it. Regardless, the Fan's finer design tends to vary from game to game. Lastly, Fans are typically either embedded in surfaces (like wall, floors or ceilings) or floating in midair.

A Fan carrying Sonic into the air, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

In gameplay, the Fans' primary purpose is to push the playable characters away from them with their flows. To use a Fan in gameplay, the player just has to step into the Fans' steam of flow. Once a playable character is inside a Fan's stream of flow, they will automatically be pushed away from it. As such, Fans can push the player from side to side and even into in midair or downward, depending on their angle. This effect can either be used to the player's advantage (like giving the playable character a boost of speed or a way to carry them automatically through the levels) or disadvantage (like bringing the playable character to a standstill or pushing them into hazards). Noticeably, upward-pointing Fans are commonly used to carry the player upward through midair so that they can reach higher areas or move across obstacles. However, each Fan's flow has a set maximum range that limits how far away they can push the playable character or how high they can carry the playable characters. It is also worth noting that while riding a Fan's flow, the player can still move their playable character from side to side. However, should the playable character move outside the Fans' flow, it will cause the normal physics to take effect again.

While Fans are typically found on dry land where they create airstreams, they are also in some cases found in underwater sections. In such sections, the Fans create underwater currents that the player automatically follows when they get inside the Fans' flow.

Games appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)

Sonic trying to run past a Fan, from Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit).

Fans first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit). Design-wise, they are in this game side-facing Fans usually set on the end of ledges or in the middle of pathways. They are only encountered in Star Light Zone.

In gameplay, the Fans serve as obstacles. When the player runs behind one, it will pull the playable character through it to the other side, but when the player tries to run past a Fan from the front, it will keep pushing the playable character back. There are also other variations of Fans, which pull Sonic out on the back side instead. Unlike other Fans, these variations turn on and off for a small amount of time.

Normally, the playable character is not able to get past any Fans from the front by running. However in the Sonic Jam port and 2013 re-release of the game, the player can use the Spin Dash or their Super State to get through them.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit)

Sonic and Tails floating in the mid-air, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit).

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit), the typical Fan is golden with an impeller attached to a small green platform with golden ends. In this game, these Fans are only encountered in Oil Ocean Zone.

In gameplay, the Fans can be found floating above wide gabs where they point upward. The player has to use these fans to cross said gabs. Fans can be tricky to use this way however, since some of them turn on and off for a while. It is also worth noting that while the playable characters can move left and right while riding the Fans, they cannot jump. These upwards-pointing Fans can also be found below the ground and are barely seen behind the Oil Ocean Zone's fences. There are also vertically-aligned Fans that are usually set in front of platform elevators, their flow pushing the playable character away like the Fans in the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The player normally has to wait until they turn off in order to get past them, but using the Spin Dash or Super Sonic can make getting past them easier.

In Wing Fortress Zone, there are larger, upward-pointing Fans that can make the playable character float in mid-air. Like the ones in Oil Ocean Zone, the player is unable to jump while riding their flow, but they can move left and right.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD

A Fan next to Sonic, from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Fans found in the Rounds are small yellow impellers. In this game, the player only encounters them in Tidal Tempest. In gameplay, these Fans are placed either on the walls or floors in underwater sections. However, they will remain inactive until the player presses a nearby Switch. Once active, the Fans will guide the player to either higher pathways or along underwater routes.

The Fan Block, from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

Similar devices called Fan Blocks[2] (扇風機ブロック[3] senpūki burokku?, lit. "electric fan blocks") appear in the Special Stages. When the playable character runs over this device in gameplay, they will float forward in midair for then to slowly fall to the ground again. While the playable character is in midair, the player is able to control the playable character by tapping Controlpadds.png left or right. This way, the player can also better reach far-away UFOs.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles

In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and the lock-on game Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Fans are primarily featured as gimmicks in both Hydrocity Zone and Carnival Night Zone. However, their appearance and associated mechanics differ slightly between each Zone.

Fans in Hydrocity Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Fans in Hydrocity Zone appear as blue and gray impellers with two sets of fan blades. In gameplay, they always point upward and are usually set on small floating blocks or the ground. They also appear either above or below the underwater sections. In terms of purpose, they serve the same function as the upward-pointing Fans in Oil Ocean Zone. While most of the Fans in Hydrocity Zone activate when the playable character gets close to them, some Fans have to be activated by pressing the Switch placed near them. In long shafts or along walls, the Hydrocity Zone Fans will also pop out from the walls as the player ascends in order to keep carrying the character upward.

Fans in Carnival Night Zone, from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.

Fans in Carnival Night Zone resemble more closely gray and yellow turbines with red upper edges. Like the Fans in Hydrocity Zone, these Fans help the playable characters float in midair in gameplay. In Carnival Night Zone, Fans appear in bridge formations above large sections of the Zone. Some of these formations have small gaps however, where single Fans move back and forth between the aforementioned gaps.

Hydrocity Zone and Carnival Night Zone aside, Flying Battery Zone has platforms which are powered by Fans beneath them, but they can damage the player if they touch them. In the Competition Mode of the game, Chrome Gadget also has grey fan turbines that can make the player reach higher platforms.

Sonic 3D Blast

Fans, from Sonic 3D Blast.

In Sonic 3D Blast, Fans are called industrial fans[4] and are gray blocks with an impeller sitting inside a round hole in each of them. In this game, the player encounters them exclusively in Gene Gadget Zone and Panic Puppet Zone.

In gameplay, Fans always sit on the ground and will become active once Sonic steps on them, causing him to float above them in isometric perspective. When landing, the player has to look out for Badniks or electrified floors.

Sonic Adventure

Sonic using a Fan, from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.

In Sonic Adventure and its remake Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, Fans possess a grey frame, a net on the bottom and red impellers. In this game, they only appear in Casinopolis' sewer sections and Sonic's edition of Final Egg.

In gameplay, the Fans can be found floating in midair. They also only point upward, thus allowing the player to float above them when caught in their flow. Also, while floating above a Fan, the player can move around with the Control Stick.

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

In Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, Aerobase Zone features large upward pointing Fans, which function identically to ones from Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Sonic Advance series

Sonic Advance

A pair of Fans carrying Sonic upward, from Sonic Advance.

In Sonic Advance, the Fans are wide yellow impellers that float in midair and cover the entire width of the corridors they are set in. In this game, they are only encountered in Egg Rocket Zone.

In gameplay, Fans point only upward, making them capable of carrying the player upward. Noticeably, the Fans can even suck the playable character up from below them, carry their recipient through them, and then lift them upward to higher sections.

Sonic Advance 2

In Sonic Advance 2, Sky Canyon features two types of Fans, each one serving a different purpose.

A sideway-facing Fan, from Sonic Advance 2.

The first type of Fan is a smaller, side-facing red Fan with a single two-bladed impeller standing on a red and blue striped pole. These types of Fans are usually set on the end of ledges. These Fans work similarly to the ones from Star Light Zone in the original Sonic the Hedgehog, namely by blowing sideways currents that push the playable characters in the direction of their flows, except these ones will build up running momentum when the player turns to run in the other direction.

A large Fan, from Sonic Advance 2.

The second, larger type of Fan is similar to the ones from Egg Rocket Zone in Sonic Advance. They look very similar to those in the Egg Rocket Zone and even float in midair, except these fans are yellow and blue, and the knobs on top of their impellers are red. Like the Fans in Sonic Advance, they create upward-going flows that can carry the playable character.

Sonic Heroes

A trio of standard Fans, from Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Fans are common gimmicks found in most of the stages. In this game, the standard Fan is a large circular device. It also possesses a flat and gray three-bladed impeller that slowly spins around inside it, a gray base, a circular red frame on top of it with orange segments around its perimeter, and a red core in their center. These Fans always either sit on the ground or float in midair, and are always active.

In addition to the standard Fans, there are much larger Fans that are a part of the stages' environment: in Rail Canyon and Bullet Station there are Fans encapsulated behind metal frames, and in Mystic Mansion and Terror Hall there are Fans made of skeleton bones. Most of these fans are located on the ground, and if they are disabled, the player has to use Switches to activate them.

In gameplay, all Fans make the playable characters float upward. Simply standing on a Fan will make the playable characters float only a few inches above it though. When using Triangle Dive/Umbrella Descent/Bubblegum Descent above a Fan however, the player's characters will rise great distances into the air, allowing them to reach out-of-reach ledges and paths.

Shadow the Hedgehog

The Fans, from Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, the Fans have a grey frame and their impellers are encapsulated behind metal webs.

In gameplay, Fans can be found on both the ground and the walls, allowing Shadow to move both vertically and horizontally through mid-air. Some of the fans on the ground will push the player away without any means of outrunning their air streams. However, they stop in intervals so the player can continue. They can also be bypassed with Chaos Control.

Sonic Rivals

In Sonic Rivals, each Fan consists of a gray turbine with a yellow impeller in the opening. IN this game, they are only encountered in Meteor Base Zone.

In gameplay, the fans can be found on both the walls and floor, thus allowing the player to move both vertically and horizontally through mid-air. In addition, some of them turn on and off in intervals.

Sonic Colors

Two Fans, from the Wii version of Sonic Colors.

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, and the remaster Sonic Colors: Ultimate, Fans have a simple, circular and red frame, with their impeller sitting inside it. However, they are much smaller, being only about a meter in diameter. They also hav three pointy feet on which they stand on.

In gameplay, Fans are usually seen in the Acts' 2.5D sections, although they do make a few appearances in the 3D sections as well, and the underwater sections. In the underwater sections in particular, they serve as obstacles; when the player approaches these underwater Fans, they will begin generating jet streams that pushes the player away. Also, when riding an upward-pointing Fan's air current to the top, the player is able to jump off it.

Sonic Generations

In the console/PC version and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, the Fans make an appearance. However, their design differ slightly between each version.

A Fan, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

In the console/PC version of the game, the Fans are relatively small round disks with a red frame on top of them and a black base. Their red frame is bolted on with four cyan screws around their perimeters, and inside them are a gray net with a three-bladed impeller and a red center. In gameplay, Fans only appear in Crisis City and Seaside Hill, where they in the latter are also found in underwater sections. Also, like in Sonic Colors, after riding an upward-pointing Fan's air current to the top, the player is able to jump off it.

Two Fans, from the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, the Fans are small red rings with a three-bladed impeller inside of them. These Fans also have four yellow sections on their red rings, each one bolted on with a white screw, and a yellow and red center. In gameplay, they appear exclusively in Tropical Resort. Additionally, like their console/PC counterparts, after riding an upward-pointing Fan's air current to the top, the player is able to use the Spin Jump.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

The Fans, from Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, Fans are upward-pointing yellow turbines with a gray two-bladed impeller on top of each of them. Each Fan's impeller also has red-tipped fan blades and a pointy yellow center. In this game, Fans are one of the main gimmicks of Sky Fortress Zone Act 2 and 3.

In gameplay, Fans float in midair and create upward-going airstreams that the playable characters can ride on. Noticeably, just getting close to a Fan or being right below it in this game will result in the playable character being carried upward.

Sonic Lost World

A Fan, from the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World.

In the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, Fans look a lot like how they appeared in Sonic Colors, except these ones have no feet and metal nets over their impellers. They are mainly encountered in Sky Road.

In gameplay, the Fans can be found both by themselves and in rows. They can also be embedded in the ground or floating in midair. When used, they take the player surprisingly high up into the air. In some instances, the Fans also serve as obstacles; for example, when the player has to scale a wall with a Fan on it, said Fan will periodically releases a gust of wind that will make the playable character lose their footing should they be on the Fan when it releases its wind.

Sonic Mania

In Sonic Mania, and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus, Fans are featured as gimmicks in numerous Zones throughout the game. In both Hydrocity Zone and Oil Ocean Zone, the Fans take on the respective appearances they had in their Zones' original incarnations, with the Fans in Hydrocity Zone being doubled-bladed impellers on stone blocks and the Fans in Oil Ocean Zone being impellers on small floating platforms. They also exhibit the same mechanics they had in their original Zones and serve the same purposes from back then too. The giant upward-facing fans from Wing Fortress also reappear as gimmicks in Flying Battery Zone, and the giant propellors now exhibit the same properties as these fans.

Sonic Forces

Fans, from Sonic Forces.

In Sonic Forces, Fans look just like they did in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations. In this game, they only appear in Chemical Plant.

In gameplay, Fans are attached either to the ceiling or floor. They mainly appear in the underwater Mega Mack sections, where they create currents that either carry Classic Sonic upward or downward. In some cases though, they might act as obstacles by pressing Classic Sonic against a ceiling while he is underwater, thereby limiting the time the player has to look for Air Bubbles.

See also


  1. Kaizen Media Group (1 June 2004). "Training". Sonic Heroes: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 4. ISBN 978-0761544494. "When you get caught in one of the fans found throughout the game, press the jump button and all three characters will come together and your team will rise as long as they are above the breeze from the fan."
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD) North American instruction booklet, pg. 16.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog CD (Sega CD) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 23.
  4. Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 11.
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